Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Giveaway and Looking Back Again

Away back in May, we hit 1000 posts made on this blog. 

I intended to do a giveaway to celebrate, but kept forgetting. 

All of the sudden, I had done 100 more posts... and it seemed silly. 

However, I decided to go ahead and do it! 

Here is what we are giving away: 

This is a new copy of Deborah Nieman's book

Homegrown and Handmade. 

Some of you may remember that Deborah's blog was featured on our sidebar for some months. 
She actually has written a second book "Ecothrifty".  

In this book are chapters dealing with gardening, keeping an orchard, and the "regular" livestock of the homestead, all of with which Deborah and her family have experience, so she writes about what she truly knows.  

All you need to do to win it is to let me know you would like to have the book by leaving a comment in this post.  We'll choose one at random, and I'll let you know via the blog who has won.  If you could then contact me with your address, I'll get it mailed posthaste after.  

We'll keep this open for one week from today. 

Here is the old henyard about 8 summers ago: 

back then, it was the NEW henyard! 

And those two were Fred and Wilma, our original Japanese bantams. 

Look how fresh and new the fence is, and there was GRASS. 

Approximately the same view today.  See what chickens do to a chicken yard? 
This is true everywhere, and I don't think neophyte chicken owners realize it. When it is wet, it is like glass, and I am not kidding you.  Very dangerous.  

There are saplings growing in there everywhere, and if I had turned and looked back towards the little henhouse behind me, you would see that it is almost completely shaded now.  In fact, there are a few saplings that I need to cut OUT, and quite a few I need to trim back. 
We are, however, expecting some more rain this week, so I think I'll wait until next. 
This was Keith's very first building project here, and he knows much more about building fence than he did then.  We cope with these... because this flock is shrinking. 

And here was the original "little" henyard, with Rambo, our Buff Orpington rooster we adopted through Olathe Animal Control, and the two hens adopted with him. 

No little henhouse, no rabbit hutch, no brooder hutch.  Grass. 


Now I want to write about something that I think might be happening to a lot of us. 
About a week ago, Kim at My Field of Dreams wrote about "bouncing" on her blog.  She intended to write about her stats... but when she started investigating them, she found that a porn site was "bouncing" off her blog. 

I looked up bouncing, and I am not sure that is the right term, but what is happening is that a porn site is pointing off her blog and she is getting read, but as a means to get to this other site.  No, I am not sure how it works. 

However... after reading it... I began to think about my own stats, which had been going up at a rather steady rate.  In fact, one Sunday post had drawn nearly 200 readers... and I had mentioned it to Keith ... Wow... we are sure increasing our readership!

Ha Ha on us. 

I looked in our stats, and yes, folks, there was a porn site referring our blog.  Like I said, I don't know how it works, or what can be done about it.  I looked in the stats for "referring sites" and there it was. 
It is not a triple X horrible picture site, but it is a site I would not choose to go to, nonetheless. 
I don't know where it originates. 
I noticed we had 253 pageviews two days ago, and I know those weren't all for our blog. 


I have no idea what can be done, because, as you know... Blogger is not very responsive, and I don't think it's their fault, anyway, I think there are just hackers out there who know how to do "stuff". 

So... I don't trust my stats anymore, because of it.  I thought it was interesting that my overseas traffic had picked up... now I see why! 

So, if you want to check your own blogs... go to your Stats page, 
and then to "Traffic Sources"... and you can see from whence your traffic is coming. 
I have just checked mine... I no longer have the mild porn page, but DO have a Fat Loss Page connected now. 
Guess where most of my page views are coming?  GERMANY. 
Go figure. 

10,000 + page views 

I worked for a German company for 6 1/2 years before retiring, but I know I don't have that many friends interested in a tiny midwest blog. 

Anyway, something to be aware of. 

Now I'm off to get some straw and hay for the haybarn, for cleaning day (henhouses) tomorrow. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Rainy Morning

We've had some nice, gentle rain now for two days. 

We've had the doors and windows open, and the air conditioning off.  

The little guys are spending a lot of time indoors, either in their barn or in the henhouse. 
Goats don't care for rain. 

I thought the walnuts were the only ones losing their leaves, but look... these are under our old maple by the deck! 

The Duck Pond Express has not had to be used for the last few days.  That saved a lot of bucketing on my sore wrist. 

This is what I saw as I came down the drive from getting the paper this morning.  The "hump" you see in the right is a hill about two miles away.  This part of Kansas contains gentle, rolling hills. 

All morning, I've been watching the ducks and chickens run back and forth between the chicken yard and the goatyard.  The brown thing you see is the back of the goat hay feeder, which the chickens love to lay in, and the goats love to nap in.  The ducks for some reason love this yard... there is a fortex in there full of water, and a bucket inside the barn (for the goats) and they played in the water in the yard for a good fifteen minutes this morning.  Then, the chickens began running in and out as well, so I enjoyed listening to the crowing and quacking as I sat here reading blogs. 

That's a lone starling in the foreground, but there was quite a group of them out there for a long while, eating. 

The clouds are beginning to drift away now, and it is considerably lighter out. 
I am going to Leavenworth this afternoon for an appointment, and going to get ready now after a pleasant morning spent (partly) reading your blog entries. 

I'm going to have a giveaway for the first time, hopefully tomorrow... and those of you (Sandy!!) who wrote about how to do it, thank you so very much for your comments and suggestions! 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Catch-up Sunday Post

I just did not get time to sit and post yesterday, so will try to catch up this morning. 
We have had a prediction  (80%) chance of rain today, and we have had rain this morning, so that I have done only partial chores.  I anticipated this, and filled all the inside waterers to the brim last night, so that I did not have to do waters this morning. 
The ducks, of course, have made their pond filthy, and their waterers in the chicken yard are also soiled, but that can wait until the rain stops for a while (and it looks as if it is). 

We have a baseball game tonight, but won't be going if it's wet out. 

My helpers were helping me do chores. 
This one got his collar back on a little later. 
They are designed to break apart if caught on something, but oh, so handy if I have to restrain the boys from coming through the gate, etc. 

The cockerel from the three chicks trio is turning into a very nice young man.  I don't know where he got that short tail... but I am certain he is out of one of the Red Star hens and Buddy, the red and white bantam rooster from the old henhouse.  

Because of the cooler temperatures, someone else was helping me.  It did her a world of good to get outside and run around in the yard for a while.  She was waiting patiently for me on the deck of the henspa as I did the outside water.  

I know she tuckered out a little, as she would usually come down and run around IN the henyard while I did the water. 

Why We Are Not Getting Corn Cobs from This Side

Four little bantams, frozen in time.  

We finally got to Buffy's beak, which I showed you earlier this week. 
We really trim it five or six times a year, I have never had a bird's beak grow as fast or as long as this girl's does. 
And guess what? 

Here it is trimmed up.  You do have to be very careful about doing this, as you can cause bleeding by going to far.  You see we were pretty close to the line.  I wish I had shaped the beak a little more, but the point is, she can peck easily now. 
She is five years old, and was still laying about four eggs a week... but I have not gotten a egg from her now in almost a week. 

The Chief Trimming Assistant. 

I wish we had trimmed the feathers around her eyes, too, as I always have felt sorry for her inability to see well. 

Don't worry, the other chore helper was around, too! 

I've noticed in the last four days that pictures have begun loading very slowly again on Blogger... is it just me or are any of you having the same problem? 

I also would love to hear from anyone who has done a giveaway on their blog... I have some books I would love to giveaway, but I am not sure how to do it... 
if you have experience with this, would you note it in a comment, or write me at 

I would appreciate it very much! 

Now I'm going to read a few of your blogs and get started on my week's set of tasks here. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday Shots

I'm going to make a few more blogging comments and then show some random shots from the week.  We have a T Bones game tonight, as our season winds down.  It's in the 70's outside... and we have talked about wearing jeans to the game tonight! 

One of the things I have noticed (favorably) lately is that more and more blogs have done away with word verification.  Thank you, Bloggers!  There is nothing more tiresome than sitting down to read blogs of a morning, and having to verify, verify, verify.  I can't read the numbers half the time, and am constantly taking my glasses off and drawing close to the screen, over and over, when it is on. 

Another thing I've noticed, even on some favorite blogs, is that the blogger is still setting picture size at 
It is possible to go from small, to medium, to large, to the one I use... "extra-large".  It really makes it so much easier for those reading the blog to see the things about which you are writing. 
I started out at medium four years ago, and I am satisfied with "extra-large".  
There are several blogs I would LOVE to see enlarge their pictures... because they take lovely ones. 

I did not get to go to the fair last night, as my friend has kennel cough in her kennel right now. An AKC breeder and shower of Pointers, she had not thought about the fact that we have our dear old Ranger here, with a compromised health.  We erred on the side of caution, because even exposure to her might have brought it home to us.  I did not want to take the chance. 

Our own Leavenworth County fair is next week, so I will have some pictures of that. 

I don't know if you can see what's in the middle of this picture.  Yesterday, on my way to the estate sale, I took a wrong turn, or rather, missed a turn.  I saw a break in the vegetation, and as I pulled off the opposite side to turn around, I realized there was an old barn and silo in all the trees!  My gosh... you could even see where the road into it was.  I wonder how long it's been there. 

It saddens me to see these abandoned houses along the roads.  Someone is cutting here, but the house is decrepit.  Some have been swallowed up with vegetation.  I always wonder who raised their families here, and how they came to be abandoned. 

Woo hoo... here's five of the roosters hanging out in the old henyard. 

Buddy, on the left, has taken on the leadership since Rambo disappeared... even though he is diminutive, he is the boss, believe me! 

There are only 17 birds left in the old henhouse, and of those, 10 are roosters.  Pretty soon it's going to be the Boys Club. 

It took her almost two hours, but she finally got Aflac's egg down her mouth.  Aflac lays a two-yolker almost every single day now, and I let this one stay in the dog house an hour too long. 

I can't believe she did it. 

When Keith and I visit on the patio in the evening, the dogs like to kibbutz. 

The shadecloth over the henspa yard is still holding up pretty well. 

(via Pinterest) 

Only the end of July, but I'm gettin' in the mood! 

We're also discussing Christmas, because you just can't plan too far ahead. 
We were treated very well at the Hereford House of Shawnee, last year, and we think we're going to call them this week and reserve the same room again for this year's celebration.  Keith's newest grandson will be due about the time of our party!  That will be the greatest Christmas gift two years in a row, because little Brynn was born the day of, last year. 

Everyone have a great Sunday! 

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Surprise Second Friday Post

I had not intended to post twice today, because I "took the day off"... meaning, I went and did some fun things. 

I went to Hobby Lobby and Michaels.  

I dropped off tomatoes for a friend. 

I went to an estate sale whose signs I had seen all week long at every intersection in town, it seemed.  

Oh, My. 

The house sat atop a high hill.  The driveway you see on the right went WAYYY down.  It was paved very nicely, like a street, with a channel on the right to carry water away... but gosh... I asked how on earth they got in and out in the winter.  The views were spectacular, and the man who live there is a master gardener, who has lost his wife. The sale was a "living estate".  This lush shrub and flower border ran the whole length of the house to where the driveway split.  (You could drive in a circle in and out. ) 

It was a privilege just to see the gardens... there was a beautiful rose garden and perennials in the back of the house.  There was a breezeway between garage and house, with a spectacular built in fountain, not running now... 

It was a very private courtyard, and the fountain came down this wall in a waterfall, I believe.  
I think it was beautiful.  

I bought some large planters, and I think I'll run back over there tomorrow and see if any planters are left... I could use some more.  
I'm thinking herbs on the deck next summer. 

On our road on the way home, as I turned the corner, I could see some movement in the road ahead. 

I slowed down. 

As I got closer, I could see it was birds.  I was just passing friend Roxanne's, where all the peacocks, etc., live. 

Getting closer, I could see what kind of birds. 

But I couldn't see what they were fighting over.  They let me get this close... 

And then took off. 

Keith came upon them, too... 

And... what were they eating? 

Someone had dumped big fish in our road.  The birds had been eating them. 

Keith got home after me, so I'm guessing those fish are all cleaned up now. 

Going to the Wyandotte County Fair with a friend tonight, so I'll have fair pictures tomorrow! 

Thank you, Lord

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Buried in Tomatoes

Well, well. 

Buried (not quite) in tomatoes today. 

I am guessing I'll have to pull this plant, suffering from wilt, out. 

It's Gypsy, from Baker Creek.   It succumbed within two days, just about. 

It's spreading, see it? 

I am going to pick most of these tomatoes when I go back out. 

Another view of the same bed.  You can see the wilt is extensive.  This is one of the few drawbacks of raising non-hybrids.  I'll be rotating beds for next year, and not planting as closely together.  

These tomatoes are down at the other end... and that's a SuperSauce, which, as you can see... has some wilt problems of it's own. 

I'm going to pick as many as I can, and then give some to Kathy so she can can some.  I am making chili base and Italian sauce this evening, freezing both. 

We have very cloudy skies right now, and while I was out mowing a bit, I felt raindrops on me.  It hasn't let loose though, and now is lighter out.  I turned a hose on full blast in the flower bed... and ran us out of water, so am waiting for the water to pump back up in the well. 

I took a picture of this before I cut it... and I actually only had to cut a bit of the yard, since everything has gone dormant... 

As Erma Bombeck wrote, "The grass is always greener over the septic tank".  Too true. 
However, if you remember, about a month ago we had to have the septic tank sucked out.  The ground was disturbed here, and I took the opportunity to spread some grass seed thickly. 
Look what happened!  
I spread the same seed in the pasture, so if it ever rains again, we may have some re-growth down there. 

Speaking of tanks... I keep cutting back a seedling tree at the propane tank, but am afraid to do anything really strongly to it, as my uncle and aunt had a propane tank explode on them once. 
I did remove a huge starling's nest from the bonnet... for the last four years, a starling has raised two clutches in this tank... so we can never check the propane during April, May and June.  Mama is finished now for the year. 

The sunflowers provided us with so much glory this year... I want to get them out of the garden and into a dedicated space for them... and am still trying to decide where that will be for next year.  I just love them, and Keith marveled at them all summer. 

The hot flower bed is also just past it's prime... as we wind summer down. 

Though the zinnia side is still pretty strong... and the asclepias outdid themselves, as far as I'm concerned. 

I leave you with a picture of Donald and the girls grazing, just a few minutes ago.  He takes such good care of them... and I have to walk them in every night, or I think they would stay in the pasture.  

What wonderful eggs they give us, too. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Hodge Podge Post

Kind of a hodge-podge post today while I work on some things in the house, and get ready for grandson Chris to help me for a day. 

Tomorrow I'll run down to Garnett (if one "runs" 75 miles) to get him for just an overnight stay.  He'll get us caught up on weed-eating, and he and I will take another run to the transfer station, before I take him back down on Friday morning.  

Transfer station = dump. 

Always something accumulating here, as there is on every place. 

We had warm temps yesterday, but not as warm as Monday's were. 

I'm not so sure there aren't two here.  That's the water bowl I keep on top of the closet in the old henhouse. 


The muskmelons are looking GOOD, but the pumpkins did not germinate. 
I'm going to replant today, in hopes of getting some by the end of October for the little ones. 

Our ONE green pepper plant... finally bearing.  We just don't eat that many green peppers, and I hate to take up space for them.  Likewise... we won't be planting as many peas in the future.  

Abu Rawan on the vine.  I am picking lots of these.  Yes, I've got a few problems going on, and one of them is blossom end rot on the SuperSauces.  Disheartening.  I'm looking for a fast natural way to get calcium to them... we don't eat that many eggs (go figure) but I should have thought to keep the egg shells from the brownies I made yesterday.  If I can't figure out something today, I'll order some foliar spray from Gardener's Supply. 

I'm making spaghetti sauce (Mrs. Wages) today. 

We are still getting plenty of tomatoes. 

The colors of fall are beginning to show their heads around here.  This was a frame Keith started at one time for a seperate turkey shelter.  I doubt that we will have turkeys again, but we left it standing. 

No, these aren't pictures of two little goat booties... I wanted to show you the cracks beginning to show in the ground here due to the lack of regular rain.  

Click on this picture to biggify it, really. 
You will laugh. 

I was on my way to get something from the henhouse porch when the periscope came up.  Both of them were sleeping in the empty trough.  They Know When Their MaaMaa Is Near. 
(there is water in the smaller fortex) 

This blurry picture was on the game cam last night.  
In it is something I don't like to see, even less than the coyotes. 


The last two nights I have left the popholes open, because, as Keith said, the heat is the biggest enemy right now. 
This guy could easily have gotten in, and we have seen what coons and possums do to chickens. Yes, the pasture gate was shut... but still. 

One of the things I'll have Chris do tomorrow is go around with the stapler, stapling down chicken wire. 

I let the boys into the yard while I am doing chores, they love to browse around.  I ran inside to get something, and when I came back, Kaycee jumped out of the back of the HHR... and his collar was up around his horns and face.  It's off at the moment, I need two additional hands to hold him while I put it back on. 

We are down another hen in the old henyard with the passing of the poor old red hen... but yesterday, four of the girls actually laid.  One was in the inside nestboxes... one in the old rabbit hutch in the little henyard, and two in the hayfeeder in the goatyard! 
Snakes got the first two eggs mentioned, and I won't let that happen today.. I had seen the eggs and left them for "later" when I did chores.  The snakes beat me to them. 

The chickens love to get a cold drink of well water when I fill the duck pond. 

Not sure what's going on with this picture, but I can't get it to rotate... our pears are coming along nicely. 

Today we welcome Karen at This Old House 2 to our sidebar... I hope you will all take a look at her blog, it's a really good one!