Making hay while the sun (doesn’t) shine

Old Sayings. Wise Words. Idioms.  I just love these. I have actually put a link under blogroll in the left column and you can see others or sign up to have some delivered daily.

 

Make hay while the sun shines
 

 
Take advantage of favorable circumstances; they may not last.   1
 

I used this particular one because on Wednesday evening as I was feeding alpacas and shutting in the chickens, the weather was so nice.  The wind was calm, the temperature was warm enough I was getting warm to the point of shedding my jacket, which I finally did. 

I knew it was supposed  to turn bitter cold the next day so I took advantage of the moment and did some pasture maintenance.  That is what I meant by using the idiom in the title today.  The sun was not shining but I decided to take advantage of the great weather.  It was dark but the lights on our barn light six pastures quite adequately out several hundred feet.  The alpacas in most of those pastures have a  poop pile somewhat near to their barn entrances and I have great access to quickly clean up.  As you may or may not know, the alpacas create one communal dung pile in each of their pastures and clean up is required to help control  parasites.  I was so glad I did take that little bit of time because it really is cold these past two days.  Luckily it will not last, and this weekend will be back into the 60’s and next week into the 70’s.

Look up some of your favorite idioms.  Some other favorites since I have chickens, is: ” don’t count your chickens before they hatch”, and “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”.

A New Year; what to do?

After the holidays is a time for planning ahead.  And usually that includes improving mine and my husband’s fitness and food issues.  We usually have gained a few pounds after holiday indulgences in November and December so we look to watch what we eat and shed those pounds.  It is harder during the winter since  we don’t get outside like we do in the summer. 

My exercise on cold days is to dart out to let the chickens out in the morning, and  feed the alpacas and close up the chickens in the evening.  If it’s a really nice day I will work in the alpaca and chicken  pastures or around cleaning up the garden beds, but we usually don’t have several days in a row that are nice so regular exercise is just not happening .

I found a great site by the American Heart Association.  I have included some links in the left column specifically targeted for women.  Take a look. The CHOOSE TO MOVE is a great one.  It’s a self paced 12 week health and weight improvement program with support groups and helpful info sent regularly to remind and support you while you go.  

The GO RED FOR WOMEN is also a great program.  Feb 6th is the GO RED day.

I am going to focus on more indoor walking (you can also move the cars out of the garage and have an enclosed environment to walk/run/exercise). We do have an  elliptical machine.   I will get on daily and I will weigh myself daily and keep track of what I eat and how often I exercise.  If you write it down it makes you more aware of your achievements no matter how small.

Sign up at CHOOSE TO MOVE and GO RED and feel better about your health and your family’s too.

The coyotes of winter

When we first moved out to this acreage of 104 acres, the largest acreage we had been on was 3 acres for 10 years. It was in a nice area of similar sized lots and very secluded.  However, we were not  blessed with the variety of  wild visitors we have had out in our new location. 

New Year’s Day we saw two coyotes just across the road from our house, chasing some prey.  Maybe rabbits or even the field mice; they are plentiful.  They actually spent quite a lot of time out in the open and it was just before noon.  They were in no hurry to leave and I guess while the hunting was good they were going to hang around. 

I must admit that the first time we heard the coyotes out here it was a bit unnerving.  It has been fun to track the areas their calls come from and we can tell what area they are howling from.  It has been interesting to see one or two occasionally out during the day.  It is not too often, and it seems usually it is a young one.  One day a young one had gotten separated from his gang, and was out howling to get them to come for him as he wandered around the pastures.  I got binoculars to track him, and finally one came to him from the trees along our dry creek bed at the back of our property, happily united, and off they went.

Luckily, the coyotes have not had any interest in our alpacas or our chickens (yet).  They are all contained in no climb fencing and hot wires at top and along the bottom.  I regularly check the fence to make sure nothing is trying to dig under or wriggle through.  The chickens are closed up nightly in their coops, except for the guineas that just won’t go in, I call “the three stooges”.

I love to watch the hawks circling and this fall for the very first time we saw scores of hawks circling and moving south, apparently in migration mode.  There is a smaller falcon sized hawk I am trying to identify; I am seeing this one this year for the first time.

We are careful not to keep food type trash or any animal feed out for any animal to get to.  Our neighbor unfortunately would feed his dogs and cats outside and created a free feast for the area skunks.  Since they moved I have not seen skunks around. 

The snakes we have seen are harmless rat snakes and are harmless but keep the mice population down.  We try not to harm them and they will move off if there is too much people activity.

The owls are fun to listen to.  We had one that nested in our tree at our other house. It was nice to know there are plenty living in our windbreaks.  One night there were 3 calling and they sounded like they all were just outside of the window; I am guessing they were on the high point of our steeply pitched roof. 

The summer hummingbirds and butterflies are great fun.  I spy the occasional gecko and we have seen a roadrunner out on our country road.

Being in the country makes you open your eyes and observe nature more closely.

Gifts handmade

I handmade some hanging kitchen towels mentioned and pictured   in December; I just came across this site I really like. Take some time to look all through it and also find the “how to” links in their far right column.  I am going to look at this closer, but the shawls caught my attention.  Remember, you can use spun  alpaca fiber  for knitting and crocheting.  I am keeping this link handy.  I will add it to the blogroll on the left of my blog.

 http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/

Happy New Year 2009

It is so relaxing to be home after the holidays and have nice weather to boot. It was absolutely gorgeous yesterday while we were in Nacogdoches, TX.

 I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday with family.  The alpacas and chickens didn’t know any different but the weather was nice so we had no worries as we headed out of town for an overnight visit this week.

We had our Christmas spread out over a week.  Just the two of us here on Christmas, then our son and wife here from Okla City  the Friday after through Sunday. My husband’s father drove down from Salina, KS to spend the week with us.  He is leaving tomorrow.  And while he was here, we drove over to our daughter and her husband in Nacogdoches, TX.  My husband’s office (residential architects) always closes Christmas through New Years so there was plenty of time to  be with family.

I really enjoyed making things this year for others.  It always helps to shop for Christmas  throughout the year and relieves a lot of stress when the holidays arrive.  My husband is not so inclined, but I have already made shopping lists for some family members for next year and will watch for sales and spread out the expense.  It has evolved into “I shop and you wrap”.

I decided I had a little extra time beforehand to make some things.  I made some cheesecake bites and some chocolate swirl graham cracker treats and put them in tins for the neighbors.  In addition there was room on top to put in one of my hanging kitchen towels I made with a Christmas theme.  I also made towels for my daughter and daughter in law and father in law.  I have a few more to make before we meet up with more family in January for a holiday get together.   They are so easy and I enjoy shopping for the fabric and towels to complement each other.  I tell everyone if they need more to let me know.

I am excited to make purses, aprons and maybe placemats for next year. I am getting some patterns in mind and will be happy to shop for fabric.  I have found ebay can have some great prices on great fabrics and I focus on those with free shipping. I have found some great purse patterns and other patterns as well.

So best wishes to you for a prosperous and happy new year.  A reminder that I have several links to sites I subscribe to or visit, over in the left side column.  Take a look and find some things of interest.

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