Friday, July 22, 2016

4 Months with an Elkhound Puppy

A new video! We love our family.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

More Projects

It's been an eventful few weeks. I finished my second draft of my book! That was pretty awesome, but then I suddenly found I had more free time while some friends of mine are reading it to give me some feedback.

So, we've been working on other projects. Aside from working on massive amounts of cherries, we've found other things to keep us busy.

Kevin's room has a fun mural on it. A while ago, I went through his room and patched all the holes up. We were intending to paint the rest of the walls, but I've been meaning to restore the mural for a while. I didn't remember to take the before picture until I was halfway done, but you can still see quite a few white patches all over.

I wasn't sure how well I'd do, since I haven't done a restoration-type project before, but I was pleasantly surprised. I was able to match the colors on nearly everything except the sky, but I like the way that turned out too. You can't even tell I did anything in the other areas, which is the best kind of restoration. 
We also have raspberries coming in! We don't get many from our few bushes, but we're getting a few. They don't last very long. They're pretty popular in the house. I haven't really been able to do anything with them yet, because they disappear too fast.

It's nice to have free fresh fruit though.

The next project that we started and finished on Monday occurred in the front yard. When the appraiser came to our house, he suggested that we put shallow window wells outside of the front basement windows. We've been thinking about it for a while, but it wasn't until this week that I figured out how I wanted to do it. We made our own wells (because we can't afford the metal kind yet).

I think they turned out quite nice. Now we just need to plant flowers and our front flower garden should be on its way! Also, if there is a random flood, the water shouldn't be able to come in our windows.

The most recent project involved our puppy, Siff. She's a Norwegian Elkhound, so she's been awfully hot lately, with almost no signs of shedding her large coat.
It's no wonder she's been loving the water!
Look at that beautiful coat!
So, today I decided she needed a haircut. She's pretty excited about it, even though she now resembles a sheep.
 My clipper blades are dull, so I cut her entire coat with scissors. I think it turned out pretty nice. I got it mostly even, and she's so soft now. It's like touching a cloud. She's been panting a lot less, and she seems much more comfortable.
It is going to take us a little while to get used to her new looks. Arkhon groomed her for a while after I finished. I'm not quite sure what that meant, except that he loves his little sister.

Today was also Arkhon's birthday!

He turned two, and so for the only time during the entire year, he got to sit at the table (just while I took a picture).
Allopex suggested I give Arkhon a party hat. So I did.
I made him a rabbit cake out of a dog biscuit I have. Then we bought some canned dog food and spread it across like frosting. I also stuck two dog bones in for candles. He and Siff sure enjoyed their cake.

Weirdly, we didn't want any.
Arkhon got a couple of presents, but I think the cake was his favorite part. 

It's been nice to get so many things done. It's weird that our boy dog is two now. It seems like it's been forever since he looked like this:
Now, he looks like this:
He's such a good boy. He listens really well, most of the time. Occasionally, he gets too excited and his ears switch off, but when he hears us, he always listens. He and Kevin are best friends, and he is so tolerant and patient. It's crazy how time has flown.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Best Things Kevin Said Last Week

Last week at one point, Kevin was in the bathroom, sitting on the potty. He was talking and playing, so I thought I would go and check on him.

1st Situation: 

Mom: Hey, Kevin, how's it going?

Kevin is holding a foam sword in his right hand and he begins to wiggle the fingers of his left hand at me.

Kevin: They're battling.

Mom: Oh, the hands are battling the sword?

Kevin: Yes, they're winning.

Mom: Are you about done? If you come out, you can have a fruit snack.

Kevin (adamantly): No! I'm not done yet. Leave, leave.

He waves for me to leave.

Mom: You want me to go out? You're not finished yet?

Kevin: Nope. Close the door.

So I did.

We pretty much think Kevin is adorable.

2nd Situation:

Then, this situation with Grig:

Kevin, again in the bathroom as Grig is helping him finish cleaning up.

Kevin: You're my best friend, Dad.

Grig: You're my friend too!

Kevin: That's why you get to clean my bum.

Grig: That's my reward, huh?

Kevin: Yep!

3rd Situation:

I was putting Kevin to bed. Lately, when he's upset, he'll ask me, "Can you help me calm down?" but tonight, he wasn't very upset.

I kissed him, and said goodnight and told him I needed to go out.

Kevin: Are you going to work on the computer?

Mom: No, I'm getting a drink.

Kevin: Don't get on the computer!

Mom: I won't.

Kevin: Good. Goodnight.

I think he didn't want to miss out on anything exciting. So I gave him one more hug, and then he started scratching my shoulder.

Kevin: I'm scratching your shoulder.

Mom: Thank you.

Kevin (in a excited baby voice that we sometimes talk to the dogs with): Is that the spot? Is that the spot? Doesn't that feel good?

So, I proceeded to spaz like the dogs do when you scratch them in a certain place and told him that that was, in fact, the spot.

He is a funny kid.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Cherries, Cherries, and More Cherries

When we moved into this house, we found out that we had several fruit trees already planted here. We moved in February of 2015, so we had no idea what we were going to get when spring arrived.

Last year, we found out that we had two pie cherry trees, one golden delicious apple, and one red delicious apple. We also have a crab apple tree, but we think we're going to replace that one with something a little more delicious.

Last year, we didn't really pick very many cherries. For one thing, I had no idea what to do with them. I didn't have the tools to can them, and I didn't realize you could freeze them. We also had a ton of other projects going on, so we didn't really think about them too much. The robins didn't mind. We had some really fat and happy birds.

This year, however, we didn't want to miss out on our cherry harvest. So, for the last week or so we've been working on cherries, cherries, and more cherries.
The dogs have enjoyed eating the ones that have fallen on the ground too. Lately, their poop has had more cherry pits than poop. I think that's pretty funny. I was glad to see that they weren't crunching up the seeds though. Cherry pits have some cyanide in them, and can be dangerous if too many are eaten. However, when they're swallowed whole, they don't seem to be dangerous. 

We've had some great helpers over the last couple of weeks. We were tending our friends' kids, and they helped us out.
This was our first pick. We didn't pick very many because they weren't quite ripe, but we enjoyed sharing them with our friends.

Then, a week later, Kevin and I went back out to pick again. The cherries were wonderful, and there were so many. We ended up filling two ice cream gallon buckets.

 Kevin, in particular, has been a great helper. He eats nearly as many as he picks, but he worked very hard and helped me fill up the buckets. Our trees are severely overgrown, so most of the cherries are pretty high off the ground. We had to bring out the ladder to pick, but we were able to pick this many and we only had to move the ladder once. That's when I began to realize how many cherries we have.
The next day, we went out and picked some more. When Grig got home, he helped out as well. It was really fun to pick cherries together.

Four buckets later, we had plenty to work on.

I accidentally left one bucket out of this picture.
We picked these Friday night. My grandma was amazing and let us borrow her cherry pitter. We were so grateful to her. This would have been an even more daunting task if we hadn't had her cherry pitter. It took hours anyway, but it would have taken a lot longer if we were doing it by hand.

It took a good part of Saturday, but we finished all six buckets. We froze most of them, but we also put some aside to make a cherry pie. We also dried five trays full on the dehydrator. They turned out well too. We cooked some of them in pancakes the next day, and they added a good flavor to them.

We ended up with around nine quart bags full of cherries after that. We froze all of those, except the bag we kept in the fridge to make into a cherry pie.
The cherry pie turned out to be delicious, and we look forward to making more.

Tuesday, Kevin and I picked two more buckets. The cherries are so ripe and sweet now that they are a pleasure to eat right off the tree. We're kind of tired of working on cherries, but it's a shame to waste any.

Yesterday, I tried canning by myself for the first time. My grandma had needed her cherry pitter back, but I read online that chopsticks make pretty good pitters. I didn't have any chopsticks, but we did have some shish kabob sticks. So, I used the blunt end of one to pop out my pits. They worked pretty well, and it took me about an hour a bucket to pit them all. Then, I bottled them and used the new canning kettle I had gotten from my great aunt to cook them.

It appears that all 11 pints sealed. I'm pretty proud of myself. I think they turned out great!

Then, after Grig got home, we picked two more buckets and gave them away to a couple of friends who had requested some. We'll have to go and pick some more today.

After all this, we are a little tired of working on cherries, but we're so grateful for the bountiful harvest that we've been given. The birds have eaten their share too. Quite a few of the branches are high enough that we can't get to them, and the birds have been gorging on beautiful cherries. Our robins are so fat right now that they aren't moving too quickly.

There are still a lot of cherries left. I need to pick some more today. I've been really bad at blogging that last couple of weeks. I've been really trying to write and finish my second draft of my story. I'm nearly finished, and sometimes I have to choose to blog or write with the little writing time I have. Today, I'm blogging. We've had a stressful couple of weeks, but we've also had some neat blessings.

The cherries are definitely a blessing. I'm pretty excited that we've been able to store so many.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Rough Night

Last night was a rough night for poor Kevin.

He came into our room crying, which is kind of unusual, but not terribly. He climbed into bed with us, and went back to sleep. Also not unusual.

What is unusual, is that he woke up at 4:15 a.m. and wouldn't stop crying.

First, he said, "I don't want cuddles!" Then, when I stopped cuddling him, he cried because, "I don't want Siff in her kennel!"

She still sleeps in her kennel, even though she hasn't had an accident during the day for weeks. We just don't want to risk it yet.

I explained that we could let her out in the morning, but he kept tossing and turning and crying. I knew something was wrong, but I didn't know what. Finally, he asked for a drink. Then, he let me hold him and comfort him.

When we got up this morning to get Grig ready for work, we discovered what the problem had actually been. He had a bit of diarrhea.

I got him cleaned up while Grig went to work, and Kevin never even woke up while I did. Then, I wrapped him in a towel, and let him keep sleeping. I'll give him a bath when he actually wakes up.

It's interesting how kids can tell you so much without ever actually telling you what's wrong. If I'd have known, I'd have taken him to the bathroom. However, how could I have known?

I'm still new at this mom-thing. I knew something was wrong, but I didn't know his stomach hurt.

Hopefully he feels better when he wakes up.