Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Doubly blessed

The chicks arrived yesterday...yes, on Memorial Day. We got a voice mail from the Waterloo Post Office after midnight (Sunday night) saying that we could pick up the chicks from the loading dock and a phone number to call. Since no one answered at the number that was given, I feared that no one would be at the P.O. on a holiday and the chicks would die. So, I called a local postal worker and she told me that someone would be there. DD and I drove the 45 miles to W'loo and, thankfully, a nice man was there and handed me two boxes of chicks. We made a couple quick stops and headed home to get the chicks into the brooder with fresh water and food. I was in such a hurry to get them comfy, I didn't count them or notice that there were 50 chicks (I ordered 25 Rainbow Layers). After working in the yard the rest of the day, I went to get the boxes and noticed the packing slips inside - - one with my name on it and the other with another name on it! The guy at the post office dock gave me someone else's order (that lives 45 miles on the OTHER side of W'loo)! I just got off the phone with McMurray Hatchery and there's really nothing we can do at this point. They basically said, "enjoy." So happens that the extra 25 I got are Cornish Roasters... huh?! I guess I'm in the meat bird business now, too. Any advice, Kelli?!
At the request of Karl, here's a photo of our $16 patio fountain and the whole patio.

And this is what it looked like just one year ago:

We invited Dean, Linda, their two boys, Nile & Glo over for an impromptu bbq last night and had a nice visit. Later, DH & I sat on the patio and listed to the trickle of the fountain while watching the moon duck in and out of the clouds.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Happy Memorial Day

We enjoyed the parade in Beaman (pop 250) yesterday. DD was in G'ma K's convertible with her cousins (the theme was "Girls Day Out"). Very fun!Our westerly neighbors stood on the same corner watching the parade and had to fight DH for the candy!
We worked in the yard yesterday and today. Seems like we can never get ahead. We also went to the big city and got more supplies for the wood shop (hickory cabinets for the kitchenette) and a new table saw for DH. You'd think he'd be in heaven, but you should see all the little parts and pieces that this saw comes with just to put it all together...good grief! During a break from this tedious task, he managed to create a little fountain out of an old (terra cotta looking) plastic planter and some rock. A nice soothing trickle now fills the air on the north patio.

DH's nephew graduated today, so we went to his reception where we saw lots of relatives and met some new friends (a photographer to boot!). They have an eight-year-old son; he and DD became fast friends chasing each other around the yard until DD got a little rough and knocked him down (sorry, T!).

In the three years we've lived here, the only deer we have seen have been across the road. This morning, DD ran over to me and said, "Mom, there's a swan by the front porch!" We thought she saw a Canadian goose. When I walked over to the window, there were two young deer standing right in front of the porch (DD mean "fawn" not "swan"). I ran & got the camera and thought it was so neat to have deer in the front yard.
That was...until they started nibbling on the new fruit trees. So, Tucker was sent chasing after them. Mmm-Buh-bye little tree nibblers!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Quiet Saturday

DD stayed with her Gramma K last night and will be in the Memorial Day parade this afternoon (although the forecast says it's supposed to pour). DH and I had a nice quiet evening; we went to happy hour at the golf course and saw some friends and then out for a little dinner. Got home & crashed on the couch.

I've been trying to use up some vacation days, and have been crossing a few things of my list. One of which is using up a pile of bricks from church (you can't throw away perfectly good bricks!). So, this is what has become of the bricks:The little chair that the plant is sitting on was (also) salvaged - - this time from my neighbor's burn pile (ee-gads!). It was originally light yellow (like the shed); I had some red paint, so now it is red just like the wee little chair in front of it that I found at a flea market for a buck! To the left of the chairs are transplanted perennials like daisies, hosta, spikey purple flowers (forget what they're called now). Also planted some heirloom dahlias and glads. This little shed is half garden supplies and half chicken house (a wall down the middle). It sits behind DH's new shop and just a few feet from the garden.

The kitten are starting to warm up a bit. Still won't come out unless there is food to be had. But once you do get ahold of them, they seem to enjoy it.DH has started in on his "summer semester" at work. His program used to be just during the typical school year, but the college is building an additional dormitory, so he's on tap to manage a crew of students on the project. It's great that he has work for the summer, but I think he misses working on his clients' projects.

See that little paragraph in the upper right hand corner of the blog "girl is now farmer wannabe trying to get out of corporate America..." well, it has happened. I quit my full-time job this week and have accepted a part-time job at my church. I know in my heart it's the right thing to do. DD is so excited that she gets more of her mama, and DH is relieved that I will be more...shall we say...content. *sigh* God is good all the time.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Happy daisies for you

and columbines:
and iris from Uncle George:
and pinks/dianthus - - yes, they are really this bright (no photo retouching needed)
the shade garden:
So much for having a "simple" garden this year. This one has proven to be very challenging as I'm dealing with a smaller space and have to be much smarter about where to put stuff. DH built a raised strawberry bed for me and helped put in the new dirt. Put in 10 new strawberry plants. Got the tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cuke, zuke, and rest of the sweet corn in. Also moved the rhubarb to the "perennial" section of the garden (with the strawberries & asparagus). Yes, the asparagus did finally come up! We cleaned up the weeds around the new oak & hackberry trees that line the west edge of our property. DH also spent time putting another load of mulch around more trees and garden beds.

DD with one of the two remaining kittens. No, they are not exactly friendly yet; I caught this one and said "hold on tight, DD!" long enough to get this photo.Soccer is officially over - - DD's team:

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Back from DC

I spent the last few days in Washington DC for work. Left 7:30 am Sunday (Mother's Day...*ahem*) and got back at 10 pm last night. This is what I missed...
DH and DD in Praise Team at church (DD even had a duet!). DH prepared a nice meal for his mom and a friend from church. Then on Monday, DD had her Kindergarten program. Broke my heart that I wasn't there.

DH spent all of yesterday mowing and putting pine mulch around the trees and in my shade garden. It looks so nice! He was so diligent in watering the garden, plants (that I bought Saturday...duh, why would I buy veggie plants before I leave for four days?), feeding the chickens and (two remaining) kittens. They still hiss at me even when I bring them food...?

But, I was here. That was pretty cool. Feast your eyes on this, dollhouse fanatics. It was amazing. The gardens were fantastic and the weather was perfect. Would love to go back out there with DH & DD in a few years - - what a great city!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Soccer time

DD wanted to play soccer this year. Typically, soccer season is filled with rain, cold and lots of "but I don't WANT to play." This year, she was ready for it, the weather has been decent, so . . . let's play soccer!

DH is not "officially" a coach, but is often called in to help out. Sometimes, he gets to sit on the sidelines and visit with friends/family. Soccer practice and games are as much a social opportunity for parents as a recreation opportunity for kids.
I'm definitely a sideline kind of parent. My little nice KK hung out with me last night.

Best Intentions

I think most people who know me would say that I have the best of intentions; the results of my actions, however, are not always reflective of this. On Wednesday, a colleague came into my office and said that she saw some kittens crawling around behind our office building. Now who can resist cute, cuddly kittens, right? Well, we deemed it was our responsibility to "save" the kittens from an uncertain future by catching four of them (under great protest), putting them in a box in my office, and sending them home to Gracious Acres with me.

I knew DH was not going to be terribly excited to have four kittens roaming the farm again; we don't have the best luck with keeping kittens alive. This time was no exception. The first night, I put them in a dog kennel with some milk & Tender Vittles. They ate okay, but they were still very hissy and scared...rightly so. Leah the cat was NOT happy and pouted shamelessly.

Yesterday morning, I put some fresh milk in the kennel and left for work. When I got home, I let them out of the kennel to roam about and get a feel for the place. Before long, they hid under the front porch (unaccessible by anything bigger than a kitten). I placed some food near the porch and saw them come out to eat it, and I thought they would be okay under the porch over night. About 10:30 pm, we heard a horrible commotion out there with lots of hissing and cries from the kittens. This morning they were nowhere to be found.

Of course, I feel awful. Should I have let them run wild in town, should I have brought them to the animal shelter? I don't know anything other than sometimes I should just not try to be the "patron saint of all feral animals." Yes, DH, I have learned my lesson (until next time).

When have your "best intentions" turned out for the worst?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

No squirrels at Gracious Acres...

...until now. My friend's dad used to feed the squirrels in his yard in town until he discovered that the squirrels were making themselves at home in his attic. Since the discovery, he has cut the squirrels off from the abundant food supply and has been trying to humanely relocate them to a local girl scout camp (about 20 in two weeks!). When I told my friend that we didn't have any squirrels at our farm, he offered to implement a "squirrel transplant program." Last night the first squirrel came home to Gracious Acres.
Once released from the cage, he darted up the big tree. Tucker (the dog) and Leah (the cat) were so excited about the new arrival, too. We spent quite a bit of time watching his every move.
When I was little, my gramma G had a friend who fed squirrels...corn and Oreos. I spent tons of time hanging out there and watching through her big front window. She could even feed them by hand, they were so tame. When we lived in town, Tucker loved to chase squirrels; they taunted him by hanging just out of reach from him and then clucking at him from the branches.
Of course craziness broke out:
Now, who can resist that face?

Part of the garden springing to life:

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I've been a bad blogger

A bright bunch of flowers for my thoughtlessness.

The garden is in and sprouting well. Radishes, carrots, potatoes, peas, onions, lettuce, spinach, one row of sweet corn (so far), and two rows of green beans (so far). DH helped put up the trellis (cattle panels) for the peas and he helped me pick out my new tiller, a little Troy-Bilt that will get in between the rows but has enough power to till the whole garden. Heaven....I'm in heaven...and my heart beats so that I can hardly speeeeeeeeeeak...when I'm in my garden tilling once a week...

And...we had a little party for DD's 6th birthday.

Isn't this just the most precious thing?

I won't even bother to show you pictures of the THREE Bratz dolls that she received as gifts (TWO FROM DH!!!!) Oh, the humanity!

Darling neighbor E was so pleased to give DD flowers for DD's "very own garden."
We started off her birthday with a pancake breakfast at the Hardin County Farm Museum. Then, we stopped by the Reisinger Horse Farm, where she got a personal tour of the amazing barns full of beautiful paint horses. I grew up around horses and miss them quite a bit, so it was no surprise that I came home and dreamed out loud to DH about how we could put a pasture in the front yard...and a little shed...for just a horse or two...and...well, he doesn't exactly share my dream. Let's just leave it at that.

Later that night, my mom took DD to the 99 cent movie theater to see TMNT. DD came home exhausted but thrilled with her day-long birthday celebration.