Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's been a while......rambling of a scattered mind, chickens aquaponics and other things

Sorry it's been so long since I posted on here! I won't get into everything that has happened, as I am sure Kate has kept everyone up to date.

October is here and zooming along. The onions and garlic need planting. The beds need mulching. the firewood needs to finish being split..... so much to do and so little time!

Anyways, I ramble.... the plan for this weekend is to get enough of the maple rounds split and stacked that I can build a second compost bin so that I can turn my compost over. I also need to get the onions and garlic planted. We had planned on doing a bigger winter veggie garden, but time seems to have gotten away from us.

We were thinking of sneaking in some backyard chickens, but seeing as they are against our current bylaws, I think we will wait until the ruling as to whether or not keeping chickens is a charter right. In the meantime I have been reading into building a green house in the spot we were thinking of putting the chicken coop.

Now here is where the ADHD works at its finest..... you start with chickens, and end up with trout. Let me explain. First off I was looking into chicken coop plans. From there I came to the conclusion that I didn't want to go to the effort of making the chicken coop only to be fined or told to remove the chickens. From there it was a logical step (in my mind) to fill that unused space (have to remember to measure it) with a green house, because then it could get use all year round. From there it was only a hop, skip, and a leap to decide that said green house should be used to house an aquaponics system. Voila! You get trout from chickens.

Image from
I am having trouble finding any information on people or systems that have been set up in my area, so I plan on gathering all the information I can and posting it on the blog. Hopefully I can convince the wife that this will be a good idea and use of space. I think the idea of a lemon tree growing in the greenhouse MIGHT have some effect.

cheers for now.


I LOVE crock!

(Pot Cooking that is....)

Sorry it's been quite a while since I've posted but life is just zooming along ~ taking me with it and tiring me out!

The weather has finally turned and I think is here to stay. It doesn't bother me too much as I do LOVE the fall and this year is a bonus with our elongated summer and then the lovely disiduous trees. I know it seems a bit odd but after spending nearly 7 autumns up island where there is only coniferous 'evergreens' it is heart warming watching the leaves turn colour and fall to the ground. Everywhere I turn there are bright and beautiful oranges, yellows and reds. The neighbour's maples are turning and the fallen leaves litter my front yard! I LOVE it!

The kids and I had a FANTASTIC time on Thanksgiving weekend gathering up the leaves into piles and running through them. Then I'd through them in the air like confetti and they'd squeal with laughter and delight! It was such FUN!

Thanksgiving was an amazing weekend; the weather was HOT, Nick had to work overtime so I was largely on my own with the kids. But the cousins arrived on Saturday and everyone was in t shirts during the afternoons. Can't remember a Thanksgiving so hot?

Nana ~ Nick's Mum, came up on the Friday to keep us company for the night while Nick was working. She and Ruby had a blast crafting and playing with puzzles.

Our family supper on the Sunday was a FEAST! My Mum and Dad brought up a cooked Turkey and Ham, my sister made all the veggie sides save for the brussel sprouts'n'bacon dish I made. I then I made those two pies, sweet potato and caramel pecan pumpkin... wouldn't you know I forgot to take any pictures! Sorry! But we did set up two picnic tables in the early evening sun, dressed only in long pants and light jackets and we all feasted until we could eat no more! I put the gravy in my tea pot, my sister had brought chaffing dishes to keep the food warm while we ate. Dad had brought up the turkey ~ cooked in a disposable aluminum foil baking dish and then transported in a large cardboard box which at one time contained a 'jack' for lifting up cars. ... LOL! I know but it kept everything warm for the hour long ride to get up to us in Chemainus!  Don't worry the 'jack' was brand new!

The pies were made by my oldest niece Julia and I. GF pastry turned out well! It cannot be rolled out so I just press it into the pie plate as uniformally as I can. I LOVE the sweet potato pie, but I found the caramel pecan topping on the pumpkin pie TOO sweet! Now if you have a sweet tooth it's incredible but I prefer savoury on my palate!

Home again and the fall weather has set in. But the rides in the morning while cold haven't been too terribly wet yet ~ thank heavens! I did get called a 'Triple Threat!' the other day by a fellow rider! I had the dog with me and she commented, "Dog walking, exersize and saving the environment!" I replied that I was also 'saving money' and she changed my title to, "Quadruple Threat!" It made me smile!

Ruby is doing very well in school and making fast friends! She is now able to stand at the 'waving window' as soon as I drop her off ~ no tears! YAY!

Mostly I go home and tidy up or play with Eli, but yesterday I decided to take him to 'Strongstart' a drop in program at elementary schools (province wide) it is free and for children aged 0-5. Tuesdays they have a volunteer who puts together a 'circle time' specifically geared towards children under 2. Well if Elias didn't just think he'd died and gone to heaven! He was so overwhelmed he kept doing circles in the middle of the class room, unsure of what to play with first! BIG smile on his face! He of course gravitated to the baby 'buggies' and pushed one around the room for a while, then we got into the cars and trucks. There was also a 'tactile' station filled with dry dirt, spades, buckets and fake 'food' to plant etc. He made a mess but had fun! Story time, he stood up in the middle of the room and danced as the leader was singing her songs! Gym time and he RAN, and RAN, and RAN as FAST as his little legs would carry him!!! Bit the dust a few times but got up with a great big smile and kept on truckin!

My plan backfired though ~ I was hoping he'd sleep at home a nice LONG nap but instead he passed out as soon as he got back into the bike trailer. We picked up Ruby and by the time I'd made lunch my legs were jelly and my own eyes could barely stay open but the kids we're rarin' to go! The house a disaster and I just couldn't get off the couch ~ but I'd ridden up and down 3 separate hills! Nick came home and took the kids down to the play room so that I could tidy up. I started dinner and he finished it for me as well as tidying up the kitchen ~ thanks babe!

Garden is nearly all ready for winter. Have a few more things to do, which Nick will try and accomplish this weekend. I think at final tally we harvested near 60 lbs of tomatoes! And I had to give some away as we couldn't eat them all!

SO many plans for next year, I keep having to write them all down so as I remember them. For now I continue to save my plastic milk jugs for two reasons; firstly half filled and tied to fruit tree limbs the weight will train the limbs to grow down and outwards ~ thereby creating more 'open' space between the branches letting in light and air.  Secondly cutting off the bottom of the jug and placing it over some seed starters creates a cheap and easy green house with which to start seeds.

Our list of 'to do' is forever growing but we were actually able to accomplish quite a bit this last weekend. My mother in law aka Nana aka Brenda, came up for another visit bringing; a hat for Eli and goodies that Grammie (my mother made), and a boat load of 'activities for the kids from puzzles to recipes. Ruby had a GREAT time crushing up cereal to make GF 'chicken fingers!'  We went on a trip to Shamrock Farms and picked out some pumpkins! I was able to finish up reorganizing and rearranging the toy room ~ so it is now UBER cool to use in the wet weather! I also painted Ruby's bedroom wall pink! And she helped me plant some spring bulbs out front. ... It is a crap shoot as to them surviving but we shall see!

Elias made his first trip to the ER too! Oh yes, Saturday night and he was in the bath, he ducked his head to avoid getting shampooed and managed to hit the side of the tub at such an angle that he split open his eye lid and it BLED EVERYWHERE! And of course I did what I do best ~ I screamed bloody murder, flipped out, crying hysterically. Nick nearly smacked me! But he put the car seat back in the truck, put my cell phone in my purse and turned on the heat heat while I put Elias in his jammies and then headed to the hospital. We had to call in a favour from a neighbour to bring us a bedtime bottle which I forgot leaving in such haste. Stitches were narrowly averted! Doctor said she was, "...of half a mind not to put in two stitches because it is already knitting together nicely. It's in a fairly protected spot so it shouldn't reopen or get too dirty. As for scaring..." I laughed out loud ~ she was a bit taken a back, but I explained, "You should see my husband's face - I'm not worried about a little scar!" So home we went and he has a nice shiner.

Ruby ~ using scissors her father left out on the counter~  cut her hair RIGHT in front of him. I had a few choice words to say. It is noticeable when her hair is up in a pony tail but thankfully isn't too big a chunk. Still swearing and cursing and FOAMING at the mouth about this one dear.

Life just keeps humming along! We are anxiously awaiting the birth of Nick's brother Adam's first child! Due in the first week of November. Then it is the birthday season followed closely by Christmas. And more birthdays.

What is saving me from sheer insanity some days ~ MOST days~ is my crock pot! It makes life SO much easier! I wasn't raised on crock pot cooking because my dear Mammy has an aversion to food that quote 'touches.' Yes, I know. But honestly I had NO idea that casseroles or crock pot cooking even existed! It has opened up a whole new world of cooking possibilities! I have a few food blogs and facebook pages that I follow for recipe ideas. Several friends also keep sharing recipes! Keep 'em coming girls! Most are successful, some are flops for one reason or another but I like being able to make dinner at lunchtime and have minimal clean up during 'witching hour.'

Any parent will attest to having a 'witching hour,' when nothing but chaos envelopes the house and it seems endless... but it is always darkest just before the dawn!  At 4 pm I start dinner (unless I've used the crock pot) but none the less Nick gets home right around that time so I'm scrambling trying to get the kids to tidy up and get dinner on the table before 5:30. Then one parent baths the kids while the other does the dishes, sweeps and mops the floor and generally tidies up the place. Kids are in bed for 7 and usually asleep before 7:30, at which time we debate whether or not to do one more 'tidy' project before we colapse on the couch and 'rock, paper, scissors' for who's gonna go grab a bottle of wine from under the stairs. We play musical beds all night long and my alarm goes off at 6:10 am for me to hop in the shower ~ and so it begins all over again.

Cheers to happy parenting and crock pot ease! If I have the energy after tonights 'witching hour,' I shall post pics!