Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rough Life

I was waiting for the farrier to arrive on Monday and caught the goats taking their afternoon nap with the chickens. It's a rough life.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Happiness is.....

I've been in a great mood lately. It could be the insane amount of sleep I've been getting this summer (I'm just storing it up like a camel because I know school is starting soon and I'll be getting up at 6:30). It could be that my kids are at an age where I don't have to entertain them 24/7.  Could be that I've decided to be a happier person, I kind of think it's a choice. That's just my opinion. Anyhow, I thought I'd share what is making me happy right now in my life.

These two little people make me happy. We've been having fun together this summer. We like to go into town and get ice cream as much as possible. Well, they get ice cream and I get ice tea.

Going for walks down this old country road. I seemed to have buggered up my hip so I've been walking fast instead of running, which is fine with me (and my hip). Usually no cars go by which gives me ample opportunity to talk to the horses and cows that I pass in the fields, without looking like a complete whack job.

This cute guy makes me happy. This week we celebrated our thirteenth wedding anniversary. I'm a lucky gal.

Fresh produce from the garden brings a smile to my face (my cute little garden helpers do too). This might have been the only two squash I harvested before the plants were annihilated, which made them even more tasty I suppose. The cucumbers produced for about two weeks before the bugs took them out.

Happiness is: a brand new pair of running shoes. I might have tried on each and every pair of shoes in that store to finally find these pair.  I haven't replaced my running shoes since before the half marathon two years ago. These feel so much better.

My little weirdos. Seven and four years old, it's a good age. They are friends and play fairly well together (as long as they get enough sleep....all hell breaks loose if they don't). A couple of months ago Greta asked if she could sleep up in Wesley's room and we decided it might be a nice change for them during the summer. So on the weekends we pull out the small mattress that lives under his bed and she goes upstairs to sleep in his room. They play and read books and it's like a small sleepover. I don't know how long it will continue but for now they really look forward to it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

In the back yard

Oh July where you have gone? Crazy to think this month is nearing an end and next month the kids go back to school. July is usually the month where I harvest the most out of the garden. But not this year. I have not been into gardening this year. I planned it out, planted the seeds, mulched the tomato seedlings and that's pretty much it. Everything came up pretty good but the weeds came up too. Oh and the grasshoppers. Well, let's just say they were worse than last year and last year was bad. I had thought the super cold winter we had would have killed off some of the eggs but to no avail. They've stripped every plant in the garden down to just bare stems. Everything but the tomatoes. I've read tomatoes plants are toxic, that might be what's keep the grasshoppers away. The tomatoes are flourishing. I started twenty organic tomatoes from seed and now I can say there are hundreds of tomatoes back there.....mostly cherry tomatoes. One new variety I tried is called Organic Green Zebra and they are really pretty. It's hard to tell when they are ripe though. We'll see how they taste.

Every day I trot back to the garden and pick as many cherry tomatoes that I can fit in my t-shirt. Then I walk up to the goat pen and am treated to this sight.

Goats love tomatoes. GoatMan, there on the right, is nearly blind I think because he just snorts around with this mouth open until you put a tomato in it. Then there's Dym (the black one with her tongue sticking out), she could survive on nothing but tomatoes and would be quite a happy goat. Her offspring are learning to love produce by watching their mom eat it. I'm happy to say Heston survived his blocked urethra problem he had earlier this summer. He's now getting ammonium chloride daily sprinkled on his black oil sunflower seeds to prevent that from happening again. He's one lucky goat.

I then walk over to the tortoise pen and offer each tortoise a cherry tomato. They gobble them down. It's a special treat and one they get rarely since the majority of their diet is grass. The other day I had a melon that was past its prime so I chopped it up and went to see if the tortoises would be interested. Talk about a treat! I had to take it away or they would have eaten the whole thing. Here is Billy Bob, the young sulcata, and Big Guy the 30 year old leopard tortoise.

 About a month and a half ago the kids found a few seed packets that I hadn't planted back in the garden. They really wanted to plant them so we decided to do so in some non traditional places (you know since the garden is a hot bed of insect activity). We planted the giant pumpkin seeds under the swing set. They don't get morning sun so I don't know if they will actually produce anything, but they are flowering right now so we'll see. The kids enjoy watching their progress as do I.

Last night I put on my gardening gloves and proceeded to catch as many grasshoppers as I could. I think I had about 12 in my fist when I finally called it quits. Do you want to know what I did with those grasshoppers? I fed them to these lovely laydies. Call it retribution for eating my garden.

I have six hens and they were looking pretty bad. It's kind of like a molt that would never end. So a few weeks back I decided to stop locking them up in their outdoor enclosure. I thought maybe if they were free ranging they would get the needed nutrients to stop looking like roadkill. Well after a few weeks now I can't say they look any better but they are much happier chickens. They stay in the fenced in goat pen in the walnut grove and lounge under the horse trailer during the heat of the day. There is not a single insect in that entire pen. They put themselves to bed every night in the hen house and I shut their little prop door every night at dusk to protect them from predators. It's a good arrangement for now.

That's about all that's happening in our back yard on this hot summer day.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Fun Birthday Weekend

What an eventful weekend! Wesley turned seven years old on Saturday. Hard to believe it's been seven years since my oldest child was born. Time flies when you're having fun! We were planning on hanging around and taking them back to the arcade to celebrate his birthday but we ended up in Oklahoma City instead. What were we doing in Oklahoma City you ask? Well it's time to start searching for a replacement for the Volt. It's been fun but I'm itching for a bigger vehicle. We've been looking for a few months now and there wasn't much around locally for a good price. We knew if we wanted a good deal we'd have to travel. That's not a big deal. I found several SUV's locally but by the time I arrived at the dealership they were sold. So we made a list of cars I was interested in and headed to Oklahoma City Friday evening. We promised the birthday boy and fun stay in a hotel with a pool and he jumped on board with the idea.

We got to Oklahoma City and went directly to the dealership to see if the car I was interested in was still there. It was 10:30 at night so I roamed the lot but came up with no car. Of course the Edge was sold between the time I called that afternoon and the time we got there. Ugh. So we went in search of the next vehicle on the list. I was interested in Ford Edge's and BMW X3's (their small SUV). The BMW turned out to be in pretty rough condition.....sunroof broken, air vents hanging out. And the real kicker? I asked where the spare tire was and the salesman informed me that BMW's don't have spare tires. Huh? No spare? We marked off all of the x3's from the list. After the experience with blown tires on the Volt, I was requiring a spare on the next vehicle. Did I mention the Volt blew the last and final tire on Thursday? Yep. All four tires blew before the car even hit 20,000 miles. I swear I'm not a crazy driver. I'm pretty tame, almost grandma like in my driving. Frustrating to say the least.

We made it home Saturday evening and celebrated Wesley's birthday with a grocery store cake (I had no time to bake a cake, poor kid. But the store bought cake was really good, so it's ok). I was worried he would feel like he was gypped for his birthday but he informed us later that night that it was his "best birthday ever!". Happy birthday Wesley!

Did we find a car in Oklahoma City?  We did! I am now the proud owner of a metallic brown Ford Edge. I love those cars. Apparently most women do. I did a little research before we left town and Ford has sold over 400,000 Edge's and 80% of them are owned by women. They are a true chick car. I love it. It's pretty fancy with some nice gadgets. The MyFord touch is not as refined as the Volt's touch screen but it's no slacker. It's sure nice to be sitting up high again too. And I have room to haul anything and everything I want.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

4th of July Weekend

It's strange to be home for the 4th of July. For the past two years we've been in Colorado but after last years "unfortunate event" we decided to stick around home. On a side note I'm happy to report Wesley's had no other seizures, which is great. This year we decided to see what my home town had to offer in the way of fireworks. They did not disappoint! It was really well done. Living out in the country like we do, I don't realize how many fireworks are set off by individuals in town. It was nearly as much fun to watch the firework displays coming out of each driveway as it was to watch the show the city put on. The kids loved it too.

Sean has been home all week on vacation. I say "vacation" lightly because he's been working on the cars all week. It seems nearly all the vehicles have decided to have some sort of issue that makes them undrivable. The major project is the Dodge Van. It has been making a "clunk" when you turn the steering wheel so Sean has been replacing the front suspension. It's been a bigger project than I think he thought it would be but he's making his way through it. It's too big to fit in the shop so it's getting done on the driveway. Lucky for him it's been beautiful weather (not your typical early July weather).

He's been out there making his own tools on the lathe which is pretty cool. He needed a tool that would fit on his press to push the ball joints out so he made this out of a block of aluminum and steel. He's a pretty talented guy.

The kids have found a new hobby. Fishing creatures out of the koi pond. This year there is a bumper crop of tadpoles in there. I'm talking hundreds if not thousands of them. They line the bottom of the pond like a black dotted layer. We released goldfish earlier this year but even they can't make a dent in the tadpole population. Which is fine, I love frogs around here.....they keep the bugs down. The kids use the old pool skimmer to scoop stuff out of the pond and then they were dumping it in a bucket of water. They brought the bucket  over to show me and amongst the tadpoles were baby goldfish. They caught them and didn't even realize it. The pond will be full of big fish in no time.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Her new room

About once a decade I feel creative enough to haul out the power tools and make something. I was sitting in Greta's room and felt bad because I'd always planned to create a cute little girl room for her. But, as it often does, life got in the way. Last week, amongst swimming lessons, I decided it was time for her room to get a make-over. I wanted to buy a headboard but didn't want to shell out the $300 it would take to get the one I wanted so I decided to make it. I hauled the kids to Lowes and planned out the headboard in the wood isle while the children ran circles around me. It wasn't easy but I left the store with a pile of pine planks, some short wood screws and a plan.

I got everything screwed together and made a template for the design. I did that by measuring half of it, and taping together paper until I had the right size. Then out came the circle cake pans. I used those to create the "flowing" shape. I cut the shape out of the paper and then traced it on to the wood. I used the jigsaw I bought back in college to get as far as the above picture before it died. RIP little jigsaw, you had a good run. Thankfully my friend let me borrow her jigsaw to finish up the project.

I painted it and the little side table a moss green that matched Greta's new bedspread. I think it turned out cute and it cost me a whole $15 worth of wood. We picked out "Resort Peach" for her walls (which turned into "Resort Pink" after it was applied to her yellow walls). I found some sticky butterfly decals that glow in the dark and applied them above her bed. She loves her new room and says it looks like a "hotel room!" I think that's a glowing review from a 4 year old.