Sunday, January 31, 2010

Update on views from the kitchen....

The other day I posted a blog asking readers to join in the fun by posting their view from their kitchen. Take a peek at who has joined in the fun and then come on and join us! Let's see your view!

I hope to be adding many more views to the list!
C'mon - get snapping those pics!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

You know you're getting the knack of being a homesteader.....

When you have to remove the eggs from your coat pocket in order to get to your door keys!

When you go to close your coop up for the night and tell your chickens thanks for the eggs and then tell them "goodnight girls, I'll see you in the morning".

When find you can find your long underwear in the chest of drawers without opening your eyes.

When the path to your coop and gardens is well trodden and you're proud of it!

When popping into your wellies has become an art form.

When you have songs you can sing that have a rhythm that you can muck straw to.

And finally, you know you're getting the knack of being a homesteader when you pause to catch your breath from doing chores, look around at your little (or big) homestead and feel there is no other place you want to be in the world.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Peaceful Fridays.....

Take time to enjoy the largest full moon of 2010 tonight.

It would be a great way to start the weekend. If you look close, you may even get winked at.

Have a peaceful weekend, y'all.......


go check out "View from my kitchen" blog participants to see their views and then come and join us for the fun!

More to come - keep an eye out for new views!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The view from your kitchen...

I thought it would be fun to see how many bloggers would like to post on their blog a photo of their view from the kitchen. I think it would give a view of the world, so to speak and share a little bit of fun along the way. What do you think?
So, here's my view from my kitchen table. Now, tag - you're it!

Put the title of your blog as " The view from your kitchen" and let's see how many places around the world we can travel.
Humbly waiting to see your view!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Only 90 more days.....

Until this.....

Just giving us all a wee bit of hope....

*variety is Jersey Giant and organically grown by my own little hands*

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lettuce table - getting ready....

The junk and old office equipment have been removed from this, my old mail station that I used for my work. When I no longer needed postage machines, rubber stamps, and a postage scale, this turned into the "catch-all" table for hats, gloves, old office equipment, etc. You get the picture.

The hubsters hung the flourescent fixture for me yesterday and after he did so, I realized an oops - I think I need another light! So off to the home improvement store we will go and he will kindly hang that fixture for me too.
As you can see, it will not be elaborate. I don't care as long as it provides enough light to grow fresh lettuce.

And just to drive myself crazy, I can stare at it all day while I work.
That's okay, they make places with padded walls for folks like me!
Updates to follow as it progresses. Now off to learn a new song.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Wisdom from a dog....

Run, because you can..

Go for rides and look out the window...

Play, every chance you get.

The words below are from an anonymous author.
I think this is wonderful advice!

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
Take naps.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do..
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Be loyal.
Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

Now go enjoy your day!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Peaceful Fridays.....

Take time for chillin' this weekend.

Finnegan says he knows how to do this the sheltie way...

Have a peaceful weekend, y'all......

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The girls say hello....

The girls just want to say hi and sorry we have been a little occupied of late. They promised to catch up with everyone's blogs and comments this weekend.

They've been hard at work and have had quite the busy social schedule.
Cluck, cluck, bwock - back to work!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ugh, websites....

What a long, frustrating day. My husband and I are trying to put together a new website for the band and since neither he nor I are "computer" people it hasn't gone so smoothly. We'll eventually work it out in the long run, but, we kind of under the gun with events organizer coming to look at our goods. Tee hee - sounds dirty, doesn't it!

So, not only frustrating website design was in our day, completing performer applications and all the emails with press kits etc to go along with it. You see, it's coming upon festival season and we want to be part of it. We got the bug last year after performing at the Spoutwood Farm Faerie Festival. We've got another year under our belt of songs and tunes and we are rip roaring to go - hence all the paperwork. As my mother always told me - it'll all come out in the wash.

On an up note, I did give the girls all fresh straw this morning. They were cackling with glee about all that fresh stuff! They in turn gave me some eggs. Good girls.

I'm in need of a good rest for my gray matter, so it's off to make a nice salad and some senseless TV watching. I don't think I can muster the energy for anything else......

*Somday I'll learn how to put sound clips on here*

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Blue Sunday to cheer you.......

A little Sunday cheer for all of us who can't wait for Spring.
Some florals from my blue family in my gardens.
I hope they leave you with a smile!

Are you smiling yet?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Peaceful Fridays......

Take time to look out your window and know you are still part of what's in sight.

Have a peaceful weekend, y'all........

*photo taken in Killnaboy, Co. Clare, Ireland

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What exactly is craic?......

Have you ever been in a pub or at a festival and over hear someone say " that was grand craic?" Well, I'm going to tell you what "craic" (pronounced crack) is to me.
I guess an explanation of the word itself is in order here. Craic is a term that the irish use to express that great fun was involved. It typically but not always involves music. You could be listening to your favorite band play at a venue or you could be participating in a session or ceili. Or you could be sitting around with your friends having a pint and a relaxing evening. These are all possible moments of craic. All of the above apply to me and my view of grand craic.

The pub session - when the musicians are tight and the tunes are flowing. That to me is the grandest craic of all. You never know who may come in and play some tunes with you.

An impromptu session born out of music camps. You meet and play with folks from all over the country and folks from across the pond, too. Sometimes you join in a play some tunes, other times you get a pint and just listen. Listening to those who make their living by playing music, but, still take the time to teach those of us who yearn to learn is a great inspiration. It tells me they truly love what they do and want to share their knowledge and skills. If you play an instrument, sing, or dance and have never been to a music camp you are really missing out. It doesn't matter what genre of music you're into - irish, bluegrass, old time, cajun, swing - there are camps all across the country for it. You name it, it's out there. They typically are a week long immersion of learning. Classes and demonstrations during the day, staff concerts and jams/sessions until the wee hours of the morning at night. New friends become familiar faces year after year. I can't tell you how many friends my husband and I have made going to these camps. You come home one very tired puppy, but, you recover from the nights of lost sleep and take back memories that you will cherish.

Festivals are another place to find grand craic. This photo is from a local one called the Deer Creek Fiddlers Convention. Old time and bluegrass competitions and jams are had for this day long event. Even though I no longer play this genre of music, I still love to listen!
Festivals are another of our favorite things to do and they are all over the country, big and small, all types of music, there for the mere admittance price of a couple of bucks. They are typically family oriented and a safe place to go with your kids, too. Some are day long, some are weekends or longer. I can guarantee there's a festival out there to fit every one's taste.

And finally, another type of craic for me is ceili or contra dances. Watching Morris dancers falls into this category for me too.
Now, I don't dance. Quite frankly, it's ugly. I've tried. I've learned what my limitations are and dancing is a no go. I'll stick to playing for the dancers. However, I love to watch the dancers. Their graceful, timed movements to the music. I envy them.
Yeats said it best in his works the Fiddler of Dooney -
"When I play on my fiddle in Dooney, Folk dance like a wave of the sea"
If you've ever been in a crowded room full of dancers, you know exactly what this means. It's a beautiful thing to behold.

Now I'm longing for warm weather and festival season. It will be here before we know it, but, in the meantime, I'll play in the session at the pub and have sessions here at the house.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mad hen.....

Doesn't she look, well, ticked off ???

Sunday, January 10, 2010

How much is too much?....

With my Christmas booty that I got this year, I did what I do every year and spoil myself with new reading material. As you can see, most are on the subject of being self sustainable, but, some are just for fun to help with the cold, dark evenings of winter.

The hubsters and I are once again talking about possibly taking that next step and raising our own meat. The more we read and see reported about the conditions in which our food is raised and brought to the table, the deeper our discussions become.

We've already started the process when it comes to the vegetable garden. We are adding an additional garden area with a greenhouse so we can extend our season further into the cold weather. The new garden will be completed and ready for planting this upcoming season. Doing this basically doubles our garden space. We are very excited about the expansion and all the new varieties of edibles we can grow and to start dabbling into heirlooms.

Although the gardens are a commitment, they are not near the commitment of livestock. Yes, we do have laying hens now and they too are a commitment, but, the size of backyard critters is small enough the we can get a "chicken sitter" and still go on vacation and travel for work if necessary. Bringing in livestock is whole 'nother ballgame. I think it would be quite difficult to get a "farmstead sitter" to come and give the daily care and attention that all the animals would need. Quite frankly, we don't need to raise our own meat. We are blessed with an ever growing amount of small farms around our area who are raising grass fed, antibiotic and hormone free meat, including beef, pork, lamb, goat, emu, and of course, chicken. It's how we've been getting our meat for the last several years. So, my husband and I weigh the pros and cons if we did this ourselves. First off, we have to think about the workload taking care of all the animals and with both of us still working full time. Most days we are based working out of our home, which is why we would even consider it in the first place. I do commute two days a week into metro DC area, but, hubsters is typically around here on the days I have to commute. If we both had to work outside of our home and commute everyday we would not even entertain this idea.

We also have to consider that though we're far from old, we're not spring chickens either! How would we handle this if something should happen to either one of us? I'm not just speaking of kicking the bucket here, but, more if one of us had an injury that kept us from helping out and doing our fair share. Would just one of us be able to handle the load, so to speak.

Okay, so even if we agree and do want to take this next step, we have no fencing. We have ordinances and restrictions on what we can do, how many animals we can raise, not to mention the people who live around us and the grief they will cause. Do we really want the expense and hassle to do all of this when we are just a short drive to what we want? So, the debate continues. I really don't know what direction we will take with all of this.

So, I guess for the meantime, we'll sit here on the back porch and think. Think, how much is too much? Can there be too much?

And while we're sitting here thinking, Jack of the Wood will still be on sentry watching over the back "forty".

Now, for something entirely different - my indoor lettuce growing experiment. This is the counter I am going to de-clutter and try my experiment. It is approximately 4' long and 2' wide. I'll hang a fluorescent shop light from above on chains so I can raise and lower it to satisfy my lighting needs.

I just wanted to give you a peek on how it will all start. I plan on making a lettuce box to sow and grow (hey, I see an infomercial here) the seed. More to come.

I think I'll go dive into a little light reading today. It's a sunny day, but, cold again. I think I'd rather stay inside today with the hounds at my side and be lazy.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Peaceful Fridays......

When you open the gate and cross the bridge this weekend, what will be at the other side waiting for you? Is there an enchanted forest or a haunted woods? Will the fae take you gently by the hand and lead you to sunny pastures full of flowers and magic?
Ah, yes they will. Don't forget to leave them a gift.
May your days always be filled with flowers and magic.

Have a peaceful, magic filled weekend, y'all.......

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's right around the corner.....

It must be true. Spring must be right around the corner. I've started to receive some of my seed starting supplies.

Father Nature knows it's true. He has the inside scoop.

Or maybe Father Nature just likes a good laugh and this fellow really knows what is in store for us. Brrr.... stay warm everybody.

I'm going to start an inside lettuce growing experiment in the next couple of weeks. I'll post pics and descriptions once it gets under way. Fingers crossed xxxxx...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Chicken mom....

This is my first year with chickens. I've seen chickens from a far, but, never up close and personal. I didn't think too much about chickens quite frankly up until a couple of years ago. In all fairness, I've never really had a place where I could keep chickens up until our current home.

Now, I knew nada about chickens. I didn't have any friends who had chickens, therefore, I had no one to ask advice about raising and keeping chickens. So, I went into research mode. I read as many articles as I could. My husband bought me books. I was getting confused - not that it really takes much to do that! I went to my local feed store and talked chicken talk every time I went in. I believe they were starting to worry about my state of mind. So, after three years of "talk", I went into action and took the plunge and came home with six little peeps. Three White Rocks and three Barred Rocks. It was love - chicken love. Why did I wait so long?

I could have sat for hours watching the shenanigans of the girls. It was and still is quite entertaining to watch them. After a bit I was able to decode "chicken talk" and what the squabbles and murmurs are all about. I was now a chicken mom. I am proud that I raised the little peeps to pullets. Come April, they will be hens and my girls will be all grown up. The road to henhood has been fun, frustrating, and confusing at times. But, the reward at the end is the eggs. Beautiful brown eggs with a deep, orange yolk. The difference between store bought, even free range or organic is immediate. Oh, the taste!

I was prepared for the girls to take a rest from laying over the short days of winter, but, much to my delight, I am still getting eggs! I haven't added light to the coop to increase the amount of light they are receiving. I believe they should follow their natural cycle and if they stop laying, they stop laying. They will eventually start again when their biorythms tell them so. Okay, I'm not really sure if chickens have biorythms, but, you get my point.

So, even though I've done enough research to achieve a Master's Degree in chickenology, it goes to show that not everything you read will replace what you really have to do. Go experience it first hand. Pitchfork the poo. Carry the straw bales. Cluck like a chicken. I really enjoy clucking like a chicken - there's a certain freedom involved... I jest, not really. I really do enjoy it. bwock, bwock, bwock.....

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Another one lost.....

I just found out the Tim Hart passed on December 24th. Another legend lost. Tim was a british singer/songwriter probably most known for his role in the group Steeleye Span. He also recorded a couple of great albums with just himself and Maddy Prior.
If you're into British Folk Rock you have to give it a listen, but, if you're already into it, you already know about it. RIP

Friday, January 1, 2010

Peaceful Fridays.....

Happy New Year.
Time to look for the beauty within.

Have a peaceful weekend, y'all......