Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Where's the Bear? #40

The bear appears to be trying out his wings this week!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Lions & Tigers & Birds & Bees...Oh My!

During our busy Fair/Family Vacation week last week, I somehow lost sight of the fact that this week is the last week of Summer Vacation.  I have veered back on track, however, and we have accomplished Back-to-School clothes shopping, as well as a trip to the Zoo so far this week.

My parents have the opportunity through their insurance company, to attend several activities at nearby locations throughout the year.  This summer, they were offered "Zoo Walks", where they were allowed free entry into the zoo up to 2 hours before opening to the general public, along with a "Meet the Keeper" program once a month.  They invited us to go along, since they were allowed to bring one guest each.  We had a nice time there, although it was hot.  We were able to see about half the Zoo before too many people were there, and left shortly after lunch.

It was a relief to cool off in the pool once we returned home.  We've been having an issue lately, however, with the bees in the pool.  Apparently they discovered that our pool is an excellent water source once everything else dried up.  They have been swarming around the ladder, where there is an opening in the solar cover.  This makes it difficult to get it to use the pool ourselves!

I called the Apiarist who tends our hives over the weekend.  He came out and set up a sugar-water reservoir for them down near their hives.  There may be fewer bees at our pool now, but still anxiety causing when you want to climb the ladder to actually enter the pool.  Over the past few days, I've learned about 30 minutes before we hope to swim, if I throw back the solar cover so that there is about a 2 foot space of water surrounding the ladder, the number of bees diminishes enough to allow safe entry into the pool, as well as careful removal of the solar cover.

This morning I discovered that another hen was missing.  I found her beneath the roosts in the Chick-bit house, where she apparently fell peacefully asleep last night.  These poor ladies are definitely showing their age, laying very few eggs, and not getting around as quickly as in the past.  That pullet egg that J found a while back must have been a fluke, as we haven't seen another in 2 weeks.  I would actually expect them to start laying in the next week or so.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Where's the Bear? #39

The bear planted all these baby trees, and then it stopped raining.  Now I have to carry water to them every other day.  I wish he would help with that too!

Thursday, August 13, 2015


We have done nothing "big" or expensive for our last week of family vacation of Summer 2015, but it has definitely been packed with activities.  Unfortunately, JP has spent many, many hours working on charts on the computer - so much for carefree vacation time!

Yesterday we "did the Fair" - went in the evening for food on a stick, and to ride the rides.  The girls only ended up riding one ride each, I believe.  They always enjoy the petting zoo, which featured 2 extremely cute baby camels this year, as well as a tiny, bristly pig.  We spent the most time watching a chainsaw carving show, in which one of the gentlemen turned a huge log into this cute piggy.

Usually we enjoy walking through the Rabbit Barn when we "do the Fair."  We did spend time there, but only because Wednesday was the day scheduled to clean cages, plus J had her 2 hours of "barn duty" that night.

We woke the girls at 3 AM this morning, and after bundling up in sweat pants and hoodies, we drove up to our neighbors' field at the top of the hill.  We snuggled up in sleeping bags, lay on the ground, and watched shooting stars for about an hour.  It was incredible!

This morning, we had an appointment with the Prothonotary (per Wikipedia - the principle clerk of a court) to renew passports for the girls.  She congratulated JP and I on our "beautiful family," so I started off the day with warm fuzzies.

After another visit to the Rabbit Barn to feed and water Chaz, we strapped the bikes on the back of the van, and drove to Wheeling.  The girls and I rode for more than 12 miles on the Heritage bike trail...all the way to the Pike Island Locks & Dam. 

JP had a tire issue about 1/2 mile in, and had to head back to the van, where he (you guessed it) worked on the computer while we rode.

I was proud of the girls, as this is the farthest they have ever ridden.  They did extremely well until the last 1/2 mile or so, when we were all thoroughly pooped.  My hand is hurting big time tonight, despite a big dose of Advil and an ice pack earlier.

We ate dinner at one of JP and my old haunts before heading home.

On the docket for tomorrow:  the Library auction, where the girls get to use the "Book Bucks" that they earned by reading and attending Reading Club at the Library this summer to bid on school supplies and other fun stuff!  There will, of course, be a trip to the Fairgrounds for feeding and watering of 4H projects.  We are also considering another day's still up in the air.

On Saturday, 4H-ers and families are supposed to spend 2 hours cleaning and putting away cages, and putting the Rabbit Barn back to post-Fair order before bringing Chaz home.

I told you we were keeping busy this week!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Where's the Bear? #38

The bear is taking off on an ATV ride this morning - it's a beautiful day for it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


J decided to join 4H this year, in their Rabbit Club.  I have been thoroughly frustrated with this club for the past 8 months, because it has been extremely disorganized.  I also felt like we had to learn on our own how to take care of her rabbit, as well as how to show it.

We moved the bunny out of the Chick-bit house back in June because it was getting so hot in there, and rabbits don't do so well in the heat.  He has been living on our front deck, where it is always nice and shady, and gets great breezes.  J also aims his personal electric fan on him when it is super hot out.  He is living large, let me tell you.  Despite our care, his coat started turning orange-ish once we moved him outside.

At first we thought his second-hand cage was rusty, so we wire-brushed it and painted it.  Then we thought he was getting urine stains on his coat, so we tried multiple things to clean it.  Nothing worked.

According to the judge at the Rabbit Show at the County Fair this afternoon, he is "sunburnt".  This apparently can occur even if he is not in direct sunlight, simply from the heat.  The judge was very helpful, and suggested several things to try to keep him cooler, but although he commented that J's rabbit had a "very nice structure", he did not win 1st because of his coat.

J's red ribbon is hanging above her, and
Chaz is in his cage, though he's hard
to see.
A separate part of showing your rabbit in 4H is Showmanship.  This is where the 4H-er does a head to tail assessment of their rabbit in front of another judge.  J and I (and Chaz, the rabbit, of course) practiced Showmanship over and over and over for the past 6 weeks.  J placed 2nd in this, right behind her buddy, V, who has been showing rabbits in 4H for 4 years.

Here J is doing Showmanship with Chaz -
she appears to be examining his hind legs
at the moment.
I am so very proud of J for trying something new, sticking with it, and pulling off a great show.  You rock J Bird!

Monday, August 10, 2015


JP and I returned this afternoon from a fabulous overnight in the city.  The girls and dogs stayed with my parents (thanks so much Mom & Dad), the rabbit stayed at the Fair, and the chickens and cats are self sufficient for short periods of time.

We had an amazing meal last night, which included our choices of 8 wines at any point throughout the meal (we were only able to make it through 3 a piece, so by sharing were able to try 5 out of 8.)  Dessert was fabulous, as was the view from our hotel window.

We were able to watch our home town team blow the Dodgers away 13-6, without even having tickets!

We returned home today feeling rested and refreshed.

Happy Anniversary, my Love...may we have many more such adventures together!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Chicken News

I have both good and bad news regarding my hens to share tonight.

To get the bad news out of the way first, we lost another Barred Rock hen to the blasted Chicken Hawks last week.

On the other hand, my Golden Comet pullets are getting big -

So big, that one of them laid a teeny tiny egg yesterday.

Yee Haw!

J's rabbit is heading to the County Fair tomorrow afternoon, look him up if you happen to be ambling through the 4H Rabbit Barn.  We'll be in and out all week ourselves.  Wahoo.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Where's the Bear? #37


This week, the bear was spotted hanging out in the tree house.  It's an awesome place to hang out, if I must say so myself!

Sunday, August 2, 2015


The buddleia is covered with butterflies lately.

The sweet peas have dozens of
these big-eyed little guys.

This unknown variety of squash is escaping from the compost!

Recent garden harvest:  kohlrabi, cauliflower, cucumber

This little fellow startled me as I was weeding behind the pool today.