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!