Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Last night, our little rural neighborhood came alive with families roaming the countryside in search of treats. Neighbor Laura organizes families with little goblins to go trick or treating to other neighbors without little ones at home. Everyone enjoys themselves, the adults get a chance to visit with each other, the kids get re-acquainted, and it's just a great neighborhood activitiy.I even got in the spirit by dressing up as a rough & tumble hockey player (yes, that's makeup around the eyes, nose & mouth). My other neighbor Laurie was dressed up as a clumsy lady; seriously, she broke her finger/knuckle after she fell from a step ladder.
Last Saturday, my great aunt & uncle celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a wonderful party. DD had so much fun with her cousin J - - they found a donation box filled with old glasses and they proceeded to try on every pair and give us a "fashion show." When it was time to leave, they hugged and vowed to see each other again soon (I hope so, too).

Sunday was the youth group omelet breakfast and bake sale. Lookie what I brought home!
Remember this? Well, now it looks like this:
And the chicken house has been "mysteriously" moved "out of the way." DH even strung an electrical line to the chicken coop so the girls have some warmth (plus, it keeps the water from freezing). My conventional farmer neighbor ("Big D") now thinks that I'm a hypocrite for "tricking" the hens into better egg production with extra light and heat. I'm just a proponent of happy chickens, that's all Big D. Yes, he officially has a blog nickname.

Have a safe and happy Halloween, y'all!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Local Food

When I traveled to Decorah earlier this year, I visited the Oneota Co-op Grocery Store and was in total amazement by the variety of products, the fair prices, and the number of people shopping in there. So, when I read this, I was really encouraged that people in the main stream might be "getting it."

We've been trying to pull our weight at Gracious Acres, too. Many of our meals feature at least one local food. We're so lucky to have Sugar Creek Farm beef and chicken - - yum! We had a roast the other night and then used the left overs to make a hearty beef and (thick) egg noodle dish. So satisfying on a cold, rainy fall evening. I also dug up the last row of potatoes (Red Norlands or Pontiacs, can't remember) and got another five-gallon pail to use over the next couple months; hopefully they keep. We shredded potatoes a couple months ago and they're in the freezer now. We have homemade pickles at almost every meal, and we still have a few garden tomatoes (from my mom).

We can usually get three to four meals off of one of SCF's chickens. I roast it all day at 275, so it's super tender and juicy. The meat on one breast will usually feed all three of us! Then, I make a casserole, quesadillas, and a noodle dish with the left overs. I totally can't throw anything away!

Local. Food. Good!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sunday, October 22, 2006

From zen to zero in 24 hours flat

Spent the weekend in St. Paul at Women of Faith (WOF). WOF was awesome, as usual, and I brought along 14 ladies from church (several who had never been).

I have to admit, the whole time I was in the Twin Cities, I couldn't help but watch over my shoulder in case Cathy Z was around. Ok, so I'm a "fan." Yeah, so what?! We had some time to shop at the Mall of America (lots of time spent at Archivers) and I kept thinking, "is she around the corner and I'm just gonna happen to bump into her?" How would I react - - probably like a star-struck idiot. No sign of cz, but I did buy this.

Then, I come home and go to cz's blog (still on my "links" list "in memoriam"). She's been talking about giving up the blog for a bit. Then, she did the unthinkable! She completely removed it!!! **sniffle**

While I was away, DH was very busy working on projects around the house. He cut a vent into the wall so the warm air from the corn stove can drift upstairs, hung the new front storm door, installed a new smoke alarm, and cleaned the house! He even made a batch of chili and chocolate chip cookies. In fact, he's making a batch of my favorite cookies (oatmeal raisin) right now. Nope, not trading him in for a while.

The chickens have really laid off laying eggs (1-3 a day). We were so spoiled for so long with 4-6 a day! The power was installed in the new building a couple days ago, so we'll drag a line from the new building to the chicken coop to keep a little extra light and heat for the girls this winter. Maybe that will help a bit.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I've been tagged...

by Tracey Kendall to post five weird things about me. Like I can narrow it down to only five?!

1. I try to turn every hobby I have into a business. Duh, just figured out that's why they're called "hobbies" not "occupations." Photography, scrapbooking, gardening, you name it - - I try to make a business out of it. Not every passion has to be a vocation.

2. According to my DH, I fold towels and t-shirts in a strange way and I'm super-protective about it. Got that from my mom. But they sure seem to fit on the shelf and in the drawer a lot better when I fold them!

3. I bite my nails - - but not if I have acrylics put on. I just don't get that.

4. I really like chickens. Always have. Not the white, run-of-the-mill broiler-type chickens, but exotic and heritage breed birds. Blame that on Martha Stewart.

5. Speaking of Martha Stewart, I'd still spend the day with her over Rachael Ray or Oprah Winfrey. Martha ROCKS!

There, now my friends, family, and neighbors can actually prove that I'm weird, not just secretly think it.

Now, I tag anyone who wants to participate. Come on, you know you want to share a little something "weird" about yourself!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A little fall fun

DH and I celebrated our seventh anniversary on Monday! Wow, never thought I could commit to anything or anyone for that long. Must be a God-thing. Love ya, babe!
Mom came over last night and we had the last tomatoes of the season on blt's with homemade mac & cheese. DD has a Gooseberry Patch calendar/idea book and she found some "spider cupcakes" that she wanted to make. It was like Christmas with all the decorations and crazy ideas -- so fun!What's that on DD's face? Well, she got into a tussle with a table at daycare the other day and the table won. The inside of her mouth is all tore up, but she doesn't seem to be bothered by it too much. She ate lots of bacon last night, and didn't complain once about the salt getting into the sore. Ouch! She also has another ear infection, so she's on antibiotics. She had tubes put in years ago, but I think they're not as effective as they once were.

The trip to Vegas was pretty good. I don't really care to go back. Not sure why they promote it as a "family friendly destination." The only reason I would take DD there is to show her what NOT to do! Everything was very expensive. I got a great tan, though! Last one of the year; I really soaked up the sun! Suffice it to say, these guys were not my lunch dates (oh, how I wish):
Heading to Women of Faith in St. Paul this weekend with 15 ladies from our church. I'm really looking forward to that -- I'm needing a little spiritual pick-me-up.

This is what happens when "Dancing With The Stars" is on at Gracious Acres:

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Vegas, here I come

[photo courtesy of Wikipedia]
I'm heading out to Las Vegas tomorrow for work. Up until yesterday, I was dreading this trip. But, this is my first (and most likely only) trip to the Entertainment Capital of the World, so I'll make the most of it. Take in a few sights, people watch . . . oh, yeah, and do some work, too.
Of course, CSI (Las Vegas) is on right now and I'm back to being a bit freaked out by the whole trip, as I'm going solo . . . I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Just a little humor, folks

For those of you who actually thought I was serious (*ahem*) about giving up the chickens and the garden for a full fledged perennial biz, I was just kidding!
My humor sure isn't coming across as sarcastic and caustic as it once did. Guess I lost my funny bone mojo, too.

Taking pictures for others has really put a huge dent in my personal photo gallery - - pretty obvious considering the lack of photos of DD and DH. Hmmmmmm...?! What to do! I'm not complaining about having the opportunity to capture other families, I just have to find the "balance" in it all.

My great aunt & uncle will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary later this month, so I took a few photos to commemorate this wonderful occasion.

I remember when I was little, I would visit them - - it was so much fun. They had a beautiful collie named "Lassie" (of course). They were always so patient and kind to me; I am so lucky to have them in my life.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Getaway weekend

We had a nice getaway this past weekend. DH's former co-worker, Tom, got married in Owatonna (MN). DD stayed at Gramma Kay's and Tucker (the dog) stayed with Gramma Deb. Neighbor Laurie took care of the chickens. (Thanks, y'all!)

The wedding itself was probably the most unique I've ever been to (honestly, I haven't been to a lot of weddings). The ceremony was held in a small country church with about 30 guests. DH was the only person in a suit (including the bridal party). The groomsmen wore black slacks and white shirts with a teal Hawaiian tie. The bridesmaids wore teal peasant skirts, a silk chemise and a white big shirt. The bride wore a lovely candlight satin gown with beading and a veil. The groom wore a sage green shirt with a teal Hawaiian tie. The groom came into the sanctuary 15 minutes before the ceremony and played the harp (he is an AMAZING musician). The ceremony was short (25 minutes) and sweet with no solo or unity candle. No rice thrown as the couple left the church. The reception was held at the Eagles Club in Owatonna. No big cake, no dance. Just a very nice dinner with 80 or so guests. We were back in our hotel room by 8:30 pm. On Sunday, we enjoyed a beautiful walk through Kaplan's Woods and took the scenic route home. On the way, we stopped by Sugar Creek Farm. Matt & Kelli graciously took time from their Sunday dinner and visited for about half an hour - - they even sent some sweet potatoes home with us (yummy!). We picked up the dog and the kid and finally got home in time for Extreme Home Makeover. It's so nice to get away from it all every once in a while.