Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I'm thankful for this extra day this year. Normally, it is just a silly thing to be excited about; however, this year, we have sooo many projects that having an extra day is something to really celebrate. I'm also thankful that it appears that our weather has already broke for Spring. I'm not trying to tempt Mother Nature or anything and realize that we could still have one hell of a winter storm still (in fact, Mark and I have a bet on it...I say no, he says yes). We've decided to take this opportunity to work on some of the flower beds. My muscles are already aching - it feels good after a winter of hibernating - but I think there is going to be a lot of ibuprofen in my system in the next few months. Here's some things that are happening around here...

Garden at the end of our drive. We didn't even know that fence piece existed. We cleaned out all the old, dead plants and weeds and got the garden ready for this year. We pulled up all the border rocks and cleaned around them. Hard work, but it looks so much nicer. See the bush behind? I'm hoping to cut that out this year.

Another view, from the other side.

Crocus already in bloom.

Daffodils are getting ready to bloom.

I'm not sure what that yellow flower is, but it's getting ready to open. Beautiful!

Come on out of the barn Josie and Blossom! The rain has stopped!

This is Jack, one of our three outside cats. They kinda just adopted us. Jack is probably the sweetest cat that I know (other than one of our inside kitties - Freak). Look at that sweet face.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


One of my absolutely favorite pictures of Grandma! Having a great time with a family friend at Kait's graduation party.
We lost a great member of our family this past week. Mark's grandmother, Dorothea Schimer, passed away at the age of 96. I'm so glad that our children were able to have a great relationship with Grandma. We used to live next door to her and would often go to her house to enjoy some of Grandma delicacies...Blueberry Muffins, Zelnak, Buchtas with Pork and sauerkraut, Sausage Gravy and Biscuits. I'll always remember her calling "Mark" out the window, as we'd come home from work and she'd pass a little goodie of some sort out, or her "Ok Bye-Bye", or how she'd often say "Goob" instead of "Goodbye". We were blessed to have so many years with her. Her final day included going out to breakfast with the Roberts' Family (our extended family...aunts, uncles etc. on the Roberts side go to a monthly breakfast) - afterward, she wasn't feeling well and went to the Urgent Care, who then sent her directly to the hospital. Not long after she arrived at the hospital, she took a last deep breath and closed her eyes. They asked her son, Jack, if he wanted them to try to revive her, since she had a faint heartbeat. I am thankful that he said no and let her body rest. I am thankful her death wasn't violent, painful, was short, sweet and peaceful. I'm sure her and Grandpa are enjoying Zelnak and playing in peace Grandma.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Prego?? Not me!

Ok, so we are hoping for Alpaca babies (crias) in the next few months here. If Blossom is pregnant, she would be due around the first/second week of May. If Josie is pregnant, then she'd be due around the first week of June. I took a picture of Blossom about a month ago (see above/left) and the one above/right is from today. I feel like she is hanging lower in the belly. Alpacas apparently don't really "show" like other animals. But I'm guessing we'd see something?? I guess time will tell.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ollie Ollie Oxen Free

Ollie Muzzle!
Taken this morning, after his breakfast. This pup sleeps...a LOT - which means, he's growing...a LOT! In just the couple of days that he's been here, we can tell that he's already grown...a LOT! He's eats nearly the same amount of food as our full size black lab, Blue.
Growing...Ahem...Sleeping again. This was after his bath on Friday. He's just a little fluff ball.
 Seriously, look at that face!!
 ...and look at THAT face. Our sweet Blue (don't tell Ollie, but Blue is the best dog!). Blue is doing so well adjusting to our new addition. I can tell there is a speck of jealousy, but nothing she won't get past. She's trying to play with him, although she's a little awkward at it. She protects him outside, keeping watch on the field, while he goes to the bathroom. She gives him the business if he does something she knows she's not allowed to do. They eat together, without any speck of aggression. They are doing amazingly well with each other. I'm proud of my girl Blue though. Quite an adjustment for her. 
Look at her. Ugh - sweet good girl.

The past couple of days have been a little hectic (isn't life always hectic!) - we've been potty training the new pup. At this stage in the game, it is more that we are potty trained and we are dragging Ollie along for the ride. We are watching the times (he just ate...wait 10 minutes and take him out - he just woke up...take him out - he's sniffing the carpet...take him out). He wakes us up at night to tell us when he needs to go. He refuses to go in his crate. We had to run some errands yesterday (oh...LOTS of errands) and he was in his crate from about 3:30 to 8:30 (longer than I had originally hoped he'd be in) and he didn't have an accident and got all the way outside before he went! Good boy Ollie!

Speaking of yesterday and errands - we did so many things. It seems like we still have a strong connection to Dayton (hopefully that will lessen over time)...but when we go, we always have a marathon of things to do, stores to shop at, people to visit. It ends up being an all day event. We did accomplish a lot yesterday and I'm happy with our progress.
This crazy Spring-like weather is confusing everyone from the the the humans! I'm not complaining though. A mild winter means less heating oil (we already use SO much, even though we keep our thermostat at 65) - a big project in our home for the fall is insulation. We're thinking of having a home energy audit done on our home and finding out where we can become more efficient (spend a little to save a lot). We obviously have heat loss and drafts in this old house. It will be nice to caulk, insulate, update and not have to rely so heavily on oil next winter. Part of the purchase of this house is about preparation. I feel a little unprepared for this winter. We didn't save for an oil delivery, so we are purchasing oil (diesel) at 20 gallons at a time. Next winter, we'll have money for a delivery (or maybe even get the delivery, once we have enough saved) and then we'll have money in a pot for the next, just in case, delivery. In addition, we are going to save for this bad boy:
That's right, the Hearthstone Mansfield. That sweet mother of a wood burning stove will do many things - it heats up to 2500 square feet (which is enough for this house and if we add on a touch), it has a long burn time AND radiates heat for even longer, AND you can use it as a cook top should the power go out. I dream of having this stove in our home. Well, it's more than dream...I'm making it the goal. After the barn is up and the animals are settled in...this moves up on the list.

Friday, February 3, 2012

I love you Oliver, nobody good loves me!

Seems like we are adding to this farm left and right, but when an opportunity comes up or falls into your lap, I've learned to leap and figure out the details later. So meet the newest member of our crew..Oliver AKA: "Ollie Ollie Oxen Free"! A young woman that teaches at Mark's school had a litter of OOPS! Great Pyrenees and decided that rather than trying to sell them all, if we'd want one of the males from the litter. Um YEAH! We'd been looking to get a GP to live with our livestock and protect them against the coyotes that run through our property. Right now, this little guy would be a late night snack for a coyote, but once he grows a little more, he'll go live with the alpacas and eventually the rest of the livestock (once they arrive). Right now, we are adjusting to having a puppy in the house (I forgot the "no", "don't eat that", don't pee here" "make a good boy outside" talk that happens with a new puppy, learning the rules). Right now, I'm realizing that, when I took our dogs out for a 4:30 AM and heard the coyotes yipping and screaming, so close to our property that it is a very good thing we got this pup when we did. By the time the goats and sheep arrive, he'll likely be of substantial size that he could at least be noisy enough and hopefully scary enough to make the coyotes think twice before they try to get into our pasture. In addition to protection, he's just so damn cute! He's a ball of puppy fluff right now. Adorable!!
In other news, when we got home from dinner tonight, we saw at least six deer in the lot behind our house. It was so exciting because, without warning, as we ran our headlights across the field, as we turned into the driveway, we caught site of their eyes in the headlights. It was dark and hard to tell exactly how many. I for sure saw the six...there could have been more...I love to see stuff like this though. I love where we live.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February 1st...Seriously

I'm sitting here in my living room with the windows all open. I hear birds chirping and bugs buzzing by. This is an amazing February day. Tomorrow I get to celebrate Mark's 48th Birthday :-)