Saturday 29 June 2013

Oh, Won't You Stay?

Aaaah, Just a little bit longer
Please, please, please
Tell me you're going to 

Now, how your daddy don't mind
And your mommy don't mind
If we have another dance
Yeah, just one more 
One more time.

July 1st they are taking away Google Friends Connect.  Noooo!  But they are, and if you haven't switched your blog reader over to Google+, I'll lose you.  I don't want to lose my friends!  

So, please, please, please stayyy any way that you like.

You can follow on Linky Followers by clicking on it on my side bar.  It's a no obligation,  no bugging you blog reader and I update all my posts on it.

You can subscribe to have posts in your email.

Or, add to any other reader you prefer.

I promise to write spectacular posts about these cute kittens.  Aren't you just dying to know what finally made them sit still for a moment? ~

And, you won't want to miss a single episode in the story of Gertie, the blind chicken! ~

Everyone loves horses and cute, little girls.  I'll write about those, too! ~

I'll bake pies, paint furniture, grow veggies and hardly ever rant about injustice in the world, if you'll only promise to stayyyy, just a little bit longer!  Please, please, please, please tell me you're going to!

If we have another dance

Yeah, just one more time ~

Thanks for hanging in there guys!

Wednesday 26 June 2013

A Car Full Of What?

I went out antiquing with my sister and BIL on the weekend.  The scenic route took us very near Farm Girl's place and I had a little pick up to do there.  She was giving me two of her rescue chickens and I had offered to foster a litter of kittens until we could find good homes for them.

Who am I kidding? ~

Okay, so I knew I'd keep one. ~

The chickens rode along nicely in a cat cage.  Well, we had to roll the windows down after a couple of poops in there. ~

The kittens were not happy in their cage and little, tragic meows broke my heart.  My BIL said, "I'm surprised you girls haven't got them out on your laps yet."  He still calls us girls.  He he.  I was already out of my seatbelt and opening the cage when he said it.

This little fellow was more than happy to curl up with his aunty. ~

The pair of girls rode with me.  That is, until they discovered the vintage doll house I bought. "Let's get in here!  Let's play fight in here! ~

Checking out their new digs.  Whoa, running up and down this chaise is fun! ~

I want up there, too! ~

Play, play, play and then, conk out cold. ~

Because I'm great at making animals stay in crates, they wound up sleeping in my bed.  They bit my feet, scratched the heck out of my legs and came right back up when I put them on the floor.  By night three, I had the night time 'free for all' down to the occasional reprimand.

And, Utah?  I'm pretty sure he swore when he saw what I'd brought home.  They raced toward him and he froze them in their tracks with a Grandpa glare.  He chooses to spend his days on the patio now. ~

What, no pictures of fun loving Maeve?  When she's not hissing at the kittens, she's hiding or making me feel bad with her hunger strike.

This little guy was already spoken for and has gone on to his new home. ~

As for the girls, well, I'll find homes for them just as soon as I'm done feeding my unicorn.

Friday 21 June 2013

Everyone Needs A Clump Of Chives!

If you have a black thumb and can't grow a single thing, you can still grow chives.  All they need is a bit of dirt, some sun and water.  They'll grow on patios, balconies and window sills.  They live happily in the flower garden and will even keep aphids and black spot away from your rose bushes.

I've been doing a little research into foods our ancestors ate and why they put the effort and time into growing certain plants and herbs.  The pioneer woman who first lived in this house didn't have time or energy left to grow something just for a pretty garnish on her potatoes.  The nutritional value of chives completely stunned me!  This herb from the allium (onion) family is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals.

Calcium, zinc, manganese, copper, iron, vitamins C, K, B complex, AZ, and A are all found in amazing quantities in chives.  Everything from bone health to fetal development, neuro damage repair to cardio health are enhanced by getting a good supply of the nutrients in chives.  Check out the information at Power Your Diet and you won't look at chives as something to sprinkle on a baked potato any more!

I started hunting up some ways to use them and, since the plant blooms in June in my neck of the woods, wanted to use the blossoms.  They have the mild onion taste of the leaves, with a pepper kick to them.

I gathered some blossoms and shook them off to make sure there weren't any creepies hiding in there. You could wash them but I don't bother when it comes from my own pesticide free garden. ~

This is a fun project to do with the kids.  Fill a jar with chive blossoms. ~

Pour in natural vinegar to cover.  Always go with natural for cooking.  It costs about a dollar more for 4 litres but the other stuff is mostly chemicals.  ~

The kids will love seeing the vinegar turn a pretty shade of purple within a couple of days. ~

What you have is a wonderful, flavoured vinegar that tastes peppery and smells like onion.  Mix one part flavoured vinegar to two parts olive oil for a terrific salad dressing.  I add chopped basil and a bit of sea salt to my dressing.

While they are in bloom, I'm separating the blossoms and sprinkling them on any food that I'd usually put pepper on. I'm also freezing some, first on cookie sheets, then in bags for winter use. ~

Did I mention that studies show chives can reduce the chance of prostate cancer by 50%?  Or, that you can lower blood pressure, boost your immune system, reduce cholesterol production, increase liver function, prevent anemia, break down clots in blood vessels, prevent lung and oral cavity cancers and bolster oxygen levels with the nutrients in chives?

Those pioneers were some smart cookies! ~

I'm sharing this with:  A Favorite ThingFrom The FarmNifty Thrifty TuesdayFrom The Farm Blog Hop

Thursday 13 June 2013

Super Food For Chickens & Some Tips For Jennifer Aniston

The buzz in Hollywood is that Jennifer Aniston's 21 million dollar house has just had a chicken coop added to the grounds.  I've even heard that her chickens are rescues from a battery farm.

This is Jennifer's coop.  Meh, I've seen better on Pinterest. ~ 

She can go to her celebrity friends for advice.  Ellen Pompeo, Reese Witherspoon and Martha Stewart are all old hands at back yard chicken farming.  I still want to put my two cents in before the girl gets in over her head.

She's obviously in the honeymoon stage of chicken keeping when she says,

 "They're very social animals and they like it when you visit them with a cup of coffee in your hand. According to my groundskeeper, they love pasta."

That's exactly what my groundskeeper said!  Oh wait, I'm the groundskeeper and I was talking to myself.   My chickens have never shown the slightest interest in anything that was in my hands that wasn't food for them.  It must take a California chicken to appreciate a fine coffee. Anyway, Jen, (I call her that now that we are close) you have to be ready for some nasty moments in the coop.  Let's say a new chick moves in and the rooster gets all enamoured of her.  They start hatching eggs a mile a minute and the old favourite gets all crazy and starts pecking the new hen to death.  Oh wait, you already know how to handle that one!

Okay, here's some real chicken advice that comes straight from a vet and has made a big difference to my feathered girls.  They still live in a converted garden shed and don't get any celebrity visitors, but they are super healthy and laying great eggs.  The vet said that heritage chicken breeds automatically shut down egg production when they become calcium deficient.  Modern breeds keep right on laying until their bones look like Swiss cheese and the birds are weak and sickly.  The first sign of calcium deficiency is uneven, weak or missing shells on the eggs.  Adding oyster shell to the feed helps but it isn't nearly enough calcium for the birds.

I gathered the foods he said my girls needed. ~

 The rolled oats are just there to stick the whole thing together.  The girls don't mind me buying it on sale either.

I'm not such a devoted chicken keeper that I measure this all out, so this will give you an idea of proportions. ~

To the instant cook rolled oats, I add oat bran, flax seed and edemames (young soy beans available in your freezer section).  

Pour some water on and pop it in the microwave for one minute.  Stir and heat for another minute. ~

You have to cook the rolled oats.  Anything like that, fed uncooked, to chickens will swell in their stomachs and kill them.  Ekes!  Make sure you let the mixture cool down before feeding it to the hens.  It's not that chickens are stupid; they just don't have any common sense and will burn themselves gobbling it down.  Don't we all have a friend that we know is smart but they do the dumbest things ever? Now, all my friends are wondering if I'm talking about them.  Or, am I the smart friend with no common sense? Hmmmm  I'm talking to myself again and that really has to stop!

Have the official food sniffer, Maeve, check the concoction out to see if it's fit for the chickens. ~

When it's done, it looks like this. ~

Now, my girls are mighty picky about food.  If they don't like it, nothing on earth will convince them to eat it.

Do you like it Gertie?  Are you kidding, Human Slave?  Look how much I've stuffed in my gob! ~

Up until now, their favourite veggie was corn niblets but they are positively wild for edemames!

Seriously, Jen, feed this to your chickens once a day and toss them some sunflower seeds for scratch and you won't have a single shell less, weak shelled or bumpy egg.  Your chickens will have bright red combs and they will be the picture of health!

Oh, and one other piece of advice Jen, if you paint your toenails (and who doesn't in Hollywood?) and wear open toed shoes in the coop, the chickens will peck your toes, non stop, thinking they are berries.

I'm available for celebrity consultations daily, Monday through Fridays.  On the weekends I'm tied up being a secret rock star!

Tuesday 11 June 2013

A Chair Fit For A Princess

I've been holding this little project back because I knew my friends at the Inspiration Cafe were issuing a Copy Cat challenge this week.

About a year ago, I pinned this sweet boudoir chair that Nana Diana Takes A Break made for her granddaughter.  She used a sewing chair that had a seat that lifted to store little girl treasures in.

Here's Nana Diana's inspiration piece and her cutie of a granddaughter. ~

It just so happens, I have a similar sewing table chair and more granddaughters than Kellogg's has cornflakes! ~

The first order of business is to spray paint it black.  Then I went to town on dressing her up.

I cut the tiered skirt off a cocktail dress that I bought at the Salvation Army Thrift Store for $1.99. ~

Use the ever helpful Maeve to press out any wrinkles. She's sticking her tongue out at me! ~

Using a staple gun I attached the skirt to the inside of the chair and had just enough length to reach the floor.  There was enough fabric width to cover the legs at the front and both sides.

The seat was really unattractive and I wanted to personalise it like Diana did for her granddaughter.  This was a birthday gift for the granddaughter we call Lady Gaga and she loves as much girly stuff as you can get on a piece!

Head off to The Graphics Fairy and find the perfect image for a May birthday girl.  It's a vintage French maypole.  I sent the image to Picmonkey, added her name to it and reversed the image so I had the letters printing out backwards.  If you aren't used to using that kind of editing programme, ask and I'll walk you through it.  

My favourite way to transfer images to fabric is the Citrasolv method.  To read how to do that click here.  At the same time as I bought the black cocktail dress, I picked up a wedding gown for $1.99.  No one asked me to marry them, so I cut the satin underskirt to cover the chair seat, did the transfer and used a staple gun to attach it.  ~

A bit of lace, attached with fabric glue, covered the area around the hinges where I couldn't get a nice, clean cut.  See, there's no sewing on this project!  All you need is a staple gun, scissors and glue.

Then I realised I had the perfect accessory to hide inside the seat!  Remember the pretty notebook I won from Suzan at Simply Vintagous?  It has enough bling to make any little girl's heart go pitty pat and I know Suzan won't mind if it goes to a sweetie that loves shoes as much as she does! ~

Total cost of this project is $4.  I even have most of the wedding dress left if I get a sudden proposal!

Thanks, Diana!  Lady Gaga loved it.  Of course the other granddaughters immediately asked if I could make them one.  Nope.  It's one of a kind and you'll have to wait for some other blogger to inspire me with a great idea.

Ta da! ~

I'm sharing this with:  It's A Steal Link PartyThe Graphics Fairy Brag MondayEfforts And Assets Linky PartyMonday FundayThursday Favorite ThingsThe Homemaking PartyHouse PartyTransformation ThursdayThe Project StashWildly Original Link PartyOpen House PartyHome And Garden ThursdayWow Us WednesdaysFurniture Feature Friday

Sunday 2 June 2013

The Book You Have To Read - Whether You Adopt Or Not!

The book is finally here!

Available at

Of all the things my daughter, Farm Girl, has written this is the one that moved me the most.  It's an absolute MUST READ for anyone who is considering adopting older children or is already parenting them. It's a darned good read for absolutely anyone who loves to read about courage after failures and the power of love and commitment.  After all, I'm the grandma of the kids in the book and I know the whole story, but seeing the last three years laid out in chronological order brought me to tears!

You see ONCE UPON A TIME there were four little kids who's parents were not able to care for them.  The children saw things they never should see, went hungry, missed Christmases because the police came and took their father away and suffered from a number of medical issues caused by improper prenatal care.  The eldest two bounced back and forth between parents and foster parents.  The youngest two were seized at birth and placed in different foster homes.

But all good fairy tales work their way toward happy endings. ~

photo courtesy of Elena Dudina

The children are united, in time, with foster parents who have many years of experience and, though they were ready to retire and their home is not large enough for four children, they give them love and stability until they found a Forever home.  This was vitally important to the kids.  A psychiatrist report on the eldest girl at four, says one more move will be catastrophic for her.  She is moved seven more times in the next three years.

Along comes a forever family!  They have one adopted son, the age of the youngest child, and the preschoolers quickly bond.  For something like 10 mths. the new family struggles to adapt.  One day, when they are at daycare and school, the social worker comes and takes the children away.  The new parents can't cope and they have returned them.

This isn't how fairy tales end!  They go back to the elderly foster parents, though the man has had to delay his chemo treatments to take them back in.  It is a desperate situation.

Along comes a nice family with two teenage sons and a barn full of happy, rescued animals. ~

photos courtesy of Adam Sach's Photos

They want to adopt a girl of school age.  The social workers plead with them to consider the four children.  It's too many.  They can't afford it.  They don't have enough bedrooms.  Then, their eldest son says, "Why don't we just take them and work it out?"

The children come for weekend visits.  There are cats and dogs and plenty of room to play. ~

There are ponies to ride. ~

One day, the nice couple takes the children on a walk in a park and asks them if they would like to come live with them.  The eldest girl jumps up and says that is just what she has been praying for.  The eldest boy looks upset and goes into a long list of his faults.  He says they won't want him.  But, they do!  The youngest is confused and asks if they are going to be her mommy and daddy now.  Why wouldn't she be confused?  She's had a forever home before and they didn't stick around.

The couple explain that they keep their promises and this one really is forever.

The judge has held this adoption until the last of the day.  He says he wanted to take extra time with this very special family and asks each child if they agree to being adopted.  The boy says, "It's all I've ever wanted". The court stenographer can hardly see for the tears running down her face.  The whole courtroom follows suit.

The first one is done! ~

A new family is born! ~

There are grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends to welcome the children.  They have certificates that tell them this is permanent and they want to know if they can take them to school for show and tell. The bailiffs, court policeman and social workers cheer.~

If that were the end of our story, we would have a happy ending indeed!  But, it's not.

These children suffer from severe emotional issues and post traumatic stress disorders.  They have medications, doctors and therapists.  They require non stop, twenty four hour a day care and nurturing. They run away, break furniture, kick out window screens and throw screaming rages that go on for hours. Two of them never sleep through a night.  Remedial schoolwork takes hours each day and the parents fight for special help for one who has prenatal damage that makes learning impossible in a standard schoolroom.

The house is in chaos and the parents and older boys are worn out from coping.  But, this family meant it when they said they kept their promises.  Giving up was not an option.

A desperate call to Children's Aid united a child and youth counsellor and the family to work through the issues and find our happy ending.

Three years later, mom and social worker get a well deserved high five! ~

The book is co-written  in alternating chapters.  Farm Girl tells what happened and how she handled the situation, even when she knows she handled it badly.  Lisa, the child and youth counsellor, answers with a chapter of her own that talks about the same situation from a therapeutic point of view.  It's a wonderful way for adoptive parents and those who support them to gain insight into their own difficulties and see what has worked for real life people.

The book description on Lulu says, "The Promise is a raw and compelling memoir. It offers insight into the behaviours of adopted and foster children, gives hope to struggling families, and is a must-read for adoptive parents who are at a loss after bringing wounded children into the family."

Farm Girl has a facebook page for her literary work and can be found here. She has a real name even, Christen Shepherd! You'll still think of her as Farm Girl but it's nice to know I didn't make her up as one of my fictional characters! Her co author is Lisa Highfield.

Both of her books can be bought at ~

I know many of you read The Flawed Farm as an ebook but I'm partial to the hard copy. ~

I apologise for such a long post. I just wanted you to have some background and know why The Promise means so much to me.

Was it worth it to risk so much for four little kids? Absolutely!!! They have made my life better than I ever imagined and I love them to pieces! Every time one of them runs up to me, arms outstretched and a grin on their face, my heart grows two sizes. At least two sizes!

I'm sharing with:  Wordless WednesdayMy Happy List Tuesdays