In earlier American rural life, communities raised barns because many hands were required. These events occured in a social framework with a good deal of interdependence. Members of rural communities often shared family bonds going back generations. They traded with each other, worshipped with each other and celebrated with each other. Barn raisings were an integral part of life and socializing.

In our modern American life, communities don't mean nearly as much as they did back then. It is our family's goal to bring a sense of community back to our lives and those lives that touch ours.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Check Back

For those of you who check this in the morning, please check back this afternoon. I have wonderful photos to share with you, but also a toddler who is having a rough night and making it difficult to get anything written. Here is a sneak peek...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mountain Bluebird

    I love birds. Black-capped Chickadees. Red-tail Hawks. Bald Eagles. Northern Flickers. Western Meadowlarks. American Kestrels. Owls of any kind. These are some of my very favorites. A recent favorite is the Mountain Bluebird. These birds are prevalent around here, however, I have failed to get a picture of one. They are skittish, nervous little things. They like to fly out in front of the car though and I hold my breath in fear every time. I love to see them fly. They are like little pieces of the sky broken free to brighten up the day. Here are some stock photos courtesy of professional photographers via Google. Or you can check this site out for more amazingly beautiful pictures.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hello Again

    Wow. I have totally been M.I.A. this month. I would like to apologize, except that really, I don't want to. I have been enjoying my lovely, relaxed, rainy September after the heat of August. September has flown by though. The children have started participating in a homeschool science co-op that meets every other Thursday or so. They also take an art class at the Creamery, , which is the same place I do pottery. Or should be doing pottery. Because I haven't really been doing that either. I am settling in at the new place and nesting. There are so many things to be done before this birth and winter arrive. We have been trying to get permanent structures figured out for all the animals. The rabbits and chickens will be sharing a home and we need to make it large enough for the additional poultry that will be joining our flock next year. The chickens are doing great and are fully matured now. We are getting an average of a dozen eggs a day. We have been able to sell their eggs on a regular basis, which is helpful when it comes time to buy more feed. Meme and Papa decided they wanted a few more chickens and since we were giving them eggs anyways, we decided to just give them some chickens. So on Thursday we took three of our ladies down to them to join their current flock of four. This leaves us with fifteen. Still a flock of significant size.

Our rainy view from the deck

    Our other big news of the month is the rushed trip I had to make two weeks ago to the ER. Thane tipped over backwards out of his seat in the front yard and landed smack dab on a huge rock that is part of our retaining wall. The cut was worrisome enough, but what scared me more was not knowing what his brain was doing in his skull. Head injuries scare me. Hubby was at work, but thankfully only in Hotchkiss, which I had to drive through to get to the hospital. He cut his day short and met me at the hospital. Nana and Papa live about five minutes from the hospital and were able to meet us there to take Spencer and Maycee home with them. After a long wait and a popsicle, Thane received one staple in the back of his noggin and was released. We made it outside in time to see a helicopter take off. This distracted him enough that the staple was quickly forgotten. After a week we took him back and had the staple removed. He is no longer in any pain, but will tell the story of what happened to anyone who asks him anything. "Hey Thane, how are you?" "I bonk head, rock." "What did you do today?" "I bonk head, rock." "What would you like for dinner?" "I bonk head, rock" "Are you ready for your bath?" "I bonk head, rock." You get the picture. Sometimes he brings it up out of the blue as we are grocery shopping or reading a nighttime story. I hope it does not traumatize him too much or for too long.

Poor baby noggin

A well-timed (for us) takeoff of the helicopter enthralled the sweet boy.
    Other random things have happened this month, but I feel like I am done playing catch up for now. I am sure that October will be a more exciting month and give me a lot more to write about. 
More nakedness from the toddler. This time with a backwards Darth Vader helmet to accessorize.

Delicious and colorful potato hash to go with our eggs for dinner
Maycee lost another tooth this month.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thirty Weeks

I am thirty weeks today. Only nine or ten weeks to go. I can't wait to have Iris join our family.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Early Morning Visitors

Hubby took some photos from the dining room of this sweet family before he left for work this morning. So calm. So peaceful.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Family Walk

Our Wednesday Wonder for today is truly a wonder. As in, I wonder how we ever get anywhere? Forget about packing everyone up to go to town. That's another story all by itself. I am talking about taking a walk. A stroll. The lolly gagging-est dawdly toddle down the road you can imagine. Dad taking a walk. A pregnant Mom waddling beside him. Two kids who can't just walk, but run ahead and then somehow manage to fall behind. A toddler that has to touch everything. And climb everything. Three dogs that do their doggy thing. Oh, and don't forget the kitten. Yea, he has to come along, too. We observe the one lone deer who we have not frightened away with our whooping and hollering. Pick some flowers. We make it up and over the hill. Round the dogs back up. Head back down the hill to home. Lose the eldest child as he climbs the slope next to the road. Pull cactus out of the beagles' elbow. Pick some more flowers. Go back after the eldest child who now can't see to make his way down the slope. Lose the old dog because she is so deaf. Yell at the big dumb dog to leave the kitten alone. Pick some grass while we wait for the boys to finish making their way back to us. Swing the toddler between Mom and Dad whether we want to or not. Make it back to the house. Lock the chickens up. Feed the dogs their dinner. (The old dog has shown back up for this.) Why do we do this again? 'Cause this is the stuff life is made of.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Look at this crazy spider Hubby found when he got home tonight. It was just hanging out in the driveway.What is it?

Sunday, August 21, 2011


     Our Sunday Creations have not made an appearance for quite some time. And now I can't even share today's creation with you. At least not yet. The reason is because I am creating gifts for the holidays. I realized recently how quickly we are approaching Autumn. With all of the birthdays we have during this season and especially the birth day of our daughter, Iris, I know I will be way too busy to even think about the holidays. So I am breaking my own mold and trying to prepare before the last minute arrives. We'll see how it progresses.
In the meantime, here's a beautiful bloom for your enjoyment:

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Our daughter is teaching herself to read. For more than a year now, I have attempted and failed to accomplish this task. Sitting down with our phonics kit-FAIL. Sight words-FAIL. Easy readers for us to read together-FAIL. Until she decided that she wanted to read, nothing we tried worked. She would get frustrated and weepy at the mere mention of an organized lesson. No matter how gently we suggested (and really, the gentle approach is the only one that works with children) that we should focus on reading, she would dig her heels in and refuse to budge. But last night for our bedtime reading, SHE read to us. She has been reading aloud all day. She started writing a few months ago by asking us how to spell things. We had her sound out the word and write it as she went along. Now, she is sounding out words left and right. It makes me proud to be a homeschooler, or rather an unschooler, when I see my children moving along at their own pace. Just as all of my children have walked, talked and been potty-trained on their own schedule, so too do they get to learn the skills of life when they are ready.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gardening and Telluride

     Yesterday was a busy day. The children finished up their garden class with a tour of one of the volunteers' farms. It is a beautiful farm. She raises concord and gewurztraminer (a specific type of wine) grapes, bees, veggies and has a small orchard. She pulled a frame out of one of her beehives so that the children could see what honey looked liked in the process of being created. We all got to sample some honey and play with the wax. We took a tour of the vineyards and the children stuffed themselves with unripe grapes. As everyone else was leaving, Thane discovered that Jan had a tractor. Hubby received permission for him to sit on it and then Jan decided to fire it up for him. She backed it out of the shed and then pulled it back in. A short ride, but it pleased Thane immensely.

Concord grapes. Mmm Mmmm good!

      When we were done with that we headed to Telluride. It is about two and a half hours to drive there from here. We met Nana and Papa up there. The main purpose of this trip was to listen to music in the park up in Mountain Village. This involved a gondola ride. Telluride/Mountain Village have the nation's first and only free public transit system that is a gondola. It is a unique and fun way to get  from one town to the next. We had a little time to explore each town before we settled in to listen to Mountain Standard Time I was very excited to listen to this band. They play in Fort Collins quite regularly, however, Hubby and I could never make it to see them there. Now we have seen them and for free, which is just as important. It is such a lovely experience to listen to good music, in a beautiful setting, as the sun goes down and you are surrounded by your family. This is the good life indeed.

On the gondola

Nana and Papa on the gondola

Spencer climbing in Mountain Village
Maycee climbing in Mountain Village. She was a natural.

Thane playing in the fountains.

The people sitting behind us said they had to take a picture of the baby laying on the baby.

Mountain Standard Time

Beautiful sunset


Tuesday, August 16, 2011


It has been so hot here that cooking seems like a ridiculous notion. So we didn't. Maycee and I made gazpacho tonight instead. Maycee chopped the bell peppers and cucumber and made me chop the onions and garlic. She is proving to be quite the helper in the kitchen. We used a recipe the children received from their garden class at the library. The tomatoes, bell peppers (purple ones!), cucumber, garlic and an onion came from a local farm. The other onion and a few of the tomatoes came from Nana and Papa's garden. It tasted delicious. It did, however remind us of salsa. This was compounded by the fact that we ate it with tortilla chips. A friend suggested that we eat it with grilled cheese, so next time time we will try that.

The onions made me cry!

Copyright 1999 The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook


  • 1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper


Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess!

After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

4-H Results

    On Tuesday we couldn't wait to get back to the fairgrounds to find out the results of Spencer's leathercraft display and interview. And we were glad that we hustled back. He received two blue ribbons, one for completing his project and one for first place in his class. He received a champion for his class and reserve grand champion. This means he has qualified to go to the Colorado State Fair. This also means that we are all very excited for and proud of Spencer. All of his hard work paid off.
So proud
He was so enthralled by the tractors
    The kids and I spent part of the day at the fairgrounds hanging out with our 4-H buddies and watching the rabbit and poultry shows. We headed home mid-afternoon for a siesta while we waited for Hubby to come home. After taking care of all of the animals, we went back to the fairgrounds for the antique tractor pull.The best way to describe this is that each tractor takes a turn pulling a load that gets increasingly heavier as they move down the track. The tractor that pulls the highest percentage of their own weight is the winner. So if you have a tractor that weighs four thousand pounds and it can pull four thousand pounds, it wins. Most of the tractors pulled about seventy-five percent on average. It was a very fun event to watch and Thane especially enjoyed himself. After the tractor pull, we went down to see the tractors, and Hubby just happened to know one of the men who participated. Turns out that Hubby had been at his home the day before for work. This gentleman allowed the children to sit on his tractor. I didn't think we would ever get them down. 
Thane trying to take pictures.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

After One Hundred

    My Dad keeps asking me what happens after one hundred (see previous post). I guess life happens. It has been a crazy week. So crazy that I can't believe it has only been a week. It seems like two at least. So here is a brief summary. I know, I know, I keep doing summaries. It would be easier if I just stayed on top of things. But like I said, life happens. So here goes.
    Wednesday, August 3: The kids are still doing their garden class through the library. It takes forty-five minutes to get there, but Hubby and I decided to have them follow through on the class. It only seems fair. They planted the garden and they should get to see it come to fruition.  Beyond basic maintenance, on this day they turned their worms loose in the garden, but only after measuring their length and manhandling them. They also studied eggs and the different insects, reptiles, birds, etc. that lay them. The teachers brought in an incubator full of eggs and a cage with two Guinea keets (chicks). The Guineas were hilarious. The kids got to feed them four grasshoppers and those birds went nuts! I keep hearing how good Guineas are for insect control, and now I'm thinking I might have to get me a few.
Investigating the worms

Even Thane got in on the worm action.

Guinea Keets
     Spencer and Hubby finished up working with the 4-H volunteer who has been helping Spencer learn leathercraft. He has been so amazingly helpful and we are lucky to have him as a mentor.
    I had a doctors appointment and all is still very well. My doctor is a very bizarre individual. I call him Dr. Jekyll. He is insanely nice, however he makes me remember why I don't like doctors.
    Meme and I have decided to do something that we both have been wanting to do for some time. So we spent this evening throwing bowls. As in making pottery. I have no picture proof of this since it is hard to take a picture when you are covered in clay. Meme and I each managed to make two bowls in our two hour class. And they are beautiful. Trimming comes next, then a firing, then glazing and the final firing. I can't wait to be done and have my final project in hand. I do believe this is a hobby that I will do for the rest of my life. What a feeling to sink your fingers into the clay and feel it move and form under your hands. And then to have something that you can actually use as your end result. It is going to be as addicting as knitting. Which I need to pick up again...
     Thursday, August 4:  I have no pictures of this day. Not a single one. We had the opportunity to meet a fellow blogger today. I found her blog along the side of another blog that had been featured by GRIT on Facebook. Whoa. That's a convoluted way to find someone that lives an hour from you. Linda blogs at  They are selling their harvest of hay and we just so happen to need some hay. So we made the drive and after a visit in which the children soaked in the wading pool, checked out the old truck in the barn and were taken on a four-wheeler ride, we loaded the hay and headed out. We only took one bale just to make sure the goats liked it. They do. So we will be heading back again for more. This time hopefully we can bum a truck and maybe trailer so we can get what we need. Another drawback of driving a Subaru Outback. You would be surprised though at all of the things we can cram in there.
    In the evening we drove to Paonia to listen to music for the yearly series called Pickin' in the Park. It's like a mini festival every Thursday night in the month of August. We were lucky enough on this night to listen and witness the band called March Fourth Marching Band We have seen them before and they are awesome entertainers. We hula hooped, played dress up, played at the park and danced the night away. It was just what we were needing.
    Friday, August 5:  Today was a catch up day. Hubby went to work and I did laundry and cleaned house.
I love baby clothes drying in sunshine.
     Saturday, August 6: Spencer finished his leather project for the fair, which starts on Monday. He is doing so well with this, I hope he continues to do this as a project in the following years. The artist in him really shines through.
    Sunday, August 7: Happy Birthday to my niece, Kalli! I can't believe she is fifteen. She is as old now as I was when she was born.
    Hubby and I are procrastinators to the bitter end. We were up until midnight helping Spencer finish his record books and display board for the fair. It all turned out lovely, but made me reminisce about eighth grade science fair. Display board, rubber cement, last minute hustle. This seems to be our M.O.
    Monday, August 8: Got up early to make it to the fairgrounds in time for Spencers interview with the fair board judges. He looked so sharp in his white button up and Wranglers with his boots polished and his hair combed. Even Maycee dressed up. He did great in his interview and we will find out the results of his project on Tuesday.
My handsome boy
   The kids and I wandered through the barns looking at all of the animals coming in. It really took me back to my days in 4-H and FFA. I wouldn't trade those days for anything. I only hope that my children can build the same type of lasting memories. 
And this brings us to Tuesday which will have a post of it's own. Thank you for reading and allowing me to catch up.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

One Hundred

    This is my One Hundredth post! How exciting! I don't even have anything overly special to write about tonight. It rained on and off all day so the kiddos and I stayed in our jammies and played and watched a movie and I caught up on my blog. It was a relaxing day before we head into the end of our week. I want to say weekend since Hubby starts his days off tomorrow. It is our weekend when everyone else is still working.
     I have decided to start addressing my children by name on here, as typing their first initial is starting to annoy me. Most of my readers know me and the children personally anyway. So here goes. S is Spencer. M is Maycee. T is Thane. I am Amanda and Hubby is Matt. He will still be known as Hubby though. And there you have it.
   Thank you for reading along as we travel down this crazy path called life. I will leave you tonight with a picture of sweet sleeping children and their kitten.

Monday, August 1, 2011


   We added a new member to our family today. Meet Dobby, a male lionhead rabbit. We have been told that he is purebred, though I have my doubts. He is still quite young though, and may yet develop some more of the characteristics that make a lionhead what they are. He is joining us so that he may some day in the nearish future mate with Flower, our female lionhead. Babies will abound. Hopefully. In the meantime, he needs a lot of love and handling. He did not receive much attention at his old home. This has made him quite skittish. Which is bad news for the other reason that his nails REALLY need to be trimmed. I can't accomplish this feat until Hubby is home to help wrangle him. And since I am already bearing the wounds of his fright, I will not be attempting this solo any time soon. All in all, we believe he will make an excellent pet in time.



Sunday, July 31, 2011

Grilled Peaches

We have been so busy getting ready for our county fair that not much else has been created. So for today's Sunday Creation we will talk food. It's one of my favorite subjects anyway. After a brief rain storm we were able to grill tonight for dinner. Hubby grilled up some pork chops and bratwursts, while I got the corn ready. The corn was, of course, from Olathe. The tomatoes and cucumber that I cut up were also locally grown. Moving so much and me being on bed rest until late Spring has not allowed us to even think about getting our own garden in this year. Thankfully, we live in the land o' plenty and are able to reap others' harvests. All of our dinner turned out deliciously. Well, I think the pork chops did, since they were consumed with lightning speed. I wouldn't know since I don't eat pork. No reason. Just a personal preference. After dinner, we threw some halved peaches on the grill. Peaches are also a local hot ticket item. They grow so well over here that they have their own festival, which is fast approaching. We will talk about that as the time comes. Grilled peaches may have a trick we haven't discovered. The taste was good, just strong. Hubby had the grand idea of serving them with vanilla ice cream, which we happened to have on hand. That made all the difference. It was the perfect dessert ending to a very tasty meal.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Shooting Sports

   S participated in his first 4-H shooting sports competition today.  He completed his hunter's safety course just this past Thursday, which he needed for eligibility purposes. He shot better today than he has shot all year. This earned him first place in all of his positions: sitting, standing, kneeling and prone. He also won champion of his division, which is Junior Air Rifle. I will not mention that part of this is due to him being the only child in his division. I will only mention that he worked very hard to do what was required of him. I will also mention that Hubby and I are very proud of him for working so hard. Our day, however, was very long and a bit trying. The competition started at eight a.m. in Eckert which meant we had to leave our house at seven to get there in time. We are not morning people. Not by any stretch of the imagination. S's part of the shoot was over by ten. This left us four hours until awards. We decided to skip out and get a bite to eat. S went home with Nana and Papa C., who had come out to show their support. Meme also made it out, although, unfortunately, Papa S. had to work. Hubby, M, T and I grabbed a bite at the Loading Dock, a tasty cafe within an artists' gallery called the Apple Shed. On our way to Delta to hang out with Nana and Papa, we received a phone call to head back to the range since the judges needed S's record book again. We quickly picked up our boy and headed back. Since we were there, we thought we should just stay since awards should only be an hour away. So we thought. Instead of being done at two, the shoot ended after four thirty. This pushed awards to five. Let's just say that sitting in ninety plus degree heat with three children for four hours is not anyone's idea of fun. Thankfully, our 4-H leader had some Hotwheels in her truck and these somehow managed to keep not just our children occupied, but the entire table of eight children occupied. T took his into the dirt, where we all thought he would fall asleep. He somehow never did. Finally it was time for awards and as soon as S received his, we were ready to go. Unfortunately for us, T got stung by a wasp with three minutes left before quitting time. Poor little guy. We got home, showered all the caked dirt off of our exhausted bodies and fell into bed. I don't think our whole family has ever gone to sleep at the same time, let alone that it was nine p.m.

Before the shoot. All happy and perky.

Prone position

Sitting position

After his shoot. Hot and sweaty already.

With all of his ribbons.

T in the dirt before the sting.