Thursday, July 20, 2017

Peep Peep Peep

Here we go again with these crazy chickens. First mama appeared with 8 new peeps a few weeks ago. i didn't even realize she was missing, and was totally surprised when she reappeared with babies. She has 8.

Smokey appeared a couple days later with only two little peeps. i knew Smokey was missing, but honestly thought she's been eaten. She's a tiny little thing, bantam Sizzle and she'd been setting in the raspberries the whole time.

Then mama #2 appeared with more peeps! That's almost 20 new birds! Yikes!  So i'm  going to try to re-home them, as i really want to focus on the marans, easter eggers and olive eggers. These wild chickens seem to evade predators and disease well, but they constantly hide eggs, tear up my gardens and go broody. i'm at the point now, where i really want to thin out the flock and stick with just a few. 

Earlier this spring we lost 4 of our older hens. My speckled Sussex, Java, Black Star and my sweet little Blackie hen (barnyard mix) We'd had them all for around 7 year. They were the last of the birds i'd had before the fire (still have one and a roo) so that made it a little extra hard.  

i'm getting to the point where i want to be able to travel without constantly worrying about all the critters, so i think having way less chickens will help. These wild ones just keep breeding, so it may be time for them to find another home.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Kayaking Adventures- New River

Over the weekend we decided to kayak on the New River in Radford, VA.  Despite it's name,  the New River is one of the five oldest rivers in the world. The New River flows backwards, from south to north. Only a handful of rivers in the world have this unique feature, including the Nile.  It is thought to be older than the mountains.

The New River is a very calm and slow float. It's more relaxing than some of the other rivers we've kayaked on. There are really no rapids or rough areas on the section we kayaked. It is almost all extremely shallow here too. 

i really enjoy the wildlife we see on the New River.  There are Great Blue Herons every where. 

We cross under a few bridges. i found it interesting that this tree was growing on the side of the pillar, out of a tiny crack. The water is calm enough that we can kayak in either direction, with very little work involved. Trying to paddle upstream on some of the other rivers we've kayaked is pretty much impossible. 

The river is really wide, and we passed a lot of other folks kayaking or tubing down it. Radford is a college town, so tubing down the river is very popular in the summer. 

i took so many pictures of Blue Herons. We saw so many of them, and they were not especially skittish being used to so many people always on the river. When we float the Little River or Big Reed island, we usually see at least one Heron, but they fly off before i even get my camera out. So it was really cool to see them and get pictures.

We several of these Cormorants up in the trees. i've seen these in Florida, but didn't realize they were also in Virginia. They are common around water, but i'm not sure how far north they go. 

i was thrilled to get a picture of this Green Heron. It's really hard to take a good picture from a moving kayak, and this guy was pretty skittish. i didn't know what he was and had to look him up when i got home. We also saw Kingfishers but it didn't get a photo. 

When we got to our ending place, we parked the kayaks and the kids went swimming while Kenan went back for his truck.  There is a little island here, and the water was less than 2 feet deep all the way across.

This Heron seemed to be following us, and he flew over to the island across from where i was standing and just watched us.  i'm really not sure how many herons we saw, or if it was just the same one following us down the River. The New River isn't as secluded as some of the other Rivers we've kayaked, but it's still a really nice float. i love all the unique birds and wildlife. We also saw a turtle, a snake, lots of fish, dragonflies and damselflies.  We did about a 3 hour float, but there are different places to put in and get out. Kenan wanted to do a 5 hour float, and i'm glad we didn't we were all pretty tired by the end of this one. Already looking forward to next weeks adventures!

Monday, June 19, 2017

DIY Bath Bombs using Websun Stainless Steel Molds- product review and recipe.

Yesterday my girl and i made bath bombs! First recipe we used was a total fail, but we tried again and i used way less food coloring, essential oil and water....and they turned out perfect!  These are so easy to make and use ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard! The only thing we were missing were molds, but we received some to review from #Websun  and they worked great!

We used  these stainless steel molds by Websun. These come in 3 sizes. They are 100% food grade 304 stainless steel & are dishwasher safe.  They work so well! The bath bombs popped right out and were shaped perfect.

 So much fun! We made some a while ago, and they were total fail. They started off looking great, but then they started slowly expanding and swelling.  i think the key is as little liquid as possible, just until they hold together. i also read that in areas of high humidity, you can bake them at 200 degrees until they are completely dried out. i'll probably do that with our next batch just to make sure they are completely dry and don't suck the moisture out of the air.

Homemade Bath Bombs
Dry ingredients
1/2 cup baking soda
1/4 cup Epsom salt
1/4 cup citric acid
1/4 cup corn starch.

 Wet ingredients
3 tsp Olive oil or Castor oil 
1 tsp essential oil
a few drops of food color. 


Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisking to combine. 
Then in a small bowl mix wet ingredients (except water) together then slowly add to dry mixture, while constantly whisking. 
Now add water very slowly 1 tsp at a time, just until mix packs together. i think we used about 2 tsp, but the recipe called for 3. i would not use any more than that.  You want to add it slowly, while whisking quickly to avoid it setting off the chemical reaction. Using a spray bottle for the water would probably work well. Again you just need a tiny amount. 

Pack the mixture into both sides of your mold, press the two sides together and let dry about 5 hours. Be sure and store them in an air tight container!

These Bath bomb  molds really do work great! They come in a pretty handmade paper box. You can find them on amazon, free shipping with Prime. 

*i received the product at no cost in exchange for my honest opinion. i was not compensated, my opinions are my own.

New River Trail- Fries Junction

 This weekend we celebrated father's day with a family bike ride on the New river trail. We had originally planned to start at the Byllesby Dam, but just as we were parking a full downpour hit us. We sat in the truck a minute to see if it would pass, but it just got heavier and heavier. So we left feeling pretty disappoint that we'd driven so far just to get rained out, however, when we got back to Fries (pronouced freeze)  the skies were clear and blue and it was totally dry. 

So we parked and got on the trail in Fries, and headed in the direction of the Byllesy Dam. The New River trail is great for biking. It's quite flat and well maintained.  Great for a family bike ride.

We spotted this turtle in the middle of the trail and my girl had to stop and move it. i'm pretty sure the turtle was attempting to lay her eggs right in the middle of the trail. She had dug herself a hole. It was a terrible spot as cyclist come through very fast, and their was sign that horses had been on the trail recently too. Hopefully she can find a slightly safer place to lay her eggs. 

i highlighted the areas of the New River Trail we've done either walking or on bike. We still have a quite a bit to complete. The Cliffview, Shot Tower and Foster Falls sections we've done several times. 

At Fries junction we rode over the Trestle Bridge, then came back and continued down the New River Trail. i was expecting some spectacular views from the bridge, but it actually has big wall up on both sides and you can't see anything.

 The view from the bridge is not spectacular.

Once we came off of the bridge we had a much nicer view. There was mist rising from the mountains in the distance from that rain that was coming down that way.  We should have paid attention to that and turned back here, but we didn't. We rode straight into a downpour, that followed us all the way back to the car. 

 Riding back in the rain, really sucked. The rain was cold, and the trail turned to mud making it harder to peddle. We hadn't realized it, but the trail was on a gradual decline on our trip out to the trestle bridge, so when we turned around and road back it was a gradual incline. We were all hurting by the time we got back to the car.

Biking was fun, but i didn't get to enjoy the trail in the same way that i do when we hike.  We passed so many little waterfall i would have liked to have gotten pictures of. We whizzed past wildflowers, and views of the New River.  

We did stop to read a bit about the Grayson Sulphur Springs. It was a popular hotel and mineral water resort. Once located on the west bank of the New River near the mouth of Brush Creek, its site is now covered by the backed-up waters of Byllesby dam.

This was a really nice section to bike. i'd love to come back and walk it, so i can get some better pictures and enjoy the views a bit more. i do love that the New River trial is so good for biking, as we don't have any flat ground at home. As much as i love hiking, riding bikes is a nice change and the kids enjoy it much more than walking so we'll probably be doing a lot more of it this summer.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Kayaking Adventures- Little River

Now that the summer is here, we've been trying to get out and either hike or kayak every weekend. It's been a little tough with my daughter playing softball this year, we've had double header games almost every Saturday and when we don't have games, we've had rain.

So we finally got a chance to get out on the water and decided to explore a different section of the little river. This time we drove out passed Floyd and put in at the Little River Baptist Church.  We had about a 3 hour float, and got out at the Bridge on Moore rd. i think this is one of the most popular floats in Floyd. We didn't come across a ton of people, but we did see a few.

It was an bsolutely gorgeous day to be out on the River. 

Typical of Floyd,we came across cows in the river. The same thing happened the last time we floated the Little River, even though we were in a totally different part last time. Floyd county has no shortage of cows. Many are grass fed, pasture raised with open access to the river.  So it's not at all uncommon to come across cows cooling off in the water.

Besides the cows we saw a great Blue Heron and a King Fisher fishing. We saw lots of dragonflies, and damselflies.

We also saw this huge snappping turtle, just hanging out on the bank. At first i thought it was just a shell that had washed up, but when i got closer i saw it's tail.  It's crazy how much they look like little dinosaurs. i was in my kayak, and tried to bank it so i could get better pictures, but there wasn't enough shore and i didn't really want to get out of my boat.

About half way down the river we decided to stop and swim. There are a few really good swimming holes on the Little River. It's deep enough to swim, but not over our heads deep.  It was a nice break and fun way to cool off.

It was such a gorgeous day to be out on the river. i'm really looking forward to more kayaking adventures each weekend this summer.  Summer always seems to go by too fast, this is a nice way to slow it down a bit a really enjoy the weekend together as a family.

In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time. -Leonardo da Vinci