Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sunrise, last deer, goat goodbyes

Today started early, really early, when Allen woke me up to see the sunrise. I'm mostly glad he did! 
We needed just one more deer to have enough meat for the year and Josh brought it home this morning. We could tell because he was revving his ATV and hollering! 
So we had to watch Ohio State BEAT Michigan while we processed the deer.  Not our usual game plan, but it worked. And we added another 36 pounds of free, organic, healthy, happy meat to the freezer!
We were also sad (for us, but happy for them) to see the girl goats head off to their new home, a goat dairy farm!  I may have cried a little.  We probably won't have goats in the future. They steal your heart!  While our friend Max was here to get the goats, he took a picture of us just like one from June. Little Lucy (who Josh is holding) got so big!  So did Allen's beard. :)  And yes, Jack's in the same spot.  He flops over anytime you yell at him, so that part was easy. :)
Check out the side by side. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Family resemblance

Mrs. Bunny's babies look amazingly like their mom and dad!  On the left, Ally (white) looks just like her dad Peter and on the right, Fin (black) looks just like Mrs. Bunny. Love those white toes! And yes, Josh is wearing a onesie and Matt still has chocolate on his face from our Thanksgiving leftovers. :)
Mrs. Bunny's and Demon Bunny's babies graduated from the nest and enjoyed some fresh air.
Jack enjoyed the food they spilled! 
Walker Kitty is still enjoying the nest she built and sleeps there most every night now.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

This was our first Thanksgiving away from our family (or our road family once in CA).  We were afraid it wouldn't be very special feeling, since we eat three meals a day together every day. But it was pretty neat to be able to raise our own turkey duck this year and to prepare everything ourselves.  It did turn out very nice and did feel special!  Although I think next year we may head to the Grands just in time for dinner. :)
I thought we'd try to make some of the cute paper roll turkeys. Allen thought they needed real feathers, since they're floating around all over outside right now.
We made seven desserts, for five people. It was crazy, but yummy! 
We'll be eating for a few days.  I'm pretty sure we made enough to feed the extended family we were missing. Turk the duck turned out pretty well.  It was a little over-done (I was guessing) and tough, (and not very photogenic, so I'll spare you that), but it was good and tasted like steak.  We had heard that about Muscovy ducks, but I wasn't really convinced.  But it certainly did and they were all happy.  I even made Allen's begged for requested disgusting oyster dressing that his family always made.  (I usually politely declined!)  I'll never understand how oysters in southern Ohio became a tradition?!  It's Allen's crazy side of the family. :)  (Of course they think my side is crazy, but I think we're both right.)
While Lizzy and I were baking, Allen and the boys went squirrel hunting and brought back a few more.  Walker Kitty enjoyed that cleaning process (ew) and slept in her giant next in the barn for hours. Yes, she made a nest, because that's what cats who live with chickens and rabbits do I guess.
Of course after pigging out all day, the rest of us looked pretty much just like this today. :)  Hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving too!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Heading south, eating chickens

We finally made the decision to head to Florida for the winter! We could stay in Arkansas, the RV is cozy warm, pipes are heated, animals are comfy, but do we want to? That is the question.  After a week of freezing temperatures and fun in the snow, we decided yeah, no. No we don't want to. :)  Allen really wants to fish every day like last winter.  We also really miss the Grands, I have a retreat in Florida I can't miss, and well, it's cold here. We really prefer flip flops and sitting by the pool, while Allen's on the river catching dinner. 
Spoiled?  Maybe.  Lucky?  No, we carefully planned our mobile life for just this reason.
So all of the farm animals will either head to freezer camp, or be swapped with neighbors for milk and eggs when we get back in the spring.  It was a little hard to say goodbye to Chick Norris. He was pretty awesome, for a chicken. He'll be with us, in our hearts and in our freezer.
And Matt's Jiffy Puff too, though I won't miss their crowing.  
The neighbors came and made our whack & pack day go a lot faster. 
Bobbi thinks she got off for Thanksgiving, since we ate Turk the duck.  She doesn't realize we're fattening her up for Christmas. Although after roasting my first duck (I haven't tried a turkey), I'm kinda pulling for ham.  
We'll miss watching all these crazy animals, especially the goats.  We'll get to visit Annie, Lucy, and Lily and their future babies though! That's a nice consolation. Deuce's fate hasn't been determined yet though. We're hoping to sell him instead of sending him to freezer camp. These crazy goats are too easy to get attached to!  Next time we're planning to just have chickens and rabbits, when we return in the spring, when it's warm.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I didn't yell at my kids for a whole year!


I finally hit ONE YEAR without yelling.  I started The Orange Rhino Challenge back in July 2013, so it obviously took quite a few months for me to break the habit, but I did it!
And if I can, you can. I'm not kidding. This was absolutely impossible for me to do, but somehow I sure did. These lovely orange cupcakes are proof!  :)  Lizzy made them for our celebration. 
Don't think you can? You're wrong. :)  I was too.  Check out TheOrangeRhino.com for lots of help and ideas.  Still don't think you can? Sorry, my success invalidates your argument. :) What if you only make one week or even one day? Well, then you've gone a whole week or a whole day without yelling. I'd call that a win! 
Was it easy? Nooooo.  It's still not easy one year later.  I have to constantly concentrate on my responses and really focus on not yelling.  It stinks, but it's a deeply ingrained habit.  But once you realize that, it gets easier.  Easier, not easy, but it's certainly worth it! 
I don't wear my orange bracelet anymore, but that helped a lot in the beginning. Seeing a constant reminder all day. And of course announcing it to the world helped.  There's nothing like public humiliation to motivate the soul.  But finally, my counter shows that it worked.
Will I ever yell at my (lovely) kids again? Who knows? But it won't be out of habit anymore if I do!  Along the way I learned they don't listen anyway, so it's not effective.  Also, whispering can be very scary. This year I'm going to focus on BEING NICE.  Even though I didn't yell, I could be pretty hurtful sometimes. Okay, many times.  So I'm working on that. 
I'm grateful to The Orange Rhino, supportive friends checking in on me, and my family for challenging me by making me want to yell being patient with me. :)
Update 11/28: I yelled. :/ So 370 days is my longest streak. But at least it wasn't out of habit. It was out of 2 days of way too much sugar for all of us and yelling is better than killing, so we'll start again tomorrow. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Trees, bunnies, cats, turkeys

The snow melted and it warmed back up (a little). But we're still thinking of heading south to Florida, because we can. :)  But if we do, the kids will miss being able to climb trees!  Walker Kitty was watching Matt and Lizzy climb. 
The bunnies are growing quickly and turning different shades. The one in the middle with a fat face Lizzy has named Annie May because it looks like an anime character.
All of our mama rabbits like to give the babies a boost up to eat or drink. It's so cute. 
Getting peed on, not so cute. 
Annie, cute but a dork.
We had another wild animal altercation and found Walker Kitty with a few cuts. Sadly, little Luna didn't survive whatever it was. :( 
Since gun season started, the deer are only moving at night, but they see plenty of turkeys.  The trail cameras have been very helpful to Allen in his strategizing. Although he's still hunting almost every day, because... hunting. :)  This turkey cracked me up, so I photoshopped him.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Snow!

So cold, but so pretty.  We got our first snow and I thought I'd share pics for the Grands, who probably don't remember what it looks like down there in Florida! (And right now, Florida sounds awfully nice!)
Snow + trampoline = happy
This is going to make the winter awesome! 
A little gray. :)
Yes, we're quite toasty and happy inside! 
The animals don't seem to notice. I need a thick fur goat coat! 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Birds, cats, windows

Allen has to watch these turkeys when he's hunting. Unfortunately, even though it's almost Thanksgiving, Arkansas turkey season isn't until Spring!
Since it's getting cold, we moved the outside rabbit cages inside. This thing weighs one million pounds, fyi. It takes all 5 of us to move it, and Jack attacks us the whole time. We've not figured that out yet, but he goes crazy when we move it, jumping all over it and us! 
It's about impossible to get a picture of this, but Mrs. Bunny is such a good mama that she lets her babies sit on her head to eat. They can mostly reach, but seem to prefer sitting on top of her. You can just see the black and white babies on top if you squint.
Walker Kitty's face is orange. No, we don't know why.
Many people use reflective foil-type insulation on windows, or bubble wrap if you want to be able to see a little out the windows and let some light in, but in my searching, I found this awesome window shrink film! It's like a strong saran wrap for your windows.  It creates a great cushion of insulation and is perfectly clear, letting all the sunlight in, and allowing me to take pictures from inside when it's cold. Because I'm not going out there! 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Josh's first deer of the season

Josh brought home his first deer of the season today. He literally brought it home on his ATV all by himself and was so proud. This was the second day of gun season.  This is the third deer from Allen's new tree stand that he got last week!  We have over 180 pounds of meat in the freezer so far. Another deer or two and we'll have our meat for the whole year, free!  Acorn-fed, free-range, hormone and antibiotic-free, organic goodness.
Jack and Luna are ready to start helping with the cleaning process. Ew.  Don't click if you're squeamish.