Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Grace and Grant like to play out things they see us do at the farm.
Lately their favorite thing to play has to do with taking care of the cows

They will round up and sort pretend cattle, deciding which ones to take to market.

Sometimes the dogs volunteer get drafted to be cows or horses.

They spent most of one morning tied to the refrigerator.  They were cattle waiting to go to market.
Money says the real cattle would not sit this patiently waiting to be loaded onto a trailer.

A few cans of Playdoh provides many hours of fun when it's cold outside and there are no electronics inside to play with.

Olaf - from the movie FROZEN

and someone else's version of Olaf

I guess we should have had an Olaf judging contest.
There were enough entries for a contest.

Grant made the flag.  I think he was spelling something with the toothpicks, but I have no idea what it said.  

It truly is an adventure sometimes to see what pictures are one my phone.

Today is off to a good start.  Grace is back in school after being home two days sick.
David collected a little less than forty gallons of sap yesterday.
The dog is healing nicely.  He's going to have a wicked scar.  I hope fur covers it.

John had his last wire change of the teeth moving blitz he's been enduring.
The orthodontist tells us that he will probably have braces off by summer.
Grace goes in next week for a wire change on Monday.
Grant follows on Wednesday for his first evaluation.

Oh, and there is snow on the ground.
My kids didn't even mention it this morning.
That is how sick of snow we are!

I'm off to tackle a mountain of ironing that has been neglected.
Happy Humpday!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Really Random

Be careful when walking down our stairs.
Sometimes they are dangerously cluttered
with dogs.

This picture was languishing on my camera.  I am finally downloading and sorting!

The dogs are as good as any sundial.
They start the day in the living room windows with the morning sun then progress to the stairway for noon sun and finish the day in the office soaking in the afternoon rays.

Unfortunately I don't need a sundial.  This cool new invention called a clock works much better and doesn't leave me at risk of breaking my neck at least twenty times a day when I must step over two hundred pounds of mutt sprawled on my stairway!

I finished the final page in this book a few weeks ago.

For almost fifteen years we have documented every pound, inch, step, word and event in the lives of our kids in baby books that covered from birth to seven years old.

Our final baby is seven years old, and I am happy to report that my baby-book-filler-outer duties are complete.  Books are stored away for some random day in the future when our kids have an overwhelming urge to know what day they first ate green beans and other mind blowing accomplishments.

I am not saddened by the passing of this milestone.
Okay, maybe just a little.

We have been working at the farm this weekend. 

The menfolk took a coffee break to discuss cattle prices, corn futures and the weather.
The younger menfolk might or might not have been drinking hot chocolate instead of coffee.
For the record, he was barefoot outside, and it was all of thirty degrees.

Later in the day I cracked open the hives for a peek while it was warmer.
All four look great.  We should have lots of honey to share this year!

The main activity was tapping maple trees.  Last year we tapped fifteen trees for a four week span.  From that we collected eighty gallons of sap.  Eighty gallons boiled down to two gallons of  syrup.  That was a LOT of boiling in my poor humid kitchen...a kitchen that was already water logged from a leaky bathroom valve a few weeks earlier!!

This year we made some changes.  We tapped forty trees. (what are we thinking, right?!)  In the first day we collected twenty gallons of sap.  David wired two stoves into the garage at the farm, so I will not have to turn my kitchen into a tropical rain forest this year.  We will be boiling in the garage.  If things go smoothly, we might build an outdoor evaporator (think oversized fire pit) for future use.  First we have to figure out if there is a market for that much maple syrup!  I don't think our family can consume five gallons of syrup in a year.

Let the maple insanity begin!!!

Grace is home today.  No fever, but definitely not feeling well.
She is enjoying a quiet day watching television and holding cats and napping.
I might have to join her this afternoon even if I'm not sick!  That sounds like a might fine way to spend a few hours.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Contrary to the sentiment of the previous post, there is no more than the usual amount of unrest among the zoo animals and zookeepers here at the zoo.

Just thought I would say those things while our older two are still listening to us!
We're proud of them.

Sorry for the sentimental mush.  Blame the weather!!!
I'll get back to regular blogging now! :-)

Emily took these pictures at the farm a few weeks ago before the snow began falling.
She did very well in my humble opinion.

She took this one of the goats.  They have worn a path from the pasture to Ronnie's house.  They visit him daily to say hi and see if he has anything for them to eat.  Then they wander back to the pasture.  Our great cattle fence is obviously no match for the goats.

I laughed when someone told David how to check a fence to see if it would hold a goat.
Throw a bucket of water at a fence.  If the water can go through, so can a goat.
Wise words based on my limited experience.

Happy Thursday!
Stay safe if you are in the line of these massive storms today!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Letter to Our Kids

Dear Children,

We love you.  We love you in the way that only parents can love another human being.  We love you when you are smart and obedient and respectful.  We love you just as much when you are loud and obnoxious and rude.

We love you so much that we do many things for you without (too much) complaining.  We do laundry, cook meals, clean the house and chauffeur you around.  We pay the bills because we love you.

We love you even more than that!  We've loved you through sleepless nights of illness, teething and growing pains.  We've loved you through forgotten backpacks, missed buses, spats with friends and bad grades.  We've loved  you through disagreements about clothes or the lack thereof, curfews and class trips to Florida. (the answer is still case you are wondering)

But I want you to know we love you even more than that!

We love you so much that we let you fail the tests you forget to study for.  We love you enough to NOT bring your backpack for the third time when you call home in tears.  We love you enough to haul you BACK TO SCHOOL when you know your adolescent world is going to end if you have to spend one more day in that AWFUL middle school that you hate so much!!  We love you enough to let you pick your friends even though they aren't who we would pick for you.  We love you enough to invite those friends into our house with a warm smile and a welcoming greeting.  We love you so much that we don't mind embarrassing you in front of those friends when they invite you places we don't think you need to go.

We love you enough to sit through multiple concerts, swim lessons, gymnastic lessons, riding lessons, karate lessons, boy scout meetings and baseball games.  Then we love you enough to tell you no when you want to add another activity to our family calendar.

We love you so much that it is okay if you are the ONLY TEENAGER without an iPhone.  We love you enough to make you pay for your wireless phone service.  We love you enough to buy you Wal-Mart jeans and consigned designer clothes.  We love you enough to require you use your own money to buy Nike shoes and VB purses.

We love you enough to give you chores. We love you so much that instead of picking up the dirty socks, backpacks, iPods and shoes, we hold them for ransom so you will learn the importance of  picking up after yourself.  We love you enough to ground you when you forget to clean your room....withhold allowance when you don't walk the dog....require you to repeat a chore multiple times until you understand it isn't doing the chore that matters, but doing it well.

 You not only can clean a bathroom, but you can also appreciate when someone else does it for you.  You know the work involved in mowing yards, folding laundry, ironing shirts and cooking a meal.  You've learned helpfulness.  You understand money doesn't grow on trees and hard work pays. You know how to save a dime and celebrate the dollars that grow. You've learned to be frugal. You've struck out, fallen down, finished last, failed tests and burned dinner.  You've learned determination, perseverence and a good dose of humility.

We love you so much that we choose to let you fail, let you cry, let you experience disappointment and hurt...even when we could step in and make things better.  How else do you appreciate the bright moments in life if you never experience the darkness life will surely bring?

We hope as you move closer to independence that  you realize we love you enough to make you sometimes not want to love us.  That's okay.  Someday when you are an adult and have children of your own, you will understand.

Until then, we love you.

Mom and Dad

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Science Fair Success!!

Grace has successfully navigated the scientific research process and lived to tell the story.

She now has a thorough understanding of how our other senses affect the sense of taste.
She also can identify ten flavors of jello without looking at the colors
Now THAT is talent.

 Her project was turned in and presented last week.
Today she found out that hers was picked as one of the third grade winners.

She was so excited to show me her science medal tonight after school.
I don't think third graders go on to compete at the district level, but she didn't care.
She was happy enough with just the medal!

Doggy still doing well.  He doesn't act like he's in pain.
He hasn't been wearing his cone much either.
So far he has left his stitches alone.

I'm sure that will change once it starts to heal and itches.
He will be a pup-cone once again!


Poor Pup - More Pictures

Remington got to sit on the seat of the truck riding home with David.
He looks pretty good, huh?

What about this angle?
He is glad to be home and glad to have the cone off his head for a while.

Poor guy probably won't try squeezing under any fences in the near future.
I'm guessing he learned his lesson Saturday.

The lake where we ski
Frozen solid around the docks and ramps

I went for a drive to warm up last week when my house was hovering at fifty degrees inside.
I had never seen the lake frozen so wandered down to take a look.

Old house at the back of the farm

House sitting on the site of the new cattle barn
This one will get pushed this spring.
I have to admit it breaks my heart to see it go, but the house does us no good as it is.

 Shed near the old house

A portion of the stone fence near the old cattle chute

The house we just bought

If you know the layout of our property, this will make sense.
The back yard of this house adjoins the end of the horse pasture.
It has another seven or eight acre pasture that will be nice to give the main horse pasture a break during the summer months.

Now I know why horses are called hay burners!
They never stop eating!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Photo Dump #2

Today we celebrated Valentine's Day at Grace and Grant's school.
Since there was no school Friday, the parties were held today.
Tonight was a family skate night hosted by the PTA.  We talked the kids into staying home  for a family movie night instead.  No one wanted to get out in the cold wind and rain again.

We watched the Charlie Brown Valentine Show appropriately enough.

John had another wire change on his braces today.
I must say the progress is becoming more visible with each passing week.
He gets more tolerant of the discomfort too.
I should own stock in SnackPack pudding for the quantity he has consumed.
If we are what we eat, I know what John is eighty percent composed of right now!!

Crazy cat boy

Grant's first engineering accomplishment.
This is a set I bought him that makes crazy straws.
Hands down he wins the contest for the craziest straw.

Air Hockey with Dad

John and Emily have enjoyed playing card games with David and me for several years.  We will sit down after dinner and play a game before bed most nights at the farm.  What else are we to do without electronics to entertain ourselves?

Now the younger two are getting old enough to be included in the fun

We have to play different games when Grace and Grant join in.
Go Fish! is the go-to game of choice with the younger crowd.

Old Maid is a close second.
Grant gets pretty competitive when playing card games.

Rumor has it that he might be known to cheat on occasion.
I can neither confirm nor deny the rumors.

Grace has found a way to manage her cards when her hands can't handle them all.
Kitchen dishes work well.

I think John and Emily even enjoy the change of pace.

It can get pretty loud and competitive around the table even though we're just playing Go Fish! and Old Maid.

Remington is home tonight.
His side is stitched from top to bottom.  I can't seem to get a picture to load.
Computer is still not cooperating fully.
I'll post one tomorrow so you can see the damage!

Overall he is doing pretty well.  He is not too impressed with the cone on his head!

Sunday, February 16, 2014


There is hope this winter will end!!
David and I braved the cold to prune the fruit trees and a few other vines in the orchard this weekend. We are also getting things ready to tap maple trees in the next few weeks.

These things give me hope that spring will eventually awaken and this miserable snowy winter will finally end.

Our neighbor did not make the closing on the new property.  She was ill Friday, so she will sign over the house to us Monday.  That means we did not go onto the property this weekend since it is not officially our yet.

No house pictures to share.

Grace and Grant found this monster truck at the Wal-Mart near the farm.
Grant was much more excited than Grace was to see the truck up close.

In other exciting news......

We went to the farm with two dogs and returned to town with only one.
Meg and Remington play outside when we go to the farm.  We don't contain them with a leash or fence. They do a great job hanging around close to the house.

Saturday evening as we sat down to dinner, Remington thumped on the back door wanting to come inside.  When David let him in, we found he had a huge chunk of hide and flesh gone from his side.  It looks like he might have lost a fight with a barbed wire fence.  It looks like it was torn and not like a bite from another animal.  He didn't have any other injuries.

Needless to say, we loaded him up for a few days of rest and relaxation at the vet's office we use for the horses and cows.

I really do not crave nor enjoy excitement and drama,
but it seems to find us more than our fair share of times!

I'm just glad he can be put back together.
We can rebuild him!!

Bionic Dog??

Pictures I downloaded last week.....
I'm not sorting or editing.  My computer is dying a slow death and not cooperating at all right now.

Grant's race cars

Grace and Grant's stained glass window

Farm Breakfast (not this weekend)

They obviously have a lot of free time at the farm....

I don't even know what most of these are supposed to represent.
They get my phone and take their own pictures.
Sometimes I find some might interesting things on my phone when they've had it.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Let's Play A Game

Let's play a guessing game.

Which of these things is NOT TRUE about Valentine's Day 2014?

a.  David bought me a dozen roses for Valentine's Day

b.  The kids were home for ANOTHER SNOW DAY!!!

c.  David is taking me out to dinner tonight

d.  David bought me a new house for Valentine's Day

And the answer is.......


We will not be dining out in the name of romance tonight.  Instead we will be figuring out what to do with my new valentine's day gift.  Yes, folks, my husband loved me so much that he bought me a house for Valentine's Day.  That was exactly what I wanted.  I guess.

The farm adjacent to our Kentucky farm came up for sale.  Based on the location of the property it could be assumed it used to be part of our property and was sold off as a house site.  So of course we felt an obligation to reunite the properties.  It seemed the decent thing to do.  ;-)  It just so happened the closing fell on Valentine's Day.  Lucky me.

So what will we do with another house and assorted barns?  Not really sure right now.  That is still to be determined. 

Oh.  And the kids WERE home again today for snow.  We will get exactly 10 days off for summer vacation at the rate we are going.  It is only the middle of February!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Music and More SNOW!!!!

School was canceled once again due to snow and bad roads.
Not funny.

Grant is trying to learn guitar just like his big brother.

He even wrote his own music.
Pretty good, huh?

I cannot believe school was out again today. The roads were clear by mid morning.
Oh well, what is one more day at this point?

I tried to load pictures of Grace's science fair project, but the computer stopped cooperating so I'm now pecking on my iPad.  I guess my computer was past due for its annual virus.  I'm hoping it doesn't inflict too much damage before someone much more tech smart than me can fix it.

John got new wires and bands today.  At least two more weeks of moving teeth rapidly.  They will assess how he is doing at that point.

The older couple who live across the street came over with a plate of brownies for John and Emily.  They wanted the kids to know they appreciated having their driveway shoveled.  
What a perfect gesture on their part.  I would have hated for them to pay the kids since J/E shoveled their drive without being asked.  Now if I could just get them to shovel our own driveway without being asked!!

Tomorrow's excitement involves getting a new furnace installed.  The only thing wrong with a twenty year old home is that things don't break at convenient times.  Furnaces pick the most inopportune moments to die.

Just sayin'!

So other than a sick computer, a son's very sore mouth and a dead furnace, life is good.

How about you?

I think I'll go listen to my son strum me his newest song.