Friday, October 19, 2018

Roosters are the Bomb!

My son Sam with my buddy rooster Pepper

I know I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again, "Roosters rock!"  Poor roosters get a bad rap.  If you've ever been chased or flogged by a mean/bad rooster, then you know what I mean.  I have been blessed to raise all my roosters from young chicks and I really can't imagine having a flock without them.

Baby pic of one of our young roosters, Pip
(Silkie/Olive Egger mix)

Seriously, there are definite pluses if I didn't have roosters.  There wouldn't be that LOUD crowing at ALL hours of the night and day.  The hens wouldn't have bare backs.  The hens wouldn't be harassed on a daily basis.  Things might be a little quieter in the chicken yard.  HOWEVER, I would also miss that extra level of protection from predators, the referee who breaks up silly squabbles between hens, the protector who helps keep new babies safe in the chicken yard, and finally the comedy and antics that would be missed without my roosters.

Dudley, another one of our young roosters
(Black Copper Marans/Olive Egger mix)

To clarify, yes, I have had some bad/mean roosters that I have raised from babies.  When I see that their temperament and personality is going to be less than sociable, then we don't keep them.  Mine have all gone to freezer camp and been appreciated and enjoyed on the dinner table.  I have had some that have been sweet, but harass the hens way too much and have not been the protectors they need to be.  Those have either been rehomed or put to freezer camp.

Percival (Percy), our second in command in our main coop
(Plymouth Barred Rock/Silver-Laced Wyandotte-we think- mix)

I really don't like hatching eggs for the simple reason that I know I will have to deal with rooster decisions.  I want to keep them all, but of course you can't.  As it stands right now, before our last hatch I had gotten it down to 7 roosters.  Since this past spring due to hatches and a purchase of unsexed birds from a friend of my husband, I am back up to 14 and have more decisions to make.  Four of them are pretty easy since I am completely unattached and they will simply make some good future meals.  Of the remaining 3 we still want to keep 2.  The 3rd of the 3 is a sweetheart but I have no where to rehome him so alas, he will be appreciated for the food he provides my family.  Of the two extras we want to keep, one of them is the son of a rooster we had to rehome and is no longer alive and the other has found a very special place in my heart.

Hazel, our sweet silkie roo

If all goes as planned I suspect we will end up with 9 roosters.  That is still too many for the flock we have but if they behave we might pull it off.  I have 3 separate pens.  One pen has one rooster, another has two and my main pen with most of my hens has the other six roosters.  The six roosters include our patriarch, Cedric, who is crippled and pretty much lives inside the coop now, Percival and Kristoff (brothers, Kristoff is now the main rooster), Hazel (our silkie boy who is very quiet and keeps to himself, everyone loves him), and finally our two newest Pepper and Pip (pip is the son of our other silkie roo we no longer have and Pepper has become my newest buddy).

A mix pic of some of our boys.  The top left is Sir Galahad
 that we rehomed, but he perished.
The bottom left is Sweet Pea, another one of my favorites

When you have a rooster who does his job, he can be worth his weight in gold.  The extra protection and ability to help keep peace in the flock (except when they are acting up!!), is invaluable.  Have you had positive or negative experiences with roosters?  Would you, or do you keep roosters in your flock?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

St. Bartholomew's Eve from Heirloom Audio REVIEW

St. Bartholomew's Eve

If you haven't read any of my previous reviews on these wonderful G.A. Henty audio dramas, or if you are not familiar with these wonderful stories, then let me introduce you to Heirloom Audio who creates these wonderful audio dramas of the stories from G.A. Henty.  We were so excited to have a chance to review their newest adventure in St. Bartholomew's Eve.  I received a physical 2-disc CD set of this Christian audio drama.  It is created for ages 6-16 but recommended for all ages 6 and above.

We popped the CD into my computer and listened away at the wonderfully dramatic retelling of this sad time in history.  It was just my 9th grader and myself this time as I felt it was a little too much for my just turned 6-year-old daughter.

The story begins with Mr. George who tells a story of the Huguenots.  The Huguenots were French Protestants who followed the Reformed tradition.  The story begins in 1567 with a young English boy who would fight in the French wars of religion, only 15 years after Martin Luther introduced his ideas on the Reformation (which became the Protestant faith).  Even though the Catholic Church persecuted the Huguenots, there were some Catholics who believed as the Reformers did.

St. Bartholomew's Eve

Francois and Philip are two of the main characters throughout the story.  As they work together to join the religious wars with the Huguenots, they survive through many battles.  Several Huguenots are captured and imprisoned.  Philip meets a young boy, Argento, along the way who helps in many ways.   Argento leads Philip and his small army to key officials all of whom they capture as their prisoners.  Philip then has them sign a document that would free their imprisoned Huguenots, including Francois.

We really liked it when Philippe prays before a battle.  The enemy was almost upon them but he took the time to pray and ask for protection.  This meant a lot to my son.  The battles continued, and even children were persecuted and hung.

During one of the battles Argento is shot in the leg and a Monsieur DuBois brings Argento to Philip.  Argento heals but does have to have his lower leg amputated.  As the battles continue Admiral Gaspard de Coligny comes to their aid with his army.  After Francois and Philip are injured in a battle,  Admiral Coligny grants knighthood to Francois and Philip.

King Charles' mother, Catherine, starts a rumor that the Huguenots have a plot to overtake the court, and it spreads to King Charles.  Even though King Charles had promised peace, they convince him to strike against the Huguenots.  He orders Admiral Coligny and his forces to be annihilated.  So many Huguenots lost their lives.  Philip loses Francois but Argento survives.  Philip continues to fight for the cause and marries Claire and they have two children.  It is a wonderful story of persistence, faith, and sacrifice.  So many lost their lives to stand for their cause and belief in God and that they could interpret what God had to say to them through the scriptures and that they did not need a mediator (the Catholic Church) to dictate it to them.

It goes without saying that we wholeheartedly recommend you check out St. Bartholomew's Eve from Heirloom Audio.  It will keep you on the edge of your seats while teaching you yet another important story from our history.

Heirloom Audio Productions
You can connect with Heirloom Audio on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+, and INSTAGRAM (@HeirloomAudioOfficial).

Please be sure to also check out what my fellow crew members have to say about this wonderful resource.

St. Bartholomew's Eve {Heirloom Audio Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Friday, October 12, 2018

Another Brinkman Adventures REVIEW

Underground Rising Season 6 Brinkman Adventures
I don't think it needs much introduction but in case you haven't seen my previous reviews let me introduce you to Brinkman Adventures.  This company produces wonderful, fact-based audio dramas that allow you and your kids to enjoy exciting and intriguing experiences with real-life missionaries through the stories of a fictitious family, the Brinkmans.  I had the privilege once again to review one of their newest products, Season 6: Underground Rising.  I received a digital copy of this audio drama.  It was quick and easy to download.  If you purchase the physical CDs there are 2 in this set.

Season 6 opens during World War II in a time when the Nazis were persecuting the Jews.  It contains six approximately twenty-six-minute episodes (a little over 2 1/2 hours total). The stories are based on biblical themes that your children can learn from while enjoying them. They are fun and exciting to listen to. The audio and dramatic effects are wonderful.  You definitely feel immersed in the story.  Each episode can be listened to independently (except for those with two parts) and in any order you choose.

The episodes and their related themes include:
  • Dutch Underground Part 1 - Help those being led away to slaughter, even when doing so is costly.
  • Dutch Underground Part 2
  • Twice Born Fly - We don't need to fear death with Jesus as our Savior.
  • I Wonder Why - We obey God even when the plan doesn't make sense.
  • Free Burma Rangers Part 1 - God uniquely prepares us for our mission.  God isn't a killjoy.
  • Free Burma Rangers Part 2

The Dutch Underground story begins with Kate and Kitri Brinkman visiting their great grandmother Lynn VanKesteren (Omie) in Canada. Lynn was born in Holland and immigrated to Canada.  This story is based on a book written by Lynn (Great is Thy Faithfulness).  They begin by enjoying coffee and cookies with Omie.  Omie tells the girls a story of her past during the war before she met her husband.  We really liked this story because it reminded my son of the Harriet Tubman story and we have also covered Corie Ten Boom and the Hiding Place so this brought back to remembrance of that story for him.  It was neat to learn in the REAL STORIES section of the website that Reng most likely stayed in the same place as Corie Ten Boom at one point!

In Twice Born Fly Charlie accidentally swallows (inhales) a fly and has cause for fear. He goes to his dad for assurance that he will be okay.  They discuss a trip Charlie is getting ready to take to visit his Oma.  He now has fear about the trip and whether everything will be okay.  But his dad tries to assure him that with Jesus he will be okay no matter what happens.  I really like the theme behind this story and that "Jesus saves us, not our own goodness or efforts."  The science aspect of the fly larva pupating had my son's interest at the get go.

I Wonder Why is a story about the Wonder family and their decision to sell most of their possessions and go to be missionaries in India at an orphanage there.  The characters in the story are Samantha (Sam) and her family.  Her mom recently lost a baby and her dad explains that "all things work together for good to them who love the Lord."   It has a glorious ending of salvation and healing!  We really resonated with this story because we fostered kids for about 6 years and it was pretty difficult on our son.  He experienced a lot of rough kids too that were not very kind, but needed love more than anyone.

Finally, in Free Burma Rangers we learn about the real-life missionary Dave Eubanks and his life as a Green Beret in the Special Forces. The story opens in Burma (Myanmar) (his parents are missionaries) with Dave telling his mom he is going to be a soldier and then a missionary.  There are some intense scenes so you might need to preview this one as it may not be appropriate for those 10 and under.  I really liked this story and it has so much depth to it, including his courtship of his wife Karen.  It really shows how persistence can pay off and that when you seek God and ask him for direction, he will surely direct your paths!!

Brinkman Adventures
  I highly recommend you consider purchasing Season 6: Underground Rising from Brinkman Adventures.  You can go to their website and check out the information about the real stories and hear podcasts of the actual people and watch videos about the stories on the REAL STORIES tab.  I have also been given a coupon code, FALL10, for you to use for 10% off of your purchase from October 10 - October 31!

You can connect with Brinkman Adventures on FACEBOOK.  Also be sure to check out what other reviewers are saying by clicking on the link below.

Brinkman Adventures Season 6 Reviews
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

CashCrunch Careers REVIEW

Cash Crunch Careers
Do you have a high schooler that is just not sure what they want to do after they graduate?  Are they unsure of their college plans? Have they thought of what career they would like to strive for?  I was excited to be able to try out CashCrunch Careers from CashCrunch Games recently.  My 9th-grade son is really just not sure what he wants to do.  The thought and premise behind this program are to help guide you or your students to think about some options that might work for them based on who they are and what job might best fit them.  We tend to spend about 50% of our life at a job and it sure does make sense to try to do something you really enjoy doing.  This is an online program that I received a link to register for an account.  The results and research area are available 24/7 for a lifetime membership.  You can see a brief overview of the program in the video below.

Once registered the first thing my son needed to do was take the 75 question survey which only took about 10-15 minutes to complete.  Once completed it produced a report that included the following:
  • Career Work Styles - covers what he can do, what he would like to do and how he is able to do it.
  • Motivators & De-motivators - what gives him a reason to do or not do something
  • Career Attributes - what is characteristic or inherently part of you
  • Career Match - jobs that are most suitable for your career
  • Matching Jobs - links to career categories and jobs for you to explore

Dashboard menu from his account

Summary page on the computer of his report

Screenshot of a part of his actual report page

I must say I was pretty surprised at my son's report.  We are working on doing the research and have a long way to go, but it has been very interesting.  His career attributes included innovation (displaying creativity and alternative thinking to come up with new ideas for and answers to work-related problems), adaptability/flexibility (being open to change and to considerable variety in the workplace), initiative (willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges), independence (being willing to develop his own way of doing things requiring little supervision, and not depending on others to get things done), and finally leadership orientation (being willing to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction).  I'm not sure I exactly see all those attributes in him, but it does match with what I know God has in store for him and as we do further research on possible careers I am excited to see what the end result will be.  Most of his matching jobs had to do with management and that really surprises me with him.  But again, I know that God gave him a strong personality for a reason, and I do know that it is needed in management along with his inherent compassion for things and people.

I did get a kick that one of his job matches was farmers and ranchers!  That is delightful to me since I am into homesteading and would love to have a partner in my endeavors.  Pretty sure he won't choose that one though, LOL. As you select the different categories under matching jobs you find further links that go into SO MUCH more detail about the job category and individual jobs.  His report gave him the top 20 job categories that best matched his profile.  His number one category was General and Operations Managers.  Just not something I would think for him right now, but certainly worth him researching.

His top job match

You can also see from the graphic above that there are tabs for colleges and video.  The college tab has a huge list of colleges for him to consider for his career suggestion with links included and brief information on each college.  The video tab has a 1-2 minute video about what it's like to work in that particular field.  I really like that for him.  Just something else to get those wheels in his head turning and thinking about what he might like to do.  This is not something you figure out overnight.  I imagine over this next year and beyond we will keep coming back to this report for more research and thoughts on what he would like to pursue.  I am glad that we decided to give this a try and I think CashCrunch Careers by CashCrunch Games has some very good merits that can really help guide you and/or your child to some interesting career prospects.  

CashCrunch 101 FREE online game

I will close with a quick mention about CashCrunch Games from their website.  You can currently play the CashCrunch 101 game online for FREE.  It is geared for high school and college students to work on their finance skills.  A fun, innovative way to get in some wisdom when it comes to finances.

Cash Crunch Games

You can connect with CashCrunch Games on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM, and YOUTUBE.

Please also take the time to see what my fellow crew members have to say about this program.  Just click on the graphic below.

CashCrunch Careers {CashCrunch Games Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, October 9, 2018


A little too much excitement for me occurred the other day in the chicken coop.  This summer we have had a few run-ins with snakes in my main coop.  My husband has had to dispose of a couple snakes due to them being inside my chicken coop.  He doesn't like snakes.  At all!!  I like them, as long as they mind their own business and do not eat my chickens or their eggs.  I was collecting eggs a few days ago and met up almost face to face with another snake!

My immediate reaction was to grab it and try to yank it out of the coop to protect my chickens and the baby that was just a few feet away.  I have my Marans mama with her baby chick in the nursery that is just a few feet away from some nesting boxes where the snake had taken up residence.  It didn't appear to have eaten anything yet.  I failed.  It had its tail end firmly secured.  I only managed to tick it off.  I had to close up the egg door to the nesting boxes and go get reinforcement, my son.

On our second try to get the snake out we failed again, it just wasn't coming out!  It crawled up deeper into the coop and in the process ate a mouse!!  Yes, when I went inside to try to get a better look and try to dislodge it I caught it with a mouse in its mouth.  It ate it very quickly!  Then it holed itself up in the crevice you see above.  I told my son we would just have to come back later after it had calmed down and maybe come out of the hole.  I was hoping the chickens would be fine since it had just eaten the mouse.

On my way back to the house I heard the hens making a big commotion.  It occurred to me when I got to the back door that perhaps the snake was on the move.  I hollered at my son to come back out and help.  By the time I got back to the coop, my son had already ushered the snake outside and had lost it.  I can't believe how fast that snake was!  We were pretty confident the chickens were in the clear.  I just really do not know how it is getting into my run and coop.  Or how it got out so fast!

I generally collect eggs anywhere from 2 to 3 times per day so that generally hasn't been a problem with any snakes.  I also wonder how these snakes keep getting past my roosters!  We're pretty confident it was just a rat snake.  We do have copperheads and even saw a water moccasin a few weeks ago!!  So far I'm pretty sure all the snakes we have seen around the garden and coop have either been garter snakes or rat snakes.  I like the rat snakes so they keep the mouse population down. I just wish they would stay out of the coop and keep to the area around it and the garden (of course I don't like coming across them in the garden either!).

What excitement is going on at your homestead?

Friday, October 5, 2018

Books of the Bible At-a-Glance REVIEW

Books of the Bible at a Glance

What a blessing it was to review Books of the Bible At-a-Glance by Teach Sunday School.  I received a digital download in PDF form of their one-page reference sheets for all 66 books of the Bible.  You can reference the sheets on your electronic devices or print it out and bind it like I did.  I liked the colors also so I printed it in full color.

I bound it with clear cover

We can easily flip to whichever book we are covering

Each page covers one book of the Bible and includes the following:
  • Book Title
  • Order in the Bible
  • Claims to Fame (something unique about that book)
  • Who authored the book
  • Date the book was written
  • Time period covered
  • Famous stories in that particular book
  • Most famous verses
  • Important points about the book

Books of the Bible at a Glance
Sample page

I really like the way the pages are laid out.  Clean, simple and concise.  You can easily see who authored it, when it was written, and time period covered.  I really like the listing of famous stories covered.  My kindergartner just LOVES the stories of the bible and can spout them out for you like no other, but does she really know what book they come from?  This will be such an invaluable tool going forward for her in her Bible lessons.  The wonderful concise review of each book has been wonderful to go over with my (gasp) now 9th-grade son.  Is he really in high school already?  Where does the time go??  

There are so many ways you can use this resource.  Several ways are suggested in the introduction to the resource (all included as part of the PDF download).  The copyright allows you to print multiple copies to use with your students.  I am going to print another copy for my son to keep in his resource area.  Some common ways to use this are as a stand-alone Bible lesson resource to go through each book of the bible or in conjunction with whatever Bible program or study you are currently going through.

Books of the Bible at a Glance
Since we have always had Bible lessons every year in our homeschool, I am currently using this with my crew as a general overview and review of the Bible in general.  Even though we have done many different studies, we have not ever just covered each book in the manner that these pages cover.  We have done things individually, but not all together as a general overview of each book.  I really like the section on "famous stories included."  I am finding that we are not always accurate in naming the book a particular story came from!

This has also been a wonderful reference for my kindergartner that I am currently taking through a curriculum that we previously reviewed this year and I ended up purchasing the entire years worth of lessons.  The timing for this review on books of the Bible was perfect!

If you would like a simple, concise resource for studying each book of the Bible I suggest you check out Books of the Bible At-a-Glance by Teach Sunday School.  I am finding it very easy to use and it is so flexible to use in whichever way you choose that works for what you are currently doing in your Bible lessons.

Teach Sunday School
You can connect with Teach Sunday School on FACEBOOK, PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM, and YOUTUBE.

Please also be sure to check out the reviews from my fellow crew members to see what they have to say by clicking on the graphic below.

Books of the Bible At-a-Glance { Teach Sunday School Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, October 4, 2018

It's Molting Time!

It's molting time again.  If you have chickens then you know what I mean.  It kinda looks like the chickens had a pillow fight overnight! I often think it looks like my chicken sneezed real hard and just blew all their feathers out.  I had a few of my Copper Marans molt over the summer but most of the others seem to be molting now.  It is the usual time mine molt.  I also tend to have a few that molt in the dead of winter which I think is absolutely crazy!  I hope no one molts over the winter this time.  I get so worried about them being able to stay warm enough.

It's a good idea to increase their protein intake when they are molting.  It's hard work and takes a lot out of them.  If your hens seem a little crankier than normal it could be due to the molt.  It is uncomfortable and even painful when the feathers start coming in.  It's a good idea to not handle them too much during this time.  Their feathers will come in quick enough and things will be back to normal soon.

I really like when some of my poor barebacked hens get to be beautiful again with a full body of fluffy feathers.  It's perfect preparation for the upcoming winter. I am looking forward to cooler weather (just wish it didn't have to snow!).

How is your flock doing?  Do you have any heavy molters?  What special treats do you feed your chickens during this time?

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