Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Garrison and I saw something interesting this morning. Two skunks mating on the side of the driveway, on the way out to the bus this morning, just before dawn. Garrison is 10 and the questions have been getting asked a lot lately about why he can't have a baby brother. This morning's interesting site brought new questions to the front. "What are they doing?" "They're mating, you know, like the chickens do?" Silence. A silence very heavy with more questions. So I ventured a little more details. "The momma skunk can't have babies unless she mates with the daddy." "Oh..." Our driveway is pretty long, so you can imagine that this was not going to go away quickly. "Oh, so I shouldn't be making the rooster get off the hens then, I guess!" I looked at him, "That's right, if you don't let them mate, then none of your eggs in the incubator will make baby chickens." More silence. "Okay, but I don't understand. How does the rooster help the eggs hatch?" This was going to get technical, I could see it coming now. And darn it if the bus wasn't there yet when we got to the end of the driveway. I was hoping that it would be there, but luck wasn't with me this morning."Well, the hen already has the eggs inside of her, but the rooster has to fertilize them to make them grow. He does that when he's on top of her, when they look like they're fighting." "But HOW does the rooster do that????" I knew it was going to get asked. "Boy roosters, just like boy skunks and boy people have private parts that are made to fit inside the girl private parts and they have a fluid that has the seeds for babies in it -- understand?" "Yes." Silence and complete end to the questions. I added one more thought: "When you become an adult you'll have what it takes to make babies, but it's a big responsibilty." "Is that why some families have like 21 kids, because they didn't be responsible?" I laughed, yes, that's why. It was like a huge weight lifted off his shoulders, and mine too, because I knew he'd been wondering how it works, and he's already been taught the technical words for his private parts, he just never had yet put two and two together when it comes to making babies. For now, his curiousity seems satisfied. Any further questions about the process are getting forwarded to his dad!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

We live in a pretty rural area of NW Arkansas. My nearest neighbor is ½ mile away, and all the neighbors are mostly more than a mile apart after him. in between, there’s nothing but mountains and woods and cow pastures. All those woods give a much needed corridor for wildlife like bears and cougars, who don’t like being near people if they can help it, a way to get from one end of their territory to others. So far, they don’t bother us and we don’t bother them. HOWEVER, if I didn’t have good guardian dogs, that would likely be a different story because the predators would indeed come calling for my chickens, at least, and maybe even small children wandering too far from the house by themselves... but I don’t have any really small children. my youngest child is 10 and he doesn’t roam off on foot too far by himself. He’s not allowed to go up the mountain by himself, mainly because everywhere up there is out of earshot and it’s way too steep for him to go on the 4-wheeler without his older brother. And there’s lots of rattlesnakes and he’s not that good at spotting them on the trail, lol. Up the mountain is where the wild things live, and the ginseng. When ~I ~ go hiking, I go sooooo slow, looking at this and that, it’s hard to actually startle much. And if I got bitten, I would know to not run home as fast as I can, haha. At least I say that now, but I’ve never been bitten! The dogs don’t go far from the house, but they will run to the valley for the horse’s aid if they see or hear a coyote over there, or anything threatening of that sort. The land is set up so that it’s easy to hear and sometimes see what’s in the valley from sitting on the hill in front of the house, even though it’s a long ways across if you were walking. He can go over there alone to fish in the pond because it’s in good earshot.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I’m not sure which is really the correct term for it, but I finally built one! It’s been a project on my list of things to do for a long time, a place to start seeds before it’s warm enough outside for them. I don’t have space in my house in any of the windows. I made the frame from rocks stacked higher on the north end than on the south end so that when I put the glass down on it, it’s facing south at about a 45* angle. Put some old clay tiles down inside so that my seed trays will drain better than if they were sitting directly on the dirt, and plus I was afraid the roots would go through the trays into the dirt if I put them directly on the ground. If that doesn’t work out too good, I might just plant the seeds directly in there and transplant them as they sprout. I’m not completely done with it yet, though. I’ve been putting dirt on the surface of the rocks to give the glass a better seal. Right now there are still plenty gaps for cold air to get in. I have a way to prop it to vent, but I’d like to get one of those automatic lifters so it will vent on its own when it gets too hot in there. So, I’m excited that I finally got to do ~something~ homestead related, I’m usually too busy at work and it hasn’t been daylight long enough when I get off to get anything done. Also yesterday I took out my incubator and started saving eggs to hatch out. By the end of the week I’ll have enough for a small batch, but I’m putting the eggs I’ve gathered so far in there with no heat but the turner plugged in so they’ll get rotated while they wait.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Today a fellow OHG group member posted a link to her blog about an apron she'd made recently. I went to look at it ( and decided that now I want my own apron, too! I used to have a couple, but now I have no idea where they've gone. In reading her post, I saw she mentioned that she likes to keep her fingers in lots of pies. That's true of myself, too, but it seems that the pies are all so DIFFERENT from each other! I feel strange saying that I like aprons because so much of my life is not categorized as "mother". Mostly I am "scientist" or "analyst", but I wear a lab coat all day, so it's not much different than putting on an apron on the weekends, is it? I love the "mother" category and I don't get to experience it enough. Funny how a little thing like wearing an apron could make me feel more "motherly", lol. I think my kids would like it too, and my daughter might want one of her own, since she also likes to cook with me sometimes on the weekends. Some people are weekend warriors, well I am a weekend mother. And gardener and farmer and wife... boy I'll be glad when the days start staying longer so I can move some of the roles over to the weekdays!!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Whooo-hooo! I got a new autosampler for my furnace today, which makes life at work much much nicer. This afternoon I can leave it running and actually expect it to finish the samples while I'm gone... it's hard to trust it yet, but we'll see.

Gabrielle is sick, hope it's not the flu. But I'm going to stop by and get some oil of oregano and olive leaf just in case. i have elderberry tinc at home, but she doesn't like the taste and refuses to take it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I am trying to move my blog over to hosting at my website, but it is not working so, maybe no one can even see it right now. Hopefully, this will get resolved soon and I'll be back on the road to blogging, lol, even though i haven't been a steady traveler on it lately!

1039 // Ah-ha!! I figured it out - took me a while, but now i know why it wasn't working. I needed to take the "www" off of the address URL. Not sure why, but for some reason it won't work like that and now it does, so I don't really care the reason :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It rained all day yesterday and most of the night. When I left for work this morning, I couldn't decide whether I wanted to try the front way out or go on and take the back way. The back way takes much longer, but there are no bridges to cross. Well, I decided to try my luck. The first bridge had a couple inches of water on it, not too much for my jeep to handle, so I crossed it. I always hate doing that because it scares me after having seen my large dog go over the edge of it one time when it was flooded. But no problem this morning. Then the neighbor who lives on that side of the bridge was coming down the road in my direction, which meant that he didn't go over the next bridge, the King's River. So I turned around and was hoping that the water hadn't already risen too high over the bridge I'd just come across. When that happens, and it HAS happened before in the past (but not to me, thank goodness!), you have to wait hours for the water to go down while you're stuck between the two bridges. Felkin's creek will always be an easier pass than the King's River. They're all low-water bridges on our county road, which means they're just a concrete pass over the water, with no rails or sides of any sort, so the water can just pass over it when it rises.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Uh-oh. I couldn't remember my login details to get here and make a post, so obviously, it's been waaaay too long since I've posted! I'll make a better effort to post more often now.

Not much has been going on at the farm, it's just been cold and dreary now for what seems like a long time, even though I know it's only been a week or two. My parents and nephews are coming up this weekend for their Mardi Gras holiday. It seems odd that we don't have days off for that holiday here in NW AR.

I've been far more busy at work than at home these days.