Sunday, March 22, 2015

March 22, 2015

     Hello. I think my winter blues have finally lifted!!!! Not saying how I will do if we get anymore snow. :( But for now I feel like I have just come out of hibernation and am ready to get things started.
     First of all Mom is doing well. She has weathered the cold snowy winter and is none the worse for the wear. LOL. She has been eating a lot of fresh eggs for breakfast from our chickens. I have been making her homemade breakfast sandwiches which I hope to post about sometime in the future.
     My husband and I are doing great. Fat and happy, LOL. Maybe this spring and summer we can work on our weight loss goals. Winter is no time to loose weight.
     Our animals are doing fine. Our cats, Bob and his brother Itsy Bitsy, have just had their 3rd birthday. Yes I made them a cake and we humans of the house ate it. LOL Not much help on our weight loss journey.
     We have added to our chicken collection. We incubated 3 of our eggs and two hatched. One was a rooster who has just recently went to his new home along with our big rooster. The sale of those two was the first money we have made off the chickens so far. The hen that we hatched is having a very hard time adjusting and fitting in with the other chickens. I am not sure how to deal with that. They pick on her something awful. I bought 6 baby chicks from Tractor Supply about 3 weeks ago. They are Buff Orpingtons. I have been wanting that breed for a while and just couldn't pass them up. I think there is 2 roosters and 4 hens, hopefully. I will be hatching a few more babies in about 2 months then I will get rid of all the roosters except for one.
     I have been canning and dehydrating again. That is how I can tell I am getting over the winter depression. I have dehydrated celery to make celery powder. I have canned so far 8 pints of beef, 5 pints of chicken and I have 5 pints of pork in the canner as I type.
     Easter is almost here. I am excited for the family to see how the redo of the kitchen has turned out. A couple of my sisters have stopped by and seen it already. So far all good reviews.
     I hope to write more some time soon. I will just post as I feel like it. Have a wonderful spring.

                                                     April Whitehair

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October 16, 2014

     Good morning. First I want to thank my sister M and her husband for keeping Mom last weekend. My husband and I was able to get away. We wanted to go somewhere and look at fall leaves. We waited to long to look for a hotel and couldn't find any where we wanted to go. The hotel where we usually stay in Wheeling had one room available so we got that one. So we went back to Wheeling but we did more that we usually do when we go up there. We went to a farmers market, zoo, the Oglebay mansion and gift shop, watched Left Behind at the theater, Cabel's, casino, pet store, book store, pawn shops, thrift stores, and ate at Quaker Steak and Lube twice.  
     The farmers market was small, we didn't buy anything. The zoo was The Good Zoo at Oglebay, it was kind of small but nice. It was my husband and my first time going to a zoo. After walking the zoo we rode the train which takes you all over the zoo. We had a great time there. The Oglebay Mansion was interesting.... First you have to pay to get in, you walk all over this mansion museum. You get to see old things in old rooms all set up and decorated. You get to learn about the Oglebay family. I like to see and learn about old ways, it is always interesting to me. At first I was happy and excited to be there then after the first few rooms I got angry. Their lavish lives are such a great contrast to my great grandparents who were around at that time. I may have been a bit jealous. Discussing these feelings with my husband and some other ladies who were touring at the same time proved that I was not alone in these feelings. How did these people gain so much money? From the backs of my, and your, ancestors. Also we noted from all the pictures and paintings from back in that time never, not one black person. Humm, you know that there had to have been many, many people slaving to keep those over privileged people nice and comfy and warm.
     The Left Behind movie was good. It was based on the first book in the series. I have been reading that series for years and just recently got the last few books that I was unable to find. I hope to finish reading the series soon. I also hope they keep making those movies.
     I know I am probably the only one who has ever said this but I did not like Quaker Steak and Lube. My poor husband got umm an upset tummy after eating there the second time. I said you can't  eat at a place with lube in its name and expect to not get sick. He was so sick that night and the next day I ended up driving most of the way home, he got us out of Wheeling then had me drive the rest of the way.
     Over all the trip was good and we were just so very happy that my sister M and her husband kept Mom for an extra night so we could have an even longer break. That extra night we went to King's at Rosebud Plaza. We had ordered pizza from there in the past and it was always great. They have pizza, Italian and Mexican food. We got Mexican food and it was awesome! We had a new young waitress, she had no idea what she was doing. After we ordered our food the entire Eagle's football team and their parents and coaches and cheerleaders showed up. Every table was full and some were left standing. They ordered ten or twenty(I can't remember) pizzas for the boys and cheerleaders. The adults ordered various other things off the menu. There was only two waitress, one of which was our new young waitress. They were overwhelmed to say the least. I felt so bad for them. We got some of the wrong food but it was corrected. We ate and left as quickly as possible. I left a very nice tip. I hope she made it through the night ok. We will surely got back when it is hopefully less busy.
     Today we have a very busy day planned. I am going to clean out the chicken coop then we are going to rearrange it and put in new nesting boxes. Three of the girls are laying eggs, we think. But they like to lay on the floor of the coop and some days they don't lay at all or are laying them outside some where. We are hoping that if we spruce the place up a bit they might lay in there more. They might not be laying as much due to the decreased light and season change. I also have to put mulch around our new fruit trees and fence them. And we need to finish cutting down the old trees. Plus the usual caring for Mom. And planting the flower bulbs that the place where we ordered trees sent us for free. And mulch around the blueberry bushes and the flower bed. Take down the ac's and find a place to store them. We also need to get the garden weeded and put plastic down to get it ready for winter, but I don't think we will get to that today.
     Well I need to get this day started. Have a good day.
                                                                    April Whitehair

Thursday, October 9, 2014

October 9, 2014

     Good morning. The last week or so has been busy. First we butchered our first rooster! He was getting aggressive. He was an all around pain. My husband and my first time butchering anything. We watched a lot of you tube videos to learn what to do. It wasn't a hard process. I didn't even cry. I baked it that night and it was nasty! I mean really bad tasting. We couldn't eat it. I have done some research on why it tasted so bad and it is either because stress on the animal before death, piece of organ left inside, gall bladder breakage, or scent gland not fully removed. We are not sure. We thought we did a good job gutting and cutting the tail/scent gland off but we are newbies so we are not sure. I hope that if we do decide to butcher again it works out better.
     The day after butchering the rooster we got out first egg. Our Easter Egger hen, Carmel, layed her first egg while sitting on the roost and it broke when it hit the ground. Her eggs are the color of cement, a greenish colored tiny egg. She is the third smallest hen that we have. I have no idea why she was the one to start laying first. The next day Emma, our big Rhode Island Red hen from the original group, layed her first egg. A medium sized brown egg. The are kind of on a schedule, Carmel lays every day and Emma lays every other day. We have two more hens yet to lay eggs, Cloe is the sister to Emma but she was the one to be attacked by the coon so I figured she would be slightly delayed and then there is the baby, Jelly Knife, she is so small though she is the same age as Carmel. I can't imagine her laying an egg anytime soon if she does it would have to be the size of a robin egg.
     I ordered four trees last month and they finally arrived. Two Granny Smith apple trees(good for making pie) and two Elberta peach trees. We got them planted and had to remove a couple trees from the back yard, good thing I bought that chainsaw last year. They are so small, they look like sticks sticking out of the ground, so it will be several years before we get any fruit. But I am glad we got them.
     The Salem Apple Butter Festival was last week. I entered the apple pie contest, I hadn't entered in a couple years. I got honorable mention. I use the jarred apple pie filling that I had canned recently. It wasn't the best pie I had ever made but my husband enjoyed it. My sister H got first place on both of her pies! Next year I won't use canned apple pie filling.
     Saturday was the festival parade. We go every year. I took Mom. It was rainy and very cold. Thankfully my sister A went and got my car and backed it in where we usually stand so Mom and I could sit inside while the parade went by. It was a nice time and Mom seemed to enjoy the high school marching bands.
     Mom has been doing fair. Her hip bothers her. I think the change in the weather is not helping any. She had a moment of sort of clarity the other day and asked where her daughter A, my sissy, was. I told my sister about it and told her that it was nice that Mom thought of her while having a moment of clarity. Mom never remembers that she even has daughters so for her to remember her by name was awesome. It made my sister sad. I told her that even if Mom doesn't seem remember us she still does love us. The disease is keeping her memory locked away. Honestly I was a little jealous that it wasn't me she thought of.
     Well I need to go. Have a good day.

                                                         April Whitehair

Thursday, September 25, 2014

September 25, 2014

     Good morning. It has been a very long time since I wrote. I think I have figured out why I haven't wanted to write as much. I am waking up later than I use to. I basically wake up when it is time to get Mom up and after I get her up I am not in the mood to sit and write. I use to wake up a couple hours before her and I had time and the quiet to think and write. I will try to do better and start waking up earlier.
     Life here is just about as usual as ever. Mom is doing just about the same. She has been complaining of pain in her right hip for a month or so. (Not the hip she broke.) I took her to her regular doctor's office and had x-rays done around a month ago it showed arthritic changes. Yesterday was her follow up appointment with the doctor who did her hip surgery and he did his own x-rays also. I am glad I got to talk to him. I am occasionally feeling guilty about Mom not walking anymore. I even had someone (a stranger on a support group) say I should be doing more to get Mom walking again. Her issue of not walking is mental not physical. Anyway... the doctor yesterday told me how bad Mom's osteoporosis is and any fall or even bump could easily break her other hip. He said it was probably a good thing that Mom isn't walking with her instability or we would be back in the hospital with a broken hip again.
     I have been trying to keep busy. I bought a bushel of apples and canned 19 quarts of apple pie filling. I have yet to make a pie with it so I hope it will be good. My husband bought me a apple peeler to make the canning process go quicker. It still took me forever. The second day of canning he helped me thankfully.
     I placed the order for my apple and peach trees. They should be here sometime in October. I am planning on planting them along the creek bank behind the house. I had thought before that I would plant them on the hill behind the house but with the guy I hired to clear the hill taking sooo long, (good thing I didn't pay him in advance!) and I also realized that when the trees are big enough to be picked I will be older and won't really want to walk up and down the hill picking apples. So now I have to go out there with the chainsaw a bought last year and cut down the trees that are already out there. Hope that no one (my sisters) mind that I will be cutting down the lilac bush/tree and those other trees that are out there.
     My chickens are doing well. I have been letting them free range all day and they seem to be enjoying it and I think they have all grown because of it. We have 3 roosters. When I went and got the five off of the local couple three of those were roosters. Now we have to decide which to keep and which to eat. I think I am the one who is going to have to do the butchering as I don't think my husband will be able to kill his friends... I made a point when I got the new bunch to try and not get attached because I knew this was a likely situation. We still haven't gotten any eggs. But they say they should start laying between 4 and 6 months and the older girls are almost 5 months. Plus with Cloe's injuries early on when attacked by a coon, I think it may have set her back a little bit. Cloe is quite a bit smaller that her sister, Emma, who is the same age. We are becoming very impatient.
       Well I think I have wrote enough for today. Have a good day.

                                                                     April Whitehair

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September 2, 2014

     Good morning. You may have noticed that I had taken a small break from writing. I didn't post anything for two weeks. No real reason except that I just didn't want to write. But I am back and ready to share.
     I had a birthday recently. I had a wonderful day with my husband. He got me just what I wanted and asked for. I got a 12 gauge pump shotgun! I just love it. I wanted that sound. I know I am such a girly girl. LOL. We also went out to eat dinner. Actually I wanted to go on a picnic so we got food from KFC and ate at a picnic table at the Deegan and Hinkle Lake in Bridgeport. We had a nice quiet time and got to watch some geese. Then we went home to shoot my new gun. I also received a card and a couple books from my cousin J and a card in the mail from my prayer partner.
     Mom is doing ok. She complains at times of her hip hurting, not the side she broke. I took her to her doctor for an x-ray of the hip and there is arthritic changes. It usually only bothers her in the morning when we are getting her cleaned up and dressed so I have decided that if she says it hurts than we will not try to dress she in pants or shorts and just put a gown on her. No need to make her be in more pain just to put shorts on her. Other than the hip pain she is doing well.
     I decided that since my green beans didn't grow well in the garden this year that I would buy some to can. I bought a bushel. I didn't realize how many beans that was till I got started with them. I canned a total of 47 jars of green beans. By the time I was done I hated even the smell of them.
     My husband and I went to the Doddridge County Fair. I love going to the fair for two reasons. First I love walking through the barn and seeing all the animals. Second I love funnel cakes. We spent a little time at the livestock sale. It was very interesting and I plan on being there next year to watch all of it. We watched a couple cows being sold and it was a real eye opener. Do I really want to get into this topic or not....Hummm.... What the heck here I go.. I will just stick to the cattle at the fair sale. The cattle were raised by the students in the FFA and 4H then sold at auction. The way it use to go is local farmers and ranchers would bid a purchase these cattle, wonderful. Now the big oil companies way over bid and drive up the price to where they only can afford them. Sounds wonderful for the kids and families that raised them.... But what about the local farmers that use to buy them? There is no way for them to afford to buy them. Humm, if local farmers can't afford to buy local cattle they can't pay their bills, they have to sale their land to who? Oh yea to oil companies.... Less local farms less local food. The big oil companies do this under the guise of being nice by buying these kids' cattle. Ok that's what I wanted to put out there. What are your thoughts about this?
     I need to go tend to Mom. Have a good day. Oh and support your local farmers!
                                                              April Whitehair   

Thursday, August 14, 2014

August 14, 2014

     Good morning. Today is the first day of school around here. It is way to early in the year for kids to go back to school. I think mother nature heard that the kids are starting school early so she started autumn early too. Seriously, have you noticed some of the leaves are changing and already beginning to fall? I never did like the very hot days of summer and loved fall time but seriously where did summer go?
     My chickens are doing well. Except my husband says he heard Houdini rooster crow! I didn't hear it so I don't really believe it. I hope that if Houdini is actually a rooster he is the only one. Can't have more than one rooster. We are going to work on the hen house this weekend. The fence floor is going to be pulled up and concrete put down. That way it will be easier to clean and safer, preventing predators from getting in.
     I had to go to the DMV yesterday and get my drivers license renewed. I have been putting it off for two years.... I had to change my name and address. You have to have several documents proving everything. I must say it was a very easy and pain free experience. Why did I wait and worry about it for so long? The workers there were very nice, especially the lady at the front.
     So the movie Noah.... I had heard a lot of bad reviews about it when it was in the theaters. Mostly because it was not accurate, does not follow the Bible. I decided then that I would not pay money to go see it in the theater but I wanted to see it for my self once it was on tv. The other night my husband rented it from red box and I watched it. My opinion of that movie is this: first of all it is very very loosely based on the biblical Noah, that being there is a man named Noah who had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Lots of bad people on the Earth. God told Noah to build and ark, which he did. Pairs of animals on the ark along with Noah and his wife and sons.. Rain for forty days. Raven sent. Dove with the olive branch. Water dried up. Rainbow. Noah got drunk off wine. Those are the things that were the same in the Bible and the movie. Every thing else in the movie was a show of imagination. All be it a very good show of imagination. I am on both sides of the fence on this movie. I really enjoyed the movie. It was a very good drama. It was exciting and interesting. But I can also see where very religious people might not like the fake display of one of their beloved stories. Also I can see where it is not good for those that don't know the Bible to watch this movie and think that this movie is an accurate display of what the godly man is and would do. Not good. Also if this is the only 'Bible' a person 'reads' that is not good. With all that being said I really don't know how I feel about it. I didn't want to like the movie and watched it with a critical mindset. But I did like it... Hmm.
       I don't want to tell everyone this but I try to write this blog with honesty even if it is embarrassing to me. (Though I do try to keep personal things private.) I did something that I am not proud of and am quite embarrassed by. I boiled my pressure canner dry and warped the bottom thus making it unusable as a pressure canner anymore. I know you all thought I was going to admit something worse, huh? I felt so bad when I realized what I had done. My husband gave me that canner, my first canner, for my birthday last year and I loved it. I had the heat way to high throughout the canning process and boiled all the water out. I will use this as a learning experience for sure. My wonderful husband already bought me a new one, just what I wanted, one exactly like my ruined one. I told him I am calling it my birthday present but he says it is not. Lol, a new canner every year for my birthday, what more could a girl want.  
     It is getting late in the morning and Mom is needing my attention. Have a good day.

                                                                April Whitehair

Thursday, August 7, 2014

August 7, 2014

     Good morning. I am so sleepy this morning. I have a wisdom tooth that I needed cut out years ago that is starting to bother me. I was awake in pain for most of the night last night and can't seem to wake up this morning. So far peroxide rinses and acupressure help with the pain during the day but at night all I can focus on is ouch, ouch, ouch.
     Mom seems to be doing well except for being sleepy lately. She sleeps at night, I think, but will still fall asleep off and on all day also. She just appears me.
     I have been reading a book, Ambushed by Grace, Help and Hope on the Caregiving Journey, by Shelly Beach. I have only read to the middle of the second chapter so I can't really give my opinion on it yet. But I came across one sentence that has struck me as true to how I feel. I would like to share it with you. I have came across the question myself on how long will I continue this journey of caring for my Mom. I had always answered, as long as I can or until she becomes violent with me. Well she has already scratched me and smacked me and threw things at me. I am still here. I have had breakdowns, mental and physical. I am still here. So where is my proverbial line in the sand? The sentence in that book hit home, it is: "Until I've given more than I've received." Wow. That is how I feel. All summed up in seven little words. A mighty big concept for such a short sentence. Now how do I figure out how much I have received. I can't seem to find a simple math equation that would work in this instance. Like Mom's love x years I have been alive = amount of care and time I should devote to her care. Like how do I add up all the times she changed my diaper, fed me by bottle or spoon, cooked for me, cleaned for me, cared for me while I was sick, dressed me, provided for me in all areas of life, carried me when I couldn't walk, things she taught me, money she spent on me when she could have spent that money on her self, pretended to be happy so I could be happy, bathed me, worried about me, took me to church and taught me about Jesus, and on and on through infancy, childhood, adolescence, troublesome teenage years, and adulthood. How much does all that add up to, could you even begin to try to put a price on making me hot tea, chicken noodle soup, and grilled cheese when I had strep throat? I can not. So I will stay. I will stick it out. I will, just as she would and had. I will.

                                                                               April Whitehair

     My husband wanted me to add this, I think to show off his smarts. LOL. The other day I made the mistake of using a permanent marker on the dry erase board that I have on the refrigerator to keep track of what I need to do, need to buy, and my honey do list for my husband. I thought I would need to go buy a new one but my wonderful husband knew how to remove the permanent marker. Get this, you just have to cover the permanent marking with dry erase marker and it wipes right off! Totally cool!  Have a good day.