Thursday, July 28, 2011

Funniest Drinking Fountian Ever

RIP Millie

Yesterday was entry day at the fair.  The kids did well and I will post about it another day.  About half way home last night Spark started to cry that one of the goats had died.  He even came in and lay on his bed crying saying that he couldn't do chores.  The kids never complain about doing chores so we knew that he wasn't just trying to get out of them.  We always worry that something is going to happen when we are gone so as soon as we got home Dad ran out to check on them and everyone was fine.  He did all the chores and came in.  About half an hour later he saw that he left the light on in the barn.  He went out to turn it off and when he opened the barn door he heard this moaning sound coming from one of the pens.  He saw that Millie was laying upside down by the door.  When he opened the door she fell out and died, at least he thought she was alive before he opened the door.  She was extremely bloated so we have no idea what happened to her and how she would have gotten in that position as goats don't lay on their backs and she was just eating the same hay we always give them when he left them. 

We have had her over five years, we bought her as a young kid, and we are all so sad about this.  We had plans with friends today and Dancer had a rehearsal at the fair for her Art-In show so we went on with them because we thought it would be good for the kids.  Every time I would think about her I would have to fight back the tears a little bit.  Her son, Niko, has been crying for her.  Every time I thought of him crying for her I would have to fight back the tears.  This is the part I hate about having animals.

How Spark felt that his was going to happen we don't know.  He doesn't know.   

The picture above is Millie with her little goat Phillip that only lived three days, we thought he had a heart problem.  This is my favorite picture of her.  Now he has his mother back.   

Monday, July 25, 2011

American Chinese American

Today we saw a tour group of Chinese students taking pictures of Americans while we were waiting at a stop light.  So we turned it into Americans taking pictures of Chinese taking pictures of Americans.  We had hoped for a quick snap but Dad had trouble getting the camera to work and by the time he did they had spotted us and were waving.  We all waved too like this was the most normal thing in the world for us to take pictures of people we don't know.

I Think We Irritate Our Neighbor

Our human neighbors pasture goes right up along side the road where we walk.  When their cows are out they always stop grazing and look at us.  Not just a normal look but a glare.  A glare that says,  who are you trespassing in my pasture?  A glare that sometimes makes me wonder, is there something on my face, is my shirt on backwards, do I have a trail of toilet paper stuck on my shoe, bad breath, some other offending oddity?  You may think "One cow that's not so creepy".   But this is just the tip of the iceberg, there are dozens more like her.  Watching, waiting, plotting some nefarious scheme.

They complain noisily as we continue our walk, often walking along side of us to make sure we are really leaving.  Maybe they are like that "Far Side" cartoon; standing on hind legs, leaning on trees, smoking cigarettes, only to act like cows when humans are near?  When they feel we have moved a desirable distance from them they get their graze back on.  Is it jealousy?  We can hear these cows so I'm sure they can hear our goats.  Perhaps our goats mournful wailing is actually gloating about their treat filled life.  Sometimes I wonder if they are trying to follow us home.

When we turn around to return home we get the stink eye again.  Last year there was a really pretty brown cow that Dancer dubbed "Lilly" but this year we haven't seen her, just these annoyed bovines.  We walk there pretty often so I'm sure they will warm up to us like Lilly did.

Jungle Jacket

I made Spark this jacket.  He picked the fabric from the basement stash and loved the green jungle, that is what he calls it, fabric on the top.  There wasn't enough for the whole jacket so he got part green sleeves and bottom front.  The back is the jungle fabric.  This was very frugal.  The fabric and thread I already had and the zipper I ripped out of an old coat of Dad's that he throwing away.   All I had to buy was one yard of interfacing.

The pattern was McCall's M5538.  The jacket went together neatly but the directions as written were a disaster.  I don't know if they were written in another language and translated to English or if there was a intern writing them or what.  I sewed my own wedding dress that wasn't as confusing as these directions.  I finally ended up just looking at all the pieces and figured out the best way to put them together. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Split Rail Fence Quilt

This quilt was a long time in the making.  Two years ago Dancer got excited about a quilt during the fair.  So in August of 2009 we bought the fabric, cut out the strips and started sewing.  When seeing how much work this quilt is for a 12 year old she quickly fizzled.  Last year she was going to try again to get it done for the fair.  Start out strong again and quickly fizzled.  This year I told her she was going to get it done, there would be no fizzling.  It took us a couple months but it is done and ready for the fair next week. 

The quilt done and on her bed.  She said that she is never going to make another one, which I can't argue with, but she is happy that she made this one now that it is done.

Close up of the fabrics.  When she first picked these out I didn't like them or think they went together at all but now that I see them all together they work wonderfully.  She has a much better sense of what colors go together and decorating that I do so I should just listen to her.

The back of the quilt.  I finished it for her which is okay in the 4-H rules.  We got a regular size sheet and a put polar fleece on the inside.  Quilting fabric is insanely expensive for a piece the size of the back which is why we went with the sheet.  Quilt batting is also expensive and we have bins and bins of polar fleece so the choice was expensive batting or fleece we already owned.  The decision wasn't hard to make.

To finish the quilt I sewed about three full side and then both corners on the fourth.  With pink thread I sewed on each side of the pink fabric as it went across the quilt.  Then I hand sewed the rest of the fourth side by hand. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dancer Is Home - Yes!

Dancer has been gone for the last two days to learn the play, 4-H Arts-In, that they put on at the fair all next week.  I want her to go and have a good time but I miss her terrible and am happy that she is here tonight. 

She came back just happier than happy.  The temps were in the high 90's with horrible humidity but they were learning dances so she was in her glory.  They also went swimming and stayed up half the night watching movies and playing games.

Another mom picked her and another girl up from our club.  When they got to our house to drop Dancer off, after a trip to the Dairy Queen which we haven't frequented since we started our diet in February so she was happy about that too, they came in and did the dances for us.  There was lots of laughing so I know they had a good time and the dances are good.  Can hardly wait to see the whole thing all together! 

Veggie Tales Apron

Made with pattern Simplicity 2319 and Bob and Larry Veggie Tale fabric.  I smile just looking at those little guys.  We have such good memories of watching the videos and sing silly songs in the car when the kids were little.   Actually we still watch them once in a while, Spark just had one out of the library last week.  The silly song on the new one wasn't as good as the old ones but it is hard to beat the Cheeseburger song, Cebu or Everybodies Got a Water Buffalo. 

This pattern has the adjustable straps where the neck strap is connected to the back ties and can be made longer or shorter.  I always think aprons have too long neck straps on them and end up putting a knot in the strap to make it shorter.  Also, since I am wearing shorts in the picture it looks like a jumper.  But we homeschool and isn't that the stereotype for homeschool moms, that we are jumper wearers?  For the record, none of my friends or I wear jumpers. 

I am going to put it in the fair next week so hope it wins a prize!  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's Too Hot To Make Cookies Cookies

Well, okay, these are actually the Chinese Haystacks but we made them because it was too hot out to start the oven.  Dancer need a snack for today for a 4-H event.  We thought we would make cake for her to bring but when the house was already 84 degrees, with the air on, we just couldn't bring ourselves to use to the oven.  The other good thing about these is they take very little effort, we were lacking in motivation as well.

Chinese Haystacks

2 bags chocolate chips (we tried one it wasn't enough)
1 bag Chow Mien noodles.

Dump the noodles in a big bowl.  Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave.  Pour the chocolate on the noodles and stir until well covered.  Plop spoonfuls out on wax paper.  No ideally they harden and you put them in a air tight container.  However, if it hot and humid out they need no go in the fridge for a while or the chocolate will not harden. 

This morning we pack up, pick up another girl and got on the freeway take them to the event which is an overnight thing at the fair grounds.  I am passing this slow van hauling a trailer and they swerve over into our lane.  I have to put on the brakes and then lay on the horn.  They get back over into the other lane and we pass them - what were they doing? - reading!  If I had almost just hit another car going 70 miles an hour and they honked at me, I would have put the book down.  Reading and driving don't mix.  Don't they cover that somewhere in Driver's Ed?

Monday, July 18, 2011

County Fair

After vacuuming water for hours and hours, we took some time Saturday to go to a county fair.  We wanted to check over the 4-H projects and open class.  On the way in there was this little petting zoo.

This camel was so soft.  Dancer is feeding him snacks from one of those little gum ball dispenser like machines that they put corn in.  When he wasn't being fed he was licking the dispenser.  He knew where the food came from!

Spark went down this big slide, it looked pretty fun.  It was terrible muddy there and hotter than hot and so muggy it was almost hard to breath so we didn't stay very long.

The kids look so calm for having a dinosaur charging up behind them.

We stopped to look for a couple geocaches while we were out and these little birdie's mom flew out of a tree I was looking in and me scaring me half to death.  I thought she was a bat.  I don't like bats. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rain, Rain, Rain, Wet, Wet, Wet, Humidity, Humidity, Humidity

Another storm came through on Friday morning and dropped about five inches of rain on us in two and half hours.  Water ran down the driveway like a river, around the house, and came full bore out the gutters.  It stared to pool at the door of our basement, rose about five inches above the door jam and came into the family room.  We had water down there that was up to our ankles. 

Outside the door we hooked up a portable pump, bought for this same reason a several years ago, and pumped steadily for about three hours where it ran out the hose just like it was on full blast from the faucet.  Later in the day we were able to pump every twenty minutes or so and then yesterday didn't have to pump at all. 

In the basement we vacuumed out with the wet/dry vac hundreds of gallons of water.  That doesn't include what ran back out the door when the water outside went down.  Now we are down to vacuuming with the carpet cleaner.  Good luck to anyone who wants to take me on in arm wrestling by the time this is over.  Hours and hours of vacuuming has to have built up some muscle, at least that is what mine are telling me every morning as I am trying to get out of bed. 

With the mounds of snow we had this last winter and the over 15 inches of rain we have gotten in the last two months the water table is higher than the basement.  There is still water standing in the driveway that has no where to soak in. 

Add to all this the humidity that is sitting at about 100 percent.  The temps are up in the 90's but the sun isn't shining because it is so cloudy out.  There is a fog that is hanging over the land.  The windows on the house are fogged up on the outside of the house.  When we walk outside our glasses fog up.  It's 12:30 and the grass is still wet, the trees are wet, the deck is wet, our wooden front door is dripping with condensation.  We can just list everything because it is all wet. 

Another batch of storms is being forecasted for the next two days, let's hope they are wrong as weathermen often are. 

I was thinking this morning about how powerful water really is.  Too much and we have flooding, too little and we are in trouble too.  Not sure which is worse.  It seeps in everywhere and there is no way to keep it out and the damage is leaves in it's wake can be devastating.   And yet I am thankful as this too shall pass.  Until then I will just keep vacuuming and singing "out came the sun and dried up all the rain and the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again".  We will climb up our spout again!

The Nut Magnet

This is an invention Spark would like to create.  It would be a magnet that would pick out the nuts from a can of mixed nuts.  You could turn a dial to pecans and all the pecans would be sucked out of the can.  Turn it to almonds and all the almonds would come out and so on.  It sure would beat everyone digging through the can for their favorites. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Quilting Field Trip

We are closing in on the end of the banner our 4-H club is making for the fair.  The mother that is the head of our banner committee knows a woman who quilts and was gracious enough to invite us into her house and teach us how to finish a quilt.  This machine is major cool.  I don't see one in our future though as she said she was deciding between getting a 4-wheeler or this and she chose this, although the 4-wheeler would have been much cheaper. 

Spark quilting on the banner.

These pictures are on backwards, first they got to practice, as Dancer is doing here, and then they worked the banner.

Tricks For Food

Nikki's diet is working, her face looks thinner and she is having an easier time jumping on the bed but she is one miserable little pupper.  She sits by the table at meal time and barks for treats, if we drop a crumb in the kitchen she dashes in there to snatch it up before we can get it and gives us the sad eyes when we have a snack.  I don't think she is consoled by the line, "This is for your own good."

We were at the store in the dog food aisle picking out her dog food and we came upon these little packets of Moist and Meaty food that look like treats.  They got her super excited thinking the 'no treat ban' had been lifted.

For each piece she does a little trick - getting some exercise in too!

This is her rolling over, she is so fast the sport setting on the camera couldn't catch her still.

She gets down to start to roll over

then gets back up to do a couple turns

before doing the actual roll.

Then she bows for her snack.  These pictures we all taken in the span of about three seconds.  She is fast!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Yet Another Storm

The second storm in a week came through our area.  I was out mowing lawn and by 8:00 p.m. it was dark out and lightning was starting in the west.  I put the lawn mower in the garage and the kids quick got the goats in and we headed in the house.  On the t.v. we could see on the radar a big storm and I saw that it had just gone over Grandpa Bob and Grandma Shirley's house.  I called them and they said that it was bad but they didn't have any damage.  When I called them the air was absolutely still.  We talked for a couple of minutes and I said I had to go because we needed to go in the basement.  It came that fast.  The actual wind only lasted about 15 minutes but it rained much longer.  Once the storm part was over and we just to the rain I thought, "good the electricity stayed on." The motion light on the barn was turning on and off, on and off, so I ran out there quick to turn it off.  On my way back in the lights went out.  Of course, Dad was at work as it seems he always is when these things hit.  We were some of the lucky ones in the area, our lights were only off for four and half hours, other went a whole day before their power was restored.  It was dark out when the storm finished so we couldn't see what damage we had until the next morning.

The top of this pine tree should be

up here.

Dad has a big halo, crazy picture phenomenon or is he really that saintly?  Lots of branches down.

Lots of branches still hanging in the trees.  We are still pondering how we are going to get them down.

The kids had just put the picnic table and the chairs behind the house so that I could mow the backyard and we found them around the side of the house and 20 yards away from the house.

The winds were so strong they blew over a wood pile that was leaning against the shed.

Another pine tree that the top blew off but is just hanging on the top of the tree.  Again, wondering what the best way to get that down will be.

This tree lost a big branch in the storm last week and now an even bigger branch blew off.  Soon we won't have any trees left to go down in a storm.

Another lawn chair blew from the house down the driveway and was stopped by a tree. 

The oddest thing we had happen was that out of this window blew

this pane of glass.  It fell from about five feet high and four feet out into the  yard and never broke, not even a chip.

We had a bunch more branches down, other things blown around the yard (like the charcoal starter that we keep under the grill was out by the road) and scads of sticks of various sizes to pick up.  We have our work cut out for us.  Around the area we didn't even have close to the worse damage.  Some places roofs blew off, trees fell on cars and buildings, basements flooded, and one friend was even driving in their car worried that they were going to be blown off the road. 

As we were coming in from the barn, before we knew about the big storm, I did mention to the kids that they should put the 4-H planter in the garage "just in case" and so it is still looking great.  We have a couple little tomatoes starting on it which we hope will be big in two weeks for the fair.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

F-14 Tomcat

Spark finished his model.  As usual, he was completely enamored with Dancer's model and when it came time to do his he was like, "eh." 

This is a pretty interesting plane.  It belonged to the Navy and flew from 1970 to 2006.  We found a ton of information on the web with lots more interesting tidbits.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Monkey, Monkey!

I took the kids to a parade today and we set up our chairs along side the road to wait for it to start.  I set mine down and Dancer put her's to the right of mine and then I said to Spark, "Come sit over here by me."  "Sure" he says, "you can be the monkey in the middle!"  I told him if I was the monkey then they were the cuckoos and I took a picture of both the cuckoos from my monkey seat.

 Cuckoo to the left.

Cuckoo to the right.

It looks like there isn't hardly anyone else watching the parade in these pictures and that is because there wasn't.  There is a lot of road construction in town and this was the only way they floats could get out of town without having to make a bunch of turns.  This is a new route and so on the whole street, which spanned about five blocks, there probably wasn't more than 40 people.  Can you say candy galore?  We didn't walk downtown but there must have been a ton of people down there because it took a while to get out of town and a sheriff was directing traffic.  I have never had such good seats at a parade before and probably never will again.  Plus, we parked two houses down from where we sat! 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Walk the Dinosaur

We drove to a park, in the middle of almost nowhere, to find a geocache.  The first thing we saw was these two dinosaurs and the rest of the day we had the song "Walk the Dinosaur" stuck in our heads.

Actually, between all of us we could only remember one line of the chorus, so we technically didn't have the "song" stuck in our heads over and over and over and over.  Hate when that happens.  We came home and looked it up on You Tube, now I can remember two lines.

Dad has been working on getting some good cloud pictures for a fair project.  This is the whole play set.

'63 Corvette Convertible

Spark has trouble keeping himself busy with things that don't involve the computer or video games.  If I tell him to do something he does it, but as soon as he has a free moment in his day, which in the summer is most of the time, he reverts to the t.v. or computer.  The book for open class at the county fair came out and a couple of the categories for the 17 and under crowd is model cars, trains, planes, etc.  Perfect, we will get him a model and he can put it together to keep himself busied. 

Off to the store we went to find a model for Spark.  As we were standing there perusing the selection, Dancer got all excited about these models as well, maybe even more so than Spark.  She picked out a '63 Corvette Convertible also known as the Sting Ray.  Almost the second we walked in the door she had the box out and was starting to put it together. 

Dad helped her cut off all the little tabs while Spark looked on.

The top view.  She has taken lots of photos of it so far but these are the best of the best.

And the side view.  I would have never thought to buy a model car for her - shows my kids can still surprise me.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bonfire Fried Eggs

We wanted to see what else we could cook up during a bonfire and decided to give fried eggs a try.  Using our pie irons we heavily buttered the iron and cracked a couple eggs in.

It turned out really good!  It did work better though not to put the two sides together but to just hold one of them over the fire, like a long handled fry pan, and then use a spatula to flip the egg when it was part way done.  Using both the top and the bottom of the pie iron is hard, especially if it is dark out, to see if you have it level until the white starts running out the sides and then you have lost half the egg.  These have become a staple food at our backyard bonfires.