Your Yummy For the Day

Today I made one of my favoritest things that I have ever made.

That is saying quite a lot.

I made Lemon Meringue Cupcakes.

Yeah, you heard me.

I bought a box of Betty Crocker yellow cake mix and made cupcakes according to the directions.

Then I hollowed out the tops a bit and added a dollop of store – bought lemon curd (I used Mackays brand that I found at Food Lion).

Then I whipped up a batch of Martha Stewart’s Seven – Minute Frosting (which, by the way, took WAY longer than 7 minutes.  It’s really yummy, but I’m just sayin’.  Badly named).

So.Very.Good.

They’ll be gone by morning.

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And Now the Bad News

We’ve been looking here and there at some small farms in the area and fallen in love with some. We’ve had our hearts set on more than one only to be disappointed when they’ve been snatched up. We still are waiting on our tax return – even though we filed on the very first day allowable – and we are depending on that to give us the cash we need to move. As if that weren’t frustrating enough, now I’ve had so much chicken – related woes that I am losing sleep  over it.
We got  48 chicks from a hatchery and we promptly lost 12 to what we think is “pasty butt” a condition that shipped chicks can sometimes get. I did everything I could to save the remaining chicks and thought we were in the clear. We’ve been having to keep them in the garage because the brooder-shed was not warm enough even with the heat lamps, and I fear that we may not have lost as many had that been better heated. Now we’re losing more. Paul and Emily moved them back out to the brooder since it’s been much warmer and they are older and we wanted them to have more room, but we’ve lost 4 more  in the past two days. I don’t even know what I am doing wrong but I can’t bear it.
On top of that, my grown chickens have been roaming free because our fencing system had broken down, and they were flying over the gates. I was very worried for them so I made a smaller pen out of the t-posts and welded wire from the larger pen. They still would not stay in it.
Today I clipped their wings. I think this might finally be what keeps them in place and safe, but just as I was starting to have some sort of faith in the universe again, we discovered that sweet Benny, our one and only blue egg – layer, is gone. She is nowhere to be found, and I am heart sick.

I can’t express how deeply I resent this house, this property and the whole broken – down housing market right now.  I am desperate to be away from here and in a better position where I am allowed guard animals and there’s a  real fencing system to protect our flock.

Despite all of this, I want to thank all of you who have been such an amazing support for us through all of this mess and who still believe in us.  Knowing that you are all out there pulling for us is truly what gets me through.

Big Knitting News

Can I get a hands- up from all the knitters out there?

For anyone who hasn’t already heard, Susan’s Juniper Moon Farm has been licensed by one of the biggest yarn companies – KFI (Knitting Fever Inc) – in the country.  If you’ve heard of Debbie Bliss, you ‘ll soon hear of JMF in the same circles, since Debbie Bliss yarns are also made by KFI.

If you don’t know knitting, trust me.  This is a HUGE deal. Soon you’ll find Juniper Moon Farm yarn in stores all over the US.

The part of it nearest and dearest to my heart however are the pattern books that will be released to compliment the yarn lines.  In the past I’ve collected knitting books ravenously.  I never thought or dreamed that one day I’d be present for the making of any, and certainly never imagined that my daughters would be in any!

Check out Susan’s blog for a sneak peak at the books and my lovely Emily who will appear for several patterns.  Even Oona will put in a cameo!

Holding It All Together

This spring has been particularly busy for us.  I’ve been volunteering at Juniper Moon Farm, Paul has been working on the Lambcam as well as his regular job (which has him in Arizona during the week), we’re trying to wrap up and review school work for the year, and we’re desperately hoping to move.

The chickens have decided to be very unhelpful by refusing to stay inside their fencing.  They’ve taken to flying right out and grazing wherever they please.  To make matters worse, I can’t find where they are laying their eggs, because they’re certainly not laying them in the coop anymore.

Since the bigger animals are at Susie’s I am in the process today of cutting apart the larger sections of fencing and re-working a smaller (and hopefully more secure) pen that will force them to stay closer to the coop.  It’s frustrating work but I hope it will be a good fix, at least temporarily.  I can’t have them free – ranging right now; there’s no protection from predators, and I don’t want a repeat of last year’s losses to foxes.

Last night we stayed at the farm to help Susie and Caroline, in hopes that one of the sheep would lamb overnight.

We weren’t disappointed.  Though the sheep I was waiting on did not deliver, another one did, this morning.  Neve was the first out, and I got outside in time to see her helping Susie carry the newborn lambs into the barn.

My little Shepherd-in-training.  I could not have been more proud.

This is Neve holding Wren, my favorite little bottle – baby.  I just adore that little lamb!

We’re chugging through our schoolwork now and I am not allowing myself to stress out too much over it.  We got behind because I was following my own philosophy that I would not fly through lessons – that I would make sure they knew it inside and out before moving on.  Fortunately I have the luxury to work one on on to catch up over the next month or two.

As far as moving to our very own farm we are still playing a waiting game.  I am trying to stay positive, but I will say it’s starting to wear on me rather badly, and I am having trouble being optimistic that we will be able to pull it off.  I don’t want to contemplate the possibility that it won’t work out – it’s just too awful to think of.  This property is just not workable for animals and if I’m going to make a go at farming, we have to move.

We’re waiting on a lot of factors beyond our control right now, so I don’t know how much longer it will be before we know.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Duck Tales

It’s finally been warm enough here lately that we can fill up Paddy Duck’s little swimmy pool and let her get some water exercise.

I’m still amazed at how much I love ducks – they are cute, they are smart, they are a hoot to watch.

Paddie’s grown into quite a lovely duck, and quite a good watch-duck.  She’ll quack noisily whenever anyone comes down the driveway or opens the front door.

And now, she has some non – chicken company.  Remember those little ducklings we brought home almost exactly one month ago?

They’re now big enough to be outside.

That’s right, those huge ducks (“Fanny” and “LeQuack”)  are just over a month old.  In fact, they’re big enough that Paddie is rather nervous around them.

I’m pretty sure we have a male and a female there.  I’m hoping so, anyway.  In Paddie’s case, we’re fairly certain she’s a “she”, but as we have had no duck eggs yet…..we have no concrete proof.  Two females and a male would be a happy trio.  Here’s hoping!

Serging Happiness

Susan was kind enough to let me borrow her serger last week.  I had a pile of fabric scraps that were too small for any real projects and too big to throw away, so I thought “napkins”!  And “dishtowels”!

The serger sat for a week before I had time to use it (newborn lambies are much more fun to play with!) but last night I sat down a sewed up a whole big pile o’ cloth napkins.

There’s no real matching sets to speak of, they’re not all exactly the same size.  But I love, love, LOVE how they came out.  The serged edges look so much nicer than a plain fold – over hem would.

Now I am thinking about all of the cute clothing projects I could finish up with such lovely seams!