Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sadish Radish

Here is our radish crop.  The whole thing.  An entire long row.  The largest one is about as big around as a nickel.  We do have one thing to be thankful for in our radish harvest flop - we don't depend on it to pay the mortgage. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Root Beer Floats

The kids worked at a 4-H fund raiser today selling root beer and orange floats outside a store at the mall.  Now that Spark has finished 6th grade he is officially "Jr. Leader" age.  Uff, now I will spending a lot more time alone when they are both off to activities.  One was bad enough.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Zesty Spinach Soup

Was this good?  Oh yeah!
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 carrot chopped
2 cups chopped celery
3 cloves garlic chopped or pressed
1 tsp. salt
Pinch of pepper
6 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 15 oz. can white beans
1 tsp. curry powder
3 cups baby spinach leaves
Heat oil and add onion, carrots, celery, garlic and salt.  Sauté until the vegetables are golden, about 5 minutes  Add water and bouillon cubes.  Add in rest of ingredients and cook on low until piping hot.  Add the spinach and heat until leaves are wilted.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Favorite Food Show

Dancer made lentil stew and had a Moroccan theme.

Spark made tator tot hotdish, which he ate as soon as the judging was over.
The kids both earned a blue ribbon.  They focused a lot on what was in the dish nutrient wise and that wasn't the kind of questions the judge asked.  However, the rest of the presentation wasn't the best.  You can see here that Spark doesn't have any silverware, that is because Dancer didn't pack any and she needed it when he was done for her place setting.  And the silverware he brought - a salad fork, a steak knife and teaspoon.  The judge should have been able to tell that their mother didn't do the work though!  Their place setting was also lacking in flare, I think we are all just too busy and imagination wasn't there, Spark didn't even have a theme.  

A handful of the kids that were left at the end.  This judging for this project goes about four hours with us getting there at 5:00 p.m. and going until about 9:00 p.m. making it too late for a lot of the little ones to stay to the end and hear the results. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Ridin' That Train

Llama Training After The Storm

The place where llama training is held was hit hard by the storm that came through early last Friday morning.  This tree in their backyard just tipped out of the ground.  For a reference Spark is about five feet six inches.
Here he is standing on the base of the tree with the grass behind.  This is just one of the trees they lost.
Our trailer lights are broken so we couldn't bring our own llamas so the kids worked with some of the trainers llamas.  Dancer worked with this big guy, Arizona.  He was much taller than she is.
Spark worked with this little alpaca.

They line them up and the trainer pretends to be a judge and walks them through how the judging will go.  There is a lot to remember, good thing we have quite a few training sessions left.

Sunday, June 23, 2013





Saturday, June 22, 2013

Longest Day Challenge

Dad, Dancer and Spark got up to see the sun rise.  There are a few things I think just a father should do with his children and watch the sun rise while mom sleeps is one of them.
After eating breakfast at McDonalds they went fishing.  They caught seven nice big fish but, didn't bring the bucket with, so they all went back in the lake.
They got back home around 9:00 a.m. and Spark went right out to the camper to take three hour nap.  Nikki, while she looks like she was up to see the sun rise, is just lazing on the couch in her normal dog fashion.
Excited by all the fish they caught in the morning we went back that night to try and recatch them.  A dog fish that Dancer excitedly reeled in.  It is all dirty because it fell in the drive and then it took a little chasing to get a good hold on it.  Dog fish are not really a food, I suppose if you were really hungry you could eat it.
The bait station.  Spark isn't all that interest in the actual act of fishing, he likes to come with and bait hooks and take off the fish.  Dancer is our true fisherman, she always catches way more than the rest of us.  I think she has so much success because they can sense that she doesn't eat them.  On the other hand, the family is lucky they don't have to rely my fishing skills for nourishment.  I have a license solely so I can legally hold the pole. 

We left the PWA just in time.  As we were driving out, the sky opened up and the rain started to fall like it was being poured out of a bucket.  No sunset for the longest day challenge.When we got to our house the rain hadn't started yet and we were able to get inside and close all the windows before it started. 
We had enough fish for a snack so we cleaned them, fried them up and enjoyed them right away.  11:00 p.m. is not too late for eating fish. 
Mr. Fluffles was seriously hoping this had his name on it.

Dancer caught this bullhead and we decided to keep him and see how he tasted too.  I remember my aunt Loretta use to go out at night and fish for these ugly buggers, they were her favorite fish.  We cleaned it up and I have to say, in the future we will be saving them, she was pretty tasty.
The longest day then turned into the shortest night.  Once it started raining it didn't stop.  We went to bed because it looked like a normal rain storm.  At 2:45 though we were awaken by the electricity going on and off, on and off and everything beeping when it would come back on.  It did this for about three times and then we lost power.  I got up to find flashlights and see what was happening.  What was happening was that our basement was getting wet.  We have a low spot outside the door and it comes up over the door jam.  So with the wet vac right by us, but no power to turn it on, we started to scoop and mop water.  Thankfully right about then the rain stopped and we only had a couple of buckets come in.  Outside it sounded like a tornado was coming through, that freight train sound, and the trees were whipping back and forth. Thought we should try to find a local radio station and it sounded nothing was mentioned for our area.  We sat up about another hour and watched.  By about 4:30 I prayed for safety and went back to bed.  I don't know how long it lasted but in the morning we had a tree down and about a bazillion branches.  We have a couple more nights of storms forecasted so we are going to wait with the clean up until after all this bad weather leaves us.  We are very fortunate, a lot of people in the area still don't have power back since Friday morning and it could take as long as Monday or Tuesday in some places.  Ours was back on by the time we go up.  There was also a couple houses that burned from lightening strikes.  And another positive note - the garden got watered!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day Camp Training

If the training was this crazy with a shaving cream relay, the actual camp should be insanely fun!

Cabbage Egg Foo Young

This doesn't look beautiful and I must admit that I would have never tried this recipe if looking through a cookbook.  The reason we made it was because Dancer and I took a health class this spring and it was a sample at one of the classes.  After taking one bite I remember thinking, dang, I wish this wasn't just a sample but my dinner.

Cabbage Egg Foo Young

3 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 T. soy sauce
6 large eggs
vegetable oil for frying

2 cups chicken broth
2 T. cornstarch
1 1/2 T. soy sauce

Stir together all ingredient for the patties.  Prepare the sauce in a saucepan.  Whisk over medium heat until thickened - it will also thicken upon standing.  Keep the sauce warm.  To make the patties pour 1/3 cup portions of the cabbage mixture onto a hot, very lightly oiled griddle.  Brown on both sides and serve hot with sauce poured over the top of each patty.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Snowball Bush

We have this beautiful snowball bush that is heavily covered with flowers.
I am always so happy when it blooms because every single year, for the first few years we had it, our naughty goat Maggie would get out of the corral and, as fast as she could, chew each and every bloom off of it

We sold that goat.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

One Fish, Two Fish, No Fish

Our town is having its festival today and Spark entered the fishing contest.
The kids had 35 minutes to catch as many fish as they could and they proclaimed the winner by the person with the most weight of fish.  There were a lot of one and two ounce fish and the biggest one we heard was six ounces.  Spark didn't catch anything which made him quite disappointed.
I waded out in the water to take a picture of Spark on the shore, where the water was crazy cold, we haven't had really had any warm weather to speak of.  When I downloaded the picture I saw that the rest of the family was plenty busy on the shore as well.  Here it looks like Dad is playing the air bugle.  It is early in the morning so he is probably belting out reveille.

And Dancer, "put your right foot in and you shake it all around, do the hokey pokey."  That is what its all about!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Can I Eat That Wild Plant?

Continuing on our survival theme at co-op, this week we learned about plants that can and can't be eaten. 
A few things we learned that are true:
  • Plants are a valuable source of food because they are widely available and easily found
  • You identify plants using factors such as leaf shape and margin, leaf arrangements, and root structure.
  • Stay away from grain heads with ink, purplish, or black spurs.
  • You can eat any berries you can positively identify.
  • Purple, blue and black berries are 90% eatable.
  • The inner bark of a tree (especially cotton wood, birch, aspen, willow and pine) may be eaten raw or cooked.
  • Acorns are this country's most important wildlife food - there are 85 different oaks in the USA
  • You can eat most parts of burdock, cattails, and dandelions.
  • You can make different dyes using onion skins, walnut hulls or pokeberries.
  • Plants can be used to help in cases of aches and sprains.
  • Knowing poisonous plants is as important as knowing edible plants.
A few things that are false:
  • You don't need to identify plants in order to use them as food or medicine.
  • One rule to follow is to watch the animals and eat what they eat.
  • All plants with a red color are poisonous
  • Plants generally poison by contact only.
  • If you boil the plant in water, it will kill all the poison.
  • You should burn a contact poisonous plant once you identify it.
  • There are only two poisonous plants known to us that cause skin irritations
  • You can eat mushrooms in any survival situation.
  • Tasting or swallowing a small amount of a plant is ok even if you don't know what it is.
  • You can eat as much of a plant as you want  if you are hungry.
  • It is safe to eat any plants that have beans, bulbs or seeds inside the pods.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Why The Cats Can't Be Left Unattended


Do you get it?  Do you get it now?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Birthdays All Around

For Grandma Pat's birthday we took her and Grandpa to a Mexican place for dinner.  When it is your birthday they come over with a sombrero and sing a peppy happy birthday song to you and present you with deep fried ice cream.  I think every table in the place was celebrating a birthday. 

The mural outside the building, a generational picture.
Nikki also celebrates her birthday the same day as Grandma Pat.  She was super excited and danced around while we sang her happy birthday.  She didn't care about being sung to, that was more for us humans enjoyment.
Instead of deep fried ice cream she got a container of wet dog food.  Now that is what happy birthdays are made of!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

We Got A Real Regular Show Going On Here

We are going through a lot of cat food.  Last time this happened, oddly almost to the day, we had a raccoon helping himself to the free buffet.  Here is his story.  Assuming one of his friends was visiting this year we set out the live trap.   We were quite surprised in the morning to find this fellow in the trap.  I didn't even know you could catch a bird in a live trap. 
Is that you Mordecai?   Man, was he mad and he wasn't afraid to let us know how mad he was either.  Dad opened the trap door and he flew out and just kept flying until he was out of the yard and out of sight.
We thought it was pretty funny that last year we got a raccoon and this year a blue jay since one of our favorite shows is The Regular Show staring Mordecai a blue jay and Rigby a raccoon.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Llamas Got A New Ride

To haul the girls around we got them a new to us trailer as they are too big to both fit in the van, although people have told us they would ride in there.  Loading them started out good, Nora walked right in and Marceline was right behind.
The Marceline stopped.  Stubbornly stopped.  Stopped like push on her back side to get her in the trailer stopped.
When we finally got her in I think she said to Nora, "You know Nora, I don't think this is a good idea."
"Oh, wait, they are serving yummy alfalfa pellets!"  Her absolute favorite treat is dandelions, we should have grabbed a handful of those, its not like we don't have enough.
The girls went to their first llama training where they are going to learn how to win a ribbon at the fair.  While I thought they were never going to be ready for the fair, a lady who actually knows what she is doing, in about an hour had them doing things I never thought possible.  There is hope for them yet!