Sowing More Seeds, & a Little Canning

I've been a few weeks behind this month on sowing seeds, but thankfully I can officially say I'm completely caught up and back on schedule!

Two of our large beds are completely sown now, and there's three more raised beds out back that are ready to have seeds started.  Yay for being on track again!

I also managed to get my monthly lettuce started. That's right. Every 30 days we plant a new round of lettuces or salad greens so that we never, ever, ever are without fresh greens.  We grow our lettuces in the same buckets where our tomatoes are. They do fantastic in there, plus it's nice that we can grow year round in the greenhouse.

Once all of our outside chores were finished, we managed to get some asparagus put up. We pickled all we had, along with some lovely peppers we needed to use.

mmmmm.... pickled asparagus. Delicious!  I even let Erick put a few jalapeno's in a couple of jars so he'd have some spicy ones.  He wants everything he eats to be spicy. No lie.

A client yesterday showed up to her appointment with the loveliest flowers. Thank you! I didn't want them to be left at the salon all week, so I brought them home to enjoy them! Aren't they pretty. Sure does remind me that Spring is here!

We've been making a ton of juice lately. Now that crops are coming into season we decided it was the perfect time to make a permanent spot on the counter for the juicer. Come winter time, we usually put it away and only pull it out when we are going to use it, but spring, summer and fall we are always juicing A LOT, so I'm happy to have it back on the counter.  

I treated Erick to a yummy lunch out on the deck.  We are loving our food storage meals.  Paired with our bountiful baskets and home-grown fruits and veggies I seriously can't remember the last time I walked into the grocery store.  If we need milk or diapers or paper products, I send Erick.  I still hate grocery shopping more than anything and ever since we've tried to eat solely out of our pantry, co-op and garden it's been a breeze not stepping foot into a grocery store. We do however need to make a trip to the cannery again soon. I'm out of hot chocolate mix. Ha.

The Chicken's First Free Range, & Some Cleanup

It was a gorgeous Sunday here this morning!  Luckily we were able to get outside and work out in the yard for a bit while the sun was shinning.  Since it was so nice out, and we were going to be working in the yards for a while, we thought it would be the perfect day to let the chickens out for their first FREE RANGE.   Oh they LOVED it.
Ethel here, was the first to abandon coop.  Slowly and cautiously, she made her way out! Her friends weren't too sure at first.  Then she scurried back inside the coop

Then this little lady jumped out and then went back to get the rest of her friends!

Even chicken little made an appearance!  She may be small, but she's certainly not afraid!
We let the bunny out too! He was in heaven! 

The chickens had an absolute ball. They were hunting for worms, chomping away on fresh grass and other small bugs. Happy, happy free rangers.

It was so fun to have everyone all out on the "loose".  All 7 chickens, three goats, and a bunny. Now if we could just get the dogs to behave. Yeah right.  They still aren't super happy about all of the new family members, but they are coming around. SLOWLY.

Erick cleaned out the goat house and the chicken coop. Everyone's homes got cleaned and "aired out", then fresh new bedding. I bet everyone will be super happy tonight at bedtime.

Peppy and his momma's while they grab a snack from the feeder...

For some reason, Iris kept inviting herself into the chicken coop.  I think she found it quite cozy.  We're still waiting on her to kid. ANY DAY NOW. I'm praying for a girl.

I've never seen these chickens so happy.  They are going to be really good at this free-range stuff.

After we cleaned out the beds, Erick tackled the large tree. It's been blocking a lot of sun in the backyard so he decided to climb on up in there and start trimming some of the branches.

Wow! Much nicer! Before you could barely walk underneath the tree because the branches were so low hanging. This will be great! More sun, and less water! Hopefully now that the backyard can get some more sun, things will dry out back there and not get muddy so easily.

Iris had fun chasing the chickens and butting heads with the new kid, Peppy.

After he had almost gotten all of the limbs down, we started sorting and cutting.  Most of this will all be added to the compost pile.

We added the animals old bedding to the compost pile.  We're getting really efficient at this composting business.  It's an "art" we've been trying to perfect over the last three years and it seems to only evolve more each and every year.
Now that the tree is trimmed back, time to put all the animals up before the rain comes. We let the goats roam to do their thing, but the chickens and bunnies need to be put back into their beds for the night.  What a fun day!

Mornings In Our Home...

Sometimes I wonder how this became my life.  I truly feel like every area of my life has been exceptionally blessed. I get to enjoy family life here at the homestead doing what I love, spending time with my family, helping others achieve their gardening dreams AND then I still get to attend to my clients and friends at the salon half of the week. I really do have it all.
Beautiful kids, a healthy family, living off the land as much as we can.
Life is good.
Most of my mornings are a mixture of household chores. Some would say I'm borderline OCD. Okay, full blown OCD. Spots of water on the countertop, fringe on rugs or blankets a mess, un-made beds, footprints on the all drives me batty.   I tend to get all of the "un-fun" chores out of my way as early as possible so I can enjoy moments like I did this morning.  Coffee, attending to a little social media, updating blogs and spreading the word about how people can grow their own organic gardens....   I love sitting in a clean and quiet house, baby napping and snoozing away in her pack and play next to me.  Enough "Signing Time" and kids cartoons already, thank heavens for mid-morning naps. 

My love just called me from work. Somehow he knows exactly when would be the least convenient time for him to call... and he does.  I mean, can you see what he just interrupted? Just kidding.
We talked about all of the fun things we've got to work on tonight. I'm way behind on planting seeds for the month. Mostly because I gave a lot of them away to some random gardeners I ran into at the demonstration gardens last week.  What can I say, I want people to know what I do and how much I believe in this company we use to do all of our gardening with.
On the agenda tonight: PLANTING PLANTING PLANTING.  We've got to work on the automatic waterer for the chickens, and I'm thinking about starting another batch of homemade soap. Last night we made "Cinnamon Vanilla Latte" soap. Yes, I know, I'm addicted to the bean and I just can't give it up. Why not put coffee in my soap too? My house smelled amazing last night. I ALMOST wanted to keep licking to soap "batter". Don't worry, I didn't. I caught myself.
Well the sun keeps TRYING to make an appearance today.  I hope it does, because we are really looking forward to going on our daily walk once Erick gets home.  It's going to be a great day!

Automatic Hay Feeder

The ladies were out of hay so we ran to the feed store and picked some up. I've been wanting to show everyone how well Erick's automatic hay feeder has been working for us, but I've been so swamped with other projects I never got around to it.

Bless his heart. How could I have known that by me putting him in charge of feeding the ladies every morning at 4:30am, he would soon find a way to have them feed themselves. We are early risers here at the homestead, but there's no lack of chores here in the morning. Between the chickens, the goats, the bunny, the pups and our own children...there's plenty of loveable creatures that need your attention.

Everyone notices when daddy brings in fresh new bedding and feed. Can ya tell?

So here it is, He figured out a way to keep the hay dry and have it automatically feed the goats. Or the goats feed themselves, whichever way you want to look at it.

This holds one full cord of hay, but Erick's already plotting on a way to make it larger to hold up to 3.

The goats can happily pull out food when they are hungry from the holes in the bottom.  I think the girls really like their automatic hay feeder.  I know we do, because it just cuts down on one less chore for us in the morning.  Maybe soon, I'll get around to showing you how he's also hooked up ALL of the animals, dogs included, to automatic watering! He really is amazing.

Illahee Adventures

We've been walking/running/jogging a lot lately. Last year we had really made it a point to become more active and we did. THEN, winter hit. Blah.  The wet and cold kept us from going outside as much as we would have wanted so we fell into not walking like we should.  Over the last couple of months though, the weather's started to perk back up and we've been spending a lot of time outdoors.
We try to walk in different places, just to keep it fresh. Every night we walk between 3-10 miles, depending on how much time we have and what the weather's doing. 

We walked around a neighborhood in Illahee last night and then walked down into Illahee State Park as well. Man what a hike. Up and down that switchback to get down to the water made our legs burn. No need to lie, we pretty much huffed the whole way back up the cliff.
It was gorgeous out, so we didn't mind the workout! We watched some kayakers nearby and Noahh watched the "birds".

Messy face and all. She had a great time.

We are blessed to live in such a beautiful state. This most certainly is "Home". Although we entertain the idea of moving to the Gulf Coast, near Perdido Key, I suppose we're waiting for the perfect job opportunity before we make the leap. 
As long as we stay here in Washington, we'll continue to enjoy the beauty that the PNW has to offer. We really do love it here.

It was a great evening with my family. We laughed, and made fun of each other as we climbed the Cliffside painfully. Noahh had it easy of course. She rides that stroller like the characters ride the tip of the boat in the movie "Titanic".  Now if I could just keep this gal of mine to keep her darn socks on. I'm tired of getting the "stank eye" from other mothers who must think I'm a horrible mom because I never put socks and shoes on my kid. No, I do. She just insists taking them off regardless of how many times I put them back on.

We walked down the pier so Noahh could get a closer look at "the birds". She does the sign language for birds whenever she sees them on our walks. It's the cutest.

I love Noahh's face in this. I can only imagine what she's thinking.

 Thanks for the great day Erick and Noahh. Maybe next time we can get Becca to go with us to.  I wonder where we'll walk tomorrow. It's calling for rain the rest of the week and that really makes it hard finding places to walk. 

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