Sunday, May 30

Off The Grid

Sorry about the lack of posts lately, folks. We have been off the grid. I wish I could say it was self-imposed and we are trying to use less electric or something like that, but this was not the case.

Our internet and phone went out last Wednesday and we just got it back.

More to follow.....

Wednesday, May 26

Do-Nothing Day



Yesterday was one of those days where I didn't feel like doing much. Normally, I am stressing over the to-do list and making plans and wringing my hands over the progress of the tomato plants. We needed a break - the little guy and myself.

So yesterday was a do-nothing day for me and I actually enjoyed it, just a little. Not to say that I sat on my butt all day in front of the television with the baby on my lap. I did loads of laundry and hung them on the line since the weather was absolutely, beautifully perfect. I wandered around the yard with the little guy toddling along behind me, picking up a stick here, pulling a weed there.

Mostly, though, we sat in lounging lawn chairs and watched the chickens. An afternoon of the poultry channel. Connor actually likes to sit in the chair, all by himself. I know, you are thinking, what kid does that!!?? But he sits and plays with his little toys and stays put for an impressive amount of time.

So we sat and watched the girls and the ladies, occasionally tossing them a handful of birdfeeder food for a treat and to watch the show. He played with his Memorial Day star rattle and I blew bubbles that we both watched float around the yard.



Ever seen a soap bubble come into contact with a chicken? Amusing.

During our slow tours of the yard, I noticed all the things that are out and blooming. This past week has coaxed just about everything that flowers out and the gardens are exploding. The iris and all up and producing big, numerous blooms this year and the clematis vines are all going crazy, overnight it seems.

There are just so many things to look at and smell.....



Soon the entire front of the barn will be lined with pink, red and white roses, mixed in with all the other colors of the iris, clematis, daisy, poppy and so many others. This is truly my favorite time of summer - that little space between the end of spring and the beginning of summer - right around Memorial Day.

Just perfect.

And taking a day to enjoy it was just what we both needed.

Tuesday, May 25

My Favorite Iris



I absolutely love this cornflower blue iris. I have so many varieties, since they are my second favorite flower, but this blue beauty is my favorite. All shades of purple are here as well as white, light yellow and a yellow and purple mix. Ihad a beautiful yellow and brown combo but it has failed to come up this year as well as last year so i think it is lost. I am going to raid Mom's garden, and Grandma's if i have to, for a new bulb division since this yellow and brown one originally came from my Great Grandmothers garden.

Monday, May 24

Chicken Wrangling

Another night of bedtime fiascos and unruly chicks tonight. There have been daring expeditions by the younger girls from their side of the coop into the realm of the older ladies. This seems to result in getting pecked at and cowering in a corner.

I had three this evening, and I managed to corner two of them and lift them back over to their own side. Number three decided to head for greener pastures, literally, and made a break for the older ladies outdoor area. She found it quite like her own area, I assume, and was pecked and chased for her efforts. She was wrangled and put back over the fence. The whole while I was running around, stooped over, chasing chickens, I was being watched by the audience onlookers. They perched themselves on the window ledges and cheered on their sisters as they gave me a run for my money around the pen. i think they must do this on purpose just for a show. "OK, who's turn is it to be the bait tonight?"

Trying to keep them separate but able to interact with limitations is proving to be more difficult than I thought. The little girls have started their own version of 'flying' - jumping up on window ledges and nest boxes and jumping off, wildly flapping and flailing until they land somewhere and then they do it all over again. Problem is, sometimes they land on the wrong side of the fence.

I guess this will work itself out in that they will be shown the pecking order and either stay on their own side or just deal with it. But they are still eating different food and I don’t want the little ones getting into the big girl food. i have read that this is bad and they should not have adult food until they are 18 weeks of age. Right now they are about 6 weeks, even though they look much older to my untrained eyes. They seem to be testing their boundaries, much like the 'tweens' they are, and much like a good parent, I think I must put my foot down. Probably in the form of a higher indoor coop-separation fence.

All that said, I must admit that I love my girls. They are very entertaining and I do spend as much time as possible outside in a chair watching "the poultry chanel" as Jenna Woginrich puts it. i am starting to be able to tell them apart and names will soon follow once I learn personalities. For some reason 'Gertrude' springs to mind as a good name.

I Have Twelve 'Tweens'




This past weekend we decided to semi-merge the flock of 12 golden comets (almost 2 months old but HUGE!) with the 6 Rhode Island Red / Leghorns (all ladies, except for one who is bitchy).

After seeking advice from online sources and my books, we decided to still keep them separate but let them see each other so they would get used to each other. We hope this will limit fighting when they are all in the same pen together. We hauled some fencing sections out of the big barn that had come with the house and used them to divide the inside coop section in half. The sections are only about 4 feet high so I can still reach over and tend to food and water needs, so we put the little ladies on the far side of the coop. The big ladies stayed when I could easily get to the nest boxes for egg collection.

The same happened with the outside, a divider about 4 feet high down the center. Both sections have their own enter/exit door to the inside coop.

One by one we introduced the girls to their now home by way of Roy climbing into the big cage and handing them to me one at a time as he caught them. They were not happy, and neither was Roy, but everyone made it safely to the new enclosure which is bigger and they can finally have access to the grass. They explored every inch of their new apartment with interest and caution.

The ladies were not pleased either. A lot of clucking and squawking from the big 6 but not much else. We do have one of the six who is getting aggressive. She is of darker color than the rest and tends to like to wallow in the dust and shed her feathers. She had a little bald patch on her rump and some of her wing feathers are a little thin in spots but she actually came to us this way so it is nothing I am concerned about at the moment. But she is just a little mean.

The little ones did not dare venture outside into the grass all day Saturday and only 5 of them braved the out of doors yesterday.

Now comes the fun part. The six ladies know to go into the coop at around 8pm. They learned this around the third day and are really good at it. No problems. The little 'tweens' however are not with the program. I can hear them now 'I don't want to go to bed!'

I have a flock of twelve prissy tweens who backtalk and push my limits. I did finally coral them using a lawn chair and snow shovel. No one was injured or traumatized and if you are picturing my running around inside a fence, bent over due to the 5 foot clearance of the top netting, shooing tween chicks with a blue Sears snow shovel, then you go ahead and laugh because I am sure it looked funny to the guy and his wife walking their dog down my road.

We had three prison breaks during the night on Sunday however - I went to let everyone out this morning and discovered three wayward little girls cowering in a corner of the big girls area, unharmed but a little freaked out.

We are getting about 5 or 6 eggs per day from the big ladies and I so far have two egg customers. When all 18 are laying eggs, I am going to be up to my ears in eggs so I had better hunt down more customers.

Thursday, May 20

The First Rose of the Season

Mulch, My One True Love


Mulch.....
Beautiful Mulch.....
Your perfection astounds me every season.....


Saturday was an outside day. One of those days where you have a list of things to get done, you have the supplies to do the projects, the baby is being watched, and the weather is cooperating.

Saturday, I was glad, once again, that I am an 'outdoor girl'.

My truckload of mulch was delivered bright and early. Let me tell you, there is no better a tease to the senses than a big pile of rich, dark brown mulch in a big pile in the driveway. It smelled wonderful. It looked wonderful. And it was all mine.

Seven hours later, I had 90% of the gardens weeded. I had 90% of the gardens mulched. And 90% of my body was sore, bruised, scratched and absolutely exhausted. Add in a few additional yard chores, chicken chores, and a few veggie garden chores and you have a full day of outdoor bliss.

I have a lot of gardens. I love flowers, especially roses, and I am constantly expanding and adding, with the exception of the shade garden which I shrunk this year. It is a ton of work but I actually enjoy it. When all the roses in the long row in front of the barn are blooming at the same time, the smell is heavenly. I can stand out there and breath in the buffet. Rich or fruity or delicate or perfume-like, or sometimes even a little spicy. I love them all.

The lilacs hit their peak last week and are now starting to fade and turn brownish. I still have a nice little light pink one in the side yard that is hanging on for which I am grateful. A few tulips have carried on to mingle with the iris that are starting to explode onto the scene. The roses will be blooming shortly - usually around the first week of June. I will have lots of lilies this year, the dark purple columbine are out and the hostas, after a couple seasons of poor performance, have turned themselves around it seems. Huge, thick plumes of leaves falling over each other.

The remaining 10% of weeding and mulching will be done shortly and the best part is - I will still have some mulch left over. When does that EVER happen!!??!!!?

What to do with it? Maybe I will fill a mason jar with some, seal it tight and put it away so next January when I am about to have a meltdown, I can pop the top and bask in the aroma and the promise of warmer days to come.

Monday, May 17

Dedication



Yesterday, Sunday, was the dedication of the memorial garden at the West Bloomfield Historical Society. It was in honor of my Aunt, Sandy Schlenker, who sadly passed away a year ago this past May 13th.

The minister from the West Bloomfield church was there and gave a wonderful dedication speech. He had also been the minster to give her memorial speech at her service which was absolutely perfect and so fitting. He really understood her place in the community and very eloquently and sincerely put into words the wonderful qualities Sandy had and shared with everyone she met.

"She has been gone and year, but to some of us it seems like only yesterday and to others it feels like forever."

She is one of the main people who fostered and nourished my love of all things history, especially genealogy. The importance of the past, of knowing where you came from and appreciating those who came before us. It has become such a huge, all - encompassing part of my life - I am constantly on the lookout for family tree information, I wonder about the old building in town or the crumbling stones in the cemetery. I think that it is a crime to forget your ancestors and that old homes should not be torn down to build another Walgreens. Every time I find another piece of the family history, I am still hungry for more. Curiosity and interest in the past - and knowing how important it is - is part of the priceless gift she gave me just be being herself and sharing with me.

Her dedication to preserving the history of the Town of West Bloomfield and Ionia and of the surrounding towns is something to be thankful for. The residents of these towns have this gift of knowing a little more about their old home, the pioneers who built the town or the veterans buried in the local cemetery.

Dedication. It is what she had. And yesterday we dedicated a small garden full of a wide variety of flowers and bulbs to her that we all picked out and planted last fall.

She was a truly wonderful human being who was taken far too soon. She had so much left to give. Even now that she is gone, and has been for a whole year now, I still cannot help but think she is still working on her research. I want to picture her getting all her genealogy questions answered - all the aggravating little bits that are impossible to figure out. That she is meeting the people she spent her life learning about. And that she is guiding the hands of those here, still looking.

Saturday, May 15

Stalker



Unfortunately, people tend to drop off cats on country roads. We are not country, but more just outside suburbia, but the people who drop off cats still think that they can get away with it is the houses are far enough apart. I don't know if they think that someone will take the cat in or if it will learn to fend for itself, and I don’t want to even consider the other possibilities.

Such is the case of the black cat. Last summer I would catch little glimpses of a small black kitten slinking around the barns and in the field. I would see him a couple times a week for a few minutes.

** I will call him a boy since I have no idea how to tell cats apart, even if I could get close to this one.

So he lived, presumably, in the barns on numerous properties on and around our road, hunting for food in the fields and picking up meals where he could. I have provided a tuna dinner or two. But I could never get him to come to me or get near him.

As summer went on, I kept an eye out for him. I feared he would fall victim to a coyote, a fox, or any number of things. He could move on to another area, someone could catch him and take him to a shelter, or he could get into the road and, well, meet an unfortunate end.

Summer turned to fall and I began to worry about him and where he would spend time now that it was getting colder. I knew he would not come to me so there was no chance of getting him into the warm house. So all I could do was hope and keep watch.

I did not see him almost all winter. One day, during a brief winter thaw, i saw him in a neighbor’s field, presumably hunting. I was relieved but still worried. Winter was no over and it was a cold one. He looked so small to me, even though I never he was no longer a kitten.

I had not seen him since that winter day, and it is now the middle of May. To be honest, I had resigned myself to believe the worst. That he had not made it through the winter, one way or another. A way to release myself from an responsibility I felt towards him – to feed him, to try to make a warm nest box for him in the barn, to worry about him.

But today, during the mid morning chicken check and cold frame opening, there he was! Low in the field grass, peeking out at me. I called to him and he just stared at me with bright eyes. He is a beautiful cat now with a secretive personality. Very stealth, like a stalker. Intriguing in his aloofness.

I called to him again and took a step forward and then he was off. Through the field and across the tree farm access road and into the pine trees. I was disappointed, but happy.

He made it.

Friday, May 14

Turkey Jerky

The dehydrator has been hard at work again, this time drying every last drop of moisture out of turkey.

Roy decided that he wanted to try making his own turkey jerky. He really likes it but it is expensive. So he got the meat grinder thing and a big oblong chunk of Black Forest Turkey and set to work.

Grinding turkey is not as romantic as it might sound. I was in charge of chopping and dumping chunks into the grinder. As the hand-grinder worked its magic, ground turkey came out the other end much like a play dough fun factory with the 'spaghetti' attachment on the press.



The next step was to add the spices and seasoning and mix it all up together in a big bowl. It smelled very, well, spicy. Almost overpowering. If I was still pregnant with my super sense of smell, I would have been sleeping in the car that night.

Step three - put the mixture into the press gun. It is like a holiday cookie press, but instead of little Christmas tree shapes that taste like chocolate, this produced strips of turkey that definitely did not taste like chocolate. A very interesting thing, this jerky making. Kind of fun to produce these strips of mushy turkey but the end product was a mystery to me.



So the dehydrator ran all night on the kitchen counter and the whole downstairs smelled very spicy.

Morning came and we were greeted with jerky.

Before I continue, do me a favor. Picture in your mind what jerky is supposed to look like. Any jerky I have ever seen comes out of a bag and it is dark brown-ish, slightly moist looking and chewy-ish. I have never eaten jerky but Roy has and I have seen it happen.

Now, let me describe for you what came out of the dehydrator. Crunchy, brittle, falling apart crumbles of light brown severely dehydrated meat product. I was instantly reminded of something that would have come from the baby’s diaper, to be honest. Just dehydrated.

Roy said "Well, I think we cooked it too long."

Who is this "we"?

There is no "we" in jerky.

Thursday, May 13

Monster Eggs



I think that my 6 older ladies might be super chickens.

Not that they do anything extraordinary, unless pecking at the ground, pooping in the nest boxes and doing little dances that destroy my grass is considered gifted. They do, however, seem to be laying monster eggs.

So big that they do not fit into the cardboard cartons we picked up at Tractor Supply along with our oyster shells and pine shavings.

I am having mixed feeling about this. We are getting these huge eggs that my husband says taste pretty darn good. I find myself checking for eggs up to 5 times day, hoping that I will find at least one more sitting majestically on the pile of smushed down straw. Maybe it will still be warm! I bring it into the house, look it over, note the differences between it and the other eggs - shell color, shape, weight - and add it to my little collection in the fridge. Only problem is I cannot close the top of the carton due to the monster eggs. And have already made my first egg sale - 1 dozen. And another dozen will be heading out the door tomorrow.

Here is the other side. I'll just say it - does this hurt the chicken? Not getting into specifics here which you can probably imagine, but, well, do monster eggs hurt the chicken?!?!

They are a skittish group of ladies, all six of them. They do not like to be handled, probably since they have never been picked up and swooned over like a super villain and a white, long haired cat. But today I was able to lure one to me and pick her up, carefully, and pet her for lack of a better word. (Do you "pet" a chicken like a cat?). She didn't seem to mind a good behind the ears scratch and I put her down within a minute so she would not get freaked out. They are my newest babies, quickly becoming part of the family, and I care about their well being.

Am I being crazy? Any experts out there? The whole mystical egg production thing is a quandary causing situation.

Wednesday, May 12

Moo

Seriously??!!??!?!?!?



Who is in charge of the weather? Nothing offensive meant here, if God is in control of the rain-o-maker, but, seriously, snow on Mother's Day?

Literal accumulation on the hood of the truck on Mother's Day morning, as the lilacs look on, drooping with the weight of the snow and sadly hanging their heads from the previous nights rain and wind.

I don't want to make too much of this but has anyone noticed the weather getting a little screwy lately?

It's MAY!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 11

Crime and Punishment


This is Prince.

Prince is an indoor cat.

Prince is in his pen.

He gets fresh air and a change of scenery this way.

He likes his pen.

He is not being punished.

I write this because someone saw him in his pen on our last sunny day and asked if he was being punished. No, he was not. He was enjoying fresh air and being as close to the great outdoors as he can be.

I have had him for about 11 years and he has always been an indoor cat since we used to live in a congested area with heavy traffic. He is also a Maine Coon which means that his fur would be totally destroyed if were allowed to roam through the underbrush.

We have moved to a more agricultural location - we have a quiet road and 2 acres. But he is still not allowed to roam free, just like my other two cats. Since they have never been out and about on their own, they do not know to run from cars. And we have predators here like coyotes, hawks and Jeep Cherokees.

I am sure that other people have heard of cat pens and use them. One of these people is my Grandmother, which is where I first became a cat pen convert. She has had many cats and has sadly lost some to cars. They live in a very rural area which includes among its residents, bears, dogs, and some breed of large wild cat. She was able to get a hold of a large mink pen complete with a little shelter house built on the end. She cleaned it thoroughly, repaired pieces and added a nice wooden floor. She gave me this cat pen (pictured above) when we moved to our new home and it has been perfect for my babies.

But we do get some looks are questions. Mostly from the UPS, Fedex and/or various delivery people. Some from people who come over that have not been here before, my husband’s work acquaintances, etc. The most frequent questions are "What is that pen for?", "Do you have bunnies?", or if one of the cats is in the pen at the time, "Is that cat being punished?".

Punished? The pen is like a little kitty resort! Food, water, shade, sunlight, fresh air, cat grass, spider plant, cushy sitting areas, a great view of the bird feeder and an enclosed little hutch for naps. I wish I could spend an hour in there!

Friday, May 7

This is Why We Never Have to Buy Pens



Roy got home from a huge work conference in Orlando late last night and this morning he opened up his suitcase full of goodies from all the suppliers and vendors and marketing people.

This may sound strange but it is like Christmas in May.

I am fanatical about office supplies. I love them.

I could spend hours in Staples just looking at pens and notebooks.

I love the smell of masking tape and crayola crayons.

And these conferences are why we never have to buy pens. Or post its. Or canvas shopping bags.

The kid had a ball trying to put everything in his mouth and got a sticker for a chemical explosive accidentally stuck to his butt. Ironic in a way.

Here is a breakdown of all the lovely presents he brought home for me. Some are more lovely than others, some are just weird and some are kind of like "hmm, ok.... thank you.....(?)"

4 strands of Mardi Gras beads (I don't think he took his shirt off to get them)
2 stress relief squeeze things shaped like a star and a hot air balloon
1 'suction cup to the back of your door' basketball toy
1 thing of WD-40 in a tube (I did not know this existed in tube form)
1 dancing robot (Freakin' cool!!! Here is a video of him)
video

7 key chains - two are supposed to light up. Only can get one to work.
*** A note on key chains. if you say you are just going to a conference, do not bring home a key chain shaped like a naked lady.


1 pocket pen light
1 tube of super glue
5 luggage tags/identifiers
2 triangle highlighters (great for genealogy!)
8 poker chips - no monetary value
3 computer screen cleaning things
27 pens (YES - 27 PENS!!!!!!!) I am in heaven!
1 green highlighter
1 green pen and highlighter combo (Again, heaven)
1 mechanical pencil
2 rectangle woodworkers pencils (The kid likes these)
1 regular pencil
1 small plastic ruler
6 small packages of mints and gun (this is kind of gross and will not be eaten by me)
12 small plastic bookmarks
6 hand sanitizers, two in pen form (I am not crazy about hand sanitizer but Roy is)
1 dental floss (eeww)
3 pairs of ear plugs
1 pair safety glasses (I think I will wear these when using my temperamental wood chipper)
1 chip bag clip
3 thumb drives
4 conference pins
2 little blue stuffed birdies
1 Frisbee
4 canvas shopping bags
1 can of biodegradable paint stripper (what? - are they running out of giveaway ideas?)
2 support the troops car magnets
6 mouse pads (I don't have that many mice)
1 cool little notebook
1 'clip your drill to your belt' holder thing (again - running out of ideas?)
1 keep your beer cool holder thing
1 "shower in a towel" (fragrance-free!)
1 pair of durable gloves
4 items that promise to let you go to the bathroom anywhere-portable potties in bags. eeww.
1 'grab and go' safety kit
decals including explosive sticker
numerous post it packs handouts, booklets to order things, a few other odds and ends



Now, I am aware that all this "stuff" is just that - "stuff". I know that there are things here that we didn't really need or would have bought in a store. And I can see that a lot of it comes from the far away, mystical land of China. However, we will use a lot of this stuff. The money we will save on pens alone! I will do my best to integrate these items into our household and use them for their intended purposes. Well, maybe not the mints.

Thursday, May 6

Eggs and Entertainment



Last Saturday we finished off the interior chicken coop area and introduced 6 Rhode Island Red/leghorn mixes to their new home. They are 6 months old and already laying.
They have been tearing up my grass with their chicken dancing ever since.

My grandpa made the nest boxes for us from pine and the hens really seem to enjoy them.




We also moved the chicks to their own small pen inside the shed. The shed is very large and has two "rooms". One room is where we have the coop for the hens that has the old chicken doors to their outside pen. The chicks are in the other room in a pen that gives them lots of room but they cannot go outside or interact with the older hens. They seem happy and we have additional peeping to keep them company - there is a robin’s nest in the rafters.

So I now have 18 little entertaining girls in my big old shed. The comets are growing bigger by the day. They have all of their feathers now - all different in colors and markings. They are going to make a beautiful flock. The older girls are slowly showing me their personalities and I am learning to tell them apart. They are already laying and we have already accumulated over a dozen eggs since they have been here.

And I already have come to love 'egg checking time', which comes several times a day. It is exciting for me - like getting a present. I am greeted with a chorus of squawking and clucking in the morning when I go out to open the little chicken door and they come pouring out into the grass, excited to start another day. Then I check the food and water for both the ladies and the chicks. And then it is egg time and I look for my present. A sometimes warm, perfectly shaped, light brown egg waiting for me in the nest box. The ladies squawk at me like they know I am taking away their property.

Do they miss their eggs? Do they come back to the next box if they don't see me take the eggs and wonder where they went?

But I still say 'thank you ladies' and go back to the house and add the latest gifts to my collection in the fridge.

Even with all my reservations about additional responsibility, I am very happy that we decided to get the chickens.

Eggs and Entertainment.

Garden and Yard Report



Boring title, I know, but that’s what this post is about. All the totally fantastic things that are going on now make this a great time of year. No humid 100 degrees and no 7 degree ice and snow. All the plants are shooting up faster than I can take pictures of them.

Yesterday, Wednesday, was a fabulous day, whether-wise. 80 degrees and sunny. It was a 'have all the windows open to air out the stale air' type of day. I managed to do some yard clean up and a little weeding during baby naps and I actually took the morning nap with him yesterday. I usually cherish these nap times, the morning nap being the longest of the day, and try to squeeze in as many little projects as I can during that time. But I gave in and napped. I was THAT tired.

The weather changed last night around dinner time and we had massive winds, thunder, lightning and heavy rains. Unfortunately, this took care of the last hangers-on blooms of the magnolia tree and my tulips are pretty much petal-less now. They were just about spent regardless and the other flowers are starting to bloom. The purple columbine is opening up and I still have a wayward daffodil. I can see where the roses are going to be spectacular this year and the peonies are looking good too.

The barn swallows are back in force, building their nests in the barn and pooping all over my car. They love when I mow the lawn and swoop down in front and to the side of the mower catching bugs evacuating the path of the mower blades. They are so pretty with their shiny blue and light brown and they provide much entertainment. We also have a cardinal nest in one of the rose bushes which is a first for me. I have never seen cardinal babies before so I am looking forward to them. I have held off on trimming that rose bush to give them as much privacy as possible, hoping that they will stay.

The chipper that Roy bought from craigslist works well but it has fallen a little short of my expectations. I was picturing making my own mulch for the gardens and being able to make a drastic dent in the pile of branches and brush we have here on the property. Unfortunately, we purchased a picky chipper who I have named Sally. She is one specific chipper. She only likes branches that are a certain size. Too big and she jams. Too small and it doesn’t trigger the blades to spin. And she stalls. Alot. She works if you are picky about the branches you put in but the mulch that comes out is not what I expected. The chunks are larger - more like chips. So Sally will be used, gratefully, to clean up the brush pile but not to mulch my roses.

One final note - lilacs! They smell wonderful!! I have a huge purple one right outside the back kitchen window and when the window is open and the breeze is blowing you do not need air freshener in this house!

Tuesday, May 4

The Union Hill Country Grill




We tried a new restaurant the other day on the way to buy chicken supplies. My neighbor had recommended it a while ago since we like nice, home-style type places to eat.

The Union Hill Grill did not disappoint. It was just the type of place that I like. Small town, local, 'walk through the small convenience store to get to the restaurant part', place to be comfortable and enjoy a good meal. It didn't hurt that it also had flyers up in the entrance way for everything from child care to plowing implements for sale.

This place was very layed back and comfortable. They had good selection of food, the employees were great and the prices were not bad either. This kind of places just feels so right to me. It's the kind of place where I feel that I fit in. I can be in my comfy jeans and a flannel shirt, I'll have the baby bag / mom purse and baby in tow and my hair will be a mess from having the windows down in the car on the way over, but it really doesn't bother me.

Roy and I used to go out to eat a lot. We would go to Applebee's and TC Hooligans and I like those places but I always felt a little 'off' there. Like I wasn't dressed right or I felt uncomfortable for some reason. We don't go out to restaurants nearly as much as we used to since it is so much cheaper to make our own meals at home and i figure that if we are going to go out and spend money on a meal, we should go someplace that we like and that we enjoy spending time at.

It's a nice place - kid friendly, good prices, great atmosphere. And it is in this great, really old building, which only makes it all the more fantastic for me. It was built in 1865! The following is from their website and details the history of the building. It is very interesting, especially to someone like me, where history is paramount.

" The Union Hill Country Grill is located at the intersection of Ridge Road and the Monroe-Wayne County Line Road in the community of Union Hill, New York, nestled between the towns of Webster to its west and Ontario to its east.
The building, which today houses The Union Hill Country Grill, was originally constructed by Frank M. Jones around 1865. Beginning in 1865, this site served as the Union Hill Post Office. Later Mr. Jones sold the building to William Stokes who operated a store on the premises until his death in 1929. The store was then operated by several people including William and Thomas Elliot who purchased it in 1932. William Elliot's children, Eva Elliot Anderson and Jack Elliot worked in the store with their father and continue to remain Webster residents today. Their reminisces have been quite helpful in tracing the history of the site.
The original corner store sold many items ranging from groceries and yard goods to shoes, kerosene and seeds. There was an elevated office in the center of the store used by bookkeeper, Mrs. Smart. Behind the office was a stairway to the second story where a millinery shop was once run by Jennie Wagar in which she produced and sold custom-made hats, with no two hats ever alike, attracting customers from miles around. At Christmas time a gift shop operating in the vicinity. During this time the Post Office continued to remain in the northeast corner of the store. To the south of the Post Office was the barber shop. A two story apartment on the west side of the building as was occupied by the owners and the later tenants. Over the years, the businesses in the building have been changed many times including a grocery store, a tropical fish store, a TV repair shop and once again a grocery store.
Eva Elliot Anderson and Jack Elliot recall the property as consisting of two buildings. The second building sat behind the store and held horse drawn carriages which were sold there. There was even a wooden horse on the site which was used to work on saddles. An elevator went to the second floor. This second building was converted to a garage which was run by George Heineman. It was also the original site of the Union Hill Fire Department since 1940 and housed the Union Hill Fire truck from 1942 to 1945. Today the Union Hill Fire Department has relocated just across the street from the Union Hill Country Grill. The second building was eventually torn down with the space now serving as a parking lot for The Union Hill Country Grill.
In the early years, residents of Union Hill and nearby farmers depended on the local stores and shops to provide groceries and services. Other businesses were formed nearby, including a lumber company at the railroad located just below the hill. The Rome, Watertown and Ogdensberg Railroad, known as the "Ho-Jack", was completed and in operation in 1876. Supplies were shipped to the Union Hill railroad station and then taken to the stores by horse drawn wagons. While the Union Hill station closed in 1940, the Ontario-Midland Railroad continues to operate occasionally today. The Rochester and Sodus Bay Trolley provided commuter service to and from Rochester from 1900 to 1929, with stops in Union Hill.
The current owner of the site, Jim Hall continues to operate a small country store on the premises and has converted the remainder of the first floor, which once held two apartments, to accommodate the continued growth of The Union Hill Country Grill, the family restaurant which he owns and operates. He has also personally renovated the three upstairs apartments, updating them to include the conveniences of modern life. The Union Hill Country Grill is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The restaurant's walls are lined with historical pictures from the area. Please come and view them while sitting down to a meal or homemade dessert."