The Lazy Days of Spring Break

  We had a super great week of just playing outside!  The weather was GORGEOUS, praise the Lord! 

We must have had extra fun, because I have NEVER had seen such dirty bath water when I bathed the kids before bed.  It was so murky, I made them stand for a shower yet too!  🙂

  We ate supper in the tree house a couple of times, watched a “Trampoline Show” or two, starring Destiny and her well-trained acrobat, Tylan, who followed her hand motions perfectly! 🙂   The 3 big kids had a “Sibling Slumber Party” every night in the girl’s room, I love to hear the songs and giggles coming from that room!  Let’s see what else, we went to the library to get new books, got some chickens, had a few play dates, and Destiny had a slumber party with her cousin, Brooklyn. 

  Oh, I got to go see October Baby with my momma and best friend, Kasey.  {GREAT flick, by the way, a must see! Take Kleenex!}  Our theatre was only going to bring it to town for a few days and so many churches advertised and promoted this, that they allowed it to stay through Thursday! Cool, right?!  I’d say those kind of numbers speak volumes of what kind of films we want to see in theatres!!!!!   Also, I had three photo sessions, which I will share in the coming weeks! 

  Some people might think that was a boring Spring Break, but I think it was just perfect for us! 

Happy Monday!  Back to the ol’ routine!

~T

 Spring Break Photos: 

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Avery parked her “Mommy” things while she took her nap. It was too sweet not to snap a shot!  She has good taste, out of all my shoes, she nabbed the Jessica Simpsons with leopard print heel! 

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Tickets to the Trampoline show!

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My intro.  Apparently I was NOT to read the “clap, clap, clap” part.

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Where did Paxton go?  IMG_5040

Oh wait, what’s that tiny speck?  Mr. Pax following Sophie around.  Guess he is done watching the show?!

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Planting the garden!

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Play dates with special friends:

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New feathered friends!  (trying to grow our flock as we currently have more demand than supply)

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Ooo, they pecked my hand!

Paxton says his Spring Break was full of good “clean” fun!

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And it was a bit exhausting too!
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Egg-citing!

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    Exciting news!  We were just given some more chickens!  YAY!  We now have 8 Silky Bantams, 5 Austrolorps, 14 Red ones whose name I don’t know.

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  The white Chicken House is full, so these new girls reside in the second chicken coop, located in the back of this ugly, I mean spare garage. 

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  AGAIN, I say Thank you Lord, that I didn’t continue to push for Dale to bulldoze all those “Untidy” outbuildings.  We have put them to good choose for chicken homes AND photography now!

   Another blessing has been having a few extra dozen eggs to sell! That $10 or so a month goes to the “Fun Money” envelope, and when the kids have earned an ice cream cone reward or momma needs to run errands straight through the noon hour, we use that money for lunch. 

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  Not to mention the blessing of Farm fresh eggs to enjoy, they just taste plain AMAZING! I have never seen such golden 127yellow yolks in my life.  Guess it’s because our girls get to roam around and eat those good bugs all day.

  We are thinking about selling 2 of the male silkies. Any takers? They are so stinkin’ cute!  When we let them out of the coop each morning, they run over until they are standing RIGHT in front of the ladies, feathers all puffed up, and proceed to show off by scratching the dirt right in front of them.

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Typical male behavior if I’ve ever seen it!

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Dale says he doesn’t know what I am talking about:

“Men don’t puff up for the ladies….”

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“Oh, why hello there Tonya.”

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“The Chicken Coop is thataway…”

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What a Goof ball…… 

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{But a big goof ball I am totally, madly, head over heels in love with!}   🙂

  So anyhow, we send the kids out after school to go gather eggs, and this is what was brought back up to the house yesterday:

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This photo doesn’t do this last egg justice…..

It IS HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously, look at it compared to the quarter!!!!  Or compared to the standard sized egg!
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If I had thought about it, I’d have photographed it in one of the children’s hands so you could really see how big it is.  But alas, it is already in someone’s tummy!}

  We thought our hen, Big Momma, laid some huge eggs, but someone from the new hen-house has her beat, BIG TIME!

Look out Big Momma, there’s a new Hen in town!

  We don’t know which one it is, but I figure if we look real close, she’ll be the one walking with a limp!  🙂

{giggles} 

    These eggs were sitting on this chair in the garage, waiting to be put away and I could NOT resist. It was screaming PHOTOGRAPH ME!!!!! 

Figured that was a great way to end this post full of such Egg-citing Chicken news!

~T

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Post 2 for today is Vanilla Crumb Pie.  Too bad I didn’t make an Egg Bake or something to go with the “theme” today, but that w0uld’ve been FAR too convienenent! 

Sophie The Brave

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Meet Sophie, our lovable mutt.  She and Dale have a love – hate relationship;  As in they love to hate each other.

  When he says in a sing-songy voice: “Oh, Sooo-phie”,  she puts her tail between her legs and runs away to cower in her bed. 

  You know what they say about dogs being a good judge of character.  Hmmmm, should I be worried? 

Naaah.  🙂

  So Miss Sophie thinks she is big stuff, running around outside from fence row to fence row, barking at nothing to prove just what a mighty warrior she is.  She especially likes to boss our Chickens around. You know, remind them she was here first!

  I was outside photographing these lovely “weeds” which cover the yard as far as the eye can see, before Dale mowed them away.  Our Creator is amazing, and these flowers are picture-worthy!!!!   So are the cute little bikers in the background!

{Before I go any further, let me apologize for the freakish blue tint to some of these photos. Guess who had the camera set on indoor Tungsten lighting and didn’t notice until waaaay too late. Oops, sorry!}

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  Sophie was hanging close by me, eye-balling her brood, making sure they weren’t up to any funny business.

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    When suddenly, she SPRINGS into action, racing straight into a group of unsuspecting chickens!!

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“ SOPHIE!” I yell, “quit chasing the chickens!”

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  She ignored me, racing right by.  Unfortunately for me, and you, I did not even think of getting a shot of this, having abandoned my camera for the sake of saving tomorrow mornings eggs…..

But before I can do anything, Henny Penny decides she has had enough of this yippy Weiner dog and turns her tail feathers right around, and goes on attack. 

Poor Sophie never even saw it coming!!!! 

  She high tailed it out of there like she had been shot!  Then, she very slowly, and oh-so humbly slinked up to me to say Sorry……134

Begging for mercy!

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  I don’t know about you, but I am pretty sure she learned a lesson more valuable than any scolding I could’ve given her at this point.120

Look at her, eyeballing those chickens, making sure none are coming to get her!  You sure showed them, Sophie, you brave little weenie dog you!

  Better luck next time!

~T

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Ladies Man

What can I say? 

Paxton is a ladies man!

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They just um, “flock” to him. 

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He is good at sharing:

“Wanna snack?”

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He is Kind:

“Hey there ladies, don’t fight, there is plenty to go around!”

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He is quiet, often pondering life and all there-in….

“Hmmmmm. Now where did I put that other cracker?”

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He is friendly:

“Hi! Welcome, come have a snack with me!”

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He is strong:

“I have the power to feed these chicks right here in the palm of my hand.”

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He is generous:

“Here you are, ladies….cheese crackers for everyone!”

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He has a great “appetite” for life:

“Wait, I want one too!”

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He is fashion forward:

“Come here….”

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“….I want to fix your hair. It’s kinda sticking up.”

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“Comb you say? Yes, you DO need a comb!”

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Paxton has some pretty girls at church too…..

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Paxton’s mine!                                                No, he’s mine.

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We are currently working with their parents for an itemized list of their dowry’s so we can make an informed decision on Paxton’s arranged marriage. 

Ok, ok, maybe not, but he sure has some great future choices!!!!! 🙂

~T

Country Critters

 When I pictured my life with Dale, I imagined a house with a white picket fence….

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But what I didn’t imagine was that there would ever be 27 chickens behind that fence!

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  I am learning to be a Country Girl, I really am, and I have surprised myself along the way……. 

I LOVE having gardens.

But ask me how much I loved having 4 different ones after summer is over….

  Hmm, one for each kid to maintain?????  haha 🙂

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I love living out of town where no other homes are visible.

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  I love hanging our wet swim clothes or clean quilts out on the clothesline. 

(This was not allowed in the neighborhood I grew up in…)

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I love the fresh, cold from the spicket well water, though at first I swore you had to chew it first to swallow, based on the high mineral content.

  Oh, and have I mentioned, I love my chickens?039

I have?  Many times?

Oh. 

Ok, well, I still do, just in case you were wondering…..

   I love that they come when I call.

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Love them enough to have chased Mr. Fox down the lane, yelling and waving my fist (in bathrobe and slippers) to save them. 

Story here.

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  Do you remember when my kids used their own money to buy 5 Astrolorp chickens? 

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  It has been a really great way for them to take responsibility and care for them each day as part of their chores.   

  Well, Grandma Eileen, being the thinker she is, had a great surprise early/late Birthday present in store for the kiddos:004

 002 She got us Silkie Bantam chickies, with the promise of Americana’s to come, once they are hatched.009013 

To say the kids were excited, would be an understatement!

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Pax thought they sure looked tasty!

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No kidding, this is what they should look like once they are full-grown.

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  We got the sightless kind because they are supposedly easier to care for.

BAHAHAHA! Just teasing.

Yes, this really is what they will look like, and yes, they can see under that mop of fur.

Aren’t they just so stinkin’ adorable!?!?!?!?!?!  {cue girly squeeeeal}

  The fun thing about the country life, I am learning, is that we have our fair share of other critters out here too:

Like Raccoons

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Salamanders named Sam

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As you can tell, Tylan is not to impressed with the visitor on his shoulder.

Right after this photo of little 1 year old Avery was taken, Sam the Salamander took off up her arm. She came UNGLUED! For weeks after, she’d tell the tragic tale, in her little teeny baby voice, showing with motions how Sam ran up her arm to her shoulder. She ended the story with “And I cwy and CWY!” (And, I cry and CRY!) 

Princess the Possum. who sadly, did not visit for long.

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Baby Birds in the clothesline pole each year.

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Mr. Turtle

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Deer

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Speaking of deer, we got to go meet a little rescue fawn recently, she was precious!

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Just today, we had a Momma turkey and 11 little ones come visit…

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Oh, and I can’t forget a peeping squirrel or two….

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  I love it! 

  In addition to these wild critters, we are talking about adding Goats and a Beef Cow to our family……. 

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But, we’ll just take this Country Critter thing 1 step at a time!

~T

 

 

Tulips, Dinner for 2 & Lemon Pudding Dessert

  Yesterday started with a bang.  A gun shot kind of bang.  It was Dale’s 30th birthday yesterday, and I had big plans to spend most of the day in the kitchen, making him a delicious Birthday supper. 

  I was just washing breakfast dishes and planning my agenda for the day, when I see a couple of my sweet lil’ pet chickens race by.

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Aw, they are so adorable,” I think to myself.  

  Next thing I know, they are racing back the opposite direction. That’s weird, they almost seem scared. 

Then I see him.  A FOX in my front yard chasing my pet chickens!!!!  

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  Now call me a countrified city girl, but I sprung into action.  That sly old Fox was NOT going to eat my cute little feathered friends for his breakfast!!!!!  I raced out the front door in my bathrobe and slippers yelling at the top of my lungs for him to GET OUT OF HERE!  Whether it was my mean voice or the site of me flying after him in my bathrobe, he stopped chasing chickens, turned tail and ran for the hills.  That outta show him!  

   I call Dale and tell him what just occurred and in true Dale form he says: “Honey, get out the gun.” 

  He must have thought that through a bit, because the next thing he did was turn around and came back home to “help me find all the frightened chickens and lock them up for the rest of the day”.  How thoughtful!  Oh, and while he was home he gave me a refresher course in how to shoot a rifle. I aimed at some birds, but managed to clip the clothesline instead.  {This may have something to do with why he turned around to come home????}  😉 

    So ya better run Mr. Fox, I’ve got 15 bullets in this here gun, and I plan to use every single one of them until I learn to aim better! 

  Much to my relief, he didn’t return, and I didn’t have to use that big bad gun after all…..not today at least!

Or ever?  {Fingers crossed}

    After all this hullabaloo, it was already time to get Tylan from school, and I had not gotten one thing done in the kitchen, too late now.  Off we went to pick up big brother.

  A friend of ours from church, had offered for us to come cut some flowers in her backyard and I wanted some for our dinner table.  She has thousands of tulips in her backyard, it is just LOVELY!  Despite the kids not being dressed for photos, I grabbed my camera to snap a few shots before flower picking, then it was back home for a quick-lunch and nap.  This momma had work to do!!!

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  During his photos, Paxton discovers grass is a bit tickly….

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And that big white doggies have wet noses.

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This dog was SO awesome!  Super sweet and gentle with the kids.

  As I thought about Dale’s 30th birthday in months past, I had much bigger ideas up my sleeve, like having a HUGE shin-dig half way between both our 30th birthday’s, (mine is in August) and throwing a themed party with live music, big white tent on the lawn, great food, and tons of friends. We have the yard for it, why not?!

  Oh wait, I remember why not:  there’s the fact that we have 4 kids and a mortgage and a shoestring budget these days, no room for “extra’s” right now.  So, I went for more of a “it’s the thought that counts” sort of event, and he LOVED it!  🙂  Yay for easy to please hubby’s!

  This is how it went down…….

Kids to Nana’s: Check.

Set up Dining for 2 on the screened in porch: Check.

Ipod playing “our” songs: Check.

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Fresh flowers picked earlier today: Check.

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  Appetizer: Pepper Pecan Brie from Pampered Chef (YUM) 

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1/2 cup pecan halves

1 Jalapeno, stemmed and seeded

Heaping 1/4 cup Apricot Preserves

1 – 4 inch, 8 oz. round of Brie cheese, room temperature

1 loaf french bagette

Pre-heat oven to 425*.  Roughly chop pecans, set aside.  Finely chop jalapeno.  Mix jalapeno with apricot preserves.  Cut Brie in half, place cut side up on pizza stone.  Cover with half of the apricot mixture.  Sprinkle with half the pecan halves.  Stack second half of Brie, cut side on and cover with remaining apricot mixture.  Sprinkle with remaining pecan halves.

  Cut French Bagette loaf into bite sized pieces.  Spray with Olive oil and place 094around Brie on pizza stone.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until bread is golden brown and Brie is starting to get melty.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Serve warm for best results. 

  This was SO delicious!!!!

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Supper time:  Steak, Horseradish potatoes, steamed broccoli and homemade bread. 

(It was SO amaaaazing, Kasey! I must have that recipe ASAP!)

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  Here is Dale reading his “card” (aka yesterday’s post printed off for him to read). “30 Reasons I Love Dale”.  He loved it!

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And lastly, Dale’s birthday dessert of choice:

Lemon Pudding Dessert 

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  I bet most of you have this recipe already, since it’s a church potluck favorite.  It can be made with any pudding flavor your heart desires, but here is the recipe, just in case you don’t have it.

1st layer: 1 stick butter melted.  Add 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup chopped pecans.  Mix butter and flour mixture, and press in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  Bake at 350* for 15 minutes.  Cool for 15 more.

2nd layer:  8 oz cream cheese, softened mixed with 1 cup powdered sugar.  Mix well and stir in 1 cup cool whip from an 8 oz container.  Spread over cooled crust.

3rd layer:  2 pkgs. Instant lemon pudding blended with 3 cups milk.  Spread over cream cheese layer.

4th layer:  Top with remaining cool whip and sprinkle with pecans.  Let chill overnight or for a few hours before serving. 

Serves 12.

Updated photo: 2013

Lemon pudding dessert

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  The idea was to have a leisurely dinner without kid interruptions, spills or requests for more of this or that.   It was peaceful and nice to talk like grown ups, but it wasn’t long before we got to missing our 4 little Ferguson’s, so we headed over to Nana’s to have dessert all as a family.  Destiny had practiced pecking out the notes to “Happy Birthday” on her pink keyboard so she could play her daddy a song, and each child had made a card for him, stating what they loved about him most.

  Destiny said he makes the best fish and drew a picture of him fishing at the lake.  Tylan’s card said thank you for taking me to school and for cooking me fish and a bagel.  Mmm, now there is a breakfast of champions!  Avery’s said: You are a good fisher.

    Can you tell daddy went fishing the other day and brought home 14 big ones?  That guy can fry up a mean pan of fish!

  All in all it was a great day, exhausting, (especially with Paxton being up all night the night before) but still great!!  So with that being said, I am headed to bed.  Good night!

Have a great weekend! Thank God It’s Friday!

~T

Eenie, Meenie, Miney, & Mo

  So Wednesday night Dale calls and asks me if I am ready for some Chickens……

I ask: “Chicken, as in for supper tonight, or ChickenS, as in the egg-laying kind?” 

   The egg laying kind. 

  Well, I thought we were going to wait until this Spring and get some Bantam chickies, but I guess we are doing both, because he got an offer too good to pass up for 4 chickens.

  I decided not to tell the children anything more than “Daddy is bringing you home a surprise.”  Destiny thought for sure it was a dog, so as to not promote tears later, I told her that “No, it is absolutely NOT a dog.  Or any kind of pet for that matter.”  I told her to think of it more as a future chore that daddy was bringing her.  (She later informed me that I was wrong, these chickens ARE pets!)

  Daddy backed the Tahoe up and brought out a HUGE box.  They all gathered around and TA-DA……

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Chickens!

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Avery wasn’t too sure about petting her. 

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But, once she did, she was very proud of herself! 

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  One of them tried to escape, but Dale quickly took care of that…..SUPER FARM BOY, to the RESCUE! 

And in no time, we were introducing them to their new home…… 

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  We named them Eenie, Meenie, Miney and Mo. 

Hope they don’t mind if we just say, “Hey You!”, cause they all look alike to me!

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All of a sudden, Avery bursts into tears………

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“It’s too STINKY!  I want out!”

  Ok, ok, out you go;  no worries! Go keep Paxton company.

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  We are feeding our new feathered friends organic chicken feed.  Once we can trust them not to try to escape, we’ll allow them to roam around at their leisure until evening each day, so they can be “free range”.  My hope is to not only have enough eggs for us, but eventually have some extras to sell to others as well.  Then I’ll have “Egg Money” to spend on my family, just like in the olden days! 🙂

  The kids were very worried about leaving the chickens outside in their coop tonight.  Dale had to explain they were safe and warm, and that was their home now.  They are SUPER excited to go visit the chickens in the morning, when they go with Daddy to gather the eggs.  046Notice he didn’t ask ME to do it?  (YET)  Dale has been married to me long enough to know how these things work.  Baby steps Tonya, just take it in baby steps. 

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Here’s to some yummy omelets and baked goods in the days to come!!!!

~T  egg