Monday, July 15, 2013

Securing the chickens and making ice cream

Ghon has been working little by little on the new chicken run. Even before the last raccoon incidence, the plan was to spend the day Saturday working at the farm, mainly on the chicken run. The fence post holes had been dug, the poles in place, but most still needed to be filled and leveled. We employed our friend Travis to help Ghon out, as for the most part, I would be picking up around the yard, cooking, and amusing the kids.

First, the kids and I tackled the recycling. We had two trash cans full of 4 months worth of glass and plastic bottles and cans. I pulled all the cans out and let the kids smash them - then put them in a bin so we can take them in for scrap. Then I separated the plastic from glass and loaded a few bags of trash in the truck. While Ghon and Travis started work on the fence, we headed off to the local transfer station. I let the kids handle the plastic while I sorted clear and colored glass and recycled cardboard.

As much as I can, I try to make learning opportunities for the kids. While smashing the cans, I gave a little lesson in recycling, and why it was important to reuse what we could rather than creating more trash. Now I just need to do some research on how to reuse all the juice pouches they go through. I've seen bags made out of them...

Once we returned from our trash excursion and filling up gas cans, Jonathan ran off to help the boys with the fence.

We have a TON of rose of sharon on the property. Our driveway is lined on both sides with the bushes. I am trying to thin some down to make it easier to see in the driveway. For now though, they are blooming in several colors.

I had promised Jonathan that he would have a banging project to work on at the farm. After stretching the fence as much as possible, we stapled it in place. The kids grabbed hammers and banged the staples further into place. It's the little things that make them feel like they are making progress and helping.

Travis has been anxious to learn how to drive. In the end of the day, he didn't get a chance to drive the farm truck, but Travis did get to drive the tractor across the field.

The chickens had been relocated a few weeks ago. We aren't sure what is growing in their old coop, but something that we fed them is growing strong. We think it is melon and some type of squash, but I guess we will figure it out when it grows more.

We used some deer feed to seed the chicken run. The plan had been to get the chickens in a while ago, but since the run is taking a while, the plants have grown like crazy. Checkout the size of the turnip Ghon found!

Creatures. A beautiful butterfly I was able to snap a picture of, and one of the largest beetles we've ever seen. The beetles are killing our fruit trees. Nasty suckers.

Jonathan is such a little ham. I can't believe he is going to start kindergarten next month.

Riding the farm truck out to get more fill dirt. Jonathan rode shotgun while Travis and Genevieve rode in the back, and Mom walked.

In addition to the beetles, the deer have been after our fruit trees. Cindy told me about a potential trick that Ghon implemented a week ago and seems to be working. He staked the perimeter of the orchard and ran three rows of fishing line all the way around. The theory is that it will spook the deer since they can't see the line. Spooked deer = deer that aren't noshing on our fruit trees.

At the end of the night, Jonathan climbed into Ghon's truck and Genevieve desperately wanted to do the same. It was pretty darned cute to see Jonathan try to help her climb in.

On Sunday, we headed back to the farm for dinner after Ghon came home from work. Ghon mowed some grass, Dad rode the kids around in his Razor and I made dinner and did some mowing. The highlight of the night was making homemade ice cream. I found this recipe floating around on facebook.

1/2 cup half and half
1T sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
Mix all in a ziploc bag
Drop the bag into a gallon size bag. Fill the gallon bag about 3/4 full with ice and top with 6T salt.
Seal the bag and shake for about 8 minutes.

The kids and I enjoy chocolate ice cream, so I added a little Hershey's syrup. The recipe said it would serve two, but I think one is a bit more realistic. Everyone had a turn shaking the ice cream. I think Ghon actually got a kick out of it - and had been a little leery as to whether or not it would work. It was amazing.

Jonathan is a self proclaimed chicken catcher. Anytime we have a bird on the loose, he chases them. After the capture, Genevieve has to pet them, then Ghon or I throw them back in their pen. Here he is with a Sunday night catch.

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