Thursday, April 30, 2009

Finn is a Jr. Apron God!

This morning I had a comment from Julia to let me know that Finn was being featured today over at The Apron Goddesses. She features a different apron giveaway every week. Be sure to hop over there and check him out. He's so funny in his little apron. I made bread yesterday and just wanted to get it done with quickly and let me say, he was not impressed that I wouldn't let him help. Since this episode featured today, he has decided he should help whenever I make bread!

And too funny about Huckleberry Finn wearing the dress--hadn't even made the connection, but it's true! I love those books and considered calling Holly "Sawyer" if she had been a boy, but thought it wouldn't go great with our last name that also ends in "-er". We have one friend who calls him Huckleberry all the time.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Where'd the week go?

This week seems to have slipped past in a blur. Wednesday was a busy day. Paul had to have minor surgery, but all is well. I advertised Heckle for sale this week and on Wednesday, when the Trader's Guide come out, someone called about him. It turned out to be one of our neighbors and now Heckle lives next door to us. Bella wasn't happy about losing her baby and spent a good amount of time crying for him that day. Since he was only next door, they could hear each other still. She's looked for him every morning since then when I let her out, but I haven't heard them "talking" back and forth anymore. Wednesday we also took Ivy up to stay with her grandparents in Ohio for a few days. So on Wednesday, I was up at 5 am and didn't get in until after 10 pm. I was exhausted--especially since Paul couldn't drive that day because of the anesthesia.

On Friday, Paul wanted to go check out a glass factory in Paden City, Wissmach Glass, that sells hobby glass by the pound. It was a dollar/pound, so he gloated the rest of the day over his good fortune. He's setting his shop up to have different work areas and has been working on getting his stained glass work area set up. So he was pleased to add to his stash of glass for such a bargain price. We also stopped at this antique/junk shop that I used to drive past years ago when I had a delivery route for work. I told him that I'd always wanted to stop there and check it out, so we did on the way back. It is a small house that is completely packed to the gills with old stuff. We dug through it as best we could while keeping two curious and squirmy toddlers in hand. Paul found a little oil lamp that he brought home and cleaned up and it actually works. I found some old linens and a casserole dish. I want to make some bags for my bread along the lines of this.

Since Heckle has been gone, I've started milking Bella twice a day. I had hoped to get twice the amount from her, but I have to admit to being a little disappointed. Before I was getting three cups a day, which was slightly disappointing as it was because a good milk goat can give around a gallon a day. But I kept telling myself, this will pick up when Heckle isn't with her. But since Heckle has been gone, I have only been getting about 2 cups more per day. Totalling close to 5 cups per day. I know the most accurate way of measuring how much milk you get is to weigh it, but I don't have a scale to use, so I'm just using my measuring cup to check it. And five cups is barly over a quart. We're still buying chocolate milk since Finn loves it, but I've been mixing it with half goat milk. And we haven't had to buy any regular milk since last week. So I guess that isn't terrible. I did have enough to make a quart of yogurt the other day, too. I almost thought the yogurt was going to be a waste because it turned out my thermometer had been compromised. (I noticed when I tilted the thermometer the numbers were sliding all over the place because they were only attached with staples to the thermometer part.) I left the yogurt in longer than usual to let it get to the right temperature, and it did set up. When I was making it this time, I used some gelatin in it to see if it would set firmer, and it really worked well.

This is on my list to buy next. I've been making some simple cheese with lemon juice and buttermilk that turns out like ricotta cheese. But this kit will give me the cultures I need to make mozarella, and I think I will be able to use the whey from the mozarella to make real ricotta cheese. I read several places that chickens love whey and if you have leftovers, they will gobble it up. So I took my leftover whey up to the chickens and they wouldn't have a thing to do with it!



Speaking of the chicks, they are growing like crazy. I haven't put them all together because it still seems like such a difference in size. Amazing what a difference a week makes! The littlest banties are about the size of the chicks we hatched out, but the full-sized chicks are about 2.5 times as big. These pictures are a few days old now and they are bigger yet!



You can see the comparisons in this picture where I put two of the older chicks in with the younger ones that we hatched out. The big black one is one of the barred rocks and the little black one is the Japanese banty. Those two are the same age, but such different sizes due to breeds. The other chicks are a week younger. They eat like crazy and grow like crazy at this age.



And finally, look who pulled into the station at the end of last week. James! If you remember Finn's reaction to seeing the trains when they were first out there, his response was, "Where's James?" So his Nanny and Auntie couldn't leave without adding James and then since they were going to be adding to it, they decided to also paint Sir Toppenhat and Diesel. And Paul had a chance to hang the chalkboard also. (This is on the back of Paul's workshop which is just his place to putter around with the different things he enjoys like woodworking and stained glass.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pay It Forward

I found something fun at Rosey's blog, agapanthas and goldsworthy, about a week and a half ago. We've had a busy couple weeks here so this is the first chance I've had to get something posted about this. Hope this gets a couple takers!

Here's how it works:
  • The first three people to comment on this post will receive a handmade gift from me. (Please make sure I have a way of contacting you so I can get your mailing address.)
  • The only requirement is that you must participate as well, right after you leave a comment here, do a pay it forward post on your blog to keep the giving going ~ meaning you will craft it forward too. (Sorry, that means you really need to have a blog to participate and keep the chain going.)
  • Remember it is the spirit and the thought that counts and when you receive your gift please blog about it!

It's that simple!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Make Something Monday #15

Make Something Monday

Here's another installment around the homestead from my handy hubby:


Our rabbit shelter.

This is where the bunnies are going to live. We have the cages, but have to put them together with a zillion little wire clamp thingies which require a special tool. We have the tool now, but on the day when I actually had time to go out and work on the cages, we didn't. So I haven't had another chance to get them together. Once the cages are together, Paul is going to make some kind of supports so they don't have to have legs under them and will be easier to clean under. Also, before next winter, we will put some kind of doors on the front that can be used to close up for really cold days.

Holly tested out the shelter and gave it her approval. Finn has also discovered the fun of throwing great handfuls of sawdust into the air and rolling in the sawdust until it covers every square inch of his body. Didn't get any pictures of that, though. Fresh barns are so much fun to play in until you put the animals in!



So hopefully, we will have rabbits coming soon. But at least they have somewhere to live when they come!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Where's James?


Paul's parents and sister have been in visiting us from England for the last week and a half. One of the requests Paul had for his mom and sister was a mural on the back of his new shop. He's going to hang a chalkboard on the back for the kids to play with and thought it would be cute to put a couple pictures of some characters Finn is really liking right now--Thomas the Tank Engine and his friend, Percy. Today was the "unveiling." It was decided to wait until the paintings were finished before showing them to Finn. I tried to catch a picture of Finn's face, but as you can see, he was too busy making a dash for the paintings.

One of the first things Finn had to say was, "Where's James?" He has the little toys of Thomas, Percy and James, plus shirts of each character. So it must have seemed logical to him that James should also have been on the wall. Since this visit is drawing to a close, now Nanny has a job for next visit...



I couldn't get Finn to really look at me for any good shots because he complains about the sun when he is outside. But I got a few shots of him admiring the artwork. He happened to have on his Percy shirt, so he is "Percy" today. (Paul took him out and got a couple happier shots now that the sun has changed directions, so I added them in.)


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Quick Chick Update

We wound up with five chicks hatching out yesterday. I had to help two out of the shells because they were taking so long the membrane around them had dried out and stuck them to the shell. It was a bit nerve-wracking, but I figured there was nothing to lose. The chicks would have died in the shells, but they are running around with the others now. It was so much fun watching the hatch, I wish I could just throw some more right in, but I can't reasonable fill my laundry room with chicks (can I?), so I have to wait just a little bit! Next time I'm going to get something to measure the humidity in the incubator which can be one cause of low hatches. But I'm not too disappointed with my first try at it. It's five more than we would have had, right?

These pictures are from yesterday. I will get some more today or tomorrow showing them fluffed up a bit more.

Our first chick that hatched out. The only one that is mostly yellow. Tried to climb back into its shell more than once!



Same chick a bit more fluffed up.



Encouraging #2 to hatch. The chicks in the shells did respond to the peeping of the other chicks ,and you could see more movement from them when the others would peep. The chicks in the shell would peep back, too.





This is number four, I think. One of the ones that needed a hand.



A couple group shots.
It appears #2 does sport a mohawk--I hope that isn't an early indication of rebellious tendencies!





Monday, April 13, 2009

Make Something Monday #14

Make Something Monday

So I can't take sole credit for "making" these, but I did raise the parents from couple day old chicks, and I did do all the regulating of the incubator. Today is hatch day for our eggs in the incubator. Last night two eggs had little cracks in them, and this morning we have a chick! The other egg is cracked open more, and there is another egg with a crack. You can see the chicks inside the eggs moving and hear them peeping to each other. So looks like we have at least three chicks! We'll see what the day brings. (I hopped up to check the eggs right before posting this and another chick has pipped through its egg--so that's four!)



You can see in the picture that the chick is still all wet from being inside the egg. We will leave the chicks in the incubator which is nice and toasty warm to dry off and fluff up before we move them to their brooder. I'm going to set them up on their own for about a week until they are a little bigger and then try putting all the chicks in together since they are about a week or so apart in age.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bitten...

I couldn't take it anymore. Everyone posting pictures of their new chicks. Even though our eggs are due to hatch next Monday, I needed more instant gratification. It's a virus really--they call it chicken fever.


We got 12 chicks today. Four Rhode Island Reds, four Barred Rocks, and four assorted banties. We (read that as me) wanted to get the reds and rocks to breed together to get sex-linked chicks. That means as soon as the chicks are hatched, you can tell sex by the color of the chick. With a Barred Rock mother and a Rhode Island Red father, the girl chicks have black feathers with a red neck and the boy chicks look like Barred Rocks. This will be handy for knowing right away which ones we can sell as pullets and which ones to keep for butchering. We're not sure on the banties, but hoping for all hens. By comparing pictures on hatchery websites, it looks like we have a couple Old English Game Banties and a Cochin and a Japanese black banty. Ivy wanted banties so we let her pick them out. That's the one I think is the Japanese black--it's so little, about half the size of the others.

They are so cute and are just peeping away in the laundry room. They are only in that tote until tomorrow when I can swap them out to a bigger one. We took that to the feed store to buy them and the guy said, in 600 customers, you are the first to bring your own container for them. I laughed and wondered if the rest just carried them home in their pockets!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday #8

"Paper...Who needs paper?"

About This Blogger

I am a thirty-something mother of two girls and a boy ranging from preschool to middle school. My husband and I keep working and reworking on our goal of raising our family healthier. Our house is a constant work under construction--adding on and remodeling. We're happy to have bought our property a few years ago, but as any homeowners know, owning a home just adds to your list of projects and chores because there's always improvements to be made and maintenance to be done. On our burgeoning homestead, we have chickens, guineas, a few goats, and our most recent additions-rabbits.

About This Blog

I picked the name Petalz and Finz a couple years ago when I decided to try Etsy out. I wanted to custom make some baby related items and have things for girls and boys. I felt the name incorporated both my kids (at the time) into it--petalz for Ivy and finz for Finn.

I haven't had time to do much of anything with my Etsy for a while, but it's still my in my long term goals. In the mean time, I'm having fun with this blog thing. I've found some creative inspiration through my own posting, but also through many other wonderful blogs out there.

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