Friday, July 23, 2010

New barn cat

Evidently, we have a new barn cat. I'm guessing she's taken up housing in one of our barns. We've actually been knocking around the idea of finding a barn cat somewhere to keep the mice at bay. You would think with all the fox we see that there would be less mice. Anyway, she's been here a few nights meowing for food, (around midnight). That's just gonna have to stop. Anyway, all we had was dog food, which she didn't seem to mind. I finally told the kids about her this morning. She came back this morning meowing for more food. She is very cute and sweet and loving and is starving for attention. She is also very, very thin. The kiddos are already in love with her. They've named her Maple and I think she is calico with a little Maine Coon.

She's pretty small so I don't think she's very old. My guess is that someone dropped her off on our road hoping someone (like me) would take care of her. She's been hanging around our front steps all morning and the kids can't stand it. They are head over heels in love with her. Evidently, I need to make a trip into town for some cat food! The biggest concern I have right now is keeping my Maggie from shredding her to bits. Oh! That Maggie! She's a little protective and has a pretty big prey drive.

This is Maggie, staring at the squirrel, licking her lips, trying to decide if it is worth leaving her mama, just to give chase...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What a day! (with added pix)

Wow! What a day! We had a nice, quiet, fun family day. We did a new but rather surprising little hike. We were hoping for a longer hike but with our late start, it was just what the doctor ordered. It began and ended at a creek so the dogs and kiddos jumped in, cooled off and played a bit.

We ate our snacky packed lunch and left just as the afternoon rain was moving in. As we were leaving, a bear started to run out in front of our truck and stopped. We pulled over to try and get a picture but he decided to make a break for it behind us, climb a tree so he could get across the barbed wire fence, and took off up the hill. Sadly, these three butt shots are the only shots we got (and from my cell phone)...

After all the fun, we went home and got a short nap. Why is it that rain always makes me so sleepy? The kiddos watched Nancy Drew, we had jimbalaya for dinner with some yummy canteloupe I picked up at the Sunflower Market and then we ran to get the kids' picture IDs for 4H. The day ended with us walking our road tonight picking the brand new wild raspberries growing all over the property. Yum! Tomorrow we'll have to come prepared and bring some buckets! The sunset is beautiful and it was a nice, quiet, peaceful day. I love these kinds of days. They bring a sense of order among our crazy lives. I'll try to post some pix soon!

Friday, July 16, 2010

4-H Projects

This entire day and most of the week has been dedicated to 4-H. They each have two projects. Ike is doing rocketry and .22 rifle shooting. Izzy is doing rocketry and quilting. Little did we know that each project also requires you to complete a 15 page report relating to the goals, expenses, daily activity records and finally a report summarizing all of the above. Who knew they require so much? Not only that but they have to give a short speech about it in front of their group and meet and interview with a judge on exhibit day. Wow! Needless to say, all our brains are fried and in serious need of some chocolate. We are still working on putting the finishing touches on all our projects, too. This 4-H stuff is harder than it looks. And it took them all day to finish up just one of their reports! Yikes. I'm glad we still have another week. I was dreaming all about it last night. I'm ready for summer to start. What? It's almost over? My bubble is too fragile. I am going to pretend we have another month. Maybe I will just dream of the beach tonight.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer reading

As a homeschooling mom, I sometimes get frustrated that I can't pack a lifetime of knowledge into a single school year. I have found, though, that we can take a bite out of it at a time and can add a little salt and flavor to the necessary schoolbooks by stretching it into summer fun reading. The kiddos have already completed their summer reading programs through the library and we're just getting started. They love reading on their own but love for me to read with and to them, still. I love to learn as much as they do so it is time well spent. And all the snuggle time is good for this mom's heart and health! We're working on completing the series of DK Eyewitness Books. They each have different authors but are designed basically the same. This summer, we are checking out 2 of them at a time, giving each of my kiddos a chance to pick the one they are most interested in, every time we go to the library and in addition to their own solo choices. There are hundreds of them on every conceivable topic...states, travel, medicine, etc. The one on skeletons and epidemics is slightly disturbing. Maybe a little more than slightly. Be forewarned. Ike loves the science and history ones, and definitely the spy one. Izzy loves the bug and animal ones. I love them all but dig the ones on anything discussing medical, geography and science. I think that pretty much covers all of them. The electrical and technology ones are fun but can be a little "yawn" for me. Just not my thing. I'm just not "wired" that way. We own a few of these DK books and have loved pouring over the pages. They are laid out almost like a magazine with a bunch of insert pictures with short descriptions and tidbits, longer paragraphs, and are a little more comprehensive than an encyclopedia (do you still remember those pre-google things?), but also provide fun and little-known facts.

I took some pictures to show you but I believe my computer has just been infected or taken hostage so I switched computers so I could finish this post. I'll have to deal with that one tomorrow. Yikes!

Ike picked out the Civil War one this time. There was a little picture and description that told how some of the boys that were under 18 enlisted and didn't want to lie about their ages. So, they creatively decided to write the number 18 on a piece of paper and tuck it into their shoes so that when they were asked if they were over 18 they felt like they could honestly answer "yes". Or the story of how one general lost his right arm, another lost his left arm and they joked that they could buy a pair of gloves and split them. Too funny! Izzy's butterfly and moth one talked about the differences and similarities of the two like how butterflies' antennae are clubbed on the ends and moths rest their wings flat. These books are full of information and are great for little ones with colorful pictures and old people like me that like to review and learn new things. They hold your attention but are easy to pick up and put down for little ones with short attention spans. Go check a few out at the library. They are a great way to identify the different areas each of your kids are interested in and maybe open a new joy of learning for you, too!

Ike's Birthday

Ike's 11th birthday is coming up. He will be starting middle school in a month. I realized today how long his legs are. That's where all that food goes! He's been weed-eating around the ranch and trying to make a dent in the jungle. He's also getting ready for the 4H County Shoot in a couple weeks. We haven't been practicing very much because the monks have started coming in to the "monkey village" for their summer retreats and we haven't wanted to disturb their solitude. So, we took off for a much needed family trip back to the spot where we took an extended camping trip last year, deep into the forest. We found a campfire that was still smoldering and a bunch of garbage strewn about. We happened to have a garbage bag handy and a few gallons of water we keep in the back for the dogs and cleaned up and put out the fire. It is unbelievable how people treat our national forests! We also brought along all our guns because Ike wanted to get some practice on his .22 and since he had never shot a shotgun before, wanted to give it a try.

So, we found a beautiful spot where someone else set up a piece of cabinet grade wood for target shooting so we used it as a backdrop for our own targets. Again, forgive the poor quality pictures. I'm still just using my phone. I'm hoping there is a new camera in my near future, what with our anniversary and my birthday coming up. HINT HINT HINT

The kids tried the .22, .380, .9, and shotgun but were reluctant to try the 30.06. MacGyver "killled" us a couple bullseyes for dinner, though! We were all very proud!

We also did a little exploring via 4 wheel drive and I took a bunch of wildflower pictures. I also took some pictures of the aspens. I had never seen aspen before coming out west. They are one of my favorite trees now. (And the live oaks, cottonwoods and lodgepole pines)!

It was pretty overcast and a good 15 degrees cooler up here.

I love their leaves. They are called Quaking Aspens because of the sound they make when the wind whips through them. Very beautiful!

We stopped in Woodland Park, another small mountain town, on the way home and got some pizza for dinner. This is a shot of the back of Pikes Peak, where Katharine Bates wrote "America the Beautiful". You can see the front side of the Peak from our old house. Every angle of it looks completely different and is snow-capped about 10-11 months out of the year. There is also a cog railway that runs straight up the Peak. It clicks just like the old wooden roller coasters as you go up it. This is so you don't roll backwards. Its pretty cool. It is 14,100 feet, but is not the tallest in Colorado. That title is held by Mt. Elbert at 14,443 feet. We are at a mere 7,000 feet.

We had a fun family day. On the way home, Ike reminded us his birthday was coming up. When I asked what he wanted for his birthday, he surprised us. He wants a new pair of hiking shoes, a compass and a membership to the NRA. Should I be concerned? Maybe he just wants the free hat and sticker. Maybe he just wants access to the members only shooting range at the NRA Whittington Center a few hours away. I'm not sure why, or even how to feel about the last request but I have a feeling his birthday wishes are different than most boys his age. Maybe I should just be thankful he doesn't want a pair of $400 Jordan's or a keg party.?.?.?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Is Over

I'll confess it here. I can be evil. I blame it on being the youngest child. I like to pull pranks, jump out of nowhere and scare my kids, and tell them all kinds of horror stories. I woke up in such a mood this morning and suddenly announced, "Ok, kids, summer is over. Get your breakfast and let's get started on school!" You could have heard a pin drop. Their mouths hung agape and their eyes went huge. I heard the very oxygen escape their lungs and a faint, "noooooooo" come out of their last remnants of air. I couldn't help it. I really don't know what got into me. I had to laugh...hysterically. It was so funny. They really thought I was serious. Let's just say they were not happy with me. They were, however, happy when I said I was kidding and now it was time to clean the house. Less of a blow, I figure!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Farmer's Market

I am so wishing right now I would have had the time to plant a garden this year; but it was not to be! I should start working on it for next year and maybe I can get my act together for next year. I could set up the shed to start seedlings this winter. We have such a short growing season, you really can't harvest seeds straight into the ground. Nothing would ever ripen before the first frost! Anyway, we were taking our 4-wheeler up to a fellow firefighter's house to use his welder and fix it up when we found a local farmer's market. I LOVE farmer's markets. There is something so wonderfully magical and romantic about them! Local grown honey, various vendors and of course, the magical and beautiful produce! Unfortunately all the cash I had on me was $8. I still made out and came home excited for lunch and dinner. Look at my loot!

I've never seen Mexican zucchini before!

I had to cut into the canteloupe and tomato for lunch. I just coudn't help myself. I really wanted to bite into it on the way home but decided I'd rather not wear it! I made some chicken salad and had some tomatoes and canteloupe. Slap your pappy! It was so good!


Makes me really wish I had a garden! My favorite thing about growing up and working on my grandparents' farm was eating green beans right off the vine and strawberries until you got sick. We always started the harvesting days by throwing a watermelon in the creek to chill while we worked in the hot Georgia sun. And the payoff was better than you can ever imagine. And the watermelon spitting contests! Oh! The good days and the memories of childhood! I sure don't miss those acres and acres of workking the fields...especially having to snap peas for hours on the hot porch later, but I do miss all those fresh yummies!