Sunday, April 25, 2010

New Babies

I love my chickies!

More chickens.

Pet, pet

As if we needed more.

One of the "babies"

We did have a rather high attrition rate this last year. But the kids learned first hand the cycle of life, right? Besides, the chicken farmers refuse to listen to me.

Chicken Farmers

So now we have 4 of the old crew (1 Rhode Island Red, 3 Bard Rocks), 4 new teenagers (slightly older Araucanas - at least I'll get my blue eggs!!), and the 2 babies (Buff Orpingtons).

All three "generations"

The Chicken Whisperer still has her chicken mojo:
The Chicken Whisperer...

...even with chicken poop probably oozing between her toes:
She probably has chicken poop between her toes

Hot Rod is still a goofball:
Hot Rod and BelleTesting out my new bench...

But at least the trauma has eased enough that they named a few of the chickens - the red head is named Belle, according to Peelu, who still has chicken chasing endurance that the rest of us could never hope to match:
Peelu after the chicken...again  3Peelu after the chicken...again  2
Peelu after the chicken...again Gotcha ya
Catching some chickens

Geesh! We're gonna have to open up an egg store this summer. I mean we can only eat so many hard boiled eggs and omelets, 'ya know?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Jump Practice

Down, down, down

We were so lucky to be invited, last Friday, to watch a practice jump of the Redmond Smokejumpers.

Safely landed
First one down

If you don't know what a smokejumper is you better go find out here. To describe their job, VERY simplistically, they are wildland firefighters who can literally "jump" into fires to help contain them.

The Sherpa
Skirtin' the trees

Again, you MUST read more about them elsewhere because their jobs are incredibly important and fascinating. I can't do their service justice here. So I am just going to post some photos about our morning watching them jump.

Two on this round

We have some very dear family friends (a husband and wife) who are/were smokejumpers out of the Redmond Air Center right here in our town. Since we've known them they have given talks and tours to our 4-H club and enlightened us with their vast knowledge of forests and wildlands, weather patterns, fire science, parachuting, first aid....etc....as you might guess, they are very handy and hardy friends to have around.

Since we don't have school on Fridays, we were lucky enough to be home when we heard they were having a practice jump not too far from our homes. We were asked if we would like to come and watch. Our response? OF COURSE!! So we sped out towards the mountains, down a muddy path to a small meadow. The Sherpa was already flying overhead and had dropped several streamers to help the jumpers gauge wind conditions.

Ground Crew

Peelu with a streamer

The kids were so excited to watch the plane and the parachutes, but it was especially cool that they knew one of the jumpers. Our little friends who invited us were so proud to watch their dad. They all counted down until he jumped out. It was amazing to watch how skilled they are at guiding their parachutes. Sometimes they landed not even a few hundred feet away from us.

Watching the Sherpa overhead
I see them!
"I see dem, Mama!"
Our friend coming down
Touchdown

Then, when it was clear, the kids got to run to our friend and check everything out first hand.
Peelu on our friend's parachute before he pack it away

Then they began the process of packing everything back up, including a stubborn parachute that wouldn't come down.

Cutting down one of the parachutes

What a fabulously awesome morning.

Watching the Sherpa drop some jumpers

We have cool friends. Seriously.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A bench from my loves

Voila

I asked Ross for a simple, rustic garden bench to put by the maple tree. Nothing fancy - I was thinking a log cut in half....

Workin' on my bench

...oh, I got a log cut in half all right!

The new garden bench seat?

And some fancy chiseling...

Chiseling away

..and some hand planing...

Using Papa's hand planer

..a few more tweaks here and there..

Workin' on my bench
Close-up of rustic work on garden bench

And voila...a few hours later...

Garden bench love

...my new bench, with the Junior Woodworkers doing the big unveil. It's perfect. But that Ross does nothing by halves, Ill tell 'ya...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lunchbox Update

Phew! It's been a while since I've posted any lunchbox pics. Probably because I don't feel like I've done anything fancy for a while. But I have dutifully made fairly healthy lunches every school day and the kids are still eating them. So something must be going right. And I thought I'd post these photos and ideas to show you that leftovers and "traditional" sandwiches work just fine in the kids' lunches. And if you have a handful of raisins, pretzels and peanuts then you DO have trail mix and that IS a good snack! Once you get in the routine, it really doesn't take too much extra work.

Bento box lunch 12-7-09
Half of a blueberry bagel egg, cheese and ham sandwich, grapes hiding under a pile of pomegranate seeds, steamed broccoli, trail mix of shredded wheat cereal, peanuts, pretzels and raisins.

Bento Box 12/14/09
Half whole wheat bagel with cream cheese and dried cranberries, pumpkin bread, mini marshmallows, mandarin orange, cheese and crackers, ham chunks and green beans.

Bento Box Lunch 1-14-10
The birthday lunch - breakfast for lunch theme.
oranges, dried cranberries, bacon, french toast strips made from their Papa's homemade bread, maple syrup, steamed brocooli.

Bento Box lunch 1/13/10
Yep, a hot dog! Really a turkey dog on a whole wheat bun with catsup, mini berry rice cakes with yogurt raisins, mixed veggies and a dill pickle, cheese cubes & veggie chips.

Bento Box Lunch 2-19-10
Veggie chips, cherry tomatoes and cheese cubes, pb & j, dried fruit (apricots, golden raisins, dried cranberries and dried apples). Nothing fancy.

The valentine lunch bento 2-11-10
Weak, I know. But I totally forgot that this morning was their last lunch before valentine's day and I didn't go shopping. I had to make do with what I had on hand: blueberry bagel with cream cheese and strawberry jelly hearts, frozen blueberries and strawberry, red pepper hearts, crackers with cheese and ham heart cutouts, berry-yogurt rice cakes.

Bento box lunch 2/23/10
Leftover jasmine rice with pork/veggie stir fry and crunchies on top, applesauce with dried cranberries, red and green grapes, cheese cubes with ham and salami roll-ups and whole wheat crackers,

Bento box lunch 3/9/10
Some more leftovers used: Our retro taco salad with corn chips on top, carrots with red peppers and cucumbers, applesauce with dried cranberry heart, bean and cheese burrito.

Bento Box Lunch - 3/15/10
Ham & Cheese sandwiches cut into squares, cucumber square with beans inside (black, kidney, pinto), ginger snap cookies with apricots and golden raisins and berry rice cakes, orange smiles, strawberries and fresh coconut chunks

Bento Box Lunch 4/12/10
Ham, cheese turkey and mozzarella sandwich on Papa's homemade ciabatte rolls, honeydew melon and mandarin oranges, mixed veggies with olives, whole wheat crackers with cheese, peanuts, raisins and dried apricots

Bento Box Lunch 4/14/10
Leftovers! Taco salad with blue corn chips, chile roll-ups, sour cream, cucumbers, strawberry shortcake. This one was a big hit!

Bento Box Lunch - 4/15/10
Using some leftovers! Cheeseburger on whole wheat buns, more strawberry shortcake with whipped cream, macaroni pasta salad with celery, onions and olives, trail mix of pretzels, dried cranberries, raisins and peanuts.