Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Selling Rabbits

As promised, I placed several ads trying to sell some of our rabbits from our last 2 litters.  In addition, I decided we'd sell a Sr doe and a Sr buck as well.  I want to bring in new bloodlines and with the addition of the mini-rex rabbits, our rabbitry appeared to be growing by leaps and bounds with not much space to expand.

With that in mind, I listed Shortstop - our original buck and Midnight, daughter of Shortstop and Trixiebelle from our first ever successful litter.

Shortstop - our first buck.  Our main herd sire to date.
Midnight - Shortstop and Trixiebelle's daughter.   (She's experiencing a little fur molting at the moment.)


Initially we had very little interest.


Well, legitimate interest, that is.

We did have one lady who offered to buy all of the rabbits -- 12 rabbits -- all purebred, pedigreed, Silver Fox rabbits -- 2 of which were proven -- for......

Wait for it.....

........$85.

Yeah, I have more than that in feed alone for a couple months.  The Sr doe and buck are 1.5 and 2.5 years old respectively.  That's a lot more in feed.  Plus hay, cages, feeders, waterers, time, and love.

Not happening.

We'd sooner put them in our freezer than sell them at that price.

Shoot, I'd even PAY that much to have them processed before I'd just 'give them away' like that.

I had all but given up hope on selling any, when I got an e-mail asking if we still had any breeding pairs left.

After exchanging many e-mails, it looks as though we may be selling 4 of our rabbits.  Shortstop - our original buck - and his daughter, Midnight, whom we bred to him for fair this past year.  As well as 2 of the Juniors - a buck and a doe.

The Jr. Doe.
She's looking quite nice in color and shape.
The Jr. Buck
He's got some good silvering and his
shape is also looking pretty good.













I was excited, but as I realized what it meant, I also became a little sad.

Shortstop and midnight would no longer be 'ours'.

Shortstop - he's a sweet little guy.  He's been a good
herd sire.  He gets the job done and produces great kits.





Funny how we grow attached to these little critters, isn't it?



Midnight - Selah is sad to see her go as she is our 'sweetest'
adult silver fox.  But... I like the kits her mom produces
better, so... the decision had to be made.







Right after getting all that arranged, another e-mail came in expressing interest in our Silver Fox rabbits.  Unfortunately this woman has some of the bloodline that our rabbits come from in her rabbitry and is looking for new so she passed.





However, through this contact, I may have found a new buck to add to our group.  YIPPEE!!!

Interesting how things pan out sometimes.

We'll still have some rabbits to process, but not such a daunting number at once plus we'll recoup some of the funds we've put into our little rabbit ranch and be able to further expand our breeding crop.

Not to mention... it seems as though the 4 we are selling will be the 'keepers' for this new rabbitry -- making it a little less sad to see our Shortstop move on to new pastures.

The little Jr. doe.  She's pretty sweet as well. Great silvering.









The Jr. buck.  He was quite curious when we got him out for
his picture.  Also has some nice silvering.  Shortstop
really brought that to the table in our rabbitry.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Bald Bunny

As I mentioned before, we just purchased 3 mini-rex rabbits to add to our little brood of hippity-hoppity friends.

The other day the girls brought the smallest of the rabbits in to show me the fur on her head was 'thinning'.

It looked as though she may have been 'rubbing' it on something causing it to be scraped off.  Yet, we've not seen her do this and it happened literally overnight.

I was perplexed.

All I could say was 'we'll watch her and see what happens.'

There was no trauma other than losing some hair on her little head.

The next day, as I was dressing and brushing my teeth in the bathroom I could hear the girls outside in the rabbit hutch.  (It's literally located outside our bathroom/bedroom wall in the back of the house.)

Gasping, "OH NO!!!"  Followed by some garbled, indistinguishable words, then, "We need to tell mommy."

Upon hearing all this, I anticipated the appearance of at least ONE little girl.  I assumed if it were something tremendously serious there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

None of that happened.

Instead, as I walked out of our master bath and into the bedroom, there entered into our room 3 little girls, one holding little Mocha.

That bald spot on her head was now quite large.

Humph!

The girls suggested that her cage mate -- you know, the cage I refashioned into 2 cages by adding a divider in the middle making 2 separate cages -- was possibly getting 'jabs in' from the other cage.

As I examined the rabbits bald spot I didn't see scratches or bite marks so I assumed that was the least likely culprit.

I still ascertained that she was probably 'rubbing her head' on her metal food dish or something.

Yet, considering myself a 'novice rabbit owner' (even after 2 years) I sent a quick message with pictures to 2 'experts' in the rabbit arena.

Immediately one responded asking if her cage was 'joining' another rabbit's cage where they could possibly 'reach' one another.

Why yes it does. Why do you ask?  LOL!

Apparently a more dominate rabbit will 'pull fur' off of the submissive rabbit JUST. LIKE. THIS!

Sigh.

The girls were 100% correct in their assessment of the situation.

Who'd a thunk it, right?

Temporarily we have moved little Mocha into one of the carrier cages and I'll be purchasing some metal, white plastic, or a board to put up as a barrier between the cages in the very near future.

The things you learn.

Seems running a mini-mountain-menagerie is all about trial and error.  At least we keep on learning.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Roller Coaster Numbers

Lately, the girls numbers have been running a tad higher than we'd like to see.  A bit more sporadic jumps into 'Wo, that's high!' numbers.

Of course, we are talking about type 1 diabetes here.... it's not like there's really a TRUE predictable pattern - at least not as we've found with growing little girls.

We've been playing with their basal rates trying to combat the highs.  Just as we think we've gotten a handle on things, their numbers will plummet out from under us and we'll have a night of extreme lows.

ARG!!

That's the worst - you bump up insulin to try to keep those high numbers at bay.  To thwart off 'future damage' to one's internal organs... yet, that very same tactic can backfire and bring numbers plunging to scary lows that are hard to bring back up to safe levels.

Just when you think you are doing the best you can to keep your child healthy, you suddenly find that very plan of action is bringing your loved one seriously close to seizures or death.

It's mind boggling.

Mind numbing.

Grief throbbing.

We've heard horror stories of others using insulin pump therapy - which simply means using an insulin pump to distribute insulin rather than a syringe - going into diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) from pump failure and extreme high blood glucose numbers.

DKA occurs when the body isn't getting the insulin it needs.  This results in 
glucose remaining in the blood rather than entering the cells that need it for energy.
When too much sugar builds up, the blood can become acidic, making the individual
very sick.  If not treated; if insulin is not given; the body will begin to shut down. 
Coma, brain damage, and eventually death will occur if not remedied.

We are vigilante in watching for such a scenario.  

However, things in diabetes world can take a drastic turn rather quickly.

Overnight, Trinity's numbers just. wouldn't. come. down.

A correction before bed.  One before Techno and I turned in for the night a few hours later.  Yet another in the middle of the night when Techno was up dealing with a rather bad low with Selah and himself.  Then yet another at breakfast.

Each time, her BG would start trending down, fooling us that all was moving in the right direction.  Only to discover a couple hours later it was right back up - higher than the time before.

Maddening.

In general the girls have been running higher at night and once they get their 'food boluses' along with their basal rate, things tend to 'settle in' a bit more come morning. 

That was what we banked on as we headed out for church.

In the middle of Sunday school Trinity feels her Dexcom vibrate and looks at her screen.  HIGH!  That means the interstitial fluid that the sensor reads was showing a level of 400 or higher as that is the highest this particular piece of equipment can detect.  

Scrubbing her fingertip with an alcohol swab and a finger prick later, her blood glucose meter glared a staggering 592.

I don't know that we've seen quite that high a number since early diagnosis.

We both drew the same conclusion that her pump site was probably failing.  She still took a correction with the plan to change said pump site as soon as class was finished.

As I was changing her pump site in the nursery, chatting with her and two other moms also in the room, I commented that her site had possibly failed and we needed to change her inset as her levels were so high at 592.  One mom asked, "Is that pretty high?"  The other, who has a brother with T1 as well responded, "Yeah, that's close to comatose high."

She wasn't wrong.

By the time the church service was over - about an hour and half after the high reading and the change of pump site - her numbers were down significantly.  

Still higher than we'd like to see, but not so alarmingly high.

The pump site must have been working at least a little b/c that insulin we gave during Sunday school was doing it's job -- even if only half heartedly.

My heart still thumps and lunges to the pit of my stomach when I see such high numbers but it no longer turns me into a puddle of mush.  

I take a deep breath; assess the situation; gauge the girls physical status; make decisions; and take action.

It's a day in, day out thing.

On the outside - our girls look like healthy,  happy little people playing, growing, even thriving.  For the most part, that's very true.

However, it's a constant battle to keep this beast of a disease at bay.

This event was such a reminder of that.

It doesn't take much; it doesn't take long; a good day can turn south in a short span of time.

I'm grateful for the technology we have and the life saving insulin to keep them laughing, giggling, and being the precious little gems that they are.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Snow in the Mountains


Living in Wyoming, it's not unheard of to get snow in the fall months.  Shoot, it's not unheard of to get snow in ANY month, but.. when it happens early it's still jolting.

On Sept 24, 2017 (and again on Oct. 9, 2017) just such a scenario played out.

We'd had a rather warm September - at least for Wyoming standards.

A couple days early in Sept felt warmer than most summer days we'd had this year.  Which is odd to say the least.

So... when the temps began dropping and the threat of snow became eminent.... it was sorta sad.

Yet, living in Wyoming, this early fall snow is quite typical and shouldn't bring much surprise.

Fortunately, the extended weather forecast is showing warmer temps returning.  

When I shared a pic of our snow on social media my aunt commented that maybe we'd get an Indian Summer in the coming days.

She's right -- we may.

(I sure hope we do!)

But Indian Summer in Wyoming is temperatures in the 50's-60's not the 80's and 90's like most areas experience.

However, I'll root for our form of Indian Summer as we have plenty of 'before winter hits' chores yet to complete.

Chores like:  processing around 11 rabbits; moving the remaining 9 or so rabbits into the garage; winterizing the craft camper and office; putting tarps around the chicken run; adding on to Titus' dog shelter; not to mention pulling out the winter clothes, coats, and boots.

But... time keeps marching on..... so whenever winter decides to fully hit.... we'll just take it in stride.

Wouldn't be the first time we've completed some of those 'get ready for winter' chores in the blowing snow.

I'm guessing it won't be the last either.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Bathroom Organization

After our little fire mishap, I emptied the hot water heater closet and stacked all it's contents into the main area of the bathroom with plans to deal with everything soon.

Well, a day turned into two; turned into a week; turned into a couple weeks.

How did THAT happen?  Wasn't that fire just yesterday?  LOL!

I decided to tackle the beast that is 'THE KIDS' BATHROOM'!

I found a plastic 7 drawer storage system to put into the closet.

Filtering out what to put in there and what not to took the most time.

I tossed, reassigned, organized, cleaned the entire closet and it's contents.

Bins for cold medicines; pain and fever reducer; tummy troubles; hot/cold treatment; first aid; lotions; travel toiletries; peroxide (as we buy it by the gallons due to the potential skunk sprays our dogs often suffer).

Then I tackled the under sink areas.  I'm never sure why these areas get so disastrous; there's really not that much stuff in these cupboards.

The biggest mess was the kids toothbrush drawer.

As I pulled out the drawer I was struck by the shear number of toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, and floss containers housed in this tiny, unassuming drawer.  Granted w/6 kids, there's bound to be a lot of toothbrushes, but I swear there may have been close to 20 odd toothbrushes in this space.  Travel type; battery operated; little kid ones; regular ones; unopened ones.

I called the kids to 'claim' their most recent toothbrush that they received from the dentist just days before and began tossing the rest.  If they were open or not an obvious 'travel' toothbrush -- they were pitched.

Then the toothpastes -- I kid you not, there had to have been 5-6 full sized toothpaste tubes in various states of use.  All open; none 'empty'.  That doesn't even begin to cover the myriad of travel tubes that were in this small drawer.  I took all but 2 tubes - one adult; one kid variety - and put them in the closet in one of the drawers with the 'extra' toothpaste that's not been open to date.

Phew!  I guess we need to revisit the idea of not opening a 'new' package of something before the old one is gone.

Similar to the toothbrush drawer, I noted the ledge of the bathtub was riddled with bottles of body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and face wash.  Granted, the littles use a little bit different soaps than Bethany and Elijah chooses not to use the flowery scents the girls like.... but.... still.....

Once again, the entire ledge was COVERED in bottles.  Most, if not all, still 1/4 - 1/2 full and another of it's kind already opened and more full.

Sigh.

Still, I was thrilled to have that task complete and now know there's another 'teachable' moment upon which to capitalize .

Gotta find the positive, right?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Tooth Fairy

At our house, the 'tooth fairy' brings a dollar for each lost tooth.

However, due to our kids being somewhat light sleepers and the fact we've used bunk beds for most of their young lives, they leave their little lost teeth in the bathroom in a sandwich baggy or a special  'tooth box' that some have picked up from the dentist's office..  (One wouldn't want their tooth to get lost or their dollar to get wet -- both of which happened prior to the 'bag protocol' being instituted.)

Despite this arrangement, the adult 'tooth fairies' in our house tend to be forgetful.

Days can go by and still -- the tiny tooth sits on the sink, lonely in it's see through pouch, awaiting pick-up.

Morning after morning, with anticipation, the lost tooth owner will run to the bathroom only to discover..... Their.  Tooth.  Is.  Still.  There.

Sigh.

The excuses as to why the 'tooth fairy' has not arrived are varied:  More than the average amount of children lost teeth that day so she couldn't make it to our house; we live out in the middle of no where and she got lost or too tired to complete the trip in one day; the weather is bad; the wind was so strong; and on and on.

The knowing smirks on their precious faces are sweet.

I'm glad for their patient hearts and fun spirits.

Lately, the 'adult fairies' have been saved by the 'teen fairies' in our home -  more often than not.

On more than one occasion the 'teen fairies' happen to be up later than the adult variety and notice the tooth is still sitting on the sink.  They will go ahead and dip into their own stash of 'tooth dollars' and leave a single bill for the slumbering sister who lost the tooth and is waiting on the exchange.

Such wonderful 'fairies in training' we have in our home.

Other times, as these same 'teen fairies' are getting ready for bed, they bolt out and remind the 'adult fairies' that the 'tooth fairy' has yet to come.

This allows an 'adult fairy' to dig into the tooth fund and pull out a dollar to replace the lost tooth - usually sending it via 'teen fairy courier'.

Phew, saved yet again.

The next morning, the tooth is gone...  a dollar in it's place.... the smiles are big.

I just love we have such a 'community of tooth fairies' to be sure this job is not forgotten.

Well, at least not forgotten for too long or completely.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Lived-in Home

I have to admit, I'm often - well always really - torn between having a pristine, clean, Martha Stewart, Pinterest worthy house and being content with the home I have with finger prints, toys strewn about, mismatched decor, and chipped paint and cabinets.

You know, the lived in, loved in kinda house with a little dirt and sticky crumbs mixed in for good measure.

As I went to pour my second cup of coffee the other morning, I was struck by the pink rings on the counter where someone made their 'flavored water' and dribbled the 'flavoring' over the edge of their cup; the finger prints on the microwave from sticky fingers opening up the door to heat their breakfast; the smears of peanut butter or whatever other 'food' item had spilled down the front of the cabinet when they prepared their snack; the overflowing garbage can as I went to toss the napkin I just used to clean up said peanut butter mess; I sighed.

The kitchen had been completely clean just the evening before.

How, oh how was it THIS messy THAT fast?

In that moment it struck me -- this juxtaposition I'm in.

This stage of life isn't going to last much longer.

Bethany and Elijah will be moving off to college next year.

The littles aren't really all that 'little' anymore.  Shoot just now Trinity cooked up a snack for herself and her two sisters on the stove.  Yeah, not little anymore.  (Although, said snack did ADD to the mess I mentioned above, I'm certain.)

As I drank my second cup of coffee, I pondered... What's REALLY  important to me?

I know that a messy, cluttered house causes me stress.  I can literally feel my blood pressure rise and my attitude turn sour when the house is in 'disaster mode'.  Yet, as I glanced around at the finger prints and smeared food, I was struck with how soon all these minor annoyances will be gone.  Those reminders that our house is filled with little hands, little feet, children who are learning to make their own meals, clean up after themselves (or not as the case may sometimes be based on the state of our kitchen.)

It made me smile.  Slowly with a little tick, but... a smile none-the-less.  ;-)

Sure, I still yearn for the house to be 'presentable'; nice even.  I'd love to have the budget to turn our home into a home and gardens model, but... we don't and it's not.

We live here.

ALL. THE. TIME!

Literally.

It's not like we get up each morning and leave the house. The kids do school here; I am home all day teaching them; Techno works from here; the dogs and cat are here all day; we go in and out feeding chickens and rabbits; we LIVE and WORK and PLAY in our house.

All day, everyday.

That results in a lot more mess than the average family.

For now, I'm not fretting -- much --  over the smudges on the stainless steel fridge; the fingerprints on the microwave; the smears of peanut butter on the cabinet fronts; the crumbs on the island; the shoes in the entryway; the toys on the floor; the books on the desks.

Because.... soon enough.... I'll miss all those things.

All this mess.

I'll long for the days when the house was filled to the brim being lived in by all our precious children.

Not to mention, the mess?  It does get cleaned up at the end of the day -- one way or another -- sometimes really well, sometimes just a pass through.

Yet, soon -- too soon -- there will be no bustle of children mucking around in the kitchen making messes.  There will be no school books and papers strewn all over the schoolroom/entryway.  The toys will be gone.  The large basket of shoes will only hold 2 pair instead of the MILLIONS it overflows to the floor now.  The basket of laundry will sit mostly empty throughout the week instead of toppling over with clothes daily.

This stage of life is fleeting.  Quicker than I'd like to admit.

I'm glad I can say, that at least for today, I'm choosing to be content with the lived in home we have and not agonize over having a picture perfect house.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Egg Dishes

Raising our own chickens, we get a lot of eggs.

Well, during the spring and summer months we get TONS of eggs.  Once the weather gets cooler and the days get shorter, that number decreases, but.... still.... during those few months we have more eggs than we can usually eat.

I should sell them or give them away, but I usually don't.

Due to this combination, I've had to get creative in making meals out of eggs.

Initially, simply making scrambled eggs, fried eggs, quiche, and the occasional omelet seemed to suffice.  However, now we have more chickens and the kids are 'tired' of regular ole' eggs.

I'll admit, when the girls were first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, eggs for breakfast became a 'thing'.  You see, the typical cereal with milk caused such spikes in blood sugar that I felt compelled to try 'protein' type breakfasts.  What better option than eggs?  Especially since we had plenty of them.  It wasn't long, some (particularly Selah) began to rebel against their 'egg breakfasts'.

Now?  Eggs are still not a highlight of her day when I serve them up.

So... I've tried to get creative in the egg dishes I make.

I hate to think of tossing eggs b/c they've gone bad but I also quite dislike the idea of slaving over a hot stove making fried eggs only to have most of them end up in the chicken scraps b/c the girls didn't 'like' them.

Quiche is a safe alternative and I do make this on occasion.  Although, now with 2 with celiac in the family a simple crust is harder to come by.  Crustless quiche - although an option, isn't quite as liked in our household as the 'old standby'.

Soufflés are another option that gets attention once in a while, but again, variety is the spice of life, right?  And let's face it, Soufflés are VERY similar to crustless quiche when it's all said and done.  (At least to our family.)

German pancakes makes it's way into the repertoire as well -- it uses a fair amount of eggs.  However, we've discovered the gluten free option doesn't quite stack up to the gluten filled type so..... it's not always a hit in our house -- at least not to the degree it used to be.

Recently I made Creamy Italian Baked Eggs.  A much less 'breakfast' type meal and more of a savory dish than most of the other options.

I personally really liked it.  Adding garlic toast on the side made it quite the satisfying dish.

The thing I liked most?  It was SUPER simple.

It required marinara sauce, milk, parmesan cheese, eggs, salt and pepper.  WHAT?  Is that it?

Perfect.

Lucky for me we had left over spaghetti sauce from our spaghetti dinner on a previous night so... Voila!

I layered the leftover sauce on the bottom of the baking dish; then, spooned in a few tablespoons of half-n-half (fewer carbs and a richer taste) over the sauce; next I sprinkled parmesan cheese over both; after that, I cracked eggs in rows into the mixture in the baking dish; finally, a little salt and pepper atop the eggs.  Done!

The oven was already set to 450 so I just popped the baking dish into the oven and waited the 15 minutes for the eggs to cook.

In the future I may cook it a little less so the yolks aren't quite so done, or maybe cover with foil to see if that helps as I do want the whites fully done, but otherwise?  YUM!

The garlic toast on the side in addition to some rice pudding -- dinner was a hit.

What egg dishes do you like that are 'not the usual suspects'?


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Never Ending Laundry

One chore in our house that never ends is..... laundry.

It seems just as I get all the laundry complete for any given day, suddenly MORE appears in the coveted empty laundry basket.

I've yet to figure out just how this happens, but happen it does -- ALL. THE. TIME!!

With our ever-so-busy summer, laundry has been a thorn in my side as of late.

We've added so much extra laundry to our 'normal' burden with sleeping bags, blankets, all the camper sheets, not to mention the towels from the camper and swimming.

Of course this is all on top of our normal loads of clothing we use day to day.

Add to that the season-changing-outdoor-chores:  cleaning and organizing the garage and rabbit hutch, building rabbit cages, getting the chicken coop ready for winter, moving the rabbit cages into the garage, adding to the dog shelter, etc, etc, etc and suddenly the laundry process of washing, drying, folding, and putting away has become a seemingly insurmountable mountain.

Admittedly, when the laundry pile gets as tall as me (or nearly) the last thing I want to do is tackle it.  (I know most of you get what I'm saying here.  It just seems so OVERWHELMING when it gets so big.)

But, tackle it I must.

So.... I simply dove in and started.

One. Load. At. A. Time.

The tricky part in our household is I'm not the primary 'folder and putter away' of clean clothes.  I wash and dry the clothes and put them into laundry baskets for the kids to hang up and put away in their big joint closet.

When they sort the clothes, they then pass along a basket that contains Techno and my clothing items for ME to fold, hang, and put away.

In general this system works quite well.

However, when life is hectic; the washing and drying fall behind; then the kids are busy with school and we are running here and there, the folding and putting away falls behind.....

..... Suddenly, every basket in the house plus any sort of storage bin we can muster is full to the brim with clean clothes.

Most of which ends up being toppled to the floor as frantic hands search for that one shirt to match that particular skirt to wear to church or some such other activity we have going on.

Next thing I know, those CLEAN clothes are being trampled as kiddos trudge back and forth through the closet to go outside to feed the chickens and rabbits.  (Rain and snow really make this a challenge as their muck boots get covered in mud and gunk.)

After that, those same 'once clean clothes' end up back in the dirty laundry basket that I. Just. Emptied!

Sigh.

I guess I do know where some of that laundry comes from after all.  It's not extra people living in our crawl space, it's clean clothes that never quite make it to their designated hanger in the closet, instead they fall to the floor only to be washed again BEFORE anyone gets a chance to wear them.

Ha.

Ah well.  We're blessed to have the clothes we have TO re-wash without wearing.

Silver lining, right?

How do you manage laundry pile-ups when life gets hectic and your normal 'routine' breaks down?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Rabbit Cages

Since we were going to be bringing home 3 new rabbits to add to our rabbitry, we needed more cages.

Granted once the current Silver Fox kits are processed we'd have enough housing, but.... we would be right back to square one when we breed the adult silver foxes in the future.

So.... I decided to make cages... or at the very least repurpose some.

I had picked up a large 'indoor type' rabbit cage on a garage sale site for $10 but it was quite large for 1 little mini-rex rabbit and it didn't have a 'floor' that allowed the rabbit urine and droppings to drop down into a tray.

To counter this and be cost effective, I decided to make it into TWO cages and add a floor.  It's SO much easier to clean rabbit cages with floors.  Just ask my kiddos.  Having the waste plummet into a removable tray is a real plus.  Not to mention it eliminates the poor little rabbit sitting in it's own droppings.

Win, win!!!

The rabbit duplex complete.
To do this, I added a wire shelf panel in the middle of the cage to divide it into 2 separate cages.  It was slightly too short width wise so I added a small strip of hardware cloth zip tied to the panel to complete the center divider.  I zip tied the whole divider to the front, back and top of the cage.  I also measured and cut with wire cutters 1 1/2 in hardware cloth to make the 'floor' of the cage. I used J clips to fasten this across the entire bottom of the preexisting cage.  The center divider was then zip tied to the floor as well.  (There will be no sneaking into each others cages in this fortress.)  The original door was smack in the middle of the cage, so I secured it closed and cut openings on each 'side' of the two cages.  I then fashioned a new door out of some of the hardware cloth remnants. I fastened them to the bottom wire of the cage with J clips so they'd 'swing down' to open.  We'll use a clip of some kind at the top to keep the doors closed.  The whole speal fits atop the original base of the cage making it easy to simply lift the top portion off for cleaning.

Voila!!  One cage made into two for a couple of our new rabbits.

You can see the divider; the 'new' doors'; as well as the hardware cloth floor in this photo.
I had been looking for another cheap, used cage at the thrift stores, on Craig's list, and garage sale sites to no avail.

The rabbits would be coming home soon so I was worried about where we'd house them until I found another cage.

Originally I figured we'd just use one of our carrier cages with the divider removed -- temporarily.  It's a decent sized cage once the divider is taken out and it would suffice until I found a 'real' cage, at any rate.

However, as we were cleaning out our garage I came across a pile of 'extra' wire storage rack panels.  You know -- the ones you put together to make cubes to hold CD's, baskets, etc?  They were popular at one time with the college/newly married crowd because they were cheap and pretty easy to assemble.  ;-)  (Gee, I wonder why they were stashed in our garage?  LOL)

The single rabbit cage out of metal shelf 'panels'.
I brought them in and began planning HOW to turn these wire panels into a rabbit cage.  Once again, I used zip ties to connect the cube panels together.  I decided to make them 1 panel wide and 2 panels long.  We had the exact number of panels necessary to make the front, back, sides, and top of the cage.  (In addition to the one I'd used as a divider in the larger cage.)  As I was assembling the pieces, I determined that keeping one panel in the front detached on all sides but one could make an awesome door.  Measuring, cutting, and attaching the 1 1/2 inch hardware cloth for the floor resulted in a much more secure and solid structure overall.  I added a 'cage' under the floor with left over hardware cloth to insert a tray for collecting the rabbit droppings.  I'm not sure how well this 'final touch' will work so if it fails, I can simply cut the zip ties and 'set' the whole cage on top of a tray of a similar size in the future.  I just didn't have such a tray at my disposal just yet.

The 'fab' door opened to showcase how easy it'll be to get a rabbit in and out.
Still need to find a 'tray' to go underneath.  The wire 'base' may or may not stay.
This cage may end up sitting on top of a tray similar to the green cage above.
The cages turned out fabulous.

We now have THREE cages for our new rabbits.

The double cage cost $10 plus a portion of hardware cloth (which we had already purchased last year for adding 'flooring' to other cages), some J clips, and fasteners to keep the doors closed (which we also already had on hand).  The second was free (but for the hardware cloth and zip ties - although the purchase of both had happened long before this construct.)

Not too shabby for three rabbit cages -- especially since I had just priced new ones at the feed store.  A new cage about the size of one side of our 'duplex' with no tray would have been approximately $40; a small one with tray close to $50; and the large one that I spent $10 for was close to $80 new.

Wow!

A little creativity, ingenuity, and hard work saved us quite a bundle and resulted in three one of a kind cages for our new mini-rex rabbits.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Our New Rabbits

The day had finally arrived.  We were going to pick up the girls' new Mini-Rex rabbits.

Excitement filled the air!

She had 3 little chocolate does available.
2 jrs. and 1 sr.....
(The 3rd is off in the corner next to Trinity's arm)




After lunch we drove to our rabbit leaders home to view the available rabbits and allow the girls to see which rabbit 'fit' their personality and desires.


...and one slightly larger jr. buck.







The girls pet and visited with the 4 different rabbits - 3 does and 1 buck - that our leader was ready to sell.

A deal had been struck before we even went that Charity would get a buck if there was an opportunity to do so and the other two would get does.   (I believe there's a plot in the making to try to breed these rabbits.)  Guess that made some of the decision making process easier.

After much ado, we packed up the rabbits in our triple carrier and off we drove toward home.

Of course the girls would have preferred to have their rabbits on their laps, but.... the carrier was safer and more sanitary all around.  :-)

Once at our 'Mini-Mountain Menagerie', the girls loved on their new bunnies for a while then we introduced the newest additions to their recently developed homes.

For the time being they will be housed in the rabbit hutch in their new cages until we move all the rabbits into the garage for the cold, harsh, Wyoming winter.

Meet the rabbits!

This is Trinity's new mini-rex rabbit.  She is a jr. doe and is a chocolate variety.  She has chosen to name her Cappuccino.  Her fur is still 'transitioning' from her 'baby fur' to her full adult fur, but she's still a beauty.

Cappuccino seems quite content with her new owner
and the smile on said owner's face says it all.
Here's Wrinkles.  Charity's new mini-rex bunny.  He's a chocolate mini-rex rabbit and is a good sized buck.  Due to his slightly larger size for a mini-rex, we noted 'wrinkles' along his sides when you flip him over so she opted to name him Wrinkles.  I love it.  A real cuddle bug, this one.

Charity snuggling with Wrinkles.  A match made in heaven.
Finally is Mocha.  This is Selah's little sr. doe mini-rex also chocolate colored.  She's a bit older than the other two and on the smaller side, (which is fitting since Selah is the smallest) but she too is quite the sweet rabbit with such soft, beautiful fur.

Mocha bonding with Selah.  Enjoying a little
lovin' on her new owners lap.
The girls are thrilled with their new rabbits and are already plotting out their practice and care schedules for these little fluff balls.

They are looking forward to giving these little rabbits lots of love and working toward improving showmanship skills for fair in the process.

Their fur is so soft.  One of the cool traits of mini-rex and rex rabbits, actually.

The 'chocolate' variety is one of our favorite colors for this type rabbit as well.  Guess that's a bonus since that was all that was available.

Another new adventure in our mountain ranch home.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Expanding the Rabbitry

So far, we've only been raising Silver Fox meat rabbits plus a mini-lop we were given when we first started our rabbit journey.  (I guess we technically also had a white New Zealand initially but she unexpectedly died and we bought a Holland Lop early on which we eventually gave to a friend's daughter for a pet because he just wasn't 'willing' to be a show rabbit for our girls.)

Not long ago, we also added a little chinchilla colored Netherland Dwarf rabbit -- Sam.  Sam belongs to Bethany and will be shown by her during her last year of 4H and her first year in the rabbit project.  He's a cutie and so far quite the sweetie as well.  I do believe he will be the ONLY Netherland Dwarf rabbit we'll have in our little rabbitry.

After fair this year, it was obvious the Silver Fox are just too big and not calm enough for the little girls to use them for showmanship -- at least not and expect to do well.  The kits, although smaller and easier to handle, are just too young and too wryly.

They. Won't. Sit. Still.

Makes 'showing' them rather challenging to say the least.

During Family Night at the county fair, they had a sign up to win a free mini-rex rabbit with cage.  Techno let the girls sign up for the drawing.  Sadly, they didn't win.

After fair, our rabbit leader approached me and asked about getting the girls started with mini-rex rabbits to enable them to be more successful in the area of showmanship.  I talked to Techno and he -- surprisingly -- said, 'up to you'.

So.... now that state fair is over and our rabbit leader has determined which of her mini-rex rabbits she is retaining and which she is willing to part with, we'll be expanding our rabbitry even more to the mini-rex variety of rabbits.

What fun!

The girls are excited and are even mumbling about breeding the mini-rex.  I guess time will tell on that one as they aren't really big enough to be 'meat rabbits' and we aren't planning on keeping hundreds of rabbits in our mini-mountain menagerie.

One bonus from going this route.... the girls seem much less distressed about the prospect of 'processing' the Silver Fox rabbits and sticking them in our freezer.

We have tried to sell the kits, but have found little to no interest. Therefore, it's looking like they will indeed become residents of our deep freeze in the near future.  I'm not complaining as the meat is tasty  and it's a fairly inexpensive way to add lean, healthy meat to our dinner table.  (Granted, the process of getting them INTO the freezer is a bit arduous to say the least.)

We can't wait to see what kinds of mini-rex rabbits the girls get.  Selah is hoping for a chocolate colored one - at least that's what she thought when she was LOOKING at a chocolate colored one.  :-) Not sure if the other two have a preference.

Guess we'll know soon enough.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Camping Fun on our Anniversary Weekend

After all our camping adventures this summer, you'd think we'd be 'camped out'.

Not so!

We had yet to take our 'annual' camping trip up in the Snowy Range and our traditional jaunt over to Saratoga to shop, get ice cream at Lollipops, and soak in the Hot Springs.

Off we went this past weekend.

We almost cancelled as the weather forecast predicted rain and cold (like snowing cold) temperatures.

However, we decided to 'tough it out' and went anyway.  Especially since the weather forecast kept improving as we got closer to the weekend.

Of course, upon arrival at the campsite, we questioned our decision as the skies opened up and the rain poured down..... AS- WE- SET- UP- CAMP!
Our 'home away from home' when we go camping.

Talk about cold... and wet.  Very, very wet.  And did I mention cold?

Despite the rain, we were thrilled to snag our 'favorite spot' in the South Brush Creek camp grounds.

One reason we love this spot - the
creek just steps away from our camper.
We spent the evening inside the camper all huddled together trying to warm up and dry off.

I cooked dinner - diced chicken in the dutch oven, yellow squash sautéed in butter in a skillet, and sweet potatoes roasted in the oven.  Having the stove and oven on really warmed up our 'mobile' home, which was great, considering.

Being 'trapped' inside due to the weather, we all turned in early, which was fine as we'd planned to head out for Saratoga after an early breakfast the next morning.

 Fried eggs, sausage, and fried potatoes jump started our day.  YUM!  (Not to mention, kept the camper toasty again.)

When it's warmer,
 the kids LOVE venturing across these rocks.







Piled into the car, we made our way to Saratoga.

We have shops we just like to peruse whenever we make it over the mountain.  We enjoyed 'window shopping' in all of our favorite haunts as usual.


The girls found nice dress boots at the thrift store along with some VHS movies.  Gotta love the 'fat' movies as Selah refers to them.

Lunch at the Wolfe hotel was 'delish' as usual.

Techno bought me a new 'cowboy hat' that is reminiscent of Indiana Jones plus a cool hair accessory that I love.

A quick trip to Lollipop's Ice Cream rounded out our adventures in downtown Saratoga and catapulted us to the Hot Springs to warm up since we were now good and chilly from the frozen treat.

The Hot Springs were hopping.

I'm not sure we've ever seen that many people there at one time in all the years we've vacationed and lived here.  We took a quick dip in the smaller pool but it wasn't very 'hot' so we quickly switched to the bigger pool.  Usually that pool is too hot for the kids, but this year they managed to stay in it as long as Techno and I did.

It. Felt. Great.

After changing back to our 'street clothes' we headed back to the camper.

A nicer day - no rain.

The kids played outside; we read books; relaxed; made taco salad for dinner.

The girls find so much joy climbing and jumping off these rocks.

Due to the rain the day before, all the wood was wet so building a fire ended up failing, but.... alas roasting marshmallows over the propane stove inside the camper appeased all the moans and groans.

The next morning the weather was gorgeous.

Breakfast of pancakes, coffee, and hot cocoa started off the day with a bang.

Fitting as this was Techno and my 23rd wedding anniversary.

Who doesn't like a hot pancake breakfast with coffee and whipped cream while enjoying a beautiful view of bright blue skies with an evergreen tree covered mountain as the backdrop for their anniversary?

A little air pistol shooting practice.



More playing, relaxing, air pistol shooting, rock climbing, and enjoying the great outdoors filled our hearts with contentment.


As we watched the kiddos play, we marveled at the fact we'd been married as long as we have and the fact our children are getting so old.  How... and WHEN... did THAT happen?


Big brother gives advice and guidance.





After a lunch of leftovers from our trip, we packed up the camper and headed home.

Our annual trip over the mountain was a success.

So glad we braved the weather and went ahead with our camping trip.


She was so excited --
 she was finally able to 'cock' the gun herself.






Who knows, maybe we'll get yet another trip in before the snow officially begins to fly.








(P.S.  On the drive home, we did note snow had fallen toward the top of the mountain and was still visible under trees in shady areas where the sun had yet to melt it away.  WHAT???  Yes, winter IS knocking on the door.)

Even the dogs and Techno were enjoying the beautiful day.
Titus making sure dad was paying attention to him.





Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Interruptor of Sleep

It's 11:00 PM.

Trinity is fast asleep.

No matter.

Diabetes doesn't care.

I must walk into her room and wake her.

You see, it's time to calibrate her continuous glucose monitor – her CGM.

Without this calibration, we won't have readings to monitor her blood glucose levels during the night. Without those readings, we can't tell if she's safe as the hours and minutes tick by.

So.... despite her slumbering peace... I must wake her.

She's difficult to wake on this particular night.

I rub her arms.

Carress her hair.

Speak her name – softly so as not to wake the other girls.

She stirs ever so slightly.

But..... still doesnt' wake.

I rub her leg.

Give her shoulders a slight shake.

I say her name a bit louder.

All to no avail.

At this point fear creeps in.

Since I can't see her blood sugar levels, I worry. Is she low? Is she unconsious? Is she so high her brain has shut down?

Finally, after a slightly harder push and my voice a bit louder, more urgent, her eyes flutter open to minuscule slits for a brief moment.

The adrenalin that was rising crashes now.

A flood of relief.

She's still not fully awake.

But I know she's not unconscious.

I continue my gentle coaxing to try to wake her more fully.

She sits up.

Eyes still shut.

Turning her head this way and that trying to make sense of her groggy situation.

Again, I say her name.

Explain to her we need to check her blood sugar.

Her eyes are still mostly closed.

Barely slits.

Trying to block out the light from my phone.

I call her name again.

“Come on, Trinity. We need to check your blood sugar.”

She swings her legs out of the bed.

She's cocooned in her sleeping bag.

I fear she'll try to stand in her half asleep state and fall.

Reminding her of her tethered condition, she looks at her lap and shimmies down the bag encasing her.

I hand her the pouch that holds her dexom and ipod.

Giving her my hand, I help her to her feet as she steps out of the sleeping bag that is puddled at her ankles.

I begin to walk from her room, pausing to shine my light back for her to follow.

She's slowly twirling in a cirlce.

Scanning the ground.

Holding her little pouch at arms length.

Looking.

Searching.

I call for her to follow me.

She responds, “I need my pouch. I can't find it. Where's my pouch?”

One foot still planted firmly in slumberland, one teetering in the land of consiousness.

I remind her it's in her hand.

Recognition registering, she trudges forward to follow me out.

Usually she knows to head to the bathroom to wash her hands.

Tonight, still battling with the pull of sleep, she passes the restroom on her way to the living room, simply trundling behind, following in my footsteps.

I stop, touch her shoulder and remind her to wash her hands.

When she emerges into the living room, I can tell she's finally fully with me.

Awake - completely.

At last past the grogginess of sleep and standing coherent enough to check her own blood sugar.

This is what it's like to live with Type 1 Diabetes.

Just a small glimpse of the challenges, the fear, the heartache it brings.

It breaks my heart to know I must disrupt our beautiful little girls, more often than I'd care to think, in the middle of a perfectly pleasant night of sleep.

All to cater to an unwanted guest in our home.

A guest that just won't leave; that doesn't have manners.

I kiss her head as I send her back to bed.

Hoping she can get back to sleep, none the wiser of this intruder that steals more than just precious hours of rest.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Fire in the Hole

What started out as an uneventful Sunday quickly turned exciting and frightening.

Saturday night, Trinity had gone to bed with some tummy issues that we were going to 'monitor' and see how she was doing come morning.

Doug headed to the airport at 4:45 am.

Upon waking, Trinity complained of a sore throat.  Not all to surprising seeing as how many in the family have had colds and similar symptoms.

I made the decision to keep her home so as not to share our germs with other members of our church family.

Next was to figure out what to do about the remainder of kiddos and church.  Bethany had stayed at her friend's house and needed a ride home after church, the kids wanted to go to the morning church services, so all of us staying home just wasn't an option.

The alternatives we did have:  I could drive them to church and return home with Trinity, having Jacob drive them all home after..... Jacob could come out and pick the kids up and return with them after church..... or Elijah could even stay home and I go in with all the kids to church.

Decisions, decisions.

Jacob said he didn't mind driving out to get the kids; Trinity would prefer being home with me instead of just Elijah just in case her blood sugars went wonky; and admittedly, if I was staying home anyway, I didn't REALLY want to drive 60 miles to drop kiddos off.

So.... she and I decided to stay home.

As we waited for Jacob's arrival - with the kids heading to church sitting outside as he was to arrive any moment - there was a loud crash.

It startled both Trinity and I.

I assumed something had fallen.

Crashed to the floor would be a more accurate description.

It sounded like a large cabinet had toppled over or a closet shelving unit had caved in.

An explosion really.

I began walking through the house to determine WHAT had caused the loud boom we heard.  (I'll admit, my first thought was the rabbit hutch had somehow crumpled or been tipped over.)

Still, I glanced in every room as I passed.

Kitchen.... looked fine.

Bathroom.... it looked fine too at first glance, but.... I smelled smoke immediately upon poking my head through the door.  A slight glance around the door at the hot water heater closet and I saw a glimmer of flame.

It wasn't something collapsing or falling we heard, it was the fire igniting in the closet from the propane water heater.

YIKES!

I ran to get the fire extinguisher only to remember it had 'died' some time earlier and we had not yet replaced it.  I then grabbed a pitcher and began filling it with water.

Once it was 1/4th full, I ran back and began dousing the flames with the liquid.  Using the bathroom sink to refill the pitcher for subsequent splashes, I continued my quest to quench the flames and protect our little mountain abode.

I won't even pretend that I wasn't freaking out.  I heard myself squeal when I realized the fire extinguisher was gone, "I don't know what to do."  It was at that moment I knew I needed water and began scanning for ANYTHING to fill.  Luckily the girls had left the pitcher on the counter after watering the rabbits and chickens in the morning.

Meanwhile, as I had yelled to all the kids that there was a fire, they began trying to figure out what to do as well.

Elijah, who knew I couldn't find the inside fire extinguisher, ran to the camper for the one there, but didn't recognize it b/c it's wasn't red.

He then told the girls to get the hose.

All this was going on while I was closed in the bathroom throwing a few buckets of water on the flames that were rippling across the closet floor and under the water heater.

As I heaved the last pitcher of water on the extinguished flames for good measure, I noted water flowing IN under the bathroom door.  I had noticed water there earlier but thought it was just streaming back from my splashing the water into the closet to snuff out the blaze.

I tugged open the door only to have Elijah thrust a garden hose gushing with water into my face.

WHAT??

My brain spun a few minutes as I registered what this meant.

Yes, Selah had pulled the hose - turned ON - from the front sliding doors all through the house to the bathroom door before passing it off to Elijah.  Filling the front school room, living room, dining room, and hall entrance to the bathroom with a lake of water.

Ha.

Apparently he told Selah to grab the hose. She complied and turned it on immediately then proceeded to drag it through the whole house to the bathroom where Elijah stood waiting to help me.

Now not only did I have fire damage and the water to clean up there, but also a 'flood' throughout the rest of the house.

Admittedly I might have scolded the children in the heat of the moment about bringing a hose full of running water THROUGH the house, but... I was a little freaked out from the explosion, the fire, the flood.

After all was said and done, I think I determined that a basket fell off a shelf that held a container of freeze wart remover.  The container appeared to have exploded, igniting the fumes from the propane powered gas water heater.  Resulting in the loud boom we heard and the fire that erupted.

I praised the kids for their smart thinking and fast action.  If the fire had gotten any bigger that hose of running water would have been a HUGE help.

Many towels later and a garbage bag of singed items, the house is pretty much right as rain.

Just a couple char marks on the linoleum floor, several wet towels to wash, a bit of smoke smell in the aforementioned bathroom, and a bunch of items to put away once I have the hot water heater checked and some new storage options worked out.

I praise God for Trinity's tummy troubles and sore throat.  For Jacob being willing to drive out to get the kids.

Without these logistics working out as they did, our home would have most likely continued to burn.

Without my presence when the fire erupted, the numerous flammable items in and around the bathroom would have also ignited, giving great fuel and acceleration to the fire as it grew unchecked.

The other terrifying option could have been Elijah and Trinity home alone when the fire began.  Elijah is a very capable young man, but I'm not sure either kid would have thought to look for the source of the sound initially, allowing the fire to grow hotter/bigger with a ready supply of propane fueling it from the hot water heater.

Dealing with a fire was flustering for me - a full-grown adult with many years of life experience under my belt.  I'm not sure what a 16 year old and an 11 year old would have done.

God protected our family and had the engineering of this day worked out.

I was home, sitting in the front room when normally we would have already been in the car and heading to town.

I heard the 'kaboom' that had me immediately searching out the source.

I was able to quickly smother the flames and protect our home and pets.

God is truly amazing how he orchestrated - will always orchestrate - the details in our  lives we often take for granted.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Who'da Thunk?

After mentioning on Facebook I had spent the day cleaning and organizing the rabbit hutch and cages, my cousin replied commenting she had just cleaned her hen house.  She then remarked 'who'd thought we'd be doing this when we were in the Rockettes?"  {The 'Rockettes' was a baton group we were both part of in our youth - me for most of my elementary, jr, and high school years - not THE ROCKETTES. but wouldn't THAT have been a cool story?}

Anyway, her comments made me think.

It is ironic the life we've chosen to live.

I think growing up my plan was to be a 'big city girl'.  Wow -- couldn't be much further from that now if I tried.

I grew up in a fairly small town -- although now, it seems like quite the 'big city' compared to our current whereabouts.  LOL!

It was a rather rural area for all intents and purposes.  At least where I grew up.

We had a couple acres; dad always grew a garden in the back; had a burn pile; a ride on lawn mower; a pick up truck; mom had an outdoor laundry line; we often had dogs and or cats, not to mention the occasional bird, rabbit, or hamster; and I REALLY wanted a horse.

When you drove around our quaint little town, seeing acres of corn, gardens of various vegetation, as well as the scattering of grape vineyards, wasn't unheard of or unusual.

To my young eyes - we lived in no-man's land.  The land of corn and small town living.

As I was growing up, much of the 'industry' in that area was changing and dying out leaving what looked - to my eyes - a shell of a town.

We didn't have any malls - only a couple small 'plazas' -- as they were known as back then; our restaurant options were limited to mostly 'mom and pop' type establishments (none of the big chains a bigger city boasts - outside of the fast food variety anyway); and entertainment was scarce - a movie theater, bowling, and a skating rink were the 'hangouts' in my day.

Or so my immature, young mind thought at the time.

I mean.... you did had to drive 45 minutes to an hour to get to a mall, after all.

It wasn't my dream.  (Once I realized I'd never have that horse, at any rate.)

Once I hit the teen years, I THOUGHT I wanted to land in a big city -- at least a 'bigger city' than where I was from -- escape 'small town USA' at all costs.

I went off to college (to yet another small, rural town - ironically) and continued that mindset.  I'd graduate and become a well known speech-language pathologist and live somewhere 'happenin'!

In actuality, I got married about the same time I graduated with my Master's Degree and started my first job in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Our first apartment was in a 'bigger' city, but not a BIG city by any stretch.  Not compared to the likes of New York or Chicago anyhoo. 

Cincinnati seemed so much more hip than my hometown, however, so suburbia felt like a step in the right direction to the 'big city feel' I had thought I desired.

It did have a plethora of restaurants (chains included); a myriad of malls all within a 15-20 minute drive; lots of entertainment venues.

Quite the change from where I lived as a child.

Eventually, with my new computer engineer hubby by my side, I assumed we'd make our way to a big city -- or at the very least, an area of Cincinnati known to be even more hip and trendy.

Time marched on.

We started our family.

I no longer dreamed of becoming some well known, hot shot speech pathologist -- instead -- I wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom.

So.... I did just that.

Then.... the big city idea began to fade.

A new dream began to take form.

I now wanted land.

Land and a space fit for kids to play.

A more small town feel to raise our precious bundles.

What irony.  As a child I wanted out of small town life, then as I began to raise my own children that same 'feel' from which I wanted to escape had appeal - a draw.

It was years - many years - of living in suburbia before my heart really turned toward the 'ranch type' dream I eventually grabbed onto.

Don't get me wrong, suburban life had it's benefits and we greatly enjoyed our time there, but my heart was being pulled in a new direction.

A lot transpired that landed us in the mountains of Wyoming, living in a rather remote town on 3 acres of land.

By remote I mean the population boasts a whopping 270 people - and that, I believe, is stretching it.

Our current neck of the woods is significantly 'smaller' than the small town where I was raised.  To get to a mall we have to travel close to 2 hours.  Just to go to the grocery store is a 30-40 minute drive.  We have a few restaurants in our town but all are independently owned.  NO chains or franchises here.  Heck, we don't even have a stop light in our truly quaint town and only a small 'general store' with 2 gas pumps in the whole place.  There's no plazas, movie theater, or skating rink - unless you count a frozen lake or pond as an ice rink in the mountains.  Instead of corn when you drive around, we see huge ranches of cattle and horses.  It's not suburbia and definitely not a big city.

Small town living...  our mountain home epitomizes that phrase.

Which is now appealing rather than appalling to me.

Once I had my space, my desire to have animals (beyond a dog and cat) began to take root.
Our egg laying hens in their run.

Like.....  farm animals.

How the tides had turned.

From the somewhat 'farm' girl who wanted to be a city slicker back to a true country gal.

Raising chickens for eggs; rabbits for meat; dogs just for fun and protection; a cat to keep mice out of the house; and a strong desire for dairy goats to have our own milk.  (And yes, a horse - maybe even a cow and a pig - would still be nice.)

Boy howdy have things come full circle and then some.


Since I never got that horse as a child, I tried everything in my power to come across as a more sophisticated 'city kid' rather than 'as-close-to-a-farm-kid-you-could-get-without-the-farm, kid'.


The younger chickens enjoying sprouted grains we grew
mason jars as a 4H project.
Ironic, that now, as an adult - it's my dream to be a country farm chick.   Raising various animals to live semi-self sustainably; mucking out chicken coops and rabbit hutches; processing said animals; being willing and prepared to milk goats; simply enjoying the mountains and space rather than itching from boredom from lack of 'entertainment'; dreading when we have to go to the 'big city' for any purpose what-so-ever.

My cousin hit the nail on the head.
Just a couple baby bunnies from one of the litters
our rabbits have had.







Who'da thunk it when we were young that we'd be where we are right now?

Not me!

Yet, I'm thrilled my dreams took this turn.

I'm blessed by the fact I listened to God's tug on my heart over 4 years ago.

Allowing that country girl I fought to hide - that had been living dormant for so many years while I tried to be 'city savvy' in suburbia - to surface and thrive.












Friday, August 11, 2017

New Milestones

This year, as school is getting ready to start back up, I realize it's somewhat a year of monumental milestones for our family.

One thing about having children is all the cool turning points that go along with them.

This year it seems we have quite a few new ones.

Or at least, somewhat new to us and of course new to each kiddo.

Induction to Honor's Society at UW.
Our oldest is starting his senior year of college - yep, that's definitely a first all around - and for the first time in his life has a 'girlfriend'.  (Another completely novel first for us all!)  A sweet young lady with which he has entered a 'courting/dating' relationship after having been friends close to 4 years.

Talk about milestones.  That's two major ones to start us off.  Wow!

He's also moving into an apartment rather than the dorms (yet another unique landmark for our brew) with a friend from college for his last 2 years.  Yes, even though he's going into his senior year, due to his triple major he'll be around for that 'dreaded' 5th year to complete his degrees.  (I'll admit, it's not so dreaded to me.  It means I get to keep him a bit closer a bit longer. Those days are numbered and I know it.  So.... I'll relish in that 5th year.)

The next 2 kids in line are entering their senior year of high school.  How did THAT happen?  It just doesn't seem possible that in about 12 more months both of them will be heading off to college.

WHAT?

Doing devotions at church camp.
Bethany is getting close to being ready to take her driving test to get her actual license.  Not to mention she'll turn 18 this year.  She's already planning some road trips with her friends from high school that are going to be at UW this coming year.  Am I ready for that?  A somewhat big first for this mama as Jacob never did that until he was out of the house and on his own, so to speak.

Decorating Christmas cookies.
Then there's Elijah - he just turned 16 and may actually agree to get his temporary license. Yeah, the driving thing is a bit late on both, but.... it's how we roll.  I'm ok all our kids have driven later -- it gives their brains more time to mature and hopefully prevents some silly adolescent risks.

He's been working this summer helping neighbors with construction, landscaping, electronics work - many new and first experiences.



Playing in the mud pit at camp.


Next up is Miss Trinity - she's entering 6th grade.  That's quite a milestone.  As I unpacked her schoolbooks for the year I was a bit taken aback as I pulled out her math 'Fundamentals of Algebra and Geometry'.

How can my sweet little girl - only 11 years old - be learning algebra and geometry?  ARG!

One more reminder of just how fast the time is whisking away.

Not to mention she's entering that pre-pubescent phase and all the changes THAT brings about.  I'm sure she'll love to know I shared that as she gets a little older.  ;-)

Yes, my little girl is turning into a young woman right before my eyes.


Less muddy,
but still having fun in the mud pit


Miss Charity is entering 5th grade and is so exited to be able to take part in the Iditarod program our virtual school offers for language arts.  I remember last year how thrilled Trinity was to take part and now... Charity is following in her footsteps.  Again- how can this be?

Both girls went to church camp for the first time this summer - as did I - THAT was really a first for our family.  LOL!

Charity is maturing in her own rights and becoming quite the young lady.  Her shyness - although still present - is often pushed back as she takes the lead to make new friends, take part in activities, or lead the way to help her little sister approach new experiences.

It just seems like yesterday she was starting kindergarten with that sweet little face and her infectious smile and giggle that knows no bounds.



Drawing on a kids' menu while out to eat.
Finally is the youngest, Miss Selah. She has already started her 3rd grade year as she finished off her 2nd grade curriculum early last spring.  She is reading independently and working at her own pace with her school lessons now.

She's even beginning to write in cursive.

How and when did THAT happen?

She too has grown and changed so much.  I still remember her as a little preschooler wanting to be like all the big kids and 'do school'.

My how the tables have turned.  Even though she does well with school, now that she's in 3rd grade she realizes how much time it takes and how much it impedes play time and fun.  Ha.

Welcome to the real world, sweetie.



Milestones abound.

I wouldn't change it for the world, but it does cause one to pause and reflect and remember times gone by.

So many changes.

So many firsts.

It's somewhat unreal to realize some of these firsts are the last of their kind.

As our summer ends, I'll try to revel in these upcoming firsts.  Breath them in.  Enjoy them.  Lament them.

Family vacation this summer at the Redwood Forest - Jacob generally no longer tags along due to other commitments...
Realizing photos capturing 5 of our kiddos having fun on a summer vacation are coming to a close is another 'milestone'.
I didn't really expect that when Jacob left for college -- I thought he'd still come home for summer break.
Boy, was I wrong.  So.... I'll take advantage of these opportunities as often as I can.
Milestones are yet more blessings in which to be thankful.