Monday, July 30, 2012

Turkey update

Look at them grow! Finally they seem like they are growing. For many weeks they looked like they were stuck in one place but now I see the difference.
Turkey says hi! He is clearly waiting to attack my camera.

And give it up for Thanksgiving, who is all better!You can still see the cut on his left foot but the good news is that he is walking again and growing at the same pace as his friend.

Ok, I have to leave because now they are both clearly planning an attack on my shining lens. (Did you notice someone stealing food in the background?) :-)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fairy garden

We finally got around to build our fairy garden! I kept thinking where in the world would we do it without the dog digging thru it, the chickens and the turkeys stomp all over it and visitor kids destroying it! The perfect site was right in front of me! This wooden planter under a tree looked like the perfect location. These plants were placed in the pot last year, completely forgotten about, and hardly ever watered. That's why they are so small. I guess things happen for reason ;-)

First get your area nice and ready, remove all the weeds and add new soil if you need to.

Then help the kids decide what fairies need in order to enjoy your garden. Their first response was swimming pool! We added a plastic container that will serve that purpose. I am hoping to find a small ceramic one to give it a better look. We decorated the area with small pebbles we found on the Lake Michigan Beach earlier this summer.

Here comes the water!

Don't you just love garage sales? You junk becomes my treasure! And that is what happened to this small bird house we found with the kids at our neighborhood garage sale. And the name sounded so perfect for a fairy garden! The solar light came from Home Depot ;-) It is used for the night so fairies find their way back to us <3

The small cage came from the same garage sale. T is worried that the fairies might think it's a trap but I keep telling him that it's their garden house ;-)

Sorry for this blurry picture, but I tried to capture the garden at night, all lit up. It looks magical. And did you notice the small chair? lol - the kids found it in Target in their dollar section (it's really a cell phone holder) and they thought it would be a perfect lounge chair for the fairies. I was hoping for something wooden but you can't say no to those begging little eyes! Now we are looking up what fairies like to eat so they really like our garden the best!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Treating Thanksgiving's Bumble Foot

As you know from one of my previous posts, we now own two turkeys. I still have no idea what is the breed and I hope to find out because they are extremely calm and friendly and I am all of a sudden not so sure how will we ever eat them for Thanksgiving dinner. Especially after this happened.

One day my husband found "Thanksgiving" in the coup, sitting on the ground, trying to get up but couldn't. We found out his foot was swollen to triple the usual size and started to panic a bit. We were worried it might be the disease they could get from chickens and then die from it. After some research, we figured out it was no such thing, it was "only" Bumble Foot, which is a bacterial infection and inflammatory reaction on the feet of birds. It could be caused by a cut, which happened in our case. It got inflamed and the whole foot swelled up and he couldn't step on it. Thanks to some internet videos we found out how to treat it on our own. Here is us playing vets to Thanksgiving:

First, we filled up a bucket with warm water and poured Epson Lavender Salt in it. Then we dipped Thanksgiving in. He really enjoyed this soak, can you tell?

Next I had to dry him and make him feel comfortable so we can clean his wound and treat it. (I realized I am starting to call them "him"...) This position worked.

While I was holding him, my husband cleaned the wound with hydrogen peroxide and put some Neosporin cream on it to help with the infection. Then he wrapped it up in gauze. You have to change the gauze first every day but then when it gets better, once in two days is fine.

He built him a small shady shelter because the weather was terribly hot here. We gave him water and food right next to his head and were happy to find out that he had good appetite and started eating right away. You also have to put new hay under the bird daily because he is pooping in one spot, under himself. This is Thanksgiving panting in the heat.

Hubby even installed a fan in their coup.

And here is Turkey keeping him company. He didn't stop calling his friend the whole time we had him in a garage.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The sun doesn't always shine in my garden

Yesterday I had a nervous breakdown after going into my garden in the evening. I found so many of my plants somehow damaged or destroyed by rodents or bugs that I was sure I am done with organic gardening! (ok, I wasn't serious but I did feel pretty discouraged). Take a look at some of the damage.

All of my big tomatoes that were fairly close to the ground were eaten like this (and more). I am not sure but I thought it could have been chipmunk. I don't think rabbits would enjoy tomatoes. 

Another veggie that fell a victim to a chipmunk (or I thought), was my yellow summer squash. I would see a small squash and then the next day it would be chewed off together with some other buds.

My strawberries have been terrorized by the same critter for the past two years now and so I had to say enough! I had my husband build a mouse trap that is not dangerous to kids, and I decided that the chipmunk overstayed it's welcome and took a total advantage of my hospitality. He filled a bucket with water about 3/4 full, then he drilled holes close to the top (one on each side) to put a dolly thru and finally he put some peanut butter on a regular plastic water bottle, that he pulled thru the dolly. Now when the critter comes to get the peanut butter, it will jump on the bottle and that will spin with him sending him into the bucket. I am not a huge fan of this but something must be done and this worked for us before. And to my surprise we didn't catch a chipmunk, but a mouse! Things have been untouched for 2 days now ;-)

Here is an empty corner where I planted summer squash but I had to pull it out because it got squash vine borer. It is a white worm that crawls into the steam, near the roots, and the plant dies in only few days. I learned that if I would watch my plants daily and see the first signs, I could slice the steam, find the worm and remove it from the plant. Cover the cut steam with soil and water the area. That might help the plant to recover. I will try that next time.

A rabbit ate half of my edamame plants. My husband took care of that...

Bugs or caterpillars ate my spring veggies and beans as well. 

My friend Jen (whom you can visit here) told me about jar with soapy water that she keeps in the garden at all times. Instead of using bug spray, she just picks the insect of and puts them in the water. That has been pretty effective as well!

Another crop that came under attack are my cucumbers. I had great start with bunch of crop, and all of a sudden the plants got wilted and died. After doing some research, I found out that we were attacked by Striped Cucumber Beatle, which causes them to get bacterial wilt. I saw tons of those bugs on my plants and so I knew right away that was what happened. I had to pull them all out and now I am walking around with my soapy water everyday. So far no more casualties!

Also, if you have ear wigs or ants infestation, you can simply take black pepper you use in the kitchen and  sprinkle it on the problem area. That took care of it immediately.

Slugs will go for beer that you can place into a bowl and put that in your garden bed. It worked for me too.

Things are looking up for me again. There was so much work put into my garden and now with the weather being so hot and dry, these rodents were just the thing to push me over the edge. Today was the first day I didn't have to water at all as we had a storm coming thru last night, into the morning. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When the kids want to send message to grandma

Here is an idea for a cute and thoughtful present for grandma's, daddy's, grandpa's or mom's birthday or any other special occasion! 

We made this to send grandma a special message for her birthday. Something she can read over and over again. 

All we needed was a chalk and chalk board. We thought about what the message should say and came up with this:

And I had both kids hold that up for the first picture.

T told me why he loves grandma so much, I wrote it down, and took a picture of him with his note. 

Next up was B and her note to grandma. 

Then I just had to send it through the internet to have the pictures developed, buy the frame, and put it all together. We sent it to grandma and she loved it!

I am linking this to the Creative Friday Linky Party at the fabulous

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Blackberry feta cheese salad

Hello, I am back with a yummy recipe for an easy to put together salad! This one is by far our most favorite out of all the salads... hands down! I make it anytime I am short on food or if I am only a little bit hungry. My husband requests it a lot therefor I had to come up with some variations so it doesn't get old.

In a bowl, throw together lettuce (or spinach), walnuts, feta cheese, and blackberries. Easy enough right? But now comes the real thing that gives the salad the right twist: pour over the salad some Brianna's Home Style Poppy Seed dressing

Unfortunately, you will not be able to get away with just any dressing. This is the one and only that will make the taste unforgettable! But be aware that this dressing tastes a bit sweet with just a hint of sourness. 

You can substitute the fruit for any other salad worthy fruit, such as kiwi, strawberries (those taste especially good with feta and walnuts), apples, raspberries, or blueberries. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Running in Wisconsin

This is me joyfully jumping over a log in Wisconsin while running my 6 mile scheduled run. 

You must surely suspect that this photo wasn't taken during the actual run because I am pretty sure I didn't look this happy and energetic while trying to get pass this obstacle. The truth is when I saw the log ahead I thought I will faint. I had about 15 seconds to figure out if I will crawl under it or just simply fall over it. But seeing my husband gracefully jump over this unwanted tree, I couldn't stay behind. I managed to somehow "jump" over and continue on my way. I later dragged my husband back to this spot to take a picture of me jumping, looking like I own the world while I am training for my first half marathon. (I am not sure if he actually managed to capture such moment, but you work with what you have, right ;-)

But the truth is different. I hardly have any time to train during my regular week being a full time homeschooling mom, gardener, animal keeper, part-time nanny, laundry lady, cleaning lady, and a personal chef. But I try and all I want is to run through that finish line in September and feel like I accomplished something I thought I could never accomplish. I want to do something for myself so that I know that I can push myself beyond the point of my comfort zone.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Herb garden update

Just a little update on my herb garden that I am establishing this year.

The chamomile is coming out but not as much as I would wish for. This is the only bunch so I will try to seed it one more time. 

The mint is doing great, spreading a bit.

Oregano looks good as well but the heat is starting to burn it. I think I should harvest it before it's too late.

Here is thyme I got last year from my friend. It is spreading nicely, just how I wanted it. 

I have some bee balm plants here as well. Apparently bee balm is a great herb to treat infections and even headaches with. I will definitely try a bee balm tea.

I put the spearmint plant in a pot because I was worried it might spread too much but i think I will replant it directly into the garden as soon as this heat stops harassing us.

I still have much of the garden bed space unused and I have to come up with some good use for it. The unused space so originally for my chamomile and marjoram, but none of them caught on. I am also missing dill :-(

Saturday, July 07, 2012

10 things to do with your kids this summer

Are you looking for some fun activities to do with your kids this summer? I thought I would share some simple fun we have been having around our house for the past couple of weeks.

1. Pick herbs together
and tell them what they can use them for. Show them how to dry the herbs and finally how to store them. It is fun for the kids to find out what makes them better when they get sick.

2. Learn to hoola hoop
Find a hoola hoop and learn how to use it. This guarantees hours of fun on and off during the day. And you will be surprised who will join in on the fun ;-)

3. Grow butterflies
Who doesn't want to witness the miracle of a caterpillar changing into a cocoon and then into a butterfly? You can order caterpillars online or you can find them in your backyard - if you have milkweed growing in your garden. 

4. Have a bon fire
I have many memories as a child having bon fires at our cabin, singing songs, and making sausages above the fire. Stay up later and watch the stars if you can see them or try to catch fireflies.

5. Tie dye some shirts
Summer is the perfect time for tie dying because you can work outside and not risk any smudges around your house. Kids will be so proud to wear their creations!

6. Build a fairy garden
We are still in the process but the kids are so excited to welcome some good fairies into our backyard! Pick a large container, fill it up with dirt, plant small plants and then let your imagination roll. I will post the whole process once it's finished and link it up here. 

7. Go to the beach. 
You don't have to live by the ocean, lake will do as well! Go and soak up the sun, get some sand into your hair (and everywhere else), and splash in the waves.

8. Visit local attractions
If the weather lets you, go to the ZOO, park, forest preserves, or waterparks. Once you get home, talk about their favorite things and follow up with some art work about the experience. 

9. Paint outside
Get your art supplies outside and start creating some messy art! We did some spray painting using large easel paper, spray bottles, water and paint. This was a huge hit!

10. Bake Bake Bake
Kids love their sweets and they love participating in the process of making them. Have fun together this summer in your kitchen making magic and then eating it too!

There is tons more we have been doing so it was difficult to find 10 activities. But I hope this will help you schedule some fun with your little ones this summer!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Let the sun shine thru

This is one of the toys that we treasure around our house for the past few months. Right now it has it's temporary spot right by the porch door and that is so the kids can play with it first thing in the morning. The sun shines right thru the back door early in the morning and as you can see, that is the point of the whole game. 

How cool is this?

They try to build different kinds of creations and see how that effects the light and the color shining thru. Seeing them having fun together like this, brings the light into my day... so keep the sun shining thru. :-)