Oregano Harvest


When I was in Greece, I used to harvest wild Oregano from the hillsides to bring back to cook dinner with.  At one point, I harvest a lot of it that I then dried and put into a bottle to bring home with me (I know, I know, not totally legal).

I ran out last year, and I decided to plant some Greek Oregano in the garden so that at least I could enjoy the lovely taste I discoverd in that magical land.

The plant was small last year, and I didn’t get much from it, but it survived the winter beautifully, and I realized the other day that if I did not do anything about it it was going to go to seed early.  I quickly took my scissors out and cut down the plant to harvest for the kitchen.

I got a LOT of Oregano from the harvest.  It filled up my entire food dehydtrator.

When the plants had fully dried out, I pulled all the leaves off and put them in a bag.

Daphne’s job was to squish the bag up so that the leaves broke down into smaller chunks that could be used in the kitchen.  She was really fond of the job.  She liked to call it “squish, squish, squish.”

I now have a full pint of freshly dried and harvested Oregano from my garden that I can use to my culinary heart’s content.  I am excited to see future yields from the plant!

Baby Countdown


I am in a discussion board online with other people due around the same time that I am.  One of the ladies just had the baby.  Though it is a bit early, the baby was totally fine and didn’t need to spend any time in the NICU!  It really started to hit home the fact that I could have a baby at some point soon.  I am totally ready, but my world may be turned upside down for a while.  I would like to get some projects completed first before I go leaping head first into newborn land.

I realized that we have very little time to get some big projects done around the house, so Jared and I spent Sunday attacking them.  Everything on my list got done, which is amazing.  The old chicken coop was turned into pieces to make future rabbit hutches if necessary.  The garage got cleaned out.  I spent several hours cleaning out the car interior.  It is perfect.  I even put the infant car seat in because I have had people coming places with me that have little babies.  We might as well put it in and leave it in at this point.

I even got all the projects from the backyard handled.  Jared took apart the chicken run from the meat birds and helped break it down.  I am no longer doing the meat bird thing in this small space we have.  I cleaned all the chicken pens and reduced my chores to just the chickens and the rabbits–much less than a week ago.

Daphne has been really wonderful and helpful lately.  She LOVES taking care of the baby bunnies.  She can’t get enough of holding them.  I moved the angora babies out with their mom yesterday during the day, and they are spending the night out there tonight.  Daphne will miss going to get them herself, but I am sure that she won’t lack time playing with them.

Of course mama gets to help play too.  That is a rabbit on top of my very pregnant belly.

And a rabbit snuggling down in my shirt.

The babies want to be just like mama.  They are learning to drink from the water.

And they are learning to eat out of the feeder.

Curious little buggers.

They sure do like to hang out on mama.  Look at the bunny under mama trying to nurse.  Daisy really is not totally thrilled with 8 babies running around demanding that she play.  It has been exceptionally hot here recently, and I am sure it is not easy to cool off with youngsters sitting on you.

All the white bunnies together.  Look at how exhausted and hot Daisy looks.

All the bunnies in the box.

They like to explore.

This is Thing 1 nursing her babies.

She really is a pretty rabbit.

The babies opened their eyes over the past two days, and it really does a lot to make them look cute.

It got really hot outside, so I rigged some extra shade for the bunnies to hang out of.  It is a real high tech solution.

The chickens got some shade for their nest boxes, and they started to use them again.  This completes almost all of the things that need to be done for the chickens.

The chicken run is now almost complete except for a 15 minute fence repair I hope to make it to this week.

Big news!  We got a garage door opener.  We can now park the car in the garage.  The car is clean, the garage is clean, and the car stays out of the hot weather for the small children riding in it.  This has made a wonderful improvement in our lives.

A clean car in a clean garage, what a great feeling for a pregnant woman.

I packed a to-go bag for the baby to go to the birth center with me.  I’ve got clothes and diapers.  For now, all this stuff is sitting on the freezer in the garage, but it will soon just live permanently in the car.  I made a bag of things for Daphne to eat and to do while she comes with us.

I made Daphne some wipes for a baby we are going to give her when our baby is born.  They went in the Daphne to go bag to the birth center.  I think she will appreciate them.

Daphne sure loves to hang with her daddy.

I am feeling really tired as the end of being pregnant draws near.  My birthday is on Saturday, and I feel like there is an awful lot that needs to get done before I have no more energy.  My feet are starting to swell up and I am having trouble doing the same things I could do fairly easily only a few weeks ago.  I spend a lot less time on the computer because it is not good for my feet or my morale, so that is why I have been skipping days and not posting things like my no dairy, no sugar ice cream recipe.  All in good time.  There are plenty of adventures to be had.  Until then, I am going to join my baby in this position.

These Are the Days


It has been busy around here lately as I wrap up a lot of projects!

I chipped my tooth recently, so we spent Thursday heading to the Dentist in Sherwood.  It was a filling they had done, so they fixed it at no charge, which was nice, but by the time I got home the only thing left to do for the day was sew.

Friday was butchering day, so I headed out to the butcher with my 15 birds.  It really was nice to wrap up the project.  I am glad to have meat in the freezer and to have 15 less mouths to feed.  My chore time is being cut down considerably lately.  After dropping the birds off at the butcher, I took Daphne to the park to play while they did the processing.  As we were driving away, Daphne burst into tears asking me where here chickens were demanding that we go get them back.  I heartlessly told her that we would go pick them up  but that they would no longer be alive.  I didn’t know what else to tell a 2 year old.  When we went to pick up the birds to take home, she was perfectly happy to help load the car.  She carried each chicken and put it in the box happily stating that it was a chicken.  And I though she was going to be traumatized.  I guess I need to do a better job making sure she knows what is going on.

When I got home and got Daphne down for a nap I headed out to the chicken coop to rearrange some things.  The laying hens get better treatment now that I have more time for them.  We got them a new shelter a few weeks ago to solve many of the problems I was having keeping them in such an awkward space.  I took it back out and cleaned it and bedded it down with shavings for them.  I also made a door for it so that I could keep them out during the day for a while.  That side of the house is always in shade, and they don’t need the shelter during the winter.  They were trying to lay eggs in there, and they were not super easy to get out, so I decided to lock them out during the day and let them in at night.  This is all working really well.  I made the door for them out of some lovely, scrap, pink fabric.

They also got a feed and water upgrade.  They were having to eat and drink out of smaller containers, but with the meat birds gone and not needing the big feeder and waterer, the hens got it.  It is nice for them to have free choice food and water again, and I think that they are much, much happier.  Of course, being neurotic and pregnant, I spent about an hour sterilizing it for them after the meat birds had used it.

I worked on setting up the run for them more as well.  At this point, I probably won’t do much more for the summer.  The chicken coop used to block off half the run in the back, and since the birds spent the most time there, it had a lot of bedding and poop and stuff in it.  It is built up about a foot higher than the rest of the ground.  I aim to slowly have that compost down and spread it along the side of the house.  The chickens now have a lot more room to run around in, which is better for everyone.  I also need to put a top on the nesting boxes so that they are more willing to use them.  Chickens don’t like to lay unless they have privacy.

I went out on Friday night with a friend and her daughter.  I ended up getting my first pedicure.  It was a very lovely experience, especially being pregnant with such swollen feet.  It is not something I plan to do often, but it was nice and relaxing.  While the rest of me is covered in dirt, my feet don’t look right being all pretty!

Today, Jared and Daphne helped clean the back of the car out a little more.  I hope to complete the rest of it.  We then took an adventure to Portland.  I got my hair cut by a student at the Aveda Salon.  It is nice because the services are very inexpensive, but you get great service.  I got the best hair cut of my life from a girl who spent a lot of time working and learning.  It only cost me $10.  You can’t get a cheaper haircut, that is for sure.  I definitely recommend going there for anything if you live in the area.

Jared, Daphne and I then headed to a photo shoot.  My friend Christy from Studio Christy did some maternity photos and some family photos for us.  I think that she did a fabulous job, and I can’t wait to see them.  I will definitely share them when I do.

We have been having very hot weather here.  It has been record setting.  I was just complaining about the wet, but now it is very hot.  It got to be over 90 degree here today.  The garden needed  a good watering.  My peas are growing nicely.

As are my artichokes!

The rest of the garden is catching up.  It looks barren, but the plants are growing already.

This is Daphne sleeping in her own bed tonight.  She has been going to sleep in her own room as long as she gets to sleep with a baby and read any books that she wants.

Aren’t they cute when they sleep?

Ok.  My feet are swollen to great sizes, and everyone around here is tired, so Goonight!

Where am I (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) Edition


I am liking the format of summarizing what has gone on throughout the day.  They have been a little bit long lately, but I have some ideas to whittle them down and still provide other useful posts.  I am having ahard time sitting down at the end of the day.  It makes me extremely uncomfortable to sit down and do anything, and by the time I have read my email, I barely have any tolerance left to sit and type.  I’m debugging this, but that is why it’s been 3 days since I posted anything.

Sharing lots of photos has helped a lot with me documenting my life more.  Some weeks I used to go without picking up the camera at all, and I don’t like that at all.  Though not all the photos I am taking lately are professional quality photos, I am working on my photography skills in general, which is important right?

Friday was a fantastic day.  I try to go on lots of outings during the week to keep Daphne happy and busy and to keep me from going stir crazy in the house.  One of the regular things I do on Friday morning is go to Scotty’s.  It is a local play place that is indoors.  It is run by a church that allows free admission.  It has such a clean and friendly atmosphere, and it is nice to let Daphne play how she feels like for an hour or so.

The big news for Friday is that we went strawberry picking.  Though we are getting closer to that time of year, it is still a little bit early to get out and get lots of berries.  We got some rhubarb the other week from our CSA, and I froze it so that I could pair it with some strawberries to make some jam.  The early berries are great for jam because you don’t want to use overripe fruit in your jams.  I’ll post a little tutorial on the jam in another post.  The goal of picking strawberries was to get enough to make a batch of jam and to eat for a few days to satisfy the spring berry craving.

This is the third season that I have been berry picking with Daphne, and I must admit that I really love it.  The first year I just put her in a sling.  Last year, I just sat her down with a bucket of berries, and she ate whatever she wanted.  This year, she was actually helpful–well sort of.  You see, we are still working on colors, so when I told her to pick the red berries that sometimes meant that I got green berries.  She was so excited to help, so I spent a lot of time going around finding ripe berries and letting her pick them.  She really liked that.  The only problem is that she made up a rule that any berries she picked she got to eat, so a lot of the berries that I found, she ate (harumph).  All in all, it was a blast, and I totally plan to revisit next Friday to get some more yummy berries for eating next week.  The berries were totally gone by bedtime on Saturday.  It’s not like we love berries around here at all.

When I got the berries home, I washed them up and took about half of them for jam.  We only managed to pick a little less than 4 pounds in the 2 hours we were out there.  The picking was slim, and having a baby to watch really didn’t help.  However, those 4 pounds cost us only $4.  If we were to buy them already picked, we would have been paying $3 per pint.  Besides, they can’t weigh the berries that are in your tummy by the time you make it back to the register, and let’s just say there were a few of them in there.  (Ok. in all fairness, I held great restraint in eating while picking because I understand that not getting paid for something you grew is more than unfair).

While I was in the kitchen getting things ready for jam, I also got some onions on the dehydrator.  I decided to dehydrate all the onions that I had and make onion powder out of it.  This is the method I use for my veggie salt (yes, recipe coming soon, I promise).  I had WAY more onions than my dehydrator could handle, so the third batch is in there drying as I type this.  They should be done tomorrow.  The 2 batches I already did have been food processed into powder and put in a bag to be used in future cooking endeavors.

While Daphne took a nap on Friday I managed to get out and work on my herb garden.  I have always wanted an herb garden.  I had a pretty sucessful amout of herbs come out of the garden last year, but I was hoping to increase it this year.  I actually pulled up all the mature plants I had and ended up moving them around to put them all in the optimum space to grow me more herbs.  Now I have Greek Oregano, Chocolate Mint, Thyme, Marjorum, Parsley, Rosemary and Bay Laurel.  I am happy with the new arrangement, and if the plants don’t show any more shock from being moved, everything will go on for a nice herb season.



I made some tacos for dinner on Friday, and they were tasty.  The strawberries made a fantastic dessert with some fresh whipped cream I managed to whip up.

Saturday and Sunday were rather uneventful.  Unfortunately, the camera is really giving me problems.  The battery is almost dead, and I misplaced the charger and the spare battery.  I’ve been through the entire house trying to find it to no avail.  I skipped 2 days of bunny photos because I knew I was almost out of batteries, and nothing else got photographed either.  I’m hoping to find the battery tomorrow, otherwise, I am going to be very sad.

I made some progress sewing the elastic into my diapers and then serging them.  I have very few steps left before my one-size fitted diapers will be totally done.  They are looking really beautiful, and it makes me feel good to have lovely diapers.

Jared and I took Daphne to the park today today play around.  Carlton was really hopping with people out wanting to taste wine for the Memorial Day Holiday.  More power to them.  Our town is so lovely because these kinds of events really do bring in a lot of money for the local people.  I don’t mind sharing our little piece of Heaven with people on the weekends.

The bunnies are doing really great!  I can’t believe the changes I have seen in the Angora kits since they opened their eyes.  It seems that the black ones did it a lot faster than the white ones, which I assume is related to the fact that all the white bunnies are albinos.  Now that they have their eyes open, they are becoming more and more adventurous.  Though they are still staying in the nest box for now, I have a feeling that that will change over the next few days.  As soon as they can get in and out without problems the kits are going back out with mama.  They are getting good socialization for sure, but their mama can do a better job raising them than I can when there is no danger of them being killed from the cold nights.  They do spill out to get their mama when it it time to nurse.

Happy babies in the nest.

I’ve still got my attention on Thing 1’s babies.  There are 12 of them, so though she happily nurses them when I sit with her and help her, she only has 8 teats (it might actually only be 7).  That means that some of the little porkers get fed really well while the rest of them get little to eat.  The little bun that I  noticed was small and hungry the first day that held it’s own, but I am seeing less and less growth.  I can feel the ribs of the baby, and when I check to see that everyone is full at the end of the feeding, I am always finding that there are consistently 2-3 that need more to eat.  Thing 1 has had no problem with me giving them extra nursing time, but I’m not sure that she has the milk supply for it.  I would just foster them over to Daisy, but the week difference is HUGE in rabbit time, so I think it would be a worse situation.  I actually did end up letting them nurse from Daisy before her own babies got a chance tonight.  They seemed to be more full and happy than usual, but they were still very much more skinny compared to brothers and sisters.  If they manage to keep their own for another few days, their chances of long-term survival is greatly improved.  I’ll continue to foster nurse them and make sure that they get plenty to eat.

Chaos at feeding time.

This is a well fed nest of bunnies.

I have some other bad news.  The first day that Thing 1 had the babies, she was a little air headed, and she scratched one of the babies.  The wound looked like it was pretty bad, but manageable.  Over the next several days, I looked for the wounded baby (it is a black baby), but was never able to find the problem again, so I assumed it was not a problem or that it had healed.  On Friday night I was checking to make sure they all got fed and one of the black babies had  a misshaped tummy.  When I looked at it, it was in fact the wounded baby, and the wounds had gotten infected.  The hair in the nest had attached to the wound opening closing it so that it would not drain properly and so large absesses were growing.  I thought the baby was a gonner.  However, I cleaned out the wound (I’ll spare the gory details) and let the baby nurse an extra amount.  I’ve been keeping an eye on it every day.  I was sure the baby would die that night, but when I checked to see that everyone had eaten tonight, the wounded baby was the most feisty and the best fed of all the kits.  I’m not totally out of the woods on it yet, because it is still infected and needs to be cleaned 2 times a day, but every second the baby lives and is not listless and on its way down gives it a better chance of recovery and survival.  My hopes are high.

I took some family photos for Julie recently, and Daphne tagged along with me.  She thought she needed to be in many of the photos.  I did end up taking photos of her to oblige her, but she was so out of place in many of the photos I took!

She was trying to mimic a pose one of the girls was doing.

It must have been as good a time as any to take off the clothes and run around.

This is a blooper of the family, but Daphne really doesn’t belong either!

Always my little model.

This was in the middle of all the other photos.  Daphne really loves to sit at her stool like it is a little table.  This is how she ate lunch on Saturday.  A nice tasty Oregon burrito was consumed at her own little table.

Consider yourself updated.  Until tomorrow.

Baby Rabbits Day 5


The weather improved today, so I was able to leave the bunnies out with their mom.  I can definitely see the logic of leaving them inside though.  I am starting to get nervous that they are in danger of wiggling out of the nesting box.  As soon as I see a little bit more movement from them, I think that I will be bringing them inside for the night so that no one wiggles out of the box and is lost to the cold.  Daisy really doesn’t mind when I mother her young, so I’ve not got a lot to worry about in terms of her rejecting them.

Daphne and I spent the morning outside because the weather was finally nice.  I have been trying to get around to planting my garden for almost a month, so I finally forced myself out there to do it.  I have a hard time bending over a lot at this point, so I was not looking forward to it.  It was not TOO bad, and Daphne even managed to help.  I’m hoping to upload some photos of the garden and the garden plan to share soon.

It was nice to spend some time outside with the animals.  They were all very happy, and I got to talk to them and play with them.  Daphne even got to hold the baby rabbits for a while, which really made her happy.  I’m still stalking Thing 2 wondering what is going on.  I’m more worried today than I ever have been that she could possibly not be bred.  She is lactating though.  She hasn’t bothered to make a nest at all.  I guess I will leave the box with her until day 37 and then try re-breeding her.  If I get  a litter out of her, that would be great, but I’ve not had great luck with my rabbits breeding sticking.  In other news, it’s time to put a nesting box in for Thing 1 who is due on Sunday.  She is also lactating, so I’d love to see simultaneous litters out of both of these girls this month.  At least I have something to worry about right?

My nesting box photos today aren’t really good because they were all in contorted positions under eachother.  I tried though.  I am definitely seeing changes in them.  They have much more hair on them than just 5 days ago when they were born.  Their ears are also coming loose and aren’t pinned back flat.  It will be fun to see them open their eyes next Thursday or Friday!

My childhood could have been better if my sister and I had snuggled each other like these two do, rather than the bickering that went on all the time.  As a funny side note, I was thinking the other day about how my sister and cousin tried to sell me at the State Fair for $.05.  Apparently no one wanted me.