Friday, May 30, 2014

It's here....

Summer that is. The kids are officially out of school and I'm still in the honeymoon phase of enjoying not waking up at 6:30 in the morning. It's pure bliss. I got 9.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep last night (don't hate me). The kids are happy and playing well together (which they do at the beginning of summer). I know it will change soon. The "Mom we are soooo bored" will start soon. The 103 degree temperatures where we are forced inside is coming. But for now we are all very excited for the upcoming summer vacation. The weather has been beautiful so there has been a lot of trampoline jumping, running through sprinklers and yesterday they got to enjoy the Slip 'n Slide. We are going out today to sign up for the summer reading program at the local library which will keep us busy at least once a week in the morning. Swimming lessons will start soon and Wesley has his very first baseball game this Saturday.

I've been busy planting everything I can. The growing gene is strong in me, but not in the garden this year. The garden looks horrible. The plants are coming up just fine but I can't bring myself to go back there and mulch it. I will, but not today. Instead I've been planting tomato plants in containers on the deck, along with corn, garlic and lettuce. I planted a whole container of corn from some organic popping corn in the cupboard. It's looking great. Might be fun to harvest some popping corn, we'll see.

I also tried some lettuce and spinach in a bag of potting soil that's on the deck. It was inspired by something I saw on facebook. We'll see if it works, so far so good.

The strawberry bed is growing like crazy. A certain little girl goes out there every morning as soon as she wakes up to search for tasty strawberries. I put my basil seedlings out there amongst the strawberries since they did so well last year and I added some broccoli seedlings as well.

The kids have been asking for popsicles ever since it started getting hot outside and their favorite popsicles are the kind that you cut the top off and push up from the bottom. Those are also the kind that I think are not so healthy for kids. Full of Red Dye 40 (which makes my kids even crazier than normal) and high fructose corn syrup. So I found these nifty zip lock popsicle bags called Zipzicles. I can just pour in whatever I want and freeze it for the kids to eat this summer. The kids love them! We have tried just plain lemonade which was tasty and the second batch I pureed up a bunch of strawberries and made strawberry lemonade popsicles. I'm going to keep experimenting this summer and try all sorts of concoctions. The Zipzicle bags were purchased off of Amazon for $3 a bag which has 12 in them. I've been able to wash them out and reuse them twice now but I figure after this round I'll just toss them in the recycling bin. It should also be noted that you'll need a funnel to fill them. They take right at a half a cup of liquid each and it's best to freeze them standing up in a tall container (I used an old oatmeal container). Very cool idea!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A waiting game

Sunday morning when I was out feeding everyone I noticed Heston the goat wasn't nearly his chipper self. He was lying down a lot and arching his back when he was standing. These are not good signs when you have a male goat. Male goats have a more complex urinary tract than females and are prone to crystals forming and then clogging their urinary tract (technical term is urinary calculi). They can't urinate and then die. I've had the unfortunate chance of witnessing this in our last wether, Buddy. So when I saw the signs in Heston, one of Dym's babies that I've raised since he was born, I called the vet immediately. The vet confirmed my diagnosis and said it was indeed an emergency. So he drove out with his wife, the local horse vet, and they worked on dislodging the crystals. Sometimes the clog is right at the tip of the urethra, so it's a simple as taking a pair of scissors to the tip of his penis (ouch!). They cut off the very tip and that allows him to start urinating again. I have to admit I'm not real sure what they were doing under there but they worked at it, taking turns, for about 20 minutes before he started dribbling urine again. I've never been so happy to see dribbling urine before in my life. They said his bladder was about as big as it could have gotten without bursting. I'm so glad I called.

They left me with some anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce the swelling and allow him to keep dribbling. I started him on an ammonium chloride drench, where I dilute 2 teaspoons of ammonium chloride in a cup of water or juice and use a drenching syringe to get that mixture down his throat in a day. The ammonium chloride will slowly dissolve the crystals that are still in him (that are only allowing him to dribble urine). Every day I'm hopeful that I'll go out there and see a stream of urine, but four days out now and it's still dribbling.  I've started crushing up a chewable vitamin C pill and adding it to the mixture, hoping the ascorbic acid will help too. I guess it's a waiting game now. Poor Heston.

I'm kicking myself because I did this to the goat. I started buying alfalfa hay for Dym during the winter to get some weight on her, and whatever she eats her babies eat (they will always be her "babies" even though they are three years old). Boy goats shouldn't have alfalfa because it throws off the calcium to phosphorus ratio that is so critical in keeping their urinary tract healthy. So no more alfalfa for him.....if he makes it. Ugh.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Weekend Activities

Last weekend we had a great time filled with friends and family and lots of food. We got the place all mowed and trimmed, koi pond finally cleaned out and refilled and tree limbs taken away to the green waste dump. The place looks nice. I always remember in spring why I love this property.

Our friends Tina and Jeff (my roommates from college) came over with their children and stayed for a bit and then took Bella home. It was nice to see them and my kids really enjoyed playing with their boys. Bella was so happy to see her family and know that she wasn't abandoned. We'll miss Bella but it was instantly less hectic around here once she left. She and our setter Sophie were mortal enemies and tried to kill each other on more than one occasion. It's nice not being the ring master to that anymore.

My parents came over on Sunday evening to celebrate a belated Mother's Day and early birthday for my mom. We tried something new on the grill: shish kabobs. We did shrimp and chicken with mushrooms, bell peppers, squash and cherry tomatoes. Very tasty! Will have to do them again this summer.

I love this picture.

My weekend project was enclosing a 30 X 30 foot square for the tortoises. I flagged it out last fall and we stopped mowing that portion so that the grass and weeds would grow as food for the tortoises when we got around to fencing it in this spring. As for the fencing itself, all we need to keep them in is a short wooden fence. So Sean dug the holes with the motorized auger we have (that thing has paid for itself many times over) and then we pounded in four foot 4x4's. Then this week I've been adding the 2x6 boards, three high to enclose it. I released the tortoises into their new 900 square foot summer home yesterday and I think they are thoroughly enjoying it.

Billy Bob the young Sulcata is one happy tortoise.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Wednesday Write-Up

It is that busy time of the year. The time when I can sit down with a piece of paper and make a giant list of everything I need to get done. Then when I'm done I stare at that list and feel overwhelmed and wonder why I just wrote it all down. But it's a good thing to be busy. I like getting stuff done and falling into bed and sleeping like a baby until 6 am when our four legged house guest starts barking from her kennel to be let out. She, by the way, is heading home this weekend. Her owners found a rental house to stay in while their house is being repaired and they are excited to bring their dogs home. We'll miss Bella (well I won't miss the 6 am wake up howl) she's been fun. Wesley said he cried last night when he thought of saying bye to Bella. Our three dogs are older dogs so it's been a treat to have a young dog in the house. Oh the energy of that dog! It matches the energy level in my children.

I'm thrilled to say that my days as a chauffeur are going to be slowing down. I drive these kids everywhere, all day long and summer is my break. Greta's last day of preschool was Tuesday and Wesley only has four more days of school and I'm thrilled! I'm so looking forward to summer even though I'm a little worried about keeping everyone busy. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

We had a little excitement last Friday. Miss Greta felt a little warm that afternoon so I gave her a little Tylenol. She was her normal spunky self until dinnertime when she was whining on the couch. I took her temperature to find a lovely high of 105.4. She looked miserable and the pediatricians office wasn't open (nor would it be until Monday) so off to the ER we went. Our little local ER is awesome and I can get in as soon as we walk in. I'm so happy I don't have to truck her downtown to the big ER where it takes 4 hours to be seen. The doc gave her a head to toe exam and found a nasty ear infection festering away. It was strange because she didn't complain about her ears hurting or anything. I thought it was another bladder infection like she had last fall (when we went to the ER for another 105 degree temp). So a week on antibiotics and she's back to her normal four year old self.

I got the garden planted last weekend on Mother's Day. I thought it was pretty late to be planting and woke up this morning to frost damage on my tomatoes. My tomatoes that I started inside and nurtured. I probably lost half of them. Grrrr. This spring is mighty frustrating. A week of high temperatures (broke a record for 102 degrees!) and then back into the 50's and 60's with morning temps in the low 40's. Oh well. We rented a rototiller this year and it wasn't as cool as I hoped for. I'm used to those smaller rototillers that you can just lift into the back of a truck. This one required a small trailer to haul it around. The tiller itself was about the size of a compact car (not really), it was big though. Too big for me, so I had Sean till up the garden. I'm thinking we need to just buy one, it's not like I'm going to stop gardening anytime soon. I'm just happy everything is planted and now it's just watering a waiting.

Here is a picture of my little sicky from last nights practice with her brother in the background. I really enjoy watching the practices. Sean meets us there after work and it's really been nice and the kids are really improving each time.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Fire Trucks, Practice and Bella

School is almost out for the summer. Greta has two more classes and Wesley has about two weeks left. Greta got to tour the local fire station on Tuesday which I think she enjoyed. She held onto my hand the entire time and wouldn't let me out of her sight but still managed to smile a little.

Wesley started his first ever sport this week. He's in coach pitch (baseball) this spring and he had his first practice on Tuesday. I have to admit we are not a sports family. About twenty minutes before his first practice we were sitting around a piece of paper while I tried to explain the logistics of baseball. I might know enough about the sport to teach him how to play? Not real sure. It was kind of like the blind leading the blind. He'll have fun and perhaps we'll both learn something.

I learned yesterday that my friend Tina had a house fire. It was not a complete loss but their house is unlivable. They are able to stay with family but they had to find somewhere for their dogs to stay. I took one of them and so we now have a darling little australian shepherd named Bella staying with us for the time being. Once you have three dogs you can add more without hardly even noticing. She'll be heading home whenever they figure out their living arrangements. She's a sweet (and very smart) dog but very hard to photograph....she's always on the move!

Monday, May 5, 2014


It's a tiny little video (because it's from my phone) but if you make it large you can kind of see Miss Greta there on the front row far right. She was so excited because this year they got to sing a Frozen song. Oh and please note the poor dad up there on the stool, his kid was so scared. So thankful that wasn't me.

Little Singers

Greta had her preschool spring program last night. I gotta say I was a little worried about how she'd do since her recent behavior at preschool has been questionable. She's been dreading going to preschool for about a month now. Leading up to leaving the house there are tears and clinging. She's usually crying by the time we get there and then I have to, literally, pry her off of my leg and hand her to Miss Cindy. I have no idea where this development came from, up until about a month ago she loved preschool. When I go to pick her up she's always smiling and happy, it's just drop off time. Oh well, only three more classes to deal with that and then she's out for the summer.

She did great last night. Sang her heart out and no tears when I had to leave her up there on the stage. Thank goodness. I didn't remember my camera but I snapped a few pictures with the cell phone camera.

Friday, May 2, 2014

On the mend

I'm grateful to say I'm finally on the mend. Boy whatever that was really hit me hard. I finally stared feeling better on Monday but didn't have a stitch of energy. I was winded after climbing a few steps. My arms felt like they each weighed 50 pounds. It was so strange. That kept on until Wednesday when I finally dragged my rear end to the doctor. He said he'd be happy to do some chest x-rays and blood work to see what it was or he could just prescribe his tried and true steroid and antibiotic cocktail. I went with the latter and am finally feeling like myself again after a 36 hours on meds.

Luckily I felt well enough to participate in my birthday activities. I had a lovely birthday. My kids are at wonderful ages where they shower me in birthday wishes and adorable homemade gifts. We had a nice dinner with my parents at the local rib joint (the place with the rhino head as Greta calls it......which isn't a rhino at all but rather a giant buffalo head). Thank you Mom, Dad and Sean for a wonderful birthday.

It wouldn't be a normal day without some excitement. I was driving the kids home from school when we heard a pop and I glanced down at the cars display screen to see the right read tire with a big ol' 0 next to it's tire pressure. Luckily we were just around the corner from home so I did what I wasn't suppose to do and hobbled home on my flat tire going one mile and hour. It's not like I had a spare tire or a jack or anything and the tire wasn't fixable, it had a big jagged hole in it. I'm so done with these crappy Goodyear Assurance tires. The first one blew at 13,000 miles, the second at 15,000 and the third, yesterday, at 17,500. I feel like that last remaining tire is just a ticking time bomb ready to blow at the most in opportune moment. The next vehicle will have a spare tire, mark my words.

Being under the weather for a week and a half has caused so many things to pile up. This is, after all, spring planting time. I had to reschedule my rental on the rototiller until this weekend and I'm pumped to get the garden up and going. My seedlings are busting out of their pots. They need to be repotted but I'm just going to dump them in the garden instead, it's definitely time. They are outside as of this morning hardening off.

Greta and I are going in today to buy flowers and pots for the new deck. This is the first Spring I've had with a deck and by golly I'm going to decorate it up with colorful pots of flowers.