Monday, March 31, 2014

Liebster Award

Hey all! The lovely Linn Acres nominated us for the Liebster Award! This is basically a meet and greet for bloggers, a way to get to know each other better, and a great way to find some new blogs to check out!

Here's what we do with the Liebster Award:
- Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you and display your award.
- Answer eleven questions that the blogger gives you.
- Give eleven random facts about yourself.
- Nominate eleven blogs (with 200 followers or less) that you think are deserving of the award
- Let the bloggers know you nominated them.
- Give them eleven questions to answer.

So, here we go with my questions from Linn Acres....

1. Where are you from? Nebraska originally, and now I'm back!
2. What is your favorite food or recipe? Sugar Snap Peas straight from the garden!
3. Do you prefer summer or winter? I love each season, but coming out of the coldest, longest Winter I can remember, I'll have to say SUMMER!
4. Why did you start blogging? We bought our little farm late last Summer and we had lots of friends and family that had a lot of questions about where we were going and why and lots of city friends who were very interested in what it was like out here. So, I started the blog to share our experiences.
5. Is there anything you'd like to change in your life? I would like to have our farm up and running ASAP so that my husband can work fewer hours away from home and spend more time here.
6. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas!
7. What is your favorite thing to do with your free time? Oh my goodness, soooo many things! The list of things I love/want to do is endless.  If I had to choose one downtime activity though, it would have to be sitting outside, drinking tea, watching the kids run all over the farm!
8. Do you have a daily routine? Not so much.
9. Do you have any pets and if so what are their names? Golden Retriever (with no spots) named Spot. Blue Betta fish named Nemo, and 2 rabbits named Snowball and Blackie- can you tell they were all named by children? We have chickens, guineas, and geese but those aren't really pets and don't have names.
10. What is one of your favorite books? I love books. One of my favorites is The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald. Or She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb. Or Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote. Or anything by or about Laura Ingalls...
11. What would you do if you suddenly won the lottery? Adopt a whole bunch of kids.

11 Random Facts About Me:

1. I drink my tea/coffee from a Christmas mug everyday of the year.
2. I love writing and receiving letters. So I have a lot of friends over 80, everybody else just wants to email! ;)
3. I don't do well in group situations. I like one on one conversations.
4. I believe my foster siblings are truly my siblings. God doesn't always create your family in the traditional way and that's a beautiful thing.
5. I do the chores in my pajamas sometimes usually. The animals don't seem to mind.
6. I love to travel. Some of my favorite places are Western Montana, Puget Sound in Washington, and Zion National Park in Utah.
7. I lived at Boys Town in Omaha NE for awhile as a kid because my parents were family teachers there. Because one of those foster kids I mentioned got sent there, and I said, we're family, so the rest of us went too.
8. I love camping. The kind where you sleep in a tent, cook on a fire, and do NOT bring your electronics.
9. I once drove almost a hundred miles going the wrong direction before I bothered to wonder why I kept seeing signs for Bismark North Dakota. I also once drove an entire night around the desert in Nevada before finally sleeping in my car on the street for a couple hours and then finally finding my way out of Nevada! Apparently I have a terrible sense of direction. And no desire to look at a map.
10. I grew up in a really tiny one level house and always thought it would be so cool to have a second story. Our new house has a second story and I've already fallen down the stairs three times! 
11. My sister gave me the nickname Toad when I was a kid. Awesome.Thanks Sis. Just what every girl wants to be called. ;)

Now for my Nominees! 

And the questions for my nominees:

1. What's your favorite thing about where you live?
2. What is your favorite post you've ever written? (leave a link!)
3. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
4. What was the first blog you started reading?
5. What movie do you think should have a sequel?
6. If you could be a member of any TV-sitcom family or group, which would it be?
7. What's your favorite song?
8. What is the worst job you've ever had?
9. Do you collect anything?
10. What is the best compliment anyone has ever given you?
11. How far away from your birthplace do you live now?

There you have it, the Liebster Award post!

Don't forget to visit Linn Acres and these other great blogs!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring Rain

It's been awhile since I've posted again! I think it may be safe to say my posting will be a little more sporadic over the Spring and Summer as I am so busy outside now. All of you bloggers out there that keep up with everything so do you do that?!

Well anyway, I wanted to drop in and share a few pictures today. We're having a beautiful rainy Spring day today. It's foggy and misty with a few light showers, just what we need to green things up and get those cool weather crops going. I headed out for a little walk this morning, here's how it looks here today....

There were so many birds singing here in the far North part of our property.

See that bird?...that's why a better zoom lens is on my list of things I'd like to get someday!

Can't wait to get those cows in here, the pasture's getting overgrown.

The creek has thawed! :)

Soon to be a canopy of green....

It's been very dry here this Winter, we really need this rain. It would be even better if it came with a little thunder!

Do you like Spring thunderstorms? (Non-tornadic, of course!)

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Planting Cool Weather Crops

We're all ready to get out there and start planting, right? Depending on where you are and the soil conditions, you might be able to plant a few things already!

You'll need to be sure your soil is workable first. In some areas you may still have too much frost in the ground. Probably the easiest way to determine that is to simply pick up a handful of soil and squeeze it. If any moisture drips from the soil, it is not yet workable. If the soil sticks tightly together and doesn't crumble when you let go of it, that also means it has too much water in it and you'll want to hold off a little longer. If you do not get any drips and your soil falls apart fairly easily, then you are probably safe to start planting your cool weather crops!

Some cool weather crops you can get started with include:
Brussels Sprouts

This is the list I'm starting with this year, but there are others too.

Another thing that works well if you start planting now is to continue to do staggered plantings throughout the growing season. This means that when you see the seedlings coming up from this first planting, you'll sow some more seeds. After that, if you plant again about every 14 days, you'll have a steady crop of vegetables!

Happy Gardening!

What's the first thing you're planting this year?

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Farmer's Manicure

Hello! It's been another busy week on the farm. They just keep getting busier with Spring right around the corner, lots of outdoor clean up, seed-starting, and garden planning going on right now. And a new Spring do-it-yourself manicure for's how I did it....

First, find a field that looks kind of like this. Decide that you need this to be a garden space. Get some gloves, a rake, and a pitch fork.

Start pulling weeds. But then run into burrs that go right through those gloves and into your hands. They are impossible to get off the gloves. Discard gloves. Continue.

Next, rake all those weeds into piles and then use your pitch fork to scoop them up and haul them away. You'll get pretty pearly-white spots on your hands after using your rake and pitch fork for a few hours. Then that pearly skin will break open and you'll have a nice raw-steak red color where it had been. So there's a little color for you-and no waiting for polish to dry!

Soon (ok, not that soon) you will have a nice clear piece of land.

That's when you'll get really excited and just have to till up a little space to see and feel the dirt.You just gotta get your hands in that wonderful earth. Even though you know it's way too wet to till. 

 So, of course, you'll jam up your tiller and have to take it apart to fix it. (But that dirt was black, rich, and gorgeous!) This is where you get all those little nicks on your hands.

 See, your skin will already be really dry from all the wind and sun. So it gets scrapes and cuts easily.

But that's ok, just rinse your hands at the hydrant. 

You're almost done with your manicure! You just need a little bling to show it off. You'll want to go with a ring made of...something that is mostly silver-ish in color with a few remaining specks of gold paint that haven't chipped off yet. And a colorful piece of plastic where some folks might have a diamond. It's best if this ring is a gift from a small child.

And there you have it, my Farmer's Manicure!
I even scrubbed off all the dirt and blood for you! 

Maybe it's not for everyone. 
But it's for me.

Are you ready to get out there and dig in the dirt too?

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunny And 75

Finally, a light at the end of this long cold Winter tunnel! Needless to say with 75 degrees today we were outside all day! My Husband and Brother-in-law (and one of the Farm Kids) got back to work on cleaning up the giant pile of rubble that was the old hog shed.
 Meanwhile my Sister and I worked on getting the area that will be one of our big garden spaces cleared out. There were so many weeds/brush to clear and since machinery to make that an easy job isn't in the budget yet, it was a lot of work! It felt so good to be out there in the sunshine, working hard! 
When we started that whole field was full of the same mess you see in the top right corner of this picture. And that red and blue lump on the ground? That's our jackets that we got too hot in! Yay for Spring weather!

Here's our brush pile. There's still more to do, but tomorrow is supposed to be nice too.

I also started some more seeds this weekend. I'm trying not to spend the money on seed starting trays/pots this year, so I've been starting them in pretty much anything I can find, and also have made a bunch of newspaper pots. I've always been a little concerned about the ink in the newspaper affecting the plants, but I'm doing it anyway this year. 

I hear Rosemary is very difficult to start from seed, but we're giving it a shot.

This week's plan is to start more seeds (as soon as I find a way to get more newspapers!), work some more in the garden space, and start up the old incubator to try to hatch a few chicks! 

Have you started Rosemary from seed? How did it work?

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Home Heating Options

This weekend we did some work toward getting the heating in our house redone. When we bought the house the only heating system was a furnace that uses (expensive) diesel oil. We've been using some Edenpure space heaters to try to keep from burning quite as much of the diesel fuel, but with the crazy cold temps this Winter, it's not working as well as we had hoped and we are nearly out of oil. Again. And also, this furnace takes up an awful lot of our basement!
So, it was time to move forward with our plans to update the heating. We decided to first put in some in-wall electric heaters, which we had in our old house, and were happy with. Our house was built in 1890 so, of course, our walls are plaster and lathe. Which I kind of love. I know most people prefer drywall, but plaster walls just feel so...substantial. So the first thing to do was just to cut out the square where the heater would fit in.
(oops, we're going to need  a little filler right there!)

 And then cut out a place for the thermostat. We put each heater (one per room) on it's own thermostat so we can heat each room only as much as we need. 
 Running the wiring was the most difficult part because it was a little tricky to pull through the wall from the basement, but even that wasn't too bad and really only took a few minutes. Then it was just popping in the heaters and thermostats and hooking up the wiring to our breaker box.

Looking at these pics, I can't wait to be able to fix and paint these walls! As soon as it's warm enough to open windows! Of course then I'll be busy with the yard and garden. Well anyway...maybe someday!

We still have more of these heaters to install and then this Summer we'll add a woodstove, which will be our main source of heat, with these electric heaters for backup. We will also be adding another backup in the form of a propane heater (the Fireside stove from Woodstock Soapstone-we love that company!) so that in the event that our power is out (we do have the whole farm hooked up to a generator, but still!) we will still have a backup to the woodstove. Overkill? Maybe, but we like to be warm!

How do you heat your home? Do you have a backup?

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