Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How can you tell what season it is?

You can always tell when it is Spring because kittens seems to pop up just as quickly as the dandelions. If you think you are seeing double...

Then you better take a closer look....

Not one, not two...

but THREE little kittens!

The two grey kittens came home last week and were the only ones we were considering adding to the farm. We have lost a couple of barn cats in the last year and the one that is left is very lonely. So we came across these two little rascals and what mother could resist these cutie pie faces. They follow the children around like dogs and had their first experience walking on grass. They hated the way it felt on their paws and they immediateley began hopping and jumping trying to stay off of it, which quickly earned them the names Tiger and Roo

And I don't know what made me go back and check the craigslist board again the next day, but someone posted a listing for a kitten that had been found in a foreclosed home. Little is known about the age of the kitten. It's eyes were open and ears alert and it was just beginning to do a shaky stand and a step of walking. From what I remember about hand raising kittens in the past this littlest one is about 3 weeks. We have no teeth which would put us closer to four weeks.

But it's round the clock feedings and changing kitten bedding and lots of lots of snuggling. After spending all of the hours feeding with a syringe and snuggling and cleaning up the mess that even one little kitten can make, I just don't know if I can send this littlest one out into the world of the barn cats. A hand raised kitten bonds with it's care takers in ways that other cats don't. I'd love to find a place where she can curl up on an ironing board or on top of a snuggly quilt in a patch of sunlight and call it home.


Of course when my husband told me this morning that it snowed, I thought he was paying me back for a little prank we played on him last night. Only to roll out of a warm bed to prove him wrong and call his bluff...when what to my wondering eyes did appear....

Curses....snow! Now it's not much, I know...just about an inch, but I have plans. The flannel sheets have been stripped from the beds and packed away, the garden is sprouting and the corn in the little Styrofoam cups needs to be put into the ground....it's a chance you take here. Some seasons you can beat Mother Nature at her own game and other times she let's you know it's just one more thing in your life that you have absolutely no control over...hmmm, me control freak? NO WAY!

These were the only flowers still perky after be covered with a chilly white blanket last night.

We are about a week away from having one of the most beautiful lilac trees I have ever seen. I was out quickly this morning knocking the clumps of melting snow and ice from the branches. The weather forecast is saying 55 degrees for this afternoon, otherwise I would have left the snow on as an insulator from colder temperatures.

Maybe Mother Nature knew just what I needed when she blanketed our farm in snow this morning. The gardens will be far too wet to work in, so we'll be inside today baking a cake for a Grampa's birthday and working on getting the top quilted for the Four Seasons Quilt Swap. Just a few quilting stitches, binding and label away from a finished top.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Kids, Mud and a Honey Sugar Scrub...



and kids in the mud.

It's just the time of the year that you find the mud or the mud finds you.

We have been busy working and playing in the gardens this week and have spent many hours with our hands and feet in the soil. At the end of the day when we come in from work or play, we need something stronger than a bar of soap to scrub the dirt from our hands and the bottoms of little feet.

In the past I purchased a honey sugar scrub in a cute little jar from a popular store found in malls. One day while looking for pennies to pinch here and there it struck me that $22.00 was a bit steep for a product that contained little more than white sugar, honey, a splash of fragrance and a glass jar. I began experimenting with different portions of white sugar and honey and found that I could vary the amount of scratchiness of the scrub by adding more or less white sugar to a base amount of honey.

So if you need to clean some dirty hands or little feet, try making your own batch of homemade honey sugar scrub.

Pour 1 cup of honey into a bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon of white sugar to the honey and mix well.

Continue to add white sugar one tablespoon at a timeuntil you reach the desired amount of scrubbiness.

I like my scrub scratchy so I use 6 tablespoons of white sugar for every cup of honey. I store my scrub in a 16 ounce wide mouth recycled glass beet jar with a screw on lid. I keep one jar in the shower and another jar at the kitchen sink. If the sugar settles to the bottom mix thoroughly.

When using the scrub remember to rinse thoroughly.

Since learning to make this scrub a few years ago I have saved a small sum of money by making a similar product at home for just a few pennies with items that can be found in my pantry on any given day.

Packaged with a trio of hand knit cotton dishcloths this honey sugar scrub would make a wonderful homemade gift for the holidays. Knit the dishcloths this summer and wait to mix the scrub until December. You could easily make a batch or two of scrub while waiting for Christmas cookies to bake and you'll have a very simple, inexpensive gift to give.

Leave me a comment and let me know if there is something that you used to buybut don't buy any more because you can make a similar product yourself at home at less cost.

Please do not use honey products,
including this scrub on children under 1 year of age.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Welcome to Holland

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

by Emily Perl Kingsley

Saturday, April 19, 2008

There's a new kid on the block!

After spending last weekend searching on the web, we came across a new kid. Farmer boy has hopes of training him to pull a cart. From what we have learned from reading it will be two years before the goat is ready to pull a cart and rider, but we will start now with basic commands on a lead and halter. This will be a test of patience for all involved. I call dibs on the first ride!

Farmer girl aka "The Chicken Whisperer" and her little bantam hen Tinkerbell, or is it Dora. This is the only chicken on the farm with a name. The two are inseparable.

Give little Cinderella a broom

and some music

and the floors are done in no time.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Things happen for a reason...

Sometimes we wonder why things happen the way they do, only to shrug our shoulders and say "Hhmmph" and we never know why. But sometimes once in a rare while it all makes sense why this or that happened or didn't happen for that matter. Today was one of those days when things fell into place and I saw the light and it all made sense.

Months ago I registered to take classes at the International Quilt Festival with Cindy Blackberg. I sent in my registration, and as I have always done in the past, I asked my husband to make my hotel reservations at the Hyatt in Rosemont, Illinois. Somewhere between preparing for the final test for his CPA exam and dealing with his boss who "got resigned" (you know... they give someone a chance to resign in good standing instead of being fired) I should mention that this is the 4th CFO the company my husband works for has resigned in four years. So knowing he had a lot on his plate I didn't hound him about my hotel reservations, until a couple of weeks ago. That's when I found out that he hadn't made the reservations and then found out that the hotel was oversold.

Since I was still in the window of receiving a full refund I dropped my classes and got my money back. I've tried not to be too cross the last couple of weeks, but I was looking forward to taking the hand piecing classes that I had signed up for. Plus I could really use a short trip away to catch my breath before we start our next school year and before things on the farm get out of hand with planting.

Many times over the last couple of weeks, my husband has tried to talk me into staying at a hotel close to the quilt show so that I could still go to the show and do a bit of shopping at the vendor mall. Hard to turn down an offer to go shopping, but something told me not to go. Each time I went to the web site to make the hotel reservations something kept me from completing the transaction. I must have logged into the hotel site a half dozen times over the last few weeks and something made me think that I would be better off at home.

And then this morning it all unfolded in the slam of a door and in the panicked voice of a little boy. "Mom, Sissy had a baby goat...and it's not moving, hurry Mom!" And in his eyes I saw what he couldn't say, "Please don't let it die." As we ran out to the barn I tried to remember everything I had read about goats and kidding, what to expect, what to do. And when I got there I realized that I wouldn't need anything that I had learned about baby goats. The kid had been born many hours earlier and was ice cold. My heart broke and hasn't recovered from the look on my child's face as I knelt in the straw next to him and had to tell him that the baby goat was dead. As we took care of the mama goat we hoped that she would deliver a twin or triple, but it wasn't in the plan. What was in the plan, was for a mom to be there when her son ran in the door and need her most.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Happiness is a place between
too much and too little.

- Finnish Proverb