Friday, June 28, 2013



For today

June 28,2013

Outside my window... the sun is shining, the birds are gathered around the feeders enjoying their breakfast, the sprinklers in the back yard are's a beautiful early morning.

I am thinking... of how nice it is to have a *mostly* stay home day after the past two busy weeks.

I am thankful... for the countless blessings all around me.

In the kitchen... it's been too hot to get very excited about cooking lately, although I did make some pizza dough last night and made one big pizza for our dinner, and froze the rest of the dough for dinner another night.

I am creating... music on my mandolin. I didn't get to play yesterday though, I missed it... I'll have to catch up today! ;)

I am going... to take R and S into Denver this evening for the Miss Colorado Pageant. They are participating as "special princesses" and will each escort one of the Miss Colorado contestants onstage and then do a little introduction with them. It will be a very fun, VERY girly evening.

I am reading... still Chesapeake by Michener (but I've read a few other things lately too...)

I am looking forward to... a weekend with no major events happening (graduations, Father's Day, birthdays) just to enjoy hanging around the house.

Around the house... I'm still thinking about the shed roof. I think Joe wants to put up a gambrel roof, so I'm going to play around today with diagrams of how it might look. If the scale of the roof isn't right, it's going to look weird (there are a few weird looking gambrel roofs around here, I want to avoid that)... so I'll be getting out the graph paper and working on scale today.

A favorite quote for today...Teach us to make the most of our time so that we may grow in wisdom. Psalm 90:12 I ran across this verse while reading through my notebook of favorite verses and quotes this morning... It's been so hot I've been low on energy lately, it's a good reminder to make good use of my time.

A peek into my day...

bunny "hiding" in the front yard thinking "If I pretend not to see you, will you pretend not to see me?"



Visit Peggy's blog for more about The Simple Woman's Daybook

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thrifting Thursday (shed construction #2)

We spent last weekend working on putting up the shed...

It was a loooooooong, hot weekend but things are moving along.

We started the weekend with the walls still sitting flat on the ground roughly where they would need to be when raised...

Joe made some braces, attached eye bolts to the top of the back wall and attached ropes to the eye bolts and then moved his truck into place and attached the ropes to the truck hitch.

Then came the scary part... slowing moving the truck forward to ease the wall into place.




It did not go as smoothly as planned (does anything?), but it eventually ended up where we wanted it. By the time it was up some neighbors had stopped by and with their help two more walls went up quickly...



(That would be one neighbor helping, and one neighbor riding the pasture gate bull ride that M was providing... which was tons of fun until the posts holding up the gate started leaning... oops!)

The fourth wall, the door wall, needed some work so we stopped there while Joe made some repairs. One week later and we raised the fourth wall...  The shed is actually starting to look like something!

(The siding came off part of this side as Joe made the repairs, and he decided to wait until it was raised to put it back on.)

The next step will be deciding what kind of roof to put on it. It originally had just a simple pitched roof... but we are thinking about changing it to a gambrel roof to match the barn, or possibly a hip roof which should hold up well to the wind, and give the shed more of a cottage-y look. The final decision will probably depend on price and difficulty of construction...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


We have chickens again!

Sort of....

Since Joe hates chickens so intensely that he will not allow them on our land (yes, it doesn't make sense... but hey everyone has their quirks) we went in with our next door neighbor (the one with the alpacas) and now have a joint flock... on her land.  ;)



We bought our girls as tiny chicks back in March, and if I was a good chicken owner I could tell you what breeds they are... but I'm not, so I can't.


We fixed up a little coop the neighbors on the corner were throwing away and the girls seem quite happy in it. It won't hold a lot of chickens (we have 5 in our little flock) but we don't need a ton of eggs just enough for our two, not-too-big, families.



No eggs yet, but the way these girls are growing, it shouldn't be too long!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

early summer garden

What a difference a month makes!

Here's my little kitchen garden last month right after planting...


... and just four weeks later!

Everything is green and growing well. We've already had plenty of lettuce, radishes, rhubarb, strawberries... and the herbs of course.  It will probably be another 3-4 weeks for tomatoes, carrots (planted late) and peppers. I'm guessing just another week or two for green beans.

The fruit trees are looking wonderful and healthy, but will probably not produce anything this year because of a late, heavy freeze. :(



(The fruit trees were planted where they were, in part, to screen our view of the house on the hill... it looks like they finally getting big enough to start doing their job!)

I'm keeping my finger's crossed for no major wind storms, and no large hail... If we can avoid those it looks like we're going to have a bumper crop this year!

I like this picture I took the other night, from almost the same place as the previous picture, during the big full moon the other eveninng...

Happy Monday!

Crazy Casa K

Things that make me happy today:

  • Sunshine after a storm...




    Monday, June 24, 2013

    Happy Monday

    Crazy Casa K

    What makes me happy?

    The huge full moon...


    it doesn't have to be a "supermoon" I love every full moon.


    I love the moonlight shadows made by the huge pines around our house...

    ... and the way the moon lights up the pasture.

    I love the way familiar things look different... softer... more special... in the moonlight.



    And I especially love knowing that the same huge brilliant moon is shining over K's (dd#3) home in Ghana.

    Friday, June 21, 2013

    Summer solstice

    Happy First Day of Summer...

    ... it's the season of lemonade, watermelon, gardens, sunscreen, bugs, baseball games, movies in the park, sleek as silk horses, lazy evenings (and afternoons) enjoying the breeze across the front porch, salads, sunburns, deliciously cool mornings, sprinklers, snakes, horse bathing, long talks with neighbors up on the road, spotted fawns bleating for their mamas, brats on the grill, softball games, Murphy's long sloppy drinks from the hose, miller moths, picnics in the park, dust clouds kicked up behind the wheels of the car, hawk cries in the early morning, cottonwood "snow" drifting through the air, re-engagement of the purple thistle "war", and  huge full moons lighting up the pasture.

    What does summer look like at your house?

    Thursday, June 20, 2013

    Thrifting Thursday (shed construction #1)

    Our thrifting project this time is a little different... It didn't come from a thrift store, and it's a lot bigger than most of my projects... but it is used and will definitely be getting the restore and update treatment, so I guess it's still thrifting.

    It's a shed... A 10x10 shed with 2x4 construction, and it needs a LOT of work. We found it on Craigslist after looking for awhile for something we can use to store the snowplow tractor in. It's been living in the garage all these years but the garage is pretty much overstuffed (Joe has a "project" car in there right now that our son-in-law is sharing with him) and so the snowplow needs a new home.

    We had to drive up about 40 miles north to pick it up, and it was broken down into pieces for transporting. Even broken down (floor, walls, roof) it was incredibly heavy to load. Each piece took at 5-6 of us to manage. I wish I had a picture of it all loaded up on the trailer, it was quite a sight!

    Here a picture of it newly unloaded, with all the pieces laid out in the general area of where it's going to be... (For reference, it's just south of the pumpkin patch on the north side of the front pasture.)


    Here's the floor...


    And the roof propped up against the small pasture fence....


    And here's the pile of all the miscellaneous pieces of wood for the shelving, roof, trim, etc.

    Here's our first little bit of progress, the floor set in place and leveled and one wall (the back wall) moved into place and ready to raise.

    We hope to get the walls up this weekend. I'll post pictures as the project moves along, We are planning on fixing up the siding and painting it to match the house and/or barn. We'll put a  red metal roof on it to match the house, and probably a window or two... I'm so excited about fixing it up, and may even add a little barn art to it once it's all done.

    Wednesday, June 19, 2013

    Did I mention...

    ... that I am also alpaca sitting this week?  I farm sit for my next door neighbor when she goes out of town... She has a million or so alpacas. (Ok, she has about 20 alpacas, it only seems like a million when I'm over there in the way-too-early morning shoveling alpaca poo.)

    In the morning when I show up to feed them I am the most popular person ever...  They follow me everywhere with those huge expectant eyes.

    But they only love me for the hay I will give them...

    This is the youngest baby,  just a month or two old. She is the cutest thing ever... I love watching her as she leaps and jumps around in baby happiness.

    Here she is again, sticking close to her mama,  lazily eating the hay she's laying in...

    After being gone for 5 days my neighbor comes home today! I'm so excited to just have my own barn work to do....

    Tuesday, June 18, 2013

    busy days...

    This past weekend was our town's annual town festival, complete with a parade, carnival rides, crafts and plenty of food.  R looks forward all year to this one weekend. She loves the rides... loves being upside down, spinned around, hanging on for dear life... the scarier the better for her.

    This year the kids also got the opportunity to walk in the parade... The St Joseph Kaffee House community they belong to is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and they had a banner for the kids to carry and candy to hand out.

    M started off helping with the banner, but very quickly decided he'd rather pass out candy.



    After the parade the kids were starving so we found some lunch, then wandered through the festival...

    ...running into the Mona Lisa at one  point....

    ... and then rode the rides. R was a little disappointed that neither M nor S would ride the scary rides with her, and it turned out that her own stomach let her down too... getting upset after a particularly wild ride, leaving her too worried about getting sick to ride any more of the "really fun" ones. Those kinds of rides really are better on an empty stomach. ;)

    They finished up the day on the tamer rides...

    All in all it was a fun, if exhausting day...  and now R has a whole year to wait for the next town festival.

    After a busy weekend, the rest of our week is also busy...R is working at VBS all this week and next, and tonight the whole family is getting together for Joe's birthday dinner. (Dinner in the park followed by a walk down Main St. for some ice cream... fun!)

    Monday, June 17, 2013

    Happy Monday

    Crazy Casa K

    What makes me happy today?

    My mandolin.... newly strung, bridge adjusted, shined and polished...

    .... ready to further confuse my fingers with the  lovely old (but quick) Irish tunes that I love.

    Friday, June 14, 2013


    for today...

    June 14, 2013

    Outside my window... the day is new and soft, the sun not up get from behind the hill to the east... there is a light layer of clouds drifting high across the sky and a darker layer of smoke settled low on the horizon.

    I am thinking... that I don't have much time on the computer this morning, my neighbor will be dropping off her dog (for dog sitting) at 7:30

    I am thankful for... the cool of the morning.

    From the learning rooms... lots of life skills learning going on. M is learning to use the cash register at one of his worksites and has been checking people out regularly (with supervision) and R attended a training (on her own!) last night for the VBS school she'll be working at all next week.

    From the kitchen... it's been too hot to get too excited about cooking, although last night's stir fry chicken and veggies was good. Honestly though. I would have been just as happy with ice cream for dinner.

    I am wearing... capris and a tee shirt... my summer "uniform"

    I am creating... music with the sweet little mandolin my brother gave me. After learning several new instruments the past few years I think I've found my favorite...

    I am going...  to church later this morning for one of M's volunteer jobs, then down to town to the new music store. I stopped in yesterday for the first time and love the place! they are going to restring my mando.

    I am reading... Chesapeake by James Mitchener

    I am hearing... the birds squabbling over the bird feeder, crickets outside the kitchen window, the tick of the clock

    Around the house... I'm in between projects, the trim work is done and I think my next little project will be painting the upstairs hallway and replacing the overhead light.

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

    A few plans for the rest of the week... busy end of the week, in addition to Father's Day (and Joe's birthday next week) we're taking care of the alpaca farm next door while our neighbors are on vacation, and watching E's (dd#1) pets while they are out of town, tomorrow is the long awaited Parker Days Festival (R literally waits all year for our one day at the festival!) and the kids have been invited with walk in the parade this year with the St Joseph Kaffee Haus community. LOTS of fun, but a super busy week.

    A picture I'm sharing...

    fledgling robin on the front porch railing

    Visit Peggy's blog for more about The Simple Woman's Daybook

    Thursday, June 13, 2013

    Praying for rain.... (wildfires)

    Yesterday was a strange, unsettled day.

    The air was filled with a smoky haze that only got worse as the afternoon wore on… There is a large wildfire burning south of us (the Black Forest Fire) and the hot south wind brought the smell of smoke and more haze with each gust. For most of the day the sun was hidden by a curtain of thick smoke.



    Even though we are far enough away from the fire to not be in any danger, I always feel unsettled on days when there is smoke on the wind. Each time the wind picks up and starts the cottonwood leaves dancing crazily and the tops of the big pines swaying,  the smoke smell becomes stronger and I wonder about the people who live in the wildfire area…. am I smelling the last remains of their homes and barns, gardens and lives, carried on the wind?


    And I know each gust of wind makes the fire harder to fight, giving it strength, pushing it through the treetops... helping it to swallow up everything in it's path.


    The smoke makes my throat scratchy, my eyes burn and my nose tingles... I can't imagine intensity of the smoke closer to the flames, and how terrible it is for the firefighters battling the blaze.


    We are not in a heavily wooded area, like the area that is burning… but I still mentally make plans whenever I smell smoke. I’d set sprinklers around the house before we left, grab the dogs of course, but leave Murphy and Tucker in the small pasture because I don't have a trailer (very little grass to burn, it’s mostly dirt) … wondering if I should buy a horse trailer and try to train them to load... and I make a mental note to cut the long grass growing on the north side of the barn.


    Long dry prairie grass starts looking more like fuel for a hungry fire and less like horse feed to me.


    I say a prayer for those affected by the Black Forest Fire and the other fires burning in Colorado right now. (The one at Royal Gorge is so sad… it's such a landmark… I hope the fire doesn't burn the bridge!)


    This is one of the few things I don't like about living in the country, and something I never anticipated... the summer wildfire season. Living in a place where it's "normal" for neighbors to make sure you have their new cell phone number in case a fire blows up while they are at work... a place where I mentally plan for what I'd do if fire threatened... even while telling myself we're in an area that's very unlikely to burn.

    But still... when there is smoke on the wind and covering the horizon it's hard not to think that way.


    Anyway, it was kind of a sad, unsettled day.

    The sun is visible again this morning, and the winds have calmed... there is still a thick layer of smoke hanging on the horizon but I have hopes that, without the wind, the firefighters will be able to make some progress on the fire.


    And I'll say a few prayers for rain too...

    Wednesday, June 12, 2013

    Fishing Derby

    Last Saturday we participated in a fishing derby, and had SO much fun. It was an event put on by the St Joseph Kaffee Haus group the kids belong to through our church. The St Joseph group is for people in our community that have special needs... We meet once a month for dinner and social time. We've been going for years... almost since we moved here... and the kids love the community there.

    So... Saturday was the first annual fishing derby. It was held at a lake on a ranch owned by one of the St Joe's group. It was an absolutely beautiful setting and a lovely day... not too hot, but still warm enough to feel like summertime.

    We spent most of the day there... the kids just fished a little (like me, they aren't the most patient of fishermen!) and we also walked around the lake, visited with friends, and pedaled paddle boats around the lake.


    Sorry, no paddle boat pictures, I was too busy paddling various kids around the lake, while trying to steer and keep my burning legs moving at the same time to take any... )

    But here is M casting...


    What an amazing way to spend a Saturday...



    I even got a few pictures of Joe...



    No, he's not clapping... he's cleaning sand off his hands.

    Alas, we didn't catch anything, although a bunch of other people did. (I think you actually have to sit and fish for awhile to catch anything...)


    My beautiful baby girl...

    I hope they do it again next year (and the year after that, and the year after that, and the....)