Monday, May 24, 2010

KinderGardens update - Woo Hoo! We have Poo!

I have a friend who works on a horse ranch.  He brought me a truck load of poo yesterday!  I'm so excited.  Yes, I'm excited about a truckload of poo.  Don't say a word.  Just let me be happy about my poo, okay?  Thank you very much for understanding.

I was not expecting a truck of this gigantic size to pull up at my house.

He really knows how to deliver poo!

My kids loved watching the big truck dump out the poo.

If anyone around here needs poo, I know the guy to call!

Climbing poo mountain was lots of fun.

Who knew that a mountain of poo would make them so happy?

and excited!!

Perhaps it's because they know we can get started on their sunflower house soon!

Their seedlings are getting huge!

 Now maybe we can actually get stuff to grow in our pitiful, rocky, clay soil.

Oh, and I got a new tiller!  It's little, but awesome and powerful, and I can do it myself.  We have lots of work to do this week!

Happy Gardening!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

His passion is Baseball

Few children are lucky enough to find something in life that they love doing more than anything else in the whole world, something that they could do all day, every day, and never tire of it.  My son found his when he was 5.

This was back in the brief period of time when he was in public school.  He came home with a flyer for a T-ball team.  I signed him up, thinking he'd probably have fun. 

Actually, let's back up, it was probably before that.  You want to take a guess what his first word was?  No, sadly, it wasn't Mama (and, trust me, I tried hard)  It wasn't Daddy.  It had nothing to do with food.  Yep, it was BALL.  Back then, we had no idea how that one word would permeate this little boy's being.

From as early as I can remember, he was happiest when playing with some sort of ball.

But, I had no idea that playing baseball would make him so happy.

So extremely happy.

He plays all sports with enthusiasm, but when baseball season is here, every thing else in the world takes a back seat to baseball.

This boy waits outside for his daddy to get home from work every single day, with glove, bat, and balls ready, rain or shine.    And his daddy plays ball with him, every single day. 

This boy begs to go to baseball games and practices an hour early and then begs to stay an hour later.

He will stay outside and play ball when all the other boys are done and want to go home.  He'll play until it's so dark, he can't see the ball anymore.

He plays ball in the house and in the rain.

He even plays ball with his little sister.

His determination amazes me.  He never tires of it.  He practices and practices and practices.

Don't get me wrong, he likes other things too.  He likes Spelling (especially when it involves playing Scrabble), animals, reading (especially when it involves animals), and fishing.  Honestly, he loves everything to do with nature and the outdoors.  But he loves baseball more.

According to him, nothing would make him happier than playing baseball every day for the rest of his life.

And nothing makes this mama happier than watching her son do something he loves so much and that brings him so much joy.  There's just nothing like it!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Gardening update

We had our first ever garden fresh (out of my own garden) salad!!   You have no idea how exciting this is considering how last year my entire harvest was 11 tiny tomatoes, 6 green beans, and 2 mini cucumbers.  I'm not kidding.  It was that bad.  With the help of The Vegetable Gardener's Bible and numerous other books,  I AM going to do much better this year.

I present to you my lettuce.  We are very proud of it.  It was wonderful. 

We are still working on getting the weeds out of the garden area.  It was tilled what seems like forever ago because the weeds where I haven't gotten to have grown to 2 feet high.  I am getting a tiller for Mother's Day!  Yes, I know.  One should never ask for something like this for Mother's Day, but I really want one.  It will make my life so much easier.

They have been working so hard.

This is the "I'm tired and hungry, Can I stop now MOM?" look.

Reece tried his best to save every worm that got pulled out with the weeds.

 We brought the babies outside for a little playtime in the grass.  They loved the dirt.

We gave them a worm.  They had no idea what to do with it.  Poor chickens.  They are treated like babies in the house.  I hope they can figure out how to be chickens when they get put outside.

We usually have an audience when we work outside.  Our next door neighbors have cows.  They like to hang out by our fence because it's the only shade in their pasture.  My little one has started naming them all.

We are adding topsoil and horse poop to the dirt trying to make the hard, clay soil better.

Here is one almost finished row:

Straight rows are only for OCD people, right?

Getting to play with the water hose always perks them up!

Reece took a break and asked to use my camera to walk around and take pictures.  This is what he came back with:

I think he may be a better photographer than I am.

Since we are so behind with preparing the soil for planting, I let them start the Sunflower and Morning Glory seeds for their playhouse.  Hopefully, when I get my tiller and we can get the ground ready, the flowers will have a little head start.

One last thing I wanted to share:

Isn't my Mother's Day Bouquet beautiful!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Nature Walk/Ride

On Sunday, we decided to get out of the house and ride up to the nearest little "town" and go for a little walk at a park we drive by all the time but have never stopped at (I guess it's a town-it has a population of 1302).  Half way there, we spotted this guy on the side of the road. 
See, we play this game to pass the long hours in the car.  We try to spot hawks and eagles and get points for finding them based on whether they're flying or perched.  It was much easier to rack up points in winter with bare trees.  Anyway, it helps to pass the time and keeps the siblings from bickering so much.

Dad spotted this guy sitting on a fence post and pulled over so I could get some pictures.  He didn't really like it when I tried to get a little closer.

As I was getting back into the car, we spotted a couple of these little guys in the grass.

We know a lot about backyard birds, but we had no idea what they were.

We got out our trusty bird book when we got home and found out that they are Killdeer.  We also learned that Killdeer have a unique way of distracting predators.  When it feels that its nest is threatened, the adult will pretend to be injured, stumbling along the ground while dragging one of its wings.  When the potential attacker is lured away from the nest, the Killdeer suddenly flies off.  Sorry for the science lesson, I just thought that was really cool.

Soon after we got to the park, we discovered this great, big interesting tree stump.  

I told the kids to climb on top of it so I could take their pictures.  Neither would budge.  They said it has a BIG hole in it that would be a PERFECT home for SOMETHING!

Thinking back, I guess they did have a point.  Dad got a closer look just to be safe.

What he pulled out made my skin shiver.

Reece was thrilled though!

See, he's been a little obsessed with snakes lately.  He has two huge books about snakes and he's read them both cover to cover, several times.  He knows more about snakes than anybody I know.

After Dad checked it out and assured them that whatever was in there is long, gone now, they finally got up on the stump.

It did not surprised me that Ms. fearless was first.

This park has a nice walking trail around a big pond, lots of green grass, tall trees, birds, bugs, and an old, haunted stone building (more about that later).

Here are some of the things we saw:

Reece insisted that I take a picture of this dead tree.  He thought it was interesting and picture worthy.  Who am I to argue?

We have millions of these at home, but this one captured their attention.

Then we came upon the "haunted stone building".

I don't know how he does it, but Dad can always come up with a story, especially scary ones!

He is trying to convince them that we need to come back after dark and go on a spooky hike.  Surprisingly, the kids agree that a scary hike would be lots of fun.

We got closer to the pond again and saw a crazy looking bird/duck?

and some beautiful purple flowers

We were almost back to the car when we heard, "Let's turn around and do it again!"

Ok, one more time.

Back by the spooky house again.

"Let's race up the hill" says the big one.

The sun was just starting to set and everything had a magical glow about it.

We saw the crazy bird/duck again flying over the pond.

I'd never seen a bird like this.  He had a mo-hawk and long legs with webbed feet.

Of course, we looked it up when we got home and discovered that he was a Green Heron.

Just as we were leaving, my little one spotted this guy in the rocks.

This is a Male Northern Prairie Skink.  How do I know, you ask?  The orange glow on his face means that it's mating season.

I won't even get into why his tail is gone.

Quality family time and two hours of science (and they didn't even know it)!  Gotta love that.