Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Leaf Raking Kinda Day

Seems like I didn't stop all day but still didn't get anything done. Just one of those days. My friend Gerda came home from the hospital today. We took supper so she wouldn't have to cook and got some of her leaves bagged up. Her neighborhood watch complained about her yard being the only one in the neighborhood not raked. Not one of them or her neighbors volunteered to rake and bag them. She is a elderly lady with lots of medical problems. Her neighborhood is young families with a couple of middle aged families down the street. All able to help a elderly neighbor if they choose. Enough venting

. We got some of the leaves up and will try to finish tomorrow evening. My yard after the heavy rain is thick with leaves. Will get to it one day. Got 2 Christmas trees up. Up as in standing with lights on but that is it. Got some of the boxes of Christmas decorations out. Will go through them and try to downsize even more than I did last year. Really don't need all these decorations. Want to keep it simple. Tried to get all the rabbit cages filled with straw as cold weather is suppose to be here for a few days. Want the bunnies to stay warm. Also got the goat stalls and houses fixed with fresh bedding. Took some pictures so I could list some things on Craigs List and ebay. Hopefully will get to that tonight. Got some laundry done but still have a couple more loads. We finally ate the rest of Thanksgiving leftovers. Well except for the turkey and I put those leftovers in the freezer. Looking forward to having a meal tomorrow without turkey as part of the menu. I am planning on going to my daughters around the 16th so trying to get lots of things done around here. Also make lots of notes for William as he sometimes doesn't remember to do certain things. I will be leaving Rusty home this trip and know he will be sad. Made sure to leave notes on his treats, rides, walks, etc. He doesn't like getting his feet wet or cold. When it rains or snows you have to carry him to a dry spot to potty. Yeah, I know but what can I say. LOL I am sure William will do fine but just want to make sure the animals keep their routine and get lots of love.

The grands are already making plans for me and I am excited to spend time with them and my daughters. As some of you remember my daughters and I try to help a needy family each Christmas. This year we are helping a single mom who lost her job and has a set of 13 year old twins. If anyone would like to send a gift just leave a comment and I will email my daughters address to you. We will be delivering the gifts on Christmas Eve. I will post all about it when I get home but of course won't take any pictures. Don't want to embarrass the family in anyway. When ask what they wanted the mother didn't give a big or expensive list. The son wants pj bottoms (size men med), ankle socks size (men 8-10) anything Carolina Panther. Daughter likes "funky" socks (women 8-10) XL (womens) pj bottoms, VHS movies (sci fi, animal, disney) craft supplies, hair stuff, body spray.  Mom didn't ask for anything but could use Verizon  prepaid phone card as that is their only phone in home. They have a walmart, kmart, BiLo's, Ingles in their town if anyone wanted to send a gift card. I am taking a box of canned goods along with a gift for each child. We hope to help this family have a wonderful Christmas. That's what Christmas is all about... caring and helping others. 

William has plans to go back to Lexington, NC to help his son in law for a few days. My plans are to paint the diningroom while he is gone. Do more decluttering so he won't see what I get rid of. (smile) Do lots of yardwork and pack for my trip. We had Gerda's grandson staying with us for a few days while she was in hospital. He is 18 and has a fulltime job. He would love to stay here all the time but I am just too old. It is hard having a teenager in the house that thinks he is an adult and doesn't need rules. As my dad always said, as long as you are under my roof there will be rules. So tomorrow he will be going out on his own. He doesn't like his grandmother or anyone giving him rules. Will be keeping him in my prayers and hope he becomes the adult he thinks he already is. Learns he will always have rules wherever he goes.

I am enjoying a nice cup of hot chocolate, a nice fire in the stove, and the peace and quiet of the household. Late nights are peaceful and relaxing. Gives me time to think and also count my blessings..... have you counted yours today?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nice Weekend

Thanksgiving is over. The guests have gone home. The fall decorations are being taken down and tomorrow Christmas decorations will go up. Had a nice 4 day visit with William's daughter Lisa, her husband and their two sons. William, Lisa and her oldest son W went out at midnight Thanksgiving to shop. The rest of us were smart and stayed home. I went out once on black Friday years ago and will never do that again. I cooked and baked  a lot while they were here so we ate way too much. They took us out to Red Robin's last night and we had fun. Now the house is clean, laundry done, we and the animals are all settled down for a nice quiet evening. As much as we enjoyed the company it is nice to get back to our normal. Getting excited as I will be going to the mountains and spending Christmas with my daughters and their families. Have a few weeks before I go and lots of things to get done but can't wait! Hope there is snow while I am there so I can go sledding with the grands and hope to catch a basketball game of Q's. I also hope to be there a day or so before the school's Christmas break to pay a visit to FHS and a certain teacher and then go up the ladder. Hope each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and have so many blessings you can't count them all.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Got Your Turkey?

                                                       I am NOT a turkey! I am a pilgrim! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Faces Around The Homestead

 11 baby chicks
 This is Cheep. The chick hatched by a turkey and raised by me. He jumps on my hand everytime I open the door to his and Skates house.
 And this is Skate. He came to us from a lady on Craigs List. He was the only one to hatch out of her incubator.
 And these are the 8 ducklings. The one I dropped while still in the shell and then hatched under a heat lamp is now with its siblings and momma.
 And here are the 3 new goats William purchased in Virgina. Robby the buck
 Olivia and Sissy the doelings. They now act like they have lived here forever. They know how to give you nudges for treats and how to stand at the gate and cry at feeding times. They have the most pitiful cries. Sounds like they are so weak from starvation they can hardly cry. Yep, they fit right in with the rest of Hidden Haven Critters.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Not Looking Like Christmas Here

Though the weather is more like summer things are looking like fall around here. The pumpkins, mums, and cornstalks are showing a little wear from the frosts of last week but still looking good for Thanksgiving. I don't want to overlook a day of celebrating with family and friends all that we have to be thankful for. All too soon it will be time to hang the lights and decorate the trees but for now Hidden Haven is decorated for Thanksgiving.

The mums,cornstalks, and pumpkins came from my friends produce stand... FREE. The other things I already had so fall decorating cost me zero dollars. I did have all the leaves on the ground raked but we had a wind and rain storm that brought lots more down. Hope to get them raked before guests arrive for Thanksgiving dinner but if not I can always say its part of my fall decorations! Have a blessed night everyone.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Demo-Animal Adoption Day at Tractor Supply

We had a awesome day at Tractor Supply. They invited us to demonstrate our log splitter as well as the use and care of chainsaws and how to put up a electric fence. Had fun and got to chat with Mike and Higgins but wouldn't you know I forgot to take pics! Good seeing you again Mike and hope you bring Higgins for a picture with Santa next month.  We had my friend Gerda's grandson and his girlfriend helping us today.

I feel bad I have forgotten the name of the rescue group that had the pets for adoption. They didn't even require a fee! Just fill out a form and sign stating you will have the pet fixed. They have already been vet checked and vaccinated. They go around to the animal shelters in surrounding counties and pick up the animals getting ready to be put down and keep them until they find homes for them. Today almost all the dogs and puppies were adopted. Sorry to say not many of the cats or kittens went to new homes but they will stay with their foster families until they do get adopted.

I was lucky to be inside the store when two puppies were adopted and snapped these pictures.

The puppies and their new family seemed very happy. I also had to sneak a pic of some of the workers at Tractor Supply.
 Leasha is the manager giving me a I am going to kill you look and Jess is bending over opening a box. They are setting up the store for the big sale next weekend. Lots of great gift ideas for human and animals!
They are such friendly and helpful people. Love helping at their events. Next month will find William being Santa so pets can have their picture taking with him and me taking pics. Had a wonderful day but now its off to feed my own animals before they come after me! Have a blessed evening everyone.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Future Judge

I am the first to agree and understand that teachers are overworked, underpaid, get no respect, and have their hands tied when it comes to disciplining students. But teachers also suppose to lead by example, encourage students, help them work toward their dreams. Alas there is one teacher at Franklin High School in Franklin, NC that has destroyed a students confidence and dream. My granddaughter forgot her work folder in her locker. When this teacher told granddaughter she would not be going on the field trip because she forgot the workbook she understood and accepted this punishment. The field trip was a month away and each and every day until the field trip this teacher would ask if you are one of the students not going on the field trip to raise your hand. Granddaughter raised her hand and said teacher would then tease her in front of the others about having to sit in the library while he and the rest of the class would be having fun on the field trip. Granddaughter said nothing. Just sat there embarrassed. Then this same teacher ask the class what they wanted to do in life. Granddaughter said she wanted to be a judge. This teacher then again loud in front of the other students told her she would never be a judge. That she would never get into to college. That she would be lucky if she could graduate a beauty school. Granddaughter is crushed. She has lost confidence in herself. She no longer dreams of being a judge because she thinks she can't get into college because a teacher who should know told her so. If I didn't live 6 hours away I would be at that school in a heartbeat. I would be talking to the principle, superintendent, and school board about this teacher and then he would get a earfull from me! What I did do was write a letter to the principle and a letter to the newspaper there. Its a small town where everyone knows everyone. I wanted to make sure without naming names what one teacher had done to destroy a students dreams. My heart is breaking for granddaughter. She is a smart young lady. She was a cheerleader and band member for several years until she drop them to have more time for studies. She is part of a prayer group at school. Active in school and church activities as well as working a parttime job. This young lady would bend over backwards to help anyone or keep from hurting anyone's feelings. I just wanted to take this chance to say "Hoppy" I am so very proud of you. You are very smart (though I do tease you about those occasional blonde moments). You can get into college! You can be anything you want to be. Don't give up your dreams. Don't let one bad teacher crush all you have worked and dreamed for. Stand tall and show this teacher he is wrong. Show him that he isn't the smart one. Show him by example of the mature, Christian, well mannered young lady that the rest of us know and see in you. Love you to the moon and back Hoppy and look forward to sitting in a courtroom watching you at work.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blessings Around The Homestead

What a busy few days it has been and still is. Making jelly instead of wine and still plenty of grapes to snack on. Making and canning spaghetti sauce with lots of tomatoes still to can. Preparing green beans and canning with another half bushel waiting. Cabbage waiting to be turned into kraut tomorrow. Lots and lots of pumpkins to cook and so many other veggies begging to be prepped and put away for the winter. I am so blessed to have such a sweet friend that gives us so much from the produce stand.

Trying to take care of the veggies and still keep up with things around the homestead has been a little crazy. In the mix of things a hen hatched 11 chicks that we had to catch and put into their own house and pen. Mrs. Black had 4 baby bunnies and needed a bigger warmer place. Lady Shy hatched out 7 ducklings in one of the hens laying boxes and had to be moved so the ducklings wouldn't fall to the ground. While moving her, the ducklings, and her nest I dropped the last egg that hadn't hatched and cracked it. When I picked it up I heard peeping. Brought the egg inside and put under a heat lamp where several hours later it hatched. Kept the duckling inside under the heat lamp overnight so it could stay warm and rest up. Today I took it (Dudley Doright) out to join its mom and siblings. I made sure to rub it all over the other ducklings to get their scent so Lady Shy wouldn't reject it. If that wasn't enough babies I had a baby chick in the house that Tessa the turkey had hatched. She had stolen a egg from Blondie the chicken. Once it hatched Tessa and Blondie would fight over the chick so I just decided to bring it inside. I named him Cheep and he sits on my shoulder and talks to me. William found a baby chick on Craigs List that needed a home. A lady had only hatched one chick out of her incubator and wanted to find a home for it.Cheep now has a buddy named Skate. Skate is a little younger and smaller than Cheep and thinks Cheep is its momma. Cheep loves being the boss and showing Skate how to scratch and "talk" to me. Today I moved them outside to a nice warm house with heatlamp and windows. They can enjoy the outside without having to deal with the changes in temps. Robby, Olivia, and Sissy have settled into their new home really well. Though they are Nubian and larger than Andy and Petro they are sharing a pen with they are all getting along for now. Will have to change things around soon and put one of the guard dogs in that pen. Bella, Tinker and Hillary are getting along so well together I know they will be sad to have one move to another pen but they are guardian dogs and know their job.

Am also working on my Thanksgiving menu. Williams daughter, her husband, 2 sons, my friends Gerda and Christine will be joining us. Will be picking up a big turkey tomorrow but have everything else I need. Looking forward to a wonderful Thanksgiving.

This fall has been such a blessing! Most falls here in eastern NC aren't very colorful. Leaves usually go from green to brown and just fall off the trees. This year we had the right amount of rain at just the right time and fall colors are breathtaking! Almost like being in the mountains and I have been loving every second.

Life has been hectic and though I am looking forward to winter slow down I am so blessed. Not a single boring day. Not a single thought of wishing life were different. Not a single second of dread of doing daily chores. Just loving life and the many blessings. Yesterday as I was getting the dogs their morning meal I saw the 50lbs of dog food was getting really low. I said a quick prayer telling God I really didn't want to tell William we needed dog food again so soon and ask if he would provide some before we ran out. This morning when we went to our favorite feedstore for chicken feed the manager ask us if we wanted a 50lb of dog food that had gone out of date. Of course we took it and I was saying a thank you prayer with a smile on my face. God always provides. May not be what or when I think it should be but he always provides. Don't forget to count your blessings!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Mary stopped by my blog a few days ago and I am so glad she did! I paid a visit to her blog and found wonderful recipes. She has a couple for eggplant I am going to try since I seem to always have way too many of these but she also shared a vinegar chicken recipe with a fancy name. This is so easy yet so yummy! We had it for dinner tonight and I will be making this dish again and again. Thank you Mary and now I am off to make your oatmeal cookies!

Today I have produce everywhere. I have a bushel of green beans to can, a bushel of cabbage, over a bushel of muscadine grapes to make jelly and try for the first time to make wine. Lots of lettuce,oranges, lemons, cucumbers,and tomatoes as well as lots and lots of veggies for the animals. I will be working in the kitchen late tonight and most of tomorrow but I am so blessed to have a friend who gives us so much produce. I have pics of the new goats and will try to post them tomorrow. Hope you are having a blessed day... now go over and say hi to Mary and try some of her wonderful recipes!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Time Change

These pictures are from a few years ago but they still apply today. All the animals are crying to be fed on the old time. It always takes about a week to get them adjusted but until then it sure is noisy around here!

Breakfast was sausage, eggs, homemade hashbrowns, toast, and tea, juice
Lunch was leftover veggie beef soup, crackers, and grill cheese and tomato sandwich, ice water
Dinner was simple: hotdogs with chili and cole slaw, chips, and ice water
snack was sliced apples with peanut butter and homemade lemonade. We worked outside till dark so supper was a quick fix. Still 3 hot meals on a frugal budget.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What a Day

William is out of town helping his son in law with a emergency roofing job. I have the whole weekend to myself except for taking care of the animals. They must of read my mind on the things I wanted to do with my alone time and made other plans. In the middle of the night I hear the dogs barking like crazy. Not just barking at the wind or the neighbors but really barking like something is wrong. Go out to find the pigs have pushed open their gate and got out. With the help of Bella, Tinker, and Hillary I got them back in and secure (I hope). This morning I have to hook Andy on a runner so I can bring Buttons from the other pen to milk. She is in season and we don't want Andy breeding her. Well I get her in the milk stall and Andy is standing on his hind legs crying and jumping cause he can smell Buttons. Tinker and Hillary think Andy is wanting to hurt Buttons and take off after him. Before I can get out of the milk stall one of them has bit his ear. I get him cleaned up and moved to another pen, after a couple phone calls with William on what to do. Get rest of feeding chores done and come inside. Think it is the perfect day (cold and windy) to stay inside and finish painting the bathroom. All I need to do is a little touch up on the walls and paint the trim and baseboards. Simple huh? Not if you are having my day its not. I thought I would save myself a little time. Instead of pouring the trim paint into a container to hold while I paint I figured I could just hold the paint can while standing on a stool painting over my head.

I now have the cleanest bathroom floor in town! I scrubbed and cleaned on my hands and knees for almost an hour. Then I went ahead and mopped and polished the floor too.
 The bathroom is very small so a few years ago we had the tub removed and put in a corner shower. Also had the toilet turned from facing toward the sink to the door to give more room. The walls were white beadboard with red and beige checked wall paper at the top with country angel boarder. I collect country angels and bathroom signs. This time I painted the walls a primitive yellow. Kept the white trim and baseboards, along with the wallpaper and boarder. Moved my angels and signs around. Even took some down so it wouldn't be too cluttered. My tiny little primitive bathroom is finally done.

                                                Didn't show all this wall as its hard to get it in the picture. There are more signs and angels hanging.
                                           The window is up pretty high from the ground so only have a curtain on bottom half to help make it light and airy.
                                     The sink is a antique washstand I got at a auction years ago. It has worked great for the past few years and I love it.
                                 You can see a part of the shower in this pic. Told you it was a tiny bathroom.
                                       And though there is a rug down the floor is all cleaned with no paint! Now on to painting the diningroom!

Yesterday's menu:
 Breakfast: bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit and tea
Lunch: homemade veggie soup and grill cheese and ice water
Supper: William was gone so I had another bowl of soup and a tomato sandwich with a cup of hot tea

Breakfast: just me so a bowl of oatmeal and raisin toast
Lunch: just me again so another bowl of soup and cheese toast, ice water
Supper I am going to warm up leftover veggies from the fridge. It's nice having a break from cooking.
All the veggies were free from my friends produce. Bread is from the racks of bread we get each week for $5.After we pick out the bread we want there is enough bread to fill 3 30 gallon trash cans we use to keep animal feed in to crumble and give to the animals with their feed all week. The bacon was purchased and frozen 3 months ago. Purchased it when there was a good sale. And biscuits made from scratch. So not much cost at all in these meals.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Just Another Day On The Homestead

Bathroom is almost finished. Just have to paint the trim. William was out of town last night and today. He went to Virginia to pick up 2 doelings and a buckling. There was a few heated discussions over getting more goats as I just feel we are getting too old to handle more than 3 or 4 but they arrived tonight and are beautiful. They also won my heart by snuggling right up to me before they were even unloaded. I am a pushover when a animal looks at me with their beautiful eyes. I spent the day cleaning the house and back porch inbetween feeding and milking. Kuma opened her pen and came on the back porch. I let her stay while I cleaned out there before giving her a treat and taking her back to her pen. Tramp was very sad and loud until she went back. He is very attached to her.

Today is my son in law Brannon's birthday. Happy Birthday son! I am very blessed to have such a fun, sweet, caring guy  who is a wonderful husband to my daughter and a fantastic dad to my granddaughters. He and I don't care for Elvis songs, movies, etc so each Christmas we always give each other something Elvis as a gift. We always try to outdo each other on tacky. We also love scary movies and text each other several times a day with movie talk. He has a huge collection of the old scary movies so we also do a little movie trivia.

With William gone today's menu was simple. Breakfast ( didn't get to eat until 10am) was oatmeal with dried cranberries and pecans, raisin toast with apple butter, and hot chocolate. Oatmeal was purchased a couple months ago in bulk as I use it in baking and love hot cereal. Cranberries came from produce given us a few weeks ago that I dehydrated. Pecans are from some I gathered from a friends tree last year. Apple butter I made last year from apples given to us by friend with produce stand. Hot chocolate made from goat milk and Hersey cocoa that I always have in the pantry. I buy the biggest container and it lasts for months.

No lunch since I ate breakfast so late but I always carry a glass of ice water around with me most of the day. That keeps me feeling full.

William made it home for a late supper. I made something quick and easy... hotdogs. Bought package of beef franks on sale for 88cents (bought 5 packages) buns are from the racks of bread we bought at the bread store for $5. Homemade chili from leftover ground beef from last night. leftover coleslaw from last night and homemade fries with homemade ketchup. To drink we had homemade lemonade with lemons from the free produce.

Since today was spent inside I plan on spending tomorrow raking and cleaning pens before vaccinating and worming the animals. It is suppose to be raining and cool tomorrow night and Friday so I want to put fresh bedding down for everyone too. Will take some pics of the new goat family to share with you. Just enjoying counting my blessings of the day and hope you are too!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Grocery Shopping

 I have been asked to post about how we live on a small grocery bill each month. There is only my husband and I though I do fix meals for anyone that is working with William each day. I will try to post my menus each day this month so you can get a better idea.
Grocery shopping was quick this month. My friend gave us lots of produce for us and the animals yesterday. I didn't have to buy  veggies or fruit except potatoes. Our potatoes didn't do well in the drought this year. The produce market won't close until Dec 31st so we won't have to purchase much until the first of the year plus I have lots of canned and frozen veggies from the garden. I also had plenty of ground beef and chicken left in the freezer from last months shopping trip so only had to purchase a few meats. After all was said and done I only spent $132.18 for this months groceries! Well except the turkey for Thanksgiving. I don't know how many if anyone will be here for dinner so am waiting so I will know what size turkey I need. It also includes paper,personal,and cleaning items as well as catfood. We have 3 meals a day most days though there are some days things happen and we have a really late breakfast and just have two meals on those days. Breakfast is usually juice, eggs, sausage, with grits or gravy, toast or biscuits. Lunch is usually soup(homemade) of some kind, homemade lemonade or tea and a sandwich. Dinner is a meat and at least two veggies and bread. Most everything is made from scratch because its cheaper, tastes better, and healthier. We both are guilty of grabbing a snack in the afternoon or evening when we sit down at the computer desk. There is always fruit, ice cream, homemade cookies or muffins. We really need to cut back on the snacks! I always keep a pad on the side of the fridge so I can work on my grocery list all month as I run out of something. I try very hard to purchase only what is on my list but if I happen to see a special sale on meats or something we use then I will go ahead and purchase extras. I don't use coupons because I find they are mostly for mixes, prepared foods, or brands I don't use. Some things that work for one family may not work for another. I am blessed to have a friend that can get us lots of fresh produce and that I have veggie and herb gardens. I also am blessed to have chickens that supply us with fresh eggs and goats that give us milk for drinking, making soaps and cheeses. This saves us lots of money. Today's menu:
Breakfast: biscuits and gravy, juice, hot herbal tea (flour for biscuits and gravy is Pillsbury Self rising ($2.24 5lb bag) I don't use a lot of self rising so only buy in 5lb bags. juice made from oranges given us with other produce, milk from goats used in gravy and tea is made from herbs I grew and dried.

Lunch: homemade chicken soup, grill cheese, crackers, ice water I buy a bag of chicken leg and thighs and divide and freeze when I get home. I get enough for 6 meals. Used one leg and thigh to make a small pot of chicken soup for lunch. used carrots, celery, and onions from produce given us. cheese made from goats milk. Crackers from a box of saltines I purchased last month for 1.18. We get racks of bread ($5 each) each week to crumble up and feed the animals. I take some loaves of wheat bread, buns, rye bread, and raisin bread from the racks for our use. The bread for the grill cheese came from that.

Dinner: sweet potatoes,white potatoes,turnips,baked in chicken broth, stuffed bell peppers, cole slaw, sliced tomato and cucumbers, green tea   All the veggies of course came from the produce given us by our friend. The ground beef was from a 10lb package I bought last month. I divided it into one pound packages to get 10 meals.(I paid 6.98 for the package) Used home canned sauce over stuffed peppers. Green tea I bought in the spring online from a bulk place. Don't remember the price but will check and see. I do know it had to be very inexpensive for me to purchase it online.

For snack this evening I had celery with pimento cheese and ice water. Celery from the given produce. Pimento cheese was purchased today. (usually make my own but this was on sale) a pound container of locally made pimento cheese for 4.14.

Hope this gives you a clearer view of how our grocery bill is so low each month. I plan on spending $150 each month but most months spend less. I like to see how much I can get for the least amount. We never go hungry and if something were to happen we have enough in pantry and freezers to feed us for up to 6 months. I always rotate and replace items so we won't be left without if there ever was a emergency. I think the real key is cooking from scratch as premade, mixes, fast foods are a lot more expensive. I try to fix several dishes when I have the oven or stove on to save on electricity. I also use our woodstove in the winter to cook on since it always has a fire in it keeping our home warm. Frugal doesn't mean doing without. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment and I will try my best to answer them. Don't forget to count those blessings!!