Monday, May 30, 2011

Manic Monday! Ottoman!

I finally finished the ottoman! You can check out its humble beginning here. I bought the bottom piece at an estate sale for $2, and I spent some time sanding and varnishing it. I wish I could say that I completed the project without help, but I did have some from my husband. He had to cut the MDF board I used for the base and help me attach the legs to the cushion. It's a bit taller than I anticipated. I may even do something different with the yard sale piece that inspired it all and find new legs to put on the cushion.  I thought about cutting down the legs, but I don't think I want to do that! I'm thinking something with webbing of some kind... we'll see! I added some piping to the bottom of the cushion which I like a lot! So basically I like the top and bottom of the piece, but maybe not together!

On a side note, these are the shoes my husband surprised me with for Mother's Day! I had a crush on these for several months!

I hope everyone is enjoying this Memorial Day. It's hot here in VA! Who said we could only have 1 week of Spring and fly right into Summer? It's supposed to reach a record high tomorrow!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Do you want to hear the good news or the bad news? The bad news is that my neighbors don't observe the leash law, and a rottweiler from next door attacked my rooster. (I had no idea one was even over there). This was after 2 other dogs which belong to the same neighbors unsuccessfully went after my hens. No way could I stop the rottweiler, though. The good news is that I have a fast rooster... and the dog only got feathers. Lots and lots of feathers.

This is just one of several piles all over my yard. So sad.

Here's my rooster, sans tail. He should grow back all the feathers.

Needless to say, last night was full of drama at my house. I now have begun a great relationship with animal control... and I will do my best to refrain from getting too political about all that happened last night. :(

Friday, May 20, 2011

Photo Friday! Garden Volunteers!

Let's hear it for volunteers! My Thrifty Thursday yesterday was going to be about how awesome it is that we have well over 30 volunteer tomatoes and as many squash, too! Of course, that created lots of extra work creating new beds to accommodate all of these courageous lovelies... (thanks to my husband for running the tiller...) We figured if they had worked this hard to be here, they deserved the chance to grow all season. We have no idea what varieties any of these are... so it will be a surprise! So now in addition to the 4 raised beds (two of which have some of our seedlings) we also have 2 new beds with tons of plants. Come on, rain!

I actually bought ladybugs at Lavender Fields Farm last weekend. We finally had a rain-free night to release them! 

And here's my handsome kitty... he's checking out the chickens again.... :)

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Manic Monday! Wildlife!

One thing about living outside the city and the 'burbs is the frequency of looking out the window in the morning to sights like this one:

I've become accustomed to surveying the backyard every morning. Usually if I see something it's our neighborhood herd of deer. But on Sunday, I spotted this guy walking from our house to the woods!

He obviously wasn't feeling his best... my husband thinks he had a run-in with a lawnmower. That's the main reason why he let me get this close to get a picture. He was moving OK and had gone into the woods in just a few minutes. This is not the kind of turtle you really want to handle, because snapping turtles are not friendly!

In chicken news, we had 15 eggs in the first week. My daughter collected 5 eggs today! One is teeny tiny! Not bad at all for 4 hens!

We also got our garden partially planted. We had a ton of volunteer tomatoes and squash, so we transplanted a bunch of those to a new garden. We still have one more raised bed to plant. We have a chance for rain all week, which I hope will get the garden off to a nice start!

Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I just had to share our discovery of a pair of baby praying mantis.... they are too cute! The little stick in the background is the second one.... to give you some perspective, this plant is a tiny groundcover type seedum.

So excited to have these beneficial insects in my yard!

We spent a better part of the day over at Lavender Fields Farm for their herb fair... the kids had a great time!

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Photo Friday! My flock!!!

So I suppose the only thing more hilarious than the "crazy cat lady" would be a "crazy chicken lady." Oh, wait... I now own both! ;)

Since we don't have a chicken run yet, I've been letting them out of the coop when I get home from work, and they have faithfully filed back into the coop just before sunset every evening. They were funny tonight... I put out some "treat" feed for them with sunflower seeds, tomatoes, peanuts, and other seed, and you should have seen the hens running toward me! They used to all huddle to one side of the coop when I went to let them out, then wait for me to leave to file out of the coop. Now they just scoot on past me with no concern that I'm going to hurt them. They still won't get close enough for me to touch them yet. We'll see...

Our grand total for eggs this week is 11 (4 from today... my kids were so excited!), which I think is pretty good considering how stressed they must feel. I made a custard impossible pie tonight.... I hope it's good! I used Trader Joe's version of Bisquick. This was, by far, one of my favorite desserts growing up.

Since Blogger was down yesterday, I didn't get the chance to share my Thrifty Thursday yesterday. If you remember a post a couple of weeks ago, I bought a wooden wine crate from the thrift store. Well, I needed a sturdy wood box to use as a nest, so the crate worked out perfectly! Best of all, we didn't have to build it!

I don't have a ton of plans this weekend. I hope to relax some! How about you? Hope it's a great weekend, whatever you have planned!

And I have to wish my big brother a Happy Birthday!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Manic Monday! Chickens!

So, on Saturday, my family and I went to this farm animal buy/sell/trade show at a big farm up the road from us. We ended up with a small flock of chickens. Did we have a coop, you ask? Why, no, we didn't. That is until my husband, father-in-law, and I worked together to build one before it started to rain. (OK, my husband really did most of the work!) It still doesn't have a proper door or roof (rat cage for a door and a sheet of plywood for a roof!), but we hope to fix that soon. And we will also build a proper chicken run. I would love to free range these birds, but our neighbors who have chickens have lost some to coyotes, hawks, foxes, raccoons, and owls. I'd say we have a few known predators in the area. We have been sleeping with the windows open at night, and I have to say I've heard 3 of those I listed making their presence known at night.

My husband really is the sweetest man. He knows how much I've wanted chickens. We now have a rooster and 4 hens. I'm not sure we really need the rooster, but the people we bought from convinced us that we do. Isn't he pretty? And he actually does seem to treat the girls well. Like today, for example, when I cleaned out their coop, I let them free range for a while. I was pretty nervous that they wouldn't go back in, especially when they all seemed to have nested under a tree. But, when the sun started to go down, he called the girls in... and I nailed the screen shut again.

We hope to have lots of eggs... and some nice pets. And tonight, I'm sleeping with the window closed.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Photo Friday!

My older daughter had her face painted at an Easter egg hunt a few weeks ago. She loved it so much that she wouldn't wash her face for 2 days! She makes a pretty butterfly, don't you think?

 My husband and his friend went fishing on Sunday and caught a bunch of crappies... which we ate on Tuesday! They were actually really good. My husband is handy with the Fry Daddy!

Spring is truly here.... pop up showers are frequent, new flowers are in bloom all the time, and it's time to plant my seedlings in the garden. The local farmer's markets have opened or will open this weekend! Yay! And I think there's a farm animal sale up the road from us tomorrow.

I really want some chickens... but my husband says he gets his dog if I get chickens. I'm not so sure I'm a dog person! Maybe we can just go and look....

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thrifty Thursday! Repurposing...

I am continuing to work on my "office" and trying to find some storage solutions. Do you recognize this piece of inexpensive furniture? It had a past life as a toy storage shelf with multiple cloth bins... one for each space. What I discovered was that my kids were not using it at all, and all of the bins were empty. We have another storage unit (with the open plastic bins) which is also empty. So, I pulled this from the playroom so I could have a better space to store fabric. I had most of them in a cabinet and a few stacked in a basket. I really wanted to have these in sight.... I hope that seeing all of the colors will inspire me :) What's best about this is that it cost me nothing!

These two things were thrifted. The spice rack I bought years ago and has been sitting in my in-laws' basement until recently. I thought it would be perfect for storing tubes of seed beads. I love how I can see the colors of the beads!

The second piece I bought a couple of weeks ago. I have no idea what its true purpose is, but I thought I could use it to keep my beading tools handy. An interesting find... I may use it for something else later!

I buy lots of wood boxes at thrift stores, especially ones meant to hold cassettes, etc. They are usually sturdy and the right size for holding a few odds and ends.

Have any storage tips to share? I'd love to hear about them!

Monday, May 2, 2011


Is it a happy day? I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I am proud of our armed services for the work they do. I, like everyone, remember exactly where I was on 9/11 and continue to mourn today. I hope that with Bin Ladin gone, those who have sufferred due to his regime will have some redemption and comfort in the fact that he is gone. But do I celebrate? I don't think so. Death is never something to celebrate. And, rest assured, there are more villains to fill his void. There will always be those who hate. I don't think anyone can help that. But hate fuels more hate. A part of me even feels bad for those who carried out attacks for Bin Ladin, because I see them as victims, too.

I found this quote on Pinterest tonight which sums up everything I feel about the events of yesterday:

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Even though MLK, Jr. is gone, he gives eternally through his words of wisdom. Words to live by.