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.

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.

Friday, July 29, 2011


  The kids and I went exploring today. I have loved every visit to Paonia, but they have all been brief and the children haven't always been with me. It is just about a half an hour to get there and in between here and there is a store/farm/deli named Delicious Orchards  that I want to stop in at every time I pass by. Today was the day to do it. And I am so glad that I did. I think I'm in love. They make their own apple juice and cider, which coincidentally we have been drinking for years. They specialize in local and organic food products, which is really important to me. Thankfully local includes a few items from Fort Collins, namely MouCo Colorouge cheese.  I have not been able to find this anywhere and thought I would never get to delight in it's stinky flavor again. So imagine my delight when there it was, sitting beautifully in the cheese case with all of the other artisan cheeses. We stocked up on produce, fresh made tortillas and tamales, and some hard apple cider for the Hubby. I paid for a lifelong membership, which was only ten dollars and included a free reusable grocery bag. I know we will be back as often as possible. After our stop there, we continued on our way. We meandered down the main street, going in and out of shops as we pleased. We found a good childrens' clothing only thrift store. We stopped in at a coffee shop to get some smoothies and found some kindred spirits. The couple that owns the coffee shop have two young girls near S and M's ages. After consuming (and spilling) our smoothies, the children played hide and seek for another hour. I sat in the sunshine and spoke with the owner/mom. It was lovely. When I finally was able to round up the kiddos, we went to the park. What a great park. Our visit coincided with the BMW motorcycle rally which delighted T to no end. When everyone was worn out (meaning me) we headed home. For dinner we consumed the tamales and tortillas we had picked up earlier. What a fun day.

BMW motorcycle rally camping at the park

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I am quite certain that we are raising at least one hillbilly.  But what do you think?

Going out to feed the chickens

Saturday, July 23, 2011


It's corn season and here on the Western Slope, it is rampant. There are people selling corn from the backs of their trucks everywhere. Now, normally, I do not make it a habit to buy food from the back of someone else's truck. But this is Olathe sweet corn. There is no other corn like Olathe sweet corn. And fortunately, it comes cheap. We eat our fill and if I can wrestle any of it away from the kids, then I blanch it, cut it off the cob, freeze it and we add it to meals all winter long. Today we went to Meme and Papa's and shucked forty eight ears of corn. I had a vision of sitting with my Mom and shucking while the children ran amok, chatting and taking our time, but the children wanted to help and shucking was done in no time at all. We shucked it all into a big galvanized tub that Meme picked up at a yard sale for five bucks. After we were done I discovered that the corn silk was nice and cool on my hot feet. I only got to stick my feet in for a moment before the children decided that they must try it, too. They also had to try the corn raw. I had to nip that in the bud really quick before they devoured it all.  Next week, we will be heading to the  to check out the fun there.

So pretty

M devouring it raw

Cooling their feet in corn silk

T double-cobbing it

Friday, July 22, 2011

Washer and Dryer

   Exciting news! Okay, not that exciting. We got a new (used) washer and dryer today. So, maybe not exciting for you and really, should it be exciting to me? What does that say about my life? If not exciting, at least it will make life a bit easier. It has only been three weeks since we had our own washer and dryer, but with a growing family and a Hubby who needs clean work clothes, it is a pain to haul my laundry somewhere else to wash it. Meme has graciously allowed me to use her machines and even did some of it for me. But there are times when you just need your own set. Like when the local thrift store has a fifty percent off sale and you buy too many baby girl clothes just cuz they are so dang cute. Or like when your toddler is suddenly too big for his diapers and you need to wash jammies because he keeps leaking. You know, those times. Okay, well, maybe there will be more exciting news tomorrow. In the meantime, just be grateful for the machines you own that make this modern day life so dang convenient. And enjoy this picture of a kitten being completely content because he knows he never, ever has to do laundry.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Moment of Zen

   Tonight we will have a Wednesday Wonder again. It has been a while since we last had one of these. I apologize. We finally have internet again, so I will (hopefully) be posting on a more regular basis. I have many thoughts that I would like to share as the days progress, so let's keep in touch.
    I have figured out my moment of zen. A moment in the day that pleases me beyond most others. A moment just for me. Try to put yourself into my shoes, or flip flops, as I describe it for you.
    I sit on the ground in the tall grass, watching the breeze blow through it as the sun goes down. I am alone, as least from human company. The grey cat has followed me through the field and the goats are grazing all around me. I hear the children playing up at the house. The goats grind the grass between their silly teeth. The chickens are clucking their special evening cluck as they start to settle in for the night. The sun has hit the ridge in front of me, illuminating the cedars and pines for the last time today. The smell of the grass is sweet and pungent, though a bit sharp on my legs where my skirt can't reach to cover them. The air is the perfect temperature, especially after spending all day down the mountain in ninety-plus degree weather. I breathe deeply. Ah, peace. It may have only lasted a few minutes, but it was all that I needed to recharge.
    What is your moment of zen?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


   The kiddos and I took a day trip to Grand Junction today. I had a little bit of shopping that I wanted to get done and since Hubby was working up there and due to be off around the same time we arrived, I figured it would be a good day to go. I called Hubby when I arrived to let him know where we were only to have him tell me he was just leaving the doctor's office after getting stitches. What?! He had cut his right index finger during a brief stop at his office to pick up some equipment. He was now on his way to take a u.a., because apparently if you hurt yourself at work you are either drunk or stoned. Whatever. He of course blew a 0.00, because he was neither drunk nor stoned. Just unlucky. On the bright side, he was able to get a tetanus shot, so he is good on that for another ten years. Now he is just walking around with a permanent point, which comes in handy for disciplining the children.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


   We had an interesting trip to Durango. The drive is indisputably the most beautiful drive in the state. We went through Ridgeway, Ouray, Silverton, into Durango, out to Cortez to stay the night, then home through Dolores, Rico, Telluride and back into Ridgeway. With only four hours of drive time each day, it was the perfect road trip. I say four hours loosely, since the first day we broke down between Ouray and Silverton. Meme's truck overheated and it took us a while to get everything straightened out. But hey, if you have to be broken down, there really is no better place than ten thousand feet elevation with breath-taking mountain views all around. S seized the opportunity to gather fallen branches and build a make-shift lean to, while KS and I kindly explained the definition of a "Tool" to Meme. Meme is always learning something new, even when she doesn't neccessarily want to. At any rate, we finally made it over the mountains and into Durango after a quick stop at Honeyville. It poured down rain on us all afternoon, but it didn't matter to us. We went in and out of all the little shops, which is never really my most favorite thing to do, but as it makes other people happy, I willingly oblige. There are worse things to do really. Like unpack. But that is a different blog for a different day. We parked near the train depot which made me wish I had my little T with me. S and the nephews enjoyed it though and I think even KS enjoyed it. We were able to observe the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad coming in for the night and being put into the roundhouse via the turntable. At which point the battery in my camera died, so I have no pictures from our second day. After a nice dinner we headed out to Cortez, where hotels are cheaper. It also put my Aunt L one hour closer to Arizona for her return trip with KS. After a night of hilarity with four adults and three young boys in a small hotel room, we left the next morning to head home. We stopped briefly in Telluride to show the boys Bridal Veil Falls, which entertained them for approximately 3.2 minutes. We also had to make a stop in Ridgeway to let the boys get out their wiggles. See yesterdays post for how the rest of the day went.

Not a bad place to be broken down.

S and his lean to in the making. He was the only
one bummed that the truck started up again.


KS and the roundhouse
The boys at dinner. I'm not sure why S is feeling the
need to make crazy eyes in all of his pictures lately.

This post is lovingly dedicated to one of my most loyal followers and her father, who recently passed away. Please know our thoughts and love have been with you this week.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


   We made it back to town today just in time to go to my Doctor's appointment. Phew! Today was our ultrasound. We learned that we are having a very healthy, already plump, super active...GIRL! I have known ever since the test came back positive that this one was a girl. I knew it deep in my bones. We have decided to give her the name Iris June. Iris is a name that I have loved for years and after knowing an adorable Iris in Fort Collins, I had to give her this name. June is after Hubby's paternal grandmother who he loved very much. Hubby doesn't always have strong opinions, so when he does, I listen. I cannot wait to see this little one who has already tested all of my emotions. It makes me fear for what the future holds with another emotional girl along for the ride. M is bouncing out of her skin with excitement for a sister. S is looking forward to having another sibling, but as he so very sweetly put it today, he doesn't care what the gender is, as long as it is healthy and alive. T is confused as to why everyone is talking to my belly and thinks maybe there might be a baby in his round belly as well. Hubby and I are just happy in general.
   I will be (trying!) to catch up tomorrow on posting. I am going to attempt to go to the library by myself and use their free internet instead of what I am doing now, which is sitting in my car, further down our dirt road where I can pick up a signal, typing away in the dark and trying not to spook myself with thoughts of bears and boogeymen. So please check back for more posts and hopefully some pics added to old posts that need them.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

No Internet

   Living in the hills has already proven to be awesome. There is one drawback, however, and that is that we have to get a land line and even slower internet access. I feel like I am back in the nineties. In the meantime, I am using my laptop at coffee shops, the library and currently at Nana and Papa's house. Using it in public places generally leads to nothing actually getting accomplished except for my own frustration as I chase my T-bone around trying to get him to sit still long enough for me to finish typing a sentence. Hopefully we will get our internet hooked up this week and I will be able to catch up on my posts. In the meantime, I am thinking of you, my reader, and hoping you will stick this through with me. 
   Today, S, Meme, KS and I are heading out to Durango to do an exchange with my Aunt L. She will be taking KS back to Arizona and leaving my nephews, G and C, to spend the week with us. I am looking forward to seeing them all and to drive through such beautiful country. Our route includes driving through Ridgeway, Ouray, Silverton, Durango, Rico and Telluride.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


   This is a post I have deliberated over doing for a while now. Despite having a public blog, I am not very good at sharing emotions. Actually, in non-blog world, I'm not very good at this either. The day to day business of being alive is one thing, but to actually share a deep, heartbreaking emotion is something else entirely. But because it has been such a major part of our lives and because I am feeling it extra hard this year, I have decided to share with you our loss. A warning to you though. It gets messy. It gets sad. It gets very personal. Read at your own risk.
   Three years ago today we lost our third child. I was sixteen weeks into a very rough and troubling pregnancy. The moment a woman finds out she is pregnant, all kinds of dreams start for the new life she is carrying within her. This time around for me, I was especially thrilled since it had taken us more than two years to conceive. Only a few days after we had found out we were expecting, the trouble started. I thought I lost the baby. I went to the doctor after the terrible weekend had passed only to have the doctor find a heartbeat and say that I was still pregnant. I was elated, but still sick with worry. I would be fine for a week or maybe even two and then start bleeding again. I would go into the doctor, she would find a heartbeat and the whole process would repeat. I was more exhausted than I had ever been in my life. Between sleepless nights, busy days with a then three year old and five, almost six year old, blood loss, and worry, I was barely functioning. I felt at the time that something was dreadfully wrong. Despite all of this a week would would pass and then another. I was eight weeks and then twelve weeks and the window for miscarriage should have been narrowing. At about fourteen weeks, Hubby was working out of town in Casper, WY. I was feeling pretty good, so I took the kids up there to go camping at Fort Casper. We took in the sights, including a hike around Independence Rock. Everything was fine. The Fourth of July came and we rode our bikes to downtown Fort Collins for the festivities. We rode out to a friends' house, which included riding past the cemetery. S said something at the time about headstones that I thought was sweet, not knowing that in just over a weeks' time, I would have to be considering a headstone myself. He noted all the headstones that were in the shape of hearts. He said it must mean that the people who buried them loved them very much. I agreed and we went on with our day. The following week I had a doctor's appointment. I was now sixteen weeks. All was well. The heartbeat sounded strong and I was measuring where I should have been. That day I took the kids to music lessons. I ran a solo errand to Home Depot. I got home and started cramping and bleeding. I laid down while Hubby called the doctor. She sent us to the hospital to get a high level ultrasound. We went and everything looked great. We saw the baby moving and wriggling around. The doctor called me at the hospital and said to go home and to take it easy. I did. By bedtime, the pain was worse and I knew these were no longer cramps, but contractions. I stood up to use the bathroom and felt everything shift. I knew I was losing this baby. I got in the shower to rinse the blood and tears away and didn't get out again until Hubby took me back to the hospital. He was Superman, arranging for the kids to go to our friends/neighbors house for the night. I don't remember that part very well since my eyes were shut tight from the moment I stepped into the shower. As if not seeing would make it all go away. The rest of the night is permanently and cruelly seared into my brain. The ER experience is not one that I have shared with those closest to me and will not be shared here. We will skip from that part straight to the delivery room. And even these moments will only be shared in brief. My doctor, with whom I had an up and down relationship with, proved that night why she was successfully in her profession. So did my anesthesiologist. I wouldn't remember his face if I literally ran into him on the street, but he saved me that night from losing my mind. I have never before been in the amount of pain that I had to experience that night. I hope to never be in that particular pain again. It was as if my soul was being torn from my body in bits and pieces. When it was over and Hubby was allowed to rejoin me, they brought us our perfectly formed, beautiful daughter, whom we named Dafnee White. Dafnee had been her name from the get-go. Our children's middle names in ways hold more weight for us than their first names. I have dreams or experiences during pregnancy that lead me to believe that each of my children have spirit animals. While this is not reflected in their actual names, it is something I hold dear to me. In all of my dreams and prayers and meditations for this baby girl, the only image that ever came to me was a beautiful, calming white light. I knew once she was gone that I needed to reflect that in her name. While we will never know why our baby girl had to leave us so soon, we are thankful for the brief time she gave us. We are thankful that she strengthened the bond of our family. We love her and miss her every day.
   Thank you for reading this. I don't believe you needed to read it, but I know that I needed to write it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

It's Independence Day

I love the Fourth of July. Mostly due to the fireworks. It brings out the pyromaniac in me. Plus, it's a day when friends and family come together just for the sake of being together. There are so many holidays at the end of the year that bring us together, I like having a reason to celebrate in the middle of the year. This year we had company. My dear friend, E, and her munchkins, A and B (seriously), were able to come spend a couple of days with us. We all spent the day at Nana and Papa's. We soaked in the hot tub, barbequed, ate refreshing popsicles and walked to the end of their neighborhood to watch the fireworks. Hubby even got to light a few noisemakers. Meme and Papa joined us just in time for the light show to begin. I was pleasantly surprised at Delta's fireworks display. Much better than I had expected.

A, E and B.

M with one of her best buds, A 

I'm not even sure what they are enjoying, but they surely seem to be happy.
Blowing stuff up. Well, kinda.
Loving his glow stick

Waiting for the show to begin.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Library Display

    About two weeks ago, we were at the library and S noticed the display case by the front door. He read that the case was available for anyone to display a collection in for one months' time. So he, being the collector that he is, asked the librarian if could display one of his collections. She said yes and that July happened to be free. That made S quite thrilled. He decided to display his Lego Harry Potter collection since the last movie of the series is due out in the middle of the month. He took most of his collection down the other day and did a very good job of setting them up.  

Friday, July 1, 2011

Moving Day

    We loaded a U-Haul today. Blah. This part of moving is the stinky part. The packing. The driving back and forth with small loads in the back of my Subaru. The unpacking. The U-Haul helped a bit. At least all of the furniture is moved now.
    The goats and cats are afraid they will be left behind and therefore took the liberty to load themselves...

Nelly and Autumn