Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hay day!

(Picture from Wolverine Farms in Palmer)

Today was another beautiful hay day. I only know what this term means after having to purchase hay for our 2 dear goats. The farmers out here didn't get any (or much) hay on the first cutting this year because of the stupid rain that ailed us for many more than 32 days. I think it was dry for that day right before that and rained about 15 days before that too...so when July 1st rolled around (time to start cutting) most farmers had missed or would miss the window and their hay got drenched, maybe they cut it but it never had a chance to dry out... Everyone looses out on that deal, the farmers growing it especially.


Driving into Palmer yesterday I was beside myself to see the sun out, 75 degrees, and fresh hay in the many fields laying out in the sun. "Dear God, Please don't let it rain today" and yesterday there was no thunder storm like we've been having every other day this week.


That reminds me, I should go check Craigslist for hay.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fun day today.


Today was going to be a busy day. Then I decided to go to Anchorage because the busy day I had planned would not be busy enough.

Hubby left for his hunting trip around 9:30am, and the sun was shining. It has not shined for 31 days. I only know that because we broke a record of rain and everyone is talking about it and it almost drove me literally insane.

I had to get out of the house, BAD! I tried to get some peeps to go blueberry picking with me, but we're doing that tomorrow. So I loaded our 6 perfect angels into the van and we headed to the big city of Anchorage. We stopped at one of our favorite mouth watering holes, Donut King. The kids were beside themselves at "having" to pick out 2 donuts each.

I don't normally take the kids with me when I go all the way there. I like to shop in peace and so I usually leave some home with Papa while he's working and then a couple more at my mom's. But today I kept my munchkins in the van with me, ran a couple of errands, took them to Subway for dinner (where 2 of them now want to work) and then back out of the city.

I've wanted to go to Thunderbird Falls with them for quite some time. We have not gone at all since K was very little and I don't remember if we had any others yet. This, after all, was the place my husband proposed 14 + years ago....and we don't go there, we're not...how do you say? Outdoorsy people. Well, suffice to say, my kids aren't very "outdoorsy" either. At least not the 4 and 6-year-old girls. The others were great and had a blast....the 4-yr-old held my hand the whole time and cried most of the way to the look out "I wanna go back into the car!" and the 6-yr-old generally complained and whined and claimed that she would NOT go berry picking tomorrow. I obviously need to take them into the woods more often. Living with no trees on our property has made them very soft indeed. The 2-yr-old did wonderfully except those times where she was looking backwards and walking straight for the cliffs edge, but there were enough older siblings to save her life, fortunately. We got to the look out and it was very anti-climactic for the oldest 2, they thought they had been here and in a picture they were in front of a HUGE waterfall and this one was very small... That would be Multnomah Falls, WA in that picture. Poor kids, yes they were there when they were little and this clearly is not that same one.
This is also where while sitting peacefully fondly remembering old teenage memories that Fran told me that she had to pee. Great, no problem, there's an outhouse back at the PARKING LOT! I've only walked a good 1/2 mile with 6 small kids up and down and up and down a muddy mountain side in my hard plastic orthodics on my feet, we'll just jog straight back, no big deal. (I know, I'm such a whiner!) Needless to say, on the way back, I made a break for it when I realized there was no one around and she peed like a perfect princess by the tree off the side of the path and after that? "Oh mama! Look the sun is out!!! Mama, It's so pretty here!" See what a full bladder does to one's outlook on things?

On the way home we took the scenic route via the Old Glenn Hwy where I never allow myself to go because it adds an extra 15 beautiful exciting minutes to the drive...so worth it and the kids loved it.

We got home around 8:45, I realized I'm really unsure about my new house color and I'm now thinking about going back to green. K went out to milk the goats (she does morning and night) I got the others to do some of their other chores. Em was crying in the bathroom for the next hour with constipation (I know you needed to know that) and I decided not to worry about the house paint and to get on some cheese making since I had about 5 gallons of milk in the dairy fridge. I started around 9:30 with 2 gallons in one pot for our regular "farmers" cheese aka paneer, or any other variety of names for the cheese coagulated with vinegar that Stud usually makes and now the kids have gotten used to this cheese. The other pot was filled with one gallon for the squeaky cheese curds that I've been craving this week. The recipe takes 4 hours. I was in for the long haul.

Kids went to bed after finishing chores and having some of their ice cream that we made last week and I am finally finished with the cheese curds at 2am. They are beautiful and squeaky...I realized all the delicious cheese curds we have bought at the store made locally don't even have the squeak...which I guess really only comes that day or the day after. Very tasty...but I think I need to find a recipe that does not take that full 4 hours, that is really not worth the effort.

Something I did discover as I was waiting during one of the waiting stages was that that farmers cheese that we are used to eating now fries up like a dream. I knew this but hadn't tried it. I guess because of the way it's made it simply doesn't melt...so I heated some oil in the skillet and threw on a few chunks of the cheese we had been eating for our 2nd dinner after we got home. It was, how do you say? Out-of-this-world! Wow. I can't wait till Stud comes home so he can try too. That cheese recipe is so easy, now I know what a VERY yummy snack is...fry up some cheese baby and let's have a party! That will have to be our new appetizer when people come over...I even started dreaming about opening up a food booth with fried goat cheese kabobs *with no MSG added* for the fair....oh silly me. Aid could not get enough of them himself, and I even fried up a pickle to try with it, since my friend told me about eating one at a neighbors house. Pretty good mix of flavors if you ask me. Those southern-ers know a thing or three, about food.

I'm looking forward to my Rubbermaid totes full of caribou to come home with hubby in 10 days or so, but tonight he told me that the caribou herd is not near the town, so they will have to hike over to the other side of the island (only 14 miles) in order to find their game. I doubt we'll get as much as last year if that is the case, but I'll be thankful for some. And I guess the ptarmigan are plentiful there and they already got 4 today, so at least we'll have plenty of bird in the freezer this year.

I blew off the other 3 things that I had planned today, a play date for Fran down the street, a potluck with old friends who are up for a visit, and K's shotgun club where I'm now the brand new treasurer, but I'm glad we had our adventure. The kids were shocked with how much fun they had with me and with out papa (see he's the fun one, not me.) So I was pleased with myself and I think they were too. Life is more fun when Papa's home, but a few days are fun when he's gone too.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Wine much?

I really don't know what I want to write about, but my husband is sleeping so I figured I'd pass this special time by writing somehting..................................................................................... wow, this is so far very boring.

Ok, so the painting is going....slllllloooooowwwwwlllllyyyyyy but yet faster than I thought. wierd, I know. The sprayer (borrowed from Mister newly divorced, that really sucks, Brett-the babe from high school and I know he will never read this A-wait, I better not say his name out loud) is great. She (yes, the sprayer is a fickle woman) works wonderfully, when she's in a good mood. I'm not usually in a good mood, so she's doing better than I am. The sprayer makes it go very fast. However I found out that green (our previous color) is very hard to paint over ESPECIALLY with the perfect yellow paint that has bearly any pigment. SO on some sides of our house we are on coat #4. Some still only have 3 coats but need more and some are just still totaly green. I bought another 10 gallons of expensive paint today and that brings us up to 30 gallons that should have only been 15. But I can rejoice that I'm the one painting our house and not a professional, therefore saving literally thousands of dollars. The trade off however, is that almost everything we own will have at least 1 drop of yellow paint on it when we are through.

I plan to spend that thousands of dollars on a trip to Hawaii. And, no, I'm not joking...but don't tell my husband...see he dosen't want to read my silly blog, so it's really fun to say things on here publicly and know he won't know about them...I'm still in the planing stage, so I'll keep you updated. Hmm, not sure if I'm going to post this or not....

I purposefully did not do the spell check, it counted 5 actual mis-spelled words, can you find them? Betcha you didn't know my blog could also be a game!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The perfect house color


*Warning* This post is altogether too long for such a simple subject. I suggest skipping this or skimming. This writer still has to work on mastering the simplified versions of stories

I have wanted a yellow house for years, at least 10, but I think quite a bit longer. I specifically wanted a pale-ish yellow with white trim, and white accents. Very girly, I know, but I have my girly moments.

We rented an apartment after we were married for about 5 months in Anchorage, then moved out the cutest above garage apartment ever. Living right next door to "my homemaker mentor" as I'll call her my "mentor". She's the one who helped me to appreciate being an actual homemaker including sewing quilts, canning, gardening, and even hanging my cloths out on the line. I'll have to write more on her later... My mother was definitely an awesome cook and seamstress, but since I got married as a teenager I never appreciated her skills until I needed them.

We lived there for 4 years and in that time the two of us and our 2 black labs grew to include 2 kids. We (I) wanted/needed a HOUSE! With a dishwasher please!

4 years was plenty of time to think/dream about our new house that we would some day be able to afford. At about 3 years into the apartment we met with a financial "helper" and she got us on the saving track and we saved up (mostly) for a down payment on a new house just about 3 doors down from our apartment in the country.

We realized after talking to the bank and builders that we had to go with a "budget" house, especially since we were buying 5 aces, that was eating a large chunk of the loan we qualified for. We would not be going with cedar siding, so it would be affordable T1-11. You could paint that.

Our house would be yellow.

Or not. See, I have a husband. Normally he does not care much about colors and I get my free choice on things. In this case as he said, "I will not live in a yellow house." Hmm, seriously? Why do you care? Are you sure honey? See, isn't it so pretty? Really, no yellow? Ok, fine. What color do you want it then!? Green or blue or....anything but yellow. Ok.

Our house would be green. A pretty, Martha Stewart green, mind you. One that we agreed on. Agreeing is very nice sometimes, but guess what I have obsessed about for those 10 years in a green house? Yes, yellow houses. I love them, and can't get enough of them. NOT the bright yellow ones, the pretty pale yellow with white trim ones - only.

2 years ago I came to realize that our house needed to be re-painted. A very expensive/large task. This year we're (well, I) am finally tackling it and I had to double check with him on the color again, since it could be yellow if he'd allow it. I asked, I double checked, still no yellow. Then a friend we don't know well gave me some hope when they said my husband had said, maybe. Maybe? Not sure? I had to get to the bottom of this. I asked again and no real answer. I finally go to Lowe's to buy the green paint and call him on the cell phone in a last ditch flat out nagging effort in desperation but no real hope of success.

Me: Hi, I'm here to buy the green paint and just wanted to be sure that we're NOT doing yellow.
Him: Heh, really? Me saying it over and over is not enough for you?
Me: I know, I'm sorry, I just need to hear a for sure...No, I will not live in a yellow house.
Him: Honey, I realized that if this is what you really, really, really want...
Me: It is what I really, really, really want! But I don't want to nag you into it and have you hate it and be upset about it.
Him: I know, if this is what you want then I don't care that much. I love you.
Me: OMGosh, OMGosh, I'm shaking! I'm so excited. I love you!

Grabbed some swatches, had 3 samples made up in the 1/2 quart size, told the checker all about it....and off I drove to my mom's to show her the new potential colors.

A week later (after pining over the choices) I'd chosen the palest color of my lot. I had borrowed a friends sprayer and pressure washer and got to work. Our house is now 1/2 yellow/greenish and no white trim and the windows are catching much overspray. It is messier than I had thought it would be, but the family is handling it for now. The dog is now black and yellow.

I'm going to have a yellow house. Deep inside I'm afraid I'll get sick of the color before I can even finish, it's SO different from the green. But I keep telling myself after all is said and done I'm sure I'll love it. I know I will, just hope the neighbors and my family can get used to it as well.

2010 Projects

I said on the side-bar that I would write about some of my/our projects. I figured I have more space here to write. I realized this blog could be handy when it comes to Christmas time and I have to recall what we have done that year.

January: Majong, it should be outlawed, but I'm pretty sure that's about all I did was play this on facebook in any free or not free time I had this month.

February: It's hard to remember this far back, but I believe that it was at the beginning of Lent that I decided to get obsessed with different foods. This is good for me because I normally don't like to cook and will find that some days it's fun to cook, this month and March were like that. My family was happy. First it was grains, namely millet, then I purchased a cast iron pan and flat breads became my new past time.

March: I found a cool YouTube website called Manjula's Kitchen http://www.manjulaskitchen.com/ and fell in love with her and her food. Became pretty much obsessed with Indian vegetarian food. Start flower seeds, school, canning beans, grinding flour, baking bread, getting ready for Pascha.

Fran is a serious painter, even naps right there to save time.
April: This month was primarily spent finishing up the kid's school and getting antsy to get back outside. I came to realize that all of the white fence posts that we put up 2 summers ago could not all be used where they were placed. I took a good day or two to mourn the loss of my time and future time and got to work digging up posts. We started painting our boards white. I marked out many of the "out of line" posts and had the kids start pulling posts for their outside jobs as they finished their math year. Now on the chore chart it says "math or outside job" so that in the summer they can work outside or do math if they like. I also built a new gate for the garden side of the chicken house (they will swap runs, one year chickens, next year garden.) I also put removable boards on the back of the chicken run side of the house and in May I finally put the wire mesh onto them. This way I can (and did) take them off if I want to unload some manure or "let" my neighbor rototill with his tractor. 

May: I spent some time re-digging only 4 or 5 post holes and re-placing my posts. Then I attached the boards to those shorter sections around the back yard. I also did this around the chicken coop/garden. The boards aren't needed there as I have wire fencing, but it looks so much nicer now. I still have to finish the back side of the garden, it only has temporary wire there now, but I'll save that for a rainy day....or one of the last days of fall before it just gets too darn cold. Papa Stud butchered and froze the chickens we'd gotten in late March. I realized a week or two before June that I needed to plant a garden SOON, so I rushed to go pick up free goat manure where the nice lady loads your truck for only $5. I went back for 2 more loads of that stuff. The last time I picked it up I asked her about her goats................

Terrible picture of the girls.
June: Beginning of June involved getting the rest of the stupid sod out of the new garden area. That stuff is a pain in the booty. Mixed in the manure, well threw it around, literally, hoed up some rows and threw in some seeds. This, of course, was the only hot time we have had this whole summer so they had to be kept watered (kids are helpful for these things). I then obsessed about getting goats, made a decision and paid a small fortune for 2 Nubian Queens as I like to call them. They were in milk but I didn't want them 'till the first of July which gave me one month to prepare. In that time we purchased a small Rubbermaid shed for them off Craigslist, I built a milk stand (too small for these ladys), purchased a new commercial size fridge for our new plethora of milk we were going to have (off Craigslist), cut a hole in the back door of our existing shed so we can milk them in there and get them in through the back, put up the 6' high chain link fence panels I bought 2 years ago in case we got goats, bought a book on goats and how to build animal shelter (I even got sick for a day so I had time to read it.) This month was also VERY busy baseball season, we had two kids on two different teams with 2 practices or games every week - EACH. It was SO nice when we had a night off. K also started her horse lessons again and wants to be in competition in the State Fair this year. She also is in a youth shot gun club, so that's once a week.


July: Here come the goats. Time for me, Papa and K to learn to milk. It's been K's dream to have a horse for years, hehe, goats too, so we are starting with a producer not just an animal that eats you out of house and home. We also had wonderful friends who gave us some lumber and another wonderful friend who came and enclosed our lean-to and turned it into our hay shed. Then to fill it up with hay. And the shed with grain. And now to learn how to make cheese (that was Papa's job, but I learned too) and sour cream, and yogurt, and pudding. I even learned to make mayonnaise with our chickens eggs in there too, it's pretty easy. This month also included quite a few trips to the doctor for my silly ankle that started hurting this winter. I had an MRI, then got hard plastic orthopedics to put into each shoe. Not fun at all, but my arches are collapsing and it's this or surgery. I miss my bare feet and slip ons. Give me a pregnancy any day.

The yellow we ended up with was cut with white paint...better now.
August: This month will consist of painting our green house yellow (started that yesterday), replacing the back patio door (my dad, the glazier, will do that), *crossing fingers* having our old crappy porch/deck torn down and getting a new one built with the lumber I had purchased for the fence that will take much longer than expected. Papa Stud also has his hunt to Adak planned for the end of August, and then there's always the fair (YAY) I love the fair.