Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Update

Normally people send out Christmas letters to update friends and family as to their goings on.  We decided not to be normal this last year.  Instead we have this Easter update for you all who read this.
HAPPY EASTER!
The dandelions are blooming and the rabbits and chickens are out - must be spring gardening season!

So here it goes, our big events list of roughly the last year:
Clara:
  • Started dance lessons this year
  • Started preschool, she attends 3 days a week
  • Learned to successfully crack an egg - which was one of her personal goals for when she turned 5
Heidi:
  • Qualified and participated in the regional spelling bee
  • Doing top notch in 2nd grade
  • Started dance lessons this year
  • Read over 4,500 minutes in February for her schools love of reading month
Odessa:
  • Now working 3 days a week at the girls school
  • Is wrapping up her 4th year coordinating MoPS at church
  • Learning more about the benefits of going gluten free
Jeff:
  • Recently started a new job as a COBOL programer (yes that COBOL)
  • Still working with the college group at church
  • Trying to teach fishing to the girls
  • On the lookout for a free pot bellied pig to till the garden (if you know anybody...)
 Well that is us in a nut shell.  In other news, we also remodeled our bathroom (oh fun when you only have one), added 5 hens to our brood (more on them below), and purchased a car resembling a rolling lemon complete with it's own passenger shower AKA a '84 Honda Civic hatch back.

We hope this Easter has found you well for He has risen! He has risen indeed!

Chickens

To all who wish to know:

We were finally able to add 5 hens to our family last August (I know the post is long over due).  After over 8 months of city council meetings and petitioning - out cute little town finally allowed families to have 5 backyard hens.  Both Heidi and Jeff were able to present at a council meeting and written up on the local paper.  We started building our coop last June and finished in August.  Our 2 Road Island Reds and 3 Buff Orpingtons moved right in as 2 month old pullets a dear farmer friend raised from chicks for us when it looked like city council would pass.  

Rules for the coop:  
Odessa - it has to be cute, it has to be strong - I am not cleaning up headless chicken leftovers after a raccoon/skunk/opossum visit 

Jeff - it has to be practical

Here's what we got:



 We added a small green house off the south end.  We had 4 herb plants successfully winter over in there.

On December 6th we got our first eggs:

Our $321.65/egg prizes!

We have been tracking our total cost divided by number of eggs received very closely since we are only on a 2 year trial in the city council's view and we want to show that we truly invested in this chicken endeavor and are definitely not in it for really cheap eggs.  We so far have received around 300 eggs from our little beauties and if we don't buy anymore food or have to turn over any hens in the next 18 months (completely unrealistic) we would need roughly 2,000 more to be at 25 cents an egg - which is still more than the grocery store. Boy are they good eggs.

This spring we started letting our hens out while we are outside working - they are really funny creatures.


If anyone would like more specific details about our coop size or who to get in contact with if you are wanting to petition your local city council for backyard hens please do not hesitate to leave a comment and we will do our best to help.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pre-Cancer...Not for me!

Jeff here,
So I have Crohn's disease, no secret there.  One things that comes along with Crohn's is an increased chance of colo-rectal cancer (like 20x greater).  What was a psuedo-secret was that 18 months ago I had a colonoscopy which showed that I had a "fast low grade dysplasia."  This increased my chances an additional 15 fold.  That really put a funk in me.  I stopped making long range plans.  I was very worried about any stomach pain, which is fairly often with Crohn's.  Any pain and I would imagine my cells transforming like Bruce Banner.  I lost a lot of focus and I know I tended to be more sullen than I wanted to be.

Well, I just had another colonoscopy and the results came back that the Crohn's is under control and the dysplasia has gone away.  My Doctor biopsied four places every 10 cm. and found no abnormal cell growth...nothing. 

I am very thankful to God for giving me health.  To Dr. Jessi Black of a family healing center for guidance and herbs (and head-standing yodeling lessons).  To Elaine Gotschall for researching a diet that has helped me.  And last but not least to my friends and family who dealt with my issues. 

I'm gonna go have a celebratory dinner...pizza, Burgerville, salad...I don't know I just want to tell everybody.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Work????

Just a quick family update - I got a job! It is kinda a big change for our family. I will be working as the Thursday- Friday administrative assistant at MVCA (Heidi's school). it is during school hours, and I may get to pop in to see Heidi for lunch once in a while. I will miss my Clara girl. For the first time since Heidi was born we will be having regular childcare, a wonderful friend will be watching Clara. Change is good - but kinda scary.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Garden Plundering!

We are so excited to have a mostly full garden put in this year! We always have plans for more. This is our fourth summer in the house and it is so nice to see so much food in our own yard. Here is a pic if this mornings plundering:
We have rhubarb, spring onions, snow peas, strawberries, raspberries, beets, and beet greens with lots more coming! The whole time I was picking Clara and a friend we also have a vegetable party and were munching on bolted broccoli and peas and berries. It was lovely hearing two 3 year olds fighting over and celebrating vegetables. And now off for juicing, jamming, pie filling, and lots of blanching. Oh, and Harry Potter at midnight :)

Sorry for the lack of posts and short posts - we don't have internet at home right now and the girls have a time limit at the library. Hope you are having a great summer!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring is coming!

It really is. I was informed today that we have had 23 days strait of rain. You know it is Spring in the valley when your back yard is holding so much water, that it squeaks when you walk on it and reacts like a wet sponge when you step on it. And this year for the first time - we have a good amount of Spring flowers!

Last week Heidi clipped and arranged this for me. Daddy and I helped a little bit, but not much. I was very proud of her design skills. She grouped antique jars with an odd numbers of flowers in each. The pink one is actually from a friends yard. But every arrangement needs an accent!

Ahhhh! A girl after my own heart.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Small successes = big blessings

For the last week or so I have been trying to wean my girls back off the television. We created some bad habits at the end of last month due to the bad weather and parental sickness - basically they watched for several days strait while we were just trying to survive. It took some time, but they have been doing really well now most days with the TV limits that are now being enforced and have started playing together good again after we get Heidi from school.

But yesterday was different. They asked only one time if they could watch OPB (that is all we have for TV here) and I said, "not right now." "OK" and they were off. Wow that was easy! Yeah for success - but that was only the beginning. I was doing some work on the computer and listening to them play in their room. Then things got quite - not always a good sign. I told my self to start wrapping up then go see what they were doing. Well it was another 10 minutes or so before I got back to their very quiet room, yes, it was still very quiet. I cracked the door open and this is what I saw:


Warms my heart! Heidi said she was teaching Clara to read! It was a book where there are several items on the pages with words next to them and Clara was "reading" them as Heidi pointed to the pictures. "And mom," Heidi said, "I didn't even correct Clara when she got a word wrong! I just said good job even when she called a 'stretcher' a 'bed'!"

The girls played and did chores without complaining until Daddy came home. I actually got bored at one point because I was left out of the game!

I would like to end by saying this is how my house always is, but I can't. There are still many squabbles to break up, messes to clean and tears to dry; but by taking time to remember the progress I see daily in my girls becoming ladies makes it all so much easier.