Wednesday, March 25, 2015

When things go wrong

We took Grant to the only true flat spot on the farm this past weekend.  He had a great time riding circles. At least he had a great time until his four wheeler stopped working. 

Being the ever resourceful out-pf-the-box thinking guy he is, David quickly figured out how to haul the now dead four wheeler back to the house. 

Pretty good, huh?

The mud on the Rhino is from maple sap runs when trails were wet and muddy. No one was complaining about doing a little mudding along with our sap collecting. I just wish there was a car wash nearby to clean all of that mud off now!

Grant can now check off "milk a goat" from his bucket list. 

Lucy, our last pregnant momma, gave birth a couple weeks ago. Would you believe she stepped on her only baby and broke its neck?  

Mother Nature - 8
Shupe Farm - 0

We are having quite a string of bad luck, but I am optimistic things will start getting better. Baby calves should start making an appearance in the next month or so. Hopefully our bad luck is all used up by then. 

And for the record, Grant was the only one brave enough to taste fresh goat milk. He said it was awful. I'll take his word for it. 

Jake and Courtney are doing fine. They are staying with family and beginning to put life back together. I hope they are all out of bad luck too. 

Have a good evening. I have to get kids home from various activities and finish spreading the dump truck full of mulch that has filled our driveway the past three days. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Total Loss

David called yesterday to tell me he was on his way to the farm.

Our neighbor found the trailer on our property on fire.

Being a trailer, it was gone before firefighters arrived.

Jake and Courtney, the young couple living there the past year, were not home. They were working when it happened.

Their dogs and cat were in the trailer. No one was able to get them out.

They lost all of their belongings.

Right now we are trying to figure out the best way to help them move forward.

With their families nearby and help from friends and neighbors I hope they can pick up and start moving forward quickly. They are tough country kids. They will get through this. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Before and after

9:00 this morning

9:30 this morning
Do you notice anything missing?

Braces came off today. She considered this a terrific birthday present. I should have saved my money and not bought her a gift!

Speaking of gift....

Here is what ten year old girls want for their birthday. It is a horse stable. 

Ten year old girls also want chocolate cake instead of decorated sheet cakes. 

Mothers of ten year old girls are much appreciative of this development. Cake decorating was fun about two kids ago. I'm too busy now to really enjoy it. 

So no more nine year old girls in our zoo and no more creatures with braces. 

I would turn a cartwheel for sheer joy. 

Except I stopped turning cartwheel about twenty years ago. 

I think I'll celebrate with a nice long nap instead. 


Whirlwind Weekend

So the crazy meter was reading pretty high around the zoo this weekend. 

To celebrate Grace's birthday we had a group of girls over for a sleepover Friday night. 

There was pizza. 

There were cupcakes (made by Kroger).

There was a lot of giggling and playing. 

And there were boys!
Just to add to the fun Grant had a friend spend the night too. 

These two did everything they could to avoid the partiers.
Nice pose, John! He was imitating the girls. 

 My last post which posted on the wrong day floated in cyberspace for a day before showing up on the blog. We did go to the farm Saturday and Sunday after the sleepover kids left and after the baseball open house. Busy weekend to say the least. 

When John wasn't posing like a girl, he was busy restacking rocks at the farm. 
This looks much better than it did. It is a flower bed in the front yard. 

We worked a lot and played a lot too. More later. I'm off to chauffeur kids for a while. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Up and Downs

We had a lot of ups and downs today. 

Most of them took place on the teeter totter. (That word looks really weird spelled out.)

Grace and Emily went for a ride with David and me today. Beautiful day for a first ride this year. 

After we rode, the girls helped get saddles off and hosed down the horses. It's nice that they can be real help. 

In other firsts for the year, we enjoyed our first hot dog over a fire tonight. 
This would have been more exciting if we had not eaten hot dogs for lunch today too. 

Today was open house at slugger field. Free lunch and a chance to see parts of the stadium usually off limits. We picked up our season tickets. Come enjoy a game with us this summer!

I worked book fair at school last week. One day grant came to pick books while I was there. This was the only book he wanted. 

This boy is serious about his women. I am not sure I am prepared for his teenage years. The thought scares me. He already has his girlfriend selected and is trying to figure what movie they should see on their first date. 

Speaking of first date....our not yet sixteen year old son went on a real boyfriend/girlfriend date to see a movie Friday night.  I am certain I am not ready for this stage of parenting. Oh well. Looks  like I'm there whether I'm ready or not. 

They had a good time. 


Ten years old today

Happy birthday, Cowgirl!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Sorry.  I don't usually do links in my posts.

Didn't realize you needed a password.  Guess my computer remembered the password because the link took me directly to the video when I used it.



They were pretty original with that one, I know.

Happy viewing.  Hope it works for you now.

Monday, March 16, 2015



Although I wish this was the name of a miracle cleaner that removed all of the sap from my kitchen, it actually stands for something much more fun than scrubbing my sticky kitchen cabinets and floors. 

S.A.A.P.G.O.N. is the

Southeast Annual Action-Packed Groovy Overnighter

It was an overnight even for third and fourth graders at our church this past weekend.  John and Emily went to this event years ago and now it was Grace's turn to enjoy an overnighter at church with her friends. She had a great time. Below is a link if you want to take a peek at what an overnighter with about eight hundred third and fourth graders looks like. 

Crazy, right?  Maybe the only thing crazier than the fun and fellowship of this event is the group of people willing to give of their time and energy to make it happen.  Blessed are those who deal with youth groups for they shall receive superhero strength.  That ought to be one of the Beatitudes.

Have a great week!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy PI Day!! (A day late)

Say what?

Yesterday was pi day.

March 14, 2015 

Date  3-14-15
Pi       3.1415

And if you were really into observing Pi day, you could have taken a moment to observe the unique second in time when the date and time exactly matched Pi. 

Pi                   3.141592653 
Date/Time      3/14/15  9:26:53

My kids and husband talked about this a few days before the big event. We failed to observe the exact moment of Pi to the billionth place value, but hey, we remembered the day. 

And in honor of Pi day, of course, we ate what else other than


It had a Pi symbol on it!
Of course. 

For those not loving Apple pie there were other selections including chocolate and pecan. 

Pie making took second place to syrup cooking. We finished over seven gallons. That was a bit short of our goal of ten to fifteen gallons. Mother Nature was having some sort of identity crisis this past few weeks. She played havoc with our sap collecting. Oh well. There's always next year. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Loose Ends

Lots going on this week. 

Grace's bunny needed a nose job. Grace was sweet enough to leave the bunny and a note beside my bed. 

I'm happy to report Bunny's nose has been restored to as good as new.  Grace is pleased. 

One other little project I finished this week has been languishing for more than a year. 

Last year when we had our annual water leak in the house, (ugh!) I found this item. 

My wedding dress had been stored under the basement stairs for fourteen years. I opened the box to make sure it was not wet from our flooded basement. 

Fortunately it was unharmed. It has taken me a whole year to get the dress sent off to be preserved again. 

I considered putting it on just to see if I could still fit in it. 

I opted not to pursue that endeavor. No point depressing myself unnecessarily. 

I shipped it off. Maybe someday a daughter or granddaughter can remake it into their own style. Until then it is safely preserved....well, at least until the basement floods again!

Beautiful weekend at the farm

Not beautiful if you're trying to collect sap though. 

More on that another day...,


Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Sunday night was Family Fun Night at the YMCA. 

And boy did our family have fun!  

Rock wall climbing 

And swimming. 

It was back to the farm to collect sap today. We gathered another 75 gallons. 
Later this week we boil. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sap to syrup

I might be skipping a few steps here, but you get the idea. 

Wake up. Take a picture of the sun coming up. (This step is optional)

Collect sap. (This step is required)

Throw a few snowballs for good measure. 

Admire the pretty snow. 

Start a fire. 

Tell Remington to not eat firewood. 



Add some more firewood. 

Ice a cake. 

Wait some more. 

Watch some more. 

Bake brownies because the cake is gone. 


Keep waiting. 

Sorry to disappoint.

We didn't have enough sap to pull any finished syrup off today. We boiled for six hours today.  That much sap took about thirty-six hours to do last year. 

Our pans are larger this year, so we will not have any finished syrup until we cook another hundred gallons of sap. Then we will pull sap continuously until we stop for the year. 

Mother Nature isn't cooperating. Temperatures have been way too cold this past week. Next week the temps will be way too warm. Because of these two factors we won't get much syrup this year, but we definitely are more efficient going forward. No more around the clock cooking marathons. 

Gotta go throw another log on the fire. Stay warm!