About Me

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Full Time Mom, Wife, Work, Life - Mom to three children (adults), two are college graduates and now own their own homes, and the youngest is in college in NC; wife to Thomas; Work - one full time and multiple part time jobs; Life - whatever you can throw at me....

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Flowers and Jelly

Violets are just starting to come up.  One of my biggest successes in canning last year was violet jelly.  It went so fast because the taste was fantastic and the color was lovely!  This year, I'll be making a double batch so it will last a little while longer! 

Friday, March 30, 2012

A change in plans

I had posted several weeks ago, that I would be getting some freshly hatched chicks from my sister's place of work (she is a therapeutic recreation director and hatching eggs was an activity for the residents).  The chicks ended up being Sumatra's and Sumatra mixes.  After studying this breed a bit, I realized that I did not want the chicks.  Sumatra's are not good egg layers but worse than that, they are very good fliers.  Sumatra owners recommend a chicken wire roof (covering the whole coop area) so the birds don't fly the coop. 

Honestly, that is just too much work for me! 

Last week, I got two Red Star pullets.  Yesterday,  I got three more Red Stars!  I'll have five hens laying in about a month or so. 

That's as good as it gets this year.  And I'm happy with my decision!

My son is happy, too - he didn't have to make a brooder! HAH!

Pictures will be forthcoming once I get all the hens!

ETA: A picture that my daughter took.  We have changed the fencing, though!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The first night with the two pullets

Saturday was the first night that I had my two Red Stars, and one of them flew the coop....

I had to go out that night and I got home late and because I had not had chickens for about 4 months, I forgot that I was supposed to lock them up for the evening.  It was dark when I got home that evening and one of the hens was on the stone wall and one of them was gone!

We looked for her for about 20 minutes, but we couldn't find her.

First thing in the morning, hubby went outside and looked around.  He didn't see any feathers (which is a good sign), but it was still too dark.

I went out about half hour later and there she was - in the tree at my next door neighbor's house.
I brought her home and she ended up doing the same thing the next night (because I wasn't home in time again!!!).

So, now after three nights (M, T, and W) in the warm coop, I think she is much happier than sitting in a cold tree and she understands where home is.

We are officially Camels!

The decision has been made.  My daughter is going to Campbell University in North Carolina!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bottling the wine

Sunday night, the hubby and I started washing bottles at 5:30 at my moms' house.  She has a basement with a full kitchen with three sinks and it is much easier with three sinks, when you have 78 bottles to wash.  We finished washing after 6:30 and then brought them all to my brothers (which is right across the street) to start the bottling procedure .  I gave my niece the camera and told her to take pictures during the evening - She took 48 pictures!  Thank you Cristina!

Christopher told us first we had to soak the corks, which we did in the pickle jar! (about 30 at a time)
Next, Hubby put the demi johns on the stool and I had to suck the wine through the tubing to put into the  bottles.

Also, in order to bottle wine......we had to wear fedora hats.  Christopher says for 25 years  (since my Nonno passed), he has been wearing his fedora in honor of Nonno.  So, Chris gave Thomas and me a fedora also.  A new tradition in order to bottle wine!

At one point, I sucked too hard and almost choked to death.  Everyone laughed, I couldn't breath!
Here is a little video that Cristina took also.

This is the premium chianti again - oh so good!
Thomas did all the labeling after I filled all the bottles.

I kept filling bottles and I attempted to cork bottles - but I wasn't very good at corking!

The corking is a little harder than it looks.  I did it and I could do it, I just wasn't fast enough!!!!!

We ended up with 69 bottles of our wine.  Some of the bottles were big and some were small.  We gave Christopher three of our bottles and he gave us one of his Carnelians.  We bottled 16 of his Carnelian's also!  Chris is going to bring us these racks and my son is going to put it in the cold room.  For now, all our wine is sitting in Chris' wine cellar.

Thomas doing the labeling.

 Christopher holding the tubing while I fill the bottles.
 This is the Merlot!
 Cristina counting the bottles for us!
 Cristina, Chris and I in the wine cellar working!
The Fedora's!

 The labeling of the wines!  We ended up with quite a few bottles of the Premium Chianti - so that is great!  At the end, we bottled two blend bottles.  I'm looking forward to trying those also!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Please watch this!

If you haven't seen this.....please watch....It's a "Susan Boyle" moment.....


PS - get tissues.

The Kentucky Derby Auction

Some pictures from our night out at the Kentucky Derby Silent/Live Auction held at my daughter's school.

It was an amazing night and I'll let you know when we receive the final tally that the auction raised.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A busy week

I'm in the midst of one of "those" weeks.  The earliest I've been home was 9:00 and that was last night.  Between working at my daughter's school, babysitting for Nonni, teaching classes, trying hard to not let the issues of the day stress me out, and on top of my regular jobs, I'm a little too busy to write.

But, with my last post, I joined the Rural Journal blog hop - it is in the right side bar.  If you have a minute, hop over there and check it out.  It is for homesteading and picture taking and anything rural!!

I took this picture a few days ago!

My first daffodil of the season, at least two weeks early.  Everything is early this year!  I'm not complaining!  Thanks, Eva!!

I have the big Run for the Roses, Kentucky Derby auction at my daughters school this weekend.  It is a huge event, which makes over $100,000.00 for her school!!  They have been working on it for about 8 months and it's all coming together.  The ladies are dressing in "Derby Day Apparal".  I have a dress with a matching hat!!  I'll post pictures of all the fine ladies and gents and the decorations (which are truly phenomenal!) this weekend!

Have a good one!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tasting The Wine

These are the little old winemakers....

My brother said, we should actually be bottling the wine on St. Joseph Day, but timing was an issue.  It takes a few hours and it was already 8:30 at night.  So, we decided to just taste the wine and save the bottling for the weekend.

 This is the premium chianti being put into a gallon jug for us to take home and here is what it looks like in a glass.  Clear, clean, delicious.
The first one we opened was the seven gallon demijohn which held the Premium Chianti.  Right off the bat, I knew it was good.  Chris (my brother) poured me a large glass, which I ended up finishing later on in the night.  It was really good and if that was the only wine that hubby I made I would have been happy.

Next we opened a second demijohn.  Unfortunately, due to the expanding in the demijohn, the labels got ruined and we had to taste test all night to figure out what we had.  But the second one was the regular chianti.  As you can tell by the color above, the regular chianti was a little darker, a little more sweeter than the premium chianti.  Great, but to me, not as great as the Premium Chianti (I guess I understand the price differentials).

The next one we opened was a Barbera.  Excellent!  It is my second favorite behind the Premium Chianti.  Great color also and very clear!

The last one was the Merlot.  This is hubby's favorite and he was very, very happy with it.  It is drier than the other wines and the color was also very clear and the flavor was just like a regular merlot.

We have four demijohns.

Three Five Gallon demijohns and one Seven Gallon Demijohns.  Chris said we need 100 small bottles for the bottling.  I think we have enough.

The last taste test was one of Chris' bottles.  These are all his:

And the barrel..............That is the vinegar barrel and it is full.  I am not sure if I'm more excited about the wine or the vinegar.  I haven't had good wine vinegar in a while!
The last taste was a Carnelian.  This is Chris' wine.  It was delicious and totally unlike anything I've ever had before.  Let me know if anyone has ever heard of Carnelian - I had never heard of it!  It was also a red wine (deep red).

Thank you, Chris, for an enjoyable evening in the wine cellar!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Happy St. Joseph's Day!!

While not as famous (or infamous) as St. Patrick, St. Joseph is important to some Italians for numerous reasons.  This information is taken from www.fisheaters.com:

St. Joseph's Day is a big Feast for Italians because in the Middle Ages, God, through St. Joseph's intercessions, saved the Sicilians from a very serious drought. So in his honor, the custom is for all to wear red, in the same way that green is worn on St. Patrick's Day.  

There are feasts of food including minestrone, zeppole, pasta with breadcrumbs and (my favorite) fava beans!!

I am not a Sicilian, so the only customs that we followed were eating zeppole, having pasta with fava beans and wearing red.  However, the most important aspect of the day in our Italian home has always been the fact that we get to open the wine!  We get to taste it to see how it is aging!

I am going to my brother's home tonight to open barrels and demijohns.

I hope to have pictures and reviews of the wine tomorrow!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Beautiful Weather

We have lucked out this weekend with the weather.  It has been in the high 60's and sunny.  It isn't even spring yet and this weather has been with us for quite some time.

We took the dog for multiple walks, we worked on the yard, pruned the mulberry tree, and prepped the gardens.  I just laid five bags of mulch and am making the flower garden around the birch tree larger.

This is why girls like me don't get manicures.   The dirt just gets ground into your skin and nails.

I don't know what the spring and summer are going to bring because winter never came this year.  However, I have heard that we won't have enough ground water, because there wasn't enough snow melt.  It also means a lot of ticks and bugs, because it never got cold enough for them to die this winter.

So, what do you think the spring and summer seasons have in store for us?   I think it is going to be hot and dry - just my guess!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Eventful trip to NC

My daughter and I had an eventful trip to NC.  We visited the campus of Campbell University.

It is halfway between Raleigh and Fayettville, in a rural community surrounded by farms and not much of anything else.  We really liked it!!!  The mascot is a camel...Gaylord the Camel.  I've never seen so many camels or so much "orange" in my life!

And it was green down there, compared to the brown that is CT right now....

We are still waiting on a few things from some other schools, so as of now, no decisions have been made.

Patience.....It is something I don't have a lot of and I'm praying for it during this "searching for a college" time!!!

Wish me luck (or HER luck)....both of us need it!