Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Supposed President Elect Obama is seeking our input on NAIS. I figured it can't hurt, even if he doesn't listen, some journalist will get ahold of the numbers on the poll...

Anyways, from A Homesteading Neophyte's blog.


Obama is taking input and NAIS has made it onto the board. They're asking all of us to write in and comment on both the official web site and their personal one (addresses below with directions). I am cut/pasting the email:Change.Org - Voting Ends Today for this one!The private website, www.change.org, will present the "Top 10 Ideasfor America" to the Obama Adminsitration on Inauguration Day. The first phase of the voting ends today, and the top 3 ideas in eachcategory will be selected for the second round of voting. "Stop NAIS"is currently in third place in Agriculture, and the voting is very close! A few votes may make the difference between the Stop NAIS message making it to the next round, or not!Step 1: If you are not already signed up for the site, register at: https://www.change.org/admin/sign_upStep 2: Go to http://www.change.org/ideas/view/stop_nais Be sure to click the box labeled "vote!" to the left of the Stop NAIS! Simply leaving a comment does not count as a vote.and also:Change.GovThe Obama Transition Team has set up a section calld "Open for Questions" on the official website. They have not specified the deadline for submitting or voting on questions, but said they willrespond to the top issues "in the new year."Step 1: Go to http://change.gov/page/content/openforquestions20081229/Step 2: Type "animal identification" into the box next to "Search Questions" There are currently 8 questions that involve NAIS that can be found by searching those terms.Step 3: Click on the checkmark by the question to vote "yes". If you are not already signed in, you will be asked to, with a link at the top of the box.Please help us stop NAIS. Feel free to copy and past for your own blog. Thanks to Small Meadow Farms for the heads up.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our puppy's FAMOUS!

Check him out at coldantlerfarm.blogspot.com

Already thinking spring!

OK all, since Christmas has passed, it's time to figure out what to plant for next year. Don't get me wrong, I'm still praying for a snowstorm so I can try out our sledding hill! Of course, the new Johnny's Seeds catalog is coming out this week, but before I get seduced by glossy bushes full of beans and vines dripping with juicy, meaty tomatoes, I thought I should make a preliminary list of what we wanted to plant. Now, asparagus is out for this year because we are going to be building a barn and asparagus needs so much room, I thought I'd plant it around the outside of the barn (maybe). We already have garlic and horseradish (thanks again Chris!) planted. So tell me, what's the one (or two) food you couldn't live without?



This is what I'm thinking.

This list is subject to change without warning.



Or much thought.



Aw heck, on a whim.



We must plant several varieties of Corn for us and the chickens. I'm also planting popcorn. With corn goes sunflowers, they are very good together.

Several lettuce varieties, spinach, swiss chard, kale?, and lots of cabbage. (See FarmerGeek's post on Sauerkraut.)

We'll need cucumbers and pickling cukes.
Green, red, yellow peppers.
Potatoes
Onions
Hot peppers
Celery
Carrots
Numerous varieties of tomatoes
Squash
Pumpkins (cooking)
Beets
Raspberries
Strawberries
Cherries (Maybe or maybe next year, we'll see.)
Apples (Again we'll see)
Elderberries
Grapes
Various Herbs



Heck we might even try our hand at growing wheat or oats! FarmerGeek was talking about growing his own tobacco and coffee.



I also have some grand delusions of getting a beehive for FarmerGeek to take care of so we have honey. Then we'll have to decide between goats or a cow.


And you all thought that winter was a slow time on a farm!

But let me know, what do you think we can't live without?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Our holidays

I hope Christmas found you all blessed and merry. I know we here at the farm were. We spent a quiet morning at home, opening gifts and making egg nog french toast. Then we loaded up the SUV with two dogs and a bag of presents to take over to FarmerGeek's folks house. We did the present thing there and had some munchies. THEN we walked down the street to his aunt's house where we had dinner with a million relatives, some of the world's cutest kids, and a blind puppy dog. (And if anybody has the recipe for that broccoli salad I'd gladly pay or give up a kidney.) One of FarmerGeek's cousins was the lucky recipient of half a dozen eggs we brought to Pittsburgh the last time and she said they were good- the biggest eggs she'd ever seen. We'll keep her. She can have more eggs. Then we loaded the puppies up and started home. And slept. Until the puppy woke us (him) up!


The next day my parents came out with their two dogs. So that's four dogs in our house. Well two dogs and two puppies. Oh good Lord help us. The good news is that the Christmas tree didn't get knocked over. Saturday morning was, of course, chore morning. So there FarmerGeek and I are, up and out before dawn. We TRIED to let my folks sleep, but between our squeaky bathroom door, opening the garage, the crowing rooster, and the howling puppy who was not at all happy about being out in the cold and on a line to boot, they never had a chance. I warned them to bring old jeans and work boots, and we took them to the back forty to show them all that's back there. Because of all the animal holes and the fact we still aren't sure where the fox lives, we decided to bring the pellet gun. I actually had the chance to shoot it!


My folks got home safely last night. We were all stuffed because I cooked this weekend like I've never cooked before! (Well not really, but it's just an expression.) There was tortelloni soup on Friday, French toast Sat morning, Mac and Cheese (aka Kraft dinner) for lunch, country fried chicken, mashed potatoes with country gravy, and brussel sprouts in a balsamic glaze for dinner. Then Sunday morning was sausage gravy and biscuits with eggs of course, the pioneer girl beef stew with crusty homemade bread. Come stay at my house and get spoiled!!! LOL


Now I'm hungry...


Oh and for your amusement, our puppy with a picture of Jenna's book, which if I've never mentioned before you can buy it here.

Hello all!

I recently read that it's not proper blogging netiquette to apologize for not posting.

So I won't.

(But I am sorry... and I promise to make up for it!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

This is probably the most important thing I could say today, and I hope it echoes in your hearts as well.

I believe.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

True Christmas Spirit

I know we are all busy today, but please, take a moment to stop by www.letssaythanks.com and send a free ecard to one of the courageous men and women serving our country. It's never easy to be apart from loved ones at Christmas, but I can't imagine being apart and not sure if you're going to be with them ever again. This is what our troops are going through today and tomorrow. Please pray for them and their families for safety, comfort, strength, and victory. For they are truly the embodiment of Christmas.

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:13

Oh what a night!

Late December back in... 2008? Oh well, on with the story!

So we were hit with a "winter weather event" aka FREEZING RAIN! The whole world was a sheet of ice. Even our gravel driveway was solid ice. (No the story does not end with me heading to the ER with a broken wrist. I don't break it every time there's freezing rain I swear!) We were all snug and comfy inside the homestead- until we started hearing siren after siren. At first I thought they were going to the nieghbors, but turns out they were headed up the road to where not one, but two separate cars had slid of the road into the ravine. We didn't know what was going on, so we plugged in the scanner and hoped it was a town stretch of road instead of county- our scanner doesn't go up to the higher numbers. We heard a call come in saying that one of the EMS vehicles had also slid off the road.

Is anyone shocked that my husband wanted to go see if he could help? I didn't think so. So he headed out with a bag of salt, and I threw on outdoor clothes and went.

The whole thing ended up being three cars off the road, two accidents, and one little girl who had to pee. (Who used our bathroom.)

Now the puppy's crying again, so I'm cutting this short....

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My thoughts on Santa... (Not for little ones.)

We've had a few conversations about Santa recently. More specfically, what we will or won't be telling our children someday. Now the back story, my husband who swears he was deprived as a child (and claims he never had any toys, just a hammer and a piece of wood- but no nail) was not brought up with Santa. When he was old enough to understand, his parents explained that some parents taught their children about Santa coming and that it was ok for them. I, on the other hand, believed in Santa for longer than everyone else in my class. I heard him, OK! There was a loud bump in our living room, just as Larry King was saying NORAD had tracked Santa over Venezuala--- they were of course wrong, he had just come through the TV. (We didn't have a chimney.) I had suspected there might not be a Santa after that, but I didn't care.

I'll tell you a secret, I still believe in Santa.

You see, there's a reason why every year we go out and buy gifts to wrap for under the tree. There's a reason why we let our little ones hope and dream about the magic Christmas morning will bring. There's a reason why I try to drop a gift or two in the toys for tots barrel every year (if I can find one). It's because once there was a man who celebrated one of the greatest days in the history of mankind by giving gifts to people. He wanted to be anonymous. But we know his name is Nicholas, Saint Nicholas- Santa Claus. His spirit still lives on in our hearts, hopes, and dreams.

Since we are adopting older children, we probably won't get the choice of whether or not our children know who Santa is. But if they do, when the time comes as it inevitably will, when they don't believe in the magic and make believe anymore, that is what I'll tell them. He may not be here in a red suit, and he may not have a sleigh with eight tiny reindeer, or come down a chimney- but he IS real. Because one man long ago decided to do something to bring glory to God, we still do it today.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I didn't sign up for this...

Well I guess I did. But it's so cold! And I've been up since 5AM with FarmerGeek and the puppy. And yes it was FarmerGeek that took the puppy out and took care of the chickens. I made breakfast and folded laundry. I don't function well before about 9AM. Oh I'm awake, and I'm moving, but I just not all with it.

For the record, the actual temp has gone up to 9 degrees. The windchill is around -17 degrees offically. The wind on our hill is usually 5-10 mph harder than weather.com lists so take it for what you will. The thing that makes me mad though, I could totally take the cold, but WE HAVE NO SNOW!!! My folks have a few feet, and I never thought I'd be jealous of Lake Effect Snow, but we have this awesome sledding hill- AND WE HAVE NO SNOW!!! It's not fair to be this cold with nothing to show for it. And to add insult to injury, it's supposed to rain on Christmas. Rain.

I'm moving to Alaska. They have snow.

And Sarah Palin.

On a completely unrelated subject, I finally saw a Chia Pet commercial. Ususally they're on every other commercial break the whole Christmas season.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Rearranging

Well, I may not be around the next couple of days. I'm fairly certain that we're going to be losing power anytime now but mostly because I decided to do some rearranging. I've decided to set up a desk with computer in the kitchen. First of all, all our mail ends up there anyways, and second it'll make life so much easier when making recipes. So hold your breaths until you hear from me again.

Meanwhile, I urge you to take a look at the blogs I follow. I admit it, I've become a blog junkie. But there's so many things out there to learn and everbody's experiences are such a help. I always loved to read and learn and right now I can't get enough information. So I am telling you, read their blogs. And buy Jenna's book Made from Scratch.

Meanwhile, make a cup of tea (or a whole pot) and cuddle up with your dogs, a quilt, and a book and stay warm.

My love to you all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Puppy (again)


His name is now Dante. Viva Le Dante!!!

(Isn't that carpet a horrible orange?)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The New Puppy!





As I am bucking for "BEST WIFE IN THE WORLD!" for this year, and the year's almost up, I got FarmerGeek a puppy which is supposed to be for Christmas. I found a Brittany Spaniel/ Border Collie mix on Craig's List and I knew that's exactly what he wanted so....



I swear he's not hurting him.


You know, a guy's have to pay alot of money for that...


Monday, December 15, 2008

Seven Things

I saw this on Claire's blog and thought I would play along too...

7 Things I'd like to do before I die...
1. Be a Mommy
2. Be a Grandma
3. Own a horse
4. Help bring a new life in the world (puppies, lambs, goats, etc...)
5. Publish a book
6. Buy a brand new car... with cash...
7. Be completely self-sufficient, including electric and heat.

Things I Can Do...
1. Play the bodhran
2. Cook like a mad woman
3. Find a million uses for eggs
4. Make pretty much anything grow
5. Peel a banana with my toes
6. Find a post-colonialist criticism for just about every children's book
7. Make Mary Mac fit into any song on the radio...

7Things I Can't Do...
1. Deal with stupid drama
2. Play the guitar
3. Knit
4. Pass up a Christmas decoration
5. Spend money on myself
6. Stop dreaming
7. Eat raw meat (occasionally deal with sushi)

Things That Attracted Me to My Hubby… (and I know he'll argue with me)
1. The fact he wasn't shocked that I could do a shot of Jameson
2. He liked Celtic music
3. He did the dishes at my birthday party so I could spend time with my family
4. He wasn't afraid to kiss me in front of my family
5. He's a good and faithful man.
6. He was wearing my shoes
7. He's..well... he's hot.... :D

Things I Say Most Often
1. I love you
2. I'm sorry
3. Here chick chick chick...
4. What the heel?
5. I need a nap.
6. I want to...
7. You know what...?

7 Celebrity Crushes....
1. Colin Firth
2. Sean McCann
3. Sean Connery
4. Dean McDermott a little bit
5. Brother
6. The brilliant men? LOL I'm running out here
7. I have no idea? Santa?

If you want to repost on your blog, feel free, just let me know so I can read it! LOL

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Ferocious Farm Dog


Ferocious... yep that's our dog alright... and those of you who know him are rolling on the ground laughing at this. See our dog is a mix my husband got at the SPCA before my time. Since he was a foundling, no one really knows what type of dog he is. You can see he's a Rottweiler and the vet thinks he's mixed with Boxer. He's now officially a Boxer mix so he doesn't get discriminated against. He's the biggest baby known to mankind. In fact when the power went out, he heard that little pop and hid in terror. On the 4th of July, I thought he would have a stroke, he was so upset by the fireworks. If he should hear a hunter off in the distance, well all is over! It took him about fifteen minutes to come out of the spare room after we put up the tree. Right now, the dog is hiding under the kitchen table because I pushed the button on one of those Hallmark Snowmen things.


But today... he is a hero. Or at least he would be if I had actually needed protecting.


So we are outside so I can check on the chickens. I was in their yard with the gate closed behind me and the Pup is running around the yard peeing on anything he can. Then the farm across the street starts making this sound like a gun shot, only it's not. I think one of their tanks makes the noise, I don't really know. But it's loud and repetitive. Now I think, "Oh great, he's going to be whining and crying on the front porch. I'd better go in." To my surprise, the dog is still at the gate and he did something I have never seen him do before. He was actually crouched down in attack mode and growling at the farm across the street. He put himself between me and the road, staring down the stupid farm and barking at the noise when it came. I had to go into the house first and he gave the farm one last bark before coming in. Then he sat in front of the door until the noise stopped.


My doggie protected me.


Now I'm going to see if there's a steak in the fridge to cook up for his dinner...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Egg Bread

I'm warning you, I'm on a baking/ cooking binge and I want to share all of it with you. But it's an integral part of Homesteading. I once told someone how I make my own bread and she was appalled. "Why don't you buy it at the store?" I tried the best I could to explain that just because I CAN by it at the store, doesn't mean I HAVE to... She was just horrified that I would do something like that, when you can just go buy it... (I'm stopping here or I might go on a full, all-out political rant.) Besides, I enjoy baking my bread. It's fun and it smells amazing!


With about half of our ladies laying everyday, we have become overrun with eggs. There's only a just so many eggs that two people can eat for breakfast! Then I remembered, every Christmas, my mother used to make egg bread. After a call to her, I copied down the recipe and tried it out. And of course, I had to make some changes- this is me after all!!!
There's family history behind the recipe. When my grandmother was young, she followed her mother around with a bowl. Everytime my great-grandmother went to dump an ingredient into the dough, my grandmother would catch it in her bowl and measure it so she could write it down. My great-grandmother, like most of our great- grandmothers, never exactly measured everything- it was always "A handful of this and a pinch of that" for them. So now when I make this bread, I get this visual of Grandma running around with a bowl trying to catch the eggs and flour.

Egg Bread

*In a small/medium saucepan (whatever's clean), warm 1 1/2 cups of milk to lukewarm. Then whisk in 1/2 cup of sugar and 1tbs. of salt. (It does seem like a lot of salt, but it works.)

*Next, you know the drill, get out 1/2 cup of warm water and sprinkle 2 pkgs of yeast on it.
(I do this right in my mixing bowl, but Grandma's recipe says to do it in another bowl and then pour it into the mixing bowl. Oh and pay no attention to the paddle in picture, it's not time for the dough hook yet. Use a mixing paddle or just stir by hand which I found easier right now.)


*Once that's had a minute or two to proof, pour in the milk mixture and give a quick stir.
*Add in four beaten eggs. That's right I said four- I told you this was a "use up the eggs" recipe.

I know I'm just bragging now, but can you SEE that color. I'm so proud of those girls!

*Add 1/2 cup of softened butter
*Add in 1 tbs. of Cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. of Nutmeg. Do not let this throw you, it doesn't come out "spicy" tasting.
*Now here's where I made this my own. I introduced the stand mixer. Add in around 4 cups of flour and stir until moist. Then decide what's easier, getting out the dough hook or just doing it by hand. Your call. Me, I tried the dough hook with mixed results.




*Mix in another 2 1/4 cups of flour. If you aren't using the mixer, you may have to knead in the last cup or so. If you are using a mixer keep the hook going until the dough starts to pull away from the sides and form a ball.

*Now I had to turn the dough out onto a floured board. Knead it until it becomes manageable. Seriously, that's the best description, as soon as you can make it into a ball, put it into a greased bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a damp towel and let rise 1 1/2 to 2 hours until doubled in size. (Use a giant bowl or it will stick to the towel. And that's okay but who needs more laundry?)

*Once it's doubled in size...

...punch down the dough in the same bowl...
*Now is a good time to take a look at your loaf pans. But don't take long or it'll be like that scene from Lucy where the dough starts going everywhere. At least I think it was I Love Lucy. Anyways, if they are the 5 inch wide pans, great! You can make two nicely sized loaves. If they are the 3 inch ones, then make three respectable sized loaves- better for French toast! While they're out you might as well grease them.
*Cut the dough into equal parts, one for each loaf. Roll into loaf shapes and make sure they are big enough to fill the loaf pan end to end. (Not necessarily side to side.) Pour melted butter on top (usually 1 to 1 1/2 tbs.) and then sprinkle a bit of sugar on top.


*Cover again, and let rise for another hour or so until it's fully risen. Meaning it looks like a loaf of bread.

*Pre-heat your oven to 350. I let my bread rise in the oven with the light on, so I have to wait until the bread is risen. Put loaves in and bake for about 50 minutes or until they sound hollow when you thump the top.
*You know the rest. Turn out onto wire racks, let cool, don't slice for an hour.


*And If you're anything like me, remember to put your rings back on...

The Mystery May Be Solved

I asked on BackYard Chickens forum, and the concensus seems to be that the leghorn is getting to much calcium, thus making her eggs to hard and not abling the CO2 to be released. If you've ever had a fresh egg... really fresh, not bought at a market... it should be cloudy and milky because the CO2 hasn't been released yet.

I still think it looks gross...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


What is wrong with this chicken? Before you ask, this egg was laid yesterday by our leghorn. I cracked one of her older eggs, from like two days ago, and got pretty much the same thing.



Please, if you have any ideas, enlighten me...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Anyone want some eggs?



Does anyone want some eggs? LOL With the jump in our egg production I can't keep up with all the eggs we are getting! We went from 1 or 2 a day to 4 a day. I'm a little scared about how many eggs we'll be getting come spring! Of course then we'll be hatching them out and I'll be asking if anyone wants some baby chicks!

So FarmerGeek had to go and point out our leghorn had only laid one egg (How do we know? Because it's the only white egg layer we have...) and that she might be the cause of the pecking problem. He suggested he cull her. Don't you know that stupid chicken has laid an egg everyday since!

Coming soon: Recipes that use eggs...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Frosted Windowpanes...

Well the big news, besides the weather, is that we have acquired two roosters and two ducks. The two roosters came with the names Dandylion and Ray Ray. Since their previous family didn't seem to attached to the name Ray-Ray we decided to rename him. His name is now "Peggy's Dad". Either you get it or you don't. If you don't, go to the next Brigid's Cross show. (Although, even though Dandylion has a name and we intend to keep it, we've secretly nicknamed him "Ritchie's Grandpa".) Anyways, the two ducks also came with names. We were supposed to actually get three, but alas, the one duck passed last night before we could get her. Her mate, our new drake, is named Clyde, she naturally was Bonnie. Our other duck is named Duckster. It appears that everything is going well out in the coop tonight. Although, if you've never seen a Wyandotte take on a duck, it's really funny and worth seeing once in your life. But they seemed to settle down and now all is right in Poultry world.

The even bigger news is the weather. It was OK this afternoon, windy and cold, but we decided to run out to get a few things. By the time we got home tonight, it was bitterly cold and so windy. Not to mention the fact that it started snowing to beat the band. And it's so cold that I had to turn the heat up all the way to 70! Considering we keep it at 60, that's a big deal.

So we crawled home in the wind and snow and ice. The problem is that evidentally ODOT (Ohio department of transportation-duh!) decided that Ohioans have been spoiled with roads that are too good, and have cut back on salting and plowing. According to the Matt Patrick show, ODOT's stopped salting between midnight and 5AM.

But we don't need to go out anywhere, we are snug in warm in our little house in the little city. (Sorry I've been reading to much Laura Ingalls Wilder.) There's frost on our windowpanes, a fire in the fireplace, It's a Wonderful Life on DVD, FarmerGeek, our dog and me. The cold can't get in.

It is a wonderful life indeed...

Friday, December 5, 2008

My Birthday, aka, "The Diva Lives"

video

If all went right, that's a video of the band that was playing at the Shannon, or it's a video of FarmerGeek playing guitar, in which case, I'll have to delete it quick or face certain divorce. But they played this for me, followed by the words, "Speaking of nuns..." (Thanks Dave.)

The name of the band is Kindred and they are based out of the snow belt of Buffalo, NY and you can find them here (http://www.4kindred.com/). We reminesced about how when I first started going to their shows I wasn't old enough to drink.

Damn I'm old.

Anyways, my birthday was at the Shannon Pub in Western New York. When I was little, the Shannon Pub used to be by the airport, then it moved within walking (stumbling) distance from my folks house, and now it's on the Boulevard. (If you just asked what Boulevard, you are obviously not from Buffalo and can find the Shannon Here.) Now there is one thing that makes the Shannon special. The have awesome craic. Of course, some do say it's because we bring our own craic with us. Now my little chickadees, do not get all aflutter thinking you can score some illicit drugs there, to my knowledge you cannot. Craic, VERY loosley translated, basically means good times, noodle salad. Which brings me to food...

No Gina, I didn't order chicken fingers, plain, with barbeque and ranch on the side. I know, it's a shocker isn't it? I ordered the poutine (all Canadians jump for joy) which is french fries covered in gravy and melted cheese. And I got pizza logs, just like the Mount used to make, with barbeque sauce. Yum-O. FarmerGeek got the wings. Now look, I've been to the Anchor bar and all. Just go the Shannon, the wings are better and the craic is spelled with an "ic" there. SuperLibraryChick was there as well (with many thanks to her husband for making her go) and she ordered the Shannon's WORLD FAMOUS POTATO CHOWDER. Which deserves caps, you have no idea. (When Al Gore invented the internet, he should have included smell.)

Pretty much it was a table full of cholesterol, but I'm 30 now and it's all downhill from here, so who cares right?

Now we've covered the ceol, the craic, and the cooking, now for the cast of characters. Well, of course FarmerGeek was there, and my parents, and the Blower Girl (she plays the pipes dear, don't be dirty... unless you're single and her type in which case...), The ExHusband (who wasn't really my husband but could be yours if you are single and his type...lol), and SuperLibraryChick of course (aka "Schmellie's Mommy") Unfortunately for you, I don't post pics of peoples faces on here, but just know I got an awesome shot of "Husbands: Past and Present".

I don't think they found it funny.

I did.

Anyways, Kindred sang Happy Birthday to me and Felicia said, "The Diva Lives". And it's true, even though I spend most days in ratty work clothes with my hair up in a Farm Girl twist with no makeup on and outwardly about as far away from a rock star that I can get, inside I'm still a Diva.

I'm just glad someone else still remembers it.

The Queen of Quite-A-Lot

Soon, very soon, you'll get an awesome blog about my birthday, complete with pictures and maybe even a video (IF I can figure out how to open the file...) Instead, today, you'll be getting a disjointed ramble about my ultra-boring life that people find fascinating for some reason.

I've been on a cooking kick this past week. Especially since the hens are laying like mad and I have too many eggs! (Taking orders for eggs...) I've made egg bread and egg noodles with them. I also did some very interesting things with extras from Thanksgiving. Oh and I made an insane amount of turkey broth. But it's been decided that I can't do anymore cooking until I do some more dishes. So I decided to work on my book...

MY BOOK! Yes that's right, I brushed off the English degree and the 64 pack of crayola (that's only funny if you went to my college) and set to work writing a non-fiction book about becoming the Diva Hick. Hopefully it'll serve as a how-to-guide for modern women as they increasing head out on the path to self-sufficiency. I was inspired to see Jenna's book hit the shelves and go out of stock on Amazon within days of its release. (Look for it Here) Now if I could just find the chick in the boat to serve as my muse. She's probably still at my folks...

So I go out this AM to let the girls out, and took a moment to walk part of our land and just let the sight freeze in my mind. Which I mean literally because it's really cold out there and the wind just sucks! So there I am in my Wellies, my hubby's big brown Carhart(ish?) jacket, work gloves, and Farm-diva hair twist, surveying the land when I realize something. I am the the Queen of Quite-A-Lot. There's the back 40 which is my kingdom, and my dog and chickens who are my subjects, and the wind and snow who are currently playing the jesters.

It's good to be Queen.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Road Trip From Hell.

So instead of having Thanksgiving last Thursday like the rest of the country, we went out to my grandma's apartment to clear out her things and bring them back to my folks house. We then took the stuff my folks set aside for us and loaded it up and brought it back out here. Now the trip took about 8 hours each way. Somewhere around hour six, we pulled off at a rest area (again!) and as we backed up, we heard a bang! Then the truck refused to go back any further. Somehow, SOMEHOW, FarmerGeek managed to force it backwards. We figured that as long as it would go forward, we could make the next 2 hours and we could find a mechanic. Yeah, about that. Not ten minutes down the Thruway we hear BANG, whoop whoop whoop, BANG, whoop whoop whoop, BANG... well you get the idea... Now we have to pull off at exit 46. Which really sucked because we have friends at exit 45 and 44. SO we stop at Pep Boys (God bless whoever invented the Garmin!) and FarmerGeek takes the tire off and looks around at it. It seems one of the bolts that goes into the caliper and holds it to the mount is just gone- vanished! (For those of you who, like me, have no clue about such things- that has to do with the brakes.) Since we are at Pep Boys already, FarmerGeek goes in to buy the elusive bolt. They, surprise surprise, don't have it! They do instruct us to go to this other place, so we do. Inevitably, the parking lot is tiny, and every space is one that you have to back out of. But, we figure we don't have to worry about it, we'll replace the part and no problem. (Meanwhile I notice that the gas station next door has a camera crew at it, the news was broadcasting because of how low the gas price was. Of course, it was still forty cents more than at home.) Anyways, the second place doesn't have it and now we had to back up out of the spot. This is when I heard the words every wife wants to hear from her husband, "You're going to have to get behind the wheel and back up, I'm going to have to stick my hand in there and move it while you're backing up."

We both survived limbs intact.

Finally we go to a dealer, a nice fancy car dealer, and park in the parking lot next to their nice fancy new shiny cars. By this time it is, naturally, snowing to beat the band and we, of course, have to walk around the building to get to the parts department. We go in, and the guy behind the counter quickly pulls up a diagram on the computer of our particular wheel/brake/ front of truck and points to this stupid bolt and says, "I think this is what you need, I have it but it's not going to make your day." And I start thinking, oh crap it's going to cost us a small fortune and we're probably going to have to buy a whole new caliper. Then he says, "Normally it retails for $9.99 (I heard $999) but I'll give you a break and charge you $6.75 (I hear $675)." I nearly start to cry. FarmerGeek pulls a ten out to pay for it and it finally dawns on me that it's only going to cost six DOLLARS and seventy-five CENTS. We take our new bolt out to the truck and FarmerGeek proceeds to replace it in the parking lot with me standing guard over him so he doesn't get hit. Now somewhere in this process FarmerGeek has managed to rip his pants in a spot no man wants a draft (Love you honey!!! :D Sorry...)

But the story doesn't end here... oh no...

We make it all the way to the hotel and met up with my parents. The next morning we get up (this is, of course, Thanksgiving for the rest of the country) and the tire is flat. Yes the tire that lost the bolt the day before. So FarmerGeek changes the tire in the middle of the hotel parking lot. And manages to keep his pants intact (I really do love you sweetie!!!). We drive to the apartment, load up the moving truck and both vehicles, and are ready to go. We decide to start out for my folks house and figure to get there about eleven that night (it's a four hourish drive). For the record, my folks live about two minutes from the exit, I pull up to the toll both and I hear BANG, whoop whoop whoop, Bang, whoop whoo- well you get the picture. We get to my folks house and FarmerGeek tries out the truck (he was driving the moving van) and decides the tires need balanced and aligned and since we were planning on buying new tires anyways and Sears had a radio commercial about their Black Friday sale... We decided to take a hotel room right near the mall so that at 5 AM on Black Friday we could get... tires? Man are we boring. Thus how I ended up getting tires for my 30th birthday.

Anyways, we get to Sears, they say about two hours so we walk over to the mall. It was dead until about nine. (No one goes to Eastern Hills anyways.) So we walk back and they tell us the problem is that the OTHER FREAKING BOLT HAS DISAPPEARED!!!! And they called the dealership and they don't have it- no one in the area has it. FarmerGeek does not take no for an answer and calls the dealership to explain how we are stranded. Surprise, Surprise, they have the bolt only there it's $15 instead of $9.99.

Finally we get everything settled, checked out of the hotel, everything paid for, new tires and bolt on and get to my parents house to unload and reload the moving van. Then we come out and that front tire is flat again! BRAND SPANKING NEW TIRE IS FLAT!!! So we drive back to Sears and find out that somehow there's now a hole in the rim of the tire and we need to replace that or else the tire will keep getting flat. So we call around and the only rim in the area that is available immediately is $304. What? So we have three brand new tires and a spare on the truck.

Sorry, this was a long post to say: Our truck broke down a few times and cost us a lot of time and money to fix. I wish I had pics for you... I really do... but the camera was packed in the suitcase.

Coming Soon: My 30th Birthday and the Thanksgiving celebration!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Alas...

I'd planned on blogging about my weekend, my birthday, and Thanksgiving. However, this morning we lost one of our chickens. Dear Fingers (yes that was her name) was dead in the coop. We knew last night we were going to have to cull her, she was huddled down and didn't even move when Farmer Geek tried to pet her.

She had no feathers on her neck (no she wasn't a turken) and was all puffed up, but her vent didn't show any signs of egg binding. If there are any chicken experts out there with any theories, let us know please! I'm worried that we might lose the whole flock. (Or as we call them, herd of chickens.)