Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Barn Swallow Baby Love

Oh my goodness look what is in the barn at the farm!!

There are probably 8  Barn Swallow nests the barn, and I've been telling the boys they should be hatching soon. A few days ago while I was waiting for Tristen to get done feeding the calf, I just happened to look up and see a little sweet and UGLY face looking down at me.
I counted 4 of them. They are adorable. Every time the flash would flash, they would all stretch out their necks and open their mouths wiiiiidddde open. You can't see it in the picture, but they all have this hilarious white fuzzy mohawk on the top of their heads.

I was worried about them with the high wind we've had over the past days. Afraid I'd go check on them and find the nest blown down, but they were just fine this evening. I'd like to know exactly what they use to make their nests, to be able to withstand some of the winds we have. I also found it interesting the parents pick up horse hair and even other feathers to build with.

One summer when I was about 10 or so, we had one build a nest right above our front door. It was so amazing to watch the parents build the nest, lay the eggs, see them hatch, and then grow up and leave. I'll never forget it...nor the amount of bird crap that was on our porch that summer!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sweet Sweet SUMMER!!

I have been working on this post for four days now! Hopefully now that things have started slowing down I'll be able to keep up with my blog a bit more!!

Wednesday was the boys last day of school for the year.  Life has been super busy lately, and I have been feeling as though I just can not keep up anymore. The break is much welcomed!

Every year since the beginning of time, our school has a "Play Day." It's pretty much a mini track meet. This year it got rained out right as the running events were starting, so summer got a little extra head start.
It was my very last Play Day EVER. Both of my kids will be in Jr High next year. Weird..

Tristen is doing the softball throw here. He got 1st in it and also in the football throw. 

I was afraid we'd be making a trip to the chiropractor after this event!

And this is about as good as the pictures of my oldest get right now. I WILL get him over this anti picture phase.  Anyway, the older kids do not participate, but they  help out with events.

In garden and yard news, things are doing well. The lack of rain has been apparent in the size of our water bill.  The garden is totally newspapered and  mulched in now, and things are really taking off.  Danny's magic potato spot is working it's magic and the plants are getting tall and blooming. All but 5 that he planted came up. He wasn't going to let me take this picture until I told him I was just going to use his leg to show how tall his plants were. Seriously, what IS the deal with men and pictures? Ugh.

 I planted beets for the first time this year. I'm the only one in my family that likes them, and I plan to pickle them and enjoy them all winter.  I also think I will do another crop of them early this fall. They are very satisfying to grow! I thinned them out AGAIN today and found some little baby beets!

Tristen is growing peas and cabbage. Both are doing great!  Hoping the grasshoppers stay away. Last year all he had left was the outline of the leaves or "the bones" as he said.

And I found some little baby tomatoes this morning while we were out checking things. There are lots of blooms on the other plants and the pepper plants as well.

The lavender is just starting to bloom. I have a new recipe for jelly I'm anxious to try this year that calls for dried lavender and champagne. YUM!

I call these my flowers from God. I had a pot of these over by our bunny barn last year and they had self seeded and ended up growing in my flower bed. Well, they came BACK AGAIN this year, only bigger and better.  They are staying.  I'm find comfort in them.  It's a good reminder that sometimes we just do not understand things, or the way life is, but God is in control and has a plan. It's our job to sit back and let things bloom.

The water plants are taking off and the fish have caught on that when the human looks in, she usually has food.
Anna, the kitty, really enjoys it. She thinks it's a giant bowl of water filled up, just for her. So far she hasn't paid too much attention to the fish.

The bird sightings at the water fountain have picked up! There is always someone out there getting a drink or taking a bath. We have a family of squirrels who have even gotten brave enough to come up for a drink.
I've also been tickled to have 2 different kinds of hummingbirds here this year. One I haven't been able to get a good look at.  Just as I see he's at the feeder, he flies away.  I'm happy to be their "Quick Trip" for a snack on their journey and hope they tell their friends about our full service station!

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend!! We are going to enjoy a full 3 days of ABSOLUTELY  NOTHING!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Spring Livestock Show 2011

Today was the day Tristen had been waiting for since LAST fair season. He showed his VERY OWN bucket calf. 

First there's a lot of scrubbing, soaping, scrubbing--Jacob snapped a great picture of me and T while we were picking poop balls off her bum. Glamorous it is NOT! 

A high school 4-Her who shows cattle took pity on us and took Tristen under her wing. She showed him exactly how to dry her and also took the time to clip her in the areas needed, and over all just showed him how to primp her all up. I was very grateful to her!! (T had went to a clinic on this recently, but it was a massive amount of information thrown at him at one time. He remembered some of it though.)

 Here she is all dolled up and ready to go. She had strict instructions at this point not to poop, pee or lay down. She didn't listen.

Nerves suddenly hit. Tristen was very worried he wouldn't know what to do or where to go, so he took a little time out and sat with us in the stands, watching the lamb show. This gave him a better idea of how they were lining up and what the judge would ask him to do.

And then it was show time!

 I wanted to be a little bird out there !!

Tristen is talking and Black Out is behaving....SUCCESS!!!!

There were 3 exhibitors and the other 2 (who were both from out of town) took the top prizes,  but he did get to come home with a brand new rope halter.

I am super proud of him. Those that are involved in our life know the struggles Tristen has had with confidence and shyness, so it was a HUUUUGGGGE step that he even wanted to do this, knowing that he would parade out in front of everyone, and have to speak to a judge. 

I also learned that not only do I love fairs and rabbit shows, I also love regular livestock shows as well. I don't know why. I am NOT a competitive person and it's not really about the competition so much as it is the excitement and anticipation, the primping and grooming, the smells, the socialization...it's so much fun!

Except the poop ball thing..that was kinda gross. At fair time, Danny's helping with the washing. ;)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mother's Day

I spent Mother's Day sweating my behind off and I'm not sure my leg muscles will ever stop hurting!

Early that morning, while it was cool, we got 90% of the garden newspapers and mulched in with straw. We still haven't gotten that last little bit done, but plan to later this week or this weekend. That job stinks and is the very very worse thing about having a garden I swear. BUT--it sure beats weeding!

After that we headed to the farm.  Jacob mowed and helped Eric move some branches, and Tristen helped Kim mow. Danny worked on a section of the lot fence so we can kick Black Out into a bigger area. There's lots of grass out there for her to graze on so she should be thrilled.

Tristen also walked Black Out a little extra, and gave her a bath. He's got the spring show in 2 weeks, and really needed to start getting her used to the process of looking pretty.  We were both worried she's freak out. However, as soon as that water hit her and the shock of it passed, that little cow was in bovine heaven.  She loved it!! And Tristen loved GIVING it to her! They are just best buddies. ;)

While everyone was busy with their projects at the farm, it gave me a chance to break out the "old school" camera. I got the film sent off yesterday. I'm really hoping the pictures come out as nice as they looked through the viewfinder. And I can't TELL YOU how many times I would take a picture and then look at the back of the camera to "see" my picture like on the digitals. HAHA

Look what I found at a trip the local greenhouse! Happy Mother's Day to ME!! This is called a 'FanFare' Gaillardia. I have 3 that will be here any day now, but these are big and already had blooms on them, so I hauled two of them home! I've been trying to get one of these for 2 years and I will have plenty now!!

 I love how each little petal is like it's own little flower.

And just for the smile factor, check out how Tristen dressed to feed Black Out Sunday evening. ;)

He loves these boots SO much!

By the way, I really really DO love my oldest child, and would have lots of pictures of him too, but he seems to be going through a "mom is so annoying with all of her silly pictures and I just refuse to cooperate anymore" phase. 
I would have NO idea why.

Looks like we are in for some weather today! Pray for rain and that the severe stuff stays away!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Water Garden

My friend Melanie has an amazing pond at her house and I've really enjoyed watching the process and hearing about it. I knew I was not, nor probably never will be, ready for anything like that, but I am still fascinated and in awe when I see it.

She brought me a magazine recently, with lots of DYI projects. One of them was the new water feature in our yard, but I also saw several water container gardens.

Oh how I wish I could do something like that. *sigh*  Wait a minute. Why CAN'T I???

I found the perfect bucket--free!!-a container that our feed and seeds gets mineral blocks in. Added some pea gravel, filled that puppy up with water, and was on the hunt for some water plants.

I really had NO idea what I was looking for, and had only planned on getting 2. I came home with 5. (Yes, I am fully aware I may have some impulse control problems...especially when it comes to plants.) Anyway, my haul included some variegated Sweet Flag, Water Pennywort, a Chinese Hardy Orchid, Southern Blue Flag Iris, and some Golden Creeping Jenny.

I had a moment of panic when I got them home, because honestly, I have NO idea what I'm doing. I pretty much re-potted them in bigger pots just the way the nursery had them potted and set them in. They look pretty right now at least. Crossing fingers I don't kill them!

And there are 2 goldfish and 1 Goth-fish in there as well, to add a bit of excitement to my front porch.  The Goth-Fish is really just a fancy tailed goldfish, but that's what I call her, as she is all orange except for her lips. They are black. ;-)

It's been so much fun and I'm very much enjoying my little wanna be pond in a bucket!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

It's MAY!

Hooray for MAY!! It means so many things!! It means its almost summer. It means dragging my grouchy dragons out of bed and getting up at the butt crack of dawn is just ALMOST over!! It means flowers and gardens and ...well, I just love this time of year!!

 Jacob's track season will finish up this week. He has really enjoyed it, and I KNOW a lot of it has to do with the great coaches the team had this year!!

He's ready for summertime! He's trying to find another mowing job or two to add to the one regular one he has and already has several camps he's wanting to attend, so I think his summer will be pretty busy.
Jacob's got some really nice Havanas and  has a waiting list right now of people waiting to buy some.   He wants to show each litter a few times before he decides on what to keep/sale.  He did have something really strange pop up in a recent litter. Black and Chocolate Havanas have to have brown eyes to be shown, and Blues have to have blue/gray eyes. He's got a sweet little BLACK buck who has the most beautiful BLUE eyes!  So, he can't ever be shown, but already has a good pet home to go to when he's weaned. Genetics can be a strange at times!

Tristen has been staying busy with Black Out. They are two peas in a pod.  That calf just loves that boy and seriously just tolerates everyone else. She has a strong dislike for Danny--even kicked at him a couple of days ago. Danny had to give her a shot recently, and I think she's holding a serious grudge against him.  She likes me. But I think it's only because I usually walk along with her and Tristen in the evenings, and she associates me with him. And she doesn't really care for Jacob either, though she tolerates him better than Danny. =P

Anyway, Tristen walks her every night for about half an hour and she's finally walking pretty well for him. We keep telling him all of it will pay off come spring show/fair time.  It's been a great lesson for him. The worlds most stubborn boy has now met worlds most stubborn heifer.  I'm not sure who I feel more sorry for, but it's been a hoot to watch at times. Neither one of them is good at giving in, so quite a few battles have occurred.
The boy FINALLY got his cowboy boots.

2 weeks worth of drama those boots were!!  Long story short--after scouring Dodge and ordering off the internet, only to have the boots discontinued and our order canceled, they had to be special ordered. They HAD to be BLUE topped brown boots with A SQUARE TOE.  Who says it's girls who are picky??  Anyway, they already have scratched and scuffs, and Tristen couldn't be happier!!

Pray for rain and have a great MONDAY!!