Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Pup's First Christmas Eve

    The pups are all one month old now
    It's incredible how much they've grown. We've already decided which two we are going to keep and in a month or so we'll give the rest away. They are all mutts so we aren't going to sell them, but we do want to make sure each one has a nice home to grow old in.

    This little guy is one we're keeping. His name is Shaska -- after the sword. He's the second largest, but he's the most mellow out of all of them -- and we love his coloring the best -- it makes me think of a husky or another kind of snow dog.

    Shaska and Jules playing together

   The other puppy that we're keeping is Jules (pictured above) she's the smallest and the smartest of the bunch, she's already become an incredible escape artist. We've made a little yard for the puppies outside of the shed with hog wire, but no matter what we do, she manages to get out and lead the rest out. We've started checking on the puppies every hour to herd them back into their yard.

    Well, today is Christmas Eve and as a special gift we wanted to bring the puppies into the kitchen to enjoy it with us. Mom and Dad agreed and we spent an incredibly fun evening all together.

    It's going to be sad to see all of these puppies go to other homes, but we are all just grateful that we got to have them in the first place. It's been a wonderful two months. I think that every child ought to know what it feels like to raise a puppy. 
   There's nothing quite like it.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Tumble of Growing Pups

   The puppies are growing fast! 
   They have opened their eyes now and their box has been moved out of the garage into the woodshed. But, despite, the move, they still get all kinds of company. They're not very active yet, but that's just find with us because we just like to hold them. Playing with them will come later.

    Sometimes, on extra cold days, Mom lets us lay towels on the laundry room floor and bring the puppies inside. We just sit on the floor and the puppies curl up in any nook and cranny they can find and fall asleep. They are adorable.

Snuggle Puppy - It makes me sleepy just looking at these pictures

This is my favorite picture of all. After church my little man just sat on the kitchen floor and all eight puppies just curled with him. He ate is sandwich and they slept on. What cuties!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Giving Thanks for Eight New Puppies

We were out of state for Thanksgiving this year. We spent it with extended family in the West. It was fabulous week. Near the end of our vacation, we got a phone call from our friend who was watching the house for us. She had some exciting news . . .
    Lady, (our beagle mix), and Bolto, (our collie mix), had their puppies!


There were eight of them! Us kids were thrilled!

   Our friend put them in a box in the garage with their Momma and that's where we found them when we got home from vacation. Eight of the cutest little mix breeds you could possible imagine. They were still so young that they hadn't opened their eyes yet.

Lady, the mother, was very good and let us hold and cuddle them as much as we wanted.

    The only one with any white on it at all was this little guy. All the rest were mixtures of brown and black. Right off the bat we named this one whitey because of his coat. It's going to be great fun trying to name all of these new family members.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pressing, Canning & Drinking Apple Cider

    Here we are! 
    Before now, we have always pressed our own cider in our little press at home, but after doing some calculations we realized that my taking our apples to the press in the next town over, we actually save money because we get more juice out of our apples. Hence: Here We Are!

    We buy our apples from a local orchard by the bin because our own trees aren't baring enough to press. We used a mixture of golden-delicious and red-delicious and the cider it produced was yum-delicious :)

Before heading out to the press, I made apple muffins for us to munch on. 
They kept our hands warm too, which was nice because the apples were wet with cold dew.

I can't think of a place i would rather be than in a truck bed with hundreds of apples and my family.

    Once we get the cider home, it's a journey to get it all in jars. We've collected a lot of half gallon jars over the years and I think we now have over one hundred of them -- and we need it because we drink that much juice in a year.
    First we strain the cider and then warm it on the stove before pouring it into jars.

 See? What did I tell you? Over 100 half gallon jars!

    We can't leave the cider sitting in drums for very long because it starts to ferment really fast. So the canning often goes late into the night. It's a fun couple hours where it's just Mom and me in the kitchen after everyone else has gone to bed.

    The last step is dating all of the jars and carrying the boxes to the basement. I think carrying down the stairs is the hardest part of the whole process. Maybe it's because we're pretty tired by then. 
    In any case! Good-bye to one of my favorite events of the year.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Trip to Kirtland with Our Cousins

    One of the fun things we like to do when company comes is take them to the Historical Sites in Kirtland. The Kirtland temple is there as well as the Newel K. Whitney store, ashery, saw mill, and the home that Joseph and Emma Smith stayed in.

We all enjoyed being together!

It's fascinating to see how people used to live so long ago.
Many things have changed and yet, other things are still very much the same.

The one thing with historical sites is that there is always a lot of walking. 
We all helped the little ones with the last stretch.

   Our last stop was the Kirtland temple, which is owned by the Community of Christ church now. It was closed so we couldn't actually go inside, but the grounds were beautiful. There are so many flowers in bloom right now. 
    We all took turns taking pictures.

    There is nothing quite like the temple. I love going inside them. Even driving by one gives me a special feeling. They are all so beautiful and the feeling of peace that I feel when I'm there is incomparable. I love the temple!
    Families are Forever!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Trip to Local Farm with Cousins

    Our cousins are here from Texas!
    We love company around -- partly because we like to go fun places together. Today we went to a local farm that gives tours, lets us touch and feel the animals, and has lots of fun things to see and do. The kids really enjoyed themselves. Above you'll see that my brother found himself a woolly-worm -- he was almost more interested in the caterpillar than the barnyard animals.

There were lots of cats around. 
Most of them were friendly and let us hold them.

The kids enjoyed playing with the chickens. The hens would eat the grass out of their hands. 
We hope to get chickens one day.

The pond was a hit!
What is more fun than throwing rocks off a bridge -- tell me that!

This picture of my little man is adorable. I had to include it.

    No, the kids didn't trip and fall on their faces, even though that's what it looks like. There was a nice hill and they decided to roll down it. I remember doing that. Now I'm boring and take pictures of other people doing it. 
    When did i decide that being a grown up would be more fun?

   We had a look at their bird aviary, the museum and their gift shop before heading home. It was an enjoyable day spent with family in nature. 
    We love our family!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Spaghetti Sauce: Messiest Canning Day of the Year

    It's tomato season -- and that means spaghetti sauce. 
    Ont the day we can spaghetti sauce we forget about all other work and just focus on the canning. It's a tough, tough job -- but only because it's messy, hot and sticky.

    First we boil tomatoes, peppers and onions until they're soft. Then we put them through a strainer to get rid of as much juice as possible. We can the juice itself and in the winter we open,heat and drink it like V8 juice.
    Dad really likes it with pepper.

We try to keep the mess in the greenhouse as much as possible.

    The last thing we do before the sauce is caned is put it through a Victoria strainer to get rid of the seeds, peelings and anything else we don't want in the sauce. We set up the strainer in the greenhouse and just strain away.
   It spits and spurts and gets all over us -- like I said: Messy!

    Mom takes care of the last step.
    All it takes is a hot water bath to can up both the V8 juice and the sauce -- but you can use a pressure cooker too if you're more comfortable with that. It's a nice feeling when everything is all clean after spaghetti sauce and we've each had a nice long shower.