Monday, February 24, 2014

February, Part Deux


We ran to Tractor Supply for more cattle panels.
While Russ got them all tied to the truck, Sam and I had some fun on the carts...

Then we ran over to Walgreens, knowing they would have a good selection of half-priced Valentine Day goodies.
Boy were we right!!
Not only did we walk out with a big ol' bag of candy, but we found this guy marked down half-off as well (the dog, not the boy).
A couple of months ago, Brook had found a giant stuffed dog (not this big) at a store and was BEGGING for it, but it cost so much!!!  So when I saw this, we had to have it.
It gets dragged in and out of her room daily.

Getting our rain barrels set up!
These 3 are on the west side of the house (although I didn't secure them, like I knew I should have and they blew over and broke in a wind storm, sigh).
Walk back under the deck there to the other end of the house and...
 

You'll find these guys.
Still not sure what we're going to do with the overflow on these guys, because they're going to fill up fast when we finally get rain.
Then if you go through the gate to your right, walk along the front of your house you'll find...

This one.
Yes, one.  At least overflow isn't as big of an issue here.
Then travel along the sidewalk, to the end of the house...

And you'll find Russ's hugelbed.
They aren't recommended for desert growing, but we're going to try anyway.
So all of the rainwater coming off of this corner of the house will drain down into that swale (ditch) there (which will be mulched...all of this will be mulched to retain any water we get) and keep the hugelbed watered.
That's the hope, anyway.

I've been working on my herb spiral (another no-no for the desert--too much evaporation and desiccating winds) as well.
I'll take a better photo when I've got it built up more...need to go dig more dirt and collect more rocks.

It has been sooo nice out lately and it's drawn us all outside.
In this case, to draw!
Brooklyn is pointing at all of the chalk spiders she drew all over the trampoline.
P.S.  Notice the hair??  :) 
She wanted pink, but loved her "golden" look better ("I look like Tangled!!").

Love those babes of mine.

A new litter of baby bunnies...THIRTEEN!!
I had looked in there, but didn't see any, so figured she hadn't had them yet.
Later, Russ said, "I think there were 10."
"10 what?"
"Babies."
"Huh?"

So I went and dug a little deeper...sure enough!
Babies!!!!  <3 br="">

It was so nice out, and I was tired of sitting on the ground when I wanted to go out and meditate, I brought the swing back out.
It's been a big hit.  :)
(Notice the trimmed-up tree??  It's the same one that Russ and Sam were hacking at in the last post.  Now we have looots of room for planting!  It's a perfect spot--right outside the door, gets sun, but has protection from the tree during the hottest part of the day, right by the water...very excited!

We got our second load of mulch delivered!!
The kids love watching the truck dump it and then, of course, playing on it!
I think mulch is going to be instrumental in helping us grow all of the plants we're wanting.
There is a video showing the benefits of it, called Back to Eden (Note: There are a lot of religious undertones, as well as a lot of great info).

Mulch Masters!!

Brooklyn paused like this and said,"Mom, can you take my picture?"

The Pokemon mod on Minecraft updated!
You know what that means...bust out our trusty Ultimate Guide to Pokemon book and see who they added to the game!

Russ has been getting up really early, so I miss seeing him in the mornings.
I found this waiting for me one day.
Love him.

We made a very exciting discovery this week--THE CHICKENS ARE LAYING!!
VERY exciting!

Now that it's warmer out, the kids love coming out and
helping me get all of the animals taken care of.
Sam loves feeding rabbits.

Brook loves collecting eggs.
I definitely don't blame her either, every day it's like an egg hunt...
some chickens lay in the nest boxes, but others lay in the duck shelter, and the ducks lay ANYWHERE.

Mmmm, my mouth is watering.
Stir-fry quinoa and veggies with fresh eggs.
I think I know what I'm having for breakfast...

Our first duck egg!!!
Isn't it gorgeous?
There was some back and forth on whether to eat them or hatch them.
We reached a compromise--we'll eat them until the hens get broody, then we'll hatch.
Also, Brooklyn decided her bangs were in her eyes too much.  :)

This makes me so happy!!
No more store-bought eggs!!!!

More mulching.
Brooklyn decided we should try and make a tunnel...I didn't think it would work.
I was proved wrong!

Bubba sent a Valentine's package!
New undies, books, hats, and of course CANDY!!!
I know, Brooklyn looks soooo excited...it was taking me awhile to get my camera adjusted, lol.

We had a crazy wind storm.
A it's-so-loud-I-can't-sleep crazy windstorm.
I was nervous to go look around the next morning...
I was happy to find that everything was fine.  Then I went to check on the greenhouse and stopped in my tracks and my jaw dropped.
Not only had the rain barrels fallen over and broke, but the trampoline (which is normally to the right of the fort) was mangled.
Luckily, we got things fixed and put back, and anchored a bit more securely...sigh.

One morning, we had some of the rabbits on the ground.
I noticed Brin was very attentive to them and kept making sure no other animals were bothering him.
He loves his animals and tries so hard to herd them and keep them safe.
The problem is that I don't know how to communicate with him to tell him what I need him to do, which makes things rough sometimes.
Another skill to add to my To Learn list!
video

 As part of The Great Duck Egg Compromise, we told the kids we'd go see if we could find some ducklings at the local poultry swap.
We were in luck--there were 2 female Rouens (the same kind that they coyotes got)!

So sweet!
video

 They were being turtles, hehe.

I love that all of our animals live in (mostly) harmony.
The cats aren't big fans of each other, but stand each other.
Brin thinks that when S'mores tries to scratch his nose (she's declawed), she wants to play...
Brin also tries to herd a flock of 16 chickens, which can be overwhelming for a pup.
But for the most part, everyone gets along.

I love early mornings.
(Minus that frigid 30 second burst when you jump from your bed and throw as many warm clothes on as you can...)

Russ and I built a tower for the kids to find when they woke up.
They woke up, were surprised and happy and what's next?
Knock it down, of course!
Who wants to just knock it down though, why not use a catapult??
video

Hello, sweet girl.

A friend of ours inspired us to step up our coyote protection (she mentioned how her dogs were digging near her house, and they threw cacti in the holes.  No more digging!  ...and the cacti live!  Thanks Jeanette!).
We have 3 acres with cacti!
I have been digging it up and redistributing it along the outer perimeter of our backyard fence.
I think it's working...we no longer find dig marks on the places where the cacti are, but ARE finding them where they are not...
Must dig more cacti.
(Which isn't fun.  Well, it's nice to put it somewhere that we want it, but I find little pokies all over my body by the time I'm done--fingers, neck, back, belly, legs...fun.)

I'll finish up this post with one of my favorite videos I've taken in awhile.
Have I mentioned that I love this ram??
He is just so dang cool.
I love my life!
video

Friday, February 21, 2014

Off to a great start, February!

February has been pretty good!  ...a bit windy, weather-wise, but our average highs have been in the upper 40s, woot!

Brook and I went out for a Mom-Brook day. 
She had some money and wanted to spend it at the aquarium.
 
A visit to the zoo!
As we were walking out of the aviary, we noticed a couple of peahens.  When we looked to our right, we saw Mr. Peacock in all his glory, trying desperately to get those girls to look his way.
They were more interested in scratching in the dirt, but we loved his display!


Has anyone seen Sam???


"I'm under here, planking!"

I surprised the kids with some neat books I found on Amazon.
There was a Minecraft chapter book, a My Little Pony (MLP) chapter book, a MLP comic book and a MLP drawing book.
We all got right down to it--Brook with drawing and Sam and I curled up reading his Minecraft book.

Russ bought a new shovel, as a bonus, the box (which Sam claimed the moment I stepped into the house with it) was fantastic.
Side note:  We bought the "world's best shovel" that came with a lifetime warranty (Russ tends to go through them...).  He went to dig a hole and the dang thing totally bent.  He finished the hole with our rickety wooden shovel, but he was pretty bummed.
Finally got our new one today!  ...here's hoping the first was an abnormality.

Ducks!!  This is their first day with us.
Unfortunately, we lost 2 of them that night.
Damn coyotes.
No worries, we've laid booby-traps for the coyotes (cactus anyone?) along the outside perimeter of the fence and moved the ducks closer to the house.

Yay!!  It's finally time to start working on seeds!
These three (Rosemary, St. Johns Wort, Purple Coneflower) all need stratification for a couple of months.
We've also gotten started on other sprouts as well--cilantro, basil, dill, lettuce (leaf), kale and collards.  I am having to take them out to the greenhouse each morning and bring them in at night, but it's worth it seeing how fast they're sprouting!
Tomorrow we are getting started on cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage!

We brought a ram home!
We got him for meat, and figured he could just run around in the backyard until the following day, when we would do the deed.  I figured there wasn't much for him to damage.
Wrong.
He found my fruit trees rather quickly.  Oh well.

Brin, who very much would like another dog for a friend, thought this lamb was his BFF.
After this video finished, Brin was focused on something else and the ram nailed him in the ribs.
Brin wasn't so gung-ho on playing anymore after that...
video

The following night, we had the most delicious rosemary lamb chops!
Thank you, little ram.

Jelly bean math!

Brook wanted to make cookies.
Russ wanted to eat cookies.
It was a good arrangement.
...there may or may not have been 3 batches of them made that week...

We got our sheep!
Originally, I was going to get just a few pregnant ewes, but I fell in love with them all, especially this big boy.
This is Travis and is the sweetest boy...just don't turn your back without a fence in-between you both!
He really has more personality than any of the other sheep, he is so much fun.
And so darned handsome.

He has yet to decline a head scratch.

The rest of the sheep!  All but the one in the middle are pregnant, 3 of which are due any time now!

Brownie.  <3 br="">She's more than happy to be my friend, as long as there is grain involved!

Valentines Day!!
We aren't big on the flowers and chocolate, but are big on fun stuff!
A friend mentioned that she'd gotten her harmonica out for her kids and I thought, 'Ooh!  We don't have a harmonica yet'
Russ decided to try and learn how to play "for real"...it was harder than he thought!

Sam had found these neat straws online a week or so before and was begging for them.
I knew I'd found his Valentines gift!


 
Oh!  I forgot to put what Brooklyn got.  Actually, I just forgot a photo.
We got her one of these kits, recommended by a friend, which are AWESOME.
I want some for myself!!

Later, we decided to head out and dink around the yard.
Sam said, "Can I trim some trees?"
This prompted us to break out the chainsaw and cut this juniper back, as I really want to plant all sorts of deliciousness underneath it, is it's right outside the back door.

Oh, S'mores.  What am I going to do with you??
She sits at the door or windows and yowls NON-stop while you walk about outside.
One day we'd had it and I confined her to the deck, or so I thought...
Made me super nervous...I've grown to quite like her and would be sad if she became coyote food.

Hello, friends!
This is our view (albeit a bit limited as it's through a camera's lens...) when we walk out back.
Travis is back over to the left, the big tree that Sam and Russ pruned for me is directly to the right.  The garden is behind that big tree, and the chicken coop is to the back right.

"You got grain for me, lady?"
That hanging tire thing is his toy, which I need to get a video of him using--he gets that thing flying!

I really, really like this sheep.

Russ has been throwing pruned branches in there for him to munch on and mess around with.
Well, when he put this big one in, Travis rammed it.
Russ ended up tying the top of it to the pen so he can keep ramming it and scratching against it.
Well, the next night, Russ grabbed the end that sticks out of the pen and Travis ran and rammed it.  Those boys had a lot of fun, competing with each other!


Hello, girls.
Can you see how big Brownie (a Barbado) and Pep (a Black Hawaiian) are there on the left??
Soooo big.

I was sitting with the sheep, watching Russ work on the tree, watching the chickens scratch for grain, watching the rabbits bounce about in the hutch, watching the ducks frolicking in the pool, listening to the kids giggling on the trampoline...
This is my meditation.  :)

This is Lola.
She is a Texas Dall and is due sometime around June.

Lambchop, the runt of the bunch, who we are trying to fatten up.  :)

Blondie, another Texas Dall.

This were our Valentines weekend projects...working on the birds and the bees.
Hehe.

And finishing up the holiday weekend with a night out with friends--Trivia Night!
We actually placed third!
Cheers!