Monday, September 12, 2011

Ohhh better get a bloggin

I haven't updated this poor dusty blog in a month. I don't know why. Oh yes I do... Serenity. No not like that peace and calm feeling, I mean my daughter Serenity who is as I type banging on the toilet and ripping paper off the roller. The sound of music.

I really can't stay and chat, there is a storm coming and it is perfectly beautiful outside. I am grabbing my baby, my big dog and my husbands hand ohhhh and camera and we are going for a walk before the four older kids get home and we have to really start our day. Today will mark the first day back to scouts for the boys, well at least Mason. Not sure how I am going to swing school ending at four P.M. Then guitar at 4:45 and scouts at six. Big sigh. I was really hoping to at least get somewhat dressed so I don't make a horrible first impression but alas it won't be. We are part of a new pack this year since we moved so it will be a learning experience for us all. They will learn i am generally scattered and disorganized. Okay off to play in the much needed rain and teach our big dog not to eat live chickens. Day one of training.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


These are two of my daughters, they are about the same age and best friends.  I love this picture because it is very candid and I am surprised my oldest daughter got dressed up as she is quite the tom boy!!!
But her little sister talked her into it, they play for a long time as we shot "friendship"

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Anything but simple

Who said that the quest for raising your own food and living a more clean self sustaining life was going to be simple?? 

I lost it today.  Poor kids.  As if I ever had "it" I haven't.  If "it" means my "act together".

I NEED them to help me.  I have become this militant crazy mom lately and I don't like it.  No wander the pioneers never smiled in pictures.  They were freaking tired and didn't have time to smile.  I actually told my kids today that I would have time to listen and snuggle if I was going to be forced to do all the chores on this property.  I also told them they could sit in their rooms while I did everything and then I made a list of all I would have to do by myself.  I told them this was not just our dream but something we were doing for them.  I doubt they got it, because something I have learned about kids is they are in fact kids.  Mostly self centered and very distracted.  One minute Abby is pledging her allegiance to the farm and the chores in question and the next she has dissapeared, butterfly net in hand, hunting geckos.  I have to admit, I just now grabbed her butterfly net, now wrapped in duct tape due to its overuse, and went outside at 11 pm, I saw a few geckos on my chickenless porch and I thought I would help her out.  I swore she wouldn't get another animal due to her lack of responsibility with chores.  I need to remember she is only 7. 

I made Mason cry.  I sat them all down and reamed them.  I made Abby cry too.  I don't really feel that guilty either.  Like I said I have turned hard.  Where is Gary? one may ask.  Not here to enjoy the chaos, rather enjoying his view in Hawaii.  He may never really understand  what it is like to go alone with the kids and try to train them and guide them full time.  So life on the "farm" is proving not simple at all.  Truth be told we are just starting, we haven't even got the garden in or the livestock.  My face just fell.  Excuse me while I pick it up off the floor and try to paste on a smile.

Friday, July 22, 2011

no camera

Well Nettie successfully found my camera, under the couch cushion that one of my kids fell asleep on and peed, I couldn't be too mad, I did after all find my camera.  Well now it is broken.  I got in one last photo shoot with the girls when Mason stepped on it.  I don't even want to talk too much about it because I have missed a hundred photos in the last few days.

The chickens are off the porch and out of the garage!  This is a big deal considering the two seperate occasions in which the chickens decided to make themselves at home in my house and on my carpet.  Their coop isn't totally finished and I feel wierd with them being so far away but it had to be done.  You have no idea how much chickens poop, unreal.  really.  We got the babies out of the garage too, so my three surving bantams are now in a brooder in the big coop hanging with the big dog (chickens) until they are big enough to merge.  One of my roosters has already pecked my baby, I hope he doesn't turn out mean.

The fence is going up.  Soon very soon.  I think work will start on Monday.  That means that our two adopted big dogs will be coming home.  I am nervous about this.  Four dogs.  Two of them weighing over 100 pounds each.  Then with our renter moving in and bringing her dog we will have five dogs running the property.  Should be fun.

Got the above ground pool set up.  Five thousand gallons of water, right on my doorstep all  held back by three layers of vinyl.  Should be fun.

Insert some random history.  We have been calling the area (our walk out basement) with the above ground pool "the pool area" for 20 something years, yet there has never been a pool there.  Well tonight we made that a reality.  For the first time in over 20 years kids actually swam in what is called the pool area.

Five kids ready to swim their little hearts out on our chickenless porch.  Should be fun.

I know I am just so classy how can I even handle it?

Since I don't have a camera we can all pretend that is is my family.  They are just like us anyway... so happy  and calm, notice the water level is in tact and there is not giant slashing hahahah typo splashing~ going on!  Yes just like my kids.

Tonight while I was building the ladder for the pool, Abby and I hear a knock at the back door.  I dismissed it knowing it couldn't be anyone, but she opened the door and slammed it shut immediately screaming.  Well that did wanders for my adrenalin.  She told me in a breathless sort of way that the giant bug was back.  Feeling like I was in a 70's horror film I told her not to scare me like that!  The bug she was speaking of came with a friend and the night before they collectively assaulted our house from the front and the back.  We are talking at least 5 inches of pure beetle.  So tonight when I had to turn the hose off out back I walked with much caution.  Heeby Jeebys.    Apparently they are the Palo Verde beetle and can get up to six inches!  They make their presence known in July!  Well there ya have it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Where the Dickens is my camera!!!!

baboobug, I can't find it anywhere and we, meaning Suzanne did up Nettie's room!!!  So we will have to wait for her to post the pictures, although since then I have added a few things.


Quickly, my Nettie is a doll and tonight was her night!!!  It was her night to snuggle with me and we did so in her newly, thriftily decorated room.  Talk about making a little's girls dream come true.  All the night she kept telling me that she loved me and thank you and what a great job Suzanne did and how she was so happy that God gave her a mom, (she is adopted so there is much talk about missing family and such)

As we laid in her "heart, love" theme room (perfect fit for her) she said  "mom ya know what the favorite part of this room is to me?"  long pause,  "YOU!" and she leaned over and laid a big juicy kiss on my lips!  She was so grateful.  She said the room made her feel safe and she repeated that over and over.  For under 50 bucks we were able to create a masterpiece that means the world to this little girl.  Suzanne you rock and God has given you a gift go and spend it girl!!!

Not that girl.

Oh man why can't I just be that girl.  She is so inspired and poetic, I could have been her once upon a time ago when I had more than half a brain.  So recently a friend turned me onto this blog and I love it!  How can you not?  So for half a day with my less than half a brain I attempted to think and to "feel" poetic like I did before I had all these kids and this crazy life.  It didn't last long, by afternoon I was spent.  I did however post her manifesto of joy on my fridge and I am currently praying that osmosis will take over...I am not holding out too much hope,  it hasn't with my dusty elliptical sitting in the corner of my room cleverly disguised as a towel rack.  my butt is still big.  Darn it.

So here is my day on our much smaller farm, which actually isn't a farm at all yet because the only thing we have that is farmy is chickens and they have done nothing but poop on my carpet and die.

Here is my picture, and ya know what.... I am okay with that.

She stands outside in her pepto bismol cottom pink pajamas, evening is being called by night and begins her graceful decent behind the purple crest.... much like the 111 purple and pink mountains on her legs.  (Mosquito bites dotted with calamine lotion.)  She waves her hands in the air and shifts her weight from one leg to the other, growing impatient with the kids and the dog.  She only owns two pairs of shoes practical and impractical.  The practical ones carry her lifts that ease the tension in her aching not so joyful bones.  The impractical a thrift store find, black platform sandals that she manages to match with anything that is not a pair of cotton shorts.  But tonight as the golden sun kisses the moon, brushing her delicate cheek in passing she has no time to put on the impractical because the dog has run away so the black platform sandals, crusted in mud would suffice anyway pajamas don't really have a category.  down the road Mr Wiggles runs his little figure growing on her hip,  diaper on backwards, (bigger sister put in on, not a bad job for a seven year old)  there is not time to care.  Is there ever??  Kids come screaming and running, barefoot thorns attacking their feet while mosquitos dive bomb their panicked faces.  Pleading "please get Mr. Wiggles!"  She refuses and stomps back to the house, Mr. Wiggles can figure it out, coyotes are coming out.    Mr. Wiggles reluctantly follows after all.  Everyone is safe.  She is careful not to step on the pile of some vomit from something... As her daughter informed her could be the baby could be the dog.  Down Down Down (insert melodramatic voice) the stairs she goes.  Ah yes, she pauses at the hallway with heavy sigh she eyeballs her plans her stepping around little mounds of poo, chicken poo on her floor.  Round two of the poo.  This time she knows what to do. unfortunately.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Chicken Chronicles

If you have spoken with me in the last few months you may notice I talk alot about chickens.  I can't help it, I am fascinated by the broody bunch of cluckers.

This fascination turned to horror yesterday afternoon when I arrived home from a day full of errands.  It was life as usual, screaming kids and baby.  I was unloading groceries when Nettie informed me in a breathless shocked sort of way ...something about chickens, and poo and my room, I only half heard her but she did mention I would be very angry and that got me thinking I better see what the trouble was.

I went downstairs to our walk out basement area to find chicken @#%$ all over my game room and bedroom floor.  Mason had left the door open when he gave them water before we left.  The chickens decided that sitting on my porch (and I thought that was a generous offer) was not good enough and my biddy's let themselves in, all 16 of them and had the run of the house for several hours.  I am sure they pecked and scratched the carpet and rested and pooped until we got home.  I do recall seeing them running from that general direction out of the kitchen window and thought that was odd.

Needless to say I wasn't mad at the chickens, I was upset with Mason and Gary for not yet having a proper coop for them to hang out in because 16 chickens hanging out on your porch makes one feel slightly hill billy.  Never mind how one feels when the chickens take up residence in your bedroom! 

Thank God one of my friends owns a carpet cleaning business and he immediately directed me on how to handle the situation.  Let the chicken crap dry and scoop it up with a spoon.  So I slept in my room that night very aware of the drying poop surrounding me.  I became one with the hens.  At five o clock this morning I was on my hands and knees with a plastic spoon and a brown paper bag scooping mounds of chicken waste out of my carpet.  It came up fairly easy and I am so glad I took his advice.  Well all of it nearly came up, there was a hen with an apparent case of the runs and that poo wasn't going anywhere fast.  While on my hands and knees scraping doo I picked up feathers,  scooped a wayward beetle and killed a roach.  Nothing like chicken poo and roaches to make one feel at home in the country.  Actually I had never killed a roach before, in my previous life I had been too scared of them but there is something maddening about being up at five in the morning surrounded by chicken turd in your own bedroom that makes one snap and I pounded that stupid roach to death and I didn't even feel bad. 

But what was really great was when I went back to bed and Judah came running into my room to say good morning, I scream don't step on the chicken diarrhea and before I could stop him he is up on my bed jumping towards me... too late.

Never mind, some of these chickens will be salad someday anyway, I don't blame them maybe they were protesting.

Nevermind some

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pick Ax Point Of View

It started a few months ago.  Burn out.  Mommy  burn out.  I woke up just done.  Cooked.  Fried.  It was a glorious Saturday morning and the desire to sleep in was stronger than the black coffee I would need to wake up and get motivated.  I could here the sharp voices of my four older kids in the front room bickering and fighting.  The first words out of my mouth to my husband were....."Do you remember that show Dirty Jobs?  Well I would rather shovel pig poop on a rainy day than to make breakfast for that bunch."  Gary laughed.  But I wasn't joking.  Since then on those special kind of days I think to myself.... I would rather...... fill in the blank, clean rendered fat out of a grease trap... etc. 

Well I have hit that wall again.  Moving to the farm has been fun.  For Gary.  Me, well I am watching from the sidelines with a 20 something pounder on my hip pulling my hair and spraying me with various mashed maliable foods, breaking my back and sciatic nerve, fighting the running list in my head that gets bigger and four wild children who refuse to wear shoes and shirts. 

Today I got my chance after several meltdowns on my end that resulted in some yelling and dramatic driving and a few frustrated tears. 

Gary was busy with a pick ax and I was watching the sun go down with each ray that sunk behind the mountains dinner was growing into more of an idea than reality.  The chickens were pecking and being their usually entertaining selves.  I asked for help so I could just get dinner going.  (this baby is a full time job, she finds things only a microscope could find and then finds a way to choke on them, full eyes need to be on her at all times, and I don't trust the kids for this job when I am distracted.)  I got lost, watching the chickens peck around the grape vines things I couldn't see, hoping they were eating lots of bugs.  When Gary saw this he stopped swinging his pick ax and said in a sarcastic tone that was too much for me to handle... "hey you want a job? why don't you come over here and dig this trench!"  Well I didn't really feel like digging a trench but I didn't feel like contending with dinner sans baby on my hip either so I chose the trench.  Plus  I got enough of my mom's southern piss and vinegar to not let that one slide.  So I traded the 20 pound baby for a 5 pound pick ax... hello duh??  He thought I was joking.  I told him to get to it and the kids needed to be in bed early as they had acted up in school this morning.  Have fun.... toodle loo, get busy.  Well in a few minutes he came out laughing at me, bringing me a half a beer hoping to call it quits, on his end, made a joke that said he didn't have all night..... blah blah blah.  I took the beer and ignored him, sweat dripping from my brow, heart rate up... no wander he has lost 10 pounds.  I felt good to accomplish something, to be alone, to have a job where you could just not think of solutions to everyone's problems.   No tattling, no fighting and a beer... hello!  He came out again 10 minutes later with a sobbing baby her lips covered in white sugar and a pacifier that was obviously not working.  He said he got the point and making dinner was harder.  I made him say sorry took my angry baby and proceeded to make dinner one handed.  I managed to get melons cut, stew reheated, bread buttered salads chopped and baby food ground.  At dinner time Gary led the kids in a round of "For She's a Jolly Good Fellow!"  He told the kids they need to help me more and they all promised emphatically that they wouldn't leave their dishes at the table for me to clear.  Well it is 10 pm, dishes are piled and nobody cleared the table.  I am going to have a bowl of Apple Jacks and go to bed so that I can wake up at 4:30 with Mr. Sun and take care of the chickens and get the kitchen clean, spend time in prayer and if I am lucky make breakfast for me all before getting five kids fed and ready for summer school.  A pick ax is looking mighty fine right about now.   

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Well it's been a while, I must admit.  We moved finally but not 100 percent.  Gopher count is well over 30 now and Gary has earned somewhat a reputation in the hood and is now a hired hand, a gopher assassin of sorts with his sidekick, Mason.  He has done well earning 5 bucks a gopher, we are up to 20 bucks or so. 

We have 16 laying chickens, and 6 more on the way tomorrow.  At first  I didn't think this was a lot, but after tonight I beg to differ.

It was my job to round up the five week old chicks.  We let them free range in our sunken backyard in the daytime and then round them up in the evening.  This little game happens every night, and will continue until Gary gets the permenant coop built.  Hopefully on Tuesday, he better hurry because like I stated earlier, I have six little polish crested black and white bantans on the way.  Oh you know what I am talking, it is a straight run too.  hahahahha  I have learned the language of chicken lingo.  Basically I ordered some very cute, extra small black chickens with a poofy white top of feathers on their heads.  Very adorable.  These will be our fun chickens as we are still not yet sure of the fate of the others.  Lets just say I doubt the others will die of natural causes. 

We also have a four year old  tortoise on the way Monday!  Super excited about that and we added a corn snake to the mix tonight.  Possibly bunnies in the future and another dog? :)

Well back to the point.  Gary is gone and it was up to me to do the nightly chicken round up.  I tried herding them with a stick, calling, bribing nothing worked.  Pizza in the oven, rounding chickens couldn't take more than 15 minutes.... right??   WRONG.  Talk about a work out.  I got 8 in the little coop and couldn't manage the other 8.  I am running around with a stick the big dog is barking wildly and the chihuahua was trying to get my back but the chickens at just five weeks were as big as her.  The door to our house is left open and since they are running around our sunken backyard three or four got in the house, where upon a few kids start to scream, mainly Abby.  One rouge chicken runs into- and I mean literally slams into her closet door, which is a mirror.   This sends her into a fit of laughter and this wakes the baby.  Now I am sweating, running up and down the hill trying to catch chickens and shut the dog up who thinks this is all a game.  I am also covered in chicken germs so I dare not touch my daughter.  Mason is holding her bouncing her very hard up and down, screaming at me something is wrong with her.  Ya, she is tired and you all woke her up.  Anyway...I remember the pizza and become super frustrated.  I now stop what I am doing to take a moment to  yell at the kids for waking Serenity.  I have one chicken in my hands and start in on my lecture when suddenly another chicken flies up and lands on my shoulder, out of nowhere!!!  then craps all over my shirt just a few daring inches from my nose!  I stand shocked.  I didn't know they could fly and what would posses this crazy chick to land on me out of the blue.  The kids all start laughing and cover their mouths in disgust and the giant green chicken poo running down the front of my shirt.  Then suddenly another chicken flies up on me and then another takes the daring leap.  So I am standing there dumb founded to think that these chickens I had been chasing for 20 minutes would have flown up on me had I just stood still.   NOW the kids are rolling in hysterics and start chanting "Chicken lady"  I walk very slowly as not to disturb this symbiotic human/chicken elevator union.  Then two chickens start fighting and get stuck in my hair, I do believe one was on top of my head by the time it was all said and done!  It was all very strange.  Regardless I put them away, the pizza was burnt, we ate it anyway, and a few hours later the baby was back to sleep.  Rough night home on the range.

So in conclusion... 16 chickens are a lot of chickens.  I have an idea !  how bout we get 6 more!!  splendid~

I will have to blog about chicken ortho tomorrow.  We do have one down with a broken leg. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


They had been waiting outside my bedroom door for hours. 
Turn the lights down now.
Time to get out of the water.
One step, two steps, stop.
My abdomen squeezed any effort to walk like the wringing of a dish towel.  I could only breath as I dripped naked onto the carpet.
Pain was now my guide.  The midwives were simple voices blurred in the background like the candle's soft haze breaking the darkness of my room.
In this garden a little seed was planted and in this garden I would bare that fruit.  Sweat dripped down my forehead and I trembled as I inched towards the toilet.  I was alone.  Suddenly it ripped me apart.  The ability to focus was lost in a wave of complete agony.  I longed to scream or cry or throw up, but even my voice was gagged in the grip of this contraction it's teeth burrowing into the secret place I reserved my will and resolve to finish this.   I am in jeopardy of loosing it as I ball my fist up to punch a hole in the wall.  There is no spare energy for gluttonous so I close my eyes and try to regain my ground.  . 
My eyes find their way back to the front of my head.  It didn't get me.   I held the monster off one more time.  I move back to my room before the next wave overtakes my senses.  There my grandmother, mother and sisters wait for me.  I can see their dark shadows, outlines of the three generations  expecting a miracle.
I find my bed.  The voices say to push.  I doubt them but do as they say.
She is stuck.  The heartbeat is going down.  I just want her out.  I hear whispers and prayers.  The baby isn't coming out.  Clarity is immediately discovered in the anxious eyes of my midwife as she leans over me yelling directions.  I have to do this right now.  I bare down.  I push I groan and push and into the world a purple head appears.  Two more pushes and she is out...nine and half pounds.
Yes I did it!  She is placed in my waiting arms, cheers erupt from the dark outlines.  Now I can wrap up everything "they" said and throw it away with the bloody labor.  I did it and "they" and all "their" stories were wrong about me and about my choice to homebirth.  I finished alive with my baby completely unmedicated.  My body is stretched and deep inside I find  the woman I knew I was.  I did something amazing that a lot of women would never dare to do in our Western culture.  I won.  I am the epitome of woman holding my breastfeeding baby.  My son comes in to see his new sister, everyone leaves my husband and I to hold our growing family tight.  He is looking at me different, and I see the world differently too.  I can probably do anything if I could do that, I think to myself.  Pride, wells up in me, I don't try to tame it when my friends tell me I am the "wo man!"  I have to agree, I am the woman.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Update from a post written 2007 my new comments in red

Letting God

"Let God and Let God"  I wrote this years ago expressing intense feelings on waiting for our daughter to come home from Ethiopia.  We had already adopted a son several years prior.  Unbeknownst to us the coruption that was taking place in Ethiopa as adoption began to hit an all time high.  I feel somewhere we were caught up in that and my husband and I desperately are searching for the truth.

Nice expression but hard to do sometimes.  still very hard to do

I am having trouble letting go today. I fill my mind and hands with a thousand other things so that I am not even to able to hang on to the one who created me and can save me. Even if it is from myself.

List of things to let go:

The idea of having one more biological baby. I can't and I won't be able to. I have to let God.  Four years later, I am contending with a six month old biological child, currently screaming because I am blogging.  My life is topsy turvey with a new baby I never thought I would be blessed with.

The fact that I lost Judah's babyhood. He was abandoned and I will never have baby pictures or really know what happened to him. I have to let go.  I still don't know what happened to him, but just the other day we have decided to finally look.  We have a great investagator and we should have at least something in the near future.   We also have a friend that has traveld to his region in Ethiopia and she has pictures for us.  That is a blessing beyond words when you know nothing about your child.
Adoption is a miracle. It can leave you breathless with anticipation, jittery with excitement, but it can also leave you quesioning everything you know about yourself and your reality.  Still does as we have come to learn the not so honest practices our agency used to bring our daughter home.  I am questioning more than ever the ethics of adoption.  It can leave you helpless and sleepless wide eyed, coffee strung out jumping everytime the phone rings or you check your email. In the end it leads to a child, a beautiful child that has a chance to make an impact on this world because you had the chance to make an impact on them. Adoption takes an exsisting soul and places thier sensitive hearts in your hands. I have empty hands, my little girl I am waiting for has noone, why wouldn't God match us?  All these years later, I find out not only does she have a father but more family there than here.  It is so hard to know why and even if she was part of something more than ethical.  We knew she had a father but that was it.  I am longing to know him and ask him some questions.  I wander if he is desperately looking for her.  As her forever parents here in the USA we are just trying to make sense of it all.
Lord help me to let go and to let you will in my life freely today as I wait, and realize there are things in my life I am yet mourning. Be with me through this time of quesitons and supply me with wisdom and knowledge to not just get through, but to grow. Thank you God.
As we start this new journey into finding the truth, I still pray this prayer.  We need peace and wisdom as we seach for birth parents in Africa.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Honest Truth

Fell asleep big time last night.  This no carb diet is kicking my but, or maybe it is just life in between moves and five kids and two houses that need repair, with a husband half here and a baby that is over the top clingy.  I have lost all sense of humor and my funny bone is broken in need of repair.

 Dogs are puking.


Okay done complaining.

Out to the farm today to do some work and visit with my sister.  Gary filled in the giant caved in gopher hole as required per our loan.  We forgot to order irrigation.  Hand watering the plants is tedious.  I NEED to plan the garden.  I feel like we are buckling down for summer.  Here in the desert going outside between 8am 8 pm is not an option.  For now here is a some pictures of our last little visit to the house, the girls decided to have a tea party on the floor. 

It is nice with no TV there as the kids have to find things to do.  At this point they are complaining that going out there is boring.  I really hope to find a way to shift their attitudes before the big move in a month.  There is so much work to do they all need to help.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Big Feelings

Just a quick one of all the girls.

sorry a bit blurry, I got nervous about taking pictures with the professional photographer :)

Today is a day of big feelings.

We got ourselves ready for the photo shoot, Abby wandered how come she wasn't picked.  She asked if she were pretty enough and brave enough.  I felt so sad for her, yet so happy for Nettie. 

We arrived early and were treated as royalty by handsome and beautiful young aspiring executives and art directors and photographers.  Lunch was provide as well as many tempting desserts. (non of which I had as I am on a diet, actually made it past Tuesday, ya for me!)

Right away the other girls welcomed Nettie with questions, hugs and giggles.  Nettie was in her element and it didn't take long to make new best friends.  In no time she was off like a flash, getting her hair done (I did it, they just put a couple of bobby pins in it) and make up done.  It was actually scary to see her with make up on, she was so beautiful.  It was really just a little foundation and  chap stick, but she enjoyed it.

They gave her a new Disney brand dress and she was thrilled to pieces.  They didn't even bother to look at the clothes I had brought.  I guess they saw how I was dressed and didn't think it was necessary to bother as I am having a 10 year fashion slump.  Regardless she glowed.

I met the person head of this campaign and she loved Nettie's story.  The photographer went to work and took several head shot pictures.  That was it.  I will put them online as soon as I can.  For now I took a few shots while we were waiting.

The whole day I thought about her birth parents in Ethiopia and wandered what they would think to see her.  It was quite the distraction, a pleasant moment mixed with sorrow, like every big moment we have.  Birthdays, mothers day, Christmas, you name it, I wander about them.

Something I haven't shared on this blog is that we have been searching for her birth parents.  Tonight we got word of them.  I can't say too much now as it wouldn't be fair for everyone but Nettie to know.  In fact I am not telling her anything until I can sort it out in my brain.  So many big feelings.  I cried and held her tighter tonight.  In fact today was her day that I dedicated to pray for her and it was her day to stay up late and snuggle with us.  Fitting today would be the day we learned a little bit more about her.  You would be surprised at how the simple things, like a name or what language she spoke can make a difference.  I really can't go on because it is so much and I have developed a head ache.

I will say as I reappeared out of my room, the kids could all see I had been crying.  Judah reached up on his tippy toes and touched my face and prayed for my jaw. (TMJ) It was so sweet and tender.  Then Mason called me to his room and prayed for me as well.  He told God that I had a gift to make others happy and that I made him happy and that even if he was having a bad day when he saw me his heart felt good again.

I guess I don't realize most the time the power I have has a mother.  Tonight I was able to comfort all of my kids, from spiders, hurt feelings, and the type of grief I hope I never really understand.  A soft touch a kiss a gentle look.  Nettie snuggled in my arms and plopped her feet up on Dad, and told me she doesn't ever want to loose me. I asked her on the way home what was the favorite part of her day.  I thought she would say getting her pictures and make up done.  Instead she said .... "Spending it with you."
The dress she got.  Just waiting for photographer

Okay this smile may be a bit big, but she was so  happy!

Getting her make up on

Photo Shoot

I must deviate from doing a farmy post today as it is a special occasion.  Netsanet is doing her photo shoot with award winning photographer Blair Bunting.  We are just putting on the finishing touches to her wardrobe and hair.  Of course she will have a stylist there and hair and make up, just in case!  You know when you are 7 it is so important to have your own stylist.

This is really a once in a lifetime chance and what is so cool in a weird way is that I have nothing to do with her biologically!   Meaning I don't have to pretend to be modest about my beautiful daughter!  I can sit back with the rest of the world and enjoy her moment without reservation.

Wish her luck.  It is going to be a long day with a baby in tow, but I always swing it.  Go Nettie!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Skirt

I am trying out this new group called the Red Dress.  It is a creative writing group and each week you get a prompt.  This week is to describe a memory  of something ( a certain color, I can't say which one,)  without actually using the colors word.   See if you get it. :)

The blazing silk made it's way down my legs, it's fluid crimson trickling in the contrail of my gate.  The bias cut skirt dared to play a game of peek a boo with my black leather boots.  I picked up the pace, my parched skin longed for any shade to quench the toasted apples of my cheeks. Gravel crunched under the weight of my soul and shoe.  Beneath the tent ahead, loved ones convened, pointlessly fanning themselves as if to ward off the scorching afternoon sun.   I joined them and we stood as one being, fighting a loosing battle against the vampiric heat that drew the moisture from our skin before it ever had the chance to escape as droplets through our burning foreheads, necks and hairlines. 

Over a dozen long stem roses stood sublime and motionless in a vase adjacent to the shiny black casket.  The only movement was the intermittent breeze generated by the uncomfortable twisting and fanning of sweltering bodies gathered together to say good by.  I worried momentarily about the older folks coming to pay their last respects to my grandfather.  The sun was brutal, not affording us even one moment to grieve.  There was no grace given, not even the gossamer skin of the aged was spared.  Out of concern and respect I took my place standing off to the side of the tent to make way for the generation ahead of me.  Together we created a procession of time waiting for our turn,  younger, older, dead.  

There was no grass in this historic cemetery, and the trees were a native desert variety that offered little hope or comfort.  The pea gravel was bone colored and reflected itself in the sun, creating a glare that even the best RayBan's couldn't withstand.  Dusty hispanic relics embellished the mounds of their deceased residents.  Chihuahua statues, white crosses, the Virgin Mary and brightly colored silk flowers marked their lives in the festive Mexican tradition.  

In this cemetery each family was responsible for providing a memorial or head stone for their loved ones.  There were no rules, as evident to the eclectic tokens placed on top, next to and around the graves.  Our family had chosen a slab of veined, emerald marble that was once a mismeasured counter top for a hotel in Vegas.  It had been sitting in my garage for over ten  years, a yard sale find for 30 dollars.  I had hoped that one day it would be a coffee table in my living room, but in the end it was probably always meant to mark my grandfather's grave.  

Grandpa Jo was born in Mexico, his English was broken and covered in a thick, spicy, Hispanic glaze, even after years of living in Arizona.  He loved to eat cactus and dance the cumbia with pretty ladies.  He knew strange things like how to boil coyote bones to cure arthritis.  He ate and grew peppers and aloe plants and loved to garden.  He was daring and brash at times, especially if he had a few cervezas.  He would have loved my blood stained lipstick that screamed at my skirt's inappropriate, hue.  In life Grandpa didn't shy away from color or style.  I smiled to myself as I recalled the little dash of silky Tabasco he himself often sported, tucked in the front pocket of his suit jacket.  He would have thought I looked festive in such a deep, saucy, shade of amour and I can only imagine that he would have approved of my attire, proud that I stood out, a brazen statement against the stoic black suits and dresses. 

As the funeral began I was handed a rose, held at my side it's color fused with the soft, silk creases of my skirt.  I wanted to dance like we  used to when I was a child.  I wanted him to snatch the rose from my hand and clench it between his teeth like he did in life when he tried to be macho and daring in a humorous way.  If he could see me he would have laughed that crusty, barrel laugh beneath his gray handle bar mustache and called me mija!  We would have danced and my waiting, lifeless skirt would have caught fire, twirling with Grandpa Jo.

I realize after reading this, it is slightly flat and devoid of real emotion.  To be honest I think that is how I felt that day.  I wasn't as close to my grandfather as I wanted to be for different reasons.  I remember him fondly and I miss him, but there was a distance there.  I think I can see this in how I portrayed his funeral.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Monday tidbit- big muffins

Today a neighbor stopped by.  She doesn't have kids and is a self proclaimed "mother hen" type.  In her hands were 6 really big muffins!  What a treat.  I actually was craving a muffin.

I gobbled one down, because today is Saturday and I always start my diet on Monday, leaving  Tuesday through Sunday to gorge.  Which translates to, I really only diet on Monday.  (good intentions though, I may make it through Tuesday one day.) 

Anyway, there are seven in my family but considering Serenity doesn't eat muffins that leaves one for each of us.  Nettie was the first to ask for one.  They really were gigantic and my first inclination was to say no.  but then I felt God say, let them have it, all of it is free just like me. 

Here's the rest of it.

God has given Jesus as our free gift.  We don't have to be stingy about him, we don't have to worry if he is going to waste.  There is a huge portion for each one of us, more than we can use or have but that doesn't stop him from giving us exceedingly above and beyond, therefore we can give exceedingly above and beyond.    Take, Take and Take again He the son of God is a free gift.  Give, Give and Give again there is more than enough to go around.  He doesn't alot little tiny portions.  So sitting and watching Nettie with this great big muffin I didn't worry if she would waste it.  In fact she treasured it.   She nibbled as much as she could off the top and then carried it around trying to find someplace safe to keep it for later.  There is more than enough to go around.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

By Golly She Did IT!

Well my daughter Nettie was chosen out of over 1,000 girls to be featured in the Girl Scouts Advertising Campaign.  

Let me just quickly share something with you about the casting call day.

When we arrived at the add company I was immediately taken back by all the cute little girls running around in the open air court yard. 

Out going, laughing, ball bouncing, sweet girl scouts. 

You could feel the weight of stares coming from the other moms.  Sizing up my daughter, checking out the competition.  I could see that my sensitive Nettie felt that pressure and immediately became shy.  Unfortunately she started to gaze outward and began comparing what she was wearing to everyone else.  Her insecurity slipped like a bike chain out of gear.  It took me a while to get her back to the Nettie we know and love.  By the time her turn came up she was ready to go~

The creative arts team called her outside to interview her while I stood on the sideline waiting.  Picture this little four foot creature, bold and standing alone, going after what she wanted with everything in her reaching out to the panel of five adults.  (Who by the way fit that very posh ad agency look and stereo type) Personally I had butterfly's. 

They asked her what her favorite cookie was, and how old she was and what she wanted to do when she grew up.  She told them she wanted to be a model.  I laughed and rolled my eyes because last week she wanted to be a police officer and last month she wanted to be a princess.  They told her in return she wouldn't have any problem doing that.  Which I took as a good sign.

Now here's the kicker, get a tissue.

After the questions they told her to stand up in front of the photographer and hold her card with her name and number. 

I suddenly had to choke back tears as I had an instant flash back.  The last time she held a name card in front of her for a picture, she was an orphaned girl in Africa.  The first picture of her I ever saw was a little girl in borrowed rags, holding a board that had her name scratched on it to identify her among hundreds of other abandoned and orphaned kids hoping for a home, a mom a dad a family.  In these pictures she has just lost her family days prior.  The wound so new.
This was our first picture of our daughter, she was 4.5 years old.

Now, look at her.  Proud,  healthy, bold, pursuing her dreams, given a chance.  I wanted to tell the photographer how far she had come, how she deserved to have a shot at this and how beautiful and sweet and cute she was. (and)   I had to be silent and let her speak for herself.  That was so hard.  I had to trust they could see all of what I prayed for in a daughter.  A shiny , happy, light up the room kind of gal.  I prayed they would see Jesus in her.  They did.  And by golly she did it!!! 

Now she will be representing an organization we love and more importantly her country and girls like her.

this is the look book for the shoot, the picture before this she was holding a sign with her name.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thursday Farm Tid bit

I have a confession to make.  I have never grown anything worth eating.  Well once last summer we grew a strawberry.  Yes just one small strawberry and we split it between 6 excited people.  (it wasn't even good)  After that, well our garden died.  Yes we lost her even after hours of researching how to pollinate zucchinis and my husband q tipping the stamos of a male plant and adding it to a female, all while making bee noises. (which by the way I was mildly uncomfortable with, not the bee noises, the sexual nature of the pollination. blush)    A few years before that we spent a fair amount of money of tomato plants and peppers.  I let them die.  I don't think I was ready back then to care for the tomato plants.  I don't know,  it seemed at the time too much to handle.   (see this is the attitude that scares me about myself.) 

Anyway getting into this gardening thing is a bit more complicated than I thought.  For instance, after we planted our four grape vines we read that you should build a trellis  first.  ooops.  Then that led us to Youtube videos of pruning grapes and training them to go where you want.  Seriously??!, I can barely do that with my kids, now I have to train grape vines?  Ya right, the grape vines are probably going to talk back and be rebellious and leave toilet paper all over my bathroom floor. 

The whole thing left me scared and a bit insecure.  Not to mention, our fruit trees.  The bugs involved with eating certain leaves, making sure the graft doesn't take over, watering them, and making sure they are planted near the right trees that help with pollination.  I don't have a clue.  Notice how I added watering them as a complicated thing?  See that scares me.

So when approaching the planning of the garden I am a trembling mess.   There are rows going certain directions and spaced with very technical numbers, ( really just inches and such, but it seems so intimidating) and different seasons and the latest thing I just learned, companion planting.  That is when you plant complimentary plants next to each other to maximize soil and limit insects.  It is all very technical.  That ain't my thing jelly bean.  So here is something I found that helps.

Mother Earth News Garden Planner

The first 30 days are free so you can get on it and go crazy, then you have to pay.  But still I think it is worth it  as it is a no brainer really on how to get  your garden planned.  It even tells you the companion plants as you are clicking and dragging those adorable tomato icons.  It tells you the space you need, how big the rows are and how much you can plant.   It is like the garden training wheels. 

At least now I can mess up online rather than spending hundreds and getting it all wrong.  So far I am on my third online garden.  I am getting better as I go thanks to this garden planner and of course Mother Earth News.

Wednesday People Watcher

She was the kind of mom I think my daughter wish had adopted her.  I couldn't help but feel a slight pang in my side watching this reality pass before me in strappy, gliding, high heels.  This woman didn't walk, she moved effortlessly across the parking lot.   Me on the other hand,  I was lucky if I had a chance to put on socks each day to hide the fact that when I didn't my big toe poked out of the holes in my worn down, sensible tennis shoes.

She seemed light as a feather, although she wasn't necessarily thin,  rather she was  proportioned.  Over her shoulder was slung an over sized , yellowish-gold bag that matched the neutral hues of brown in her business pant suit.   Her dark bronze skin seemed as though it had soaked up the winter sun and locked it up causing her to glow from the inside out.  She wore her shiny, ebony hair straight and shoulder length, all together flawless.

A  ten year oldish boy lagged slightly behind her, concentrating more on his to go order and drink.   I imagined she had just gotten off work, probably some high power job, maybe in a law office.  Certainly she wasn't a social worker or some other kind of job that required a softer person.   She was sharp and focused, unmoved by the world around her, keys in hand she pushed the alarm off button to her car without even fumbling or looking down. 

I found myself instantly turning to my little brown daughter next to me in the passenger seat of our car.  Some very small insecure button had been pushed deep within me, catching a glimpse of this beautiful  African American women.  I knew that if  my daughter saw her she would stare, maybe even point, as she had been known to do when she saw another person her shade of mocha.  She would most likely make some comment like "Mom how come you don't dress like that?"  or "Look she is brown and her kid is brown too, I wish I had a brown mom".   I would smile and find the appropriate things to say in these moments, pulling the good ol' standbys out of my box of tricks.  Mostly I just told her that our family was special and that I was happy we didn't "look" like everyone else.   

I tried not to let these moments burrow into my soul, but they did.  I could never be "black" I would never need to dress so elegantly and I could never walk that way and accessorise myself to perfection like her.  I wouldn't even want to.  I have other things that are important to me like dreams of my farm and how to plant my garden.  As much as I tried to convince myself that it was okay that I had broken nails and holes in my shoes,  that I wasn't less of a person for not wearing make up to blend in my freckles,  I still felt a wash of sadness, in that I could never be that for my daughter.  As I glanced over to my 7 year old girl, hoping she hadn't seen this  particular mom pass in front of us, she would most likely would wish was me,  I realized she wasn't paying attention at all to the world around her.  She was too busy looking in the car visor mirror at herself, fluffing her hair and applying lip gloss, and watching herself make pretty faces back at her own reflection.  A quick rush of relief filled me and the world felt right again.  I was who I was and she is who she is.

 For now.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Monday Tid-bits- typos

Have you ever noticed that as you are typing (that is if you know how to type the formal or proper way)  Usually your two index fingers are placed on J and F and each finger is assigned several letters.  With much practice this becomes second nature.  But have you ever in your haste or confusion misplaced your fingers by just one letter?

So something like this.....

For God so loved the world that he gave his only son....

Would look like this

Gpt Hpf dp ;pbrf yjr ept;f yjsy jr hsbr jod pm;u dpm/  ////

It doesn't take much to get it all wrong, just one misplaced finger.  That is how it is in life.  Measuring ourselves, self correcting ourselves should be measured to the standard of the word where is solid truth.  It (whatever it may be) could feel right and even seem right, until you look down and realize you have been wrong all along.  Truth is not subject it is solid and real.

God is our spell checker and when we look down and see everything in read misspelled just left click Jesus and he will make it right with his word.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spider Chronicles

We were forced to clean the kids rooms as we found this in Abby's hair.

It is a cousin of the brown recluse, otherwise known as the Arizona Brown Spider.  It likes to hide in warm spots and soft covers and lives in undisturbed places, (ie the kids floors and closets, apparently Abby's  unkempt hair.)

The truth is she had a fever and bundled up in her very warm and soft blanket, where upon the spider, who hitched a ride in her blanket, went right to the warmest place it could find.  Her head.  So when I told her she had to take a tepid bath I found it crawling in her hair.  I quickly swiped it out, careful not to let her know, and killed it, and then identified it.  Much to my horror it was indeed the recluse.  Thankfully a non aggressive type.  It's bit doesn't hurt initially but is flesh eating just 6 hours later.  Nice. 

I am sure the thing didn't bite her, but it prompted us to tackle their disgusting rooms.  Then eat icecream.  Snickers, because I will start and blow my diet tomorrow, so I better have another.

Here are some facts on the bugger

Brown recluse spiders usually live in dense clusters. Usually where one is found, there will be more. (This does not set my mind at ease)

Like undisturbed places for their webs; hunt primarily at night and will take refuge in clothing and bedding; often found in unused closets and storerooms, behind furniture, and in baseboard cracks and crevices.

Definitely need more icecream. Did I mention it was Breyers Snickers?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Mason

Mason you are my oldest son and a treasured addition to our family. This time 9 years ago I wander what kind of mom I would be and what kind of kid you would be. Even bigger yet I wandered what the world would be like for you as you were the size of a pea when the terrorist changed the history and how we felt forever in the country on September 11. I rocked back and forth in my old wooden rocker, clutching my growing belly and prayed and hoped for you to be strong in hard times. Time has been good to us giving us these 9 years together to learn about each other. I have learned you are the kind of kid that makes me laugh.

You are zany and wonderful and moody all rolled into one very handsome boy body. You are sweet and sour all at once. You are more like me that I want to admit. You are poetic, artistic and sensitive. You want to kill gophers but can't handle the fact that people use chinchillas as fur. You are full of surprises and energy and that keeps me on my toes. When I imagined life with a son I had my own ideas about how you and I would be.

Now I realize, as you are my first child that you are who you are and I am me. Dad and I are always practicing on you and I apologize for that. I will always be a new parent to you as I grow. You have shaped me and have given me confidence and joy unimaginable. My life would be hues of black and white without you. For my ever loyal son, happy birthday!!! Many Many more I pray.



Friday, April 8, 2011


Serenity is doing her part to water the plants, save the earth conserve water, have a baby.

the wild alfalfa is too much temptation

When she is 1 year old I am going to retake this picture next to this tree, think it is apricot

Her little hands are into everything

So sweet, this little photo shot gave her a sunburn.  We were literally in the sun for 10 minutes!!!  arrhhh the desert.

Grandpa Jo's aloes.  After he died over a year ago I can finally give his precious aloes roots.  Interesting enough it is in the same place he lived.  The farm.

I don't know who the Drakes are and they got hitched over 3 weeks ago, but any sign that says wedding and yee haw in the same sentence is going to be a good time.  Wish I could have crashed that one.

Tis the season.

Pink eye, respiratory infection, strep, and stomach bug.  fa la la la la.  (who wants to come to my house for tea?? anyone?) mmm .

I was chatting with a good friend who has 8 kids and she wanted to let the world know why she took hand sanitation to a new level.  It is true, with many kids in the house a simple virus could last a whole season.  I am glad that this has happened in the course of the week but I can see if we keep passing stuff around how this could really drag out.  I don't think though in my history of motherdom, that I have had this many virus's simultaneously. 

I am just posting some pictures now because I don't have time or energy to do anything else.  Did I mention that me and Gary are both sick too?  It defies all the laws of momdom.  Well that is what I get for eating 4 cup cakes at one time and not taking my vitamins and staying up late reading blogs.

Arrugula!  I almost forgot to mention that Nettie was chosen out of 1,000 girls to meet with an award winning photographer to represent girls scouts in Arizona.  They only chose 30 girls and out of those 30 they will pick just 4!!  Here's to wishing her luck on that winning smile.  This would really mean alot to her as she is very aware of ethnicity in advertising.  Plus it gives me the confirmation I needed to continue on with signing her with an agent for child modeling.  Go Nettie!!  I can't help but wander what would her birth parents think?  Baby she has come a long way!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday Devotional. Trees.

Exodus 15:2
The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him.

This is the tree our pastor planted over 20 years ago in memory of my grandfather who also lived on this property.  I have watched it grow strong over the years and as a child could never imagine it would be so big.
Life Lesson from the garden.

Here in sunny AZ spring is somewhat a fading feeling or a veil that we look through and see summer, our most defining season. We never have weather that is too cold, the leaves do not change colors on most of our desert trees and then suddenly before you know it you find yourself baking in 102 degree temperatures, and that is just the beginning. (Which happened just the other day) Our signs of spring mostly include an increase number of baby birds and some cool breezes. Lately more defined as whipping wind. As the house is near the mountains it seems this wind is even more exaggerated on the "farm" as it swoops over desert ridges. (I will stop using quotes when the "farm" actually has some animals.) Since we are not fully moved in yet we visit regularly to take care of the fruit trees we planted and do needed repairs. I pray for each sapling and examine them carefully for new growth. I have noticed several of our apple trees look wilted and wind whipped. It is interesting to relate these little trees with the growth in our own lives, spiritually. In order to grow strong roots it is good for a tree to be planted in a place they will experience some "wind". Forest trees that are protected from the wind have weaker root systems.

Last night Nettie's birthday was less than ideal. Nothing worked out, she had a fever, Gary and I fought, the kids yelled. Thank God for my mommy who came to the rescue with an banana split party at her house. Even then Nettie couldn't eat it as she is sick (my guess, strep) I sat with her at bedtime and recalled the little saplings being pushed in the April wind and I told her Jesus could make her better but even if he didn't that he could make her stronger and help her through this.

It is hard when you adopt for the simple fact that nothing is simple. Birthdays are monumental and signal grief and loss. For me guilt. I can't fill the hole left in her from being abandoned. I didn't make her birthday the best ever. My prayer today is that in this wind, her and I dig down deep into the soil and find strength in the dirty part life so that we can reach up with limbs bearing much fruit to heaven.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Happy Birthday Nettie

Today is Netsanet's birthday.  We are getting ready to keep it simple this year.  With 5 kids we learned from a good friend who has 8 to alternate parties each year to save money so only 1 of my kids will have a party this year. 

She wants to go to breakfast, then movies and then my moms house for icecream.  We are going to bake a cake together and take pictures.  Yesterday at a yard sale I found a gymboree shirt that says birthday girl, with the purse and bows and icecream pants.  Perfect if you know my daughter who is all girl.  I also gave her a ton of Barbies and other clothes from the yard sale.  I try to go to garage sales when I can to shop for presents.  I see nothing wrong with that. 

About Nettie:
She is 7  years old today.  This will be her third birthday in the USA.  She was born in Ethiopia and became a part of our family two and half years ago.  What she wants??  A compact mirror so she can look at herself anytime.  When I gave her the bag of used Barbie clothes she found a little Barbie sized compact mirror and came running intto my room, breathless with excitment holding this tiny, plastic, gold treasure and told me "This is every girls dream!"  opening her hands to show the smaller than dime size mirror!!

She is love all bundled into curls and smiles.  We thank God for her daily!! 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Blasted Gophers

Warning if you are squeamish, mildly compassionate, under five or a vegan do not read this. The contents of this blog could possibly offend you. I even offend myself.

There is a happy ending though so please don't flame me and say how horrid I am.

Gophers. Pest. Varmints. Rodents. And.... mildly cute. Okay Okay, I think gophers are cute. I admit it. So it is with great disappointment in myself (a former devout animal activist and vegan ) that I turned my back on the hamster like creature, covered my daughters' eyes and let my husband whack one today as we walked the property (wearing my six month old in a Baby Bjorn and my two sons watching) Do you really want to know? Probably not..... With a shovel OKAY!!! (tears) a shovel for crying out loud!! I am ashamed. But if you must know the shame goes much deeper. I am actually secretly happy when he gets one. I have a sick tally running in my head. Gophers:9 thousand holes. Brains: 5 gophers. It is the real life version of Whack a Mole. Plus on the humorous side, when was the last time you saw a man wearing a baby in a Bjorn whacking gophers? Ummmmm funny. I don't care who you are.

This is the discovery of "said" "dead" gopher. Abby stepped in his hole and her foot sunk, the little bugger came out ready to take her down, when screams erupted from the peanut gallery Gary and I came to investigate. He (the gopher) went man to beast with my husband ( the G- Man) and tried to attack him. His squinty little eyes and yellow teeth bared flashing even the gopher was scared. hahahahah dadadumb.

Look what one gopher did to our house! Crimminey Justmas.

After irrigation, this is what one of those guys did. Really this is dangerous, if one of our kids crawled in this little cave it could collapse. Must I remind you of the Great Gopher Sink Hole of 1985, when dad slipped neck up in a gopher hole after irrigation? Or the Great Gopher Flood of 86" when a gopher flooded the basement of this same house? Something needs to be done.

Okay so I feel bad. I do. They are just trying to live ya know. So I made my husband swear we would do the catch and release next time. Which will require me to construct some king of gopher box and to use the shovel with more grace and gentleness and capture them somehow. Of course I will take pictures. (I used to capture wild birds for rescue, um how hard could this be after handling hawks and owls?) Please. I got this.

Here is another darling we found today living in the barn walls. I actually like snakes, especially this one because it eats gophers.

Abby and Mason handling the little gopher snake

Here are some more serene photos. Our little orchard is coming along nicely.

My grandpa Jo's favorite cart.  RIP

Not uncommon for a desert sunset