Sunday, January 14, 2018

Hibernation

Not much happening here.  Just trying to stay inside as much as possible, bundle up when outside, make sure everyone has water that isn't frozen solid!!, and hunker down until spring!!  I'm tired of being cold and bundling up into a million layers but I also need a few snow days.  I love a snow day!!

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

2
No words needed - just read it! 2nd book in the Game of Thrones series.

Summary from amazon.com:
In this eagerly awaited sequel to A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin has created a work of unsurpassed vision, power, and imagination. A Clash of Kings transports us to a world of revelry and revenge, wizardry and warfare unlike any you have ever experienced.

A CLASH OF KINGS

A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel...and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.

Friday, January 5, 2018

2018 Farm Goals

A new year = new goals!  (And some staying the same...LOL!)


  • Add green egg layers to the chicken flock
  • Add a 2nd hive & maintain 2 bee hives
  • Goat shelter (either expand existing or build an additional smaller one)
  • Clean up and repair back fence row
  • Produce food for 6 months out of the year from the garden
  • Donkey shed completion (low on list...if it gets done, great.  If not, no worries. Maybe the next year!)
House Goal:
  • Use the tiles sitting in barn and tile bedroom floor :)
  • Build kitchen 

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

1
For years I have avoided this series.  Not sure if I would like it.  Also, several people had said it was so good, but hard to keep up with all the characters and family lines. So, I avoided.  Then, my nephew stayed with us this summer, and he convinced us to watch it on HBO.  I broke a rule of mine and watched the series before I read it.  But, now I am all caught up on the series and wanted MORE.  So, I am starting the books and it was GOOD!!!  


Summary from amazon.com:
From a master of contemporary fantasy comes the first novel of a landmark series unlike any you’ve ever read before. With A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin has launched a genuine masterpiece, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill the pages of this magnificent saga, the first volume in an epic series sure to delight fantasy fans everywhere.
 
A GAME OF THRONES
A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE: BOOK ONE
 
Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. To the south, the king’s powers are failing—his most trusted adviser dead under mysterious circumstances and his enemies emerging from the shadows of the throne. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the frozen land they were born to. Now Lord Eddard Stark is reluctantly summoned to serve as the king’s new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder not only his family but the kingdom itself.

Sweeping from a harsh land of cold to a summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, A Game of Thrones tells a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; a child is lost in the twilight between life and death; and a determined woman undertakes a treacherous journey to protect all she holds dear. Amid plots and counter-plots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, allies and enemies, the fate of the Starks hangs perilously in the balance, as each side endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

Unparalleled in scope and execution, A Game of Thrones is one of those rare reading experiences that catch you up from the opening pages, won’t let you go until the end, and leave you yearning for more.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Looking Back...

Looking Back...last year instead of resolutions, we set farm goals...let's see how we did! :)


  • We would like to try our hand at beekeeping.  (Got our first hive of Russian honeybees in April)
  • Finish our new donkey shed that we have only set posts for! (Still only has posts set! LOL!)
  • Successful garden producing food for us at least 6 months out of the year. (We didn't produce food for 6 months BUT we did have our best year garden wise...much room for improvement here.)
  • Add chickens that give me a variety of egg colors. (Added Easter Eggers and Blue Copper Marans in March)
  • Now that we have the equipment, start on cleaning up the land - bush hog and get some small trees down - major clean up in the wooded area inside the fence. (Started this but still a long way to go)
  • Try a small row crop of pumpkins or corn. (This was Big Bear's goal...didn't happen!)
Inside goals: (house)
  • Use those tiles I bought off my brother to do the bedroom floor. (Tile is still sitting in the barn! LOL!)
  • Build new tv entertainment center out of barn wood. (YES!  Did it and it looks GREAT!)
Pondering our next goals...

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Bundle UP!

These temps are NO joke and all the fur and feathered babies still gotta eat! 
Happy New Year!
We will be snuggled in and grateful for shelter & heat tonight! 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

My 2017 Top Reading List :)

10. Lie to Me by J. T. Ellison (Thriller)
Sutton and Ethan Montclair's idyllic life is not as it appears. They seem made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her. 

Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.

9. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (I can’t put into words why I loved it, but I did!)
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

8. A Different Blue by Amy Harmon (This author has yet to disappoint me!)
Blue Echohawk doesn't know who she is. She doesn't know her real name or when she was born. Abandoned at two and raised by a drifter, she didn't attend school until she was ten years old. At nineteen, when most kids her age are attending college or moving on with life, she is just a senior in high school. With no mother, no father, no faith, and no future, Blue Echohawk is a difficult student, to say the least. Tough, hard, and overtly sexy, she is the complete opposite of the young British teacher who decides he is up for the challenge, and takes the troublemaker under his wing. 

7. The Passenger by Lisa Lutz (Thriller)
“A dead-serious thriller (with a funny bone)” (The New York Times Book Review), from the author of the New York Times bestselling Spellman Files series, comes the story of a woman who creates and sheds new identities as she crisscrosses the country to escape her past.

Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.

She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.

6. Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain (another excellent author in my opinion)
Molly Arnette is very good at keeping secrets. She and her husband live in San Diego, where they hope to soon adopt a baby. But the process terrifies her.
As the questions and background checks come one after another, Molly worries that the truth she's kept hidden about her North Carolina childhood will rise to the surface and destroy not only her chance at adoption, but also her marriage. She ran away from her family twenty years ago after a shocking event left her devastated and distrustful of those she loved: her mother, the woman who raised her and who Molly says is dead but is very much alive; her birth mother, whose mysterious presence raised so many issues; and the father she adored, whose troubling death sent her running from the small community of Morrison Ridge.
5. Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner (WWII historical fiction is one of my favorite genre’s)
Current day, Oxford, England. Young American scholar Kendra Van Zant, eager to pursue her vision of a perfect life, interviews Isabel McFarland just when the elderly woman is ready to give up secrets about the war that she has kept for decades...beginning with who she really is. What Kendra receives from Isabel is both a gift and a burden—one that will test her convictions and her heart.

1940s, England. As Hitler wages an unprecedented war against London’s civilian population, hundreds of thousands of children are evacuated to foster homes in the rural countryside. But even as fifteen-year-old Emmy Downtree and her much younger sister Julia find refuge in a charming Cotswold cottage, Emmy’s burning ambition to return to the city and apprentice with a fashion designer pits her against Julia’s profound need for her sister’s presence. Acting at cross purposes just as the Luftwaffe rains down its terrible destruction, the sisters are cruelly separated, and their lives are transformed...

4. The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson (I could NOT put it down!)
In a tantalizing set-up reminiscent of Patricia Highsmith’s classic Strangers on a Train… On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. Ted and his wife were a mismatch from the start—he the rich businessman, she the artistic free spirit—a contrast that once inflamed their passion, but has now become a clichĂ©.
But their game turns a little darker when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.” After all, some people are the kind worth killing, like a lying, stinking, cheating spouse. . . .
3. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (LOVED it!  A must read!)
Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge--until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents--but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility's cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancĂ©, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family's long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America's most notorious real-life scandals--in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country--Lisa Wingate's riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

2. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (A feel good, must read book!)  *BearTown by this author is also really good, but starts off slow.  Once it gets going though, it is EXCELLENT!
Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

1.     The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright (based on a true story!!! Incredible!!)

Seven-year-old Chellamuthu's life--and his destiny--is forever changed when he is kidnapped from his village in Southern India and sold to the Lincoln Home for Homeless Children. His family is desperate to find him, and Chellamuthu anxiously tells the Indian orphanage that he is not an orphan, he has a mother who loves him. But he is told not to worry, he will soon be adopted by a loving family in America.

Chellamuthu is suddenly surrounded by a foreign land and a foreign language. He can't tell people that he already has a family and becomes consumed by a single, impossible question: How do I get home?But after more than a decade, home becomes a much more complicated idea as the Indian boy eventually sheds his past and receives a new name: Taj Khyber Rowland.


Young Adult MUST read:
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas  (Graphic language and some violence so I don’t recommend for elementary or even some middle school students.  A great read that makes you think!)
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard
Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard's sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king's palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Honorable Mention:  If you read The Glass Castle from my previous list, you will also enjoy Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

Happy READING! J