Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Productive Few Days

When spring like weather comes in the middle of winter, well, it makes it easier to get things done.  We've accomplished quite a bit in the last few days.  FINALLY wrapped things up at the rent house and have it all ready for new renter to move in tomorrow! :)  Saturday, we hauled a trailer load full of junk that had been in the garage and behind the storage shed.  Hello dump!  But first, I decided to clean out the "catch all" shed that looked like this:
And now looks like this:  (All organized except one pile that is Big Bear's to go through...see the suburban seat...enough said.)  
And so now we have a "take it to the dump" pile and a "scrap metal" pile!  I love purging and organizing!!  That was Sunday while Big Bear catered. 
I have also kept the masses happy...a little tug-of-war is good for the soul.
We had a 1st birthday celebration with Snap and Crackle. I tried to give them a pedicure for their birthday, but they only wanted the treats! LOL!
We got our beekeeping papers filled out AND got our first hive of bees ordered.  Woohoo!  They won't arrive until April or first of May so we have time to prepare and get our supplies. 
I saw another farm that had a pig in with their goats...things that make you stop and go hmmmm....
We finally (shame on us...it only took 2 years) got our compost bin moved from the rent house to our house and are already back in business with composting!  
And, I got the little gate built for the chicken run so that when I want to trap them in their run, I can.  They pretty much free range all day, every day, but lately with the drop in egg production, I've been worried they are laying elsewhere and not in their boxes.  So, I think we are going to stay in the run a few days.  They will NOT be happy with me.  
But isn't my door cute?  Cut from a piece of barn wood from my parent's place:

I want to put a sign above it that says "Hen Crossing".
And today, I got 3 eggs!!  I haven't gotten 3 eggs in WEEKS!!!  Maybe the strike is almost over!
I do love the unexpected 60 to 70 degree temps in the middle of winter, but I sure would like at least ONE real snow day.  Just one or two...and then you can bring on spring! :)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Baby Chicks on order! :)

Well, I just broke down and did it.  I have stalked the chicken and fowl pages for Arkansas for a year waiting on the breeds that I have been wanting.  Nothing.  Or they are INSANE prices.  I like to raise my ladies from day old chicks, and I like to not take the risk with straight run purchases.  That's what happened when I got the banty's. That's when you don't know if they are girls  or boys.  Remember?  Out of 6 baby chicks, 2 turned out to be hens.  Not good odds.  I have heard of even worse ones.  So, I like to stay away from that.  And, I have really, really, really been wanting to add some egg variety to my flock.  So....this week, yesterday, in fact.  I decided to go ahead and try mypetchicken.com.  Never know until you try.  Right?  The only downside is that you have to order 15 minimum.  I don't have room for 15 more chickens.  So the PLAN is to keep 8 and sell 7.  Provided they all make it here alive. :)
Here is what I got...7 Easter Eggers.  They lay blue, green and sometimes pink eggs.  They all look different, but have the puffy cheeks you see below:
I was able to order 2 blue copper marans.  I have searched and searched for these.  I really wanted black copper marans too, but they were already sold out.  There were only 2 of these left available.  I hope they hatch.  I will be so disappointed.  They are gorgeous birds and lay eggs that look like chocolate!
And lastly, I ordered 6 buff orphington's.  Not as hard to find, but they are rated the #1 chicken.  Supposed to be excellent layers.  Averaging 300 eggs a year.  They are also very pretty in my opinion.  
Now, the goal is to raise them until I am certain I have no roosters.  That way I don't accidently get stuck with a rooster and sell a hen.  Plus, I really want to see the Easter Eggers develop and see what they will look like before I decide who to keep.  Plan is to keep both marans, 2 buff orphingtons and 4 easter eggers.  Sell the rest.  That's adding 8 new chickens.  I have room for 6....so by my math, I either need a new coop or we see how we feel about culling 2 of our current girls.  Can I cull?  I don't know.  I have plenty of time to decide.  The new babies arrive the week of March 6th and it will be months before they are ready to move into the big girl coop.  Lots could happen between now and then.
#crazychickenlady

Lucky You by Erika Carter

7
Best thing about this book?  I got a chance to read a book before it was released to the public.  That's the best thing I can say.  This book was torture to finish.  I was intrigued by the Arkansas setting and did enjoy feeling like I was back in college at UofA.  But there really is no story.  The characters are horrible.  None of them are likeable or grow as a character.  This book can be summed up as 3 losers who don't know what to do with themselves after college.  One is a drunk slut.  One is looney tunes crazy.  One is codependent on her boyfriend.  They move to a house in the middle of nowhere and try to live off the land and smoke pot.  End of story.  Worst book I've read in a long time. :(

Summary from amazon.com:
In Erika Carter's fierce and darkly funny debut novel, Lucky You, three women in their early twenties find themselves aimlessly adrift in the Arkansas college town they've stuck around in too long. Ellie, Chloe, and Rachel are friends (sort of), waitresses at the same dive bar. Each is becoming unmoored in her own way: Ellie obliterates all feeling with alcohol and self-destructive acts of sexual promiscuity; Chloe pulls out patches of her hair and struggles to keep incipient mental illness at bay; changeable Rachel has fallen under the sway of a messianic boyfriend with whom she's agreed to live off-grid for a year in order to return to "health", and she asks Ellie and Chloe to join them in "The Project." In a remote, rural house in the Ozarks, nearly undone by boredom and the brewing tension between them, each tries to solve the conundrum of being alive.

By turns funny, knowing and hauntingly sad, Lucky You is a study in damage and detachment, a fearless portrait of three women at a crucial point in their lives. With startling exactitude and wickedly deadpan humor, it lays bare the emotional core of its characters with surgical precision. The writing is deft and controlled, as natural and unforced as breath--which makes it impossible to look away.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright

6
Best book I've read in awhile!  I was just intrigued by this cover on my last B&N trip and it did not disappoint!  It is based on a true story and what a story this boy has...I can't even imagine.  I went to bed last night with about 70 pages left to the end and dreamed about the book, so I knew I had a winner.  Then I devoured it at lunch.  Put it on your list. :)

Summary from amazon.com:
Based on a remarkable true story of Taj Rowland. Seven-year-old Chellamuthu's life is forever changed when he is kidnapped from his village in India, sold to a Christian orphanage, and then adopted by an unsuspecting couple in the United States. It takes months before the boy can speak enough English to tell his parents that he already has a family back in India. Horrified, they try their best to track down his Indian family, but all avenues lead to dead ends. Meanwhile, they simply love him, change his name to Taj, enroll him in school, make him part of their family--and his story might have ended there had it not been for the pestering questions in his head: Who am I? Why was I taken? How do I get home? More than a decade later, Taj meets Priya, a girl from southern India with surprising ties to his past. Is she the key to unveil the secrets of his childhood or is it too late? And if he does make it back to India, how will he find his family with so few clues? From the best-selling author of The Rent Collector, this is a deeply moving and gripping journey of discovering one's self and the unbreakable family bonds that connect us forever.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Beautiful Day = Get outside and WORK!

It was 72 degrees and beautiful today!  The sun was shining for the first time in days!!  It was like spring in the middle of winter...we took advantage and worked on an eyesore area.  The goats had gotten clean up started where we could get in there and start cutting stuff down.
Today we took this:
To this: (still a little vine clean up to go)
We pulled out several big dead limbs that were caught in all the vines...holy cow, the vines.  I now know how Tarzan swung from vines.  Some of them are so thick and they climb to the top of the trees.  The 4wheeler came in handy today pulling some stuff out of the trees!!
The goats had a BIG day.  First, they were happy their people hung out in their area all day and second, anytime we pulled out vines or branches that had any green on it, they immediately started helping with "clean up!" ha!
 Rex...well...Rex can sleep through ANYTHING!  Chainsaw?  What chainsaw? LOL
 When it came time for a tree removal that half the tree had died...well, the 4wheeler wasn't cutting it.  So we had to bring in the big boy!  Tractor time!
We worked hard with good results, enjoyed our time outside and of course, followed up with a bonfire!  I love a good fire!
The crazy part is that it is the middle of January and we were in short sleeves, no jackets, hair pulled up and sweating!!  It made me ready for spring...but then again, I would like at least one or two more snow days! :)
Relaxing with my boys! :)
#myhappyplace

Friday, January 20, 2017

Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon

5
This was my library helpers Book of the Month selection for January.  I was hesitant because I usually like a book with a little more substance.  But I was pleasantly surprised.  Now, I did read it in pretty much one setting and in just a few hours. (Friday's are a slow library day! Ha!)  I can honestly recommend it for elementary level girls.  It's funny and entertaining.  Plus, if they like it there are two more books so far in this series.

Here is a book trailer for it:


Thursday, January 19, 2017

But...

Do you have your goats in a row?
Not only that, they are lined up in name order...Snap, Crackle and Pop. :)
 My buddies!  Pop and Snap love some good hugs and scratches.  That Crackle is an odd duck though and just gets close but still doesn't want to be touched.  So sometimes I reach out and pat him just to show him he isn't untouchable!  And, of course, he almost passes out! LOL!
Please, please, please let the forecast for Saturday be correct!!  I am so sick of the rain and clouds!!  We need a nice day outside!  I haven't gotten an egg from my chickens in 3 days!! Bring on some SUNSHINE!!

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

4
This is the sequel to a book I read this summer called, Six of Crows.  I liked Six of Crows, but I didn't love it.  Now that being said, sometimes I think we read a book at the wrong time.  I liked the story and the characters and wanted to read the sequel.  Plus, both had really high reviews so I felt I was missing something.  I liked this one better than the first!  Lots of action for sure!  I'm not sure I would recommend for middle school, but high school age and up can handle it.
Oh, and this is supposed to be a duology, so it's over with this story.  All books released.  That's always a plus with my impatient self! :)

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Crooked Kingdom: the highly anticipated sequel to Leigh Bardugo's thrilling #1 New York Times-bestselling Six of Crows.
Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets—a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tractor Work

Look at what the tractor has already cleaned up!!  I know it's hard for you to picture, but from where I am standing to take the picture above was all brush and undergrowth.  Like this picture below and now...boom!  Gone!
 Our goal is to clean up this patch of woods and make nice clear paths through it like this one that runs along the back fence:
 Once we get inside the fence cleaned up...then we move to the other side of the fence where we have 5 more acres of pure woods...Oh the clean up we can do and then get some fencing up back there. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

A Duck Tale...

Here's how the story goes, my niece had these ducks and was raising them in her backyard.  There came a point sometime in November when her mom said the ducks had to go.  Now grandma & grandpa (my mom & dad) have 3 ponds on their 60 acres, so naturally the ducks ended up there.  We all thought, "These ducks are going to be dead within a day or two."  But they proved us wrong.  The ducks lived and we all got to where we enjoyed going down to the pond to see them.  Even my brother.  
And then a predator struck this weekend.  A skunk we believe, killed the white duck. :(  My mom was sad and had to take care of it while the other duck (gray one pictured below) cried for its companion.  Literally.  
I went to pick up hay on Saturday and Pepper, the gray fella, just looked lost without his friend.  My mom had decided to try to find him a buddy.  My brother did some research and said he shouldn't be alone and he would build them a better shelter.  I went home that night and texted a friend with ducks and low and behold, she had one for sale!  So, we went and caught Pepper's new friend before church on Sunday and then headed back to Beebe to deliver a little happiness to a lonely duck.  And, they were fast friends.  And, all was happy again back on the pond at the Beebe farm!

Someday, I will have ducks, but not until I have a pond!  They are so fun to watch!  Live long Pepper and Grand! :) 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

3
Loved it!  I love this author's way of telling a story.  And this family is just disfunctional in a good way.  If you read The Glass Castle, this book will help you understand why the mom was the way she was...and what a true character she is/was.  I liked the time frame and setting for Half Broke Horses and the determination of Lily.  It makes it even more interesting that these two "stories" are based on the real life of the author and her family.  If you haven't read The Glass Castle OR Half Broke Horses, I doubt you will be disappointed. :)

Summary from amazon.com:
"Those old cows knew trouble was coming before we did." 

So begins the story of Lily Casey Smith, Jeannette Walls’s no-nonsense, resourceful, and spectacularly compelling grandmother. By age six, Lily was helping her father break horses. At fifteen, she left home to teach in a frontier town—riding five hundred miles on her pony, alone, to get to her job. She learned to drive a car and fly a plane. And, with her husband, Jim, she ran a vast ranch in Arizona. She raised two children, one of whom is Jeannette’s memorable mother, Rosemary Smith Walls, unforgettably portrayed in The Glass Castle.
Lily survived tornadoes, droughts, floods, the Great Depression, and the most heartbreaking personal tragedy. She bristled at prejudice of all kinds—against women, Native Americans, and anyone else who didn’t fit the mold. Rosemary Smith Walls always told Jeannette that she was like her grandmother, and in this true-life novel, Jeannette Walls channels that kindred spirit. Half Broke Horses is Laura Ingalls Wilder for adults, as riveting and dramatic as Isak Dinesen’s Out of Africa or Beryl Markham’s West with the Night. Destined to become a classic, it will transfix readers everywhere.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Backyard Fun

The backyard was the place to be today to enjoy our 75 degree temps in January!!  Soak up the good weather while you can!
Front and center is Becky with the Good Hair :)  She's a silver laced Wyandotte.
Henrietta says "Eat More Beef!"
I sat down to take pictures and had two dogs in my lap immediately.  Once I got rid of them, here came Elly May! LOL!
Ole Rex hanging out with his ladies again! 
Love, love, love!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Cat Crazy too?!?

Can I be the #crazychickenlady AND the #crazycatlady?!? :)
I'm not ashamed to admit it.  I'm in love with two kittens!  Yep, they are still kittens!  They are 8 months old now and have been here on the farm since July.  Prim, is one cool cat!  She reminds me of my Simba boy.  She has no fear.  Follows me everywhere and thinks she is the boss.  I saw her chasing a rabbit through the goat pen bigger than her! 
Plus, I think they are gorgeous!  Both of them. :)
And, this one...Katniss.  Well, after getting her through her illness and then her still being "special", you can't help but love her.  I just love that even though it is dangerous for her to be outside, she can walk, run, climb and play.  Big improvements.  I certainly didn't plan on these two barn cats ending up inside...but well...best made plans and all.  Good thing my husband knew what he was getting into when he married me!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Dose of Donkey Cuteness

Have I mentioned how I am LOVING the iPhone 7 Plus camera!?!!!


The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

2
This book had so much potential.  It just never pulled me in.  I think I had a problem with the way the author told the story.  His writing style and I just didn't mesh.  I just didn't get attached to the characters like I expected.  I felt like I never really got to know Cora, the main character.  Usually with a story like this, you feel the characters turmoil and emotions.  Somehow this book lacked that for me.  I only gave it 3 stars on goodreads and can't really recommend it as I just felt it was lacking.

Summary from goodreads.com:
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood - where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead's ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor - engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar's first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven - but the city's placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. Even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.
 

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

1
This is my first book of the year. It's a "teen" book and was really good.  Now it depends on the age of your teen because there were a few references made by the older brother that talked about some things you might now want a 13 year old reading.  :)   I enjoyed the story, and gave it 4 stars on goodreads.  It made me think about the random people we meet daily and how something as small as a smile might make some sort of difference in their life.  We will never know the full impact we make.  

Summary from goodreads.com:
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Friday, January 6, 2017

Snow Day!!

First week back to school from Christmas break and we end it with a snow day!  LOVE IT!!  I love snow days!!  I had let the weather people convince me that this wasn't going to be a big deal and I was going to school, but then during my snooze, I got the BEST call!!  No School due to inclement weather.  Yes!!  
It's the goats first snow.  I was very proud to see them hanging out in their shed.  Of course, as soon as they saw me, they came running to the fence.  What's a mom to do but give them some extra hay on a day like today? :)
Crackle looks like he's smiling! 

It was also Prim's first snow!!  She stayed with us doing morning chores but then came back inside! LOL!  She was playing in it where it was piled up, but it is C.O.L.D. out there!

The chickens aren't having it.  Not coming out from under the coop!
Difference between a heated and non-heated bucket.  LOVE our heated buckets!
It really isn't much or very pretty, but it was enough to have a snow day, so I will take it!  They say more is coming this afternoon...
Friday, January 6th snow