Busy Life and Delicious Maple - Spring Lake Homestead
Today, I am breathing a big sigh of relief. Well, yesterday I did too, and Sunday, but this is the first week of August I don’t have a booked schedule. Sunday is always a day of rest, so I mostly just let my brain melt that day. Yesterday I was soooooo grumpy. I’m on day 9 of the Whole30, and my “Kill all of the Things” day hit me. (I’ll explain more about all of that a different day.) But today I woke up feeling a little more relaxed, and I’m hoping that those feelings don’t come around again! I really do owe my sewing readers an apology. I promised to get a sewing post up on Saturday and just failed miserably. I should have just said that it would be another week before I could get that post up, and I promised earlier than I could deliver. Sorry about that! Normally, I would have just stayed up late to deliver something I promised, but it was NOT in the cards this time. You are probably wondering where I have been, why I dropped off the face of the Earth, and I’ll tell you. But stick around, because after I share about my craziness, I’ve got something fun and homesteady (yes, I’m claiming that that is a word) to share with you! (And there are basically no pictures today, because I’ve been too busy to take any!) Okay. Where to begin? Well, before you get your hopes up, we really have had minimal homestead news to share. I do have some, and I’ll touch on that today, but I’ll go into more detail another time. With it being August, it is the “last month of summer” to a lot of the world, which means it’s the last time to schedule in play dates, sleepovers, and make visits to special locations. In about a week, a lot of the world will be shipping their children off to school again for the next school year, and those special locations start closing up for the rest of the year. I think when I last filled you in, the kids were finishing up VBS, and we were preparing for out-of-state relatives to stay the weekend. Well, they did stay, and it was fun! It would have been more fun had I not had an awful stomach ache one of the days they were here, but that’s a story for another day. We’re planning to go visit them in November, and I’m thinking I’ll be able to enjoy that visit a little more 😉 I had hoped to get our 3rd batch of meat chicks out to the chicken tractor that weekend, but we had to postpone it a couple of days. The week that followed, we did get the chicks out to pasture, and my nephews helped! We had 3 of our nephews spend 2 nights here for a birthday/it’s-summer sleepover, and the boys were eager to help with the chicken chores, including picking up all of the fluffy little balls and putting them into a cage for me to move! One of the days the boys came, a friend of a friend popped in with almost 4 dozen eggs for us to place in our incubator. Honestly, I feel very lacking in confidence that we’ll hatch any! But it looks as though some chicks are forming in the eggs, so we’ll see. The directions that came with the incubator were (sorry for the language) CRAP! All instructions that come with a product should assume that the user has NO CLUE what they are doing! Anyway, we looked things up online to get a better feel for how to use it, and I still feel really unsure about it. And this is one of the ones that’s supposed to make it easy for you! Anyway… the boys had a great time. It was a pre-celebration for Peanut’s 7th birthday, which happened last Monday. Seven. SEVEN! Can you believe that? Because I can’t. Maybe it’s just his birth order, and the time of life he was born during, but I remember him as a little baby better than I do any of the other kids, and I can’t figure out what happened to all of that time after the first year! Well, life, I guess…3 more babies and another move (we moved when he was just 6 months old). He’s not the only one growing up though. Doodles has a birthday coming up in a couple of weeks, and he’s going to be FOUR! A part of me feels like he’s been 4 for awhile, but sometimes he’s still 2 in my mind. E is getting big as well. He started walking recently! In the past couple of days, he’ll come toddling up to me (if I am sitting on the floor) to give me a great big hug. I absolutely love it! And he’s waving “hi” and “bye” regularly now. So Monday was birthday activities, a trip to the grocery store, and a lot of housework. Not the most exciting birthday, but he had a real celebration the week before. On Tuesday, I took the kids to the N.E.W. Zoo, and we met up with some friends of ours. Later that day, Pumpkin attended a sleepover, and that evening, we butchered batch one of the meat birds (again, I’ll share more another day). The butchering went well, and we have 11 chickens in the freezer! Wednesday we had batch 4 of the meat birds delivered! Just 30 chicks this time instead of 50. We wouldn’t have even ordered them if it hadn’t been for all of the losses we experienced due to predators with the other batches. The rest of Wednesday was spent trying to get the house in order after the craziness of the two days prior, and that evening we had a visitor. A friend who is living in South America was home for a visit and asked if we’d be available to get together. Wednesday we had batch 4 of the meat birds delivered! Just 30 chicks this time instead of 50. We wouldn’t have even ordered them if it hadn’t been for all of the losses we experienced due to predators with the other batches. The rest of Wednesday was spent trying to get the house in order after the craziness of the two days prior, and that evening we had a visitor. A friend who is living in South America was home for a visit and asked if we’d be available to get together. He’s been here before, but only in winter, so we were able to give him the full tour. I think his reaction to the chickens was the best part 🙂 He lives such a different life from us right now, so it’s always fun to talk to him and hear about his adventures! It always serves as a learning experience for the kids as well, which is really neat. Thursday… Thursday was a weird busy. There wasn’t anything on the schedule, but there was plenty to be done. We had to pick up a few items in town, went to the library where we got to visit with our neighbors and our favorite librarian, then headed out to pick up some milk. When we got back, I had food prep to do, and then we had to drop Pumpkin and Peanut off for a sleepover. After that, it was off to my brother’s house to help them pack up for their big move! Friday morning, I was mush! But by the afternoon, I was doing food prep for several people in my life with major life events going on and babysat my niece and nephews while their mom and dad went to the bank to go get house keys. As soon as Scott was home, he was off to help my brother with moving. A relative came to spend the night at our house, mostly as a crash landing spot while she worked on moving. When Scott got home, I headed out to go help my brother’s family, and later he took some of the kids to a local tractor pull. Saturday morning, we said goodbye to our guest and spent the rest of the day helping with the move. And then Sunday came and we were so grateful that God commands for a day of rest. Scott took a nice long nap, and the kids and I were either reading or watching movies. We did go to the park after church in the morning, but other than that it was a rest day. Well, Scott and Peanut helped that relative who spent the night do a little unloading of stuff from her move, but they weren’t there for very long at all. As I said, yesterday, I was a bit ornery, but today things are starting off a lot better! Oh, and we did watch part of the solar eclipse yesterday, but we weren’t in the path of the total eclipse, and it was also cloudy at times, so… So there you have it… most of the reason I’ve been too busy to write. I’ll explain the rest of the reason in another post sometime soonish. Onto the fun, homesteady stuff! I have this fellow homesteading friend out in the beautiful New England area, Michelle of Souly Rested. She writes about her homesteading adventures as well, most recently about their exciting new addition of a little calf and their first experiences owning a cow who is now in milk. They’ve owned Scout (the momma cow) for some time now, but this is their first milking experience. Anyway, that’s not all she writes about. She’s working on the finishing touches of her book Sweet Maple that is due to be out this fall. I cannot tell you how I excited I am for this book to come out. I am most definitely going to be purchasing a copy as soon as it’s in print! But that’s not why I’m telling you all of this. First of all, if you like reading about homesteading adventures, and you enjoy what I write about, I think you’d really enjoy her page. She is a fellow homeschooler, though her girls are getting quite grown-up (some are out of the house), and she’s somewhat of a newbie homesteader (she’s been doing it longer than I have) who is unafraid to share her failures with you so that you can learn from her mistakes. But that’s not why I’m telling you all of this. First of all, if you like reading about homesteading adventures, and you enjoy what I write about, I think you’d really enjoy her page. Secondly, she’s offering a free e-booklet now through the end of the month on how to get started making your own maple syrup! I know I wrote a bit about the process on here, but she actually tells you how to go about making your own maple syrup (and what not to do) in detail. The booklet is a prelude to the book that is coming out in fall. That book will be part instructional, part recipes, part anecdote. I’ve read through the e-booklet, and it’s short, simple, and exactly what you need to know if you are thinking about trying your hand at making your own maple syrup. You don’t need a sugar maple tree to make maple syrup, but you do need a maple tree… or you could try making birch syrup or black walnut… you decide! Seriously though, it’s a fun process, and you should really give it a try! Even if you only end up with a small bottle of syrup, it’s a great learning experience, and there is just something so rewarding about enjoying the “fruits of your labor.” The booklet is only free now through the end of August, so if you want to get a copy, check it out! You’ve heard me say it before,...
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