Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bugs Bravery

 Jesse just got his first set of "wheels".    He received one of those bikes without pedals called a balance bike.  He's nonstop rollin' on his new motorcycle! We can barely pry his exhausted three year old body off the thing. He rides it up and down the hall, to dinner, to get his socks, to bed;  you get the idea...  Well the other day, Kaela coaxed him into riding down the slope in our front yard.  He made it down on the first try and then plopped on his bum.  Mortified, he did NOT want to try again.  The following photos tell the story of the Boy, his bike, his Coach and his triumph over fear!  Enjoy!

Kaela Sells the Ride

Daddy Promises to Help

Taking His Seat

The Moment of Truth



And Success!

Safe and Sound
Jesse found his balance and conquered that hill quite a few times that day.  Kaela was the unwavering fan!  What a lucky little brother he is.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ee-eye Ee-eye Oh...

We Halls had a fabulous afternoon.  The kids harvested the last of the 2011 kale with a little help from Sugarball and Crackers.  While Dad and Mom turned some soil and did a little early season planting. 

Great Work, Ladies!
Time for a Snack
Dad Digs and Digs

Jesse and his dad spent quite some time digging in the boxes together.  Jason was tilling the soil while Jesse searched for worms.  Notice the stalk of kale in his left hand.  He'd been gnawing on it for the better part of the last 15 minutes.  I'm glad he'll "eat his vegetable" but that's just gross.  

So here is the first box we were able to seed and cover with our semi home made cloche. Underneath the cloche is some spinach and broccoli. 

An Overview

The Ladies and Today's Offerings:

Thank You, Ladies

My Neighbor, Linda likes to say, "Jennie, these ARE the good 'ol days!" Now, isn't that the truth?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Low Tide

We had an eventful Ocean Studies field trip today.  The kids and I took our home school co-op partner to the shore in Edmonds at low tide.  I was a little skeptical; the beach looked so bare.  But once we got down to searching we found plenty to amaze us and satisfy our sense of adventure.  Here are some photos of the trip.

My Budding Biologist    

Our Super Duper Bio-Buddy
Our tiny and fantastic find!
 Check out these anemones! Such beautiful colors!

 Our sweet (and photogenic) friend.

What a beautiful day on the water.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chick Time

I swore I wouldn't. 

 I really wasn't going to.

Not This Year!

Alright, here's the thing.  We culled about 5 of our ladies this year and then realized that at least 4 or 5 more are going to need to be culled next year leaving us with only a few egg layers next season.  And after the Ferdinand Fiasco (yes, I'm calling it that) we were at a loss as to what to do with poor Francesca.  She can't live alone, but I have had absolutely no luck finding her a mate. So Kaela and I made the trek out to Monroe this afternoon and purchased three banty chicks in hopes that one will be a rooster and will make a suitable mate for Francesca.  Stay tuned... We also stopped at the Bothell Feed Store and bought replacements for the hens who will be culled next season.  If we hadn't, we'd just be down the layers and short the eggs.  So, really, I didn't have a choice did I?  Besides Jesse was thrilled and thanked me (complete with hugs) throughout the evening for the chicks. It appears as though I made a good decision. 

Come On! Dang They're Cute!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Farewell Ferdinand

Mille Fleur Bantam Rooster

I don't have a picture of our bird Ferdinand.  This photo is the closest likeness I could find online.  Ferdinand's story begins this time last year.  My mom was up from southern California staying with my kids so Jason and I could take a couple nights off.  We stopped on the way home and purchased a couple of teeny tiny puffballs with beaks for the kids.  These fluffy bits of happiness were even smaller than regular chicks because they are a special breed of chickens called Bantams.  They grew and grew and eventually reached almost a whole pound each!  Kaela had been nagging and NAGGING for a family of chickens where the mommy and daddy bore their very own chicks.  In her words, "then we would never have to buy chicks again!"  So we were delighted to find out that our two chicks were going to be happily married!  We named the female Francesca and the male Ferdinand.  We marveled at how Ferdinand began to take his job as man of the house VERY seriously.  What a good rooster he was.  He did his job well and we were all infatuated with our handsome beast!  Jason made a darling little house for the lovely couple and put it out back where we could all enjoy them from inside the house.  They seemed perfectly happy...

Today while I was washing our breakfast dishes, I heard some serious squawking.  I looked out the window and to my horror I saw two dogs, a large husky and a small mutt.  The owner was nowhere to be found.  Now, let me tell you I've seen many loose, lost or stray dogs in our yard.  Usually I just go out and shew them away.  But the husky outside this morning looked more determined than the dogs usually do.  He was fixated on hunting the ladies (hens). What followed was pure pandemonium.  Squawking like you can't imagine... Our sweet Turkey (yes, that's her name) flew off narrowly escaping her demise.  I was outside banging on pots with spoons, yelling, jumping up and down and flailing my arms like a crazy woman.  Unfortunately, instead of being intimidated, the large husky turned on me growling and snarling and making it clear that I was not in charge in my own backyard.  He wasn't going anywhere until he had his hunt.  That was when he noticed the little house... I won't be gruesome.  Suffice it to say that what ensued was heinous and ended with me lobbing pots at the horrid beast while my children screamed and cried their little eyeballs out.  I couldn't get rid of him and wound up calling Jason.  One attempted dog attack, one pitchfork, some hollering and a 911 phone call later the beast found himself kenneled and being hauled off to dog jail.  I suppose we were lucky that Jason escaped without being bitten and that the kids were safe and we only lost our precious Ferdinand.  But in all honesty, we feel robbed.  I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to defend my territory. We miss Ferdinand and we never got to watch him and Francesca make a family.

Today was a sad day.  Farewell, Ferdinand.  

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Where Are My Eggs?

Though Easter and the search for eggs is nearly upon us, we Halls started wondering where our eggs were about 4 or 5 days ago when I went out to do my regular gathering and found an empty egg box.  I didn't think too much about it; sometimes that happens. After another eggless day or two, however, I began to wonder.  I'll admit I thought maybe the guy to mixes my feed had forgotten to put an important nutrient in that was causing the ladies to be out of balance and therefore not laying.  A quick phone call to my girlfriend who uses the same feed I use ruled out that possibility. "I'll give them a couple more days" I thought.  And so I did... no eggs! On the way home from church this morning, Jason declares our lack of eggs ridiculous (I refuse to buy them) and insists begin a hunt.  We searched high and low, in our yard, in our neighbors' yards and every nook and cranny we can think of.  No eggs!  We file into the house cold, annoyed and feeling like the chickens have gotten the better of us or something is dreadfully wrong.  Where are my eggs?  Then I realize we hadn't yet checked under the back porch.  Hopelessly I peeked under the porch. Expecting to find nothing I wasn't  surprised.  Thinking that it's dark under there and perhaps I should check one more time, I hit the jackpot!  Deep under the porch where no body in their right mind would ever want to search for eggs, was a pile of 14 eggs!  Excited I called Jason and he promised to figure out a way to pull them out this afternoon.  And so he has! I'm back in business!

Here's the rub: There were 14 eggs total under the porch. 12 were white and 2 were brown.  We only have 2 white birds.  They only each lay an egg a day.   We own 10 other mature hens who lay brown eggs.  We should have at least another 12 to 18 eggs in that pile.  So where are all the brown eggs?  Our mystery lives on.  I only hope we aren't still hunting for our "Easter" eggs when the summer heat arrives.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Homemade Roller Skates

There is a certain feeling in the air of our home when the kids are up to something.  It's almost as though their creative process stirs up the molecules in the air making them hum with activity. The feeling is similar to the electric atmosphere one feels just before a storm.  While I was flipping pancakes the other day, I noticed the hum of activity coming from Jesse's room.  Kaela had been gathering supplies and making plans.  Scissors, tights, Hot Wheels cars and tennis shoes...  A few minutes later, out came Jesse proudly wearing his homemade roller skates! Kaela had tied a Hot Wheels car to the bottom of both of Jesse's tennis shoes with strips of her tights.  She followed along behind him greatly disappointed that her roller skates weren't rolling very well.  I totally understand her disappointment and feel her frustration but these skates were way too cute and clever not to photograph!  Well done, my little inventor!

Monday, March 5, 2012

And We're Rolling!

 As I was enjoying scrolling through the photos Jason had taken of Kaela's first bike riding afternoon it occurred to me that life with my magnificent family, my children in particular,  is flying by virtually undocumented.  And so... Time for a blog to keep our precious memories orderly and enjoyable for years to come.  See me smiling?

A little coaxing...
What better way to start a blog than with a bike riding day? Watching Kaela take her first few tentative pedals and then find the courage to start, stop and maneuver was just mind blowing.  We were all so excited.  We jumped around, high-fived each other, hugged, squealed and ran to get the camera! 

Look at her go!
Of course, Jesse got in on the action and did some fancy pedaling and posing for the camera!

Our Stuntman