29 April 2018

Birthday Girl, Birthday Boy

Wanting so bad to get up on the gate to see Stoney face to face, too.
A year has come and gone and Zoey is no longer a baby. It's always amazing to me to see just how quickly infants unfold, fill out, and literally blossom in one quick year.
Being the youngest of five, Zoey is tenacious and incredibly confident--nobody tells her what she can and can't do. So, she fits in along with the rest of the herd without any trouble, so much so that her growl gets her her way, she can sleep through her siblings full-on screaming just a few feet away, and she already joins in their imaginative play, from pretend eating to pretending they're all puppy dogs, lolling tongue and all.
She's a double-fisted eater (she has to make sure she gets her share!), especially when it comes to dirt...of all the kids, she's been the most difficult to convince that soil is not a delicacy.
She's most happy when she's got her hands on a cow...
She's a cow whisperer!
...or looking at baby chicks...
...or petting the cats or dog...
Zoey seriously loves Raven. In fact, 'Raven' is already in Zoey's vocabulary.
 She LOVES the wind in her hair...
...and is such a mermaid. She's always trying to get to water, including sneaking into siblings' showers, dumping out cups of water to play in the puddle, and when I wash her face off after eating, I practically have to yank her away from the sink as she's trying to put her feet in so she can get the leverage she needs to pull her whole body in.
Bath time!
And her hair! That girl has some serious volume, especially right after it's washed and blow-dried. It's enough to make Einstein jealous.
Fuzzy baby hair!
One of the things we all love best about Zoey is her generally cheery nature. She's incredibly expressive and when she's happy, you'll know it.

Peanut butter and jelly is exciting!
Playing is exciting!
 Being awake is exciting!
 Walking is exciting!
Lucky for Zoey, her birthday fell on a Saturday, which means she had the whole family home to spoil her all day long. We cleaned the house, went to a friend's auction, stopped by a daffodil garden, picked up fertilizer for the pasture, took a nap, worked on some fencing at home...not incredibly exciting stuff but the awesome thing about turning one is that there are no expectations for parties or fancy gifts. Just a helping of cake and they're good.
Since Zoey and Stoney now forever share a birthday (I'm slightly jealous of her), we also went out celebrate Stoney's 22nd.
Come and get your treats!!!
He and Dancer got a bag of apples, lots of scratches, and more attention than a grumpy old man probably cares for. Good thing he's a good boy.
The birthday girl and birthday boy.
Since our spring has been delayed, the horses have also been holding on to their shaggy winter coats longer than normal, so we also took out our brushes and shedding blades. Stoney isn't too proud to accept some pampering and grooming. While the girls did one side, I did the other, and Henry did his face. He's practically show-ready!
Ahhh! Scratching feels good.
Then, we went in, wrapped Zoey's presents in front of her (like I said, one-year-olds have no expectations), ate leftovers (repeat: no expectations), and sang happy birthday.
She sort of opened her gifts--it was more for the older kids who could hardly stand waiting to "help" her open them.
A new car seat...yay!
 And, in honor of her love of dirt, we made her a dirt cake. Not real dirt this time, but she seemed to enjoy the crushed Oreo substitute.
Dig in, baby!
All in all, feeling incredibly blessed to have this blue-eyed beauty as a member of our family, who adds so much happiness, sheer joy, tenacity, and grit to our everyday life. We've loved watching her grow and can't wait to see who she becomes!
Our not-this-little-anymore baby.
 Happy birthday, Zoey! We love you!

27 April 2018

Accomplished Fishers

Ever since Jack snagged his first largemouth bass in our pond, he wanted everyone to experience the joy of catching their own.
Claire was the first. She spent an afternoon paddling around in the pond. The first time she was so excited that she let the line out and the fish escaped. The second time, she had some luck.
Kate followed the same tactic and caught a good-sized fish of her own from the paddleboat, too.
Evelyn fished from the shore...
...and Henry pulled one in with Jack's help.
Yes, I own an ugly fox sweatshirt. And?
Not wanting me to feel left out, Jack called me over one evening when he was lazily casting on his fishing pole and let me reel in my very own dinky fish.
I let it go and fished for myself, catching another small, barely-big-enough-to-eat fish all on my own.
So far, there have been no casualties--no lost eyes, snagged fingers...even all the fish have been returned to the water--unless we're talking clothes, then there have been a few emergencies. I hope everyone feels like accomplished fishers, now, and that snagged clothes is the worst we get!

26 April 2018

Earth Day, Every Day

Being outside is the best!
Though Earth day isn't a major holiday to us--it's no Easter or Christmas or Halloween--it's one of those days that we take a few moments to reflect on all the good things that come from Mother Earth. Really though, it's like Earth Day, every day around here.
Like when we went to the nursery to get ready for our garden. Having a bit of cabin fever from the elongated winter we had this year, I surrounded us with beautiful, green things that were meant to fill our garden and flower bed...
Snickers is disgusted with me.
...and promptly (yet inadvertently) killed several of them.

I've told Jack many, many times, plants aren't my forte.

Maybe he'll believe me now.
Or on those few warm, non-rainy days we had, we hit the ground running. One of the first spring projects was redoing some of the front landscaping. We drastically widened it to allow for planting some new flowers and shrubbery and so I didn't have to mow under the gnarly crabapple tree with the low-hanging boughs.
Of course, sometimes in the middle of work, it's nice to take a break and just enjoy the warm sunlight.
Once we got the stones placed and the landscaping fabric down, we mulched and mulched until we couldn't mulch anymore.
Seriously, we were pooped.
But all our hard work paid off and it looked fantastic. Now for landscaping!
Teething on a stick and learning to walk on the grass.
But, on the farm, there's hardly any time to lose, even if we are tired. So, after the landscaping, we got to planting the Department of Natural Resources tree bundle we'd ordered. Nothing says Earth Day like a 100 wildlife mix trees native to Indiana that need to be put in the ground.

Getting started on our front hedge, made of wild plums, gray dogwood, and elderberries
One of the many benefits of a couple of cows is the very rich, very abundant, er...fertilizer they provide. After a couple months of composting, it's as good as black tilth and could make anything grow. I bet it'd grow a money tree if we stuck a few quarters in the ground.

Now that I think of it, maybe we should give it a try...
Parton practicing his headbutting skills against the wheelbarrow.
Once the first thirty shrubs were planted, it was back to mulch, mulch, mulch...
Employing his dump truck and keeping cool with a popsicle.
...and with a little left over, we drove over and mulched the orchard trees, too.
One of my favorite days this spring was the morning of our last freeze. That meant a lot of the plants that were barely clinging to life atop our piano, kitchen table, or bookshelf were free to go outside.
First, that meant we had to work the garden plot a bit. Last fall, we'd used a good number of our empty moving boxes as a base layer to keep the grass down, then piled a whole lot of manure and shavings on top. Come spring and a bit of raking and a load of topsoil mixed in, voila, ready for planting.
It was Jack's job to make a berry patch, so naturally, he got out his trusty flamethrower and weeded away.
We even recycled a few of the old tires the previous owner had left in a shed to be used for our potatoes...
...some of which are a very interesting heirloom variety.

Purple mashed potatoes it is!
Once the berries were all in, we put in the cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and other plants...
...and rotated through the ever-important job of keeping Zoey happy enough that she's too distracted to eat dirt, one of her favorite pasttimes.
Not even running into a few thistles or burrs or wild roses are enough to keep us from enjoying the great outdoors.
And on the official Earth Day, the girls all decided to celebrate by wearing flowery dresses to church, and spending some time out in the hammock, soaking up sunlight and rocking in the breeze.
Earth Day is every day here.


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