Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

The farm has been buzzing with activity and now we find ourselves settling into a new rythym as fall approaches. 

The arrival of our ducklings came in late May just as school was ending:

They grew and grew and GREW!  The Blue Swedish are beautiful and the Indian Runner Ducks are so funny to watch run around.  They are a bit more shy than the chickens and operate on a group mentality.  So they have been "herding" through our yard loudly discussing what they should do next. 

We kicked off our summer with a weeklong stint at our local Girls Scouts Day Camp:

My friend Christi and I had the honor of leading 10 energetic girls in our Redbud camp.  Each day brought new activities, learning experiences and a whole lot of fun!  And each day ended with us dragging our tired selves home and scrubbing from head to toe!  Who knew girls could get so dirty?

Our next adventure was Summer Art Camp at Autism Works.

This was the first Art Camp I had ever was a tremendous amount of work, but oh so worth it!  Four weekly art camps with four activites per camp.  Whew! 

The kids had a blast! 

We painted with bubbles, shaving cream and melted crayons.  We made Monster Heads from tissue boxes, Tin Can Robots and Rocker Heads (from rocks of course).  We created Stick Creatures, Rocket Mobiles and tie dyed pillowcases.  The kids even molded their own Volcanoes and took them out for Lava Eruptions! 

Oh, did I mention the Slime?  Even the volunteers couldn't keep their hands out of it! A great group of kids and volunteers.  Can't wait till our monthly art workshops resume this Fall.

And what would July be without a Christmas in July Show? 

Held at the Belvoir Winery in Liberty, Missouri this event benefitted the Autism Works organization.  Mom came to help me out.  Not only did we have great sales and a good time together we also got to try some delicious wine!

We did manage to squeeze in a quick vacation before school started.

The Omaha Zoo and Aquarium was wonderful.  If I had money to spend on a salt water tank I would just put Jellyfish in it.  Honestly they are the most relaxing and graceful things to sit and watch. 

And of course we had to take our aspiring Veternarian/Astronaut to the Air and Space Museum before heading home.  The highlight of that visit was the pieces of meteorites she got to see for herself that they really exist! 

And what would the end of summer be without a Back to School Party? 

 With plenty of comfy seating:

And of course swimming and a bounce house palace (compliments of Baker Dave!)

We partied into the night, roasting marshmallows and enjoying the unusually cool evening.

It was an exhausting, busy, crazy summer.  I can't wait till next year and do it all again!

Til next time!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easter Bunny Craft for Kids & Update on Chicks & Farm Life

Easter may be early this year, but don’t let it stop you from creating a fun Easter craft with your children.  We just completed an art workshop with several children creating the Bunnies in a Pot centerpiece.  We had a great time! 

Below I share step by step how to create this easy craft.  You may already have many of the supplies around your home.

First gather your supplies: 
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Wooden skewers (with sharp points cut off for the little ones)
  • Clay flower pot
  • Floral foam
  • Craft felt; white stiff felt, pink felt
  • Pink & white construction paper
  • Googly eyes (or you can draw your eyes on)
  • Craft paint; various spring-like colors of your choice
  • White pompom or cotton ball
  • Easter grass
  • Glue ( I used Mod Podge)


I primed the toilet paper rolls and clay pot with gesso but this is not a necessary step.
Next, I dipped my skewer into the glue and placed it inside the toilet paper roll and let dry.

While the skewers dry into place, paint your clay pot however you like. 
Once the clay pot is dry, cut the floral foam with a small knife to fit snugly inside the pot.  I brush a bit of glue at the bottom to secure it firmly.

Once the glue on the paper rolls and skewers are dry, paint them in various colors and designs.  Easter bunnies do not have to be just white or brown.  Try pink, purple, blue and green-have fun with it.  Add polka dots or stripes.

It helps to hold the to-be bunny by the skewer while painting and once done, stick it into the floral foam to finish drying.

 While everything dries…cut out bunny ears from the white felt.  We used a stiffer felt so the ears would stand upright.  This felt is available at most craft stores and in a variety of colors. Cut out the inner pink part of the ears and glue to the white felt. 

Draw two side by side circles about the size of a dime for the bunny cheeks.  Draw in where the nose would go and color black.  Cut out and lay aside.  Cut out small rectangles from white construction paper for the teeth and glue to the back of the bunny cheeks.  Draw a small line down the middle to indicate teeth. 
Once the body of the bunny is dry, glue the ears to the inside of the roll. Press firmly into place. Felt can be very absorbent so it helps to coat glue on both the felt and inside of roll.

Glue on face components: eyes & cheeks and draw in whiskers if you like.  Glue bunny tail on back where skewer is placed. 


Arrange bunnies in pot to your liking and add Easter grass to cover the foam. 

Yeah! Now you have a fun Easter centerpiece and if kids get bored, they make great puppets! 

Happy Easter!


 Chicks & Farm Life Update.

The chicks are growing at an amazing rate!  They arrived on the 10th via the mail.  This is the box they arrived in:

It’s amazing to open that box and see those 27 little cuties in there. Their combined body heat keeps them warm and the yolk from the egg they just hatched from sustains them for up to three day without food or water. Born on the 8th, they have made a quick trip to their new home.

One by one we welcome our new additions by introducing them to their water source, carefully dipping each beak into the water. Once they are all in their brooder, we show them their food. They are quick to catch on.

Here are a few of their arrival day pictures: 

Feeding frenzy fun:

A fuzzy Arucana breed checking out the camera:

This is Sweetie.  She loves to be in my hand, just like my Penelope loved to do when she was a chick.  There is always one in each brood that bonds closer to us humans than the others. Sweetie is a Black Australorp breed. 

Our free “exotic chick” compliments of Murray McMurray Hatchery is a White Crested Black Polish. Yeah! I always wanted a chick with a pompom on its head. These free chicks are usually a rooster, so Andy has named him Lynyrd Skynyrd (in homage to “Free Bird”). Welcome Lynyrd!  Eventually Lynyrd's body will be all black with a long all white wig-like feather crest. 

After just a few days, they have already sprouted the beginnings of small wing feathers and tails. They also quickly lose their baby fuzz on their faces.

In between snowstorms, we have started to dig post holes for the second chicken coop. Birgitte and hen Penelope decided they should help.

And to inspect the collected eggs.

Penelope may be all grown up, but she still enjoys a little snuggle and sitting on my lap

 I couldn’t be happier!
Til next time!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Two Snowstorms in Seven days & Spring has Sprung on the Farm!

Don’t get me wrong, I love Snow and really enjoy the winter season on the Farm.  The quietness and calm that comes with fresh fallen snow is a cool reprieve from the hot & busy summers we experience here.  

But Spring will not wait for the snow to melt and seasonal changes are already being felt.

Our 35 hens are the first to feel the swing of the pendulum for daylight.  Their egg production has quadrupled in the last week! We chose not to use artificial lighting during the winter and just let nature take its course.  So after a nice winter rest the hens are producing heavily and we are again delivering eggs in the Lawrence area.  I love our eggs- they just make me happy!

 In six days our first batch of Spring chicks will arrive!  We built a new brooder for them (though it is snowed in at the moment down the hill in the barn).  Plans for the second chicken house have been made and supplies being collected.  As soon as we can clear the snow we are digging in the supports.

Ducklings have been ordered as well and will arrive May 20th.  Just in time for the chicks to move outside to their transitional housing. These will be our first ducklings on the farm.  Their eggs are wonderful for baking!  Of course Andy is more interested in eating the ducks than having them.  Sigh.  That is the downside of being married to a Chef.  Birgitte & I name as many as we can of our new arrivals, because if we name them we can’t eat them (at least that’s our argument).   I have never said I was the most practical farmer, just a soft hearted one. 

Strawberry starts have been ordered and vegetable seeds are on their way.  The new garden beds have been composted & prepped throughout the winter.  Two beds are ready for lettuce, swiss chard and kale to be sown in with a cold frame to protect them from the hard frost. 

Spring art classes are ready to go and filling up fast!
The kids at Autism Works will be creating Easter Egg bouquets.  We did these last year in Lawrence and the kids had a blast creating designer eggs!  Can't wait to see what the kids come up with this Saturday!
Our Lawrence art class will make Easter Bunny Puppets that also serve as a Springtime Centerpiece.  Our class will take place March 23rd with two class times; 1:30 and 3:00 p.m.  Thanks to my daughter Birgitte for helping me "test" our class projects with her completed works above and below. 

Our Market at Dragonfly Farm is a mere 8 weeks away;  May 3rd through the 5th!  That sounds far off, but when we are making everything ourselves, it doesn’t leave much time for everything we have on our to-do list!  The early morning/late night work schedule has begun!  Coffee, lots of coffee and chocolate- that does the trick!

So the "Studio" has spread beyond one dining table to another.  Colorful fabrics and paint have taken over the house as our spring line of home & garden accessories take shape.

Pillows have been blooming!

Signs are springing up!


Whimsical Birdcages are taking shape!


Unique cloches are ready to showcase treasures.



We will be test marketing our lines at the Lawrence Spring Craft show on March 9th.  The Show is held at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in the front buildings from 9am-4pm. 

Next up on the to-do list for the May Market is furniture.  This time I am experimenting with painting upholstery!  Yes, painting!  I will share the before and after story here.    

Well, the hens are complaining and I need to clear their yard of snow so they can get outside and scratch around.  (They are afraid of the snow,!)
Till next time, have a Beautiful Day!