Monday, October 4, 2010

Help With Blog Design

Ok, So I am super frustrated with my blog design. I can not get the template the way I want it. Blogger now has this new thing (or new to me), the design tab. I, at first, used this and didn't like the results. So I tried to get rid of it. It wont go away. So I then went to a blog template site and tried to use one of those, but the design from blogger kept overriding the template I had chosen from the other site.


Does anyone know how to fix this? What are good websites to find templates? How do I get my Banner to display what I want it to? I've seen several other peoples blogs and their banners, and they are able to make them larger with a photo or other decor. I want this too! But I can't figure it out.

So if you have some tips for me, please let me know=)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cluck, Cluck!

As some of you already know (others will be shocked) we added three chickens to our acre this summer. We eat a carton and a half of eggs every week on average, and we were looking for something more economical and organic. Ok, and this just seemed like farmy fun times to me.
So, I went on a search in early May to find some chickenes for sale. I knew I wanted full grown chickens because I was too impatient to wait for eggs, and we did not have the equipment for chicks. I looked in the local bulletin and discovered a posting for 1 yr old chickens for sale at this farm in between Mannington and Fairmont. I called the man up and made an appointment to come and pick up the chickens.
Well, when Kole and I arrived at the farm, I knew things were not good. All of the animals were sickly looking, underfed, and had poor homes. The man who owned this place told me later that he was legally blind, but I still do not feel that is a valid excuse. I should have reported this situation to someone, but I didn't. I did ,however, "rescue" two chickens and the small price of ten dollars.
I brought them home in a crate and set them up with good food and water in the chicken tractor our friend Joe had created for us. Kole named them. The white chicken is Patricia (the most beautiful name in the world Kole says) and the red one is Victoria (after Zach's boss). They looked awful. And the definately were not giving us eggs. The sat in the egg box for most of that first month and looked pitiful. Here are some pictures so you can see just what I am talking about.

The below picture is of Victoria. She is a Rhode Island Red. She was missing most of her feathers, one eye would not open, and she would barely eat or drink anything.

You will notice that both chickens combs (the floppy part on the top of thier heads) were very small and pink. This is a sign that they are not laying and may even be sick.

Well, I tried everything to get these chickens to feel better. At first, I just thought they were underfed, so I made sure they had fresh water and more than enough food everyday. That wasn't working. SO I then decided that Something must be wrong with them. We were sure that Victoria was going to die. She just wobbled around, couldn't see, and barely ate anything. I wanted eggs!! I told them that everyday but they didn't listen to me. Since I though Vikkie was on her way out, I decided to get another chicken.
A friend of mine told me about someone she worked with who had a farm and a bunch of chickens. She said he would probably give me another one. It was hilariously disturbing when she came over to my house the next day with a box. She said Frank had given her a chicken and then given her a tour of his farm. She brought the box up to the chicken tractor and reached inside to pull out this chicken. The chicken was dead. And rigor mortis had already set in. I suppose the heat got to it on her hour and a half tour of the farm. We were very sad (she laid in the grass and cried), but I couldn't help but find a little humor in the situation.
Later on that week, I went with my friend to meet Frank the farmer. His farm was amazing. Lots of healthy animals that loved him. 300 acres of forest and farmland. I loved every minute of it. Frank is an older farmer who came to America when he was a young man, from Spain. He made his own chorizo and we got to sample some while on our visit. Frank told me to pick my chicken, so I did, he caught it and into the crate it went. We immediately left the farm (so as not to bring home another chicken for my husband to bury), and I sat the crate in the front seat with the air on full blast. And that is how our Barred Rock chicken, Francine, came to join the flock.
Francine (named after farmer Frank) layed eggs for about a week. Then she stopped. I was furious. I couldn't figure out what was going wrong. I researched the itnernet and found several things that could be wrong, called the vet and got some suggestions, and made a plan.
I went to tractor supply and bought vitamins and electrolytes, deworming medication, and an antibiotic to treat any number of poultry diseases. So much for organic eggs. Or so I thought.
I treated these little buggers for anything and everything. Still no eggs. This lasted for most of the summer.
Meanwhile, I had been a little lazy about watering my garden and we had a big rain mid August. A bunch of tomatoes split and had gnats flying around them, so I threw them in the chicken cage. The girls went nuts over them. So whenever I had a funky tomato, I threw it in. Low and behold, a week or so later, the girls started laying. First, Francine started up again. Then one day I went out and there were two eggs waiting on me. One was bigger than my hand!! And darker than any Francine had layed. I knew it had to come from Vikki (the one we thought would die). They have been laying faithfully ever since. I kept wondering though what was wrong with Patricia. She still wasn't laying although she looked much better.
Then it happened. Three days ago, Patricia layed her first egg. It is the smallest of the three, and completely white (she is a white leghorn), but there it was!! I was so pumped. So, for three days in a row I have gotten 3 eggs a day.
I don't really understand it, but successfully rescuing and recovering chickens to the point where they can lay eggs is a real sense of accomplishment for me. I feel really good everyday when I collect our eggs.
Oh and if you were wondering, the eggs are considered to be organic, because the meds they were given were out of their system by the time they started laying (read it on the directions).
Here are some "now" pictures for you to enjoy. They really do look so much better!

Here is Francine. I love how much character she has! And her feathers kinda remind me of a zebra.

Big floppy red combs mean eggs!!

And here they are!! One day, three eggs. I get so excited every time!!

Now you know all about our chicken saga of the summer!!
While I am no expert at raising chickens, if you have any questions about how we did things (or do things now) please ask=). I love talking about my girls.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I've done it again....

Yes, I have backed myself into a corner by not posting a single thing for SEVERAL months. Please forgive me. I will update as well as I can, but there will be events forgotten and I can only ask for your forgiveness=).
This summer was fantastic! Lots of relaxing, working in the garden, picking up new hobbies, hanging out with friends, reading great books, mini vacations, spending time with Kole, swimming in various locations, cleaning the house (ok not so fun but I do feel good when its done), crafting, sewing, etsy making........ The list could go on.
Overall great summer. There were times when I was a to say. But now that school is back into full swing I am longing for a purposeless day=)

A few new hobbies that I have picked up: Playing the lap or mountian dulcimer and basket making (I've got to get the reeds to really start this though=). Oldtimey fun stuff.

I'm not awesome yet, but I plan to be=). I am teaching myself how to play and have started with some chording. I just LOVE the way it sounds. The drone reminds me of a bagpipe.

The garden has done well this year. We did all raised beds, and it was ALOT of work to put together, but in following years we will only have to add a little dirt and be done.

All of the raised bed sides were made from fallen trees from our back lot. We cut them to size and pegged them into place. Then filled with dirt, compost, and fertilizer. And voila, the plants did grow. We had some kind of blight with all viney stuff this year, the deer somehow got in even with the fence on, and the mexican bean beetles LOVED my green beans, but the raised beds are the way to go. Even after all that, I got tons of produce and have put up many cans of tomatoes, salsa, chili base, beans, and peppers.

We most recently got back from our labor day trip to Colonial Williamsburg. We went with my inlaws, John and Linda. It was such a treat to get to spend that time with them in a place they just can't get enough of! We all really enjoyed the rich history (expect for kole sometimes, he just wanted to swim in the hotel pool=).

John and Linda on the bus. One of Kole's favorite parts of the trip=)

This may be the only picture of the two of us. We are also on the bus. The bus takes you from one end to the other, or back to your car at the visitors center, etc. There still is alot of walking involved. Very Primal.

Kole made a friend and they played chess for atleast an hour, may more. These two were crackin' me up.
Arg! Kole the pirate strikes again!

There was a fife and drums parade. Kole wanted to follow them around town. So we did, because it was too funny watching him walk/dance around williamsburg.

There was an amazing maze in the palace court yards. Can you find Kole in the picture above? How about below?

There was a really cool canopy of trees in the palace garden as well. This is Linda checking it out.

Finally, Here is our navigator. He had a kids atlas on his lap, a pirate hat on his head, a gun (fake of course) and a pen in his hands, and a crazy look in the eyes. He needed a nap!

So Williamsburg was lots of fun. I am going to post more pictures on Facebook as soon as I can get the time.

Lets see, what else.......Oh I had a kidney stone this summer! It was AWFUL! But it came out and I have cut back on DDP so I'm praying it will never happen again!

We got to spend some time with Kbelle a few weeks ago. She is so stinkin' great. I just love her.

Here they are at the pond.

A few seconds after this picture, the net was at the bottom of the pond.

Dad loves taking his grandkids fishing and outside.

Kole decided he should give Keirrabelle some sound advice.


Oh yea, Lets not forget about Tiff's wedding and our adventure to COS!! This was such a fun trip! I just wish my boys could've gone. But I did have a really amazing time with my family and siblings.

Tiff looked AMAZING!!

Grandmomi and I got stuck in Dallas for the night on the way home. Stupid airports. She just wanted to sleep in the airport, she said. I said, You're crazy!

I developed laser vison in COS. Go figure.
Ok, well thank goodness for pictures because I would forget everything if it wasn't for them!

I started a new teaching job this year at a different school. I definately miss my old schools. I made good friendships and relationships at each of my previous 4 schools of the past 2 years. But, the program was cut and I had to work.

I am liking my current situation a little more now. It has just taken some time to get used to things at a new school. I haven't really been able to develop any friendships here (because I am in a seperate building, alone!) but maybe that will come later on.

The sad news is I may not have a job next year teaching FACS. The county we live in has cut the program down so much and it really looks like they are doing away with it all together by next year. I will have to work in a different county, hope to get a high school position, substitute, or get out of teaching. I haven't decided what the best plan of action is yet.

I have missed so many things with this blog, but it is time to wrap it up. I'm actually typing this part (the rest was ready) during my planning=).

I'm going to do better about updating. I think. Atleast i'm really gonna try!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Holy Moly

I haven't posted since FEBRUARY!!!!! What?!?! SO sorry to those of you who faithfully check my blog (there probably are not many left). I am going to try and do better.

Its been a great summer! Busy and fun. Maybe that was why I didn't post.=)

Its already back to school here in Marion County. Noooooooo!

I am actually at lunch right now, so this is totally acceptable to be writing during the day (right?) but it is almost over. And my afternoons show no mercy. So I will leave you with a promise.

I will do a large update on all things that have passed in the months I have ignored this blog. Pinkie Swear it.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A little update

Hey everyone!~

I just wanted to do a little update, because it has been a while.

Things with us are going great. We have had several snow days (woohoo!!) that we have enjoyed. Winter is coming to an end, and while I love love love snow days, I am very ready for spring. I want to go straight from a snow day to green leaves and flowers. I know this is unrealistic, so I will deal with the mud and rain to get to the good stuff......I just can't wait for our awesome tree to bloom again!!! I will have to post a picture to see if anyone knows what kind of tree it is....I think it is a magnolia...maybe???
Kole seems to be doing better in school. He was getting bored at home from all the snow days, so he is glad to be back! He is such a smart kid. I am constantly amazed at how much he has learned this year, not only with his academics but also in social and listening skills! He tries so hard to be kind, sweet, and thoughtful (and when he forgets we gently remind him=). Sometimes I am amazed with how much he means to me and the HUGE love I feel for my little boy. Before being a mommy, I didn't know that this kind of love even existed. Gives ya a whole new perspective on your own parents=).

I am taking an online class this semester, my first one for my master's degree. I decided to go with a masters in Online Learning, so I would be able to teach online courses. I have always enjoyed school and probably would have gone to college forever if it were free.....but man!, masters courses are ALOT more work. I only have one class yet every evening is taken up with assignments. And to think I almost took two classes at once!!! I think this summer I will try to take two. We shall see.

Because of my online course, my Etsy shop has gotten little attention. I still check it everyday, but I haven't made anything new for a while. I am not really doing it to make money, just to have fun and be creative with a purpose (and if I actually do sell something, Ill just spend the money on more fabric=). If you haven't seen my shop yet, check it out!! There is a link on the side of my blog you can click on or you can go here:
So far I have pretty random things on there. Just experimenting. In my free time I have been working on a rag quilt for my friend who is expecting this summer. I figured if I started it now, I might get it done by summer. Here is a picture of it not assembled yet.

Each square, except for the first row and the last row, will have a letter of the alphabet on it. The 1st row and last, will have three letters in the middle of the row. Each letter has been cut out, (that took forever!) and the "a" is the only letter I have sewn on yet. Rag quilts are so soft and sweet, perfect for a baby. They are pretty easy too. Good for beginners. I cut 8 inch squares in several prints of flannel. Flannel is recommended for rag quilts because they fray nicely and are really soft. Then you sew three squares together, top facing up, middle facing up, and back facing down using a one inch seam allowance. Once all of the squares are "sandwiched" you begin sewing them together using a one inch seam allowance. The seams are on the outside so you can cut them. then you wash the whole thing and it frays and looks so shabby chic. Even the letters are cut around the seams so they look raggy.
I know that was confusing, but I will post pictures once I get more done.

Zach got me a dress form for valentines day! He sure knows the way to my heart! I haven't been able to use it yet though because the company forgot to send the base with it.....bummer. But that part is on the way. I will post those pictures when it comes too!

I am dreaming about spring and the garden. I got a ton of seed catalogs in the mail, so I have been going through them, comparing prices, making lists, and dreaming of this years garden.
We are going to do all raised beds this year because the one we had last year was so great! It actually produced most of the stuff I canned. I am also going as organic as possible with seed and plant choices, and I want half of the plants to be heirloom, se we can harvest the seeds and use them for the next year. We are going to do alot of beans, tomatoes, and banana peppers, because we love them! We have been eating our garden stuff all winter because I canned stuff, but I used the last of the tomatoes the other day!=( We still have beans and peppers in the pantry though. I am definately getting stringless beans this year too, because even though I was SURE that I stringed all of them last summer, when I open up an can for dinner it never fails I get one or two rough strings in there. I also goofed up with my peppers. I left the seeds in with them thinking I like them hot.....and they are sooooooo hot!!! And they got mushy. The kidn you get at the store have a little crunch to them, but mine just fall apart. I need to figure out how to keep them crisp. Anyone know???

Ok so I told you I was dreaming big about the garden. I just can't wait! Its so fun to produce something good for your family.
I think that's it for now kids. This is the most I have actually written on this blog in a while=). Sorry there aren't very many pictures, but theres not really been time to take a bunch.
Check back later for some quilt updates=)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I made curtains!

Here is to another long weekend! I was having trouble putting these on facebook, so I am posting them here for those who wish to see=).
I made some curtains!
It takes pretty good measuring skills to get these perfect. I am proud of myself!
It is fun to take material and make something cool for your house.
I made four panels for the two windows in our bedroom. I used three different fabrics that I loved and got for a great deal at joann fabric. I loved the print, but I didn't want to overwhelm the windows and make them too busy, so I got this awesome, heavy greenish/yellow fabric for the top. The middle strip is a little smaller and it is the floral print, and the bottom is the smallest strip in a deep purple that I love!
Here are some close ups. I love this graphic floral. It is a good mix between modern and country, which I love. When the light comes through, the curtains look really cool, because the floral is a little lighter material than the other two so it lets moer lgiht through.

You can tell in the first picture why I now want to paint the walls! They totally don't 'GO'. But we have hated our wall color since we moved in so this is a good excuse to go ahead and paint!
Tomorrow, I am going to make some more stuff for etsy!

Friday, January 8, 2010

A snow day......

We got a snow day today! Long weekend for us=).

I just wanted to show the little project that I did today. Since it is FREEZING outside and roads are bad, I needed to entertain myself here, inside. Luckily, Zach has been playing with Kole, so that left me free to be creative. Here is how I spent my afternoon.

I made a pillow! Now, I know what you are saying. Pillows are easy! And I would say, yup they are.
But this was a fun project to fill a few hours on a lazy day when there was nothing else to do but clean. And who wants to clean on a snow day?!? Not me.

The cool flower is on both side of the pillow so there is no front and back. I cut random sized strips from the extra fabric that I had from the aprons. I sewed them together, the cut off the extra length from a few long strips. I cut out my petals, cut out the fusible interfacing, and ironed it all on and together. THEN, I topstitched along the edges of the petals to make sure they would never come off. That was time consuming but I think well worth it.
So, then I just folded the fabric in half, stitched along the edges (and the bottom), and flipped it, stuffed it, and slipstitched the opening.
I love it! And I get a little reminder of all those aprons. I just used the fabric that kinda matched, so I am going to do some more with the rest of the fabric I think.
So now, I have a new funky pillow for the house! I am totally making more=).
Now, I need to get some more stuffing from walmart, but we are snowed in!!
Oh well, another day. It is time for dinner anyways.
P.S. We are the P.J. family today! I just noticed that we all still have on our pj's and it is 5:15 pm. I LOVE snow days!!!!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

You gotta check this out......

Quick blog:

I can't stop looking......and laughing!!!!

Here is a preview......

It is CRAZY ( and I mean crazy!) people shopping at walmart. And yes. The lady in the photo has a dinosaur tail. I guess she thought it looked cool???

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