Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day walk in the park

It was a wonderful Mother's Day.  I was given the opportunity to get some needed organizing done.  We have yet to start our third semester of our school year, for many various reasons.  The number one being all the illnesses and bugs!  But being unorganized was up there at the top of the list.  I can assure you that trying to get schooling done when we can't find our books makes it a bit difficult :-)

We had time later in the day to go to a local park and take a family walk.  Half way through it started to rain, but we still had fun.

Saoirse made this wonderful 'crown' for me.  I wore it for the better part of the afternoon.

Trail marker at the park.

Jedidiah is our bug man!  He came prepared with his net, bug box and bug book (written and illustrated by Moira).  I am very thankful that I laminated the pages today.  At first Jedidiah freaked out.  I think he thought the pages were going to remain in the wrong order.  But once I cut the pages out, and assembled it, he was very pleased.  Had I not laminated it the book would have been ruined in the rain.

Consulting his book.  The whole walk was dedicated to finding bugs.  He found a couple of beetles, a couple of bees, a lizard and a spider.

Aubrey was very pleased to be able to walk the entire way.  He did a great job!  He was very amused at the spotted ground when it first started to rain.

I was blessed with many flowers along the way :-)

Some from Saoirse.

Aubrey followed suite and picked some flowers, except he threw his on the ground.

I had a growing collection.

The girls had wanted to play "horse".  They took the opportunity to run through the fields as wild horses. 

I swooped up Aubrey to show him the plane flying over head.  I used it as an opportunity to have our picture taken as well.

Daddy and Jed were lagging behind...they were searching for bugs.

Trying to get everyone to look at the camera at the same time proved difficult.  It may have to do something with it raining out at the moment!!  We shall try again later.

Have a wonderful day!

porcupine livers

First off, I want to say a "Happy Mother's Day" to all the wonderful mommies out there :-)  Yes, it's Sunday.  And yes, we should be at church by now, but we're not...buggies ya know.  Ugh.  I'm taking a bit of a different approach which I will recap at a later time, if it pans out. 

But on to porcupine livers.  I can assure you its not what you think.  No homeschool experiment, no science, just selfishness.  Oh, yes, selfishness.  So what does porcupine liver have to do with selfishness.  You see whenever I get myself a little something to eat, no matter how quietly I do so, every child seems to know I have food as soon as I sit down to eat!  This morning was no exception.  I made myself a wee bit of chocolate frosting and grabbed a handful of crispy walnuts.  And like clock work as soon as I sat down....little boys appeared :-)  Jonah and Aubrey were partaking of said chocolate and nuts.  Jed came along and asked what I was eating.  In an attempt to save some for me, I told him, "Porcupine livers."  To which he said, "Oh, porcupine livers!" And he dug right in :-)  After awhile I asked him, "Hey, isn't it amazing that porcupine livers taste just like chocolate and walnuts?"  No answer, his mouth was full.

Yesterday we finally celebrated Saoirse's birthday.  Well, sort of.  Half way.  We at least had a birthday dinner, and the cake was half way made.  But by the time we got done eating the dinner everyone was stuffed so we decided to hold off on the cake until today.  For Saoirse's b-day dinner we had pizza.  NOT GAPS legal pizza either.  Oh, no, it was the real deal....homemade, with wheat!  It was a compromise.  Buying some cheese and pepperoni is a LOT cheaper than going out to eat (which she requested).  Funny thing though.  Jonah remembered that pepperoni tastes yummy, but he didn't remember the name of them :-)  When he saw them he said, "Oh, I want some of....of...that!"  I asked him what they were called, and he couldn't remember!  Too funny.  And the baby. Well the baby doesn't remember me cooking with grain and was perplexed as to if it was ok to touch.  When I gave him a slice of pizza he kind of looked around to see what everyone else was doing with it.  He took one bite and didn't eat any more!  What?!  A child of mine not liking pizza?  We must remedy this.          

Friday, May 11, 2012

hair pics...take 2

I've been working hard all day today.  Come to think of it, I've been working hard for many days now :-)  Hair, hair, hair.  That is our mantra :-)  I have to say that having our hair cut shorter has made combing, washing and treatments much easier.  I finally took a break to eat some lunch and grabbed Flannery's camera to see if I could get a couple more pictures of our new haircuts, at least for Isabella and myself.  I quickly did a couple of edits in our new favorite, free, online editing tool.  The girls were very fond of piknic, but they just closed down last month.  Thankfully we found another program that works pretty much the same way, with the same easy to use features.  I took some liberty to add a few effects, because I get that craving to do something different every once in a while :-)

 I have had the front of my hair almost as short as it is now, but the difference is that it angles to the front, which I much prefer.

 The back is much shorter than I have ever had it.  It's pretty funny to wash it, there isn't much to wring out!  Not to mention I use a lot less shampoo, and it takes a few seconds to wash up. And the drying time is cut by 80%, at least it seems that way.

 Here is Isabella.  I really love the way the layers turned out.  It is really short in back, with the longer layers in front.  I think she is the only one who could get away with that as the rest of us have straight stick hair. Well, Flannery has some natural wave to hers, but nothing like Isabella's.

 The back view.

The baby was getting fussy (he has a cold and happens to be cutting at least 5 teeth!!) so I had to finish up fast, hence the blurry picture.  But I think you can get the idea :-)

Alrighty, off to finish more work. 

Monday, May 07, 2012

We are still alive :-)

Alive is good, right? Ha, ha!  Like I mentioned a few posts ago we've been dealing with lots of health issues.  The latest of which is lice.  Oh, can we say, "fun!".  So I've spent the last few days trying to get on top of the laundry and keep up with everyone's hair.  How is it going?  Well, with our longer hair, it takes one hour to do one persons head.  Seeing as how every female in our family had lice now, that equates to me spending 5 HOURS A DAY doing hair!!!  People, I don't have 5 hours in any given day to devote to something like this, let alone for days on end.  So we've found a few things that we decided we would do for our family to get us over this infestation. 

The first, I will only resort to the insecticide solutions as a last resort.  We've decided to try natural, or non-toxic means.  There certainly has been a big difference in the population with the special comb we are using.  But I wasn't willing to leave it at that, as that alone is very time consuming.  Anyone that has dealt with lice before knows that you *have* to take care of the nits (the eggs) or you will continue in the cycle.  So combing is a must, but I wasn't willing to comb for two weeks and to find out it didn't take care of it!  So here is the list of things we are or will be doing:

We bought LiceMD.  It is a silicone product, something that is not supposed to be absorbed by the body.  It suffocates the lice, the adults and eggs.  However, the concentration, compared to brands available in Europe, is small.  It looks like we will have to re-do the application in another week.  I will be applying the solution tonight or tomorrow. 

Between the two treatments we will be rinsing our hair with salt water.  Apparently the salt dehydrate the lice.  I put some on last night and found a dead buggie this morning.  So I guess it works.  Totally non toxic :-) 

Moira and myself have been getting bitten on other parts of our bodies.  As a matter of fact, even though I have the lice, they have not been biting my head!!  They have been munching on my upper chest and upper back.  Go figure!  Wasn't sure how I was going to deal with that.  After thinking it over and doing some reading I decided on coating my skin with diatomaceous earth(DE).  DE is a fine powder that is made of fossilized diatoms.  It feels like a soft powder, but under a microscope it appears as mini razor blades.  For humans it poses no risks (although breathing it in will cause lung irritation).  BUT for little bugs, like lice, or parasites or bugs in general, it is torture.  The mini razor blades cut into their exoskeleton, which then dehydrates the nasty critters.  I just mix some into water and apply.  It dries into a chalky coating.  Lovely to be sure.  You can see it clear as day in the below picture.  I tried putting some in Flannery's hair.  Um, that doesn't work too well. I had to abandon my attempt to kill the bugs off in our hair with the DE.  I thought of putting the DE into some coconut oil, but not sure if it would work the same.

On top of the measures above, we will still have to clean all cloth items, or store them away for the next month.  Oy!  This has been taking forever.  I am hoping to really, really get that done tomorrow as it is imperative we try to make sure we don't pick them back up from our environment.  Things have been slow going due to my dryer being on the fritz.  The two automatic settings no longer work, well not unless you want to reset the dryer 3 times before your clothing gets dried.  The timed setting works, but if there are bulky items, like towels, it takes another cycle to finish.  With all the washing of hair and what not, there are a lot of towels.  And let us not forget that we have to wash *ALL* of our bedding, *EVERY* day.  We've been able to live without AC at this point, which has helped us in the laundry department.  How?  Well, we only need a sheet to cover up, instead of a blanket, which would take up extra loads in the washer. 

To top all of this off, I decided to take a really drastic step....Cut our hair.  All the girl's, including me, got a hair cut.  There was just no way I could keep up with everything that needs to get done if I am spending 5 hours just combing hair!  So it was snip, snip, snip.  I went to the local walk in hair cutters to get  mine done.  After observing some of the techniques that the stylist used, I set to work on cutting the girls hair.  I got all four girl's hair cut today.  I wish I had the energy to put in the gel treatment, but it is going to require...combing.  That means time, which will be shorter than if we still had our long hair, but I am simply worn out!  So tomorrow we will be walking around here with shower caps covering our gel doused hair.  We will be bagging, and cleaning, and spraying (DE).  And let's not forget that pile of laundry while we're at it :-)  Below is the result of our hair cutting frenzy:

Saoirse reminded me to take a before picture.  I had already wet her hair down and was about to pin her hair up to get ready for cutting.

The back of Saoirse's hair...before.

A side view...before.

After!  I have to say, I think it turned out really cute!

A half way decent back.  I usually always have a lop side with every hair cut.  But this time it turned out really great.

The side view.

All of us, including your's truly covered in DE.  Hey, I didn't say it was pretty!  The pictures were taken with Flannery's camera. These pictures above came out half way ok, but I have to honestly say the girls hair looks a lot better in person. 

Not the best picture of Moira, but the only one I have so far.  For some reason the angles Flannery took these at, along with the lighting, really skew how Moira really looks.  The same goes with the picture below of Isabella.  Weird!  Moira had a bit of layering around the back.  I was using a technique we saw online.  She asked me something and I said, "Oh, I don't really know what I am doing, I'm just copying the video we saw, and what I saw my stylist do today."  She then said, "Um, mom, I think you should stop cutting my hair and take me to see someone who does know what they are doing!"  ha, ha!

I'll have to get a better picture of the side and back view of Isa's hair.  She wanted to try a technique we saw online to add layers in.  It didn't work as we thought and so we had to take matters into our own hands :-)  With her natural waves her hair looked really neat.  In the above picture she had brushed out most of her smaller waves. 

Poor Flannery didn't want her hair cut short.  So we made a compromise.  After I cut it she decided it was too long!  Silly girl!  She decided against any layers.  I think with her natural light wave the layers would have worked in her favor.  But it's still really cute a straight cut.

I may decide to buzz the boys' hair.  They don't have the bugs, but I certainly don't want them to get them, and start this whole thing all over again.  We'll see.  I've been checking their hair daily and so far so good.  Tomorrow is a big day.  Lot's-O-Cleaning.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

*all* goat babies have arrived

That last wee post was from one of the girls :-)  Everything went great.  We had a bit of a surprise thrown into the mix.  We knew that two of our goats were expecting.  One of our (my sister's really) goats, Pipi, was not supposed to be pregnant.  A goat can be bred when they are at least 8 or 9months old and weigh at least 80 pounds.  Well, when it came time for breeding we felt that Pipi was just not big enough.  She was still on the small side, so we thought she should have another year to grow.  We recently found out that she is a genetic dwarf, so she is full size for her, just not to the usual standard for her breed.  That was good to know.  So fast forward to the other day.  We all went out to watch Honey give birth.  We were told by our vet that she was pregnant with one really large baby.  Hmmm, I was doubting that as she was only 3.5 months along (out of 5 months) and if the baby was already big she was going to be in trouble come labor day.  I was thinking she had multiples, but only time was going to tell.  I was in the process of putting a little birth kit together when the girls had come to the window to tell us she was in labor.  The kit included some dixie cups, iodine, dental floss, scissors, and dewormer.  As I was walking over to the barn the girls were shouting with joy...darn, I missed it!  No worries, I was there to see the *second* one being born :-)  Isabella thought a third one was on the way as there was another bulging.  So we waited...and waited...and waited.  Hmmm.  The afterbirth was not coming out (it was partially out), which wasn't a concern as it can take some time for it to do so.  But if there was another baby in there it shouldn't take too long before it follows it's siblings.  And it is possible that a kid can be retained, which means death to the kid, and possibly the mother.  We could have gone "in", but that would have required giving the mama an antibiotic, which I really wanted to avoid.  So I did the next best thing, got a homeopathic remedy that is supposed to help with a stalled labor.  If nothing else it should help with the retained afterbirth.  I gave her the remedy and about 1 or 2 minutes later she had a very noticeable contraction, which expelled the placenta.  Coincidence?  Could be.  We waited some more with nothing happening, so I gave her another dose, and again a very noticeable contraction and only a small bit  more afterbirth to come.  By this point I was pretty sure she was done.  After a while I went inside to get some things done, you know like start making dinner :-)  Important stuff.  Jeremiah needed to run some errands and decided to take all the kids with him.  I had not slept well the night before and was falling on my face!  He thought I could use a little quiet :-)  As he was leaving he suggested that I check in on Honey, just to be sure she was really done.  Off they went.

I wish I had energy as I would have been able to get a lot done, with all the kids out of the house, but sadly I was trying my best just to stay awake.  So I puttered with a few things.  I remembered that I was supposed to check on Honey.  Oy.  The barn seemed soooo far away (it's not at all in reality).  But I got myself a hat and went out the door.  All the animals were calling to me and acting like they hadn't been ever.  Ha, anyone with goats and chickens knows what I am talking about.  However, with all the excitement of the new babies I thought it was possible that they were not fed.  I decided that I would give them a wee bit of food, at least to tide them over should they have not been fed.  If you don't have goats then it may be hard to imagine the chaos in which it is to feed a mass of completely starved animals (I think in the goat world the definition of "starving" is to not have had food in the past 30 seconds or so).  I had to fend off one of the dwarf who jumped the fence that is around the storage door.  I finally poured the food into the containers.  I went back in to get some chicken feed.  As I was sprinkling that on the ground for the chickens I noticed that Pipi was not present.  That would be a BIG RED FLAG!  Goats will do anything to get food, and for one of them to not be there sent my alarm bells running.  I was looking around to see if she had escaped, or was hurt, or....just then I heard this "maaaaaa" that had a definite grunting to it at the know like as if that goat was pushing out a baby!!!  The sound was coming from the other side of the barn.  I made my way there as quick as I could to see wee Pipi with a bulging sack/head sticking out of...well you know where.  Yikes!!!!  The girls kept thinking she was pregnant, these past two weeks, but I wasn't buying it.  I ran to the chicken barn to grab an arm load of fresh straw.  I threw it down behind Pipi as the ground below her was just dirt.  It was apparent that she was going to need a little help getting the baby out.  So I gently helped her and in another two contractions she had herself a cute baby boy!  We had to help him nurse as she was a bit freaked out over him trying to suckle.  But she is doing fine now.

The following day Jeremiah took a few of the kids on another errand.  Flannery and Saoirse stayed home with me.  I had more energy and planned on getting some things done.  The girls wanted to go outside, which is where they will spend most of their time in the next few weeks, to play with the baby goats.  As Flannery was heading over there she yelled out...."Lily had her baby!!!".  Once again we missed it.  She always gives birth when we are not looking :-)  She had a baby girl.  Phew, three mamas, 4 babies, all within 24 hours.  Hey, at least it's all over in one day!  Lily had her baby out in the yard, where it is just dirt, so we had to wash the cord as it had gotten dirty.  Other than that all went well.  Some of the mamas are being nasty to the other goat babies, but I am sure it will all calm down in a few days. 

And this means that in another three weeks or so....MILK!!!  Wooo Hooo!!!  Bring on the cheese, the yogurt and kefir!  YUM!!
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