Tuesday, December 30, 2008

This was too fun to resist!

I've seen this on other peoples' blogs and can't help but think of smartaleck answers for them so you guys get the brunt of my sarcasm!

1. Started your own blog-obviously
2. Slept under the stars-lots and lots of times! There's nothing else to do during summer break in Montrose, Colorado
3. Played in a band-yeah, clarinet in school
4. Visited Hawaii-no, and don't really care to
5. Watched a meteor shower-yep, the result of living outside for three months a year
6. Given more than you can afford to charity-no
7. Been to Disneyland-yes but southern California is hotter than all get out in May so we only went one day
8. Climbed a mountain-how tall does it have to be to be considered a mountain?
9. Held a praying mantis-of course! I raised six of them from egg to adult.
10. Sang a solo-only in the shower!
11. Bungee jumped-no!!!!!!!
12. Visited Paris-no
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea - yes and it's not that exciting if your boat is tiny.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch-i have many hobbies that could be considered art that I had to teach myself
15. Adopted a child-no, but maybe someday
16. Had food poisoning-yes and I still can't even look at an eggroll
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty-no
18. Grown your own vegetables-that's what I was doing when I wasn't sleeping under the stars
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France-no
20. Slept on an overnight train-no, never been on any kind of train
21. Had a pillow fight-with 27 cousins you're bound to get into one kind of fight or another
22. Hitch hiked-yes
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill-never had a job where I would want to do this
24. Built a snow fort-no, Colorado didn't get much snow where I lived
25. Held a lamb-yep, bum lambs are the cutest!
26. Been to Royal Gorge-not so as I can remember
27. Run a Marathon-not on your life!
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice-no
29. Seen a total eclipse-yes
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset-who hasn't
31. Hit a home run-yeah, once or twice in P.E.
32.Been on a cruise-yes and worked one for a summer out of Juneau
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person-no
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors-Umm, that would take a lifetime!
35. Seen an Amish community-no
36. Taught yourself a new language-not yet, but I'm working on it
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied-yes, temporarily, for a few seconds at least
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person-why does this one specify 'in person'?
39. Gone rock climbing-do indoor rock walls count? I went rappelling in fifth grade.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David-no
41. Sung karaoke-no
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt-several times!
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant-no, but my mother did
44. Visited Africa-no
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight-yep, and it was FREEZING!!!
46. Been transported in an ambulance-no
47. Had your portrait painted-I believe so
48. Gone deep sea fishing-halibut?
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person-no
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris-no
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling-can't say as I have
52. Kissed in the rain-well, I kissed my behind good-bye when I got caught out in a lightning storm
53. Played in the mud-of course!
54. Gone to a drive-in theater- Indiana Jones, I'm not sure which one since it was forever and a day ago
55. Been in a movie-not that I know of
56. Visited the Great Wall of China-no
57. Started a business-yes but it was a scheme perpetrated on me by unscrupulous business people
58. Taken a martial arts class-once
59. Visited Russia-no, but I can see it from my house. (Just kidding!)
60. Served at a soup kitchen -Bean's Cafe in Anchorage on my senior trip
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies-no but I've eaten them
62. Gone whale watching-yes, on several of the cruises
63. Got flowers for no reason- from little kids
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma-no
65. Gone sky diving-no! Why jump from a perfectly good airplane?
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp-no
67. Bounced a check-no
68. Flown in a helicopter-no
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy-many, many, many
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial-no
71. Eaten Caviar-no and I can't say that I want to
72. Pieced a quilt-some of one, helping my mom
73. Stood in Times Square-no
74. Toured the Everglades-no
75. Been fired from a job-I was temporarily laid-off... nine years ago. Does that count?
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London-no
77. Broken a bone-not that I haven't done my best but no
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle-no, they scare me
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person-yep and I even remember the wrinkled Navajo weaver who sits outside the visitor's center
80. Published a book-no, but soon
81. Visited the Vatican-no
82. Bought a brand new car-Matchbox?
83. Walked in Jerusalem-no, maybe someday
84. Had your picture in the newspaper-yes
85. Read the entire Bible-probably
86. Visited the White House-no
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating-refer to earlier posts
88. Had chickenpox-yes, still have scars
89. Saved someone’s life-not that I'm aware of
90. Sat on a jury-yes, and it was fascinating and so satisfying
91. Met someone famous - Dennis Weaver in City Market in Montrose, Colorado. I even got his autograph. Jeff King, Jon Little, Paul Gebhardt, Deedee Jonrowe, Doug Swingley, Mitch Seavey, and Lance Mackey used to be my neighbor. I know that they are mostly famous up here but this does not specify!
92. Joined a book club-yes
93. Lost a loved one-yes, I lost Charlie in the store once.
94. Had a baby-sure, baby chickens, baby cats, baby dogs... Not the right kind of baby? Then no.
95. Seen the Alamo in person-no
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake-no
97. Been involved in a law suit-no
98. Owned a cell phone-no
99. Been stung by a bee-yes, too many times to count
100. Been to a birthday party where they put something on your eyes and have you feel through a bowl of rice for different objects-umm, no and have never even heard of this. Sounds creepy

Friday, December 19, 2008

Okay, friends and "family"

This is our new cat... Fred. He's an intact, male, tabby who's also maybe a calico. If he is a calico then he is worth a lot of money. He showed up when I was housesitting and Mom finally coaxed him out from under the house a week later. We fed him for a month before he would come in the house. Since he can come and go as he pleases he is a great cat. He's bigger than Midnight and Ashley but Baby (haha) is still the heavyweight in this house. We advertised but nobody has claimed him so he belongs to us now.
This is my pastor, Ron Lambert, and his wife Anita. He is a wonderful pastor and he is so funny. He has a million stories and can make any situation seem hilarious.
See? He's a camera ham too.
This is Jaime, a friend and fellow member of the church. She's one of the guitarists, along with Pastor and she's really good.
This is Ariana, a friend who comes with Jaime. In case you can't tell, she's an albino which she thinks is a really funny joke. She's very up front about it and has no problem making jokes at her own expense. I really like her and it's my sincerest desire that she would be saved. She has been through a bible-study and acknowledged her lost condition but the repentance and specifically, faith in Christ is missing. Please pray for her.
My Phaedra Thyme. Ain't she so cute? It took a dozen shots before she would pose without her face-wide, all-teeth, camera grin.
Raisa Rea! I think the flash was confusing her.
There's the grin! And Raisa was bound and determined to get ahold of that tree. I'm not sure I got a full face shot after she realized that it was there. India was slouching in this picture and she had ahold of Raisa's hand so she didn't pull the tree into them again.
I felt so bad for India since she is so much taller than Phaedra and had to scrunch to get in the same frame. She loves to get her picture taken. I tell her not to be a ham but she just can't help herself.
I don't know how I got this shot but I love it. I think she was laughing at my Mom and this was the beginning of a smile. She's so sweet, the best baby ever and I'm not even Mommy-bragging. (Since I'm not their Mom).

At last, Thanksgiving! And Raisa

Lemon Meringue Pie from Nourishing Traditions

Okay, I finally sat down to figure out how to get my pictures onto the computer, not that it was too hard I just had not taken the time to do it. Enjoy.

The tom in the middle, strutting, is the tom we ate for Thanksgiving.

I know he looks a little ragged but it was cold in the garage and we were in a hurry to get him plucked. If you look closely you can see the fat pads on his breast and the legs. That is a result of the detox diet they've been on. I really like it!

He weighed between 15 and 20 pounds dressed and we had to lay him on his side to finish him in the roaster. I cut the wings off so I could get the flight feathers before he was scalded. I have plans for them.
Christmas dinner will be nearly identical to Thanksgiving, just a different turkey. This time it'll be the smaller tom that got hurt in the power struggle after this guy was removed.

I got Christmas dresses for the girls when we went to Anchorage to pick up Kathy. I'm going to frame a nice picture of the three of them and give them to Tony and Kiki for Christmas. India is getting much better at keeping secrets so she knows what we are doing this for but I just told Phaedra that it was a surprise for her Mommy and Daddy so don't say anything. She's a pretty good secret-keeper too I guess.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Next rant

Just remember, I get boring because I care.

Artificial and refined sweeteners are on the chopping block this time. First to the guillotine is HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup). I'm sure you've all seen the nifty new commercials by the corn refiners talking about how HFCS is just fine and you should include it in your healthy diet. I have to call baloney on that one.
HFCS is a highly refined, highly processed pseudo-food that does indeed come from corn (hence the CORN syrup). However, that's where the similarities end.
Chi-Tang Ho found that soft drinks sweetened with HFCS are up to 10 times richer in harmful carbonyl compounds, such as methylglyoxal, than a diet soft drink control. Carbonyl compounds contribute to diabetes and diabetic complications. Also, the fructose elevates triglyceride levels, increases insulin resistance leading to diabetes once again.
By the time HFCS enters our bodies it has been genetically and chemically altered so much that our bodies get confused by it. It affects the satiation response, making our bodies think we are still hungry, leading to obesity and, again, diabetes. Lastly, the admonition to eat it in moderation is ridiculous. This particular franken-food is in EVERYTHING. Just pick an aisle, any aisle and I guarantee you'll find it in the majority of foods. Not every country though, mostly the US, due to sugar tariffs and corn subsidies in this country.

Splenda(sucrolose) has been touted as a suger-lover's friend, in the US and Canada, but is it really? Splenda has no nutritive properties whatsoever for the simple reason that, if it was utilized by the body it would poison us. Splenda is nothing more than chlorinated sucrose.
"Basically, the chemists force chlorine into an unnatural chemical bond with a sugar molecule, resulting in a sweeter product, but at a price: a huge amount of artificial chemicals must be added to keep sucralose from digesting in our bodies"
There is no small amount of research that says a small amount of sucrolose is released into the body, poisoning as it goes. The process of making splenda is a five step process that is very technical and very alarming. You can discover it for yourself if you want to know the particulars. Needless to say, sucrolose has no place in my house.

Aspartame has a long history of government cover-up and shady research. Ultimately, it is a chemical sweetener that is very unstable at high temperatures. It has no calories so in our, "calories are evil" society, it is guzzled by the gallon. When it does degrade it releases methanol, formaldehyde and diketopiperazine among others. Since you don't know if your particular packet is degraded or not you never know when you might be ingesting these toxins. I choose "NO".

Acesulfame, saccharin... They are all the same thing, artificial sweeteners designed to get you hooked on a product so they get more money. If it makes you sick, so much the better since the pharmaceutical industry is helping to fund the majority of the research.

Instead of this poison I have managed to whittle down our sweeteners to just a few, natural ones. Honey is the big one. Most of our stuff is sweetened with raw honey that I buy from Save-U-More. Raw honey, while containing many enzymes that aid in digestion also comes with it's sugar molecules already divided into glucose and fructose. Table sugar's molecules are bound together forming sucrose. It is easier on you body to utilize honey since the simple sugars are ready to be used.

Maple and birch syrup are only heated to boil the water away... You guys know how maple syrup is made don't you? A very natural product unless the syrup producers use formaldahyde pellets to keep the sap holes open longer. I didn't know about that but organic producers don't use them so if you are like me and don't happen to know anyone who makes syrup I suggest you use organic and no Mrs. Butterworth for above reasons!

Palm, date and other fruit sugars are okay in moderation. They are processed to some extent but again, are not manufactured in laboratories. We go for organic there as well to eliminate the pesticide residue and genetically modified franken-food.

Lastly, we use succanat as our sugar substitute. It is simply dehydrated cane juice. Another option is rapadura, made by the Rapunzel company. Rapadura is crystalline and succanat is granular but other than that, they are the same thing. It tastes a lot like brown sugar but I love that taste so I don't complain.

Perhaps some are wondering about molasses. We have some and I love the taste but it is made in the sugar refining process. It is the vitamins, minerals and enzymes that are removed from the sugar. Since I'm trying to move my family from that end of the food supply I will not be buying it again. If we continue to demand these products then the producers will continue to supply them.

I've read and talked to many people that are very adamant that we need new legislation to get this stuff out of our food supply. I disagree! There are already laws preventing poisonous substances from entering your local store but somehow they've ended up there anyway. Corruption and greed can find a way around any law. Instead, we need to be educated and spread the word. Those commercials about the corn syrup are illustrating a very valid point. Most people, while knowing that HFCS is bad for you, don't have the foggiest idea why it is. I know that I bore my friends when I read their ingredient labels to them, pointing out the garbage but I do it because I care about their health. I guess it's like spreading the Gospel. You can tell them a million times but until they are ready to listen it just makes them mad. Oh well, just try and shut me up, I dare you!
I guess my rant has petered out tonight. When I get another head of steam I'll post on my personal "favorite", soy.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all have a good time pigging out and seeing family that you haven't seen in awhile. This is just a quick update. I know that most of you probably don't care but it's important to me! Raisa cut her first two teeth on Sunday. The front ones on the bottom. I'll get a picture of them cause I love it so much. She is growing up so fast and since I see them so much it's almost like I'm a favorite auntie. Well, as India keeps telling me, "the bestest babysitter in the WHOLE world!"

Our Thanksgiving turkey met his end on Tuesday. I took a series of pictures for you all though I must warn you ahead of time, they contain graphic scenes of violence and full turkey nudity. I'll take some pictures of him cooked so I can complete the series... As complete as I'm willing to take pictures of anyway. We aren't having a big spread since it's just the three of us this year. Charlie isn't coming home again since he gets paid extra to work on holidays, Kiki's having dinner at her house with the girls, some friends and her new boyfriend. Tony is working and Jason went to North Pole to have Thanksgiving with his fiance and her family. I guess we kind of scattered this year. That's okay though, I bought "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader" to play tomorrow night. We all love trivia games so it ought to be fun and the girls are coming later that night and India likes the game. I'll let you know how it pans out.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Okay, it's time for a rant

Well, we all know that the holidays are right around the corner and now is the time to start stocking up on ingredients for big dinners, yummy desserts and sweet snacks. I walk through Fred Meyer every week and see stacks and piles of chemical-laden, super-sweetened frankenfood on sale for rock bottom prices. It sickens me to be honest. How many people look at the labels of this trash?
I know that a lot of the people in my life here think I've become a wack-job and a weirdo since I've started cutting these things from my diet but I don't care! The chemical additives in our food supply is making us so sick and we continue to stuff our faces and turn a blind eye. I used to think it was funny that some people don't eat things that they can't pronounce. It sounded like a great idea, but just about impossible to pull off in a tiny town in Alaska. Don't they realize that everything we have here has to be preserved some way? It became something that left-wing kooks and tree-huggers did to try and save this planet. (That's another rant that we'll not be going into right now) I have since come to the realization that, aside from responsible stewardship of our resources, eating healthy was one of the best ways of caring for our bodies. We are made in the image of God! It's horrifying to think of the garbage I've chucked into this temple because it was easier than having to prepare a real meal and I didn't want to be bothered with having to read ingredients. It's been a slow process of realizations but I'm almost to the point of chemical freedom. It all started with shampoo...

I used to use Dove shampoo and conditioner. I absolutely loved it and it loved me. My hair was soft and shiny and silky and was on it's way to achieving major length. I knew about product buildup and took steps to insure it didn't happen. I don't use any product on my hair except those two so buildup needed to be removed every couple of months. In January 2007 I developed a greasy patch of hair right in the back. No matter how I washed or rinsed I couldn't get rid of it! I tried different conditioners, different shampoos, nothing worked. I began searching for natural shampoos and conditioners thinking maybe my hair needed a break, not intending for this to be a lasting thing. What I discovered was an entire online community dedicated to 'no poo'. If anyone's read the first few posts of this blog they'll know about that. I decided to give it a try and see what happened, still skeptical but needing to do something different. I also began looking for something in the shampoo and conditioner that could have caused my grease patch. What I found was nasty. The products that I loved, that smelled so wonderful and gave me back my hair were nothing but a chemical concoction, designed to strip my hair of it's natural, moisturizing and protecting oils and then lay on thick layers of silicone to disguise what had been done. As sad as I was, I threw away my beloved products. It's been almost a year since then and I've settled on organic shampoo and conditioner. A disasterous encounter with a clay-based, organic shampoo caused my hair to dry up and I needed to use shampoo to get all of the residue out. I chose an organic shampoo, though not one I would use on a continual basis as it contains mild detergents and non-silicone coating products. Which, if they didn't use the first one, the second would not be necessary. Anyhoo, I've settled on a different line of organic products and am quite happy with them. My hair is not stripped nor coated with yuck and the basis of both items is infusions of flowers and herbs.
While searching the internet for hints, tips and tricks for going without shampoo I stumbled onto another blogger in California who has been 'no pooing' for a couple years and had a couple of posts about it. She also turned me to the Weston A. Price Foundation. Needless to say it was an eye opener. Dr. Price was a dentist who spent years searching the globe for the healthiest diet and the best way to prevent cavities. He discovered that the healthy, indigenous populations he studied had similarities in the way they prepared and ate their food. The foods were different, but the preparation methods didn't vary that much. He also studied the diets of unhealthy peoples, indigenous and not and discovered many unhealthy similarities in the way they prepared and ate their food as well. The SAD (standard american diet) was one of the unhealthy ones, not the worst but certainly not the best. A lot of fad diets really freak me out and I was really skeptical of this too but after reading extensively from the site and buying a cookbook that corresponds to this diet, I am a true believer. The site debunks the myths of the lipid hypothesis and the dangerous lie that unsaturated fat is healthy for you. Good quality, saturated fat is what our bodies need and crave to be healthy and not all saturated fat comes from animal products. Coconut oil is 90% saturated fat and is the main fat source for many tropical people.
Western medicine tells us to avoid saturated fat since it is the main cause of heart attacks and strokes when in fact arterial plaque is 74% unsaturated fat with only 26% saturated. 41% of those unsaturated fats are polyunsaturated, which is the fat that the AHA recommends to combat heart disease. The cholesterol found in arterial plaque is oxidized from being attacked by oxidized polyunsaturated fats. Oxidized cholesterol is the only cholesterol that is dangerous and it is caused by oxidized fats. Saturated fats don't oxidize but the very process that makes polyunsaturates "fit for human consumption" cause them to oxidize. I have banished all polyunsaturated vegetable oil from my family's diet. We eat small quantities of olive oil, which is a monounsaturated oil that does not come from a seed, (more on seeds later) but mostly we eat butter, duck fat, coconut and palm oil.
Studies indicate that consuming saturated fats only raises HDL cholesterol levels, not LDL levels. Much evidence shows that cholesterol is an antioxident, a protector of the body. It stands to reason that, as we age our cholesterol levels rise to protect us from the damage of prescription drugs and a lifetime of free radical damage.
The body uses saturated fat to strengthen cell walls and when there is no saturated fat being consumed the body is forced to use unsaturated fats which make cell walls weak. To combat this effect, the body uses it's stores of cholesterol to shore them up, thus lowering it's levels in the blood. Cholesterol is also used by the body as a bacterial toxin sponge.

Having done a little bit of research I realized that I needed to radically change the way my family eats. Mom and I have been sticking with it very well but Dad is having issues giving some things up. Baby steps I guess. I've discovered that I don't really miss my junk food since I know what goes into it now. It sickens me to read the ingredients of something we ate all the time only to realize it has nothing in it nutrition wise. I feel better, I'm losing weight and I feel better knowing that I am working to make my body the healthiest that I can. To be honest, I haven't cut out all the chemicals. I am still searching for replacements for some things we eat all the time and it is slow going since my choices are limited here. I have a $500 dollar a month grocery budget to work with and it's hard to know when I can buy the best and when I have to make do but it's not that bad. I'm learning how to make a lot of my own food and it really does taste better when you know exactly how it got made and got dirty making it. I'll post later on the dangers of many modern sweeteners, soy, dairy and eating seeds without preparing them properly, which is a major contributing factor to IBS, Crohn's disease and gluten allergies.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

So, anyone know the best way to shave a cat? A large, angry manx that spent her summer outside and got too matted to be groomed?
On to new business I guess. The house-sitting is going really well. I really like being able to watch what I want and be able to clean without someone running the tv volume all the way up to drown me out. Hopefully I can get my hands on a Rainbow vacuum and really get things done.
We have snow that stuck. I don't know that it'll continue to stick but for the moment it's here. It makes walking around the place a tad treacherous because of the mud underneath the snow but I haven't fallen down yet. Don't worry folks, it'll happen.
Bonnie is doing great. She is a year old and really short. I was a little worried that the Shorthorn blood would maker her taller than the average Highland but I guess there's not enough of it to make a difference. She's about three inches taller than when I got her and about a hundred pounds heavier. Very beautiful still. Her horns are starting to curve down though. I'm not sure what can be done about that cause the only things they would be good for that way is scratching her cheeks with. I'll have to do a little research. I know they can be made to change direction but I'm not sure if they can get them up rather that pulling them down and out. We'll see.
Dad had a sleep study done on the 7th and he does indeed have rather severe sleep apnea. Pastor Ron kept telling him but he didn't want to believe it. They shared a hotel room in Anchorage a few months ago and Pastor was freaked out when Dad quit breathing a few times. According to the specialist, he quit breathing 76 or 79 times an hour. It's not the most she'd ever seen but 50 times an hour is considered high. He slept with the CPAP for the first time last night and he got almost a full night's sleep. His shoulders still hurt and that disturbs his rest but nothing else happens anymore. He said it was great. Hopefully his blood pressure will come down and the anxiety will ease up and he can ditch the medications.
Charlie is coming to help us tear down a building and put up the barn next week. Yay!!!!!!
The turkeys are on their cleansing diet now. The grower is really high in soy so they are on corn and wheat now until slaughter time to rid their body's of that horrifying travesty of a pseudo-food. I don't understand the reasoning behind making people eat soy, other than the health problems that it's causing makes money for the pharmaceutical industry. The dollar is the god of the twenty and twenty-first century. Oh who am I kidding, greed has run the world from the beginning.
Okay, a friend of mine has tagged me and for some odd reason, thinks she wants to know more about me. So, here are six random things about me.

1: Link to the person who tagged you.

2: Post the rules on your blog.

3: Write six random things about yourself.

4: Tag six people at the end of your post.

5: Let each person know he or she has been tagged.

6: Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

1. I am addicted to t.v.-on-dvd. I can't get over how I can watch all of my favorite shows over and over and over and over and ... you get the picture. It drives my dad nuts but I love it!

2. Along those same lines, my favorite show is M*A*S*H. I have all eleven seasons and can tell you what all the episodes are called, what season it's from, what it's about and meaningless bits of trivia about it too.

3. I like washing dishes but hate washing silverware. I don't know why cause it goes the fastest but I absolutely hate it. I do them first just to get them done and out of the way.

4.My favorite sport is mixed martial arts. Specifically UFC. I don't especially care to watch team sports and golf is boring. The sheer determination and guts that those men have is amazing. And thankfully, most of them watch their mouths on television.

5. I can't seem to stop collecting animals. I know that most of my family will realize that this is not random but was inevitable. Granted, I do a lot of research and get an animal only after I have reviewed time constraints, money required, work involved and current situation. I fully realize what I am getting myself into when the critter comes home and there are some that I would love to have but can't. A uromastyx for example. A heat loving lizard that comes from the Middle East and Africa. These guys need a basking spot well over a hundred degrees and since the electricity goes out here quite often I think the only sane thing to do is not get one. But oh how I yearn for one.

6.I'm learning Arabic. I'm not learning it that fast, or that well for that matter, but in my own defense I'm separated from my computer most of the time. I've wanted to learn another language for quite a few years and I figured it would be easier if I learned a hard one first, that way any others will seem easy. I'd like to learn all the languages of my heritage some day. The fact that they're mostly European just makes it better.

Well, there you go Tori. Hope it was worth it.


P.S. Really, if anyone knows the best way to shave a cat I can really use some pointers!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Okay I was wrong. Raisa rolled over on the sixth and hasn't quit since. She forgot how a couple of times and got mad but then remembered and flipped over.

PFD's tomorrow!!!! Know what you are going to buy? That's right boys and girls, it's time to buy HAY!!!!!!!!


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Uncle Dave and Bonnie Bonnie aka Moodini

Whew! It's been just crazy here this last month. My uncle came to visit, Kathy left for three months, Tony quit working and I have a cow who would make Houdini proud.

First, Uncle Dave came up to visit for almost two weeks. He'd never been up here and I had last seen him when I went Outside in 2000. A lot has happened in our lives since then, good and bad, and it was really great to see him again. For those of you who don't know, Uncle Dave is my mom's brother and the only blood uncle I have. They had a brother but he's been gone for quite some time. Mom and I were just discussing that today too! For the size of family that I have, it's weird to only have two uncles.

Kathy is in Colorado, visiting her daughter for three months and I'm house sitting for her. Dozer(her dog) and Jasher(my dog) really get along well. The only problem happens when Dozer forgets that Jasher is also a boy and attempts to do inappropriate things to him. Jasher manages to fight him off and they go back to playing. Dozer is a Boston Terrier and he makes the weirdest noises when he gets excited.

Tony quit working at the dock so I don't have the girls when he has them unless he has a gig, then I get them overnight on Saturdays. Not often, but sometimes. I miss them, but it's nice to have some days when I can get stuff done. Raisa turned 4 months on the 26th of August. She is trying so hard to roll over. She has the strength to do it, just not the coordination and it really makes her furious when she can't do it. Kiki is practicing sitting with her and she has that down for the most part. She still has a round bottom so she tips, but she can get to her stomach from there and she's all good. She's looking more and more like Phaedra every day. Neither one of them look more like one parent or the other, whereas India is Kiki's mini-me. Funny stuff ya know!

Okay, on to the bovine breakout. The back gate of Bonnie's corral is a section of welded wire, 4"x2", staples to two poles. One pole is nailed to the post of the corral and the other is held up by two loops of wire, one at the top and one at the bottom. She has learned to bump the gate so that it comes up out of the bottom loop and then falls down out of the top loop, hence falling to the ground and letting her out. Two nights ago, she did it but nobody caught her out roaming. We think she went out for a couple hours and came back into the pasture to sleep where she was discovered the next morning. Unfortunately for her, the lack of thumbs prevented her from setting the gate back up and she was busted. Yesterday, Mom and I were sitting at Kathy's kitchen table after she got home from work and I looked up in time to see a blonde rump disappear behind the bushes at the top of her driveway. I guess my eyes almost popped out of my head cause it scared Mom to death but she couldn't see what I saw. I ran out the door and up the driveway to find Mrs. Moodini standing in the middle of our driveway, drinking from a puddle. I walked up to her and grabbed her halter to lead her up to the house and she decided she didn't want to go that way after all. I'm not heavier and I'm definitely not stronger but I was scareder and I drug her up the driveway until I could get to her lead rope. I figured she was probably headed for the water trough but I wasn't taking any chances. Mom went ahead and closed the back gate for me and fastened the top loop to the wire of the gate so that the gate can't fall if she bumps it out of the bottom loop. When PFDs show up I'm going to buy a metal panel gate... One with a latch... That I can lock. The wire makes me nervous anyway cause it wouldn't be anything if a bear wanted in or she really wanted out We still haven't discovered all the damage she's done I'm sure. She ate the apples off the tree and most of the leaves, she trampled my flowerbed in the front and she ate about thirty pounds of turkey grower that was in the can beside the turkey coop. The apples were the bummer but the turkey grower was aggravating. $20 for 50# makes thirty pounds gone, sting a little. Oh well, what can you do except get a better gate.

Dad almost has a barn built! Well, on paper anyway. He has the building panels for the whole thing and is going to get a slab poured with his PFD, for half of the floor. Not the cow half. I want a place that we can keep turkeys inside so they don't get eaten and the poults will grow faster with room to roam and a place to run, outside. Our turkeys are half grown and are looking mighty tasty already. I heard them gobbling last week and it made me think of Thanksgiving already. The leaves are turning and, while it's been cold all summer, it's starting to get that nip that only Autumn has. I have a ton and a half of hay, which isn't nearly enough, but I'm not quite so anxious about it. It's a little bit of a buffer in case snow comes early. The search never ends though. Dad is parceling out the joint for pasture and hay fields next year. Carl Hatten will let us use his baler if we can get it to his place and the neighbor of Carl's said we can mow his place for hay next year. The plan is to have a few tons to cut down on the cost of winter feed, especially since she'll be pregnant next winter... hopefully. And everybody knows how pregnant ladies eat!!!! Just kidding, just kidding calm down.

Well, I got some more pictures to post cause my super-cool uncle bought me a new camera for an early birthday present.

McKayla Nicole Hull and India Lynette Bates at the Ninilchik Fair August 16th, 2008

Raisa Alexandria Rea August 9 or 10, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Like the new template? I tried to do a cow one but that one didn't work out so well so y'all get my number two favorite thing... Scotland! I'm not sure which Isle it is but it really doesn't matter to me.
Nothing much new to report other than the turkey poults are now outside. They were in the laundry room for three weeks and now they are not. We put wire around the greenhouse since it's not being used this year and moved them in there. It's pretty cool. They seemed so big in their brooder box and now, not so much. Nanook wants to get in there so bad but she keeps getting threatened with the wrist rocket. She is such a chicken.
Missions conference is going on in our mother church this week. I couldn't go up this year but I've been listening to it on the internet every night. There's some pretty powerful preaching going on up there. You can check it out at prbcak.org. Awesome stuff.
Well, that's everything that's new on this end. What about y'all?


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Broken Promises

If y'all will recall, (wow that's a lot of els), when I started this blog I promised an update a week. I overestimated the excitement of our lives I guess. So, an update every month or so ought to do it I think.

Bonnie is doing great. She went into heat for the first time this week and has decided that I am not welcome in her barn when Dad is in there. She probably smells the testosterone. She should come out by the weekend cause today was her standing day. I would have had her bred today if she was old enough but it'll be quite some time before that happens.

We got some turkey chicks last Saturday, six of them. They are Bronze turkeys. If they are broad breasted ones then all six are going in the freezer around November. If they are the unimproved variety, a heritage breed, then I'll probably keep two of them to be a breeding pair since the prices for chicks will not go down for next year. Dad is worried about them being siblings so I'll probably look into the hatchery that's in Sterling and see what they have in the way of turkeys. We're getting a pig later on in the summer to finish raising and then put in the freezer. I guess Dad's fears of being married to the farm are coming true. It's not like we ever go anywhere anyway. I can't wait to cut into some home-grown turkey and to be able to have pork all year long will be awesome. Pork is really expensive up here so we don't have it very often.

Charlie is still living in Wasilla.

Dad is digging a cellar behind the house. With the prices of food set to skyrocket it makes a lot of sense to be able to store some when it's cheap. He wants to can some more fish and moose. I have to admit that I was not that excited about eating canned moose but it makes a great base for a quick stew. The juices are sealed in, have been getting nothing but better since it was canned and it tasted so much better than store-bought canned beef stew. Mom isn't thrilled about more canned fish cause she would rather eat tuna than salmon but it's hard to catch tuna up here. You'd have to have a really long net.

Mom took a second job at the Kasilof Mercantile for the summer. She goes to work for the School District from 6:00 am to 2:30 pm, if she take a half an hour for lunch, then works at the Merc from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm. She usually stops at Kathy's to give her the mail and wind down and then comes home, eats supper and goes to bed around 10:00 pm. I'm exhausted just typing it! Thankfully it's just for the summer.

The weather up here has been cold...colder than usual anyway for those of you in subtropical climates. We haven't had as much rain as we would normally get and that, combined with the temperatures, has made things really slow to grow. My lilac hasn't bloomed yet and may not until August. Dad's apple trees are blooming, the two Norlands anyway. the Parkland that he got to cross with them isn't blooming so Mom and I went the the nursery today and bought a Freedom apple tree that has set some fruit and has some unopened flowers. Hopefully it will be able to pollinate the Norlands before it croaks over the winter. We've got the Arndt Family Farm and Orchard developing up here. Y'all should come check us out!

Okay, that's all my news for this month. If you have any questions or concerns then write your congressman. No really, you should write. That way they won't be so out of touch with the people that they supposedly represent. By the way, y'all should check out Bob Bird. He's running for the Alaska Senate and I really like his take on things. Let's hope he can beat Stevens this year!


Thursday, May 22, 2008

She's heeeeerrrrrreeeee!

Well, my May 12th plan didn't work so I got my cow on the 19th. It was a fiasco to say the least. We borrowed a gas guzzler to haul a borrowed stock trailer. $5.15 gas will really suck down the available cash. That's what it is in Cooper Landing where it's the last gas station for a couple hours and if you need to fuel they're it and they can charge whatever they want cause you'll either fuel there or walk back to fill a gas can! Okay, enough ranting.
I named her Bonnie, as in "wee bonnie lass". It means pretty or charming. I like it because it sounds like a cow's name, not a human name that got tacked onto an animal. She's now eight months old and the pictures that the Benjamin's sent me of her don't do her justice. She is a creamy yellow with faint red spots. Dad says she looks like a strawberry roan. Since I have no idea what that looks like I can't agree or disagree. I just know that she is beautiful and very laid-back. Her first halter was put on her in the trailer but we led her from the trailer to the corral with only one twitch that might have turned into a kick if she wanted. She is only waist high on me and if any of you have seen me standing up you'll know that she isn't very tall. Because of the shorthorn blood she'll probably be a round 1100 pounds, full grown. I'm already shopping around for baby-daddies. I'm pretty sure I want to breed back to Highland, especially for her first calf. Decisions, decisions...
For those of you who care, I have been watching Raisa fairly regularly. She'll be a month old on the 26th and I've had her for a couple overnights and one, "only for a couple hours". She almost has the new worn off and is looking more and more like India. I got a pictures of all three of them and they turned out great. So...Enjoy.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Hold up a minute!!!!

In that last post I made the comment that I don't really know what I'm doing in regards to a cow. I would like to clarify what I meant. I don't really know what I'm doing in that I have never done it before. I've never been in on the day to day care of a cow. I do have a plan that has been in the works for many years. I do have many years of cow experience living on the place (Dad and Kathy) and I have spent many hours researching, talking and discussing what will and won't work. My earlier comment sparked caring concern in certain family members who emailed me said concerns. Hopefully I have put some of their fears to rest and any others that just weren't said. Should anyone have something to say about this endeavor, I welcome advice and opinions be they negative or positive.


Monday, April 28, 2008

IT'S A GIRL!!!!!!

Kiki and Tony have a new baby girl! She was born Saturday morning at 6:26. She weighed 6 pounds 6.2 ounces. I forget how long she was but I know she's long and skinny like her sisters. Her name is Raisa (Ray-zha) Alexandria. It has Hebrew origins, meaning "rose" but the English and Slavic version has Greek origins and that means "carefree". Me thinks they are using the Greek version because they both have a weakness for all things Greek. Phaedra is Greek as well. They are bringing her home today because Kiki had to stay two nights due to a tubal after the birth. I plan on taking lots of pictures so stay tuned. I still might watch the older ones occasionally and really, all I have to do is ask if I want them to come over. Kiki is nursing while she is taking time off so the chances of me glomming on to Raisa are slim. For some reason parents are really protective and stingy with their new babies. Kiki will have to go back to work eventually and since they are switching the girls every three days, I'll get her eventually.
Dad's shoulders are not getting any better. Erin (his doctor) said she was not comfortable giving him the cortisone shots so she referred him to a shoulder doctor in Soldotna somewhere. He just has to make the effort to call and make an appointment. It looks like it's not going to happen any time soon. He is going to work this summer though. The preacher down the road wants him to work on his boat this summer. Doing what, I have no idea, but at least he'll be out of the house doing something productive.
Mom's eyes have healed up and she is still getting used to having to wear glasses all the time. She can't focus on things close up anymore so she needs glasses for reading, looking at splinters, popping pimples and whatnot.
It looks like my dreams of owning my own cow are finally coming to fruition. On May 12th I might be bringing home a seven month old heifer. She's 5/8ths Scottish Highland and 3/8ths Shorthorn. She is really pretty. She's blonde and shaggy and cute. I advertised on Craigslist. I've been looking all over the internet for relatively inexpensive cows but couldn't figure out how to get one up here without mortgaging my firstborn. On a whim I advertised for a female bovine, less than a thousand dollars please and wouldn't you know! The very next day this girl popped up. Mom is less than thrilled that she is so young but I think of it as giving me time. First off, I don't really know what I'm doing. Plus, I don't have unlimited funds to get her and a calf out of the weather if need be. This way I have the time to build things right for a breeding operation. It'll be a year and a half before she can breed and then nine months before she calves so I've got lots of time to work the kinks out before a major kink puts two live in jeopardy. I'm really excited to say the least. If this is the one I get then I'll be posting lots and lots of pictures. If I get a different one then I'll be posting lots and lots of pictures.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Update on Dad

The month of Celebrex is over and he is hugely disappointed because it didn't do anything for him. Mom found a nifty cream called Topricin that is working wonders on Kathy's back. Dad is trialing it on his shoulders as well so he might not have to go in and get shots in his shoulders. He's really hoping this stuff will heal on it's own so he'll never have to look at another needle in his life. We'll see how it goes.

No Poo!!!!!!

I know that sounds really bad. Can you understand now why I haven't posted? Actually, that stands for no shampoo. I have boycotted shampoo, of all brands, types and formulations. About ten years ago Mom broached the subject with me and to be honest, it sounded horrible!! How can you not wash your hair? You HAVE to wash your hair... Don't you? Well, ten years of maturation, access to the internet and a whole online community dedicated to the eradication of chemicals in our lives has convinced me that this is the way to go. My hair had become limp, greasy at the crown, straw at the ends and no amount of product or conditioners could fix it. I cannot afford to go to a salon every week for treatments. I can't afford to go even once for a consultation. No poo is the answer for me. I wash my hair with baking soda, rinse it with lemon juice and leave honey in it as an humectant. I can't believe how much better it it, condition-wise in even two weeks. I haven't used shampoo since February 27th. Instead, I dissolve 4 tablespoons of baking soda in a half gallon of water and pour it through my wet hair. I let it sit for a minute and rinse it out thoroughly. I mix 1/4 cup lemon juice in a gallon of water and pour that through my hair. It gets rinsed out after 5 minutes. I mix 1 tablespoon of honey in 4 cups of water and use it as a leave-in conditioner. I only have to do this twice a week and my hair does not become a greasy, nasty mess anymore. At first I was doing this every day but have cut back cause my scalp is adjusting. The baking soda cuts the grease without stripping all the natural oils out of your hair. When your scalp realizes that you don't have to have so much oil then it cuts back on how much it makes. Really, it's a supply and demand system.
Baking soda is also a natural deodorizer and cleaner so my hair doesn't smell bad and I rinse with rosemary tea sometimes so it isn't itchy. This is soooo amazing. I absolutely love it. Y'all have got to try this!!!!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sorry for the long lapse in posts folks. I was waiting for the resolution of some issues so I didn't have to post a whole bunch of times.
Dad went to the doctor for his shoulders on Friday... Well, he and Mom drove to Anchorage on Thursday and the appointment was Friday morning. I couldn't believe it, 24 whole hours home alone. I did pretty much the same things I do when they're here. It sure is boring sometimes being a responsible adult. Anyway, Dad went to the same orthopedic surgeon who did Kathy's shoulder when she was in her car accident. (Kathy is the neighbor/cousin who lives at the bottom of the driveway) They x-rayed both shoulders multiple times and discovered he does not have arthritis, torn pieces parts, bone spurs or a partridge in a pear tree. The guy who examined him said that the tendon that connects his collarbone to his shoulder blade is probably inflamed. Gave him a choice of a cortisone shot in each shoulder or a month of Celebrex. Dad opted for the Celebrex. I guess pills are easier for him to handle then needles. Mom said that they were really surprised that he had almost full range of motion and he's still strong enough to choke a bear. ;) Mom said she had a really good time just hanging out with him and I'm so glad for that. With Valentines Day just around the corner maybe he'll remember to get her something this time. Just joking!!!! He usually remembers and gets her a card.
Charlie is still carless, not careless, car-less. Okay, maybe he can be careless but that is not the topic for this paragraph. The minivan that he was driving now has a rattle that he needs to identify and get fixed before he wants to drive it full time. He sold the Mazda that was wrecked and finally agreed with Dad that maybe he needs to get a Neon for his next car. We'll see.
McKinzie has his final vet appointment on Monday. He will be cremated and returned to us. I would say that I'm sad but it's such a huge relief that he doesn't have to live this way anymore that it's probably covering up the sad. It feels very different from any of the other dogs that have passed away. I'll probably post a ton of pictures of him soon for those of you that never saw him. He's a cool dog.
Okay, enough dwelling on the sad, on to the slightly aggravating. Mom has jury service this month. It's for petit jury so she has to call in every day to find out if her group has been called to go in the next day. Petit jury only lasts a month so she's hoping that any juries she may be called for are for someone she knows. I'm just glad that it's not me this time. I've been called for petit and grand jury service. Dad got summoned for District court last summer. He had to call in every week to find out if he had to go to Anchorage. He never did have to go and it was three months long. A very tense three months I might add. I really, really, really don't want to get summoned for District court. I hope they just lose my name and forget I live here.
I guess that's all the new news for now. If something pops up I may or may not tell y'all about it. Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Winter is officially here...

Well, winter has officially and really finally arrived. Mom-in-law said something the other day about it seemed like our snow had slid south this year cause everyone but us was getting hit. I'm here to tell ya - it found its' way back. I just went out and measured on top of the BBQ grill that was clean this weekend and we have gotten 8" here at the house in the last 24 hours - and it's still kinda trying to put some more down. Also measured on top of the smoker - which hasn't been cleaned or blown off since it really started snowing and there's 14" up there. Had to chuckle this morning when the Transportation Coordinator came in and was all atwitter about the snow chain not kicking in. I tried to tell her that the snow that fell last night was nothing but something to play in for those buses; but she has an altogether different idea about what the snow chain means than I do. And since my idea don't match hers and her desk is bigger...

And - Charlie finally did the big one. No. He is not married. Or engaged. Or hurt. He's one up on both his parents though, I believe. Maybe not on Frank (seems I vaguely remember hearing about something similar happening at some point in his younger days) - but I know for a fact he's one up on me. :) He was going home Monday evening and slid through the stop light at {I think he said}Benson and the Seward Hwy in Anchorage. A full size Ford pickup hit him pretty square on the left front tire and spun him so the vehicles were up against each other and facing the same way. When he called to tell us, the patrolwoman was still sorting things out and he was still pretty wired. The Mazda is totaled (as demonstrated by the pictures above) but he had a minivan in the wings getting new tires and brakes. When I talked to him last night, he was driving that. The passenger in Charles' car (another roomie - Jeremy) wasn't hurt, but the driver of the pickup got checked out by EMT's at the scene because he had a cell phone in his pocket and caught it between his ribs and the steering wheel. I told Charles he and Jeremy were both quite likely to find out just how hurt they were in the next couple days. I know it took 3 days for the ligament strain to my knee and whatever it was that happened in my neck to show up after I got hit in the bus the second time.

Well, it's pushing 8:PM and I have to be in a training session tomorrow from 8-6. We were there today from 8-4 and my brain was fried when I got home. Tomorrow is the budget stuff and payroll and expense cards and such - all the parts I do use on occasion, so I am going to bed.

Good Night,

Thursday, January 3, 2008

It's picture time!!!!

This is from our front porch. It's not as much as we usually have and Dad's truck has been cleaned off repeatedly.

This is Jasher. He's the dog that needs a coat when he goes outside. This picture is a bummer because he has the deepest, darkest, brown eyes I have ever seen on a dog. It makes him look like a teddy bear. Well, a teddy pig (cause of his tusks). He inherited his mother's teeth. I think I'm going to take him in and make sure that his bite is okay. If it's not okay then he may need braces! That isn't a joke folks.
I'll take pictures of him in his coat and post them for you guys to laugh at later.

This is one of my cool toadies. I have four of them. I have to keep them in my room because they creep my mother out. She classifies them as "weird" pets. I don't think they are nearly as weird as the praying mantis' I had before them. Those could be called weird I guess.

This is after Phaedra's Atomic Fireball episode. I told her that it was really, really, spicy hot. I told her that it might hurt her mouth. India told me that she got a big bag of them for her birthday and she had shared them with Phaedra. Since neither one of the girls shy away from spicy stuff I let her go ahead and have one. She really liked it but couldn't finish it. She had almost all of the hot coating off but it kept falling out of her mouth and she was drooling something fierce. As she said later, "It burned mine ips!" As far as I can tell, her lips are just fine now.

Apparently India likes Veggie Tales. Miss Anita gave them these stickers and she couldn't resist the urge to stick them somewhere.

Well, another UFC has come and gone. I am a huge fan of the Ultimate Fighting Championships and have been since 1994. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea but it happens to be the sporting event that I love. I could do without the ring girls and the drunk yahoos mugging for the cameras though. I love the sheer energy of the whole thing and the training and discipline of these athletes.
I think Matt Hughes, former welterweight champ, is done in the UFC. It always seems to happen to the guys who claim Christ. Many of these athletes thank God after they fight but very few of them have any kind of testimony. Matt Hughes does. Also, Vitor Belfort does. He was the light-heavyweight champ for a very short period of time several years ago.
Many of these guys tattoo their own names on their stomachs, don't ask me why, but Vitor has Jesus tattooed on his. Granted, I think tattoos are worldly and ridiculous but it was interesting to have his beliefs be so obvious. Matt Hughes wears a shirt that says, "Army of the One". I really like that shirt and the play off the Army slogan. If I wore t-shirts I might consider getting one. Anyway, his website is really interesting if anyone's interested. It's matt-hughes.com.
Okay, my fingers are frozen and my back is KILLIN' me. I've done my best to enter the crippled club this past month. It's a long, painful story that I shall leave for another time.

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About Me

We're a family that came to Alaska in shifts. We've been here since 1995 and don't plan to leave any time soon.

For Jaime

Comment from a SMART President

" The government that is big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have."

Thomas Jefferson President 1801-1809
Died on JULY 4th, 1826



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