Monday, May 11, 2015

Best Budget Vacation

We had a wonderful opportunity to go to Myrtle Beach last week.
My DH is a carpenter/contractor and he has worked hard for many years.  This work provides some occasional opportunities of jobs in other locations.  One of his clients had a beachfront condo in Myrtle Beach.  They needed two bathrooms rehabbed.  They had trouble finding reliable workers in the area and wanted my DH to do the work.  Most of the family went along to 'help' him.  JoAn and Paul stayed home because of work and school. We also needed someone to take care at the farm.
We were able to go for 5 days!
We made casseroles and froze the before we left.  My DH was driving down in his work truck with the boys.  He brought along much of the food in a cooler.  We never went out to eat.  We went to Costco the first day we were there.  That was a big help to our larder for the week.
Michelle, T-Bob and Becca
Three out of the four younger children had never been to the ocean.  It had been over twenty years since I had been there too.  This was too long.  We brought along a friend, Becca, who had never seen the ocean either.

Elizabeth enjoyed hunting for shells.  The girls are hoping to incorporate them into a craft project at home.

The first day we arrived the children couldn't resist going right in the water, despite the fact that they were still wearing street clothes and not swimwear.

Evenings and the heat of the afternoon were quiet times.  The children played a lot of euchre.  We really enjoyed having lots of family time and relaxation.

We were there when the moon was full.  It was so beautiful  as it shone on the ocean.

The condo had a pool and a hot tub that we enjoyed.  There were very few people at the condo.  School was in session still.  

The children enjoyed a lot of down time.  Relaxing and hanging out with family.

The girls' were on dishes.  We brought along a lot of meals so that we could avoid the dreaded budget killer of 'eating out'.  We did have one special night where we went and bought fresh seafood at a local place.  We got a number of different things to try.  It was delicious! We had enough for leftovers without breaking the bank.

The Boss took some time off in the evenings for some relaxation.

Going on vacation in the down season is really nice. There are a lot of benefits to not having to fight the crowds.  With school still in session, there were only a few people on the beach.  Most of the people in the above picture were older people fishing.  We had beautiful weather to enjoy.

We enjoyed the different birds that were flying around.  There were lots of brown pelicans.  We saw a fish eagle carrying a large fish (about 12") in its talons.  Bird watching is a wonderful free activity.

The children enjoyed collecting shells.  There were lots to bring home.  Most of them were on the smaller side.

The condo had a screened in balcony. Michelle sept out there every night.  The other children found it a great place to hang out and rest.

Thomas spent almost one whole day sleeping out there.   The only time he woke up was to eat. It was reminiscent of his baby days.

We really enjoyed playing out in the waves.  My nickname was 'Mama Wave Breaker'.  Elizabeth was a little bit slight to endure the bigger waves.  We did have a great time jumping to keep the waves from rolling over our heads.  The waves would then push you into shore.

Meanwhile, My DH was busy stripping wallpaper out of the bathrooms, repairing the walls, painting and putting up beadboard, and then installing new cabinets, sinks and towel rods.  He was a busy man!

One afternoon, the three younger children and I went to play miniature golf.

It was a lovely well maintained course.  They had a special where you could play as much golf as you wanted for $5, until 5 PM.  This was a good deal and was something different to do away from the condo.  The waves were a little rough that day.

Here is one of the finished bathrooms that my DH did.  They came out looking really nice.

Here are the children as we packed up to leave.  They were a lot tanner than we came and a lot more rested.  It was a really nice time away.  It was raining as we left, which did make it easier to leave.

T-Bob decided that he needed to wash off his feet before getting in the van. He went out and stomped in a few puddles to get the job done.  Silly boy!!!

We left all tightly packed in.  There was only seating for five in the van and even that was really tight.  The guys were driving home in the van and the rest of us were flying.  

Once they dropped us off at the airport, they had a lot more room.  We flew Spirit airlines and got really good ticket prices.  They were $40 a piece.  With Spirit Airlines, they charge you for everything as an extra.  I think we did it right, as we managed to escape all their extra fees.  We had sent our luggage in the van, so there was no bag fee.  We printed off our own boarding passes which saved us $10 a piece.  We made sure we were well hydrated so that we didn't have to buy water on the plane ($3/bottle).  The flights were on time and actually got us to our destination early.  They had all new airplanes also (They were the airbuses).  We had a good experience using Spirit Airlines.

Here was our last view of the ocean as the plane turned and headed north.  It was a wonderful time away and good fellowship as a family.  We are really hoping that we get this opportunity again!

We arrived home to a beautiful spring Ohio evening.  It was quiet and peaceful.  The sunset was beautiful, as usual, as it reflected off the pond. We felt like we were going from one vacation to another.  Life on the farm is like a vacation, but it does entail a fair amount of work.

It was good to be home!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Turkeys... So close and yet so far!

Birds in the basement is NOT my favorite thing.  They smell and create LOTS of dust and dirt.  You end up having webby things hanging off all the beams and anything stored down there has a thick layer of dust.

Turkey poult at about 1 week

I do enjoy watching the little ones playing and learning to run and fly.

The brooder is pretty good sized as there has to be enough room for the birds to move about.  Birds that are in tight quarters often end up  fighting and picking on one another.  This does not yield healthy birds.  Last Sunday, April 19th, we decided that the turkeys were big enough and feathered out enough to graduate to an outdoor coop.  I was so excited.  I was going to get my basement back!

There are 20 poults, so JoAn and I caught half the poults at a time and moved them in a cooler out to the coop.

Turkeys at 3 weeks

They were so happy to have a bigger space and more room to stretch their wings.  They chased one another and played hop on the hay bale.  The hoop coop they are in was placed on part of my garden for fertilization purposes.  It was also placed so that it could easily be seen from the house windows.  As I sit typing here I can see them running and flying around and around the hay bales. It is more entertaining than television!  I can see them at night from our bedroom windows.  They love to go!

Then on Sunday evening,  the turkey eggs in the incubator started rolling around and there was even a few pipping holes visible.

The turkeys started breaking out of their confinement!  By Monday night eight new turkeys were hatched!

Michelle and Thomas carry down their new poults to the brooder

The kids were like proud new 'parents'!  Thomas had managed the incubation.  He was maximally successful.  Eight of eight eggs produced healthy poults.  These are bourbon red poults and if one was to buy them, they would cost at least $12 a piece.  Bourbon red are a heritage breed and are an extremely healthy, tasty breed.

The still wet babies laid under the lights to warm up and dry off.

The little guys were so cute as they peeped.  Their whole bodies moved, even down to their little tail.

Thomas sat down and researched debate and kept an eye on his new responsibility.  

The egg tooth is visible in the top of his beak.  (Looks like a white dot) That is what they use to break through the egg.

Turkeys are a cute that only a mother can love.

They do look better as they dry and fluff out.  At two days old they started to eat and drink.  Prior to that they have enough nutrition from their egg that they don't need anything else.  That is why hatcheries are able to mail chicks successfully without any food or water in that first 72 hour period.

Here are the poults at three days. They are all fluffed out and happy.  They are walking easily.  No more three steps and then fall over.  Definitely, a lot cuter now.  We have them on a towel so they don't start eating the wood chips before we get the grit into them.

Say hello to our newest farm members.

I will probably have to have birds in the basement for at lest another month.  Oh well!!!
I guess that's farm life.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Catching up on What's Already Happened on the Farm

Turkeys playing 'king of the mountain'

Life has been happening fast on the farm.  By the time I sit down to write a blogpost, it feels like everything I was going to write about is old news.  This is one of those posts for the out of town family, that likes to see pictures of our family and others at our gatherings.  We have a lot of fun and good fellowship!

Miss President had her 7th birthday.  We enjoyed getting to spend the day with her.


T-Bob and Elizabeth took on the project of curing the bacon.  I always enjoy seeing the children working together.  I am looking forward to seeing the final result from this project!!!

Elizabeth thoroughly rubbing the cure into the meat.

Easter Sunday was a wonderful time of good fellowship at church, followed by a big gathering out here at the farm.  There were 29 people here, and lots of food!

The Miss President and Sadie were happy to see Grandma arrive, and gave her a BIG hug!

The boys spent a lot of time playing with the Lego's and other building toys in the family room.

There was homemade rolls ( regular and gluten free) broccoli casserole, broiled asparagus, fresh and cured ham, fresh apple sauce and a plethora of other savory and desert dishes.

The Almond Joy family joined us.  It was nice to have lots of girls and young boys to join us.

The young girl cousins wrote up a 'play' that was mostly singing and reciting.  Elizabeth helped with their organization. Thomas  did his prose piece that he uses in speech competitions, "The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig!"  The rest of us gathered to watch.

Dad enjoyed watching the children and spending time with family and friends!  We did get a little pinochle in during the evening.  It was a lovely day,

Well, I hear turkey poults peeping their stressed cry, so I am off to make sure everyone is OK.

I will write again soon, about all the new life on the farm!