Since my husband left for Iraq, I’ve kind of fallen behind in a lot of my regular cleaning. I’ve kept up with dishes and laundry, but things like organizing the pantry, keeping the mudroom tidy, and scrubbing the floors have taken a back burner. It was getting to the point where I was embarrassed when someone would stop by because there would be toys EVERYWHERE, toothpaste in the bathroom sink, finger smears all over the windows, and bags of groceries stacked up on the floor of the pantry because I hadn’t yet put them away. Well, that mess is over!

It took me this entire past week and a ton of patience. (Oh, you kids want to help me wash the windows? Here’s a paper towel. Just wipe like this. No! Not with your hands!) I even went out and bought a new set of storage shelves and a recycling bin for plastic for the mud room just so I could put everything in a place. Since the hens have started laying, we’ve been getting so many eggs I don’t know what to do with them all, so the mudroom is also the new home for a new little mini fridge where I hope to be selling eggs from soon. All I have to do is make a sign to hang out by the road: Farm Fresh Brown Eggs – $1.25/dozen. That price seems to be the going rate around here. Funny how farm fresh eggs are cheaper than store-bought, and they’re even better for you. Kinda makes me scratch my head as to why anyone still buys those watery egg wannabes at the grocers.

A lot of other stuff has been going on besides cleaning, too. We went camping with my in-laws for a few days, then we went straight from the campground up to my parents’ house in the UP. While we were up there we did major blueberry picking on an old logging road just outside of Stonington. It was amazing. The ground was litterally covered in blueberries. Like a big blue carpet with leaves interspersed. Both times I went with multiple people and both times we were all able to pick in the same 20′ radius and still each get a dozen cups, leaving behind probably just as many berries as what we picked. What did we do with all those blueberries? Well, my mom makes an awesome dessert she calls Blueberry Delight. It’s a graham cracker crust with a cream cheese layer topped with a sweetened blueberry layer. Yum! We also made a huge batch of blueberry jam. I still have about 12 cups of blueberries left up in the freezer, and those will probably go to desserts, pancakes, muffins, and cereal.

It hasn’t all been happy here, though. We lost a chicken the other day to… something. My 3 year old was out collecting eggs and he yelled out to me, “Mommy, there’s a chicken sleeping in here!” I laughed, thinking it was just a chicken setting some eggs in the nesting box, but when I got out there to see it was a headless pile of feathers in the straw on the floor. I’m not sure what happened. At first I just assumed that sometime in between me letting them out first thing in the morning and my son going in to collect eggs near noontime that a raccoon or something had gotten in there. But it could have been the other hens that killed her and… ate her head. I don’t know. Whatever it was I’ve been really trying to keep an eye on them. I’ve even put them in their coop early (Which didn’t work so well last night as one of my kids must have openned up their back door without my knowledge. I woke up to the chickens all out in the yard foraging for bugs. Oops.) and checked the chicken wire in the back for a breach. Whatever it was, I had to bury one of my larger hens. It upset me, because she would have made a good couple of meals for us instead of a snack for whatever got her. I plan on culling this fall, but not by letting other wild things eat them.

I hope you all are enjoying this mild weather. It’s just right for going outside and puttering around the yard and garden. That reminds me – our big tomatoes are just starting to turn red now. And the corn should be ready in the next week or so. I can’t wait to take pictures of some big jars of homemade salsa fresh from the garden!