Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

I hope everyone had a nice and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. I'd like to say we had a relaxing one but we were super busy working on projects as usual. Sean started working on the chicken house and got it almost all framed in. It's a 5 foot by 8 foot building that will be set on caster wheels so that it can roll. The wheels will allow me to push it outside once or twice a year to give it a thorough cleaning and disinfecting. It will be placed inside of our metal shop with a small, chicken sized opening going outside into the chicken run. This way I can shut their little door and lock them in their house every night, there will be no predators killing these chickens.



I'm especially excited about the nesting boxes. They are mounted on the outside and will have a hinged lid that I can lift to collect eggs, thus allowing me to not have to step foot in the hen house. Everything I've read says to allow one nesting box per 3-5 hens....so three is actually overkill for eight chickens. Have I mentioned how super awesome my husband is for building all of my hair brained ideas? Well he is. We hope to get the siding up on it next weekend along with the door and window.



Anymore, where ever Sean is you'll find Wesley. He follows his Dad around in the shop doing whatever he does. His little shadow. He helped work on the chicken house by drawing all over it with a pen. It will be sad painting over all of his artwork. :)



It was a beautiful weekend with oodles of sunshine so we played outside and I let Greta relax on the quilt. I just love that little face.





Oh and I can't forget the other little face I adore. He still won't let me photograph him much. I have to be sneaky with the camera with this little boy.



Greta discovered the joys of grass and dirt. This little lady wasn't afraid to get dirt under her fingernails....and in her hair and in her chubby thighs.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

High on the Hog

Last summer I was driving down the dirt road near our house and saw a Power Wheels Harley Davidson Motorcycle parked next to someones overflowing trash can. It was sitting there with a few other big items so I deducted that it was intended for the trash man. I couldn't let something that cool just sit in a landfill so I stopped and maneuvered it into the back of the minivan (quite a feat I might add seeing as I was 8 months pregnant). I figured if it was being thrown out, it either had a dead battery or something wrong with the wiring....both of which my Mr. Handyman husband could fix. Sean hooked it up to his jump starter and it worked so that meant it just needed a new battery. So last week we ordered a battery and a battery charger and installed it Friday night. Wesley hoped on it and just took off, ripping around the back yard. It was fascinating to watch how quickly he picked up on the steering and using the gas pedal. He also learned quickly that it has a turbo button that makes him go super fast. That giant smile on his face was so worth the $100 for the battery and charger. Would I spend $300 for a new one? No way, but a third of that.....sure. Plus, I'm happy it got a new lease on life and isn't rotting away at the dump. It sure is making a little three year old boy happy.



His maiden voyage:
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Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Trash Collector

Wesley is at a really fun age. And I'm not even being sarcastic here. He talks our ear off at dinner and will tell us about the fun parts of his day. Lately what he talks about most is going out and finding trash. We usually at least once a day take a wagon ride down the dirt road. We live on a pretty deserted road so we don't encounter many cars. On one wagon ride a few weeks ago I stopped to pick up an old beer can along the road and decided to make it a game to see how many pieces of trash Wesley could point out. He'd point them out and I'd pick them up and put them in the storage bin on his wagon. Well this game has morphed into his favorite part of the day. We go out and scour the ditches for trash once a day. It amazes me how many beer cans and bottles can be found in a mile stretch. One day we found a cardboard beer box and then proceeded to fill it almost completely with beer cans. The funny part is that Wesley doesn't pick up the trash, he relaxes in his wagon and points it out so I can pick it up, which is pretty funny to watch considering Greta is strapped to my chest in the BabyBjorn. Wesley has "future management" written all over him. Also, needless to say, we have the cleanest stretch of dirt road in the county.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Field Trip!

Every year our family has a tradition of going and getting fish to stock the koi pond. We've been doing this ever since Wesley was born. This year we've been so busy on the weekends that I decided we'd just take a field trip during the week. So today Jessica came over and we loaded all the kids into her van and drove to the fish store. It's good to know four car seats can be squished into a mini van.


The fish store is a fun place that has tank after tank of koi, goldfish, bullfrog tadpoles and all sorts of water plants. It's all fenced in so the kids could go explore on their own.


It was cute as we all made our way back to the van, everyone was holding hands.


We stopped for a quick bite at Wendy's, Wesley had his favorite which is a "Cheeseburger in Paradise" as he calls it (still loves the Jimmy Buffet CD). We got home and Jessica posed for a photo with our catch....six goldfish and three bullfrog tadpoles. I also got some oxygenating plants and a water lily.


The fish got floated for 10 minutes.....


...and released. I keep hoping Wesley will take an interest in nature and animals but so far he could care less about the pond or the creatures that live in it. Maybe that's something that comes with age? Alex and Abby were fascinated with the tiny frogs that live at the waters edge. Perhaps Wesley is so used to the pond that the "newness" of it all has worn off. I do hope that with these kids being my offspring, that they will inherit the love of animals.


Greta spent the whole time in the front pack where she usually is. She was a trooper today, maybe we're growing out of the "screamy" phase?


It was nice field trip and hopefully one of the first of many for the the summer. Got to keep these youngins busy!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mulching 101

I often wonder if we put undo pressure on ourselves to get so much accomplished on weekends. Does everyone do this? Here we are at the end of another weekend and I sit here exhausted and a little sunburn from working my tail off. I feel good when I get something done. Especially something that has been bugging me. I spent the whole weekend mulching the garden. Sounds like an easy task right? Yea, that's what I thought. You know, just take some hay and plop it around the plants. No, it was a lot of back breaking work and I strained some muscles that I wasn't even aware I had.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the garden had been taken over by weeds. Not just little things but big, honkin weeds that made you go "Is that a stalk of corn or is that a weed?". If you blurred your eyes when you looked at the garden it just looked like part of the lawn. Not good. So I loaded up five old nasty rotten bales of hay that had been sitting outside for about two years and hauled them back to the garden. By the way, old nasty rotten bales of hay work awesome for mulching. That is if you don't mind a little (and when I say "a little" I mean a lot) of mold. I probably inhaled a pound of mold spores. Mmmm tasty. Oh well, I'm just happy to have found a new and useful home for the old hay. It took nearly two days but I successfully weeded and mulched 900 square feet of garden. And I'll be the first to admit I'm pretty sure I bit off more than I can chew for my first attempt at vegetable gardening.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

FlufferNutter

Sean got me the new Ratchet and Clank Playstation 3 game for my birthday and on the weekends, after the kids are asleep, I curl up on the couch and play it for a couple of hours. It's a great way to unwind after a long day. Lately I've had an audience. I'll look over at the chicken brooder and this is all I see:



The chicks are finally big enough to see out of the window. The little gals are getting big and they're getting big FAST. I picked up the second batch of my chicks last week, the batch that the feed store messed up. They could only order in groups of five chicks so now we have five Wyandotts and three Araucana chicks in the brooder.



It's amazing how much different in size the first three are from the five I got a week later. I sure am having fun with all the little cheepers. I've named them and have started to handle them daily so they might be somewhat tame. Their names are Poppy, SweetPea, Petunia, Myrtle, Camelia, Willow, Lavender and FlufferNutter. FlufferNutter is a name out of one of Wesley's favorite books, "Skippyjon Jones". Every night FlufferNutter chirps loudly, the only one that makes much of any noise at all. At least once every evening I say "Shut it FlufferNutter!". I fear that she might be a he. There will be no roosters, so lets all hope she's just a loud pullet. Oh and we haven't even started the chicken coop. Doh.



Just thought I'd share how the chicks are doing.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Month Eight


Greta is eight months old today. This has been a tough month. I don't know if she's teething or just super sensitive but it has been very trying lately. Sean says she's very "screamy" and I'd have to agree. Everything sets her off....if Wesley jumps off of something and makes a loud noise she screams, if I leave the room for half a second she screams, if the dog looks at her the wrong way she screams. The worst part is the new fear of anyone but Wesley and I. When Sean comes home from work he walks in the house, she looks at him and just screams her fool head off....tears streaming everywhere. It makes me sad that her own Dad sets her off. She does it to anyone and everyone that enters the house...everyone but Wesley and I....oh and Jessica. Maybe it's a female thing I don't quite know. It makes me realize how different two children can be. Wesley had his clingy phase but it was never to this degree. I, literally, walk around with Greta on my hip or in the front pack 90% of the day. If I set her down I have to be within a three foot radius or she goes into complete melt down. She's a very sensitive little girl. I sure hope she grows out of this phase soon as I feel like my back is going to suffer permanent damage from carrying her around.

Other than that, she's a doll! :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cutie Pie

Is Miss Greta really going to be eight months old this week?! Yikes how time flies!



Monday, May 17, 2010

Another Day

At least once a week I look at Sean and one of us says "Well, we made it through another day." Raising kids is tough work. Tough work that is made tougher by sickness. Wesley came down with a cold last week and was just miserable all weekend. He woke up several times during the night because the poor little guy couldn't breath. I ended up putting the humidifier in his room which seemed to help. Then, naturally, Greta caught a much lighter version of it (thank you breast milk!) She was miserable Saturday night and slept on me in the recliner for most of it. I forgot how tiring sick kids can be. My kids don't get sick often. This is due to the fact that we aren't around many other children. This is Greta's first illness and Wesley hasn't been sick since last summer. This is a blessing in disguise I suppose. I know the second he goes to preschool or kindergarten we'll be in for it. We'll be sick every other week. It will totally suck, but I guess that's just how it's going to be. I'm just happy I made it through another day.

Growing like Weeds

Ever wonder how my husband stays in shape? Now you know.

video

video

I'd say he does this every evening when we go outside to play after dinner (well maybe not the falling over part). How he does this with a full meal in his stomach? I haven't a clue. Wesley loves loves loves it. I've tried it a few times and just don't have the stamina for it. After his ride this evening he offered to give Daddy a ride. Didn't work so well.



What do I do when we're outside? I haul Greta around in the front pack. I feel about as useful as I did last summer when I was pregnant with her. I can't play with Wesley much. All I seem to do is follow him around with the baby in the carrier. I feel bad about this, I wish I could get down and play with him like we used to. I suppose it will be only too soon before Greta is running around with him. I look forward to that day. For now I'm the pack mule.



It rained the whole weekend which was sort of a nice change of pace. It allowed us to relax and not feel guilty about accomplishing very little. The rain made everything grow about four inches outside, including the baby vegetable plants....and the weeds in the garden.



You wouldn't even know I hoed up the weeds last weekend. *sigh* I suppose my next big job is to haul the old hay bales out there and mulch the heck out of the garden. Not really looking forward to that ordeal. Everything is growing well, the broccoli already has pretty big heads on them. Out of everything that is growing I think we are most excited about fresh, tasty, sweet corn. I figured up that I have about 90 (!) corn plants growing right now (is that a lot, is that a little...I don't know as this is my first attempt at gardening). I tried to pick an early variety and a late season variety but I'm afraid I'm going to have them all ripen up in the same week and we'll be swimming in ears of corn. We shall see. Hope everyone had a nice weekend.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A little of this, a little of that.

There must be something in the water. My children have been sleeping in until at least 11 am for the past week. It's a rather strange phenomenon. One that I'm not really complaining about. Sean and I get out early on the weekends and have gotten so much accomplished. So many things have been checked off the giant "to do" list. For my Mother's Day present Sean built me a fantastic raised strawberry bed. I'm so excited to have fresh strawberries! I've started 40 bare root plants and hope to add a few baby strawberry plants as well. Here is the bed without soil, we'll have to hit the quarry for dirt this weekend.



The baby chicks are doing wonderfully. They are so quiet! I thought the cheeping would drive me batty but they are really subdued. I clean their brooder every day and I can't smell anything chicky poop related. So far so good. The feed store failed to order my Wyandotts, so they will be arriving tomorrow. The feed store lady said she'd order me five and charge me for three as a way of saying sorry. I just don't need eight chicks (I don't think). Seems to me that would be a lot of eggs if all eight were laying. We'll see. I'm guessing I'll be coming home tomorrow with five chicks.

Sweet Pea is my favorite (and no I don't *think* that's poopy under my fingernail)



The "toddler window" in the chick brooder seems to be a success



That's about all that is happening around here. Pretty slow these days. We haven't had many playdates in the past three weeks due to illness and trips. Poor Wesley (and me for that matter) is pretty bored. I've been trying to keep him entertained with projects and we've been outside playing a lot lately but there is only so much I can do with this kid. I'm thinking of signing him up for preschool just so he has some social interaction. Greta is at an age where she's always being held so that severely limits how much hands on time I get with Wesley. Wesley will need to be fully potty trained before we even think about preschool. This seems to be a sticky point, he's not that interested in the whole process. The old saying "you can lead a horse to water but can't make it drink" come to mind when I think about how the potty training process is going. Wesley will stand and potty in the big potty twice a day, morning and night. That's it, that is as far as he'll go. I can ask him throughout the day if he needs to potty and he'll always say NO. I think the next step is to just put him in big boy undies for a day and see how that goes. I just am not super excited about urine all over my rug and couch and floor. I guess that's just part of it though. Yea. That's all for now.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Portrait of a Seven Month Old

Can you tell Mama had fun with Photoshop this morning?



Friday, May 7, 2010

They are here!

Well, three of them are anyways. The feed store that ordered them messed up my order (naturally) and only three of the Araucana's showed up. They are ordering me my Wyandotts for next week. My three little fluff balls had a nice first night. They were literally born yesterday (Sean and I joked how rare you get to say that and it be true). They are quiet, and active and already are pooping everywhere. I love how these three are the same breed yet they will each be a different color, talk about a rainbow breed. Wesley thinks it's fun to look in the little window every once in awhile but overall he's pretty indifferent to the experience. I figure with all these animals around here he's probably just thinking "yea, another animal".
Oh well, I'm sure having fun!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

No, I do it!

If I had a nickle for every time I've heard that phrase, I'd be rich. Wesley seems to have entered a stage where he must do absolutely everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. It starts when he wakes up. He must take off his jammies and diaper, pick his clothes, go potty and wash his own hands. This is all great other than the fact that it takes him five minutes to take off his PJ's. Not because he can't do it but because he likes to diddle dally. If I try to hurry along the process he goes into melt down, screaming that "HE HAS TO DO IT!". I will be the first to admit that I'm not a patient person so this phase is driving me batty. I've had to just step back and take a deep breath and remind myself that he needs to do all of this by himself, even if it takes twenty minutes to just get out of his room in the morning. It's not just in the morning either. He has to put on his shoes, he has to open the sliding glass door to go outside, he has to water the plants with the watering can, he has to get the mail out of the mailbox, you get the idea. This is all great and all until he tries to do something that he can't do, then he has the biggest melt down ever. I swear the kid is crying half the day. It's been a lesson in patience for me, to say it lightly. Looks like Wesley has entered the "terrible two's" two months before turning three years old. Lucky me!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Brooder Building

Yesterday was my birthday. What better to do on your birthday? Build a chicken brooder of course! What's a chicken brooder? It's a big box that is similar to an oven and keeps baby chicks warm until they are old enough to move outside. With my chicks arriving in T-minus 4 days I was in need of a place to keep them. Some people use cardboard boxes or something like that but I wanted something a little bit nicer to house my little fluff balls. First I started searching the shop, nothing there. Then I searched the garage. BINGO! Sean has an old casting table that he used several years ago to cast aluminum parts. It was under a ton of stuff and full of casting sand but I saw potential.



We drug it out and took it over to the shop. Brooders need to be a decent size as the chicks will stay in them for at least 5-6 weeks in which time they will grow a tremendous amount. It needed to be at least 18 inches tall so we went to work cutting sides out of an old board of plywood. What I like is being able to do a whole project without having to go to Home Depot even once, by just finding scraps and such lying around. We attempted to use the table saw to cut the big plywood board but I managed to kill it. I was uninformed and pinched the blade with the wood thus causing the motor to burn up. Oops. Guess we're now looking for a new table saw. Thank goodness for the circle saw.



We put in a toddler sized window on the front so Wesley, Alex an Abby can come up and look in to see how the chicks are doing. We covered it in screen taken from a demolished window screen (darn dogs).






Once the sides were screwed in and the window added, it was time for a top. We dug out some thin pine trim boards and put them together and added some chicken screen. Sean attached it all with staples and added some hinges we dug up.





Finished.





I think it turned out nice. I bought a heat lamp last week that is sitting on the top. The chicks have to be kept at 95 degrees for the first week and every week after it will be decreased by five degrees until they can go outside. Once they go outside they'll still need a heat source at night. So now, if you ever feel inclined, you know how to build a chick brooder. I'm sure you're all super excited. :)