Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Day I Was A Real Farmer

I will admit the last two weeks at Farm Hands have actually been kind of boring for me. I mean, being there is still beautiful and relaxing but I was tasked to man the barnyard. This involves wandering about answering people's questions and making sure no one steals eggs (or chickens) from the chicken coop. Seriously. I've been told it happens. So this week when they told me I would be helping the farmers bring in the wheat I was ready for it. They cut the wheat and bundle it using this crazy looking old contraption that bundles the wheat into shocks. They are large, loosely tied bundles of wheat and they get stacked in piles leaning together so they can dry in the sun. Once dry, they have to be picked up and stacked which is what we did. When I got to the field, the farmer gave us a speech about how to handle a pitchfork. Well, I can handle a pitchfork if it involves, say, moving hay the floor to a wheelbarrow. But using one to throw a big shock of wheat to the top of a stack while not impaling the guy catching it? Well, that's a bit more intimidating. The first several rows we stacked by hand and that was just the warm up. After a while, the stack got so high that I couldn't possibly throw them up by hand. I had to master the pitchfork. The first shock fell short, but the second one made it up, barely. Once I caught on, I wanted to do a happy dance every time one made it up. The farmer kept going on about how we were the best help he'd had for that job in 5 or 6 years, but I didn't feel too proficient. By the end, we were just exhausted and the stack was so high it was all we could do to just get the bundles to the top of the stack. The good news is no one got impaled, and I am not as sore as I anticipated I would be this morning. Oh, and we didn't lose a single shock off the stack on the way to the barn! There was another Farm Hands dad helping and we decided that we both were real farmers for the day. Like, real pitchfork-wielding ninja farmers...or at least that's how it felt!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

More Adventures!

Guess where we went today!

And yes, I brought a picture frame to the beach. :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Latest Happenings

  • We went blueberry picking this morning, totally last minute. It was a blast! The kids specifically reminded me to go to the farm with 'the old man and his really old truck who ties coffee cans around you and tells you not to wear flip flops!' And guess what they wore? Flip flops. And guess what he said? Yep. 'This is a farm. Flip flops are not a good idea!' And then he sent us to a lovely patch right near his broken down aerostream trailer, no walking required! Oh, and he tied coffee cans on us all. The kids were all very helpful and determined to pick enough for pie and jam and cake. Even Tyler was such a champ and kept picking away, although the blue juice dripping from his chin will give you an indication of how many ended up in the bucket. When Fred (the farmer) sent us off, he told us to remember to put a blueberry in our mouth every now and then, not just in the bucket! James and Tyler took him very seriously and James gave up early and sat under the shade in a blueberry-induced coma. On the way to the car, we caught a baby toad who rode home with us in the cooler and is named 'Fred Nila Tyler the Blueberry'. Here's hoping they refine their taste in names before they grow into adulthood. 
And in completely unrelated news:
  • The chickens...I have been lax about updates. The 6 young chicks are big enough that I decided they could go in with the big ones and they mostly hold their own. What I didn't realize was that they had found a tiny opening to squeeze through and feast on my garden. FYI: chickens like kale. A lot. Yesterday we got what I think was the biggest egg we've ever gotten. Our 'normal' eggs are probably the size of a jumbo egg from the store (with the exception of one chicken who likes to lay nice dainty eggs). This egg as like a jumbo egg on steroids. It wouldn't even fit in the egg carton. I cracked it open and no surprise, it was a double yolker. Each yolk was the size of a normal egg too. She really outdid herself. It made a delicious breakfast.

Friday, June 21, 2013


I feel the need to record this here for posterity. At our Tuesday visit to the Farm (as in, our CSA farm), Tyler did the following:

1. Picked up a 'special rock' and threw it in the strawberry basket. Turns out the 'special rock' was a deer turd.

2. Chased down and caught a giant bumble bee with his bare hands, which he proceeded to play with and eventually squish, all while managing not to get stung.

3. Picked up the brightly colored, flower shaped freshener from the urinal in the outhouse and asked 'What is this, Mom?'

This kid is something else!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Farm

Here are a few pictures of 'the farm' which I realize must be confusing since I also refer to our CSA as 'the farm'. This farm is where we do Hatchery and Farmhands. Can you see why I love it so much?

This is the view from the lane coming from the Visitor's Center

The Main Barn

Isn't the fence nifty?

This is overlooking some of the fields. The far pasture is where they graze the work horses.

Here is a closer view of the barn. Inside those two windows are the 6 work horses. When they have stood in their stalls too long, they stomp their feet really loud to let everyone know they want to go OUT and work! Sometimes they make a break for it and escape the  barn. One day I was there we saw their hoof prints all over the barnyard and it was clear they had themselves a regular party!

This was taken at the summer house. It has been restored to its original state and they use the wood fired oven in the original kitchen to do cooking demonstrations.

The sheep love to hang out in the shade, but they know when it is time to come in and they come running to the gate and wait to be let in to their barn. That is one of James' jobs, to open the gates and be a human fence for them to run through.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Farm Dress

Here are pictures of the 1900 wrapper dress I sewed for someone at the farm. If you are interested in gory details, you can hop over to the craft blog.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tyler + Screwdriver

Several days ago I bequeathed my old broken sewing machine to Tyler. I had no idea that the sewing machine (Kenmore, avocado green and built to withstand an earthquake) would provide him with so much entertainment. While in its glory days, my $5 yard sale sewing machine did me well. Sadly, something inside the mechanical parts broke and rendered the whole thing useless. I couldn't even lift the needle to get the dress out. I had to cut it out. Bummer. If you have recently priced sewing machine repairs, you will know that you will likely have to sell one of your kidneys on the black market to pay the man. A basic tune up is about $75, and repairs, well, you don't know until they fix it in which case you have to cough up the cash or bid your sewing machine adieu. I ended up buying a new one for the same price I could've paid to repair that one, and my new one even butters my toast. Almost. But alas, I am on a rabbit trail. Surprise, surprise. I gave Tyler the machine and a screwdriver and he went to work. That kid may be less than 4 years old, but he knows which way to turn a screwdriver. He has since spent hours taking the thing apart, one screw at a time. If one is stuck, he comes and gets me. He has asked me to cut certain wires so he could free the fan motor and remove the belts and gears. There is still quite a bit left to disassemble, owing to the fact that this sewing machine was built before the age of plastic disposable crap. So now that his birthday is coming up, I think will find the kid an old appliance to disassemble and call it a day. Ha! Well, that and a 'mote control boat or really, anything 'mote control. He has been asking for what seems like an eternity.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Bullet List #897.2B

  • Tyler has been on a roll. See his new quote on the side bar...regarding cannibals. Yesterday we were picking strawberries at the farm and I told my friend that I had a recipe in my head for Strawberry Rhubarb sorbet. Tyler tilted his head at me and said 'You know what I have in my head, Mom? A kiss for you.' Then he came over and gave me a kiss. And I melted right then and there. That little stinker can be so endearing at times.
  • And speaking of rhubarb, I am obsessed with the stuff. Any rhubarb fans out there? I have made a few kinds of rhubarb muffins, a strawberry rhubarb pie, rhubarb bars, and strawberry rhubarb popsicles so far this spring. Next up? Rhubarb Curd/Shortbread bars, that strawberry rhubarb sorbet, and about 10 other recipes I want to try. Mmm!
  • Field Day: it has been cancelled 3 times due to rain, and today it was finally a go! We watched for a bit and it looked like a lot of fun. I happen to love watching the long legged boy of mine run. That boy loves to run and he always has a carefree smile when he does. 
  • Only 7 days of school left! And even more exciting? No more homework!!!! I find homework to be torturous, well, mainly math because they have this newfangled way of teaching it that makes no sense and I have to bite my tongue and refrain from cursing Shanghai or Singapore or whoever invented that stupid curriculum. It is bad when your normally math whiz of a kid has trouble following along. 
  • Our summer fun list is getting a bit unwieldy and I love it. I am hoping we can cross most everything off, including a trip to 'Lankester' as James penciled in. 
  • I am still waiting for the predicted Cicadapocolypse to happen. Supposedly a brood of cicadas is supposed to crawl forth from a 17 year hibernation any day now. They are to fill the air with their deafening sound and cover the ground with their discarded carcasses. So far, I haven't seen a single one. I am kind of curious, though, if/when this happens. They say that past tales of plagues of locusts were actually cicadas, and that some areas will have them so thick you will be raking them up. Again, since I haven't seen a single one yet, I'm getting suspicious.
  • And speaking of plagues...(Oh, Mrs. Haffly, I do apologize for my lame-o transitions. You learned me better than that.) I just read today that this hurricane season is predicted to be very active, something like 11 hurricanes. Now that we have the generator taken care of, I feel the need to stockpile dry goods and something other than a metric ton of hot dogs so we can have something decent to cook over our redneck backyard oven. Somehow I don't think we can live on roasted marshmallows alone.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Crazy Ramblings

I realize the title of this blog post is actually non-specific considering that the offerings herein probably all fall into the 'Crazy Ramblings' category. However, I shall proceed under the current title.

First of all, my is weird. I saw a guy the other day who had a prosthetic leg. My first thought was 'Wow! That's a cool leg! I wonder how it works' followed closely by 'but I bet it isn't so cool for the guy. I wonder why he lost his leg.' And then my brain went into territory I am sure most people's brains never go. I thought to myself 'I wonder how much that guy weighs?' Think about it. You look at someone and think 'That guy must be about 180.' Except I never think that, because I am terrible at estimating weights. 300 pounds? 450? Close enough! But I digress. Let's say you assess the height and build of such a man and determine that he must be in the ballpark of 180. Except for the whole leg thing. How much does the human leg weigh? According to WikiAnswers, which we all know is known to be true some of the time, legs make up 40% of a human's weight. So one leg is 20%. Hypothetically, the guys leg could have weighed upwards of 35 pounds which is roughly the size of Tyler, but for all I know or can estimate, he might weigh 300 pounds. But I'm guessing not. Moving along....

Tyler. He is weird. I have declared him a delicious, adorable little liability. This kid is wild, crazy and 98% fearless. Which is an improvement from his previous record of 110% fearless. Last time we went on a walk on the green belt, he took a flying leap to yank some poison ivy out of the tree. He ran to me with a handful as I yelled for him to drop it. I promptly took him home and scrubbed him down, and amazingly he didn't get a rash. Maybe he is like me with poison oak...impervious. Today, we went for another walk. This time, as we were leaving the creek, he said 'Wait, Mom! I have to get a drink!' As I turned around he had just slurped a big gulpful of water out of the creek. While Katie lectured him about 'you don't know WHO might have peed in the creek!!**' I had visions of giardia, dysentary and all manner of intestinal distress. And it is distressing. Trust me. Mom had giardia for what seemed like forever, and I came down with a fancy case of amoebic dystentary which was quite nightmarish. I am hoping for the best on this one, and reminding myself that I took in more than my share of water from dubious sources as a child and only became horribly ill once. Isn't that a good record?

**Katie...this girl is a nut. I am pretty sure she got the creativity of all her relatives combined and a double dose of the mothering gene. How else could she come up with 'you don't know WHO peed in that water!' on the fly. She didn't skip a beat. But really, does it matter WHO peed in the water? I mean, would you drink it if say, a skunk or your dad peed in it, but not if a stranger peed in it? It maketh no sense, which is good practice for motherhood when you say things like "you'll poke your eye out with that!" and "Your eyes are going to stick that way if you keep going cross-eyed!"

Sunday, June 02, 2013

The Bible According To Tyler

Je-hus went to the land of Galilee and he died on the cross for our sin-is because we were mean. And we go to heaven when our heart stops beating.

Je-hus was in the de-hert (desert) and he got poked on a cactus and his blood was leaking out all over the place and he died and went to heaven.