Thursday, May 16, 2013

March, April and May Ohhhhh MY!

We have been up to a record number of projects since February when I last blogged! Instead of updating my "scrapbook" on all the things we have been doing since then I thought I would just update on garden/homesteading stuff today. 
First, we incubated our own chicks! Five out of nine hatched and have at this point are out in the coop with all the other laying hens.
 In April Justin enjoyed a lot of time playing in the dirt.
 Lance is always willing to get in on the action!
 We have enjoyed two wonderful bonfires this spring so far.
 Hot dogs and smores...the supper of champions
 This Spring I also expanded from two hives to three.
 The new hive is doing OK, not great but OK.
 Here you can see my Queen bee left her cell to join the hive.
 It always makes me happy to see the girls out and about.
 Last fall we took down all of the existing fence in preparation for new fencing this spring.
We are on schedule to install the new fence over Memorial Day Weekend.
 I'm not sure what I like better, the pretty green grass or the fence all lined up and ready to be installed.
 Shortly after we moved in, we were gifted these fantastic laundry line poles. Two years later they are installed and now being used! I'm overjoyed and smile each time I get to use it.
 Last week I harvested my first little bundle of rhubarb. Rhubarb pie is my sweetheart's favorite, so when I get a chance to catch my breath I shall finally make him one.
 My little strawberry patch is all abloom with gorgeous flowers!
 Lots of flowers equals lots of berries....we can hardly wait!!!
 A girl riding with her dad is always a good thing!
 After a cold and wet early Spring, I think we are in full garden mode. Our peas (far back), onions, garlic (not shown) and potatoes (closest). are all up and growing well. We have planted corn, carrots, lettuce, spinach, and I just started putting in tomato plants this week. I also planted a little herb garden that I can't wait to collect fresh herbs from all summer!
 I have added some perennial flowers (lavender, verbena, and bee balm) and some annuals to the landscaping. Now I'm just waiting for them to fill in (so I don't have to weed) and burst with color!
 I'm always looking for cute things to put in the landscape (cheap stuff). I used old chore boots as planters, I picked up this birdhouse for $5 at a garage sale, the milk cans I got years ago at an auction for $1, galvanized buckets (same story).
 Thanks to the previous owners we have an amazing hedge of lilac bushes along part of our drive. Today as I type, there is a lovely breeze blowing their lilac scent into the house! Dreamy...
 We have so many pretty birds, we love watching them so we dusted of the birdhouses, and bought some feed last week.
 I love making my porch warm and cozy feeling. To me, this is cozy.
 The Lord gave the gift of this beautiful rainbow to enjoy recently.......gasp!
 It's mid May so it's time to shear the sheep for their first time. I think it's safe to say Caleb was as wet as the sheep, but I'm happy to report we did not shear him.
 Our most recent adventure is plowing, disking, and preparing the soil of part of our pasture. It's now becoming a one acre (give or take) plot of organic field corn. We plan to use it to feed our animals this winter and beyond.
 I'm pretty sure these two guys are having way to much fun playing in the dirt. I'm glad they are having fun, and it gives me an excuse to take more pictures without getting "the look".
 These three men have been there cheering them on the whole time.
 We also plowed up this little patch. It's the future location for the pumpkins, gourds, and maybe some sunflowers, zinnias, and cosmos.
So there you have it folks! We are having a good time checking things off our list, finishing up our school year, planting the rest of the garden, pulling weeds, and working on the 4-H projects!

Friday, March 8, 2013

February Festivities

Last month was full of fun, and here are a few other happenings.
Lance is now the third child to need vision correction...Before
AFTER: He wasn't very happy about having to get
 them, but has since warmed up to the idea of being able to see much better.
 I think he looks rather handsome, although I am completely biased. I think he looks very teenager-ish, don't you?
 We visited the library and grabbed a few things to read. These three books were my selections.
 So naturally we snuggled up and passed our time reading them before we had to give them back.
 February also included a party with our Sunday School class. We always have such a great time together...Love...Love...Love this group of people!
 This is probably my favorite picture I captured this past month on my IPhone. I looked up and saw this in my rear view mirror, and immediately stopped and snapped this picture. Jasper thought he needed to ride along to pick up the boys from a science day field trip.
 Julia and Justin enjoyed a Daddy/Daughter Date night together. She totally loves having her dad to herself. He treated her to Mexican food.
 I have also spent LOTS of time baking and making an ample supply of elderberry syrup. We ran out for a few days.....then we got sick! Lesson learned, ALWAYS have syrup on hand.
We have a couple of big projects brewing around here, I can't wait to show you what we've been up to! I hope to post more on that next week!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Celebrating Valentine's Day!

Justin and I decided we wanted to do something different this year. Instead of going out to eat and spending some cash, we asked the kids if they would like to "put on a date night" for us. They immediately said yes and were very excited. We told them they were in charge of all the details: Menu, cooking, table service, and clean-up. I have to say my heart melted with such appreciation for all the thought they put into the night. 
Julia was our waitress, and she wore her princess dress to look all fancy for us.
 Caleb and Zach were the waiters, they brought us our food. Caleb even gave each of us a Bible verse about love while we were waiting for our food. I love how they were so excited to put on their ties for us. Caleb even delivered our food on his roller blades. I failed to get a picture of it though. Seriously so stinkin' adorable!
 Lance was master chef and was in charge of when they sent the food out. He executed a fine meal.
 Justin joked about where our bill was....a few minutes later this appeared.
I think this clearly states the menu they came up with...I love our payment! Justin was very proud of them and tipped each one of them with real money. They were thrilled and surprised.
We all had such a great time I think we might makes this a yearly event. It could be real fun to see what they come up with over the next few years. They are all for it, and it's been really fun starting a new family tradition.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sleepover Mania

Winter is a slow down time for us and this year the boys have really been living it up with sleepovers nearly every weekend. We either have a house full of extra kids or they are away having a blast at someone else's home. Several weekends ago I caught a few pictures of what it's like to sleepover at the Gaertegang Homestead.
First, there is a lot of eating, which requires lots of cooking on my part. I'm bracing myself for what this will mean in the years to come. After supper, Justin told everyone a story. He is such a great story teller......the kids LOVED it!
 There is usually some Wii playing with lots of laughing, and animated instruction giving to whomever has the remotes.
 No sleepover would be complete without a movie or two and some popcorn.
 If all your brothers have friends over and your the only girl, you and your mom have a tea party, play hair dresser, or quilt together.
 On a recent occasion Julia was able to have her first girlfriend sleepover party herself. They had a grand time together.
We are enjoying our time with friends before the many busy months ahead begin and sleepovers become harder to arrange until after the 4-H fair.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Caleb's DOUBLE DIGIT Birthday!

On February 21, our spunky and energetic son entered double digits. Ten years ago during a crazy snow and ice storm he entered the world. His birthday also marked the beginning of my journey as a full-time stay at home mom. It's impossible to count the blessings that this whole journey has granted me. I am thankful for each trial and triumph all the same. 
Caleb enjoyed a fun sleepover in honor of his birthday, complete with Lemon Cake and Cookies and Cream Ice Cream.
 As a ten year old Caleb loves building Legos, listening to music, he is learning a few chords on the guitar. He loves our puppy dog Jasper, and reads to him nearly every day during school.
 He also thought Jasper should enjoy one of his favorite gifts. A hand me down IPOD shuffle loaded with hundreds of songs! Caleb your growing into a great young man, we love you very much.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Snow Much Fun

This winter hasn't given us as much snow as my family would prefer, but it has provided enough on occasion for some entertainment.
 Lance is heading up the sledding party
 I barely caught this separate incident on camera...
 Project snowman demolition quickly followed! They are so proud.
 Ta-Dah.....Look what we did, Caleb exclaimed.
 I simply LOVE this moment...It looks like a warrior call, don't you think?
 I hope your enjoying the hopefully fleeting days of the winter months. Now that March has rolled around we are getting very excited about Spring! 

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