Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Odd Addition to a Tree - If You Ask Me!

Milton did some work on the chicken coop this past weekend. One of the things he needed to do was cut a large limb off of the roof of it.  They decided to cut the tree completely down... well... to a certain point I would say.

When he went over to cut it down on Saturday, I had our grandaughter visiting, and it was super muddy in the area of the chicken coop.  So I stayed at the house and played with these two gals! 

He never mentioned anything to me about the tree when he returned home.  In fact, I don't think he said anything at all about his tree cutting down experience.   The funny part comes when I make my way over to the chicken coop on Sunday.  I am outside it and walking around just minding my own business when I find this......

Wait... do you need to see another view to believe it?!

Yep!  A motorcycle with a tree grown into it!  Surely this is some type of artwork right?  Somewhere , someone in the world would find this as unique art?  They'd pay lots of money to come dig it up, and place it in their home!??

Back to the story and out of my dream world!

I started laughing to myself.  I said to my husband, that was within earshot,  how old is this motorcycle, and how long has it been in this spot to have a TREE grown into it!  He nonchalantly says, "a long time".  I'm sure his brothers and him rode this motorcycle and Milton is the youngest at 46!

I just found it funny and interesting at the same time! If it was me, I would have come home that day & told him all about my exciting experience with the tree/motorcycle combo. I would have snapped a photo with my cell phone too!

But as I've mentioned before, Milton is nothing like me! 

The exciting news is.....I now
 have something new to show the visitors to the Chicken Coop!  Not only do they get to see poultry, but this amazingly odd motor/tree stump!


What's the oddest thing  you have ever seen grown into a tree?  Please share!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Chirp Chronicles - Cleaning The Coop

This afternoon we spent part of  it cleaning up and repairing the chicken coop.  
The chirps have finally grown big enough that they no longer stayed in the 
little "pen" we made out of boards inside the chicken coop.  

They were ready to "spread their wings" I guess!   :)

I'm going to be honest here, I don't think they are very cute at this stage. Now
Paige on the other hand, she thinks they are still adorable!

The bedding and chicken manure needed to be cleaned out and removed.  
You can see here that PV did her share of the work. 
Honestly, this was not a photo op!

Then we laid new bedding all over the floor for the 11 chirps! 
 One of them did lose it's life to the local farm dog.  
PV took it well and it was a learning experience for her.  

During the time we spent in the coop today, PV said with alot of excited and more than once how BIG their tailfeathers have gotten.   Check them out!

The roof had to have some minor work done on it, so it wouldn't leak.  Yesterday Milton did remove a tree that was beside the coop.  It had a limb laying on the roof, and I will have a post about the tree in the near future! It had an interesting addition to it!

We hung the feeder so the bedding/manure might stay out of the feeder better and set the water on a cement block for the same reason for now.  We filled our feeder completely full today and put the last of our 40 lb. bag of feed we bought when we purchased the chickens.  

The rest of the afternoon was spent planting flowers and some garden items.  Milton and PV checked the wheat once again today.  It was a lovely Sunday I do believe!

I hope you have a great week!  Thanks for stopping by!


This weekend was filled with.......

We played with little girls.

Who chased bubbles
 made a fort
 giggled giggled giggled
played house in a playhouse,
went down the slide
road bikes in the sunshine
created lovely artwork,
and made our hearts swell with love!

While little ones played the adults,
watched with sweet smiles on their faces,
took a walk in the early morn,
cut down a tree,
planted flowers and garden items,
relaxed on the deck,
swung the little girls,
played ball with the little girls,
cooked food, and looked forward 
to the next time we get to spend together as a family!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Crafting Coast 2 Coast

I'm pretty excited about my daughter Kassidy's new adventure in life!  You probably recall from this post the fabulous apron she made for one of our guests!  Here you can find the one she made for me by clicking here!

She has opened an Etsy shop with a friend or two! So I wanted to help her out and share  the site!

Kassidy has always had a creative side to her.  In middle school, my best friend and her created a Halloween outfit for a party she attended.  She loves art and takes photographs quite often.

My mother and her made this snazzy dress!

She created this lovely dress for her little sister recently! PV says she feels like a princess in it!

You can find their Etsy shop by clicking the link Crafting Coast2Coast.  Currently she has a limited amount of aprons, so keep checking back!  She will add more in the near future.  If you have a certain type you are interested in, you can reach her by emailing at craftingcoast2coast@gmail.com.

Please share this post so Kassidy can begin this new adventure with lots of support! We greatly appreciate it!

Thanks so much!


Please feel free to share! Spread the word! :) Thank you for your kindness!

Jessica's Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Almond Glaze

I love basically all things almond.  For example, my middle sister, she led me to Panera Bread's almond bear claws.  Let's just say, if I go into this establishment, and they have any, I will buy 1, or 3, or 6.  It's not like I have a Panera Bread anywhere near, so I should stock up right????   It's a good thing the closest one is an hour away from me!  I highly recommend them though!   Delish!

This brings me to the new recipe I tried.  I found this pound cake over at a farmgirl's dabbles, and thought I'd try it since it had an almond glaze.  I've got a few bible study ladies coming by this week, and I thought this might be a good treat to share.  

The only thing I did differently is I added alittle almond extract to the cake.  I like the almond smell and flavor.  Once we tested the cake, I think I may have baked it slightly too long, it seemed a tad dry to me.  I did not bake it for as long as the recipe calls for either, so I would recommend keeping an eye on it.  Just test it with a toothpick or knife at about 1 hour, then you can decide how to proceed.

I hope you enjoy it! 


Jessica's Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Almond Glaze
Yield: 16 servings
    for the cream cheese pound cake:
  • 1-1/2 c. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 T. for buttering the pan
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the pan
  • 2 T. pure vanilla extract
  • for the almond glaze:
  • 1-1/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 to 3 T. milk, depending on how thick you want the glaze

Coat the entire interior of a Bundt pan with the tablespoon of butter, taking care to get every little nook and cranny. Add a bit of flour and tilt the pan around to cover all of the buttered surface. Gently tap out the excess. Set pan aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese together. Add sugar and beat well on high speed until light and fluffy. Turn mixer to low speed and add 2 eggs, then 1 cup flour, alternating adding eggs and flour until all eggs and flour are added, mixing well between each addition. Add vanilla and mix well. Pour into prepared Bundt pan and spread evenly.
Place pan in cold oven. Heat oven to 340° and bake for 80 to 85 minutes, or until toothpick comes out mostly clean. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes in pan. Top Bundt pan with platter or cake stand and carefully turn cake out of pan. Let cool.
for the almond glaze:
Whisk together all glaze ingredients.To get the very thin glaze as shown in my pictures, I used 2 tablespoons of milk to thin the glaze, and then drizzled the glaze over the cake when the cake still had just the slightest bit of warmth left to it. If you want a thicker glaze, start with just 1 tablespoon of milk to thin it, adding just a bit more if needed. Then wait until cake is completely cooled to drizzle the glaze over it.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Expressions Post Communion

This past Sunday we took communion at church, before making my way to the alter, 
I was pondering some thoughts in my mind.  
(Yes I was suppose to be singing the hymn, but I wasn't, oops!)

Anyway, I had never really thought much about my own or 
other people's expressions after taking communion.  
To each their own, and I'm not judging at all.  
I just thought it would be a good topic to write about to get one thinking 
and it made for an interesting discussion for my husband and I.

This Sunday, before going up to the alter, it crossed my mind, 
"why am I not smiling as I leave the alter?  
Why aren't more people smiling?"

Perhaps they are like me at times and focusing on getting 
that small child back to the pew without a scene, 
or they prefer to take a more quiet solemn time to mediate thereafter.  
Maybe they are thinking of the sins that were just forgiven, a parent that is ailing, 
or of a friend that doesn't know the love of Christ as we do. 
Those very feelings and thoughts have been in my mind, as I have walked back to my seat.

But this Sunday, it was different.

I felt this surge of feelings come over me as I proceeded to the alter.  
I was given the body and blood of Christ, forgiven of my sins, 
and I couldn't help but smile.  Inside I wanted to rejoice, 
I felt so lucky, so fortunate to have this opportunity.  

Why wouldn't I smile as I left the alter?

I did.

I did, in fact smile all the way to my seat
and even had a little giggle when I sat down.
 Not out of disrespect, but out of feeling so very loved.

Loved by the Father that can fullfill all my hopes and dreams, 
give me strength in times of trouble, 
and cares for my every need.  
The Father that forgives me and sent his Son to die for my sins. 
(and yours too by the way)

It was good.  It was very good.

How do you feel once you have received the body and blood of Christ?

As always, feel free to comment if you would like 
or if it inspires you that makes me happy too! 

Thank you for allowing me to share my
 faith, family, and feelings with you!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

10th Anniversary & Zac Brown Band

Now did you really think I would let our anniversary celebration just be added to the 10 dates in 2013?  Really? How long have you been reading my blog?  Come on, you know me, a gushy romantic and love to share the "happy's" in life!

We celebrated by attending a Zac Brown Band concert!

First let me say how AWESOME Zac Brown Band is in concert!  Then let me add that my husband is even MORE AWESOME because he bought the tickets, and he isn't a real huge fan of country music.  Yep, I know it's a shocker, if you get into my husband's pickup, you will hear the radio station as T95.  You know, hard rock/old rock is his choice of music forever and always.  BUT he is very gracious to allow me the majority of the time to blare whatever it is I am in the mood for.  Country, christian, rock, blues, etc.  The man is a sweetheart in this area. (Thank you Milton!)

You can probably tell from the photos in our blog and if you know us personally you know my husband isn't real expressive.  Here we are, imagine us sitting at the concert, Me: singing, moving with the music and my sweet husband is sitting next to me, and if I'm lucky tapping his fingers slightly.  He wasn't having a horrible time at all, it's just who he is. I respect that.  

In fact, I like to think me being happy equals him being happy right?  Oh so I thought..... Zac Brown starts playing Never Never land by Metallica and I look over and the man has a HUGE grin on his face! His fingers are tapping and his foot is going at it too! It's amazing to me how when the next song came on, he quickly resumed his previous expression! I did take a picture of him while they sang the Metallica's song for proof, but I won't post it, he wouldn't allow it.  :)

Zac & I !  :) LOL 

To be honest, I really wanted to take a big trip for our 10th anniversary just us two, somewhere warm and relaxing.  We decided the trip will include a few of the kiddos and will occur later this year when we travel to California  to see our middle daughter.

But this "little trip" to see Zac Brown Band perform, it was pretty amazing! I love music, I love spending time with my favorite man, and both those occurred in one evening!  It's all good. And as a bonus, they sang "Sweet Emotion" which happens to be by one of my other favorite groups Aerosmith.  So it's all good! :)

We did enjoy dinner before the concert at Granite City, courtesy of our children, they had given us gift cards for Christmas.  And I am not sure what it is about Milton & I and donuts, but it seems alot of our dates include donuts.  After the show, we were on our way home, no eating contest occurred, but we both ate some on the way home! :)  I WILL remove his title someday soon for eating them the quickest! If you are interested in this story, check it out here!

All I know is, this 10 year anniversary is one that is special and I feel quite fortunate to have Milton as my husband.  Thanks honey for taking me to an AWESOME concert even though they weren't a rock band!  (But I think they rocked great just the same!)

Thanks for stopping by!

By they way have you treated that special someone in your life to a date lately?  

Photo by PV, I think she has some talent here! :)
10th Anniversary!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sunday Afternoons on the Farm

Sunday afternoon after church we had an enjoyable barbeque with some of our family.  
Then afterwards we headed out to check the wheat fields. 
Milton usually checks the fields periodically himself, but today PV and I got to tag along! 

Sometimes he takes his dirt bike, other times our Mule (utv), or the  farm pickup.  PV, if she has her choice will choose the Mule or Dad's old red pickup!  Today she chose the pickup, I think it's because she can sit in her booster seat, and there isn't a back seat in it. She can be right next to dad & see out the windows.  She doesn't mind the broken heater, the ticking noise, or anything else about it!  This is the pickup that Milton took me on our first date in and asked me to marry him in! 
So it's full of sentimental things for us!

But you didn't find your way to this post to hear about our memories, today you wanted to see about the wheat fields!  So here are some pictures with descriptions, I hope you enjoy them!

This is what the wheat looks like right now. 
It is green and comes up to about PV's knees in most of our fields!

This photos brings so many thoughts to my mind.
Teacher, student, Father, daughter, Leader, follower.
I think they are both blessed!

Get down in there & find one to dissect! They are pulling a wheat stalk out to cut into.

Here's the teaching part.  
Milton is cutting the stalk apart with his pocket knife to examine the inside.  

Hard working hands, holding food for the world.

This is the beginning stages of a head of wheat.

Milton feels that the recent freezes have not done much damage if any to the wheat at this point.  We checked three different fields.  He also checked an alfalfa field while we were out!

This Sunday my husband the farmer spent his day doing several things.  Worshiping the provider for all that we have, grilling lunch, playing with his daughter and grandaughter, making his wife smile many times, planting some herbs, and checking wheat fields.  All in the day of a good man.

We pray for a good wheat harvest come this summer, but for now all we can do is sit and wait.  

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Boy(s) Meet Chirps - The Chirp Chronicles!

I have a friend that brought her three grandsons out to visit the farm, specifically the Chirps this weekend.  The three boys are the cutest little things, and we enjoyed having them all here! We hope they visit again!

There was time to play as well, to hear little kids giggling in my backyard was something quite delightful!  I have only had little girls in my life primarily, so having little boys around was entertaining & PV kept up with them pretty well I do believe! :)  She had her older cousin A. along too!

It's funny because these two boys enjoyed not only the chirps but the two head of cattle we are still feeding! They would check out the chirps for a bit, then head across the way to the cattle pen!  These two head of cattle will be gone come late May, they are our beef for the next year.

I think this photo their grandma took is just the essence of childhood joy! I mean just look at that smile!

This photo makes me think of PV perhaps in the future speaking and teaching.  I don't know why, perhaps a future FFA or 4H kid in the making????  I like the look on both the kid's faces!

And like I said, there was time for play!  Swinging, going down the slide, hide & seek, and tag all around!  Life just is such a joy with little kids about! Hearing the laughter and smiling faces, and the silliness of them all!  

It was a delightful end to a busy week and I am thankful for friends!  Especially ones that visit the farm! Can't wait for our next set of visitors & for these little guys to come by again!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Shots from the Farm

It's been too wet to plant corn, so there's hasn't been much to farm blog about.
Today Milton worked on the combine, but we don't have any pictures of that!
Here are a few shots from around the farm , like many others we have had ALOT of rain!

How about alittle of The Chirp Chronicles !
They are growing quickly, and PV is doing a good job of caring for them.
It's been pretty chilly when she went to feed them, but she's a trooper!

I'm hoping it dries out so we can get these lovelies in the ground!
On our Facebook Page this morning, I asked what the certain plant is.
Some guessed it correct, and I am kinda excited to get it planted.
I use it in jam making. I probably won't have any for this year,
 but looking forward to years to come!

Thanks for stopping by!
Julie & Milton

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Passions - Jump Right In?

I was visiting with some friends the other day, and we were discussing jobs and just life in general. The subject of passions came up.  In regards to the thing that takes up most of our time.... our occupations.  

I will be honest here, when I was growing up I didn't "dream" of working in the insurance industry.   I know that is  a shocker to you all!  Honestly, I'm not sure what I did dream of being.  That's a little disturbing but there's no time for a serious therapy session today! 

Prior to this conversation, I have been thinking more about what I enjoy in life and what my passions are.  I think this conversation was just another step in me getting a little further along on my journey.   It made me think and it makes me desire that "passion" I previously mentioned.  Currently mine is more on a hobby/outreach level, not my occupation.

I'm not quite sure what my passion is. Do you know what drives you or ignites the passion within you?

Perhaps some of you have known for years, and perhaps some of you have more than one.  I think you are fortunate if you get to practice your passions in your occupation or your hobbies on a regular basis. I would think your life would feel more full-filled.

Usually it aides me to make a list or analyze things to determine things such as my passions.  Below are a  few of the things I've come to realize, especially since starting this blog.  
  • Practicing hospitality - it brings me joy
  • Delving into the Word on a regular basis and joining others  in the Word, it brings a layer of confidence, knowledge, and interest to my being.
  • Spending time and caring for the elderly or even just someone in need, it makes me feel like I'm giving back and it's what I am meant to be doing.
  • Cooking - with my family or by myself - is a satisfying talent I've been blessed with.
  • Limiting or removing negative and toxic situations and people from my life is sometimes needed.
  • Sometimes one must be the leader, even if they don't want to be, but if it brings forth a positive impact or result, stand tall and jump in!
  • Practicing patience is something I will be doing for the rest of my earthly life.  Once in awhile I will take a look back into my past & see how far I've come.  So on those days when it seems my patience has ceased to exist, I look back, and remember tomorrow is  a new day to begin again!
There are a few others, but the list would be too long.  These are helping me  to find my passions.  I'm glad I was inspired by my conversation with friends.  They helped me once again, and probably didn't even know it.

So, what's one passion you have in life?  What's something that gives you fullfillment? 

Are you feeling somewhat scared at "jumping right in" to something new?  Me too.....so you aren't alone.  (Praying usually aides me in finding a calm place. )

 I look forward to your comments. You never know, YOU could be the inspiration to help someone else to ......


I hope your find happiness, enjoyment, and passion in your daily life!
Thanks for allowing me to share my family, feelings, and faith once again!   

Monday, April 15, 2013

Cost of Chirps

I had a follower's daughter inquiring about the cost of a farm.  Before I conquer that in a blog post, I thought I might share what the Chirp's cost us to setup shop.  We just ran to our local Orschelin's, so there may be cheaper or more economical ways to setup your chicken coop, but this is how we did it!

Now remember, we had this lovely chicken coop from days gone by that was on the family farm for years.  It's not a beauty, but so far the Chirps don't mind a bit, and the best part, IT WAS FREE! They do sell pre-made chicken coops and you can find plans on how to build one online I'm sure, or turn any building into one.

Now the chirps themselves, they cost us about $36 for 12 of them.  We bought three varieties.  The Rhode Island red were the cheapest at $2.49 per chick and personally, I think they are the cutest chirps (at this point) but don't tell the others!

So far in one week, they have gotten bigger! They are taller & almost able as tall as the side of our little "box"! 

We had two sets of visitors this past weekend !  The Chirps are quite the entertainers I am telling you!  There were ohhhhs and awws and squeals and smiles all around! Whether you were an adult or a child!

We also bought a feeder and water dispenser.  You can buy ones that are plastic and much cheaper.  But we decided that we would invest in the metal ones that were larger.  The feeder cost about $23 and the water dispenser was about $40. 

 In addition to all those items listed we also bought some treatment for the water, it was $9 and chicken starter feed which was $13, and pine shavings were $6.

So if you add that up it was about $127.00 for the chicken operation to start for us. 

Hopefully we will have enough eggs for us and the in laws and any extra we will sell.  From the profits, it will be reinvested into the chicken operation.  As I've mentioned before, this seemed like a logical teaching experience for us to provide PV.  Not on too large of a scale for time and expense, yet gives us opportunity to see how she deals with it all.  

It's amazing to me how today we were visiting the Chirps and this happened.  Several times I might add.  I am thinking this particular chick has come to find PV as a friend! 

Oh and this comical one!

So that gives you an idea of how much it cost us to start this little escapade!  If you have any questions, please be sure to comment here or on our Facebook page.

By the way, the official name of this section of our blog is  The Chirp Chronicles.  Milton & I chose it as PV has called the chicks "CHIRPS" ever since she brought them home!  I am sure in the months to come, you will hear all kinds of tales of how we are learning the chicken operation of the farm!

Thanks for stopping by!