Monday, September 29, 2008

My soft heart is not so soft any more....

At 3 a.m. the other night, Joel and I woke up because strange noises were coming from the yard right outside our open window. When we looked out we saw at least 8 raccoons running around! Raccoons are real pests in my opinion because they've been eating our peaches, plums, apricots and grapes this year almost faster than we can harvest it ourselves. They also eat the cat's food and we know they will eat chickens, eggs and baby kitties too. As Joel and I looked out at the raccoons debating what to do about them, a few noticed us through the window and started growling menacingly at us.

Okay, that did it.

Joel got out the .22 and shot them.

The boys gathered them all up the next morning.

Yes, what a mean thing to do, but I was cheering Joel on. I have become quite hardened to the "cuteness" of the wildlife around here. The deer eating our fruit trees, grapes vines, tulips, strawberries, roses, tomatoes, beans, peas and using my corn patch as a bed has turned me against them too. Anyone like to bow hunt? The season is on and we welcome one and all. In fact, I'll sweeten the experience. I'll make the dessert of your choice for anyone who bags a deer. I'm serious......

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Meet our new chickens: Abigail and Stinky Pete

This weekend we brought home more animals to add to our growing menagerie! The kids and 2 boys we had staying with us and I, went to a homeschool friend's house to learn more about butchering chickens. My friend did a great job of writing about the experience of 2 women, 1 grandma and 9 children trying to accomplish that gruesome but interesting job. Anyway, we ended up coming home with 2 young laying hens to our great delight. Their feed is currently being supplemented by our garden's overipe cucumbers, old peaches, and weeds and they look very content.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Digging for Yukon Gold

This afternoon, the little kids helped me harvest some Yukon Gold potatoes for our dinner. They were ecstatic every time we found one. I'm looking up new potato recipes so we can dig more tomorrow!

And here's a funny post by a fellow homeschool mom I wanted to share. :-)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Alturas Camping Trip 2008

Every year we look forward to our tradition of staying at Lake Alturas with the Alberdi family. It's a great way to end the summer- enjoying the scenery of the Stanley basin for a few days while renewing friendships. We stopped at Galena summit to take in the view.

This year the first day was very smoky and hazy and it made it a little eerie at the lake. We were told there were recent wolf sitings at the nearby campground and that helped contribute to our unease. Here's Hailey with her friend Naomi the day it was smoky.
The next day turned out much nicer and we hiked up the little trail near camp to see the view. Did I mention that Mom and Grandma Clayton were able to camp with us this year too? We have a 3 generation photo to remember it by....
That afternoon everyone went back to the lake. Torsten and Taylor found a tree to climb.

The third day we decided to make the half hour drive further north to visit Redfish Lake. It has the most amazing views of the Sawtooths!
Reagan always enjoys spending time with Grandma Clayton.
We'll hold onto these memories until we can do it again next year!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Last days of summer...

Well, I thought I'd try editing my pictures on photo bucket, then by using their html codes, get those pictures over to this site. I was hoping to get it figured out all by myself without help from Havilah. :-) Hmmm........ the pictures got here but they are HUGE and there were double and triples of everything (I got rid of them). Okay, I guess I will have to bug my sister.....

Here Heidi and Reagan are shucking some corn for me. That's a task they love to do. (Oh dear, even with a template change my pictures don't quite fit . Havilah, help!)
Heidi and Reagan shucking corn
We continue to have warm days but I can certainly feel the chill of autumn when I go outside in the morning. I've been picking the few grapes the deer have felt kind enough to leave me. I have about 1/4 of the grapes I did last year because the deer population is out of control. But the grapes I do have are so beautiful. grapes The kids posed in front of our mammoth sunflower. We hope to harvest the seeds from it in a month or so. I feel like the garden is beginning to wind down. There are still peppers, tomatoes, summer squash and some eggplant but it's all looking a little tired. I'm probably looking a little tired too!kids, garden

Saturday, September 6, 2008


This Friday, Heidi, Hailey and I, took some young friends and went to the ceramics shop to pass the time during Torsten's first day of Shakespeare class. (Both are in Kimberly so I was trying to conserve some gas ;-) The kids have enjoyed spending hours painting special projects in that tiny studio this past year. I hope their experiences are helping them develop patience and attention to detail. Heidi learned some antiquing and chalk techniques during her afternoons spent painting this little bunny. She did a great job.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Collecting Chokecherries in the South Hills

The kids and I went to the South Hills with some homeschool friends to enjoy some beautiful fall weather and scenery. Our mission was to collect choke cherries to be used for riparian rehabilitation in overgrazed or overcamped river frontage.
We learned from the ranger that was overseeing the collection effort, that chokecherries provide good food and habitat for bears, raccoons and all kinds of birds.

Don't they look delicious? Well, they aren't. Sour isn't the right word- more like dry and bitter. But they looked very pretty in the collection buckets.

All that picking, climbing trees and wading in the creek, tuckered them out....

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

One apron finished!

On Labor Day I was able to finish the apron I had started for myself. I'm not entirely happy with it because it isn't quite the pattern I had originally envisioned. But it was the best I could find at Jo-Ann Fabrics. My favorite part is the pocket with a little bit of handmade lace.

A week after I had bought patterns and fabric for Hailey and I to sew our projects with, I ran into a great little quilt store that I never knew existed. It is Idaho Quiltworks and they opened up in May. (They are right next to Prasai's Thai 2 Go on Fillmore.) They carry Moda Fabric- yes!! I used to have to go to The Gathering Place in Rupert or a little quilt store in Hailey to find Moda fabric so I'm very excited to find a source right here in Twin for great fabric. The friendly sisters who own the shop let me browse the catalog they order from and they showed me what they will be getting in next month. Looking through that catalog, I felt like a child in candy store! Something else I was excited about is that they carry Amy Butler patterns and plan to stock some of her fabric soon. I ended up buying a great pattern book with retro aprons for children. So now I have lots more projects started....

I love independent stores with their owners working in them, available to answer questions and listen to your input, taking pride in what they do. I hope they never completely disappear!

Dad's Poetic Essay on Sprinklers

I wanted to share an email that my dad sent out about sprinklers. I thought it was very poetic. Here it is....

I like sprinklers.

They intrigue me: The little springs and the weird shaped parts that hop and bounce and twirl as the water comes out in a stream arcing across the sky. I do not know exactly how they all work, or even the names of the parts that make them work, but I like sprinklers in all of their shapes, sizes, and designs.

They come in all sizes, from the little one that pops up at the edge of the sidewalk at 2:00 in the morning to spray your ankle, to the guns on the pivot that the farmers use to get just a few more acres irrigated. They whir and chirp and chitter in a language all their own though some are silent as they work to soak down a corner of the yard. Some send out steady streams that vary only as the breeze pushes the water around, but most whirl and bat and rock as they spread the water across the land.

I like the ones that go back and forth, and those that go around in a circle. I like the ones that look like a tractor and as the top spins, the tractor so slowly follows the hose across the yard. I like the ones under the pivots that slowly rotate like a splashy wet carousel. I like the large indolent pivots that you can never see move, but by the end of the day have swung across the field. I like the ones hidden in the ground that give just a little hiss of warning before they pop up and rain on your parade.

I enjoy them in the morning as they add to the dew on the grass. I enjoy them under the noon day sun as they moisten the ground. I enjoy them in the still of the evening as their fine mist shines in the golden light of the setting sun.

But I do not enjoy the splat, splat, splat on my windshield as I drive down the road past the pivot's end gun. I enjoy walking down a suburban street in the evening and listening to the sounds of the sprinklers in the yards chattering like neighbors across the backyard fence. I enjoy the drive to work in the morning and seeing pivot and wheel line mounted sprinklers working diligently in field after field.

But what I like most about sprinklers is what they do. Sprinklers keep the grass green in the parks and yards. They help the flowers to bloom and enable you to raise vegetables in your garden. Because of sprinklers, the farmers can grow corn, wheat, alfalfa, and sugar beets to put food on your table. They provide beauty for the soul and food for the body.

So out here in the deserts of southern Idaho where ever sprinklers are at work I know that they are helping something to grow. That is why I like sprinklers.

S.H. Bishop of Bliss