Saturday, May 25, 2013

Beach Day ~and~ Goodbye internet and electronic entertainment.......

We have finally finished our school year!!!! YAY!!!!
As a reward for all of the hard work we have done, we went to the beach!!! YAY!!!!! My kids LOVE the beach almost as much as I do!! I even got in the water more yesterday than I ever have!!!
It was another perfect day for the beach!!! Not too hot and a few clouds here and there.....
The water was perfect!!! Cold, but wonderful......after you got used to the temperature and your toes and legs were numb!!!
The kids always bring so much stuff to the beach. The goggles, the sand toys, the floats, the kites, the snorkel thingy (which never seems to work right for my kids!) and the skim boards all have to be carried down to the beach and back to the truck when we are done. Not to mention the towels, snacks, water and is very cumbersome. But worth it!!!
They do help carry all the stuff, but it still requires a lot of stamina after spending all day on the beach.
On this particular trip Truly found some amazing shells with hermit crabs in them!!! She was so excited!! They seemed to be everywhere. She also found shells with muscles (?) in them...very cool

Since this was our first beach trip we are all still pale, but after yesterday we will be mostly tan. My boys tan very easily, Tru, not so much. We only had some minor sunscreen failure. I bought the spray on kind thinking it would be easier and less irritating (than lotion) to put on down on the beach (because of the sand that never goes away), but the wind carried most of it away before it settled on the kids and they did get a bit of sun on their backs!! And apparently I have been working on my flip flop tan without knowing it......Ha!!! Oh well, tis the season!!!
Flying kites was a big hit this year!!!! I'm not sure why we haven't done it before. It was a spur of the moment purchase that worked out very well!!! The kids were amazed that they could get their whole string unwound and still have the kite going and going!!! At one point, Tru. was playing in the sand with a little girl a bit down the beach and holding her still flying kite!!!! Hhahaa!! I thought it was kinda funny to see her kneeling down in the sand digging with one hand and holding the kite string with the other hand!!!
The beach we go to is a state park. Nice and clean. Bathrooms and showers handy. But the best part is the Jetties!!!!  My kids love climbing on these huge rocks and making their mama a nervous wreck!!! I love watching them explore, but the thought of what is on the other side of those rocks.....scary!!!
Roger and I have been married almost 17 years!!!! We have a wonderful marriage and we still enjoy each others company very much!!! I get to be married to my best friend and it is a blessing!!! =)

I have found that I love taking pictures.....yesterday I took lots. Some of my favorite are of the birds that hang around the beach waiting for crumbs and doing their thing while we humans borrow their home for a while!!!
I hope that you have enjoyed the pics of one of my favorite places and maybe you can find time to go to the beach and enjoy it for yourself!!!!
It is so relaxing and wonderful and amazing!!!

I have decided to take a break from the internet for a while thanks to an inspirational blog I read the other day (Thanks for the reminder, April!!)....not sure when we will be back online!! At least July or August. I will check in on FB from my phone once in a while, but we are all taking a break from electronics (handheld games, Wii, computer) and focusing on family, friends and an old fashioned good time this spring/summer!!! Those of you that know me, know how to reach me!!! =)
Hope you all have a wonderful rest of your spring and a splashing good summer!!!!!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Country Life....

I try to take a walkabout on our property at least every other day or so .
However, life happens and sometimes it is a few days before I can get outside and walk around and take in the beauty we have been blessed with!!

We have been working on our chicken coop and yard like crazy people!!! Even though the coop is finished (except for some painting....) the yard still has much to be desired. It is a work in progress and when your schedule revolves around the Army, the Orthodontist, the Pediatrician (this has been a bad allergy spring for us...), the piano lessons, the errands, the Jeep Project, the garden it can sometimes feel like we will never be finished!! Craziness!!  However, once we are done, the chickens will have a lovely little "courtyard" to entertain guest, run and play, visit with each other, and dig for worms and such.

So, on my walkabout today I spotted several nifty little things growing in the wild. I can't help but marvel at the beauty of this place when I take the time to see it!!!

I have of late become somewhat obsessed with taking photos. I'm not sure when or where this started ,but I rarely leave my porch anymore without my little camera. If I make myself get up early enough, I can capture the most amazing shots. Some of my favorite in fact.......
Pictures of dew on flowers. It really does not get any purer than that!!
This is a plant my mom-in-law gave me years ago. It is absolutely hideous in the winter, but when it starts growing in the spring? Gorgeous. I think it is variety of Wandering least that is what I have been told! As my hubby was leaving for work today, I was trying to capture the dew. He came up behind me and jiggled me somehow and I had to exclaim, "I'm trying to take a picture!!!" 
Sorry Honey!!! Photos are not more important than you, but it was a really good shot!!! =)

As I walk about our property, I try to sing and make a bit of noise just in case there are some reptiles wandering around.  I like to think if I give them plenty of warning they will make themselves scarce long before I get close!!!! Because our property is so wild, I never know what I'm going to come across.....while this is a beautiful cluster of flowers about the diameter of a baseball, the smell is enough to make me run for the hills!!! It is awful!!

Then, I turn the corner and there are the beautiful little clusters of the sweetest smelling flowers. Amazing!!!

 In the south we have two seasons: Lovebug season and Not Lovebug season. ;)
I don't know where all the lovebugs are in the world, but I know in South Alabama, they are everywhere for what seems like forever!!!! I think it is pretty clear why they are called lovebugs. But with so much love going around you can barely walk out of the front door without having all over you and almost breathing them in!!!!  Gross!!! And talk about an anatomy class.....I really do not like having to explain to my 8yo why they are connected like that!!!! Grrrrrr.......
Ok......enough of that!!! On to more pleasant things like my companion on my walks!!! She is always close by and never in a hurry. She is part of the reason we got acreage (besides the kids, gardening, self-sustainment, dream house).....

...this is our Bella!!! The BEST border collie mix in the universe and our little guardian!!!! =) 
She is camera shy and usually will not look at me when I have it out!!! She is getting used to it though. Maybe because I have it with me so much!!!

Back to the walkabout.....whoever said that dandelions are weeds??? Now, I understand that they are invasive and can take over a yard in no time flat, but they are also beautiful and useful!!! I happened upon one today that had already bloomed, but look what it is now!!!! So amazingly pretty!!!!

And MOSS!!!!! I have moss!!!!! I have mentioned before, I'm sure, that we have two creeks that go through our property, and that we have slopes. So, where the creek is and the slope levels somewhat, I have moss!!!! LOVE it!!!!!  So uniquely beautiful!!!! =)  Happiness!!!!

Also came across some "wild grape" clusters. I do not know if they will amount to anything, but they sure are cute (and tiny!!)!!!!!

Wild Blackberries!!!! Yummy!!!! They are literally everywhere on our property!!! It is crazy! When we first started mowing there were large sections of the "yard" that was blackberry bushes. All volunteer, all wild!!!!! I already have an order for blackberry cobbler when these are ripe enough to pick!!!! =)
The chickens are getting bigger and bigger!!! They are enjoying their outdoor life and are very curious when they hear the sound of my camera opening!!!!

 Our "accidental" rooster!!!! He is such a hoot!!! He is starting to crow a funny and handsome!!!
And  good morning to you!!!!!!
The sky is usually not this cloudy in the morning, but today was a special treat!!! The sun is just behind them and showing off the beauty of the clouds!!!! =)
So very thankful for this little place on the planet we call ours!!!! Take a moment to  look can find beauty right where you are! You might be surprised!!! =)


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Bee Check!

Today we finally had time to check on our brand new hive!!!!


We have had some "busy bees"!!! The frames are full of brood, honey, and workers doing their thing. It always surprises me when I see the bees. I'm not sure why. They are so amazing. We got our hive set up March 30th and we had to add a super today. The brood chamber is slam full of stuff!!! =)

Here are pictures of what we found when we opened the hive!!!

 Working in the brood!!!! =)


Looking for the feeder jar....
 Hive with the new super on it!!! =)

Say hello to the ladies!!!! =)

I did sing to them while we were working with the hive.... Sweet Hour of Prayer.  It seemed to settle them a bit. They are just so curious about what is going on around them. And they don't seem to mind when you take out a frame to check on things!!! =)
But alas, I am not a "true" beekeeper yet....I have not been stung once!!!!!


Friday, May 10, 2013

No More Chickens!!!!


What I mean by "No More Chickens" is>>>>> they are officially in their coop!!!!!
They are finally out of my house AND off of the porch!!!!! YAY!!!!!! Thankful!!!!

I really loved the idea of having chickens.
The cold reality of owning chickens is they are MESSY!!!
We have had them inside since March 27th.....They were so tiny and cute. They all fit nicely into this little box and were easy to maintain the dust, food, water, pine shavings, and poo!
 Oh my word, but they are precious when they are this tiny!!!!! =)

When they were about 3 weeks old, we moved them to a large dog kennel to give them more space...It worked perfectly. They were happy with the new space and loved the perch we fashioned for them.

Then I started to notice the pine shavings......everywhere. There was also dust......everywhere. Food and water were getting a bit tricky to keep clean and I'm pretty sure there was poo on one of my French doors where they were staying!!!! Grrrrr.......
 This is Truly....our "Chicken Whisperer"!! They love her!!!! =)

I managed to not loose my sanity during this time, but my patience was wearing very thin with these adorable little soon to be egg layers!! They all have such unique personalities and places in their herd (is that what you call a group of chickens??), but seriously? I was ready to make chicken and dumplings there for a few days!!!!

We had company over last weekend so they got "kicked out" to the porch and we were able to de-dust the house with the help of my wonderfully amazing husband!!! YIKES!!!! There was so much dust, pine shavings and food scattered everywhere!!!!Even in the bedrooms!!!!  I ask you, how does all of that get into the bedrooms?!?!??!!!!

After the big clean....we kept them out on the porch (in the dog kennel) to acclimate them to the outside air temperatures, which have been unusually cool for this part of the country (probably Global Warming...Ha!!).

They really liked it out there!! (and I really liked the cleaner appearance of my house!!)
Fresh and sunshine did wonders for them. We were having to take them down to their yard during the day and bring them back up to the porch at night. The kids did this for about a week. They were (and are) very diligent in the care of our chickens.

But last night we finally got the coop all sealed!!!!!!
There is a door on it now!! =)
They were able to stay out in the designated chicken area ALL night!!!! WOO HOOO!!!!

 While it was weird to not be able to walk out on the porch and check on them before bed, it was a huge relief to know they are where they are supposed to be and they are safe. safe as we can make them!!!! =)


Monday, May 6, 2013

New Toy!!!!!!

Have I mentioned that I have the most wonderful husband in the world??  That's right!! There can be only one most wonderful and I have him!!!!! =) 
He is wonderful for many reasons, but this post will focus on one......

A few months ago we mowed our grass with our little17.5HP Craftsman 42" riding mower. It was a beast and I loved it!! I have a very uneven yard (field) and lots of brush-like weeds to mow on the edges of our woods. This little mower never complained. It kept mowing and mowing. That is, until we killed it. My son was joy riding on it just after we had finished mowing and it just stopped going. There was plenty of gas, so that wasn't it. We had replaced the drive belt earlier, so that wasn't it. Finally, we took it to the shop to have him check it out. Apparently, there was no oil in the engine and we killed it that way......=(    It was the best $300 we had ever spent on a mower!!! I am considering replacing the engine just so I can keep it around!!!!!

Enter the new mower.......

My sweet husband bought me a Brand New 22HP 46" Husqvarna mower!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 Happy Mother's Day to me!!!!  I don't need flowers or candy (seriously, these hips can't take much more!!!), but I did need a new mower and this one is quite nice!!!!

This thing has an adjustable seat, a cup holder, wheels on the deck, and much, much more!!!
Here are some pics.....

This just looks like royalty.....;) 

My daughter is adamant that our kids and riding mowers do indeed mix!!!!

 I love the front end of this thing!!!

 A "high back" seat!!!! =)

 Forward and reverse pedals!!!!!! Aaahhhhh.....Who knew?!?!?!!!

I really like having a new mower. Besides the fact that it has to be broken in on my rough yard.
 This is an awesome machine!!!!! I highly recommend it!!! =)


 My goofy boy really likes the new mower too!!!!

 The view from the driver's seat!!!!

I think my hubby took it mudding......
We are hoping to get many good years out of this new toy, er....tool!!!
In other news around the "propetty".....
 My day lily and purple rose has bloomed!!!!! =)

 The blueberries are doing terrifically!!!!


The garden is growing..... =)

 And the chicks have a temporary home!!! This is the bottom part of their coop!!! Painting the coop tomorrow and hopefully, they will be in it full time by this weekend!!! Yay!!!!! 
Things are coming together quite nicely around here....
The next big project will be fencing for a cow......that may have to wait until next year!!!!