Wednesday, November 28, 2012


So winter suddenly showed up. Thanks, buddy, for the warning! It's been freezing at night which requires a trip to the feed store to stock up mealworms, sunflower seeds and scratch. Or, we could just make our own.

The compost bin is filled with mealworms. Since we use an old trash bin riddled with holes for our compost, scooting it a few inches very couple of days allows a handful of worms to be feasted upon by the girls. They get hopeful everytime I go near the bin. Its rather cute, and frustrating, to be stirring the muck with four birds staring at your ankles!

We always have sunflower seeds in the cupboard of per food. I found a 2 pound bag of black sunflower seeds next to the outdoor birdseed at Albertson's for a couple bucks and give those to the girls every morning as a treat. Lately they've been trying to fly up to the bird feeder to get more!

As for scratch, well I happened across a homemade recipe at Fresh Eggs Daily who's ingredients I happened to have around the house.* So I mixed up a batch and the girls LOVE it!! It's been an hour and they keep looking for that last hopeful bit!

So what did I put in the scratch? Store bought oatmeal, pearl barley, sunflower seeds, raisins, and a multi-grain hot cereal mix no one in the family likes made of flax, soy, wheat bran and wheat germ.

I only give the girls a handful in the morning to warm them up an another handful (about2/3 - 3/4 of a cup) just before bed to help keep them warm on these cold nights.


* More on the benefits of scratch and the original Fresh Eggs Daily recipe here

Thursday, November 22, 2012

.week in photos.

I need to take some pics of the country roads I drive up to Tulsa. But I'm usually on a time crunch and don't want to pull over. If only pictures taken from a moving car were safe to capture or looked descent. Next trip I will plan accordingly.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Birthday Wish

As you all know, my life away from Texas has been visited with death and disease, yet in the midst of that we choose to celebrate life and living to the fullest. Today is my birthday. The greatest gift you can give me is go live and in so doing celebrate the life of another. Be the random act of kindness in a stranger's day. Smell the flowers. Say kind words to yourself and to your children. Believe the words you say. Now go! Live! Raise your beverage high and toast to life! Lechium!

Friday, November 16, 2012

.week in photos.

I spent some time in Tulsa working this week. This means there is a small amount of photos this week for a few simple reasons. 1) if I'm taking photos at work then I'm not working, 2) if I took any photos they would become the property of the company that hired my union (this week that would be Disney) and 3) it would be a violation of my employment contract. With that said here's a small look at life away from work.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Water play

As a kid growing up in the Willamette Valley, watering the yard was never a chore you thought about. If you had the good fortune to end up with a few dry days it was highly likely that temperatures invited children out to frolic in water. Mid-July through mid-September the amount of sprinkler play and the refilling of kiddie pools meant you didn't really have to think about your grass dying, unless you didn't rotate the pool location.

Now I live in Texas. It's a completely different story here. Watering the yard is a weekly check-off point. It's starting to need a creative aspect. It can literally take all day to water the entire yard and garden. At some point the fun of playing in the sprinkler disappeared. To combat this, we've tried incorporating learning play into the job.

Today, we tried various containers, floaty toys and nature items, some sunken things, a net, a hose on low, a flock of chickens and E. That quarter of the yard she was experimenting in got a well deserved drink. And so did she!

This Moment

{this moment} - A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by

Friday, November 9, 2012

.week in photos.

So I am a tiny bit late with my week of photos. But if you saw yesterday's post, you understand why. If you missed that post, here it is. This last week wasn't all serious deep talks, it was also full of exploring and learning. So, have a look-see if you'd like and we'll chat again soon.


Hair cut!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

a bit on the heavier side

There has been quite a bit of talk of death around the house lately. A hawk terrorized the chickens, two stray dogs broke in, the neighbors cat found the homemade-electrolyte water bowl, all these moments set us up beautifully to start a conversation with my girl about predators and prey. Big animals eat small animals, which in turn eat smaller animals and bugs. The prey must die for this to happen. Since we brought the chickens home to live with us, its our job to keep them safe from predators. (Not really sure how I'm gonna handle the transition from pet to food conversation later in life, with myself or in my mom role, but that's a story for another day.) Nature had set me up with a foundation for introducing a truly difficult subject.

My husband's father passed away last week. When I gently told E "Daddy's Daddy died today," she was a little taken aback, disgruntled, and clingy. She spent the night in our bed, needed to know everyone really was where they were supposed to be, and basically checked in with me constantly. Last night I shared with her the passing of an old friend of mine soon after I learned of it. I showed her a picture of him, since she has never met him, snuggled with his young daughter on his sick bed. She immediately needed to hug her daddy. Again, she spent the night in our bed, calling out occasionally but peacefully drifting back to sleep as soon as she heard our voices or felt our bodies.

True, it may have been less 'traumatic' if I had just not told her about death visiting 2000 miles away. I could not have shared with her the jolt of death, even when expected, that I was experiencing. However, I firmly believe that children deserve to know what's going on in world around them in clear terms. They sense when things are happening or if something is bothering mommy. If I hide events from her I foster mistrust later in life, I teach her to hide her pain. If I cant share with her my emotions now, in plain simple language, how can I expect her to share with me as she gets older and her issues become more complex? As a parent, I am a model of how to behave, of how to interpret the events around me, how to live peacefully yet meaningfully in the world. I shared the voting experience, let her cast my ballot and stay up to watch them count some of votes, explaining that while boring, it was a very important day. If this deserves special recognition, how much more special should be sharing the memory, ending and all, of loved ones with my child!

She barely knew her grandpa. I believe she saw him 3 or 4 times in her 2 1/2 years, due to the miles that separated us while my husband finished school. The moments she had with him were small, but beautiful. The photos are precious. I know she understands what has happened. I wish I could take her to the funeral, to let her partake in the beautiful ceremony of honoring a loved one's passing from this life to the next, but alas our finances don't allow for it.*

My friend Ryan she never met. Seeing the photo of his sweet daughter unwilling to leave his side impacted my little girl in ways I may never comprehend. I am hoping that fostering her awareness of the fragility of life encourages her to be a compassionate risk taker who lives life to the fullest, blesses everyone who knows her, and has no regrets at the end of the day (just like my friend Ryan).

Grandpa Dave died of complications due to a long battle with hepatitis C, resulting in liver failure, among other things. He lived a life full of music, laughter and grandchildren. He died happy and peacefully at home with his loving daughter by his side. I am proud to be apart of his family and thankful that he blessed the world with five wonderful children (especially my husband) and five smart, funky grandchildren.

photo credit unknown

 Ryan died in hospice care after a strong fight against cancer. He lived as an example of love, one who never met a stranger, joked about everything, and brought a community together. He is survived by two young children, his ever-faithful caring wife, and an extended family I am truly blessed to have known my entire life. It would be a disservice to Ryan not to mention his faith and devotion to a Christian God that mainstream America has nearly forgotten and mislabeled. His faith tradition and mine have distanced over the years, details I will leave out for the time being, but I sincerely wish the entire world could have known him. He would have changed their perspective of life.**

I know this has been a bit dark and sad for a homestead blog. My apologies if I have spread a cloud over your day. My hope is that you leave here and examine you life a little today. Is it what you want it to be? Are you living to your full potential? Are you leaving things undone? Go. Hug your loved ones. Live in the present. Do not waste a moment!

* My husband will be able to attend his father's memorial service due to the generous love of family.
** If you would like to read more about Ryan and his battle with cancer please visit his blog at
If you would like to help Ryan's young family by making a donation, please visit

Sunday, November 4, 2012

It got cold!

Last week I was chatting to the mister about possibly making some changes to the chicken's set up. Winter is coming. Our first Winter in Texas and I'm not really sure what to expect. I've heard 85 one day, ice layer the next. This got me thinking that the current chicken house is really a summer dwelling, since it was intended to help the girls sleep safely through 86 degree nights. They free range the backyard from dawn til dusk, rotating with the shade and so survived the grueling heat.
Now, about winter... If we owned the garden the shed in the property, we'd modify it and be done. But alas. We rent. We recently had a couple night dip below 40 and the days took a bit to warm back up due to 30 mph winds! I turned my imagination on overdrive and tried this;

The girls seemed to appreciate the snack break out of the wind. I didn't really expect eggs because the weather change was sudden and they get a little preoccupied staying warm on grey days anyway. Fortunately, it warmed up by afternoon for them to comfortably use their preferred nest on the porch. Now we've returned to "normal" Texas fall, a girl on winter egg-strike, and a broody hen who has now started molting. This should be interesting.