A Love-Themed Watercolor Art Piece

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Being in my art studio, is way up there as one of my favorite places in my very small world, to be!
For the month of February, I was inspired to create something ‘love-themed’, to add as a decorative art piece for our home’s double-mantels. I was very much in the mood to get into a watercolor project, and I had some text in mind that I wanted to make a part of it, as well.
In this post I’m sharing the general concepts I used in creating this fun little piece, with a little chit-chat along the way. I hope you enjoy it.

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Although I have sold several watercolor scenery or subject paintings in my earlier years, I still do not consider myself to be  [Read more…]

Bartering; It’s a Beautiful Thing

One of the awesome things about having skills, and owning your own small businesses especially, is the ability to barter with other small businesses!  Michael and I have made some fantastic bartering agreements over the years, that have really made us feel like we got quite a deal. They have also enabled us to get more tasks accomplished sooner, than we otherwise would have been able to.

    Not sure exactly what bartering entails? Here is an official definition of the term:
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bar·ter
/ˈbärdər/
verb
gerund or present participle: bartering
  1. exchange (goods or services) for other goods or services without using money.
    “he often bartered a meal for drawings”
    synonyms: trade, swap, exchange, sell

    “they bartered grain for salt

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I bartered a few deals when I had my photography business running. Michael has bartered many great deals in his business, over the years. Michael works full time for our church now, but he still runs his own business on the side that started 15 years ago or so. He is a truck letterer and sign maker, and so the majority of his many client accounts are small local businesses; men with families they are trying to support. We always make an effort to support small business people, and do our part to help our own community thrive. We know many have done the same for us. Needless to say, Michael is tapped into a vast array of blue-collar trade services, and has known them all long enough to know who does the best work.

For example, Michael has exchanged his truck lettering or sign making services for [Read more…]

Pots and Pans – DIY Organization Hanger

We have always made eating dinner all together around the table every night, a high family priority. But quite honestly, making yet another family meal/dinner, is not always Michael or I’s favorite thing to do around here, towards the end of the day. Especially when both or either of us are in the middle of work, or some project, and need to stop what we are doing to go cook in the kitchen. But our disgruntled state can go from bad to worse, by the time we get the pots and pans we need out!  Ugh!

I don’t know where you store your pots and pans. But we have had ours in a cabinet on the floor under the counter, for years. Forever, for as long as we’ve lived in this house, actually. So to start, we’ve had to bend way down there, or just go head and get on the floor, to get what we need out. Or, to put clean pots and pans away, for that matter!  They only pile and nest so well, with some being the same diameter as others, but deeper pots. So there’s always a real tipping-factor going on.  And then there are all of the covers!!  So if all of the clinging and clanging isn’t enough to frazzle the nerves, everything falling out of the cabinet onto the floor, or sometimes onto our toes, will!

It’s about that time I remember THE WINE.
I don’t know what it is about a glass of wine, or something a little alcoholic, that makes cooking so much more bare-able. Sometimes even enjoyable, if you drink enough!  Ha haha!

But I had gotten to the point where I had really had it, dealing with the pots and pans cabinet. And for years Michael and I had randomly mentioned getting one of those grand pots and pans racks, that suspend from the ceiling. But you know, time really gets away, when we both hate spending money.  So on a recent Saturday, as I was headed out shopping with my oldest girl, I eluded to our pile of pallets outside by the wood shed, and said, “Just whip out something, please! It doesn’t have to be beautiful! I love rustic.”  (Because this is most always a point of contention, between us.).

By golly, he did it! [Read more…]

The Unexpected Death of Our Rooster

Doesn’t it figure, that not even a week after finding a new home for our over-abundance of roosters from our hatch, did we face the very unexpected death of our rooster, ‘Weymouth’, who we have had for over a year?  We somehow went from having too many roosters, to none, in no time flat.  And it’s honestly left us scratching our heads.

In our last blog post about the flock, in September, we played a fun (and super easy) guessing game, determining how many birds from our new hatch in the spring, turned out to be roosters. Roosters, mind you, that we could not keep, because we already had one, that we never had intended on having, but ended up with anyway. The new tally came to 3 out of 5 more roosters. We knew they couldn’t stay, and we updated at our Facebook Page ( < we invite you to ‘Like’ it) when we did indeed find a new home for them all together.  A nice guy who was very excited to use all three of them for breeding, took them.

Not even a week later, our big, beautiful healthy rooster, who has been the head of our flock, started our day like any other, crowing up a storm. And then in a matter of moments, he was gone.

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[Read more…]

Hen or Rooster? Come Play the Guessing Game with Us!

Determining if growing baby chickens are ultimately a hen (female) or a rooster (male) is an age old guessing game of any breeding chicken-keepers and farmers. (A game we’re going to let you play right here with us, today!!)  Some are much better at it than others! Some could probably even be considered experts. But….that wouldn’t be us. We had our first go at the game when, after ordering and receiving our very first 8 vent-sexed chicks, in July 2014.  We had ordered vent-sexed chicks, to be sure we only got females, because there was no-way, no-how, we could have a rooster around here. So the adorable chicks arrived, and we were having a great time caring for them.

But then some suspicious things came about. Like, what sounded very much like a little inexperienced crowing, at only 4 weeks old! That got us worried, and researching, to learn about how to identify very young chickens as a hen or rooster. So we had our suspicions, and in a little more time there was no doubt that ONE bird (blogged about here in “Our 8 Four Week Old Chicks, and One Sad Surprise”), and then a SECOND (just blabbed out on our Facebook Page), of our 8 vent-sexed birds (supposed hens) were indeed roosters.  Two roosters, out of our 8 ordered chicks, vent-sexed to be assure females. Didn’t it figure?

What Became of the Roosters

Although it was definitely a plan to never have a rooster, since we live in fairly close proximity to neighbors, guess what? One of those roosters still lives here. It’s working out so far. He is a very big, beautiful, and traditional looking Welsummer. The other unfortunately had to go, and it broke my heart. It was my favorite. He was an Americauna Easter Egger, that very much looked and acted like the coolest hawk, ever. To see what a stunning bird he was, and find out why he had to go, you can check out this post called “Goodbye, Boston”.  That was his name; Boston. I know. A cool name, too, right? And it was sentimental, as Boston is the big city where our triplets were born. I was so sad to let him go for all of those reasons, but I also knew I was also never going to get any beautiful blueish or blue-green eggs, from a rooster. And that’s why I wanted an Easter Egger in the first place.

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Anyway, if you follow us, you know we let the hens sit on some eggs this past spring, instead of collecting them one day, to see what happened. This bright idea was spawn from how terrible I felt for my kids, because [Read more…]