July 30, 2013


 Our cat has a reputation for being a blood-thirsty, man-eating, claw-weilding feline.  Always on the lookout for his next victim.  However, I would like to offer you proof that Pilchard is actually quite docile.
Peter loves the cat.
Nearly to death.
Don't worry, I intervene before any real harm is done.
Oh, no, cat got away--gotta catch up and sit on him again.

Like any cat, Pilchard has his moments.  Pretty much don't mess with him if he's hungry.  He used to corner unsuspecting children in our old basement to try and convince them to dump a cup of food in his bowl.  Pilchard has an unusual tolerance for the baby and toddler set.  Willing to put up with tail pullings, slobbery kisses, being sat on, and even once being run over by the tricycle (Patrick did that one).  Once you are old enough to know better, all bets are off.  Pilchard has been with us for 11 years now and has become quite the icon in our household.

And, I promise, no cats were harmed in the making of these photos.  And Peter was told to be nice to the kitty.  To which he said "Sowwy" and gave Pilchard a big ol' lay-on-him kinda hug.

July 24, 2013


We're going to the fair!
We can't wait!

July 23, 2013

2013 4H Fair: The last of it all.

The sign says it all!
 I promise this is the last 4H post.
Peter was all about the rides!
I promise.
Watching the dog agility show.  I'm pretty sure Elizabeth collapsed from an overdose of popsicles.

We had some fun that was...well, just fun!
Waiting for their turn.
On Thursday night, we headed to the fairgrounds for the Young Farmers Tractor Pull.  Well, pedal tractor, that is.  It was for ages 3-8 and they handed out giant trophies! (We didn't get one).  And, if you participated you had a chance to win one of three pedal tractors. (We didn't get one of those, either).  BUT, the highlight for my kids was ....if you participated, you got a free ice cream cone! Yippee!

Nick was up first and was a little nervous.
Peter slept through it all but Carrie enjoyed the sights.

Liz was up next and will tell you that flip flops aren't the best choice for this event.
Carrie and I eventually found ourselves a seat on a Kubota.
My kinda ATV.
Jacob went last and the tractor wouldn't cooperate at first.
Kinda stole his thunder.
He was pretty determined to win but didn't.

We also checked out all of the posters the boys submitted.
Two dog ones, two electrical ones, and a computer one.
The boys worked on the above shake flashlight with their grandpa.
The red blob is me scribbling out info.

The last of our fair fun was the Friday night auction.
Here are my two boys up on the auction block.
They went for a good bargain!
Really, the auction was for their meat birds and they did really well!
The purpose of the auction is really a way for local businesses to support the 4H'ers.
I think it took a lot of guts to stand out there in front of a crowd while the auctioneer ratttled away!
(I was more nervous than they were!)
And to top off our fair fun, we had some ice cream with an aunt and uncle and watched the drag races.

Lots of fun!

July 22, 2013


 Patrick's favorite summertime activity:
picking wild blackberries.
Some are small like the one above.
Some are large.
But all are delicious!
And we have quite the bumper crop this year!

July 21, 2013

Cuteness Alert!

You were warned!
She's just too cute for words!

July 18, 2013

2013 4H Fair: The Rest of Us.

The rare Peter meltdown.
We had 3 full days at the fairgrounds.  Rough time estimates:  Friday 9am to 3pm, Monday 9am to 5pm, and Tuesday 2pm to 8pm.  And I will say---these are the times when we were ALL there.  Ken and the boys often got there earlier or stayed later while I ran interference with the little kids (ie: take home the ones in meltdown mode).  And that doesn't include the 2 days last week that we were turning in projects for pre-fair judging or setting up cages or dropping off animals.  And, we've been there evenings Wednesday and Thursday (and we'll be back for the last of it all on Friday night).  Temperatures have been in the mid 90s all week.  We only have 2 kids participating at this point.

Which leads me to the rest of us.  The other 7 of us who have no other purpose at the fairgrounds other than hanging out and watching what unfolds with the two boys.  What do we do all day?
First of all, we either sit around being hot and sweaty or walk around being hot and sweaty.
Some of us are cuter than others while sweaty.
Let me tell ya--pigs and sheep are far less interesting at 95 degrees.
Some of us enjoy popsicles. 

Playing in gravel is an all time favorite.
Even if it is the gravel underneath a rabbit pen.
And putting the gravel in stroller cup holders is apparently really fun. 

The absolute highlight of the week for the younger set was ring pops.
Elizabeth would bring some of her money every day to buy them at the concession stand.
Not only are they good to eat but great to play with.
And, if you happen to drop them in the dirt, oh well.
It is even more fun to have to go wash them off. 
Peter really enjoyed his ring pops. 
If you are lucky, you get to take a nap while someone holds you. 

And last but not least, in dire cases of extreme boredom--just play with your older sister's sunglasses!

 Now if we all don't end up with swine flu it will be amazing.  At any rate, we've had a lot of fun despite the heat and it sure makes us appreciate our pool and air conditioning!  And, the kids are so happy to be home right now that I barely hear a peep from them!

July 17, 2013

2013 4H Fair: Rabbit Show.

Nathan is the only one who participated in the Rabbit Show.  He has a Sr. Buck Mini Rex named Onyx.  It ended up being a great day for Nathan--much needed after Patrick has been sweeping up awards the previous days!  For the Rabbits, Nathan entered into the Breeds, Rabbit Ambassador and Showmanship competitions.  Showmanship is the same in rabbits as it is in Chickens or Dogs.  You are trying to show the judge that you know about your animal and how to handle your animal properly.  Rabbit Ambassador is similar to Top Trainer in dogs--there is a written test that includes breed identification and an in-person presentation with the judge.
Nathan going through his Rabbit routine. 
Nathan with Onyx afterwards. 
Nathan participating in the Showmanship competition.  
Nathan won Rabbit Ambassador in his division.
Onyx won Third place in his division--Sr. Buck Mini Rex.
Rabbit show fans!

It was a good day and we are so proud of our 4H competitors!
They worked hard and did a great job.

Now, we just get to have fun until Friday night! 

2013 4H Fair: Chicken Show

Last year, Nathan only participated in the Dog Project and Patrick only participated in the Poultry Project.  This year, they both participated in both in different levels.  We took 18 chickens to the fair this year: Nathan took 9, Patrick took 5 and they each submitted a meat pen of 2 birds each.  (Let me tell ya, that was a lot of bird washing!)  Our meat birds barely made the minimum weight of 3 lbs each (note to self: don't procrastinate about ordering the meat birds next year!).  The birds get judged individually according to their class and breed but the kids also get judged on what they know in Showmanship.
Nathan with a Buff Brahma talking to the judge during Showmanship.
The judge looks like he is standing aggressively in this picture but he isn't, lol!
Nathan placed 5th out of 5 but he admitted that he didn't know any of the answers to the questions the judge asked.
He also admitted that it was a great experience to prepare him for next year.
He also didn't feel too badly because a friend of his only came in fourth and she is an experience Showman! 
Nathan was pretty happy to get a First Year Poultry Trophy! 

Patrick talking to the judge with his Australorp.
Patrick and his prize Australorp. 
Patrick won Showmanship in the Junior division!
Pretty exciting!
When you win Showmanship in your division, you go on to compete in the Premier division.
Patrick didn't have a chance because he was going up against older kids with a lot more experience.
But, the judge must have liked him because he kept teaching him after!  
The boys and all of their poultry awards.
On top of winning Showmanship, Patrick also won Reserve Champ, Best Breed, and Best Variety in the English class with his Australorp as well as Best Variety with one of his Buff Brahmas.
Nathan won Reserve Variety and Best Breed with his Brahmas.

Now.... on to rabbits!