Sunday, February 22, 2015

Out and About

Last weekend, Mark and I had one-on-one dates with the girls.  Abigail and I spent the day together, and Mark and Mae spent the day together.  More one-on-one time is one of our goals for this year.  We all had a blast!
Abigail and I went bike riding.  Of course, this entailed going to the store and buying two bikes!  This has been a secret plan of mine for quite a while...to gear up our family for bike riding.  The kids had tiny bikes from several years ago, but they've probably grown a foot since then.  I had an old mountain bike that needed some TLC and new tires, but Mark had nothing, so we needed a big bike too.  SO, off to K-Mart we went.
 
After we geared up, we went for a cruise on the Old Town Clovis bike trail.  Abigail was particularly impressed with the tunnels.
This rock marks the bottom of the logging flume that ran through Tollhouse in the 1800s!
 
 Abigail.  And another tunnel.
For a very, very, special treat on our very special day, we stopped at Subway.  Here is a selfie of that event.  Obviously, we need to work on the mechanics of selfies, so I don't have five chins, and Abigail knows where to look.  No wonder people practice!
For their special day, Mae and Mark took the dogs to the Kings River, about an hour away from our house.  I want our New Hampshire family to see that we do have rivers here!  And they are beautiful!  We need to come here more often, especially when it's warmer.
Mae with her boys.  I just love this picture!
 
 So what did we do THIS weekend?  We did those same things with the whole family!  We went for a family bike ride on the Clovis trail on Friday, and went back to the Kings River on Saturday!  Here is Mark, trying to coax the dogs into the water.  They were having NONE of it!
 Jax is mostly lab...he should love the water, right?  But he sat there and cried, and would not budge.
 This area of the river is called Kirsch Flats.  Our black & white dog is named Kirsch.  Coincidence?  Nope.  Two years ago, Mark, Scott, and the kids found Kirsch as a tiny puppy in these very bushes.  Here is Scotty, looking for the exact bush.
The dogs did get a little bolder in this shallow water.
And I think they got worried about Scotty out there on the rocks.  Come back to shore, Scotty!
 
So, looks like our one-on-one time was a double-good investment!  Great success :-)
 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Chickens and...Donkeys?

In light of the fact that we just may get a few more chickens, we decided to repurpose an old cat house (yes...a cat house).  Fortunately it did not have cat pee issues, so that made the transition do-able.  We joined it to the run with a little door on the bottom, and the girls cleaned it out and put new bedding in it. 
 Doesn't it look comfy?
Also, I promised a picture of our second set of odd-looking, timid chickens.  Any guesses as to what type of chickens these are?  They look like some kind of chicken/hawk cross to me.  They do have greenish-grey legs, so I'm hoping their eggs are green, like an Araucana chicken.  But wait, here's the big news...
 Our first egg!
And on the same day, we found a second egg!  They were lovely, light brown, and medium sized.  And they were tasty ;-)
 
In other news, just to convince everyone (myself included) that I have a life outside of chickens, here is a picture of a big night out last week:  Donkey Basketball 
 Boys vs. Girls.  It is always a tough game.
Girls won this year...kind of.  Either way, it was a really good game!
Apparently all these people agree.  Packed house in Tollhouse!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Bird Lady

Well, it finally happened.  We got chickens.  And I am in chicken love.
 In fact, I think our whole family is in chicken love!
Meet Violet, Miss Honey, and Amber (L-R)  We got these three young chickens from a friend.  They are not old enough to lay, but it should happen any day now!
 They came with a little coop, and Mark built an outdoor run. 
 They don't really like to be held, but sometimes we insist on it!
We then got another two young chickens from another friend.  They were getting picked on in their own flock.  I'll have to include pictures of them later.
Okay, so here is my friend Jen, who really IS already a crazy bird lady (she has chickens AND ducks.  And a parrot).  Jen brought a little science experiment from her flock.  She had a brooding hen who was sitting on a bunch of eggs, and after several weeks, she abandoned the nest.  So Jen wanted to investigate.  She candled them (i.e. shined a bright light through them) first, and we could see that there was something inside.  So naturally, we broke them open.
 I won't show you real close-up pictures.  It was not for the faint of heart, and Andrews face demonstrates!
 But it WAS really interesting. Good science lesson, right in our front yard! 
And it motivated us to talk about getting an incubator.  Let the chicken sit on some golf balls! 
 
Yep, I'm well on my way to becoming a crazy bird lady too!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Great Start!

Here we are, the Schlaefer family unit, off on a Schlaefer family adventure.  We are about to climb on Tollhouse Rock.
It's been a while since ANY of us climbed.  Just over a year for Mark.  About a year and a half for the girls (unless you count the climbing tower at the Fresno Fair!).  And for me...at least 12 years if not more.
 But one of our goals for 2015 is to get out and climb.
 Well, really it started out as getting Mark out to climb, but he does need some company!
 So we got the girls out on the rock, and they completely scampered up the wall. 
 Here's Abigail.
 Success (total time...literally maybe 2 minutes)
 And here is Mae.
 
 Another success!  They made it look SO EASY!  So easy that maybe even...
 I COULD TRY IT!
 Hey...I MADE IT (in a significantly longer time than 2 minutes, but I was still happy)
 Here's Mark rappelling down the second climb after setting it up.
 Setting Abigail up for the second climb.  A 5.7 face which she again scampered up.
 Mae and Scotty did some exploring.  Of COURSE they cleared this cave of snakes before they crawled in.  Right?  Of course they did.  With the flashlight on my cell phone.
 Here's that second climb.  Not much to grab onto! 
 But we all got up.  Abigail even climbed it a second time to "clean" the gear off...a first for her!
 Poor Scotty.  He came along, but his feet have grown so much since last time, he couldn't fit into any of our shoes! 
I think he still had fun, though.
 The view was so beautiful, with the fog blanketing the Valley.  Poor Fresno.
 We stopped at Tollhouse Grill for breakfast on the way up, and milkshakes on the way down.
Taking a moment to review the massive shell collection (no, not sea shells).  Apparently the top of Tollhouse Rock is also a favorite place to shoot many different firearms.  In fact, there were lots of shots fired WHILE WE WERE THERE.  Yikes.  That was a little nerve-wracking.
 
So instead of a milkshake, I had a Corona.  The End.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Celebrations and Spiders

This week, I attended my 30th high school reunion.  So fun!  Yes, we are all more "seasoned", but  there was just a laid-back vibe...an enjoyment of just being around these people who knew you so long ago--good friends, and acquaintances too. 
 
 I was so happy to see people who traveled from various places to come celebrate!
 Even some folks who live "locally"...but we don't often cross paths.  On the left here is one of our teachers.  Interestingly, it was not part of our custom to invite our teachers, but we did reach out to a few this time around.  So WONDERFUL to have them there!
 So...If you are ever in a similar situation...invite a teacher!  Buy them a ticket!  And a beer!
 Here is the group of us left at the end of the evening (the hard core crowd!).  We had a class of about 200, so even though I wish more had attended, not a bad showing.
 OK, now on to my spider story. 
 
This is my leg with a spider on it.
I was on a tour of the San Joaquin River Gorge, and was trying to herd this tarantula for a photo op for this fellow visitor.  He was resistant.  I think he was mad at this point.
 
 Here is the view up the gorge, looking at one of the two old powerhouses.  This one is almost 100 years old! 
This is the bridge that crosses the gorge.  Isn't it beautiful?
 
OK, one last story that touched me this week.  My niece Megan had her last home game for water polo, so it was senior night.   
 She called out her big sister Casey as an inspiration.  Not a dry eye after that.
 This is going to be a hard year for my tender heart.
I can't wait to be a part of handing out the diplomas for this group of wonderful seniors!