Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Something to Crow about

After getting the kids fed, clothed, and out to the bus stop, I get a few minutes to check email and drink my coffee in peace. Well, relative peace. We have two chickens in the backyard, and mid morning they both begin to crow! These are hens, mind you, not roosters. Apparently laying eggs is something worth crowing about.

Sunshine (White) and Midnight (Black/brown) came from the feed store in Kansas, and started laying eggs in August. At birth they were yellow and black, thus the names, pulled from the "rainbow layer" bin by eager little hands. That meant that we didn't exactly know what we were getting, except that they would be female. That's all we need, since hens don't need a rooster to lay eggs.

hey, can't a girl have a little privacy?
I think Midnight is a Black Star or Sex-link, and Sunshine must be a White Rock. They lay identical brown eggs, still small pullet eggs, but very tasty.

Their "Coop" is a modified dog crate. They have a light and a roost, but I think I need to add some height before they will use the roost. They lay in the back, right under the egg door. 
This photo is looking in the egg door towards the chicken door.

Outside the coop is the chicken run. the backyard is fenced and urban enough that predators are not a problem, so the PVC and plastic fencing is plenty to keep them in. There is a roof over half of the 16'x3' run, and the feeder is hung under the roof to keep it dry. 

They really only get put in the run at night so they don't roost over the porch swing. (makes for a messy swing) I generally let them roam during the day so I don't have to buy as much food. They like hunting for bugs and greens.

If I let them out before they lay, they will go back in and lay in the coop. Good Girls!

I suppose if I were to lay an egg as big as my head every day, I'd think it was something to crow about as well! 

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Must be something about the 30th! I just noticed it's been a whole month since my last post. I must do better!

Fall is in full glorious color here in Minnesota. Just looking out the back door brings a glorious palette of autumn color. The trees are turning color, the pumpkin and squash are ripe and the apples are ready to be picked.

I made a bit of a Spring/Fall combination concoction for desert last night, a Apple Rhubarb crisp. I had a pint of rhubarb sauce leftover from spring, and some stewed apples from a breakfast a  few days past. Those went into the sauce pot to warm with a bit of corn starch for thickener. A basic crumble of flour, oats, butter and sugar went in the bottom of a 9x13 pan, hot sauce on top, and all into the oven to heat through.


I put some sage, hops, and lavender in oil to steep for a week or two, in hopes of a "Dream Catcher" themed lotion bar in the future.

May all your dreams be sweet, and your apples free from worms!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Trash Cans and Cardboard Boxes

Early this Monday we got new trash cans, the big ones with two wheels that the trucks pick up with mechanical arms. My kids thought it was the most exciting thing since the invention of the cardboard box!

The bins are bigger than most boxes, and don't fall apart when you climb into them! The first thing they became was "transporters"! Climb inside and you can go to Grandma's house in Kansas, then down to Cousins in Texas and back home, no long boring car rides to endure!

The transporters work on stuffed animals too! The bins are so big that the kids can hide in them, hide stuff in them and just have a grand ol' time playing! Too bad we'll have to use them for trash and recycling some day soon!

At least we don't seem to run out of cardboard boxes and empty peanut butter jars around here, since those are the containers of last resort for animal transport/housing/whatever.

Give a kid a cardboard box or two, and a roll of masking tape, and see what appears!

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Big Boat Natural Home, Open for Business

The shop is up! I started with a little show down in Hastings, and followed up with the Annual Blue Heron days in my hometown of Lino Lakes, MN.

Blue Heron Days include a parade, a business expo, bounce-houses, and other fun things. I set up for the Business Expo. I had fun getting all the stock ready, labelled and set up.

Now I'm getting things into the Etsy shop, and setting up shop at Poppy Swap.
Here are a few pics I'm getting up:

 Big Gingerbread boys, ready for little hands and legs, and grown-ups too! This big tin is a good 4 inches across, and has room for all my fun shaped lotion bars.

 Elle's favorite Rosemary scented bar, I like this size tin the best, it's just about 3 inches across.
Sweet little hearts in geranium. These tins are the smallest, only an inch and a half or so, but they hold plenty, and fit in a pocket.

Check out the shop: Etsy, and see what more is in store!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

I got flowers and breakfast in bed for mother's day! I have been blessed with three fabulous kids, and I love all of my gifts! There are even two more planters of flowers outside! 
It has been a beautiful weekend for gardening, so I got to spend a bit of time outside. I planted beets, carrots, coriander and calendula, put Jonah's sunflower and other sprouts in the garden, and took a stab at the dandelions in the front yard! 

Yes, as much as we love dandelions around here for jelly, I thought I'd try to remove some of the plants in the front yard, so as to mollify the mono-culture-loving neighbors! I borrowed a digger from the neighbor and over a few days dug hundreds of the little plants, and really probably left the same amount in the yard!
On the plus side, I aerated the yard pretty well!

I havn't touched the ones in the back yard, we need something for jelly!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Sunny Morning!

It's such a beautiful morning after a rainy day, I had to take my breakfast outside. I discovered what might be a new favorite: peaches and cream.

All the bananas were gone, so I grabbed a jar of my mother's canned peaches and a dollop of my favorite greek yogurt. a dash of almond milk and perfection in a jar! Did you know that Oster blender bases fit small-mouth canning jars! I didn't have to dirty the whole blender jar for a couple cups of breakfast.

I love my Mom's canning! Dad buys a case or two of peaches that are just on the edge of "turning", he gets them for a song, I think. ('cept my Dad can't sing??) Mom sits in the kitchen to blanch, peel, and cut the big orange globes of God's goodness, and fills all these quart jars. YUMMO!

Thing 3's lunch of choice is a thermos of peaches and a serving of applesauce. It's time to make a Kansas run soon!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Back in the Saddle

If I could blog straight from my  thoughts and eyes, and bypass the typing and futzing with photos part altogether, you'd have seen many more posts in the last 2 years! But all good things take time and energy, so here goes!

Spring is back in Minnesota with the impatience of a Kindergartner. We didn't get much snow at all this winter, and I could have dug up the garden and planted potatoes in March, when I usually escape the 20 inches of snow in my yard and go to Kansas for Spring! 

The Peas are about 3 inches tall, as are the Nasturtiums, and I just saw the beginnings of my Morning Glories! I've planted Chard, and a few purple beans, but I really need to get the garden going. I want Beets this year, and I'm still looking for purple Potatoes. 

New this year is The Big Boat Natural Bath and Body! I started making bath bombes for Christmas and really enjoy it! I found a great little store in Hastings to consign with. The owner is a massage therapist and my new essential oil consultant. I REALLY can't stand artificial scents, so I won't use them. Instead I find the good essential oils smell better and may have a positive effect on the skin and soul. Now I'm experimenting with solid lotion bars, and I love them!

Ciao! and may your May be beautiful!