Sunday, May 31, 2009

Beauty around the homestead...

I've been working like crazy getting my flowers and my yard weeded and mowed and looking good. Thought you might enjoy some of the results.
We moved this old piece of farm equipment in amongst the trees and I planted some Iris around it. Next year should really look great. Reminder of days gone by and how hard working the land was.
The "wildlife" keep guard from their ledge on the patio.
I trimmed the wisteria back big time last fall and it still looks pretty overgrown to me but I can't complain because the blooms were beautiful and smelled delightful.

Here's one of my "thinking places."

I trimmed every one of these trees head high so I wouldn't be running into them when I am mowing. And then we moved the picnic table out here so it would be in the shade. Tool Belt Jim thinks trimming the trees is being obsessive.

The hostas around the wishing well are huge this year

I planted a clematis, some daylilies, sedum and shasta daisies around my front steps this year and even though the soil is very poor here they seem to be thriving.
I love these verigated hostas that I planted around this tree.Unfortunately, my garden hasn't done too great except for these two zucchini plants.

But the flowers make up for the gardens sad state.

Joke for the day...

Author Unknown but love it...



FOR SALE BY OWNER. Complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica, 45 volumes. Excellent condition. $200 or best offer. No longer needed, Got married last month. Wife knows everything.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Update on Kaden

Kaden Shiloh Stinson is doing great! He's smiling and gaining weight and is becoming more aware of his surroundings all the time. His mom bought him this play gym and he likes looking at all the bells and whistles that came with it.

He especially likes the blinking lights and music.
Here's a better view of the contraption.

Here the flash from the camera has caught his attention.
Isn't it great to see this little fella laughing?
Look at those big eyes. I think he has his Poppy's lips (his momma has them too) and his Nana's pug nose and his daddy's dark complexion. He also looks like Mark did when he was little.

Here he was snuggling with Nana out on the porch swing. He would look up at me and smile and then lay his little head back down on my chest. He likes being held and rocked.


What's that noise disturbing my sleep?

Oh yea, it's that stupid camera flash again! Nana and her camera.

But she likes taking pictures of me cause it reminds her how special I am. She calls me her little "miracle baby".

Mama thinks I'm pretty special too.

I smile at her cause I love her so much! She must be the best momma in the world!!

"Gone Fishin" at The Gathering Place Bed and Breakfast and Retreat Center

We went down to the pond this evening for some "fishin" and my oldest son Kevin and his little boy Luke were already down there giving it a try. Kevin was catching fish as fast as he could throw out his lure. Mostly perch but still the fish were biting. Rachel said she wanted whatever Kevin had on his line put on hers too!


But she did catch a fish. Bass I think.



Poppy was helping the boys with their pole. Notice Koda wasn't hanging around too close as Poppy was trying to show him the fish.



He's not sure if he likes being this close.





And Mark wasn't having any part of it at all.

Isn't this a precious sight? Momma teaching her boy how to fish. It's the simple things in life that we remember most when we grow up. Bet Koda will remember sitting on the dock fishing with his momma!


Here's Luke. He was telling me something about being tired of not being able to catch any fish at his Grandpa Lon's pond. He wasn't happy about it at all. So his dad was demonstrating the proper way to fish to him.



Kevin is telling me this is the kind of lure to have.
This is baby Kaden's first fishing trip. What's a cell phone doing on this trip? You don't take cell phones fishing! It's not allowed!





And I noticed tonight when I opened the frig that there was a carton of fishing worms right on the top shelf. Now who do you suppose put them there?




Take a break from your hectic schedules to take the kids fishing someplace. Even if you never touch a fishing pole or a worm, you'll enjoy sitting by the pond or lake or river and enjoying the sights and sounds of nature.




Enjoy your summer because it's moving along fast.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The chicken yard is finished...

The sun was shining again so after work today Tool Belt Jim once again started work on the soon to be enlarged chicken pen. It is 4 cattle panels long and 1 cattle panel wide so it should be plenty big enough to hold whatever I can find to put in it. Hopefully nothing will fly over the top. I would like geese, banty chickens, maybe a turkey, swans ??? and a peacock. And maybe guineas. And I need a rooster.



After the cattle panels were up and fastened to the posts Tool Belt Jim then added chicken wire around the whole thing so hopefully the chickens can't get out but also nothing can get in too. I lock the chickens up at night anyway after the first batch of chickens were killed by something when we forgot to shut the chicken door one night. Don't want that to happen again!



Think you can see the chicken wire along with the cattle panel. The ducks went right through the cattle panel before the chicken wire was put up.

The chickens did not like the ducks being in their space one bit. Guess they'll have to learn to get along won't they?


So tonight we locked the ducks up in the chicken house for the first time so they could get familiar with going inside the building. And tomorrow morning Tool Belt Jim can let them out into the large pen. Those chickens especially will think they woke up in heaven won't they? They had their little pen down to bare soil and will love the green grass to scratch around in!



My pen is actually large enough that I could put a bottle calf in there too, but I think I'll wait on that. Too much work.



Isn't this an adorable little setup for my animals? Now, does anyone know where I can find geese, peacocks, guineas, turkeys, and maybe swans, and some kind of exotic roosters? And I keep hearing how awful peacocks sound but they are so beautiful!




And in case times really get tough, I already have a space big enough to raise chickens to put in the freezer. I now have my own eggs which taste much better than the ones you get in the store and I am sure home grown chickens taste better too.



Now my daughter keeps reminding me I couldn't eat something I raised, but she forgets I was raised on a farm and we butchered 100 chickens every year. I chopped their heads off and dressed them and froze them and ate them and didn't blink an eye while doing so. Ha. Ha.

Here's the chickens checking out their new pen the next day.
And the same for the ducks.
This is the ducks "swimming pool" aka my grandkids sled. Gotta find a different pool cause the sled must go back home without being tore up.
And they recognize their feeding bowl. Now the question is how do I keep the chickens from eating the duck food or can they all eat the same stuff?

Ah, the good life down on the farm. Can't beat it!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mowing, mowing, mowing...

I hate wearing hats but I am more aware of the need to protect my face from the sun and so I raided Tool Belt Jim's rack of head wear. It was either this or a camo "boonie hat" and this was the more comfortable of the two. I found last year that sunscreen just melts and runs into your eyes when it gets really hot and then you have a real mess on your hands. So I'm going to try to be diligent about wearing something to block the sun while I mow.

Not making too much of a fashion statement am I? I'm going to have to start hiding my camera from Tool Belt Jim in the future.

Oh, the sweet smell of fresh mown grass. I love it!!!

This tractor has served me well here on the 80 acre homestead. I pull a finish mower behind it and can mow to my hearts content. And it's a great time to sing as loud as you want because no one can hear or pray.

I love summer time!!!




Expanding the Chicken Yard...

Tool Belt Jim just left to take the grandkids into our local farm store to buy some more cattle panels to expand my chicken yard. After seeing the animals this past week-end I want more space so I can have more birds. I'm thinking a peacock would be nice and a turkey or two and might as well have enough room to raise fryers if I decide to do that in the future.

Who knows some day I may decide to raise a baby calf. My daughter says "a cow, now you've went over the edge" or something like that...

I love to watch her do the "rolling the eyes" thing.

And then it started raining and raining and raining so the work had to stop until another day.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

600 miles in less than 2 days...


Just as we did last year we drove our red diesel truck so we could carry our own fuel with us and save on gas. I couldn't handle another trip to Kansas so we decided to head south and check out the mountains. Forget flat land!

But first things first. I am the official coffee pourer.


And we carry our own stash of snacks. Boiled eggs, cheese and crackers, bananas, chicken salad sandwiches, water etc. And of course we can't forget the roll of toilet paper. Where we're going isn't likely to have those convenient rest stops and convenience stores.

Arkansas here we come. And oh yeah, I brought along my new GPS to try out. We call the lady that tells us where to go "the hooker lady." And she got pretty confused back in those Arkansas hills. Sometimes she was telling us we were in the city when we could see nothing but trees and hollers!!! So don't throw away those maps just yet!!

But first, we drove to my favorite heirloom seed store which just happens to have chickens, and ducks and turkeys and all kinds of critters everyone needs on a small farm such as ours. And I always get ideas of how I want to build things on the 80 acre homestead. If you haven't ever been there, check it out. Just outside Mansfield, Mo.

They have these cute little chickens this year. I want to get some banty hens but these are even smaller than banties I think.


And see what I mean by getting ideas on how to build shelters for my chickens? This is a great idea!



Roosters! I must have some of these. Just want a nice one though!


Come to mama!! I'll take you home so Rachel can name you too. She named my chickens while I was gone. Names like Henny Penny, Extra Crispy, Original, you get the drift. Straight out of Colonel Sanders...


Had them eating out of my hand in no time.

Turkeys! They could keep my 4 ducks company.

And I need two of these also!

And maybe one of these. Isn't it beautiful?

Uh oh, there goes Tool Belt Jim to check out the little cabin. He's been wanting to build a cabin for a long time. I think down by the pond would be a good place.
You can tell he is studying this out.

Remember using these old tubs and a hand wringer washer to wash clothes with? I helped my grandma when I was little hang the clothes on the line after she washed them. And I also remember taking baths in these same tubs because we didn't have running water in the house.
The Amish seem to do most of the building around this little farm. This is a cute little house they are putting a roof on.
After leaving Mansfield, we turned south and headed toward the Mark Twain National Forest.
We stopped at a roadside park area that was just beautiful. Here's Tool Belt Jim checking out the coolest overhanging rock ledge.


A little creek ran through it...


And moss grew on the rock and almost dripped water it was so wet. How neat is this!


A little stream ran right along side the roadside rest area.

I was going to jump across here but the moss was so slippery I didn't dare.

Taking a minute to just relax and enjoy the view. My kind of place!

This must be a popular place cause several people had stopped here. This photographer was setting up to take some pictures of the water but I got a great shot of both her and the water! I remember being told one time that "every picture should tell a story" and "don't take pictures of people posing." I'm trying to remember that good advice. Just love this shot!

Time to hop back in the little red truck and head on down the road.
This was our next adventure. We were way off the beaten path here. And meeting cars on this little dirt road up in the mountains didn't thrill me either.

Creative way to build a fence. Good solid fence posts too!
These signs kept us on the right track. Don't want to get lost out here anywhere.

Wanted my picture taken standing on this sign. Tool belt Jim took my "take action shots" words to heart. Wasn't planning on it being of me trying to get up here though.

It's not as easy as you might think! Nothing to grab hold of.

But I made it!

The view was beautiful and you could see for miles.

Which is why these are up here. Don't want any forest fires going undetected!Tool Belt Jim has to stop and read every historic marker to see what happened in the area in the past.

More neat fence.

After leaving the Forest we headed on down Hwy 125 to Protem, Mo. Last town in Missouri before heading across the river by ferry.
Here Tool Belt Jim got another cup of coffee for the road. Or the ferry. Which by the way, hope you're not in a hurry by the time you get here. There's only one way to get across that body of water and if you don't catch it just right, you're left waiting for the return trip.

Here's the ferry bringing a load of cars over from the other side.

This is the rig that's going to push us across the lake to the other side.
We're loaded and ready to go. Just after we pulled out a group of motorcyclists pulled up but they were too late and would have to sit and wait until the ferry loaded up the cars from the other side and brought them over before they could get across.

Here Tool Belt Jim talks motorcycles with a fellow traveler. This gentleman happened to be going to Harrison Ark. where we planned on spending the night so he told us a shortcut which would save us some miles. Only problem was he told us the wrong direction to turn and we ended up going in one big circle. Lesson here is stick with the map.

So this ends Day one of our great adventure in the mountains of Arkansas. We stayed at the Quality Inn in Harrison and ate at a wonderful restaurant right next door. I had the best cheeseburger with a side order of cornbread and beans. Tasted wonderful. And that bed was like sleeping on a cloud. I was in bed by 9:00 and never woke until 7:30 the next morning when Tool Belt Jim said it was time to hit the road again.
DAY 2: Tool Belt Jim wanted to go to Alma, Ark. to stop at a series of stores there called A-Z Stores. So once again, we took back roads and found another wonderful roadside park area.
Traveled more windy roads and seen more great scenery along the way.




Tool Belt Jim climbed that contraption from a few pictures previous but I don't do heights well so I stick to looking at the scenery with both my feet firmly planted on the ground.

It was time to refuel so we stopped at another little rest area to fill her up. I am very impressed with the rest areas and roadside parks that we came across. You could spend the day just enjoying the view and relaxing by the side of the road, especially when a little creek ran through them.

Here's Tool Belt Jim refueling. Notice jumper cables are hooked up when he refuels. Don't ask me why. I leave all that to the one in charge of those kinds of things.
And after stopping in Alma and buying a Blue Willow pitcher and a little rooster salt shaker (which I collect both of), we headed back North on Old Hwy 71 toward Fayetteville Ark. And ran across another delightful roadside Park. This one couldn't be beat. Had restrooms as well as a covered picnic table area as well as wooden rocking benches that you could sit in and watch the little creek beside it. Someone was having a little birthday party there. Was only a few miles from Fayetteville so bet it gets a lot of use.

Geese were swimming on the creek below the shelter house.


Isn't this a beautiful place?

I notice Tool Belt Jim is really getting into these "action shots."
When we travel, we try to bring back a rock from every place we have been and I line the concrete retaining wall with them. So when Tool Belt Jim told me we would stop and get a rock from this little roadside area I knew just the one I wanted. Now for how we can get it home! Any suggestions?
From here we headed over to the interstate which we took the rest of the way home. The only rain we ran into was just about an hour from home and it was a gully washer. Only lasted about 15 minutes but had cars pulling off the road to wait it out.
So that ends our short mini vacation. Tool Belt Jim said we covered almost 600 miles in this short trip. Don't want to offend my friends from Kansas out there but we have went to Kansas so many times that I needed a change of scenery. And this was just that!
Hope you enjoyed taking this little trip along with us!