Monday, September 29, 2014

Nail Polish To The Rescue

I have a candle ring that I purchased a few years ago that I like to use in the fall time.  It has crystal like leaves, beads, and berries.  I love how the ring looks around the cake candle and in the wrought iron pumpkin.  To me, it is the perfect, simple centerpiece for my table.

The older I get, the less I decorate for the seasons.  I like having just a few nice things instead of a lot of stuff.  Although I truly do like the simple look of less, the TRUTH is....I don't like cleaning around a lot of stuff!  So when I pulled this candle ring out of the storage tub, this is what it looked like....eeekk...  

Some of the paint had come off the berries.  I'm not sure why it happened.  The crystals still looked great and I DID NOT want to go shopping for another candle ring.  What to do?  Hhmm... Nail Polish!

I searched our nail polish bag for colors that would match.  I had a reddish color that matched fairly well, but I didn't have a goldish/brown color to match.  What I did find though was a brownish/red color.  On those beads, I coated the part that was white and also over the part of the color that was still on.  It looks ok, not perfect, but rustic - yea, that sounds good - rustic ;-)

Nail polish to the rescue.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


In appearance, the fox is a beautiful creature.  Reddish brown fur, white chest, bushy white tipped tail, black legs.  Looks innocent just sitting there, doesn't it?  Looks can be deceiving!  This picture shows the fox on the other side of the fence.  On this side of the fence are our chickens.  This predator is one of the reasons that our ladies are protected, inside a fenced area, compared to total free reign.  

You have probably heard the saying "sly as a fox", meaning quick, intelligent, and cunning/clever.  Foxes are quick hunters and their diet ranges from small game animals such as rabbits, birds, and chickens to things like frogs, worms, and berries.  Their resourcefulness has earned them the reputation for being intelligent and cunning.   Foxes are generally night time predators because their eyes adapt to night vision.  Over the years though, foxes have adapted to humans, living comfortably in small wooded areas and even near housing developments, not just dense forests.  Because of this, they don't seem to be as scared to go on the hunt during daylight hours.  The fox hunts its prey by stalking at first.  Once the fox feels confident, it uses a pouncing technique that allows them to kill quickly.     

Our husky/lab dog does a great job of keeping predators away.  *I have actually witnessed her barking/chasing away a fox.*  The chicken coop door is closed and locked at night as added security, to protect the ladies at night.  To read about our chicken coop, click here.  We hope that the added security of fencing and nightly closed coop doors help to keep this creature from pouncing on our chickens.  



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

It's the little things that got put "on the back burner" when we built our home....  We just recently installed the kitchen cabinet hardware.  What a difference these little things make.  After a year of opening doors and drawers from the corners, it took a while getting used to. 

They are functional and pretty - burnished on the edges.  They really highlight the knots and knicks in the cabinetry.

They match the faucet and some other accessories in the kitchen.

We used knobs for most of the cabinets, but used handles for the drawers.  I L.O.V.E. these drawers, they are so handy.  I have a set next to the oven and another set in my center island.  

The dark cabinets help to show off my white and blue dishes.

The hardware gives the cabinets that finished look, well almost....the crown molding for the cabinets is still in the basement ;-)  It's the little things...

Linking to:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Our First Flock Of Chickens And That Glorious First Egg

We talked about it, we dreamed about it; today was the day.  The coop was built, had fresh straw laid down, the fence was installed, we purchased food and water containers.  I was so excited!

It was September 2013.  We drove 2 hours to a hatchery to become educated and pick up our chicks. We purchased 6 golden comets, put them into a dog carrier lined with straw, and started our drive home.  I didn't want to listen to the radio, instead I wanted to listen to the chriping coming from the back of the SUV.  At first it was quiet, then one chirped, then another.  Before long, they were all to my ears.

These were the first farm animals that we were putting on our little farm.  At first, we kept them in the coop, they were to small to go outside yet.  I kept their food and water inside and they seemed quite happy in their new home with so much room to roam around.  A short while later, I started opening the little door for them to start exploring outside.  They were entertaining to watch - scratching around, looking for worms and eating small food scraps that I would give them.  Like programmed robots, they would go into the coop around the same time every night to roost and go to sleep.

As the chicks grew, one was clearly not  a golden comet.  She was lighter in color, almost golden. We named her Goldie.  She turned out to be a buff orpinton.  Although Goldie died this summer, she was a definite asset to our flock.  She was the leader.  She would strike a pose, as if giving a speech to the other chicks.  She was always the first to bed, the others following behind, like an assembly line.

Winter 2013/2014 was so cold.  One of the coldest we have experienced.  It was the estimated time that our ladies should start laying eggs, based on their age.  Although we were told that they probably would not lay in such extreme conditions, I had hope.  I checked the nesting boxes every day.  On a record breaking frigid day  I decided to leave the coop door closed and leave the ladies in their coop all day, not wanting to put them out in the extreme weather.  I went out to make sure they had food and water.  There it was!  Certainly not!  It's too cold!  Then what is it?  I picked it was an egg!  It was our first egg....a cracked egg....a frozen egg...a frozen solid, cracked open egg.  It was beautiful!  Certainly not edible, but definitely picture worthy. 


I was so giddy with excitement.  I took a picture with my phone and sent it to my husband and some family and friends.  I'm sure some thought I was crazy, thinking "it's just an egg, and it's not edible, so what's the big deal".  But to me, oh my was it a big deal!

Soon after that, we started getting on average, one egg per chicken every day.  The ladies have been giving us such delicious eggs for almost a year now.  Sometimes they even delight us with a double yolk!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

How To Freeze Peppers and A Recipe

I use peppers (especially green) a lot in cooking.  I use them all year long to flavor soups, casseroles, eggs, etc.  Having them readily available in my freezer is a must!

This is how I freeze peppers:

Cut the tops off and remove the seeds.  (Great to feed the chickens.)

Dice the peppers.

Put wax paper onto a cookie sheet.
Lay the diced peppers in a single layer on wax paper.
Freeze for at least one hour.

Using a spatula, remove the peppers and store in the freezer, in a freezer bag.

As you need peppers to cook or season with, you can remove as little or as many as you want. Because you freezer them in a single layer before storing them in the bag, they are easy to remove.

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I love stuffed green peppers, but my girls do not.  I cleverly came up with this recipe and my girls love it.  I guess it's just the texture of the whole pepper that they don't like????  (Sometimes I still stuff a couple whole peppers and bake right in the same casserole dish with the un-stuffed green peppers.)

Un-stuffed Green Pepper recipe:
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees
1 pound ground beef
1 onion
salt and pepper
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups instant rice, cooked according to package directions
2 green peppers, diced
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Cook ground beef, salt, pepper and onion until meat is browned.

In a large mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, cooked rice, and green peppers.  (I like the bite of the pepper this way, but if you want, you can cook it with the ground beef and onion.)  Then add the meat and onion mixture and stir all together.

Spread into a 9x13 baking dish and put shredded cheese on top.
{At this point you can also stuff a couple peppers that you have taken the tops off and removed the seeds.}   Even more delicious with the diced peppers inside the whole pepper :-)

Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Re-purposed Chicken Coop

Handy Hubby built the chicken coop from re-purposed material.
The shingles and 2x4's were left over from the construction of our home.
The plywood was scrap from a job site.
The only purchased items were the locks, hinges, two 1x6 lumber, and a gable vent.

The coop is 6' x 6' x 4' tall.

The nesting areas are located under hinged lids, on each side of the coop.
They are located on the outside of the fenced in area, making it easy for egg collecting.

There are a total of 8 nesting boxes (4 on each side).  They are made out of a 1x6 board.  
But the ladies all lay their eggs in one location!  

The coop and the door are made out of plywood.
There is a small door cut into the big door.  The big door has a bolt lock.

Opening the big door makes it easy to clean the coop and lay down clean straw.

The little door (which the ladies use) stays open during the day by use of a hook latch.
We close the small door at night, by hooking it on the other side.
Closing the ladies in the coop at night, protects them from predators.  They go in by themselves around the same time every night.  

The coop is elevated off the ground, and under the coop is surrounded by chicken wire.
This provides the ladies shade and shelter from the weather.
I see them hanging out under there sometimes during rain, instead of going inside.
I store layer pellets in the metal trash can. 

Inside are the roosts (a 2x4 cut in half) where they sleep at night.
You can also see the vent, which helps with circulation.

Here they are getting ready to go night night.

I stained the outside with deck stain.
In this picture, I'm pretty sure they are saying to each other "hey look at that clean straw, lets go scratch around and make it look how we want".  

Sharing at Home Acre Hop

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The pantry

 The pantry is one of my favorite things in our home.
When we were building our home, I would day dream about the possibilities for this "room".
It just screams FARMHOUSE to me.  

I love this decorative door.
*Side note - I stained all the doors and trim for the house.  I stained all the doors after they were hung, but before the floor was installed, because I make a mess!  This door took me a very long time to do, because I had to be extra careful, not to get it on the glass, even had to prep it with painters tape, uugghh!  But, oh how I love this door!

It reminds me of what would be found in an old farmhouse pantry.

When I go into the pantry, I love to see our hard work in these canning jars.
Dill pickles, zucchini pickles, zucchini relish.

Salsa.  Soooo good...we have already ate 3 jars!


I keep my cook books in here.  See the one with no binding and held together with a rubber band?  That is my very first cook book (from my Mom) when I moved out on my own.  I have used it a lot over the years and still do!  I also store my grocery bags in the pantry (stuffed in that blue thing).  

Shane added 4 shelves on one side and 3 on the back wall.  Baskets hold individual size snacks.  This frees up a lot of space by taking them out of the boxes that they are packaged in.  Makes it easy for the girls to grab a snack for after school/before practices.  I try to organize foods by category.  I store things like paper towels, paper plates, and napkins in baskets on the floor, under the shelves.

The other wall does not have shelves because that would make it a tight squeeze to turn around in the pantry.  Here is where I hang my aprons and a place for an on-going grocery list.  When we are running low or use the last of something, we write it on the list.

I store potatoes, onions, garlic, apples and oranges in baskets and boxes on the floor along that wall also.  I need to get a pretty tiered basket thingy to store these in. ;-)
We do not have a heating/cooling vent in the pantry, so things stay pretty cool.  

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Little of This and a Little of That

A Little of This and a Little of That sounds like one of my Mom's recipes, but it is actually what we did this weekend around Double L Farm.

Shane and I dug some taters from the garden...didn't get as many as we thought we would, but we are learning.  Shane and Kara mowed down the garden.  It has since rained and is to muddy to use the rotor-tiller.  I want to plant some lettuce and kale seeds to harvest as the weather cools.

The girls cleaned out the chicken coop and laid down new straw.  I took pictures of the cleaned inside, so I can post about our chicken coop - it is made from mostly reclaimed materials.

In the barn - cleaned alpaca poo, put down new straw.  Shane built a tall shelf in one corner of the barn for storage and to free up more space on the floor.  How have we gotten so much stuff?  (We lived in a one story home with no basement and no barn before this.)

We did a lot of mowing - Kendall mowed with the riding mower (she enjoys mowing, which makes it nice for all of us ;-)).  Kara did some push mowing, her 1st time!  I trimmed around the house and some fencing with the weed eater.  A couple months ago, we bought a battery powered (rechargeable) trimmer, so now I cannot use the excuse that I can't get the gas powered one started!

4-wheeling (ATV) is one of my most favorite things to do - always has been!  My mom and her 9 siblings still own the "home place" where they grew up.  It has about 200 acres that we ride on.  Here at LL Farm, we have some slightly rolling woods behind the house and beyond the creek (couple of acres).  Shane bush hogged (probably not the correct term, but what I know it as) the 4-wheeler paths in the woods.  Come along on the 4-wheeler with me to see....

First, we cross through the creek.  It's bearly moving...need rain!

 Can you smell the woods?  Aahh...

Oops!  We better turn around, here comes Shane.

Have you seen the Walton's episode where John builds a gazebo for Olivia?  I think this would be a perfect spot for our gazebo (and Shane agrees).  Hopefully someday...  

Oh, I almost forgot...we did get a small nap in after church on Sunday.  There is always something to do at LL Farm.  Glad to have gotten so much done this weekend, because the week ahead is filled with tennis and volleyball for the girls.

I hope you had a great weekend...what projects did you tackle?  I would love to hear from you!
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