Monday, February 25, 2013

Snowin' and Blowin'...Again

I'm dreaming of flip-flops and tan legs. It seems this winter won't end. My 7 year old had some great insight on this when she said, "Mom, February has the shortest amount of days, but it feels like the longest month." I whole heartedly agree.

We've had snow on and off for the last week. Yesterday's storm was a surprise. The weatherman said "30% chance of snow, no significant accumulation."

Lies. All lies.

We even got hit hard on the other side of the mountain where we winter the cows. Thankfully, my in-laws fed hay for us, or it would have been a very long, treacherous trip over the hill.

Below is a picture my daughter snapped on our way to church yesterday morning.

One word: Treacherous.

The menfolk left at 6:00 am to feed the horse and headed to church early because my husband was helping with the music. My son was shoveling snow around the parking lot.

We girls left a little later.  It was a white-knuckle trip!

First, we were delayed because there was an ambulance and fire truck loading up a snow covered pedestrian laying on the side of the road.  Then we nearly slid out into the highway to be hit by traffic. Thankfully the breaks kicked in at the 11th hour and we had enough traction to stop.   The roads were so icy that we slid down the hill and almost past the church turn 4-wheel drive. We barely made it alive, and we were ten minutes late.

We had all of our praying in for the day before we even arrived in the parking lot of the church.

Some bright spots:

1. I got rock star parking. Turns out folks don't flock to church in a blizzard.
2. I was forgiven for my tardiness.
3. I got to wear my snow boots to church. Toasty toes make me happy.

The good news is that there is nothing but sunny skies in this week's forecast. WooHoo!

Ain't nobody gonna steal my sunshine,


Monday, February 18, 2013

Living Life Outside Of The Box

I was cleaning up the living room when I spotted it out of the corner of my eye.

The kids were scattered through the house working on their school assignments, so I used my most serious "Mom" voice to fire off a stern warning:

"KIDS! If I find this horse tooth sitting on my couch one more time, it's gonna be mine forever!"

As soon as I blurted the words out, I had to keep myself from chuckling because:

1. I have no desire to keep a 30 year old horse tooth for myself.
2. I'm not even sure what one does with an old, nasty tooth of this nature.
3. I instantly realized that this was an odd thing to be hollering across the house, and that most people don't have equine body parts lying on their couch.

Evidently, the horse tooth is a prized possession because my threat brought three children racing down the hallway to rescue the tooth from the wrath of Mom.

In an instant, I realized just how different our lives are from our urban counterparts.

While many of my children's friends were sitting in a classroom on Friday, our kids were with us at a vet appointment.  Armed with pencil, paper, and a camera, my daughter interviewed the vet as he floated her horse's teeth.

For 45 minutes she observed, asked questions, wrote down information, and took pictures of the whole process, including the tools and their names.

 Our two vets were incredibly generous and patient, taking the time to answer all of her inquiries while they worked.  They were PRICELESS!!! One vet was excited to bring out the skull of a 7 year old mare, and began to show the kids how the horse chews, what the horse's teeth look like, and how to tell the age of a horse.

Below is a tooth from the skull. He explained to the kids that a horse's teeth are about 4" long, and keep growing upward until eventually, they have worn down so far, there is nothing left to keep them in the mouth so they fall out.

The tooth below was really loose on Friday so the vet pulled it right out of our old horse's mouth and gave it to the kids. They compared its length to that of the 7 year old horse.

In addition to being present for the horse teeth floating, the kids also helped run the gates for heifer Bangs vaccinating, ear tattooing, and applying the metal ear clips.

After the afternoon spent with the vet, the kids went home with their new-found knowledge, combined it with  other research, and wrote a report.  Our son wrote his on animal identification methods, and our daughter wrote hers on horse teeth floating. Our littlest is doing her report on horse grooming.

Finally, they took their reports and turned them into presentations, complete with pictures and visual aids.  They'll present them orally to their entire 4-H group tonight.

I feel so blessed that through homeschooling, our kids have many opportunities to interact with great mentors in our community, learn things first hand (not just out of books in a classroom), and share their new knowledge with friends in a way that really challenges them to get out of their comfort zone.

Tonight, we returned from a trip to Dairy Queen and as we walked through the front door, my husband noticed the dog drop that old tooth out of its mouth and on to the floor. He must have retrieved it from the girls' bedroom.

My husband hollered, "KIDS! You better put that horse tooth away before the dogs try to eat it up!"

I just cracked up. It appears that the dogs think that old tooth is as much of a treasure as the children do.

Yes, we live life outside the "normal" box, but I wouldn't have it any other way.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday on the Home Front

( As always feel free to share what's going on in your neck of the woods in the comments, or on your own blog. Just let me know so I can come read it!)


Snow, snow, and more snow with another 10" expected today. The high today is 28°F and the low is 12°.

In the Kitchen:

I'm slow cooking a roast for Italian Beef Sandwiches tonight.  ( I use one jar of Pepperoncinis OR Italian Giardiniera, not both.)

Browned Butter Rice Krispies treats
I'm loving this Rice Krispie Treat Recipe that a blog friend pinned on Pinterest. It truly has the PERFECT ratio of butter/marshmallow to cereal.  If there's one thing I hate, it's dry Rice Krispie Treats. These are YUMMY!!!

In the Bathroom:

 My hair really takes a beating with my life-long curling iron obsession, and the fact that I heat style it every. single. day. It's been feeling a little dry this winter so I bought this Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil and so far, I'm enjoying its conditioning properties. I know that there are far more expensive versions of this online, but this was only $6 at Walmart, and it got good reviews.  I only apply a scant dime sized amount to the ends of my hair (where the curling abuse occurs) when I get out of the shower, being careful not to get it up near my roots where my head produces its own oils. When I blow dry my hair and style it, my hair feels soft, and curls up nicely without even a hint of oiliness. It just renewed that bounce that my hair has after a fresh cut from the salon.

(Not a Paid advertisement) ;)

In the School Room:
OK, who am I kidding, I don't have a school room. At my kitchen table, the kids are working diligently on their assignments, and the days seem to be a bit long.  We try to get as much done as possible these winter months while the snow flies, because spring and summer months are where the real learning takes place outside of the classroom with calving season, travel, and outdoor adventures. 

In the Pasture:
This will be a busy week with the vet. Heifer Bangs Vaccinations, Horse teeth floating, Annual equine vaccines, and a follow-up visit for Jake's leg injury. The cows are due at the end of March, and are looking more plump these days.

In the Feed Shed:
We waged an all out assault on the mice, and have trapped 18 in a week. There is a lull in the activity so we may have temporarily eradicated them, no thanks to the lazy cat. The mice paid a high price for the bag of peppermint flavored horse treats that they devoured. Take that, Vermin!!!

Over the Air Waves:
We're listening to an audio book from the library. It's a Newberry Award Winner called, "A Year Down Yonder" by Richard Peck.  It's about a 15 year old girl from Chicago who goes down south to live with her grandmother for a year.  With its setting around the time of The Great Depression, there are a lot of great lessons about resourcefulness, frugality, and counting every small blessing.  We're only half way through the book, but it has already sparked many conversations with the kids about history, character traits, and finding real joy in the midst of hard times. I hope the second half is as good as the first!

On the bookshelf:

New Home for Lily, A (The Adventures of Lily Lapp)

We just received a copy of "A New Home For Lily" by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher. It's the second book in "The Adventures of Lily Lapp" Series, and we were so excited to find it in our mailbox! We've thoroughly enjoyed reading a few chapters before bedtime each night.  More on this book to come when we've finished it......

On the Calendar:
This is going to be a full week with Valentine's Day, sorting cows, riding lessons, vet visits, and a date night!

Happy Monday, Readers!


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Extreme Sledding

We had GORGEOUS weather on Saturday! After we did the chores, checked cows, and filled water tanks, we had the entire afternoon to play in the snow.  

The sled hill had some serious ramps that propelled the kids high in the air.  Big air also brings big wipe-outs.

The sled with the steering wheel used to be my husband's when he was a boy. They just don't make them like that anymore. It's as fast as greased lightning.

Our baby is a total dare-devil.

Our son is a serious sledder.  "No guts, no glory" is his motto.  As soon as his sled came to a stop, he was right back up the hill to make another run.  He took a few spills, but other than a few bruises, he walked away unscathed.

 It was REALLY bright outside... hence the squinty eyed boy.

 The sledding hill also happens to be located in the Wallow Fire burn area.  It's sad, really.  It just looks like a bunch of match sticks all around.

Even the grandparents got in on the sledding action!! Below, Pop Pop is taking a ride down the hill.  The sleds go faster with the grown-ups aboard.

Even I had a few runs... screaming all the way down the mountain. Ha Ha!

Judging by the smiling faces, I'd say it was a successful day on the sled hill.

A day of fun and silliness was exactly what this family needed!