Friday, April 30, 2010

Daisy v. the Porcupine

Poor Daisy. I don't know what else to say. If she weren't so miserable I would be really mad that it cost over $200 for the vet to remove the quills from her mouth and throat.

I am not sure what chapter to label this altercation with the porcupine, but I do know this is the 4th time she has tangled with this species of opponent. I am hoping she will be a gracious loser next time and just come home. I have no recipe for a remedy on this one, although I know in the past we have had to wrap her in a blanket and use locking pliers to remove a smaller smattering of quills. We have learned that if gums, mouths, or throats are involved, it is far more painless to let the vet knock her out and remove the barbs.

From the small barb size we are guessing it was a very young porcupine. From the blood on both Daisy and Velvet (our neighbor's dog), we are guessing there won't be a rematch with this particular foe. I only hope that no one in the porcupine's family is looking to even the score.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

TIme to Clean Out the Dress Up Chest

These two sure have a lot of fun together. :)  They love to dress up like Ninjas or Star Wars Guys.  I guess they dug really deep into the costume box today and found some new duds!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Something Stinks

I need to talk about a problem we had in our home. A few days ago as I went about my usual routine I caught glimmers of a funky smell. An unpleasant smell. I looked around but could find no obvious source. I moved on.

Yesterday afternoon we got home from church and it was there again. Only stronger. This time, the whole family wandered around the upstairs sniffing. Again, we could find nothing obvious. We put Daisy outside. Still there. John was pretty sure the smell was coming from the office. So we closed the doors. Hmm. It seemed a little better. I think. With kids going in and out of the house, the smell soon dissipated and we had once again forgotten it.
The office doors are near the front door-the smell was gone after we'd gone in and out a few times
Apparently the smell just needed a closed up house to return to haunt us. The next morning when I got up, I could smell it. It reminded me of the smell of a rotten potato. Well, the office doors has been left open all night and I quickly closed them and got the kids off to school. When I got home I figured I needed to get to the bottom of this because not even the closed office doors were blocking out the smell now. I decided to open all the doors and air everything out so I could get to the crux of the problem. Once everything was aired out, I became convinced the office was not the problem. I narrowed it to the entryway BY the office.

But what was it? There were some shoes in the corner. Nope. Was it the rug? Didn't seem to be. The floors all looked good. Nothing behind the pictures or in the kid-made pots. But the closer I got to the entry table, the worse it got. I leaned over to smell a picture frame when I stubbed my toe on what is a decorative little metal chest. Decorative. I haven't ever put anything in it. But as I knelt down, it became clearer and clearer that this little chest had a stinky little secret.

Yes, those are PUMPKINS!! Pretty scary!! Let's see...
Have you ever seen what happens to a pumpkin after 6 months in a small, warm, dark place. Well now you know!

Sidenote: Upon returning home form school, Jackson told me he put them there to keep them safe.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Spring Orchestra Concert

Last Thursday was the annual end-of-year orchestra concert. Both Gabe (cello) and Seth (violin) participated. Like the dutiful mom I aspire to be, I got there early enough to get a seat right up front. While I had a good view of Gabe (over there on the right--his hair is getting pretty long again...) I was saddened to realize that my up-front seat gave me a very flat angle to view the orchestra in it's entirety. Since Seth is a lowly 6th grader, he was in the back rows. Try as I might, I was unable to catch nary a glimpse of him.

Seth assures me he was indeed there and did indeed play. A few of our late coming friends who sat further back in the graduated seating also claimed to have seen him. It was a good concert and I loved seeing the orchestra play.

The very next morning, the 7th and 8th grade orchestra, band, and choir (including Gabe) all boarded a bus for Denver. They went to Elitch Gardens for a competition. I was a little nervous to send Gabe on the trip. Long bus ride, far from home, hotel stays, amusement parks, girls. Although I pride myself on being strict and overprotective, I thought it would be a good way for him to stretch his wings. When I asked him about another student not attending, he told me that their parents wouldn't let them go. I have to admit, I was taken aback by this comment wondering if I was getting to liberal in my parenting.

So I enjoyed the fact that he called occasionally with updates on the trip. The first call was from somewhere in the middle of Colorado. He told me he was really bored. When I asked why, he explained that all of the girls were on the other bus. Oh boy. Maybe I do need to just lock him in the basement until his mission. ;) Actually, it sounds like he had a really great trip, and I am really glad we let him go. He did get in trouble on the bus one evening when he was hanging out the window waving to the girls bus, and he did get a talking to at the amusement park for messing with the door on his ferris wheel compartment. Other than that, he seemed to have a lot of good clean fun (he said there were so many kids in the hotel pool, it overflowed).

I took 3 day trips with my ELP classes starting in 5th grade. We went on an archaeological trip all around Northern Arizona. In 6th grade we took a trip out to San Diego for an oceanography unit. I remember both of these trips fondly. There were new sights and sounds (I remember smelling coffee for the first time as we ate in a diner). I felt old and independant (even though Mrs. Brackny never let us out of her sight). I liked looking at the boys sitting at the other end of the bus (having the nerve to talk to them was elusive). It helped to open up my world a little bit. I think it was good.

I'm glad Gabe and I both had a positive experience because next year I send Gabe AND Seth on the same trip. I have to admit I am grateful that there are enough students that go to have separate boy and girl busses. I also have to admit that I was glad to see the Bishop from the other ward picking up his daughter after the trip. I guess I can still consider myself pretty strict after all.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Daisy v. the Skunks Chapter II

I guess before I tell Chapter II, I should recap Chapter I....Several weeks ago we went out out to the garage on our way to school. WHOA! Our senses were assaulted by the distinct STINK of a skunk. As our dog, Daisy, ran over to greet us, the smell grew in strength and offense. It was immediately obvious that Daisy had tangled with one of those black and white beasts. We weren't sure who the victor was in this confrontation, until we drove down our road to go to school. There we saw Velvet, our neighbor's trusty golden retreiver, trotting home from our house with a critter dangling from her jaws. There is no mistaking a skunk, and I have to admit I was once again thrilled at the breed selection of our neighbors (Velvet retrieves all dead things straight to her own front porch).

While I was glad to have one less skunk in our world, I was not excited about the staunch aroma Daisy now carried around with her. It surely didn't set well with her either and it only took Daisy a few hours to roll herself in some mud and horse poop. She seemed genuinely offended when I did not let her into the house for a few days. Eventually all smells wear and wash off and we welcomed Daisy back into our home.

Last night a new battle commenced and the local skunks returned to mix it up once again. Enter Chapter II. This time there was no dead skunk, only a stinky dog. Chalk one up for the Skunks. True to form, Daisy has managed to coat her coat in mud before I got back from dropping the kids off at school. Once again she looked shocked and appalled when I denied her entry into our home.

Although a fierce hunter, Daisy is extremely afraid of thunder and spring has been rumbling around lately. I usually bring her in each afternoon so she won't run away in fear when the clouds roll in. Today I made an exception. I tried to talk her through it and explained that her doghouse in the garage was a great place to hang in case of thunder. Well, she wasn't convinced and I realized she was nowhere to be found about the time the kids got home. Of course they were organizing search parties and were cruising the mule around the area until they were forced to come in during a cloudburst. My only real concern was that Daisy, in all her skunky, muddy glory would try to break into our neighbors house to wait out the storm. I don't think they would be amused to see she had come in their doggie door in such a state. I willed the phone not to ring with the call for us to retrieve her and wash the neighbor's carpet.

Alas, I will never know where she waited out the quickly passing storm, but Daisy turned up at the back door around dinnertime. Still muddy, still skunky, still stormy, we knew we had to take action. This is one of those times when I am so glad my husband has a shop with a shower. Elise accompanied John to tackle the task. So here is the great recipe I got from a friend on how to get rid of the skunk smell:

The Skunk Remedy Recipe
In a plastic bucket, mix well the following ingredients:
1 quart of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
1/4 cup of baking soda
1 to 2 teaspoons liquid soap
for very large pets one quart of tepid tap water may be added to enable complete coverage.
Wash pet promptly and thoroughly, work the solution deep into the fur. Let your nose guide you, leave the solution on about 5 minutes or until the odor is gone. Some heavily oiled areas may require a "rinse and repeat" washing.
Skunks usually aim for the face, but try to keep the solution out of the eyes - it stings. If you have any cuts on your hands you might want to wear latex gloves for the same reason.
After treatment, thoroughly rinse your pet with tepid tap water.
Pour the spent solution down the drain with running water.
NEVER, ever, store mixed solution in a closed bottle, sprayer,etc. Pressure will build up until the container bursts. This can cause severe injury.

I am hoping the skunk doesn't return soon for a rematch, at least not until the Spring Thunderstorms have passed.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sports Saturday

Spring Sports have begun and that makes for a full Saturday!
Jackson really wanted to do soccer this year. I think he enjoyed it, but he certainly isn't very aggressive.
There was a time in my mothering life when I would have been yelling at him to go for the ball (OK, I may have loudly encouraged a time or two). But for the most part, I just liked watching him run around while I basked in the Spring Sun. I actually found the more intense parents rather amusing. It's only 1st grade after all. :)

Elise also wanted to do soccer. When you are in 4th grade, many of the serious soccer players have joined DYSA (club soccer). One of her friends from school signed up for rec. league too, but she was sick on this, their first game. Elise was rather nervous because her team combined with another one from a different school. When she arrived, she realized she knew 2 of her teammates which helped her nerves. Wow, she is a lot better than the last time she played 2 years ago. She's fast too. It was fun cheering her on.

Sidenote: I talked to the mom of one of the girls and we were discussing the fact that our kids were growing up fast. She told me a story of the daughter of a friend who was going to her first big party. She expressed her concern about this girl riding with drunk drivers and related to me the 'talk' they had about what ALL boys want. Her main concern was safety. I felt kind of like a deer in the headlights because I wasn't sure how to relate to her. Her attitude was like that of most of the world-kids are going to drink and have sex, so we need to be sure they don't die or get pregnant. (She didn't say it quite like way, that was my crude summary.) To me, this is the same logic as letting your toddler play with the sharp knives while hoping they don't get cut-because hey, what toddler isn't fascinated with shiny knives. I know that is simplistic and a poor analogy, but I don't think lowering our expectations of goodness serves any purpose other than lessening that goodness in our world and our children. It's weird because I used to feel like I was on the same parenting page as this lady. We both wanted our daughters to play nice and do their homework, right? Some where along the journey we got on divergent 'parenting expectation' roads. Climbing down off the soap box now.

After soccer I squeaked in a Republican Assembly to elect a primary candidate for the 59th Congressional seat while everyone else went to watch Seth who was playing in a basketball tournament up at the college all day. (Yes, I do feel like writing lots of run-on sentences today, as well as side notes and stuff in parentheses-in case you were curious.) After 3 soccer games and my meeting, I did manage to catch Seth's 6th grade championship game. They won and Seth contributed a lot to his team.
Gabe (not pictured) was in Pagosa for a track meet all day and shortly after this game we were able to pick him up from the bus and take him up to the college for the 7th grade championship game. Seth got to play 'up' on this team too. Gabe played and scored a ton, Seth warmed the bench, but alas, they lost and took 2nd place.

I thought I would be sportsed-out by the time we finally got home. But I really had a nice day. I have to admit that watching the kids play sports now that they are getting older is a lot of fun. Not only that, it has made watching the little guys more pleasant because I have a little more perspective and can believe they will eventually go after that ball.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spring Heats Up

Although I had my doubts, there are starting to be undeniable signs of Spring.

The fields have started to green up as well. There is another sure sign of spring in our area. It is the plumes of white smoke you see in the otherwise blue skies. The smoke comes from the annual burning of fields and irrigation ditches. It's best to burn in the early morning or late evening, as this is when the breeze is light. Tonight we decided to burn the front 20.
There are lots of trees where the water comes in, so we only burn the ditches in the open fields.
Luckily, we have a water truck, which puts my mind at ease as my children run around lighting things on fire.

During the lazy days of summer, the grass grows long in and around the ditches that deliver the water to the fields. By burning the grass in spring, it lets the water flow much better.

We start slowly and see how the breeze is going to affect the flames. You want a little wind so the fields will burn, but of course you don't want it to get away from you. Tonight it was just about right.

Seth has the water sprayer in the back of the Mule. He made sure the fire stayed where we wanted it. Mostly though, he got to drive around and spray his siblings with water. ;) With my crew lighting it up, it doesn't take long for the fields to really get burnin'. Once you have a small fire burning, you can rake up dead grass to use as a torch.

Once the sun dropped below the mountains, the wind died and it got pretty smokey in our dreamy draw. Although the old grass was done burning, the horse poop (forgive my potty talk) continued to smolder for a long time. I took the kiddos home for showers while the big boys stayed behind to make sure there were no hot spots.

I love how all of the fields around here look this time of year. They are green without being overgrown. It looks like it is all freshly mowed. I am looking forward to the start of another growing season.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Track Meets and Orchestra Concerts

This afternoon was Gabe's first home track meet. He does the high jump and cleared 4'10", a personal best (after one meet) he hopes to continue improving on. He also ran the mile.

Before the meet was over, I boogied home to get Elise as tonight was her annual Orchestra Concert. All of the elementary schools in the district participate and it is a highlight of this mom's year.

We went to DQ after the concert and E's buddy Afton was there too. These girls are great musicians!

I love seeing my kids stretching and learning. Good job today guys!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tea Party in the Sunday Paper

Click here to see the link in our Sunday Paper....

I wanted to write a little bit about why I am involved in the Tea Party. I believe that if we aren't involved in the political process, we cannot complain about what our leaders do. I also believe that Leadership matters. Our leaders get their power from us (By the People...) and it is our duty to be sure that the leaders represent us. We need to be educated on what the best principles for governance are. There are many opinions on what type of government is best, and we need to study history to see what these different governing philosophies have produced (by looking at the fruit, you can learn about the tree).

I believe when there is the liberty or freedom to act, a society can flourish and all people's standard of living is improved. I don't believe in anarchy-there is a need for government. But I believe the best government is closest to the people it represents. I therefore believe in a small and limited Federal government like the one outlined in the Constitution. I believe we need to help one another as Americans, but I don't believe it is the government's job to decide where to spend my money on others.

I don't profess to have all the answers, but I do think we need to be involved. We need to encourage the best leaders possible to run for public office. I think we are at an important time in our country's history and I want to support leaders that believe in the principles of freedom. I love our country and I know it is my duty to respect the office of our elected officials. It is my hope that a majority of the American people do still support Constitutional Ideals and we will show this with our vote.

I support the 1st amendment and know that all Americans have a right to free political speech whether I agree with them or not. I think we are engaged in a battle of ideas and that when presented with all the facts, people will choose Freedom.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Barnyard Days

Today was 'Barnyard Days' in our little town. It is an event held up at the college where little guys are able to learn about farm animals. I got to go with Jackson's first grade class. We are separated into groups and rotate around to see the different animals and displays.

We saw cows, goats, sheep, and llamas up close. We got to learn about fibers, fire trucks, lassos, grains, and sprouts. I thought it was a really great event. We are so removed from our food and clothing sources in our modern culture. There was an audible gasp from the first graders when they were told that the cow in the pen was the provider of milk and hamburger. Mostly though, I enjoyed a sunny day hanging out with Jackson. He loved having me all to himself and I got lots of hugs and smiles.