Friday, February 26, 2010

Chickens and Quilts

The 4-H fair, otherwise know locally as the Southeastern Youth Fair, is going on this week.  It features the hard work of many kids around our county, some who live on farms and some who don't.  Kids who belong to the 4-H clubs pick projects to do, or animals to raise, and then they are showcased and sometimes auctioned off at the youth fair. (Try an $82,000.00 lamb- yes the zeros are correct!) It's a good lesson in life for these kids to learn, budgeting, costs of doing business, the circle of life, making amazing profits once in a while, etc, etc...   
I got to go two times this past week- once by myself and once with the kids.  The day I went by myself, they had cows in the livestock area.  I hadn't really planned to go to the fair that day, but found myself parking in the parking lot and then wandering the aisles.  Because I hadn't planned on going that day, I was wearing inappropriate shoes for perusing a cow barn to say the least! flip-flops- yeah, don't do that! I was fortunate enough to miss the cow patties, but it was muddy, and it's hard to miss that when there are very few paved areas....   The youths were doing a very good job also of keeping the aisles clean- THANK YOU! 
The next day, after I picked up the kids from school, we went again.  They have a couple friends from school that have chickens entered.  We got to see those- one even won a prize!- Grand Champion, Bantam division!  (Woo Hoo- GO CAMP!)  I didn't get a chance to photograph the big winner, but I did photograph his sister's chicken.  It should also win a prize 'cause it looks just like her brother's!
There were also many other kinds of chickens. Asain, Polish, old English, Silkie, and others I can't remember.  Roosters were cock-a-doodle-dooing like crazy, I guess in competition with each other?  It was hilarious listening to them all!  The hens were also funny to listen to, all talking to each other(the little gossips!) and scratching at the floor endlessly looking for something tastier to eat than the food in their cups.  
Here's photos of some of the other kinds of chickens:

This guy was pacing, pacing, pacing.  Love that tail!

This guy was one of the big ones, though there were some even bigger ones there!

HAHAHAHA  This is a Polish breed.  Diggin' that headress!

This is him proclaiming his fabulousness!

I don't remember what kind this was, but all the feathers, instead of laying down on the body, curl forward and are poofy.

This is a bearded silkie breed- the poor thing can't even see!  It looked like a cloud puff!  That pointy grayish-black thing is the beak!  ?????

This is an Old English breed, tiny little things!  Katie would now like to have chickens.

Fletcher wants bunnies, this one LOVED him! 

And now for the quilt section of this posting.  For those of you who have seen me feverishly knitting my heart out on some little, grey squares, the finished product is now available for your viewing pleasure.  

I finally finished it, and it came out too small.  What a joke!  I made it bigger and warmer by adding some edges and backing out of flannel with some sandwiched batting, to make a sort of quilt/knit blanket.  I started out by crocheting some of the squares together and then changed my mind and whipstitched the rest, henceforth the crazy look.  Oh well, there's a lot of love in it and I KNOW my Zman will LOVE IT!  He's only been waiting since Christmas for it, and asks me every time we talk if it's done yet.  He will have a surprise in the mail hopefully tomorrow! : )   


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines!

Yes, that's a walnut.  Do you suppose that maybe this is God's way of saying walnuts are good for your heart, or maybe a surprise "I love you " from him?????  Could be, and I happen to think it's a completely natural way of saying Happy Valentines to yall, with no additives or preservatives or artificial sweetners! 

Here's some valentines I made(and one was for a birthday present).  Inspiration found here.  It's another blog I follow, very talented lady who also happens to be a nurse, she does some very creative things and paints beautifully. 
Short post today, going to spend some time with my Valentines.  Yall enjoy your time with yours!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


OK  Does anyone else(my sister excluded for reasons to be revealed) get tired of doing laundry?  I can not get over the amount of clothes my family generates!- and I am minus a teenager( he did his own laundry anyhow)!  Do piles of laundry just appear in your children's rooms as well?  Even though you just emptied their laundry baskets??????  Sometimes I can find things still folded up in the "dirty" clothes...  can you say infuriating?  The laziness that abounds in my children just blows me away sometimes, I am not raising them to be this way, so why are they?????  UGH! 

Now my husband's clothes add alot of bulk to the pile.  He's not huge, but he doesn't wear a size small either. 

I, of course, am perfect. I never generate anything of consequence to the pile.  HEHEHE Just kidding.  Of course I do, but why is it that my piles of folded clothes are dwarfed by the other members of the family?

The reason my sister is excluded from being tired of doing laundry is because she does laundry as a way of life, for the next two years at least.  My brother-in-law is stationed in Turkey( I am envisioning a trip in which I amass many Turkish rugs, tiles, art and dishes!) at the moment and I guess Turkish people don't wear that many clothes.  Or they don't believe in wearing clean clothes all the time?  Or maybe they just really like to do laundry?  My sister says it's because the door openings are very narrow and they couldn't fit a regular size washer/dryer in there(I personally would petition for some renovation : )).  Whatever the case may be, my sister's washing and drying machine is a piece of work!  She can fit about 5 pieces of clothing in at a time and then to dry the clothes she has to empty out a container of water every time a load dries, and she didn't find this out for a while cause the directions are in Turkish!  Now, her husband, like mine, isn't huge, but he don't wear no small either!  And the boys have had to cut down on the amount of clothing they change each day for the sake of their mother's sanity.  I'll bet she's glad she has boys instead of girls right now!  You can find a link to her blog about her initial "laundry shock" here.  She's got it down to a science now.  When she came over for my dad's surgery(she was here for about 3 weeks), her husband was overwhelmed to put it mildly.  We had a few giggles about that I have to admit.  She was in for a huge dose of Mommy Appreciation when she finally got home.

Back to America now.  This is the pile I have for today.  It consists of clothes from this past weekend.
Me thinks me children doth wear too many clothes!

However, my Pollyanna-side says to my Laundry-overwhelmed side: " Hey! One day's worth of clothes looks like this to my sister, so you really don't have it that bad!"  Thanks for keeping me positive Sis- love you! And just remember- one day, you'll have your ultra big washer and non-empty dryer back- YEA!!! 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday afternoons

What are Sunday afternoons good for? 
S will tell you they are good for naps. Extra loooooong ones in front of a TV, in a lazy-boy or a bed(and it doesn't matter which one in the house!). 
The Rocket will tell you they are good for running around the neighborhood, with friends, in the cold, doing God only knows what. 
Sweetie Pie will tell you they are good for working on Valentines, which is what she did.  ALL AFTERNOON!  She got about 7 done, one for each of her teachers, and some for her brothers, and some for her cousins and one for her Dad.  I think she worked the hardest on this one. It is so sweet and he will LOVE it soooo much!

Isn't that sweet? It's her running to Daddy after he has gotten home from work.  AWWWWWWW!
Leave it to a girl to spread out her stuff all over a table and work for hours on valentines for her family and teachers!  I love girls!  (I love my boys too, but they don't do this kind of thing- ever! I'm just sayin...)

I will tell you that a Sunday afternoon is good for perusing all your favorite blogs while drinking irish cream spiked coffee and trying to finish the Sunday newspaper and making blueberry pie!
I tried it al-a-mode of course! (is there any other way to eat blueberry pie?) and it was good!

Not a bad day at all!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Nature Study

I travel down this road every day to get the kids from school, and there's this trailhead looking kiosk thingie(for lack of a better term) off to the right, across from a playground and basketball courts.  It's a beautiful canopy road that I thoroughly enjoy every day.  Of course right now, in the dead of winter, everything is so green because of all the rain we have had recently.  I't been a very wet winter here!  Anyhow, I have often wondered about the kiosk looking thingie and wondered if it really meant a trail?  Today, with the kids, I have quelled the desire to find out about this interesting side of the road.  It is not a trailhead, at least not anymore...  but we did find some intriguing nature!  Like this resurrection fern, it went clear to the top of this tree, and was so verdant and lush!
It's called that because when it is dry, the fern looks all brown and dead, but then when the rain comes and it gets wet, it resurrects and comes back to life! Such a cool thing God did with that! 
The kids were dissapointed that there was no trail, as was I, but we traipsed around the area anyhow and found all kinds of neat fungus.
The ones to the left look like little fairy steps and were silvery, and the ones to the right were moist and wiggly like jello and were a pretty reddish/brown.

This was over what looked like an abandoned gopher tortise hole. 

These cute little mushrooms look like little fairy unbrellas, I wonder if they used them yesterday?  I especially like the one on the top, reaching out from the underside of the log. 
Some more resurrection fern and some moss on a fallen branch.
...and right close to that branch, was this branch that had this fungus growing on it.  I don't know if you can see the tiny black feather-like growth around the edges of it.  So neat!
We crossed back over the street and went to the playground.  While the kids were playing, I spotted this tiny mushroom in the leaves.  Just as we were leaving we spotted these on a tree by the entrance to the playground, somebody had kicked some of them off, but left enough for us to enjoy.  The undersides resemble stalagtites on the inside of a cave don't they?
 It only took us about 30 minutes total and we probably could have stayed longer!  Hmmmm, me thinks we'll be stopping by some other areas I've been wanting to explore!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Eco-nomical Bags

Here is how to make this:  (Hmmmm, is this garbage?)
into this: (I think NOT!)

Here is a sort-of tutorial for making re-usable bags out of birdseed bags(or really any bags made out of the woven plastic stuff).  I got this idea after receiving some from the World Wildlife Fund and seeing some in a store( they were $14.99!!!).  The birdseed comes in a bag of the same type material the fancy bags are made of! Soooooo, why not make your own?  Here goes the sort-of tutorial with photos....

First, you should make sure the bag is clean, and dry.  Do not remove the stitching at the bottom(you need it- 'cause it's the bottom!).  Then turn it inside out.

To create the square bottom of the bag, fold the corners on the diagonal (matching the bottom seam with the side seam) and sew across about an inch to two inches in, it depends on the size of your bag and how big you want the bottom to be.

Now the next step you can do or not, it is just to neaten up the bag on the inside.  Tack(with needle and thread) the flap to the side or bottom of the bag- I do the side.

This is now what it looks like.  Feel free to ooooh and ahhhhh. 

To finish off the top of the bag, you need to do a hem basically.  Fold it down maybe an inch wide or so a couple times.  I use a zig-zag stitch and go right over the edge so it doesn't catch on watches or rings or things when you are loading it up.

Now, use some scrap fabric and make some handles.  I have made them about a foot long by about 1" wide up to a foot and a half long by about 1 1/2" wide- either size works well.  The pieces I cut are about 3" wide to start with and then I fold them over in thirds and zig-zag to close(don't worry about the ends, just the sides are fine). I used an old dish towel here.

Now you want to stitch them to your bag.  Flatten out the bag(front to back), center the handles, pin into place and sew onto the bag.  I sew a box first, starting at the upper right-hand corner and without stopping start a diagonal to the lower left-hand corner.  Back stitch up to the upper left-hand corner and diagonal down to the lower right-hand corner. 

After you have stitched all the handles, turn the bag right-side out and... VOLIA! You have your own re-cycled, re-usable, and re-cyclable bag for your shopping eco-enjoyment!
and here's a shot of the inside too...for reference : )

These bags are stout!  If yours has a paper covering on the bottom opening, don't remove it, just cover it with a piece of fabric to re-inforce it. 

Hope you all enjoy making these and the conversations they start when you actually remember to bring them in to use at stores.  : )
This one is for my mom.  We will see if she remembers....hehehe