Sunday, February 6, 2011

Grandpa's Cabin at Wildwood

Early last fall, the kids had a Scholar School retreat up at Wildwood, the community of cabin properties where my Grandpa Vance built a cabin decades ago. I hadn't been up there since I was a little girl, so I took advantage of the opportunity and hauled all the kids up there so I could show them a little piece of family history. Not much has changed on the exterior. The river still runs down in front. There is still the little hike up the mountain behind the cabin that we used to do as kids where we used to collect snail shells and other treasures. The most noticably missing thing is the GIGANTIC swing that used to hang down from one of the enormous trees out back where my grandpa used to push me so I could swing as high as I could get.
Overall, the cabin is a little smaller than I remember. The upstairs loft seemed enormous when I was little. We used to spend the 4th of July up at the cabin every year with our cousins. I know it sounds funny, but I have not been able to replace that tradition in all these years. Even now, July 4th is always lacking...something.
These are my kids sitting in front of their great-grandpa's cabin. They never knew him, and it is weird to think that some of them are the ages that I was when I came here as a child.

This is the lawn out front where we used to play. Grandma had a croquet set up at the cabin that we would arrange on this lawn. Even though I don't think any of us knew the actual rules to croquet, we just made them up as we went. It was magical enough just to have a mallet and a ball that matched each other in color. We also played tetherball on this lawn and looked for mole hills or other underground trails.

This is the patio off the great room where we used to do the BBQing and feed all of us when the weather was nice.

This is the space where the swing SHOULD be. If I were to buy back this property again, that is the first thing I would put back. Funny, the things you remember and what they mean.

This is Chamane checking out the river at the bottom of the rock wall. This is where we put the watermelons to keep them cold in the summer (Grandma always had plenty of watermelon). We also had contests to see who could hold their hands in the freezing cold water the longest. We would constantly rearrange rocks in the river to try to stop up the water. We made various wading pools and waterfalls and would collect things from the river.

I couldn't wait to take my kids on the little hike up the mountain. It was just like I remembered it, except shorter. Then there was the part of the trail that had been added since those days. It turned out to be quite an adventure.

Yes, it really was this steep at the top!! Yikes!

Josh asked if he could stay here.
I wish!

Family Photo 2010

Thanks to my friend, Ruby Franke, we actually had a family picture in 2010.
Thank you so much, Ruby !!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Gang

Most people know us as a bunch of kids who can't keep our house clean to save our lives! We like to watch movies, play basketball, work on this project or that, and do lots of homework and practicing. We are usually busy all of the time, but they don't know the half of it...

Because when there is real work that needs to be done, when the call is issued, or when there is any kind of trouble, you can find us at our real jobs.

Don't mess with us, man!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

He Did It!!!

Well, he did it! I know I am a little late in finally getting to this post, but that does not diminish the pride we feel for our dad finishing his degree and graduating from BYU! Last year was completely insane, but we learned that we could work together and actually accomplish something as a family that seemed to be an impossibility. Tom learned that he could do the work of 2 or 3 men, as he worked at being a dad of 9, worked his full-time job, took full-time classes, and took scouts on campouts every month. Now that he's finished, he is not sure what he will do with all of his spare time. Oh, yeah. He's starting to build a personal training business and actually working on something he loves - helping people improve their health and reach their goals. Go TOM!

The Little Red Hen(s)

I have found myself thinking of the story of the Little Red Hen so often that I thought I should maybe just get myself one...or two...strictly as an object lesson. Actually, I've been thinking about chickens for awhile. Just ask my husband, (who thinks I am completely nuts). Last spring we decided to finally take the plunge. It would be so good for the kids, after all. Granted, it's a little unconventional to take on that much responsibility for the production of ones own food, but I could not have underestimated more the benefits of having kids being so closely involved with the process of learning to work for what they eat, and that is just the (chicken) scratch of the surface.

In May, we brought home 6 baby chicks, only a few weeks old. Since they were growing every day, that gave us a deadline by which to have our fences repaired, the shed converted to a coop, and the yard ready; things I had been meaning to get to for a long time. We set up the babies in a box in the garage, and the kids got to work taking care of them, very admirably I might add. They made sure they had food twice a day, kept their box cleaned out, and made sure their heat lamp stayed on all night. They took them out during the day and let them run around in the garage while they played with them.

Meanwhile, back at the (literal) ranch, our grandpa came over nearly every day to help on the farm. He and the boys (men) rebuilt fences from scratch and learned a great deal about construction. When the yard was finally contained and secure, they set about converting the back of the shed into the coop. We picked up a couple of old doors from the Restore Store that really added to the farmhouse feel of it all. The boys chopped up the firewood that had been stored in the shed previously so they could move it to a new location. They cleaned everything out; then, Andrew helped Grandpa convert some old bookcases into 4 nesting boxes. Mighty fine work, if I dare so.

The day finally came for the chicks to move into their new home. Once they had all their feathers (and had gotten too big for their box), they graduated to the new crib. Happy birds. Happy kids. By this time, we actually had figured out the difference between a Barred Rock and a Rhode Island Red (that's the one I mentioned initially - the one that made her own bread).

All summer I watched as the kids worked in the garden and took care of the animals, both of which were new to our family. The thing that surprised me the most was not how good they were at it but how happy it made me feel every time I looked out a back window and saw how happy they were (kids and chickens). They love taking the scraps from our table out to the animals who appreciatively come running in anticipation of a treat as soon they see the back door open. They love being the ones to find the eggs and bring them in. Chamane picks them up, tucks them under her arm, and carries them around the yard like a baby. Josh even loves cleaning up after them. Andrew, particularly, has discovered a passion that I doubt he knew he had before this new adventure. He is now planning what kind of a farm to have when he grows up and exactly how one goes about acquiring the right property. I'd have to say that those 6 silly birds have changed everything! The kids have learned how to tend to animals that we depend on to produce. They have learned the actual ins and outs of raising chickens (who knew?), and I have been surprised at the peace of mind that comes with just that little bit more self reliance. Kind of cool!

Monday, May 18, 2009

My Rockin' Garden

I just thought I would share a few photos of my latest project. The stars have all aligned...finally... to provide me with a camera (with charged batteries) in the same place as the subject, so here goes.

These are still not very big plants, but these are my tomatoes, beats, Swiss chard, 3 types of lettuce, 2 types of cabbage, onions, celery, and spinach. We also have a few token pea plants that the birds didn't eat. Yesterday we added our baby pepper cute.

How sweet of a broccoli patch is that? I didn't even like broccoli, but I guess I do now.

These are all the baby peaches and cherries I pulled off my new little trees. My garden guru neighbor said that if you take off the fruit the first year, the tree will put it's production capabilities into the roots, branches, etc...basic structure so that the crop will be more productive next year. Isn't my cherry tree beautiful? I have ALWAYS wanted one of those.

These are the planters where my potatoes are going. It is sort of an experiment to see if we can grow them vertically by stacking tires up on top of one another. We'll let you know how it goes. Also in the background is one of my two new apple trees.

This is Andrew inspecting my beautiful grape vines that we just barely trellised on Saturday, just in time for them to accidentally get sprayed for weeds with the lawn and meet an oh-so-unfortunate demise. Start over? Dang! Otherwise, I have another five or six that seem to be doing okay. They are actually even starting to get little tiny grapes on them.

There you have it. The grand tour thus far. Stay tuned. I will try to update as things either move forward...or not. I suppose that "two steps forward and one step back" is still better than no steps.


Doesn't this look amazing? I cut these lettuce and spinach leaves out of my own garden yesterday. They are the first anything to get picked out of garden this year (besides the tiny fruit off my trees). They were so yummy. I put them all together for a salad for Sunday dinner. It looked so pretty that I couldn't resist the temptation to photo shoot (not shop). It's not every day that you get picture perfect bread and salad. I mean, come on. In fact, I don't think it has ever happened before at my house. Thanks for humoring me...those of you that are regular garden gurus.