Monday, May 30, 2011

Baby Bird Update – Giveaway ends on Wednesday!

Do you remember the baby birds we found about a week and half ago?

Picture 448

Well, we haven’t been able to check on them lately.  You’ve probably heard in the news about all the tornadoes in this area of the country.  We haven’t had any tornadoes, but  we have had storms.  It has been too wet to go down into the area of the yard where the birds nest is.

I was finally able to get down there a few evenings ago to peek at our baby birds and this is what I found:

Canoe Photos 053

As you can see in the photo, it was getting dark and I had to look twice to make sure that I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing:  An empty nest.  Both babies are gone!

At first, I thought the parents must have moved the babies.  After all, this nest was not exactly undisturbed.  First, Papa the Farmer accidentally knocked the nest out of the tree and onto the ground when he was cutting the grass with his tractor.  (That’s how we found them!)  Then, three little farmhands dragged a step ladder down to the tree so that they would be able to peek at the babies (and “check on them”) every once in a while.  Then some really strong winds and storms came and shook the tree so hard that one of the baby birds fell out of the nest again!  And finally, some crazy lady with a camera kept going down to take pictures (something about a blog and a giveaway…???)  So, if the parents had decided to move to a quieter locale, I would have completely understood…

But I did what any modern homeschooling mother would do:  I pulled out my 900+ page “Handbook of Nature Study” by Anna Botsford Comstock and did a Google search!  Apparently our birds did not leave for lack of privacy.  We know that these babies were cardinals because we were easily able to identify the parents. 

Here’s what I learned about baby cardinals:
  • Mother cardinals make nests and stay in the nest long enough to hatch the eggs.  The nests are usually well-hidden in low branches of evergreen trees and according to Comstock, “It causes these birds great anguish to have their nest discovered.”  (Oh dear!  I wish I had read that before going down there to take pictures so often!) 
  • The father bird feeds his “wife” and sings to her while she is sitting on the eggs.
  • Once the eggs hatch, the mother cardinal leaves to build another nest and the father cardinal takes over most of the work in caring for the babies.  (That explains why I hardly ever saw the mother, and usually only saw the father cardinal!)  This way they have multiple broods each summer!
  • The babies do not develop red feathers until they can already fly.  Instead, they are a dull brown color that helps them to blend in with their nest.  This protects them from their enemies.  If the baby boys were bright red like their father, it would be too easy for their enemies to find them and they probably would not survive.
  • Cardinals do not migrate, so now that they’ve established themselves in our yard we will hopefully be seeing more of them!
  • The babies leave the nest when they are only 9-14 days old!  They hop on the ground and in lower branches for a few days until their wings are strong enough to fly.
  • The babies stay with the father while the mother is hatching the next set of eggs.  In the winter, lack of food often causes all the babies and the parents to stay fairly close together.
So I’ll be keeping my eyes open this winter… maybe I will see my little baby birds again!

In the meantime, what about the Giveaway?

notebookingpages banner

Since the babies have left the nest, I’m going to close our Baby-Bird Giveaway.  In honor of our baby birds, Debra, from has generously agreed to give one of my readers a set of her wonderful North America Birds NotebookingPages.   You have until Wednesday at midnight to click here and enter.  On Thursday morning one winner will be randomly selected via!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Scatter Vegan Sweets – Review & Giveaway!

Did you know that in a previous life (a life before marriage, children and gluten-freedom) I used to be a cake decorator?  It’s true!  I even made and decorated my own wedding cake. 

wedding cake 1 

My wedding cake was vegan.  No milk or eggs in it.  After I got married, I discovered just how bad sugar is for you so I started making cakes without milk, eggs or sugar.  Then I learned that baking soda and baking powder isn’t that great either, so I started making cakes without milk, eggs, sugar, baking powder or baking soda.  Then my family went on this gluten free diet and that is when I quit making cakes.  When you’re making cakes with no milk, eggs, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, or wheat… Well, it’s really not cake any more. 

I didn’t just quit making cakes.  I quit baking altogether.  I don’t want to complain, but between you and I, the worst part about being gluten free is having to eat what passes for gluten-free desserts.  People use rice flour, millet flour, potato starch and other creative concoctions to replicate wheat in recipes and just between you and I, the results leave a lot to be desired.  I mean, if it’s full of MILLET, it’s just not a donut anymore!

Then I got an email from one of my blog readers.  (Hi Nicole!)  She said, "Recently, I purchased an inexpensive cookbook that is whole foods (no raw sugars, no oils) that is vegan and gluten-free.  I think you will really enjoy it and benefit from it.  I absolutely love it and it has been such a blessing to our family.  No longer do we say, ohh that is good for gluten-free, we just say “Wow that is great!”.  It’s called “Scatter Vegan Sweets”.  The lady who authored it sells it from her website I believe, her name is Wendy Gabbe Day.”  In another email, she said, “I’ve tried MANY of the recipes and have had great success with every single one of them.”

Now, if you’ve ever tried gluten free desserts before, you’ll know what Nicole meant when she said “No longer do we say ohh that is good for gluten free.”  If you don’t know what she’s talking about, consider yourself blessed!

Needless to say, I was intrigued.  A recipe book of vegan, gluten free desserts that actually taste good?  Personally, I doubted it, but I thought I’d give it a try! 

But actually, I am not going to be able to review this cookbook.  Here’s why:

Over the past month, we’ve had a lot of visitors.  Over 30.  Almost all of them have stayed overnight, so it’s been crazy-busy around here!  (Which is why I haven’t been very active on the blog over the past couple of weeks.)  What a perfect time to review a new, fabulous, cookbook, right?

Well, maybe not.  First, I made a bowl of pudding.  I put it out on the counter, came back a little while later and all that was left was an empty bowl!  

**sigh** So I tried again.  I made brownies this time.  By the time I could take a picture, here’s what was left:

Picture 441

I confess to eating the crumbs (but not the brownies!) and they were pretty good!

But I still didn’t have a picture for the blog, so I tried making a cake.  Here’s the picture I ended up with:

Canoe Photos 001

Time and time again I would make a recipe and it would get gobbled up before I could get the picture taken!  Granola, granola bars, scones, cookies, puddings, muffins… let’s just say that someone in this house has been eating pretty well lately (and it hasn’t been me!).

Well, it’s not quite fair (or accurate) to say that nobody left any for me.  There was this one time…

Canoe Photos 003

(I’m pretty sure a short person who I gave birth to might have been responsible for this!)

Eventually, I learned a thing or two and I did manage to take a picture of this plate of cookies immediately after it came out of the oven.  (Good thing I took the picture quickly, because these cookies didn’t last long either!)

Picture 454

So, that’s why I can’t review this cookbook.  I really have no idea how everything tasted.  I’m sorry, but if you want to know whether or not these recipes are any good, you’ll just have to make some of these recipes yourself.

How can you get a copy of Scatter Vegan Sweets

Well, you can head on over to Wendy’s website Veg Food & Fit where you can purchase the softcover version of her book for only $10.

She also sells the e-book version for $5.

But we’re having a Giveaway!

How do you enter the giveaway? 

Mandatory:  You must, must, must go to and email Wendy.  (Her address is on the contact page!)  Tell her I sent you and that you would like a free copy of the ebook version of “Scatter Vegan Sweets.” 

And she will send it to you!  It’s really that simple. 

That’s right!  This is a giveaway where everyone is guaranteed to win!

It was Wendy’s idea that everyone should win a copy of the ebook! She is such an awesome Giveaway hostess!  It is not required, but it would be very cool if you would head over to her Facebook page and “like” her as a way of saying “Thank you!”

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How to Fold A Cloth Diaper

One of the questions I am asked most frequently when people hear about our lifestyle is, “HOW do you fold cloth diapers?” Just today a dear friend called me with a newborn and the same question.  I tried to walk her through it on the telephone and I don’t think I was very successful… so Mrs. T, this one is for you! 

When Farmgirl was born I was very new to the cloth diapering world.  I didn’t realize that there are fancy cloth diapers that you can get, so I bought plain old rectangles from a Mennonite company called “GVS” (which is short for “Great Value & Service… And they definitely live up to their name!).  These diapers were a great investment!  I spent less than $100 in diapering supplies (including covers, which I bought elsewhere) and this stockpile has lasted through 3 babies.   (Papa the Farmer says the next baby definitely gets its own new diapers.  Some of the diapers are getting pretty worn out… But still… $100 to diaper three babies is pretty good!)

(GVS does not have a website, but call for a free catalogue!  They have lots of neat stuff, not just diapers!  Their number is 1-800-398-2494 and their email address is

I fold my diapers in two different ways, depending on the size of the baby.  The first way I will show is the way I fold the diapers for the littlest babies.  I think I folded the diapers this way for about 3 months with Farmgirl, but only for about 6 weeks with FarmBaby.  (He was much bigger)…

So here it goes!

How to fold a cloth diaper for a little baby (approximately 0-3 months)

First, lay the diaper out in front of you:
Picture 533

Next, fold the diaper in half by matching up the two short ends so you have something that resembles a square:
 Picture 534

Then you take that square, and fold in half one way, and then in half the other way (so you just folded it in quarters and now you’ve got another, smaller square):
  Picture 537

Now is the tricky part (but it’s not too bad, I promise!).  Slowly, lift one corner of the diaper…
Picture 538

Now watch as I do this…  Continue to lift that corner and pull it across the diaper, and then several inches off the diaper, forming a triangle.  Did you see how that worked?  The corner that I lifted in the photograph above is the corner that is now the upper left tip of the triangle in the photograph below:

Picture 539

There!  That’s the hardest part!  The rest is easy!  Now, simply flip the whole thing over so that your triangle is now beneath the diaper:
 Picture 540

The square part that is sticking out to the right is going to be the absorbant part of the diaper.  Start folding it over.  Here’s the first time I folded it:
 Picture 541

And here’s the second time:
 Picture 542

Ta da!  Diaper is now ready for Baby!  My baby is too big to model this style, so my favorite baby doll agreed to model it for you instead.  (Yes, I still have my original cabbage patch doll from 1984!  Her name is Amy, if you’re wondering!)

The diaper in the picture above is technically upside down, so just rotate it around so that the long side of the triangle is at the top.  This is the part that will wrap around the baby’s waist.  Next, lay your baby on top the diaper.  The rectangular part comes up between the baby’s legs:
 Picture 543

Next, simply bring each side piece around the baby’s waist and pin it to the part in the middle.  Usually you only need one pin to do this.
 Picture 544

And you’re done!  See?  That wasn’t too bad, was it?

Now, what if you have an older baby?  Well, then it’s even easier!

How to fold a Diaper for a Larger Baby (3 months - 2+ years)

As before, you lay the diaper out in front of you and then you fold it in half.

Picture 534 Picture 533

Next, fold it into thirds:
 Picture 546 Picture 545

Now, take the upper corner and fold it out.  Depending on the way you folded it, your diaper may need to be pulled out to the left or the right:
 Picture 547
Repeat this step with the opposite corner:
 Picture 549

And ta da!  You are ready to put a sleepy, cranky baby in that diaper!
 Picture 551 Picture 552 Picture 553
 Picture 554 Picture 555 Picture 556

As before, the long, rectangular part comes up between the baby’s legs and the “wings” on the side wrap around and are secured with a pin.

Then, I put a diaper cover over the whole thing.  Personally, I really like ProRap diaper covers!  We’ve had several diaper covers over the years and these ones have held up really well through literally thousands of washings!  They're inexpensive (only about $7 each) and they also have great little leg gussets that help prevent leaking!  Click here to Search for Prorap

By the way, in a pinch, you can use a T-shirt to fold either of these diaper styles.  (Please don’t ask me how I know this.  Let’s just say I’ve been diapering steady for almost 7 years now!)  Just fold the sleeves in so you have something that looks like a rectangle and follow the steps above!

                                                                        Happy Diapering!

Friday, May 20, 2011

When It Rains…

North Texas is under severe thunderstorm watches this afternoon and let me tell you… this weather is something else!  The wind is so strung that I had a hard time opening my front door! (Which is ok, who wants to go out in this anyway?) The rain is coming down so hard that we could see it blowing across the neighbor’s roof in white sheets and Farm Girl said, “It looks like Snow!” 
So the Little Farmhands are stuck inside today.  Here’s what they’ve been doing this afternoon:
Picture 518

They are just aching to go outside!

I was doing some other chores while the children watched the rain.  Suddenly I heard, “Mama!  Mama!  Mama!  Come quickly!”  When they say my name three times in a row, it can only mean one thing.  Big. Hairy. Emergency.  (It’s not always my definition of an emergency, but it’s an emergency to them, nonetheless.)  But the next thing they said struck terror into my heart.  “The PIPE!  Look at the PIPE!” 
You can’t tell in the picture, but the rain is coming down really hard out there… The last thing I need is a broken pipe or extra flooding in any way.   Then I saw what they saw:
Picture 516
“Look Mama!  The Pipe is going POTTY!”
Oh yeah.  I’m one proud, proud Mama.
Moving right on to the next topic (because there’s really nothing more to say about that topic!)…  It’s raining too hard to go check on the little baby birds we found… but I did check on them the other day.  I peeked in the tree and was so surprised to see the mother looking at me.  Then I realized, “That’s not the mother!”  That’s one of the babies… growing feathers!”
Picture 509
Isn’t it interesting how the bird in front seems to be slightly more developed than the bird in back?  This picture was taken a couple of days ago.  By the time the rain lets up enough to let me take another picture, I expect there will be more exciting changes! 
Are you enjoying watching these baby birds grow with me?  Don’t forget to enter the Bird Notebooking Pages Giveaway!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Separation Anxiety

My Mommy-heart is having a hard time this morning.  A big bad man took my baby away from me and isn’t going to bring him back until this afternoon!  Ok, it wasn’t a big bad man… it was Papa the Farmer… but the end result is the same… my baby is not home with me today.  He’s been gone 10 minutes and I miss him already…

Sweet baby

If you’re new to the blog, we are still in the beginning stages of farming.  We’re not open for business yet and definitely still in the learning stages!  We have 186 fruit trees that are still getting established, we just got our herb bed in and we’re working at planting vegetables.  We’re still learning to protect the plants from animals, insects, weather and other miscellaneous mishaps.  (We tried growing alfalfa and that didn’t work out.)  Right now, we basically make cute little farmhands and produce a nifty blog.  So, as you can see Papa the Farmer has to have a day job until we get the farm going. 

So he does handyman and remodeling work.   

Papa the Farmer meets a lot of interesting people through his handyman work.  Today’s customer is a really cool bachelor who has all kinds of big steam-engines, heavy duty antique machinery, huge cast iron gears and all kinds of other things that would appeal to a little boy.  So, the Little Farmboy gets to go for a visit today!

I packed the Little Farmboy a real working-man’s lunch in his easylunchbox and he was all set to go to work!  This morning, this is what he looked like:

Picture 425

But in my heart, he still looks like this:

sleeping peacefully

So, I’m having a little separation anxiety today.  I’m sure the Little Farmhand will be fine.  Hopefully I’ll be ok too!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Baby Bird Update #1: A Half-Empty Nest

Well, I went out yesterday morning to check on our little baby birds and I think for a moment my heart stopped!  This is what I saw:
Picture 446
Only one bird! 
What could have happened to the other one?  The temperature had dropped down into the 50’s overnight.  Had it been too cold for the little bird?  Did something snatch it from it’s hiding place in the tree branches?  I had no way of knowing.
I left to do something else and came back a few minutes later.  This time I noticed a lot of chirping around the tree and the chirping seemed to be coming from all directions!  The parent birds had definitely noticed that their baby was gone!  I could see the Daddy bird on a nearby branch chirping his little heart out.  He looked right at me and it was almost like he was begging me to help.  I thought I heard some chirping coming from the ground so I looked down:
Picture 443
Found!  What a relief!
I inspected the nest again, and it was at a precarious angle.  Obviously the little baby bird had slipped out.  I’m really not an animal person.  I didn’t want to touch the bird.  So I ran for Papa the Farmer.  He gently picked the baby bird up.  As soon as Papa the Farmer’s hands came near the bird, his little beak opened wide for a worm.  Poor, hungry little guy (or girl?)!  Too bad I didn’t get a picture of that!
Picture 448
So Papa the Farmer returned Baby Birdie to his nest.  We also tried to straighten the nest so the birdies won’t fall out again.  All this time, the Daddy Bird stood on his perch watching.  He stopped chirping… in fact all the birds stopped chirping…  and seemed quite thankful to have his baby back!
What happened to the nest to put it as such a dangerous angle?  I can’t say for sure, but the other day Papa the Farmer was cutting the grass.  He rode his tractor close to the tree, bumped against some of the branches and that’s when one of the babies fell out the first time.  Perhaps the nest never got straightened out enough to be safe and the winds from the night before shook the branches, moving the nest.  Of course, I’m just guessing.  We’ll never really know what happened to the nest.  We just know that the baby birds are back together now, safe and sound.
Picture 456

Don’t forget to enter our Baby Bird Giveaway!  To find the details, click here.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Baby Bird Giveaway!

Gotcha!  You thought I was going to give away the adorable baby birds I found last night, didn’t you?  

Picture 437

Well, I’m not.  They’re too sweet.  And anyway, I don’t think their mama would let me give them away any more than I would let Papa the Farmer giveaway one of the Little Farmhands!

But an event as exciting as finding our very own nest of baby birds should not be without celebration!  Debra from has agreed to celebrate with me!

Debra has notebooking pages for all kinds of subjects…  Bible, History, Geography, Language Arts… but my favorite are her Science & Nature Study pages!  And she has graciously offered to to celebrate our baby birds by giving one of our readers a free copy of her North American Birds Notebooking Pages ebook!


This ebook is 680 pages long and has pages for 97 of North America’s most popular birds (including all 50 state birds)!  At only $8.95 it’s definitely a good deal.  I love the fact that all Debra’s pages come in multiple styles of printing lines… So your older children can fill in advanced information:

image image

Your younger children can write on the primary printing lines:

image image 

and your littlest preschoolers can color the coloring pages in!


So, how does the Giveaway work? 

Well… I will be updating the blog every few days about our little birds’ progress.  I’ll also be posting interesting bird trivia and whatever other bird-related things I happen to think of.  When the birds leave their nest and it is obvious to us, “Ok, yeah, they’re gone now.”  I will close the Giveaway and randomly select one winner from all the entries.

That’s right… I have no idea when this giveaway will close.  How long does it take a baby bird to grow up, anyway?  2 weeks?  A month?  3 months?  I really have no idea…  I guess we’ll find out!

You can enter the giveaway in any of the following ways:

First Mandatory Entry:  You must, must, must go to and browse their products.  Then come back here and tell me which ebook topic was your favorite!

Additional Entires:  AFTER you have picked a favorite ebook, you can earn additional entries by doing any of the following:  (If you already follow us in one of these ways, just leave a comment on this post telling me so!  It still counts!)
  • “Like” on Facebook
  • “Like” Good Old Days Farm on Facebook
  • Follow Us Using Google Friend Connect (link in right sidebar)
  • Follow Good Old Days Farm on Twitter
  • “Tweet” about our baby birds on Twitter and leave a comment here telling me about it!  (You may do this up to once a day or once a post… if I do two posts related to our baby birds in the same day)
  • Share about our baby birds on Facebook and leave a comment here with the link! (Again, you may do this up to once a day, or once a post if I do two posts related to our baby birds on the same day)
  • Blog about our baby birds (2 entries – leave two separate comments telling me you did this!)
  • Email somebody about our baby birds, copy the email to GoodOldDaysFarm (at) gmail (dot) com and then come back here and leave a comment telling me you did this!
  • As you follow the progress of our baby birds, leave a comment on any post on this blog related to these two baby birds.  You do not need to come back here and tell me about it.  When it is time to select a winner, I will account for all the comments before selecting to somebody.
But, what if I really like the Bird Notebooking Pages and I don’t want to wait until the baby birds leave their nest???

Well then, my friend, you can always purchase the ebook for only $8.95 right here.

Picture 432
I Hope You Enjoy Bird Watching With Me!