Thursday, March 29, 2012

After doing the initial plowing up of our new garden, it was time to go back over it it to break up all the clumps of dirt. I love how the dirt looks all tilled and pretty.

I'm pretty sure he's enjoying himself playing in the garden....
 Just in case he misses a spot, my father-in-law is there to keep him on task.
Since this photo was taken we have ran the disc over it another time. 
We have one more step thing we want to run over it (can't remember what the Mister called it).
Until it's actually planting time I think we'll keep messing around with it trying to get it just right.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Bringing in a little SPRING sunshine........
Whether it's flowering branches like this Forsythia, or some sort of spring bulbs I love bouquets!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Field Trip to the CHEESE Factory & Perfumery

 Last week we had two really fun field trips! Our first stop was the CHEESE FACTORY, it's located about an hour from us. We learned the process of making cheese. In this factory they only make cheddar & Colby Jack. They make about 40,000 pounds of cheese each week!  

 Even though they only make two cheese "in house" they have MANY different types to buy.
 We came home with Colby Jack, Smoked Swiss, & Cheese Curds (our first time to try them).
 Julia proudly modeling her cheese hat.
After a quick lunch at a local pizza place, we headed off to the perfumery which was just a short drive away. Maybe you've heard of this perfumery....ANNIE OAKLEY? I won't share with you the interesting story of how the company was started, but I'm sure you can do a quickie internet search to read about it. We got a chemistry 101 lesson on how to make a perfume. You need a base, a mid, and a high "note". The base is the first thing you smell, and mid compliments it, and the high is the scent that lingers. Annie Oakley sells their products coast to coast here in the USA, and across the pond in many different countries.
 They had a gorgeous showroom with all their products displayed. The kids enjoyed testing....testing...and testing all their smells. I'm not sure how good we smelled when we left after mixing all of the scents, but I'm sure they had a good time!
We also got to see this gal bottling up one of their most popular scents.
We also learned that Annie Oakley will make you your own original scent. Yep, I'm not kidding! You can make an appointment with the owner and she will personally design a fragrance just for you. You even get to name it! They keep it on file and you can re-order it whenever you want. They also have hair products and a spa line they will add any scent they sell or design for you. That might be a fun idea to keep in my back pocket for someone who is hard to buy for.
Next week we head to Debrand's Fine Chocolates for a tour! YUMMMMMMM...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

When you have THREE big brothers.....

I'm not sure how it works out this way (I didn't have any brothers), but apparently when you have THREE OLDER brothers you learn some things along the way......
 How to take off your shirt & flex
 Walk like an Egyptian
 Boxing moves...
who knew boys had so much to teach little girls!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ways We Like to READ!!

I am tickled with all the different ways I find my kids reading. I really don't care how they read, but just that they read and enjoy it. Here are a few ways we like to read.....
 Since Miss Julia is not reading yet she's working on a maze book while everyone else reads.......
 I TOTALLY  LOVE it when this happens.....reading buddies!
 Besides reading we have practicing some life skills as well.....BEEKEEPING!
The Monday following my Bee School, I taught the kids most of what I learned. They thought trying on my BEE jacket was really fun. Of course we had to pretend to smoke the hive as well. (I forgot to take a picture of Lance..oppps!)
They all seem to be very interested and excited about the bees. I think they will continue to BEE excited as long as they watch from afar and don't get stung.
We have less than 40 days of school left here at our house, and we sure are EXCITED about our upcoming summer break!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Another Productive Week!

I spent my week bringing in my first bouquet, planting, transplanting, weeding, tilling & plowing. It has been truly joyous to be playing in the dirt and having dirt under my nails. We are  in awe of the mild and warm weather we are getting so early in the year.
 I cut any blooms, and the ones that were budding. Then I transplanted the rest into my garden.
I cut these last Tuesday and they are still gorgeous! I've changed the water twice and re-cut them once.
My mother-in-law thought she needed to take my picture so I can actually put a picture of me on the blog.
 Here I am transplanting some tulips, they used to be over in a weedy part of the woods. I think they will be happier here.
Squinting from the sun...See I told you I am SUPER HAPPY to be in the DIRT!
Another project in the garden this past week....
 I uncovered my two strawberry patches. I cover them in the winter with 3-4 inches of straw to help insulate them from the cold winters we usually have. I'm  amazed and how green and bushy they look already since uncovering them.
 My garden has been tillable so I worked up a little patch and planted some of my cold-weather seeds.
I had this cute idea that I saw on Pinterest to mark my rows, but after running it by the Hubby he made a couple of good points so I decided to mark my rows by simply using rocks and a permanent marker. Nothing fancy, but I wanted something to mark them until the plants came up.
I planted THREE rows of carrots, ONE row each of Romaine Lettuce, Spinach, & Mini- Head Lettuce.
Then this past weekend we had the excitement of plowing up our main veggie garden/ butterfly garden. 
 We borrowed my father-in-law's tractor and 2-bottom plow to make this an easy job.
 Here we are part of the way done....
 Here is a view from the second story of our house. Do you think it will be big enough?
 Since I was up there, here is a shot of our fruit/cutting (flower) garden. We have purchased adorable red cedar picket fence to go around this garden, and I'm excited to get it up. (It's on the "list"!)

I think that pretty much catches up all up on what we are doing here at The Gaertegang Homestead. I hope you have been enjoying all this dreamy weather doing something you love.
I'm linking this week to Homestead Revival.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Work Around the Homestead

This past weekend was pretty hopping busy around the Homestead! Here is a little recap of how things went. Friday night, Justin's mission, to remove the radiator from our new (to us) tractor...I guess it needs a new one. Bummer! I'm thankful to get it done now, before we are needing to use it. My mission, to reorganize, and take inventory of our canning jar supply. Both missions were accomplished!

 All nice & organized....
 My pantry...
 I simply used masking tape to label where I plan to each item.
 This is all we have left...a few cans of tomato juice, apple sauce, apple pie filling, peaches, spaghetti sauce on the bottom.
Hubby spent the day on the road with the kids...picking up a part for the tractor, then picking up our new (to us) garden shed. Again, thank you Craigslist.
I spent the entire day at Beekeeping School!
 I started off the morning putting together the hive kit. It was great to see all the parts of the hive and exactly how they go together. (Above: the bottom board, the hive box.)
  I have all the frames built, and ready to go, I was so proud of myself! 
I forgot to take a picture of the completed project with my top & all..opps!
Then the morning session was finished off with a demo on using the smoker. Then the whole afternoon was spent consuming an ENORMOUS amount of instruction. I took three pages of notes. I plan to teach all the great info to the kids as a part of our garden study.
Shortly after arriving home from "school" I saw this in my driveway!
 My new Garden Shed!! (This is the back.) The previous owner built it for his daughter as a playhouse.
 We went to work prepping the site. It's a little hard to tell, but there was lots of brush in the way.
 Caleb & Zach helping to move things our of the my helpers!
 My good looking Hubby, and my father-in-law clearing the brush...
 All cleared out, tree branches trimmed, now time for the machinery!
 My awesome father-in-law leveling up the ground ...
 After leveling, we laid cement blocks.
Then after more time than we planned on, and executing Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, Plan get what I mean.... we finally got this HEAVY beast in the spot we wanted. I LOVE IT!!

While the men all worked on the shed positioning, the kids and I played outside.
 The kids were enjoying some chips for an afternoon snack.
 I was admiring the blooms on my thorn-less blackberry and all it's buds....I can hardly wait.
Then I moved on to check out my blueberry bushes....Look at all those gorgeous buds!
My raspberries look like they wintered very nicely as well. Many of the perennials I transplanted are starting to come up. I'm very excited about the peonies peeking up through the ground. Okay I think it's safe to say I'm just excited about everything around here these days!
 I'm linking up to Homestead Revival this week!
You can go check out what other Homesteaders are up to.

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