Oh January…How I hate Thee.

January, in my opinion, is the worst month out of the year.  It is cold, dreary, grey, rainy, snowy, frozen, boring, and miserable.  Just.  Plain.  Miserable.  This January was a little more exciting than others (but not in a good way to most people); running out of LP gas, the water pipes freezing in the barn, the driveway turning into a dangerous downhill skating rink, Torran totaling his Jeep, and dealing with the lowest of  lifeforms known to man – the car salesman.

One would think, “get out while you can!  Who knows what the rest of the year will bring!”  Oh no no no, not us!  We are stubbornly determined to conquer the setbacks that happen and to turn this little hobby farm into a money-making enterprise (at least making enough to feed the animals and us – we aren’t greedy).  Perhaps the most important lesson we have learned since we’ve moved here – don’t kill each other when the going gets tough!  This month has certainly taught us that.  We have learned to laugh in the face of disappointment, to smile at a challenge, and to snicker at provocation!  (At least after screaming into and punching a pillow.)  What keeps us going?  The thought of what can and will be.

One thing that will happen this spring is pigs!  Take a look at this little face…we can’t wait to see what conundrums we’ll face when they get here.  Not to mention the abundance of pork we’ll have in the fall (which we’ll be selling).

We got to meet the litters we will be getting a pig from this year!
We got to meet the litters we will be getting a pig from this year!

Another adventure that better happen soon concerns our hens laying eggs.  They are 27 weeks old and we were told they start anywhere from 24-28 weeks.  I go out to feed them in the morning and looks for eggs, but have been disappointed every  morning so far. Ugh.  I’m having a hard time being patient; I keep telling myself it will be worth it one of these days.  Patient is something I’m not, but the farm is helping me to learn good things are worth waiting for.

The rooster, on the other hand, has grown by leaps and bounds and is now crowing (which scared me when he first did it because I was not expecting it) and is trying to get his jollies off with the ladies.  Did you know roosters crow anytime during the day, not just in the morning?  Wonderful.

 

Cock-a-doodle-doo!
Cock-a-doodle-doo!

Animals need water and so I have been going to the other barn each day and filling up the chicken water buckets and lugging them back to their coops.  Until we lifted the handle one morning and it was frozen.  It was below zero out at night for a while and something like twenty below with the windchill so we shouldn’t have been surprised, but we were.  For the last couple weeks I have been lugging my trusty red bucket named Ralph (ha, get it?) from the house to the barn with lukewarm water for the cats and the chickens to drink.  I am happy to report I checked the well this morning and we have running water again!  Ralph is being retired for the time being.

Ralph, get it?
Ralph, get it?

So while I was lugging Ralph out to the barn I had to traverse our driveway…only our driveway was a SOLID SHEET OF ICE.

This is after we spread 200 pounds of salt and had a couple days over 33 degrees.  It may look like snow - nope, ALL ICE.  Fun times.
This is after we spread 200 pounds of salt and had a couple of days over 33 degrees. It may look like snow – nope, ALL ICE. Fun times.

While this could be good if we owned ice skates (I grew up ice skating but I don’t know that I have ever seen my husband ice skate…hmmm…future project slash dare).  Anyway, I am proud to report I have not fallen at all but I have wobbled a couple of times; I’m sure I just cursed myself, great.  I am hoping we can continue on with the warmer weather so the rink will turn into a mud pit…but that is an adventure for another time.

P.S.  Stay tuned for our adventure/nightmare with car salesmen – it will not disappoint!

Living in an Old House; Part II

We had yet another old house adventure right after the new year…now what, right?!  We have always had a “normal” furnace. By normal I mean one that was electric and if it used gas, it was from a city gas line.  If something broke, it was (usually) a broken piece of the furnace.  So when we realized our furnace had stopped working (it was 60 degrees in the house), that’s what I thought it was; besides we had had it inspected for winter just a couple of months prior.  I told Torran and then got the heck outta there!  It was time for me to go shopping and Torran to get fixin’. I thought when I got home it’ll be back up and running and problem solved, right?  Wrong.  Poor Torran.  It was the last day of his vacation and I’m sure he didn’t want to spend it in our (creepy) basement trying to fix the furnace.

When I came home he said we might as well go get a part (it was cheap and is what normally breaks) and if that doesn’t work then call in professional help.  Of course, the part didn’t work and I called the company.  It was then that Torran told me we might be out of gas.  OUT OF GAS?!?!?  He told the furnace guy what was going on and if we had gas we would call back.  After that call he went out to look at the gas tank and told me when he got back in, “it’s either empty or the gauge is not working.”  How can we be out of gas?!  They just filled it late November!  We called the gas company and they sent a guy (who was super nice – thank goodness the Packer game was changed to the late game that night) and he filled us back up.  He did tell us we have a new delivery driver and that I might want to check on the gas level every week.  I also thought it was a holiday weekend and maybe that had something to do with it.  Regardless, we got it fixed and were set to go!  Now is the time I should mention we have hot water heat and so it took the rest of the night for it to warm up…I think it was 62 degrees or so when I went to bed.  Brrrr!  So anyway, we’ve learned a valuable, but cold, lesson – check the gas tank!

Until our next (hopefully warmer) adventure on this crazy journey…

Thanksgiving Weekend

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend!  We were able to spend some time with family and then relax for the rest of the weekend.

We decided on a real tree this year rather than our fake one.  Torran picked out a beautiful seven foot balsam tree and we brought it home – with me driving slowly and peeking out the sunroof to make sure it was still there!

Now that the tree was up and the lights were on I wanted a different theme for the tree; one that was more in line with the way we are living – very country.  So instead of spending a ton of money on something we only have up for a month, I got out my craft supplies and went to town.  First off was the burlap ribbon wrapped around the tree.  Next was the mason jar lid ornaments, then the birch tree disks, then the homemade salt and flour cookies, the scented pinecones (which I did buy with a coupon – a grand total of $2.38), the “tin” stars made from a cereal box, and finally the ice-cycles from Grandma went up.  Viola!  A country tree for very little money.  I am so proud!

The country tree.
The country tree.
Birch discs Torran cut from a tree limb.
Birch discs Torran cut from a tree limb.
"Tin star" made from a thin box.
“Tin star” made from a thin box.
Mason jar lid with vintage button.
Mason jar lid with vintage button.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salt flour dough "cookie."
Salt flour dough “cookie.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

After decorating the tree, it was time to move to the rest of the house.  I put up garland around the two large picture windows; decorated the dining room table, living room coffee table, and kitchen counter.  I redid the “spring wreath” and then I hung garland in the hallway on the stair railing and put some garland and a burlap bow on the mirror in the hallway.  I put three trees in the guest room and after a break, cut some real pine from the backyard and decorated some pitchers in the cabinet.  I was done.  Both literally and figuratively.  I had pine needles everywhere!  Thank goodness Torran is forgiving when it comes to my decorating messes.  I got everything cleaned up and then sat on the couch all night looking at my beautiful house.  I can’t wait for Christmas!

Bed spring wreath decorated for Christmas.
Bed spring wreath decorated for Christmas.

 

Dining room table tree.
Dining room table tree.
Milk can and Rooster all dressed up.
Milk can and Rooster all dressed up.