Thursday, September 13, 2012

Catching up

The younger kids learning about
mixing colors to make new colors.
Looks like it's has been a while since our last post. We had a nice and busy summer. The kids are now back in school. Nathan is entering his first year of Middle School this year. Noah is beginning Second grade. Jacob is beginning Kindergarten, and Evelyn is hanging out, practicing her language and communication skills and just being cute in general. 
Evelyn helping to adjust
  Nathan's neck slide. 

Scouting is now back in full swing, meetings, projects, belt loops, badges, selling popcorn, outings. Nathan is in Boy Scouts, but he is also helping out as Den Chief for Noah's Cub Scout group.

Some of the new baby chicks
New additions since the summer time. We now have some ducks, and this week we got another order of chickens; we normally wait until the spring, but since we are expecting another baby we figured that having our peepers in the fall would be a better idea. This batch of chickens also includes several extra roosters that we will be using as meat birds. 

Plans are in the works for a new and bigger chicken coop. One thing that I really want to figure out is how to split the run(hopefully expanded a bit bigger) so that we can keep grass or other types of green things growing on it, mostly because I do not like the mud pit that the girls have created it is very messy when it rains. Also, because I really want the girls to be happy when they are not able to free range; grass, seeds, yummy bugs = happy and cleaner chickens. The extra roosters are going to need a shelter too, we just haven't completely figured that one out yet. The ducklings are hanging out with the chickens in the run, but they could stand to be a little less messy too, I guess we will have to put them in etiquette classes. 
Our duck so full of cuteness.

The garden didn't go over too well this year. We got a few tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, a couple of watermelons, lots of kale, spinach, and swiss chard. The rest failed because of the heat, and our visiting deer.  She must have been desperate this year, besides eating the pepper plants, tomatoes, tomato plants, purple hull peas, and snap beans, it also ate my okra and the okra plants. We will keep trying, hopefully next year will be better. 

Canning was minimal this year. We were able to put up some tomatoes, blackberry jelly, and jalapenos(pickled pepper jelly, and cowboy candy). Dehydrating started out well and slowly stopped over the summer, but we did get strawberries, peaches, cherry tomatoes, onions, potatoes, carrots, and some fruit leather. We are getting closer to true pantry storage, it has quite a learning curve to change your lifestyle.
Liquid Soap during the cooking stage

Soap is back into production...slow, but steady. We have several new batches curing, and new batches of liquid soap has been made and is now sitting ready to be bottled and scented. We have also started making Bath Salts to go with the soaps, I am looking forward to making coordinating products that could be packaged together for gift bags, baskets and packages. I think my next trial will be solid lotion bars; hoping to have these ready for Christmas stocking stuffers.
New batch of Patchouli Lavender

Well That's all on the home front for now...What have you been doing now that fall is approaching?

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