Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Slowing Down

Summer is coming to an end..very fast! I am both happy and sad to see school start. We have had a really fun summer, and it went by so fast! I’ve got school supplies and book bags bought. Michelle and I are taking a “sister day” the first part of August to Wichita and are going to go school clothes shopping. It will be fun to spend the day with just her! J isn’t’ really enthused about me picking out his clothes, but decided it was ok since Michelle will be there and “she knows what’s cool and can help you.” Nice….

Garden is still going strong. It was defiantly the year of the tomato!! I have 3 gallon bags of tomatoes in my freezer (thanks, Melanie, for that tip!) just waiting to be made into spaghetti sauce and salsa! Still have about 25 waiting to have something done with them, (will probably freeze them too) as well as the ones ripening out on the vine I think we’ve gotten at least 25 lbs of potatoes now in the basement! The cucumbers didn’t do so hot, but that’s because D’s giant pumpkin plants sort of took over that area of the garden and choked them out. We did manage to get about 6 off them though. Now I am just waiting to see how the little ornamental pumpkins and corn do for this fall!

This past weekend we ventured out to the farm to search for Sand Plums. My Aunt had warned me that there probably wouldn’t be any due to the blizzard. We came home with *drum roll please* 51 sand plums!! (Off of one pasture with 5 spreads of bushes—pretty pathetic.) That was getting down and really searching for them. I don’t think I have enough to even make a jar of jelly. My dad told me I could make enough for a baby food jar!
The boys sure had fun looking for them though! I hope next year we have a normal season so the bushes are loaded!!

Not much else going on at the moment. I am enjoying the lull of having no where to be or go, and no ball practices. That is all about to change I’m afraid and am trying to enjoy the last couple of weeks!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tristen's Big Night

Well, last night was T’s big night. He was given a trophy for having the Champion Rabbit at the fair. He also was to make his cinnamon apple coffee cake that won the purple ribbon for his level in foods and have it auctioned off.
This ended up causing ME great anxiety. I had a nightmare…the wake up sweaty, think about all day kind of nightmare, the night before. In my dream, T went out in the ring, and not a single person bid on his cake. It was so sad. He just kept looking around, looking so sad, and the arena was dead quiet. I had almost convinced myself that this is what would happen, as my kids don’t have grandparents, aunts, and uncles that are able to come to everything they do, and I just figured family are usually the ones that buy the stuff.

So I had thought about this dream ALL day leading up to it.
Anyway, it all went off with a hitch. After T had his very first bid, I totally relaxed. He was scared, and looked really tense out there, but he had to try harder and harder not to smile as the bids climbed up. It was a wonderful experience for him.

This was my very first 4-H auction experience. And I sat there in the stands, totally in awe, that people care this much about our 4-Hers. We have some amazing people in this community and I am happy this is where we call “home.”

Friday, July 17, 2009

Rabbits and Chickens

The rabbit and poultry judging was Thursday. These are the projects that my boys really pour everything into, as well as working hard all year long with.
T and D gave the Rhode Island Red trio a bath Wednesday. I conveniently was busy…with something..anything. That did not sound like much fun to me. They got them clean and they smelled like Suave’s Refreshing Tangerine shampoo. The very best part though was looking out on the porch and watching them blow dry them! Funny stuff!
Anyway, T’s trio got a blue!

The rabbits have been very drama-ful this year. Actually, it was all well till the last 2 weeks or so. Eaten rabbits, molting rabbits, injured rabbits, sores on hocks….what fun!
We didn’t think T was going to take ANY rabbits except his hand pet to the fair, but our new rabbit bud Sam kept telling me to just let T take both the rabbits. He didn’t think the molting bun would be a problem, and the rabbit with a sore on her feet COULD be DQed, but to just let the judge decide. We kept going back and forth and that morning we literally just threw up our hands and grabbed both of them.
I’m glad we listened to Sam, as the one we grabbed at the very last minute..the one with the sore on her foot….WON! I sat with my mouth hanging open for a sec! Sam laughed and asked me if I was happy we brought her! I was totally shocked. T was too! He was a little confused and he had to be told that he had gotten Champion. He had no idea!!
J’s Californian, Truman, came in Reserve Champ. The judge told J he could be a bit bigger and that his leg bones are tiny. But that he was still a really nice rabbit. So, if J breeds again, he needs to find a doe with big bones, to try to even out the board a bit.
Both boys took their mutt, 4 year old rabbits, Jack and Heidi, from our “uh-oh” litter years ago, and the judge gave them both blues. They look to see how well taken care of and clean they are, but usually don’t do Champ or Reserve Champ. This is Jack's 4th year of going to the fair, and J thinks he’s going to retire him after this year. All 4 years he’s gotten a blue, and last year the judge even gave him a GC, so not a bad record for a mutt bun with dorky ears! (He has one that stands up, one that flops like a lop)
This was Heidi’s 1st year of going to the fair. She had been adopted by Jamie and Tony’s kids, but when they moved to Dodge, they couldn’t take her so we adopted her BACK!

J did something new this year. He decided he wanted to do rabbit showmanship this year. This means he takes his rabbit in front of a judge and is basically judged on how much HE KNOWS about his rabbit. The rabbits aren’t judged. They get points for different areas, and they tell about their breed of rabbit, illnesses, treatments, DQ’s, personal appearance, and other things. He did AWESOME!! Out of 200 available points, he got 160!! He got Grand Champion for that, and I am so proud of him! It takes a lot of guts to get up in front of a judge as well as a bunch of adults and your buddies, and do something like that. I, at 30 years old, wouldn’t/couldn’t do it!! We are trying to talk him into doing it at the State Fair, but he thinks he'd like to do it here another time before he attempts that.

This year’s fair has been so much fun and held many surprises for us!!

The trophy presentation and foods auction is Saturday evening. I’ll blog with pictures after that to let everyone know if T passes out or not! =)

Fair Week

Fair week is almost over! They both well in their cooking entries. J’s Cinnamon Coffee Cake got a red, but it was a bit dry, which we knew when we took it, but his Vanilla Chip Cherry Cookies got a state fair blue. He’s super excited about getting to make them for the state fair! T’s Snickers Cookies got a blue and his Apple Cinnamon Crumb Cake got a state fair blue (he isn’t old enough to take his to the state fair though.) as well a purple for his level of cooking. He gets to make it again and they will auction it off at the sale. Those of you that know T know what kind of anxiety this is causing him, but we keep telling him to just be proud and enjoy it.
I pretty much let the boys loose in the kitchen this year. J is an old pro and does really well in the kitchen usually. T did well too, it just took him a bit longer and we had to do his crumb cake twice. The recipe called for a 9 oz cake mix, he doubled it, and so I bought 2, but what I didn’t realize is I bought 2 18.5 cake mixes. He kept yelling to me that he didn’t think it was right, that it was really thick. It wasn’t till he was glopping it into the pans that I realized he was right. He followed the directions right…his mom just can’t read the recipe and buy the right ingredient amounts correctly!
We were really surprised when we went back in Wednesday evening to look at the rest of the things that hadn’t been judged yet when the boys left and saw that J’s pencil drawing in open class got a purple! He drew a picture of a bull, with the Burt brand, as well as a fence and hills. He has spent HOURS practicing drawing bulls, and even got a catalog for AI so he could look at all the different body types of bulls. I thought the picture was really good, but then again, I am a bit biased. Anyway, he, as well as his grandpa, were really happy!
Their woodworking projects did well, and so did J’s rocket. Woodworking is their “thing” they do all the time with their dad, and I am always surprised at how much they learn just by listening to him talk about things that he does at work. They pick up and learn things without even trying or realizing they are learning.
Anyway, J made a nightstand, because, well, he needed a nightstand and his mom and dad wouldn’t run down to Hatfield’s and just buy one for him. (The nerve of those people!) He made it from Cherry.
T made a small wall shelf out of cedar. He loves cedar and was a bit disappointed after he put his finish on and realized the smell was no longer there! I laughed when they were working on their plans. T’s shelf cost him a whopping $6 to make. Anyway, though it was a really small project, it was taken VERY seriously by him. T can get a bit anal about things!
We made cotton candy and sold it this year at the community carnival. It was a BLAST! We decided to do this a couple of months ago when I was trying to describe to my boys how its made and the joys of catching it with your tongue as it flies through the air as it’s being made…they had no idea. The boys and the Dunn boys made most of it, while I bagged it up. There were lots of laughs and sticky bodies, and I am afraid I’ll never get the stickiness from my carpet in that area, but I don’t think they will ever forget it!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I love summer!

My men are outside digging up potatoes! There are some HUGE ones out there!
J just made me smile when he stood up in the middle of the potato patch and yelled “I LOVE THIS!” We had big ol’ bake potatoes for dinner. I am not sure if they taste so good because they really DO, or because they are straight from the garden and we GREW THEM!!!
I have some peas and green beans frozen in the freezer, there are lots of ears of corn growing, and a couple of good sized cucumbers out there!! I love this too!! It's so exciting!
The tomatoes are about to explode and I do mean literally. The plants are so big and heavy with fruit they have all bent the cages over and they are all kind of leaning on each other now. Some of the plants are taller than my kids! We have had a couple of red ones, but they are mostly all pretty green. There are some out there that my hand barely fits around the bottom, and the average size of them is of a large apple. They are HUGE! WOW—love all that rabbit poop we tilled in in the spring! Hehe

We are all geared up for the fair, and have been putting on the finishing touches on the their projects.
The one that causes the most anxiety at the moment is their rabbits. We’ve had some problems—T’s bun that he bought last month got eaten by a dog a week ago. So, he was just going to show the rabbit he showed last year, who did really well. Well, he brings him up to the house, and he’s totally blown his fur. Rabbits molt once or twice a year, and this guy now looks like the Charlie Brown of rabbits. I'm not sure if he's going to bring him or not.
J had 3 Cals that he’s been waiting to show. These are rabbits he’s seen through conception to now. Well, that dog attack that killed T’s rabbit also scared these guys so bad they injured themselves from all the running and jumping around from fear. 2 of the 3 have leg injuries.(Due to swelling, they almost act like that leg is paralyzed) The vet told us not to put them down, that they would heal and be normal when the swelling went down, but I don’t think they will be able to be shown in the fair. So the one rabbit he CAN show, Truman, is tattooed…badly…by me. ACK. I was tattooing him, and he moved and made the gun slip. Now he has a nice clamp tattoo, as well as a screw up tattoo. We just can’t seem to win with these guys this year and it really upsets me because this is the project these boys really up their heart and souls in ALL year. They have to take care of these guys every single day all year long, and this year they are defiantly not reaping the benefits of that. Such is life, I guess. More learning experiences.
We flew J’s rocket today. He made it for the fair and he had to have a report as well as photos of it’s flight. I was nervous, as his dad had been sick and down for the count, and I am kind of retarded when it comes to those things, so he was on his own with NO guidance for the building of it. Plus, the dang thing is *6* foot tall and uses the biggest engines you can buy at the stores. Well, it was AWESOME!!! It flew up around 700 to 800 feet, came down very slowly and so softly that J was able to run over and just catch it as it come down. It was perfect!
We rented a commercial cotton candy machine for the community carnival for the fair this year!! My boys had no idea how CC was made, so a couple of months ago, after trying to explain to them the joys of catching cotton candy “floaties” on your tongue as its in the air, we decided that we were going to do this. I think it will be fun.

My sister in law gave us a huge zucchini out of their garden and I am going to try to make bread with it tomorrow. YUM!
I love this time of year!!

Btw—the boys just came in and weighed their haul…19 lbs of potatoes!!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Old Friends and Summer Days

What a wonderful weekend is was! It’s Monday morning, and though I am never really happy to see Mondays, this one came way to fast!
We had a wonderful 4th of July. We spent it with my friend, Franny, and her husband, Eddie, and their darling little girl, Chloe. We had a blast. The only damper on the weekend was my camera. It decided, on its own, to delete some awesome pictures I had taken of the kids at the pool as well of some great fireworks! My husband swears it couldn’t have done it all on its own…that I must have helped in some way, (as if *I* would do something like THAT!) but they really were there one second, gone the next. We’ve had that camera for 3 years and it has NEVER done that before. I am foreseeing a new camera in my future!!
Anyway, we had the best time ever. We didn’t do much. Took the kids to the pool, ate some pizza, and tinkered around a lot. We went to the park every night, and we swung like we were 8 years old again. Our legs quickly reminded us, though, just how old we really are! We took them out to feed the calf, and they learned more about chickens than Franny wanted to know….I can't wait to see if Eddie talks her into getting some!
We teased Eddie the entire time about how everything in Coldwater is either “down the road” or “about an hour away.” He couldn’t believe it when he saw kids just walking down the road, unattended, or that we didn’t really have to lock our cars up if we didn’t want to. And I think the size of our mosquitoes scared him a little bit!
Monday it was time to say goodbye, as they had to catch their plane in Wichita. There were a few tears and hugs, but we will hopefully see them again next summer as we plan to make a trip out there. A REAL VACATION!! The first one EVER for my children!
There is nothing like an old friend. All friends are wonderful, but there is something so comforting about old friends. Friends who are more like your family than anything. Friends that remember days of being barefoot, suntanned, eating cinnamon graham crackers at preschool and getting under-duckies on the playground. Friends who would fly halfway across the country, just to make you smile.

We miss you guys!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Who said summer days where lazy!! I can’t believe how busy we are right now. Just when I think it can’t get any worse, somehow it always seems to!!

At the moment, baseball is keeping us really busy. But we are just about done with that. I am ready!! Everyone really enjoys it, but when you have 2 of them playing on different teams, it just gets ridiculous.

Thursday my oldest and dearest friend will be here. She and her family are flying into Wichita to spend the 4th with us. They are from North Carolina, so I feel pretty special they are coming all this way! We saw each other about 5 years ago, but it’s been pretty hit and miss over the years. We were neighbors and went to school together, and then she moved away in 4th grade. We’ve kept in touch all these years. I flew out there for a week during my senior year and LOVED it. She took me to the beach for the first time as well as gave me my very first glass of REAL sweet tea!
Anyway it will be a great time catching up as well as meeting her husband and little girl.

Chewy is doing good…great in fact! He thinks I am his mom. This is the only time in my life I won’t take offense to being mistaken for a mama cow. He cries when I leave, and he loves to head butt me. It’s awfully cute when I scratch his neck and he starts sucking on his imaginary bottle with his tongue sticking out. D shakes his head and warns me it won’t be cute when he does this stuff after he puts on a couple hundred pounds. hehe

At the moment we are gearing up for the fair. The boys are putting finishing touches on the things they are entering. J has decided he would like to do rabbit showmanship this year so we’ve been trying to find out exactly what he’ll need to know and how to do it. I was proud of him for wanting to try something new and challenging, but WHEW!! They’ve been giving their rabbit’s spa treatments, clipping their nails and lots of brushing, in anticipation for the big judging day!
Speaking of the rabbits, I purchased something I would NEVER dreamed I’d see on my credit card statement…a TATTOO GUN!!!! HA! There are 2 different ways you can tattoo your rabbit. The ol’ clamp style, which is basically like a hole-punch with the letters/numbers you would like, doing all of it at once, and then your rub your ink into the holes it makes. OR you can use a tattoo gun, which we chose to do. It seems much more “nicer” to me, if there is such a thing, and you can make your letters smaller if you have something really big you want to tattoo. Such as: One of J's bun's name is Big Show, so that's what we will tattoo. If we used the clamp, the tattoo would take up most of the ear.

There’s always a new adventure of some sort at the Bruckner house!