Tuesday, February 16, 2016

January 2016, Part 3

The month ended with a few major mechanical break downs.  I tried to have these taken care of professionally, but no shop in town would touch the truck, and the dealership quoted me $1,500.  Because we didn't know what was wrong with the tractor I have no idea what that would have cost.

So the kids had to amuse themselves, which they seemed to do quite well...

And I first took the top half of the engine off the Tundra...

To get to the starter, which needed replacing.  We also ended up needing new o-rings for the injectors, but all in all the parts for the job, including the new starter, were under $100, so I felt good about those 4 hours.

The tractor, on the other hand, was easily 8 hours of breaking down the entire hydraulic system, and disassembling one of the hydraulic valves that John Deere provides no diagrams on, and doesn't sell any internal parts for. (They sell the new valve, $900.)  She's back up and running.

We sent a few pigs off to the butcher.  For comparison, Olive the pooch sitting next to the trailer, is easily 70 lbs.

Alexe is trying her hand at planting on a much larger scale in a friend's hoop house.  We spent a little time getting her familiar with the roto-tiller, and then she was off and running.

I went on a puzzle bender.  Cold nights, slightly obsessive personality, it was fun. The kids seemed to enjoy it.  Alexe less so.

January 2016, Part 2


The goats have been busy.  Not only with escaping through my beautiful fences like they're not even there, but with their other goat-ly activities.  These are the boys from the first generation born on the farm.

These are two more boys, born in the second generation.  Their mother went missing one night, and I spent hours walking the fields with a flashlight looking for her.  She turned up the next day alone, and no longer pregnant, and I spent more hours hunting for the babies.  Found them, based on a single noise they made in response to my call, 100 yards into a thicket on the wrong side of our fences.

Few things cuter than baby goats.  My family is one of them.

After school at the drug store.

Family movie night.  Some bozo paused the movie to snap a picture.

A boy an his pussy cat.

Testing out some furniture.

Another mama disappeared, but I found her quickly. The only mother not to have twins so far.

All the animals took turns sniffing out the newest addition to the farm.

We woke up the next morning to this snaggle-toothed kiddo in our bed.  She started reading us Robert Frost poems.

We went looking for her brother and found him in the barn with the newest baby goats.  Alexe and I might have been overcome by our charmed life.

We named this one Alaska.  The next week I sold all but the youngest male goat.  Our girls need a break.

It looks like our kids have successfully learned that everyone is welcome to pursue any trade or hobby.  That being said, I laughed the first time I saw my son needle-pointing a giant cross.

Annaliese woke up in another can-do mood and put on her overalls and boots, filled the wood box...

Cooked herself some scrambled eggs...

And then made herself a cell phone.

There was a snow day, with almost no snow on the ground, so Caspian went to work with Alexe, and Annliese accompanied to a board meeting for BCCA. She sketched the meeting for a while, had lunch by herself, and then joined us at the big table.  

He seemed to know exactly what he was doing before his sister decided to help.

Day two after the snow storm.  He wasn't all that much bigger to start with.

A cold Saturday afternoon, we took a family trip to Oxford to go swimming on campus, followed by pizza at our favorite Oxford spot.

A girl and her dog(s).  

I imagine this was mid run-around-tickle-game.

January 2016, part 1

My dear sister in law is gearing up for her wedding at the end of this year, and among the many pieces of wedding planning is a charming expectation that she will forego all carbohydrates between now and her wedding day.

I made her waffles.

We took a hike through the woods to burn them off.

Explored the sand pit.

Charlie and Eliza brought the pie-face game.

One of Alexe's Christmas presents.  I like having a stock pile of exotic wood to tinker with when the mood strikes me.

My little children.  

Alexe learning how to use her garden cart.  Her first try wasn't the best, with several hundred pounds of dirt on the wrong side of the axle.

The kids and I cut a secret path through the woods form the back of our pastures to the city's sand pit.

We went through a few patches of brambles.

Ah!  Here it is.  Annaliese turned this mirror into Rudolph.  

A good friend who is fond of Annaliese and Caspian has made them Christmas balls for the past couple years.  A series of little presents wrapped tightly into an endless ball of crepe paper.

I don't know what's going on here.

u.c.Nick's Christmas package arrives.

Our Epiphany baby turns 8.

She requested lasagna, and her adoring mama suited up and made it from scratch.

So Fast!

And yet, she's still our little girl.

Annaliese was a character of the month for January.

Friday night music at the brewery on Main Street.  Something unexpected and wonderful about this spot; this is the most family-friendly, warm and welcoming place to drink beer I have ever been.  Note the number of kids under 2, all known and loved and passed around the room all evening.  

Birthday take 2.  Saturday, the kids and I spent the morning decorating for the slumber party which was held until the weekend.  Alexe hurried home from work to bake the cake.  

Many, many little girls arrived to spend the night.  

Caspian and I bailed.  We went to watch the new Star Wars.

Somehow he survived the night without being crushed by an overcome-by-cuteness father.

We came back late, to a rock star Alexe still dealing with a gaggle of wide awake and wired young girls.  I believe the last time Alexe had to go downstairs to talk to them about settling down was 4 am.

The next morning was rough.

But after packing up the troupes and sending them home, we enjoyed a lovely Sunday, which Annaliese joined us for after some napping.

We're still at the beginning of January here, and those are daffodils.  And my farm girl.

The kids and I walked the fence line, again, and Caspian tried out his new saw, courtesy of u.c.Nick.

Winding down for the night with a game of Uno.