Wednesday, August 28, 2019

1st Soccer Game

Our soccer guy's first game is in the books. His team lost 1-4, but they played with heart and no one got upset about the score, so I think there is real potential in their team. We'll have a rematch with the winning team in a couple of weeks, and Hen seems as enthusiastic as ever to work on playing even better.

Side note: he did get in a little trouble during the game for how often he was messing with his hair... so he is now sporting a sleeker and much shorter new 'do... and hopefully that will make a difference for the next game!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Coming In

It's crispy, it's weed-ridden, and it's more full of grasshoppers than anything anyone would probably find appetizing, but it's still giving us a little something! I'm talking about my poor late-August garden, of course. The weeds in the paths are knee-high and there are seriously grasshoppers out there over 3 inches long, but there are also 7 different kinds of peppers still hanging in there and a huge volunteer watermelon that just gave us 5 sweet perfect little sugar babies. It even looks like our tomatoes might have another round in them! So whenever I can brave the 108F heat index, I run out there and pick like a madwoman, then come back in and scour my books on what exactly I can make next with red serranos, or another round of jalapenos, or even more cowhorns... so far it's been pepper salt, pepper powder, pickled peppers, and lots and lots of hot sauce!

Next on my list: how to make agua fresca with seedy little watermelons! But I'm just glad there's still something coming in!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Third and Fifth

My Littles are back at school today, y'all. More than ever before, this summer seems like it flew by. Despite our best efforts, I felt a little under-prepared this morning, to tell the truth. Standing in the dark kitchen packing lunches and listening to the thunder (because of course it rained for the first day of school), it felt a little surreal that I was packing the lunches that would start Henry's third grade year and Audrey's fifth grade year. (Even typing that felt weird.)

Henry woke up and came downstairs dressed and ready to embrace the day. Audrey, on the other hand, came down in her pajamas already filled with anxiety and very reluctant to get to school. Partly due to the unknown that is any first day of school, and partly because she had some trouble with some of the kids in her class last year, she kept that anxiety with her all the way through the door into her classroom, and although I did my best to give her a good solid pep talk, I think the only thing that will bring her around to her usual enthusiasm for school will be the experience of the first few days and the difference a summer break can make.

I know this year will be better... but that isn't stopping me from whispering a mantra for her, over and over, and holding it in my heart until she gets back home- keep an open mind, try your best, and find the kindness in the group, brave strong girl.

This school thing never gets any easier, y'all. But we're getting it done.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Three Days...

It never fails, y'all- three days until the First Day of School, and everyone finds their summer rhythm. Audrey starts sleeping in past 9am, Henry gets hooked on a chapter book series, everyone finally shifts to getting hungry at noon... and on Wednesday we all get back on School Time.


I guess we'd better just enjoy it while it lasts.

All three days of it.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Teenage Peeps (Updated)

Since the beginning of the summer, we've had six little puffballs living in the garage in a "brooder" borrowed from Aunt Karen and Uncle Larry. Happy and safe, they grew and grew... and got smellier, and smellier... and smellier.

Then, over the weekend, we realized all the room in the brooder had somehow been filled with teenager chickens, and it was time for them to move out.

Now, this is the first time I've had to blend younger chicks with an established flock, and I've been reading everything I can lay my eyeballs on to make sure I don't mess things up! Right now I'm 99% sure they are not big enough to go out with the big girls in the proper chicken coop, so what to do with these big-little chicks?

Revive the chicken tractor, of course!

I added a perch at the back, a solid wood panel in the middle, and a small tile roof for shade and rain protection, then wrapped the whole thing in hardware cloth to protect them against snakes. They have now spent two nights out there and so far all is well! The major flaw right now is that something motivated enough could dig under it, but at night I push them up closer to the house with the hopes that Suka's scent might discourage things from lingering.

Phase two will be pushing the chicken tractor into the big girl chicken run so they can all start getting used to each other. But that probably won't be for another week or two I think.

For now, the Chicken Friends approve of the new Peep's new digs, and I have heard both report that the little feather girls are clearly happier out there, as they get "peep zoomies" every time they're visited by their people.

I sure am happier with them out there, too- at least now our garage doesn't smell like teenage peeps!

Post edit:
Overnight it appears a coyote found and exploited the biggest weakness of the tractor: there is nothing to stop a digging predator. There were no survivors. 

Designs are now underway for a rebuilt chicken yard with a peep pen within the fortress walls. We will rebuild... and we will try again.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Soccer Guy

Hen's a soccer guy now, did you know? We have moved beyond the community center "fundamentals" sessions and he is now a member of a real team... and apparently at this level, they'll be playing real games that follow all the real soccer rules, they'll keep score, and the best part- according to Henry- is that in a few more weeks, they'll all have real uniforms.

That should be fun... I already have to fight him to keep him from wearing his shin guards and cleats out to, say, the grocery store... but he is so excited about this, y'all.

I was a little worried after the first meet-and-greet/practice; he is the only kid out of the 11 of them on the team that has never been on a sports team. After the second practice, though, I am feeling great about it all- he is very average compared to the majority of them. Truthfully, there are only two kids on the team that look like they know what they're doing, ha! And once Hen realized that for himself, he relaxed and dove right in!

And he's not the only one loving this new thing we're now doing twice a week...

Big sister has voluntarily come to 2/3 practices- in the heat- to sit on the sidelines, refill water bottles, and cheer for her Bubba. I think we're off to a great start with our Soccer Guy.

First game should be at the end of August!