Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day 12

We're down to five Frizzle eggs and one of the Silkie feathered green-egg layer eggs. Had another blood ring yesterday we had to toss out.

I do have more eggs coming from the same lady, DipsyDoodleDoo on BackyardChickens . They should arrive Friday/Saturday.

We are all getting excited about these babies hatching! It's so amazing to see them moving around within their shell when I candle them! My friend, Dorey, said I was creating my own baby ultrasound ;-)

We are in the last five hours of day 12. Click the link below to see a developing chick on each day.

Day by Day Unborn Chick Development

We've been really busy getting ready for Christmas! I've still got a few gifts yet to make for the kids, but I am confident I will get them done without stressing.

We bought new furniture for the family room yesterday!!! The first new furniture we've ever bought for the family room. We are all excited! I'll post photos in a few days after it is delivered and the room presentable.

Take Care!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hatch update

It took me nearly 4 days to get the temps stable in my incubator. It would stabilize, then go crazy again. Now, it's stable for the third time and has been stable since Wednesday night.

I just got done candling all 12 remaining eggs (after one was dropped the other day).

The 1 Silkie feathered green egg layer...the shell has gotten so dense I can't tell anything except where the air sac is now. So I'm going to keep it in the bator full term. Does the dense/thick/opaque shell mean anything I should know about?

The 11 Frizzle eggs:
2 blood circles (dated 11/30 and 12/2). Blood circles means that a chick was developing and "quit" for unknown reasons.
3 clear (dated 11/29 and two from 11/30) I'm sure they were too old by the time I got my temps stable(for the 3rd and final time) Clear means the eggs were not fertile or nothing ever began to develop.

The other 6 are FANTASTIC!!!! Get this, one of the 11/29 ones, we're even thinking it might have 2 chicks in it!!! Either it's two or if it's one, it's pretty big and HATES the light. There was lots of swimming around when I was candling it. I'll look at it again tomorrow or Wednesday night to see if I can tell better for sure.

Mike even watched me candle the eggs and he's the one that first noticed I might have an egg with twins in it even before I did.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bring it on!

Tomorrow's forecast??

"Snow and Wind, high 34 degrees". YAHOO!!!! Bring on the snow, baby! It's actually supposed to start snowing this evening and through the night.

You see, before we moved to Amarillo, TX 2.5 years ago, I had never seen "real" snow. I grew up in central Louisiana and lived for most of my adult life in the Houston, TX area. So, the most snow I'd ever seen up to that point was little "flurries", mostly flakes that never stuck to add up to anything.

On November 30, 2006, we got an awesome snow!!! Seven inches!! I'm told that is not normal for so early in the season here, but I LOVED IT!!! It actually started falling around 7pm on November 29, and snowed through the night. I was in total heaven. I stayed up most of the night with a roaring fire in the fireplace and crocheting while watching the snow fall through the sliding glass door. This photo is of the houses across from the house in which we were living at the time. We hadn't purchased a snow shovel or boots yet, so couldn't get across to take photos of our house.

The rest of that winter, we seemed to get a couple of inches about every other week. It would come, then melt away in a day or two. HEAVEN I tell ya!

Last winter was awful. I think the most snow we had at one time was 2 inches. Mostly the winter was COLD and BITTERLY windy! YUCK!

So, I keep hearing locals saying they predict a snowy, hard winter this year. We'll see. I hope they are right!

I'm busy today trying to get the house cleaned and everything picked up so that I can spend tonight and tomorrow watching the snow fall in front of a roaring fire and crocheting or sewing!

I've read all my favorite blogs for the day. The incubation of the eggs is doing perfectly.

I'll leave you with this image. Wish it was our place ;0)

Have a great day!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Day 1

We finished the incubator around 10pm last night and it took until 1:45am to get the temperature and humidity levels stabilized and where they should be. The eggs went into the incubator at 1:45am on 12/7/08 for "day 1". Expected hatch date should be early 12/28/08.

We used the directions from "MissPrissy" over at to build our homemade incubator. Our ice chest is the same brand as hers, but looks to be about 1/3 larger. I also had to bump up to a 40 watt light bulb in order to get the temps up high enough. The incubator is so large I could incubate 5 dozen eggs in there at once, easily. Hummmm.

Here's the link to her instructions:

MissPrissy's Homemade Chic Chick Incubator

We were all involved in the making of the 'bator last night. Here's photos!

Mike swears he doesn't give a flip about anything to do with my chickens. Then why in the heck was he sitting there at midnight waiting for the temps to get where they need to be so I could put in the eggs???? LOL

Gregory checks out the incubator situation nearly as much as I do! :0)

Pardon the mess in my sewing room. I am in the middle of re-arranging things to make room for my chicks and the incubator!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

and so it begins

Our new members arrived today!

They have been removed from their voyage to us box and are now "resting".

They will go into the incubator tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

We've been busy

We are making all new ornaments for our tree this year, everything handmade.

Everyone is having a great time and the ornaments will all be complete this week. We'll even have some available for sale at etsy. I will post the link when they are there and available.

I'm working diligently on them, as well. Just turns out I'm usually the one behind the camera. :-)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving 2008

Wishing everyone that reads this a very Happy Thanksgiving!

This photo is so stately and symbolic of today, I just wanted to share this guy with everyone. He is a Bourbon Red turkey, which is an endangered heritage breed. We plan to have these on our farm when we "get there".

Isn't he a beauty!?

And here's a thought for tomorrow...BUY HANDMADE!!!

Here's a few links to help you find wonderful (many times, one of a kind) handmade gifts!




Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Brussel Sprouts

This is so original and beautiful! Time to play with food!

I found this beautiful creation via HouseMartin and Craftzine.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Yet another finished afghan! The name of this pattern is called Lumberjack Flannelghan and the pattern can be found here. I used Hobby Lobby's store brand yarn "I Love This Yarn". It's super soft...almost feels like chenille.

It's a gift for Christmas for *someone*. I hope they like it. ;-)

**It was a gift for my oldest brother that is a civilian working in Afghanistan. He LOVED it! He was so surprised that I would take the time to make something for him.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Moving again

Our lease is up at the place we are renting in the country, on the six acres.

We are moving back into town, back into the neighborhood we lived in when we first moved to Amarillo.

Someday we will find our farm or land on which to build our farm.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My first born turns 21

She went and did it! Katie turned 21 today. I just can't believe it. Here's a photo of her a few weeks before her birthday.

Here's the afghan I made for Katie's birthday gift. I also purchased a couple of things for her, but this I made myself so she'd have something special for her 21st.

She loves camouflage and her favorite color is pink. She really loves it!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


When we lived in the Houston area, one of Gregory's therapists gave us this story (for lack of a better word). It was soon after Gregory's formal diagnosis of autism, and she knew we could use some inspiration.

"The Beauty of Holland" by Emily Perl Kingsley

"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 guidebooks 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 guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you never would 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. Holland has tulips. Holland 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 go away, because the loss of that dream is a 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."

We keep a copy of this on the refrigerator. It's our inspiration on bad days. A reminder that Gregory is, indeed, a very special child.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


We haven't seen the sun up here in the Texas Panhandle since Friday.

It has rained "cats and dogs" steadily for 4 days! This is so unreal for here. We are definitely not in a drought. Last I heard, 2 nights ago, Amarillo had a 3 inch surplus of rain.

We've had an early and WONDERFUL fall! Mild temperatures, fantastic fall flowers and the foliage is starting to turn.

Now it's cold! For 2 days, it didn't get out of the 40's for daytime high temperatures. That's crazy in mid-October. Locals are saying that this winter's going to be very wet, that we'll be getting lots of snow. Bring it on, baby!!! I love the snow!

Snow is long as it's followed by sunshine!

The sun is shining warmly today and we'll finally be getting out of the house! YAY!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Glorious day

We have been waiting since April for a large sum that is owed us on Gregory's SSI disability. I have heard from other parents of Autistic children that many of them have never received their back pay, or it was paid months after the date they were told it would be paid.

We have been in such turmoil with this. We were told "6 months" when he was approved in April. I have called 5 times in the past 3 weeks to verify this payment will be paid in Oct as we were told. Never a return call...which is typical of our SS office. They are horrible up here.

Well, glory be!! The direct deposit hit today, just as promised.

I can't tell you all how much stress is now off our family.

It is truly a glorious day! We will now actually have a "cushion" in the bank for emergencies, etc.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

In a funk

Sorry it's been so long since I posted here. Several of my family members have commented that I haven't been around here, so I figured I should post.

I've been in a funk lately. Overwhelmed, indecisive, stressed.

Mike and I have been doing alot of thinking and decision making about the future of our family. For most of the 8 years we've been married, it seems we've been in a downward spiral. We've finally come together and made decisions that we think will help us start gaining ground. I'll post more details soon, I promise. Just don't have time right now.

The kids are doing very well. Gregory is doing fantastic in his therapy/preschool. He's learning/using more and more signs every day and we are thrilled! We've been trying to teach him to sign since he was a year old and never have we had so much success as we have in his current situation. He's also trying more to form words vocally.

Hank (our rooster) got very sick 1.5 weeks ago. And after a week of ICU and round the clock care in the house, he was outside for fresh air for the first day he was able to be out, and Margo (our poodle) got him and killed him. That's 2 of my chickens now that she has killed. We were devastated. Margo is on very shaky ground right now.

Currently, Gregory and I are sick with respiratory infections. But at least Gregory is still eating and drinking, far, so good. No hospital stay so far.

I will post again soon with more details. We are all doing fine, though.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Two hospital stays and exhaustion

Typical of Gregory, when he gets sick with anything (even a cold), he stops eating and drinking. Dehydration is next, then off to the hospital for a few days of fluids and meds for whatever caused him to stop eating and drinking.

Last weekend, he started downhill. Sunday we were at the Doctor's office at 2pm. Ear infection and cold virus. She sent us home with antibiotics for the ear and told us to come back for follow-up on Monday at 10am to see if he had any improvement.

Monday at 10am, he was extremely dehydrated and off we went to the hospital. Fluids, bolists, meds...and he started drinking again on Tuesday. We were sent home on Wed.

By Thursday morning, Gregory wasn't drinking anything again...back to the Doctor's office and straight back into the hospital.

We got home tonight and I'm exhausted. We were home less than 24 hours between hospital stays.

This is a typical sceanario for Gregory, though, through the fall straight through to spring. We were just about a month early this year. lol

I'm exhausted...gotta love vitals every couple of hours through the entire night.

I've got a few posts planned for this week. Just need a good nights rest and clean up the house first.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hank and Katie

When we got the Buff Orpington chicks (full story to come), I had no intentions of keeping a Buff Orpington rooster. I planned on only keeping the hens out of the 5 we got, for yummy fresh eggs.

Well this handsome guy, we call him Hank, has totally won all our hearts. He is the sweetest thing since sweet cream :-)

He's about 8 weeks in the above photo. It was taken on Sunday.

Katie (my grown daughter) is living with us for now. She's quite smitten with Hank (and all the chickens, for that matter). She, Felicity and I are partners in crime with planning for our new chickens, turkeys and guineas.

As I have read and heard, Buff Orpingtons are absolutely the most docile, friendly and loving chickens! We love them!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rest in peace, Becky the Silkie

Monday, I totally messed up. We had the chickens out loose in the backyard "free ranging". Well, Margo and Bailey were at the door wanting out. I didn't even think!!! I just let them out and told them I'd be coming right out with them.

About five minutes later, I opened the sliding glass door to see Margo with Becky, dead, in her mouth. :-(

I know better! I just was totally not thinking. I feel awful. Becky was so sweet.

Margo has always "watched" the chickens, ever since we got the first ones. Ugh. Who'd have thought my timid, shy little poodle would be a chicken killer?

Thank goodness, Felicity handled it very well. Of course, she's all for re-homing Margo, which we will not do. Margo just cannot be allowed outside when the chickens are out of their cages.

This was the last photo we had taken of her, Sunday evening.

Rest in Peace, Becky. You were truly loved by our family.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Changes again...

Well, after Mike pushed to get through his training (at the request of his District Supervisor) for promotion with TSC to Store Manager, now we're told, there's no place we could transfer until maybe next spring. UGH.

So we're here, in Amarillo, indefinitely. It's fine, though. A great opportunity has opened up for Gregory through the place he goes for all of his therapies, so we have decided staying here as long as necessary is a good thing. He will be attending preschool, as well as all of his therapies. Four days a week, 9-12. It's really good for Gregory.

We will continue to homeschool Felicity. She will be participating in 4-H, soccer, and Girl Scouts. There's even a Girl Scout troop in each level here that is mainly homeschooled girls. She'll be able to make all kinds of new homeschooled friends!

There's an equine rescue about 5 minutes from our house that Felicity and Katie (my grown daughter) are going to volunteer. They are thrilled! They both adore horses!

We FINALLY found a Catholic church where we are comfortable. It took 2 years, but the Parish in Canyon, TX, is about 10 minutes from us and it's a very comfortable place. Lots of "country folk" there and not "hoity-toity" as we have felt the others we attended here in the Amarillo area were.

Katie has decided she wants to finish her Senior year of school (finally). We are researching an online high school that's specialty is helping kids finish high school online. She will be able to get an actual diploma, not having to take the GED.

Gregory was approved for his MDCP program, which provides paid respite care for him to give me a break to work, clean house, etc. Katie has been hired to be his care provider. She's making really good money, paid through Gregory's program, but technically, she works for me, I am her employer, but she's paid through the agency. She's living with us again, as well. It's working out well.

We plan to add to our little farm soon. We will be getting more chickens in the next few weeks. We will also be adding guinea to our brood. Guinea are excellent at keeping away snakes, mice and bugs. Turkeys will also be coming along soon, too.

As soon as we get the pen built, we will be getting a few goats. Not only for companionship, but Felicity will be able to show them in 4H competition, and also to help with the grass/weed mowing lol.

Felicity is talking about wanting a pig to raise/show. Not sure if we're there yet.

So...that's some updates for now.

Have a great Sunday!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Felicity's photo shoot

Felicity decided it was time to do a photo shoot with her, since Gregory has already had his "moment in the spotlight". These were actually taken through the course of three or four days.

So, without further adue, here's our girl!

Felicity absolutely adores tomatoes!!! She asked if the tomato on the vine was ready to be picked. I told her yes, she can pick it. Little did I know that my saying she could pick it meant she could eat it, too!!! ;-)

She loves the chickens! We got five Buff Orpington chicks a week and a half ago. I'll post separately about them.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Completed crochet projects


Regular Ripple Afghan for Mike. Started in January, finally finished last week. Made from yarn from my stash, plus had to add 2 colors (woo hoo, reason to buy yarn lol). It is kind of narrow, but has TONS of stretch! I want to make another one, but will use a larger hook to make a bigger afghan.

Here's my purse I have been working on.

Now, on to finish my Snowflake Afghan!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Amy's Easy Baked Ziti

This is a recipe I came up with myself a few years ago.

It is Felicity's absolute favorite thing I cook and she could literally eat her weight in it at one sitting.

I've never measured anything when I make this, but once you read the recipe, you'll find it is easy to do without any measurements.

Amy's Easy Baked Ziti

Cooked & drained pasta (use what ever amount needed to feed your family). I use Wal*art's generic brand called "Penne Rigate". Any small tube type pasta will be fine.

Prepared spaghetti sauce. You can use your own homeade sauce, or jar sauce. (I use Prego Meat flavored). Again, the quantity depends on how much you will need to feed your family.

Grated Parmesan, Mozzerella or any Italian blend cheese. I buy mine pre-grated so I just buy the "Italian Blend" in the refrigerator section at the store. Amount? Well, cheese is like butter. One can NEVER have enough cheese or put too much cheese on a dish!

Here we go:

Place cooked/drained pasta into oven safe casserole dish (size depends on size of your family). Pour spaghetti sauce over pasta and stir together to coat pasta. Use as much or as little sauce as you like. Some like alot of sauce, others like the drier side with less sauce. Then, layer grated cheese over top of pasta.

Cover and place in 350 degree oven until cheese is melted and starting to brown.

Serve with salad and garlic bread!!

There you go! I told you it was easy!!


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Gregory's photo shoot

Due to Gregory's autism, he's always been a little "puzzled" by the camera. He lets us take photos, and in the last several months, understands us when we tell him to "smile". He loves to look at photos on the computer screen, too.

Monday night we were outside in the backyard and Mike had the camera. Gregory was on the porch with Mike and Mike wanted to take a picture of him. Well, Gregory "kicked in" and turned it into a full out photo shoot! He hammed it up just as a non-special needs kiddo would.

Isn't he absolutely adorable? Blonde hair, blue eyes. What a handsome little guy!

Gregory is doing so well with therapy!! Today, during feeding therapy, he said "lick"!!! That's a word they use extensively in feeding therapy.

He's also starting to touch food items to his mouth, though won't actually bite them. But hey, anything is one step closer to him eating solid food and feeding himself, right?

Don't you just love his fashionable shoes??? :-)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy July 4th

Mike is off from work today so we are spending time together as a family. Though we don't have any *big* plans for the 4th, I'm sure we'll find plenty to keep us busy.

Wishing everyone a fantastic Independence Day! Enjoy the good food, family, friends and fireworks!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Another new member

Mike and I have been discussing getting another dog for the family. We have been strongly leaning toward a Boxer. But we had decided no new dogs until we make our move with his job later in the fall.

Our poodle, Margo, we got through rescue two years ago. She apparently had a very bad experience before we got her and she is very skittish with anyone in the family except me. So Margo is "my" dog. Thus being the reason we want another dog. One that likes everyone!

Katie (my grown daughter) got this little Maltese mix puppy from someone on FreeCycle about a month ago. She's just as cute as she can be, but Katie, as usual, keeps getting dogs when she doesn't need them.

Katie called me night before last asking if we wanted to have Bailey (the Maltese mix). I told her no, and just quickly "double checked" with Mike to confirm that no was our answer. (I asked Mike because I knew he kinda liked Bailey). He confirmed no. So we hung up the phone. Done deal, no biggie.

About 10 minutes later Mike started asking me questions about Bailey. Well, long story short, he decided that we, in fact, would like to have Bailey and add her to our family. I didn't really care either way. She's cute and great with all of us, but as I said, we had been discussing getting a Boxer later down the road.

So, may I introduce the newest addition to our family...

She is +/- 4 months old. Her mother is full blood Maltese, but they had no idea what the father was. She's cute as can be, minds really well and loves the kids to death!

Last night was her first night with us. She slept well in her kennel and only cried for a few short minutes when we first put her in there. Margo is now sleeping in a kennel next to Bailey at night.

For those outside of our family, here's "big sis", Margo.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Silkies are here!!!

I picked up our trio of Silkies this morning! Felicity wanted to name them. Their names (from top to bottom in this photo) are: Becky, Bonnie and Benny.

I've never been around Silkies before, but the make the neatest noises. Becky is the largest and is covered in her new soft feathers, though they are still on the thin side. Bonnie and Benny have skin showing (yes, their skin is black) but they are feathering in nicely.

As soon as I put them in their coop, they started scratching around. They haven't even explored their entire coop yet, they have been busy in the back part, which is the coop. The front 2/3 is the run. We sill have to put the lattice top on the run. Can't leave it open because of hawks. We will finish that up this weekend.

Here's the almost finished coop we built. We decided, since bantams are small, to keep it short, and make a combination coop/tractor. It has all the luxuries of a regular coop, with the ease of movement of a chicken tractor.

We created a track on the front of the coop end, so in winter, we can slide a "wall" with a door cutout over the front, to keep it warmer in the coop. The roof portion over the back of the coop is on hinges and opens for ease of collecting eggs. The top lattice will work much the same way over the run.

The windows will be finished with wood around them and will have attached shutters that will open and close, depending on the needs and weather. The nest boxes are along this back wall.

One more shot of the Silkies!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Our new chicken coop

Tomorrow we get our new Silkie chicks. Be sure to watch tomorrow for photos of the new babies! Here's a photo of Mike and Felicity working on the coop yesterday.

We are all so excited!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

To all the fathers, grand-fathers, uncles, sons, nephews, etc.

Happy Father's Day!

Go hug the men in your life!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Funky Chicken quilt

I have been an avid quilter for many, many years. However, about 5 years ago when I started my first online business, quilting fell by the way side. I've now made my break back into quilting and started a quilt today. I'm calling it the Funky Chicken Quilt. I cut and pieced the blocks today.

I hope to be able to get the top completely together this weekend and will post more photos when the top is done. It felt really good to be sewing for fun instead of sewing for business for a change!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Out our back door

Aside from the flat, flat (did I say flat?) landscape that surrounds us here on our 6 acres, there are many things we love to watch out our back door.

Sunsets to die for!

Adorable Prairie Dogs! Last count was 16!! They are cute and adorable, but really tear up the terrain. There are little hills all over the place. They have gotten so used to us that they are moving their hills closer and closer to the fenced in portion of our back yard. It's so fun, especially in the morning, to hear them chittering and chatting amongst themselves.

Let me tell you!!! The Jack Rabbits here are HUGE! They must weigh an easy 15 pounds full grown. Now, those ears. Nothing can describe those tremendous ears those rabbits have to carry around on their heads. They must be 6-7 inches long! The rabbits are also getting used to us being here and come closer and closer to the fenced portion of the back yard. Last count was, I think, 7-8 grown ups and a couple of babies.

Even though we don't plan to stay here past the end of our lease in October, we do enjoy the "scenery" out our back door.