Monthly Archives: January 2009

Win $25 to the Schoolhouse Store!

Tia has a great contest going on the Front Porch. You don’t even have to be a blogger to enter. Just leave her a comment telling her what you love about TOS or what you’d like to see covered in the magazine to enter. You can also get an extra entry just for sharing the info about the TOS Digital Magazine Special with your friends!

Just click here for the details. Be sure to leave an email addy so Tia can contact you if you win.

And don’t miss your chance to subscribe to the digital and get all FIVE of the free E-Books. I downloaded all of them and I’m just thrilled that our marketing team can find so many wonderful companies to share their E-Books with our subscribers!

OK, so you can check out MY digital subscription!

I’m just testing to see if/how  this works. Just click on the magazine cover. Then I think you have to put in my work email address –

Look Inside >> 
Winter 2009

I’ve had my digital magazine ever since we first started so you’ll be able to see all of my archived copies. You’ll be able to check out the search feature. I use that a lot if I’m looking for info about a particular curriculum, topic or author. You can click on the pages tab to see thumbnails of all of the pages. It’s a whole lot of fun and I LOVE having both the print and a digital subscription.

You can even get 5 free AWESOME e-books if you subscribe to the digital magazine before midnight Saturday, January 24th.

TOS’ Living & Learning on One Income E-Book, valued at $12.45 (lots of encouragement)
Valentine’s Day Project Pack E-Book from Hands of a Child, valued at $16 (perfect timing!)
Artists Project Pack downloads from Homeschool in the Woods, valued at $18.95 (that thing is HUGE!)
Jesus – The Life Giver E-Book from Christian Perspective, valued at $7.99 (GREAT for Easter!)
What’s the Matter: An Introduction to Chemistry Unit Study from Treasure Box Press, valued at $16.95 (this one goes all the way up to 9th grade – fabulous!)

If you’ve been wanting to check out unit studies, how other families survive on one-income, or ANY of these books, you DON’T want to miss this special THIS WEEK ONLY!

The difference between guineas & chickens

I’ve been talking to my good friend & former neighbor, Julie, about swapping her some guineas for a cat that looked like our beloved George. She was starting to think it was a pretty fair swap until she got to thinking about it and asked "What’s the difference between a guinea and a chicken?"

So, here without further ado, is my mini-essay on the difference between a guinea and chicken.

Exhibit A :  Chickens & Guineas at the Hen House

You’ll notice the variety of chickens and then our gray guineas in this picture. Chickens have a cute little curve to their back, while the guineas have more of a humpback shape. However, they actually remind me more of  Sherlock Holmes searching for clues than Quasimodo.

Exhibit B: Nuttin but Guineas
In this photo, you can get a better look at the delightful polka dots on our guineas. I believe our guineas are pearl grays.  None of our chickens have polka dots.

Also, check out the little pointy things on their heads? Guinea folks call that a helmet. None of our chickens have helmets. (I wonder if they’re jealous?)

Plus, oh my word, they make VERY different sounds than chickens. They are no-ooo-ooo -oisy!

Exhibit B: Video of the Sounds Guineas Make

Listen closely. You’ll hear a lot of buck-wheat calls – those are the girls. And then you’ll hear a whole lotta loud Ca-Ci,Ci, Ci screeching – those are the boys.

Every week I have a phone meeting with some of the marketing staff at TOS and almost every week, those folks can hear my guineas in the background. Guineas are loud. Some folks actually find them to be very handy watchdogs because they are so loud. Ours don’t really announce when visitors are here or anything though, so I just call them loud.

Exhibit C: Guinea Eggs

You can see from the pics on this website that guinea eggs are much smaller than chicken eggs. You can eat them just as you would chicken eggs, but you’d just need more of them. The challenge however is finding the eggs! Most people allow their guineas to free range and since guineas aren’t as domesticated as chickens they don’t opt to lay their eggs in the lovely nesting boxes we have. Nope, instead they enjoy the privacy of tall grass near the edge of the woods. We’ve never found our guineas eggs, but instead were just surprised when they came strolling out with keets.

Exhibit D: Well, I don’t have an exhibit D, but here’s a few other things.

  • Guineas can fly more than chickens. They’re actually more like turkeys in the how they fly. They mostly walk around, but they can fly up into the trees to roost at night or just to get from one spot to another. 
  • Guineas are more wild than chickens. They’re not as domesticated and while some people keep them in coops or chicken tractors, I think they’re meant to free-range. It’s nice if you can tuck them in to roost at night to help keep them safe from predators, but even though we have had a hen house with roosts, ours would rather sleep in the trees or high in the rafters of our barn.
  • Guineas are famous for their bug-eating ability! Many people are getting them specifically to help keep down the tick population. Plus, they don’t scratch around like chickens so they don’t tend to tear up a garden or young flowers like chickens. 
  • Guineas like to admire their own reflections. We’ve heard of people having trouble with their guineas jumping up on their cars to admire their reflections in the windshield or pecking at the sliding glass door as they study themselves. You can often stop that behavior just by placing a large section of mirror specifically for that purpose out in your yard. 
  • Guineas must be kept penned for quite some time to acclimate to new surroundings. Otherwise they tend to wander off as they try to head for home. We kept ours in the chicken tractor as keets for about 6 weeks before we turned them lose. Furthermore some people suggest using their flock instinct to train them to stay close by only releasing a few at a time. Those few will stay close to the pen where the others are until you finally release them all and they’ve learned to stay close. 

I definitely wouldn’t recommend backyard guineas like I do backyard chickens. I think they’re probably too noisy for most neighborhoods. But they’ve definitely helped cut down on the ticks around here and have added lots of polka-dot interest to our farmyard.

Further reading: Be Fair to this Fowl from Mother Earth News

It was a fun birthday!

Things have been so busy that I didn’t even get a chance to post about my birthday on December 30th! Tony surprised me by emailing quite a few of my friends and coworkers to let them know about it and I enjoyed a wonderful day of reading birthday wishes and funny poems via email.

I just had to share one of my favorite’s with you all. It’s from Amy at SimpleFolk.

From one farm Momma (of all boys) to another…

You can’t buy a gift for a farm Momma with boys.
She already has all the cool toys!

Like fishing poles, BB guns, 4-wheelers and more—
There are Carhartts and muddy (we hope) boots, right on the floor!
(Not to mention camouflage everything, galore.)

With bait in the fridge and antlers already on the wall,
this leaves us with not many choices at all!
(FYI, this poem was interrupted by a turkey call.)

So what can we give her to say she means the world?
After all, we suppose, Momma IS a girl!

A tiara? A pedicure? Flowers in bloom?
How about what she really wants…her own CLEAN BATHROOM!

(Well, that’s what *I* wish for, lol.)
Happy Birthday, Nancy!

I thought that was just sooooo good that I had to share it with you all!

I definitely laugh sometimes at being surrounded by camoflauge, muddy gear, and discussions about guns, hunting, video games, and automotives. Yet I wouldn’t have it any other way. Tony and the boys take such very good care of me and make being the only girl here lots of fun. They actually let me sleep in on my birthday and cleaned up the house (including the bathroom) before I woke up!

They also surprised me with something for the Wii. My very own Wii Fit!

I had been seeing the commercials for it and thought it looked like a lot of fun. Living this far out in the country doesn’t lend itself well to going to a health club so I thought this might help me get a little extra exercise. I’m actually enjoying it even MORE than I thought I would and Tony and the boys are using it as well.

Thank you all so much for all of your kind birthday greetings. They really did mean SO much!

Have a great week!

Meet Fluff-n-Stuff!

Remember my old category, That Crazy Cat? Well, it’s been a bit empty. Our beloved George just disappeared a few months ago and even though we hoped that he would return, it’s starting to look pretty doubtful. I offered to swap Julie some guineas for her cat, Fred, but I don’t think she’ll go for it.

We’ve got other cats of course, but they’ve been kind of aloof outside kitties. That is until Fluff came along.

Fluff showed up right when our momma cats had litters of kittens, but he just wandered up as a stray all by himself.  We just couldn’t turn away this ragamuffin little fluffy boy kitten with the big green eyes.

He’s kind of funny because he’s such a pretty cat, but he’s still learning how to groom himself and he can get pretty messy sometimes. And he definitely loves being outside. He curls up with the animals, catches mice and plays with them, and will follow the kids in the yard like a puppy.

But when we let him in, oh my word. This cat just konks out asleep whereever you put him.

Jon found him sleeping on our end table last night.

I guess Tony was hogging the couch.

Maybe I’ll start having some new entries for That Crazy Cat again after all!