Sunday, November 29, 2009

renegade chickens . . .

This week will be our last week for chicken butchering. Since we've started, we have probably processed around 50 birds altogether.

Tonight my job was to find out where the RENEGADE chickens roosted for the evening. These are the cocks that we let roam the land and forage for food. We see them throughout the day sometimes in the fields, and sometimes on the property. They usually travel within a two mile radius but they always return to the same spot each night to sleep. So tonight, as the sun went down, I walked out closely to see where they laid their heads down for the night. Apparently it is in the drainage tile on the side of the road! Here I am riding Lady right by the place they call "home" for the night.

I watched four of them cautiously circle around the ditch while they watched me, and then saw one quickly slip into the tile. I stalked them a bit and finally caught one for butchering tomorrow night. I ended up catching three more tonight that roost near the chicken mobile as well. (there is a reason why you catch them at night; they are laying down and trying to sleep) It makes it a WHOLE lot easier to catch a chicken when they are not running from you. :)

I decided to butcher a few each night after school and give the children a break from the smells and mess of it all. The girls are especially thankful. :)

a few more won't hurt . . .

Since we already have animals, I decided to let the children get a dog. One more animals couldn't hurt huh?

My neighbor's mother had gotten a dog that was a little frisky than what she planned. She told her son she was going to get rid of it, and he mentioned it to me. Last week we went to see her, me and the children, and decided to give her a try at the farm. We kept her tied up for a few days, and the children led her around the property so she could get the smells and the sounds of our place here. We didn't want her running off and trying to find her other home.

It has been just over a week and we are working with her not to chase the chickens around the yard. These past few days she has done well. However, yesterday she chased a cock around and actually picked it up by it's neck. It looked like she killed it, but after we got to her we realized that it just played lame the way chickens do when faced with the pecking order. the rest of the day yesterday and some today she has to spend tied up to get the idea that she is NOT allowed to mess with our food supply!

In addition, we attracted a stray dog as well. A lot of times people who don't want their animals drive to the country, and drop animals off to fend for themselves. I am not sure why, but it seems like they think it is more humane to abandon it rather than putting it down, or taking it to the dog pound. Anyway, for the first two or three days we just ignored it. It stayed close to the house, was very friendly, and when led down the road, still returned. After a little debate, and after calling the warden to have it picked up, we decided to keep her as well.

It seems that both dogs get along well and it gives them a running mate to play with.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

an old window pane . . .

It's nice to have the same usual Thanksgiving dinner every year, and look forward to the familiar tastes and textures of food. It always takes me back to earlier celebratory times we have had as a family with the same smells in the house.

In addition to the regular Thanksgiving foods, this year we added some fresh lettuce from our garden garnished with delicious homemade dressing. In NOVEMBER when it is 38 degrees outside!

After some reading about cold frames, Ildi come up with this idea of growing food under glass. This lettuce is her first attempt of stretching out the growing season in a cold zone. Here our lettuce is in the ground as usual, but is covered with an old window pain to allow the sunlight to get through. Today I added the dirty straw from the horse stable around the cinder block base to shield the current icy rain from freezing it. We'll see how long we get to eat fresh lettuce. :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

a note to friends . . .

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

We hope your celebration time is filled with God's peace, a thankful heart, and laughter on your lips.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

everything working out . . .

It seems that everything is working out for this move. Thanks to all of you who have been praying for us. I've found renters for the CA house, have gotten all the information needed for the loan, have the inspection tomorrow, and get to move in right around Christmas break time. Could not have orchestrated it better than the way it is falling together now. Thanks be to God for His handiwork!

Monday, November 23, 2009

the real work starts now . . .

Now the real work has started. I forgot how much work it takes to get loans from a bank. It's a good thing that I have paperwork in order here at home. Trying to find tax bills, pay stubs, and things like that are sometimes crazy if they are not in an organized place.

Wednesday we have the house inspected. I get out of school around 10:00 am to hang an art show, then will be on my way up to the house to see what all I need to fix. I have a few more things to turn in to the credit union and then it will be all about the packing . . . again. This time, hopefully, will be the last one. The thought of spending twenty or more years in a home sounds peaceful. (the longest we lived at any one place was 5 years)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

it's official . . .

IT'S OFFICIAL . . . We're moving to the country south of Defiance!

I got word today that Fannie Mae officially accepted our offer and we are moving forward to the purchase of our farm. Whew! It's been a long time coming.

Today I drove up to the realtor's office and signed the purchase agreement and wrote him a check for a HUGE amount as a deposit. I am going to be getting a loan, so we are not paying cash for it yet. In a few years, I plan to sell the house we own in CA and then pay off the loan amount here. Hopefully my scheme will work out. :) Here are some photos of the home front.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

unoffically YES! . . .

According to the realtor . . . unofficially . . . WE GOT THE FARM!

Now the quick work needs to happen. Approving loan info, signing more papers, and anticipation for the the final word.

Monday, November 16, 2009

letter of approval . . .

This "finding a house/farm thing" is getting old! I think sometimes the emotional parts of it are harder than the physical work of moving all of our stuff. We have spent a year and four months looking for that perfect place and now are in the mix of getting/or not getting THIS place.

Friday night I drove up to Defiance to put an offer on this house. At that point, we were the only ones interested in the place. (here's a picture of one of the barns on the property. . . during the bicentennial, the state paid for one barn to be painted in each county. . . this barn was chosen for Defiance County) I told the realtor that I would be able to get a letter of approval by the early part of the week. Well, last night I spent some time online applying at the credit union I am a part of. Long story short, I got a letter of approval that I printed and emailed to the him. He called last night to let me know that another person (someone from California) also put a bid on the property. Now it has become a realtor game of "highest and best."

All highest and best offers are due in by 3:00 pm tomorrow and then Fannie Mae (the owner of the deed) decides who gets the house." Life is sure full of excited waiting times!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

in a variety of ways . . .

Here's the gurney I found in the barn after we cleaned it. I started sanding it off so I can wheel it around and use it in a variety of ways. The most exciting thing I have thought about for its use is a MOBILE CHICKEN PLUCKING STATION. I thought about cutting a square out of the center and putting a stainless steel sink in the middle. If I did that, I could wheel it over to the outside water supply and have a movable sink to wash up the birds.

Any other ideas for this FABULOUS find? (no comments like "Yeah, throw it away . . . it's yucky!" please)

Friday, November 13, 2009

what we've been looking for . . .

Lady is the newest addition to our family of animals. We got her today, after I came home from looking at the house/farm I am going to put an offer on at 5:00 pm today. What a day of excitement!

Earlier this week Ildi found a house on the market that I later called on. We went to visit it, and both Ildi and I felt like it the house that we have been looking for. The children all said they really liked it as well. It is on a busier road than what we want, but has all the other things we have been looking for in a homestead. 31 acres, fenced pasture, open pasture, large barns, 5 bedrooms, and three bathrooms. Hopefully this one will be the one that we actually purchase, move into, and settle our lives into an area of this world. And hopefully for a LONG while!

As well, I told the children if they cleaned out the barn here at the farm, I would buy them a horse. Well, they worked hard cleaning out all the junk, shoveling out the dirt/glass/and trash, and so I made good on my word and picked her up today. Today we rode her a bit and all were excited to take turns riding her around the place.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

a good experience . . .

Several changes have happened over the last few days. The biggest being that our first born is now DRIVING! What a trip.

Saturday we went to the BMV and Nolan did well on his written test. I told him if he passed, I would take him on a drive with me that day and have him drive the entire time. Since he passed, he drove us to a small town about an hour from where we live. We dropped off an amish lady so she could visit her family. It was a good experience for him to not only drive on the country roads, but also to drive through the center of some towns.. I am also excited because this means when I need someone else to drive besides Ildi or I, we have someone to call on. :)

Our chickens started laying this week. The children found 3 eggs in the barn (a place they should not be laying them) and were shocked that they found a different spot to put them. Over the next few weeks we have to be diligent to keep the hens in during the day so they will get the idea that we want them to put their eggs in the nesting boxes. All this so we don't have to run around the property trying to do the fall version of an Easter egg hunt.