Moving out to the country has been good for our whole family. We really wanted a more simple life. Centered on family. Somewhere the kids could really grow and learn. The best memories I have as a child are those that stemmed from boredom. Being bored leads to using imagination, boosting creativity and enjoying life's simple pleasures.
To encourage this, I make my children play outside every day after school until it is dark. They hate it. They get mad at me. They act like they are going to die. (Well, mostly just Brandon) They beg to go in and play the Wii. Then, they give up and figure out something to do.
Boredom had lead to hikes, scavenger hunts, cloud watching, bug collecting, dog training, imaginative play, plant identification, gardening, photography, water fights, learning about shrews, taking care of goats and chickens, building inventions and sibling bonding. And that is just the last few weeks.
So, the other day I am gardening. (Without hurting myself this time) And I look up to see each of the children running here and there collecting items. Like tree branches, old stepping stones, toys and their backpacks full of stuff from the house. They make many trips. They are working together, planning something. I pray it is not dangerous. I hope they are not plotting to run away from home and find a Mom who will let them play video games all day and eat Twinkies and Lucky Charms and corn syrup.
Finally, they disappear under a tree for a long time. I feel compelled to check on them. This is what I found-
Each child has made their own fort.
This one is Cody's. Brandon's. Notice the pulley system he is building?
The chicks are now in their 3rd week in this world. They already grew out of their old home and had to be placed in a bigger "brooder." Our brooder is a kiddie swimming pool. They like it in there. The can run and play and pick on each other.
After my incubating failure, I am proud to report that I have not killed even one
baby chick. Let's all keep our fingers crossed they all make it. Lets also keep our fingers crossed that the temperature stays consistent enough for the chicks brooder to be placed outside.
So, I am taking random pictures of the kids the other day. I took this one of Lex and I was just struck. She is growing up so fast. Becoming a young lady. A smart, funny, beautiful young lady. She should still look like this. How is it possible for time to go by so quickly? She has blossomed into such a neat kid.
Strange things. That's what. Cody was making me shake my head. All. Day. Long....
He is such a funny kid.
He decided make things out of clay dough that would make me laugh.
Later on that day he goes outside to play. He is too quiet. So, I check on him. Silence is never good. I find him tied up like this.... No, the dog did not run around him and wrap him up. This was self-imposed imprisonment. He yells "Help!" Then laughs hysterically.Unwinds himself.And runs away.Strange child...Then runs back to the tree to wrap himself up again.
I have been on a killing spree. I've massacred several on the front porch. Some on the roof. I even shot some dead from a ladder. I have used specialized spray, home made concoctions, a shoe, a broom, and yes........even a spoon.
My home was being invaded. What else could I do but go on a rampage? If you can bring yourself to look, I have posted a picture of the carnage thus far.
Last chance to turn away.
These are not cute honeybees
Or any kind of gardeners friend.
These are evil carpenter bees who want nothing else but to chew my house down to a pile of splinters.
Evil, I tell you.
They like to taunt me. They fly around my head then zoom up to the tippy top of the house where I could not possibly reach and chew and chew and chew. Then lay eggs, feed the little spawn and the cycle happens all over again.
I was doing really well until I ran out of wasp/hornet spray. I was in no condition to go to the store so I put pure alcohol in a bottle. That did work pretty well until I ran out. One flew up in my face so I hit it with the closest weapon to me, a spoon. Then I stomped on it. A lot. Don't ask me why there was a spoon outside. I have 3 children. 2 of them are boys. I could only imagine.
Now, I have not completely lost my mind. Male Carpenter Bees can not sting or bite. They just buzz and make a lot of noise trying to scare you. The female bees have a stinger but they are very docile and rarely sting. So, I was not afraid of them and was never in danger of getting stung. I killed about 15. There are still around 20.
I must get more wasp spray. They know I ran out of ammunition. Every time I go outside they hover around me. Taunting and teasing.
So, I have been working in my vegetable garden this week. I have 7 rows out of 18 done. I have actually gotten a lot done even though it does not seem like it. Usually, when I put my veggie garden in I plant one type of veggie in each row. Well, with companion gardening I am planting about 4 different veggies in each row. Along with flowers that repel pests. So I end up going up and down one row several times before I am done. So, 7 companion gardening rows equal about 28 traditional rows. No wonder I am so tired already!
Yesterday was a particularly frustrating day. I woke up excited to go out and work. First, I had to fetch the water hose. The hose I am using for the garden is about 200 feet from the garden. So, I usually use the 4-wheeler to bring it to where it's needed. We have about 8 hoses hooked together so it does get a little cumbersome to walk it all over the place. Yes, I know that is a ridiculous number of hoses to hook together but we need it that long to reach all the brush we have burning to control flames. See? There is a reason.
Anyway, I brought the hose over to the garden with it already turned on to save me a trip. I go to get it off the back of the 4-wheeler and the sprayer falls off and water drenches me all over. First my face, then my legs and arms then my feet. To top it off, my six-year old is laughing hysterically at me. Not a good start to the day. After I change and convince myself gardening is still a good idea I go to work with the hoe. I use the handle end of the hoe to make perfect little holes to plant my corn. I get to work on the holes. I hit myself on the forehead with the sharp edge of the hoe. Repeatedly. You would think I'd learn the first time. I did this at least 5 different times. I'm a slow learner.
Then, I go to work planting my carrots in between my cauliflower. I use toilet paper for planting small seeds. It keeps me from wasting seeds, helps me see them better and the TP helps hold small seeds in place and root better. It decomposes back in the garden so it works all the way around. After I place the seeds I just grab a hand full of dirt to put over them. So, I am working on a row repeating this procedure over and over and over. Until I am about 1/2 way up. I am mindlessly grabbing dirt to put on top and I reach into a huge fire ant hill. OUCH! They are a little protective of their nests.
Especially when you go so deep you grab a bunch of larvae. They get really mad. They sting repeatedly. It burns. I say some words I know I shouldn't. I contemplate boiling water and pouring it down every ant hill I see. If you look closely, you can see them carrying the larvae around and going nuts. You may even be able to make out my lovely hand print.
The rest of the day is a blur. I woke up this morning exhausted and in pain in multiple places. I have a huge bruise the size of an orange on my thigh. I have no idea how I got it. I have a sunburn. My back really aches.
Someone remind me again why I am doing this. I can think of easier ways to torture myself.
and bought some baby chicks. My first try at incubating was a huge flop. I think I am going to blame it on temperature. It is the cheap thermometers fault. Next time I will have several good ones just to be sure. I am not a failure. I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me...Oh wait that is a whole other post.
Anyway, enjoy these baby chic pictures. We are really having a blast with them. They let you cuddle them! They are curious and sweet. I am very surprised at their different personalities. Chickens have personality.. Who knew?
These are Long Island Red chicks. Hopefully we will start getting fresh eggs by fall.
My God shall raise me up, I trust. ~Walter Raleigh
Easter was very special this year. We were able to spend it with some very close family friends. I am so thankful to have such close friends that bring such joy to my life. I love their kids like my own. They are precious and sweet and innocent. I miss them already.
The Easter Bunny came.
There is no doubt about it. Brandon even "saw" the Easter Bunny hiding eggs by the light of his flashlight. He left prints.
Evidence I tell you. Evidence!
The Easter bunny brought chicks
that "peeped". Which is a good
thing because if you have been
following my posts you know that
I could not successfully hatch out chickens.
The fake "peeps" serve as a pathetic substitute. The kids were happy none the less.