Tuesday, July 30, 2013


So, besides kids and chickens, every once in awhile I do something else too.  And last weekend I ran my first ever half marathon.  I had only ever run a couple of shorter races, and wasn't sure of passing etiquette or how to run through the water aid stations, but I had a blast.  I only run by myself normally, and running with a crowd of people (relatively speaking, this was still a small town event) was kind of exciting.  The route went right past my house, so Bryce and the kids stood on the highway to cheer me on.  I'm not sure where to go next, but I hope another race is in my future.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Life Lessons, Maybe

I haven't written a whole lot about it, but we have a small flock of poultry living in a coop out behind our house.  It's been about three years that we've been raising mostly egg laying chickens, and it has been fun.  The eggs are delicious, the kids like the birds, and I like to think that they benefit from seeing directly how a small portion of their food is raised.  The chickens have not been pets to us the way that Dawson is, but we are fond of them, more so I would guess than a farmer would be.

A few months back, we purchased two baby turkeys with the intention of raising them to eat over the holidays.  It turns out turkeys are pretty funny, and more attached to people than our chickens seem to be.  I kind of took a fancy to them.  But they became much, much bigger than the chickens very quickly, and being bred for meat eating, are fairly slow and maybe not so quick on the uptake.  Still, they got along with the chickens, and were doing fine. 

At the same time, our particular little area of town has had a big bear problem.  These things go in cycles, and according to the fish and game guy, some years are just bad luck.  Many problem bears, bears getting into garbage, bears eating chickens, bears at our house, etc. 

This guy surprised us at lunch one day.  So it wasn't really a shock that Bryce found two bears eating one of our turkeys yesterday morning.  They had knocked down the fence in our chicken yard, so some birds were wandering confused on the highway, another in the woods, and the rest were cowering in the coop.  Bryce gave them a good (and painful) scare, but the damage was done. 

Now, I know that predators eating livestock is nothing new, and that having chickens in your backyard is about the same as leaving garbage out as far as bears are concerned.  They're only doing what bears do.  But I was still a little bit sad, and frankly bummed, as that damn bear ate our Thanksgiving turkey.  Rest in peace little (big) dude. 

Our other problem was that now the bears had an awesome meal at our place, and we knew they would be back.  These are bears used to living in a semi-urban environment.  They aren't scared of dogs barking or people yelling, and it really scares me to have my little kids playing outside with those guys running around.  We are thinking about an electric fence, but in the meantime got a motion detector alarm at Home Depot.  We put it up last night, after the birds were asleep in the coop, and about an hour later we heard it go off.  We ran out in time to see a big bear high tailing it across the road.  I'm happy that it worked, and I'm wondering how long it will take for them just to move on.

After all this went down, I wasn't sure what to tell the kids.  They are used to hunting and fishing, and we've even eaten a few of our chickens before.  So when I told them that a bear ate our turkey, I did so very matter of fact.  And, as in most things, they took their cues from me.  They commented that it was sad, but really didn't seem to feel sad.  And they were ready to move on to the next thing pretty quickly.  But Porter got up twice after we put him to bed, scared about the bears coming in the night.  And Molly wouldn't go out to the car to get her shoes.  And I just don't know exactly what lessons they are learning about keeping livestock in the middle of a neighborhood.  It feels sort of halfway to nothing to me.  These birds that aren't quite pets and aren't quite farm animals getting eaten by wild animals that are too habituated to people instead of their natural environment. 

I guess it's better than nothing?  That's what I'm going to believe.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Countdown

During the summer, while Bryce is very busy at work, I normally take the kids down south to see family and the big city.  It kills time, is fun (and exhausting), and we get to see a lot of people that we miss dearly.  But airplane tickets from Alaska (especially with three kids) are not cheap, summer here is so lovely, and Porter had a lot of camps and sports planned, so this year I decided to just stay home.  I thought it would make our summer long and glorious and never ending.  And it sort of did.  We've spent a lot of time outside in the sun.

But suddenly I realized that school starts again in about a month.  We are horribly behind on Porter's summer homework.  We haven't been to the library once (I really had a grand plan to go once a week to get new books).  We haven't been to the pool with the water slide, or gone berry picking, or on all those hikes I thought about.  I feel like we've been busy, and I do have some pictures of us at the beach, but honestly I can't really figure out what we've been doing this whole time.  I haven't even called my sister, and she moved to a new state weeks ago (I'm really sorry Caitlin).

So with one month left, hopefully I will get it together.  I can feel the allure of the school schedule calling me, but I'd love to enjoy this last bit of sunshine with all my kiddos at home.  Library visits are optional.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Learning Curve

This summer I've been giving Porter (sort of) daily homework to do.  It's a bummer, but he needs to do it.  They are little packets, and honestly if he'd just sit down and concentrate they wouldn't take him very long.  But he complains and gets frustrated and belly-aches about it forever, and we end up sparring about it all day.  Such is life.  I haven't come up with the solution.

Today, though, he discovered an amazing technique.  One that I didn't really come into until college.  Cleaning as school work procrastination.  I remember cleaning toilets when I should have been writing term papers.  It was probably the only time I cleaned toilets, but somehow that task seemed preferable to the paper writing, and it suddenly seemed to need doing.

So Porter was struggling with the math homework (adding two two-digit numbers seems to be tripping us up), and all of a sudden he was clearing the table of breakfast dishes.  And then putting away all the toys in the living room that the girls had made into their "campsite."  When he got out the Windex and starting cleaning the computer desk, he looked at me like he was getting away with something.  Like I didn't realize he wasn't doing his homework anymore.

I know little dude.  I know.  And I kind of felt like those penguins in Madagascar (if you're familiar with that sort of thing).  Just smile and wave boys.  Smile and wave.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Toilet Paper and Diapers

So yesterday I did that thing, where I realized we were very, very dangerously low on toilet paper, diapers, milk and well, food.  I really didn't want to go to the store, but calculated that we could make it until this morning without stuffing dish towels in Cedar's pants.  At which time we would make a big time Costco run.

This morning: Cedar wakes up and immediately throws up all over me.  And then every 15 minutes until about now.  Porter and Molly ate graham crackers and microwave popcorn for lunch.  I did a lot of laundry.  And luckily she is so dehydrated that we don't need many diapers.  Fingers crossed for tomorrow.