Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Past

This time of year I always think back on the years when I was a little boy and Santa was a belief I held onto with all my might! I am # 5 of 6 kids that my parents had to raise. So with my Mother's younger Sister also living with us, It was a full house. And at this time of year, We had all the Holiday dinners at our house! All the relatives would gather at our house early on Christmas morning and cooking would go on until the meal was all ready to be eaten!
This was the second time of the year my Father would bake his world famous pies (the first time would be Thanksgiving!). It took him 3 full days to get them all right. There was the Apple and Cherry pies of course and the Mincemeat pies (two of each!) and my favorite Lemon Margarine!! He would make two of thees also, and make a small one just for me! He also fixed the Turkey and Stuffing and the Candied Yams (with lots of Marshmallows!!). He also made up lots of cinnamon pin wheels from the left over pie crust!

This is what I see with my minds eye as I look back. And things changed not long after that. My mother was hit by a car when I was about 6 or 7 and that started a down hill battle with Pain and Drugs that tore our family apart and now we are spread across the Country and do not see much of each other anymore.

My Mother died in 1975 and we lost Dad in 2005. My oldest Sister  past in1993 and we lost my oldest Brother Danny just this past July! So nothing stays the same. But the memories of a little boy do!

My Dad was really into Photography and he took Mega pictures over the years and when he pasted, I got some boxes that were full of them. The following is a picture of my younger Sister and I telling Santa what we wanted that year! This is one of the things I remember most!
Can you tell that I wanted Santa to really hear what I wanted! Maybe I was 5 or 6 in this one.
My minds eye see life back then a lot happier then it really was. To only be that little boy again!


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Rain, Cold and a Chicken update

I said that I would try to get more posting done and this a step in that direction!

The past few days have been nothing but rain and cold! The sun did come out this afternoon for a little while, But the temps did not get out of the low 40's and tonight I had to let the truck warm up to get the frost off the windows so I could drive home from Terri's place. And it's just next door! But the frost was heavy enough that I ran the defroster just so I could see to get out of her drive way and into mine.

 You see I spent the day over there washing sheets and blankets and helping her get the house cleaned up for the Holidays. We also decided on the menu for Christmas dinner. There will be 12 people here for Christmas and we are going shopping for the things we need to put it all together.
The menu will be.....
Roasted Turkey,
Baked Ham,
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy,
Brussels Sprouts (done 2 ways... 1 will be Roasted Sprouts with Bacon, Garlic and  Cheese and the other will be steamed Sprouts for our friends who do not eat meat!).
Corn pudding,
Candied Sweet Potatoes,
Gallo Salad with Pecans, Cherries, Pineapple and Cottage cheese,
Parker House Rolls,
Relish Tray (Pickles, olives, Carrot sticks, Stuffed Celery and Deviled Eggs )

And desert will be....
5 or 6 different kinds of cookies, Better Then Sex Cake, Cheery Pie and 3 or 4 kinds of home made Candies.
That should let every one eat all they want and be very full and ready for a nap!

I wanted to give you an update on the Chickens. The rain has made a mess of the whole place, with standing water all over.

As you can see, Water every where. This picture was taken from the back deck \looking  to the back of the Homestead. and the area in the fore ground is the Garden area. We did not get much of a garden this year because of the rain last spring and all the weeds! There are new plans for this area come spring 2014!

Here are 7 of the 10 Girls." Cuddles" is the light colored one and the only one that has a name. She is a real sweet hart and is the only one that will let me pick her up and she will set on my lap or arm to be petted!

And here are the Eggs that I have gathered over the past 3 days! 21 washed and drying, To be placed in cartons and then into the fridge.
As I said in a previous post, The Girls had been in Moult for 76 days with no Egg laying . But on Nov 13 I got an Egg and at that time the total for the year was 1712. As of today that total is up to 1845! That's an increase of 133 Eggs! I  have plans to increase the size of the flock this Spring and to get a Rooster to allow them to set and hatch Chicks of their own. They are 20 month's old now.

So how are you doing with prep's for the Holiday!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Book Give-a-way

I'm so excited.... She finally did it! Leigh over at 5 Acres and a Dream has finished her book just in time for Christmas!

I have followed her Blog for a long time and she is the best! For 5 years her and Dan (her better half?) have been Homesteading and this is her story.
And she is having a "Book Give-a-way" Go to her Blog to see how you can enter. I did and I also plan to purchase a copy after Christmas (I'm sure I will get an Amazon gift card for Christmas, I always do!!). But if I get lucky, may be I will win one too! If that happens, I hope she sign it for me!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Drought is over!

But I'm Not talking about the rain. Even tho we have been getting rain for the past few days and it has been very cold.
The Drought that I'm referring too is THE EGG DROUGHT! I got my last Egg on August 29 (the total of Eggs at this point was 1711 for the year!) as the Chickens went into molt and started loosing feathers. And I have to tell you that they got to looking so bad, I though that I might be loosing them. I mean they lost the tail feathers, They lost the butt feathers and the feathers on necks and backs! Each day there would be more feathers on the floor of the Hen House and less on the Girls!
To tell you that I was concerned would be an understatement! As this is my first flock of Layers and I had done a lot of research before I got my first half dozen, I knew that they were going to stop laying at some point and I was just going to have to wait it out. And continue to feed and water them each day.
I love my Girls, But with no Eggs and the cost of feed what it is, They sure were not doing their job! I had to buy my first store Eggs and was not happy about how they looked and tasted.
And then on November 13 as I opened the Hen House, I found an Egg! Just one! But I did a HAPPY DANCE! Was this the first of more to come?
BOY HOWDY was it!
Nov. 14... One Egg
Nov. 17...3 Eggs
Nov 19... 3 eggs
And as of today... A total of 93 EGGS! I think my girls are back into production and the Drought is OVER! As of today. 1804 for the year and still 22 days left of this year, could they reach 1900! We will see! I have fresh Eggs in the fridge and I can start selling Eggs again.
Will I be adding more Chicks to the flock this spring? You bet and I will finally get them moved into the new digs as soon as I get fence put around it!
I will also be looking for a Rooster for the first time and see if They will hatch out any babies on their own. And I will be looking into an incubator to see if I can help them out some!
But I have to tell you I am so tired from all the DANCING!