Wednesday, June 30, 2010

wild fawns and brave bunnies

We always have a  lot of deer around our area. It's a regular thing to see them wandering through the front yard, and once in a while they even come right up onto the front porch! Because we see them so often, we've gotten used to their habits... we've gotten to "know them" a bit.

About a month, six weeks ago, R and I began being able to pick out which does were pregnant, and started watching for the does with the big bellies, waiting for the fawns to be born. (With deer, "big" is a relative term, even just before giving birth you have to look pretty closely to tell that a doe is pregnant!)

Once June arrived we started watching for the new babies... It didn't take long, we saw the first new fawns about two weeks ago. They were just tiny little things, probably not much taller than Quin, my sheltie. We saw a doe with twin fawns last week, and yesterday I caught a glimpse of her and the babies out in our back pasture. I dropped what I was doing and ran to get my camera of course... it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

I had to be VERY careful taking pictures of them, because mama deer wouldn't hesitate a minute to take me out if she thought I was threatening her babies... So I kept my distance (and "disguised" myself a little by standing behind a big scrub oak) and started snapping away.

At first the babies stayed hidden in the shadow of the big evergreens by the edge of the pasture, while mama grazed...

Can you make out the fawn? It's standing against the small bush almost in the center of the picture. It's almost perfectly hidden, but if you look closely you can see his tiny white legs (although they do blend in pretty well with the grass) and spotted back. There is a second one in there two, hidden even better than the first one...

I don't know if mama gave them some signal, but after staying in the shadows for 10 minutes or so, first one baby, then the other, started bounding through the long grass to her.

There goes the first one... doesn't he look intent on getting where he's going?

Almost there...

Whew, he made it! And mama is none too happy with me being so close. (I was using the zoom, so wasn't as close as it looks like I was, which would be dangerous... I would not want to mess with a mama deer protecting her babies.)

The second baby is so tiny that not even it's ears stuck up out of the grass as it bounded over. He's there though... right on the other side of the fence...

There he is!

After a quick, but very thorough, look around, mama deer moves off... with her babies right behind her.

It looks like the first baby is crying in this picture, but I'm not sure... I don't remember hearing any crying while I was out there.

The second baby wasn't as big, or fast, as his twin... and seemed to have to work a bit harder to keep up.

Check out his ears, laying down to the sides... There is nothing as cute as a new fawn!

Mama and baby #1....

... while baby #2 hurries to catch up. (He's just coming around the bush on the right side of the picture.)

He did catch up and all three were together as they bounded down the hill and into the gully...

As I walked back to the house I almost stumbled over this bunny... (Yes, I know they are all over out here... and are virtually considered pests because there are so  many of them... I still think they're cute.)

Hmm... this was very curious, I've never seen a wild rabbit hold so still, so close to a human.

He didn't even take off when I moved around to the other side...

This was one brave bunny!

He's pretty isn't he?

Ok... enough playing with the camera.. I need to get moving and get something done!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

barn's full

Today was "hay day"... the day the hay guy brings the hay for the next year.  I like buying a year at a time... I like knowing that no matter what the winter brings, my big animals will have enough food. (Yes, I've known people who didn't, or couldn't, plan ahead leaving their horses going hungry during the coldest months of the winter!)

My order was a little smaller this year... I bought 6 tons instead of the 8 tons I bought last year. With Tilly gone I didn't need as much... :(

The barn before...

... and after the new hay.

R is up in her new spot... the hay loft. She worked cleaning it out the other day, and wants to move some furniture up there so she has her own little spot in the barn. She even wants to have a sleep-over up there! Having all the hay stacked below makes it much easier to get into too... There is no need for a ladder, she just climbs up the hay bales... they're kind of like giant steps.

I'm not sure why the hay guy didn't stack the hay up in the hay loft, he did last year...  but it's ok, R and I decided we're going to stack them ourselves, turning them into "walls" for her little hide-away.

I think we'll save that project for another day though, it's supposed to be 92 today, and the hay loft gets HOT on the warm days.

Monday, June 28, 2010


June 28, 2010
Outside my window... the sun is not quite up, above me there is a promise of clear skies for the day, but there's still a hazy, thick, layer of pink along the horizon.

 I am thinking... about nothing very profound, my brain isn't awake yet.
From the learning rooms... the kids had their educational evaluations done last week. As I was pulling together samples of their work I felt good about how much they'd done over the past year or two. Sometimes it feels like we just never get anything done... but seeing the concrete evidence of their work spread out in front of me was good. Preparing for the evaluation also showed me some areas I want to change... I should probably evaluate like this every year, just for myself, it helped me to have a more objective perspective about our homeschool and the direction I'd like to go.

From the kitchen... I should change this to: "From the garden" since I'm just doing a minimum of cooking these days. Between extra running around with the kids during the summer (getting lots of fun things in before our winter snowed in days!) and not feeling like cooking much when it's hot, this just isn't a time that I do more cooking than I have to.

From the garden... (that's better!) The pumpkins are starting to take off, and it still looks like it's going to be a bumper year for them. I'm hoping they do well enough that I can invite the grandkids to come and pick pumpkins for Halloween. The tomatoes are also doing well. They are still flowering so a while still for fruit. R told me yesterday that the cherry tree has tiny green cherries already, so I need to get out the tree netting and get it covered before the birds eat them all!

I am creating... I'm still on my banjo kick, spending the morning getting everything caught up inside the house so I can spend the kid's quiet time outside on the porch playing. I've memorized several simple old-time banjo tunes over the past few days and am still trying to make "Oh Come Angel Band" sound right. R is still enjoying playing the piano and has learned a half dozen beginner tunes in her piano book.
I am going... out to the barn early this morning to get to big water trough dumped and refilled and the last few things done before the hay gets delivered tomorrow.

I am reading... We've Got Issues: Parents and Children in the Age of Medication. I am so impressed with this book.. It is thoughtfully and compassionately written, looking at the emotional mine field of whether or not there are huge numbers of children today overpathologized and over-medicated. The author obviously did an enormous amount of research, talking to psychiatrists, and psychologists, teachers, and other experts on both sides of the "to medicate or not" question, as well as talking to countless parents who are living with a child with mental health issues. I've learned a lot from this book and it's challenged (and validated) my thinking in many ways...

I am hoping... M is more settled today and not as stuck as he has been about having to go places and buy things. We don't run around and shop when he's in this kind of a mood, but it's wearing to keep telling him no.

I am hearing... the hum of the microwave as Joe heats up his coffee, as soon as it turns off I'll be able to hear the birds again doing their morning squabbling.

Around the house... I finally remembered to buy new knobs for the front closet doors. I thought it was probably time to replace the white (now yellowed with age) plastic ones dating from the 70's. I think I'm also going to order a screen/storm door for the front door. I have to leave the door open when I'm on the porch (during quiet time), so I can hear M, but the house just gets so full of bugs. I think it's time for a screen.

One of my favorite things... this get-well wish M got right after his surgery. It was made for him by a girl in our homeschool group and I'm amazed by her creativity and the work she put into it. It's kind of like an "I Spy" book, in letter form...

A few plans for the rest of the week... I'm planning a quiet week this week. We'll probably go to the stable Weds. for M's PT, tomorrow the hay guy comes with our load of hay, and that's about it for the week. I'd like to have a stay-around-the-house kind of week. Hopefully M will be settled enough for that...

A picture I'm sharing...

A rare sight, Tucker snoozing in the sun...

... instantly alert and ready to jump to his feet as soon as he hears a noise (me).
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

out and about

We've been field tripping the past couple of days.

We started out on Tuesday by going on a tour of historic "LoDo" (lower downtown, Denver) with our homeschool group. I had been a bit apprehensive about going, since it was a walking tour and I wasn't sure how M would do with it... He didn't want to go at first, but ended up doing fine and enjoying the tour.

We started at Union Station...

I love train stations... They always remind me of being a little girl and the rare treat of going with my mom to pick up my dad at the train station, after he'd been gone for a few days working on the train that ran from Omaha to Cheyenne...

After learning about little of the history of Union Station, we headed outside and wandered down Wazee St. looking at the historic buildings.

As we walked our tour guide talked about the history of the buildings we were seeing, and taught the kids four ways to tell if a building is over 100 years old. M loves trivia and has added those four things to his store of (mostly impractical) information ;)

We stopped at Coors Field (home of the Colorado Rockies) and learned about the arch sculpture there...

... I didn't realize the huge baseball on top is a time capsule.

Then we wandered over to the Oxford Hotel (a very high class place) and took a quick walk through the lobby and one of the dining areas. I like the row of lights down this hall... Even a back hall work area in the Oxford is beautiful!

That was the last stop on the tour, and the kids were still doing well... and were hungry. So we walked back to the car, fed a few more quarters into the meter, then rode the mall shuttle down the 16th Street Mall and found some lunch.

No... we didn't borrow bikes. I would have, but M can't balance a two wheeler. I did stop and take a picture though, because I liked the way they looked all lined up in a row...

It was an awesome way to spend the day...

Yesterday I finished getting samples of the kid's school work ready for an educational evaluation I had scheduled for the afternoon. (In Colorado you are required to either test, or have an educational evaluation done after 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th grade... Since we don't "do" grades I just have an evaluation done every 2-3 years or so, and send it into the school district. It must be enough for them, because they never question it...)

Anyway... after hours of putting samples of their work together, and typing up a summary of what we've been doing in our homeschool, the evaluation turned out to be very quick and easy. I love the lady who does it for us... She is so low-key and reassuring, and she makes the process very easy. It feels very good to have that job marked off the to-do list!

We hurried home from the evaluation, grabbed a quick dinner, and headed to the theater for Romeo and Juliet. I had bought the tickets on impulse, because R loves Romeo and Juliet so much... but then wondered WHAT I had been thinking... expecting two developmentally delayed, attentionally challenged teenagers to sit through 3+ hours of opera!

I needn't have worried...

R barely moved the whole time, completely transfixed by what she was seeing... her only movement was to lean over once in a while to ask me what something meant. She was crying by the end, at the tragedy of it all.  M was a little more antsy, getting up to use the bathroom once, and periodically complaining about something or another... but even he made it through the whole show. (It was a taped version of the stage production of Gounod's Romeo et Juliette, performed by the Metropolitan Opera. The opera was in French, but they had thoughtfully provided "sub-titles" which helped the kids tremendously to understand what was going on...)

We are looking forward to staying home all day today, and most of tomorrow... After being gone so much, it's good to be home. (And I've got a lot to catch up on!)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

raising wanderers....

Our oldest daughter E and her family left last week for a month long RV adventure... It's just mom, dad, three kids and a looooong RV out wandering around the western half of the United States for four weeks.

I'm jealous... it sounds like SO much fun.

And I'm shameless in being quite happy to live vicariously through my children (especially when they are doing something so fun!).  Her last big (crazy) trip I followed along from home... road atlas and weather map in hand... the whole way. (You can read about that trip here.)

This trip she started a blog, so I could follow them on their travels...

It's called Raising Wanderers, and you can find it here...

...just in case you'd like to follow along too.

Monday, June 21, 2010



June 21, 2010

Outside my window... the sun is up, more or less... it is hidden by haziness and fog. The trees and buildings in the distance look softer this morning... their sharp edges lost in the gray/white fog.

I am thinking... that I'm going to have to cancel M's PT again, because of other appointments on Weds. I hate cancelling... I might see if I can't possibly squeeze PT in. (This, of course is the type of thinking that got me into trouble last week!)

I am thankful for... a more ordinary week that the ones we've had lately. After having S for awhile, life aways seems so easy with just M and R.

From the learning rooms... we're keeping a regular school schedule despite S being here (I make sure to have lessons for her, and she joins us for school), and all the running around we're doing. The structure of school is extremely important to the kids, especially now that M is more unstable again.

From the kitchen... it's the lull before the storm. Cooking light (and easy) now... but looking ahead to LOTS more time in the kitchen later in the summer when the gardens start producing and it's time to can and freeze.

I am creating... I'm playing around more with the banjo these days. I've had the tune "O Come Angel Band" stuck in my head for days, and yesterday picked out the melody on the banjo and started trying to find just the right "rolls" to go with it.

I am going... to have to get hay ordered today. I gave some of our hay to my friend L yesterday because she'd run out... but that left me low enough that I really need to get it ordered.

I am reading... We've Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication by Judith Warner (an excellent book so far, by the way...)

I am hoping... the medication changes we made last week do more good than harm.

I am hearing... the birds outside, squawking and quarreling over whatever it is they quarrel about in the early morning, the tick of the clock, and the noise of Tucker's braying through the window... reminding me it's time for his breakfast.

Around the house...I picked up a dining room table at the thrift store for K (dd#3) and refinished the top (the legs. etc were in good shape). It was a fun two day project...

One of my favorite things... the quiet of the morning.

A few plans this week:.. today's doctor appointment and blood draw, then later in the week, a field trip with the homeschool group, an educational evaluation for the kids, an evening showing of a taped performance of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (R LOVES Romeo and Juliet!) that is part of the Met Summer Encore series, and Special Olympics. I also need to gather the paperwork together that Medicaid is asking for to re-certify M, write another letter (following up my unanswered one) to DDHS, and start the process to get M on SSI. Unfortunately, it's going to be another busy week...

A picture to share...

My favorite room in the summer...

...the front porch...

...temporarily rearranged a bit to accommodate checkers with M yesterday afternoon.

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Saturday, June 19, 2010


This week...


-over scheduled

-overly tired


-over eating

-over spent

-melting down all over the place.






The kids aren't doing well either.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Our walk...

I got a call yesterday from my next door neighbor.

She said she had something we might want to see... Could we come over?

I said yes, of course, and we decided to go "cross country", rather than walk on the road... The path takes us up and over the hill behind the barn. I snapped some pictures as we went.

This used to be a scrub oak... before the goats and donkeys ate it. Now it's kind of a "pasture sculpture". I think it looks cool...

... with the bare white branches tangled all this way and that.

See the yucca blooming in the background?

The cactus are also blooming, and we saw lots of them as we made our way up the hill.

On top of the hill are a bunch of huge old ponderosa pines.

I love these trees...especially the way the wind whistles through them in the winter. Besides being beautiful, they are also home to a nesting pair of red tail hawks... It's wonderful to watch the hawks swooping and soaring over the pasture, or hear them calling from their nest.

The view from the top of the hill... looking up through the trees.

We saw a rabbit hole with at least one tiny baby rabbit in it... See the little furry roundness in the hole? That's it's back... it's facing outwards with it's eyes closed.

This bunny kind of reminds me of a toddler who "hides" by covering up his eyes.... "If I can't see you, you must not be able to see me!"

Then it was down the other side of the hill to our neighbor's pasture...

She raises alpacas..

Honestly, I'm not crazy about alpacas, and judging from the look on this one's face, I'm thinking the feeling is probably mutual!

We headed to the barn to see the reason for the visit...

A new alpaca... just hours old... not even completely dry yet.

Her (impossibly long!) legs were still wobbly, and she was shivering a little...

... so my neighbor put a little coat on her.

She looks more comfortable now.

We only stayed a few minutes... mama alpaca was feeling a bit stressed will all the people in the barn... so we admired her baby quickly and headed back home.

Here's that same cranky alpaca again.

It turns out she wasn't mad at me...

... she's the big sister to the new baby alpaca, and feeling somewhat left out.

Back up and over the hill we went, where Tucker welcomed us home...

Ok... so he's really not welcoming us in this picture. This is his "guard donkey" stance... he heard us coming over the hill and prepared himself to guard his pasture!

Today is supposed to be even nicer (sunny, warm) than yesterday... I'm looking forward to some time on the front porch with the banjo this afternoon. :) I'll serenade my neighbor's alpacas...

Monday, June 14, 2010



June 14, 2010

Outside my window... to the north I can see a little blue sky that has escaped from under the storm clouds that have been hovering over us lately... to the south the cloud are very dark, unfortunately it looks like more hail.

I am thinking... not much of anything, I'm tired and I think my  brain is taking a day off today.

I am thankful... that M had the consideration and foresight to be born (and turn 18) in August, towards the beginning of our state's fiscal year. That means there might actually be funding for adult services for him. Woe to those poor families whose children with disabilities who failed to plan ahead and will be turning 18 in January, or worse yet, June. Regardless of the child's need, their adult "services" may end up being nothing more than hope and a promise for support down the road... when the state has money again.

From the learning is good. It gives structure to our days, not to mention information and skills to my rapidly growing children. The older they get the more thankful I am that we cut our ties to PS a long time ago. School is good... learning is good...having a good self image is good... being protected from negative influences you don't have the judgement or cognition to handle is good... being safe while you learn is good. Yes, homeschool is good.

From the kitchen...did the month's shoppping yesterday. Each month I try to buy more "basic ingredients" and less packaged or prepared foods. We do have a few splurges, but they take the place of eating out... so I consider them the lesser of two evils! I'm eagerly awaiting fresh veggies from the gardens... I've probably got another month though, before they start producing.

I am creating... just a little music when I can. I did buy a table for K (dd#3) today at the second hand store that I might have some fun with. It's a sweet little round dining table with drop leaf sides. She needs it for her new apartment. The top is bare wood (the beginnings of a refinish job?) and it's hard not to drag it out on the porch and start sanding it... or maybe get it ready to paint. I'm pretty sure I could have all kind of fun refurbishing that table... except it's K's... so I should probably leave it alone. ;)

I am going... to be home for the rest of the day. We had to make a trip up the Children's Hospital this morning for copies of M's upper GI results, we'll stay home this afternoon and get school done.

I am reading... not much. I keep picking up books, reading three pages and putting them down, never to be looked at again. I think things are just too unsettled right now for me to focus on reading.

I am hoping... M's transition to adult services goes smoothly

I am hearing... the low rumble of thunder in the distance

Around the house... I finally listed all the homeschool books I don't need anymore on ebay. It looks like my Handwriting Without Tears set is going to be the most popular... It will feel great to have that pile of unneeded books gone. It's been sitting in the corner of the classroom for the past year or so...

One of my favorite things... the rich greens of the pasture after the rain.

A few plans for the rest of the week... several appointments, S comes for a few more days, EK get-together with the homeschool group, and various "administrative" kinds of tasks connected to M's up coming birthday.

Some pictures to share...

some of my flowers

sweet williams under the maple tree, and pansies in the barrel...

...I planted some foxgloves by the porch.

I love foxgloves.

But I think I need one more.

The coneflowers will be blooming soon, and there will be a riot of purple flowers in amongst all that greenery!

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