Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Garden Pic #2 and Family Milk Cow!

 Pic #2 of the Garden-things are coming up nicely-despite of the cold weather! Had to cover tomatoes last night-but no freeze-thank you God! Jeff had tilled part of it yesterday-the grass is trying to take over already!
 And meet Lady-or at least that's what I'm calling her at the moment. She's a 3 year old Holstein/Jersey cross due to have her first calf in about 2 months! She's gentle as can be and is bred by Ai to a jersey bull or by the angus bull who jumped the fence. Time-and a calf will tell!

Close up of the developing bag-a good sign of things to come!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Garden, Apple Trees, and Spring Break

OK, I did it again! Let weeks go by without posting, and I even had pictures and stories all ready to go, just couldn't find the time to get it all together. Anyway, here's an update and hopefully I won't leave any important stuff out!?!

 This is a picture of 1 of our 2 Apple trees blooming-is this not just awesome!! And what a beautiful early spring day it was! These are the same trees we got at Lowe's for half price last fall. The bees loved the blossoms and hopefully we'll get a few apples.

 First picture of this years garden-we are doing the most of it at Mom and Shorty's this year so a different look about it. We planted potatoes, corn, peas, green beans, squash, cukes, tomatoes, pumpkins, peppers and jacob's cattle beans. Still have 3 short rows to finish out. Still waiting on things to break the ground and the tomatoes didn't take too well to the transplant so sadly we may have to buy more instead of the ones we started from seed. Jeff and Kaytlynn also planted peas, squash and sunflowers at the house, only to find the garden full of deer tracks the next day-Oh No!!
 Jeff picked up 12 aracauna pullets at the feed store for next year's layers. They are so funny to watch at night catching the bugs attracted to their light! Extra protein for them and for free!
 We went down to Lake Jackson on Monday to visit with Randy and Casey and do a little fishing during our Spring Break. It ended up being too cold the first day and Jeff's cold came back-for the 3rd time-so we kinda just stayed in the hotel. We went and saw their new house on Tuesday-it's beautiful!-went fishing for a little while-didn't catch anything :(- and then went to Alvin to a strawberry farm. We had to wait in line to even park to get in the place! We picked 2 buckets full and had a good time. Got some really good ideas about different ways to plant things, too.
 We took Jordan and Kaytlynn to the Burt's fishing on Friday-they had a blast catching 1 little perch after another. Thanks for letting them come over!
The snow peas I picked this morning and a head of cabbage we cut earlier. I put 2 pints of them in the freezer!

The fruit trees are blooming and the bees are abuzzing here! We've had a week of daily temps getting warmer and warmer. Still had a few cool mornings, but it's in the lower 80's today. Some of the trees seem to be taking longer than usual to  bud out, but they'll be green before we know it. The wind has been blowing alot more than normal though it seems.
Mom is doing SO much better-she nearly worked me into the ground yesterday-gladly!! We worked all day long cleaning out their sewing room-the wind blew the outside door open last Sunday and it rained in and got  lots of stuff wet. I've never seen so much material in my life, though! Mom and I decided it was time to start working on quilts again and soon!
Church is going wonderfully well-we have new members joining almost weekly! And as we are entering into the passover week and onto Easter, it's always so wonderful to see new people visiting and taking part in our little Church and serving our Lord! Our Sunday School lessons have been great-this morning on the Good Samaritan and compassion.
I'm still trying to work with my essential oils, its just hard trying to split my time between 2 houses and get things done at each. There has already been times that I really wished I could have mixed some thing up-like yesterday when I had a migraine! But I'll get to it asap! 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Thought I'd finally jump back on here and give a much needed update. Boy have things been weird for us the last 2 months! For starters, my mom took a serious turn for the worst, but thanks to God, He is in control and makes all things GOOD. We found that she had been abusing narcartic pain killers-the really bad ones, and now she is all CLEAN! Thanks to God again! All she is on for pain now is extra strength tylenol!
My aunt Linda, mom's sister, was found to have lung cancer and had to have the lower left lobe of her lung removed-thank you God, again!,the cancer was only in the lung-all lymph nodes are clear! She's home from the hospital and recovering and at this time will need no chemo or radiation! Jeff has an uncle who is in hospice and not expected to hold on much longer. Kaytlynn has been sick and a preleminary allergy test shows she's allergic to lots of stuff, including her dog. Jeff will take her and Alana to Tomball on Thursday to see the allergist for more testing. Mom and Shorty-and Jeff-all came down with some cold bug and suffered for nearly a week with Shorty ending up at the doc. We were worried he might have pnemonia-but he felt much better after a few doses of antibiotics. Jeff and I have been spending most of our time living in our camper up at their place trying to help them out as much as possible. Looks like we'll be gardening up there this spring/summer and have already moved the cows up there and hope to soon get a chicken pen built and get the rabbits and pigs moved as well. Ricky, Alana and the kids have been wonderful picking up the slack here, keeping the animals fed and things done here.
I guess the coolest thing going on is I've gotten into working with essential oils. I made up some Lavendar ointment and it really seemed to help mom keep calm when she came home from the hospital. When they all got sick, I made up a couple of batches of a vabor rub type ointment that seemed to keep some of the congestion at bay and Jeff said after using it, his throat wasn't sore anymore! I'm really getting into using these natural ways of healing. There is SO much to learn about them! Another thing I've been checking into is some more natural/frugal ways of doing things. The following is the first thing we've done:

Homemade Laundry Detergent
I tried this at the first of the year and really wondered if it would work. It was way TOO easy and cheap to make for it to actually work! I was wrong! I was worried that it might cause some skin irritations-wrong again! I got the recipe from the internet and after more research, found that most ones were very similiar. Be adventurous and give it a try!
 It starts with just 3 ingredients-Washing soda (not BAKING soda!); Borax; and a bar of either Zote soap or Fels-Naptha soap. Most recipes said you could use a bar of Ivory if you can't find either of them. I found all of them at Wal-Mart. The first batch I made with Zote-the one I made yesterday I used the Fels-Naptha cause they were out of Zote.
Anyway, you start by grating the whole bar of soap into a pot and then cover it with hot water.I use an old saucepan that I don't use for cooking anymore-just a little worried about not being able to get all the soap out of it! Bring the water to a boil and stir until all the soap is melted.

Then add 1/2 cup of each of the washing soda and borax. Stir until completely dissolved. Put it in a 5 gallon bucket (you'll need one with a lid-I bought a 6 gallon one to use for this) and fill it about 3/4 of the way full with hot water. Stir it up good and let it sit over night undisturbed.

The next morning it will be all thick and congealed-kinda like a thick gel. Stir it up-it will be in clumps-we used the hand mixer on ours this morning to make it smooth. 
We poured out enough to fill up an empty plastic ice cream bucket and keep it on the washer to use. It takes about 1/2 to 3/4 cup per load. Now it doesn't suds up like most detergents but it does clean and leaves a nice smell to the laundry. The batch we just made-I added some Lavander to it to see how it will smell. I read somewhere that it will wash about 157 loads of clothes. All I know is we've used it, Alana has used it, and Jeff's mom borrowed enough to do a few loads-so-it will last til nearly the middle of this month with the first batch-3 and a half months! The start up cost is less than $10 and we only have to buy a new bar of soap for each new batch-which is 97 cents in our area. Try some-you might just like it as well! I'll write on some of the other things we're doing as well in a few days-hopefully it won't take 2 months!! Have a great week!