Saturday, March 31, 2012

Napping Kids

 

Our little goats play a lot, but they also nap a lot.  I think it’s so cute how they curl up with each other.

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Peanut Play

I have had a lot of fun watching Peanut lately.  She has begun role playing.  She wants to play dishes with her sisters and she LOVES the little playhouse in the yard.  Here she is engaging in one of her most favorite activities: opening and closing the door:

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(PS—she’s wearing disposable diapers because we had just gotten back from our trip and I was still wading through the laundry…)

In My Garden

I’m going to take you on a little tour of my garden. 

My chard patch hung on through the winter and then exploded with the nice spring weather. 

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Behind it is the lettuce bed that is also very happy.  I planted this lettuce last September and it grew very very slowly until this spring.  Now it’s very luscious.  The lettuce I planted mid-February is miniscule… go figure.   29 March 025

My tortured broccoli plants….  they started setting heads early this spring but I didn’t get out there so they all went to flower, like you see here. 

29 March 026 So a couple days ago I cut all that growth off this plant and now I’m watching to see what it will do.  I have no idea.  But it should be interesting. 

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Now on to my herb garden.  My rosemary looks wonderful and the Bee Balm is coming back thick and strong.  29 March 030

I just hacked my mint back to a manageable size: 29 March 031 And then this little beauty…  I’m not sure what it is (I know I have it written down somewhere…)  It’s another one of the perennial flowers I planted last summer that didn’t really take hold until now.  How fun!

29 March 032 Finally, Bean’s garden.  He’s got these massive onions we planted LAST SPRING that just won’t grow big underground where we want them to.  I’m going to leave them in there and see if they will finally decide to tow the line. 

29 March 033 Then he went out there a few weeks ago without telling me and planted some radishes and peas.  Well, at least someone got some peas planted! 

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This Oklahoma gardening thing is funny.  You have failure after failure after failure, but then you end up with a few things that are just beautiful.  But it’s not consistent.  What thrives this year won’t thrive next year.  So every success is a pleasant surprise. 

Blue Flax!

Blue flax is one of my favoritest flowers ever.  It grows wild out west and it is so delicate and lovely.  Last summer I planted some here.  Only a couple of seeds germinated and only one little plant survived.  It was just a tiny spindly thing about 4 inches high all last year, but I carefully weeded around it.  This spring it came back full force and I walked out into my garden the other day to find blooms!  Hooray!

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Daisy’s Twins

When we left on our little jaunt, we had one goat that hadn’t delivered yet: Daisy.  She’s a little more skittish than the others, so we wondered if she just wanted to be left alone and figured she’d probably do her thing as soon as we left town.  But when we got back, she was still pregnant. 

The next day, she had twins!  And we were all there watching, even the Badger this time.  

Here is baby Butterscotch:29 March 005

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And here is the Badger assisting in the delivery of Snickerdoodle. 

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Both boys.  That means we have five bucklings and two doelings, for a total of seven kids.  We will sell the boys in a couple of months and keep the girls.  But in the mean time we will enjoy them all thoroughly!

Where to Next?

Packing up and heading out of Lake Wister State Park, we looked at the map and said, “where should we go next?”  IMG_9516

Hmmmm…. how about the Talimena National Scenic Byway?  Oklahoma’s only officially designated scenic drive?  Should be pretty in the spring.

It was a really neat drive.  While down in the valleys spring was going full blast, most of the trees up on top of the mountain hadn’t leafed yet (many of them were oaks, which are some of the last to leaf.)  But bare branches meant we had better views of the beautiful valleys below. 

IMG_9519    IMG_9518  I really want to come back and drive this road in the fall.  That would make me so happy. 

We ended up in Mena, Arkansas and from there we headed up to the Fort Smith National Historic Site.  I’ve had that on my homeschool field trip list for a long time.  I really had no idea what it was even about, just that it was historic and a stamp in our national parks passports. 

Boy, we learned a lot!  It was really fascinating to learn about how completely lawless Indian Territory was in the late 1800’s and how Fort Smith was the seat of justice for the area.  The boys were fascinated by the deputy U.S. Marshalls and the dangerous lives they led trying to round up criminals and bring them back to Fort Smith alive for prosecution. 

I did not take good pictures at Fort Smith (I was too busy trying to help the kids with their Junior Ranger workbooks) but here is a picture of Peanut by the site of the original Fort Smith. 

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And here is a cute picture of the Badger and his girls by the Arkansas River (which is about three times wider at Ft. Smith than it is in Wichita!

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It was so wonderful to get away for a couple of days and explore!  It takes a ton of work to get my big family out the door on a trip and it took me two days to put everything back together after we got home, but it was totally worth it! 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Under a Friendly Tree

The next morning at the lake the boys went first thing and jumped in the water again.  The girls decided to play “house” under an obliging tree they took a fancy to. 

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It was quite a lovely tree—Roo made me take this picture of the leaves and I’m glad I did!  This picture has not been edited at all—can you believe how green the leaves are?

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We brought Peanut out to see how she would like it. 

 

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She spent a long time just sitting under the tree examining blades of grass and other bits of nature.  I love how babies inspect things.

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Peanut was pretty happy!

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P.S. It was so nice to be somewhere where they had soft green grass, as opposed to the scratchy rough stuff we get around our place!

Sunset at the Lake

In the evening we took a walk down to the end of the peninsula to watch the sunset.  I had forgotten how lake water turns such a lovely silver in the evening light. 

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Down to the Lake

Our cabin was on a peninsula that jutted out into the lake.  Right behind the cabin the ground fell steeply down to the lake.  In front of the cabin was the road and then on the other side of the road was a beautiful green lawn stretching down to the lake.  Of course our kids made a beeline for the lake. 

IMG_9472 The boys jumped right in.  Yes, it was the end of March, but it was 85 degrees and they said the water was fine.  The water level was higher than usual, so that’s why you see trees and stuff sticking out of the water.  There’s even a picnic table in there if you look close at the top picture!  But that made for a nice safe swimming area. 

IMG_9474 Here’s the view back up the hill to the cabins.  Enchanting little spot, no?

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The only bad thing about this cabin was the road right in front of it.  It was the main road to the boat launch and there was some traffic coming and going.  Since it was a weeknight in the off season there wasn’t much and I wasn’t bothered too much.  But if we had gone here during the summer I would have been really unhappy about it—it would have been very noisy and dangerous for the kids. 

But we hit it perfectly.  We practically had the place to ourselves, and the weather couldn’t have been better.  Spring was in full riot, but the bugs weren’t bad yet.  It was heavenly!

A Cabin by the Lake

Now we’re going to go back to talking about the mini-vacation we took recently.

It all came about last January, whilst I was dreaming of spring and road tripping, when a Groupon popped up that caught my eye.  99% of Groupons don’t interest me, but the few that have appealed to me have been wonderful enough to make my time sifting through their daily emails worthwhile. 

This one was for a night in a cabin at Lake Wister state park for only $35.  I had no idea where that was, but a map check showed that it was in that southeast area I had been so wanting to explore.  There wasn’t much information about the cabin except that it had two bedrooms, a fireplace, and linens were included.  That was better than several state park cabins I have seen in the past that are little more than hard-shell tents (and cost at least $35 a night!)  I didn’t know if it had electricity or running water or anything, but I was so itchy to go do something somewhere that I bought the Groupon. 

When I called to reserve it I found out that it did have a bathroom and electricity, and even a kitchen.  “All you need to bring is your groceries,” the lady told me.  That sounded great, but I still didn’t know what to expect. 

Well, here’s what we got: IMG_9465

The view was superb. IMG_9466 Here’s Bedroom One:

IMG_9467 And Bedroom Two (there was also a fold-out couch, so we all fit pretty well):

IMG_9468 Here’s the cute little kitchen:

IMG_9469 And here’s part of the living room, with a bonus Rabbit. 

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I didn’t get a picture of the fireplace, but we sure enjoyed a jolly fire that evening with lots of excellent Badger story-telling (I really miss having a fireplace in my house!)

Not bad at all for $35!  We were thrilled!

More Cute Kid Pics

The kids seem very content to be held.

IMG_9388 IMG_9393 IMG_9394 They are also very curious and like to explore:

IMG_9431 And they very frequently curl up for long naps.

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Molly

I promised a picture of the third of Mabel’s triplets.  This is Molly:

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She just might be our favorite out of the bunch. 

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Sharing the Fun

 

One of the most fun things about having these baby goats has been inviting friends and neighbors over to see them.  We’ve been telling all our friends to “come on over!” and quite a few have so far.  My  neighbor who also homeschools was the first one to come:

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The little goats sure are popular with all the children who come over.  What’s not to love?  They’re soft, holdable, and extremely fun to watch. 

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Catching Up

Okay, that last post went through well, so maybe I’ll be able to catch up now. I’ve had some trouble with my computer-- it hasn’t been handling the pictures well, and then Picasa went crazy on me and I had to uninstall and reinstall it. So I’ve got a large backlog of pictures and things to talk about.

Get ready for an avalanche!

Robber’s Cave

Recently we took a little trip to just get away for a bit and do some exploring.  I’ve seen a lot of northern Oklahoma, but the look of the Ouachita Mountains in southeast Oklahoma on my topographical maps intrigued me, so that’s where we headed. 

Wow!  I was expecting hilly, forested country, but not this:

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Rocky hills, pine trees… does this look like what you think of when you think “Oklahoma”? 

Our first stop was Robber’s Cave state park, home of a famous outlaw hideout in the late 1800’s.  To see the cave, you drive to a parking lot on one end of the park and then go for a little hike:

IMG_9446 IMG_9448  We discovered that the actual cave isn’t much to see at all.  Apparently it mostly collapsed in an explosion 90 or so years ago, so there isn’t much of a “cave” left. 

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But we discovered that exploring the rocky cliffs around the cave is very fun and made the whole visit very worthwhile.  

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The view is pretty nice too. 

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It really felt like we had gotten far, far away on an exciting adventure, even though we were just a very few hours from home.  I hope we can go back down there and explore some more!