Thursday, October 18, 2012

Nature's Jack-in-a-Box

We have these cute little Pacific Tree Frogs all of over the property.
In the strangest places we'll find them.
They were all over the grape leaves this fall.
Today, while watering the lettuces and trees in the greenhouse, this one came out to say hi.
Startled me a little, i have to admit.

Looking for the canning jars this weekend, i found his cousin in the strangest spot...

Hello little guy!

Monday, October 15, 2012

In Case You've Had a Weekend Like Ours...

This weekend was a busy one.  We lived a library in "The Big City" so Cookie could learn about and practice ciphers and codes.  The library was straight away from our favourite Irish restaurant, so we lunched there.  Then we headed to church at our parish in the south end.  All in all, we probably put about 100 miles on the car on Saturday.  Ugh!

Sunday was harvest day.  Moose cleaned out the kiwi vines of about 15 pounds of berries, and we made 2 batches of jam with enough berries potentially leftover for four more batches!  Ei yi ei!  I harvested a basketful of apples, sauced and placed them in jars to freeze them in hopes of using these being used for our lunches and the snacks we need to provide our friends in the clubs we belong to.
Also finished cleaning up the shelling beans.  Whew!  All that  and a quick haircut for Moose made for a 5am to 9:30pm day!! 

And after a day like that, you can imagine the need for a little comic relief, eh?

The poison of my choice is a parody of a cute little song by Carly Rae Jepsen "Call Me Maybe"

And Mitt Romney wants to cut funding for this kinda creativity??!?? 

President Obama slow jamming the news with Jimmy Fallon is a must see as well & the spoof of Mad Men singing Rick Astley is pretty funny to, however i will warn you that that last one isn't too family friendly, video-wise.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lemon Update

meyer lemon oct '12We've already had a couple of frosts out here in the country.  I didn't want to push my luck with my lemon tree, so i moved it into the greenhouse the end of last month.  With all the unseasonably nice weather we had, i was afraid that maybe it was getting too hot in there in the afternoons.  Then i remembered that these trees flourish in AZ. :)

Upon this week's inspection, i noticed the lemon tree is flowering again!  *Sqee!*  And right above those blossoms in the background you can see our first lemon developing.
Overall we have 3 lemons, but the other two are so tiny, and with lemon tree's propensity to drop fruit, i am trying not to get too excited.

Also, per recommendation of an inspiring blogging chap at Tall Clover Farm, i snapped up a Bearss lime plant i found in a grocer's floral section...on clearance for $5 no less.  :)  There were olive plants too, so i figured i give one of those a go.  Behind them there are my lettuce plants for the winter.  Boy, that medium greenhouse is filling up fast!

Bearess lime and olive tree

Thursday, October 11, 2012

New Kinda Chore Chart

We've tried everything to get Cookie to tackle her chores.  I figured if the list format and chart format didn't work, the online computer program with email reminders would.  Pffft!  That only worked for a couple weeks. 

Back a square one, i came across cool chore punch cards, much like our coffee punch cards we coffee addicts carry around in separate wallets because they all won't fit in our money wallet. :)

I was about to order some i had seen on Etsy, when Cookie said, "Whatcha doin'?" 

I showed her the cards and got a resounding "cool!" from her. 

Then a quizzical look came across her face. 

"Momma, why would you buy them when you could make some really cool ones?" 

So i sat down at the computer, and after about a half hour with our art program i came up with this:

We decided that we'd leave the pay-out of each card negotiable.  That way they can earn a new book, an ice cream, a trip to the movies....when they are worth monies, we decided that each balloon is worth $0.25.  When a chore like making the bed is complete, Cookie pops a balloon with a hole puncher. 

We'll see how it works.  So far, just inspired chores for one day.  I wish i knew how to inspire her to complete more chores without beatings!! :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Late Night Story

The other day was a late night for us.  We have them scattered throughout the week.  Just another example of why we need to find an electric doo dad to put our feathered friends away.

It all started in the afternoon.  We drove to dance class about 25 miles away.  I've had a real sour stomach the past week, Cookie had one more class after dance.  Called Moose to see if he could play switch-a-roo with me, so i could go home and go to bed.  Agreed. 

We arrive at class No. 2 at 7:20pm.  It's pitch black out already.  Moose is waiting for us.  I make sure Cookie is settled, then head home.  Figuring that Moose won't be home 'til 9ish, i drive the car up the driveway aways, where the headlights can shine on the duck shed.  Open the car door and there's Rosie, "Mee-roowr".  Hi Rosie.  She escorts me to the duck shed and i just start to enter when i see two beady eyes.  Hmmm, those eyes are too close to each other on that head to be a bird, i say to myself.  Then i see it...the white striped tail.  Spooked Rosie because she didn't know i could run so fast!

I clamour back into the car and wait.  That skunk looks like it's going to bed down for the night in there!  But wait, aren't they nocturnal?  I wait some more.  Finally, my plan is to rev the engine and see if that does any good.  I drive the car up near the duck shed, and after i hit the gas a couple times, the skunk runs out of the duck shed....  Hooray!

and right into the chicken coop!  Ugh!  So now what?  Well, at least i can put the ducks away and then go to bed.  Wait!  Where are the ducks?  Huh?  I look outside and see another flash of threatening tail.  At this point, i don't know what to do.  I am quite certain that if Mr. Skunk skunked me, i would definitely have a real sour stomach.  So, i do what any self respecting gal would do...
call her man! :)

But there's no answer.  The third time, there is still no answer.  So, i leave a note on the front door.

After a while, Moose and Cookie make it home.  Now it's really pitch black.  Great night for stargazing.  Moose has the flashlights in his pocket, so he heads out to the shed.  Mr. Skunk has moved on, but there is no sign of the ducks....anywhere.  Moose heads out into the fields, calling "Here ducky duckies!" :)  Near the pond, that actually resembles something more of a large puddle at this point in the season with this little rain, he hears ducks come crashing out of the brush.  They follow him all the way back to the duck shed.  He turns on the light and finds that only Mischevious and Daffy have followed him back.  Where's Racer?!?

He comes up to the house, asked Cookie to put on her boots and grab a flashlight.  A few minutes later, she comes back to the house to collect me.  "Mom, we need your help.  Grab a jacket and boots."  Oh Lord, help me.

While Cookie is leading me back to the pond, i am amazed at her calmness in the pitch black darkness with only a small headlamp to light our way.  She's a completely different kid now...
Not a hot mess of a city girl like her momma.

We get to the pond and Cookie charges down through the brush to the edge of the puddle.  I stay about 3 feet from all that.  Cause you know there could be frogs down there. 

"See Racer, Mom?  She's under those bushes."  Moose tried bring food out to her. Cookie and Moose tried shooing her on shore.  Rosie even tried climbing into the brush hoping to help us herd the duck home.  No luck.  When they'd get too close, she'd retreat under the shrubs.

Finally, Moose asked me to go get another duck.  On the way back to the duck shed, i decided i would bring Cheevy...he tolerates me picking him up sometimes after we play tag.  Sometimes he gets too fresh and the only way i've found to make him stop is to give that silly ol ' duck a big bear hug.   

Hoping that Racer will respond to Cheevy's calls, we trudge back out to the pond.  We all say, "Call Racer, Cheevy!"  Right on cue, he lets out a big male whaaaaa, whaaaa, whaaa duck sound and Racer comes tearing out of the brush and up the banks.  Cheevy wants down to see if his woman is alright.  I'm *not* letting go of you, you silly duck!

Cookie's at the front of this crazy late night sharade parade, lighting my way.  Moose is at the back lighting Racer's way.  Cheevy's flapping his big ol' manly wings in my face.  Occasionally Racer would stop and duck into brush along the way.  Cheevy, sing it again, ol' boy. Waaaah!  Good boy! 

Finally, we got the ducks back inside and fed.  Whew!

And the neighbours are none the wiser since it wasn't daylight out.  :) 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Enjoying This

Fall is here.
Although, this isn't a fall us Seattlites would recognize right off hand.
Seriously?! California is getting massive amounts of rain this week and we are dry, sunny, & in the 70's? Cue the Twilight Zone intro!

It's cold in the house when Moose awakens.
Lovely man he is, he braves the freezing temps to fetch the firewood that will warm our little house.
All before he's had his breakfast.  Or his shower.
By the time he leaves, the stove is pumping out the heat--around 400 degrees Fahrenheit!
Enjoy finding where our Halloween decorations will live in our new home.
Needing to find more pieces and places for vignettes,
rather than blanketing the house at large with seasonal decor.
Just where are those cool orange and black globe lights we have going to go???
Enjoying how the toys are creeping back in front of the fire.
Reminding myself to enjoy those now, especially when the littlest of pieces embeds itself in my foot, because they won't be there too many more years. :)
Enjoying a new knitting project this week.
In need of more dishclothes and Martha's yarn colours where spot on for my new kitchen.
Portland Feis this past weekend was the perfect time for new projects--lots of knitting on the car ride down and while cheering for Cookie in the stands.
Cookie is the 2nd girl from "Batgirl" on the right

Monday, October 8, 2012

shop local :: Enumclaw Sales Pavilion

In this installment of my shop local series, we bring you our experience at the Enumclaw Sales Pavilion.  The proper title should be "sell local", however. 

Our Polish rooster, Mo, was becoming quite aggressive for our taste.  He had already attacked Moose once and had developed a reputation for charging from behind (which really made changing the waterers and checking food difficult for one person).  For people who like to commune with our hens on a daily basis, you can imagine how frustrating it was.

Saturday, while we were readying for our travels to the Rose City, Cookie was playing in our backyard while Moose was tending to weeds in the garden.  Mo kept jumping up on our fences, crowing, puffing, and taunting Cookie. We decided there was no tolerance for that type of bullying.  And from a chicken no less!

A visit with some acquaintances that we saw last week proved fortutitous, with conversation centered around chicken talk.  They mentioned they had taken some poultry to the Sales Barn before they left for a vacation; three year old hens who's egg production had really tapered off weren't worth the cost of an animal sitter to them, however they didn't wish harm to their chickens either.  Makes sense.

Mo:  If you could only have followed the cardinal rules!
So Saturday morning, Moose prepared a moving box with straw and air holes for ol' Mo.  We showed up at check-in hours, standing in line with the regulars who drop off dozens of eating eggs, hatching eggs, and other birds to be auctioned off.  How it works is you leave your name and address and item, a number gets associated with that item and set out for auction, and when the auction is over you get a check in the mail if your item has sold.  Haven't talked to anyone yet about what happens when items don't sell.  But we create our own fantasy for Mo, and hope that he was snatched up for his beauty, rather than his tempermant, was whisked away to a glorious and picturesque chicken farm with a sizable harem of hens, who were all immediately struck breathless when they saw what a handsome and (un)refined fellow came to live with them!

shop local: Enumclaw AuctionThe Sales Barn runs many different types of auctions from poultry to horses to tools and farm equipment.  It's located on Hwy 164 & 228th Street. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Case of the Curious Bird

Already the Barred Rock chickens are proving to be a handful.  Well, one in particular.
  Maybe it's her way of paying us back for injuring her in the fire
If you look closely, you'll see she is missing two digits on her cute little chicken feet.

Thanks to Linda's advice on chicken heartiness, we were able to calm out fears that we would have to put the chick down and we tended to her little feet while she healed.

In honor of the first sleepover guests to grace our home with their riotous antics gleaned from strange and unusual reality T.V. and contagious laughter that only can come from a group of charming girls, and because it is an extremely fitting name in this case, we have dubbed thee:

Honey Boo Boo
We even tweaked the infamous quote of the real Honey Boo Boo to describe our friends, feathered and not:  "Melon Ballas make me holler, Honey Boo Boo."
We were absolutely loopy!  Poor Moose had to endure two solid days of this. :)
But i digress...
Our Honey Boo Boo stirred up some real the last couple days.
You know how you get into a habit of counting chickens at night, and they become so reliable, that you may causally glance at them one night, suspecting nothing is wrong?
Guilty here!
It's that goofy time of the year for us, when we have places to be in the daytime that don't permit us to be home at dusk to put the birds away.  Moose has graciously been putting the birds to bed in the dark the last couple weeks.  When i opened up the coop yesterday morning, i noticed a chicken in full on sprint come from the far corner of the pastures.  Huh.  That's not right.
I mentioned to Moose, on our drive to the bus stop, that we may want to double check the chickens at night--both of us becoming complacent chicken counters.
Last night, he rapped at the window and mentioned we were down a chicken.
He got a flashlight and headed out in the pasture.  And you wanna know what he found by the wee apple trees along the fence line?  In that strangely fenced off, mouse-infested, tall grassy area i mentioned a little while ago.  You know the one?
Miss Honey Boo Boo, buried under a mound of grass, sitting on her CLUTCH!

These are destined for the Ol' Egg Test today.

*shaking head* "Devil Chickens, Chickens, Chickens!"
They never cease to make us feel dumber than they are!


The ducks have been blessing us with some "Pumped Up Eggs" lately.
The yolks on the bottom came from a single duck egg.
Yesterday, i only needed 3 eggs to make scrambled eggs for two. :)