But I’m in Florida so that’s none of my business. Karen and Tim are also in Florida. They flew into New Orleans on Wednesday and Matt and I picked them up. NOLA is only about 3 hours away from here, so we took a leisurely drive through Alabama, Mississippi and then Louisiana.
After the pick-up we headed to Mobile, but on the way we stopped in each state to locate a Geocache.
Sometimes you have to ignore the signs and just go for that cache in Mississippi.
Then we headed over to Bellingrath Gardens to walk around the gardens in the day time (Matt and I were there to see the Christmas Lights before).
I met a friendly lion who smiled for the camera.
We went out to dinner at Wintzell’s Oyster House where we had Amberjack (fish) for the first time.
We stayed a night at a bed and breakfast and toured the Mobile History Museum in the morning. I saw this goat cart which children used to have to hook their goat up to and ride around town. I took a picture because I need one. I also single-handedly powered a submarine.
We made it back to the farm on Thursday and Friday we went to the Railroad Museum.
Sunday was rib day and while the ribs were smoking, we had a bonfire in the backyard.
And of course Karen and Tim had to meet Leah and Cadence!
Tim holding Leah and Karen holding Cadence
Up next, the beach and Krispy Kreme (we might be addicted)! Enjoy shoveling out northern friends!
This week Joe and I finished the chicken run and coop! It’s still a little too cold for the 5 week old chickens to go out there permanently, but they have been spending some time each day out there to get used to it.
Also this week, Matt decided he wanted to start dumpster diving. So far dumpster diving hasn’t been as profitable for us as expected, but Matt and Joe were pretty excited about their first find.
This weekend, my cousin Sarah came up to visit us from Brooksville. Ian came over from the base and we all drank beer, ate food, played cards and had a fire. Yesterday we all went to Fort Pickens to educate ourselves on some history.
While we were there, Matt and Joe saw an enemy ship and took it upon themselves to destroy it.
It was a close call, but Pensacola has been saved. Ian toyed with the idea of flinging himself from the fort wall.
We were able to successfully talk him off the ledge by singing the lyrics to “Jumper” by Third Eye Blind. Then we all went to the Pensacola Bay Brewery for a beer and then Krispy Kreme for a doughnut (or 12). This week Matt’s parents will be coming to visit, so the adventures continue!
Last week was another fun filled week on the farm. On Monday, Joe and I made homemade soap. We obtained the recipe at last year’s Porcfest at a seminar led by the owner of Shire Soaps of NH. The ingredients we used were coconut oil, shea butter, olive oil and lemongrass essential oil for the scent. And of course lye and water. We’ve sliced up the bars and are letting them dry for a month before we can use them.
Last March I started knitting a shawl and I finally finished it this week!
And not a moment too soon because it was quite chilly this week! Just ask the dogs who had to don their winter gear.
It did warm up for long enough for the chickens to get their first taste of the great outdoors. They pecked around the catitat for an hour or so while Jake looked on licking his lips.
Despite the temperatures dropping, it was time to start planting seeds. We set up the greenhouse by the large front window and planted some broccoli, kale, cabbage, eggplant and onion seeds.
We also got wheat grass seeds to plant for cat grass for the catitat. I was able to get those sprouted and they are ready for planting today.
So, it’s a small world and I really believe that because Milton is a small place, right? No one has ever heard of Milton, Florida, but we happen to have the Naval Air Station Whiting Field just north of my property. Like, a ten minute drive away. So wouldn’t you know it, my cousin Ian who is an officer in the Marines has just been sent to NAS Whiting field for 10 weeks for training. He reported for duty yesterday but before that he was able to spend a couple days at my house getting harassed by my dogs. I pulled a Jaci and took an unflattering picture which I will post here.
Hopefully Ian will be able to stop by every so often over the next several weeks to hang out. In other news, Leo is illiterate.
On Saturday, Matt, Joe and I went into Pensacola to gather some beer/cider making ingredients at The Shady Lady and then decided to get some drinks at Hopjacks Pizza Kitchen and Taproom. We discovered that they have 112 beers on tap. That’s not why Florida is not like the rest of us though. Upon leaving Hopjacks, as we walked down Palafox St. to the car we saw a man walking a skunk on a leash. Sadly, I did not get a picture. Maybe next time.
On Sunday Matt started a batch of Graff. Graff is basically beer and cider mixed together which is awesome. He steeped some grains in water for about an hour and then once cooled, added apple juice and yeast. I can’t wait for this batch to be ready for some taste tests.
I took some of the leftover grains and made Spent Grain Bread which is a nice hearty, crusty bread.
On Sunday we also opened the catitat! We added some shelves so they can jump from the window. Now we just need to get some catnip and cat grass growing in there for them.
The chickens are now three weeks old and they are growing exponentially every day! Here is a picture from just moments ago.
They’re growing into some real southern belles!
The new year is upon us and it is time to reflect on 2015 and set goals for 2016. We did a lot in 2015: went on a cruise, I ran my first half marathon, quit my job, sold my house, moved to Florida, bought a house, got another dog and some chickens, and got engaged! Let’s take a look at the goals I set for 2015 and whether they were accomplished.
- Run a ½ Marathon in under 1:51:25
- Finished the Mayflower Brewing Half Marathon in 1:48:08, check!
- Do an unassisted pull-up
- I don’t have a pull-up bar so I can’t test this one, but I will sadly admit that I still don’t think I can do a pull-up.
- Pay off Federal Student Loan
- Admittedly, still working on this one.
- Find a part time job down south
- Well, I haven’t actually been looking.
- Knit something to completion
- Finished my scarf. Check!
- Grow a vegetable/fruit I have never grown before
- Grew pumpkins and delicata squash in Attleboro. Check!
- Learn how to Bee Keep
- I bought a book and started reading it, does that count?
- Learn how to keep Chickens
- None of them have perished yet, so I would say I have learned how. Check!
- Move south
- Check! I officially live in Florida!
- Join a club down south (Running, Knitting, Gardening)
- I am going to count the World of Beer Runs
- Take a Yoga class
- I haven’t officially taken a class, although I do yoga in the sun in my yard sometimes.
So, didn’t get there on all my goals for 2015, but more than 50% is passing, right? Here’s a look at the direction my goals are taking for 2016:
- Run a 5k in Florida in under 22 minutes
- Go Golfing at a golf course at least 3 times
- Go bike riding on the bike path
- Do a full right split
- Re-master the front and back walkover
- Make Homemade Soap
- Start and Finish Knitting something all on my own
- Pay off Federal Student Loan to become 100% debt free
- Eat an entire meal of things grown on property (and hopefully not be hungry after)
Anyone have any other suggestions or ideas for goals? Have you set goals for 2016? Leo’s working on his roar.