Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bert was a good rooster.

I knew something was wrong as soon as I called him and didn’t see him immediately running at me throwing his little legs out to each side.

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Bert has been missing for two days now, and I’m guessing something happened to him. Wednesday evening I had picked him up for Brad to see him up close – he wouldn’t let Brad pick him up. I saw him Thursday morning, but when got home from taking Blair to the doctor, I found the hens, but there was no sign of Bert. I went right away to the neighbors’ houses to see if they had seen him, but no one had since that morning. I don’t know if a dog got him, or a hawk. I wouldn’t think that somebody took him or killed him. I would think our town is too small for that.

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I’m so sad that Bert is gone. I never wanted a rooster, but after I realized I had one, I really liked him and was happy to have him! He was, after all, the nicest of all of them and the only one of my eight chickens who darted towards me when I called, followed me and Blair around the yard, and let me hold him!
I haven’t decided if I’m going to get another one. I guess I need one to protect my girls because Bert may have been protecting them from whatever got him. I just can’t stand to make the hens stay in the pen all the time. They love the yard and try to run out the door every time I go in the pen. We’ll see. It’s hard to believe I’ll ever have a rooster as cool as Bert.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The South Georgia Swarm

Gnats. If you live in south Georgia, you know what I’m talking about. During the summer months, one can hardly go outside for fear of being toted away by a swarm of gnats. They get in your eyes, on your boo boos, and around your mouth. They’re perhaps the most annoying creature on the planet.

One of my husband’s most traumatic experiences of his childhood is being attacked by gnats on the playground after eating his left over from Sunday dinner roast beef sandwich for lunch on Mondays. It took him years to figure out why he was the gnats’ favorite – well, he and his sister!

And those who don’t live here say, how could it possibly be that bad?

Let me just show you a few examples. This is just a normal afternoon outside.

gnats 072710 (1)This is without roast beef!

gnats 072710 (7) They’re everywhere.

gnats 072710 (8) No, your screen is not dirty, those are gnats all around her head.

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So poor Blair will grow up first using the eye rub before she quickly learns the hand wave and the eye blow – all gnat shooing strategies perfected by us south Georgians. (Well, I’m still working on it because I grew up just north of here where there aren’t as many.)

Crackles and Calories

We went to the doctor for a checkup today. It was much of the same. Blair's lungs are still crackly like they always are. They're not too bad -- just little crackles. And Blair is busy like she always is! Even the resident commented on her activity level! (This was as she was standing on the edge of the examination table yelling at me, "jump!") I cannot even say how often people comment on how busy Blair is. I still wonder if those who say that are thinking in the back of their minds, this kid's gonna need medication! 

The good news is that, busy or not, Blair gained 12 ounces in just over a month! She now weighs 19 pounds 9 ounces and is 32 and 3/4 inches tall! We're about to hit the magic 20! Overall the child eats like a bird, but since Blair started eating cheese not too long ago, I have really taken advantage of it. She eats a lot of grilled cheese and grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, both cooked with plenty of butter on the bread! She also now eats macaroni and cheese. And she still eats waffles (to which I add melted butter), although she prefers to just cook them instead, and she likes cereal -- cinnamon toast crunch like her GT. She no longer likes carrots, her former favorite, but she will still put down some yogurt in a heart beat! She's gotten so good at feeding herself. She even tilts the cup and scrapes it with the spoon to get all the yogurt, or pudding which she loves as well. As far as healthy stuff, she eats green beans and sweet potato. And that's about it unless you count pasta with tomato sauce.

Lately she's been doing fairly well with her oxygen saturation while sleeping. For a few months, she was needing oxygen during her naps, but now she rarely does. When she goes to bed, I usually put her down and put the oxygen on later before I go to bed. There are nights that the monitor doesn't alarm even without the oxygen, and there are nights when I have to go ahead and put it on her 45 minutes after she falls asleep. I talked to the nurse practitioner for a bit today, and she said that some kids just hang on to the oxygen for a while. It's our normal, so it's okay. We'll do what we have to do and keep praying for God to protect Blair and continue to heal her.

We found out that they are recommending Blair for the RSV prevention shots again this year. She meets the under 2 age limit by a week, so hopefully she'll be approved. Like many things for us, it's definitely bittersweet. It's great that she might be able to get the shots again and be protected, but it's not so great that she needs them and that she's got to actually get the monthly shots. If she's approved we'll be using home health for the shots this year since Blair is old enough to learn to hate the doctor's office. The dosage will have to be split, so she will get at least two shots each month she gets Synagis -- probably for 5 months. That's in addition to the flu shot and her 2 year shots she will need. Last year, she learned that the alcohol was rubbed on her leg before getting a shot, and she started crying. This year it could be worse. She's very tough though, so hopefully it won't be too bad. We'll have lots of presents planned!

In other health news, Blair loves her hearing aids. She asks for them in the morning, after her bath, and when she wakes from her nap. She and Brad were playing in her room right after waking up one morning this week; and she put her fingers in her ears, got up out of her daddy's lap, went and got her hearing aids, and brought them to Brad. She seems to be repeating a lot more of what we say now too. I don't notice that she necessarily responds to sounds better because she already responded so well, but I have noticed that she may be vocalizing more. We'll see!

One other thing is that Blair chipped her tooth on Tuesday. She was playing next to our tub and leaned down while standing to close. It was the tooth that was already shorter for some reason, so now it's super shorter. More about the tooth and my tub in a later post!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blair Makes Peach Ice Cream

Growing up, my family made peach ice cream once or twice a week during the summer. Blair had her first experience making peach ice cream this week. Her job was to put the peaches into the food processor after I peeled them and pulled the fruit from the seed. I put them on a plate for her to pick up and put into the bowl. Blair took her job so seriously that she added to her duties.

She made herself the official peach taste tester.

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She tasted just about every one.

 peach ice cream 072710 (3)Bite and drop.  peach ice cream 072710 (6)Bite, bite, bite.

peach ice cream 072710 (8) peach ice cream 072710 (9) Lemme just check… yeah, it’s good.

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Then she was the official button presser. Of course this was all well supervised, and I only plugged in the food processor when it was time to use it.

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And there was more tasting too.

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The food processor both scared and fascinated her.

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Just for the record -- Blair doesn’t “cook” food I make if other people will be enjoying it!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Just Cleaning

Just gettin' a little housework done....

What? You don't wear your winter hat and bathing suit to clean?
You're missin' out!

Peanut Butter Pie, Oh My!

If you love chocolate and peanut butter but don't mind a few calories, this recipe is for you!

Back in college, I dated a guy who loved chocolate peanut butter pie, so my mom helped me find a recipe for one. I ended up loving it and made it a lot back then. That was over 10 years ago! (Oh my gosh, I'm getting old!) I have no idea where the recipe came from, but it is a good one.

I had almost forgotten about the pie until last week when I began to think about making something for a friend's birthday. She loves sweets, chocolate, and peanut butter, but she doesn't eat cake. Chocolate peanut butter pie was the first thing that came to mind.

The steps in the recipe are not difficult at all, but the pie does require some planning ahead to allow time for the different steps. (I'm a farmer's wife. Planning ahead is not something I do much, so that may be why I don't make the pie too often!)

The crust.

Mix 1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs with 1/4 cup sugar (to cut down on dishes, I do this in my pie dish).

peanut butter pie part 2 (1)  peanut butter pie part 2 (6)crop  Oops. Got a little outside the dish!

Add 1/4 cup melted butter. Blend well.

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Press into the bottom of a 9" deep pie dish.

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Bake at 375 for 6 or 7 minutes and cool for about 30 minutes -- or less if you're like me and need to get it done! I just stick it in the fridge….

The filling.

With a mixer, beat a cup of peanut butter with 8 ounces of soft cream cheese. I used natural peanut butter, and it worked great.

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Add a cup of sugar. Mix well. Set aside.

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Beat 1 1/2 cups of well-chilled heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form.

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Fold about 1/4 of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture to lighten it up a little.

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Then fold the rest of the whipped cream into the mixture. It should be really airy when blended.

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Mound the mixture into the pie crust. Cover and chill for four hours or over night. I chilled for three this time, and it was fine.

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The topping.

When the filling is chilled, make the topping. In a heavy saucepan bring 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream to a boil.

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Remove from heat and add 6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Stir until melted and allow to cool.

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Pour evenly onto the pie and spread smooth. If the chocolate is still a little warm, don’t spread too much or the filling will mix into the topping.

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I leave peanut butter filling showing around the edges.

peanut butter pie part 2 (22) It's rich, but it's soooo yummy. 


Peanut Butter Pie

1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

Mix cracker crumbs and sugar. Add melted butter and blend well. Press into a deep pie dish. Bake at 375 for 6 to 7 minutes. Allow to cool.

1 cup peanut butter

8 oz cream cheese

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

Cream peanut butter and cream cheese. Add sugar. Beat until well blended. Set aside. Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Fold in 1/4 of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture to lighten. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream until well blended and airy. Mound filling into pie crust. Cover and chill 4 hours or overnight.

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Bring heavy whipping cream to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips. Stir until smooth. Allow to cool 10 - 15 minutes. Poor over top of chilled pie and spread evenly. Chill pie until topping is cool.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Farm Bureau Young Farmer Family Conference

This past weekend, Brad and I went to the Farm Bureau Young Farmer Family Conference. We had a great time! We sure wished we could have taken Blair because there were tons of precious kids there for her to play with, but there were tons of precious kids there. We still can’t risk her getting sick, so we passed until next year. I’m sure she enjoyed the time at her grandparents’ house anyway!

The conference was at the Lake Blackshear Resort. It was a perfect location for family events; there’s plenty to do around the resort.

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The view from our villa.

We had some great speakers on Saturday afternoon. We learned some interesting facts about social media. 1 in 8 couples married last year met online… wow! Social media is a great way to talk about agriculture. They asked who blogged, and I was the only one in the room who raised her hand. A few minutes later, I just about jumped out of my chair when a screenshot of my blog showed up in the powerpoint! I was like, “Hey, that’s mine!” I totally didn’t mean to say that out loud. But I did. Oops.

The Young Farmer Committee had some activities planned for the kids outside. The pedal tractor races were so cute! They also had a sack race and seed spitting contest. I took pictures, but I didn’t ask any parents if I could post them, so I’m going to post a picture of Brad holding my purse while I was taking pictures!

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The Young Farmer discussion meet was held Saturday morning, and at the luau supper later that evening, they announced that my friend Jessica was going to be one of four to compete in the discussion finals in December! They have a chance to win an ATV and a trip to the Farm Bureau national convention which happens to be in Atlanta this year. Next year it’s in Hawaii. I’ve never been there, so I’m already working on Brad!

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Didn’t Bradford look precious at the luau?

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I won a door prize at the luau, and I picked play-doh for Blair.

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After the luau, we went over to the Cypress Grill to hear a Jimmy Buffet cover band. They were fun! And they seemed to have one really big fan who didn’t mind that he was the only one dancing….

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Fun times with good friends!

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