Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Meat chickens 2018

Just finished cleaning up from our morning of butchering.  It was a good run, starting about 6:30 and done with the butchering and a lot of the cleaning up of equipment done by 9!  We took a bit of a break while our hatchet man got taken home and I dealt with the gizzards and such.  Then we did some fiddly cleaning and the final bagging, weighing and they headed to the freezer.  We had two adults, one 15 year old who just did the hatchet part, and an 11 year old observer/helper with legs and oil glands.

I ordered 23 cockerels this year, got 23 (no extra again) with at least one being a female who stayed really small.  Three of them didn't make it to butcher date, one I did take early and it weighed a whopping 2 pounds when skinned and cleaned.  One I had no idea was in trouble, was just gone 3 hours after I last fed it.  The other I knew was having issues, but I had hoped would pull through.  I should have butchered as it was fairly big, but it died.  I did harvest some of the meat to use in our dog food, but am not counting it in numbers at all.

Total costs (all feed was organic from DeLongs): $226.31
1 bag of starter, 6 bags of grower $185.81
23 chicks $40.50

Total break down of meat

2 pounds, 5 oz of cleaned gizzards
4 pounds, 9 oz of livers, hearts and a few feet

20 chickens at 8 weeks, 6 days provided 130.5 pounds of meat and one at 2 pounds = 132.5 pounds of meat in the freezer.

Meat costs $1.70/lb
Including organs (about 7 pounds) $1.62/lb

Friday, January 5, 2018

What I read 2018

I just went to the 2017 list to add a book and realized it is 2018!  Time to start a new list :)

1. * The Fault in Our Stars by John Green  This is pretty close to a two star book.  Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters are pretty amazingly written characters. She is on oxygen and only being kept alive because somehow she has responded pretty well to a new drug, either way knowing her days are numbered. Augustus has an 80% chance of survival from his cancer because he had his leg amputated.  They meet, go to Amsterdam to meet an author, fall in love and Augustus dies to sum it up quickly.  It is heart breaking and laugh out loud funny too.  Really good read.

2.*The Seven Husband's of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid  Another book that I written so, so well!  I kind of can't stand that by the end all the important characters and love stories have turned out to be either gay or bisexual (agenda, anyone?) but the writing and the characters are pretty amazing.  Evelyn Hugo used her body to get out of Hell's Kitchen, move to Hollywood and become a star.  Her very successful career had many ups and downs and 7 husbands along the way. Some were men she used, some were men that were using her (and vice versa) and some were covers, all were calculated and only two involved romantic feelings.  The love of her life was Celia St. James at a time when they could have been institutionalized for that very fact.  They are in and out of each others lives, always dramatically, but they do end up together at the end and consider each other wives, although Evelyn is married to Celia's brother. The surprise towards the end involves the reporter who is going to get to write Evelyn's life story and it did surprise me, but didn't have the crushing weight I was kind of expecting.  Read this in a day, a cold, cold day.  Glad I did, but wish this great of writing was being put towards something a bit more redeeming.

3. * The Life Giving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson  A wonderful book of ideas around the year to make our homes more inviting and welcoming and in the end invite others to feel the peace of Christ in our home.  Enjoyed this and would be good to dip into each month to get some ideas.  Lots of 'perfection' that isn't attainable for me, but good ideas and a heart of welcome which is great.

4.*The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook  Another quick read through to jump start some meal planning.  We love the big cookie, the Amish Cornbread chicken, the berry skillet cobbler, and the blush biscuits from this book.  I'd forgotten about upside down salsa cornbread so need to make that soon!

5. *The Good Girls Revolt by Lynn Povich The story of the Newsweek women who sued the magazine in the 70s written by one of the leaders of the suit.  It follows what happened during the suit, the negotiations with management and how it played out for the ladies individually afterwards.  There is some mention of a 2010 article by three ladies at Newsweek following up on the suit and where things are now.  Lots of consciousness raising talk and feminism, but overall it was well written and interesting.

6.**The Alice Network by Kate Quinn   Wowza this is an intense read! Alice is the code name of a spy in WWI who is also known as Lilli for the most part in the story.  Eve is the spy who worked with her and in WWII and the story centers around her, her driver/protector from herself Finn and Charlie/Charlotte who is a college girl from America who is unwed and pregnant and desperate to find her cousin.  They work together to find Rose, the cousin and the ending is not happy, but they also find out there is a connection to the man who destroyed Eve so many years ago and they go on a hunt for him.  So much history, much of it based in reality, including Alice and so much intense drama.  The characters are all hurt and broken, but they are also all able to find their own heroic side.  And the end is wonderfully sweet after so many destroyed dreams and lives from the wars.

7 **The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows  Another great book, also set in the aftermath of WWII.  Loved his book!  Juliet is an author who gets a letter from someone who has one of her old books and is looking for more like them.  She responds, they start writing and she slowly gets to know the people of the island, goes to meet them and in the end stays there, marrying the man who wrote her, adopting the girl who was left behind when her mother was sent to German camps and just becoming a member of the literary society.  The letters last the length of the book and through them we learn about the German occupation of Guernsey, an English island in the channel that is close to France.  We learn the same boats that evacuated Dunkirk came and helped the children of the island get to England right before Germany occupied the island.  we learn that Elizabeth, the missing character is indeed dead and her little girl will never know her mother or her German father.  We learn that Charles Lamb is actually the brother to Mary Lamb and that she killed her mother and they both suffered from mental disorders.  We learn why the society started (to cover up a roast pig supper they could have all been punished for) and why it continued (community, literature, normalcy, the actual potato peel pie!)  and we live, laugh and cheer for these wonderful people living on Guernsey (and the friend in Scotland and her publisher brother in England.)  Loved this book!

8. **The Lion in the Box by Marguerite deAngeli  Such a sweet little Christmas story that I need to add to our list.  The family of 5 children and Mother are doing the best they can since losing Father.  Mother works nights while the girls watch the two youngest and they have a community around the to help, but the box that arrives on Christmas Eve is just a wonderful, sweet surprise that astounds them all.

9. *The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall  Polly is quite a lady!  She has two children with her husband and right after he dies finds out that she is pregnant again at age 58.  That daughter, Willow, and her relationship with Polly form the heart of this book.  Willow basically lives with fear of her mother dying and wanting to know everything about her mother pre-Willow, specifically of cancer, known as "the Bear."  When Polly then gets cancer we see how it tears everything apart, but ultimately brings it all back together too.  Shel, the son who loses his wife because of drink, and reconnects only to storm out after Polly burns the boat he rebuilt with his father.  (He is found in the end with a wife and baby and reconnects again.)  Lisa, the daughter who found Jesus and lost the rest of her family, who returns with the diagnosis and reconnects.  Garland, the man who went to prison for Polly and is the love of her life who Willow finds and they reconnect with when trying to get Polly healed by the son of the man who was killed for abusing Polly.  It is messed up to write a review of this, but the characters where truly characters and interesting and it was a good read.

10.* The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn  This is such a well done 'autobiography' of St. Nicholas starting with his life and then explaining how he has come to be known by so many names and how he does what he does.  It was especially interesting because it moves through time and includes so many historical figures like Arthur, Attila the Hun, St. Francis, Teddy Roosevelt and others..didn't know so many people lived at the North Pole helping :)  Really neat book!

11. *The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker   This book has left me anxious and stressed out!  Argh!  Julia is a teen for most of the book, but it is written by her looking back so we get a few clues to the future as the story unfolds.  She has the normal teenage angst issues (friendships dissolving, a boy she likes who eventually likes her back, parents having troubles, loss of her grandfather) but they are amped up in a huge way because the earth is slowing.  The rotations cause days to go from 24 hours to more than 2 weeks long by the end of the day.  The governments decide to keep clock time going and there is conflict between real timers and clock timers.  The loss of light causes food issues, all vegetation to die, and radiation poisoning and the slowing causes major changes in the magnetic fields around the earth.  The birds all die, whales all beach, people die from the 'symptoms' and northern lights stretch through the entire world.  Such a feeling of loss and defeat even as the main character turns 23 at the end.  Great writing, makes it all too real, but wow, I need to start something else ASAP!

12. *Chickens in the Road by Suzanne McMinn  A memoir of sorts about a woman who leaves her marriage and takes her three kids from suburbia to a farm in West Virginia, land of her childhood summers.  She meets 52 and spends a few years with him developing a highly rural, cross a river three times to get there property into a farm.  Lots of great stories about her blog, her animals and her adventures, but lots of discussion of her failing relationship and being caught in a trap of the farm.  She eventually finds her way to a farm of her own, which is great.  I haven't read her blog and I wish the book was all about her learning and the animals, but it was a good book.

13**Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge   This is an awesome book!  One French architect on her honeymoon and one investment banker who chucks it all to head to a remote island and paint end up on the same tiny charter that crashes after being struck by lightening with a drunk pilot.  He swims to a tiny atoll, she holds her husband until he dies and shark rips him away and then floats to the atoll in the little life raft and in shock.  They can barely stand each other, but need each other to survive and not go crazy.  Of course, they end up in love and things progress from there.  We learn pretty early on that he has survived and you get the inkling that she has not, but how?  when?  how did he become a famous artist with a start exhibit that speaks to his time on the atoll?  Eventually the questions all get answered for the most part.  The last bit of the book is heart wrenching.  And the very end is a bit abrupt...one reviewer said they didn't want the book to end and I completely agree!

14.*Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate  A novel based on real life events that are nothing short of shocking.  From the 1920s to 1950s  the Memphis Tennessee Children's Home Society placed thousands of children in new adoptive homes, many with rich and famous people. It altered the way adoption was thought of and the leader, Miss Georgia Tann was even consulted by Eleanor Roosevelt when it came to adoption laws.  However, there was an incredibly dark side to it all.  Many of the children were either stolen from their parents, were taken after drugged mother's signed them over unknowingly and over 500 died at their hands because of malnutrition, abuse, and outright murder.  They were basically sold to these families at extraordinary prices after having their names changed so that the birth families couldn't find them.  It was all protected by the mob bosses, politicians and law enforcement that were involved with the process.  This whole situation is seen through the eyes of Rill/May and her 4 river rat siblings who are taken while their parents are in the city birthing twins (who they are told died, but were also taken).  We flash between the time of the events and the present day where a political dynasty family is dealing with a health crisis and their daughter, Avery, has come home to be groomed for taking it over if necessary.  Avery is engaged, but unsure, and starts to unearth that something about their family isn't ringing true after she talked to May and her Grandmother.  Story telling is well done (drags a bit at times) and the history behind it is deplorable and yet, engrossing.

15.*Bloom by Kelle Hampton  Kelle is a blogger who is married, with two step sons and an almost 2 year old when she gives birth to her long awaited baby girl, Nella.  In the first moments she realizes that Nella has Downs Syndrome and her heart is broken, even as she loves her daughter fiercely.  This book is really a diary of sorts, watching as Kelle comes to grips with her grief, and starts to embrace what her daughter is and will be instead of what she had wanted for her.  It is well written, Kelle and her Net of friends is a pretty spectacular thing to behold, she definitely is more of a party animal than I ever was and it is heart wrenching in parts.  I struggled with the degree of her grief as it seemed at times that she didn't think her daughter would be able to do anything, even as she was perfectly healthy, no cardiac issues, nursing well and seemingly no issues other than an extra chromosome.  No doubt of her love though and it is a quick, photo filled, good read about  motherhood, friendships and dealing with the unexpected in life.

16. *Americans into Orbit (Landmark) by Gene Gurney  A very detail look at Project Mercury and the lead up to it, including how NASA came to be out of a few different military groups.  Talks about the Soviet Union and their space program.  Introduction to all 7 men who were selected to be the first into orbit and all the details of how we got there.  Lots of technical talk about rockets, issues that came up and how things eventually worked out. Interesting because the book ends very shortly before we went to the moon so there is lots of info about how it will happen and the high hopes for the American space program.

17. *The Erie Canal (Landmark) by Samuel Hopkins Adams  This was a really interesting read about how Clinton de Witt got New York to build the Erie Canal.  The author is the grandson of one of the men who helped design and build it so there are lots of great stories he had a close connection to. It took many years to get NY to even consider doing it, but once they did it turned out to be a great feat.  It cost more than expected, and took longer, and yet everyone was thrilled.  The markets that were opened up changed trade and united the country because the mountains no longer dived the East Coast from the expanding country.  So much great detail and history I never knew!

18.*The Last Castle by Denise Kiernan  A very thorough history of the Biltmore.  This book covered everything from George Washington Biltmore's original idea and buying up of land through the construction, his marriage to Edith, their daughter, Cornelia, her marriage, two sons, divorce, remarriages and even the lives of their grandsons and where the estate is now with their great-grandsons.  Lots of fascinating details about the costs of building and running the estate and how they have managed to survive all the way until today.  Also almost too much of their personal lives, the friends, and how intersected all of The 400 were.  Some interesting tidbits about President Teddy Roosevelt and his visits, Edith Wharton, O. Henry and so many others with connections to Biltmore too.  The intense connection to those less fortunate and the impact on the community was impressive and inspirational!

19. *The Witchcraft of Salem Village by Shirley Jackson  An interesting read that goes through a fairly detailed accounting of how a group of young girls could end up having over 200 people imprisoned, dozens killed or died in prison and an entire village of people turned against each other.  There is a bit of a dismissive tone and definitely a feeling that the girls should have been spanked soundly and the whole thing done away with, but lots of history too.  I didn't realize it wasn't Salem, but rather Salem Village where this all happened.  Salem Village no longer exists though.

20.*(*) Children of the Covered Wagon by Mary Jane Carr  I think this is an excellent example of a living history book!  We Jim, an orphan traveling with his aunt and uncle on a wagon train heading to Oregon Territory. So much geography and history is woven into their story with lots of adventure mixed in too.  We see the interactions with different Native American tribes (not always pleasant, but who would want to see all these invaders coming?)  and all the tribulations of traveling by wagon train.  They get very hungry, water is a big issue, things must be left behind, animals are lost and but for the grace of God multiple people would have been too.  Really glad to have this in our collection.

21. *Judith of France by Margaret Leighton  Another 'unicorn' that Kathy recommended.  Judith is the great grand daughter of Charlamagne, daughter of king of the Franks, and this book follows her (forced) marriage to the king of England, crowning of her as Queen. When her very elderly, sick husband dies (she has come to adore him) one of his sons (the unruly one who is now ruling) forces her to be his wife. She never comes to love him!  She is rescued by Baudoin (who was a leading soldier for her father) and she is thrilled as she has loved him from afar.  They get married, outside her father's wishes, but the Pope holds their marriage up as legitimate. In the end they are accepted by her father and make their way to their own little kingdom.  The story has lots of faith woven in, lots of history with the different tribes/rulers/general military issue including raiding Vikings and lots of adventure.  A really good, old read!

22. *Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid  Hannah is moving back to LA after wandering from city to city  She heads out with her friend Gabby and her husband and while at a 'reunion' of sorts sees Ethan, her boyfriend from HS.

23. *The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty  I know I read this before, but since we were on a 3600 mile trip I read it again :)  The very accomplished Cecilia has the perfect life, but finds a letter that turns things upside down when she finds out her husband killed his HS girlfriend.

24. *Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng Shaker Heights is a neighborhood where everything is planned and controlled and the Richardsons are at the hub.  When they rent part of a duplex to Mia and her daughter Pearl everything gets turned upside down in everyone's worlds!

25. **Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer  Who would have thought a book on moss could be so interesting?  Really excited about the little plants after spending time with this book.  Part memoir, part scientific study and really good!

26 *The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson  Lots of great inspiration and discussion of the role of mothers in today's world and how we can live it with our children.  Some neat ideas for building our family culture, lots that were flushed out more in The Life Giving Home.  A worthy read to encourage and challenge moms to do our best to raise our children with hearts for our family and God.

27 * Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak  Olivia is a doctor helping victims of the Haag virus in Africa.  She heads home for Christmas and a mandatory 7 day quarantine with her family in England.  While there we see all the warts and some crazy things including Jesse (the son of Andrew/Dad who he didn't know about until a year before and hadn't ever responded too, but then Jesse shows up, ends up quarantined with them and does fall in with the family), Phoebe (the younger, spoiled sister who finally got engaged to George, but George makes out with Jesse-before they know about the family-comes over to join the quarantine, and then bolts, ending the engagement when Jesse shows up), Emma/Mom (who was recently diagnosed with cancer, but isn't telling anyone until after quarantine, except she blurted it out to Jesse in the airport before she knew who he was to her family.)  All in all it is pretty crazy, but as Olivia's fellow doctor and love gets sick and eventually dies they pull together and rejoice when she finds out she is pregnant with his child, obviously having violated the no touch rule.

28 * Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong  Ruth quits her job after her fiancĂ© leaves her and she finds out her dad has dementia.  The book is told in short notes, almost like a diary and in between we get glimpses of her Dad's diary from when she was a girl.  She finds divorce papers her parents have filled out, but her mother is very much in the picture.  You get the feeling that her father's alcoholism (manifested when she was grown, but definitely a part of her brother's childhood) and his affairs with a fellow professor and a student have divided them, but her mother has chosen to stay and see this through.  A student of her father's, Theo does what he can to help give him back a class and he and Ruth are definitely finding something too.  An interesting book, not my favorite, but something appealing in the disjointed bits and pieces of life.

29 *Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum  This is a YA book, but one that is pretty good.  Jessie's mom has died and her dad eloped and then moved them from Chicago to California without really talking to her about it.  We see the awkwardness of her living with a step-mom and step-brother in a huge place, attending a very expensive school with all of the usual teenage drama and the challenges of just trying to figure out life.  She gets an anonymous email from Somebody/Nobody with the offer to help coach her through things and she ends up falling for him.  (Luckily when they finnnnaaallly meet it is the boy, Ethan, she was hoping!)  She finds a job in a quirky bookstore, meets some girl friends, deals with mean girl issues and a boy who dumps mean girlfriend and then wants to go out with her and turns out has issues with the boy she likes, even though they are in a band together.  Totally HS, right?  Yup.

30. *Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan  A good solid book that bounces back and forth in time flushing out the story of Nora and Theresa Flynn.  These sisters start their lives in Ireland, but most of the story is set in America after they immigrate together.  Nora is to marry Charlie, the boy next door at home, but doesn't want to and Theresa is to get an education and become a teacher.  Instead Theresa gets pregnant and Nora marries Charlie to take the baby to raise.  Patrick is the oldest of four and his death is the center of the story.  Theresa is lost for a long time, but becomes Sister Cecilia in a cloistered convent and the sisters waffle between communication and complete silence.  In fact, the other three siblings don't know that she even exists until the funeral.  We see so many stereotypical issues of Boston Catholic Irish and siblings.  All in all a good book, made more so because of my connection to a first generation Irish!

31. *Good As Gone by Amy Gentry  Julie was kidnapped when she was 13 while her then 10 year old sister Anna watched.  The effect that it has had on her parents and sister is pretty expected.  Dad works to bring her home, mom has spiraled into a deep hole of grief and sister is kind of lost in it all. Now, 8 years later, Anna is home early from her first year of college (where she got all incompletes) and Julie shows up on their door step one day.  But is it really Julie?  And who are all these other girls in the story?  We are slowly worked backwards and realize each girl is the same person, just taking on a different personality as she is in one horrible situation/abuse after another.  All while we see Mom start to doubt, partially due to secrets being uncovered about Dad and a private investigator who was an officer on the case when it happened. And in the end we find out that it is Julie and we find out who did it and why she went with him when she was kidnapped.

32. *The Harmonious World of Johann Kepler by Sidney Rosen  Same author as Gallileo and the Magic Numbers.  A good middle grade read about Kepler, his life and his work all told as a story with connections to history and other big players in astronomy.  Reads a bit like historical fiction and would be a good addition to our home library.

33. *You Will Know Me by Megan Abbot  Devon is a star gymnast on her way to possible Olympic glory.  Her parents, Eric and Katie have given everything (time, money, their lives) to helping Devon on this journey, which started after a lawnmower accident left Devon with a deformed foot.  Hailey, another coach and niece of the head coach, Coach T, is dating Ryan, the young man that all the moms and girls love to want.  Ryan dies in a hit and run and their worlds all fall apart a mere 40 days from a major competition to become Elite status.  Lots of drama in the build up, but not my favorite book at all.

34. *The Bark of the Bog Owl by Jonathan Rogers  (#1 in the Wilderking Trilogy)  Aiden is the 5th son, 12 years old, who dreams of being a soldier, not a shepherd.  His family lives on Corenwald, which is free and true and has held off those who wish to take it over.  But when his father (and the boys) are called for the Treaty they find that the King is about to merge with their enemy, trying to continue peace.  It is a terrible idea, which is only saved when Aiden takes on their giant and kills him (a la David and Goliath) and then with another boy blows up their canons as well.  The Bark of the Bog Owl is the noise the Feechiefolk make and they, as well as Bayard the Truthspeaker both seem to understand that Aiden is the one who will be Wilderking, a long prophesied savior of their kingdom.

35. * Longitude by Dava Sobel  A really great little book about the longitude problem that the world faced for centuries.  I had never considered that the shipping countries could always follow latitude across because of the compass, but could never determine their longitude because it has to do with time.  There was a panel in England charged with finding the answer and they offered the equivalent of $12 million to the one who solved it. It turned into a battle of those who wanted to use the moon and/or stars with some very complicated math (and pray for no clouds) and a carpenter turned watch maker who actually DID solve it.  John Harrison had to prove and prove again, but his H-1 through H-4 is what became known as the chronographer and is what allowed for much safer sea travels.

36. *The Secret of the Swap King by Jonathan Rogers (#2 in the Wilderking Trilogy)  Aiden is living with King Darrow and his son and things are good until the King come to believe that Aiden is trying to overthrown him.  Darrow sends him on a fool's mission for the Frog Orchid deep in the Feechiefen, which Aiden finds and brings back eventually.  While in the fen he discovers there are Feechies who have taken to destroying their fen and hurting each other.  They are led by the Swamp King, who turns out to be Aiden's long lost brother.  Aiden helps to reunite the Feechies, returns to the king, but find that he is still under suspicion and at one point has the king's life in his hands.  He doesn't kill him, just lets him know that he is loyal to the crown.

37. *The Way of the Wilderking by Jonathan Rogers (#3 in the Wilderking Trilogy)  Aiden has spent the last three years in the Feechiefen, basically living as a Feechie.  His self imposed exile is to appease King Darrow who still believes Aiden isn't loyal to his crown and is now preparing to attack the Feechiefen.  Aiden goes to Last Camp and then flees away from the fen so the king and his troops will not die there.  He finds his family in Sinking Canyon, also exiled from their farm.  As troops loyal to Aiden pour in they prepare the to fight to defend Corenwald against invaders and discover that the Feechies and the Corenwald are all descended from the same people.  In the end a battle ensues, the Kind is killed, as is his son and Aiden is finally crowned the Wilderking while restoring peace to Corenwald.  A great series with references to the Living God, lots of action and fun characters.

38. *A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner  I debated the star on this one, but it is decent so it gets one, but barely.  The story has two timelines connected by a beautiful scarf covered in marigolds.  The first timeline involves an immigrant whose wife has died of scarlet fever on the ship over.  He is put in isolation on Ellis Island and there meets nurse Clara Wood.  She becomes entangled in his story because of his grief and her own, having lost someone in a terrible fire.  The scarf had been his wife's and in the end he gifts it to her and she eventually gifts it to another. The second story involves September 11th when Taryn Michaels has the scarf to try and find a match for it.  As she rushes to meet her husband and tell him they are expecting she sees the planes hit and then collapse.  Mick helps her and 10 years later we see them reconnect and him return the scarf to her.  Stories are good, but story telling is slow and overly careful.

39. * The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (#2)  The kids are reunited and going on a grand adventure with Mr. Benedict, but when they arrive to do so they find that he has been kidnapped by his evil twin along with Number 2 and the kids have 4 days to save them.  They end up on a ship bound for Lisbon, and from there find themselves in multiple countries and an unknown island.  It is all because there are papers Mr. Benedict's parents published that talk of a moss that could cure his narcolepsy.  Lots of adventure, some injuries, plot twists and a rousing bunch of life lessons all delivered by four of the smartest, most interesting kids!

40. *The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly  We had listened to this audio book and now own the book itself.  Calpurnia is a gem of a girl in a family of 6 boys sent around 1900.  She isn't expected to go to college, her mother just wants her to learn all the womanly arts and all Calpurnia wants to do is learn everything she can about nature from her Grandfather, assist the vet with his practice and be allowed her freedom. This book also involves the hurricane that mostly wiped out Galveston, TX and her cousin moving in with them because of it, which led to Calpurnia getting to learn typing (she paid her to teach her) and losing her bed for a good long time.  A sweet story of family relationships, set in a great historical context and so much wonderful science too!

41. *Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye  What a delicious romp!  This book is very much interlaced and a take off of Jane Eyre (which now I need to read) but it is the most twisted way of doing so!  Jane lives in England, has four murders under her belt, but all are the kind that makes the world a bit better off.  She ends up returning to her childhood home (where she lived with her mother before she killed herself) as a governess to a household that is run by an Englishman, but is basically an Indian household.  The two men and little girl there quickly become her family, but her history and their mystery lead to some incredible adventures.  In the end she gets to stay there married to Thomas, basically mother to her charge and great friends to Mr. Sardar Singh.  Good times in a twisted way.

42. *Journey for a Princess by Margaret Leighton  This is a sequel of sorts to The Captive Princess.  Elstrid is the youngest daughter of King Alfred the Great, step son of Judith of France who is not liked by almost everyone in Alfred's kingdom.  She is a bit of a tomboy and feels none of the regalness of her older, married and cloistered sisters.  She is the only unmarried one so ends up offering the 'welcoming cup' to the Vikings who come to the court and catches the eye of Ragnar, one of the Vikings.  Because of his asking to marry her, Elstrid's father allows her to accompany her beloved aunt on a pilgrimage to Rome, stopping by Judith's home on the way.  Unknown to her she has been brotrothed to Baudoin (son of the deceased Baudoin and Judith).  They continue on their way, her aunt dies, she learns of her father's plan and is greatly concerned Baudoin is not a good person.  But after realizing her 'friend' is a traitor and she wants to be with Baudoin she is captured, eventually escapes, and is reunited with Baudoin who is has recovered his father's lost land is ready to marry her.  A great historical novel!

43* The Story of Good Queen Bess by Alida Sims Malkus  One of the Signature biographies and now I'm convinced I need to buy more of them as we currently own about 5 and not this one!  A great middle grades read that covers her life, her siblings, some of the dynamics of her father and step-mother and her rise to power after many years of frustrations with the relationship with her sister.  We see Sir Walter Leigh, Shakespeare, and other big players in history towards the very end as well as learn about Sir Francis Drake and his trip around the world, the original colonies at Roanoke, and the defeat of the Spanish Armada.  A lot is packed into this little volume!

44.* The Diving Bell and the Buttterfly by Jean-Doinique Bauby  A beautiful little book that really speaks about living.  I liked the writing a lot, but the book shines as you realize that the author has locked-in syndrome because of a specific type of stroke.  He can blink one of his eyes and that is only means of communication.  The effort it took for him to write this book is truly amazing!  The best part really is his approach to living.  He visits places around the globe, enjoys amazing meals and lives boldly through his mind even as his body is frozen.  Sadly he passed away just two days after this book was published in France in 1997.

45 **What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty  Realized this is the same author as Husband's Secret and I liked this one even more.  Alice wakes up at the gym after falling off her bike during spin class.  She is shocked as she knows almost none of the people talking to her and she hates the gym.  We watch Alice as she navigates a world where 10 year have passed and she has basically no memory of anyone (including her 3 kids, she thinks she is pregnant with her first) or why she is divorcing her beloved husband or why everyone she cared about is now estranged from her. The death of her best friend caused a whole lot of angst with everyone else and she has no memory of her friend Gina at all.  The difference in her life in 10 years is startling and as she remembers things (and eventually it does all flood back) I was hoping she'd make good choices...and for the most part she does with a few hiccups along the way.  Love the way it ends, all wrapped up, but not sugary sweet.

46. *Will Shakespeare and the Globe Theater by Anne Terry White  This is a really good Landmark!  Very much a story, but covers much of the history of how the Globe came to be, his relationship with his family and the amazing work that led to the amazing body of work that Shakespeare wrote.  I would definitely like to get this one!

47. *Elizabeth Tudor Sovereign Lady by Marguerite Vance  This is a pretty detailed look at the life of Elizabeth Tudor mostly in her life leading up to becoming queen.  The end does talk about her reign, but it is pretty condensed as it also touches on Shakespeare and others who were important in that time.  I will keep my eyes open for Vance books, but didn't like it enough to seek them out special.

48. **This Dear-Bought Land by Jean Lee Latham  What a great book detailing Captain John Smith and the early years of the Jamestown settlement.  Told through the experiences of a young David Warren who comes from a family of sailors.  After his father dies he takes his place on the ships heading to Jamestown and we see all the challenges between the people in charge, the relationships with Native Americans, the times of starvation, the waiting for ships from England that never come, the discussions of deserting Jamestown and heading back to England.  Really engaging way of talking about this time and place in history.

49. *The Likeness by Tana French  This is one slow burn!  Enjoyed the book, but it felt like it took forever to get through, scenes were incredibly drawn out and the language was very detailed, not your typical murder thriller I think.  Detective Cassie Maddox was involved in some type of case in Murder that caused a major break, mentally and with her very close partner this after already having left Undercover.  This book picks up somewhere after that when she is in a relationship with a different detective, she is working in Domestic Violence and trying to put the past behind her.  She gets a call from her boyfriend when the murder victim in his case is a dead ringer for Cassie and is using her fake identity from Undercover.  Her old boss sends her in as the dead girl and she spend the rest of the time living with and trying to figure out the other 4 crazy close housemates.  Were they responsible for her death (yes), who is the father of her unborn baby (Rafe), do they believe she is Lexi (yes, except for Daniel) and who killed her (Justin).

50.*The Mysterious Voyage of Captain Kidd by A. B. C. Whipple  This may be my favorite Landmark book I've read so far (and not because it is the priciest!)  I didn't know much about Captain Kidd, but Whipple does a great job making his story come alive.  He was commissioned (not very willingly) to sail the seas capturing pirates and French ships and did what he was to do all while trying hard to avoid mutiny on his own ship.  However as those in power in NY (under authority of England) tried to crack down on pirates it was reported that Kidd (who they sent out) was acting like a pirate.  In order to save face they caught and tried him when he returned.  It was a joke of a trial and evidence was hidden, and he was hanged for being a pirate.  His name was ruined, he didn't see his daughter grow up and his buried treasure is still lore today.

51.*The Story of Beethoven (Signature Bio) by Helen L. Kaufmann  I'm trying to read a few of these from the Living Library before our membership expires.  This one was another really good one. In some ways I like these even more (or at least as well) as some like Opal Wheeler.  An easy read, but an engaging story of the life of an amazing musician. I had no idea how rough his life was (father was abusive and often absent, mother died leaving him in charge of his siblings) and how eccentric he was.  He really was mostly lost in his mind, the stereotype of a genius!  Worth adding more of these to our collection.

52. *The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay  I'm thinking that this is probably considered YA in some areas and that is why I won't ever turn my kids loose in that section!  The story is set in HS and if HS is really how it is portrayed in this book we will definitely homeschool all the way through.  Nastya (not her real name) moves in with her single, youngish aunt to start in a new school because she has a horrific past (was attacked, died on the surgery table, entire hand was smashed ending her prodigy piano playing life) and needs to be in a new place.  She meets Josh who has a horrible past of his own (parents, sister and grandparents have died and he lives alone making beautiful furniture).  There is also Drew (a boy who sleeps with everyone), his sister and her vapid friends, their awesome parents and Sunday dinner tradition and assorted other HS characters.  I have no idea what list I found this on, but my life would have been fine without reading.  It is well written, but the subject matter is pretty rough and feels so far out there.

53. *The Story of Thomas Alva Edison by Enid Lamonte Meadowcroft  Another Signature Biography.  I like this one too and these are definitely moving up in my 'must collect the set' list :)  Turns out there are 51 of them...more shelves here we come.  This one focused a lot on his younger years and was just a great story too.  It did go through is whole life, but never touched on his dueling ideas with Tesla.  All in all a good early bio for kiddos and easy reading for adults.

54. *Looking for Betty MacDonald by Paula Becker  An interesting biography of Betty MacDonald who I only knew because of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books.  Turns out she was way more known for her adult books originally!  The Egg and I was the fastest book to ever sell 1,000,000 copies at the time and really hit a nerve for the country coming off a war. It was even made into a movie and had spin offs!  She also wrote The Plague and I and two other books as well.  Her life was challenging (father died when she was still fairly young, lots of money issues throughout her life, a rough first marriage, etc) and their family definitely survived on closeness and their story telling ability.  While they loved to tell good stories it was their cutting wit that made her into a best selling author, but also led to lawsuits because of how people were portrayed.  Pretty interesting read, although the author was a little too in love with the research and connections so it gets a bit bogged down at times, but it was definitely a pet project for her for years.

55. *We Were There with the Mayflower Pilgrims by Robert N. Webb  Wanted to read a few of these to see if we should add to our small collection.  This one was really good, focusing on Dickon and Patience, two children who came with the Pilgrims.  Amazing how much history they can pack into this book that reads like a story book!  I believe this Dickon Whittington is the same as the one featured in the picture book Dick Whittington and his cat. Also the Billington family is also featured, which we have the book Clyde Bulla wrote about them.  Definitely want to get more We Were There books!

56.* Robert McCloskey A Private Life in Words and Pictures by Jane McCloskey  We love Robert McCloskey books in our house and I was excited to see this book with many of his illustrations and also art work that wasn't ever seen outside of family.  Being written by his daughter I expected a pretty great biography.  The writing in this was pretty disappointing however.  It is obvious that Robert (or Bob as his daughter called him) was a pretty quiet man, even to his family.  He also suffered some type of breakdown while living in Mexico, which may have been a part of it as well.  Jane is a very scattered writer (actually reminded me of the crazy Christmas letter we get every year!) and talks about some very odd topics that have nothing to do with her father.  All that being said I learned that his mother-in-law was Ruth Sawyer, who wrote Roller Skates and that the only work they did together was Journey Cake, Ho!  His books were very much about his boyhood and that of his daughters, Sal in many books being Sally, the older daughter in the family.  They had a very bohemian life.  Summers on their island in Maine, winters in New York at his editor's home. A couple of years in Mexico, a year traveling Europe while the girls went to boarding school in Switzerland, etc.  Quite an interesting life they all led...mostly I'm just grateful for the great books he wrote and illustrated!

57. Seven Brief Lesson on Physics by Carlo Rovelli  OK, I think I'm fairly intelligent and I did have two science minors in college, but neither was physics and this book is confirmation that I made the right call there.  A very short (81 pages) book written by someone who is passionate and very educated about his subject. You'd think it would be a piece of cake and would really energize me.  (I fell asleep three times while reading this.)  I pretty much have no idea what he is talking about even as he makes it understandable for the average person.  Maybe I'll try again someday, but maybe I've got a bazillion other books to read first :)

58.**A Pictorial Life Story of Misty by Marguerite Henry  I am slowly learning about all the books Henry wrote and this was a delightful find in a local library!  Lots of photographs and a real feeling of the behind the scenes of the story of Misty and her entire life.  Also lots of info about Henry and the local children and their how the entire story was shaped. I recently learned she was born in Milwaukee an I didn't realize she lived not too far away in Illinois, which is where Misty and even Brighty lived for years.  Then Misty returned to Chincoteague to have her foals and live her life out and Marguerite and her husband retired to California.  Also learned about the close relationship she and Wesley Dennis kept with the island and all the ponies there. Makes me love them both a little bit more :)

59.*The Cornhusk Doll by Eleanor Reindollar Wilcox  A good middle grade historical fiction about a girl and her family moving to the frontier.  Everyone tells the they are crazy for taking a young girl and woman out, but they are determined to be there as father is setting up a fur business.  When the natives attack the daughter is taken hostage, but a little cornhusk dolls she got early in their travels when she saved two native children from a bear changes her path.  Instead of being sold as a servant or worse she is taken to a tribe and adopted as the daughter/sister of the family whose children she saved.  After a year with them she is pretty happy, but misses her family and the decision is made by her adoptive father (with the intervention of another European woman who has lived with the natives for years) to return her.  Her parents are thrilled to have her back and she helps bring a sense of peace about the tribe she was with even as they are moving on further west.

60. Anne of Green Gables Graphic Novel by Mariah Marsden   I only read this because I am trying to complete the reading challenge for Beloit Library.  Having to read a graphic novel was not exciting, but I figured this would be a better one than most.  It was okay and was a super fast read, but it breaks my heart that so many kids would read this and think they've read Anne.  And if it would take me a day or two or more to read Anne and I can read this in an hour is it any surprise kids aren't drawn to books that make them work?  Read it, recorded it, won't read it again!

61. **A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith  I finally read this book that is on all the 'best of' book lists.  Francie is such a neat character.  In the midst of intense poverty she lives full of life. She is raised by an incredibly strong mother, a creative, singing father who is also an alcoholic and has a brother who is more beloved, but needs her to survive.  She is so smart, reads so much, works so hard that it is cheering to see her start to succeed as she hits her teens.  Going to work at 14, but saying she is 16 she even figures out a way to start college in the summer.  It is definitely a coming of age novel, but also one that is distinct in place and time.  I really enjoyed it even as it seems to move so slowly through her life.

62. *A Case of Need by Michael Crichton  This was one of his early books and was written under a different name.  Like so many of his medical thrillers it was well written, lots of jargon, but the story is the heart of the book.  I had no idea it centered around a doctor who was arrested for doing an abortion that led to the death of a prominent doctors daughter.  The main character is another doctor who is sure that his friend didn't do the abortion (although he has done them) and he uses his experience as a cop 8 years prior to help him figure it all out.  The time line is less than a week in length, but a ton of action is packed into this 'who done it' in that time.  Hated the subject matter, but the writing was good overall.

63.*Miracle in the Andes by Nando Parrado   This was my 'rock bottom' selection because I figure anyone who has spent 72 days in the Andes trying to survive a plane crash has hit rock bottom once or twice!  This is the true story of a rugby team that was heading over the Andes to play a match and have a little fun in 1972.  They went down, many were killed immediately and they struggled to survive the harsh weather with basically no fuel, no warm clothes, no food, and a couple with terrible injuries.  Nando tells the story and he is one of the two who eventually hiked out and saved the group.  In the crash he lost his mother and sister and many friends, but he kept focused on getting to his father.  The group faced some amazingly harsh conditions and choices, including eating the dead bodies of their friends.  The book Alive! was written the year after this happened and was very much based on what happened, but Nando thought a few people were not portrayed well and after many years decided to share the story through his eyes.  Really well written, very impactful and quite a story of survival!

67. *The Chemist Who Lost His Head The story of Antoine Laurent Lavoisier  by Vivian Grey  This was a good little book about the French man who basically ushered in chemistry as an exact science.  He was intent on making sure experiments were done with precision and is one who named the element of oxygen.  Lots of history regarding the American Revolution and the French Revolution (which was because of the taxes being collected from the merchants and poor that was, in part, used to help fund the American Revolution), his work regarding gun powder, his relationship with many other scientists of his day and Benjamin Franklin.  All in all a good biography.

68. *Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry  I didn't realize she wrote this book until about a year ago.  Since I adore pretty much everything she wrote I figured I should read this one too :)  Benjamin West wanted to be an artist from before he knew there was such a thing. His strict upbringing didn't allow for pictures of any type, but a vote was taken and his community decided to allow him to go study.  He became very well regarded as an early American artist and also spent a lot of time in Europe.  This book focuses on his childhood and his relationship with his cat who was instrumental in helping develop him as an artists....he used the hairs from the cat's tail to make his detail brushes since there were no camels to be found where he lived.

69. * Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier  I read this one because it is a historical fiction that was touted to be about William Blake and I thought that might be interesting since I own a few of his books of poetry.  However, he featured in much less than I expected.  It is mostly a story of the family who moved in next to him in London after coming from the country when their son died.  The father is a chair maker and eventually becomes a carpenter for the circus, as they came due to Mr. Astley's suggestion (the circus owner.)  Maisie and Gem, their two children and a streetwise girl, Maggie are the main characters.  The premise is that Gem and Maggie's budding love is the inspiration behind Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience.  In the end Maisie gets pregnant by circus bad boy, John Astley and makes her way home to rejoin her family who has returned to their country village.  It was good, but not as impactful as Christina's World was, although in a similar vein in my mind.

70. **The Magic Summer by Noel Steatfeild book!  I can see why she is a really loved author.  A father is sent off to work in a foreign land for a year, but shortly after leaving gets very sick and the mother must rush off to be with him.  The children close up the house and head off to the airport to journey to Ireland and a great aunt they have never met. She is not what they expect and for a time they believe her to be a witch or a vampire!  Seeing how hard they work to figure out how to care for themselves (with a supportive adults around at times) and the adventures they have is pretty awesome.  Reminds me of the Swallows and Amazons in some ways, but just a treat of a read.

71. **The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd  This was such a good book.  I felt like I must have read it at some point, but I sure didn't remember it enough to know.  Lily runs away from her abusive father and at the same time frees their housekeeper/nanny from jail (because she was registering to vote and 'disrespected' some white men who weren't thrilled about it.)  They head off to South Carolina to the town written on the back of a picture of the black Madonna that Lily had saved from her mom's things.  (Lily accidentally shot her mother when her parents were arguing while her mother was trying to get her things and Lily and leave.)  They find the Daughters of Mary, specifically May, June and August and the ladies take them in, teach Lily everything she would want to know about honey, bees, life and eventually about her mother.  There is so much heartbreak in this book and so much sweetness.  I kept holding my breath waiting for more violence to break out, but the major implosions I was worried about didn't happen. Written during the time of civil rights protest and integration of schools it deals with so much more than that even as that is important to the story.  Loved the writing!

72. *Trail Through Danger by William O. Steele  Read this as my 'western' selection for the reading program.  Middle grades book, adventure of bison hunting, clashes within the hunting group, natural disasters, family drama and overall just a good story of a boy learning his way as he becomes his own man.

(I did read Baby Island during this time as well and LOVED that sweet book, but it is so small that I'm not officially counting it.)

73. *Once on a Time by A. A. Milne  Yes, the author of this book is the man known for Winnie the Pooh and all the other books in that series!  I had no idea he had other titles and it turns out there are a bunch of them even if none are in any local libraries...  This is a Fairy Story he wrote for his wife and himself and it is funny!  It is for ages 8 and up and involves a King who is rather discombobulated, a princess who has to run the kingdom while he is at war (which is a joke in itself), a Countess who wants to take over the kingdom by marrying the father or plowing over the daughter, a prince who gets turned into a rabbit/lion/lamb type creature, etc.  Quite a romp of a read!


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Preservation Wrap Up 2017

I feel like this might not be complete and I know I've got a few projects to wrap up, but I want to get this recorded before I lose my paper full of scribbles!


Rhubarb  2 gallons
Strawberries, whole 4 quarts
Strawberries, sliced in sugar 7 pints
Mulberries  8 gallons
Blackcaps  4 quarts
Cherries 1 gallon, 6 pints
Blueberries 2 quarts
Green Beans 18 bags
Swiss Chard 6 bags, 1 large bag
Kale 22 bags
Mixed Green 7 bags
Beets 11 bags
Corn 4 bags
Roasted Vegetables 5 large, 16 pint containers
Chopped Jalapenos 6 3/4 c. bags
Garden Marinara 4 quarts
Vegetable Bisque Base 3 large containers
Pesto 19 small containers
Zucchini Butter 5 containers (meal sized portions)
Shredded Zucchini 14 bags


Applesauce 52 quarts, 1 pint
Strawberry sauce 6 pints
Peaches 14 quarts
Queen Anne's Lace Jelly with Currants 5 half pints
Mulberry Jam 4 pints, 13 half pints
Brown Butter Banana Butter 6 half pints
Apple Butter 5 12 oz jars
Corn Cob Syrup 4 pints
Peach Syrup 2 quarts, 7 pints
Diced Tomatoes 26 quarts, 1 pint
Garden Marinara 8 quarts
Enchilada Sauce 7 pints
Pizza Sauce 13 pints
Tomato juice/water 16 quarts
Tomato Soup 14 quarts
Tomato Chutney 9 pints
Tomato BBQ Sauce 20 pints
Roasted Corn Salsa 20 quarts, 8 pints
Tomato Salsa 9 quarts
Fiesta Corn Relish 6 pints
Dill Pickles 18 quarts
Bread and Butter Pickles 14 quarts
Garlic Scapes 3 pints
Chicken Stock 5 super concentrated quarts, many other quarts

Garlic Bulbs 88
Maple Syrup 12 quarts (from bulk buy)
Dehydrated Apples 1.5 quarts
Dehydrated Cherry Tomatoes  3 quarts

We are basically done with our grass fed beef from 3 years ago and will most likely buy a quarter or half from Wundrows in the coming months.  We purchased 1/2 a pig from Ibelings after fair and are quickly making our way through it.  We purchased a lamb from Knutsens in the spring and are slowly making our way through it :)  It is stronger flavored and also pricier so we are spreading it out.  The meat chickens did well this year and are disappearing all too quickly.  The 5 new layers started laying, but then stopped so they are a disappointment so far as they've been here since May and we've gotten only a few dozen if we are lucky.  The 2 year old girls molted and also stopped laying so we are basically eggless right now.  Kelby is eating duck eggs from Wundrows and other friends.  Milk still comes from Wundrows, honey from the neighbor on 140 and most of the produce is from our own gardens.  It was a late, but productive tomato year for us.  We got apples from Marcee, our tree and Aunt Betty, strawberries from our patch and Wundrows, Peaches from Michigan through Kauffmans.  Syrup still from Troy, but may need to price other places as he is getting higher and gave us less for the higher price this year.  Have a bunch of squashes and pumpkins that are partially cooked and partially waiting to be cooked.  They were bought at Aldi and at the 4 way stop in Clinton.  Potatoes did terrible in the ground this year and will be back in a raised bed for sure!  All in all it has been a good year and our freezers and shelves are very full!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Bulk Pork Purchase 2017

We bought a half pig from the Ibelings this year.  This little piggy went to fair and it is a terminal fair so they all go to butcher after.  We were offered a whole or half and went with half, thankfully since our freezers are so !

This pig was processed at Sorg's so this will be our first time trying the bacon and ham.  Hopefully we'll like it!  They charged $20 (1/2 the kill fee), $.50 for cut and wrap (appears this is only on dressed weight, not on hanging weight), $.45/lb for smoking (we had 33 pounds that got smoked, just hams and bacon), and $7.50 for a trucking fee.  So the total charges to Sorg's was $91.35 for 98 pounds of dressed weight.  When I weighed our meat I came up with 96.5, but it was on our bathroom scale, so I figure it was close.

Here is what we got...
Bacon   13 pounds
Country Ribs  1 pack, 2.5 pounds
Pork Chops  8 packs, 15 pounds
Butt Roast 2 packs, 7.5 pounds
Hock  1 pack, 4 pounds
Loin Roast 1 pack, 3 pounds
Jowl  2 packs, 3 pounds
Hams 2 packs, 23.5 pounds
Sausage  15 packs, 15 pounds
Shoulder Picnic roast  2 packs, 6 pounds
Spare Ribs  1 pack, 3 pounds
Neck Bones  1 pack, 1 pound

We also got 10.5 pounds of fat to render down.  I could have had them do it and probably will do that in the future.  We also got a pork bladder for the kids to blow up and play with like Laura Ingalls Wilder did.  The kids are so excited that they gave us one!

So it broke down as follows $70 to Ibelings, $91.35 to Sorgs which is $1.67/lb for the meat and if you include the fat it comes to $1.51/lb total.  Either way a good price for everything!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Meat Chickens 2017

This is an interesting year to report on our meat birds as so many variable are in play.  This year I wanted to order all cockerels again, but the hatchery was sold out.  Not a problem, I just went with a straight run of 20 and 5 replacement hens, expecting there to be 6 hens and 21 meat birds.  When I got to Sharon to pick them up there were only 20 meat birds in the box and one of them was dead.  There were 6 hens, however and all seemed fine.  In the end I didn't lose anymore meat birds, thankfully, but of the 19 I got 13 were female.  Considering they always come out basically 50/50 this was a rather unpleasant surprise.  I lost one replacement hen the day they moved out side because she was killed by the neighbors dog.

This year I also switched to organic freed from DeLongs.  I used one bag of organic starter and then went to an organic grower, but after finding out it was like 16% protein I returned the unopened ones and went to a 21% starter/grower.  So total we used 1 bag of starter, one of grower, and 6 of the 21% protein one.  A total of 8 bags of food for 25 birds through week 4 and 24 birds for 9 weeks.  The total for feed was right around $241.86.

We butchered a total of 19 birds (and our teeny, tiny rooster, Chocolate, but his numbers aren't in the totals.)  We had 13 females and 6 males and they finished out with a total of 124 pounds!  Our largest birds were 7.5 pounds and are smallest were 5.5 pounds with a 6.5 pound average.  So really, they did well on their weights, partially because we waited until 9 weeks to butcher.  We also did collect 2 pounds, 11 oz of liver and hearts and 2 pounds of gizzards.

So the breakdown of our organic, pastured chickens was $1.95/pound!  I was seriously concerned we'd be much, much higher, so I was very happy with that.  If you count in the organ meats it comes down to $1.87/pound.  And these numbers include the grain for the replacement hens, which added no value in meat as of now.  They are now eating the same no soy, organic ration as our laying hens, but for 9 weeks their feed costs are buried in the meat birds numbers.   All in all a good year, even with the challenges.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

What I read 2017 Edition!

**1. Teaching from Rest by Sarah MacKenzie  Reread this for a book study and it was just as good as the first time.  Being restful, not frantic and fueled by anxiety, knowing that God has got this and that my best work is all I can do.  A great encouragement for any homeschooler who has faith in God!

**2.  Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist  Almost more of a collection of essays about leaving the frantic behind and finding a slower, smaller, sweeter way of living.  We spend so much of a lives thinking we need bigger, better, more and yet, the joy, the soul of living is not the career aspirations it is the people we are with.  I think this is one I need to reread again too!

*3.  Roots and Sky by Christie Purifoy  Another collection of essays, arranged through the four season. Christie and her family moved to Maplehurst a beautiful old brick home with 3 acres surrounded by fields of new homes on the land that used to be a part of the farm.  We see her have a new baby, fight depression, plant a garden, meet the community and come full circle all while loving God.  Some real gems in here, another 'read again' type book!

**4.  Lillac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly  Oh, this book!  It is based on the true story of the Polish 'rabbits,' the ladies that were experimented on by Nazi doctors at Ravensbruck.  The story bounces between Caroline Ferriday (a NY socialite, turned tireless worker for French orphans and the Polish ladies after the war), Dr. Hera Oberheusern(the only female doctor who was convicted at the trials after), and Kasia Kuzmerick (who was arrested with her sister and mother and survived the prison and the experiements.)  Caroline and Hera are real people and their lives are followed closely in the book; Kasia and her sister are based closely on a pair of real sisters.  Such an amazing and terrible read.  It was one that was hard to read and hard to put down. 

*5. Hope Heals by Katherine and Jay Wolf   A true love story.  The love between a young married couple going through a truly horrific ordeal and the love they have for God.  Katherine suffered a massive stroke in her brain stem and her survival was a real miracle.  She has gone on to have a lot of recovery and they have even had another baby!  But it has been such a struggle, she has lost the use of the right side of her face, her hearing in one ear, so much independence and the early years of her oldest son's life as his primary caretaker (he was 6 months when this happened.)  Really strong faith got them through and their love for each other is amazing to witness.

**6.  The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah Another fantastic WWII book.  This one features two sisters, Isabelle the one who fights with the resistance as "the Nightingale" helping downed pilots cross the mountains and Vianne, the one who is in the little village with Nazi's in her home, trying to save her little girl and then her best friend's son.  The girls have had a rough childhood with no mother and a father who returned broken from WWI.  There is love between Isabelle and Gaetan, there is loss, so much loss, and there is survival in every sense of the word.  Ari, the first of 19 children Vianne helps save comes back into the story many years later, Julien, the child conceived in rape at the hands of the Nazi staying with Vianne never knows his full story, but is raised as an American with a loving family who only learns of the heroic role of his family all those years later, Sophie, the little girl who grew up with no childhood who survived with her mother who (we learn during those late years of the story) died 15 years before of cancer.  A great read with a bit of can't wait to figure it out narrative.

*7. Simply Tuesday By Emily P. Freeman  I started this book last year and don't think I finished it and here it is again in the same boat. This time I almost did and found it to be good, but not the same kind of connection other books in this same idea have had.  Her main idea is that we need to get small, to keep things focused on the small, to think of the ordinary, every day that "Tuesday" is all about.  She uses the imagery of heaven being one inch  off the ground often and the idea of benches that we build and rest one.  We invite others to be with us on those benches, but we can't force it, just as we can't force the good stuff in life. 

**8.  The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick  Such a sweet, quick read.  Made for a perfect snowy Sunday by the fire book!  Arthur's wife has died and it is one year later. After 40 years of marriage he is having a hard time letting her go, but has somehow seemingly lost his son (who is in Australia with his wife and two daughters) and daughter (who just lost a baby and got divorced and lives around the corner.)  He decides to clean out his wife's clothes and finds a charm bracelet with a tiger, an elephant, a book, a paint palette, a flower, a ring, and a heart.  He starts the journey to find out his wife's story and her past is much more than he could ever imagine.  In the process he realizes his friendship with the neighborhood caretaker widow is important, he does things he never dreamed off and he reunites his family.  Very sweet, in the vein of Ove, but less grumpy :)

*9. Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool Abilene Tucker is sent to Manifest, Kansas by her father after a life spent riding the rails.  She feels abandoned, but quickly is loved on by two new friends, Shady, the bar/church owner she lives with, Hattie Mae, the newspaper writer and Miss Sadie, the town diviner and the one who eventually tells the story that helps Abilene learn about her past and discover her future.  It jumps back and forth between the time when this mining town of immigrants starts gearing up for and sending its young men off to war and the time that Abilene is there trying to figure out her story.  A good read about finding home.

**10. The Orphan, The Widow & Me by JT Olson  I don't even know what to say because I loved this so much.  His story has always impacted me, but the things I didn't know were happening when I first knew their family were amazing.  The work he does now is so wonderful.  The story of bringing Grace home was just perfection..."She chose me!"  Such an important book for such important work they do!

*11. The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden  Young rich girl meets young poor boy over their shared love of Chopin.  Girl gets shipped to Europe and the boy gets very rich, but also crazy bitter over the death of his father.  They reunite and sparks fly, but the hatred gets in the way and then it becomes very much about her helping him find God.  Of course it all works out in the end, but not until the girl's life is in danger, the boy's fortune is almost lost and the bad guy becomes Christian.  It was good, but not nearly what I thought it would be based on other reviews.

12. First Women The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies by Kate Andersen Brower  A whole lot of information about the last 10 first ladies.  It is obviously based on many, many interviews with staff and those who knew them best.  Lots of interesting stories and yet it was far from my favorite read...too much jumping around.  It almost seemed like she was trying to get so many quote in that it couldn't be just the interesting story it should have been.
*13.  Jesus, My Father, The CIA and Me by Ian Morgan Cron  I really liked this book and debated as second star.  The story of his alcoholic father that had a shadow life that they didn't know about, photos of him golfing with the president and lots of unknown men coming to his funeral.  The mother who stayed through it all working to keep their family afloat during the rough years.  The Nanny who came with them from their wildly wealthly days in London to the rougher days in NY.  And his recognition of God in the Eucharist, his drinking and drugging, return to God through it all and eventual celebration of the Eucharist as an Episcopalian priest.

**14. And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman   I have loved everything I've read by this man!  This is a very short (read it in about 40 minutes) novella about a boy and his Grandpa and the father as well.  About losing memories and keeping them and love and overcoming fear..it touches it all.  So good!

*15. Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv  Major preaching to the choir in this book! He does a great job laying out all the reasons kids need to be connected to nature and then the challenges that there are to that now.  He spends a fair amount of time talking about the political steps needed, the connection to spirituality, and the people who are fighting to make nature more available.  The biggest takeaway is really how crucial it is for people to be connected to nature for their own mental and physical well-being.

*16. The Awakenig of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera  There is so much I feel like I should love about this book....a young lady comes to a village that has made the decision to step back from the world a bit, she is a librarian, there is so much quoting of great literature and Latin, lots of discussions that are philosophical, a budding romance, the wide feast education of four children, 16 weeks in Italy and more.  However, I just couldn't love this book like I thought I would.  It was a good read and maybe in a different mood I would have loved it.  I did love this quote at the end, "Time seemed to stretch out indefinitely when you did things properly  It froze, halted, stopped suddenly, like a clock that has wound down.  Then the small things, the necessary things, even the ordinary, everyday things, especially those one performed with one's hands--how mysterious that man could do such beautiful things with his hands--were revealed as works of art."

**17.  I liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi  I didn't like this book, I LOVED it.  It left me in tears at the end!  Madeline commits suicide and leaves her husband, Rory, and daughter, Eve, mourning her, but also completely devastated as to why their 'perfect' life would drive her to do that.  Maddie can influence their actions and thoughts and does so to try and help them find some peace and happiness.  More people come in to the story and we see all of them dealing with grief, the secrets families have, and how we all need to be a lot more focused on those we love.  The switching between points of view is really well done and the story line is so good.  The ending helps tie a lot of things up wonderfully and you see so much healing and love that it just made me weep!  So good.

*18.  The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual by Frank Falcinelli, Frank Castronovo and Peter Meehan  Wow!  That is long title and author list.  A great little cookbook by the two Franks who started the restaurant the book is named after.  Simple Italian-American cooking with very simple ingredients.  Like how quick and easy they make everything feel!  Wish I had a big old bowl of their Sunday sauce and some hunks of meat they talk about too.  Makes you want to throw a big Italian feast for everyone right now.

**19. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple  Such an interesting novel told using emails, conversations, and thoughts of Bee, the daughter of Bernadette, an awarding winning architect who built two amazing houses and is now lost in her own manias and Elgin, the Microsoft 'god' with the fourth highest ranked Ted talk.  There is a interesting battle between Bernadette and the 'gnats' from the school, boarding school, Antarctica, and over eager assistants (in India and in Seattle).  Basically, an easy read that is way more interesting that I would have ever thought!

*20.  Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling by Ross King A very interesting book about the history of Michelangelo and his relationship with Pope Julius II, the work he did for him including the Sistine Chapel.  There is  lots of great history about how the painting was the done, the challenges with the architect, Raphael, and all the other players in this time of history.  A good read, but sometimes hard for me to stay with because of the multitude of artists and people to keep track of!

*21.  Ready Player One by Ernest Cline I am torn about giving this one or two stars.  Who would have thought a book about video games would be so good?  It is the future, the world is crumbling, everyone is escaping reality into the Oasis, a virtual interactive world. The creator has just died and for years everyone is trying to solve the puzzles he left behind in order to win his entire fortune.  Following the High Five group as they make strides to solve it, the evil Sixers who are cheating, the little love story that develops, the 80s pop culture throughout...it all adds up to a really good book.

22. Rachel Carson and Her Sisters by Robert K Musil  I was excited to read this book about women who have shaped American environmental policy.  This promised to talk about the ladies who opened the doors for Rachel Carson and those who have followed in her footsteps.  I read about a quarter of the book maybe, but it is just seemed to bent on connecting the ladies and making sure that all the things they did 'in spite of being women in their times' and they did 'better than the men of their time' (I feel like those should be in big, important looking capitols) that I feel like the story just disappeared.  I was hoping for an engaging read on women who have braved big discussions, broken down science for the general population and just had an impact on our world.  I felt like I was getting an overly forced agenda shoved down my throat.  And I just don't have time to find out if it ever changed...

23.  **The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines  The "Fixer-Upper" couple tell their story from childhood, through college (and selling books!), to marriage, and all the different ways their businesses have worked.  They are so connected as a couple in their faith, with their children, and so passionate about what they do.  A quick read, but a good one about a great family focused couple.

24. *So Long, See you Tomorrow by William Maxwell  I feel like this books is better than I realized because I read it in chunks and I almost think I would have loved it more in one sitting.  The background of the story in Lincoln, IL and two families who help each other but end up being torn apart by the affair of one of the men and women which results in a murder.  The narrator is a town boy who gets to know one of the sons after the fact and most of the story is him imagining what happened to cause the murder and why he didn't do more to befriend the boy. Reminded me of My Antonia in some ways.

25. *Lady With A Spear by Eugenie Clark A great autobiography of Eugenie Clark's early years.  She spends most of the book discussing her diving in the S. Pacific and the Red Sea and the book takes us to the point of getting married and coming back to write up all her research after the year at the Red Sea.  She was such a barrier breaker, she followed her passions, and her descriptions of all the fish, as well as the people she encountered is wonderful.  Loved reading about her in the two younger books and then reading her words here.

26. *Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead  The story of Cora, a slave girl who was a 'stray' because her mother ran when she was 10.  The fact that her mother was never caught is a huge factor in the story, but in the end we learn she actually was coming back of her own accord and was killed by a snake.  Cora and Caesar decide to run when their master dies and his even worse brother is to take over their plantation.  Lovey follows them and is caught and killed. The underground railroad involves actual hidden stations and trains in this novel.  We see Cora enjoy life in North Carolina for while until the evilness of that system seeps in and she must escape again, this time from Ridgeway, a slave catcher obsessed with her because of his inability to catcher her mother. At this point Caesar is caught and killed.  She lives on Valentine's farm in Indiana for while and seems to be settling into a happy life and even love, but that all explodes when the whites in the area can't take having such a large settlement of free blacks in the area.  It is a good book and one that makes you sick about slavery for sure.

27. *Dark Matter by Blake Crouch  Jason Dessen is a scientist who decided to marry his pregnant artist girlfriend, Daniela and have their son Charlie.  In doing so they both compromised their careers, but found real happiness together.  Jason's specialty was the idea of a multiverse, that every time we make a decision our reality splits into two, one with each decision. Jason is 'abducted' by a different version of himself where he ditched Daniela and had a huge career.  This Jason2 takes over Jason's life and sends him back to his.  This leads to all kinds of chaos, but he does eventually find himself back in his real Chicago life, along with at least 50 other Jasons, all trying to get back to living with Dani and Charlie.  There is violence, there is mind boggling science and there is, at the heart a love story of epic proportions.

28.* Hamilton The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter  This is the full libretto and footnotes of the musical Hamilton.  It also includes essays on most of the main actors and other players in getting this to stage.  I had no idea of the 7 years it took before it went to Broadway.  I listened to the full cast recording recently and enjoyed it.  Now I have a better understanding of all he put into the hip-hop musical about one of our founding fathers.  So much history from so many places and centuries!  It was worth the read.

29. *Planning Your Charlotte Mason Education in 5 Simple Steps by Sonya Shafer  Really a workbooks, but a great way to set goals for an education, a year, a term, a week and a day.  I'll be working through the worksheets as I prep for next year!

30. * A Butterfly Journey, Maria Sibylla Merian, Artist and Scientist by Boris Friedewald  We read a great little picture book about her, but this is a more grown up biography complete with many of her beautiful paintings.  She was so connected to the early book publishing of scientific knowledge and helped us learn that caterpillars don't spring from mud...amazing what a little close study of something can teach you!  She is most known for her work around 'summer birds' as she called butterflies.  Her trip with her daughter to South America (Suriname) was filled with discoveries and such a rarity for a woman to do.  She had to return to Europe due to her health, but continued to be involved with drawing, cataloging and studying her entire life. 

31. ** Behind her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough  What a creepy book!  I knew there was a twist and you think you have it figured out, but then the final twist is C.R.A.Z.Y!  Granted by the end you believe that people can go through a 'second' door in their controlled dreams and go see other people and maybe even change bodies with them.  Adele is married to David and they have some serious baggage (her parents died in a fire, he saved her, poor farmer boy marries rich heiress, she goes to mental facility, many breaks with reality and scary things happen), but when David meets Louise at a bar and they flirt it begins a whole new round.  Turns out David is her boss, the new doctor where she works.  Then Adele bumps into her and does everything she can to make her her new best friend.  So Louise (single mother of Adam) is caught loving both of them and not able to come clean to either of them.  And it gets crazier from there :)

32. *Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly  I listened to this on audio as I drove to KY.  It is a VERY in depth look at Jesus' life, the historical time period and the crucifixion.  Such interesting material and so much of it!  I enjoyed it, but think I would have liked reading it more.  Amazing to think that this poor, humble man with no country to rule and no army to command has completely changed the world and is the most famous human to ever live.  But then again, when you believe he is God incarnate it isn't that surprising :)

33.  *Butter by Elaine Khosrova  How can you not love a book about butter?  The history of it, the scientific bashing and then relenting, the margarine wars, how to make it, the small batch artisans doing interesting things with it, the different animals that people milk and make butter from and even a recipe section.  A very interesting food book that only reaffirms my believe that butter is definitely one of the best food stuff out there!

34.  *The Soloist by Steve Lopez  Mr. Lopez is a columnist for the LA Times who hears a homeless man playing on a 2 string, beat up violin. He eventually learns that this man is an amazing musician who studied at Juliard on the upright bass, has taught himself a ton of other instruments and is mentally ill.  He writes about him, collects instruments for him, works hard to try and help him find a safe place to lay his head and has to come to the understanding that he cannot force him to get the medical help he needs.  Along the way they get to experience Disney Concert Hall together, meet many other musicians and Mr. Lopez writes about him and helps a whole lot of other people realize the complex challenges facing the mentally ill and homeless.  Another audio book while driving to KY.

35.  *When Children Love to Learn Edited by Elaine Cooper  A collection of essays that deal with the practical application of Charlotte Mason philosophy mostly having to do with school settings.  It covers education being a discipline, a life and an atmosphere and then many little essays about different subjects and a collection of charts to apply it all.  I was distracted by the school aspect a lot and didn't find it as engaging as others I've read, but it did have good information in it

36. * Miraculous Abundance by Perrine and Charles Herve-Gruyer  This French coupled chucked their careers and started a small, organic, permaculture based market farm.  This books is very much about why they feel the world needs to return to very small market farms that use hand labor and draft animals and get away from oil.  They have done many studies and determined that 1/4 acre is enough to grow enough food for a family and many others.  They talk a lot about food forests, gardens, aqua, and other ways to make small areas crazy productive.  Lots of philosophy about the direction of our world and lots of using modern and historical ideas to get the best of both worlds.

37. *The Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter  The first of GSP's books that I've read and a very charming, easy read.  Elnora is an amazing naturalist in the swamps of the Limberlost, but she has not had an easy life.  Her father died in the swamp and her mother was giving birth to her and never forgave her for not being to try to save him.  The wonderful couple next door gave her a loving refuge and helped her in her quest to go to school.  Elnora sold the moths, cocoons and things she found in the Limberlost to fund her education and ended up being the head of her class.  She works one summer with recovering Philip and a love drama ensues when he returns home to his very spoiled, society fiancĂ©.  In the end it all works out as best you could ever hope and it is a sweet, lovely way to spend time reading. 

38.* A Year in Nature with Stan Tekiela  A collection of essays he has written about all different animals in many different environments.  They are collected by season and area great little introductions to different species and their behavior and habitat.  He is a wildlife photographer, field guide author and wildlife lover!

39. *The Land Remembers by Ben Logan  The author shares the stories of he and his family on their farm in SW Wisconsin.  Many stories of siblings being kids and mother planting her garden.  A nice collection of reminiscing that follows the seasons of the year and focuses on family and farming.

40. *The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell.  Helen and her husband, LegoMan move from London to Denmark when he is recruited by Lego.  She leaves her big shot magazine career and decides to freelance, specifically focusing on why the Danes are always rated as the happiest country in the world.  In the books she weaves her research and people she meets with stories of adjustment and homesickness.  They do slow their lives down enough (because of how the Danish society functions) that she eventually conceives, something they've struggled with for years.  And they decide to stay a second year!

41. * Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi  The book follows one person in each generation (for many generations) who are all related to one of two half sisters.  The original girls never knew each other existed, but one ends up marrying a white man in Africa and her family stays there and the other is sold as a slave and her descendants are in America.  The novel shows the many sides to the slave trade, the whites, the blacks, the fallout for generations here in America and also in Africa.    At the very end one person from each family meet (they never know they are related) and they take a trip back to Africa with some interesting closure.  My description doesn't do it justice...it was a really good read.

42. Rabbit Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington The story of three girls who are all part Aboriginal and part white.  They are taken (as all half castes were) to a facility to be 'educated' and the girls escape.  The spend 9 weeks following the huge rabbit proof fence of Australia walking their way home to the station they were raised on and where their families are.  The girls were so young and yet they were able to evade those searching for them and survive!  The writing isn't great, but it was made into a movie I guess.  It does make me curious about the way Aborigines were treated (and maybe still are?) and shows how crazy social programs can be!

43. *The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly  Karen is a straight laced girl from a good family who is attending college in languages, something she has an amazing gift for, but she has little direction for the rest of her life.  She meet Biba and her brother and they spend a summer in their falling apart mansion steeped in drugs and sex and a very eccentric life.  You know from the beginning that there are going to be two murders and the story jumps between his getting out of jail and resuming life with Karen and their daughter Alice, but the two people who are murdered are a bit of a surprise as is the way it all goes down.  And when it turns out that Alice (born when he is in jail) isn't actually either of their child, but is actually Biba's (a secret Karen won't tell anyone) and then Biba reappears, seemingly from the dead and wants to claim her which leads to yet another murder the book really grabs you!

44.  * The America Revolution by Bruce Bliven, Jr.  The Landmark about the American Revolution read while we cover that topic in June.  A great, easy read that covers a lot of information from generals and battles in a very chronological order. 

45.  *The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman  I liked this book, but felt that the author was trying too hard to include all the things from her research and since she was using first person accounts and writings it just didn't flow as well as I would have liked.  The story is amazing, but the writing didn't make it as engaging as it could have been for me.  The story is about a zoo keeper, his wife, and their son who ran the major zoo in Warsaw, Poland.  When the Nazis invaded they killed many of the animals for sport and many others were killed during the bombings.  The family mostly stayed there and used the buildings and tunnels to help hide people in the general hustle and bustle of their lives.  Some of the animals had been taken by the Nazis and sent to other zoos and in the end it helped save some of the rarer animals (Przewalski's Horse for example). 

46. * Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs  A very sweet, conversational biography  of Louisa May Alcott.  I had no idea that she was a Civil War nurse or that her family was so connected to many writers of that time.  The Emerson's were particularly close to her family, often providing extra gifts or money to help during tough times.  The Alcotts moved around a lot due to lack of funds and broken dreams.  Her father was a thinker and had ideas on shared property living (odd) and changes in education (were pretty wonderful) and although his schools closed and his traveling lectures didn't bring in much money he was respected for his ideals.  Louisa took it upon herself to support the family after she was a nurse and recovered from the illness she got in the process.  She started writing and found it to go very well financially once she released Little Women!  The story is very much the real story of her sisters, with many people from their life showing up, even if not in the true to life way.

47. * String to Short to be Saved by Donald Hall  This book is full of stories of Mr. Hall's summers spent on a New England farm with his grandparents.  He shares stories of haying, of picking blueberries and milking cows.  He spent most of his growing up summers and even some of his college summers with his grandparents.  In the end we see him introducing his wife and children to the farm, his grandparents deaths and his eventual decision to move back to the farm with his family.  Nicely done, overall.

48. * A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline  A work of historical fiction that looks at the figure of Christina in the painting "Christina's World" by Andrew Wyeth.  We see him at work in their old farm house, we learn about his father N. C. Wyeth, but most of the story focuses on Christina and her family.  We learn of the sea faring tradition that goes back generation in the Hawthorne (Hawthorn) families and how when there was only a daughter left Christina's father John Olson marries her and keeps the Maine coastal farm going.  Christina has some sort of debilitating arthritis and we watch her go from a child who limps and falls  a lot to a woman who can't walk at all and uses her elbows to scooch around on the floor.  Christina and one of her brothers stay on the farm and we meet them in their middle/older age and see flashes back of how life came to be that way...loves lost, disease progressions, parents dying, etc.  Enjoyed it.

49. *Green Ember by S.D. Smith  Heather and Pickett are young rabbits who end up neck deep in adventure.  Early in the story they see their family home being attacked by wolves and are pretty sure their little brother and parents were lost to them.  They end up getting away and are aided by other rabbits they've never met.  It turns out that many of the stories their father has told them are their own family history and the rabbit that saved them is their uncle and his charge.  They are taken to a safe haven community where they see many rabbits trying to come together to return their world to a peaceful place like it was before one of their relatives was a turncoat on the greatest leader their rabbit clan ever had.  In the end they end up discovering and saving the rightful heir who was under their nose the whole time.  Lots of adventure and a great juvenile book.  Looking forward to the next one.

50. *Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome  I found half of this series of 12 for sale and finally got to read the first one (which we don't own.)  A classic series, but not in our library system, unfortunately.  Two groups of children meet up as allies (after a war to decide which was the leader) and spend many days camping on an island with all the adventures that go with it.  The swallows are a family of 4 children and the amazons are two sisters.  Again, great reading for kiddos and I enjoyed it a lot too.  Hoping I'll be able to read the entire series somehow!

51. *Homesick My Own Story by Jean Fritz  We love Jean Fritz's history books for kids and this book is her own history as a child!  She was born in China and lived there until she was about 8.  This book features roughly the year before they head back to the US and she gets to meet her grandparents and return to a place of home.  Her father was with the YMCA and during this year her little sister is born and dies after only a few days.  We see how the ex-pats all live and the beginnings of the uprising. 

52. Outlaw Tales of South Dakota by Tom Griffith   A collection of essays about different outlaws who are either from South Dakota or associated with them.  It was okay, but I think he tries for very poetic writing and it gets to be a bit much.  Interesting to see how the wild west functioned!

53. *Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken  The story of Sheldon and his wife, Davy, from their first meeting, their intense love and setting up all kinds of systems to protect that (including never having children) to them moving to Oxford, meeting C.S. Lewis, becoming Christian, and Davy's early death.  A big pull of this book is the 18 previously unpublished letters between Sheldon and Lewis and the friendship that develops.  I found so much of the book to be pompous, but in the end the road to finding Christ and the walk that he and his wife went through after were very interesting.  All in all a good book and worth reading.  Liked the though provoking ideas that were shared about earthly love dying in some way---through losing appeal and communication with each other, through death, or any of many other ways.  The severe mercy Lewis talked to him about was how her early death left their love intact without her stronger commitment to her faith driving a wedge between them or Sheldon being so jealous of God that he forced her to draw back. 

54. *Ember Falls by S. D. Smith  The continuing story of Heather and Picket, Smalls and Emma.  This book had even more action (pretty much non stop) and an epic battle that really seemed destined to end in complete destruction of all the rabbits Smalls did get killed in this book and we discover that orphaned Emma was actually his sister and heir of Jupiter.  The very end is a real cliff hanger and there is strong hope that Heather and Picket's mother is still alive!

55.**Teaching from Rest by Sarah McKenzie  Yes, I read this book in Jan.  And yes, I'm counting it again.   I needed to read this as we head into the school year this fall and it didn't disappoint.  And just today I read a quote by Zig Ziglar that is perfect about how you will look back and either wish you had or be glad you did.  I want to be glad I did when it comes to my kids and cramming more and more into our days isn't the way to do that.  We are on a different path this fall and I need to just stay true to what works for our family.

56. **Keeper of the Bees by Gene Stratton Porter  Such a sweet read!  The Keeper of the Bees is a soldier who was injured and has spent two years in a government hospital with a wound that won't heal.  He is going to be sent to away to basically die and decides to head out on his own.  Along the way he meets people who take him along and eventually finds his way to a beautiful home right as the owner is in need of medical attention.  He summons help and is left in charge of 2 acres of flowers and vegetables and bees, lots of bees!  He and the Scout Master meet and eventually the Keeper of the Bees starts a healing program, learns about bees, meets (and marries!) Storm Girl, reclaims his faith in God and say good-bye to the Bee Master as he dies.  The inherited land ends up being home to a horse for Scout Master (aka Jean), a place for a new baby with his neighbor and a place for his wife, who is the girl he married, but not the one who claimed his name...some interesting twists and turns along the way!

57. *The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane by Kathleen Kaska  Robert Porter Allen devoted his life to saving the Whooping Crane and the Flamingo and ended up helping both!  He worked with the Audobon society and spent so much time all over the country (and Cuba, Bahamas, etc) finding nesting grounds, doing studies and the like.  He was married and had two kids, but it is hard to see when he had time for them based on the crazy schedule he kept in the wilderness.  All in all it is amazing to see how far the whooping crane has come, from numbers as low as 15 in the wild to now having so many more.  At the end of the book the author gives updates on the cranes that have been taught to be wild and immigrate and it is fascinating to read. I wish the book was a bit more engaging, but all in all the story is amazing!

58. *Lady Almina and the Read Downton Abbey by Lady Fiona Carnarvon  This is the story of Lady Almina who was a 5th Countess of Carnarvon.  She was a rich girl who married into the family and her wealth (or really, that of her father, who was never actually acknowledged publicly as her father) was the money needed to keep the castle Highclere and the estates with it at the level they had always been.  Almina turned Highclere into an amazing hospital during WWI and nursed her husband (and later her second husband) as well as countless other soldiers.  She was a force to be sure and there are many parallels between her and the characters on the show.  One interesting tidbit is that her husband financed and was involved with many digs in Egypt and was actually the financier of the dig that discovered King Tut's tomb.  He and his daughter were there as it opened (Almina was home sick.)

59. * Boom Town Boy by Lois Lenski  One of the geographical series she wrote for young people.  Very interesting take on what oil can do to a family...making them crazy with wealth for a bit, but then mostly missing their farm and their neighbors.  The land was so destroyed, as were some people, but in the end this family did their best to recreate their old life on a nearby farm.  So well researched and looking forward to reading the rest.

60. *Black Star of Kingston by S. D. Smith  The prequel to his Green Ember series.  This is a tiny book and a fast read, but I enjoyed it more than the others.  I think it was just as action packed, but easier to follow and just more engaging.

61. Bread Toast Crumbs by Alexandra Stafford  She shares her families no knead recipe and many variations before continuing with recipes you can use it in.  Way  more uses than you'd think!

62.* Quiet The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain  Very interesting, lots of research driven findings and just a great book to open my eyes the introverts in my life, including me :)  Giving me lots to think about as a mom and wife.  Need to be sure that the introverts are given the time and space to bring out their best.  Also, saw a lot of myself in things she wrote about too.

63. *Prairie School by Lois Lenski  This regional one is about a school in South Dakota!  She had lots of letters from them (she was living in FL) and went there to meet the families.  She always did lots of interviewing, but this one is based very specifically on this certain town and these people. This is the story of how they survived the winter of 1949 told to her that spring.

64. *Breathing Room by Marsha Hayles  A very quick read that is geared towards young adults, I think.  Evie (rhymes with Chevy) enters Loon Lake Sanatorium as she is trying to recover from TB.  She rooms with Pearl (the drama queen, movie star wannabe who ends up having a hemorrhage when it seems she is ready to go home), Dena (the cranky loner who has lost her entire family to the disease and also seems to be better, but ends up dying in the adult section), and Sarah (the Jewish girl who keeps it a secret and seems most likely to die, but is recovering by the end of the book.)  There is a backdrop of WWII, lots of history of TB treatment woven in and a (hopefully) happy ending even among the loss.

65.  *Galileo and the Magic Numbers by Sidney Rosen  A really good read similar in tone  to a Landmark.  The story of Galileo's life went, from his challenges with the church and scientific belief at the time to his relationship with his father and need to support his family.  I'd love to own it, but am not willing to sell a kidney to get it :)  A great way to show how science is a living, changing thing and that scientists are always asking questions!  I loved the part about the first (and following) telescope and how it blew everyone away!

66.  *The Lake House by Kate Morton Quite a mystery!  Sadie Sparrow is a detective who is sent to her grandfathers for a 'rest' because her partner finds out she is the leak to the press in a missing mother case.  (In the end it comes out she was right, of course!) In the midst of her vacation she stumbles on this beautiful, deserted Lake House with a mystery of its own.  She ends up getting very involved in the whether little Theo was killed or stolen all those years ago and his two surviving sisters (one who is Alice, a mystery writer) mix in.  There is lots of guilt for everyone and each one feels they have responsibility, but none can put all the pieces together (shell shock for the beloved father, an affair for the secret keeping mother, the real father of the baby boy, the sacrifice needed to protect Theo and also the secrets of the family, the horror of their grandmother.)  In the end it comes together too well in some ways, but the story was a good one with lots of twists and turns about what could have happened all those years ago.

67. An Unhurried Life by Alan Fadling  I just don't know about this book.  I think I'm not in the right place to read it, even if that means I might need it more than I realize :)  It is about finding a rhythm between being an active, ministering Christian and having a quiet, close relationship with Jesus full of rest.  There is a real dichotomy between the two and finding a place between work and rest as a Christian is tough.  I didn't fully read this book, it needs more than I can give it at this point.

68. *Beartown by Frederik Backman  I've read everything that is translated to English at this point and Ove is still my favorite.  I find many of his books to be heart breaking and all are emotional, but this one is completely heart wrenching.  I think it deserves more stars, but I am scared to put myself through it again.  The writing is slower and more repetitious than most his books, but in a way that makes you really live through the sub plots and emotions of what is happening.  Beartown is hockey through and through.  Maya, the GMs daughter is raped by the star player, Kevin, the week before the final that can literally change the destiny of this slowly dying forest town.  The responses are both fully expected and shocking.  The teammates, the coaches, the Pack, the local bar and all the stories following them really make this so real.  Really good writing and yet, so hard to read.

69. **The Wheel on the School by Meindart DeJong  Such a wonderful story!  For me it started slow, but it got better and better.  Since this is one of Kelby's favorite authors right now and Kathy and so many recommended it I wanted to stick with it.  The kids in Shora, Holland discover there used to be storks, but they've stopped coming because the roofs are too steep and there are no trees.  So they band together to find old wagon wheels to perch on the roofs for the cranes.  There are connections made to the town grump, kids testing their limits, Dads home from fishing helping out, drowned cranes, kids lost in bell towers and more as the town comes together.  A sweet ending to a good book!

70.  *The Song of the Cardinal by Gene Stratton-Porter  I didn't realize this would actually be about a specific cardinal and his song, but it was!  It talks about his growing up and first migration to FL and then return to the river by the Limberlost.  He is twice the size of others and can sing like you can't believe.  We watch his courtship and eventual pairing, his friendship with the farmer and his wife and near death experience.  Charming writing, a really fast read, and lots of learning about birds!

71. *The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith  Precious Ramotswe has set up the first detective agency to be run by a woman in Botswana.  Her father left her money to open up a shop and she decided to help people and be different instead!  A very charming read where we meet the auto mechanic who loves her, see some of the dark side of black magic, and watch how Mma's ability to just notice things and puzzle them out helps her solve cases in such clever ways.  This is a series and I think I'll be reading more of them.  Quick to read, but good, nonetheless!

72. *The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart  I liked this book a lot!  I have seen it recommended a lot in book lists for kids and adults.  I have a feeling my kiddos will enjoy this one a lot, especially if we do it as an audio book.  A group of 4 kids (two orphans, one we think is an orphan and another one who ran away) are all brought together by Mr. Benedict to help save the world from the Emergency.  They have to go to L.I.V.E (an institute run by Mr. Curtain, who turns out to be Mr. Benedict's twin brother) and figure out what he is doing to broadcast this messages into people's heads and then figure out how to stop him from doing it before he boosts power and controls the world.  Really engaging and fun.  I look forward to reading the whole series.

73.*Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith (the second book in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series)  Another quick, but nice read.  Precious and Mr. J.L.B Matekoni are engaged and this book introduces two children he brings home from the orphan farm to join the family.  The cases involve a mother searching for her son (he died on the farm he was working on and she gets to meet a grandchild!), a cheating wife, and J.L.B's maid gets her just due!

74. *The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo   This book made me read faster and faster to see what was going to happen...it felt like a slow motion train wreck coming, but yet, maybe not, but then yes, something... Lucy and Gabe meet on 9/11 and their relationship seems cosmic immediately, but then is cut off at the knees when he reunites with his ex.  Is it the drama of the day?  But somehow they stay interwoven over decades and do have a very intense relationship until he decides to leave to be a photojournalist.  She eventually moves, gets married and has babies all while feeling like her husband doesn't support her dreams the way Gabe did.  They keep dipping into each other lives and end up having an affair when she thinks her husband is cheating on her (turns out he was buying her the house they met at!).  She gets pregnant, gets called to Gabe's bedside where she has to 'unplug' him and finds out the baby is his.  The ending is disappointing in many ways, but the books is very intense even as it breaks my heart.

75. *The Morality of Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith (#3 in No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series)   These are just nice reads, morality without being preachy, learning about Africa and specifically Botswana.  In this one Mr. J.L.B is depressed and doesn't figure into the story much, but we see the secretary become assistant manager of the garage, the apprentices actually start working, the solving of a poising case and finding the beautify contestant who is actually moral and good.

76 * This Strange Wilderness The Life and Art of John James Audubon by Nancy Plain   A really nice biography of JJA.  It is written for young adults, but it makes a nice, quick read that encompasses his entire life, especially focusing on his relationship with his wife and children and their part in making Birds of America a success.  I didn't realize how poor they were and how his going to Europe to sell subscriptions is what made him a star.  BoA was sold in subscription and 5 volumes of art were done to finish it.  He was the first to tag a bird, the first to paint them in realistic poses and the first to try to document all of the species in America.  Such a wanderer at heart too!  There are multiple paintings scattered throughout the books as well.  Highly recommend for a good overview of his life in a living fashion.

77. *Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown  Billie Flanagan is a larger than life person who has lived through a repressive childhood, the 'Lost Years' of eco terrorism and life with a drug dealer, now she is wife to Jonathan and mom to Olive and living a 'perfect' life.  She has been gone almost a year, lost during a solo hike and is about to be officially declared dead.  We see Olive struggle at school, start seeing her mom in vision, a superfluous plot point about her sexuality and the distance between her and her Dad.  We see Jonathan struggle with writing the memoir of his marriage, with money issues and develop a relationship with his wife's best friend, Harmony.  The books is an intense ride through many secrets, through found children and it twists and turns until the very end.  They finally realize she is dead and we see them moving forward in a better space....but then the last couple of pages show us how right they were to believe she is still alive!

78. * The Singing Hill by Miendart DeJong   A sweet, simple book told from the point of view of the 6 year old boy.  His older sister and brother go to school and we see him left home with his Mom and very much treated as the baby brother by them.  He and his father get into a scrape with a bull when trying to sail boats, he finds a horse, and ends up bringing it home in the middle of a rainstorm.  Trns out the sweet grandpa he had befriended is the owner and lets him keep it!  All in all it is a sweet story.

79. *Code Girls by Liza Mundy   Oh, how I expected to LOVE this book.  Such a great story, but the storytelling left a ton to be desired for me.  The book is about the women who were recruited from colleges and teaching school to come to Washington and break the encrypted codes from Germany and Japan.  Their efforts really helped us win the war, especially their work in the Pacific theater.  However, the focus on so many people and the extra details she threw in and the brow beating about them being female and how amazing that was, along with the snide comments about the times and the men really ruined it for me.  It would make an amazing movie, along the lines of Hidden Figures, if the right person took it and made it about their stories and less about the political feminism that she couldn't move past.  Really neat to hear how they even worked with the Enigma machine, especially after watching that movie.

80. *The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith  The next in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.    This one continues to be a nice, light read with just enough interest and action to make it worth it to keep reading.  This one centers a lot more on the assistant detective (and garage manager) and her starting a typing school as well as meeting Mr. Already Married, but doesn't tell her that.  In the end Precious manages to overcome a competitive detective agency, solve the married man issue without hurting her friend and business partner and help bring peace to a man who has felt bad for decades.

81.* H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald  This started slow for me, but in the end I loved it!  This book is a memoir of sorts about Helen's loss of her father and overcoming her grief, also a book review of a very old text on hawking that she read as a child and revisits as she works on training her own goshawk with all the terrible and enlightening parts of the book, and part the story of her relationship with Mabel a goshawk she buys and trains and flies.  The stories of her flying her hawk are amazing and the dedication it takes to do so is nothing short of complete.  A great naturalist type book that works through the loss of someone so important to the author.

82. ** The Captive Princess by Maxine Shore  If this wasn't a terribly expensive out of print book I would absolutely be adding this to our library.  It is the story of the family that ruled much of Briton and how they were conquered and taken to Rome, where they become Christians.  It is so rich in history, in language and so well researched.  We come across Joseph of Arimithia, Paul (and his writings to the Roman believers), and so many other historical/biblical people.  It is well written and I feel like a second reading (or a reading with my bible open) would yield an even richer understanding of the times.  It is the introduction of Christianity to Briton and so much more!

83. *The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain   There are many things I liked about this book, but the ending was too tied bow perfect for me.  She definitely tackles lots of issues in this book from polio epidemics to race, class and religious issues.  Tess has grown up the beloved child of a widow and doted on by her neighbors whose son she is in love with.  They have their Italian, Catholic lives all planned out, he is a doctor, she is about to be a nurse and all will be perfect.  However a weekend away with a girlfriend leaves her pregnant and when she tries to run away with a stop at the father's to get cash she ends up married to him and orphaned too.  The marriage is a sham, his family and town won't accept her and she loses the baby.  In the end she finds purpose as a nurse when the town opens a polio hospital in 54 hours and she finds the love of her life too.  She discovers her husband is in love with the daughter of their former maid (and father of her two children, one of whom dies in the polio epidemic.)  In the end he fakes his death and she and her childhood beloved end up helping his soon to be wife get to him.  They go on to have a wonderful life with a child, a dual practice and a vaccine is found...oh, so perfect, right?

84. *Starlight in Tourrone by Suzanne Butler  Such a sweet, sweet story about a village that had left behind the tradition of processing to the old, decrepit chapel and presenting gifts to a mother and child on Christmas Eve.  When a group of children decides to have it again, even through no babies have been born there in 6 years and the village only has 50 people in it.  In the end the expected mother and baby are not able to come because of flooding and sickness, which devastates the children.  However, they get their Christmas miracle when a long lost son of the village returns with his wife and newborn child.  They all have renewed hope and this is a book worth reading every Christmas!

85.*  The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith Number 5 in the Ladies Detective series and this one is especially sweet.  There is a parachute jump, the taking down of a dishonest mechanic and in the end a wedding!!!  These are such nice light, uplifting reads.

86.*Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman  This is pretty much a two star book...Becca and John are in love and getting married, the day is beautiful, and it ends up devastating many lives for years.  Becca is the golden child of a summer family with long ties to the little Maine community. John is the gold child of the town's cleaning lady.  After their beautiful wedding they are killed while their guests wait for them at the reception.  We watch their parents grieve, their brother and sister hook up and try to live out their dreams by restoring the boat John was working on.  We see a child's gift for music discovered and nurtured all while a marriage falls apart and we see how they all survive, somehow, in the end.  The separation between families and the struggles of grief are so vivid and strong and the end left me crying.  Good book!

87. **America Is Born by Gerald W. Johnson   Oh, this is a book we need to get!  Such an easy, wonderful way to learn about the history of America up to just after the Revolution.  Very conversational, explaining many of the backstories that I  don't remember learning in school.  This whole series is so highly recommended and now I can totally see why!

88. **A Stranger for Christmas by Carol Lynn Pearson  Such a sweet little book!  Myrna and Florence are in a nursing home and missing Christmas.  Myrna is missing her 4 children and all her grandchildren because she can't fly back to Idaho to see them this Christmas on doctors orders.  Florence never had children and misses ever having had a family Christmas.  They invent a sweet little lady in Idaho that needs a family for Christmas and are so disappointed when all the children won't take this fictional friend in.  The ultimate surprise is when the entire family shows up in CA to spend Christmas, except for the oldest who is on a hunt for the fictional Genevieve.  Heart warming, sweet and a perfect evening by the fire kind of read.

89. **The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson  I love this book. I really love it and I finally own a hardcover copy!  One night this Christmas season I just needed a chance to sit by the fire and read something light hearted, but sweet and this fit the bill.  There never were naughtier kids, but there were never kids who could teach others so much either.  A perfect evening read!

90 * Pioneer Girl:  The Early Life of Frances Willard by Clara Ingram Judson  This was a sweet find at St. Vinnies.  Pictures are by Genevieve Foster too!  I'm not familiar with Frances Willard, but this is the story of her early years.  Her family traveled from Ohio by wagon train and settled by Janesville!  She sees the first train to come to Janesville and many familiar landmarks and towns are mentioned.  She wants to be educated like her big brother (who goes to Beloit College) and she goes from lessons with her mother to other teachers and eventually a school.  The last page details more of her life after as well.  A neat little children's book by two great author/illustrators and I'm glad to have it in my collection!

91. **A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle  I feel like I need to reread this a few times.  She writes of her life and within that talks about being a writer.  It is her attempt to define and explore the meaning of her life.  So many great quotes and interesting ideas are woven in.  I was surprised to hear her talk of her struggle to have faith, even as everything she was doing and living seemed to point to a great faith.  She and her husband moved to a small town and raised their kids their while running the general store.  He was overall an actor (before and after the store) and she was the choir director at the local church.  She explores the days when none of her work was selling and how that helped her know she was writer because she HAD to write, even if it didn't ever go anywhere. She discusses the time away from family to pursue her passion and the joy of her children and being a mother.  A good book for sure!

92. * The Last Little Cat by Meindert DeJong   Another very quick children's read.  Kelby likes this author and I am trying to read some of the ones she does.  Some of his books are longer, but this one is very short and simple.  A tiny kitten (the last born after 6 siblings) never gets enough milk or warmth because of the other six.  They are born in an abandoned chicken box at the very top of a bank of dog kennels.  When the kittens open their eyes the mother takes the six down and introduces them to all the kenneled dogs, but leaves the little one.  She tries to jump down, but lands on the kennel of the old dog that belongs to the man who cares for all the other dogs.  She licks his face because it is full of milk and it makes the old dog happy.  Then she curls up with him and is warm...full of milk and warm!  She ends up lost, but 7 houses down find the man who falls in love with the kitten and brings the old dog home as they can be companions there.  A very happy ending for the last, lost kitten.

93*The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman  Another little book by him (was originally a newspaper story) and one of his oddest yet.  This one involves a father who is incredibly successful in business, but has left his child and ex-wife behind.  He is diagnosed with cancer and meets a little girl who has been as well.  There is an ongoing connection with the woman in the grey sweater (came for his twin brother, his best friend, his parents) and while she isn't death, she is the one who does the pick ups.  He wants to prevent the girl from dying and to do so much give up his life...not die, actually be erased.  They visit his son one last time and he finally feels a bit of his love for him just as he leaves.  A VERY quick read, not my favorite of his by far.

94.* The French Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone  Recommended by Reformation Acres, some interesting recipes.  I'd like to try the one for pate as I have all these chicken livers to use up!

95.* Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell   A young love story where Eleanor is the 16 year old who had been kicked out by her step-dad for a year, moves back with her family, meets Park on the bus and they fall in love....except it is a s.l.o.w. process complicated by her unwillingness to share the abuse and desperation of her family life and his inner struggles about how different she is vs. the popular kid who he has always been able to deal with.  It gets pretty raw towards the end and the very ending left me hanging a bit, but I really liked it.  Lots of angst, written from both perspectives, but highly readable and one that was hard to put down!

96.* The Festive Food of Ireland by Darina Allen  This is a cute little book that talks about select feast days in Ireland (Easter, St. Stephens Day, and others) and then has a few recipes that go with each one.  Pretty watercolors throughout and pocket sized, so adorable is a fitting word.  Recipes are mostly doable and traditional, but no doubt are delicious as she is a great cooking teacher.