Monday, October 31, 2011

Small Talk

What a Fantastically Gorgeous month this has been. I think the spectacularly beautiful October is making up for our cold, rainy June. :) We haven't been out of doors as much as would be good for us because of two 'colds' in a row, but boy we've been enjoying what we can of it:)

In lamenting the loss of our short summer I'd forgotten how much I love fall. A very few days of golden light, and golden breezes and golden smells reminded me:)

Brannon is planning for his birthday (I like to get him started early so I can figure out how to make whatever kind of cake he comes up with. I've relaxed a little on the "no 'white' cane sugar even on birthdays and holidays or mom will hyperventilate" thing a bit which makes cake decorating a whole lot easier, but I still like to plan ahead). He decided on a "Native American" theme:) He was picking figures out of his 'cowboys and indians' stash to use. I noticed he had all the "indians" but one and tried to put it in the pile. He took it back out. When I inquired why this fellow couldn't join the party he informed me that "Iroquois don't wear buffalo headdresses mom, they wear feather ones." Oh. Neither do Iroquois live in teepees. No, they lived in longhouses. So much for the sugar cone teepees idea... ;-D  (Of course I should have expected that my dear little detail man would have a particular tribe already in mind)

So, guess what we're getting at the library this week? Books on the Iroquois of course. We'll do some internet reading as well. "Native American Facts For Kids" looks like a good place to start.

Joshua is still going to his Kung Fu classes which he enjoys immensely while he's there. Getting ready to go is another matter altogether. He just can't stand stopping what he's doing, even if it's "nothing", and getting ready for something. He's like this about everything, getting ready to go Anywhere is always a big fuss. So far we've told him that as long as he's agreed for us pay for another month of classes he's obligated to finish out the month whether he feels like going or not. So far he keeps agreeing to sign up for another month at the end of each one. Of course, we always ask him after class, not before lol...

Our annual "Soup and Donut Party" came off as well as ever. We had fun trying half a dozen different soups (everyone makes such yummy ones!) then stuffing ourselves on donuts while visiting happily. It was a very warm day and didn't cool off drastically in the evening, which was a big surprise, but very handy for an autumn indoor/outdoor party.

We made caramel apples for the first time ever this month. It was fun:) We made our first caramel with a mixture of maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and honey. Very Sweet. The kiddos loved it ;) I tried a batch today with honey and coconut milk. I think I'll work on modifying that one to my taste, in the hope of coming up with something I can use for some old Christmas candy recipes. Maybe use half brown rice syrup and half honey etc. Should be fun:) The boys will like having all that candy around anyway.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

We're Back :)

Now for lots of "boring" mundane news of what we've been up to...

On the garden front: I have one large, green pumpkin sitting out in the garden. I don't think there's any hope of it turning orange before the first frost kills the vine. I hope there are some good recipes for green pumpkin out there :) I always kind of wanted to try making pie with it like in Little House on the Prairie. Remember when Ma makes the pie out of green pumpkin and Pa thinks it's apple pie?

I also have heaps of green Serrano chiles. Nate was going to make salsa and never got around to it. I'll have to get him to slice them for me (I Don't like handling hot peppers) and I'll pickle them for him. Though, he hasn't eaten his jalapeno slices from last year. I think he forgot about them.

We missed the fall crop of raspberries. Such a short window compared to spring. And only made two blackberry pies and one jar of syrup. No jam, or anything else. I made one pot of pear butter and froze it in small containers. I started to make applesauce one day and decided to make pie instead. I have six jars of tomato sauce in the freezer and one jar of dried tomatoes. And that's it on the preservation front. I really planned to do much better this year. Oh well.

We tried our first crop of meat chickens this year. I have to say, the processing is not my favorite thing to do (obviously.) But it's worth it to have meat in the freezer. We have lots more to do and will be doing a few each weekend until it's done.

Our "keeper" flock has grown as well. We now have six roosters and eighteen hens. So many pretty and fun boys we have trouble getting rid of them all. So, we need six more hens for the four-to-one ratio that's supposed to be best for them :) Nate really wants some more mille fleur booted bantams (if you find a picture of "Little Red on here that's the breed and color) so we'll probably try to get some eggs from our friends who have them and fill our quota that way. The boys each picked two laying hens to order when we got the meat chicks. Brannon chose "Easter Eggers" which are mixed breed Auracanas, Joshua chose Barred Rocks. I find it fascinating that they both chose the same breeds as last year (I guess I expected them to change their minds :) Sadly their previous hens met sad ends, presumably in predators stomachs. Brannon named his girls "Owl" and "Agmes". Joshua originally named his "Black Eagle" and "Agnes".  Then he switched to "Agmes" and "Agnes". Now the two girls are unnamed because he can't decide what he wants to call them. Now if we can just keep the girls alive through the deadly months of April and May we'll be doing good. I think these must be the "baby months" and the predator moms and dads are extra bold and desperate because we lose chickens in broad daylight when we're all home. It's just when there's lots of new fresh food around and the chickens are eager to be out and about after a rainy, cold winter of sticking close to home or being stuck inside. We're planning to build a covered run for them so we can let them out during the dangerous months and still keep them safe.

Our Madrones and Walnuts have been attacked by web worms this year. Wretched beings. The boys were even willing to forgive wasps for being wasps when they heard that they eat web worms. We cut lots of web worms out to the Madrones that we could reach, and thankfully they didn't hit our fruit trees badly at all, just a branch here and there. (the chickens really liked the branches full of caterpillars we kept dumping up there for them). Our big walnut tree survived pretty well. I've seen several trees in town with no leaves left and web all the way to the ground!!

Nate's been really busy with school while working most weekends. The boys and I are always looking forward to the weeks between terms when we actually get to See him :) He's enjoying working for the fire station. He had a really fun time doing open houses with kindergartners. He said if all public relations were with five-year-olds we would Love to it :D

We are back online at long last :) Now, to get back in the habit of posting. And hopefully be better at it than I have the first 3/4 of the year ;-)