Monday, March 22, 2010

Sad News Today

This afternoon I went out to the chicken coop to feed the chickens and was unfortunately faced with some sad news. I had one of my bantam hens (theses are like the chihuahuas of chickens, furry and cute) sitting on one of my bantam eggs. This hens name is Pomp, her matching bantam friends name is circumstance (get it?). I could have had her sit on more than 1 egg but I really did not want a lot of new chickens plus I was not sure if she would actually sit on the egg until it hatched. I also should have had her in a totally separate cage as well (per Mr. (Rodney) Maurer so the other hens couldn't get to the egg and she would be pretty much forced to stay on her egg.

Pomp on her nest.

Well basically I did not do what I was supposed to do and today I suffered the consequence (or at least Pomp did). My little egg (its truly little, only a bit bigger than a thumb) had been pecked at and the shell was broken. The egg would have hatched in the next week or 2. Pomp, ever the protective mother was off her nest for the first time in weeks. I sadly removed the broken egg. What made it even worse was when I checked the coop one last time before heading inf or the night and seeing Pomp sitting on her nest of golf balls awaiting a little chick.

This is my first experience with (attempting) hatching chicks from eggs so I am not sure how I will proceed. I think she will stay broody (this is the state the chicken is in when she sits on a nest to hatch a chick) until she actually hatches a chick. I will probably get let her sit on another egg or just buy a little chick and stick it under her and hope she thinks its hers. We shall see. Regardless today is a sad day for me and Pomp.

RIP little Pompette.

Friday, March 19, 2010

1 Month Down, 14 To Go

Although Joe says its not a real anniversary, today is our 1 month being engaged anniversary! I can't believe how time has passed so quickly and I am not sure how I will possibly be able to get everything done before the wedding bells ring. Thankfully I have wonderful family & friends who have already been super helpful with stuff (thanks, love you!).

The date has been set, May 21, 2011 so we've got 14 months to go.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mason Jars Galore

I have been engaged for almost a month now and wedding planning is on my mind all the time. After looking at countless wedding blogs (my favorite is Style Me Pretty) I am finally feeling like I kind of know the general look and feel I am going for. The overall look and feel will be shabby chic- a mix of romantic pinks, country, and vintagey things. One thing I knew I wanted to incorporate was Mason jars and I let people know that they should be on the look out for them. Literally 2 days after I told Mr. Williams (Joe's dad) that he should look for them (among other things) my phone rang and he was on the other end. Apparently one of his colleagues, Garland, owned an old closed down general store in Cleveland, Tx, that was being sold in 15 days. The man said there were a ton of Mason jars in the store and we would have all of them. We made arrangements to go to the store 2 days later in the afternoon.

Joe and I took his truck to Cleveland and talked about how we had no idea what we should expect to find at the store on the way. When we pulled up to the store I think we were both a little skeptical but mostly excited to see what we would find in the store. The shop had been closed down for at least 15 years and it showed it. Anyone remember the glass Gatorade bottles? This store had some still in the coolers from when the shop closed.

Anyway Garland told us to back the truck up to the stores entry and he and Joe started loading up boxes of Mason jars on to the truck. Some of the jars were empty but lots were filled with a variety of canned yummys (at least I am sure they were yummy at one time). We completely filled the bed of the truck with boxes with a few exceptions- I found a couple other goodies Garland said we could find that took up a little space on the truck. It was pretty unbelievable, I wish I would have taken a picture of the truck.

When we got back to my house, Joe and his dad unloaded the boxes into the garage.

This is where my work began. The jars that had already been used for canning needed to be emptied, scrubbed, put in the dishwasher, examined for being totally cleaned, and either stacked up or hand washed again, put in the dishwasher again, examined again, and if ok, stacked up. If not, they go through the recleaning process a third time.

My cleaning set up.

Tools of the trade - a blue bottle gripper, flat head screw driver (for prying up the lids), spoon (for scooping out the canned stuff), and a brush for the initial cleaning.

In the dishwasher.

These need a second cleaning.

The 100% clean glasses are lined up nicely in my living room. Once all the glasses are cleaned I will take a total count of all the different types of glasses then they will be stored away in Tupperware containers until we get closer to the big day.

Lined up and ready to go!

Needless to say, it is a long, time consuming process but I am not at all complaining. It is a wonderful blessing to have people ready and willing to help us get ready for the wedding. Throughout our relationship, Joe and I have been blessed, in countless ways big and small - and surprising like being given hundreds of Mason jars. Each of these blessing are reminders that God will take care of and provide for his children even when we do not realize either our needs the possibilities. For example, I never would have thought I should outright ask God to help me find Mason jars BUT I have asked for Gods help and blessing as we plan our wedding and wala hundreds of Mason jars are provided.

So the next thing I am looking for are crystal (real or faux) prisms like those used in chandeliers. They need to have a hole at the top so that they can be strung. If you know where I can get some let me know!

PS- I still need more Mason jars too!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Signs of Life

I absolutely love springtime (who doesn't) and am constantly amazed how overnight things can completely change from dreary and gray to alive and colorful. Walking around the yard the past couple days I have found so many great surprises waiting for me. I know its sounds like I am exaggerating but each of these fun surprises truly bring joy to my heart (I don't have kids so these things are my everyday pleasures, bear with me!).

One of the most exciting things are my peach and plum tree leaves/ blossoms. I bought both of these trees from the Arbor Day Foundation and was (un)pleasantly surprised when I got a box of twigs in the mail. Literally they mailed plain sticks ranging from a foot to 2 feet in length with a damp paper towel in a plastic bag protecting the roots. Nonetheless, I planted my little twigs in November 2008 and little trees appeared later in the spring of 2009 (they ended the summer about 3.5 feet tall). With the drought of the summer I knew the trees energy was put towards survival rather that growth of the root structure so I was pretty worried that January's freeze would do them in. Well this afternoon was was really happy to see pink buds getting ready to blossom on my peach tree and little leave growing on my plum tree. I know its probably unreasonable for me to hope for a few fruit to come from my grown up twigs in their second year of life at my house but my fingers are crossed.

A couple weeks ago I was pulling early weeds and found some little leaves from the cilantro I planted last year in a container. How exciting! I most definitely made a Mexican dinner that evening to celebrate and will continue to enjoy its harvest throughout the season (and hopefully beyond).

When I bought a small thing of curled parsley last year and planted it directly in my poor (clay) soil I had few hopes for survival. I was wrong. besides the basil and sage, the parsley did the absolute best (my potted flat leaf Italian parsley did not prosper nearly as must and will be planted directly in the ground this year). I had fresh parsley on just about every dinner last year and and happy I can re-introduce this herb in my meals.

Like the trees, I did not think my new hydrangeas would make it. I am happy to be proven wrong by these green leaves.
I don't think anything represents spring better than lily's and tulips. I didn't have time this year to plant tulips (that to do is already on next years checklist) but for now the lily's are more than adequate.

I didn't use thyme a lot last year but its coming back strong so I will have to try out some recipes with it this year.

And even the weeds are responding to the nice weather....

Hopefully soon I will have a little chick too. This hen, Circumstance (her fellow bantam roosters name is Pomp, get it?) has been sitting on an egg and some golf balls for about 2 weeks. In about 2 weeks there should be a new chick in the hen house!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Author of 90 Minutes in Heaven coming to church!

Tomorrow, Don Piper, author of 90 Minutes in Heaven is going to be speaking at my church here in Conroe, The Ark. Several years ago Don was in a major car accident on his way from Trinity Texas back to his home in Houston. On the way, a truck hit his car and he was pronounced dead for 90 minutes. During those 90 minutes he experienced heaven. Through Gods grace, he miraculously began breathing again (after the 90 minutes of being pronounced dead) and was rushed to the emergency room. He faced a long and agonizing recovery both physically and mentally but came through and has since written a book (90 Minutes in Heaven) and gives testimonies of his experience throughout the nation.

His story is an amazing testimony to God's healing in our lives and provides comfort to people suffering with loss of a loved one. I would not have normally picked it up to read but a girl in my book club brought it to our Christmas book exchange and (happily) I ended up with it.

I absolutely can not wait to hear him tomorrow and invite everyone in the area to come hear him. Church services are at 9:30 and 11:15AM. I also have his book if anyone would like to borrow it.

Here is a short video about his story:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Now Enjoying Christmas Goodies

This weeks beautiful weather combined with my garage filled with Christmas gifts meant for the great outdoors prompted me to get some work done in the yard. I was able to clear the grass along the side of my house (for those of you who have been here, its the side you see when you drive up to my house). I created a new flower bed and hauled in some good dirt because the ground is all horrible clay over there. Last year a friend gave me a ton of monkey grass - so much that I ended up dumping some near the creek at the house. About 2 weeks ago I was really happy to see that the monkey grass made it so I pulled some of that up and planted it along the edge of the new flower bed. I also planted a new Encore Azalia and Camilia plant. I am excited to have this new space to grow things and hope it turns out somewhat in line with what I am envisioning.

The most exciting part of this process was putting out all the fun yard goodies I got as Christmas gifts this year. My sister in law Jamie Hafner ( and her dad made me an awesome bottle tree. I absolutely love this - not only because of how cute it looks but its a great excuse to drink more wine (I have to fill up the tree after all!)!

I will always remember my Granny's cement hen and chicks she had in front of her house. My aunt Marilyn gives Granny's hens and chicks a home today, but I have always wanted some of my own. My parents found me some this year and surprised me with it at Christmas. What a great gift! My version consist of a rooster and 3 hens and they have found a home in front of my garden (hopefully these will be the only chickens near my garden this year!).

My cousin Kristin ( and Aunt Marilyn completely look care of my yard this year with all sorts of fun goodies. These little guys are made up of re-purposed tools and are just too cute.

I fell in love with this flower at this past years Nutcracker. My aunt Marilyn took notice and surprised me with it for my yard. I love it!