Friday, December 16, 2011

Small Town Christmas

There are some things that just make you warm and fuzzy during the Christmas season, especially in a small town.  Goochland county was having its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the local YMCA, so the Good Wife, the three boys and myself headed down to participate.

We got there a few minutes later than the official starting time so the tree was already lit and there were carolers signing around the tree.  Before heading over to the tree, we had to check out the activities around the parking lot.

First there were a few fire pits for making s'mores.  Next to the fire pits was a table with zip-lock bags filled with individual s'more making ingredients, including two graham crackers, a piece of Hershey's chocolate and one jumbo marshmallow.  After making our s'mores, we headed over to the hot chocolate line, which was also the cookie line.  (If some sugar is good for the kids, then more sugar must be better!)

Then in the distance we could hear the sirens of a fire truck.  It wasn't just blowing the siren now and then, it was running them full blast, and they were getting closer!  And then they pulled into the parking lot.

Nobody was burned from the fire pits or falling into a coma from sugar overdose.  This is how Santa arrives in Goochland!  He then went over to the Christmas tree and allowed all the little boys and girls to sit on his lap and let him know what they wanted for Christmas.

My kids let me know they are all "too old" to sit on Santa's lap.  They have never been too enamored of Santa, the Easter Bunny or any of those other fantasy characters.  Although we do have the "Tooth Angel" in our house.  I don't think they really believe it, but they play along with us because they end up with cash as long as the game keeps going.

Then we headed over to the craft table and the Middle Son and Youngest Son made a mitten craft relating to the book "The Mitten" by Jan Brett.  One more pass by the s'mores table to realize they were all gone before heading home.  Everyone had a good time and enjoyed our small town Christmas celebration.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Molting Poultry

We have been wondering when it was going to happen.  Other blogs have been talking about their chickens molting and not laying eggs any more for the winter.  Fortunately, that hasn't happened to us...until now.

We are only getting three eggs a day right now out of our six chickens, which still isn't too bad.  The only chicken that we can tell is actually molting and losing its feathers is the Black Australorp shown above.  She looks so pitiful with her neck feathers all falling out and her body feathers looking a bit spotty.  Fortunately the other chickens aren't bothering her and she is still able to stay with the others in the same coop and run.

We have been wanting to get a ditch dug between the house and the coop so we can get some electricity down there.  When the Chicken Condo was built, I installed a light bulb fixture and an outlet inside.  When we ran an extension cord, the neighbor's dog ate through two of them that were linked together.  The only problem now is that the chickens roost in the Guinea Ghetto instead of the Chicken Condo.  Aaargh!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Firewood and Fires in the Fall

There is something rewarding about looking at a pile of split firewood, knowing that you did all the splitting by hand with an axe.  Knowing that wood will be used in the future once it is seasoned to warm your home.

My BIL in Knoxville is to credit with a good portion of the pile of logs in the background.  He was the one when visiting in July for a little R&R recommended I check out Craigslist for free firewood.  It's amazing how much is available with a little effort.  I can't imagine paying $9.95 for about 6 logs at a grocery store.  After a quick search, I had volunteered my BIL to go with me and pick up a load.  It was hot out but we loaded up a trailer full of wood about as full as it could safely go, and unloaded it back at home.  And there it has sat until now.

Luckily, because the wood takes time to season or dry out, we already have a stack of wood ready for the wood stove and the fireplace.  Lately it has been in the 20's in the morning and then up to about 50 during the day.  The wood stove in the basement has been kicking it up a few notches and taking a load off our heat pump, which doesn't work so effectively when it is really cold.  We have also been having a fire in the fireplace in the family room.

There is something cozy about a fireplace with a warm fire burning during the Christmas season.  It makes time slow down a bit and makes everyone a little more calm and peaceful.  Ahhh.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Deer Processing Class Review

Earlier I posted about the deer processing class that I took a few weeks ago at Nodalski's butcher shop here in Goochland.  The picture that was used in the Powhatan today article blocked me out and all you could see was a part of my left arm.  Well the article also made it into the Goochland Gazette and you can actually see me in the photo!  I'm a star!  Well, actually I just happened to be standing in the right place during the class.

And just in case you are wondering, no, I have not gotten my first deer yet.  With my limited hunting time of Saturdays and then usually only a few hours in the morning before family plans kick in, I need to set up my tree stand next to a deer farm.  Hopefully I can get some more time in during Christmas break.  Season ends January 7th, so time is running out!