Guinea Fowl

We brought home a few additions to our wild flock the other day.  Guinea fowl!  Over half of our property is wooded, so ticks are prevalent.  The kids are in and out of the woods most days, so tick checks are certainly part of our daily routines.  Still, I’d love to do what I can to keep the tick population down, so we introduced three guinea.

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Supposedly, guinea love to eat ticks and I’m hoping this is the case!  They definitely interesting looking creatures.  They seem to know what they want and do what they need to do in order to get it.  Even if that means running like The Roadrunner and sometimes taking flight!  Since chickens and domesticated ducks are largely flightless, this was a bit of a shock!

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The other day, we moved the teenager guinea into the brooder with a couple younger guinea.  She’d been in the teenager run with some pullets and young meat birds, but we thought she’d be happy with some of her own breed.  We were wrong.  When I opened the brooder to check them, she FLEW out, ran at lightening speed, and caused a huge ruckus until she made it back into the run with her old friends.  It was quite a hilarious sight.

If they eat the ticks, they can fly, squabble, and be as weird looking as they please!

Heralds of Spring

Sun!  We actually saw it today.  And it was warm enough for the girls to play outside for a large part of the day.  I grabbed my camera (ditched my phone!  It’s always so distracting.) and joined them on a walk to discover what was blooming and to check out the bee activity.

 

 

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There were tons of violets, which we collected for a salad.  Flowers in your salad is always so fun, even if they don’t provide much flavor.  We also forage ramp, which is growing now, but Bella declared that she can’t stand the smell.

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We found plenty of may apples growing everywhere as well as happy remnants of last year’s paintball forts.  You could almost hear the echoes of wild boys shouting across the ravines.

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The peach tree closest to the house has started to bloom and I’m curious what the fruit will be like.  The first year we were here, it produced no food at all.  In fact, we didn’t even identify it as a peach tree. Last year, the peaches were small, mushy, and generally inedible.  I don’t know enough about growing fruit to know what caused them to be gross.  I guess we will just wait to see!

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It’s always so nice to wander outside with the kids, watching the changes to the woods and trying to identify the plant life.  We are slowly adding to our knowledge.  Slowly!

Eight!

Our spunky, adventurous, artistic Isabella turns eight today!  She is a girl who knows what she wants and makes it happen.  She’s always ready for an adventure.

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Bella is definitely a girl without much “girly” in her.  She’s always the child who is willing to jump in with the pigs or climb a tree.  Lately, she isn’t seen without her “adventure bag” and is usually heading into the woods, covering in mud or twigs.

She adds her distinct brand of zest to our family and we love her for it!

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Happy Birthday, Isabella Concetta!

Growing Parents (re-post)

I’m reposting this post that I wrote eight years, three kids, and one house ago.  Certainly, a great deal has changed since I wrote this, but the words still ring so true.  Embrace the season in which you are living and, while you look forward to the seasons to come, don’t lament that you are not yet there.

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Growing Parents

This weekend we tackled our basement. We have to ton of work that needs to be accomplished and would like to have it finished sooner rather than later. As we were painting with little people underfoot (some wielding paint-filled brushed!) and on our backs, I got to thinking about how far we have come.

We bought this house five years and three children ago. In fact, we moved in on Christopher’s first birthday and I was seven months pregnant. Every wall in the house was a horrid glaring white. We painted the majority of them, but it was quite a trial. And we didn’t do it alone. I remember my parents and most likely my sister, spending hours painting, wallpapering and otherwise ridding our home of white. It seemed like a major undertaking. And certainly one that Andrew and I would never have dreamed of tackling it alone. But this weekend, we had no need to call in reinforcements — even though we have twice as many children. Somehow, in our six short years of parenting, we have learned to be productive despite little hands and feet getting in the way. We have grown in patience and ability.

I don’t want to paint (haha) a picture that this past work weekend was all fun and games — it wasn’t. I was just struck by how our reactions to the situation have changed. But it made me think about all the young families, just starting out, who only have teensy tiny children and are aspiring to be something that no mother oflittles has ever been. She is aspiring to be a mother to eight, when she is only a mother to two or three. Many young moms, my self included, have gotten caught up in this “blog-o-sphere of support” run by these seemingly super moms with a gaggle of children.

We log on and read that Mrs GotItTogether knitted fifteen sweaters while homeschooling her seven year old in third year Latin, took all ten kids to the TL Mass, and got home in time to take her seven year old to Orchestra practice. And mom of three, with her dirty t-shirt, dirty diaper clad three year old (who is also her oldest), and mountain of laundry thinks that she is somehow failing. It’s ridiculous. But what mom-of-three-under-three doesn’t realize is that Mrs.GotItTogether used to be her. But now, seven kids and many years later, she has learned how to run a home efficiently, she has older kids to help, and has learned to relax. They are living in different world.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think that the “blog-o-sphere” support system is wonderful and very beneficial. I don’t begrudge Mrs.GotItTogether has marvelous ability or her willingness to share with those of us who are less seasoned. But I do think that there is a danger that the whole picture is not always shown and those who are still in the more difficult years might at times feel inadequate.

Maybe the term “terrible twos” was actually referring to the years of only two children? And maybe this is why so many couples only have two children. Because that is the hardest time of all.

I guess this is so clear to me right now because I am in the position where, while still in the throws of the harder times, I have cleared the worst and see the better days ahead. I no longer spend my days only with people who can’t carry on a conversation, follow commands, or use the bathroom.

I think these days of parenting are kind of like the transition phase of labor — it gets really rotten for a while and then, all of a sudden, it’s wonderful! And it is amazing how quickly it happens.

Spring Took a Vacation

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It’s still acting like winter here in Indiana.  My kids have given up, tossed their pants to the wind, and decided it is, in fact, the spring it is supposed to be.  They’ve gone on adventures in the woods, helped daddy build a fence, and built bonfires, all the while I whimper about the cold, and hunker down inside.  I really should take a lesson from their care free spirits.

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My little tomato seedlings are whimpering along with me.  They want to be in the garden!  They’re doing will inside, for the most part.  They seemed to be getting awfully “leggy”, so I have set up a small fan to act as wind resistance and, hopefully, strengthen their root systems.  Of course, the rest of my household is laughing at this idea, but I am hopeful!

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Our no-more-chickens-in-the-flowerbed fence is near completion.  It needs wire at the bottom and children who know how to close a gate.  Not that they close front doors or even the bathroom door, for that matter.  I’d probably have more luck teaching the chickens to close the gate.

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