Sunday, June 28, 2009

Life on a farm

The family just got back from a week long visit to my hometown. I won't mention the name of the town, just know that we always include the number of dogs and cats when we state the population so as to make the town sound larger than it actually is.

Getting the boys out of their normal routines is a little rough, but for the most part, they were real troopers. Ajay will only spend the minimum time required inside, such as to eat (which he barely does), sleep, and watch a bit of Noggin. The kid has quite the tan (I don't think he's ever burned, but with Daddy being from India, I'm not all that surprised). My poor father, Papa, can usually be heard muttering "That kid will wear you out!" I think Alex (who has the "monkey see, monkey do" mentality) is hot on Ajay's footsteps. We hear his little "shoo? shoo??" asking for shoes (and signing for them, as well) and can't bear to tell him "no." Luckily, the mosquitoes aren't as rampant out on the farm as they are here in our backyard (chiggers did get us a few times, tho!).

First, Biju and I busied ourselves with some small tasks around the parents place. We pulled some weeds (didn't finish the job, tho, it was too danged hot last week!). While I was perched on the front steps de-grassing the front walk, I was greeted by Mr. Ringneck. I let go an expletive and jumped right up, glad that Ajay had walked down to see the horse just a few minutes earlier. (The photo of our friend is a little off, the glare from the sun on the camera made it hard to see) (For this, and all of the other photos, you can click on the image to see it larger. For those on dial up, however, I do not suggest this!)

Biju then got some entertainment using Pa's riding lawn mower!

While Biju was mowing, the boys and I headed down the road a piece to help my sister-in-law and her kiddos pick some mulberries. We wanted to get 3-4 cups worth so she could make jelly, but we didn't quite make our goal. We hit this tree, in their front yard, a tree at the back of the property, a few trees along their fence-line (I had to check for ticks, afterwards!), and a tree in my parents walnut grove. We think the birds beat us to the berries. The boys had to give the berries we did get a taste-test!

Here, the boys helped Aunt Brandi pluck the berries, then everyone gave the tree a good shake to help get the ripe ones down from the upper branches. Jenna helped shake, Brandon helped gather the berries from the sheet.

I've got Alex on one hip (21lbs) and Logan, 6.5 months younger, on my other hip (26lbs).

Another project while we were visiting, was to get a screen door put on. There is no deck, yet, so watch that first step, it's a doozy!!

If you keep up with our blog, you know we're trying our hand at gardening. Now, when I was a child, I'm sure my parents had me out helping in the garden. I even remember groaning when I had to go help pick green beans (I didn't want to eat them, why should I pick them??), but nothing from those days really stuck with me. Oh how I wish I had paid more attention to gardening back then so I wouldn't be so clueless now! Maybe Ajay will be able to hold on to a few good gardening tips?

Dad out with the hoe trying to take care of some of the pesky weeds, Alex playing in the driveway. Ajay standing next to the corn to get a good idea of how tall it is. 2 rows of corn planted at one time, then two more rows of corn planted a few weeks later (makes for better harvesting).

It's Ajay's turn to help harvest some green beans!!

Ajay really loved feeding Quin, the miniature horse. And there is Pip, the Corgi, not far behind.

While we were out in the garden, we kept seeing this Mockingbird. It was a treat listening to him sing to us. I also enjoyed watching him jump/fly straight up into the sky a few feet, then drop back down to his branch.

A couple of humminbirds taking advantage of the sugar-water put out for them:

Aww, Pasha wanted some luvin'! (This cat will grab your hand and demand you give her a rub!)

Time for a little break - and a little (not-quite-ripe) peach from the tree.
(I took a couple of pits from the cherry tree, I'm going to *try* to grow a cherry tree of our own! Papa sent home a few peaches, maybe I'll try to plant those pits, too?)

I thought about stealing these (about 1.5 months old) or a couple of the other chickens (3 months but full grown!). I sure would like to have my own supply of eggs!

This morning, before we left to eat at an Indian restaurant (then head home), Papa had to make a few rounds with the swather (so he can do up a couple bales of hay tomorrow). Of course Ajay HAD to go along, there was no question. He was only invited along for one round, tho, and after that he got the boot, which let my heart go back to a normal pace. Growing up, my siblings and I were always out on the tractor with Dad....I don't know how Mom did it!

While I was in the area I was able to meet up with my sophomore year roommates. Can you believe I didn't get a photo of the three of us?? I'm quite disappointed in myself. We had a nice visit. I was hoping to meet up with a friend from high school, too, but it just wasn't in the cards. Maybe next time, tho!

I want to say a BIG thank you to my parents and the rest of the family for helping to entertain our munchkins. They really do have a fantanstic time every time we visit. A double thank you for watching them overnight while Biju and I stole away to a casino/hotel for 24 hours. It was a great way to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. Also, a thank you to my sister and her family for helping to keep things alive back here at the house. You'll all be happy to know that Nemo is doing "swimmingly" (HA!) and, luckily, Shelly didn't have to go buy a Nemo 2! Gracie was fine, as usual, but our garden ...well, I'll try to write up a post about our garden tomorrow.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy for my boys!

Ajay got his letter yesterday saying he got into preschool. It didn't state why he got into the class, maybe because he refused to take the test, but I'm just happy he'll be able to go.
Alex has figured out how to jump. Both feet off the floor. Usually he lands on his diaper instead of his feet, but it's adorable to watch. He's quite proud of himself, too, as evident by the look on his face. (He's also figured out the word "no" - not so much of a happy moment for me!)
Biju has survived another round of layoffs. There will be more let go in August but I don't think they'll be coming from his department. There has been a shuffle in positions so he'll be learning a new task. He's finished 2 weeks of his furlough and has two more to go.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Plant surgery

We've had quite a bit of rain, lately. The other morning Biju pulled back our dining room curtains and said "whoa" - our corn stalks had been knocked down. How very disappointing! I wasn't going to let the weather win, tho! I went out while the ground was still mud, got our trusty trowel and gently set those babies back up! I crossed fingers we wouldn't have another rain or even a big wind come along until they'd had a chance to set their roots back into the soil. So far they're still standing so I'm holding out hope that we'll get a few ears later this summer.

Here is the garden a couple days before the big rains (with one of the tomato plants towering over Alex):

Here are the lil fellers knocked over:

Here they are after surgery:

And just for fun, a few other shots of our garden. The beans and squash have filled their little rectangle and you can't see any soil at first glance. This first shot you've already seen in a previous post.

This second shot was taken this evening, just 10 days later!!

Another view of the towering tomato plant:

Our peas surprised us! Despite having next to nothing on the stem, a couple plants have still managed to sprout a pod or two!

These are a couple of blossoms from our zucchini. If you look closely you can see a bug in there. I thought we had a few yellow ladybugs, but upon further research I think we have some Mexican Bean Beetles. I now need to find out how to get rid of them!! (Anyone have any suggestions??)

And while I'm here talking about plant surgery, I thought I'd show you my aloe vera plant. I started out with 3 starts last year but paid too much attention to them (aka: watered them once every 10 days, as told). I killed off two, but the third thrived once I started to neglect it. Water about once every 3 weeks or so. Juuust right! I figured it was lonely, tho, so took a few more starts from my moms plant. I gave them all a new home. So far so good. I haven't even watered them since moving them into the pot. They seem quite content. I was able to offer a bit to my niece, Paige, when she come over sporting a sunburn.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fun in the sun!

Our friends, "Aunt" Lisa and "Uncle" Russell (Wussell, as Ajay pronounces it) have moved to a new place. In their community there is a nice pool to use in addition to tennis courts, a volleyball net, and a park. Saturday we were invited to come for a visit, along with the Rouse family. The kids l.o.v.e.d it. It did take my boys awhile to warm up to being in the pool (it was Alex's first time, and although Ajay has had lessons at the Y, this was a bit different). After swimming, we enjoyed a tastey meal and headed back out to the park. The following pictures will tell more about our evening than my words would.

(Alex had to borrow a pair of shoes from Ellie. Despite a 6 month difference, they're about the same size.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Playing catch-up

This is my 3rd post for the day. Trying to get all caught up with everything, to keep you all current :) This post will have a few random things.
Some good friends of ours moved away about 2 years ago and we miss them very much! Luckily they still have strong ties to Kansas so they are up visiting right now. We missed seeing them in December because I had the flu then we flew to India. Again, I ended up with the flu during their time in KS, but since we weren't flying to another country we were able to postpone the visit until I was healthy again (and Biju, too, since we had the same thing). Tonya brought Helen (9 mo. older than Ajay), Henri (9 mo. younger than Ajay) and Heather (6 wks. younger than Alex) and we're hoping to meet up with Andrew in a couple weeks when he makes it to town. The little ones had a blast running around the backyard - Heather kept trying to drink the dirty wading-pool water while Alex kept trying to eat the dirt/mud from the yard. Helen, Henri and Ajay played Knights and Princesses, and in one of the pictures, you can see them sitting astride a dragon, I believe. I made up a popcorn snack (the "old fashioned" way - on the stove top!) that the kids really dug.... do you know how hard it is to get a decent picture of 5 children 4 years old and younger??

This next blurb is a little sad. I'm so sad that Ajay seems to have had a reaction to one of his booster shots. While we were driving to his well-check, the big guy kept telling us he didn't want any shots. I couldn't tell him he wouldn't get any, but I told him I didn't think he needed any. We just switched doctor offices and apparently the new place figured he was due for his boosters. We did the DTaP, Polio (combined shot) and a Hep A (since we do a lot of travelling). He'll need a 2nd Hep A in 6 months, if I remember correctly. He was brave but let out quite the yelp when the needles went in. I'm glad Biju was there to help keep him still for the second shot. It just broke my heart to see him crying like that. The next day (yesterday) his thigh was a bit swollen and tight and felt hot and Ajay kept itching. The nurse reassured me that unfortunately, sometimes these things happen and to ice it. I called later about the itching and she said to use hydrocortizone. Today the redness had spread, it's still a bit tight and warm, and he'll occassionally itch his leg. I will likely call the doctor's office again tomorrow morning unless, by some miracle, the rash has disappeared by the time he wakes up.
This next section consists of random pictures that I think my kids look especially cute in.
Alex climbed into the entertainment center:

An impassioned Ajay trying to keep Alex away from his food coloring and water experiment!

Bathtime silliness:
Ajay getting ready to smack the bubbles in his hand, Alex somehow knowing something big is about to happen:

Smack! Bubbles everywhere!

Aww! One of the rare moments both boys are playing side by side without hurting each other!

Petting Gracie:

Tonight, before stories and prayers:

My next goal? Get some of the videos of the boys on here :)