Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Funny friends

I would like to complain that Amanda doesnt blog enough. She is a source for my amusement, I am sure she has other skills but that is a major one... Just kidding, she is one of my best friends and a fellow goat herding, kid rasing, diaper sewing, gardening, husband supporting friend. The kind I have something to talk about with! She doesnt blog often lately, as the previous listed things have her pretty busy. However, her last post makes me laugh each time I read it. I just read it twice, in order to laugh. Okay fine 3 times. So rather than posting something clever tonight, I made her name a link! Thanks Amanda for teaching me how TO make links.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Swimming Titles

Pictures of the kids swimming lessons, they both passed their levels. Nathalie was in level 1 and she was hesitant to take lessons, we actually required it. Frank and I talked about it and decided it was a must as we consider it a life lesson. She didnt perform much the first wk, was afraid to put her head under or let her feet leave the bottom. Tad of course is a fish, and was very happy to perform the tasks of level 3. The teacher passed him to level 4 on the condition that he perfects his technique some over the next wk. They will be in 2 and 4 in July.

You cant see Nathalie, but she is behind the child who is holding his nose. She is going under by choice!

Here she is coming up! I was so proud of her. This is the first year she has ever gone under the water at all!

Okay this is Tad winning! This was the last race they did in class, this was the first time that he won. He was very proud and glad that I got a picture of it. I am sorry I didnt get the race on video, I cant do video and camera at the same time. This is the only day he wore a lifejacket bc it was required for learning to float. He is a terrible floater! Has too much muscle, not enough fat.

Nathalie is under the water here!!!!! She is actively swimming, while under water and can do this for about 10 ft without coming up for breath.
Here she has come up, this was a requirement. To leave the wall and swim under water to the teacher. This was the first day she was able to do this. We are so proud! She is very pleased with herself and enjoyed the last day the most.
Here Tad is under the water, same trick. He has no trouble with this, he has been doing it for nearly 5 yrs. His only problem so far is technique, the same problem he had with gymnastics. He can do all the tricks so very well but wasnt as smooth as he should have been. Same with this, he can swim from point a to point b but sometimes its pretty messy... he is getting better at this!
Here he comes up, the lifegaurds really enjoyed both kids. I know, patting ourselves on the back here but they were so well behaved. They are good listeners and both willing to try so hard. I think Tad will be disappointed in a way to go class 4 because he has enjoyed working with the 2 lifeguards he worked with for this class.
I am so proud of both of them! They start the next round of swim lessons on July 6th and the lifeguards have promised to work with them extensivly in between the lessons if we come to the pool which we definately will.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Skunks and unrelated photo

This photo is completely unrelated to my blog post. But isnt it pretty bread???

I have a skunk problem. I have rather unsuccessfully tried to rid my area of this creature as he/she threatens my chickens. It, since we havent identified he or she and incidently who would concerning a skunk, usually sprays at night. Now I am not a fan of air condition, but we turned it on when we topped 100 degrees before 10 am. Its been on about a wk, but prior to that, it was spraying at my bedtime... so I had to shut the windows for an hr or so.

Now, the air is on, I havent smelled this hideous odor in a few days. Now? I SMELL IT DURING THE DAY!!!! And, the odor has crept inside. Its very very offensive. Why did God make skunks? Honestly? Why not leave it at bunny rabbits? So I have to have a plan to get rid of IT. I cannot handle this offensive odor and I really hate having my chickens threatened. They are stupid and have little in the way of personalities, but they are mine and they are a food source so I have to eliminate the threat. Off to my evil drawing board!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Learning to count and hold, 4 count even though you strum only once. She is reading from the book propped next to her, I thought she would have a harder time taking to note reading than she does. She loves to sing so very much, oh and dance so guitar and piano seem to be a good step, both of which I can play... Piano better than guitar. She is playing Frank's guitar.

Yes, my guitar is bigger. Mine is a full size, the 3/4 that Nathalie is playing is commonly a travel guitar for those who love the Taylor. Which we have learned to. This one is called a Baby Taylor. The one Tad is playing is too big for him, but he can use it to play with her. She cannot play mine yet.

Concentration... They both do so well separate on the songs they know so far but practicing together is very good for them. They each make at least 1 mistake that the other doesnt make! And they always want a turn playing with me bc I dont make mistakes on these simpler songs, though again I do not play well. Just enough better than them that I can learn along with them and stay a step ahead.

A tiny frog, there are a lot of these around. One who lives in our milk shed. The kids worry about his health but we have studied him closely enough to know, when we take him out and give him freedom, its him that comes back each morning! He can leave under the door, and there are usually a few bits of grain and plenty of little crawly bugs for him to snack on in there. This one is a yard frog, not the milk shed frog.

Tad holding the frog, I love how his hands are starting to look like Frank's. Square and hard, beat up and callused. Strong, he hurts my hands now if he squeezes them and I cannot squeeze back hard enough to make it hurt him more! I know terrible game... but you would forget he is 8 too, he can carry 50 pound feed bags and force a 150 pound goat out of a room and shut the door. He is strong and clever, and he is my little man.
This is not to say that Nathalie isnt strong or clever, refer back to her cleaned the whole house post... I am glad to have both of them.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

10 yrs ago on September the 8th, I met the love of my life. He walked up to the door of the National Guard Unit and changed my life. I knew then that he would be the father of my children. I fell in love long before hello.

On December the 5th, he will have been a father for 8 years. On July 23rd, he will have been my husband for 9 yrs. Every September 8th is another year for me to have been with my best friend.

Every time he leaves for deployment, a school, the field, we never lack for his attention and time. No matter how exhausted and overworked he is, we get phone calls, emails and letters. When he comes home tired or even sick, his time is spent with us until he falls asleep from the inability to stay awake. He has put himself last in our family always.

Through 2 pregnancies, 2 childbirths, raising 2 children and running a household he has been my constant. He never tires of my questions or needs and never hesitates to help me in any way he can. He has stood by me for all of the decisions, the hard ones and the easy ones. He has given up things for himself for our children to have the best he could offer. He plays with them, he teaches them, he loves them and sets an example of how to be a man and what to expect from a good man. Our children are the most privelidged children I have known.

My love, you changed my world. You continue to fulfill my life in ways I can never thank you for. You are perfect and wonderful and exactly what I needed. When I was 6 years old and decided to grow up and marry, I never imagined how perfect you would be. As I grew into a grown child, a teenager, a woman, I never could have dared to hope to have all that you have given me.

You are the best and strongest man I have known. You have taught me so much and given me so much. Your love is my strength, your care and communication through all that our lives have given us gives me a reason to be strong and move forward in life without fear.

Our children are being raised always knowing how to be strong, how to lead others, how to speak up for themselves, how to care for others in need. They will know how to put their families first, how to be parents. These things are because of you.

I love you with all of my heart, my mind and my soul. I am so happy every day that you are mine, that we are yours. Every day I love you more and every day I am amazed by you. Thank you for being the best father, husband and man that I know. I love you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Brothers Graduation

This is my mom, my graduating nearly 19 yr old brother, and my 22 year old brother. I think he is 22... I was either 8 or nearly 8 when he was born! I was there, yet I cant remember how old I was. Lucas graduated this weekend, valedictorian of his class. He is the first and only student here who earned both his GED AND his diploma! We are very proud of him for going back and finishing and for his future plan of college in august. Seth, the short brother, has just joined the air force. We are proud of him too!
My mom is the fancy Mama to Lucas left, my kids said, that is not my nana! She is too fancy! Then the did add very pretty...

Seth did try to comfort himself that HIS class was bigger, so of course he is still more clever than Lucas even though Seth was only Salutatorian. I am pretty sure they are both very smart though, and Seth is the one who is riding his motorcycle from Tn to Tx... We will let you decide!

And finally our valedictorian alone. He is wearing a tie, probably for the first time in his life and he is wearing nice new pants! Congratulations Lucas, your whole family is more proud of you than you can imagine.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Special Day

These are Nathalie's Special Cookies. Today I woke very tired, just groggy and sleepy. I had a number of things that could be done today, yard work, barn work or housework. I chose the housework. I closed windows and doors and turned on the air, I have done this one other day this summer. I am cheap... But it was so very humid from days of heat and rain, and the house was just damp and hot. I said to a friend on the phone that I had a list of housework to do bc I cant just "take a day off."
Nathalie was listening from the living room and she got up and began to work and here is her list of accomplishments:
Unloaded clean dishes
loaded dirty dishes
wiped down all cabinets
swept dining room and kitchen for big pieces
vacuumed dining room, kitchen and living room
Cleaned up clutter

This was after she had gone out to do chores with me, she did all the chores except milking including feeding and watering chickens and 3 barn fulls of goats!

Now during this I was helping her with a few parts, like soaking dirty dishes that couldnt go in dishwasher and I started laundry. She has also folded 2 loads of laundry today.

As a special treat for her choosing to do all this work without being asked, I gave her:
3 quarters, she loves change
let her and Tad help me make cookies and let them each eat FIVE
(the cookies were in her honor of course)
Let them pick special games and had a game afternoon
Read new books that Nana sent her

This picture is Tad after losing the second game. Nathalie beat us badly both times! Luck smiled on her for kindness.

A pan full of cookies, the kids put them on baking sheets. Tad, not being a jealous child, thanked his sister repeatedly for her initiative in cleaning because it caused us to HAVE game and cookie day! The kids have had problems since Frank left with arguing, fussing about clean up etc. This is day 4 of the good behaviour. They are both doing wonderful with this, but Nathalie is the one who had a harder time with work since he left. She felt lazy... Until today!

My children cooking, Nathalie is wearing last yrs dress/tunic, and Tad is quite tanned! They both started swimming lessons last night, more blogging on that later. We will need to have a party for this as well since Tad is a fabulous swimmer and always has been and for the first year ever, Nathalie IS swimming!
Tads nice muscles, my he looks like Frank here! He is of course, in the daddy jeans.
Nathalie often needs to bite her tongue while working, I dont think she will bite it off. My mom has lived since Noahs time and she still has her tongue! This picture shows the nice clean kitchen.
Nathalie doesnt like the black and white, this picture is showing her nice clean floor you understand.
Nathalie feels very proud of herself. I have made it a huge deal that she worked so hard just to be sweet. I didnt ask her to do anything, I would have split the chores among all of us. Tad did work too, he accomplished his chore list. But by no means would I want him to feel he has to do the same thing as her to be kind, so we all had a great time together. He gives her the credit for an extra fun day, and they both agree that being good and helpful is better than being in trouble for arguing... In their defense, they really miss Frank.
In his defense, in case he feels bad, he is a wonderful daddy and husband even when afar. We get more phonecalls, emails and packages than most spouses/families combined. He pays as much attention to us as possible and we love him even more for it. So yes, he gets cookies too. Nathalie made him a bag of cookies and we will mail them first thing in the morning. Now, I am off to swim lessons to watch my fabulous kids play at fish.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Yard Work

These 2 pictures are of a part of the goat yard before mowing. The goats cannot keep up and so Tad and I used the lawnmower, weed eater and hedger to get rid of the foliage in a large part of the goat yard. I am having problems with ticks and spiders so have to keep it mowed down better. Some areas the mower cant get into so the hedger and weed eater help. This was the first time I used a riding lawn mower, or a weedeater!

A view driving into the goat yard, Nathalie is opening the gate for us.

After we have cut foliage. It looks so much better. Parts here around this building, my milk shed, were getting up near my waist. You can see the pieces of greenhouse we havent cleaned up yet, I am taking it apart for other uses. Tad and I hedged/weed eated around it bc the mower cant get close where the metal is all torn up, but I cant pull out the metal without getting covered in ticks until grass cut down.

View of the nice mowed area, nice mower! It did quit right there, like it wont start. I mean it does now, said low oil so I added and then filled the fuel tank and mowed some more.

Kids and Pepsi in newly mowed area. I did use the hedger some more to the right of Tad as you are looking at him, and bent the teeth on a piece of metal... So it quit working. Then the weed eater ran out of fuel, while the mower was waiting on its oil!

Right BEFORE the hedger was broken, Nathalie now in possession of the camera, and yes there were many pictures of poop, dirt, grass and goat butts. And some other very unflattering pictures.

Tad and a chicken, we had to move out a sick chicken bc the other chickens had pecked her. she is now in a nice quarantine pen with her own food, little house and water while she heals. Tad, the chicken whisperer, got her set up there and cares for her so well.

Out of order picture, this is when Nathalie opened the gate for the truck to drive into overgrown goat yard. Then Tad went back for mower. She looks so happy and cute!
I threatened to tie Tad to the porch with 550 cord, he said, "Bring it." So I brought. He walked right back inside though and I said, was it hard to untie? And he says, well mom it was you who tied it, not Nathalie. He is correct, she knot ties like Frank who taught her this skill, she is proud.
Nathalie has ear wax problems. Tad doesnt, he just has tubes in his ears. Well I looked in there out of curiosity and here this was! Right in the opening of his ear, barely stuck. I was able to safely pull it out as it wasnt far inside. This is his hand holding the tube. Tubes fall out on their own all the time so there is no problem with this but as I pulled it out, he grabbed his ear and said, "Wow that feels better! I didnt even know it felt funny!" Probably had fallen out some time ago and felt odd.
So that is our wk so far, I dont mean a wk since the last time it was the day today is. I do not know what today is. But it has been at least 7 days since I last blogged I think, so there is our update. A billion things that we did are not listed here because I dont have the rest of my life to sit here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New goats

This is a drencher, Amanda called it this. I knew you could "drench" an animal by forcing to take liquid in a syringe but I had no idea they made such useful drenchers! This made giving herbal and then chemical dewormer much simpler! Doesnt hurt, but if you hold in place it forces swallow so they get whole dose. I dont do chemical dewormers, I use herbs like this syringe is holding BUT these are new goats and they are not healthy, full or soft like my goats are. I mean soft fur, its rough and dull. Which means worms or deficiency, both of which we are fixing.

This poor baby is not pretty, but maybe will get that way... she is an experiemental cross between saanen and nubian and I dont think it was great. Her ears TRY to stand up like nub, but they dont so they look like wings and her eyeballs are too big like san in a nub mix face. Her name is Jezzebel, Jezzie by Nathalie who owns this goat. This goat chose her in the van on the way home.

Big goat is Lilith Fair, or Lilly. Lilly was her given name. Other babies were not named when we bought them. You can see the brown baby here trying to come out of the fence and her name is June Carter Cash, Junebug. Next to her is Kaya. Tad is simple about names. I am not. You can see that mine is Junebug! We have a childrens book called skippy john jones. A siamese cat who thinks he is a chihuaua and he has a mama named junebug and sisters named jezzebel, ju ju bean and jilly boo jones. So If Jezzie and Junebug have offspring, we can name them skippy john, the dog in the book darwin, jilly boo jones and ju ju bean.

Lilith again, Tad in a new shirt my mom made. Nice huh? He loves it! These pictures are not great, they are all I have taken this wk of the new goaties. Yes I know we have odd names.
We pick long names often and then shorten them to nicknames, though June Carter Cash takes the cake.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My day

This is the way it goes.

This yr, my daughter has developed odd anxiety of a variety of things. Things like tornadoes, understand she did live through a rough one. So now we have developed to freaking out every time it rains. It was just thunder and lightening, strong winds, basic Ks springs. Now we have it at the slightest sprinkle or graying of skies.

Nathalie has been in angst since yesterday afternoon. She is gray from tornado worry.

We go out each evening for chores. Everyone needs feed and water, and to be checked on if its very windy which is it. I make Nathalie go with me. My mother wouldnt have allowed me to cower in the house. We go early bc its so stormy, and there is a break in storm.

Nona and Pepsi wouldnt get out of the way of the truck. The truck has no horn. This was angering. I drive the truck bc its A LOT OF BARNS AND ANIMALS and my muscle mass is too high anyways.

The gate wouldnt shut. I had to get out, help son.

Nathalie put the eggs she collected ON THE DRIVERS SEAT.

Tad and Nathalie TOGETHER couldnt get the water hose apart to fill the water bucket in Barn A. Barn B uses the same hose, so you have to disconnect in the yard of A to fill their bucket. Not a hard job as the water stays on due to the nozzle on the end way out at yard B. Good system. Had to go in gate and help kids. 2 goats from yard C follow. This is a fight. Anger management needed now.

Leave to go to last barn after feeding chickens, watering chickens, collecting eggs, making sure chicken coop held down for storm with large logs (bc its just temp coop), feeding and watering 6 goats and making sure everyone is okay.

Sit on 2 eggs. Break egg. Get eggs all over my hand. Daughter cries bc she put them there. Why? Bc that WINDOW was open and she is so afraid of rain she wants to hurry and get chores done. I curse. I go to goat milk shed and use cleaner and clean towels to clean off me mostly, then clean out truck so we have no odors. Put cloths in wet bag. One egg not broken.

Drive to babies yard, boys have eaten EVERY SCRAP OF FORAGE IN IT. Pigs. So I leave children to put clean straw that we brought down in truck bed. Go back to barn for hay. Need a feeder. Use the large wire basket in back of truck that was going to be new feeder bottom anyways. All 3 goats can reach. Cut my arm 2 times and 3 fingers on fence trying to put feeder in. Had to drag 2 goats out of hay barn.

Bleeding all over the place and daughter now crying bc its thundering. No one is worried about my bleeding.

Drive home. Kids go in with 1 egg. I go into shop. I find that farm hand boy left shop unlocked. Pray for peace. Measure and mark plyboard to put windbreaks up in babies barn. Decide on circular saw vs table saw. Then remember we have no bread. Will start that and then come back. Walk out. Feel aggravated with farm boy. Lock the door. Rain pours. A lot.

I stand under the overhang of the shop for 20 min getting wet from spray, watching my daughter in doorway of house. She is crying. The tornado is going to steal her mommy. I watch for tornado. When it doesnt come, I stand there still. Its peaceful. My mom would love to be in the doorway with me watching the ks storm roll in over hills. I cry because I miss her.

I call her. She is having trouble with her job. I am having a good day. I love my work, I love my home. I love my kids. I love my husband. My mom is not even having a horrible day. Because she wouldnt cower in the corner. Her day is rough. But she will get another job if need be. She is the best nurse in the state, probably one of the best in the nation. I am glad she is my mom. I walk in through the rain and clean my wellies in big puddles with lots of splashing. I am soaked anyways. My crying daughter laughs. She turns pink instead of gray. No tornado took me. Even though I was in the storm.


These are some of the projects we completed while Frank was home. Not this first picture, this one is of Vladi asking me to let him out with that plaintive, hopeful look. Which is hard really because I love him so so much! I went in to visit him instead, and he chewed my pants, my shirt, my hair, my hat, my hands. Guess they teethe?
So this is the fence we had put up for the boys. It isnt easy to dig fence holes here without an auger, and we dont have one. Also Frank wasnt home, also the price for the fence posts, panels etc wasnt much less than what the man charged us. So rather than me rigging a home until Frank gets home in oct, bc I cant do this fencing job alone, we paid someone. We, however, built the lean too. It is missing its windbreaks which I now have cut and need to put up, the are about 2/3 the width of the front of each half so that there is a nice sized door way, but the goats can go inside behind the windbreak. We may eventually put in doors depending on the size of goats we have back here, bc smaller babies are more defenseless and need to be put up into the barn at night.

This picture is just to show the middle panel, its a 32x32 ft enclosure, but the lean too is just 1 building split by the fence panel in the middle. This is for breeding. We can put 1 buck and 1 + does in one side and know who was bred by whom! We will also rotate pasture this way for the boys when they are not breeding. Scout is in the other half right now bc we have 4 new goats. We have the goat yard fenced in, and it has 2 barns with yards fenced in with gates within it and the new goats are in one barn/yard and the other belongs to Nona and Pepsi and Scout is too small to be with them at night. I cant put her with the 3 new babies though that is the plan eventually, I want to have them separate and wormed!

Picture farther back, we have nice prairie grass out here. The babies are fat from eating it! Nona and Pepsi spend a large part of their day eating this too. This is the back field, fenced separate of the goat yard but bordering it. N and P can be out there for only a few more mo, once the bucks go into rut their odor will spoil the milk before you milk the goat! So this new fence is more than 75 ft away from the goat yard fence, we can very effectively keep them separate.

This WAS my greenhouse. I have a secret plan for some of the aluminum but I will not tell you and I wouldnt tell my husband because it may fail... I hate for it all to go to waste! Our ins would cover it but the deductible is higher than it cost. So this next fall we will have a big greenhouse put in, we are putting it in. Paying someone to dig a 3 ft deep rectangular hole then we will build a hoophouse over that.

Our new chickens in our temporary coop, these are hand raised chickens from the local "goat lady." Her name is Karen and she has goats, chickens and mini horses. My kids LOVE her property and animals, Nathalie is so enthralled with miniature horses. They both love horse and are very comfortable and confident with full sized ones, but Nathalie has always loved things that are her size. Karen hand raises chickens, so they come to you to be picked up and loved! They are easy to catch and carry, I wouldnt buy chickens from anyone but her. Her chickens are even better tempered, roosters are I mean, than other roosters I have seen. We bought 2 types of chickens from her and I will build them a big coop this wk, we cant do free range bc they get eaten...

Remember my fencing job this winter? It was cold and I didnt want to cut the cattle panel, they are expensive, and I didnt cut the chicken wire either bc I didnt want to waste. I knew I would just roll it back up when the babies could no longer pass through the holes in the cattle panel. Frank fixed this with the cattle panel, we pulled out the RR tie that had prevented me from completing the task well with my rigged fencing... I wasnt able to lift it. There is now a pc of cattle panel put in at the right to keep goats from passing through that side. When frank is home, we will redo this gate because right now it leans and doesnt open as easily as we would like but for now at least I can use it again!

This is my new barn door! The big barn, which really needs to come down and be replaced, has a room in the front where my hay is right now. There was a 10x6 sliding door to put the hay in. But it was rotted and falling apart, and off track. I had used pieces of 2x4 and plyboard to mend the holes in the door and to screw it to the barn and keep it from being blown off completely. We tore out that door and built this one on Franks very good plans.

The door handle, he actually suggested that we didnt NEED a door handle. Who wants a door with no handle? He used 2 hasps at the bottom inside that are easy to open, they are to keep the bottom from being caught and blowing outward. The other one had big wheels on it but this is honestly easier to open so I prefer it.

It has a track on the top, and so the hardware just slides in. This was my first experience building a door, and we had a great time. We used my new compressor, yes its mine, and the drill. Um, I think thats mine too. Because I wanted it and its nice. It is named Verde bc its green, and my new compressor being red and small is still being decided. I have 2 names, Senor Rojo, or suggested by Amanda, Poquito Rojo bc it is small. We are learning spanish this yr, can you tell? And yes, I do name all of my tools. I named my un-purchased tractor. So it surely surprises no one that my drill has a name!
Finished door, it looks nice! The kids need to paint it still, we are doing white with red accents. Franks choice. It matches the barn, though I could care less about decorating which everyone knows... At any rate, the paint will make the door last longer. We will take it down and save it along with the good sheet metal and many other use able pieces when we tear down this barn and rebuild next yr.
So thats it, a bit of what we did. There are more things, more pictures, more stories. I am still behind on blogging and pictures of my new goats still to come.