Welcome to My Front Porch.....

Welcome to my front porch. It is a place where I entertain friends, family, and strangers. Where I have discussions on a wide range of topics. It's where I have long talks with my husband and where I do most of my homeschooling. My porch is also a place of solitude. Where I go with a cup of coffee and my bible for quiet time in the morning and where I relax after a long day with a glass of wine and a magazine. So kick off your shoes, have a glass of sweet tea, sit-a-spell and visit.



Friday, November 26, 2010

Free Things for Families in St. Louis

If you ever get a chance to visit St. Louis you should go.  Besides the Arch, and the Cardinals there are lots of FREE things for families to do.  In Forest Park there is the St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis History Museum, and The Childrens Science Center all free to get in.  Forest Park itself is a beautiful place to go on walking trails, have a picnic, or feed the ducks.  It was also the location of the 1900 World Fair.  (SIDE NOTE......The movie Meet Me in St. Louis  starring, Judy Garland, is about this time period in St. Louis and the Christmas carrole  Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas originated from this movie.)

Anyway, Grace is big time into astronomy right now and the Science Center is her favorite place to go when she isn't filming.  She not only enjoys the planaterium but she loves doing the experiments in the lab.

 At this station she is extracting DNA from wheat germ.  Other stations include looking at your own DNA under a microscope from your cheek saliva, learning how to use a pippet (a very useful tool in a laboratory), studying finger prints under a microscope, and viewing a flatworm under a microscope.
St. Louis has beautiful parks all over the city.  Hyde Park is where they did one of the scenes for the movie ,The Swing Set.  It has a public pool as well as beautiful grounds and ponds with ducks to feed.  I got a shot of Grace by one of the larger fountains..........
                                   
                                      Below is a shot from the other side of the same fountain.
                                           They have beautiful evergreens there as well..............


There is also the St. Louis Botanical Gardens, which is beautiful and extensive.  It costs a little to get in here but is worth it if you like plants and landscaping.  They also have a Six Flags which like all amusement parks is expensive.  All in all I would say St. Louis is a very family friendly city and the enterainment can be easy on your pocket book.  So if your planning your next vacation or just a weekend get-away I highly recommend St. Louis.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Photos of the Last Scenes of The Swing Set

It takes a lot of people to make a movie.  Most of the young people working on this film are going to college to go into the film industry.  Sean Hunt (tall guy with the glasses and gray sweat shirt) is the writer and producer of this film and graduated from Webster University last year.He is a very talented young man and I think he will go far in the industry!


Below is Grace (playing Allison) with Burnie (playing the main character Dr. Smith). Burnie is by profession an Instructor at Webster University in St. Louis.  But, he also has a local radio talk show and is recording a blues album with his wife.  Sometimes we would film until 2:00 a.m. then he would take an hour nap get up shower and go in to do his radio show.  On top of all his wonderful energy he is one of the kindest men I've ever met.  He made Grace feel very comfortable and she really enjoyed working with him. 


I have two release locations and dates so far.  December 7 in St. Louis at Webster University and January 5 & 6 in Anderson, MO.  Right now Sean is trying to negotiate with Malco to have at least one showing here in Northwest Arkansas.  I know he will be releasing it on the Internet and also on DVD but I don't know the particulars on that yet...............I'll keep you posted.


Friday, November 19, 2010

My Cat Thinks He's a Chicken

Everytime I go out to the chicken house my cat, Stormy, comes with me.  I don't let him in the gate he climbs over the 8' deer fence to get in.  The chickens go nuts cackling and running off and he just saunters around like he owns the place.  He doesn't bother any of the chickens he will even walk right thru the chicken door and check out the hens setting on nests and never bother them.

Even though my cats, dogs, and chickens live in harmony right now.........I'm afraid Stormy might think of the chicks as more of a snack than just something interesting to look at sooooooooooooo...PROJECT!!!!  Steve is going to put an electric fence on the outer perimeter to discourage Stormy and others who might find baby chicks "fun to play with".



The projects never end.  I think the list just gets longer.  At least right now it does.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

WE HAVE CHICKS!!!!

video

So far there are two and they are as cute as can be.  I love having babies here (especially if I don't have to be the main care taker) they are just percious and so fun to watch as they figure things out.  I think this hen is going to be a good mama.  Her instincts are right on target as far as caring for her little ones.  I need to mark her somehow.  I don't want to use a band because one of the characteristics of the French Marans are the feathers on their shanks and I think the band would cause her to loose hers.  Maybe I'll get my nail polish out??????????????
In Anne of Green Gables they say a house is not a home until it has had a death, a birth, and a wedding.  Not long after we moved out here one of our cats, Penny, passed away a few weeks after having kittens.  Now we have the chicks.....all we need now is a wedding........well maybe in a few years!  (I'm not hinting at anything kids!!)


video
This is a little video of the inside of my chicken house.  It's just an inexpensive 8'x10' metal building from Lowe's that Steve and I put together ourselves.  You will see my automatic chicken door.  Which I think is the best invention since sliced bread!!  It has saved my chickens from racoons many times and I can go to dinner with friends without having to run back to the house and make sure the chickens were shut up for the night before the perdators(mountain lions, coyotes, fox, and racoons,  you name it we've got it) come out.

The nesting boxes are metal and from an old commercial hen house.  We only need the bottom 5 right now so I keep the top tier closed up.  You can also see where I took chicken wire and loosely closed off the setting hen and chicks and the whole back corner of the coop so she could get up and get food and water from time to time.

We do have electricity in the hen house.  In the summer we run an exhaust fan to keep things cool.  In the winter we have warming lights and a warmer to put under the watering cans to keep them from freezing.  I also have a plain overhead light.  I wanted to put in a chandelier but my husband pretended not to hear me and kept installing the plain light.  Okay, okay, okay, I guess I have to draw the line somewhere.  I would have to dust it about everyother day anyway.

That's it for the chicken news for now have a wonderful day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hen Update

Well, I guess I can't count or something.  We still don't have hatched eggs.  But I hear peeping coming from some of the eggs.  I called the county extension office and talked to their poultry expert.  He told me to give it a few more days.  I also learned that fertile eggs will keep for up to 7 days at 70degrees.  Which means next time I can stick several eggs under my hen.

We have an older chicken coop that I'm converting into a brooder.  It has an attached yard and an automatic door.  All I have to do is build a few ramps and put in some nesting boxes.  This will work well for the next time I have a hen get broody.  I'm going to isolate her in here and keep her and the chicks together but away  from the flock for at least the first 7 days.

I have a building project right now and that is to build a small "cage" with 2 3/4" openings.  I will put the chick feed in here so when I introduce the little ones to the flock the adults can't get to their food and they will have a place to go if they start getting picked on.  Another porject is to build a small ramp for the little ones to get back into the coop.  It's no problem for the adults to step up 4-5" but I dont't think the chicks could do it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Broody Hen

Meet my broody hen (I stopped naming my chickens because everytime I named one the racoons would get one for a midnight snack).  Day 21 will be this Sunday, November 13.  There were 6 eggs under her to begin with but after candeling them only 4 looked like they had chicks.  So far she is doing a great job keeping the eggs warm, keeping her nest clean, and getting enough food and water.  The next test will be when the eggs start to hatch she has to give them enough room to break the shell but not let them get too cold.  Her instincts have been great for this long I think she will do well.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Change in Weather

We had our first hard frost the last week in October.  That  brought with it some extra work.  I harvested the last of the green beans and peppers.  I didn't plant a fall crop this year so all I had to do was get in the last of the summer veggies.  I will still have the watercress that grows wild in the stream for salads.  It adds a wonderful peppery taste to dishes, almost like radishes only not as harsh.

I had one of my hens go "broody".  She is setting on 6 eggs but after candeling them it looks like there are only 3 eggs with chicks in them.  Anyway I had to clean the coop, seperate the hen setting on the eggs and finish the chicken yard.  Normally I have a section of land about the size of a football field fenced with 8' high deer fence.  In this area I have some fruit trees, my garden(with a smaller fence around it), and the chickens who free range.  But in the winter time the Bald Eagles like to nest in this area and when the fishing is no good on the river they start eye-balling my chickens, as do the Chicken Hawks.  So, Steve and I found a lightweight netting to drape over the top of a yard we made for the chickens to keep them from becoming lunch.

Once that was finished,  I had to start looking for a formal dress for Grace.  She plays the harp and is involved with a harp ensemble called String of Pearls.  They are performing two concerts in December and a recital for parents and relatives.  Not only that the film she is involved in premiers in December or January and she has to have a dress to wear.  Anyway,  we went looking and she is at that age where it is hard to find annything.  It's either too little girlish or too grown up.  It has to be tea length or longer because of how she holds the harp.  Well, after looking all over town we went to the fabric stores to see if we could make something.  We didn't have much luck.  When I started getting winter clothes out and putting summer clothes away  I found a dress that both of her older sisters wore when they were about her age.  It fit the bill but it was all black (which I think looks very chic but she thinks looks depressing).  Anyway,  after some minor alterations and showing her some colorful embelishments we could add she liked it.  (When I do this project I will take pictures and post.)

We have also done some deep cleaning.  Like moving furniture and cleaning under everything etc.  I like having everything clean and neat for the holidays. 

Even though I haven't posted in a while I have been able to find time to read your posts and have enjoyed them all.