Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cossatot River

                                                                      Sheep's Den
This is one of my favorite places. It is on the Cossatot River and the locals call it the Sandbar. The water is always so clean and clear here. If I had to choose between a swimming pool and this place, I would choose the river every time. It usually takes until mid July before the water is warm and the visits here before then consist of about 15 minutes of inching into the water so my body can adjust. The kids usually barrel right in and say "it's not cold". Usually at least once a year we make a trip out to the "Sheeps Den". This is on the Cossatot as well, just further up river and quite a hike to get to. It is always well worth the hike. The Sheeps Den is by far one of the most beautiful places I've ever been and it is right here in my neighborhood. There is a huge rock near a pool of water that is so deep you can't reach to bottom. This makes for a great adventure of jumping into the water from a height that will make your tummy tickle. It usually takes me a while to work up the nerve but it is always exhilarating. We haven't been out to the Sheep's den yet this year and summer is running out. I guess we'll have to go soon and I'll post some pictures. 

Friday, July 18, 2008

Summertime bliss

I discovered that if I leave the battery out of my camera when it is not in use, that it works when I put it back in. It is a little bit of a pain but I'm just glad that I can use it. Isn't this quite the abstract photo? The hummingbirds are very busy these days at the feeders. While Mom and Dad were out of town last week, I always knew when her feeders were empty because I would have about a million show up at my house. One evening, there were about a go-gillion of them out there and I just took the camera out and started shooting. I got some pretty good ones, most are just blurs of wings and beaks. This is one of the best things about summer. I love feeding the birds and it is so thrilling that I get to feed different birds during the different seasons. There is just something about knowing that your helping these tiny creatures survive and multiply. Sometimes I wonder if they appreciate it, but being a servant to the birds is greatly rewarded without even a single thank you. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The running of the goats

Kyle and I got up about 6:00 this morning to run the goats. This is the best time to do this, since it is still nice and cool out. We have figured out that it is easier to have somebody on the four-wheeler following behind them while somebody is in front leading. It actually makes it nice this way because we can take turns on the four-wheeler, that way neither of us gets exhausted. There are times when I'm the one doing the leading and there are 5 goats running behind me, bells dinging, that I feel like I'm running with the bulls or something. Of course, I'm sure that the bulls aren't nearly as cute and I doubt any of them would allow such a thing as a bell to be put around their neck. 
The picture is of Little Mo and Rain. Rain is our doe and Little Mo is our buck. They love each other and it is so sweet. They usually stay pretty close to each other. I can't wait to see their babies this spring. This will be my first attempt at breeding goats so I'm a little nervous about it. 
I'm going to go have my coffee now and watch the weather channel with my husband. Ahhh the joys of farming. 

Monday, July 14, 2008

Berry Picking

Our neighbor to the north sold his land this past spring. This is the neighbor who graciously lets us pick from the abundance of black berries that thrive on his land. However, the new owner is planning to graze this acreage and is in the process of bush hogging all of the berry vines down. I went over there on Rodney's birthday and picked just enough to make him a cobbler and, up to that point, none of the vines that I usually pick from had been cut down. Rodney told me last night that he had been back over there bush hogging and that if I wanted to get any berries I'd better do it soon. So I went this morning and, sure enough, the vines were on their way to being no more. I nearly cried. I've been picking over there for years and never really thought that there would be a day when they would be gone. 
Anyway, apparently his bushhog broke down and he had to quit so I am on a mission to get as many as I can while they are there. Also, Rodney opened the last jar of blackberry jam that we had in the pantry so this made this mission even more desperate. I have enough to do one batch of jam today. I'm going to try and get the kids to help me this evening and we will go and get some more. I guess in the berry seasons to come I'll be forced to find berries like a cave person, rummaging through the forest. This will surely make the jam taste even better and be much more precious.  

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Washington Monument

Taylor arrived in Washington D.C. this morning about 9:00 (Arkansas time). She texted me earlier and said they were having breakfast in Virginia. She then sent me this picture and a flood of emotion came over me. I can't tell you how full my heart is for that child. You know, mothers just know the heart of their children, and I've always known that she was meant for great things. I know this about Kyle too, it is just that his greatness may not always be visible to everyone. Taylor has a thirst for adventure and loves to go go go. She has never been content to just sit and let life go by, she wants to touch it, throw herself into it. I remember when she was just a little girl (and I do mean LITTLE) and she would jump off the high dive at the swimming pool. I can still see her standing there with her little floaties on her arms, smiling and excited. My heart was about to beat right out of me chest...she jumped and popped right back up out of the water and as fast as her little legs could swim, she'd go right back and do it again. Daredevil!! 
One of the hard things about being a mother is letting go. Especially when your babies have big wings and big dreams. I'll be standing by the whole time, cautiously watching, but every urging her to go go go. She will be better for this experience and probably learn something that she can teach me. I used to think that it was the mother's job to mold and make their kids into the people they are to become, but boy do those babies ever mold and make me. The older they get the more I'm figuring out that I have much to learn from them...and I pray that my example will be just what they need too. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

New Goat Toy

Look at the hole in the door. Isn't that sweet? Taylor rescued this kitten last week. I thought that the ramp we built turned out very nice. It is utilitarian and not really for looks but it helps me immensely for things to look nice. I also had another little problem that I solved yesterday. We had a little bit of a poop problem in the goat pen and I was shoveling and raking everyday trying to get as much as I could out of there. Goat poo, as you can imagine, is not easy to scoop up. It was like trying to get tiny pebbles out of the grass. So I started thinking, I need a big vacuum cleaner or something. Then it hit me. I could put the grass catcher on my little push mower and suck up the poo this way. VIOLA!!! It worked like a dream. Sometimes it amazes me how genius I am. I love solving problems, even if it involves poop!


Taylor was playing with my i sight camera and created this picture...I thought it was so pretty. She left for Washington D.C. this morning and Mom and Dad left for Arizona too. Kyle is at church camp until Friday evening so Rodney and I are here on the farm ALONE!!! This is very exciting for some reason. I don't know what we'll do just the two of us here. We both have quite a few farm chores waiting on us, there is just something refreshing about having only each other. 
We built a ramp for the goats yesterday for them to eat from. It is very steep and they have to really stretch to get to their food. I can already tell that it is going to work wonders on their they seem to like it. I also hung their hay net up high so that they will have to stretch to get it too. I want to take a picture but Taylor has our only working camera with her. I guess I could take my computer out there and take a picture with the computer camera. I'll try to do that this evening and post some pictures. It is so funny to see them working so hard for their food. 
I've got several hours of farm work to do...better get to it. 

Thursday, July 3, 2008

July 4th

Tomorrow is the fourth of July. This means that our extended family has already started showing up for the big annual family reunion on Saturday. Things tend to get a little hectic this time of year. I'm already anticipating chaos, or as my Aunt Susie so colorfully puts it "a boiling, seething, pot of doo doo." Ahhh I can hear it all now, the indecision, the panicking about food preparation, people being late, unfinished drinks put on trial, the audacity of people who put aluminum in the paper trash will all be quite a sight to behold. I'm just glad that I'm one of the spectators in all of this madness and not a participant. 
Rodney and I will celebrate our 17th anniversary tomorrow as well. We're just getting started. Kyle will leave on Sunday for church camp and Taylor will leave on Wednesday for Washington D.C. Mom and Dad are also leaving on Wednesday for Arizona so Rodney and I will have a rare opportunity to have the farm all to ourselves for a few days. This is what I am looking forward to. If I can just make it through the madness of the next few days, then I can have a couple of days of calm.