Thursday, July 30, 2020

Hello 5

The oldest had a birthday today, 5 years old! Here are some photos from our day.

Here we are with some presents first off of course.  A Minions lego set, a pterodactyl puppet and a set of letterbots. I think they're called letterbots. They're transformers that change from letters of the alphabet to dinosaurs. There were other gifts but the letterbots were the huge hit.

After pancakes we headed to an animal park in Grove City. It's relatively new and we'd never been there before. Let me tell you it was amazing. The enclosures were fantastic, nicer than one of the nearby larger zoos. The way it's laid out makes it feel incredibly spacious and although the parking lot was busy we were never too close to other visitors. The big draw is that you can feed most of the animals so they're all very much conditioned to see visitors as treat dispensers.  Which lets you see them much closer up that we are used to.

Hello zebra!

It was REALLY neat.

Here are a few of the reindeer hanging out in the barn. They really like baby carrots.  

This was the oldest's favorite animal. Guinea pigs. For some reason they had all gathered together in this part of the barn and most of them were nursing little ones.

Checking our wingspans.

After the animal park we came home and had his favorite,  tacos.

Then he wanted to decorate his own birthday cake.  The grandparents came over for cake and coffee. We'll have a party with the cousins this weekend.

My dad brought over these two huge caterpillars he picked off of a tomato plant. They pupate underground and emerge as sphynx moths. We've raised caterpillars before but this is a new one for the house. For tonight I stuck them in here with a branch from a tomato plant. Tomorrow we'll get out an aquarium and I think the oldest and I are going to plant a habit that can accommodate these and maybe some monarchs too. 

I can't believe he's 5 already. That happened quickly. Next month he'll start kindergarten at a private school because our local district is going virtual.  He needs to be in a classroom for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is that I cannot possibly homeschool successfully while also watching over a two year old and being in my third trimester. Absolutely no one would benefit from that. The private school has a maximum class size of 12 students and is able to distance in the classroom and clean surfaces every hour.  It's looking like we'll be taking him to and from school which is fine. The situation isn't perfect but it's the best we can come up with. 

It's really been a wonderful day today and I'm sad to see it over.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Crowing hen, blueberry lemon cake

You can tell who has been wasting too much time on Pinterest.  I made a blueberry lemon pound cake, it was so simple and tastes wonderful.  You will need a big glass of milk with it though. Very rich.  The flowers on top are pansies and borage. Here is a link to the recipe:

So something absolutely bizarre happened today while the kids and I were outside.  We kept hearing the embarrassing and awkward sound of a bird learning to crow. The only young rooster was still in the pen and this sound was coming from the yard. It was coming from the hen bought at an auction last year.  Normally when someone says something like "my hen is crowing" I do think "oh, this poor idiot can't tell the difference " but now it has happened to me.  From what I can tell chickens either change sex (hormone wise) when there is no rooster and a hen decides to be top chicken (not our case) or when an older hen has something very wrong with her reproductive system.  Come to think of it I haven't seen her in a nest box for a long time to this may very well be the case.

Let me present some proof to rule out day drinking:

Here she is. Comb, saddle feathers, hackle feathers,  mothering skills all = hen. Plus, the year of egg laying.

And here she is crowing on video. What the heckity heck.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Putting up pasta, flowers

It was very fortunate that the new dough hook came in the mail today as this is what was lurking in our refrigerator.  The largest eggs are goose eggs, for some reason they've started laying again. The little green cutters are for quail eggs, an absolute nessesity, they cost less than $5 and make a neat job of snipping the eggs open.

So this evening the oldest and I got to work.

Here he is making paw prints out of a goose egg with quail egg toes.  1 cup of egg + 3.5 cups of flour = about 2 lbs pasta.  I thought we would run out of flour but the whole job only took a bit over a full bag from Aldi. They were divided into 1 lb portions and left to firm up in the freezer before vaccum sealing.

You can see I've run out of sealing bags and will have to get more tomorrow.  We ended up with 11 lbs of egg pasta in the freezer, which will make plenty of good meals this winter. 

Here is something I will miss when it's turned cold. These are so pretty together.  The purple flowers are lemon bee balm and oregano that has flowered. The white flowers include yarrow and buckwheat. 

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Plodding ahead

Isn't this felt pennant nice? I've been feeling down lately. The summer is more than half gone and we haven't done much of anything at all.
We haven't been camping, or to the zoo or Lake Erie or anything else we would normally do. 

We did finally pull the camper out and set it up in the yard. The oldest and I slept out one night. Elyse stood outside meowing and peeping until I coaxed her in and she slept with us too.

The oldest is being registered for kindergarten while around us friends and family are trying to decide on sending their children back to schools, in masks and face shields, or to teach from home. My husband is trying to prepare for going back to teaching on campus. It's all so unpredictable. 

People around our area are starting to test positive and my dad is currently quarantining himself while waiting on results. He feels fine. I missed my cousins baby shower this weekend. We also passed on a camping trip to a place I've always wanted to go. I miss seeing people and hugging friends. 

I keep waiting for things to go back to "normal" but am starting to feel the unease of understanding that this is going to be our new normal for a long time.  It's depressing. 

So, life. Not much has happened this week. I got my hand "fixed". A cortisone injection means I now have a functional right hand.  

Friday a friend came over and I gave her the 9 chicks that were in the basement.  Then she told me that they lost their flock to a raccoon this spring. I had her come back yesterday for three pullets that are just about ready to lay. We have so many eggs in the refrigerator that I finally ordered  a new dough hook to turn it all into pasta for the freezer.  We need a chest freezer but are not able to get one locally.  The stores are sold out and we will need to order one. 

The group of grown quail were sold to a nice lady yesterday who met me at TSC and was very happy to get a breeding group.  We have 14 eggs due to hatch soon.

This monster is growing in the chicken yard. I didn't plant it and think it's probably a decorative gourd of some kind.

Here they are.

The garden is doing well. We are still eating asparagus although they are growing a foot overnight and sprouting they are still tender. The larger wild blackberries are starting to ripen and we have a lot of blueberries. 

It is storming out. Here is something interesting in the kitchen,  a venus fly trap blooming.

The youngest and I are out on the porch in the rain. His vocabulary is wonderful and he's able to articulate just about whatever he needs ("Mommy. No more water!" While waving an empty watering can)

Tomorrow morning I will sit at the hospital for over three hours for testing, having apparently failed my pregnancy glucose screening.  I will have to pick a new book to take, preferably an upbeat one.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Yoga, a book, birds and stuff

Yesterday the oldest had spent the night at Grandma and Grandpa's so it was a very low-key morning. The little guy and I did this yoga sequence from my deck. It took about 20 minutes. It felt really good but some poses were definitely ambitious pregnant. Like any of the pidgeon poses. Just not happening for awhile I guess.

Finished a book this weekend:

If you haven't heard of it here is the back:

It started off promising but I couldn't stand it by the end and only finished it because I was mad over the time I had already spend reading it.
 If you didn't quite at first understand the author's phrase "Personal Legend" don't worry because it's going to be repeated about once a page.  Then the ending felt totally slapped on and made no sense in the context  of the story (after going on this huge spiritual journey and finding he could literally perform a miracle the "treasure" he's been chasing turns out to be a chest full of gold and other material possessions). It did have some interesting bits that I dog-eared and  kept rereading like this one:

Here are pictures from our creek walk last week:

It was really beautiful. 

We went to Walmart together the other day to pick out a Lego kit. Here we are with me trying to get him to pick out a shirt for himself, any shirt.  It was his first outing to a store in months.  It made me feel sad that he got so excited about it because he's missing out on so many "normal life" things now.

The garden is doing well except for this:

All of the beautiful kale is being destroyed by caterpillars.  It's discouraging . I do like kale and hope this gets better as the season goes on. 

Here is how the story of the chicken in the shed ended. Of her 20 eggs I took half for the incubator and moved her and the others to a safe location in the old duck coop.

I was able to hold a scrap of fencing over the basket front and carry the whole thing. She was furious. 

And here is how it worked out:

She hatched all 10 of her eggs. The poor thing really does look that ragged. Chicken pregnancy is no picnic.

I hatched 9. Who have already been listed on Craigslist because we already have too
any birds.

Don't tell that to this one:

Who may have heard chicks peeping from across the yard and is now determined to have babies too. How many times have we gone through this, she and I? Twice or three times a season for three years? She's the only bird whose mental health I give two hoots about so I just patted her on the head and let her keep the eggs. She's so maternal that if she were denied the chance to have chicks she'd probaby try to steal my toddler and sit on him.

His new hobby is running of with my phone when it's on the camera settings.  We have approximately 3,256,387 photos like this now.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

What's missing from this picture?

This is a terrible nightime picture, and we need to fix the shelf and actually arrange things but the answer is "the television ". The television is missing. It's about time. Husband and I determined the other day that probably 99% of the household bickering and stinky attitudes were related to the television.  Or rather what the television was not providing; physical activity, imaginative play and reading. Granted I think we did mostly ok with limiting what the kids were watching but let's be honest a person can only handle so much Paw Patrol. I had already banned Curious George, my own personal Hell. 

So while the kids and I were at my dad's the other morning (the oldest and I had another creature adventure in the creek) my husband put the television somewhere.  Possibly the garage. Don't know and don't care. 

My husband and I went for years without a television and were perfectly happy. It was by choice not poverty. If we really, really got the urge to watch Jeopardy we went to my parents house. But the thing is when people notice the lack of a television in your house they try to hard-sell give your their old ones. Maybe out of pity. We refused several before we allowed this one in the house and I don't remember whose hand me down it was, possibly my in-laws. 

So the television dissapeared.  Guess what happened? After a minor tantrum the oldest got over it and we read, no joke, over 20 stories yesterday.

Today we sat on the porch in the rain and when it was done the kids went outside and spackled this tree stump with mud for over half an hour. They were wet and dirty and happy.  I mean, we do this kind of stuff anyway but now we'll be doing more of it. 

Plus! I also have this little corner for my "after the kids go to bed" stuff: a sewing project, Postcrossing supplies, journal, current book and a deck of cards.

Who knows how long this will last. Hopefully for awhile.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

A gosling, a birthday, journaling & the story of Bee

We had a baby gosling hatch on the little guy's birthday. It was the only one of her many eggs to make it.  The gosling is absolutely adorable and all three adult geese are acting like fussing aunts over it. So far the adults have also stayed well-mannered and their behavior has actually improved now that they have a "job" to occupy themselves with.

Here's a video of mom and baby the day it hatched. The area had to be quickly "baby-proofed" with a tiny step to get in and out of the area, bricks in all of the water dishes and a shallow baking pan set out for the baby to drink out of.

For the little guy's birthday we spent a fun morning at the lake. There was a ton of swimming and sandcastle building.

He's adorable. And two already! Later that evening we had a little cake but the the "big" party came Friday. My niece turns 6 next week so the 2 of them had a joint party here with just family. Social distancing precautions are really starting to get old.

Here are the cakes.

The kids had so much fun together. They were all so glad to see each other. There was also a tiny baby in attendance which our two just cannnot get enough of. The birthday boy mostly just wanted to be with her saying things like "Where bebe go?" any time she was out of his sight.

The town usually has a big to-do for the 4th of July weekend with fireworks and a huge car show. Of course all of that was canceled this year and I was really sad about it. Even more so coming home from my dad's last night with the kids in the car and they could see the random small fireworks people were putting off in town. They were so interested and I felt terrible. HOWEVER.  Our neighbor across the street saved the day. This guy put on a fireworks show for over half an hour with professional grade fireworks. It was nicer than what the town puts on. I don't care if it was legal or that we haven't had rain in a week and everything is bone dry. 

It was such a gift to see the kids just beside themselves with excitement. The youngest did not fall asleep until midnight. 

I've been keeping up with my bullet journal and it's become a big part of my day.

Here is my tracking page for June. Just holding myself accountable in this way has completely changed some of my behaviors.  For the first time I'm doing things like consistently taking my medications and eating enough fruits and vegetables.  Before this I could go days without taking my zoloft or eating a vegetable.  The good side it's totally changed my diet and I've actually lost 3 lbs. The bad side is that the better I treat myself and my diet, the more disgusted I am with how overweight I am. Which would be a good motivator but 6 months pregnant I'm not sure what I can do about it.  So, there's that. I also need to really step it up with reading to the kids apparently. 

Tracking my activities is a good motivator for fitting in activities not normally given time. I read a book this month! In bits and pieces, late at night, but still.

This is a good summer read.

Here is the back.

This holiday weekend was our Bee anniversary. It was 10 (I think?) years ago that we found her as a tiny kitten while we were canoeing in a swamp in the middle of nowhere. The nearest house was over a mile away. We have no idea how she ended up where she did and it was a million tiny choices that led us to her that day. But she found us, crying from the bank of the swamp and following the canoe.  Bee was so little I could fit her in one hand. We took her home and fed her cat food and tuna. We already had enough animals so we tried to find her another home.

 Then she spiked a fever of 107, which I didn't know was possible.  It turned out she had a really disgusting parasite from being at the swamp. It had burrowed into her neck and she almost died from it. They removed it at the vet and gave her antibiotics. For a week she was so weak she needed to be held up to eat, drink and use the litterbox. Then tucked back into bed. After that I wouldn't hear of her leaving. And here she is all these years later.

She makes our lives better every single day.

This week is going to be very hot, mid 90's, so I'm not sure what our plans are. Not much of anything probably.