Our alpaca Gritona gave birth to a tiny light fawn female this morning.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Sunday, October 03, 2010
A little black calf.
It looks like our Dexter cow, Cherry Blossom, gave birth to a this little heifer while we were in Las Vegas. We got back from the airport really late last night and I didn't go down to the barn. I was a bit surprised to find the calf this morning as I wasn't expecting Cherry Blossom to calve for another 4-6 weeks. She looks healthy and is nursing fine but I really wouldn't expect any different as Cherry Blossom loves being a mom and takes great care of her calves.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Here is a great coloring page of a Dragon Boat (here).
Crayola shows how to make Dragon Boat Puppets (here).
I printed out two Dragon Boat cut outs for the kids to color, assemble and race (find it here).
Children on that day wear bracelets of five different colors to protect against Evil, they are called the Five Poison or Wu Du charms. It is the favorite decoration of this festival. According to Chinese custom, the "double fifth" is the hottest day of the month, when all the poisonous vapors are in the air, so every attempt is made to harmonize yin and yang so that danger and disease can be avoided. The Five Poison Charm is made up of a snake, centipede, scorpion, lizard, toad and sometimes spider. It was thought that the strength of the 4 poisons would counteract the poison of one. It is embroidered on clothing, stamped on cakes, engraved on charms, and used for decorations. You can read more about the Five Poisons here and print a a Five Posions coloring sheet here.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I still had a couple of pounds of zucchini that I got from Heather last week that I really needed to do something with before it went bad.... and I hate to waste food by letting it go bad. I did an Internet search on my options and I discovered a few new things to try!
I normally shred and freeze extra zucchini for making zucchini bread but our freezer is still full of beef so freezing was not the best option. Canning pickles was an option as well but I still have Bread & Butter pickles from last year to use up (I am the only one that eats pickles in the family). I did find a recipe for Zucchini Relish which I might whip up with the next batch of zucchini I get.
What I did find that was interesting was dehydrating it! My research found that shredded zucchini can be rehydrated and made into bread with great results. It can also be added to spaghetti sauces, casseroles, fritters, etc. So here is a tray of freshly shredded zucchini ready to be dried.
(photo to come)
I also found that the zucchini could be thinly sliced (about 1/8 of an inch), lightly salted and dried into chips! I was so ready to try that as I love salty crispy things. Here are my zucchini slices ready to become chips.
(photo to come)
Labels: Food Preservation
Monday, June 14, 2010
The kids and I worked on a 4-H project to help them learn about Flag Day. I read them a short story about Betsy Ross and how it came about that she sewed the first flag. McKayla colored a picture of Betsy Ross holding a flag (find it here). In the story it talked about how a sheet of paper was folded and cut with only a single cut to create a five point star. I found the directions on how to do this and the kids and I made stars. They thought that was really cool. Both Evan and McKayla colored pictures depicting the original 13 colonies flag sewed by Betsy Ross.
I also read the story of the Star Spangled Banner song to them. We talked about what the flag means to our country and the feelings it invokes in people when they see it. Finally, we made kazoos from recycled toilet paper rolls and played the Star Spangled Banner on them.
We recorded it all in our 4-H project book as part of our Civil Education portion of this year.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
I made two loaves of zucchini bread with some of the zucchini that Heather brought over on Monday. I need to use some more of it up as the ends are getting soft. I may bake up a few more loaves and freeze them for later.
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread Recipe
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple sauce (unsweetened)
2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.
2.Beat together eggs, sugar, oil and applesauce. Blend in the grated zucchini, and then the sour cream. Mix in the baking powder, soda, cinnamon and flour. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pans.
3.Bake for 60-70 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
I also made homemade pizza for dinner tonight. It is a family favorite around here! Tonight was a cheese, a pepperoni and a carmel apple dessert pizza too.
McKayla's School today included the "F" theme in preparation for tomorrow's celebration of Flag Day.
Letter "F" Activity Sheet (here)
"F" Word Search and Find (here)
Color the pictures that start with letter "F" (here)
Fun with Fruit - shapes and counting (here)
Match the Opposites (here)
Finally, I helped her read through "The Great Race" Thomas & Friends book.
It is interesting to observe how she reacts to this structured learning that she has asked me to do. She is excited to do her "school work" but about 15-20 minutes is about all she wants to do even though she says she wants to do an hour three days a week. After about this much time she starts to fidget, not listen well and look for other things to do. She boars easily if the things I have selected are too repetitive. When I see her attention start to slack I always ask her if she is done for the day... she has always said "yes", so I send her on her way to play. I can't imagine forcing her to sit for hours on end, for five days a week, working on repetitive worksheets. But, I will keep these small pockets of structure going until she asks me to stop.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Neil's parents are still slowly moving out of their home in South Carolina (they have been living in Virgina for over a year now). His Dad just returned from a trip south and brought back with him the stove, washer and dryer from there. Since they were going to be stored here in our hay trailer anyway we went ahead and swapped out the stove and washer from our kitchen to the ones from SC.
I am oh so happy with that as both our stove and washer were limping along and needed to be replaced soon. The stove had a broken latch on the oven door that prevented it from opening most of the time and the electric burners were not responding well, the washer was being run by an extension cord across our kitchen and dining area floor as the outlet by the washer kept tripping the GFI outlet (even after we replaced it several times). We ran a load of laundry tonight and it did just fine with the outlet so goodbye extension cord!
Thursday, June 10, 2010
This afternoon we had our monthly 4-H meeting for our general 4-H club here in Person County. We met at the park and held our meeting before the kids played for a while at the playground.
During the meeting we talked about Flag Day coming up on Monday. The kids colored pictures of our flag while president Micheal told us about Flag Day and how it came about. McKayla also reported on our activities at home for Earth Day (making birdhouses and bird feeders).
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Tonight we had our meeting for Horse 4-H. We arrived at 6pm to hold our Cloverbud meeting before the regular meeting began at 6:30pm. Heather and I went over the 4-H pledge and what each of the lines ment to the kids. Then once the meeting started the Cloverbuds lead the group in saying the pledge... they did a great job!
I pledge my Head to clearer thinking,
my Heart to greater loyalty,
my Hands to larger service and
my Health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world.
The kids also worked on making covers for their 4-H Project Books. Each month we will be working on a section of the project book and then adding the pages in. At the end of the year they should have completed project books.
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
I put our alpaca stud Peter in the girl's pasture today to spit test the girl's. Within minutes he had our female, Eloise, cushed down and breeding. I knew Eloise was open but it slipped my mind when I put Peter in there. Since Eloise is Black and Peter is Medium Silver Grey I can hope for a grey or black cria next June!?
The game hen that hatched out the five ducklings was missing from the barn this morning. Evan went on hunt into the woods and found her scratching in the leaves with all five ducklings. I wanted to collect them all up and put them in the chicken coop to keep the ducklings safe. As I said she is a very protective mother and did not want me or the kids near her babies. She puffed herself up and attacked me numerous times while picking up the ducklings. I managed to get all the little ones and put them into a pet carrier... mother hen was then easy to get as she wanted to be with her charges and she went right into the carrier after them.
McKayla's School today included:
Count the Stars (here)
Trace and Write - Oval (here)
Number Match (here)
Count the Money (here)
Trace and Write - bear (here)
Color Name & Shape - Green Square (here)
I also put together a File Folder game that I found here. I can make my own question cards so we can use it for whatever we happen to be working on. The cards I made for it today are clock faces with hour and half hours on them. I also made some single digit addition cards. I will make more as time goes on. McKayla LOVES to play games so this will help me feel a bit more "unschooly" during this current need of hers for structured school work.
Oh, I thought I should start recording the books that I am reading to the kids. Last night I started A Pool of Fire by John Christopher. It is the final book in the White Mountains Trilogy. Neil owned these books from when he was a kid and fondly remembers reading them. I had never read the books myself but had followed the animated story printed in Boys Life when I was younger. I have enjoyed reading the series with the kids very much.
Monday, June 07, 2010
My friend Heather traded me three pounds of zucchini and summer squash for two dozen eggs today.
She had come over so we could discuss what we were going to do with the Cloverbuds (kids age 5-8) at the horse 4-H meeting on Wednesday evening. It is the first "formal" Cloverbud program in the group and we have lots of ideas to make it fun for them.
Out in the barn I discovered two more ducklings under the game hen... bringing the total to five now.
Sunday, June 06, 2010
Neil got the lawn mowed this morning and then tinkered a bit on the vehicles. Now that we have our own Suburban back we need to get his parent's Suburban cleaned out and returned.
I discovered three newborn ducklings under our game hen in the barn this afternoon. She is still setting on about six other duck eggs so I just left the ducklings under her for now. She is very protective of her hatchlings no matter what species they are. In the chicken coop I pulled six duck eggs from the pile that has been growing on the floor and put them in one of the chicken nest boxes for one of the hens to set on.
I made stuffed zucchini for dinner with the Patty Pan squash and green and gold zucchinis I got at the Roxboro Farm's Market yesterday. It was a great one dish meal as I stuffed them with our farm raised ground beef and some Italian sausage. Here is what I did:
4 medium zucchini (I used 2 zucchini and four patty pan squash)
1 pound ground beef
1 link of hot Italian sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 Tbs Italian seasoning blend (I make my own)
Salt and Pepper to taste (I used about 2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper)
2 eggs, beaten
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350F. Brown ground beef and sausage and add onions. Cook until beef is cooked through and onions are soft. Let cool while you prepare zucchini. Cut zucchini in half the long way and spoon out seeds to create boats.
Reserve seeds to chop and add to stuffing. Combine beef mixture with bread crumbs, parm cheese, seasonings, reserved seeds. Stir in beaten eggs. Stuff zucchini boats fully. Spoon crushed tomatoes over the tops of filling. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and top with mozzarella cheese. Return to oven and continue cooking for 10 minutes. Enjoy!
Today is a "school day" for McKayla. We worked on rhyming words today. We made a matching game out if it and she had fun. Then she worked on a tracing wordlist that started with the letter "A" (find it here), a "what comes next" pattern sheet (find it here), single digit addition (find it here) and finally she worked on a clock worksheet (find it here).
Saturday, June 05, 2010
After breakfast the kids and I headed down to the Roxboro Farm's Market to see what fresh produce we could find. There were four vendors there today but I could see that the town had poured the footings for the new shelter for the Farmer's Market. Once the shelter is complete more vendors should start coming... I hope anyway!
I picked up 2 lbs of green and gold zucchini from one vendor, 5 patty pan squash and two heads of napa cabbage from another, and a bag of oatmeal raisin walnut cookies for the kids from yet another vendor.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
A few months ago we took deposit on our two Dexter bulls we had for sale. The younger of the two was still nursing so we all opted to leave them both here until the little black bull was old enough to wean from his mom.
Well, today they got picked up. I sure hope the older bull successfully covered our two cows so we have calves again this fall/winter.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
My first born turns eight years old today! He has requested homemade pizza for dinner. So, pizza and a movie at home. We will surprise him with "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" which he has been wanted to watch for months now. We will have his cake and presents on Saturday with Neil's parents.
Monday, May 24, 2010
I met a new neighbor last Thursday when he stopped by the farm to let us know his favorite rooster had gone missing and wondered if we had seen it around. At that time I had not seen his rooster.
Then around 11 am this morning I looked out into our middle alpaca pasture and could see a rooster pacing the fence line. I looked a lot like one of our Brown Leghorn roosters but something about him just looked a bit different. Evan and I went to check him out and try to catch him if needed.
Well, it turned out to be the neighbor's lost wandering rooster. Evan and I walked him into the corner of the fence line and fairly easily caught him up. We put him into a pet carrier until we could take him home.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
We have had a growing hole in one stretch of of our interior cross fencing for a while now. I have patched it up a few times but the LGDs and goats keep working at it until it splits open again. They do this so they can gain access to another pasture without the effort of going all the way around the fence line and through the gate. It is a short cut they are resistant to let go of so I have just let them have it.
Then it happened a few weeks ago... I found one of my female alpacas, G.G., out in the cow pasture. There was no other way for her to get there but to have squeezed herself through the "goat hole". Every day I would find her in the other pasture waiting to come back for her grain. Then one day I found her two year old daughter, Abby, in the other pasture with her. Then a few days later Fiore joined them in their nightly romp in the cow pasture.
One of our alpaca studs, Peter, lives in this pasture as well (along with our mini donkeys, cows, llama and the sheep and goats that can come and go). Up until this morning I had seen no interest from Peter in the wandering girls. But this morning when I stepped out the front door to go down to the barn I could hear the noises from Peter as he was chasing one of the girls around trying to get her to cush for breeding. It was Abby and after a bit of running around she cushed for him and stayed down for a breeding. So, if it takes then Abby will be a first time Mom next May.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
I finally used the last head of Bok Choy tonight by making this recipe. It was really good and I will be making it again!
Beef and Bok Choy Hot Pot
3 cups beef broth
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/4 cups chopped green onions
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 cups thinly sliced bok choy
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced carrot
2 cups cooked udon noodles
Combine first 5 ingredients, stirring with a whisk; set aside. Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add beef, browning on all sides. Add broth mixture, green onions, garlic, and ginger; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until beef is tender. Stir in bok choy and carrot, and cook 5 minutes or until tender. Serve beef mixture over noodles.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The kids and I spent the afternoon at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC. It is a favorite place to spend time. We played in the music room, the playground, the Dinosaur Trail and the toddler play area but the kid's really seem to be drawn to the percussion area of the outdoor playground today...
Saturday, May 15, 2010
2 Cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1/3 cup chili paste (recipe called for twice this amount if you are brave)
1 teaspoon honey
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
Friday, May 14, 2010
I chopped, washed and blanched two heads and spread them in the dehydrator.
With two other heads, I chopped and washed as above but then soaked in a salt water brine.
After soaking overnight it will become Kimchie tomorrrow. The first time I have made Kimchie too.
The final head will be used fresh in a stir fry in the next few days.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
The kids and I traveled up to Clarksville, VA to attend our first meeting of the Southrn Ring Rockers 4-H club. We still belong to our local 4-H club here in Roxboro, NC but the SRR Club is a horse emphasis club. We also have friends that are members already so it seemed natural for us to join them instead of searching for a horse club here in Roxboro.
Tonights meeting was strickly a business meeting. Next month we will be starting up a Cloverbud program before the business meeting. Cloverbuds are 4-H kids between 5-8 years old. It should be fun for kids and they are looking forward to it.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Sunday, May 09, 2010
Neil and his Dad worked on setting the pool up yesterday afternoon. They got a new load of sand to level the area were we set the pool up every year. Then the pool itself went up. The filter was attached and finally it was time to start filling it up. It filled overnight and McKayla was in it as soon as Neil gave the go ahead. The tempurature was that of ice water but she didn't care... she loves to swim!
Thursday, May 06, 2010
Saturday, May 01, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Neil spent the morning repairing garden hoses and running some of them to the automatic waterers in the barn. So, now we don't have long hoses running along the ground everywhere. He also had the time to fix the water pump that has been leaking out in the pasture. Once he fixed the underground connection he installed four t-posts around the pipe and ran electric fencing around it to prevent the cows and donkeys from rubbing on it and breaking it again.
This afternoon we all went over to Neil's parents for dinner. I made a beef stroganoff from our farm raised beef to take over. It was really good.
Today's mail brought two postcards from Memphis, Tennessee...
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Today is Earth Day. We already do many things everyday that others only think to do today. For example, we recycle as much as we can, I always pre-cycle if possible (meaning I purchase items with the least amount of packaging involved or with an intended use for the package once it is empty), I shop with cloth or other reusable bags, I use "green" cleaning products, we use hand towels in the kitchen and cotton dishcloths to wash dishes, we grow or raise much of our own food here on the farm, and I buy organic when it is an option. But when Earth Day comes around I like to get the kids excited and involved with conservation projects. This year we did lots of fun things.
I gathered the few ingredients together and we headed out on the deck. We tied string to four pinecones and set aside. We then mixed 1 cup vegetable shortening, 2 cups corn meal, 1 cup sunflower seeds and a cup of oatmeal together.
Then Evan hung them in the trees out by the kid's playground for the birds to find.
In the afternoon we packed up the kid's bikes and went over to a local park that has a walking/bike path. The kid's love going here since we don't really have a good place to ride bikes on our property.
We rode for a while then stopped to play on the small playground there. Evan took it upon himself to start picking up litter around the park and ball field. I was so proud of him!
Then this evening we created some Egghead critters by filling empty egg shells with potting soil and drawing faces on them. Then we planted some clover seeds in them and watered well. In a few days our little eggheads should have some crazy hair growing on them.
We did get a postcard in the mail today... from Wisconsin. I am not sure how they knew that both Evan and I are fond of big red barns...
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Received lots of fun things in the mail today. First we got two more postcards. Both of them came from the same family in Arizona. One card is full of great state facts and the other one is of Superstition Mountain.
So, Flat Baxter that arrived here today will be learning about things here on the farm and going on some day trips with us over the next few months. In an attempt to not clutter this blog I will start a new blog for each of the Flat Travelers that we host. You can check out Baxter's blog here.