Saturday, September 28, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Well, I'll admit, our garden did not grow particularly spectacular this year.  Ben and I are still new to gardening, so we have a lot to learn.  It was also a SUPER busy year in terms of work for us, so time that we needed to be pulling weeds was just not available.  But there is always next year!  Here are a few shots I took this morning...

Our tomatoes.  I was pretty happy with how they did this year.  We didn't get a bumper crop or anything, but it was enough to keep my sandwiches in good supply of a fresh 'maters.
My roses... for whatever reason I can get them to grow a lot better than my vegetables.
Here is a funny story - the giant zucchini!  I got this plant thinking it was squash, but I kept seeing green instead of yellow.  I didn't check it for a few days, we got a big rain, and wa-la!  LOL!  It is huge!
It looks bigger in person lol.
Siri and the giant zucchini.
Finally, I have meant to mention my new garden tools for a while now and kept forgetting.  My Dad got these for me - he picked up the working parts at my grandparent's (they have a little of everything laying around) and he took them to a place to get the wooden handles put on!  They are so sturdy and solid, and I hope to use them for many years to come.
Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Siri, Queen of Little Bitty Life

I have been meaning to do another "Meet the Animals" post, and today seems the perfect day to do it!  Siri should be a familiar face to all those who frequent our little blog.
Siri is a little devil in cat's clothing.  And yet she is my precious, most cherished animal I own!  You've might remember my past video when she shredded the toilet paper.  She has such a big personality and I just love her for it!  She is always around for me to pet or hug on, and even though she doesn't always like it she always "allows" me to.  Haha!  Yes, I have a ridiculous amount of photos of my Siri.  These only scratch the surface!!



Siri came to us from a dear friend just last year, around April I think.  My friend rescued her from a bad situation in her neighborhood where cats had been allowed to reproduce like crazy.  Siri was very, very young and had fleas so bad that she had no hair at all on her tail.  She had severe a infestation of tapeworms, hookworms, and roundworms.  But I melted when I saw her little face.  I have always loved this cat.  
My first picture of Siri.



I treated Siri for fleas and worms promptly, and she began to grow and grow.  She has always had an attitude bigger than her little body could hold!  

Nowadays, she "rules the roost" around here.  She is not very nice to Pearl or Aura, the outside cats, and she loves to chase chickens.  Even the geese aren't too sure about her.  But she has her buddies - Gypsy and the dogs.  They are her best friends!  



I could go on all day about this special cat.  I am convinced she could not happily thrive anywhere on earth but here... she has so much attitude I think most would pass her off as just plain mean!  But I love her for it.  She is a little survivor!


I have a little video footage of Siri, as well to share.  Haha!  I know, it's ridiculous...
And this video is of Siri's odd habit of fighting with her own back feet.  She does this anytime she gets excited or mad about something.  This was taken when she was a kitten, but she still does it!  P.S. - The best part of this video is at the very end, so feel free to skip ahead.  Heehee!


Friday, September 20, 2013

Cows

The neighbors (who run a cattle ranch) let their cows out in the pasture near our house yesterday.  To my delight, I noticed there were some newborn calves in the bunch!  Of course, I took a couple pictures.
I got super close to this little guy.
My favorite shot.

Bill is rather indifferent to the cows, lol.
I hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chicken Noodle Soup

My poor hubby has been feeling under the weather the past couple of days, and what heals the ailing better than chicken noodle soup?  So I found a recipe and modified it to my liking.  We enjoyed it so much that Ben wanted me to make it again the next night!  Here is my recipe... I am putting it here mostly so I will remember what I did next time I want to make it - haha!

Lana's Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound chicken breast
  • 3 cans chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic 
  • 1 and 1/2 cups egg noodles
  • Salt to taste
Directions:
First thing I do is get my chicken breasts started cooking.  I use pretty thin breast tenderloins so this doesn't take long, thicker breast meat might take longer.  As the chicken breast cooks, I chop the onion, celery, and carrots and add them to the cooking chicken, even if it is still raw.  Also add the butter and the parsley, basil, oregano, salt, and garlic.  This cooks everything at once and gives the meat a lovely flavor.  
Cook raw chicken and veggies together until done.
Once the meat is cooked thoroughly, I chop it up into tiny pieces with a spatula.  Then I add a chicken broth and let it simmer.

Chop chicken with spatula.
Meanwhile, I prepare the egg noodles in a separate pot.  I put in the water, add a little butter, basil, salt, and oregano to flavor the water the noodles will cook in.  When the water comes to a boil, add noodles and cook for 7-8 minutes.  As soon as the egg noodles are done, strain and add them to the soup.  I also add more chicken broth to the soup (add more or less depending on if you like it watery or chunky).
Dinner is served!  Enjoy!
I let simmer for 20 minutes or so before serving to meld all the flavors together.  Serve with crackers or biscuits!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Farewell, Petrie

Petrie and Scarlet
Since bringing home our new Old English rooster (Spark) from the fair, he and Petrie were not getting along.  They had to be separated so that they would not fight.  Of course, this caused all sorts of chicken drama.  I can't have Petrie inbreeding my chickens over and over again, so I put him and his favorite girl in their own pen.  However, his girl (Scarlet) somehow managed to get out of this very secure pen... she wanted no part of it.  This left poor Petrie alone.  He seemed completely fine, but I felt bad for him.  He has been a great rooster and it just didn't seem right for him not to get to free range and have his own flock.  I really intended to keep him until he died of old age, but sometimes something better comes along!

At church last week, I found out a friend of mine has a bunch of hens and wants a rooster!  I was so excited.  We packed Petrie up last night and sent him home to his new girls.  I know he will be very happy, much happier than here where we weren't quite sure what to do with him!  I will miss the old guy, my first-ever rooster.  He was so good at being a protector!  But I know he will be just as wonderful to his new set of girls.
Petrie at front, sons behind him.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Favorites

I feel like it has been ages since my last post!  We have been so busy!  (Surprise, surprise haha.)  But I wanted to just give an animal update and a week recap on this lovely Friday.

Last Friday, Ben and I went on a MUCH needed date!  We went to a place in Fayetteville called Bordino's with fine Italian cuisine.  It was so delicious!  Although, Ben and I did burst into laughter a few times because we would drop or spill something and we just felt so out of place.  I told Ben I really belonged in a place that is much less stuffy, but it was fun to get all fixed up and go anyhow!
After our dinner we went to see the new Superman movie.  It was pretty good!  I liked that the hero was a true hero... not just because he has other-wordly powers, but also because he tries to be a good person.
Fast forward to Monday, and you'll find us getting a "bad things come in threes" sort of day.  Ben had a couple of flat tires, the central AC went out, and Siri was acting sick.  THANKFULLY everything got fixed with minimal cost.  Siri is doing great too, thank goodness, because let's just be honest - if something ever happens to that precious cat I am going to be a mess.  Also, I am so thankful that my Dad is trained to work on AC units.  Talk about a huge money saver!!  

Another thing I have really enjoyed this past week is the Mini Horse 2013 Nationals Show in Tulsa.  If you click the link, you can get a live video of the show they are on now.  The best ones are the costume contests and the coolest one was the chariot races.  So awesome!  I dream of getting to show in Nationals one day, either with a mini of my own or for someone else.  Bill is too big to be considered a mini horse so unfortunately it can't be him, but I might be able to show him in some paint classes one day!  I just love little horses.  :)

And now for an update on the animals today:
Some of the babies from Mrs. Pott's first batch.  Getting big!
The geese.  
Bill!!  Not the best shot, but he is such a cutie!
The chickens love napping under this bush, as you can probably tell!  Haha!

Random... but I have successfully mastered the art of the homemade pizza!
That does it for updates and recaps!  Hope you guys have a wonderful weekend.  

Saturday, September 7, 2013

10 Things of Thankful

I am no good at doing a thing on a schedule, so I am just jumping in here and jumping out but....

Here are my "10 Things of Thankful" (Inspired by Lizzy from The Considerer) for this week:
This pic encompasses a lot of the things I am thankful for:  My hubby, nature, hands, people, friends, and sun!

I am terribly thankful for:

1.  My hubby.  He puts up with a lot sometimes!  Imagine being married to a girl who sometimes sees the world in a tad too negative light, a girl who has approximately 3,897 odd idiosyncrasies, and dreams of one day running her own petting zoo.  Well, that's me in a nutshell and I have always been a hard one to keep up with.  But he has done a wonderful job at always being there and understanding, even when I don't get why I feel the way I do!

 2.  Nature.  One of God's glorious gift to mankind.  Having recently gone camping, the smell of cedar and pine and the feel of the cold creek is still fresh in my mind.  For me, no luxurious mansions or fancy food could ever compare with it.

3.  Hands.  I am thankful for my hands, and I wish sometimes that I put them to better use.  But because of them I have a job, can turn the pages of a book, or pet my animals and all sorts of other useful things. 

4.  People.  Yes, me, the socially-awkward and have been since forever, is thankful for people.  Conversations, smiles, body language.  It really is all so interesting.  Everyone has a story - one must only listen for it.

5.  Water.  Since the heavy rains have come and gone and left us again dry, my thankfulness for water is remembered again.  Without it, we would not be.  I love the sound of a trickling creek or a rushing rain storm.  Water is wonderful!

6.  Homemade items.  Homemade jam, patchwork quilts, hand sewn dresses.  Such simple things but made with the care and concern no factory can ever replicate.

7.  Bed.  I love sleep, it is no secret.  I am so thankful I have a comfy, cushy bed to dive into for a nap or a nightly snooze.  Actually, as I sit here typing this I am pretty sure my mind is already there.  Haha!

8.  Friends.  We are all thankful for them, but they can never be mentioned enough.  I could never make it through the tough times (or even the funny times) without wonderful, caring friends.  

9.  Sun.  I know it is really hot and dry right now for most of us, but I am still thankful for the sun.  I always miss its warmth when dark, gray winter rolls in.  I am not ready for summer to leave just yet!

10.  Cleaning.  I am not able to clean as much as I would like, but when I get the chance it is so therapeutic.  If only I could keep up with it with everything else that is always going on!

That does it for my 10 things this week.  It has been a really good week and I am just feeling particularly thankful this week and wanted to share.  What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Our 2013 Camping Trip!!

Since before I can remember, my family has always gone camping in the beautiful hills and streams of Shores Lake, Arkansas.  It has been great fun for my sister and I to grow up and bring our husbands to this place and hopefully one day our children can enjoy it as well.  We always enjoy going sooo much, and miss it terribly when we leave.  There is no place like it for me on earth - so secluded and beautiful.  Besides, camping is one of the best ways to spend lots of quality family time.  Everything from swimming to hiking to fishing is a "group sport" - no cell service or bills or traffic or the other billion things real life distracts you with out here.

I know I have a LOT of pictures.  But that is because I love it out here so much and I wanted to bring back a little piece of our wonderful vacation to my readers!  So find your sense of adventure and get ready to hike through the thick forests, dive in the creek, or venture to the edge of a cliff to see a breathtaking view...

Shores Lake
Our camp in the middle of the woods!
Dry creek bed.
Beautiful gold and orange leaves.
Our place of abode.
Trails.
Forest floor.
So peaceful!!

Ben and Cody on the trail.
On a little hike...

Fire side.
Julia writing something...
Me cookin' up some gravy for breakfast!
Sunshine and smoke.
Our swimmin' hole!
See the fishies?
The water was SO clear as you can see!!



We love to swim!
Jake having a good ol' time.

Jake loved swimming, too!
Ben looking over the cliff.  I was too chicken!




Mountain kiss!




Ben fishin'

Dad with the Bass he caught!

Our camp at night.  I love the way it looks from afar!





Good bye beautiful hills and streams and lakes!  Hopefully next year we will return again, only this time for even longer.  :)  One can only hope!  

We returned safely home yesterday evening.  Jake and Arwen were pretty excited to be home!  Bill stayed at my Mom and Dad's with their horses while we were away, so he had a little vacation too.  Also, one of Mrs. Potts' first babies of this year started crowing while we were away!  I heard him just this morning.

Have a lovely day, all!