Monthly Archives: April 2014

Spring into the West Virginia Woods April 2014

I have been feeling under the weather for almost two weeks now. I got sick then felt good, not great, and then got worse. Not sure what is the cause but while I had three good days to hike and mushroom hunt I did take a few photos of some the signs of Spring.

I am also working on my wine… I did start the process a few days ago. Got the Dandelions picked and the “tea” made. I am hoping that as I am feeling better to get the fermentation started tomorrow and will write a post about it this weekend. I just feel that I should have had all this sickness over the winter and not while the sun is shining and the temps are in the upper 60’s and lower 70’s.

Well here is what I did see while out hiking, Hope it will tide you all over until the wine post !

Red trillium at Hacker Valley West Virginia

Red trillium at Hacker Valley West Virginia

Wild Blue Bells at Hacker Valley, West Virginia

Wild Blue Bells at Hacker Valley, West Virginia

 

Rock with american Flag, Hacker Valley, West Virginia

Rock with american Flag, Hacker Valley, West Virginia

Christopher playing with stick on logging road at Hacker Valley, WV

Christopher playing with stick on logging road at Hacker Valley, WV

 

 

Buckeye tree leaves begin to sprout

Buckeye tree leaves begin to sprout

 

double scarltet cup mushroom

double scarlet cup mushroom

Fairy Mushroom in the woods of West Virginia

Fairy Mushroom in the woods of West Virginia

group of tiny mushrooms at the base of a Poplar tree

group of tiny mushrooms at the base of a Poplar tree

Spike buck horns in the woods of West Virginia

Spike buck horns in the woods of West Virginia

bone with chipmunk teeth marks

bone with chipmunk teeth marks

Spring buds on Poplar tree

Spring buds on Poplar tree

Stone Bridge at jacksons mill

Stone Bridge at jacksons mill

If you can’t tell I have been working with the Macro setting on my Camera lately. I think that I have discovered the subject matter that speaks to me the most and that is my love of Mushrooms and Bones. This is the first good photos I have taken of them and I am sure as time goes on I will have a nice collection of photos. Here in the mountains of Appalachia I have thousands of opportunities to find photograph them. Over the years I have collected many bone from the wild and used them as subjects of hundreds of prints and drawings but now I have found that they make great subjects for photos too! So as summer progress I am sure to show off many more colorful Mushrooms and any odd bones I find. We can have SO MUCH FUN together looking closer at my world.

Categories: Appalachian Mountains, Christopher, family fun, Hacker Valley, Hardwood forest, photo review, Photos, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Easter Egg Hunting at the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

Every Easter we try to spend at least part of our day at one of North Central West Virginia most interesting places, The Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum a.k.a. as the Weston State Hospital. This century old building is now the site of many community activities and in is an ongoing state of restoration. It is one of the places that I visit regularly with family and friends because of the wide verity of activities that go one in the stone building and on the 300 acre property.This massive structure and the grounds that surround it are the largest stone cut building in North America and second only in size to the Kremlin in Russia.

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

The history of the this wonderful grand old buildings constructions begins before the civil war and official opening of its doors took place in 1881. The Hospital was home to up to 2400 patients in the 1950’s and continued to house the mentally ill until the last of 1994 when the mental hospital was officially closed for use. Finally after sitting abandon for years, in Aug of 2007 the Jordan family bought the building and grounds. Ever since that sale on the court-house lawn, the family have been on a journey to restore and reuse the building and grounds. It is now a place that draws thousands of families, tourists, photographers, ghost hunters and television crews. They offer tours, ghost hunts, plays, outdoor concerts and one of the largest Easter egg hunts in our state.

I try to take Christopher to play on the huge 3 acre front lawn whenever there is a community activity. In the center of the huge yard is wonderful water fountain that is the center of all the outdoor gatherings. Christopher and a school  mate try to capture a balloon that is in the fountain before the 400 hundred colored eggs are ready for them to find.

Fountain at the Easter Egg Hunt at the TALA

Fountain at the Easter Egg Hunt at the TALA

 

 

Balloon caught in the fountain of the TALA

Balloon caught in the fountain of the TALA

view of the fountain from inside the entry of the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Assylum

view of the fountain from inside the entry of the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

While the 200 children and their families prepare for the day of hunting eggs, the TALA opens its doors to the public, offering tours of the 1-4 floors of the main building. Other tours take place on weekdays and at night if  any one wants to see some of the hospitals famous ghosts. They also offer one of the east coasts best Halloween Haunted Houses in Oct every year. Named “Ward 21” after another building on the grounds it never fails to scare the pee out of several visitors every year.  I have been on some of the tours and went through the haunted house myself and all of the activities are well worth the price of admission. My best friend Natalie and I did the haunted house together several years ago and believe me what we experienced in that dark haunted house could fill a blog post all by its self.

While inside the building Christopher and I took a look around at some of  the rooms that were still in need of  restorations and cooled off in the cool corridors of the 4 foot thick walls of  this massive structure.

Visiting area in side the TALA.

Visiting area in side the TALA.

 

Main hall way to the west  at the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

Main hall way to the west at the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

Soon we heard the call for the”Egg Hunt” to begin and returned to the yard, and lined up for the afternoon of racing around collecting eggs. The race courses are divided into age groups to make every thing fair for the littler ones.  The horn sounds and off they ran under huge trees that have seen more years than my short life span.

Easter Egg hunters on the Lawn of the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

Easter Egg hunters on the Lawn of the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

At the end of the race Christopher and some friends sat in the shadow of a large oak and opened the eggs that our community helps to pay for each year. I think we went home with about 20 eggs, each with a prizes or candy inside of each egg.

Kevin Freeman a local business owner and daughter open eggs after the hunt

Kevin Freeman a local business owner and daughter open eggs after the hunt

While the crowds began to filter away from the grounds and head home for more Easter dinners and games. I took a few more shots of the wonderful grounds and some but not all of the buildings.

Outside view of the visiting room

Outside view of the visiting room end of main building

 

 

door into back of modern addition of building

door into back of modern addition of building

window looking out into court yard of the civil war section of the hospital

window looking out into court-yard of the civil war section of the hospital

Easter was another wonderful day at one of Weston, West Virginia’s most interesting places. I hope that you can now see why we try to visit and support one of my favorite historic buildings. For more information on visiting here and taking a tour or visiting the haunted house please take a look at their website at The Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. There are many community activities that this old building supports and even if you only spend a day on the lawn watching children play it is a day well spent.

photo of the TALA photo credit to thier wed site

photo of the TALA photo credit to their wed site. Transalleghenylunaticasylum.com

Categories: Easter, Holidays, Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, West Virginia, Weston | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Updating, Focusing, WV Mountain Mama Blog

This week the class of I am taking has covered a lot of ground and I am so thankful that I have already thought about and started some of Word Presses suggestions before I signed up for the class. The pace is fast and with all of my family health issues I have been working on the suggestions in groups. Hopefully the changes that I made were good ones and you can let me know what you think. One of the first changes the group talked about was themes and images we use as headers. I like my theme”Adventure” and the back ground that it came with “wood grain”. I have a country blog and wanted a theme that supported an outdoor country feel. I really did not want my blog to look like a term paper. I used to draw beautiful fonts and images all across the top of my term papers before turning them in ,so this was the nicest back ground I could find. WordPress needs more of these! Something with a rustic wood like barn wood would be even better! Those of us that write about homesteading, farming, country life, are usually left with just a header photo and a nice font and that is it. So I will continue to use country images in my header and I take most of the photos that in my header. I spend a lot of time taking photos that will  show the season or fallow an idea I have for a post. I also changed the name of my blog slightly… It was just” Mountain Mama” but after thinking about that title and with the suggestion from a friend (thanks Lisa) and other bloggers, I did think I should include a the words, West Virginia. Since that is what I am trying to promote..so I am now West Virginia Mountain Mama. I had never really thought to much about “my brand” and this project helped me focus on what I wanted to say on my blog. I still will share my personal family stuff, but I really want this blog to reflect my passions of food, family, friends and West Virginia adventures. So no political ramblings, no reviews of books unless they are cook books, no product plugs unless it is food related… I am not much into this stuff any way but it is nice to say NO to things. cropped-hunting-bus.jpg We also have covered using widgets and images. I hate widgets in some ways. Yes, you need them but in general I hate programming them to work. Widgets are what you see on my side bar, my fallow buttons, my gallery,my calendar and so forth. I moved some around and added a couple of titles to a few but in general I was already happy with the ones that I was using and what they did. My personal favorite one is the About Me.com button. I am going to update that image as soon as I find time.I want to change it to a photo of me since most of my posts are about other people and food.I am sure that readers would like to see who they are reading about, commenting on, and building a relationship with. Do you agree? Then we talked about social media… the pros and cons. We covered the power of some of the social sites like Face Book, Twitter, and Reddit that they can really drive up your ratings and ad followers.   I came from social media to blogging. So I have already linked my blog to Face Book.  It is interesting to learn how many bloggers have FB pages just for their blog. It is a topic that I have discussed with several website owners and bloggers. How much do you really want to share over the web and Face book.  Is your brand so important that you want to have more than one FB account? One for the family photos and terrible jokes and rants and one for your blog with only posts that pertain to your topic of blogging. I am on the fence with this. I have a Face book button on my side bar that allows readers to see and look at my Face Book page and I have a button at the bottom of each post so that any reader can add my blog post to their personal Face Book page if they want to. Most of my blog followers are part of my FB family already and most of them can see what I post everyday. I just take a little more time in thinking about what I put on both sites. I want readers to see things that are positive, informational, educational and fun no matter where they run into me. It is important to me to build up the world and its people not to tear them down.

Bowl of fresh picked and cleaned Elderberries

Bowl of fresh picked and cleaned Elderberries

We also looked at blog statistics and discussed what to look at for trends, popularity and comments. Some blogs are even setting up at calendar to publish by, making their posts on a schedule, that will NOT  happen here! I am in no way promising anyone that I will be able to write on a scheduled day or time. I love to write and I have a lot of things I want to share but when that happens is when life allows it. I understand that many people need it to motivate them but I have enough stuff in my head to fill 25 more blog posts so you will see them when I have time to write it all down.I did find it interesting to learn that my most popular post was one about Markers Mark bourbon. The title is Goggled  when some one searches for information about the distillery or about their bourbon. So Titles do have some influence on your views. So in the future I will see if I can use better titles to help new readers find my blog. My second best post was on how to can home-canned apple sauce. That post was a reader request and I am glad I followed through on writing it. The statistics of my blog were interesting. I did find that I had more readers on Sunday and Monday than most days so I will continue to try to post then. Over all with one year under my belt I am just happy I’am here and still writing. With the week almost over I have actually refined a  few things on the blog and have add a couple of things to my “To Do” list for the weekend. I am finally starting to see a more complete image of what I want this blog about and maybe even a clearer image of myself along with it. Hope that you can keep reading along with me and let me know if their is something you love or hate about the blog so I can work on the weak spots and save the what it is that you all like. Maybe one day I will get it right! As always thank you for stopping by and helping me on this adventure. Jolynn.

Categories: blogging, writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Weekend Forage Feast, Chives and Watercress

my weekend collection of foraged foods, Ramps, Parsnips, Watercress, Chives, a land turtle shell and a shelf mushroom( not edible)

my weekend collection of foraged foods, Ramps, Parsnips, Watercress, Chives, a land turtle shell and a shelf mushroom  (not edible),but fun to look at.

The spring has finally arrived for a few days here in the mountains of West Virginia. I am so thankful for the warming sun. The weather was finally warm enough (even in my cast) we were able to spend the day with family friends foraging on and around their homestead. We are in the middle of Ramp season here and the whole state is out looking for the wonderful wild leek. The community dinners have started and the cooking has begun. I have written about Ramps the Wild leek  before for those of you who have not heard of them. Today’s Post is going to cover a couple of other wild greens that grow and ripen at the same time in the spring as Ramps. First, is another wild onion that all most everyone has heard of and that is Chives. Another aromatic member of the onion family.

wild chives

wild chives

This little guys packs a punch of wonderful hot peppery goodness in the greens although the bulbs are sweet. This is a very close photo of what they look like and makes them appear larger then they are. The tiny leaves are not round like a green onions but more a flat ribbon. They are a Kentucky blue grass-green rather than the blue /green/gray of wild onions. These also grow more like a grass in clumps rather than the single stem of wild onions. The field we were working in looked like this with thousands of chives clumps above the short growing grass of spring.

Photo of wild chives growing the back yard photo by Pamela Silvestri

Photo of wild chives growing the back yard photo by Pamela Silvestri

I gathered 5 or 6 clumps of these flavorful plants and took home enough for several meals. I also wanted to transplant a few so that I would have them ready next year. So now I have a pot full that I can grow right on the porch and I will get to see them bloom each summer. The other green that we collected  were Watercress and sadly they are at the end of the their season already. They are early bloomers and are most tasty before they get the hard stalks with blooms.They are primarily a March green one of the first that is found every year.

Watercress close up

Watercress close up

They are most often found around the edges of a creeks or streams but in our case here in West Virginia they will grow any where their is a damp place this includes under the eves of my house where the water runs off the roof. This is a photo of the full-grown plant just before blooming.

Watercress growing in the back yard about to bloom

Watercress growing in the back yard about to bloom

The flavor of watercress reminds me of spinach and the nutritional value is twice or three times that of iceberg lettuces . So it is an easy to use addition to any salad or cooked green. So with some of the freshly foraged foods that we found with our friends Kenny and Sylvia we were able to make  a couple of nice salads, a skillet full of fried Parsnips and a couple of dinners with fried Ramps. All free, All organic and with twice the nutritional value of store-bought foods.

My friends and the property that we foraged  on this weekend

My friends and the property that we foraged on this weekend

The salad that I made was the highlight of our dinner last evening. A ramp, watercress salad with pecans and blue cheese crumbles.

Ramp Watercress and Pecan salad

Ramp Watercress and Pecan salad

The this salads recipe adjusts  with any ingredients that you find that day but this is what we used for dinner that evening. Watercress, Ramp, Pecan salad. 1 cup iceberg lettuce torn into bite size pieces 1 cup baby spinach torn into bite size pieces. 1 cup Watercress torn into bite size piece. 4 ramps cleaned and diced small. 2 table spoons blue cheese crumbles. 1/3 cup pecans chopped. topped with 2 table spoons fresh chopped chives. Tom and I like this salad with a nice light vinaigrette or a sweet Russian or French dressing. I served this salad with broiled pineapple slices and Teriyaki pork chops. It was a wonderful light spring meal.

Teriyaki pork chops, Candied grilled Pineapple and wild greens salad

Teriyaki pork chops, Candied grilled Pineapple and wild greens salad

I encourage you to think out side of the “Produce Section” box. Finding and eating wild food is a skill that I am still building on every year. I try to add at least one new wild food to my foraging every year. I encourage you to look at your yard or property as a place to feed you family and grow better heath.Not only with in your garden but the wild weeds that grow near your home. I also encourage you to think about taking care of your own family in a time of trouble. Eating the weeds is just another way of preparing for an uncertain future. I know my family will eat well even when others may not.    “Just food for thought “.                                      Thanks again for stopping by and eating along with me.

Categories: Chives, cooking, Foraging, Hardwood forest, Homestead, organic foods, ramps, Watercress, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Back to school with WordPress and class #201 Branding,Traffic and Growth

I never really thought that I would be blogging ( with dyslexia), let alone trying to increase my readership, stats, or trying to get together enough information for a book. So I am happy to announce that I  have rejoined the learning world and signed up for WordPress class. I will spend the next few weeks working on assignments that should make my blog  a better place for you the reader. I hope to gain some insight and knowledge on how to better focus my goals and increase my readership.antique-typewriter2 The assignment for this today is to explain to all of you what my goals are for this blog and where I want to be at the end of the year. My goals are pretty simple and are two-fold. First I want to highlight, inform, share and raise awareness of the wonders of the place that I live. West Virginia gets pretty bad rap from other states. It was quite offensive when WVU’s  Mountaineers Played in the big twelve, Orange bowl last year and on National TV a sports caster had terrible things to say about our state. Second I would like to at some point publish a regional cooking/ canning book. I find that regional foods from my area are not talked about much and the art of canning/ food preservation is a passion of mine. I want to combine the two and in some way and share great food/ great photos/ and a regional feel to my story.

Route 55 Seneca Rocks, WV

Route 55 Seneca Rocks, WV

The  things that I hope to accomplish with this class are: To increase my Followers to 500 by July… about an increase of about 200. To increase my amount of canning and food posts to 15 over the next three months. To take more and better regional photos.  Then finally to get freshly pressed… this a WordPress.com  goal.

Home made apple butter

Home made apple butter

I also want to learn if I need to use a different Theme for this blog so that I could post my cooking and canning under one heading and my photos, stories and family adventurer under other headings. what do you think? I will need all of your help along the way. I will need your feed back and support and maybe one day you all will be able to say that you got to see the before and after of what my blog becomes. So the new adventure begins and I will tag all of my class posts with  the numbers 201. So that they will be easy to fallow and I can track them from today to the end of the year when I get to write about what I actually did accomplish. Thanks  for following and I hope to post something about my assignment every week so you can see what we are learning.

Categories: About me, blogging, Class 201, West Virginia, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Kartoffelpuffer/ German Style Potato Pancakes

My friend at  Under The Oaks and I had a nice web conversion about my Traditional Sauerkraut post. At the end of that post I made a serving suggestion about pork, sauerkraut and German potato pancakes. She responded that she had found memories of German potato pancakes but had not had them in years and would I share my recipe. Well Mural here is that recipe and  we serve it with apples sauce and/or sour cream. I usually serve them as a side dish but  many families eat them as a main course or for breakfast. I have used this recipe for so long that I actually do not remember where I got it from. I have it committed to memory  from working in restaurants and from my mother as a kid that I had to sit down and think out the measurements.

 

Kartofflepuffer/German Potato pancakes

For our family of two adults and one child, we usually only need 3 Med sized russet potatoes but when the kids are here I use about 5/6 potatoes and double everything.

3 washed and peeled and shredded potatoes

1 egg slightly beaten

1/2 of a med onion

1/4 cup of flour… if using more potatoes I increase this to 1/3 but no more

1 tablespoon veg oil

3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dry parsley flakes

pepper to taste

oil or fat for frying

heat oven to 200 for keeping pancakes warm after frying and before serving.

This usually makes about 7 to 8  pancakes enough for three good servings. This means I get to have  a couple for breakfast the  next morning.

 

Potatoes onions and shredder

Potatoes onions and shredder

 

After shredding the potatoes into a bowl I add the onion, salt, parsley, pepper and oil, stir it up before adding the flour. The flour will make the potatoes sticky and the mixture is thick but not lumpy. I then add the egg that is slightly beaten. Now the mixture is creamy and as the potatoes sit it will become thinner as the potatoes weep out some the water that is in them.

all the ingredants of German potato pancakes resting as skillet heats

all the ingredients of German potato pancakes resting as skillet heats

 

Heat oven to 180/200 degrees, before cooking the pancakes. I use butter or Vegetable oil for cooking the pancakes add a little to skillet each time I add a new batch to the pan. Fry over Med heat and spread the pancakes out for a more crispy texture or let them sit thicker for a softer texture.

German Potato Pancakes frying to a golden brown

German Potato Pancakes frying to a golden brown

Remove the fried cakes to a paper towel lined plate and place in worm oven. These three potatoes made 10 thin cakes. I thought maybe something spicy would be good with the very mild taste of this potato pancakes. So this time I made BBQ boneless ribs, German potato pancakes and a nice salad. I also put apple sauce on the side.

I hope this helps you bring back to life the memories that you had eating at your grandmothers. It has been a pleasure sending this out to all of you and I hope to share more of our families favorite foods in the future. JoLynn

BB-Q boneless pork ribs, with German style potato pancakes

Categories: cooking, country cooking, German Potato Pancakes/ Kartofflepuffer, Potatoe | Tags: , , , , , | 19 Comments

A Liebster Award nomination

Me like most of my blogging friends, I do not write my blog as a way to get awards or acclaim. I write to make friends, to share great information about topics, places and events that interest me. I also write this blog as a form of a diary. I lost my father young and have always wondered about him and his view of the world and what knowledge he could have shared. So my writing is a way to share with my children and grandchild a little about who I am. So when I get awards, even a simple award, I find it strange and funny.I never think that someone out their likes my stories and finds them worth reading. I want to thank my Friends at Cheese Acres Farm for my nomination for the Leibster Award. Please stop and hit their link to learn more .liebsterblogaward This award helps show case the blogs that I fallow and helps promote the small blogs with around 200 or less followers. Most of them you will find on Word Press but I do have some blogging friends around the glob that use other blog sites also.With receiving the Liebseter I was given a list of 11 questions to answer about my self and this blog to allow all of you to get to know me better.

1. Have you always lived in the state/ province that you are now in?    Answer:  No, I grew up at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Boulder Colorado, lived several places including a short time over seas in Germany and ended up in the Appalachian mountains of  north central West Virginia and have been here about 20 years.

2. How did I get my farm/ homestead/ blog name?   Answer:  From a friend, JD Wissinger, who wrote on my Facebook Page that I was a Mountain Mama. We joked that I was a John Denver fan grew up in Colorado and lived in WV  making me alot like his songs so it just stuck.

3. Do I or my family eat out much? Do I try to cook while traveling?  Answer: No, not unless traveling… but I do love pizza out, and a good seafood meal now and again.

4. What varieties of critters do I own?  Answer: Sable rabbits is the only animal that I own for now, but have owned dogs, cats, chickens, horses, goats, mice, turtles, fish, frogs, gerbils, in the past.

5. Is their any animals you want but have do not have yet? Answer: yes, I hope to get a puppy next year. My husband wants to get a Germany short hair pointer.

6. What is your favorite season?  Answer: Fall in a hardwood forest is breath-taking.

7. Are you a morning or evening person?  Answer: nether I am an afternoon person… I don’t like getting up before 7 am and don’t like staying up past 11 pm.

8. Who does that cooking at your house? Answer: Me although I do get help from the family.

9. Are you a go with the flow person or a plan it out kinda person? Answer: I go with the flow baby!

10. How long have you been a blogger? about two years but only one on the WordPress platform.

11. Why did you start your blog? Well for the a couple of reasons, first I wanted to share what my family loved to do and see if I could  eventually make a living from it. I also wanted to save the memories we made for the future generations of our family.

 

My random 11 facts are as fallows.

1. I love classic rock and have seen Pink Floyd in concert.

2. My favorite food is pasta, and it shows.

3. I love to read historical fiction novels.

4. I lead a reading group in our small town.

5. I have always wanted to travel to Ireland.

6. I love farm fresh, eggs.

7. I love second-hand stores.

8. I doodle while talking on the phone.

9. just bought my first ATV last month.

10. I hate folding laundry.

11. my favorite hobby is mushroom hunting.

 

Now I will  share with you 11 blogs that I fallow and love that have around 200 or less followers. So here are some of my favorite undiscovered blogs. I think this list is really more a reflection of when I started following each blog then a favorites list . One of the first blogs I ever followed was Homestead Dad and it is one that I still fallow faithfully.

Strange Remains

Wild Forage

Growing Stories

Gather and Grow

The Hunters Widow 

Molly in the Mountains

Hunt/Fish/Play 

A Random Harvest 

Deliciouspotager

Eat the Season

Homestead Dad

 

Now that I have shared some of my favorite blogs I hope that you take the time to look a few over and find more wonderful people who are writing about their corner of the world.Then the next step is for me to pass this award on to the bloggers listed above and hope that they know how much I enjoy what they do. If they want to pass along the award they just need to fallow these steps.

 

– Acknowledge the blogger who nominated them and display the award symbol.

–  Answer the eleven questions that the nominator gives you.

– Give 11 random facts about yourself.

– Nominate 11 blogs that you think are deserving( that have less than 200 followers) try not to renominated people who have  already been given the award.

– Feel free to pass on the this award if you do not have time for it.

– Let all the bloggers know you nominated them.

Give them 11 questions to answer.

 

So if  you feel like you have time to participate in this award  here are my eleven questions for you!

1.  Where were you born?

2. What is your favorite food?

3. What is your favorite season?

4. What is your favorite Hobby ( besides blogging)

5. What kind of home do you live in?

6. What kind of animals do you have?

7. Have you always liked writing ?

8. When did you start blogging?

9. Why did you start blogging?

10. Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?

11. Are you married or single?

I  have found a wonderful group of friends with blogging and I hope you can share some of your favorite blogs too.

Categories: About me, awards, blogging, hobbies | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

Our Bunnies and a Easter wish to you

As you already know one of the many things we have decided to do in an effort  to become more self-reliant  is to raise rabbits. I have been a  rabbit lover since my folks let me have them as a kid and have been known to have up to 18 at a time. With our recent move a couple of years ago the only thing I wanted from our farm of animals was my rabbits. I had visions of raising, selling, showing and eating my farm raised rabbits. Well over the first year here at the OLD house on the edge of town two things happened that I could have never foreseen. First was the sickness and later death of my large brood Doe… after about 8 years she caught a cold after our move and died before the antibiotics took effect. Second was the loss of my little Doe that was Christopher’s show bunny. She escaped her cage and we spent days trying to recapture her in our large yard. This was a major set back for me as I had planned to raise a litter of Kits for sale at Easter and/or to show this year at the 4-H shows and State Fair.

Sable rabbit Ratchet as a baby

Sable rabbit Ratchet as a baby

So we started the long process of starting over. I wanted a rabbit that was a multi-purpose breed, that could be sold for pets,shown or used as food if I ended up with more than my fair share of off spring. So I found that perfect combination of traits in the Sable Rabbit. We were off and running when a local woman offered to give Christopher a Sable that was not pure bred as a gift. I thought that this would set us up with a nice pet and get my then 4-year-old interested in animals and their care.  So we were up and running with this little guy.

Well this  wonderful and clam rabbit has won our hearts and has been traveling with us as we take him to local pet shows and 4- H gatherings. By Fall Christopher and Ratchet became a team and we discovered that we had gotten a great starter show bunny for him even if he was not pure bred.

Ratchet and Christopher with trophy at pet show 8 2013

Ratchet and Christopher with trophy at pet show 8 2013

I then started a conversion with some of the local kids and competitors at our local 4-H and many of them suggested that I think seriously about Christopher’s future with rabbits as show animals and how hard some kids work at breeding and showing them. At last count one of our high school girls showed and won multiple  trophies with about 28 rabbits last year at state fair. She sold most of them before leaving and come home with enough money to put around 2500.00 dollars in her college fund.

So this sent me on the hunt for a pure bred version of a Sable rabbit. Taking my family on a car trip to southern Pennsylvania .On Christopher’s birthday we purchased another Buck and attended our first rabbit show. I had a wonderful time and could hardly contain my happiness about seeing so many wonderful animals. We were able to pick up our new bunny who was huge at the same age as Ratchet. We named him Diesel.

Christopher with new bunny Diesel

Christopher with new bunny Diesel

Christopher has really enjoyed  playing with, feeding and holding his first real pets. It has been a good investment of time and money to teach him about the love of animals.

walking rabbits on leashes

walking rabbits on leashes

One of the ways we get to spend time with the rabbits and get them some exercise is to walk them around our yard on nice days. It is hard to believe that only 9 months ago the rabbit in the blue harness fit in the palm of my hand. Ratchet  is now about 6 pounds and Diesel in the red harness is about 8 pounds. Both are of breeding age and ready to move into the show ring and start paying their way in the homesteading world. We are now in the process of finding a nice Doe to add to our growing rabbitry. This may take another trip to Pennsylvania because we have found no breeders in our local area.  The next project on our property is to add a large out-door shelter that will house all of our adult rabbits and an areas for three sets of kits. This will be an addition to a shed that we already have and will be semi enclosed. I hope to get started on it within a month. In the mean time we entertain our neighbors and friends with our walks and we enjoy bringing the boys inside for fun and family time.

Christopher playing with Ratchet

Christopher playing with Ratchet

Sable rabbit Diesel on leash

Sable rabbit Diesel on leash.

There is a far amount or work keeping and raising any animal. Rabbits do have individual personalities and not every one is great for a young person like Christopher who is now 5. Ratchet is the type that loves attention and being held. He will fallow any one around the house from room to room wanting noting more than a rub or pat. He is also more active and loves to run and jump. Where as, his buddy who is a pure bred Sable is shy and lazy. Making him harder to handle but he would rather sit quietly when put down making a real nice confirmation  animal.I believe that Christopher will be more confident with Ratchet this year but in time will enjoy both.

We have our first ” Stock Man” class in a couple of weeks where the rules or care and showing animals at the fairs is gone over. It is an important step for both parents and children, sportsman ship is held to a higher standard than the quality of the animal at every 4-h event. This class covers cheating, animal abuse, animal neglect, feeding and health care and general sportsman ship. It is the basis for a wonderful future in 4-H. I am so lucky that Christopher will be learning these lessons so early and in such a supportive way. We can all agree that teaching a child about the needs of others, including animals, how to play fair and the importance of being a good loser are lessons that build a well-rounded child and a better adult.

But in the end their really is nothing quite as wonderful as an Easter bunny.

I hope that all of you have a wonderful holiday !

Happy Easter from Diesel the Sable Bunny

Happy Easter from Diesel the Sable Bunny

Categories: 4-H, bredding rabbits, Easter, rabbits, State Fair | Tags: , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Partying, Wondering and Remembering

Today is my oldest sons birthday and he is 23 years old and  few days ago was my husbands 50th birthday and we celebrated with a nice party with friends and family. It was a great ending to the month that has been very hard. Seems everyone in the family is facing some kind of health issue that needs dealt with in a serious way and it is draining. So a party was the very best thing I could think of  to lighten the load for everyone.

Thomas A Powers, Cody A  Powers, Paige A Powers, Christopher T Powers at tom 50th birthday Party

Thomas A Powers, Cody A Powers, Paige A Powers, Christopher T Powers at tom 50th birthday Party

It is the first time in several years that we were able to get some many of the family together in one spot. It has been years since Tom was able to sit a talk to his sisters and mother all together. I had not really thought about it while planing that party but we were all so lucky to see 4 generations together at this party.

Powers family photo, 4 generations of the family of Thomas E Powers and Wanda G Powers

Powers family photo, 4 generations of the family of Thomas E Powers and Wanda G Powers

It was this same week that we discovered that Toms mother is very ill and will be going to Mary Babb Cancer Center at the Ruby Memorial Hospital for treatments in Morgan Town, West Virginia. She will be finishing up tests this week and the family will have a clearer idea of what the future will hold for all of us. Making this birthday party even more meaningful for my son and husband.

Memories flood my mind as I look at the photos that I have taken over the years of my wonderful sons life and how we  are a really close family. That we are so blessed to see him and his wife every few days and share phone conversations sometimes daily. Not everyone has this and I understand it is a real treasure to have your children close to you, to spend time doing things, laughing and talking. It is hard to really grasp the amount of changes that children go through over the course of 23 years but here are a few moments in time that I found today.

Tom Powers holding week old Cody Powers

Tom Powers holding week old Cody Powers

 

Thomas Powers loading a fishing hook for Cody Powers age 3

Thomas Powers loading a fishing hook for Cody Powers age 3

Cody Powers feeding the deer age 4

Cody Powers feeding the deer age 4

Cody Holding small mouth bass age 7

Cody Holding small mouth bass age 7

Cody smoken the tires in one of his first trucks age 17

Cody smoken the tires in one of his first trucks age 17

Cody A Powers wedding day Dec 10th 2012

Cody A Powers wedding day Dec 10th 2011

Cody Powers with tucker the blue tick hound

Cody Powers with tucker the blue tick hound

Cody Jamie and Paige Powers  a young family 4/2013

Cody, Jamie and Paige Powers a young family 4/2013

I hope that he has a wonderful day and that his life is full of love, adventure, and learning.I am so happy I am part of your life , Happy Birthday!

Categories: Birthday, Cody, Family, family fun, photo review | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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