Friday, April 24, 2015

Chirp, Chirp

Chirp. Thats the sound you hear when you open our front door. Our quaint little home in the hills has been over ran by chicks. As many of you know we several weeks ago we set up an incubator and filled it with eggs from our hens. Thursday the 23, we started seeing our first pip, just a few ours after our first pip we hatched out our very first chick. This is a sweet moment for us, when we bought our chickens last spring I had a little experience with chickens, and the Wanderer had no experience. In a years time we have grown and learned so much about chickens, and now we have hatched off our very first. Does this make us chicken grandparents?

 Later in the evening another hatched out. The second one is bigger than the first, and more yellow-white in color. With the exception of the Silkie eggs, the chicks hatching out in the incubator are mutts. Can chickens be mutts? Our rooster is a big Australorp and our hens are Golden Comets, Tetras and Barred Rocks. We have a breeding pair of Silkies and they live in a separate coop and run from bigger chickens. The picture to the left is of our second hatchling, resting after breaking free of its shell. 

We also bought more chicks today. We have been wanting Ameraucana chickens for some time now, and we finally found a few chicks. By a few I mean 10. In the course of the day our flock has nearly doubled in size. I really don't know what we will do with so many chickens. I hadn't planned on buying 10, but was excitement got the better of me and I ended up buying way more than I needed. 

Today will be an interesting day as the rest of the eggs hatch out. We have a second batch in an incubator that will hatch out in about a week. So many chicks! 

The second chick, working its way out.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Life, or something like it.

The Wanderers aunt and uncle officially became our neighbors last week. They arrived several days early with a Uhaul, a truck and a car loaded down with their worldly goods and 4 dogs. Yes 4, ranging in size from a tiny, 3 month old Shih Tzu to a St. Bernard. The farm has been overran with dogs, and we are loving it. Inigo has finally found a dog with as much energy has him. Him and Sandy the puppy have became fast friends. No worries folks, Inigo is altered and Sandy will soon be altered. 

Their new home will be just on the other side of were we garden, so they are close. I honestly couldn't imagine trying to move several states away with 4 dogs, especially one the size of a St. Barnard. Have I mentioned I am terrified of St. Barnard? Well I am, but I am managing well. 

We haven't planted the first thing yet, this spring has been very wet and rainy. We have experienced many road closures due to mud and rock slides. My yard is a riot of blossoms, the apple and cherry trees have budded out. Soon the petals will fall covering the yard with their frothy white beauty. I love spring in the hills.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Unique Rentals

Sometimes we don’t want the boring practicality of a hotel. Vacations are an adventure, your rental should be more than just a place to crash for the night. I love finding unusual or unexpected places to stay.

If you are near the Mammoth Cave, Ky area looking for a spot to rest pull into Wigwam Village Motel #2. Technically they are not Wigwams, they are tipi’s. These fun, conical shaped buildings allows you the feel of sleeping in a tipi with little luxeries like bathrooms, and locking doors.

Tipi’s not your style? Instead want to sleep in the back of a 1948 Ford pickup or go on safari without the pesky trip to Africa or risk of getting ate by lions? Wildwood Inn at Florence, Ky may just be the place for you. Aztec Jungle, Utah Canyon, Pirate Ship, Country suite, Cave Suite. With over 25 rooms and suites to choose from Wildwood will have a room to fit whatever theme strikes your fancy.

Did you have a treehouse as a child? Did you dream of one? At Out ‘n’ About Treesort you can be a kid again. Currently they have 5 treehouses available for overnight guests, and 10 open for day use (when the permits are approved these will be overnight rentals). With whitewater rafting, ziplining, horsebacking riding and a variety of seasonal events, if you are bored while staying at the Treesort you only have yourself to blame. The owners of Treesort have fought a long (23 year), hard battle just to keep their 36 acre bed and breakfast open. Give them a call, reservations must be made over the phone. These are old fashion people and like to have a connection to their guests.

I grew up in a mining town, seeing big coal trains rolling by was a common sight. I love trains, I
don’t always love getting caught at a crossing waiting for a train. My next usually vacation rental happens to be located in one of my favorite spots on earth. Natural Bridge, Va. This 1926 C&O caboose has been lovingly restored, outfitted with a double bed, bath and galley style kitchen. There is also a daybed for extra guests.

Monday, April 06, 2015

The Chicken and the Egg

You see that picture right there? That's the future of Wandering in the Wonderful, well at least the future of the farm aspect of WW. Monday I went to the farm store and picked out an incubator. This Little Giant Still-
Air wasn't the model I wanted, but it was the only one left in the store. I didn't want to wait even another second, let alone the 3-5 business days to order one online. Our Almanac told us that the best days for setting eggs would be the 2 or 3rd. We chose the 2nd as the date we would set our first round of eggs, ever. We have never done this. We don't know if any of these eggs will be viable. We had saved them up and sat them first under our Silkie hen Cottonball. She wasn't interested. She would keep them turned, the nest clean, everything she was suppose to do as a good brooder, except sit on the nest! I have already started saving back eggs to replace these if they fail their candling on the 8th. 

We had chickens when I was very small. I remember how exciting it was to watch through the incubator window as the little baby chicks broke free from the shell. This is the first time as an adult I have had an incubator, and the first time I have been in charge of monitoring the temperature, and humidity levels. Its exciting, and challenging and it will be so worth while. 

The incubator is set up on our kitchen table. After they hatch they will be moved to oh so fancy homemade brooders that will be in my kitchen floor. How do the dog wonders handle this? Scarlet ignores their existence. She doesn't go near the brooders. Inigo loved having chickens in the house. Every morning he would run into the kitchen and look into the brooder to check on the baby chicks. Even now he loves trips to the coop. Him and Godzilla the rooster do not get along, but the hens love him. 

I am not ashamed to admit that Youtube videos taught me how to candle. I didn't spend money on a fancy candling system, just a simple LED flashlight and piece of poster board cut to funnel the light. Candling is basically the chicken egg version of an ultrasound. At different points of incubation you illuminate the inside of the egg with the flashlight to check for development. If you don't see any development after the first week, or if you stop seeing development at any point its time to throw out the egg as it is not viable. 

Friday, April 03, 2015

Treasure Hunters

I live in a magical place, full of mystery and real life buried treasure. From time to time a clue is found, a silver bar, a marked rock, a coin. Leading us ever closer to Kentucky's El Dorado, except ours is silver. If legend and old diaries are to be believed Johnathan Swift preceded Daniel Boone into Kentucky in 1760. Here he found a rich vein of silver. He hid large portions of his wealth in various places around the area. Tragically he was struck blind before he could collect. Various versions of his journal, and purported maps have popped up through the years. Some doubt not only the existence of the silver mine, but of Mr. Swift himself. Johnathan Swift cannot be found in the historic record, and if his journal is to be believed he lived to the ripe age of 112!

Forrest Fenn's Treasure 
Swift's lost treasure may not actually exist, but Forrest Fenn's treasure is real, and waiting to be discovered. Art dealer and author Forrest Fenn has hidden approximately $2 million dollars worth of gold nuggets, rare coins, jewelry and gemstones, and a copy of his autobiography. Over the years he has released clues as to where the treasure may be, or may not be. We know the treasure is somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, and we know it is at an elevation of 5,000 feet above sea level. Fenn also released a poem that contains clues to the location his buried treasure. 

As I have gone alone in there
And with my treasures bold,
I can keep my secret where,
And hint of riches new and old.
Begin it where warm waters halt
And take it in the canyon down,
Not far, but too far to walk.
Put in below the home of Brown.
From there it’s no place for the meek,
The end is drawing ever nigh;
There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high.
If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
Look quickly down, your quest to cease
But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.
So why is it that I must go
And leave my trove for all to seek?
The answers I already know
I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak
So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
                                                                I give you title to the gold. 

On June 26, 1876 members of the US 7th Calvary ran into members of my family at a little place we call the Greasy Grass, you were probably taught in history class to call it the Little Big Horn, or Custer's Last Stand. The fighting was horrific and devastating in the end the US Calvary had lost 268 men and another 55 were wounded. They had to arrange a quick way to get those wounded men out of harms way and into the hands of skilled medical professionals fast. Enter riverboat pilot Grant Marsh. Marsh had a cargo bay loaded down with $375,000 worth of gold bars. Bars he was holding for miners fearful of attacks from Natives. Marsh knew his boat couldn't handle the weight of both wounded soldiers and gold. Before he made his record setting 710 river miles in 54 hours trip from the Bighorn to Bismark he unloaded his cargo of gold, buried the treasure somewhere along the banks of the Bighorn river. Marsh died penniless in January 6, 1916, having never recovered his buried treasure. 

The Colorado Desert is an unlikely place to find a ship loaded down with black pearls, but Yuma legends, and a few adventurers have claimed to have seen the infamous lost ship of Juan De Iturbe. Sometime in 1612 De Iturbe, mistakenly thinking he was still in the  Sea of Cort├ęs had actually sailed up the flooded Colorado river basin. When the flood water began receding quickly, De Iturbe realized his mistake. At this point it was to late to escape into deeper water. The ship, loaded down with pearls was abandoned in the desert, De Iturbe and his men made the 360+ mile trek to the Mission at San Luis Obispo.  

Sometimes X doesn't make the spot, and we find treasure in unlikely places. There have been countless ships lost at sea. Cargo holds filled with precious goods lost in the murky depths of the worlds oceans. Family stories of grandparents, great grandparents, weird aunts hiding their fortunes in jars in the backyard or walling it up in their homes. There is treasure, waiting to be discovered. 

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Travel Beautifully

Minimalism isn't for everyone. Some women love products, makeup and the ritual of getting ready in the morning. When you travel space is at a premium, especially if you are roadtripping. Over the years I have became an expert at applying make up in rest stop bathrooms, the passenger seat, and gas stations. The lighting can be bad, the counter-space non existent, but you learn to adapt and overcome.

At a rest stop in Virginia I once knocked my makeup bag into the sink, triggering the automatic facet and filling my bag. Two things saved this moment from being a makeup disaster.
1. I keep my makeup brushes together in a separate, smaller bag. I put this into the makeup bag last. Lucky for me, and my brushes I had already pulled them out and had them balanced precariously on the small ledge under the mirror.
2. When I travel I always put powder products (blush, eyeshadow, etc) in a small ziplock back. If a product breaks, I don't have to clean the entire makeup back, and in this case it saved my products from getting wet.

I have a makeup brush collection that rivals many Youtube Beauty Gurus. I don't pack them all for trips. I put just a few favorite go-to brushes for the trip. You really don't need 10 eye brushes, highlighter brushes, etc. Pack a few favorites, use a makeup wipe to clean them after each use. Always remember the most versatile makeup tools are at the your fingers!

Pack less than what you think you need. You may put on a full face the first day or so, but it won't last.
Don't be this person
When you get caught up in the adventure makeup will be the furthest thing from you mind. Why waste time putting on your makeup, and keeping it fresh throughout the day when there is much to see and do? Try to avoid packing bulky products, and glass bottles. Save room for all of the things you find along the way and decide to bring home. If BB Creams or tinted moisturizer works for you then great, pack that instead of foundation. I have yet to find a BB or a tinted moisturizer that was worth my money or time. I pack a moisturizer with SPF and a good lip balm, and a few basic makeup items. I love taking just a eyeshadow quad, 1 blush/bronzer duo, my go-to mineral foundation, and mascara. Less really is more.

Or this person.
Learn the art of styling your hair with out bulky tools and gadgets. Buns, braids, twist braids are all great ways to get curl and bounce in your hair without the added bulk of curling irons or blow dryers. Sleep in it, and in the morning take your hair down and fluff. Crown braids are cute and effortless styles, prefect for nearly any adventure your travels take you on.

Pack clothes you feel comfortable in, and throw in a few key pieces that shake everything up. Shorts,
relaxed dresses, items that travel well and are versatile. You do not need to bring your whole wardrobe with you on a roadtrip. I do recommend a change of shoes. I travel with a pair of casual slip-ons in a neutral color, and my favorite pair of leather sandals. Those sandals have seen me through countless roadtrips and adventures.

Just right.