Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spring babies

Paisley is just three weeks from her due date--third trimester for a dog! Her tummy is getting big.  We are ridiculously excited for babies!
Paisley sleeps on the floor next to my head.  She insists on scratching the floor like she's making some kind of nest.  It's quite irritating at 2 in the morning...

I guess we have a bit of baby spring fever going on because we have babies everywhere!

Penny, our Buff Orpington hen, has been sitting on a nest of unfertilized eggs for three weeks now.  We couldn't find any Easter Egger chickens so we finally just bought a Buff Orpington and a Brown Leghorn from D&B.  

Might I just mention that D&B might be our favorite store just because it makes us feel like farmers.  Although I felt like a city girl farmer when I asked the chicken lady if I should worry about my hen that keeps sneezing.  She says not to worry but, for the record, chickens can have respiratory infections that need to be treated with antibiotics.  
Penny the Buff Orpington mama
They say that in order to give a hen live chicks we have to take the chicks out at night and give them to the mama, but we did it in the middle of the afternoon.

We just pulled the eggs out and slipped the chicks in under Penny's big fluffy wings.  Worked like a charm!

We put food and water in the coop (usually all food and water is kept outside) and we took the nesting box out so the chicks can get to the food and water more easily. 

**We had a bit of a tragedy yesterday.  Jack broke into the chicken coop when I wasn't outside and, well, lets just say that we had to make another trip to D&B for two more chicks. Two Buff Orpingtons this time though I long for the blue egg laying Americaunas! (none to be found until the end of next month...)**

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Twin Falls started their first rugby club team ever.  

Rugby is a rough, injury laden game so of course Dallin and Landon have been in on it from the start.  I'm not too sure about having these boys play in a sport that requires the purchase of supplemental health insurance as part of the league fees...

Last week they played a team from Idaho Falls and the week before a team from Capitol high school in Boise.  Most of the teams in Idaho are fledgling teams that are still learning the rules so the referees teach as much as anything.  Last week they had a ref that is the head coach for the team at Idaho State University. 

Rustin and I totally don't get what the game is all about yet--scrums, rucks, tries... 
One  team throws the ball in and each team  wraps their arms around each other's shoulders and sort of lifts their hook up off the ground so he can kick the ball behind him to his teammate. The scrum half then picks up the ball and throws it to the backs who run...  
blue team is fighting (and losing) to get control of the ball on the ground.  Teammates push the pile until they are over the ball so another teammate can come in from behind and pick up the ball. No one in the ruck can pick up the ball.  It's really just an organized dog-pile-sort-of-scuffle to regain control of the ball after someone is tackled.
The uniforms are pretty cool and they have some fun traditions.   
The teams bring each other "presents." They will give the 'player of the game' from the opposite team a tee shirt or a pair of shorts or some other useful item.  

The players in this league are very sportsman-like and compliment each other liberally both during and after the game.  

Rugby is kind of like a super fast paced football game with running more like soccer and a big dog pile whenever someone loses the ball.  And unlike football, anyone can carry the ball which is fun for Dallin and Landon since they are strapped to the line in football.  

 Dallin gets the ball. 
 He is surrounded by guys ahead.  
Landon calls for the ball so Dallin passes it back (all passes go backwards...) 
 Landon gets the ball, breaks through a 
couple of tackles,

 And scores a try (sets the ball down in the end zone.)!

We are pretty sure Dallin re-cracked a rib that was originally injured in wrestling but it isn't too bad. Thankfully no one has needed this!

Friday, April 19, 2013


 I pretty much love all holidays but a holiday that includes Spring is especially awesome!

Rustin and I both grew up doing baskets and egg hunts on Saturday.  When all the kids were small we would tell the them that if we color eggs and  leave them out where they can be seen, then the Easter Bunny can't help but come by and hide them.   So we color eggs on Saturday morning and leave them out while we go for a walk or something.  Then we have an egg/basket  hunt on Saturday afternoon. 

Our Easter Bunny is especially handsome.

Most years we pack up our egg sandwiches and go out to Balanced Rock in Castelford but we didn't make it out there this year.

This Easter our chickens gave us a head start in the coloring department so we had some really 
beautiful egg colors!

We thanked them with an Easter treat of their own.

 This year we had some plastic eggs and I put some money in a gold egg and a silver egg.  It made for an enthusiastic egg hunt!

And might I mention that Paisley found and devoured her own share of eggs.  She pretty much eats anything but dog food--apples, cantaloupe, eggs, noodles, bananas, name it.

I had great intentions of sewing cute spring inspired Pottery-barn-esque Easter bags like my sister made but it didn't get done.  One of these years...

Next year remind me to skip the grass in Jackson's basket...
 (picture him saying "Mine" and "hey" a thousand times...)
(of course his thieving brothers probably had something to do with that...)

Now I am thoroughly determined to make this hydrangea plant grow somewhere in my yard!

Happy Spring!

If I were a chicken I'd be a Buff Orpington

My brothers and sisters have always called me a mother hen.  
That pretty much means I worry about all of my family's problems and my happiness level rises significantly when I see everyone around me happy and content. Or maybe it's just a sort of nice way of saying that I am kind of bossy...
This week I have had a chance to see what a true mother hen looks like for myself.  

Penny is our really mild mannered Buff Orpington.  She is one determined mama!  In the chicken world a hen that sits on her nest is called a broody hen.  Penny is very determinedly sitting on two little eggs. 
We have tried all kinds of things to get her out of her chosen little nest but she just pops right back in. 

She sits on her nest and completely fluffs herself out.  I never knew a chicken could look so big!  She could be mistaken for a door mat! I'm not kidding...
She is really sweet though.  She doesn't peck or squawk--she just sit and clucks.  If I were a chicken I would probably be just like Penny...

Penny doesn't care whose eggs she is sitting on.  She uses her neck and pulls all of  the eggs toward her and tucks them in under her big fluffy wings.  Jenna has tried giving her all kinds of eggs both in the coop and outside on the lawn when we make her get up off her nest.  We put all different colors and sizes of eggs (all unfertilized...) and she mothers them all--she will just settle in and take care of any eggs she sees!

We lost two of our hens this year so we are going to get two little day old chicks from D&B (our favorite farm store!) and give them to Penny.  They say we can just sneak out during the night and pull the eggs out and slip the baby chicks in and Penny will be thrilled that her eggs hatched.  
I think it will be fun to see a little mother hen in action. We will try it next Tuesday when a new shipment of Americauna chicks comes in (love those blue eggs!). 

I have learned a few things about hens from watching the hens.

Penny has friends.  At least we think she does.  One of the other hens--Sammy the salmon faverolle--watches over Penny. 
I went out last week and threw Penny out of her nest so I could completely clean out the old winter bedding.  I also took down some roosting boxes that are too small and cleaned up and repaired the inside of the coop.  Sammy had a fit the entire time.
I mean SquAWKing!
I threw her out of the coop four times but she just kept coming right back squawking like crazy.  
When I got everything done, I put in a new clean cardboard box with some bedding for Penny and I put a couple of eggs in the nest.  I let Penny back in the coop and she hopped up and sat right down on the nest.
The entire time I was fixing the nest Sammy hopped around hollering like a banshee.  
As soon as Penny sat back down on her eggs, Sammy completely stopped.  She hopped up on a roosting bar next to Penny and looked as content as could be.                                                                 

Isn't that interesting?! 

Watching the hens is just one more confirmation that we mothers need each other.  We love and shelter and care for each other when we are in our most vulnerable states ("nesting") and we love and nurture and care for each other's babies as well.  
I know I for one would never make it as a mom without all the other moms around me.  I have been nurtured and taught and fed and loved by so many women in my life I can never hope to repay them all.
I'll just pay it forward.   
I have decided that being called a mother hen isn't so bad after all!

Friday, April 12, 2013


Jackson is two!

If it weren't for the fact that every stage the kids go through is cuter and more fun than the previous one, this "birthday" stuff would really make me panic.  

Here are a few facts about Jackson:
Jackson eats everything we give him.  Probably because he is almost always sitting on someone's lap at meal time.
Jack and Beau have a special bond.  They snuggle together every day. 
Jackson is decidedly right handed and he can really throw!
He talks more than any of our kids have at this age.  
His personality is very similar to Dallin and Landon at his age--he's a crazy, jumping, laughing, throwing, biting, snuggling, climbing, determined toddler!  
He looks most like Benson did at his age. And he is FAST like Benson. 
He likes to read (and read and read...) and play with legos like Austin did.
He colors like Jenna did at his age. Very meticulous. 
He has blue eyes and light brown hair--more hair than any of our other
kids have had at his age.
He sings all around the house and he matches pitches.
When he wants me to stop talking or get off the phone
he will say "pause, pause..."
 He will choose to 'rock-a-bye' with the older boys as much as with mom and dad.
 He sleeps in a bed with Benson and he has never woken up at night since
we moved him in with his brother. Benson says his favorite thing about Saturday is that Jackson wakes him up in the morning and they play on their bed together. 
He loves to go  to sleep at night snuggled "down a Daddy." 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Up awake!

I am just coming out of a looong winter's nap... or so it feels.  

Spring has sprung.  The daffodils are blooming (time to plant potatoes and peas!) and the pussy willows have sprouted. We had a fantastic spring break and a really nice Easter.  One day I woke up and the winter haze of tiredness and mental drudgery cleared.  Yea!

Our cute dog Paisley is pregnant.  We bred her with a white poodle. We are anxiously expecting Goldendoodle puppies mid-May!

I have spent a lot of time working on our Goldendoodle web site.  It takes me twice as long as it should as I try to learn the new programs. 

I've been busy re-reading some of my favorite training articles and including links to them on the site's web pages.  Clicker training is a thought process that has influenced my perspective in everything from parenting and relationships to how I get the dishes done.  I find behavior modification fascinating! In my next life I will totally be a B.F. Skinner groupie.   

I have lots of family stuff to write about now that my brain is starting to clear out the winter cobwebs. Jenna and I have been cooking our way through a new cookbook, I used a computer program to draw up all the landscaping plans for the back yard and Jackson is a crazy, ladder-climbing,  three-baths-a-day toddler! Among other things...

For now, check out a post I wrote a post about teaching Paisley to 'come' when called.