Glad To Be Home

Wow – the last four days went fast and boy am I glad for a day to chill at home. Subbing at the school on Thursday and Friday took a lot out of me. I enjoyed the first day but the second was exhausting. Nothing much different between the two days – just takes a lot out of me subbing as an Associate. I never know what classroom I’ll be in or what I’ll be doing and it’s different every time. This time I was with a child new to the school with a behavior disorder so it was a learning experience for me, for the child and for the teacher. And I get to go back this Thursday and Friday for the same child. The school is looking for a full time Associate but in the meantime they are taking turns with different Associates subbing. I had volunteered with the Color Run this Friday but agreed to work instead. I’m hoping I can still spend some time with Drew during the Color Run. Last Friday was Homecoming and I got to see Drew during the parade and the pep rally which was nice. Eric came home too for the weekend and for Homecoming. He requested meatloaf, potatoes and corn for supper for Friday night so that’s what we had. He’s a tad spoiled!

Saturday was spent with Abby and Braxton at the Kalona Fall Festival. It was lots of fun. We walked through the festival and the boys spent quite a bit of time playing in the corn area. That area is a favorite – kids love playing in shelled corn with buckets and shovels! After eating a lunch of homemade tacos and pie made by a Mennonite group we took the boys to the park and let them play. And then back to Abby’s house and more play time for the boys! It was a great day.

I had thought Sunday we would be staying home but Dad called and Joe went over there to help Dad start one of his tractors. Then Mom called and asked if Drew and I would want to come over for lunch so off we went. After that we headed home and spent the afternoon outside building a run for the chickens. I love having them free range but between them destroying my flower beds and the last few days deciding to cross the gravel road and wander in the neighbor’s pasture we decided we needed to pen them in. The neighbors don’t care if they wander over there but we don’t want them getting hit on the road. By the time we quit working on that it was getting late so we ran to town for supper at the Pizza Ranch. It had been months since we’d eaten there and it was a nice change of pace.

Today Drew and I aren’t feeling the best. I think I probably caught something from being at the school. That usually happens. And Drew has been fighting a cold. Today was a teacher in service day so no school so Drew got to sleep in and now he’s crashed on the couch watching cartoons. And I’m glad to have a day at home. No running anywhere, no plans. I’ll spend the day getting the house in order, working on laundry which hasn’t been touched for the past four days and chilling with Drew.  A great way to start the week!

Busy Week

This week has turned out to be a busy one. Yesterday saw me walking, then home to do laundry. Lots and lots of laundry. Cleaning out the chicken coop and taking care of the cats we brought home Sunday evening. They are in the shop but they won’t come out when we are in there. Hopefully they will be a little braver today. Then Dad and Mom came over with some apples to share and to see the cats. They stayed and chatted until dark.

Today I’m up early – no earlier than usual but I’m heading to Kalona to meet Abby. I’m going with her to a doctor’s appointment in Iowa City. Jeremy couldn’t take time off work so I volunteered to tag along. Nothing is wrong, just checking for gestational diabetes. I had it with my second two pregnancies and am hoping she doesn’t but since she didn’t pass the first test I won’t be surprised if this one comes out positive. So, I get to spend some quality time with her today which will be nice.

Tomorrow should be pretty normal. Nothing specific planned anyway. Just normal routine. Although I do need to do something with the apples Mom brought over. And I finished stitching my Fancey Blackett I working on so I need to decide on a finish for her. I love those days! Then Thursday and Friday I’m subbing at the elementary school. Friday is homecoming so that should be fun – the kids will be all excited to go see the parade. Not sure I know what I’m getting myself into! It’s nice to visit the school now and again to see how things are run and to get to know the teachers. Especially with Drew there. And he likes having me there. There will come a time when having his mom working at the school once in awhile won’t be so fun but for now he thinks it’s awesome!

And best of all – it’s supposed to be ten degrees cooler today than yesterday and then it’s supposed to drop down into the 60s. Yeah – hopefully fall is here!

Hot Camping Weekend

Usually at the end of September camping is ideal. You plan for chilly evenings and cool mornings, sweatshirts and jeans and camp fires. Instead we had record breaking hot temperatures and mosquitos. This might have been the most uncomfortable trip we’ve had this season. But we still had a fun weekend. It’s impossible not to have fun when you’re camping!

We camped with Dad and Mom in Pella this time. We were able to leave early afternoon Friday as school was let out early due to the heat. Friday was spent setting up camp, eating supper and going for a walk. We went on a hike on Saturday and came across our neighbors who were camping in a neighboring campground. We stopped and had a nice long visit with them and Drew got to play with their granddaughter. We were walking a nice paved trail under the trees and it was beautiful. Our campsites were also in the trees – my favorite way to camp. I could open up all the shades and not worry that people could see in. We decided we liked this spot the best of the ones we’ve been in – it was so secluded. Of course the majority of the trees surrounding us were hickory trees so we had hickory nuts falling on us. They make quite a racket when they hit the roof of your camper!

I loved the way the light bounced off the leaves of the trees and into the camper. With the air on in the camper – it kind of felt like fall with the leaves falling, the hickory nuts bouncing and the light filtering through the windows!

Fall Brings Fancey Blankett


Shoo! – by Wendy Stys-Van Eimeren, Pineberry Lane

My husband lovingly says I’m weird, or crazy, or odd. Which word he uses depends on the day! And I’m okay with that. I know I’m not normal and I really don’t want to be! He just shakes his head when I tell him how happy I am to see Fancey Blackett again. I know he’s thinking I might be a little loopy but that’s why he loves me! Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love the crisp fall air, the smell of burning candles, the leaves turning colors and crunching under foot. I love pulling out my sweatpants and sweatshirts and blankets to cuddle and making chili and veggie soup and casseroles. I love to decorate with pumpkins and mums and buckeyes and natural things. I could go on and on. But one thing about fall that I really love is bringing out Fancey Blackett. Who on earth is Fancey Blackett is what Joe asked me when I brought her up the other day. Well, Fancey Blackett is a sweet prim character created by one of my all time favorite artists, Wendy Stys-Van Eimeren of Pineberry Lane. Fancey Blackett is someone I get the joy of stitching into my home. She reminds me of all the things I love – sunflowers and pumpkins, gardens and black cats. I haven’t stitched up all the Fancey Blackett designs yet but I plan to. I’m taking my time and enjoying the process. I’m enjoying stitching Witch’s Brew right now and Fancey and I are enjoying our evening chats as I stitch along. It’s like visiting with an old friend I haven’t seen for awhile! She comes out for a  visit every fall. One of these days she just might not leave for the winter. She just might have to stay, pumpkins, broom sticks and all!

A bowl full of Pineberry Lane – October Ride (with Fancey Blackett) is middle left. Fancey Blacket and the Butter Churn is bottom center. Tansy, Yarrow, Rue top center and All Hallows Eve middle right.
Fancey Blackett – Witch’s Brew – love the little pumpkin border!

Gathering Eggs

I’m not sure why but I love wandering out to the coop everyday to gather eggs. Of course with only four chickens – the gathering consists of four little eggs so it’s not exactly work or anything. But it’s always such a nice “surprise”. Usually about midmorning I get three and then after lunch sometime there will be one more. But once in awhile someone will surprise me and all four will be there together midmorning. I haven’t figure out which one is the late layer yet but I will! It’s kind of like picking tomatoes. There’s a satisfaction with knowing you’ve planted these little plants, you’ve nurtured them and cared for them. And yes, even talked to them once in awhile! And there’s a sense of satisfaction when you can then step out your backdoor, pick a tomato and eat it. All ripe and juicy and warm from the sun. It’s heaven!

It’s the same with chickens. You tend to them, feed and water them everyday. Clean out their coop. Pet them and love on them and your husband calls you the crazy chicken lady and in return they provide for you. For me, it’s just the way things are supposed to be. There’s just so much satisfaction in raising chickens and gathering fresh eggs. It’s what my grandmothers did and theirs mothers and grandmothers before them.

When we brought the chickens home this spring I had no idea what to do with them. I’ve never raised chickens. Growing up we raised rabbits, sheep, hogs, horses, dog and cats. So, I knew the basics of tending for animals. Joe’s mom raised chickens so he knew a little about what to expect. And we’ve figured things out as we’ve gone. I’ll go online once in awhile to see if what I’m doing is okay and for the most part it’s pretty much common sense. It certainly hasn’t been too hard. But fall is here and winter is on its way and I have some questions. I was doing some internet searching and came across this book, Fresh Eggs Daily by Lisa Steele and it called to me. I know I can find all the information I need online but sometimes you just need to have a book in your hand. Something you can sit down with, peruse, flip back and forth through. It came in the mail today. Happy mail day for me! Now to find the time to sit down and read. I’m hoping to find some natural ways to tend to the girls to keep them healthy and happy. And I can see already that four chickens just isn’t quite enough. I think I have room in the coop for at least two more come spring!

Still Walking

Today was a foggy morning for walking!

Week two of my new walking routine is going strong. Every morning now after dropping Drew off at school a friend and I have been walking – four miles every day to be exact. Last week was rough. I couldn’t believe how stiff and sore I was. This week things are going much better. I’m not near as sore and I don’t get near as winded. It’s nice to spend an hour and a half walking and talking. We talk a lot about God, our families, our grandkids, the ways of the world. It’s good to take this time to exercise and bond with a cherished friend.

Breakfast Is Served

What perfect timing. I got my new Trim Healthy Mama cookbook last week. I was searching for a tasty, healthy breakfast item I could have made up ahead of time. Something I could grab and eat on the way into town if need be before dropping Drew off at school and then walking. And this is what I found – oatmeal on the go cups – delicious! And a bonus – it can sometimes be a battle to get Drew to eat breakfast but he loves these and asked if he can have them in the morning!  How perfect is that??!!

 

Something To Celebrate

Saturday we had the privilege of celebrating my Uncle Jerry and Aunt Konnie’s 50th wedding anniversary with them at their home. It was a small celebration – just family – and our family is small! It was such a fun day. The weather was beautiful so we spent the day outside under a shade tree. We wander around the farm and did a lot of chatting. It was wonderful to see my cousin Terri Jo and her kids as they live in Indiana and we rarely see them anymore. Fifty years is definitely something to celebrate and I hope we get to celebrate many more with these two wonderful people.

A Little Bit of Fall Decorating

I was soooo sore after walking yesterday. I think we might have overdone it a tad – four miles right out of the gate! But, after walking this morning I’m loosened up and feel much better. Still sore but it will only get better from here right??!! Yesterday afternoon, instead of working on Drew’s room like I had planned, I got some fall decorations out. Every year I do less and less and this year is no exception. I’m mostly using my stitched stuff. The less I get out, the less I have to put away later and the less cluttered the house looks right!