Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Farm Report

It was a long, exhausting week, but a few things did get done.

I started a new flat of lettuces. The first flat, which I pictured a week or so ago, is doing what all lettuces do in my breezeway. It's sitting there, looking at me. I plant them in good potting soil, fertilized with chicken and turkey litter, the room is 60 degrees, they're under lights, and they get the water they need. Yet they grow thin and weak, and I haven't gotten a salad out or any of them, ever. I sure wish I knew why.

I drove all over Chicagoland, as my dad visited two doctors and was hospitalized, briefly. Things are fine, but it was tiring.

We used up all the hay in our haybarn this week. It was purchased in June or July, we started using it roughly in August, and now it's gone. I picked up some more this weekend, but first I had to clean out the haybarn. We stack the hay on pallets, and loose hay falls in between and around those pallets. I rake out most of that loose hay because it rots and can cause problems when the rot spreads to the next bales. I give the hay to the chickens.

They peck and scratch and eat hay seeds and stems and turn all of that into lovely eggs with beautiful and tasty yellow yolks.

Today stalls were cleaned and chicken feed was purchased. Our grandchildren are visiting for the weekend. We've been having a great time!

Monday, January 23, 2012

January Snowfall

So, I mentioned snow. I headed out during the beginning hours to get some pictures. I think I'll be retiring my point and shoot. Enjoy these as best you can!

The horses, walking away. you can see how the cold and snow have turned them into beggars, pleading with me to bring them in out of the weather.

Even though they have to paw through the snow to eat.

Henry found something yummy.

Here's where he found it. Can you guess?

Yes. It's a poopsicle.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday Farm Report

It's been a mild winter here on the farm, with temps in the 40s and lettuce still greening in the garden. Sadly, I'm so accustomed to closing the garden in November that I didn't realize there was still lettuce until it froze! But it was there. These past two weeks, however, have seen the return of Old Man Winter. Cold is here again, and snow. Yesterday we had about 5" fall here, thick and heavy. The roads were a disaster, and Mary's school closed at 12:45. It was quite the trip over to get her. But the nights have been lovely. It's clear and crisp, and finally cold enough to light a fire. Curling up in front of crackling logs and good movies! We've discovered Downton Abbey, so we've added a little Edwardian class to our evenings, too.

Little lettuces are growing well, and some new orchids have been added to the collection. I'm close to becoming a plant hoarder. OK, maybe I already was. John says the women in my family have that disease. But it could be worse, sweetie. I could be collecting cats...Oh, wait. we may be on the road to that, too! Another stray has adopted our chicken house as it's occasional home. We can't approach it yet, but it's been out there on various days when we go to feed the birds.

Today I've been struggling with learning to use Pinterest. I think I'm hopeless. So I gave up on that and got all reactionary.

Yes, when the computer gives you hissy fits, there's always snail mail to help you feel in control again. A friend recently retired, so her e-mail isn't available anymore. Can you imagine a modern woman without e-mail OR a cell phone? She had those through work, and hasn't decided if she's going to get them again. So, snail mail it is.

I have a full list of plans for today, mostly centered around organizing The Daughter's bedroom and The Office. A walk is also on the agenda, and the Youngest Son and his girlfriend are due for dinner tonight. Looks like pork schnitzel, spaetzle, sweet and sour red cabbage and mashed carrots and rutabaga. Auf Weidersehen!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Various and Sundry

Just some miscellaneous thoughts and photographs.

Breakfast. Home-grown eggs, cheddar cheese, cranberry relish. We've discovered this again this year, and it's become a favorite. Put a bag of cranberries and a peeled orange into a food processor. Pulse until ground to your liking. Add up to 1/2 c sugar and enjoy! We like a half cup or so with a large dollop of Greek yogurt and maybe a sprinkle of granola. It's replacing the boat-o-ice cream we used to eat at night, and, shockingly, we aren't missing the ice cream.

Pink Flamingo. Sometimes you just have to give in and get girly!

Two-week-old mixed greens seedlings, transplanted into a window box. Their younger sisters will be started later today.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King Day

We have the day off. I was going to was poetic about how he would have wanted children in school, learning about American history, not in front of TVs, playing video games. I was going to talk about equality and freedom, but we live in a country that is losing both daily. I could talk about the faith that he lived and espoused, but, while doing some research this morning, I was surprised to learn that his Christian beliefs were, well, not so Christian. You don't have to take my word for it; look it up! I will say that he and I shared a favorite hymn

although this is not my favorite version. My favorite version is sung on Sunday in my church.

So today I'll be dropping some things off at the thrift store, spending time with my daughter and, later, heading to a 4H meeting where I will listen to kids learn about farm life and then support a local farmer by buying some of his milk. Hmmm...maybe I do get the point of this day, after all.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday Farm Report

Winter has finally hit here in northeastern Illinois. Thursday night we were hit with cold temperatures, winds, and snow (which means drifting.) The horses' fur is barely long enough to keep them warm, which means they burn more calories and lose weight. The chickens are acting like all the birds we've had in the past; sitting on the step of their house, looking out at that evil white stuff that is so cold on their little feeties, and covers up all the good stuff we throw out there for them. The dogs beg to go out every 5 minutes, rain, sleet or snow, and then beg to come back in, almost immediately. Such a thing.

I spent today at my dad's, cleaning out and organizing things so he can get ready to move. Yep, he's moving. He bought himself a little house in our town. He also bought a new car, which was necessary, after last Sunday's adventure. He's been busy this week.

I got home in time to try a new beer, make some homemade pizza, and bake some bread for tomorrow. Now, it's movie time!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


You have a beautiful baby girl, and this is what you're inspired to write and record for her? Seriously?

OK. Call me a fogey.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday's Chores

He says he fell asleep. He took out 60' of fencing...

The car spun and was stopped by a rock.

He walked away with two cuts on his hand, and EMS said there was no reason to take him to the hospital.

An onlooker said he would go out tomorrow and buy a Saturn.

I guess we'll be helping my dad find a new car today.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Saturday Farm Report

This week the weather has been amazing! It's been about 40 all week, and above 45 most days. The horses have been out at night, leaving me less cleanup in the morning. That may sound lazy to some horsekeepers, but they look cleaner, happier and calmer than when they spend nights in their stalls. It has helped with the cleanliness that it's also been dry, so there's less mud to roll in. I don't understand the rolling in the mud thing, but our horses love it. I was talking to our farrier the other day about that, and even he, the expert, couldn't explain why they roll in the cold, wet mud, even in the winter. We could both understand summer rolling, but winter? We're mystified.

I've been working on scheduling and planning this week. Last year, I talked about planning the garden. This year, I'll be doing that soon, but I am also planning horse projects, house and garden maintenance projects, and vacation scheduling. Our first planned trip away will be in February, when we go to visit cousins in Iowa City. We planned that for this month, but the silly Buick decided it needed new tires. Our trip money was invested in Firestone. So, next month it is.

Today Mary and I are headed out to visit two stables near us. At the first one, I am going to talk to a lady about lessons for me and my horse. I last took lessons about 30 years ago, and, although I am generally content with what Hope and I do, I am beginning to want a little more. If I can put a little polish on my meager skills and connect a bit better with her, it could be fun. After a stop for lunch, Mary and I will head to another stable, where one of her 4H leaders works. Said leader has offered her the chance to work with a young horse, and is going to show her how to do that. That's golden, and I'm going to make sure she gets that opportunity. So, since it's later than I thought, I'll be heading out now. Have a great Saturday!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas Film Festival, the Report

So, I mentioned that we do a Christmas Film Festival here on the farm. This year the theme was "Movies We Just Feel Like Watching." I thought I'd share some of what we saw.

In no particular order, because I didn't keep track and can't remember what we saw first, second, etc, we saw:

Sherlock Holmes 2: Game of Shadows.

It was entertaining, but missed something. Plot connections, among other things.

Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow

Yes, we'd seen it before. It was time to see it again, I guess. We like the filming style; very sepia/colorless, except for that WWII lipstick!

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

Typical impossible mission, but fun to watch. Much chuckling at the absolutely impossible ending. I admit it. I couldn't watch the scene where he jumps into the hotel window. Too much vertigo!

127 Hours.

Seemed that long. Read about Aron Ralston online; takes less time, you get the same information.


Shoulda hadda limit.

All Good Things.

Not such a good thing.

Lest you think we sat around watching movies we hated...

Captain America The First Avenger

We hadn't seen this one before. It was fun, although it had the unsatisfying ending of the middle movie in a trilogy. But I'm a sucker for WWII movies.

The Adventures of Tin Tin.

Entertaining. I don't know if I'll ever get used to CG animation, but it does allow the filmmaker to defy the laws of physics. And that can be a good thing, right?

War Horse.

Beautifully filmed, amazingly a horse! I love the shot at 1:23. How did they get the horse to show those emotions to the camera? That look at 1:41 is just amazing. Oh, of course, the people were good, too. The expression at 1:58 captures just how it feels when your horse is hurting and there is nothing you can do.

Cowboys and Aliens.

C'mon, Mulder and Scully told us, didn't they, that alien abductions have been going on forever? Fun story, and another chance to see Daniel Craig in action.


Our third time for this one. It's a favorite.

And last night we ended it with The Help.

I had read the (very good) book, and really wanted Miss Mary to at least see the movie. It did not disappoint. I wish I could say what Minny says at :54, just like she says it. I really think it's a physiological thing, and no white woman will ever be able to do it just that way.

We always enjoy our family film festivals. We're already planning the next one!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hope Springs Eternal!!

I am embarrassed to say how many times I have tried starting lettuce to grow inside, only to see it languish and die. It's just so doggone expensive, and I would love to have a flowerbox or two growing in my breezeway, under lights. So I tried again today.

I planted 5 greens; Bibb, spinach, two romaines and Tango leaf lettuce. They should make wonderful salads. So should have the lettuces from all those other times...

But I'm not giving up. Not this time.