A New Year with alpacas and chickens in Texas

I just went out at 11:30 p.m. and closed up the chickens for the night. A little later than I should, but it’s been cold and rainy and hard to get motivated to go out.  But I saw a skunk scurry across my path and probably was looking for a chicken dinner so I may have scared him off. 

It was clear and  glowing outside.  The moon is full and almost like day.  I really didn’t need the flashlight except to scan around inside the coops to make sure all was well.  I threw some extra hay to the alpacas and wished them all a Happy New Year.  Fireworks are exploding in the distance and a bright new year is ready for us to enter.

Holiday Treats, Gifts and “Poop” Website Fun

I was looking for the little Snowman Poop poem and found this fantastic website.  It will give you all kinds of ideas for family, friends, and co-worker gifts.  I am looking at the Snowman and Reindeer poop idea for co-workers (for fun), and the “food in a jar” gifts for neighbors, and the Chocolate Kiss trees for my son-in-laws family (we have lots of fun with them), and so many other ideas.  There are printable  pdf files for the poems, recipes, etc.

Take a look and find something quick and easy to gift  this season.

http://christmas.organizedhome.com/gifts-crafts-gift-tags

GOTexan Holiday gifts, wines, food, recipes, and decorating ideas

I like the idea of helping local/state companies and artists by buying their products and promoting them for gift giving.  Here are a few to check out:

food:

Mary of Puddin Hill is just a few minutes from where I live and very famous too http://www.puddinhill.com/

Here are great GO Texan gift ideas, as well as recipes, holiday decorating ideas, and free e-zine subscriptions

http://www.agr.state.tx.us/gt/channel/render/items/0,1218,1670_19176_0_0,00.html

The 2009 Holiday Gift guide is here:

http://click.engagemail.net/?ju=fe3016717664017b761d72&ls=fdee16787d6406797310767c&m=fefe1779756005&l=fea315707664077d70&s=fe2116777d670c7d7c1d70&jb=ffcf14&t=

A Handmade Christmas: Success

We got a very nice thank you from my husband-the-architect’s boss and wife, who appreciated very much the “food basket” we gave them for Christmas.  We decided to be very observant of the economy and focus on gifting from local suppliers. 

We found (accidentally stumbled upon) a little country store in Farmersville, TX,  that actually has rented  space in a storage facility. The facility is not fenced so it is easy to enter, and their space faces out to the fairly busy Highway 78.  They have made nice signs and the big roll-up door is open all the way where they have set up simple tables and shelves inside to display the  many wares.  They have a commercial refrigerator like the stores, with clear doors and have some fresh produce and milk,locally supplied  eggs,  etc., to choose from.  But mostly it is jams, jellies,  honey, salsas, nuts,  that is supplied from area farmers, and fruits like oranges and apples that are much larger and nicer than the stores. 

We endorsed and supported our area farmers this Christmas with our purchases.  Then to get such raving appreciation was a good feeling.   Plus, they like the products so much they are going to get some products by the case to gift to their friends.  How about that?  You never know how one action will affect someone, and in this case, it was several people: the boss and their friends, the store, and the farmers.

We packaged up the products in a very nice sturdy basket with a strong handle to adequately support all the jars. The baskets were unused in our attic, so we recycled them. I made some very nice hanging kitchen handtowels 

My handmade Christmas themed hanging kitchen towel

My handmade Christmas themed hanging kitchen towel

 to include in the gift as a cover over all, kind of like Little Red Riding Hood’s basket of goodies for grandma.

It was nice of them to let us know how much they loved the gift and we will be sure to do more of the same gifting in the future. 

Be sure to look up products for sale in your area under Local Harvest, the link is in the left column.  When inside, enter your zip or city,state, etc. You can see all the products categorized and sign up for regular updates too.

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.

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