Monday, August 31, 2009

Life in general

I get on this blog a few times daily, but seldom want to post unless I have pics to include. My camera was acting funky a couple of weeks ago, we purchased a new one, but I needed to read the user manual, and I just took some pics last night that I hope to get posted this evening.

There are a lot of little things going on....but mostly it is same ol, same ol around here. Sometimes the monotony of being a stay at home momma just bores me out of my mind. Other days, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to witness all their early accomplishments.

I have made a couple of attempts to meet new people here with no success yet. I will continue to look for mommies with young kids. I continue to go up with Brian on Wednesdays to see old friends. I also plan on looking for part time work in about 2-3 months. We have PLENTY to keep us busy around here. It continues to be VERY difficult to get anything done with the kids under foot. Brian tends to move faster, be more focused, and is stronger, so often ends up doing the handyman house work while I keep an eye on the kids. That means I seldom get quality breaks from the kids, so the whole monotony thing can wear on me at times. We manage though. I try to get the kids outside every day. We have gone on hikes at the state park, go to local playgrounds, play in the backyard, etc. I want to scream "where are all the kids?!" because I hardly ever see anyone playing outside.

The kids are growing like weeds out here! I think this country air and running around are doing wonders for their growth and development. They are cute kids.

Iris is crawling from one side of the house to the other. Strangely, she still does not sit up on her own very well. She has a second tooth through and is babbling up a storm. She is a sweet girl that loves to be held. She is quite the diva for attention. I like watching her developing personality. She adores her big brothers.

Zane continues to be a bottomless pit for food. His vocabulary is greatly expanding and he has already hit his terrible twos! The kid continues to be strong willed/high spirited and takes life on full force knocking anything down in his way. Man, he is one intense little dude. We will have to find creative outlets for his energy as he gets older. He is so full of life - it is a joy to watch him at times. Other times, he is so full of piss and vinegar and it can be tough to be an effective parent. He is a hard little worker who wants to please us. It is cute how much he helps us with tasks.

Gareth has basically potty trained himself - we are proud of him. We have never pushed the whole potty training thing. When he has expressed interest, we hype it up. When there is not interest, we don't make a big issue out of it. We would talk about it often, but never make him sit, etc. His interest has come and gone over the last year until this past couple of weeks. His interest has stuck and we ran with it. He has been dry overnight and goes to the bathroom on his own - it is wonderful. We got him a toy as a reward and he worked hard all week to earn another one. He has done great. He is talking up a storm too and having lengthy conversations with us. Of course, there are all those why questions that are so fun to answer.

We love being out here in the country working towards our goals.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sweet Pea pictures are in!

OMG - there are so many favorite ones this I posted a bunch! Allyson did a wonderful job at capturing Ms. Iris and the boys personality. Iris/our family will have another session when she is 1 year old. Enjoy the pics!

Monday, August 24, 2009

3 trees

Late last week, we had 3 trees close to the house removed. They were sickly and needed to come down before they fell on the house causing damage.

This is the area in the backyard with 1 1/3 tree that was cut down. One of the trees was already 2/3 of the way gone. This is a TOTALLY different area now. It was nicely shaded and it totally sunny now. It is nice to have more sunlight come into the kitchen window, but is gonna suck when it is extremely hot with the heat coming in too. We might put the clothesline in this area.

The boys have had a great time crawling through the fallen leafy branches and finding hiding spots. sometimes, I can not even see them in there, can only hear them....goof balls. :)

This was the "healthier" looking one. We noticed an area one could look from one side of the trunk through the other side, but never imagined that it would be THIS hollow - geesh! What is up with the steel post in it?! Was this a support pole when it was young, like a hundred years ago- and never removed?!

I might use the hollow trunk that still is in the ground as a flower planter till it decays away.

Our front yard had 1 tree removed. The front used to have 1 big tree on each side of the only has the one. It sucks to lose this one as we don't have any other trees up there. The trunk of this tree was healthy, pretty soft maple, but the tops and large side branches would always fall when there was wind. We did not have it professionally diagnosed, but after looking at a cut branch and examining the leaves, we are sure it had verticillium wilt and would have slowly died.

A friend of ours with a farm offered us several trees if we came dug them up. We stopped by this past weekend and brought several home. We planted the bare root ones and have several more to get in the ground that she had already potted. We got apricot, hackberry, hard maples, a gingko, forsythia, oaks, chestnut, elm, and maybe some others I am forgetting about. Very cool. We are also going to sign up for Arbor Day Foundation and get some "free" trees and discounted trees. I want to look more into the USDA repositories to see if residential landowners can get free trees too.

We now have an extremely large mess to cleanup with all these trees. We tried looking for a chipper/shredder to buy, but no one had them in stock. The big chippers that can handle all the branches we have cost more than what we want to rent. For now, Brian has been dragging the large, leafy branches back by the burn pile in the back of the property. We have several more trees that will need to come down and we could use the shredded wood for mulch, so we would benefit from buying one. We don''t have to make a decision now. Brian also has been out there with a chainsaw trying to get the larger trunks cut smaller.

Have I mentioned there are like a thousand projects that need done around here?! NEVER ENDING!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Creepy crawlies

I am really enjoying all the little critters we find out here. I like using my macro setting on the camera to get close ups of them too. Here are my latest subjects.

Cute, little, green caterpillar

Cicada shell
I loved these things as a kid. The boys like finding them too. I love reliving my youth through my children.

I am FINALLY caught up on all my back log of photos for posts! I have pics that I have NOT posted yet, but they are from interior pics of the house that I am waiting till individual rooms get completed, so I can post transformations from beginning to end.

This week, my camera was acting funky and not always working, so we went and got me a new camera. I need to read the user manual this weekend and start using it. I did not take any pics the last several days due to the camera being out of commission.

We had 3 trees close to the house cut down today. Since they were so close the house, we did not want to do it ourselves for fear of causing damage to the house. They only dropped them and we are responsible for clean up. The yard is a mess with branches and big pieces of trunk. I think Brian is going to get a chipper so we can mulch the smaller limbs. We will miss the shade those trees provided, but they were sickly and too close the house. It was only a matter of time that a piece too large was going to fall on the house. It was better to remove them now before that happened.

I am supposed to go out with some friends this evening to listen to a band - I am looking forward to it. I would also like to go listen to bluegrass this weekend at a nearby town. It is from noon to 6 pm though....lunch, then nap time for the kids.......and we got plenty to keep us busy around here.....I have been craving some good bluegrass tough!

Have a good weekend.

Monster from the deep

Granted, if one does a google image search for big catfish, this guy does not compare. But, this is the biggest catfish that I ever handled, so I was quite surprised to see this come out of our pond.

My mom's boyfriend, Robert, and his friend, Tommy, camped out by the pond and fished this past weekend. He threw the big one back in, but then we had 6-7 nice sized catfish that Tommy showed us how to fillet them. I think I will like eating the fillets so much better than the way my momma had prepared them (still on the spine).

Nice batch of fish.

The big one he caught was over 2 feet long.

Almost as big as Zane.

Cutting the skin behind the gills.

Using pliers to pull off the skin

Filleting the fish

My momma showing off the nice piece of boneless fish.

Throwing the fillets in salt water.
Gareth watching the whole process.

Ziza's turn to practice

My turn

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Preparing for a forest garden on root cellar mound

We are preparing our root cellar mound to be a forest garden area.

This is what the area looked like before we bought the place. There were 2 sour cherry trees, a grape vine to the right - in front of the entrance, and several weeds.

We covered the mound with hay for mulching purposes to kill the grass and weeds. I hope we do not regret doing this. I hear/read that hay sometimes can have lots of seed heads and may not be the BEST mulching material. However, it was readily available from our field that was just baled, so that is what we used.

Brian cut down the smaller sour cherry tree. There were parts of it that were damaged and open to disease/pests. It was also growing by the entrance and somewhat of a nuisance. We plan to put 1-2 more fruit trees on the mound this fall or spring.

The dilapidated entrance to the root cellar. Fixing up the interior is one of the many projects that need completed. Our neighbor, my aunt, and several other people said they would be afraid as hell to go in there for fear of snakes. I want to get it fixed up also so we have someplace to go in case of severe weather. The house only has a crawl space. I would feel better having someplace underground to go to.

fallen door
Old door

inside root cellar
Inside root cellar

How old are those jarred foods?!
hmmmmm...yummy food still in jars....I wonder how old those are? They got to be at least 5 years old, probably more. I believe the old man who lived here died a couple of years ago and his wife who canned, died a few years before that.

We did this when my nephew, Danno, was here.

We have found that Zane is a good little helper. He likes to keep busy.

So, our plan in to add a couple more fruit trees, I already planted 4 hostas on the north side, plant some berry bushes, possibly perennial vegetables, herbs, ground cover, and maybe vines. In a couple of years, this area will be transformed to something beautiful and have mostly edible plants.