Friday, July 31, 2015

July Projects

July is a busy busy month around here. There's always so much to do in the summer and I swear July is the shortest month ever. Last weekend we were able to get our usual 250 hay bales put up in the shop which is a pretty big project. It always has to be done on the hottest possible day of the year, this year was no exception. But, that wonderful heat acts as an excellent oven to cure the freshly cut grass....which in turn makes some lovely hay. I got to drive the trucks with trailers this year through the field as the bales were loaded. Definitely the easiest of the hay field jobs. Perhaps it's my lack of muscles that earns me that job, I'm ok with that. It's nice to have a shop full of hay again for another year of feeding hungry animals.

We always leave a truck sized square and pile up the hay around it so I can park my old truck inside. There are little paths leading back to the chicken house too.

The shop started leaking a couple years ago. It started in the sky light and has progressed since. Last fall I got up on the roof and sealed the sky light with a paint on sealer. It seemed to do the trick all winter but after our torrential downpours this spring it's back to dripping. Then the grade around the shop entrance changed and the shop started flooding after a big rain storm. It would ruin the bottom hay bales (wet and moldy hay isn't something you want to feed animals). So last weekend Sean got the old John Deere garden tractor up and running and dug down the dirt and gravel at the entrance to keep the rain from flowing in. It seemed to work, after a rain yesterday the shop stayed dry. Woo hoo!

 Sean started pulling down rotten siding on the front of the house a couple of weeks ago. The rotten siding is a never ending project. We've tackled one side every couple of years and are on our third side now. This, of course, was Sean favorite side. I'm being sarcastic. In the past we've just rented scaffolding from the local rental store and that's worked fine for the most part but we hate just giving them money when we know we'll just have to rent it again when we reside the next part of the house. So we bit the bullet and bought some scaffolding. We figure after we've rented it for three months we could have just bought it, it's a no brainer.

We ordered some from an online company and it was scheduled to be delivered by a trucking company yesterday. I assumed they would call before coming out so I went about my day waiting for a phone call. When nobody had called by 2 the kids and I decided to go run some errands. We are pulling out of the driveway and I look down the road to see a giant semi truck stopped three houses down. Wondering if it was our delivery guy, we drove down to investigate. Sure enough it's a full seize semi truck, stuck in the mud (we got a lot of rain yesterday morning) with our scaffolding in the back. He was waiting for someone to come pull him out. I wish he would have called and I could have told him how bad our roads are. Oh well. So I drove home and hopped in the truck, backed it up to the rear of the semi and we unloaded the scaffolding directly into the back of my truck.

 I asked the semi driver who do you call to pull out a giant semi truck stuck in the mud? He said "an even bigger semi truck". So when I got home, the kids and I, went up to the top of the driveway to watch as he was drug out of the mud. We all found it quite entertaining.

The roads don't look bad, but think of it as a coating of sand on top of pure mud. Luckily they dry out fast. That was our fun week.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Dog Days of Summer

The dog days of summer are upon us. This generally means above 100 degree temperatures (in the shade), giant cracks in the yard, filling up the stock tank each day and bored children. The kids aren't the only ones that are bored. I, for reasons I can't pinpoint, can't seem to get motivated to do much of anything. Keeping the kids happy and occupied takes up my entire day. This is all fine because you know what? They are going back to school in 28 days! They as in both children! I will have two children in school in less than a month! I'm kind of excited about this new development (if you couldn't tell). I haven't had the house to myself for over eight years. It's going to be strange, I admit....but I think I'm going to be ok with it.

For now I have 28 days to keep these little people entertained. Oh and adding a sprinkler to a trampoline has proved to be an ingenious combination.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Fine Summer Day

This is the time of year when all the hard work done in the spring starts to pay off.  All the planning, buying of seeds, digging in the dirt and much watering. There are blooms all over the yard, large tomatoes hanging on the vine and giant sunflowers looming overhead. The funny thing about the sunflowers is I didn't plant any sunflower seeds. I have a little "mini me" that took it upon herself to scoop out a handful of black oil sunflower seeds (or goat food as I like to call them) then prance around the property pushing them into the soil. There are sunflowers growing all over. I didn't think the black oil sunflower seeds sold as bird food would sprout. I always assumed they were treated or something to keep them from being used as flower seeds. Nope, they grow some really nice big sunflowers it turns out.

The wisteria vine always tries really hard to produce it's large clusters of fragrant flowers in early spring but they usually succumb to a late freeze. Apparently all this rain we've gotten made it pump out some mid summer blossoms. I wish you could smell these flowers. It's like I'm in Hawaii again. Such a wonderful smell.

We planted three blackberry bushes that I found on clearance a couple of years ago and haven't thought much of them since. They get mulched each year and watered but left to their own devices. Well this is the year they decided to produce blackberries. So many blackberries! The kids and I love going back there each day looking for the ripe beauties.

This is the first year I've really just completely slacked off on the koi pond. Each spring I empty all the nasty brown winter water out, rake out the 400 pounds of wet oak leaves and make it ready for the season. The extremely wet May put me back a month and I just barely got it cleaned out before we left for vacation. I didn't get the pump up and running so without running water I couldn't go buy goldfish for it. So there it sits, empty. Usually by this time of the summer it's already got baby goldfish growing in it. I went out this morning to see if anything was using it as a home and was pleasantly surprised to see a ton of these guys:

I think they are bullfrog tadpoles as they are big guys! There are also a ton of dragonflies dancing around the air so I'm sure there are larvae in there as well. I love seeing both of these things around the pond as it means there will be very few mosquito's around.

That's what's happening in our yard this fine summer day.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Happy Birthday Wesley!

My oldest child turns 8 years old today. Hard to believe since Wesley was born just the other day. I'm sure I write this each year at his birthday, but it's true! He's such a sweet kid. Very sensitive to others feelings. Always trying to help out and a great big brother to Greta. I'm sure lucky to have him as a son. Happy Birthday Wesley!

He's really into Minecraft these days so I wanted to make him a Minecraft themed cake. I used three cake mixes and 45 pounds of frosting (not really on the frosting). Each character is sculpted out of marshmallow fondant. The cake took many hours but he really liked it, so that's all that matters. Alex, Abby, Evie & Jessica came over to help him celebrate.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Four Wheeling & Fireworks

This is the last post on the trip (I promise!). I took over 250 pictures so condensing it down to just five blog posts was pretty difficult. Sean and I took a trip on my parent's 4 wheelers on the last day before heading home. There are many back roads to explore around my parent's cottage and that's just what we did. It was great fun and I got some fabulous pictures of the scenery.

The spectacular scenery inspired me to try my hand at watercolor painting. My parents had a small watercolor kit that they were generous enough to let me use while I was up there. So I sat out on their deck and did a few tiny little paintings. I found it to be very relaxing and I'm thinking I might pick up a brush now that I'm home. I used to watercolor in high school and college but haven't in quite some time. It was nice.

We ended up traveling home on the 4th of July so we made arrangements to stop in Pueblo and enjoy the fireworks show. The hotel was downtown by the river and we ended up having front row seats in our fifth floor room. It was a lovely end to a memorable trip.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Museums & Mountain Fishing

From Ouray we loaded up the car and made our way over to my parent's cottage. We made a small stop at the Ridgeway Train museum. The kids enjoyed climbing all over train cars.

The kids have been asking when they'd be able to go fishing, so we made it a point to go fishing in the mountain pond near my parent's cottage. Residents are able to catch two fish a day. I honestly didn't think we'd catch much of anything so you can imagine my surprise when Wesley caught a trout not 5 minutes after getting there. I, of course, didn't bring my camera out of the car until after the trout was already released back into the water. The kids decided before we got there that they didn't want to kill the fish (they are, after all, my children). Well all said and done we caught six trout. Wesley caught two (all by himself I might add) and I caught two on Greta's tiny pink princess pole. It was a great time.

My second favorite picture from the trip.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Yankee Girl Mine & Box Canyon

After our hike up to the big waterfall above town I wanted nothing more than to go hit the shops in town. I love shopping, I don't buy all that much, but I love looking! So Greta, my mom and I went walking through town while the boys (my Dad, Sean and Wesley) took the Grand Cherokee up Red Mountain (a jeep trail). I'm not a big fan of jeep trailing as I get pretty car sick on winding trails so I was happy not to have to go. They had a blast though. Sean was thrilled to try out the 4x4 on the Jeep, and it did great! I'm still hearing about it from Wesley and it's been a week. I nabbed a few pictures off of my Dad's blog to share what they got to see (hope you don't mind Pops). They got some beautiful pictures!

The next day we got ready and loaded up in the cars for a hike into Box Canyon. It was a nice, fairly easy hike for kids and the view is gorgeous. They have recently opened up a tunnel through the mountain which turns into a perimeter hike around the top of the city. We ended up doing part of that hike as well.

Probably my favorite picture from the trip.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cascade Falls

We stayed three days in Ouray, Colorado. It's a beautiful, quaint little town nestled into the mountains. It brings back many fond memories of my youth and I'm excited to share the town with my kids. We got to Ouray Sunday evening and got checked into our room. We stayed at the Rivers Edge hotel and it was indeed on the rivers edge. The place was beautifully landscaped and the rooms were spacious.

We walked into town looking for a bite to eat and ran into the toy store. With two excited children (and one young-at-heart grandpa), one can not just walk past a toy store. So in we went. It was a unique toy store in that they had a counter set up with logic games.....and they show you how to play them. Wesley thought this was great fun! I think grandpa walked out of there with three new games.

The next morning we took a nice hike up the the Cascade Falls. It was an easy hike which was good since we were still trying to acclimate to the high altitude. The kids sure enjoyed climbing rocks!

More tomorrow!