Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Motherhood Photo Contest

5 Minutes for mom is having a photo contest with the topic "Motherhood". The photo is supposed to show what motherhood means to me. This photo is just one small part of what motherhood means to me.

Monday, April 28, 2008

We have a winner

I used a random number generator to determine the winner for my Bloggy giveaway.
Congratulations to Christie for being lucky number 5.

No more rinsing

As I have posted before, our house was in pretty bad "cosmetic" shape when we bought it. I can't even remember how dirty it was, until I look at picture. And even then I can barely believe it. One of the things I have wanted to change from the moment we moved in was our dishwasher. Besides the fact that the old one was just plain hideous, it also didn't do it's job at all very well. Unless you rinsed every single food particle off, and made sure nothing was caked on, it came out totally dirty. But even with rinsing, the plates came out smelling like fish.I love tax season. Our W-4 is filled out in a way that only Winter is a dependent, so the IRS takes too much money out. Then come April, we get a nice chunk of money back. I know this is not the smartest way to save money, but it works for us. If we had the money all year, I know we would just spend it on little non-essential things. So this year I used some of that money to buy a new dishwasher.
I ordered it from Sears in Sherman (a little bitty town) and had to wait for 5 days to pick it up. I picked it up, brought it home. Then I removed the old dishwasher, cleaned up a dead mouse that had been under there for probably 10 years. I bought parts, bought some more parts because the other parts didn't connect up. I hooked up the new dishwasher, fixed the water leaks, tested it, it worked. Loaded dishes. Started it again... nothing. It shorted out. I disconnected the electrical cords again, tested again, and loaded again. Fixed some more water leaks. Decided everything was connected the right way, and pushed it into its spot. Without further addu here's the new one.It actually cleans my dishes!! As a test I even put in dishes that had food from the night before. Of course it also looks much better, and I can't wait to get our wood floor in, so you can see the full effect. We're not done with the kitchen though. We still have countertops, backsplash, floors, and new oven/microwave to install.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Out of it

I have felt so out of it the last couple of days. I can't believe I haven't posted anything for 4 days, and there's so much to write about. I guess I have just been too busy doing all the things I am supposed to be doing, instead of spending time behind the computer and ignoring my duties.
As I hate catching up, I'll just forget these last couple of days of my life. (I don't remember anything!)
I do want to share that I rototilled our garden yesterday. Now I hurt in the strangest places. I wish I could have gotten some of my labor on video, it would have given you a good laugh. The rototiller would just jump ahead where the ground was harder, so I hung on for dear life.
BTW my garden is in a new spot, closer to the house, and fenced in.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Kitten had kittens

Our 8 month old kitten had kittens yesterday! She had 5 of them. 2 white ones, 2 black ones, and an orange one. I think there are multiple daddies involved. She seems really good with them. She just lays in her little box and lets them drink to their heart's content. It's really amazing how these things just come natural.
Today I picked up a used swing set for $50, to go with the trampoline.
I also picked up our new dishwasher. The dishwasher we currently have is very delapitated. I think it must be the original one (15 years old!)
I have this crazy sinus infection, which started last week when we visited grandma in Plano. I couldn't stop sneezing, and ever since that I have been stuffed up. I have had a pretty bad headache for the past 2 days, so today I decided I needed to do something. I am not ready for antibiotics (I have a thing against them), so I steamed over a bowl of hot water, shot saline solution up my nose, drank some tea, and wished I had a painkiller strong enough to knock me out cold.
Something got to my chickens today. I found a pile of feathers and part of a chicken bone. It looks like 2 of my chicks are missing, and one has severe damage/injury to the neck. I have the suspicion that one of our dogs did it, so I tied both of them up. I am leaning mostly towards Cinnamon, because yesterday Joe caught her chasing the chicks. Unfortunately, when I find out who is the murderer, I will have to get rid of it. Yes, I'm cruel, but my chickens are worth more than my dogs.... sorry. (I never was a dog-person)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I want to win win win!!

I just got introduced to the Bloggy giveaways. There are so many giveaways. If I just enter all of them, I should win at least one thing, right? No matter that I am ignoring all my duties as a house-wife. I will win!

Bloggy Giveaway!

Attention Music Lovers!

I am taking part in the Bloggy giveaway carnival where there are literally hundreds of giveaways going on right now.

I am giving away 1 CD of Harp Music, played and recorded by me, myself, and I. There are 9 songs on the CD, and there's a good mix between classic, popular, and other music styles.

I live in the Dallas Texas area, and play harp for weddings and other events here. If you live in the area and would like me to play for your event, or if you know someone who would love live harp music, just check out my website Jessica.Roadjoural.org. This is my temporary website while I work on getting my dallas(dot)harpist(dot)com set up.

To be entered in this giveaway just visit my harp website, then come back here and give me some feedback on the website. If you comment without feedback, you will not be entered to win the CD.

Some rules: You have to live in the United States to enter. If you don't have a google ID, please leave me an email address, so I'll be able to contact you if you win. On Sunday April 27th at 10pm I will choose a winner.

Good luck, and happy listening!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

In the field


Time perception

There must be something wrong with me. It's easier for me to get to church on time when I have to get the kids ready alone, than with the help of my husband. Joe just got a calling that requires him to be at church at 7.15am, so I am left to get everybody looking decent and fed for church.
Don't take me wrong, Joe is a great helper with the kids. I think it's just me. See, when Joe is home, I always expect a certain level of slack, because of his help. It "always" turns out that I expected too much, and we walk into the chapel at a consistent 5-10 minutes late. When it's just me, I realize I can't stay in bed that extra 30 minutes, and that I really can only shower for 10 minutes instead of 20, and that I am the one that will have to brush and do my girls' hair.
I do still need to work on my perception of how long certain things will take. For example, I know that church is a 25-minute drive. But if I go out the door at 9.35, I certainly won't be on time. Because that 25 minutes doesn't include putting on shoes, feeding the dogs, chickens, and goats, getting the church and snack bag together, or brushing my teeth.
As a matter of fact, my planning for this morning also didn't include blogging for 10 minutes, so... I guess I won't be blow-drying my hair today.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Treasure in the hole

I found a good deal on a trampoline today, so I drove 1.5 hours to Denton to pick it up. (and 1.5 hours back!!!). My sister Wendy had given me a good idea, and I was going to rent a back hoe to make the hole digging go a whole lot faster. That idea got vetoed by my lovely husband. He wants to see me suffer for my decision to get a trampoline.
So tonight when Joe and the kids went to T-ball practice, I set out to the hole. I did my obligatory 10 wheel barrows full, and then one extra --making the total 28 so far--. Towards the end of my load, I made 2 not so great discoveries. First, I found the cable that goes to the old satellite pole. I didn't really care about this, because it isn't being used anymore. But then... I found several sprinkler pipes. It looks like there is a intersection of pipes right smack-dab in the middle of my hole. Luckily I have a handy husband... maybe I can convince him to move them for me??
Also, it rained last night, and my hole is completely full of water... I guess I need to dig a drainage pipe too.....

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rome wasn't built in a day

As I wrote before, I am on the lookout for some play equipment. After last weeks storm I also decided that if we are going to have a trampoline, it will have to be buried in the ground. Joe's reaction: "NO, NO, NO!!! We're going to have a half-finished hole in our backyard!!"
Of course I have to prove him wrong (is he playing mind games with me?). Anyways, I started yesterday and I think digging a hole was a crazy brilliant idea. There are no lava rocks in Texas (like Idaho) and the soil is mostly clay. Today I hauled off 13 wheel barrows full of dirt and 4 yesterday. Before I started I thought it would take about 50 wheel barrows. My estimate has changed to 300. I'll keep track, and keep you posted.
My plan is to dig the hole first, and then get the trampoline... to keep the kids motivated. Winter was a really good helper tonight with her little shovel. Ginger also put dirt in the wheel barrow by the hand-full. The hole has about a 6 feet diameter so far, and is 1 layer deep. I know it doesn't look very impressive in the picture
My hands and back are pretty sore, but I just keep thinking about the movie "Holes". If they can do it, so can I, right?? Also, Rome wasn't built in a day!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Play equipment

Now that we weather is nice, I like for the kids to play outside. They usually will play outside for a little while, but get bored pretty quickly. And Sterling likes to get into trouble. Yesterday I caught him in the chicken coop, chasing the chickens. This is a big no-no, because I don't want stressed chickens that won't lay eggs. So my search has begun for some fun toys. I am on the lookout for a trampoline, swing set, and maybe even one of those riding toys. Craigslist is my main source, and as long as you jump on ads as soon as they are posted you have a good chance of getting good deals. They frequently have free stuff, but for that you really have to go the speed of light. The one problem with Craigslist is that you can't really search by area. So when something comes on the Dallas Craigslist, it can easily be 2 hours away (or more). After last week's big storm I definitely plan on burying the trampoline in the ground. We saw several ones that were blown away.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Colors of Texas

I didn't edit this photo at all. This is what the colors looked like last night

Grandma Helen's Sewing Center

Last Sunday we visited great grandma Helen. Grandma does a lot of embroidering, especially for family members. Winter spent a while helping her out. She helped put the thread on the bobbins, and also put it on the machine.Isn't it great to see Winter working and learning with her great grandmother?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Smitten for Pride

We made it through the night. Around 2 am I woke up from the lightning and thunder that seemed to be right on top of us. I didn't think much of it, since we've had some pretty bad storms lately. It poors, thunders, flashes, and blows, but in the morning not much evidence is left of the storm. (except a higher water level in the lake)
Not so this morning. I guess there were 70 miles/hr winds and we were in the heart of the storm. My heart dropped when I looked over to the chicken coop only to see thisand then this
I know....I was a little proud of my accomplishment last week. Did God smite me for my pride? Or was I just part of a series of unfortunate events?
We were very blessed that our house didn't blow away. We still have a dry, dark (no electricity) house with running water. When I took Winter to school I noticed many other people had suffered from the storm. Large trees were uprooted, trampolines had blown in trees, shed and shops were mangled much like ours, and half of Winter's Gym roof was gone.
Amazingly none of my chickens got blown away and they all made it through the night. But they didn't have any shelter anymore. My only option was to move them back to the shed. The shed is right next to the fence/bushes, so it's not the ideal spot for a chicken coop (predators). Luckily my nesting boxes and my roost ladder didn't get blown away, and those got moved first. Then, I took all the T-posts back out -- yes the same ones I just hammered in less than a week ago -- and moved them to the shed. After many hours of hard labor this is the final resultNot too bad huh? Hopefully the next time a big storm comes, I won't have to do this all over again. Miraculously I still got 3 eggs today. I thought the chickens would stop laying after such a big trauma.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Prize

Since Joe goes out of town for work at lot, he has created the tradition of bringing the kids a little something back. This tradition started several years ago, when the kids weren't as fluent in speaking as they are now. I would tell them that daddy was bringing home a surprise for them. Now, when he leaves they ask me without fail: "Is dad bringing a Prize?" While I think it started out because they couldn't properly say "surprise", I think it has developed into them thinking it's actually a prize, not a surprise.
Today Joe gave each of the kids a kite. It was kind of fun, because earlier today we were watching Mary Poppins when the kids fly kites. After waiting all afternoon until dad was done working, they had to wait even longer, because it was raining. After dinner we were able to fly kites for just a few minutes. Ginger was actually the best at keeping her kite in the air.

Book Tag

Ok, usually I don't do these tags but since it was my sister-in-law that tagged me, I thought why not.
I was tagged with a book tag by my sister-in-law, Nancy. Here are the rules:
1. Grab the nearest book (at least 123 pages)
2. Turn to page 123.
3. Find the 5th sentence.
4. Post said sentence on your blog.
5. Tag five people.

The book I am reading right now was suggested to me by my mother-in-law. The book is: "The book Thief" by Markus Zusak.Page 123 doesn't really have sentences, so I skipped to page 125. The sentence is: "Some say it was a miracle that she ever owned that book at all."
I just started reading this book, and its' pretty interesting so far. Click on the picture for a review.
I tag Rebecca, Jenny, Annie, Mary, and Wendy.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Miracle on the farm

Ginger is still little. Case in point: she was holding Sterling's duck, when I noticed that he was limp. She had squeezed/choked him to the point where his little body couldn't take it anymore. His tiny little neck was flung backward. I quickly grabbed it from her, and thought for sure we had lost him. I was very sad. I straightened his neck out though, and slowly I could tell he was gasping for air. It took a minute, but he came back to life!! It was a miracle.
On the other hand, not all animals are that lucky. One of our chicks got into the water bucket. The water level was too low, and he got trapped. He did not come back to life.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Livestock update

We have had a lot of livestock turnover lately. It's been a while since I posted the numbers, so here you go:
  • 6 Angora Goats
  • 3 Sheep
  • 21 Chickens
  • 1 duck
  • 2 Dogs
  • 2 Cats
  • 4 Longhorns
  • 1 Cow
  • 1 Llama

The Perfect Saturday

I would dare to say that today was the perfect Saturday, in a family sort of way.
  • The kids had T-ball games
  • I attended my first auction and got some pretty good bargains video
  • We all sat around in the chicken run, playing with our new chickens and duck
  • I got a nap
  • Joe and the kids caught fish, which we proceeded to eat for dinner
  • The kids and I made chocolate chip cookies
  • The house is not a total disaster
Now, I do have to make a confession. Today is conference for church, and we didn't listen to any of it. We are so spoiled being able to watch it on TV when we lived in Idaho. Here we have to go to the church building, which is 30 minutes away. **Update** I was feeling guilty about skipping conference, when I realized I can watch it online! So that's what I'm doing right now.
Tomorrow we will go down to Plano and watch it with Earl and have Sunday dinner with him. That should be good times. I printed out the activity packet that Angela suggested, and I am hoping the kids will get something out of it.

Eggs, ducks, and auction

I have my first eggs! I got 2 today, 1 large, and 1 small.
They weren't in the nesting boxes, but I'll take them anyways.
I posted some pictures of my chicken in my last post.

Joe got Sterling a little baby duck. It's really cute, and we gave him his first swim, in a bucket.
This morning, while the kids had their T-ball games, I went to my first auction ever. At first I couldn't understand a thing the auctioneer was saying. It was crazy fast. I still don't know exactly what he said, but I did manage to buy some things (and get a sunburn)

-A Silver Tea set and candlesticks, and other dish: $10
-2 nightstand/dressers: $1
-Scooter for Ginger: $1
-Hanging out with all the old-time farmers: Priceless

Friday, April 4, 2008

Egg layers

For the past 2 months I have been dying to get some egg laying chickens. It's just so hard for me to pay $2/dozen at the store. Teresa and I bought some at the trade days, but 2 of those died, and the one that is left hasn't laid any eggs (or at least I haven't seen any)
Teresa finally tracked some chicken down, and we picked them up tonight. I am soooo excited. I just can't wait to get my first eggs. I have 5 chickens, and they all look completely different. I'll post some pictures later when I can shoot them in the daylight. 4 of them lay brown eggs, and 1 lays green eggs.
They are in their new coop with the chicks, and hopefully they don't attack the chicks too much. I put some eggs in the nesting boxes to show them where to lay, I guess it fakes them out and then they just keep laying there.

This Hen likes her nesting box!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sometimes they're cute...

Although my kids often drive me crazy, sometimes they are just cute as can be. I guess as long as they're not fighting they are pretty cute.
Today they were in a good mood, and I was able to shoot these pix.
BTW, Sterling used to hate getting his picture taken, but now he actually asks for it.

Cute kids

Landscapes

Yes-i-ka Photography

My name is Jessica, pronounced "Yes-i-ka". I love taking photos and sharing them with others.
I would like to get more serious about my photography, so I set up this blog to promote my photographs. I will still post photos on my personal blog, but only personal photos.
I have a Bachelor's Degree from Brigham Young University in Visual Art's. I enjoy drawing, sculpting, and other mediums, but right now my focus is photography.
In the past I have done family photos for friends, pregnant moms, as well as new born babies. I have also always enjoyed taking photos of nature, whether it is macro photography or landscapes. This is my first year of doing senior portraits, and I also hope to get into weddings some day.
I will post some of my previous work. Some of it is recent, while others are years old.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Toot my own horn

Warning: blatant horn tooting ahead.
At 3.30pm I got a call from my friend Teresa, because she had found some egg-laying chickens. We both want some, and it's been really hard to find any. My chicks have also gotten a lot bigger, and really too big for their little box.
A couple of months ago we built a coop in our shed, but Joe decided he doesn't like having the chickens right next to our fence line (predators). I have been asking Joe to build me a new coop/run so I can move my chicks, but without results. So today I headed out there, determined to do it myself. I have to say I was very insecure about my abilities. There's some hard labor involved, and Joe is just so handy and strong. I started with the T-posts. I found 2 in the shed, and had to pull up another 2 around the farm. The first one really gave me a hassle. I almost went inside to get Joe's help, but was determined to get it done myself. It finally came loose. Then I used a big sledge hammer to hammer them into the ground. Next came the chicken wire. I kind of cheated there and used zip-ties. Hopefully the goats won't eat them. Then I stole the door we made for the other coop and installed it on the fence post. So now we have a genuine chicken run that is accessible by a door.
I was so proud of my accomplishment. I did it all alone.
After that, Joe was done working and came outside. He made some nice perches. The other thing I did, which I think is pretty cool too, I used part of the entertainment center that we ripped out of the house to make nesting boxes. I just hung up the shelves, and divided them in 2, and voila! nesting boxes!
I couldn't believe it when I came inside and saw that it was 8pm! I just spent 4.5 hours working on the farm!
The chicks are out there right now, and I would say they are enjoying their new, fancy, mansion.

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