Crabbing Again!

A long overdue share of one of our crabbing trips this summer… some cute pictures of kids, and cool scenery!

Beautiful Puget Sound!  So calm that morning, hardly a breeze!
The babies taking their place in the boat.  One of their many places!
All geared up and ready to go!
Another one of their places!  🙂  Braden is all business… Shaleigh is all grumps!
We went over to explore a cool chunk of land off Whidbey Island while our crab pots soaked… we didn’t end up getting out of the boat but I’m so happy to know what’s over there now.  Seems like a fun place to hang out… if we’re allowed, which we could not determine.  Better safe than sorry!
Cool cave… I wonder what’s in there!!
Family shot!  And a smile from Shales!
Braden’s ready with the crabby measurer!
Beautiful Girl!
Braden’s kissy lips are just the right size! 🙂
Checking out the haul… not so good this time!  Shaleigh has to check for females – and always looks for the one she named “Barnacle” that we got the first crabbing trip – a female with barnacles on her back.  
And, you know.. fighter jets! 🙂



Playing in the leaves

Last week, the kids wanted to run around and jump in leaves…. OK, sounds good to me!  We don’t get a ton of leaves on the ground in the back yard – but the front yard is a perfect place to play in the leaves.  We have two huge trees with tons of leaves.  First we raked them into a pile… and it ended up being heart shaped! 🙂

I love when they do this!!  It only lasts a second before they start kicking and hitting each other again, but I will probably remember that they were like this a lot when I think of them when I’m old! 🙂
More hearts! 

Enjoying and preserving some of this summer’s bounty

I have been busy busy busy this summer trying to use as much of our fruits and vegetables.

We have lots of fruit trees on our homestead – apples, pears, plums, a couple of cherry trees, and more apples! 🙂  In our garden, we had zucchini, TONS of cucumbers, green beans, carrots, sugar snap peas, onions, lots of herbs, and tomatoes.  And we have blackberry bushes, too!


Apples, Apple Pie Jam (SOOOOOO GOOOOOOD!), cucumbers, zucchini, pears, plums and tomatoes!

I learned how to do some canning last year – I did pears in syrup, and apple pie filling, and some jam.  This year, I borrowed a dehydrator and have been dehydrating the heck out of things like plums and apples and pears, and I dried rosemary and oregano, too.

Plums in the dehydrator – I’ve done a lot of these!!!
I canned these pears in light syrup… can’t wait to eat them!!


Plums drying in the dehydrator, canned pears, and PICKLES!!!
I got this cool new apple corer, peeler and slicer… what a time saver!  And I made apple juice out of the cores and peels (or give them to the chickens!!).
Another day, another harvest – Pears, apples, tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans and zucchini…  I love summer!
Apple slices with a little cinnamon in the dehydrator – I think there were chunks of pears on the bottom. 
This is what my counter has looked like for much of the late summer!!!
We had some pickling juice left from one pickle batch and Carson thought we should try pickled eggs!  Sure, why not!  I’ve never seen them… Carson said that they’re on the counter in dive bars all over… hmm… I must be a good girl or something!  They sure are pretty!  Can’t wait to try them!
The start of Blackberry Strawberry Jam.  Yum!!!
Isn’t it pretty?!  Blackberry strawberry jam cooking!
Plums dehydrating… again! 🙂
Yet another harvest day!  I love all these colors!  Carrots, red onions, zucchini, cucumber, plums, and tomatoes. 

Every year, it’s my goal to use as much of the fruit and veggies as possible!  I get better every year!

On the right path…

It’s been a busy summer around here, full of learning and adjusting to lots of new things for me!  We planted a huge (for us) garden and have been trying to use all of the stuff, built a fence, got our alpacas and learned (still learning, actually) how to take care of them, got a spinning wheel and had my first lesson on that, taught myself on my drop spindle, learned to pressure can, and am still doing a ton of water bath canning and preparing soooooo many apples and pears for preservation.  Plus I’m homeschooling both kids now, and both kids are doing fall soccer, and I am taking care of my cousin’s beautiful daughters three full days a week and am trying to figure out how to balance all of that stuff.    My kids are also at difficult phases and they are fighting with me and each other a lot.  And is there ever enough sleep for moms?

In the past few days, I realized I’m hitting a wall… my brain is full and I am tired… bone-tired, mama tired, farmer tired.

I usually get a second wind after putting the kids to bed when I head out to do farm chores… I water the garden, take care of any food and water needs the chickens may have, and give the alpacas water and hay or grain and clean up their poop, and sometimes if they don’t need a lot of things, I just visit them.  A couple of nights ago I took my glass of wine with me to say hi.  I said to myself, “Beautiful night? Alpaca wine,” and then I laughed and laughed.




They left me hanging… but they were so cute doing it, I couldn’t help but smile.

Last night was the greatest recharge, though.  I’ve been feeling like I’m not doing enough to “train” the girls or get them ready for handling.  We haven’t even touched the halters that we got and it’s been almost two months.  I was feeling kind of down on myself about not doing it all… (no one can, I know, but I still think I should and I beat myself up about it).

So I head down to the alpacas and start to fill up one of their waters and they come running… look at their faces! 🙂

And look at this sunset over the garden.  Ahhhhhhhh… I took a deep breath.  It’s gonna be okay.

And then the hose was wound up in the shape of an upside down heart… or a pretzel, but heart is more encouraging!


Another great view!


So I went into the alpaca fence and decided to clean up poop… I had two loads done and while I was emptying the second one, apparently the girls thought they should fill it back up! 🙂  They crack me up!

But THEN, they came right up to me!  Like, so close… first Zoe, who has been trying to be the boss of the alpacas, but is aloof or skittish when we get close.  Last night, though, Zoe was right there next to me.

I was talking to them about halters and how if we can figure out the halter thing we can take walks… and about cleaning up their poop and about how glad I am that they’re here… and about how the grass is drying up but the rains will return and, until then, we have hay!

Seriously… look how close they got!!!!

Then, Midori, the other boss of the alpacas, stepped forward.  This was a little scarier because she is also known as “the spitter”.  She has “sneezed” on a few of us here, and I’ve gotten stuck in the cross fire when she was spitting on Zoe once.  It is not fun.  I was nervous but also honored that she wanted to be that close to me.  It was really special and sweet.

And then… she tapped me with her  nose.  There were hearts and flowers everywhere I looked… she looooooooves me!!!!  No spitting, no sneezing, no running… she tapped me.  And then Zoe came up behind me and tapped me, too!  It was the best farm chore evening ever!!!  

Look at her!!!

I really needed some reassurance about what I’ve taken on.  I needed to know that I was on the right path and that things will be okay.  I got it, and it was amazing!!!