Tuesday, March 31, 2009

howz the weather

It seems like the weather trend that we have been experiencing out here is 4-5 days of rain and cloudy weather, and then 4-5 days of beautiful, sunny, cool breeze, 70 degree weather. I have to say that I like the latter better, but rain is good for the earth.....I'm just glad I don't live someplace like Seattle where rain is the norm!! There's not much that I enjoy about our yard being dirt, but it is fun that when it rains for a few days we have some great mud puddles for Maddie to jump in. Boy does she seek them out....and she's a pro at jumping in them! lol We have been enjoying the lovely days and spending lots of time outside, and now that it stays light outside longer, we are often out there until 7:30 or so. Nice.

She is very serious about her sand and water table!! lol

favorite shirt

This shirt is by far my most favorite piece of baby clothing. I bought it at Target on clearance when Maddie was a baby and I'm so excited Charlotte is in the right season to wear it too. I heart this shirt! I kinda love the kiddo wearing the shirt too! wink wink.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

good sport

Our dog Tyson is a good sport. He lets Maddie sit on him, and Charlotte grab his fur, and he makes a great "patient" for Dr. Maddie. Yesterday she got blankets and a pillow and toys for Tyson and then she got her tools (hammer and pliers) and started to work. She found a sticky label and used it as a band aid, and she even got him some mustard!! lol She wanted the ketchup too, but that was where I drew the line. Mustard okay, ketchup too much! She is such a funny little thing, and our dog is such a good boy. It amazes me that people convince themselves that they need to get rid of their pets when they have kids. We had a little bit of growling from Tyson when Maddie first started crawling, and we were worried, but with a little time and supervision everything worked itself out.....Maddie became one of the alphas in our house, and now Charlotte has as well! Good boy Tyson, I'm gonna give you an extra biscuit tonight!

Spring cleaning

We are currently doing some major spring cleaning.....and more than that we are doing some spring organizing!! I am SO over all the toys. Toys in the living room, toys in the kitchen, toys in every nook and cranny of our house. I have two trash bags full of toys that we are going to sell at the consignment sale in June and another trash bag full of toys on their way to goodwill. I went out and bought about 15 clear plastic bins and have organized ALL of the toys and put them in bins. Then I put all of the bins in the girls' rooms and removed all toys from the living room and den. I assume that toys will trickle into our living space, but when they don't start there, it may be a slower process and easier to put back. The only thing we left in the living room are books....any books that Charlotte couldn't rip apart or eat, and now we have a book nook, or as Maddie referrers to it....the library! It's a cozy little corner where they can sit and read books, and an easy place for them to clean up after themselves since the only thing that goes over there are books! We'll see. On the menu for tomorrow? More cleaning, and like 5 yards of laundry to fold. *sigh*

Maddie relaxing on her couch in the library

Picking out books

Thursday, March 26, 2009

she likes the chickens too

Charlotte likes the chickens too. I think that both my girls would choose to climb in there if they could. A little too stinky for sweet smelling babies in my opinion! Those chickens better watch out, soon they will have two monkeys chasing around after them!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

chick date

Well, we lost the little white leghorn that wasn't healthy.....which I expected. So I wasn't really sad. The other 5 are doing really well and are spunky and running around all over like crazy chickens! I have been a little concerned about the black australorps and thought that maybe they were bantams (small chickens) or maybe some other breed because they are so petite, but after some investigating I'm 99.99% sure that they are standard black australorps. We have the babies in the same pen as the big gals, but have them separated with chicken wire and up until today we had their space lined with aluminum foil just to make sure it was around 95 degrees. We took the foil down today since as they get older they don't need it as hot, and the babies are now hopping back and forth between their pen and the bigger pen. It seems to work out pretty well because they can mingle, but then go back to their side where its warmer and they have their own food and water. It seems to keep down the pecking order fights that naturally will come up over food and sleeping locations but also gives them the opportunity to get used to each other, and will hopefully make the coop integration easier! It's amazing to see the size difference and how fast my Reds have grown! And speaking of grown, Lucky (our barred rock) has taken over a mama role with the new babies....I'm hoping this means that she is a she....I can't imagine a Roo being so accomodating, but we'll see. So all in all things are going well. Our remaining 9 chicks seem healthy and happy. Now we just need to get started on their outside coop because before we know it the time to throw them out of my kitchen will be upon us! I'm excited for that day so they won't be in the house anymore, but also sad because I can't check in on them ten gazillion times a day!

Lucky acting like a Mama


The whole gang on one side

Eating together

The babies back on their own side chowing down

Color me Maddie

I gave Maddie some stamping markers to play with while I made dinner tonight. I turned my back for literally one minute and when I looked back this is what she I was greeted with!! I gave her a bath this evening and scrubbed but her hands are still pink as is the pink stripe down her face. She will be the most colorful child at preschool tomorrow for sure! Silly girl.

Monday, March 23, 2009

sand and water

What do you do when you don't want to spend $79.99 plus shipping on a sand and water table like this?

Well, if you have an amazing hubby with power tools and a genius mind you make your own version of a sand and water table using scraps of wood lying around! The wood was free....it cost money a year ago when we bought the treated lumber for our deck, but for this project it was free. The plastic bins were $8.00 and the umbrella was $24.00. And I need to mention that the umbrella is a 7.5 foot umbrella which is way bigger than what comes with the step 2/little tikes sand and water tables, and it is also much better quality and tilts to block sun. Also, we can take it off the table and bring it to the beach, or the park if we wanted to, so it's more useful than a child sized umbrella. I have half a bag of sand that I am going to put in the bin.....we'll have to get more, but we'll test drive this baby sometime this afternoon and see how the Mads likes it, but I'm guessing with her love for sand and water we will get 2 thumbs up from her!!

Purple Majesty

Have you heard of Purple Majesty potatoes? I just recently bought some and I am pretty much obsessed. Not only do they have purple skin quite like the Purple Viking potato but they are also purple on the inside!! I tried finding some seed potatoes online but they are all sold out, so I am going to try my luck at planting some of the Purple Majesty potatoes that I have. And because we didn't plan on growing potatoes, and I don't want to give up any of my garden beds for such a long time, we are going to plant the potatoes in tires which will keep them growing vertically. We found a guy in town who has an unlimited supply of tires and he said we can have as many as we want. What a great way to recycle old tires!! Hopefully in about 4 months we'll have some yummy potatoes. Wish me luck!

This is what the potatoes look like growing in tires

Strawberry fields forever

Whew....what a busy weekend! Well, for Dan anyway. Just kidding....we all had a busy time this weekend, I just had a little less manual labor, and a little more child minding and errand running. It's such a good feeling working outside in the garden. I was telling Dan that it feels like we are really doing something great....at the end of the day I feel weary and sun kissed and accomplished. We may or may not have something to show for it in a few months time (here's hoping that we WILL!) but the journey alone is worth it. Plus, I already have things sprouting up outside....both types of lettuce and the radishes I planted in with the carrots!! The strawberry box is complete, Dan even stirred up the dirt and raked it smooth. All I have to do now is add compost and plant my strawberry plants....oh, and I need for my strawberry plants to get their butts to my front door.....hopefully they will arrive this week! I can not wait until we have some fresh strawberries to eat!!

Dan building the strawberry bed

He's actually not irritated with me at all....he just looks like he is lol!
I think the sun is in his eyes.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


We have been working outside in the garden this weekend! The weather has been beautiful....still a bit chilly, but sunny with a gentle breeze. I love when we have gorgeous weather, it almost makes up for the fact that summer is so humid and gross. I got some spinach and some of my white carrots planted, and I've been working at hardening my broccoli and scallions still. I think I'll be able to put them in the ground on Wednesday. Dan has been working on my strawberry bed. I am going to have a LOT of strawberry plants which need to be 18 inches apart, so my bed is 12 x 20 and not even in my garden area. We put it in a different location on the other side of the house. I guess that's one good thing about not having any full grown trees on our property.....we have relatively no shade which means a lot of sun exposure for growing things!! Maddie had a good time chasing after the chickens (the 3 Reds....our neighbors took LB) and I helped her to plant her own tomato seeds and she enjoyed playing with water and dirt.....which amazingly enough makes mud!!! lol Today we'll have a little more of the same after nap time. I am still sick, and feel like I'm changing elevations all the time. My ears are clogged up and I get that pressure and pain in my head like when an airplane starts to descend. I have a dr. appt. on Wednesday. Hopefully they can give me something that will make this go away.....I feel like I've been sick for forever!!! Bleh. Hope you're having a grand weekend!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Charlotte crawls......all over. She hasn't really gotten into trouble other than pulling DVDs off the shelves, but that is too fun to resist and we don't really mind. I'm sure trouble is on it's way lol. Its nice that she is able to get where she wants to go....she seems happier and I seem to be carrying her around less. Its problematic when we are outside though because we can no longer leave her on the ground on a blanket and expect her to stay there. She is off and exploring and eating dirt. Yumm. Her newest accomplishment is pulling herself to standing. She can mostly do it herself.....it is easier on the carpet than hardwood floors. Watch out world, Charlotte will be on the go before we know it!!

They might be giants, but we might be crazy!!

Where to start? Our tiny barred rock baby is dead. I'm not 100% sure that Little Brown killed it, but I'm not sure that he didn't. We put LB back into the pen and things seemed to be going well. After making the decision to leave him in with everyone overnight (a bad decision) we woke up yesterday morning to a dead chicky. I was really sad. There was crying. It's not like I have deep feelings for these chickens, or even much of a relationship, but its still hard to deal with death, especially among babies.....of any kind. So, Little Brown is back in solitary and we're gonna see if our neighbors who also have chickens might want him/her. He still could be a her!

Anyway....we decided to head over to Tractor Supply yesterday because they got their shipment of chicks in. In my head I was just going to get 2, maybe 3 more chicks to replace Little Brown, and the baby barred rock. Turns out Tractor Supply only sells them 6 at a time. So, we got 6 more chicks. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that makes us crazy!! lol Currently we have 11 chickens living in our kitchen!! But.....one (LB) is getting re-homed, somewhere, and one of the new chicks that we got looks like it's gonna die.....not all of them make it, it's just the way it is.

I picked out 3 white leghorns and 3 black australorps. It's one of the white leghorns that doesn't seem to be doing very well. I'm still hoping that she pulls through, but I have had to force it to drink water by dipping it's beak into the trough, and I haven't seen it eat anything. I can't force it to eat unfortunately. I read that egg yolk is actually really good for them (I know, twisted huh?!) so I put some in the pen, and after Charlotte's morning nap we're gonna go get some electrolytes to put in their water.....maybe some poly-vi-sol as well. I'm gonna try whatever I can, but the little one may not make it anyway. But 9 chickens wouldn't be a bad number!

We originally put the chicks in with Lucky (the barred rock survivor) but after a little while of being badgered by babies she wanted out, so we moved her in with the 3 Rhode Island Red chicks and they did great together. The Reds actually let Lucky sleep with them last night which is a wonderful sign that they are accepting her. Here are our new babies:

Just to show how tiny these new chicks are, this littke Leghorn (who I've named Houdini) kept finding ways to get into the big girls pen....She thought she was a big girl too! lol

So, right now we have 3 Rhode Island Reds, 1 Barred Rock, 3 Black Australorps, and 3 (more than likely 2) White Leghorns. If all of them are pullets (here's hoping....fingers crossed) they all lay large eggs, the Leghorns are the only ones that will lay white eggs, the rest are brown. Here's what they will look like as adult HENS:

Black Australorp

White Leghorn

Barred Rock

Rhode Island Red
We are going to have one interesting spring here on the Schultz family farm!! Keep your fingers crossed that we don't lose any more babies, and that when it comes time to integrate them all into an outside coop that they can figure out how to get along.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

two and a half

Where did two and a half years go? We've reached 30 months, and it's amazing to me that in a mere 6 months time Maddie is going to be a three year old. It seems like just yesterday that she was a baby, or at least a much smaller toddler. She is so grown up. I look at her and am awestruck by this girl in front of me. There aren't really any signs of the baby she used to be other than the diapers (blah). Her cheeks are firm instead of squishy, her legs are long and lean, and she is independent. Oh so independent. Every once in a while I wish she would need me a little more, or want to sit and cuddle a little more. But then I remember that she is growing up, she needs to grow up, and her not needing me is a sign that we are doing a good job as parents. Sometimes I look at her and she is so tall, and doing so much that I actually forget that she is only two and a half. What a weird paradox that she is two and a half (so big) but at the same time only two and a half. (still so little) Time is flying.

How does your garden grow?

The further I get into gardening the more complex and confusing it gets. You would think that you could just throw out some seeds, cover them with soil, water them and eventually yummy fruits and veggies would pop up for you to pick. That's what I would assume. Turns out, its not quite that simple. The biggest issue that I have right now is is picking a train of thought to follow. I am totally the girl who wants a plan, a simple easy to follow plan. I'm good at following directions, good at finishing tasks, but when it comes to gardening there are a gazillion different ways to do it. Everyone I talk to tells me something different, every book I read, or site I visit tells me a different way to plant, or mulch, or trellis or harvest. It's starting to give me a headache. I wish there was just one book out there that tells me exactly what to do to make my garden grow. I'm guessing that since there are so many variables in gardening ie. soil, seed quality, weather, bugs, I'm really just gonna have to dive in and see what works and then tweak my process from year to year. I was telling my friend the other day that my garden is huge, and it's either going to be a huge success, or a HUGE failure!! It kind of boggles my mind though.....how did plants ever survive without humans to tend to them? Or were they just not as productive with their fruits until we learned how to coax them along?

The sun finally came out yesterday afternoon and today has been beautiful thus far! I am currently hardening off my broccoli and scallions. They are chillin' in the shade, and tomorrow they will get a little bit of sunshine. I had no idea that it was supposed to take 2 weeks to harden plants.....I think I may have to shave a little bit of time off. How horrible is it to get some plants planted later than what is recommended? I totally forgot to order my cauliflower when I ordered my other seeds and they were supposed to be planted from seeds started indoors 3/15. I finally ordered them last week, but the seeds still haven't arrived. Will the cauliflower not grow? Or not be as prolific? I am excited about some cool heirloom seeds that I ordered (my cauliflower is one of them) I got white carrots, purple cauliflower, peach (colored and shaped) tomatoes, black pineapple tomatoes and bright yellow cucumbers. I think it will be fun to have some of the weird looking veggies mixed in with my more traditional ones.

The chickens are doing well although I am back to mother hen mode since I have babies again. The tiny barred rock thinks that the slightly older barred rock is it's mother and frequently has the bigger one sit on her to keep warm. The tiny one also follows the bigger one wherever she goes, and hops on top of, and under the wings of the bigger one.....much like my little Charlotte smothers me, and climbs on me. We humans have a lot more in common with chickens than I would have guessed. I have no idea if this mothering relationship will continue as they get bigger, I believe that mother hens "leave" their chicks to fend for themselves when they are about 3 weeks old, so it may only last until then. But it's pretty darn cute in the meantime. Little brown my confused he/she is currently in solitary confinement for bad behavior. My three other Reds have no problems with the new chicks, there is some squabbling, and the bigger gals run the little ones away from the food until they are done eating, but they have been cohabitating very nicely. There is definitely segregation between the classes, the bigger gals all sleep together and the two little ones sleep on the other side of the pen, and they generally don't "hang" out together unless passing by one another. This is all to be expected. Normal. What is not so normal is Little brown attacking the new chicks. Chasing after them and pecking them repeatedly. He just doesn't let up. And it is quite possible for him to peck them to death.....that is his goal.....to get rid of the new comers. So after doing a bit of research and diving into my chicken forums (yes, there are chicken forums....backyardchicken.com) I took the bully out of the equation and segregated him. He is in his own pen with food and water, and will be there until at least tomorrow morning (36 hours) where I will then try and put him back in the pen with the other 5 chicks and see if he learned his lesson.....that he is an equal. He doesn't have to like the new chicks, and he doesn't have to interact with them or even be nice, but he can NOT attack them. This is supposed to work. If he starts to attack them again, he goes back into his own pen for another 24 hours or so. At some point the little chicks will get bigger and able to defend themselves, and will form a relationship with my well behaved Reds and then LB will essentially be the outsider and things should run smoothly. We'll see. I guess in the wild Little Brown would kill the babies, or their mother would defend them from LB. It's kinda trippy knowing that I am responsible for changing nature for these chickens. Hopefully I can do them right. lol

Well, I have to get the girls ready and loaded up....we're going to our home away from home Lowe's. One of the other mothers at Maddie's school gave me two blueberry bushes today (thanks Sherri!) and since we are not planning on staying in this house for too much longer I need to get something large that I can plant them in so that when we do move I can take them with us. Blueberry plants are very slow growing and hardly produce any fruit for the first few years so they are a big investment of time and money too.....they aren't cheap, so I want to make sure I can take my investment with me.

County McCounterson