Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Homestead Happenings - July 2016

My twin sis and her younger kids came for a visit over the 4th so among Independence Day activities, we also squeezed in a day trip to Ritter Hot Springs with Mom and Larry. Rina's cousin, Jess, just can't get enough of her baby cousin!

Waiting with friends and family for the 4th of July parade to start!
Rina and her 4th of July frosted cookie face. I absolutely love this dress that her Nana and Papa got her.

The last week Michael was in Virginia for Warrant officer school, our family helped me out by watching all our kids and getting them to their different camps, so that that I could fly back to Virginia to see Michael for a week. Oh, what fun we had! I'm hoping to find the time to blog about my trip in a separate post. Looking back at the pictures, I'm amazed at all we managed to cram in around his schedule. This was the first time I'd ever been back east further than Kentucky, so I was really excited to be able to dip my toes into the Atlantic Ocean. 

It took Rina a little bit to warm up to her daddy since he'd been gone for two months, but it wasn't long before she was snuggling up to him. We were all so happy to have him home!

The kids hadn't ever been away from our family that long before. We didn't see Josiah for two weeks because he left for his Boy Scout Camp the week before we left, and then Hailey was gone for her camp the week we were gone. I could tell the kids missed us a lot, as well as each other. Again, a huge thank you to all our family who helped us juggle the kids while we were gone! Poor Stacie. Rina was teething the whole time we were gone. 

The kids loved all the souvenirs we brought back. Hailey is holding up the old fashion sticker book and wearing the netted hairband we got her at Jamestown. Josiah is holding his hatchet and the fun wooden chicken toy we got Rina.
Josiah has always wanted a gas mask so he can make his own WWII videos on his kindle. We found this German gas mask in perfect condition at an antique store in old town Petersburg, VA.

Michael quickly resumed his fatherly duties and took Josiah fishing so he could finish his fishing merit badge since he was unable to catch a fish at Boy Scout Camp. They made up for it and brought home quite a haul thanks to our friend, Lee, who took them out in his boat. Josiah made us fried fish that night. Yum!

Michael began working on the new chicken yard with his sweet little helper that likes to get dirty at every opportunity.

This girl eats dirt like I eat chocolate! She's building lots of immunities, that is for sure.

Rina got stuck in her crock. I have three different sizes of crocks in our living room for decoration, and we just decided to use these to hold her toys and books in the living room. I love functional decor!

Michael's brother, David, brought up two of our nephews from Michael's side of the family, Dylan and Shawn for a short visit. We always have so much fun with these kids! They both enjoyed their ride in Uncle Michael's T-Bucket. What a delight to have them stay with us again.

Shawn taking his ride with Uncle Michael. Before we know it, Uncle Michael will be teaching them to drive the T-Bucket!

Rina is my little homestead helper. I let her carry the empty egg basket down to the chicken coop where she throws some cracked corn for the hens. She loves to help me with whatever I'm doing, so I try to find little jobs for her.

 We found out about this honeybee hive that was in this tree that fell down over the bank. Michael tried to capture the hive, but there was a yellow jackets nest in the ground next to the hive that he got into. He was wearing canvas-backed gloves and the yellow jackets stung him several times in the hand.
Our "free" honeybee hive ended up costing us about $300, because we had to get Michael's wedding ring cut off his finger and then fixed again. Michael caught part of the hive, bought a queen for it, but we ended up nothing for all the trouble as the hive was empty when he last checked it. You win some, you lose some. Luckily, the hive Josiah caught this year is producing well and we should get enough honey out of it for our own use this year. Won't be selling any this year, sadly. Oh well, we're learning a lot and hoping to catch a few more wild swarms come this spring. 

I found this cute cowgirl Dr. Pepper sign super cheap at a yard sale to go in our vintage camper. 

 I didn't have much of a garden this year, but our berries and grapes did well, and so did our gigantic pumpkins. 

Finally getting around to fencing off our large lower pasture in anticipation of having sheep later this summer. We're in desperate need of animals to keep the vegetation down. Josiah is rolling out the horse wire in this picture.

Michael had Josiah use the winch on the ATV to help stretch the wire from post to post. Worked really well. Feels good to finally have this pasture fenced off. We refuse to go into debt on our homestead, so it takes us awhile to get projects done because we only buy materials when we have the money to do so. When we wait for it,we appreciate them more when we eventually are able to buy them.

Rina is getting "gasp" blonde hair! She is definitely not a red-head. All her dark hair is gone and now she is a tow-head just like her daddy was. She definitely broke the redhead mold in this family ;) What a sweet joy and delight she is to us all!

Blessings to You All,

Friday, September 23, 2016

Homestead Happenings - June 2016

 Michael was gone for half of May and the entire month of June so not a lot got done on the homestead during that time. He was at Fort Lee, Virginia for warrant officer school. I kept plenty busy with the kids as we finished up our homeschool year. We were able to go on a field trip to the Whitman Mission and Fort Walla Walla Museum with our local homeschool group. We've done this field trip several times and my kids never get tired of it. The walk around the mission is beautiful. Rina enjoyed being pushed around in her jogger by her siblings. She and Josiah paused in front of the mass grave containing the remains of missionaries, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, their adopted children, the John and Frank Sager as well as several other pioneers. I blogged about this story in a past post if you are interested in learning more.
Rina was tuckered out by the time we got to Fort Walla Walla where we checked out the old-time farming equipment.

Rina is showing off her new teeth!

Our old firepit finally rusted through, so I bit the bullet and got a heavier duty one. We love roasting hot dogs and making s'mores with Nutella spread on our graham crackers whenever we have company.

Rina discovered her stink-eye.

Josiah bought this raft in perfect condition at the MOPS yard sale. He took it out several times this summer. We blew it up in the house first to see if it had any holes in it. 

Josiah likes to make his own corn-cob pipes that he can chew on while he is reading (no he isn't smoking anything in them). He discovered a new favorite author this summer - Louis L'amour. I remember loving all those books when I was a teenager. Glad to see he is liking them, too. Such great stories of courage and manly character.

I got really brave and went camping with three kids to the family camp out in Heppner. I honestly wish I would have stayed home. It rained almost the entire time. My parents were unable to go because my stepmom ended up getting an emergency stint put in her artery. Yikes! Rina and I stayed in my sister's tent trailer which was great. But with it raining, it got a little crowded with 8 people all together it. Captured this pic of Rina walking down the road in between rainstorms.  

Hot chocolate and biscotti in the mornings.

 My niece, Jess, caught this big trout at the pond. I was so proud of her!
 Aunt Stacie watched Rina so I could teach Hailey how to ride the ATV.
 Raining again. I found this castle block set at a yard sale. I was sure glad I brought it. It kept the kids busy for hours!
 My brother sure has a way with Rina. I think she was missing her dad and loved getting some male attention. Heer she is with her cousin Asher, both snuggling with Jerry. Love it!
Rina loves her big brother and sissy. They are still in love with her, too. I can't get enough of their smiles :) 

Rina helped me in the garden one day. We're so blessed to have an amazing view of the sky where we live. 

Rina's first tea party. Beyond precious!

Look how tall my sunflowers are getting! Josiah snapped this pic of me to send to Michael before I went to do an Underground Tour. Giving tours gives me a reason to dress nice, do my hair and put make up on ;)

One of the perks of being an Underground Tour guide is that I get to meet the most interesting people. I got a hug from one of my favorite authors, Rick Steber, and he slipped me a signed copy of his "Jackson Sundown" book just before I went underground on my tour. I love my job! He writes volumes of short stories about the west. I have them all and use them a lot for homeschooling. Before the days of audio books, we would take turns reading the short stories out loud on road trips.

Sissy and Rina taking a walk during a birthday party for a friend at the park.

Stacie and some of her kids came up to visit us this summer and we went to the aquatic center together. Stacie got a kick out of watching ME chasing around a baby! It was always her with a baby and a toddler! My niece, Jessica, was a big help though. What a beautiful day it was! I always love to have my sis and her kids visit. She came up to let Rina get used to her and the kids before I went back east for a week to visit my husband. She took Rina for that week. It was such a blessing! More on my trip soon.


Monday, September 19, 2016

Homestead Happenings - May 2016

Michael just finished fencing off the upper pasture so we can make sure Rina stays away from the bee hives now that she is on the move. Michael got this done right before he left for Virginia for a 2 month Warrant Officer school.
Josiah helped me get the new heavy duty gate latches up just in time for the newest short term residents.
Experienced a true miracle of God with these cattle. The two cattle I bought (right after Michael left for Virginia) got spooked after we got home from church Sunday and blew through our fence. They went wild and decided that fences were just suggestions. They sailed over some, blew through others, crossing the highway and the river several times as neighbors tried to help corral them. By Sunday night I found them in a pasture two miles down the road. Then the red steer went missing for three days. Nobody had seen it. Prayed and prayed. Decided to slaughter the black heifer as soon as possible while I still knew where it was and to get it off the landowners' pasture asap. Guess who decided to show up for his own execution? Yep, the red steer popped back over the fence three nights later to have his date with the mobile slaughter guy early the next morning. Both animals are now safely in freezers and taste delicious! Only God could have done that! Giving Him all the glory! As Ma Ingalls would say, "All's well that ends well". Whew, what a relief! I was sure glad that was over!

Took the kids on a field trip visiting our local newspaper office. So interesting! 

Got a job at the Pendleton Underground Tours working as a backup tour guide when it works into my schedule! I'm so excited! After doing "Comes to Life" I realized I still have a passion for the job 20+years later (I gave tours while going to college at BMCC). Fits my extrovert, history-loving and imparting personality perfectly! AND I'm still on the postcard after all these years, LOL.
Josiah got his first Boy Scout merit badge - First Aid! Proud of you, son. Looking forward to seeing that sash filled someday.

Girls day in Tri-Cities. First time Hailey and Rina have ever been in a mall. Hailey got rather spoiled that day.

Two of my besties, Cora and Beth, got to see My favorite author, Francine Rivers! They made sure she signed one of my books and took a picture of her doing it. Then Cora surprised me with it! I have the sweetest friends

 Rina "Bee" one year old. Kept it simple, but had fun with the whole yellow, black and white theme. 
Rina loved her personal cupcake.
Rina playing in the birdbath.

 All tuckered out. Fell asleep in the sun on the rug in front of the sliding glass door. I cherish these moments. Too quickly gone...

Love, Jackie


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