Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring Giveaway!

I feel the need to celebrate Spring with a giveaway.
Winter was tough, and lasted long after the calendar said that Spring was here. We had snow this week,  but today is supposed to be in the 60's, and I saw a violet in the yard, so I'm celebrating!

 You can win either the 11 oz rabbit mug (It had carrots inside and a leaping rabbit on the back) or the meditating sloth mug. It has the word "Namaste" inside, and a sloth hanging form a branch on the back.

To enter to win, just comment below. That is one entry. If you want  more entries, pin an item on Pinterest, or Wanelo, or Tumblr from either of my shops,  and mention it in your comment. You can also tweet an item or post it on your facebook. Whatever social media you prefer, you'll get an entry for each thing you post or pin or tumble.

I'll use a random number generator to choose the winner from each of the entries.

If anyone REALLY wants to post a lot, the first person who does 50 off-Etsy pins/posts/ tumblr/ FB posts will get to pick any mug from my shop.

The contest goes until April 27, and the winner will be posted on April 28.

And thank you so much for reading this blog!

Monday, March 31, 2014

April Fools Day Food!

Happy April Fool's Day!

Every year I try to do a fun fake food meal for my family. I thought my kids, who are now all adults, would be tired of it, but I think they look forward to it as much as I do. 
And with a granddaughter to enjoy it, I have more fun than ever!

This year I did the most simple meal I've ever tried, and I'm pretty pleased because the chicken nuggets are something I came up with myself. 

This is the April Fool's food for 2014 featuring chicken nuggets and dipping sauce, juice, half an orange. :

And this is what it is made from:

The chicken nuggets are slightly smashed coconut marshmallows, the sauce is strawberry jelly, the orange has been hollowed and filled with jello. When it sets up after being in the fridge all night, I'll slice it into wedges. The juice is more jello. 
For video instructions, look here.

So, super easy! And since April Fool's Day is on a school day, Grace is going to have the faux chicken nuggets in her lunch box! I know she's going to love it!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Old Fashioned Kids

This article has so many great points about children and play. If you are interested at all in child development, it is worth the read. 
Childhood has changed drastically since I was a kid. No more do kids play outside all day, only returning home at sunset. 
Kids *need* risk, independence, and freedom, but modern parenting is all about minimizing risk, independence and freedom. 

From the article:
"To gauge the effects of losing these experiences, Sandseter turns to evolutionary psychology. Children are born with the instinct to take risks in play, because historically, learning to negotiate risk has been crucial to survival; in another era, they would have had to learn to run from some danger, defend themselves from others, be independent. Even today, growing up is a process of managing fears and learning to arrive at sound decisions. By engaging in risky play, children are effectively subjecting themselves to a form of exposure therapy, in which they force themselves to do the thing they’re afraid of in order to overcome their fear. But if they never go through that process, the fear can turn into a phobia. Paradoxically, Sandseter writes, “our fear of children being harmed,” mostly in minor ways, “may result in more fearful children and increased levels of psychopathology.” She cites a study showing that children who injured themselves falling from heights when they were between 5 and 9 years old are less likely to be afraid of heights at age 18. “Risky play with great heights will provide a desensitizing or habituating experience,” she writes.

We might accept a few more phobias in our children in exchange for fewer injuries. But the final irony is that our close attention to safety has not in fact made a tremendous difference in the number of accidents children have. According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which monitors hospital visits, the frequency of emergency-room visits related to playground equipment, including home equipment, in 1980 was 156,000, or one visit per 1,452 Americans. In 2012, it was 271,475, or one per 1,156 Americans. The number of deaths hasn’t changed much either. From 2001 through 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 100 deaths associated with playground equipment—an average of 13 a year, or 10 fewer than were reported in 1980. Head injuries, runaway motorcycles, a fatal fall onto a rock—most of the horrors Sweeney and Frost described all those years ago turn out to be freakishly rare, unexpected tragedies that no amount of safety-proofing can prevent.
Even rubber surfacing doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference in the real world. David Ball, a professor of risk management at Middlesex University, analyzed U.K. injury statistics and found that as in the U.S., there was no clear trend over time. “The advent of all these special surfaces for playgrounds has contributed very little, if anything at all, to the safety of children,” he told me. Ball has found some evidence that long-bone injuries, which are far more common than head injuries, are actually increasing. The best theory for that is “risk compensation”—kids don’t worry as much about falling on rubber, so they’re not as careful, and end up hurting themselves more often. The problem, says Ball, is that “we have come to think of accidents as preventable and not a natural part of life.”


I'm hoping that we can change some of this for my granddaughter. I'm hoping that our move to the country will give her experiences similar to those that were normal in decades past. Last fall, I taught her and Grace how to use a small saw and hatchet, and let them go to it down in the overgrown woods at the end of our property.
They spent several days clearing out 'rooms' to play in. Here is a video of them showing off their work:

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Chickens and Chicks in the Green House.

This is a video of the greenhouse, and the chicks and chickens that are living there.
I moved the chickens into the green house when they started laying in February because they tended to put their eggs in inaccessible places in the little chicken house.  And now the baby chicks are too big to keep inside, so they are in the greenhouse too. Its getting crowded, but as the weather warms up, the big chickens can be outside more.

The floor of the greenhouse has deep leaf litter which will go into the garden beds later in spring. As soon as we can, we will finish the cob chicken house for the adult chickens, while the pullets (young chickens that haven't started laying yet) can live in the portable chicken house. The next project is to finish the cob chicken house and fence in a section of pasture for the chickens. While I would like them to have run of the place, one neighbor is worried they will range onto  his property, so I'll be fencing them in.

With the heat lamps, the green house glows at night. Kinda pretty in the snowy pasture.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


We bought chickens just after we moved here. They were only 5 weeks old and we were told they would start laying in the fall, but they didn't. We've had a very cold and snowy winter. We knew they wouldn't lay in the winter because of the lack of light but I do check the nest boxes every couple of days, just in case.

A couple days ago we got another winter storm, and yet another below 0 spate is due tonight. I was adding hay and straw to the piggies, the rabbits and the chickens.  When I got to the chickens, only two came out of the house, so I looked around for the third one, and opened the nesting boxes.
And there it was, sitting in the nesting box. She got up, and there were four eggs!

One was still a little warm, but the other three were frozen solid. (Poor chicken for having to sit on ice to lay her egg!)
And they were all pretty large! 
It looks like all three laid eggs, since they are all slightly different shapes and colors.  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy Twelfth Night!

I was just looking at A Polar Bear's Tale and saw that it was Twelfth Night tonight. While I am sure you all are baking your bean cakes and mulling your wassail to howl at your apple trees,  I am not.
Instead I am working to finish up a kiln full of ware to fire during a cold snap of below zero weather that is supposed to come in a day or two. 
There is nothing nicer than a kiln to warm the basement and pipes during a frigid spell! I might just make some mulled cider to drink while it fires, though.

Since much of the Midwest US is getting hit by a snowstorm, I thought I would post pics I took while I took care of the animals early in the morning, just after the first big snow we had a couple weeks ago.
Happy Twelfth Night!
Down the pasture to the woods

Jaxon's first snow

Looking back up the pasture to the house

Along the neighbor's pasture fence

Into the woods
A bunny path in the woods

Old wild rose thicket in the woods

The rabbits, chickens, small hoop greenhouse and heritage piggies.