The Chicken Chronicles

Last spring, we bought three Norwegian Jaerhorn chicks from one person, and three Barred Plymouth Rock chicks from another.

Their first (protected) foray outside.

Their first (protected) foray outside.

We named them, which everyone will tell you should never be done if you eventually plan on eating them.

This was Astrid, before we found out she was a he.

This was Astrid, before we found out she was a he.

 

This was Bertha...she became Bert.

This was Bertha…she became Bert.

Liesel, the only female of the Barred Rock bunch.

Riley was the most beat up looking of the Norwegians, but is now full grown and the strongest of the three.

Riley was the most beat up looking of the Norwegians, but is now full-grown and the strongest of the three.

 

Not only does my hubby work more than full-time, not only is he finishing his Master’s degree, but he also built a coop from mostly scrap material in his spare time.  With no prior building experience, I gotta say, not too darn shabby!

Working on the frame.

Working on the frame.

A visitor, inspecting the somewhat finished product, before we painted and added a run.

A visitor, inspecting the somewhat finished product, before we painted and added a run.

A couple months old, enjoying their run.

A couple of months old, enjoying their run.

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Being in the market for eggs only at this time, we gave away the cockerels.  So from six, we are now down to four.  They should begin laying their first eggs any day now, and I am looking forward to the experience of cooking truly fresh eggs for my family.  If all goes reasonably well, we will triple our flock next spring to keep our family – and occasionally our friends – in fresh, nutritious eggs.

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Exploring Creation through Zoology

Genesis 1:20 Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

 

Last school year, I made a last-minute curriculum change decision. Instead of teaching through Apologia’s Exploring Creation through Astronomy, I thought we would try something new, something that looked “kid-friendly”. Meh. I chose a Christian Kids Explore text (used) that covered Earth and Space. I won’t go into details lamenting the entire textbook and lackluster experience. Many people seem to enjoy the series, and that’s great for them. I think we should all find what works for our families and stand by those decisions. I ended up piecing together short units based on the subjects in the text and hardly using the text at all. My advice? Get your hands on things before implementing them.  We did some neat projects throughout the year, as you can see…

Measuring melting rates and movements of pure ice "glaciers" versus "glaciers" full of sediment.

Measuring melting rates and movements of pure ice “glaciers” versus “glaciers” full of sediment.

 

Showing the earth's layers.

Showing the earth’s layers.

 

 

On the upside, I have gone back to Apologia. I wanted to try something new, see if there was something…better? Anyway, the Young Explorer series offers everything we need in a rich science study, and God is glorified in the process. To ice that cake, Pinterest has become a homeschooler’s goldmine, offering up everything from applicable Netflix suggestions to corresponding art projects and where materials can be had for less money.  The kidlets have created their binders already, and I have the first lesson printed out, with each lessons taking two weeks to complete, topped off with an experiment.  Once I purchase my lesson planner, I’ll scribble in the lesson plans and get to focus on the best part of all – gathering experiment supplies and LEARNING TOGETHER!

Delicious!

 

For two days, I’m doing a mini cleanse.  There are so many types of cleanses one might do, and many people fast as part of their cleanse.  I have decided, this time, to do a fruit and veggie cleanse.  I’m drinking diluted fruit and veggie smoothies twice a day, eating gigantic organic salads with a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar and slices of avocado, and taking Super Cleanse by Nature’s Secret.  If I start to get fidgety, I’ll have a cup of plain tea or a few nuts.  Most importantly, I’m chugging 9-10 cups of water each day.  Want to try your own smoothies but can’t decide what to choose?  Give this handy little chart from Good Clean Health a shot.

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The rhythms of our seasons lend themselves to helping us create habits out of spring and fall cleansing as our bodies prepare for different circumstances.  Those dandelions in the yard bugging you?  Pull the leaves (provided they haven’t been sprayed with weed killer) and add them to your salad to aid in cleaning out your bloodstream after a winter of heavy, starchy foods.  April showers got you down?  Let them remind you of thoroughly cleaning out your digestive tract, replacing filters around your home, and cleansing your sinuses with a Netipot.  The heat and added activity of summer?  Drink lots of water.  As crops and bushes begin to produce, we are blessed with good nutrition if we eat them fresh.  When the temperatures begin to drop, we add spices to our cooking, which in turn helps our bodies to warm up from the inside-out.  Cinnamon in particular is helpful (to diabetics as well) to aid in the use of sugars in our bodies.  Cloves aid in cleaning the air we breathe (steaming or diffusing), numb topical pain (think toothaches), and are antimicrobial (how helpful in the cold and flu season)!  If we work with the seasons and rhythms of life rather than fight against them, we can learn so much about ourselves and God’s creation.

Need a little more inspiration to begin the summer eating energizing, clean foods?  Try the link below for so much deliciousness that you may very well jump out of your chair, jump into your car, and buy out the produce at your local farmer’s market or grocery store!

freshsalads

 

 

 

Updates and things to come

First of all, there were over 1100 entries into the “I Love Alaska” giveaway, and the winner has been notified. Congrats to her!

Second, the ground is thawing! 17 bulbs were planted yesterday, with 12 more laid out in a bed in front. I’ve begun hardening off a couple hardier sets of seedlings from our dining room, which makes me nervous. I hate to lose a plant due to my incompetence. As soon as we are frost-free, I’ll be setting out the little bed of chamomile in the front yard near a tree. I think it’ll give a pretty and somewhat wild look, while softening the base of the tree of which they will sit. Bonus, chamomile tea is excellent.

Third, the brooding box is ready for our chicks! Rather than simply buy a kiddie pool or fold-out apparatus for our future chicks, hubby made what almost looks like a miniature coop, complete with linoleum tiles and a latch (no lid, yet). We will be picking up a couple different breeds over the coming wee, so watch for photos if you are interested in our new adventure. The building of the coop will come over the next month, and I warn you now, it will not be fancy. It will be functional, though, and safe, and that is the goal for our growing layers.

Fourth, can you believe the school year is almost finished? Not that the pursuit of knowledge and educational experiences should be placed within a specific timeframe, but in the sense of, “My, how quickly this year has sped by!”. I just about have our curriculum finalized for the fall. It is getting easier for me each year to decide on texts and publishers and such, as we try things out and see what does or doesn’t meet each of our needs and goals. Of increasing concern is the prolific number of texts sporting the “Common Core Aligned” badge across their covers. Ew. I get that they are trying to sell books, I appreciate that, I really do. The worst offenders are those who have actually re-done their texts so that they not only meet the requirements but ARE the requirements. Have some imagination.

Fifth, I begin running (I am using the term loosely) with my brother today. The MudFactor 5K is coming up in June, and I haven’t been running on a regular basis in too many years to try and count. I’m also carrying around an extra 10-12 pounds of NOT-muscle. He is a gracious man, though, and probably won’t laugh at my red face until we get back home. 😉 He is very patient with me though, and I struggle to imagine life without him. We were so far apart – on different planets for all practical purposes – for so long, and yet I talked to him in my thoughts every day. A piece of my heart has always been his. I couldn’t ask for a cooler sibling. Now that we live just minutes away from each other, I’m still adjusting to having another piece of my family so close, and grateful for the fact that they are just down the road. For the greater part of my adult life, J-Dub and I have been on our own with the kids, making friends here and there, but mostly just living independently from any real network of support. Our privacy and slower pace is still important to us, but over the past few years we have enjoyed being part of a local group of family and friends again. Our babes seem happier as well, knowing that friends they make are likely to be there for a long time.

Well, I’m off to enjoy this amazing Alaska sunshine. Stay tuned for chick updates over the week, and coop and garden updates throughout April and May. If you are planting and homesteading and farming and experimenting at your place, I’d like to hear about it! Share your dabblings and ramblings in the comments below! Have a blessed Easter!

I Love Alaska Giveaway!

                    I Love Alaska Giveaway - including a $250 gift certificate for Alaskan seafood!

It’s no secret that “The Last Frontier” is a magical place! There are many things to love – scenery like nowhere else, whales, bears, Native culture, and just enough danger and adventure to keep us on our toes!

Alaska is a HUGE state (2.3x the size of Texas!), but Alaskans all across the miles – from Juneau to Barrow – share a special bond. As do people who have visited or dream of visiting! When you catch the “Alaska bug,” there’s no going back! A group of us bloggers living in the 49th state have decided to come together to share our love for our home with YOU – tangibly!!

Please take the time to visit all of the Alaskan Bloggers sponsoring this great giveaway:

Hey What’s For Dinner Mom?
Idlewild Alaska
Dabblings and Ramblings
Megan’s Gluten Free & Other Allergen Free Recipes
Raising the Barrs

We are so excited to be offering quite the Alaskan bounty to one of you – over $500 in value to help you celebrate your love of Alaska!

The Prizes!

Anderson Seafood

A $250 (wow!!) gift certificate to purchase your favorite Alaskan seafood from Anderson Seafoods. Anderson Seafoods has worked hard to provide high quality and sustainably-sourced seafood for 35 years! And if wild caught Salmon and Halibut aren’t your thing (is that possible??), they also sell crab, lobster, shrimp and lots more fish.

Children's books from Sasquatch Books

Set of three Alaska-themed children’s books from Sasquatch Books – Alaska’s Sleeping Beauty, Grizzly Bears of Alaska, and Patsy Ann of Alaska. These charming and beautifully illustrated soft cover books will captivate children of all ages. Read a full review of these books here.

handcrafted oil lamp from Roads End Pottery

A handcrafted oil lamp by Dave Hough of Roads End Pottery – from the Town Square Art Gallary in Wasilla, Alaska. A thick cotton wick is held in place by a round stone, which sits at the mouth of the lamp. The lamp can be filled with ordinary lamp oil, as one would fill a glass oil lamp with. The glaze on the pottery is lead-free and dishwasher safe
Alaskan fiction by Warren Troy
.   Trilogy of Alaskan Homesteading fictional books written and signed by Warren Troy. Wilderness Reckoning, The Last Homestead, and Trails are captivating adventure stories sure to please anyone who daydreams about life off the grid or Alaska.
Alaska-on-the-go-Exploring-the-49th-state-with-children-SIGNED-200x300

  A copy of Erin Kirkland’s brand new book Alaska on the Go: Exploring the 49th State with Children – so that you can start planning your family’s Alaskan vacation! This book will help you decide when to travel, how to get here, and how to take advantage of your time here with your children!

Alaska cutting board

An Alaska shaped cutting board from Epicurean. The better to remember us by! You’ll get to share your stories from the frozen North every time to pull it out to prepare dinner for guests!

chocolates from Alaska

A yummy box of chocolates from JB Chocolatier – handmade in the Matanuska Valley. These beauties are almost too pretty to eat… almost! 🙂 $60 value!

Alaska Seasoning Company
A 3-pack of seasonings from the Alaska Seasoning Company to spice up your life – Kodiak Cajun, Gold Rush Seasoning Salt and Denali Dry Rub.

The Rules

Eligible entrants must be 18 years or older and live within the United States (AK & HI are FINE, of course! No discrimination from us!!). This giveaway will be open through Sunday, April 13th. Winner will be notified via email. Please enter to win using the Rafflecopter widget below:

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

While a post each day seems a daunting undertaking for me at this time, I can surely manage at least one each week. In this case, I get to let photos speak for me, rather than my sometimes garbled writing. Here is the first weekly challenge…

 

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Planning and packing

Learning, Growing, then Leading

Sons grow up too fast

 

My boy – my only son – is away at his first Trail Life lock-in tonight.  Sure, this is just a glorified sleepover, but it is a step in the direction of manhood.  He is tasting little bits of independence, watching as successful grown men lead and teach he and his peers useful life skills.  He is learning how to humbly lead, without realizing it.  He is becoming a young man before my eyes, and I mustn’t blink.

 

~V

Springing to mind

SPRINGTIME has ARRIVED! It may snow again a couple-two-tree (shout out to my NePa family) more times before we realize summertime has snuck in, and that’s fine. Why? Because Spring has arrived! This splendid turn of events requires action! Action in the form of reacquainting myself with all of the varying trees and plants that have lived on our property since before it was ours,

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action in the form of planting seeds for this year’s (hopefully) larger garden,

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action in the form of walking and jogging more, in preparation for the Mudfactor 5K,

action in the form of skimming through the Mat-Su Valley Visitors Guide that came stuffed in the Frontiersman this morning,

and action in preparing our home for another fantastically adventurous Spring/Summer that only our sweet Alaska can offer. This truly is a blessed place, and we grow more grateful as each day passes that we get to create a home in the Great Land.

Have you been smelling those sweet Spring aromas outside? Perhaps you have the Spring-cleaning bug? Or maybe, you are just glad that the school year is almost complete? Tell me! What is going on with you as we transition to warmer weather?

2013 5K / 10K For Life

Hey folks!  Long time no blog! 🙂

Where have I been?  Here and there I guess, but mostly here, just living the day-to-day greatness that is my family.  Facebook is simultaneously boring me to death and sucking the time from my day.  In an effort to connect while organizing my time a little better, I’m going to get a little more regular here on Reinhardt Ramblings, and a little less so everywhere else.  Go ahead, laugh if you must, I’ll wait…

Good?  Alright.  Today’s ramblings will consist of sharing with you all an event coming up next month here in the Valley.  I have coerced my sweet darlings into walking/jogging a 5K with me to benefit the HeartReach Center.  Below is a little cut-and-paste job I pulled from my fundraising page, so you can learn a little about the noble cause, and links to the center’s website along with my family’s fundraising page.  Check ’em out, donate if you feel led to do so, or just pray for those who volunteer selflessly at the center.  Most of all, pray for those who reach out for help at HeartReach.  Sometimes we are bravest in our greatest time of need.

Reinhardt Crew’s FundEasy Page

HeartReach Center

Wasilla, AK
 

We have two arms of ministry.
One is for women seeking guidance in unplanned pregnancies, helping them to see options for themselves and for the growing child within. We are here to offer hopeand help–we listen with compassion, share truth without judgement, andencourage each woman that they need not walk this journey alone. 
The other arm of ministry is called Embracing Parenthood. We are a resource center providing families with tools to help in prenatal care and child rearing. We walk along side those who seek information on how to raise their children and create a healthy family environment. More than 250 classes are available to be received one-on-one with a caring mentor from our team of dedicated trained counselors. We have recently added men’s mentors to help fathers in the challenging role they face.

 There is never any fee to those seeking the services we offer–all services are provided free of charge.
Website:
http://www.heartreachalaska.com

Contact: Patti Price
Email: patti.price@heartreachalaska.com
Phone: (907) 373-3456

Address:
924 Leatherleaf Loop
Wasilla, AK 99654