Friday, 20 February 2009

This is what you can do for your family with your tax return.....

Every year I discuss how we buy organic meat and veggies and garden and and and eat soooo much better than most people we know AND SPEND LESS PER WEEK/MONTH.

Every year I hear people make excuses for not doing the same. Even though it is easy, the money just isn't there in the fall when the meat is ready. And there are shiny new toys to buy when tax returns show up (heck, even I WANT A NEW MAC!) and people end up buying trampolines and computers and stuff (waves hello to those who know I've just outed them!)

This year buy a CSA subscription. Find one here. It is more than likely that the first one you pick will be full and you'll have to get on a waiting list. Don't give up. Keep calling/emailing. Seriously. This year buy your meat in bulk, invest in a deep freeze. That freezer will store food that is left over from the CSA too.

The food you eat turns into you, fuels your body and brain. Local food is yummy fresh, doesn't spoil as easily, and is better (often cheaper) for you PLUS you boost your local economy. Let's not overlook the simple fact that you will spend less money on food overall and then can have more money for toys later.

Do it. For you and for your family. No more excuses. Tax money will be here soon. I know it's not the usual for me to sound preachy, but this is something I really, really care about.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Food For Thought

Thursday, 12 February 2009

The Chicken Palace

This is the plan: we'll clean out these buildings, construct a run between them, add roosts and nesting boxes, a window or two for light and ventilation and ta da....a chicken palace. The idea was originally Abby's of Life by Sugar Creek, I think.....all my farmer friends have suggested using what we have so we can get the chickens started. This building will be bigger than we need, but easier on both labor and pocket book. 


Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Farm Life Photos: Brown

Our first truckload of firewood.

Lil'Bug tracks. 

Farm house couture.....

Pie. Sorry. 

Mystery plant of the day.....need macro lens.....

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Farm Life Photos: Orange

What are these? Edible? 

This was edible but not very tasty. Sweet potatoes, bacon, and chard. Missing flavour, the seasoning wasn't right. Suggestions?

I need a macro lens. I do. I do.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Farm Life Photos: Red

Tractor Shy

It finally snowed enough to plow and YAY! out comes the tractor and my camera to document the occasion.......

Vroom. Wait. 
Clearly, I stole the tractor's soul with my camera clicks. Boo.

And so it sat in the driveway, almost but not quite blocking the propane refill. Sigh. Life sized tractor shaped boat anchor indeed. 

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

25 More Random Things, Jr. High style

 Random Things

1) I once made up an imaginary boyfriend. His name was Zeke and he was a 14 year old olympic skiier.  I even wrote letters in his handwriting and showed them to my friends. Stupid.
2) I was a HUGE fan of Dirty Dancing and permed my hair to look like Baby's, tight rolled my jeans and jean shorts, and wore white canvas shoes.
3) I wore blue and green bonnie bell eyeshadow.
4) I kept make up in a Caboodles.
5) I had an ESPRIT bag, but it was a duffle and not a shoulder bag like the cool kids had.
6) I watcher Beverly Hills 90210.
7) I was a fan of Debbie Gibson AND Tiffany. 
8) I mastered the three way call and once had 15 friends from school on at the same time AND also made calls where the 3rd person didn't know there was a 2nd listening in. 
9) I rode my bike around wearing a walkman listening to Depeche Mode Enjoy the Silence because a boy I was crushing on liked the band. 
10) I also had a huge crush on the paper boy and waited on the porch everyday for evening delivery. He ended up bringing his kid brother along to throw the paper at our house. 
11) I loved 1950's music and had a sock hop birthday party. 
12) NKOTB...I know what that means and they should not reunion. 
13) Lipgloss
14) Sun in. 
15) I was planning on naming any and all future children Taylor. 
16) Ouji boards freaked me out. I, to this day, have never used one and left the classroom when someone used one as a show and tell.
17) I helped stage a protest about our schools cockroach problem. 
18) I was in lots of school plays. I was a drama nerd. 
19) I died my hair red to look like Tori Amos and a red headed popular girl thought I was trying to look like her stalker style. 
20) I was not a "popular" girl.
21) I was in Amnesty International. The host teacher was soooooo cool. She invited me to go out of state to a u2 concert (maybe out of country?) and my parents (rightly, maybe) got really freaked out about it.
22) I was a huge u2 fan, I accidentally got Joshua Tree at a garage sale inside another cassette tape case and I was hooked. It rocked my world.
23) My appendix burst in the midst of a very turbulent family drama and I ended up spending 3 months on my aunt's cattle ranch to recover. I mucked out chicken houses and worked a Ren Faire, took long walks in the back woods listening to Joshua Tree on the walkman. It was that summer that I became a spiritual person.
24) I used this stinky white face cream in a tub to mask and wash my face. I don't remember what it was called but once I forgot to wash it off and everyone at the bus stop got a good laugh.
25) I was in a 1950's band and we practiced in my attic. I even called a Chicago diner to book a gig. Oh yeah, they laughed at me. 

So, that was fun. Now I am sick of memes though. Look for an actual update with photos later today.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Dreams and what they mean

The July before Blueberry was born I dreamt I was 5 months pregnant, on the road assigned to take pictures of pink houses, and I encountered a screech owl in a dead/charred forest. The owl was awake and alert in the daylight after I had knocked on the tree it walked out at eye level and almost nose to nose we stared at it. Then I backed off and took its picture. The baby started kicking and writhing. I walked on past to find the pink house and finish my journey. This dream sequence is still incredibly vivid in my memory almost 3 years later. The conversations I had with people along the way, each pink house I took pictures of, the editor who assigned me the project......

What does this mean?

Pink houses. Let's start with that. My Aunt owns and operates the Villa Bed and Breakfast in Galveston, TX. It is the pinkest house I have ever seen. As pictured. When she was first house hunting I found it for her on She said no, no way, too pink. Sometimes we reject too quickly based on first impressions what is actually a perfect match.

When I was 4 months pregnant Dearest bought me the camera in the dream.

Owls. I love owls. Blueberry is a watcher. She reminds me very much of an owl in her personality.

I don't know. Dearest often says that the most boring thing in the world is someone talking about their night dreams. Perhaps. But I think for me, it is part of the creative process and part of reconciling reality. You know? Just a thought.

25 Farm/Life Updates

Meme style. I seem to be ok brain function wise to complete memes and facebook "twitter" so lets see if I can squeeze out a farm update that way.......

1) We are all stricken with death flu 2009. 
2) It is the first time Blueberry has EVER been sick. Before Wednesday she had never had any medication other than ora-gel. Now she has had infant Tylenol, but she didn't think it helped.
3) Blueberry decided her binky is evil. (Lil'Bug was 3 when she gave hers up and she cried and was bitten through and she threw it away herself).
4) The sunrise here never gets old. It is beautiful every day. 
5) It is neat having our Amish neighbors visit us. It's like a rift in time. I get so filled with happiness at the sight of the horse and buggies on our road. 
6) We've been invited to a local Lutheran church by some "Englisher" neighbors (that's the Amish word for what we are) and we have as of yet all been too sick to go.
7) I mentioned to Dearest that the bathtub was still draining slow and he took it apart at bedtime last week only to have the hard to find/replace pieces dissolve and crumble in his hands. Metal pipes can do that!? Luckily American Plumbing Supply in Des Moines had what we needed. I always recommend them for really hard to find things, but they really came through for us this time!
8) It finally snowed enough to get out the tractor and plow the drive!
9) The tractor died 3/4's of the way. Dead. That was the bad news Abby mentioned on FB.
10) Now we are not sure what we'll do next snowfall. Ok, actually we do. We'll be out there HAND SHOVELING.......soooooooo not looking forward to that.
11) The sunrise really never gets old! While I was writing this, it went from deep purple to brilliant pink, to that weird rainbow blue, green, yellow, now blazing ball of fire halo'ed by an ocean of lavender. I really never thought sunrises to be very poetic before living here. 
12) I have yet to capture sunrises or any other of the moments I have really wanted to share because I have been pausing to actually enjoy and savor the moments. I'm sure I'll get over that soon, but I hope not!
13) We have a pregnant opossum living in our outbuilding. They are rabies resistant and eat rodents, play dead (rather than attack) when approached, so we are going to let her stay there....until we get chickens. Opossums are actually not so good around livestock and there feces carries bad news for horses....
14) According to Lil'Bug we have a GIANT troll living in the back field. It lives in (or is?) a gigantic uprooted tree. It does look like a good home for something, maybe an ogre, but she informed me that it is a troll even though trolls usually live in water.
15) I miss baking bread. However, I think I have the kitchen design finally figured out. 
16) I think I can finish unpacking this week.
17) I bought a Calyx. I love it. Seriously. I wanted to buy from a local mom, but when I went to Tattooed Mama's house and tried on various soft structured carriers, none of them fit me secure enough because I am so petite (and in short torso'ed) and yet squishy in the middle plus Blueberry's size. She did not have a Calyx, but suggested that I look into that brand. I am so glad I did. 
18) I am wafting on the idea of retro fitting the grain bin to a chicken coop. It would be easiest, but would it be best long term? Could we change it back? Would  prefer a coup close to the orchard and garden for ease of manure distribution, chicken powered garden pest control, closer to a well pump? Just thoughts......I think we'll still use the grain bin idea though.
19) When the bathtub was out of commission, Dearest got the downstairs shower working! Yay! The drain had consisted of aluminum cans? For a day, I also had no kitchen sink drain. I had to do dishes using my four-year-old's toy storage bins. Nice. Let me tell  you, I was super nice about it. We all do our part.
20) A run down of sinks/drains that currently don't work: just the downstairs toilet and sink.....and the laundry room sink hook up is naked. The washer and dry need to switch positions, but that is not really the same thing, just annoying. Anyway, Dearest redid all the pipes/drains in the basement so that they did not pour out on the floor. That's a good thing.
21) I love this house. I love everything about it. Even the odd things like how high up on the wall the light switches are and how high the door knobs are, as if the first owners/builders were really tall people! I love the wood work, the floors, the built in storage, the fireplace, and the potential and opportunity that this place offers us.
22) Considering 21, I have had a hard time getting back to the Des Moines house to finish packing and cleaning. Now we have an open house on the 15th, so I will have to as soon as the girls are feeling better. Remember, if you know anyone who wants a HUGE Victorian in an urban neighborhood with lots of gardening space, send them that way. ;) 
23) I filled the house with smoke at dinner last night, in true Mama Podkayne culinary style. I did not, however, ruin dinner. Good, considering we had guests. ;) 
24) We bought firewood as a truckload. 
25) Blueberry is also full out crawling. She learned high 5's. I think she's almost got her first sign, more, figured out, though she only uses it when she's excited. 

As soon as I don't look like death warmed over, I plan to blog more about the Calyx with pictures.