Thursday, January 17, 2019

Old McDonald Had A Farm.....or a Ranch....or a Homestead. What do I call it????

Our Farm/Ranch/Homestead is growing.....
Chickens (No matter how many go in the soup pot I always seem to go out and still count 60😮)
Honey Bees (now up to four hives- L-bug has her own, and we harvested a TON of honey last spring)
Barn Cats
One dog
and now....

These adorable faces have joined our troop:

Miniature Donkeys. Don't you LOVE them?!!! That's as big as they'll get. They are super sweet (boy on left and girl on right) and just light up my life every single day.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Yay for workouts!

I just posted over in my WildchildT blog site about my latest workouts. I found a few amazing free fitness apps so go check them out! plus I went on a very cool trail run to the only working fire tower in the area. Gosh I missed having sore muscles!!

As for homesteading, things are rockin' and rollin' here as the weather is starting to cooperate and warm up a touch. I went through our hives finally as we hit a 70 degree day and wahoooo we have some honey needing to be harvested! Two hives are loaded with honey and the third has little honey but a ton of brood being born so I'm feeding them sugar water before the nectar flow kicks in. Hopefully by early fall they will have built out some nice honey frames for us to harvest. This is exciting and I can't wait to lick the spoon of our very own honey harvest. We've been lucky with no swarming, no diseases, and no infestation of mites.

The roo we butchered the other day made a very tasty soup with dumplings.  My nephew H was picked up from the airport and promptly told by Cowboy "as soon as we get home we have to butcher our rooster. Welcome to the country!" Poor H never saw it coming but he did great and helped Cowboy out. The meat was a little chewy (boo) but the broth flavor was delicious. It made even better bone broth in my Instant Pot after the bones were picked clean.

Our homestead is now up a member as we added a orange tabby tom cat to our farm as a mouser. He's a very young cat but already playing tiger in the grass, is super affectionate, and doing well alongside our chickens.  I had a momentary lapse of weakness because he is so lovable. I pleaded with Cowboy to consent to making him our indoor kitty. He said nay nay and I felt sad but then, when I was cutting out his cat door and contained him in L-bug's playhouse during all the construction noise he howled so pathetically and perched in the windowsill pawing to get out. Once the cat door was in place he paraded around the yard like a King so I knew immediately he was definitely not indoor cat material. He needed to have his wide open spaces to wander and hunt. Our crazy/awesome GSD has been advised to stay clear of the cat and so far is obeying.  We are hopefully going to be adding a female kitten this week. Maybe this will keep the tom nearby and give us kittens in the future. I missed having a cat since we had to put my dear Little Kitty asleep just before L-bug was born. I have been cat-less since and now that I have a cat I realize how much I really love cats. The lovable ones, not the pissy scratchy aloof ones. I just hope this guy is street-wise (or better yet country-wise?) towards the predators in the area. I've already had to sit L-bug down and explain the ins and outs of having outdoor pets in our area. She knows the cat may go missing, may run away or get taken by a predator. Our best hope is to provide the safest shelter close to the house and have him stick somewhat nearby so he has the best chance of survival. She's a pretty smart cookie and caught on pretty quick. When we butchered the roo she was sad for a few minutes and then lit up when we served her the soup saying, "my rooster tastes delicious!!" Ha. I am glad I am giving her a childhood where she learns the value of raising your own food.

Turkeys will be on their way by next month! Our baby chicks are now fully feathered out and will be ready for full integration in the not too distant future. Mmmm yummy eggs. I hope none are roos as they will have to be for the soup pot, but at least this time we will harvest them when they are young and less "chewy" than our previous roo.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Yes I'm horrible at this blogging production....

It is HARD to find the time to sit down at the computer without a single distraction or without being suddenly ridden with guilt about what still needs to get done around the house. I don't know how these blogging mamas do it day in and day out but I'm impressed.

Let's can I catch y'all up to date here without typing a novel?

So, I realize my blog has taken a sharp turn from my trail running adventures ( I miss those adventures terribly. 'whine') into the realm of kids and homesteading. It's not really the direction I wanted to go but I guess its inevitable seeing as that is truly what my life has evolved into for the time being. I know I will be back out there again, running and sucking air as I get myself back into the groove of things and back into a much fitter "me". I have to believe this because if I don't I think I'll cry. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my life as it has become. I love my children more than anything in the world and wouldn't change single a thing about it. Becoming pregnant not once, but twice with fertility issues I have been doubly blessed and I feel down to my bones that I was meant to be a mama. However, (and a small however) I am also an athlete to the core and feel mentally restless not being out on my trails, running exotic crazy races, and working out every day. I need this like the body needs water. I also really want to be an incredible role model to my children to show them the importance of being mentally and physically strong and healthy; to do crazy (but relatively safe) things to test your body and to gain the awe and inspiration that exercise and adventures deliver. So, although I am basking in motherhood, I also know that in due time (and I'm not rushing it because I know it will happen when the time is right) I will eventually be back running my trails and returning this body to the powerhorse it used to be! Then, dear friends, you can read about fitness instead of butchering turkeys and cloth diapering.

As it is I JUST did my first trail run in a very long time and (yay!) I DIDN'T suck!!!! I ran four fantastic trail miles in a decent time with the pup (who did amazing and even did a little successful off-leash trial). I was just a tiny bit sore the next day and I felt encouraged to try to get out more. I also have been using a weighted hoola-hoop (who knew?!), push up stands, and a speed rope for extra exercise in addition to my treadmill runs.

With the warmer weather I have also started taking the kiddos in either the Burley or tossing R-bear into the Osprey kid backpack and having L-bug hike next to me. She has been calling herself a "runner girl like mama!" and thoroughly enjoys sprinting next to me. Unfortunately her nearly three year old attention span lasts a few short minutes before she is suddenly planted in a crouch alongside the dirt road deeply inspecting whatever grasshopper, shiny rock, flower, spider, or bauble that she comes across. So I have come to realize and accept our walks are not about mama getting exercise but my kiddos exercising their curious brains and learning to enjoy the outdoors which is still a big fat win in my book.

This summer I am planning on starting the kids out on their first ever camping our back yard. We have enough land I can pretend we are gone far out but know if things go kattywompus we can always retreat to the safety and warmth of the house. For Christmas the kiddos both got true backpacks and high quality sleeping bags. Although it will be a bit until R-bear can utilize his gifts, L-bug is ready and willing to camp with hers, provided "there are s'mores, hot cocoa, and a campfire mama".

R-bear is starting to take his first steps and is signing words up a STORM! Practically each day he learns a new word and uses it correctly! Also he is my super snuggler. Ahhhh I love this boy. He will snuggle mama 24/7 if he was able. He fits right into my shoulder and neck like it was made to form around his little body.
L-bug is also coming into her own and becoming more affectionate and nursing. Yes, there are days of struggle where she spits out "no!" or "you do it!" but there comes immediate and swift redirection and she corrects her behavior. Not as many melt downs as she used to have. She is also using really big words as well as big concepts, and many often mistake her age to be a year or two older. This may bite us in the butt:) We are starting to homeschool although I use that term loosely right now because homeschooling at her age is mostly imagination play, arts and crafts, music, dancing, and helping mama cook. She has her own chores that are expected of her such as setting the table each meal and cleaning up her own place as well as helping clean the rest of the table. She also helps empty the clean dishes from the dishwasher and collect eggs from the chicken coop. She is eager and willing most of the time and all you have to ask is "can you help me?" and she is all over it with excitement!

Also, cowboy is starting to work one day from home each week which is absolutely delightful and I am down to part time. It is nice to see each other again a little bit more as we miss each other terribly!

Life is very good on the homestead. We are expecting to harvest our first batch of honey from our bees this month and we have 20 baby chicks in the brooder coop who are now fully feathered out. The elder hens are starting to lay better with the warmer weather and we just butchered one of our roosters for tomorrows dinner. Baby turkeys will be on their way next month (a mix of heritage and commercial breeds) and we are starting to discuss the potential of pigs this summer or next. MMMMM bacon.....

Book Review: God's Easter Miracles by Lee Ann Mancini

This book is part of a series "Adventures of the Sea Kids". I heard great things about this series while I listened to Dr. Meg Meeker's podcast so I looked up the book and was given a copy via BookCrash for my honest review. I really wanted to like this book but alas I felt it really fell short with the delivery of its message and the religious guilt associated. 

Although the book's quality is fantastic (thick pages, solid hardcover, beautiful illustrations), I found the content to be a bit over the top. First of all I felt there was too many messages attempting to be delivered. There is an autistic sea kid, an injured sea kid, the message of what Easter means with Jesus, and "letting Jesus in your heart". I would expect it to be very overwhelming for a younger child to comprehend. I also felt that although it is indeed an obvious religious themed book, it had a very pushy and off-putting tone to it. 

The Sunday school children were to hunt for eggs and whomever found the few eggs with crosses on them were to get a special present. Jimmy found two but was then bluntly pressured and guilted by the teacher into giving one of his eggs to the autistic kid who threw down his basket and pouted because he wanted a special present too. The message was to treat autistic kids with extra attention and exceptions than the other children and that didn't set well with me. Jimmy should have been allowed to come to his own decision to give up his second egg and been given praise regardless of who he shares it with. This part of the book reminded me of participation trophies which is a terrible thing.
Again with the autistic kid, when he has difficulty writing his card, others offer to do it for him. Instead of helping him work through his disability he is treated as being completely incompetent.
Second, I am not a fan of the notion of "Jesus take the wheel" when it comes to praying for miracles. It's fine to pray and ask God to help when someone is ill but to discredit anything else that may have helped save the child's life (doctors, nurses, etc) is ignorant. Yes, I guess you can assume that God's grace is in the medical staff but to just say we prayed and yay it worked! seems silly and lazy.
Overall the pictures were beautiful to look at and I could see the message that the author was trying hard to get through but I felt she really flopped. The pressure seen in this book is why so many run from religion and that is discouraging. Based on other reviews I am actually wanting to read to the other books in the series as many have written this was their least favorite because of the things I have mentioned here. I initially heard of this series off of Dr. Meg Meeker's podcast.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through BookCrash in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Baby Sign Language Take Two!

R-bear said his first "word" today!! Very proud mama moment for sure. We've been signing with him over the last few weeks as we noticed he is starting to really take notice of our hand gestures, looking from hands to our face as we sign and say the word. I kept thinking: is this too early? Is he getting any of this? He seemed to really take notice of us and study things intently lately so I kept signing and having L-bug sign when we would remember to. She's been having a blast re-learning her signs and teaching her little brother.
Today Cowboy was holding him and said, "Milk R-bear? Milk?" R-bear looked right at me and pumped his hand in the sign of milk!!! Holy S**** I exclaimed! I know L-bug's little absorbent ears were right behind me and we hardly ever cuss in our house anyways but I couldn't contain my excitement. I was afraid the signing was a fluke so for the rest of the day I would ask R-bear "milk?" sometimes without signing and sure as day he signed 'milk' every time. Saying I'm so excited is totally an understatement. By the way, he is now in 18 month clothes....chubby babies is how we roll here.

I know it's been awhile so I'll attempt to backtrack a little bit. Turkey butchering went better than expected. We had our neighborhood teenage homeschooled boys who's father was an outfitter come assist us and educate us with the butchering. They were amazing and knew their stuff like no other. If they were my boys I'd be one helluva proud mama right there. By the second turkey, Cowboy was doing the butchering from start to finish with just an occasional verbal guidance from the boys. It was great.

We contemplated for quite a long time how to handle this with little L-bug but it turns out she helped us handle it! We prepared her several days in advance what was going to happen to the turkeys and how they were going to feed our family. We also mentioned that next year we were going to be getting more turkeys and some of those might stay on as pets to help breed new turkeys. The day of the butchering (I've noticed a lot of people try to soften this by calling it 'dispatching' but seriously....I'm not calling someone to deliver a message, I'm culling an animal for food. I'm butchering it and there's nothing violent or angry or evil about butchering your food humanely. Did I mention how we as a society are creating an overly sensitive population where people feel entitled to not be offended? No? well, I guess that's a rant for another day along with feminizing our men and creating horrific gender identity issues with this whole "what gender do you identify with today" nonsense). I digress....turkeys. Yes butchering turkeys.

My folks were down and really were opposed to L-bug being involved in the slightest with the process. Cowboy and I were on the fence and felt this should be treated as a normal part of living on the homestead and raising your own meat. At her age I didn't feel she was marred yet with the Disney-fied talking emotion-filled animals that we grew up with and were inundated from a young age with. I wanted her to be very animal loving, gentle and caring to nature and all God's creatures, but I also wanted her to be realistic and not a bleeding heart when it came to living in the country.

After we killed one turkey, beheaded and plucked it, I carried it into the kitchen to finish fine-plucking and rinsing it out before putting it in the ice chest to chill. L-bugs eyes got real wide as I passed by her and she followed me into the kitchen. She was quiet for a few moments and I made a point not to make a big deal out of the situation and just go about my business while she watched. After a few minutes I hear her drag her tower closer to the counter by me and climb up to my level. She tugged on my sleeve and said, "mama, can I help?" Absolutely! We talked a little bit about it and the next thing I know she's asking me to see a turkey with it's head still intact. Well, uh, ok I replied shooting glances at my mom. My mom looked at me slightly concerned but we held L-bugs hand as we went outside after the second turkey was killed and drained. It's head hung limp off the butchering table, the boys in the process of plucking. L-bug watched from a distance then started inching her way closer to the turkey until she was finally touching it and looking at its head. She was emotionally rock solid and I was impressed. She soon after asked to watch one being killed to which I drew the line at and Cowboy agreed. Not yet, and not with these turkeys that she hand-raised and was very attached to. We agreed that when it came time to butcher our neighbor's hens we would help and she could watch and participate with those. She had no emotional connection like she did with these turkeys. I also felt it was just too much to mentally process in one day. I found out the hard way that just because she appears to be unfazed by something doesn't really mean she is truly unfazed. Sometimes the too-big emotions erupt a few hours to a few days later. We had no way of telling how she was internalizing what she was witnessing. As it turned out she was fine and even talks to this day of her turkeys being "dead" and how yummy they were!

R-bear has started to army crawl around and is a much bigger explorer (read: gets into everything and puts everything into his mouth) than his sister ever was so this now brings a whole new level of excitement to our house.  Not only do we have to make sure we close all the gates/doors and be careful of what is put in areas that R-bear can access but now we have to be responsible for keeping a very close eye on L-bug and what she leaves around the house. Unfortunately many toys that she previously was allowed the luxury of playing with have needed to be locked away until R-bear is older due to small parts and choking hazards to her little brother since she is a typical toddler and creates little tornados of mayhem as she runs through the house.

Finally, L-bug is starting to take art and crafting seriously! At 2.5yrs old she is learning to sew, play (i.e. plunk) the piano (we have a piano!), and her drawing is really evolving drastically. The other day as she sat waiting patiently for her pediatrician to finish with her little brother she drew a picture of him with arms, legs, and even his Yamika on his head! He was impressed.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Pure Genius

Whomever invented the built in belt for kids is pure genius. If you don't know what I'm talking about there's this little adjustable elastic strip inside kid's pants. Near the snap of the pants, there's two plastic buttons and the button holes are on the elastic. That way you can cinch the pants tighter around the waist if they are too gappy or let out the elastic to make them bigger as they grow. To which I ask....why the heck aren't these an option for adults?!? I could soo use some adjustable jeans right now. I'm not quite able to fit into my pre-pregnancy pants but if I try to go a size larger they gap and fall off my hips. I need the in-between size :(

Anyhow, new things are happening here at the homestead. For one we are about to butcher our beloved turkeys for the freezer. It's gonna be hard as I've really taken a deep liking to turkeys. They are amazingly gentle and soothing to the spirit. They coo and chitter like nothing I've heard before. It's a sweet sound that I've really enjoyed hearing around here. Also, I made a fantastic discovery the other day! People have been asking me how I'm getting such a great turnout with my garden with all the deer and bunnies around. I have no idea I said, they are just leaving my garden alone for some reason. I thought maybe it was the scent of the pup in the area but just the other day I found out the truth. Attack turkeys. Believe it. My three turkeys flanked four deer and chased them round and round the garden. I swear I almost saw the three girls giving tactical signals to each other to ambush the poor deer. The deer finally gave up and fled the scene. It was HILARIOUS. Those turkeys were not having some schmucks come in and steel the bounty that they themselves weren't privy too. Love those turkeys. So yeah, that butchering is going to be difficult emotionally. However, it needs to be done because they are now 22 weeks old and the breed we got (Big Breasted Bronze) is a commercial breed and has the great potential of having their legs break if they get too heavy. That is not humane....and we treat our animals humanely here. So butchering it will be. Next season we will, however, be getting some heritage breeds which we can keep more as pest annihilators/deer attackers as well as meat birds.

Secondly, we are budgeting my friends. Bu-dget-ing! Cowboy and I had been talking about setting up a budget for years, but I admit I just didn't know where to start and it terrified me. I have always been very good with finances and staying out of debt etc. But with R-bear's birth, me out on maternity leave leaving us with a "light" paycheck, and then in the midst of things the truck needed $3k of work done on it emergently....things got over our heads very quickly. It was not a good feeling at all.
We are big Dave Ramsey fans and found his budgeting app "EveryDollar". We downloaded it onto the computer and to each of our phones. Game on.
We are only on month two of budgeting but so far it feels incredibly empowering and has definitely pointed us in a very positive direction with our money. Every dollar has an assignment and there's no room for frivolous spending. We are still learning the ins and outs of the app and finding a few quirks to budgeting (like how do you save for bills that are bi-monthly, annual, or due every couple years) but so far the app is working nicely for us. I will have to report more once we get more months under our belt.

Kiddo update: L-bug is freaking hilarious. Cowboy and I are going to set up a notebook to start documenting some of the things she says because I know if we let it go we will forget it and a lot of these things just cannot be forgotten! She calls a hamburger a "hanga'burger" no matter how many times we correct her she just cannot alter it. It's adorable. We got her a toddler set of silverware to transition her to big utensils. It's her first time with a knife and she keeps calling it her "life". She becomes so emotional when it falls off the table and whines oh-so dramatically, "My life is on the floor! I neeeeed my life!" Sorry honey I sometimes feel that way too....
We got a magnetic responsibility board that we hang in the kitchen. Every time she does a task she gets a magnetic sticker. She is now amazing at picking up her toys, putting her clothes in her hamper, brushing her teeth, and helping set the table and clear her own plate. She'll also help feed Kaos and she is learning to dress herself. What's funny is how unmotivated she is to get the stickers after two weeks of using the chart. She just likes to help and I'm not discouraging it!!! I figure the boards (I got two- at a yard sale) will become more handy and motivating once R-bear is able to "compete" with her and maybe I will up the ante from stickers to a slight monetary reward due at the end of the week to whomever's chart is filled in most.

She still amazes me every single day. We've been working on counting, letters, and shapes lately. She'll get the shapes and counting right 75-85% of the time but although she can say the alphabet pretty well she hasn't been able to point out the actual letters when asked (except "O"). Today she was sitting on her potty and reading her letter book. All of a sudden she points at a letter and says "R mama!" Then she picks out "S, T, & U" perfectly! Hot Damn! Just out of the blue. She even says, "U like Umbrella". It is just awesome to see her brain work. One day it feels like we are just learning something and the next day she just blurts it all out. She picked out a trapezoid on her kindle game today without a second blink. I didn't even cheat and help her. It was fantastic and my heart swelled with pride. I think this homeschooling journey will work out just fine.

R-bear is getting so big and so little boyish. He totally skipped his 6 month phase and went from 3-6 month outfits to 9 month outfits and now is fitting into some 12 month outfits (a little baggy). He is only 4.5 months old!!!!  He is 90% for his height....yes Daddy is tall and I suspect both kids will tower over Mama. R-bear is so mellow and a super happy kid. My pediatrician said with two mellow chill kids I need to stop while I'm ahead.

Kaos is still very chaotic but improving little by little. He lost all his puppy teeth and with the collar of wisdom is starting to behave more like a dog and less puppy. He is also starting to alert bark at people at the door and strange noises out on the property at night. His growl and bark is fierce and deep. He is going to be an amazing protector. His drive is extremely high, much higher than Argos who was a great protector but a little lazy on his commands. Kaos never does anything half-assed. It is always full throttle and although it can be a little annoying to have such a high energy eager pup it is also refreshing to have a dog that desperately wants to act and react.

Other than that, we are starting to prepare to winterize our three bee hives, cross fingers that they make it to next year and give us that liquid gold! We have three sets of different aged baby chickens: three babies running with the big girls, five babies nestled in the other coop with mama hen, and four babies downstairs in the brooder box without a mama hen. Next year we should be swimming in eggs! We are researching the potential to add either pigs or a milking cow to our homestead in the near future (after winter) and possibly a barn cat or two. Unfortunately the mice are plentiful here and we are in need of some predators.  It truly is a farm here and I count my blessings every single morning I step out to do farm chores. Thankfully, L-bug is starting to at least try her best to help out with the chores and is dropping a lot less eggs lately!

Off to can two huge boxes of fresh juicy Palisade peaches!  I am torn between jam, sliced, pie filling, peach mostarda, or peach butter. Maybe I'll do a bit of each....

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Still Trucking' Along

Life is very good here at the homestead. The pup is still chewing like crazy but has settled down quite a bit now that I have more of a routine established in terms of feeding, pottying, and playing for all the tots. It's totally true what they say about when things get quiet, be suspicious...

The honey bees are a very exciting and welcome addition to the homestead. We have caught five swarms total making up three full strong hives. One hive we combined: one hive that had a queen but a very small swarm combined with a very large queen-less hive. The integration went very well and the queen is busy at work laying eggs as her workers draw out comb. We have placed a second hive body on top of the brood chamber (if you don't know what that means, just understand that moving upward by adding boxes is a very good thing and one step closer to acquiring honey to eat!). One other hive we had to dump out on the other side of the barn to rid the hive of its nurse bees and hope the foragers would combine with the new hive in its place. It was a very odd ground swarm that appeared to be very content at home on the ground. It was queen-less and for the entire time we had the swarm they acted utterly confused and impaired. They hung out on the front porch of the hive and didn't feed like they should have. The comb they built out was odd and misshapen. When we received a free queen from one of the bee clubs we belong to the hive instantly killed her. Then we had nurse bees laying eggs like they were queens. Not good and not a productive healthy hive. We did what we could to help them but unfortunately they were not wanting to be saved.

The three full hives we have now are wonderful and it is so neat to sit and watch them go about their day. I doubt we'll have honey this season as our winters are a bit harsh so they'll need a large amount of their own honey to survive through the winter. Next season, as long as they make it, we should have a very productive honey extraction!

I also have a garden this year! I have pots on my deck with tomatoes and peppers, and a decent sized one  in the yard with tomatoes, zucchini, peas, beets, carrots, and various peppers and that excites me.

Our Orpington hen went broody this past month. Cowboy and I looked at each other and shrugged. Well, why not let her set if she's determined to set? So I snuck a couple more eggs under her and put her in our second chicken coop away from the rest of the flock for peace. I had read various opinions about allowing broody hens to set, hatch, and raise the chicks with the flock so integration goes smoothy vs. separating the broody hen and her eggs to protect the chicks and decrease stress. I opted to separate. We had the second coop which is a perfect brooder box and this way I don't have to worry about another hen killing the babies. Maybe next time I'll try it the other way and compare results.
Sunday we awoke to little peeps in the coop! One baby Americauna was under our Orpington! Today I came out to see two more little babies had hatched. It looks like two Americaunas so far and maybe a baby Orpington! It made my heart melt to see these little babies and to see mama hen so protective with them. I watched her hop off the rest of the eggs temporarily and wait for her babies to follow. She then demonstrated how to drink and eat. You could see the little babies watch her intently then try to mimic her actions. This is amazing. L-bug wanted to "pet-pet" the babies all day long.

cute peepers!

The turkeys are thriving on our farm...well all except our Tom turkey. Poor guy got taken by a predator the other night. Our hens are all very good about putting themselves to bed even before dusk. The turkeys and the chicks they were raised with, unfortunately, are not very good about bedtimes. We have to round them up and guide them into the coop every night. The chicks are getting better at it but we constantly find the turkeys roosting by our basement. We've had a lot of coyote activity these last few nights down in the meadow so I am pretty sure it was one of them. I found Tom's carcass down at the bottom of the hill by the meadow. I hope his death was swift, poor guy I really liked him.

We know this is the trade-off for letting our animals free range. I am good about not letting them out in the morning until later (predators do most of their activity at dawn and dusk) and now that the puppy is becoming more dog than puppy, we have been taking him out back in the fields to do his business and let the predators know there's a new chief in town. Seeing everyone free-range, chasing butterflies and grasshoppers, snatching and dust bathing, and snipping off dewy leaves of grass as they chirp and cluck happily is lovely. The few that we lose here and there is worth it (says the human who has no chance of being eaten by a coyote or fox. Sorry girls).

That's our friend's lab being such a good girl there!

R-bear is getting chunky and even more adorable. He is starting to giggle and coo. So handsome! L-bug is still being a rock star with her cute self. She loves to read, paint, and dance. Oh yeah and crawl in and out of the chicken pop door. This is the girl that can't stand to get her fingers in paint during craft time but she will crawl through chicken poop like a champ, gather rocks in the pockets of her dresses, and present nana with a fistful of rabbit fur she found down in the meadow (i didn't have the heart to tell her the mass of rabbit fur was not from a living rabbit). Love this girl....