Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Thanksgiving is tomorrow and this year we are celebrating it at home with my family. It will be quiet and low key, I'm looking forward to relaxing a bit. But today is pie making day. I've been making pie's since 8 this morning. Already got the pecan pie made, the pumpkin cheesecake is in the oven and the caramel apple is going in next. Yum! Pecan is my all time favorite though, hands down. I didn't want to make it with corn syrup this year so I searched for a recipe that excludes. Found one and we'll see how it turns out.

This year I'm thankful for so many things. The first thing that comes to mind is antibiotics. I'm so grateful for antibiotics this week. Wesley came home from school last week with Strep throat. So he's been on antibiotics since Thursday. Then Greta woke up yesterday with goop all over her eyes. The goop got bigger and red veins started streaking across her eyes. Yup, pinkeye. Oh goody! So the pediatrician called in some eye drops for me yesterday. Apparently they are the only antibiotic that can be called in directly to the pharmacist without a doctor visit. Good to know.

I figure anytime now I'll catch both the Strep and pinkeye. Please let my immune system keep up.

I was talking to my mom about all the nasties floating around our house and she mentioned reading an article about probiotics and kids. They did a study where kids were given a probiotic supplement for 6 months and they had 70% fewer colds and coughs than the control group. So I sat myself down at the computer and researched probiotics on Amazon. Boy howdy are there a lot of probiotic supplements on Amazon! I finally decided on Buddy Bear Probiotic for kids. It's $12 for 60 chewables (that's $12 a month for us with two kids). I figure it's worth a try. I'll keep them on this for a year and see it helps with the illnesses. Here's hoping! I got Sean and I on Pearls Probiotics as well. These were highly rated, can't hurt right?

Another thing I'm thankful for, that my father-in-law didn't get hurt worse than he did when he fell off the ladder.  He's back to his normal active self. I firmly believe that's part of the reason he didn't hurt himself more, because he rides his bike, kayaks and walks a lot. When he fell he hit the back of his head on the deck boards, rather hard. It was bleeding and bruised pretty badly. He wanted to see what it looked like so Sean took a picture with his cell phone to show him. The odd part about this photo is the diagonal line across the wound. We couldn't figure out why there was a line of unhurt skin going across it until we discovered it was the spacing between the deck boards on the deck, a perfect 3/8" spacing. Yikes. I'm glad he's home in New Mexico relaxing and recuperating with Randi.

I am very thankful for my husband for many reasons. For one, without him we would be spending a whole lot of money at the car mechanic shop. He took the week off and has been out in the shop working on the Range Rover. You name it and he's replaced it, water pump, distributor cap, flushed the cooling system, new spark plugs and wires, belts, thermostat, and all the rodent chewed wires had to be fixed. He's been a busy little bee. Today he finished and decided to see if it would start and it did! It ran beautifully and idled smoothly. Woo hoo! He's sure handy to have around.

I will always be thankful for my sweet, little family. I hope you have a very nice Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 22, 2013


It's 26 degrees outside, there is sleet all over the ground. We are getting ready for our first real storm of the season. I like these kind of mornings. I get layered up, pull coveralls on, hat, scarf, gloves and boots and head outside. The animals really love seeing me on these bitterly cold mornings. I bring a bowl of warm soaked beet pulp for Dym, a head of lettuce for the chickens and lots of yummy hay for all. Stock tank heaters are on and there is no ice to chip. I sit down in the straw in the goat house and enjoy watching the goats tuck into their pile of alfalfa, brome and prairie hay. The minions surround me, their warm little cat bodies curling into my lap. This is one of my favorite places.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

White lights

Last Saturday I read that there were 37 days until Christmas and immediately thought "time to decorate!!". I LOVE Christmas decorations. If it was acceptable I would leave them up all year long. They add a warm and coziness to the house and I especially love having them up for Thanksgiving. This year the kids had a blast decorating the tree and they did a smashing job. It is packed with ornaments!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gates Gates Everywhere

I'm so excited that this winter the goats have a nice large house that they can go in to stay warm and escape the bitter weather we will soon be having. They had a little area they could crowd into in the past years but it was definitely tight. With the extension we added on to the horse shed we were able to install a gate over the front of the old shed. This will allow the goats (the lowest members of the totem pole) to have shelter and not be bullied out into the rain and snow. I've put down pine shavings and straw and it's nice in there. Rich put the gate up and got the latch installed last weekend as well as making me three more hay racks to install inside the shelters so the hay is kept off the ground. Thanks so much Rich! The goats sure like their new enclosed house.


The goat house wasn't the only house that got a gate installed. We installed a gate inside our house as well last weekend. We've come to the realization that we will have baby gates in our house forever. We had baby gates before we had children, they are for the dogs. The dogs are banished to the hard wood floors and are never on the new carpet. They are muddy creatures prone to random urination, so baby gates are a necessity. The problem with baby gates? You have to climb over them countless times a day. It is a hassle. So when we were at my sisters house a couple of weeks ago and were offered their old hinged gate we jumped at the chance.  I stained it the same time as I stained the deck and it was installed on Saturday. I think it's quite lovely (at least compared to the old baby gate that was there). We all love it! Thanks Betsy and Blake!

Monday, November 18, 2013

A tumble

What a weekend.

Sunday was beautiful, sunny with no wind in the morning. Perfect weather to climb back up on the roof to install the last boot over the remaining leaking vent. Sean climbed up the ladder and then his dad climbed up the ladder. Rich got to the top of the ladder and the ladder slipped out from under him. I was outside playing with the kids and heard the ladder go and watched Rich fall down to the deck. He landed on his back and his head hit the deck pretty hard. It was very frightening. Luckily he didn't break anything but was bleeding pretty good from a wound on the back of his head.

It was agreed upon that he needed to go to the emergency room, so off he and Sean went. Luckily there is a new emergency room just north of us that can usually get you in fairly quickly. They did a CAT scan and found a small brain bleed even though he wasn't showing symptoms. The doctors decided to transfer him to the large major hospital in town (via ambulance) for 24 hour observation. That's where he is now. We are hoping he's able to get out of there today as long as everything is ok. I'm praying everything is ok.

We decided the ladder slipped because of the recent staining job to the deck. Last Saturday, when they were up on the roof installing the other boots, the deck hadn't been stained yet. It's just slippery now with the stain and polyurethane applied. I'm now a firm believer in holding ladders.

Update: I'm happy to say Rich is out of the hospital and back at our house for a little R&R before he heads home for Thanksgiving. I'm grateful he's on the mend, it could have been much worse.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


I'm stressed, tired and ready for the Halloween candy to be gone from my house. The stress is because it's November. November is my busy month for sculpting. Everyone and their mother likes to order sculptures for Christmas presents. This is great for business but bad for my sanity. Plus I don't have the ability to say no. I take on way too many orders and then run around like a crazy person trying to make everyone happy. Last year I didn't take any orders, it was pure bliss. I might do that again next year. I do enjoy all the happiness that my little creations bring to customers, especially those who have lost a pet. 

Other stress inducing things: our little terrier Chance is having "issues". I think I mentioned that he did something to his back a few weeks ago. Well the week on anti-inflammatory meds made him revert to his normal bouncy self. The medicine ended on Monday. Tuesday he started his random yelping and back hunching. Wednesday he was worse, barely moving. So he and I went back into the vet clinic. This time instead of anti-inflammatory medication they put him on Prednisone. It's a steroid and the vet thinks it might help reduce the swelling in his disks in his back. This will be a 15 day trial and then we'll go from there. The next step would be taking him into the larger clinic in town for an MRI to scan his back and I'm afraid we won't be traveling down that path. He's nearly 11 years old. I'm hopeful this will work and we won't have to think about other options. So far a day on Prednisone and he's back to his crazy self. It's amazing how fast medicine can work its wonders.

The time change seems to have me dragging my feet around this house. I'm constantly tired. I tend to get the winter blues and I'm hoping the treadmill will help that. I've been slacking on my exercise lately and I'm missing the many perks of it. Time to get back at it, especially since my children have been thoughtful enough to share their buckets of Halloween candy with dear old mom. Ugh. Darn candy.

On a random note, I was out walking the dog in the front yard and was looking at the koi pond. It looks like it does every fall, full of leaves and nasty brown water. This year we had a bumper crop of baby goldfish born in it and I knew they'd all freeze to death about now. It's sad but it's not deep enough to support fish through the winter and with all the trees around it gets filled with leaves that then decompose and make the water filthy. I wish I had the means to bring all 482 goldfish into my house to overwinter them, but alas I don't (even though I did try that one winter, it involved a stock tank, an unused bathroom and a huge mess). Anyways, I glance into the pond and see a giant fish gulping air at the top of the water. I don't know how the poor thing was still alive. The night lows have been in the low 20's all week. So I ran in the garage and got the net and bucket and scooped the poor thing out. I then checked the filter box (where many fish get trapped) and found three more slightly smaller fish. Now I have a bucket o' fish thawing out on my kitchen counter. I hope the 30 gallon aquarium in the basement can support them through the winter.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Home Improvement Weekend

Boy howdy am I stiff today. My back aches, my neck is sore and my legs are killing me. Guess what I did yesterday to cause me to be so whiny (at least more than normal)? I stained the deck! I had one day to do it. Yesterday was the one perfect day that I'd been searching for. It had to be above 50 degrees for 24 hours and no rain forecasted.  I'm so happy to get it over with, it wasn't a task I was entirely looking forward to.
Didn't it turn out nice?

Sean did a lovey job is designing and building it. It's incredibly sturdy and will hold up to anything I'm sure. He promises me we'll have stairs coming off of it, but not until Spring. He hung up his tool belt for the season.

Sean and his Dad were busy doing the repairs to the roof that the insurance adjuster told us about. The seals around the vent pipes were cracking and he thought that's were the leaks were coming from. Sean found an interesting way to fix them at the store. It's a fixture that fits entirely over the old pipe and keeps water out. I believe it's called a Perma-Boot.  He put them on all 3 or 4 of the pipes. Old pipe on the left, new boot on the right.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Other uses for pumpkin seeds

I was at the grocery store last Friday and noticed a sign out front next to their huge pile of pumpkins. They were all marked down to a buck. Apparently people only buy pumpkins before Halloween? What happened to all the Thanksgiving pumpkins for pies and decorating? I bought four since that's all that would fit in my car with the load of groceries, dog food and Greta. What am I going to do with four big pumpkins? Collect seeds of course! Did you know that raw pumpkin seeds are a fairly effective means of worm control in livestock?

They are! Raw pumpkin seeds contain an amino acid called cucurbitacin, a compound used to expel tapeworms and roundworms in livestock for years. They are also very nutritious containing fiber, iron, copper, phosphorus and magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, folic acid and niacin along with a lot of protein. All of this make them wonderful little things to feed to goats in particular. Heading into another winter I'm trying to make the worm load as light as possible for our older goat Dym. Of course these seeds don't replace chemical wormers but I'm all for trying natural dewormers to lengthen the time between chemical doses.

Greta helped me collect seeds from one of the pumpkins yesterday. We then sliced up the pumpkin meat. The goats were more than happy to eat the seeds and pulp (is there anything they won't eat?). They munched on a little of the pumpkin meat but most of that went to the chickens. Three pumpkins left for the next few months. We'll slice up a new one every couple of weeks and see if it helps their worm load this winter.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dog Gone Day

What a day yesterday was. It was one of those days were you crawl into bed at night and are so thankful it's over. We had a pretty nasty storm come through last week with high winds and hail. That night we got water dripping on our bed. Now combine that with the water dripping on the spare bedroom bed and some mysterious leak near the dining room that has some sheet rock rippling, we decided it was time to look into getting a new roof. This roof was 5 years old when we moved in nine years ago. I have no idea how long roofs last, perhaps 14 years? So I called our insurance company and submitted a claim. Yesterday they sent out an adjuster to look at the roof and determine how much it would cost to replace it.

I had to take Chance to the vet because he started randomly yelping. He was in pain. The vet gave him a thorough work up and determined him to have a pinched nerve in his back. Probably from jumping off the couch. He sent me home with some anti-inflammatory meds and strict orders to keep him on "bedrest". Which means no jumping on or off the couch, no stairs and so forth. Yeah right! I'm trying to keep him from over doing it but he's back to his old self on the anti-inflammatory medicine.

Anyways, while I was at the vet clinic, Sean was home to talk to the insurance adjuster who informed us that the leaks were just "maintenance issues" and did not warrant a new roof. Apparently the shingles are in good shape, we just have to seal up some cracked seals around the pipes and satellite dishes. Bummer. I was kind of excited about a new roof. The adjuster came around 10 in the morning.

Around 5 last night I noticed the gate to the dog pen was wide open. No dogs anywhere.

Let's just say I said some choice swear words and mentally (and audibly) cursed the insurance adjuster whom I think left the gate open. Sean thinks the dogs opened it. Who knows. Cody (the black lab) and Sophie (the retarded irish setter) had a seven hour head start and I had no idea where they could be. I jumped in my car and started canvasing the area. I was worried about the half an hour of daylight I had left and the pretty busy paved road two miles away from our house. I was just picturing them getting hit on that road at night. I drove around for about 20 minutes and circled back around in front of the house. There I saw a flash of black and found them out in the walnut grove in front of the house. I was so excited! I've never seen wetter, more happy dogs than those two. I have no idea what they did for seven hours but I know they were so sore last night, they hobbled around. They dried off inside lounging on the couches while pulling burs from their fur.

It was one crazy dog day.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Catch Up

This is a catch up blog. A moment to catch up on all the little day to day items that I don't want to forget about. And lets face it, this blog is created so that I don't forget about all the cute everyday things that happen around here. First things first. Halloween. I like Halloween. The kids are still young enough to get a real kick out of trick or treating. This is the first year when Sean and I were able to stand back by the road and watch them scamper up to the door to ring the bell all by themselves. This year Wesley was a ninja and Greta was a fairy. Fun times were had by all.

Wesley had his very first lose tooth a few weeks back. The new tooth was coming in quickly and the baby tooth just wouldn't come out. He was very open to people trying to get it out (everyone except both grandpa's who kept trying to use pliers, he wasn't going for that). I kept using the dental floss method where you make a loop of floss, slip it down over the tooth and then yank. It would get it further out but never completely out. So last week before school I asked him if he'd let me try one more time. He agreed and sat on the couch. I placed the dental floss around the tooth and gave a good pull. Out came the tooth and then it promptly disappeared. I looked everywhere. We assumed he swallowed it. Poor kid was more than a little worried the tooth fairy wouldn't come so he wrote a note to her that he placed under his pillow. She visited that night and left a nice note and a couple bucks. He was excited.

Wesley has decided that he needs money. We've addressed the whole allowance issue and think it's about time he starts earning an allowance. The problem is he's not keeping up on his weekly chores to earn his allowance. He has to do simple chores to earn the money. Things like picking up his dirty clothes and placing them in the laundry bin, picking up toys in the evening and so forth. The other day he proudly declared that he had come up with a new idea to earn money. I come into the kitchen to find this:

He had taken a mixing bowl and measuring cup and taped them to the pantry door and the door leading out to the garage. He said every time Dad and I came in we had to pay a toll. That's how he'll earn more money. I had to give him credit for his ingenious idea. Funny kid.

We spent the weekend at my sister's house celebrating my nephews fourth birthday. We had a nice time catching up with family and feeding our faces on good food. Happy Birthday Emery!