Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Proper Pictures

Our replacement camera arrived today! We had a few weeks without being able to take a proper picture, just blurry cell phone pictures. To mark the occasion, I captured the first sunflower bloom of the summer.
Yes, more chicken pictures. :-) This time clearer.
One thing I have noticed with our new chickens is that 6 older ones are more friendly than our first flock. When we are in their yard, they like to follow closely. There even is one that sometimes tolerates petting.
She will probably end up with a name, as she is the only white chicken of the flock.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Chicken Report

Friday afternoon, we picked up the other 4 chickens. They are about half the size as the 6 older ones. They have been getting along for the most part. As far as the Raccoons, we haven't seen any activity. We set up a electric fence around the parameter of the chicken yard and have the doors on the coop locking at night. We haven't let them out as free-rangers yet, as I want them to bond a bit as a flock and grow up a little more. The 6 older chickens have never been outside before, so they are learning to eat grasses and bugs. The 4 younger ones are pros already. They were raised free range and they want to be out in the world.
This is one the Barred Plymouth Rocks and one of the Silver Laced Wyandottes. At this point, I can tell the difference between the older ones, but that may change as they grow all their adult feathers. We couldn't keep track of our old flock. I hope I can in the future, then maybe we can name some of them.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chickens are Back

Tonight we picked up 6 new chickens. 3 Red Stars, 2 Production Reds, and 1 White Plymouth Rock. They are about 9 weeks old and will probably start laying in about 2 months. We have 4 more coming arriving tomorrow- 2 Barred Plymouth Rock and 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes. These are 5 weeks old.

Purple Beans

The beans and peas are beginning to ripen in the garden. One variety is new for us, the Royalty Purple Pod Bean. The color is a delightfully creepy purple, but tastes great. I ordered the seeds from Seed Savers. We will be freezing bags of beans over the next few weeks. (image from seed savers)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday: Driveway Moment

When I got home from work, I stopped at the end of the driveway to pick up the mail. A car pulled in behind me. It was my aunt, Sister Michelle. What a surprise! She was on her way back to Green Bay to the convent from visiting relatives around here. We proceeded to visit under the apple trees. Its not everyday you get an impromptu visit from a Nun.

Later on Zachary and I went for a sunset bike ride. It has been while since the last ride. We had good intentions earlier this spring to go biking a few times a week. Maybe this time we’ll stick to it… I need to combat my growing muffin top. After the ride, we succumbed to our lay-about ways to fulfilling quests for our Human Paladin and Night Elf Druid. At least they are fit and active. :-P

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday Stroll

On a whim, Zachary and I went to the Mosquito Hill Nature Center in New London today. It is only 12 or so miles from our home. It is one of those neat places that is so close to home, but never go to. A walk in the woods sounded nice.
We took the trail up the hill. The smell of the woods was so refreshing. All along the trail, there were wild blackberries and raspberries ripe for picking. I foraged and feasted all the way. Once on top, we got to see a nice vista. We spied two garter snakes sunning themselves near the lookout. They slithered away too quickly for me to snap their picture.
After reaching the bottom of the hill and wandering on another trail loop, we came across the Butterfly House.
The nature center has a large greenhouse shaped building set up with screened walls and ceiling. Inside, there are flowers planted, hanging baskets, feeders, and other green plants all around for the enjoyment of several species of native butterflies. It is a neat way to get close to them.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Little Help

A large bush/tree in our orchard is bearing fruit this year. Most of the trees are apple, but we have a couple odd ones. I think it is something my Grandma planted years ago and we aren't sure what it is. The fruit tastes like a cherry crossed with a grape, no long stem, and it has a pit. Is it some sort of cherry?
I do know that they are delicious.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Chicken Tragedy

Sad news to report... we lost all 4 of our chickens. In a brazen attack by a raccoon(s) at night, the coon killed all our chickens. The coon broke into the chicken yard and snatched them. We are really bummed. The chickens have become a fixture around the yard and entertaining gardening companions, as they were always curious what was happening. When Zachary would work out in the wood shop, they would wander in and take sawdust baths. We were thinking of getting a few more, before the attack, to add to our flock. But now before we get chickens again, we will be re-enforcing the chicken fence and creating a safer environment in the coop to try not let this happen again. It is amazing how attached you get to them. A hard lesson learned.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Quick Overnight

Saturday evening Zachary and I went back to Iola, this time to do a little fishing and camp overnight. First we tried our luck on Long Lake, where my parents own some property. No luck there, but our canoe was getting blown around the lake and made things tricky. Later we took the canoe to Graham Lake, and Zachary did catch one, although small and tossed back. The sun was setting and the wind was dying down, much better fishing conditions. After grilling over the fire for dinner, we set up camp for the night back at Long Lake. Our tent has an open screen ceiling and walls and with the stars so bright and clear, we left the rain fly off, so we could enjoy the bright night sky. I have to admit, it is a little creepy to look out of the tent into the blackness and wonder what is looking back. It is funny what a false sense of security a rain fly offers in a thin nylon tent. After a beautiful sunrise, we packed up and headed home. It was a great mini-getaway.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Old Car Show

Yesterday we went to the Iola Old Car Show. (Side story: The night before I was charging our "back up" camera for the next day and after several attempts, it was not taking a charge. We lost our main camera a few months ago and have been using our video camera as our picture camera since then. Now I am down to my lowly cell phone... Arg! These pictures are from my cell phone, I am actually surprised they turned out as well as they did.)
Back to the car show. We brought along our nephews Seth and Andy and one of their friends, Austin. Its usually a yearly tradition, I have been going since I was young. One the best things about the car show is deep fried cheese curds. Neither of us have had them that taste like these do. They are beer battered and lightly breaded... Delicious. Greasy as heck and probably awful for you, but if it is only once a year, why not. I think Mr. Bean drove a car like that green one.
This car had seats that swiveled towards the door for easy entry/exit. There was a lot of unique cars to see, as this year's theme was Independents and Imports- Alternatives to the Detroit Big Three. There was also a display of the cars used in the movie Public Enemies, as a lot of the movie was shot in Wisconsin.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


The daylilies around the yard are blossoming. They are one of my favorite summer time blooms.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


The allure of discounted plants made for another trip to the garden center on my lunch hour. This time I picked up a bunch of annuals at 65 cents a piece. I put a few in our window box.
Zachary is busy rebuilding a small antique sleigh for my Dad. He is replacing the old wood pieces with new wood.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Herbs for Cheap

On my lunch break from work today, I went to Fleet Farm to pick up a couple extra tomato cages for the garden. A bright yellow sign caught my attention. All plants on this rack: 50 cents each. I picked up Cinnamon Basil, Thai Basil, Lemon Balm, Cilantro, Dill, Sage, Thyme, Oregano, and Rosemary. I love a good deal, especially ones that are tasty and flavorful.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunday: Lights

The Clematis is in it's prime.
Zachary wired up 3 outdoor lights for our house. Grilling will be so much easier without holding a flashlight at night.
Work was also done on the inside today. I installed insulation to the outer walls in the dining room, as Zachary added 4 recessed lights in the ceiling. It sure brightens up the room. Hopefully this week we will get the drywall hung in the dining room. Then we will be having a drywall guy come in soon to finish hanging the drywall in the high kitchen ceiling, and then mud and texturize the kitchen, dining room, and bathroom. We remodeled the bathroom 2 winters ago and we never were happy with how the drywall finish turned out. We did a flat smooth finish, and even after painting, the seams are still visible. Adding mud and texture to drywall is annoying and we both loathe the job. Sometimes is pays to have someone else do it.

Saturday: At the Lakes

Saturday we worked on another arbor, this one to display at the lakes. In the morning we finished assembling it and then we stained it with a semi-transparent stain. On this one, Zachary decided to put a little curve on the upper cross pieces.
After the paint was mostly dry, we brought up the arbor to the lake at my parents' house and relaxed the rest of the evening there. The Cloverleaf Lakes Association were putting on Fireworks that night. Some of our family were there as well to enjoy the beautiful evening.
Zachary did some fishing, and had a little luck with a top water lure, despite the heavy boat traffic and lake noise.
Zachary, Jordan, Andy and I played a couple rounds of shuffleboard in the garage. Andy landed an awesome shot where the puck seemed to be hanging off the edge by more than 50%. I had to photograph it, although the camera obscured the image of the impossible feat. It didn't last long, Jordan's next shot knocked it off. Jordan ended up being champion last night, going 6-0.
The annual Cloverleaf Lakes tradition: the pontoon parade. The "floats" are usually pretty tattered and tired by the time they pass our spot, as we are towards the end of the route. There is a theme every year, but I am not sure what was the theme this year. The one above had a Sponge Bob theme, but we couldn't figure out the pattern. Zachary asked me if I knew what the theme was, and I said it was Beer. Most of the floats have loud alcohol-fueled adults acting ridiculous on them. I believe beer is the unofficial theme every year.
Darkness falls and the fireworks shine.

Friday, July 3, 2009

On the Side

Since we stopped dairy farming this spring, we have been trying to find our footing in our new journey. One opportunity that has come for us is Zachary being able to spend more time as a woodworker. A hobby that we both enjoy. Zachary has been working on some projects for my parents, and has built a few garden pieces to display for sale. After advertising some of his work on Craigslist, today we sold a custom built arbor. We assembled the arbor today, with Zachary cutting and fitting, and myself on sanding duty. We delivered the arbor and installed and leveled it for our customer. She was very happy with it. It is nice to earn a little extra money doing something that you enjoy.
Zachary is in the middle of making a water wheel for my parents. We'll be putting up pictures of that soon, as it is quite a contraption.