Monday, February 3, 2014

So behind...

Oy vey.  I am overdue, yes?  YES.  Alas...
Let's start with November, shall we??
We had a Super Fun Day with Russ and one of our stops was the children's museum.
Love these Magna Tiles! does Sam. 

This was my favorite thing--a Brook and Sam kaleidoscope!

Brooklyn, shaking the DNA chain in freezing cold weather.

Russ got his Christmas present early. 
Crossing our fingers for deer meat this year!

Homemade caramel...drool.

Homemade peanut butter cups...and there were homemade peppermint patties, but they didn't last long enough for a photo.

We had our second litter of bunnies!
This one is starting to get it's fur at 3 days old.
(These guys are now over 2 months old!)

Mmm...homemade beer smells sooo good!
This is his double chocolate stout, which is as delicious as it sounds.
He also started a lager and an orange cinnamon mead over his Christmas break.

I spent an entire morning after a particularly windy night gathering tree limbs we'd trimmed to use for a makeshift windbreak until we get something bigger growing in there.

Ah, Russ knows the way to my heart--a giant load of mulch awaiting me when I wake up on a lazy weekend morning.
We ended up going and getting probably 10 truckloads of this stuff ($5 a load!!) before Russ noticed that they delivered bulk loads.  So we had 30 cubic yards (about 30 truck loads worth) delivered for LESS than it would have cost us to go and get it.
We're about halfway through spreading that 30 yards though and definitely need more, so need to get on that before we get more moisture.
I want to keep every drop of rain/snow we get in our yard!

I got my Christmas present early as well!
It was super out of tune and Russ not only tuned it for me, but he moved it BY HIMSELF.
I love having it, but haven't been playing it as much as I'd like, given that it's usually 45-50 degrees downstairs...can't wait for it to warm up!
Russ bought two baby New Zealand does with some of his Christmas money.
Meet Debbie and Jenna.

New Zealand's are known for not being the most friendly of breeds, so we decided that because they will be around for years, we oughtta love the heck out of 'em.
So they became our pocket bunnies.

And lap bunnies.
Oh, and it worked. 
2 months later, and they are so friendly. 
They no longer fit into our pockets, but they love to be held and will eat out of our hands now.

This is comparing a 2-month old (on the right) with a 3-week old.
The 3-day olds were in the garage at the time.
Bunnies coming out of our ears!

We figured that given the bunny explosion, we needed to seek out alternative sources of food for them, especially since organic bunny food is expensive.
So we looked into sprouting barley.  Voila!  And the rabbits and chickens come running when they see us with it in hand.


Sigh, I've posted about this cat on Facebook before.
Apparently I'm a S'more magnet. 
 If I am sitting or laying down, she's right there, pawing me to let her up.
This is her bedtime preference.
Did I mention I'm not much of a cat person?
Alas, don't tell her, but S'mores *may* be turning me into one.

Brooklyn and Sam have been into My Little Pony for a good year or so, constantly playing it "in real life."  Brook's alter ego is Twilight Sparkle and Sam's is Rainbow Dash.
So I've been wanting to get them their own ponies at Build-A-Bear (a first for all of us) for a looong time.  On one of our Super Fun Days, I decided it was time and just started driving.
They'd ask where we're going and I'd give them little hints.
They had no clue.
When we got there, they both lit up with excitement and jumped and danced and giggled around the store for the entire hour we were there picking them out, stuffing them, picking sounds and smells and talking to the employees...

--at the "fluffing machine"...yes, I giggled--

They have had their ponies for 2+ months now and play with them almost every day.  They snuggle with them at night and take them in the car when we go anywhere, and often into stores and to the movies even.
Love MY little ponies!


I should do a separate Christmas post, but all of my photos are already here, so...yeah.
"CHRISTMAS IS HERE!!" was what was being yelled from room to room when Brooklyn and I walked out and found this.
It reads:
"Brooklyn & Sam,
I heard you guys were interested in a present scavenger hunt!
You can thank my elves for all of their hard work (and your mom for the special codes!).
Have a very Merry Christmas!
P.S.  I hope you don't mind, I had to sneak some eggnog and cookies.

Brooklyn had suggested MULTIPLE times that we do a scavenger hunt for the presents.
Talk about overkill...I did a separate hunt for each present.  Sam's was good--I drew a picture of where the next clue (or present) was hid.
Brooklyn though...poor girl, lol...I knew she liked decoding codes, so I had 4 different codes and she had to figure out which it was, and THEN decode each of her clues.
Did I mention there were 5 clues PER present?


Sam wasn't excited about getting up as early as Brooklyn did (7am or so).
It took a little big-sister persuading to get the job done.

As you can imagine, this got very frustrating very quickly, so we ended up switching to a different tactic, lol.

Sam's first present!  Brooklyn got him a creeper!

Can you tell he likes his creeper?

I about died laughing when Russ opened his gift from his sister.
It's a screwdriver.  

Another gift from Brooklyn--a swimming Hexbug shark!

Brin-dog was excited Christmas was here too.

"Take a picture of me with my shotgun!!"

Corinne, you got some great gifts!
Brooklyn opened her Goldie Blox and immediately got to work.
I was confused by all of the pieces and said, "Shall we read the instructions?"
"Nope, I've got this."

Russ Sam got a BB gun, "A REAL GUN!!"
He's getting the rundown on rules.  You know, ones like:
-keep it pointed up or down
-never fire towards the house
-never fire at someone
All of those important rules.
So we went out to shoot and Sam shot for about 10 minutes, max.
Russ on the other hand?  He's shooting it towards the house, in the air, into his hand (covered with a towel)...oy vey.
At least Sam was in the house at that point!

I have completely failed to get any photos of Brooklyn and her bow and arrows!
We all went shooting a month or two ago and we all liked it, so thought I'd get a bow and arrows for both kids and they could share.  Ha!
Sam doesn't really care, but Brook loves her bow.
And?  She's an excellent shot.  We have a carpet set up outside for target practice and it's a lot of fun to watch her because she gets more and more confident each time.

Sam has been talking about this catapult he saw in a catalog for months.
Bubs and Gpa Jerry got it for him and it was a lot of fun for Russ and Sam to work on.

Our last set of family clues led us on a hunt--first to the socks, then coats, then hats, then shoes, then instructed us to go for a walk...
And this is what we found! 
The kids FLIPPED--they've really been missing their trampoline.
Thank you Grammie and Gpa Scott!

We have a nice little system set up here...rabbits get feed, alfalfa, fruit and veggies, sprouted greens...
Then it all falls through and the chickens clean up the rest.
Then under the hutch we get THE best compost--straw, two of the best manures you can get for gardening, and we're hoping once it gets warmer it'll be enough to sustain earthworms (which are unheard of in this desert-land).
Oh, and those little poo-balls are good dog snacks too.
Disgusting, I know.

My favorite chicken/rooster.
It's name is Mullet.
It's very curious to see what we humans are up to and follows us around.
I say "It" because it looks like a rooster, but has never once exhibited rooster tendencies...but look at that tail!  We'll see...if It lays eggs, they'll be blue!

Have I mentioned how much I love my husband??
I told him the specifics of what I wanted in a compost tumbler and he knocked this out for me in an hour, tops.
Can't wait for it to get warmer so I can get some actual compost instead of just warming food stuffs.

So, permaculture has become something of an obsession for me.
I am constantly trying to think of ways I can do things more efficiently and conserve more valuable resources.
I had been reading and reading and reading about greywater and finally decided to go straight to the source.
And this is how Russ found me when he came home.
It was fascinating!
And now, after it became apparent how frustrating trying to dump 22 gallons of water would be, Russ built me a greywater system.  That tube now goes out the window, the water flows into a 55 gallon drum, then down a hose out to a mulched area that will be our rain garden.
SO cool.
Now in the process of trying to get our main shower hooked up as well.

Our big project over Christmas was a greenhouse!
This was Day 1.
We trimmed the trees back and mulched a path out there.

Day 2
Digging (okay, it was more like chipping, since Russ had to use his axe to break the frozen ground) everything level.

I love it out here...

Day 3
Sides up!


Day 4
This was was 9' tall in the center and we didn't have a good ladder to secure anything (hence the blue 55 gallon bucket in there...eek.  The step ladder came later after watching Russ risk his neck to nail the supports in!).  We got it though!
It was coming together!

Day 5
It really took us 7 days because we had other stuff going on, but we're pretty happy with it.
It took us another day to lay down wet cardboard (to smother the weeds), 6" of composted horse manure, a smothering of straw and another 6" of horse manure.
We could totally be growing cold season veggies in there now if we'd planted them earlier.
But soon the ground will be warm enough to put them in again.

The fodder we were feeding the rabbits and chickens was so successful we decided to try it on a bigger scale.
Currently, we have 8 tubs going.
Basically, you let grains soak for 12-24 hours, then transfer them to one of the trays on the left.
Those trays have holes drilled into the ends of some of them and are tipped so that when water is poured into the top, it will seep through the grains then drain into the tray below it and on and on.

Here's the water flowing.
We've been experimenting with sprouting other things with the barley--sunflower seeds, bird seed, wheat berries...the animals love it all.
We're planning on making a much bigger setup in the garage so we can feed this to them as a staple instead of the bagged feed from the store.
Cheaper and better for them (and us!).

I had to take a photo for our friend Holly.
I ran into her one day and I commented on how much I loved her full-body snuggie-type thing and how much I've always wanted a Snuggie.
She said, "I have one for you!"
So I went and got it and before I even got the car (the windows were down), Brooklyn declared, "It must be mine!  It has all of my favorite colors!"
Maybe she'll let me borrow it?  :)

Cliff's Amusement Park had a Christmas special where they turned on some of the rides, had fires burning for people to warm up by, hot chocolate for sale, Christmas music...
I was dreading lots of people, so we ended up going the last night.
We all rode rides until we were sick.
Brooklyn did the one that goes upside down in a ring until the park closed.  She'd get off, run around and get in line again...funny kid.

Sam was much easier on my stomach, "Mom can we ride the carousel?"

Our pocket bunnies are getting big!
Sam had just woken up...what better way to start your day than with two sweet bunnies snuggling up on you??

Dene'!!  We love Headbandz!!
Yes, even Russ and I will play by ourselves...

Corinne, did you get this for him??  Thank you!  He was bummed he didn't get his own bow and this one doesn't disappoint!
He's been instructed not to shoot at the windows (even though it came with ones that stick to windows) because it shoots HARD!!  Ha!

So we set up targets for him instead (cereal box on the banister).

Russ has a favorite local auction site that he frequents.
This is one of his latest finds--an $80 cotton candy maker he paid $20 for.
It is pretty interesting and fun to use!

The kids were wanting to do an experiment and we've never tried the soap, food coloring and milk one.  So much fun!

Alright, that's it for now.
Sorry it's so long and a bit disjointed...until next time!
(...which hopefully isn't 3 months from now...eek)

1 comment:

  1. I love your hurried, harried, photo-loaded posts. 'Cause they're like mine. [grin]