Monday, April 29, 2013

After Dark

Wondering where I've been? Ha, probably not, but I'll tell you anyway!

I leave work at 5:00, after all of my super-important tasks have been completed.


Then, I go home and do random chores like doing laundry and cooking dinner and cleaning up after the heathens.


They go to bed around 8:00 and I hang out with hubby for a bit. When the sun starts to set, I head out and take care of the critters.


When I'm done, it's usually just about dark...


...so it's time to head to the camper...


...where there are no distractions (including internet)...


...and write.

Confession: My name is Kristen and I write romances in a vintage camper after dark. Posts will continue to be sparse as I push to finish my book by my self-imposed deadline of May 31. Eighty-six pages and counting - wish me luck!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Chicken and Potatoes

Image Credit: Fine Art America
Mmm, sounds like a tasty dinner, but that's actually just a summary of my plans for the weekend.

Our freeranging flock are getting penned in, a clean coop and fresh straw for spring and some more nesting boxes. Plus, we'll be securing the coop better against the possum horde. I'm for sure sick and tired of buying eggs at the grocery store!

And with the warmer weather here, our potatoes are finally going to get planted. We've got a big 20 pound bag of red seed potatoes to do, maybe 7 pounds of russets with eyes that I've saved to try and plant, and a brand new tiller to break in. Woohoo!

And actually, now that I think about it, I'm going to thaw that chicken I have in the freezer and bake it up with some potatoes for Sunday dinner, just to keep with the theme.

What are your plans this weekend?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

More Farmer's Market Brainstorming

Sorry, just thinking aloud some more - arranging my ideas.
Image Credit: Zazzle

Galesburg Marketplace
Saturdays 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
June-September
$110 for season/$10 in advance/$12 the day of the market

Selling Ideas
Home-baked:
Cookies
Pies
Cakes
Pickles

Home-Grown:
Veggies
Fruits
Herbs
Wildflowers

Vintage:
Magazines
Sewing Notions
Knicknacks
Cookbooks

Handmade:
Aprons
Embroidery
Laundry detergent (sell in a Mason jar with the recipe)

Need to Do
Research best days to participate
Make payment/reserve spots
Buy canopy
Work on more aprons/embroidery pieces
Compile recipes
Check thrift stores for more vintage
Go through the house and assemble "stock"

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Days Off and Money-Making Plans

Hey, y'all! I'm back from a 4-day break, in which I reveled in my country-ness. For this former city girl, it was heady stuff! Here's the short version of the fun activities I got into over Easter and the first two days of vacation I've taken from my day job since sometime in November 2012:

Found at: Arlene McNight's Pinterest Page
  • Twenty dozen bazillion trips to Tractor Supply (okay, three, but that's a lot). We knocked some much-needed items off our list, including work gloves, a cultivator, seed potatoes, and...
  • Chickens! Okay, we swore we were done raising chicks on the front porch, but shoot, they were on clearance for 99 cents. Nine Isa Brown pullets, three Black Sex Link pullets, and one Barred Rock and two New Hampshire Red straight run chicks. Which led to...
  • A veterinarian lesson for Dakota on "mud butt." If you've ever raised baby chicks, you've probably encountered mud butt: a buildup of poo on the bee-hind that's not only unsightly but can spell doom for your baby chick if not taken care of. Dakota was properly impressed at my poo-removal skills (warm water and paper towels) and feels able to take on the next mud butt candidate himself with me supervising.
  • Yard work. Saturday was perfect weather - crisp, cool and sunny - for raking some leaves and trimming some bushes. After the long, dragged out winter, I never thought I'd be aching for yardwork. And speaking of aching...
  • Workout! That's not especially country, except that it'll make us big and strong and farmwork-capable, but my husband and I did our first workout together. The one we did is here if you're interested and of the Crossfit approach, which basically means kill your muscles in 20 intense minutes and spend the entire following day groaning about it.
There were other fun activities, too, like buying a nice keyboard (a family/fun-for-everyone anniversary gift), dinner out with the hubs, a trip to the museum with my boys, baking and delivering 200 birthday treats ($200, woohoo), and lots of driving around in the "new" truck, since Mr. Tavin is a little obsessed with it. Seventeen months old and clear as a bell can holler, "Ride ina TUCK!" at the top of his lungs. There was also chicken fencing investigation (we're so done with the freerangers yard bombing), garden tilling scheduling and farm project plans made for this coming weekend.

It may not sound very exciting, but it was an awesome few days for me. I would love to be the one home everyday with the kiddos, but right now, that's my husband's job. I've got the higher earning potential and with no winning lottery tickets to speak of, bestselling romance novels, or viable home business plans, that's the way it'll stay for now. However, that doesn't mean I can't start some grassroots moneymaking-at-home efforts, like the one I was brainstorming yesterday.

Duboce Farmers Market (San Francisco, 1944) found here
Farmer's Market!
Our little town started up a farmer's market/antique mart last year that was really reasonably-priced to participate in and I've decided to buy a season spot this year. I've got an antique farm table that I'm going to load up on sunny weekend days with a cute vintage tablecloth and stuff to sell. Because of the cottage industry act Michigan passed, I can sell appropriately labeled home-baked or canned goods, and because of the venue, I can also sell vintage stuff! Here's my list of to-do's in the near future for that:
  • Hit the thrift stores for vintage goodies to sell (not urgent - I've got a stash of things I could sell already)
  • Research more cottage industry approved items to sell
  • Whip up some vintage-inspired aprons (have lots of fabric, but only white trim, so going to experiment with tea-staining lace)
  • Find out when it starts and who to pay
  • Work on some hand-embroidery (tea towels, handkerchiefs)
And I'll be using the rest of the time to finish up that bestselling romance novel. Look out Nora Roberts, I'm at 70 pages and counting! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Garden Planning 2013

Image Credit: National Geographic
Happy Spring, everyone! Now who else has snow in the foreseeable forecast all the way up until June?

I can't complain, though - we're still 7.5 inches under our normal snowfall for southwest Michigan, and this time last year, we were recovering from a string of 70+ degree days. That may sound great right now, when it's only 30 degrees, but those nice days got the sap rising and the buds blooming, and then boom -- frosted over and killed the majority of Michigan's fruit.

So I'll take this weather for the blessing that it actually is and hope the orchards and fruit farmers stay in business this year!

While I'm waiting for normal spring to get here, I'm trying to figure out what to do with the garden this year. My hubs and I decided to focus on what we did best last year and expand on that. We'll experiment with a couple of things, but for the most part, we're perfecting our approaches on the vegetables we use most, like tomatoes for saucin' and cucumbers for picklin' and potatoes just for eatin'.

If your eyeballs are weak, like mine, you can click the pic for a bigger view.
And no, that section for burdock and nettle in the upper left corner isn't a mistake. That area is typically too shady and damp to grow much, and the nettle and burdock already thrive there, so that note is more of a reminder to myself to use those plants instead of trying to eradicate them from my garden. Both, I'm finding, are really helpful herbs to have around!

This layout will probably change when my husband puts in his two cents, and I've still got seeds to buy and natural pest killers to research (squash bugs and tomato worms - awful the past two years!). Plus, I might have gophers to contend with...

So, snow, stick around for a bit. I have a lot to do before spring!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Goodbye Google Reader

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I read yesterday that Google is discontinuing their RSS reader this summer. Since that's how I follow all of my blogs, it's time to find something new to replace it. I'm thinking Bloglovin.

Does anyone else have experience with Bloglovin? Any other RSS reader recommendations, or do you just visit your favorite blogs daily?

I'll miss you, Google Reader...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Them's (Thankfully Not) The Breaks

I had big plans for this weekend, but as usual, life happened instead. I took the boys into town with me to grocery shop, and since it was sunny and beautiful we stopped at the park to play for a bit before we went home.

While big brother Dakota ran for the play structure, I took Mr. Tavin (now 17 months old) to the slide. I settled him on my lap, but when we went down, my boy's pudgy little foot slipped off my leg and got caught against the side of the slide. Oh, no!

After a two minute rush home to drop Dakota off, confer with Dad and dump the groceries in a heap, I hustled to make the half-hour drive to the ER with Tavin. His hysterical sobs finally subsided to whimpers as I played his favorite two songs from the O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack - "You Are My Sunshine" and "Down to the River to Pray" - on repeat and tried not to cry hysterically myself. When we got there, the doctors started talking scary things like casts and orthopedic surgery, but thank God, when the x-rays came back, my little guy was fracture-free. It was a terrifying few hours, though.

So the last few days have been full of temporarily relearning to crawl, watching Curious George movies and coming up with ways to creatively confine a toddler (for example, he likes to "cook" with me in the high chair with a little saucepan, utensils and uncooked egg noodles). No basement cleaning or sewing or even basic dishwashing going on around the Rusty Moon Homestead, in the meantime, though.

Heal up quick, my little guy - that's more important than our spidery basement, for sure!