Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Saying Goodbye To The Farm

This post is sad and hard to write. We have had to make a lot of hard decisions in the last few months and one of the biggest is letting go of the farm. The expense of running the farm, the way the animals deserve it to run, has become prohibitive. Hay is up to $18 a bale so that alone with our long winter season is beyond our means. There were a lot of personal things behind it as well. We gave our beloved goats to a friend so we will still get to visit and see our spring babies born. For now though the best interest of our family is to move to town and scale back. I will be doing my best to urban homestead and provide my children with the same values and lifestyle we have established.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Reno Children's Museum

My prayers have been answered Reno has a children's museum. Wait, it gets better, the family membership is $85. and for once in my life with a big family that covers all of the kids in your household! I was ecstatic!

The Da Vinci Corner has a clear canvas and arts and crafts area. Ava shut the place down and talked the assistants out of extra supplies to take home so she could keep crafting.

The Under The Stars exhibit is like camping outdoors at night. There are tents, gear and wildlife to touch and explore.
You can go fishing and dance in a digital stream too!
Playing in the 80 foot long model of the Truckee River is a huge hit.

So was climbing in the clouds although it gave me claustrophobia.

The Nevada Stories exhibit was interesting too with a ton of information and hands on learning about mining, the railroad and local Indian culture.

There is a lot more to see so we will be going again and again with my membership. The kids had a ball and the environment was clean and relaxing.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Family Visit

Christmas felt a little empty this year with Rob on the road and so many changes on the horizon. When I heard that my grandparents were in Sacramento visiting my aunt Susan I tossed the kids in the car and went over the hill to impose on their visit. I am so glad I did. A dose of family is just what I needed. My Aunt Susan has been a wonderful support to me over the years and it always feels better when she is there.

The kids got a chance to reconnect with their cousin. There really is nothing like cousins. They are great. Best playmates ever. I was lucky growing up to have a huge extended family with a ton of cousins to play with all the time. They were my best friends. My kids live far from family so cousins are a special treat. It makes even more special to just gt to spend time together.

The kids even had a chance to play trains with Papa which is always a special treat. It is hard living far from my loved ones and I miss them all so much. I am so blessed I got this little visit. It will hold me over till next summer and camping!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Tree Hunt

Our good friends invited us to go with them to cut down Christmas tress. I am normally opposed to cutting our own because I am a tree snob. The last time we cut one down it became the garage tree and I went and bought the perfect tree on a lot anyway.

We love our friends though so the chance to spend time together hiking in the snow was to good to pass up.

My beautiful daughter is a tree snob in training and said no to her fair share of picks this year. We finally found a absolutely beautiful tree in the worst location.

Jake was left to climb into the cluster of trees and chop it down.

As everyone was settling on their family tree our German Sheppards decided to get in a fight to the death. It was very random as they had been playing nice for hours up till that moment. Their female "Sara" growled at my male "Gator", and it was on. Thank goodness for David's cool head and mad dog skills. Gator had a death lock on Sara's neck and would not let go. Even after she submitted. He was set on killing her. David is a fit of super human strenght lifted both dogs over his head and body slammed Gator to the ground. After several more body slams and some serious domination Gator was David's new best friend. It was a tense moment to be sure and it will always be remembered around our Christmas tree.
*Note to self, up David's "street cred"*

When we finally got the trees down, hauled out and back to the house we realized how huge it really was! We had to cut it in half! I have to admit though it was the best tree we ever had. If not for the tree itself, for the memory of the hunt.

This is Mr. Dominant as soon as we walked in the door. his masculinity in question he opted for some cuddle time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How Much Wood?

How much wood can a lumberjack chop if she has never chopped wood? A LOT!

After a few years of buying cords of wood to heat our house in the winter, we decided to pull tags and cut our own. Neither Robert or I had ever felled a tree much less chopped and hauled cords before. So we packed up the kids, the dog, some lunch and headed to the mountains.

I have to say it was a blast. I know I am a bit odd but I just loved it. It was so invigorating working out doors. The excitement and danger of felling trees was a huge contrast to the usual homestead work I am used to. It was thrilling.

Poor Rob couldn't get the chainsaw away from me. In actuality, it was all we could do to get it all done. It is amazing how much muscle it takes to get that power saw through a tree.

The kids loved it to and ran and played tag in the trees all day. Dirt, sticks and woodland flora are very underrated as playthings and I think boxes of sticks, dirt and pine cones might just be under my Christmas tree!

We hauled 6 foot logs home and I spent the next two weeks chopping and stacking 5 cords of wood.

The wood shed was packed so I had to make a second stack on the side of the house. I get all excited everytime I see it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from The Boo Crew

I have a few basic rules about costumes. This young son refused to participate unless he could be something I had said no to. I called his bluff. This is his "I am trying hard to look angry" pose.
She was just so amazed that they were giving her candy at every door!!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Visit To A Retirement Community

Daddy decided it would be fun to go sing songs and spend time at the retirement home down the way. So we scheduled a day to go. It was very special to spend time with the ladies and gentlemen who live there.

While Daddy sang and played guitar the kids and I took turns talking with the residents and listening to their stories. The kids love all the attention and I think the residents did too.

After awhile the girls could not resist the music any longer and took to the floor for an impromptu dance recital. It was great!

All except this one who is a little shy. We talked quietly in the corner instead.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Taylor Creek Salmon Run

My Grandparents were close by in Lake Tahoe this Fall. Visiting them there is always a special treat for us. We get them all to ourselves and get to enjoy all of our favorite place, TAHOE! They were camping in a different spot than usual and there were trees that were climbable everywhere. The kids had a ball giving me a heart attack.

One of the things on our bucket list has been to make the trek to Taylor Creek to watch the Kokanee Salmon run. Somehow we manage to miss it every year. My Grandparents visit was timed perfectly for us to go all together. Taylor Creek Visitor Center has a short hike called, The Rainbow Trail. The hike is beautiful, easy and has a steam profile chamber, where you can observe see the creek from underwater and watch the fish in action through a panel of windows.

The hike is shady and stunning. There are markers explaining the different plants and animals you might see on your way.

There are a ton of areas to get right up to the waters edge and you could reach out and touch the thousands of fish filling the creek.

There were also plenty of bugs! This little guy was a huge hit.

They were just fascinated with how he moved and how soft he was. We spent a good twenty minutes examining him. It always amazes me, the wonder of children!

My Grandparents took the kids into the viewing chamber but I had my dog in tow so I had to stay on the trail. I went around and found a beautiful spot where a butch of fish had accumulated. When they can out the other side I brought them to my secret location.

As we sat there ooohhhh and ahhhhhing the fish, I heard a very low guttural growl. I looked at my dog and back up to the creek and saw the BIGGEST bear I had ever seen in Tahoe! This picture does no justice to how close and giant this guy was. Jacob snapped this photo as I quietly gathered the kids to leave. The creek was maybe a foot deep here and it would have taken seconds for him to cross. I was so proud none of the kids screamed!