Sunday, October 31, 2010


Pollyanna, by Eleanor Porter, is a great classic that my kids and I enjoyed listening to at Librivox during the summer.  I love Pollyanna's attitude about finding something to be glad about in everything, and how this endears her to everyone around her.

I read it when I was a kid, and remember being unimpressed, but my girls all loved it.  They like a lot of things that I like now, and didn't when I was young.  Not sure why exactly that would be ...  something to do with homeschooling, maybe?

Anyway, I highly recommend the book.  And Librivox, also.  Librivox is a site full of public domain books that have been recorded by volunteers.  It's all free, has tons of classics available to listen to, and some of the readers are very good.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

State Fair 2010 Part 4

Here's my last bit of miscellaneous photos from this year's fair.


Robin was taking one of the rabbits up to the judging table when she was snagged by a news crew ....

She's looking at me:  "What do I do?!!!"   I said:  "Just go"   --  so she left them with just the other kid to interview.  :)

Dave's talking to a "mountain man" here.  An interesting guy... selling handmade rope, rope making kits and books, maps, and other stuff.

And that's all.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

State Fair 2010 part 3


I think Robin did a really nice job with this crocheted doll.  And the judges thought so too!

This is a wire sculpture cat that Charissa made.  It's a cat hunting a mouse.  A lot of entries were displayed in glass cases, which made it difficult for me to get a good picture.  (The bright spot is just the reflection of the flash.)

This is a beaded skunk, by Robin.

Here's a pencil sketch of Dave, by Charissa.

And a watercolor of somewhere in the Southwestern US, also by Charissa.

A crocheted washcloth by Robin.

And a crocheted scarf, also by Robin.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

State Fair 2010 part 2


In showmanship, the kids are judged on how well they handle their rabbit (or other animal), their knowledge of the animal, and their own appearance and carriage.

Robin's in this group.  They've just come to the table, and are listening to the judge's instructions.  Many times showmanship is done individually, but this time they had the kids in groups.

Robin's checking teeth in this picture. They do a thorough exam of the animal, checking for health, abnormalities, sex, coat condition, straightness of limbs, etc.  The judge may ask them questions about their breed of rabbit to test their knowledge.

He's asking Robin some questions in this next shot.  She needs to work on not fiddling with her hands while she's talking.

Robin did well ... except she wore open-toed shoes, which is a no-no.

Next is Katie in action ...

And here she is all done, and waiting for the judge to finish talking to everyone.

The bunny's getting bored and asking Katie how long he's going to have to sit there.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Starving Poet

Robert Southey, the poet, comments on the rewards of an author: "It was well we should be contented with posthumous fame, but impossible to be so with posthumous bread and cheese."

My daughter, who wants to be a writer and artist, says, "I totally agree with him!"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

State Fair 2010 part 1

Quiz Bowl

This is a fun event where teams of 4 kids compete against each other answering agriculture related questions such as:  What is the body temperature of a chicken? ...  How long is the gestation of a rabbit? ....  How many teeth does a dog have?  ...  What is the name for the blood vessels that carry blood toward the heart?

Robin is on the team in the picture above.  Katie is in the next one.

Our 4H rabbit club provided most of the contestants for this competition -- three of the four teams -- and took First, Third, and Fourth place.

Here they all are, showing off their ribbons:

The funnest part (for me) is watching the kids hit their buzzer too soon, and then try to quess what the rest of the question was going to be.  They're pretty good at it too!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I brought in a little sunshine.

I decided to turn the llamas back into their paddock--which I planted this year with corn, squash, beans, and sunflowers. 

The first thing they did was eat the rest of the sunflowers.

Some stuff grew, but not as well as I'd hoped, and I didn't get anything edible.  In hindsight, it would have been better to plant it to alfalfa, which has the ability to break up the desert hardpan and improve the soil.

I think I'll do that next year.  Meanwhile the llamas are making short work of the half-dried-up 2 foot tall corn and the weeds.

p.s.  I know I promised State Fair pics--I'll get to that soon!  It takes me awhile to recover after the fair.

Friday, August 27, 2010

State Fair week is here

It's been especially busy this week because it's the week of the Nevada State Fair--now officially renamed the "Wild West Fair"--or something like that. They actually have a pretty good set of shows going. We watched part of the Pow-Wow (Native American dancing) and caught most of the main Wild West show. They have a "Spanish Dancing Horses" show--Andalusians probably--which I hope I can get to see tomorrow.

Josh has enjoyed watching the Wild West show, parts of horse shows, looking at all the pigs, and watching a dairy goat show. He "knows" about goats, since we have them, and speculated about how much milk the different goats had--based on udder size. He also found the different ear sizes and shapes interesting, since our goats are mini LaManchas with almost no ears.

The twins have prefered to spend most of their time in the rabbit and poultry area, collecting feathers, drawing pictures of birds, and climbing up and down the bleachers.

Katie and Robin have mostly been doing various rabbit showing events and helping man the club's booth.

The kids art projects have done well: Charissa has a Grand Champion ribbon on a wire sculpture she made, and Robin on a crocheted doll. I can't remember the details of the other projects--it's too late at night--but I'll update on that soon.

Hopefully I'll have some pictures and more details up by Sunday, but now I need to get to bed so I can get the kids back to the fair by 8:30 or so tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Job's Peak in the Morning

This is looking south from our property... Job's Peak at sunrise. Too bad I can't edit out the power lines!

Jobs Peak 2

I'm not sure if it shows in the picture, but there's still a bit of snow up there--in August!

Bunnies at 14 days

Baby bunnies really grow fast...




And the kids are enjoying them ...



Here's the mom:


Charissa is 15 years old!!!

Her birthday is on the 12th--I'm behind on posting, and I'm afraid I didn't get much in the way of pictures....


We went to Panda Express for her birthday dinner (her choice)--and I thought I had pics there, but they seem to have gone missing. Then went to Borders Books where our friends Tom and MaryKay play folk music once a month:


... and drank sodas ...


... and Patrick read us a poem in his lovely Irish accent--which I believe he wrote for Mother's Day last year ...


... then we came home for late night cupcakes and presents--but I didn't get any pics of the presents, just blowing candles--and yes, Robin is already nearly as tall as Charissa ...


And that was it.

Lookout Post

The haystack is a great place to watch for the arrival of friends....


Thursday, August 12, 2010

More Unexpected Babies

This time it's rabbits... about 10 days old in these shots, and just opening their eyes....



Friday, August 6, 2010

Boy Warrior

Josh has been big into sword play lately. Here he is with his sword and cardboard shield.


I took this shot as I was jumping backwards out of the way of this unexpected attack:


He's actually getting quite dangerous. He used to be happy just wacking swords, but now he's realized that the point is to hit the other person. This makes playing swords with him a lot more challenging and fun.

But I do need to teach him some chivalrous ideas--such as not stabbing people in the back without warning! LOL

The 'New' Toy

We bought a travel trailer last weekend!

Trailer side

It's an old 1971, and needs a little bit of work, but for $500 it was a good buy.


The girls have been hanging out in it, doing projects and puzzles and math worksheets...


And Charissa is begging to have it for her own 'house'. She's tired of sharing a room with a sister, LOL.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Morning Drive

Charissa and I took a nice morning drive to the lake on Monday morning. Lake Tahoe, that is--around here, that's usually what people mean when they say "The Lake." Of course there's lots of other lakes around, but, anyway...

Charissa was on her way to a 5 day backpacking camp, which was unfortunately cancelled at the last minute, but since I didn't bring my cell phone, we didn't know until we arrived at the meeting place.

It was a beautiful morning--the lake was gorgeous, as always, and I'm glad we were able to take the drive.

Here's a couple of lake pictures:



I drove past the best picture taking spots before I thought of stopping, but oh well!

Here's the disappointed backpacker:


That was supposed to be a shot of "Contemplative Charissa" but she saw me coming and it turned into "Charissa Trying Not to Smile."

And then she lost it altogether:


Isn't she a cutie!

This series was really messed up, with too much background light. But I played with the editing tools, and came up with this:





She wasn't too upset about missing her camp--she was thankful to be able to go home and go back to bed!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Chick Surprise

Well, I didn't expect to find this today!


The little black hen was getting so beat up by the others that I stuck her in a little 'safe house' to recover. She insists on laying her eggs in the far back corner--where they're nearly impossible to get out--so I haven't been collecting them.

And this morning there she was with her little brood:

Black Hen's chicks



Black Hen's Chicks

Black Hen's chicks