While I anxiously await the final outcome of the goat giveaway (we’ll be informed by October 1) I have been trying to stay busy so as to avoid my head exploding from the tension.

I’ve been knitting away like mad (read – not doing any cleaning) on a cardigan for Neve – it’s getting close to completion and I will post pictures of it soon.  I’ve also been spending quality time with the chickens and interrogating them as to the whereabouts of all the eggs they are supposed to be laying for me.  So far they’ve had no comment other than “More treats please”.  Only Clementine has a valid excuse for not handing over the goods, as HE started crowing the other morning and has barely stopped since.  He is a lovely roo, I have to say.


We’ll be putting them in a much larger pen and coop soon (as soon as the boss tells me I can, that is) and adding some females to keep them happy.  Three hens per roo is not enough to keep them from going a bit crazy (I know……human males wish they were so lucky, right?) and if I don’t add more girls chances are they’ll start fighting and picking each others feathers and they’ll wear out the girls I already have.  Stressed and worn out hens equals less egg production, and since I am having enough issues in that department……  But anyway I told Emily she should start reading them tasty chicken recipes as bedtime stories and smack her lips a bit.  Maybe that’ll put the scare into them.

In slightly more insane news – we bought a bus.  A Bus.  A big old ancient greyhound bus.  Why???  We’re crazy.  Haven’t you been paying attention?


Actually we’d been researching rv’s for awhile and found this, which had been converted as a touring bus for a bluegrass band.  Neat, huh?  It needs a good amount of cleaning and I am going to insist on a new bathroom (I’m a girl.  I have 3 girls.  My sister, who lives with us 75% of the time, is a girl.  Get the picture?).    There’s the big storage area underneath it that Emily has declared “Perfect for Pippa the dog!”.  Poor Pippa.  No, we will not actually put her in there!


But it’s got these nice first – class style seats up front with nice big windows to look out.


The driver’s area is pretty much identical to what I got used to as a transit driver (except that this is a manual transmission and manual steering – Oh boy….)


And it has a kitchenette area with sink, fridge and stove.  That couch on the left will probably get replaced with a dinette bench.  There are six bunks behind the curtain there, and in the back is the bathroom, a sitting area and a closet.  We’ll be camping in style from now on.  Good thing I know how to drive a bus.

Just a few hours to Go…

Let me say that this goat contest is no longer about just me, or even me and the kids. So many people have become involved in helping us – our friends, family and community have been an amazing source of support. There are so many people pulling for us right now that should we win, these will not my just our goats – they will be everyone’s goats. I have already promised visitation rights to all of my most fervent supporters!
I’ll be biting my nails as this contest winds down today (I’m neck and neck with 2 other entrants) and hoping we end it in the top three in order to advance to the final round. I just wanted to say that even if we don’t win, we still really do win with all of the love and support we’ve received.
But I really hope we do win!!!!!!!!!!!

Goat Votes!

It’s that time!  My essay is submitted and voting is open until midnight Friday (EST).  SO, hop on over to:

Goat Giveaway

and click on my name (Amy Karasz) to vote! (one vote per household). While you’re there check out some of the other entries – the competition is fierce, and I would not feel bad losing to any of them.
While we wait here for our first eggs to be laid by our chickens we will also be awaiting the goat vote results (*bites nails!*).

And check back here soon for the latest crazy adventure in our ongoing saga: The Great Bus Purchase.

Got Apples?

The weather has warmed back up again this week but I’ve been trying to convince myself it hasn’t by spending more time outside and walking to the bus stop with Veronica every day (it’s roughly a mile from her house and back, and she’s just a bit down from me). It was in the mid 80’s today but I still toughed it out. It’s September, darn it! But the morning glories are happy anyway:

These are volunteers that have spread all the way around the front porch, and I love it.    The same day I was out admiring these pretties I was trying to work out a placement for the sections of wire fencing we have so that I can let the chickens free range in a wider area without worrying too much about dogs and other large predators getting at them, or them wandering out into the road.  Turns out I had other things to worry about, from above.  As I was measuring the sections I had Roo out with me exploring a bit in the garden and eating up the tomatoes that had fallen off the vines.


I saw this big shadow go overhead and I looked up and saw a large hawk flying overhead.  I paused for a moment and went back to work.  ThenI saw the shadow again.  And again.  And again, starting to circle over me and Roo.  Back into the safety of the tractor went Roo, and I gave up on my plans for a larger pen.  Hawks eat chickens,  I don’t have any netting I can easily put over the top of it,  and it would be a big pain anyway.  Darn hawks.  And speaking of Roos, I am bit worried about Clementine the hen.  Or rather, Clementine who just might actually be a late blooming Roo.


I won’t know for sure until there’s an egg or crowing, but it’s looking mighty suspicious over here.

Saturday was Paul’s birthday and we celebrated by taking the kids (and my momand Maddie) apple picking.  Unfortunately the Galas, my second favorite (Braeburns are best!) were mostly picked out so we were left with either Golden Delicious or Jonagold.


It ended up being perfect weather for us – slightly overcast and dry with a nice breeze.  We didn’t feel like we had heat stroke like we did last time we went.


Oona was happy as long as she had a hand to hold and an apple to munch on.

09.14.09 j

Neve was the taste – tester.  We were prepared for her to get whiny and want to go home pretty quickly, but since the weather was so nice she lasted the whole outing without a complaint.  That could be a new record for Neve.


I think Maddie had a lot of fun.  We had to use a picker to get the apples high up, though we did attempt piggy-backing a few times.


Mom was wondering what on earth they were going to do with so many apples.


Yummy little apples.  The only time Oona cried was when she fell; and she didn’t cry because she was hurt, but because she got dirty.


Golden Delicious.  Not quite golden.


As we were lugging our bags back up the mountain hill, Captain Obvious Emily said, “I think the only reasont hese bags are so heavy is because they’re full of huge apples!”.  Um, yeah.  I will say, though, that I carried my two bags plus Neve’s bag and they were HEAV-Y.  I was huffing and puffing pretty bad (Paul thought it was funny) by the time we got back up to have our apples weighed.  I also had Paul snag some cider donuts.  I had meant to go over to their wine section and get some of their peach sangria mix, but it was getting late, I was tired, and I had a seriously HEAVY load of apples to pay for.  Oona was getting tired so I bought her an apple slushy, Neve fed her a few gummy worms and we drove home.


Oona fell asleep on the couch watching Scooby with her sisters not long after.  I can tell you my arms were sore the next day.  And no wonder!


That is HALF of them.  I carried ALL of them back to the van.  Final count?  6o lbs.  SIXTY!!!  I have a LOT of work to do.  I already have made the first apple pie of the season:



Plus a big batch of roasted applesauce (slow roast the apples in the oven in some butter before mashing/pureeing), and I don’t think it’s made a dent in our apple reserves.  I see many apple filled days ahead of me.  And canning.  A serious amount of canning.

And now, a little pie story.

Sunday night around 9pm I was cleaning up the kitchen and turning everything off for the night.  Paul had taken Oona up to bed and Emily had long since said her good-nights.  Neve came creeping down the stairs and asked for a slice of pie before bed.  I told her no, since it was past her bedtime.  She began her usual whining abd complaining but I cut her off and said she could have apple pie for breakfast before school.  Her eyes lit up.  “Really?” she said.  “We can have pie for breakfast??”.  I replied in the affirmative and she ran excitedly up the stairs exclaiming “Yes!!  Emily! Guess what??  Mama said we can have PIE for breakfast!!!  Hooray!!!!”

Flash forward to the following morning.  I get up and make a cup of coffee and slice out a piece of pie for Neve while Emily puts her boots on to take care of the chickens.  I put the pie, with a small dollop of whipped cream, on the table for her and call her down to eat.

Blurry – eyed and grumpy she sits at the table, looks at her plate and yells, “I don’t want PIE!!!” and shoves it away.  The cat ended up eating it.


Shameless Begging

Well, not really.  Just passing along some info for a good cause.

My friend Amber and her dog are doing a Pet – walk to raise funds for the Dutchess County (New York) SPCA.  It’s a good cause (I’m all about the animals, yo), and I am posting the link here to pass on the word.


Click Here to see a sweet pic of her dog, Lodi, or to get more info.

Back later to our regularly scheduled crazy.

A Short Mommy-cation

The last three days have been spectacular.  I can’t even tell you how wonderful it was.  Saturday morning Paul took all three girls and left for Long Island.  They got home last night (Monday night) around 10 pm.  Three days of no whining, fighting, poopie diapers, cleaning up after small people and being woken up multiple times in the night.  It was absolute luxury.

Sunday Paul went to his brother’s bachelor party (the reason for the trip) and the girls got to spend time with their grandparents and auntie.  We may need to do this more often!  I loved being home and relaxing and having quality craft time.  I was thinking that the weekend of the actual wedding would be another opportunity for me (Oona’s not invited to the wedding, so I can’t go.  But hey, if he doesn’t want his niece at his wedding, that’s his deal).  But I think instead of sticking around the house Oona and I (and Maddie) will head out to see my grandmother up near Buffalo.  It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten out there and it will be far less stressful with only one kid and not all three.

But back to this weekend.  I watched a whole marathon of Destination Truth on SyFy and got half of a sweater for Neve knit.  HALF.  That’s huge.  I got the chicken coop all mucked out and cleaned up (of course they filled it back up with poop right away.  Oh well).  I pulled most of the weeds out of the front garden and began cleaning off the porch.  I got all of the wood floors steam cleaned.  I pieced out fabric for a quilt.  I watched an entire Ghost Hunters marathon followed by a Ghost Whisperer marathon on SyFy (I think they were going for a theme or something).  I ate cake and ice cream and peanut butter cups.  I read half of The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco and lounged in bed until 9:30 every morning (after the best sleep I’ve had in ages).  I got no end of kitty snuggles.  I made a sweet potato and chicken risotto for dinner and didn’t have to hear any whining about it.  I marveled at the fact that I would clean up a room and it stayed that way. I didn’t have to hear Dora, Kai-Lan or that horrible Fresh Beat Band at all.

I did have two somewhat freaky moments while out weeding.  Maddie and I had been talking (I don’t remember why, either) about how we don’t really like praying mantises.  I mean, they’re cool, they’re beneficial, and I like having them in my garden and all, but they kind of freak me out.  Not in a spider sort of way, just a “hey I don’t really feel comfortable touching you” sort of way.  So it was oddly funny when one kept popping out at me while I was weeding by the frotn porch.  And then again while cleaning around the rocking chairs out there.  And then again while grabbing the scoop for the chicken feed.


He must have heard me saying how creepy I find them.  Here he is on the underside of the rocker I was tryng to clean.

Then I went to pick up the blower for the waterslide and found this guy under it:


I like frogs.  I have no problem with them, and I ended up carrying this guy over to the garden since he didn’t seem to realize how foolhardy it was to hang out on the porch (he was there for a good 4 hours after I discovered him – just sitting there).  I figured he’d be safer amongst the herbs.  It did startle me when I found him, though.  You just don’t expect a gigantic frog to be sitting under a big blower like that.

So that was my weekend.  Now the kids are home and the house is already a mess again, much to my chagrin.  Ah well…it was lovely while it lasted.  And something wonderful happened today:  my rooster crowed!  I can now happily return to the grind!

The Balloon Has Landed!

This evening I was out weeding the front garden when I was startled by a rather loud WHOOSHING sound.  Having spent several years living near the Adirondack Balloon Festival in upstate NY I knew immediately what it was.  I looked up, and sure enough:



It proceeded to land in the road in front of our property.  Maddie and I stayed out at the end of the driveway and watched as they methodically landed, deflated it, and packed it up.





It was a lovely end to a relaxing day.  Have a happy holiday weekend!