Monday, May 21, 2012

camping in Cougar

This weekend we went up to the Lone Fir Resort with the camping club.  It wasn't exactly camping as we stayed in a cabin, and had breakfast at the resort's restaurant.  However, we did have an evening campfire where the traditional hot dogs and marshmallows were roasted.  And we got in some great visiting, snow shoeing, and card/board games. No pictures as I forgot to take any.  But, if you picture lots of fun, two wired and sticky boys, a campfire, and a bit of wine - you'll have a pretty good image of what transpired.  Can't wait to do some more!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Snow Bear a year later

It's hard to believe that we've only had Snow Bear for a bit over a year now.  He has woven himself so completely into our family that I feel he has always been a part of it.  He is all grown up now, but still a puppy at heart.  He loves to play, and it is impossible to do anything outside without his company (including trying to take a picture of him by himself).

He is a good guard dog and tries to keep all creatures on the farm safe. Listening to his deep throat growl when he senses danger is startling.  Watching him move faster than you think he can after a coyote is inspiring.  And he'll get your heart racing if you go out at night and startle him - scared me to death when he came charging at me before he realized who I was!

He is also a naughty gardener who still dumps all my plants out of their pots, and thinks nothing of laying in the flower beds to take a siesta.  He also would love to play tug-o-war with the newly planted fruit trees if he could do so without getting yelled at.

Best of all, he is a loyal friend to all of us, especially the boys.  Never thought of myself as a dog person, but the adage "man's best friend" couldn't be more true in this case.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

lilac gardens

Enjoying the scents at the lilac gardens.

Friday, May 18, 2012

new canners on the scene

This week, J. and A. made and canned their first batch of jam!  They chose to make low sugar rhubarb jam and it turned out absolutely wonderful.

As soon as the jam was made and poured into jars, A. swiped a jar before I put a lid on it saying, "Let's not waste a lid on this jar.  I want to eat it with toast right now!"  We hurried up and got the remaining jars canned so the taste testing could commence.  Both loved it.  A. said it was the best jam ever, and J. said it was "soooo good".  I think there is something about making foods yourself that brings out an extra good flavor.  That first jar was gone within 24 hours, and a second jar has been promptly opened.  As rhubarb is coming into full swing, I have a feeling we will be making all sorts of great treats with it.

Here is the recipe we came up with.  Note - we tried Mrs. Wages Lite Fruit Pectin for this recipe for the first time, as it allows you to add what sugar amounts you wish.  As rhubarb is so very sour, we added more than we usually do, but still considerably less than the regular pectin recipes call for.

Low Sugar Rhubarb Jam:

4 cups chopped rhubarb
2.5 cups sugar
1.25 cups water
1 box Mrs. Wages Light Fruit Pectin

follow the directions inside the box of pectin

Thursday, May 17, 2012


This month it was all about the birds for the Jr. Grangers.  They enthusiastically worked on building birdhouses for their feathered friends.  One told me that the mama bird can go through the big hole, and the baby birds can go thru the little holes.  Another wanted to know when we could paint the houses, and yet another was afraid that a fat bird might get stuck in the holes.  With all the variant opinions, questions, and concerns about the birds, it was nice to see they all agreed on one thing unanimously - building bird houses is fun!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

plane ride

Last Thursday was a red letter day for us.  Great Grandpa and Uncle Bob flew down from Seattle in Bob's airplane to visit.  The boys were very excited to see both of them, and were instantly enamored with the plane.  During lunch, J. mustered up the courage to ask Uncle Bob if he might have a ride in it.  Bob very sweetly agreed to the plans, and off to the airport it was!

The plane had to be inspected thoroughly by the young pilots.

Bob and Grandpa figuring out where our house would be on the map.

Getting Ready for take off!

View from up high.

J. helping Uncle Bob with the steering.

A. helping with grounding the plane before filling up the tanks.

This was such an amazing day!  The boys loved it all so much that I'm still hearing about it.  Before the plane ride, J. was asking to learn how to fly.  Afterwards - both are chomping to get their wings!

Thanks Grandpa and Bob for such a special day!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

El Zorrito

This week's field trip brought us down to the Northwest Childrens Theater for a performance of El Zorrito. I have always enjoyed the shows put on by the NWCT, and this one was no different.  We laughed so hard, and enjoyed the suspense as the little Zorro outwitted the town mayor and his bumbling sidekicks.

The boys' favorite actor was Bernardo, who never talked, but got his point across loud and clear through miming.  He was hilarious both during and after the show when the cast took questions from the audience.  And when he gave both boys a high-five before they left, they were tickled.

I can't wait for the next season of shows that they will put on!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

what's behind the hands?

 J. is carefully guarding some precious cargo - chicks!  On the way home from the feed store, they were crying something terrible.  So, J. put his hands in the box and the babies must of thought it was their mama's wing or something because every last one of them scurried underneath and quietly settled down for a nap.

My broody hen's eggs never hatched and so I picked these sweeties up for her.  She settled right in with her chicks and they with her.  Everyone is happy and when I check up on them, there are tiny heads peeping out of her wings and sometimes I can see a little foot sticking out from underneath.  Soooo cute!  

I can hardly handle this much cuteness!

This round we picked up: frizzles, barred rocks, and sex links.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

the pig goes gurgle gurgle

Who can resist this happy face?

Last Saturday, Jim and Theresa came down to our neck of the woods to see J.'s baseball game.  And they left us this sweet pig pitcher.  Theresa said that this pitcher was used by her boys when they were young, which makes it even more fun knowing that this will be the second generation enjoying it at meal times.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

tulip time

In Woodland, the tulip festival has been going on, and I was lucky enough to get a bunch.  These tulips were donated to the Rotary Club as a fundraiser, and Mom picked this bouquet up for me.  I love the colors, and I hope to find out what kind they are.  While we missed the actual festival dates, there are still plenty of beautiful flowers to gaze upon.  The fields are right up beside the road and you can gaze upon every color imaginable.  Lucky me, I can look right at my dining room table to get a taste!

Friday, May 4, 2012

a great week for field trips

Our second field trip for the week was to go see the play A Storm in the Barn, put on by Oregon Children's Theater.  It covered a family struggling through the dust storms that occurred in the "dirty thirties".  It was a wonderful combination of music, singing, and performing, along with a touch of historical tall tales thrown in for good measure.

Besides getting exposed to many different experiences and enjoying the performances and site seeing, field trips are always so rewarding in the discussions that come up.  From this field trip, it is wanting to know more of the history that the story was based up.  This of course leads to Google searches, videos, and library book checkouts.  Other times, it is an awareness of society and cultures, like our trips to Seattle and the Lelooska Cultural Center evoked.  It can also be a wonder of nature, a curiosity about science, or simple amazement about the creativity of people.

We have a third field trip planned this week to the lilac gardens, and I can't wait to hear what questions and observations arise.  Whatever they will be, I am sure it will lead to some great conversations.  I love field trips!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

whirlwind of fun

On Tuesday, we took the train up to Seattle for a day field trip along with approximately 70 other homeschoolers and their families.  We had a great time, and couldn't believe how fast the day went.  Before we were ready, we were back on the train heading home again.  Grandpa Ward has a wonderful write up about the day here (thanks again, Grandpa for organizing such a great day!) along with pictures.  Here are some more photos taken:

At the Vancouver train station ready to take off.

lunch in the sky

observing the world

in front of EMP

Pikes Place Market

Museum of Flight

the hard won ice-cream

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

wood carving enthusiasts

A. likes wood carving.  He has his own wood carving set that he pulls out and gets busy.  So far he has carved a toothpick, and a magic wand.  The other day when Big J. and A. were having some great father-son time together, they picked up some wood and got to work.  Big J. carved A.'s name in the wood he worked on.  I'm not sure what A's finished piece will be, but I look forward to seeing it when it is done.

Now A. is asking to take wood carving classes.  I actually found one nearby, but it looks like it is geared for adults.  I think I will give the gentleman a call and see if he know of any options around for children.  In the meantime, A. is enjoying tinkering with it at home and honing his skills a bit.