Previous Posts from 2012...
So much has happened! I graduated with my littlest by my side, literally, while taking a picture of me with my instructors for Annie's class who were holding my certificate of completion for me as my daughter held my hands. SO sweet! She posed quite cutely, as I was told by onlookers, which comes very naturally to this talented little Diva who doesn't even know what posing is! I can't thank Leslie Hart and Lynn Little enough for reaching out to let me know about this wonderful program, and for all their hospitality, hard work, awesome personalities and true caring!
We had a great celebration and thoroughly enjoyed the meal prepared by Cookie, of Cookie's Catering. I brought the tortillas I'd made the night before to share, and felt it was nearly a disaster. I had used a Food Saver vacuum and sealing machine and sucked too much air out of the package. It drew oil out of the tortillas and made them look and feel greasy, in addition to squeezing them together terribly, creating a messy heap of "glued" tortillas when I opened the package of about 20. I was horrified! Cookie helped save the day a bit by putting them in the oven to soften them so at least we could pry them apart without ripping them to shreds! Ultimately, they were OK, and by that I mean mediocre - I could still wrap one around the brisket Cookie served, and it was tasty, but not terrific like it should've been.
I have found alternate and less expensive packaging that I will try along with my soon-to-be-purchased tortilla press. The only issue now is figuring out how many to make for the bakery/market. With this warm, humid weather, nothing lasts more than two or three days outside a refrigerator without getting moldy, so the tortillas may not fare well sitting on the shelf in a bakery that was sweltering hot when we stopped in a few days ago around 5 p.m. We'll have to wait and see. I may have to take orders rather than making them randomly.
Garden news: I have begun clearing out the garden, but everytime I try I haven't much time or something else comes up that I have to attend to. It WILL get done, and I have a goal of this weekend to at least have everything cleared and have seeds organized and ready to plant. The neighbors already have sprouts!! I'm so behind! Of course, depending on how long it will take to put the fence up, now that we've caught Levi sleeping in one of the raised garden beds and some of the chickens taking dust baths in another, I may be setback by a day. We'll see.
The frogs around our house are chirping every night, and it is lovely to listen to - like a lullaby. It's a far different experience from the not so peaceful sounds of the city where we moved from a couple years ago, or the coyote barks and howls I used to hear in the open fields at night in CA where I grew up. Yes, there ARE wierd and unsettling sounds here at night, too, and not just the thundering of our dog running past the bedroom to bark at something in the back, or his howling at the sound of sirens that seem to be a regular occurrence on the 340 near us. No, there are sounds like a baby crying or screaming in the woods, which drive our dog crazy and give me the creeps - but these sounds are few and far between, and I have heard that they are the sounds of the young of a predatory animal, such as a fox. That makes it slightly less unsettling to listen to.
Aside from nearly visiting the emergency room (twice) due to injuries my littlest sustained from her older sister and Levi, the dog, we have had little excitement on the farm this past week. Well, unless you consider the salamander, AND all "her" eggs that my children found under the wood pile and put in a large bucket to keep as a pet (or petS, if the eggs were to hatch in there) along with the big, black hissing beetle they found with giant pinchers. They were all one big happy family in that bright, primary colored bucket, UNTIL the bucket was forgotten about and tipped over, leaving only the hissing beetle trapped in the makeshift lid for Mommy to salvage after the girls were in bed.
Oh, we did have some news. A couple days ago, the same day the dog nearly knocked my daughter's tooth out, I noticed Levi had an injury to that uppermost pad above his paw - it was seemingly sliced into about a half inch. I needed to take him in for Rabies and other vaccinations for his one year follow-up anyway and decided to take him to a vet we used to use in Hagerstown for our cat who I really loved, Mid-Atlantic Vet. (His current vet in Jefferson is more expensive for the same tests, and after they refused to give him new heartworm meds without a test, though he hasn't missed a dose since he's been with them, I decided to switch). I had him tested for Lyme, which he was vaccinated for last year as a pup, and it turned up a high positive, meaning more than what would show up for just having the vaccine in him. I thought he was seemingly more lethargic than usual these days (that is, when he's not running back and forth barking at shadows in the middle of the night, getting into trash, or trashing anything he can reach), but I assumed he was just growing into his livestock guardian role of looking like he's doing nothing during the day while secretly is on high alert (haha!).
He now needs 5 1/2 antibiotic pills every day for a month! I am so glad I have a new phone to help me with this - I have attached it to the alarm setting as a reminder that won't let me get away with forgetting, since I can't even remember to take anything for myself every single day. The strangest thing was that later that day, our cat, Star, came into the house favoring her left front paw - the same one Levi had been favoring when I discovered his injury. When I lifted her up and gently moved her paw to get a better look, I discovered that the uppermost pad on HER paw was scraped and bleeding a bit - the same paw, same pad as Levi's! Strange!
One last little strange thing... as I mentioned earlier, the frogs are out and happily chirping away this time of year between the two ponds near our house. Tonight, as I drove the girls home from their Awana club meeting, I noticed little hunks of rock or dirt strewn across part of our street. After I drove over them and encountered many more further up, I suddenly realized they were not rocks or clumps of dirt, but FROGS! Tonight now marks the beginning of the great frog migration from the upper field to somewhere down the street and/or our neighbors pond. It happens every year around this time, and always late at night (well, I say "around this time" loosely as it seems to me it just happens when it has started being this warm for a couple weeks or so, not necessarily in March). I was mortified at the thought of the girls walking up the street and finding these squished frogs everywhere, wondering what happened to them and who would have run over them. Whoops!
Some of the "Yesterdays," and Tomorrow's a Big Day!03/13/2012
We've had a very busy week and a half - lots of incidents of Levi getting into the trash right after I'd just cleaned everything, getting into anything he could reach and put his mouth on in the yard (lidded trash and recycling that he somehow knows how to open, kids toys that are forgotten at the end of the day, my large plastic planting pots that he LOVES to shred), incidents of Levi getting out from a gate that "mysteriously" was left open or getting out via a hole in the fence which is now being blocked by a rocking chair (hope it doesn't rain much!), etc.
Update: Levi did NOT go to a show this past weekend as I planned and hoped due unforseen circumstances, BUT the girls and I did take him to a special "My Dog Can Do That!" event at Peaceable Paws in Fairplay on Friday night. I am pleased to announce that Levi won a ribbon for second place in showing off his skills of "obedience!" I must, however, mention that he was one of two dogs! He DID beat the other dog (who was MUCH more advanced in obedience) in the first round though!
The weather has been fantastic and I'm thinking about starting some seeds for the garden - so excited, and yet I know it means a LOT of work is near at hand. The fantastic weather will also make it, as MANY of us in the country here are painfully aware, an INTENSELY bug filled season! I have never in my life been to a place with as many pests, both to gardens, humans, and animals, as this place. It is certainly beautiful here, and I love it, but on a normal summer day the biting gnats (which I believe to be black flies based on my extensive research) that cloud around your face and leave huge, itchy welts where they've bitten you, followed by mosquitos at night, and brown marmorated stink bugs at all times day and night buzzing inside the house and eating their way through the garden outside - it is difficult to bear all this on a NORMAL summer day, but THIS summer - it may be even worse after our warm winter, perish the thought!! And, for all you arachnophobes like myself, the giant tarantula-like spiders that greet you at the front door late at night here could be even more GIANT!
As for tomorrow, we have MUCH to do, starting with the "graduation" ceremony/party at my Annie's Project class at the Ag Center in Boonsboro! I'm bringing lots of my handmade tortillas for everyone to try along with as many fliers I can get the printer to put out - I've had the worst time trying to get this simple task done! It took me about a half hour tonight to ensure my outdated computer would SEND the information to the printer, then make sure I had the pages facing the right way to print the backside (after several mistakes - a horrible waste of paper and ink!), and praying all the time that the flashing "I'm out of ink!" symbol wouldn't catch up with me til AFTER these fliers were finished as I have no idea where the replacement ink is!
And now, off to make the tortillas! Yes, it IS 10 p.m., but the show must go on...
PS - Got a new cell phone - a SMART PHONE, incidentally! It is a HUGE upgrade from my cameraless Samsung flip phone that I've had for oh, 4 years or so now and is missing buttons and cracked open halfway! I ALSO signed up with a new service - I was with T-Mobile until today, and had been with them for 10 years, but I am now in a NO CONTRACT agreement with Wal-Mart, of all things, for $45 per month for unlim. talk, text, and data! Not bad, and glad to be free from the "bondage" of my old service, let me tell ya! It's like I'm a whole new, FREE me! And all it took was a new phone and a cheap, all-inclusive service provider!
First Post Ever! Woohoo!03/05/2012
HELLO WORLD! My very first post! I just finished editing our website and feel slightly satisfied with it now... so now was the time to bog! I even just figured out how to access my email to which I'd forgotten the password - I found a very helpful bit of information somewhere, finally, stating where and how to CHANGE my password, and it worked like a charm. I even, to my shock, had an email (one out of a total of two, haha!) in there that was yet unread and from a great woman who came to speak at the Annie's Project class I'm taking at the Ag Center in Boonsboro.
We received some great news yesterday about our tortillas at the Bakery in Brunswick - apparently people who have tried them LOVE them (maybe that's an overstatement?), and Beth said that some people are coming in now just for them! I knew that once people got a taste of them, they'd really like them... it's just a matter of getting them into their hands, and their kitchens ;)! Beth even handed me a makeshift tortilla "coupon" that I had written up and given to a regular customer who picks up eggs here at the farm - I was SO glad to know that he took the time to go there and grab a pack of tortillas already!
Then we (I had the kids with me) were told that a woman from the Brunswick Citizen wants to do an article on us sometime before Easter - how awesome is that?!
I also settled the account at the Bakery for the very first time since bringing the eggs in for sale that first week of February. I panicked slightly as I wondered if we even made enough to cover the cost of the fee for the space and... drum roll please... we made $4 and change above the fee for this month's space fee! That is an exclamation mark of JOY, not disappointment, in case that's what you were thinking ;). Yes, it's not much above our costs, but it IS profit ABOVE OUR COSTS! And for that, I am thankful! (Now if I can just remember NOT to take my hungry, thirsty kids with me when I go to the Bakery, we might actually KEEP some of that profit, LOL!)
PS - got a new plastic coated steel tie-out lead for Levi that we found at Dollar General to replace the heavy/heavier duty one from PetSmart he chewed through last week. I figured $7 compared to around $30 or so we paid for the other one was a good investment, especially with the knowledge that no matter which we get (the thicker PetSmart one or the thinner Dollar General one), the chances of them getting destroyed fairly quickly are very real, along with the dollar signs that fly out the window after such instances. We'll see how it goes...
Blog Page is up and running - AMAZING! Unfortunately, I'm too exhausted to write anything now ;)!02/21/2012
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