Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sky

By Becca

 Mom was on a cleaning spree and found a scrap of yellow paper in her closet.
It was a poem.
It didn't have a name or date on it, but from the handwriting, she knew it was mine.
She put the paper on the dining room table where Beth and I where doing our schoolwork.
I picked it up, happy for a distraction, and read it.
Some parts where silly and bad spelling dotted the paper, but a few lines weren't that bad.
Later I rewrote it, keeping the first stanza, chucking the last, and altering the middle ones.
Anyhow, something I started when I was a little kid somehow found its way to our blog :)


The delicate lace of Sky's blue gown
Danced across endless space
The breath of the wind whirled it around
Starting the merriest chase

While Sky changed to her evening dress
The frills turned purple, pink
The stars peek out behind the darkness
Piercing the heavens as black as ink

As the velvet night began fading away
The silver moon still shone it's light
Sky slipped into her bright new today
But all still remembered the night


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Corn Muffins






By Bethany


   This is a recipe I found on the Food Network website, but I've done some tweaking to it.
So here's my version! The original recipe said it made a dozen muffins, but I usually get around 18.

Ingredients:

3 cups whole wheat flour

1/4 cup natural sugar ( I use rapadura)

1 cup stone ground cornmeal

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 cup butter (or I use coconut oil), melted and cooled to room temperature.

2 large eggs

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  Line muffin cups with papers. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, melted butter/oil, and eggs. With the mixer on the lowest speed, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until they are just blended. Spoon the batter into the muffin liners, filling each to the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the taps are golden and crisp and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly and remove from the pan.
   If you have any left the next day, my favorite way to eat them is buttered and drizzled with maple syrup.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Rosie's Countdown, Day 33?


         Sorry we didn't post yesterday, but you didn't miss anything. 
Yesterday morning we cautiously peeked into the nest box, only to find flattened straw. This morning Rosie was sitting on top of her nest box, preventing us from opening the lid. She wouldn't budge, as Becca gave her a gentle shove, as if to say "Nothing to see here!"
  No babies means this was a false alarm. But she had us fooled. She even thought she was pregnant!



Oh well… no Easter bunnies to sell this year. Tomorrow we'll try again with Rosie+Simon and Stormy+Steve. If all goes well they will be due around Easter time, but the kids won't be ready to go until the end of April.
  
  Rosie's Countdown, Day 28…29… 30… 31… 32... 33!?
                                                 
"Houston we have a problem" : )

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rosie's Countdown, Day 31



        No babies yet, sigh…… It's hard to wait! Some of the kids at church were putting in orders for rabbits already. It was mostly wishful thinking on their part. I don't know if their parents would have agreed :)

     
"I want a black one, or a gray one…" One boy said.
     
"I want a spotted one, with black spots!!" His little brother exclaimed.
    
 "I want a boy, or a girl… do girl rabbits have more babies then boys do?"
                   
                                     



Saturday, February 23, 2013

Rosie's Countdown, Day 30


Just one more day to go!
We're expecting the babies to be born tomorrow night, so we should have exciting news to share on Monday.
Still not much of a nest, but there's a little time yet, maybe Rosie is more of a last minute kinda gal : )



The Call




Beth and I had hadn't heard this song for a few years,
 but I heard it on the radio two days ago and then I couldn't get it out of my head :)
I was humming it all day, which of course got it stuck it Beth's head too.
I figured the song out on the keyboard and she found the guitar cords online. 

We hope you enjoy!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Rosie's Countdown, Day 29



Nothing has really happened since yesterday… As you can see Rosie is hard at work, thinking about the nice nest she is going to build (hopefully).  :)
It has been getting warmer out though, which is great and means we can stop crocheting little sweaters for each of the kits (just kidding).

Just two more days to go!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rosie's Countdown, Day 28



     Countdown to Rosie's Due Date!

           It's only three more days away, and excitement is building! Rosie started pulling out fur for her nest two weeks ago… but we hadn't given her the nest box yet, so it fell through the floor of her hutch and has now mostly blown away :(   She'll have to pull out more, or her little babies will be chilly! (Temps have been in the negative, and even though they are in our garage, it's not heated)
  The first litter of the year is always so fun, and means Spring is on it's way!

        

Here's Mama, smiling for the camera!

Warm nestbox? Check!
Lots of nice clean straw? Check!
Fur to line the nest, and keep the babies cozy? Let's see…


A little fur, and some shredded cardboard?? Rosie, you still have some work to do to get that nest ready for your little ones. Good thing there are still three more days!



Here is Daddy Steve, watching from across the room. Isn't he handsome? We're hoping that some of the kits will look like him and we'll get some opals, but the broken (white and another color) gene is dominate so they will probably all be little Rosies (which are also darling)


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Musings of Mama Rabbit


And there was Mother Rabbit
Sitting all alone
Life for her was quieter since
The little ones had grown
They all had gone to new homes now.
Her life seemed like a bore
"Well, maybe" she smiled to her herself
"I'll have a dozen more"

                     -Becca Canaan

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Meet Stormy

By Bethany

Stormy, our black, Mini Rex Doe

          This is Stormy, our oldest doe. This spring will be her 4th birthday, so in rabbit years, that's about late thirties.  :)   Officially she is my rabbit (Becca and I share the bucks, Steve and Simon), but we share the profits from all the litters. 
Stormy is very sweet and laid back. She's content to bask in the sun, or run around the pen and help Steve with the construction of their various holes about the pen, which she enjoys very much.

Here she is in her tunnel

Stormy has been a very good mother to 5 litters so far, and is always very patient with us when we poke our heads into the nest and play with the little ones.

Litter #1
(from left to right: Basil, Ivy, Kale, and Licorice)

We were so excited to peak in the nest box one evening and find, buried under mounds of soft fur, four, squirming, squeaking baby rabbit kits. They all looked like their father Oreo (may he rest in peace). In this picture, they are about three weeks old.


Litter #2

(Austin & Jaime)
Her next litter was surprisingly small, with only two kits (an average mini rex mama rabbit has 5-6 kits per litter). Austin looked like Papa, and Jaime was a beautiful blue w/ silver ticking. In this picture, they are almost four weeks old.


Litter #3

(from left to right: foster child Steve McGee, Pipo,
Micky, and Wendy)
 Third litter, three kits + one. Finally some mini Stormys. :) Little Steve (son of Julie + Steve) fit right in, and whether Stormy noticed the extra mouth to feed or not (rabbits can't count), he became part of the family.
Only a little over a week old in this picture, their eyes could open, but they were all just too sleepy.


Litter #4

Taking a nap on a summer afternoon
 (clockwise from top: Othello, Fancy, Checkers, Domino)

More mini Oreos, plus one little broken blue. Four kits has been Stormy's largest litter so far, and probably ever, since she is older for a breeding rabbit. In this picture they are about two weeks old.


Litter #5

(Pete & Ellie)


This is Stormy's most recent litter. Their father was Steve, and they had the most perfect Rex fur, very thick and velvety. Again, a small litter, but then there is no one to feel left out when Becca and I each hold one.  :)


We will be breeding Stormy in about a month, so it will be fun to see what colors we get with her + Steve again. 



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Gadget Finds A Home (a story)


                                               
                                                               By Bethany Canaan



   The dusty, black, model T pulled up in front of an old house. It was rather imposing looking, with its three stories towering over the front lawn, and the grand looking columns that held up both the front porch and second story balcony. David Conroy got out of the automobile, followed by his wife, Gloria, and two teenaged children, Alistair and Mildred. It had been a long, hot drive from Chicago. The only possessions they had brought along were in trunks, strapped to the back of their vehicle. They had been told that the house was fully furnished, and they had no need of their own furniture, which would have only filled a small portion of the huge house since they had lived in an apartment in the city.
   The man removed his bowler hat and wiped the sweat from his brow. “Well, here we are!” he said, forcing a cheerful smile.
   His wife smiled genuinely in return. “It’s beautiful David! It just needs a little tender loving care”
   “…And a machete for the front weeds. I can’t even tell where the walk way is to the porch!”
  “Alistair!” the girl glared at her brother.
  “Hey! Don’t look at me! I’m just making the observation. Dad, if your uncle could afford a house like this, don’t you think he could have at least hired a gardener?”
  “Well son, he wasn’t the wisest with how he spent his money, and the little that he had left when he died went to the lawyer who drew up his will.”
   “So we came all this way for a big, “free” house that we’ll have to pay to fix up?”
   “I’m sure we can do most of the work ourselves. But the main reason for moving out here was to get away from the city. It just wasn’t the place your mother and I wanted you to grow up in. So when your great uncle died, and left me this house, we thought it was a good opportunity”  
   Mr. Conroy had just finished unfastening the straps that held the trunks onto the back of the vehicle, and was about to bring them up to the house when…
  “Mr. Conroy! Looks like I caught you at the perfect time” It was a young man. He was in his mid twenties and dressed in a gray, pinstriped suit.
   “I’m Julian Harford, your Uncle’s Lawyer, there are just a few papers to sign and the house is yours!”
    Mr. Conroy turned to his family. “You can go up to the house; I’ll meet you there in a minute or two”
  “Here!” the lawyer held up a set of keys. “These will open the front door, side door, back door, garage door, there’s a key for every door. Catch!” he tossed the keys to Alistair, who caught them, then ran up to the front porch to unlock the door for his mother and sister.
   The door let out a protesting groan as Alistair pushed it open, and Mildred and Mrs. Conroy walked through.
   Before they started to unpack, Mr. and Mrs. Conroy took the car downtown to pick up some groceries so Mrs. Conroy could have a hot supper for the family after the rest of them had finished unpacking. Alistair and Mildred were left alone in the house and the first thing they wanted to do was choose their bedrooms.
   The big house had many bedrooms, on both the second and third floor. One was the master suite but the rest were up for grabs.
  “I want the bedroom that opens up onto the balcony!” Millie called out, running up the stairs.
  “I think that one will be Mother and Father’s!” Alistair called up after her.
  Alistair knew which room he wanted too, he just had to find it. From the outside of the house he could see that one of the third story rooms was connected to the turret on the north side of the house, so he headed up the second stair case, to the upper level of the house.
  He walked down the hall, opened each door along the way and looked in, even though he knew that “his” room would be towards the end.
    He was right. The last room was a corner bedroom, with windows on the north and east side, plus an area that opened up into the turret. All the rooms were lavishly furnished, and this one was no exception. The large four poster bed that was against one wall was surrounded by a heavy, red velvet canopy, a little to much for Alistair’s taste, but… it did look comfy. And a large mahogany wardrobe stood opposite it. In the turret was a high-backed chair and end table, a perfect reading nook, he thought, and a good look out. From the turret windows, one could see all the way across town!
   Alistair went back down stairs to get his things, and just as he was about to head back upstairs, the doorbell rang.
   Hearing it for the first time took him off guard as the series of chimes resounded through the large entryway. Through the stained glass panes in the door, he could see multiple figures.
   “Hello! And welcome to the neighborhood!” A middle aged woman holding a large basket greeted him. Besides her stood two girls, one about Millie’s age, one a little older, and a rather sullen looking boy who appeared to be close to Alistair’s age.
   “Hello” Alistair replied politely
   “You must be one of the Conroy’s children, are your parents at home?”
    “They had to go to the store… but they’ll be back soon. I’m Alistair” He held out his hand, and then drew it back. “Silly”, he thought, “she can’t shake hands when she’s holding that basket”
  The women smiled, then gave her son a nudge. He reluctantly stuck out his hand, which Alistair then shook.
    “That, is my son Corwyn,” the women said, introducing her children “And my daughters Cornelia” The older one smiled “And Abigail” the younger one also smiled, and curtsied slightly. All of the children had blond hair, and Corwyn and Cornelia’s hair was especially curly.
   “I am Mrs. Hartford, we live just down the street and I though you might like some supper” she passed the basket to Alistair, who could smell something delicious inside.
   “Thank you! I’m sure we will all appreciated this! I didn’t realize anyone knew about us moving in today”
   “My oldest son Julian told me and since we live just down the street…”
   “Julian Hartford? The lawyer?”
    “Yes. Well, we had better get going and leave you to your unpacking, but let your mother know I stopped by and tell her when you are settled in, we’ll have tea together” With that, the Hartfords left.
  Alistair brought the basket of food into the kitchen, and set in on the table. Opening the lid only made the smells more intense as he pulled out a roast chicken, a bowl of mashed potatoes, a dish of glazed carrots, and a strawberry pie, each carefully packaged.
    “Who was that?” Millie asked, following the good smells into the kitchen.
   “Some of our new neighbors, the Hartfords, and they brought supper!”
    “It smells wonderful! I can’t wait to eat it!”
    “Did you choose your room yet?” Alistair asked
    “Yes, but you were right about the room with the balcony, I found a better one though, no balcony, but much prettier. Did dad’s uncle have a daughter?”
   “I don’t know…” he paused, hearing something.
   “What is it?”
    “I thought I heard a meow… but it must be coming from outside”
   “All the windows are closed” Millie said, looking around.
   “It must be a loud cat” Alistair laughed

       *          *       *        *         *       *        *         *           *         *         *          *         *          

    The next morning Alistair went outside to explore the garage. It had only been recently that it had been converted into a garage, before it had been a carriage house, and a long drive way led it up to it from the road.
   He unlocked the door with one of the many keys on the ring, and pushed open the door. It was dark inside, and there were no electric lights, those had only been recently installed in the house. To his left there was a lantern hanging and next to that was a shelf with a dusty box of matches on it. He lit the lantern and unhooked it so he could carry it with him. The building was mostly empty; Alistair could see a ladder in the back, leading up to a loft. In the back there were also some crates and a few things covered with canvas sheets. He walked back there with the lantern and pulled back the sheet, revealing the first hidden object. It was an old trunk. He lifted the lid and found it was full of old dresses, silks and satins, with full skirts like what ladies used to wear to balls and fancy parties. He made a mental note to tell Millie about them. She was interested in those sorts of things. The next object was a worn looking sofa, most likely retired from the parlor. And the last thing was… a Velocipede. It was old, and rusty, but the tires seemed in good shape so Alistair wheeled it into the open.  It was the style with the front wheel much larger then the back, before they had invented the safety bicycle that had both wheels the same size. He would look silly riding it, he though, but it might be fun. There were a few things to be tightened though, so he headed inside to find some tools.
    Mrs. Conroy was busy in the kitchen when Alistair came in the back door. She was familiarizing herself with where every thing was.
   “Hi Mom”
   “Hello Alistair, did you find anything interesting in the garage?”
   “A few things, but there’s no work bench or tools out there, where do you think those would be?”
   “Why, I’m not sure… Maybe in the cellar?”
    “I’ll have a look. Thanks!”
   Alistair made his way down the steps to the cellar. He had to use the lantern again as there were no lights down there. It was a large cellar, with a smooth dirt floor. The stairs where on one side of the house, so to his left he could see the stone foundation of the house. There were shelves dividing off one section of the space so he headed that way, hoping to find a workshop of some sort.
  Something furry brushed against him and darted ahead of him into the shadows. He only caught a glimpse of it, a small, dark shape with a long tail.
  “Great! There are rats down here!” he said to himself then he heard a scuffling sound as the creature climbed up on the shelves and knocked some things over.
  “Big rats!” he thought. He kept walking though, holding the lantern up and peering into every shadow, not wanting to be surprised.
  There was a workshop. On one side of the area stood a long table, with tools hanging above and neatly arranged on it. The shelves that partitioned off the workshop area were filled with miscellaneous boxes, jars of nails and screws and other gadgets. Alistair found a screwdriver set that would work and a wrench, and was about to head back upstairs when he heard something. He could see the shadow of something moving behind a box so he picked up a hammer, preparing to exterminate the rat. He quickly pushed the box aside and raised the hammer, but stopped. There, blinking in the light of his lantern, sat a little, longhaired, gray kitten. It mewed and looked up pitifully at him.
  Immediately he set the hammer down and scooped up the kitten from the shelf. It was soft and fluffy, but he could feel its ribs, and it was very thin.
   “How in the world did you get down here?” he asked the kitten.
   “Mew!” it cried hungrily.
   Alistair waked around the perimeter of the cellar, holding the kitten, and found that a high, narrow window was open.
   “You probably fell in, and couldn’t climb out! Are you a stray?”
   “Mew!”
  “Of course you can’t answer… let’s go upstairs and get something for you to eat”

“Mother, where’s Alistair?”
“He’s in the cellar dear”
  Millie looked confused “Why?”
  “He was looking for some tools, but he should be up soon”
  Just then Alistair came in the kitchen where his mother and sister where talking.
   “Mom, could I have a bowl of milk or some of the left over chicken from supper last night?”
   “Yes, but wouldn’t you like your milk in a glass?”
   “It’s not for me!” with one hand he lifted a sleepy kitten out of the crook of his other arm. It mewed softly.
  “Oh! How darling!” Millie exclaimed.
  “I found her with all the tools and gadgets down stairs, she must have been trapped down there, and she’s really hungry”
   “Mew!” the kitten agreed wholeheartedly.
   “Can we keep her?” Millie asked.
   “You’ll have to ask your father, but I think it would be all right” Mrs. Conroy answered
  “What should we name you?” Millie said to the kitten, as she took her from her brother’s arms and held it close to her face. “Where did you say you found her Alistair?”
   “With the tools and gadgets”
   “Gadget… that would be a cute name!”
   “Gadget it is then!” Alistair said, taking the kitten back from his sister. “Gadget, it looks like you found a home”
  
       The End

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Meet Rosie

By Becca


    Out of all our rabbits ( I guess we do only have four )Rosie is my favorite, well... my favorite doe, for many reasons.

One big reason is because of Julie,  my first rabbit.  

Julie was a beautiful broken castor mini rex. She had black eyelashes like she was wearing mascara and a spot on her rump in the shape of a heart. She was sweet, playful and just plain cute. But there was one problem, she was a terrible mother, just terrible, and she also grunted at my sister (weird, I know).      
The only living kit ever she had was a miracle and even then we fostered him into another litter, for fear of the little guy being neglected. Anyways, we couldn't put up with Julie's unique mothering techniques (or lack of) for much longer, and gave her away to a good home.
  A few days later we went in search of her replacement and found Rosie.


Rosie was perfect. She's a tricolor with plushy rex fur and she was simply an adorable little peanut :) 


                 She has now grown into beautiful rabbit and has proved herself an excellent mother. 


Here's the family, they're all boys and all look like just mom :)


                                        Here she is sharing a snack with her son Tristan




Rory, one of her handsome boys, went to live with friends of ours. There he enjoys a life of freedom and lots of attention. It is so fun seeing the babies that once fit into the palm of my hand grow to be a big rabbit, overflowing my arms :)


Rosie will have another litter this spring and is due in a few weeks.
It will be so fun to have babies again, I can hardly wait!
 Keep checking for baby updates.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Collecting Jadeite, By Beth



   Recently, my (Bethany's) favorite thing to hunt for in antique stores is vintage Fire-King Jadeite. It is just such an adorable color, and it's very durable. Mainly produced in the 30's through the 60's, it was sold in department stores,  given away at gas stations, and in boxes of oatmeal. That would be a fun find, wouldn't it? Today, it's a little more expensive. Ever since Martha Stewart announced she had a jadeite collection, the prices have really went up. What did she have to do that for?  :)
My collection is small, but growing. I received most of the pieces as gifts, and they are not all vintage. In the picture below, the mixing bowl set, the scalloped cream and sugar set w/ tray, and the measuring cups are all reproductions. But that's fine, because I'm planning on using them all in my future kitchen some day, and with a genuine 1930's measuring cup set costing almost $200, I'm content with my $30 set. I think I would be too freaked out to use valuable antiques for everyday baking anyway.



So, here it is! Besides the previously mentioned reproduction things, I also have a batter bowl, a mug, a cereal bowl, and a Jane-Ray pattern cream and sugar set. All of those are Fire-King Jadeite from the late 1940's.



And here are my latest finds! There are actually two tea cups, but since I only have one saucer, I thought the other cup would look lonely in the picture.  :) I found the cups today, and the saucer last weekend. The saucer was a great buy for $2. The cups were a little more, $10 each, but cups are a little harder to find, so they are worth it.
Yes, they do look like a different shade of green then the others, but it's just the light. These are also the Jane-Ray pattern. Jadeite dishes come in different patterns, a few of them are Jane-Ray, Alice (This was the pattern found in oatmeal containers), and Charm. Each of them has a unique look, and are very cute. There isn't a specific reason I'm collecting Jane-Ray right now, but since it's what I've found the most of, I'll probably stick to it.
Check back, as I'll keep updating when I find more treasures!









Thursday, February 7, 2013

Frosty Foggy February

The faint outlines of trees in the morning mist

This morning I (Becca) went outside with my camera hanging around my neck.
Last night the air was heavy with spring fog and it laced the trees in thick frost.



The few dead leaves, still holding fast to the branches and the faded colors of autumn caught my attention.


The old birdhouse has been there for as long as I can remember.
When I was younger I'd climb the maple tree and try to look inside for birds.
Now it waits for spring when new tenants will come and nest.


The bright red rose hips never seem to lose their cheery color, even in winter.
I look forward to the spring when the bushes blossom with perfumed pink flowers.

"As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease."
Genesis 8:22

Friday, February 1, 2013

Altering a Vintage Dress


Here is a dress I (Beth) found in a vintage/costume area of a local thrift store. Pretty cute, don't you think? I thought so too. I loved the light blue color, the daisy print, and the collar and sleeve cuffs with the lace.


 It didn't have a size on it (I think it was homemade), but it looked like it would be a good  fit, so it came home with me. Trying it on proved otherwise... It wasn't really too small, but it was a little snug in the skirt. That didn't turn out to be a problem though, as the dress had plenty of length. Which then gave me an idea...



     
 I started by using a seam ripper and removing the sash from the front, then sewing the space it left back up. Then again with the seam ripper, I took the zipper out. After that, I cut across the dress where approximately my waist would be. I measured out the length I wanted the skirt to be, and then cut off the extra fabric.

                         (my lovely work area is also our multifunctional hallway)  

I made pleats in the skirt as I pinned the top of the dress back to the bottom, and then sewed them together. Finishing up, I re-attatched the zipper and put the sash back in by opening up the front a little and sewing it back in.


    

And here it is, all done! (please excuse the messy bedroom) A perfect fit with a loose fitting skirt, and I like the length better. It's a great spring dress, but the fabric is a little heavy for the warmer months.
I wore it to church one day and got a complement from one of the older ladies, it was sweet. Then an eight year old boy approached me and said, "That looks like a granny dress".
Oh well, it probably was once.  :)
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