Well, hello there, strangers!  I suppose you are now thinking one of two things – 1) Whoa, I forgot I had this blog on RSS/Email notification.  2) What happened to HER?!

I know, I know, I have been a very, very bad blog mom!  No updates, if you discount the Wordless Wednesday posts with no updates in them, since October.  I am still here, though!  The holidays, as usual, kicked my butt.  This was the second year since losing my beloved grandfather and I get in a funk.  Plus, life kicked me in the butt, it was crazy here the last few months with the two little ones and the oldest finally finished her 11th grade work and is now a SENIOR!!!  (How did she get this old without me noticing??)

We had another chicken go broody and hatched four eggs.  We lost all four chicks to the hawks around the area.  We have also lost a few of our hens, as well.  We are now down to eight chickens.  Rogan and I have decided when the weather turns warmer (it has been freezing almost every night since right before Christmas) we are going to fence in their coop and start keeping them in the pen and safe from the hawks and the neighborhood dogs (this is entirely the chickens’ fault, as they keep flying over our “jailhouse” fence -out from under the protection of the tree cover of our yard- and over to the neighbor’s yard and in an empty field across the road).  We may order some more chicks this spring.

I have started garden dreaming.  I have catalogs, both paper and virtual, I am going through and trying to decide on exactly what to plant this season.  I am planning on expanding our largish-small plot and maybe do greenhouse hoops we can cover in the winter and have a year round garden!  The little ones are getting old enough now that I can spend a bit more time on gardening – and I am planning a separate herb garden and a kid’s plot for them to learn how to work the earth.

I will confess to weakness and admit I have not been using my clothesline since it got cold.  Our laundry room is outside in an alcove off our carport and it takes all I have to just walk out there and do laundry.  So I have been succumbing to the luxury of using the dryer more and more.  We have to run a small heater in the room with the double doors shut so the water line does not freeze on us, but I still find myself having to run an empty load before I can start on the day’s laundry to clear out ice in the line (we do not have a hot water line, only the cold line).

We also discovered at the beginning of the month we need to replace our septic tank and field drains – they are original to the house, so are about fifty years old or so.  The field drains are being blocked by all of my precious trees’ root systems in that part of the yard.  We are looking at about three grand for that.

Plus, we bought the little ones some wooden blocks and building sets for the holidays.  Right before the septic tank issues one of them tossed a block and it hit our HUGE picture window in the living room and cracked it – we are talking about around two to three thousand if we replace it, as it is now structured (also original to the house and is only single pane and had spider cracks running through it already).  This is where I beg you for work, or to recommend me to anyone who needs administrative or bookkeeping work!

Paperwork and Headaches

Bills, Bills, Bills

So, it looks like any refund we get from the IRS is spoken for this year.  The house is starting to remind of two movies – the first obvious choice is The Money Pit and the second is Baby Boom – where the ad executive moves into this great old house in the country, only to discover everything is breaking down.  (Did I mention the kitchen floor also needs replacing, because the subfloor is starting to buckle?)

Oh, well.  I suppose this is the price you pay for living in an older house.  We have a project lined up to replace the two prong outlets with three prong ones (which requires a lot of rewiring).


House Falling Down

The Money Pit


Oh, and something no one really warns you about when you move from the big city to the country – and have a house surrounded by woods – is critters.  Yes, I theoretically knew there would be creepy crawlies, but was not prepared for my new arch enemy – MICE.  Apparently my chickens (and dogs and cat) suck at killing these things before they get into the house!  We have tried traps of all kinds and we keep the population from getting out of control, but we still seeing them scurrying around in the corners sometimes.  I have ordered a product from my favorite online store – Greenfeet – that is supposed to keep them from coming into the house, due to the odor of the herbs and cedar in the product not agreeing with their olfactory senses.  I should be getting it in this week and will let you know how it works.

Saturday Recipe will hopefully continue soon, but some posts may be teasers – I am now a recipe tester for one of my all time favorite recipe sites and will not be able to disclose the recipe for you until it is published on the site.  But I will show you some pics and give you some tips (like how to truss a chicken and how to chop chocolate blocks).

I hope you will not delete me from your feed and will continue on with me in this journey of learning homesteading and country living and homeschooling (oldest will be graduating soon, but the middle one will be starting kindergarten this fall!).  I will give you all the good AND the bad of it all (like mice!).  You will see me fall on my face and learn from mistakes.  So, stay tuned – same bat-ish time, same bat channel!!