Monday, December 28, 2009

Some reasons

He does have a wonderful, humerous personality. He is kind and loving to us, not really super nice to other people that are not us... But thats fine, I do believe I love him more than any person in the world loves any other person. I truly adore him.
Now that aside, shallowly, what does attract us to a person? Well first of all, I think he is quite good looking. My breath still catches in my chest 10 years after the first moment I met him, each time I see him. There is just something arresting about how strong he is, he can chop trees 1800 style with a big ax. And like any good country wife, I stood taking photos and didnt hold back my awe.
Then you have the tree, okay so its not a huge tree but he had no trouble carrying the tree. He picked it up and just walked to the pile with it! Yes, this is a good reason. I will keep him.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Tree Decorating

We decorated our christmas tree several days after thanksgiving but blogger photo uploading wasnt prepared for my blogging. You got shoe ball late yesterday, so here is christmas decorating a day before christmas!!!
Half-Cat was super interested, she did go after the ornaments. She steals them from the bottom of the tree, carries them upstairs in her mouth and then hides in the long french door curtains. She waits there holding the ornament hostage, the individual dumb enough to rescue it comes away with some injuries. She wants us to rescue them though, and will wait until we come and often reach out a small white foot and pull back the curtain to sneakily check on the status of the rescue.
We put the tree downstairs, we have two living rooms and dining rooms. The downstairs living room is taken up by a pool table and we have a fireplace downstairs as well as up. The dining room has a sewing table and machines, couch and now a tree! We have put all the presents under it and Nathalie and I spent yesterday making stockings (late I know...) and they are now stuffed.
Tad is getting both a hammer and a gun, he will know this is a rights of passage into young manhood according to daddy. Frank doesnt buy someone a hammer who isnt deserving of it work wise. The gun, to Tad, will mean we consider him responsible. This will be his happiest christmas. Nathalies gifts are fabulous as well, but she will have womanhood gifts in a couple more years... Someone help me and tell me what they should be!!!
Thats it, everyone have a wonderful merry christmas with whoever they are with. We have my sister, husband and baby. Mom and significant other didnt make it due to weather, but I know my wonderful mama is here in spirit! I am happier than I have ever been at christmas, to have my husband home. Last christmas was the first and only one we spent apart. I pray to never have another apart, having him is just this side of heaven.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Shoe ball

This is a game called shoe ball. My family wrestles and plays hide and seek during shoe ball, or after, or simultaneously. Here we are ending hide and seek, Frank was caught by the kids and so he "fell" down the stairs.

Frank coming at Tad with a "WACHAH!!!!!" And I caught it in mid air. Lovely picture! Tad has gathered a pretty good heap of shoes here to use as ammo. He who has the most shoes isnt always the winner, Tad aims best, Frank catches best when shoes fly at him and Nathalie hoards the shoes best.

Nathalie taking aim at Frank who is taking solace behind the pool table with the cat.

Here we have a great picture of the shoe in flight. This was my favorite picture of all! Her back is even arched inwards in preparation for the hit!

Tad is being attacked her both by Frank at the front end and the cat at the back end! Half Cat sees this as an opportunity to get someone who is down. She is an evil kitty at heart...

Shielding himself from the onslaught... This wrestling match lasted about 2 hrs all told, wrestling and shoe ball and then ending in hide and seek.

Running around the table, seems endless because no one catches anyone! They usually end up going after each other UNDER the table. Often they are in one big pile, the top person bumping their head...

Half Cat, once again, on the attack! If you zoom in on this picture you can see her evil look and see that she is hooked by all 4 feet!
This is one of the kids favorite pastimes at night. Since Frank came home from Iraq they have played these games many times. This particular night saw my house shoe which was stolen from me, flying INTO the fireplace. I redeemed it before it caught. I assume they are flame retardent from this event! These evenings are the things that our children will grow up and remember and talk about with their kids.

The wig look

This is Tad's quilt batting wig. He made this and regularly reworks it, it was a long scrap of batting I cut from the edge of a quilt I was binding. He was wearing it here to make some visiting babies/toddlers laugh.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Panty Ho

"I have a panty ho."
"You mean a panty hose?"
"No. I mean a panty ho, its just one. I strung it from my book shelves to my dresser to create a wee clothes line. I have some clips from daddy's box that are for chip bags? I am using it to hang dolly clothes."
"Yes but its panty hose."
"Yet its only ONE ho."
"Do you mean you have a thigh high?"
"Yes. I own 2 of them that had holes? You were throwing them out, remember?"
"Yes, I remember. But its called hose. Or nylons. You wouldnt say panty ho though, just say hose even if you are using only one."
"So, ho isnt singular for hose?"
"Not in this case, no."

10 points for homeschool. Do YOUR kids know singular and plural???

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Quick lunch

We have leftovers very often for lunch. When I make lasagna, spaghetti, enchiladas, mac and cheese and many other entrees, I freeze leftovers in portions or make small portions as I make the large dish and freeze them right away. I have several sets of pyrex dishes, I bought them from Sam's Club. They come with flexible lids, they can all be baked or frozen. The small rectangle ones are good for single servings.

So meal ideas...

Make extra meat spag sauce, I make huge batches in the crock pot. Freeze in individual baggies for lasagna, spaghetti or the best lunch option, sloppy joes. This is great on thick slices of homemade bread toasted.

Crock pot pinto beans, cook with plenty of spices. Mash partially with potato masher or use a food processor on pulse. Freeze portions for mexican dishes in plastic bags or make ahead individual/family servings of enchildas and freeze. Mix with taco seasoned ground meat and make quesadillas. Dip in sour cream, salsa and have tomatoes and lettuce on the side.

Mix cornbread batter and slice hotdogs. Slice the same number of hotdogs as you want muffins IE 12 muffins, 12 sliced hot dogs. Use healthier kosher hot dogs, and use spelt/whole wheat/quinoa flour in the cornbread mix for a healthy option. Bake as normal. I freeze the extras and take them out and defrost for a quick lunch. I serve them with fruit or veggies raw.

Leftover pot roast, beef or pork on sandwichs.

I make almost all of our food homemade. This year Nathalie is doing more and more of the meals, she can cook quite a few of the things that I can. She can use the lower oven to put things in, but cannot take them out yet. She is 7 and by the time she is 9 or 10 I want her to be fully capable to run the entire kitchen. She can already clean it top to bottom, load and unload dishes, work with knives, use the cooktop and she can make bread from start to finish. Both of the kids are good at these things, though Tad prefers to be stacking and splitting wood, fencing, snow shoveling, working in the shop. Nathalie has to learn these things as well but she will be most proficient at cooking, sewing and cleaning.

Society tells us that males and females should be identical in abilities and jobs. But I see that isnt true just with my two kids. I raise them equally, they both have to learn all chores. But I see how much he prefers the "manly" stuff and she loves the 1800's idea of a woman.

Have fun cooking!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lunch conversation

"I am going to be a pediatrician." Nathalie says while sharing a pomagranate with Frank.

"So you are going to go to college and cut up dummies and their fake guts will fall out?" Tad asked

"Ewww thats gross Tad. Will it look like pomegranates?" She holds out a handfull of pomegranate guts to him.


"I wish I had a million dollars." Tad says

"If you get a million dollars you should share some of it because it will make you happier." Say I

"I would keep some of it and give some to Nona." Frank says, our herd matriarch is an alpine doe named Nona! He plans to share with a goat. "And then, I will borrow it back from her."

We errupt into laughter imagining someone gifting their money to an old goat so that they can better enjoy the other portion since they blessed someone else.

Snow Days

This was our first snow, bit dusky outside because it was early am. The first day was cold and snowy, but continued to snow heavily all day. Temp stayed around 20. That night, dropped to neg 9 and has barely been over neg since then. So 2 days later, we are at -6 to -3 today so far!

I dont have pics of playing yet bc the kids spent time playing during chores and I cant carry my camera down to the barn easily. Nathalie on the back porch here in the trampled snow in her new snow pants! I made these while they ate breakfast on the first snow morning. Its waterproof outer, fancy print I found last yr, and a soft wool inner.

Here is Tad before it was trampled much, the door was hard to open it was about 9 inchs of snow up against it! It was sunny yesterday and we had some friends kids all day. We had 7 kids total but didnt let the youngers go out. You can lose a 2 yr old in snow that goes over my knees!

Morning of day 2, this is drifts like we had in the goat yard. It is only about 15" of snow, maybe bit less but drifts of much more.

Tad getting ready, last years snow pants. This fabric is windpro, doesnt work quite as well as the PUL for snow. The windpro is waterproof and keeps him dry but it collects snow and drips in the house! He is putting on extra socks here.

My people on the first morning, they were so excited to go out into this white wonder. Frank wasnt here last winter, and it has been years since we lived somewhere snowy. The kids were babies in Germany so we havent had anyone to pelt with snowballs other than each other! In Germany, we didnt buy the correct under and outerwear so we really didnt enjoy the snow. Here we have tons of wool unders and waterproof outers and very good boots.

Frank had snow days, both wednesday and thursday. Post was closed to all non-essential personel! What a great job. Get paid to do chores and play in the snow.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chicken Coop

We added a chicken house in the north barn. We weighed our options between a whole new build, or adding into an existing building. The whole new build is more expensive and takes so much work in Ks with our windy conditions.
I dont have a lot of pictures of the building, it didnt take us long at all. It is a 2x4 frame walls which are level, the barn isnt, but we leveled the new room.
The barn has a big sliding door, we open it first then open their little door. If there was some reason we didnt want them outside for the day we can just open their room.
Still building, we built this the same way we built our new landing. Carried the tools down in the truck and used it as our workstation.
The finished product, I meant to do these in different order but it didnt come out so. Frank took the door off of his shop as some friends gave us a better shop door. They were getting rid of it so it was a free door!
The lighting was poor at this time, sorry for the glare. This is a brooding box that was on our property when we bought it. We lay it with wood chips and they will lay their eggs in, we take them out from the back.

The water, they kick up the wood chips into it if it isnt on something. This waterer was expensive and so worth it, it holds about 4 days of water and its very easy to clean and fill. It fills from the top unlike the cheaper waterers we had, you had to unscrew the white top from the red, turn it up and fill it. As chickens poop on everything, that was gross!

I bought a hanging feeder, but then they perched on it and pooped in it. So we put a lid on it. They perched on the lid, swung and dumped their food. Now it is hung firmly to this 2x2 and the lid is hinged. We raise it up, fill it and dont have to worry about poopy or spilled food.

This is the back of the brooding area, you can open it up from the simple latch and gather eggs!

And this is with it open, it will lay flat to the wall if the bag of wood chips isnt in the way. We have golf balls in the roosts, our chickens are almost old enough to lay. Golf balls are supposed to guide them to the laying area.

The chickens spend most of their day out of doors, we let them out in the morning and they go home on their own at dusk. We close them in to prevent predators from eating them, and they have a light that stays on until 8:30 pm. Chickens need 12-14 hrs of daylight to lay, as well as a warm house in the winter. This is well insulated and fits the bill.

Here is their little door, Frank made the frame with a dido blade on the table saw. Makes the edge look routered, it is very professional looking!

That is our finished coop. It can sleep quite a few birds because they have so much outdoor space. They have many homemade perches, all made from slender branches. They prefer to perch on round branches because its natural for their feet.
All told the coop cost about 85 $. We used 2x4s, plyboard, foam insulation, a free door, screws and a few nails. We already own the tools, and there were 2 walls and the cieling already in place because we used an existing building.

I be SO fierce!

This is our new cat, her name is Half Cat. My mom dubbed her so, mom found her outside of a local eye clinic (or dentist???) and brought her home. She was a tiny fierce baby, who put up with my moms huge dogs for several wks. She has no tail, well just a stub and her back body looks very much like a rabbit. She has ear tufts and extra long, stiff whiskers. We think this is for added balance due to not having a tail. She was born with no tail, the kids were worried someone TOOK her tail but that wasnt it! She is the most playful cat we have ever owned, and the best traveler. Frank loves cats, he cannot deny it, and he especially loves this one. We couldnt leave moms without her.

Mom is moving, she quit her job and will do interim nursing work, she finishes her master deg this month. Congratulations mom, you have been in school my entire life! Mom will have a hard time traveling with her animals so we kindly took Half Cat AKA Not the Rabbit off of her hands. She is a happy, playful kitty. She was gone from us for a afternoon/night and whole next day last wk, we gave her up for gone. We assumed she was cyote bait. Then we went out at 9 pm, much later than normal, to lock up the goat girls and when we opened the door, in walked Half Cat. She walked in as if she owned the place, limping, bleeding, cold and dirty and as she walked by I imagined her saying, "I be SO fierce!" I mean how else could she survive a freezing night with cyotes???

I know, it was just one night. But we are attached to our fierce Half of a kitty and we are glad she was safe. She loves to sleep in clean laundry and attacks any part of you given half a chance!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cold house

Its aproximately 53 deg in my house. I am thankful for coffee, wool, fire and oh fine my husband is warm too... It is cold because we dont turn the heat on! Do you know that people used to survive at night while sleeping in a cold house? I believe it was better for them. We dont get sick often, its quite rare as a matter of fact. But this winter we are seeing that there is not a greater chance of sickness in a cold house. We dont have colds, coughs, sore throats, anything! In the morning, Frank or I start a fire in our large fireplace. We usually get some breakfast going which heats things up. We are up before dawn mostly, so the sun seems so warm when it comes up. Oh and I keep moving! That keeps me warm. We all wear wool, and we all work a lot. A whole lot...
No we are not cheap, we can pay for our gas bill. But this is an experiment. Can our fireplace heat our house to comfortable during the day? So far yes. Our house is about 65-68 deg within an hr or so. We are reading the Laura Ingalls books and having fun finding out what we can do that they did.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Landing extension

This is called a redneck work station. It has a bench in the back that you can cut on, its the broken tail gate. We load up all the things we need from the shop into this little truck and then travel to the area needing work. I also use it to feed hay to my bucks, so you can see the hay in the truck. I took down too much this am, and just left it for 2nd chore time. We backed the truck into the garage at noon today and tore out part of the landing to add on.

Frank is taking off the railing, we were pretty careful as it could be reused. The carpet wasnt glue down thankfully, but the dust reminded me of how much I truly hate carpet. Give me a broom and mop any day!

Prying off the last bit, the paint on this landing is thick! Frank had to chisel some of it off of a 45 deg cut in order to put the next mitered piece against it flush. As with all things we have worked with recently, there are unlevel things that we have to add to/use. So the landing/wall/floor were not exact due to settling, but it wasnt too bad.

This was the beginning, see what I mean about level? It looks so off! Of course its slightly off at one side because it needed its 4x4. In this case, 4x4s were two 2x4s.

Chiseling to make the miter flush. We have a nice miter saw we purchased for my birthday, and we have our old smaller one that is on the back of the truck. Mitered cuts make projects stronger and better looking.

Um, I uploaded 2 pictures of the truck and I cant seem to delete pictures from my blog very well. I can if I post and then go to edit, but I am not in edit so you know...

So here it is, our new landing. The freezer fits right next to it, we didnt have to adjust its placement. We moved it for work area ease, but it will slide right back. Now we have a space to take off our boots. We are making, nearly done, a bench seat that 4 pr of boots can fit under, and will hang a rack of hooks for our coats and hats.

Same landing, way better view. Nice how he can hold his drills AND me right? I know its a wierd hat, I have had it for 7 years now and its my favorite winter hat. As usual we have on plenty of wool so no coats but it is cold enough for the hats! This is a sweet picture, and I had to post it.

Tomorrow I will have pictures of our new chicken hooch, and any other projects I have missed.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


These pictures were taken on the north side of our property. In this first picture, I am standing outside of the north barn taking the picture over the fence. The left side shows the stone milk shed. I was taking a picture of not just the notebook on a stump, but the surrounding area. How odd it seems, for a lonely notebook to be blowing in the when having been forgotten for play. Nathalie was designing something here, using the stump as her desk and she gave it up for a flying leaf. She followed the leaf, and didnt come back for the notebook that waited anxiously for her pen.

This was taken from inside the north barn. The fencing over the windows cast an odd look over the scene. It looks free and wild and trapped all at once. We have a lot of fallen limbs and trees here, stumps leftover from cutting down dead trees or trees that are no longer wanted. Trees are rare here, and the ones that stand have withstood enough storms that they look well beat. We clean up this area, then it comes a storm and we have a new lonely look in the corners and edges.
I love Kansas and her wind. I love the non ordinary things that appear if only you watch, a notebook waiting in the wind.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Frank and I were building the chicken coop, the kids were in and out. Helping some, handing tools, playing chickens. I thought he was lovely, I know I cant use that word. I love the fit of his jeans, I made these and the shirt. The pants above his boots on one side looks so accidental. He is relaxed, it is cold and a bit of rain. Tools clutter the entire barn, makeshift tables and bins of grain line the walls. He took a break for a moment and leaned in this doorway, lucky me I had a camera! Someday I will look back at this picture, and hope I captured all of them that was there for me. Hope to have held them and loved them, and stopped work long enough to see them. Hope that my heart doesnt hurt from them leaving me someday. Because I gave them enough, and had enough of them. This is a mothers prayer. Someday I will have nothing but my work, here they are giving me a chance to live, I hope to take enough of that chance.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Oh how I need to update! I havent blogged since my husband got home. Let me just say this, when I have my husband, children, goats, property, I could care less about the world around me. Internet, TV, anything electronic, other people, pretty much become obselete. When he is gone, I am very grateful for internet as it connects us.

I am putting on some photos of some of the stuff we have done over the past few days, we have been working since Frank got home Oct 5th. We visited family for a couple of wks, other than that we have been here going through projects.

This gate has the inside latch shown, and two outside hooks. If you are in, its hard for someone to unlock the side you locked. But if someone locks you in, you cant get out. This is the gate for the north barn and yard. We built a chicken room into this barn and are going to build kidding stalls, while we worked in here the kids had to find a way in and out without letting goats in. So they devised this latch pull with hay twine and a stick. Its very easy to unlock just by pulling and their little hands can re-lock from outside.

The feed barn from above, I am standing on hay bales to take the picture. The hay room (the one I am in) has 4ft high walls we built and 2 swinging, hinged doors. The room holds hay and grain so the goats dont have access to it. The room the goats are in has their feeder, grain bowls and clips, salt block and minerals. This barn is closed at night and they are locked into the sleep yard.

Just a good picture... They could see me in the hay room and they were hopeful about some grain. In the back is pepsi, then Arizona and Autumn side by side (white saanens), next is Junebug, the brown nub and then you can see the rears of Scout and Nona.

This is our new puppy, well we bought her in September. She wouldnt stand up proper for a photo, she kept sneaking up to the camera. She laid down here bc I said no and her heart was hurt! She is half anatolian shepherd and half great pyrenees. She is a LGD, livestock guard dog. Bred and born in a goat barn, she lived there until we bought her at 8 wks old. She loves goats and already herds them. Her name is Darling Monster.\

Her collar is new and she is attempting to take it off, she doesnt like it at all. She is outside of the feed barn here, at the climbing stumps.

Another feed barn picture, this is the local goat haunt on cold or rainy days. The goats also come in here if we do, to see what we have for them. If its nothing they will wander off again after awhile, they like to eat the trees and hay in the back pasture.

This is herb storage, I have a new batch ready to mix. I keep the herbs in a cooler and give out a couple tablespoons per wk per goat and we stay worm free. The cooler is hard to break into, and its waterproof. The herbs are too expensive to lose.

This is the hay room, we will refill it with 2 more tons on monday. We can fill this room quite a bit, and the overflow can go in the south barn front room. It is used for hay, straw and for any tack items. I dont think its called tack bc it isnt horses, but I cant be sure. Furthermore, I dont care either way. Its tack to me, stuff I use for goats like leads, extra collars etc.

This is how Frank set up my mineral feeder. We have used blocks, and we have used loose. The loose works best, and they do not waste it. However I dont want it wet so he put the fence piece in the barn on the wall. Its very tight, you cant pull the feeder off without pulling the fence piece forward a bit so they dont knock it down. I grain the boys in the same type of feeder as I dont want to go in and hook them up to leads as I do for the does. These rubber buckets on the wall are for their grain, they dont rip or break when the goats pull at them or step on them. The leads keep everyone hooked up so I can be sure of grain and herb quantities and also I get a chance to clean up.

This is scout, our little nubian. We are not sure why she doesnt grow well but she absolutely doesnt. She is tiny compared to Autumn who is many months younger, and Jezz (to the right of scout) is quite a bit bigger as well and she is younger also. This is disturbing...

Lila, our new goat. She is Autumn's dam, but we bought her later. Oh she is Ottos damn also as Autumn and Otto are siblings...She is registered as they are, and her owner needed a quick home for her. She has founder, excess hoof growth that can be painful, but we are fixing that. Weekly hoof trimmings will make this better, as long as we keep at it and pay attention. She was a great milker and is bred to our new buck Ynot! She will be giving us pretty white baby(ies) in 5 months.
This is her daughter, Autumn, who is in heat just today. I havent noticed her being in heat prior but our new buck has taught us a lot about heat. Goats are not always obvious about it, I thought they would be. Our new buck caused all of our does to act differently in heat, which was comforting! We have to weigh Autumn this evening and if she is 80 pounds, we will put her in with him. Autumn is a lovely saanen goat, I hope she grows as large as her mother.

Our new grain storage system, we bought the food grade 55 gal barrels for 20 each from a man in Topeka. We had to clean them, and they are obviously not new. But they seal well, and they keep moisture and pests out of the grain. We are able to store months worth of grain now. The boys can have grain right by their pen in this barrel because the girls cannot get into it. The chicken grain is in one, right by their coop. Its a simple way to not go to the store weekly, which I hate to do. We were storing extra feed in the shop, but we need the shop space so here it is!

Okay thats it for now. I have a lot more updating and a lot more pictures. I wont blog as much now that Frank is home, as I was blogging for him all last yr.