Sunday, November 21, 2010

Another blog

Hi, all. I've created another blog for myself. You can reach it by clicking on the link to the right: "What NOT to do."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jason's Deer Hunt - Part Two

Saturday started very cold, 27˚ and clear. We loaded all our gear in our backpacks, ate breakfast and drove up the mountain to our traditional start point. The snow had definitely thinned since Wednesday and the day was promising to be nice.

The trail up the mountain was easier where the snow had melted. The snow was still thick above Pink Rock though. We glassed up the hill but didn’t see anything.

Dad and Lyman at Pink Rock

Dad broke trail through the snow from Pink Rock to the top, not an easy chore at that elevation. We trudged slowly through the snow. The glare of the sun off the snow made it very difficult to see.

Lyman approaching the top squinting against the glare.

As we crested the mountain the snow thinned and we took a break where we could look down over an open area on the east face. We like to glass here and often see deer in this spot - when there isn't snow.

We saw a couple does across a draw but no bucks. So we continued down the mountain towards our hunting camp.

The mountains to the left are the Sweetwater range which climb over 11,600'. Directly in front of us is an unamed range. The highest peak on the right is Walker mountain which is nearly as high.The snow on this side had melted in the lower elevations here where the mountain faced more south. We jumped more chukar on the way and found more gooseberries to eat.

Glassing the "Nursery"

We made it to our camping spot without seeing any deer, then saw a couple run up the mountain as if we might have spooked them. So we set up our beds and ate lunch. Following lunch we strapped on our canteens and started our hunt up the canyon.

The canyon is divided by a creek. The north side is broken up by several deep draws but is mostly open with little bit of sagebrush. The south side is heavily wooded and we don’t hunt it for that reason. Our hunt on this afternoon was up the creek through the bottom of the canyon, watching the hills and openings. We move very slowly when hunting, taking a few soft steps then stopping to watch and look. When we stop to glass an area we may be still for several minutes before we start moving forward again.

We spied a group deer on the hillside, all does, and watched them for a few minutes. Moving on we heard cows up ahead. We found them and passed by. Soon we saw another group of does up on hillside. We watched them but again there were no bucks around. The sun had set and we were almost a mile from camp so we turned back.

Dusk in the canyon

We got to our camp at dark and made dinner. Dad and I enjoyed a rehydrated spaghetti dinner. It was still early when Dad and Lyman went to bed. I like to stay up late because I don’t like to wake up to early when hunting.

I woke up early Sunday morning anyway. It was still mostly dark. I heard some footfalls and poked my head out of my sleeping bag. Fifty feet away I could see the silhouette of a pair of deer, though it was still too dark to make out any features. One of the deer snorted at me, something mule deer do when they are nervous and aren’t sure about the presence of another creature. I tried to continue to watch them but it was too dark and they moved out of sight quickly.

The morning brightened quickly. My plan was to hike out and drive myself home to be at work by Monday. Lyman and Dad were going to stay and hunt. But Lyman wasn’t up yet and I was interested in seeing if there were any deer in a feeding area near us. So I took his gun (couldn't find his 10X binocular) and climbed up to a nice vantage point where I could watch. I didn’t see any deer so I returned to camp.

I packed up my stuff and headed out of camp. I skipped breakfast because I figured I could eat when I got on the road. The hike to the truck is about three miles; from our camp at 9,000’ it climbs to 10,000’ and then drops down to 8,500 where it meets the road. I took my time on the ascent, watching for deer and planning to look in one particular spot near the top of the mountain. I came out of the trees on the east face of the mountain and walked straight past the slope that I had wanted to look down on. I didn’t feel like turning around so I continued on, deciding to look down into an area we call "The Bowl", a semi-circular draw with a steep funnel shaped slide at the top that terminates in a ravine.

I stopped at the first spot where I could get a glimpse into the Bowl. There at the bottom was a doe. I watched a little longer and spotted another, and then another. I moved down closer; there were several trees protecting me from being seen. I saw a few more does. Then I spotted a buck bedded down. Through my binocular I could see he had some decent antlers though I couldn’t make out the points. I was sure he was legal though and worth having. I dropped my backpack on the spot and moved away from the edge of the bowl where I had been watching. As soon as I knew I was out of sight I started running back to the hunting camp to tell Lyman. I was hoping I would catch him before he left camp. But I was afraid he might have started hunting up either side of the canyon.

It was nearly a mile back to camp. As it was all downhill I was able to run almost the entire way, leaping over sagebrush with huge strides and imagining myself spraining my ankle. I got back to camp without any harm though, but Lyman and Dad were gone. If they had climbed up the south side of the canyon I would never find them. If they had gone up the north side it would take me quite a while to get to them. So I guessed that they headed up the creek since they didn’t reach the end yesterday. I started up that direction, whistling occasionally and knocking rocks together to call to them. But they never heard me. Unbeknownst to me I walked right past them about ¼ mile out of camp and that’s when they got my attention. I told them about the buck and we immediately headed back up to the bowl.

I still had a pretty good adrenaline rush and I was in a hurry to get back up the mountain. Without backpacks or anything to weigh us down (except for one rifle) the hike was much easier.

Lyman on his way up.We approached the top with care. I led Dad down toward the edge of the bowl until we could see some deer. Then we started looking for the buck. We had great position in the shadows of the lodgepole pines growing at the edge of the slide. When Dad found the buck he signaled Lyman to come down so he could see and get into position. There were several deer in the bowl as well as another buck, a spike. Dad or Lyman identified the bigger buck as a 4-point (which means four points on one side).

Lyman moved down closer to the edge to get a better position. He waited several minutes for the buck to move away from the other deer so he could have a clear shot. The buck began working away from us though. Suddenly the 4-point lifted its nose high in the air. It had caught our scent, which was really foul after so many days in the woods, and was acting very nervous. I was afraid the deer was about to bound away. He was facing almost directly away from us when Lyman fired. The buck fell and rolled down the hill through the snow coming to a stop 100’ down the hill. Dad and I congratulated Lyman on a great shot. We were thrilled with our success.

Lyman moved down the slide to the deer while Dad and I headed back down to camp to retrieve his and Lyman’s gear. When we arrived at camp I was feeling sick from the morning’s exertions (traveled three miles, 1200' of climbing, 1200' descending, without eating my Wheaties). Lyman dressed the deer while Dad and I rolled up camp and climbed back up the mountain.

About 400' below the top, the toughest part of the climb.

When Dad and I got back up to the bowl we loaded my backpack with as much of their gear as I could carry. This would limit the weight they would carry to mostly meat. They were going to walk down the mountain and meet me at camp.

I made the climb over the top and back down to the truck and drove down to camp. My plan to leave without them was abandoned when I spotted the buck. I drove down to the meadow and waited for them at the back gate. I got out and explored around the trailhead for a while. Then I went back to the truck and took a short nap. Dad and Lyman surprised me a short time later by driving up in Dad’s truck. They had taken a different route back to the road. We went back to our camp in the meadow and loaded up and headed out. At dinner Dad said, “Its too bad for that buck that the last thing he ever smelled was us!”

The antlers are about the same height and width. Lyman's have one more point on each side. Both sets have only one eye guard.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Jason's Deer Hunt - Part One

Warning: This is long! and one sided...Lyman and Dad, you're welcome to correct/alter/twist my words or submit additions (editions?) here as you wish.

On the Monday before my October deer hunting trip I went to a shooting range after work to make sure the .280 was sighted in. I arrived at 4:30 pm and the place was going to close at 5:00. So I had very little time. At 4:45 I had my target set up, eye and ear protection in place and the rangemaster called “Open Fire!”

The sun was setting behind the target so it was pretty difficult to see. I don’t recall if it was windy but I was having a difficult time keeping the target in view through the scope. Every time I would get the crosshairs on the target my view would start to fade away. So each shot took over a minute. My plan was to shoot three groups of three shots. With two shot left to go the rangemaster called out the two minute warning. Feeling rushed, my last group wasn’t very good. In fact I could only find two of the last three shots. But my second group was about an inch over the bull’s-eye so I left satisfied.

Tuesday night I got home from work, finished throwing stuff in the car, kissed Ruth and the children good-bye and left for Applegate. I spent the night at Mom and Dad’s.
Day 1 - We woke around 6am to finish packing and loading the truck. The trip up to camp was uneventful, though the gate on Highway 108 was closed at Pickel Meadows. We drove around the gate and found Lyman in camp. He told us of rain on Monday and snow on Tuesday that had kept him from hunting very much.

There was snow up on the mountains so we decided to hunt the rest of the afternoon but come back down and sleep in the meadow. With that plan in mind we headed out. We parked in the usual place and rock-hopped across the creek. Lyman slipped and got a foot in the water but didn't mention it until later. The mountain was covered with snow from the previous day. It had softened and refrozen making a slight crunch with each step and with Dad’s walking stick. It was very cold and clouds covered the sky, but the hike was steep enough that I started shedding layers fairly quickly. We saw lots of deer tracks heading down the hill but none going up. We could hear snow falling from the trees as it melted.

The climb at that elevation is quite a workout. It’s easy to get your heart rate going. We paused often to look around and take breathers. I don’t want my heart pounding when I am shooting so I like to go slow. Even with our slow pace I developed a headache, most likely from the elevation and my lack of fitness. About two-thirds of the way up the mountain we came to an outcropping of pink granite we call Pink Rock. Snow completely covered the mountain here, about eight inches deep, and we still hadn’t seen any deer, though at this point that is not unusual. All the tracks we have seen are still headed downhill, which was not good news.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw movement, a small grey mammal that at first I believed to be a bobcat. It was moving across our path, and then I realized that it was a coyote. I pointed to show the others. The coyote continued and actually turned toward us. Lyman got ready to shoot but the coyote saw him and at 100’ from us, turned and bounded back away and up the mountain. Then another coyote jumped up out of the snow and ran away up the mountain.

At that point we talked about our options, about not seeing any deer or tracks going uphill or side hilling, and the amount of snow. We decided to change course and instead of climbing up and over the mountain into the canyon on the other side, we will work our away north along a ridge where we usually don’t hunt. This would allow us to occasionally look over both sides of the mountain.

We proceeded with this plan until Dad decided that he didn’t need to continue with us. He would head back to the truck and down to camp. Lyman and I would continue hunting down this ridge and find our way back to camp. There used to be a horse trail leading this direction off the mountain that I was interested in finding.

Lyman and I dropped down the west side of the mountain through the snow. I was excited to be exploring new area. We found our way back to the ridge as it was steadily falling away to the north, the direction we were going. We took a couple opportunities to sneak over to the edge where we could and peek down into open areas. There was still snow everywhere though and we saw no deer. We continued down the ridge.

We had hiked about ¾ of a mile when we came to a plateau where we could look down over an open bench where there was a prime feeding area. The eastern exposure here was exposed to more sun and protected somewhat from wind. This bench is also almost 1000 feet lower than Pink Rock so the snow had begun to melt enough to expose some feed. We watched and glassed for maybe ten minutes when I got up and started to move away along the plateau. I had moved some 50 feet when Lyman softly called me back, saying there was a buck and to stay down. I moved carefully back to him where I could look over the edge. Through my scope I saw the buck, and then Lyman said there was another bigger buck behind the first. Upon finding the second buck I moved into a prone position to get ready to shoot. I was a little concerned about hitting the rocks in front of me, but decided it wasn’t going to be a problem.

The first buck was a spike and seemed to be aware of us but not afraid. Mule deer tend to be curious when they cannot smell you and you aren’t standing up. The second buck was oblivious and was standing broadside behind the spike, calmly eating and slowly working towards our left. I waited for a signal from Lyman to shoot. I could not see the buck’s antlers very well and was waiting for him to tell me whether to take him or not. I also wondered if he would want to shoot the buck since he was the one that spotted it. From my position I would lose my shooting angle very quickly if the deer moved very far. It seemed like a full minute had passed before he said to take him. I squeezed the trigger and the gun clicked. I hadn't loaded it when we left the truck!. I slid the bolt back and chambered a round. The buck hadn't moved. I took the shot and the buck reared up a little and fell down away from us and lay almost completely still. The spike just stood there. My ears were ringing and the headache I had got suddenly worse with the shot. I reloaded and continued watching. Lyman complimented me on a nice shot. With the dead buck on the ground we started working our way down. The spike finally decided it didn’t want to be around and ran off. We also jumped a doe out of the trees.
This picture is after the snowmelt on Friday. We were on the top of the outcropping towards the right.
We came to the buck, a 3x3. First we took a picture. Then with Lyman’s instruction I gutted the deer. We pulled it into some trees. I scrubbed my hands clean with snow. It was still very cold and the deer would be fine there until we could retrieve it tomorrow. We had about 1-1.5 hours of light left to get back to camp. We found our way, not by any trail, in a nearly straight course of almost two miles back to Leavitt Meadows and to our camp. We told Dad about our hunt and he congratulated me. We finished the night eating hot dogs, grapes and cantaloupe around the campfire.

Thursday morning when we woke up the air was a crisp 36˚, which was warmer than usual. We ate breakfast, hot granola for me. Dad and I drove up to the base of the mountain where we would hike in and retrieve my deer. Lyman would hunt from the meadow up to the bench and work along the bench to the south, hunting the openings.

Dad and I worked our way side-hilling as much as we could because our destination wasn’t much higher than where we started. You can see that it was still fairly cloudy.Descending onto the bench we were surprised when we jumped a covey of chukar. We got to the deer and with some effort, got it hanging from a tree. We were halfway through butchering the deer when Lyman arrived. He had a rough trip up the mountain, climbing the steep terrain through the tall bushes. He helped finish the deer. Then he continued his hunt while we headed back down the mountain. Instead of going back to the truck, we went straight down the hill back to the meadow. We got back to camp tired and took a short nap. We drove to the back of the campground to wait for Lyman. A doe and fawn crossed the road in front of us. Then we saw a covey of quail work their way across our view, eating as they went. I tried to open the door to take a picture, but the quail fled into the cover.

When Lyman returned we drove back up the mountain to retrieve his truck. He told us he got a shot at a big forked horn but he missed. Dad then took us to Carson City for dinner. In the fields near Sonora Junction we saw an incredible number of deer, at least twenty does and fawns and one buck. Lyman didn’t have his license or tag with him so we didn’t stop. We ate dinner in town and then returned to camp.

Friday morning began beautifully. We had decided to hunt from the meadow up the mountain to the same bench and work our way south as Lyman had the day before. It was at this point that I borrowed Lyman’s camera. I wouldn’t be doing any hunting, just hanging back and enjoying the scenery. I wanted to capture some shots of the areas we visited.

We started walking to the back of the meadow, but Lyman and Dad decided they would rather not climb 1500’ to get to the start of the hunt. So we got in the truck and drove part way up the mountain.
To Lyman’s chagrin we found a place where we could cross the creek across a large deadfall. We were blazing a new trail at this point and not sure we could find a way around the mountain to the desired point. But we made it with just a little steep climbing and a shorter path than our original route.
The day was clear, sunny, and almost warm. We slowly worked our way along the side of the mountain, glassing every opening and occasionally tasting gooseberries along the way. The landscape was very pretty with patches of snow all around and covering the ground under the trees. The aspens were fading from green to yellow and some leaves were falling. The tops of the mountains were completely covered in snow. But the temperature was better than the previous two days which gave us hope for a good snowmelt. We covered nearly 1.5 miles when we turned around. We then found a group of five deer, all does. We watched them for awhile to see if any bucks were hanging around. Then we moved on. We didn’t anticipate seeing any bucks for the rest of the day so we moved a little faster than usual. Instead of going back to the truck we decided to take the old trail down the mountain and identify as much of it as possible so it could be found from the bottom. We were able to find most of it and set up some markers so it wouldn’t be lost again. Here is the area we hunted outline in red. (picture from internet)

When we got back to camp it was evening. We went out to Sonora Junction again to see if any deer were in the fields. This was the closing weekend of deer season for this area so we saw a lot of hunters driving slow, watching the mountainsides. There were no deer to be seen. So we went back to camp and ate dinner. We talked about what we would do tomorrow and decided that we would hike over the mountain and into the canyon, feeling that the snow should have melted enough that the deer would have moved up to where we like to hunt. This night was clear. We were able to look up and find the Andromeda galaxy. Jupiter was also very bright and we could see three of its moons.

Part Two to follow!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday nap

Taking after Daddy!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Trip to Southern Ca

Jason had to go to Scout camp the week of July 5th -10th. So I decided that instead of hanging around my house, with nothing to do but take care of the kids and be hot, I would head down to SO. Ca. to visit our good friends the Bruschke's. I convinced my youngest sister Mary to tag along and help with the driving and the kiddos. And let me just say right now that it was wonderful having the extra help! We headed out in the afternoon of the 4th and arrived in LA just in time to see Fireworks going off everywhere! so much for thinking we would miss out on seeing any this year! I think we saw about 20 different shows and maybe some illegal ones too! The air on the Freeway was filled with smoke for part of the time there were so many fireworks! Needless to say the kids enjoyed watching fireworks from the comfort of their own car seats!

We had a wonderful week shopping, eating good food, going to the beach and swimming in the local pool. The weather was overcast most of the week and it even rained on Tuesday, the only day we were able to meet up with my brother Mark. It cleared up before we got there, thank goodness, and we were able to visit the Cabrillo National Monument and one of the beaches in San Diego. At the beach in San Diego, we played on the boogie boards and enjoy some time playing in the sand!

I enjoyed all the time I was able to spend with our wonderful friends and my Little sis. and bro.!!! I hope we can go visit again soon and that Jason will be able to come with us next time! I'm so blessed to have been able to go on this trip and grateful for such good friends and family! Love you guys! Thanks for the wonderful week!

These are most of the pictures that I took of our trip, so it's a long one! Enjoy!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Happy Birthday Rachel!!!

(Rachel with two of her favorite things)

What an amazingly wonderful big girl we have been blessed with! Rachel has been such a life saver with all the help she gives me and her family members! She is a joy to be around and loves her family. Today we will be celebrating her 10th birthday. Wow she's getting old! She requested Hamburgers for dinner and a cake that looks like a chocolate chip cookie with a bite taken out of it.

We have invited a local grandma over to celebrate the occasion with us! Our good friend Lynnette Ramsey was Rachel's Primary teacher a few years ago and she taught Activity days for her too. She was even able to come to Rachel's baptism. She joined us for a field trip to the Oakland Zoo a couple months ago too. We are blessed to have such a good friend to share these fun times with! Rachel really has enjoyed having her in our lives.

Now for more about the beautiful birthday girl! I thought it only fitting to share more about this talented young lady on her special day, so here it goes:

Some of her favorite things
color: Green

dinner: Mexican food

dessert: Chocolate Ice cream

best buddy: Her cousin Joshua Bunting

subject in school: Art

book/series: The Secrets of Droon

thing to do: You can always find her with her nose in a good book, or playing with her siblings.

Rachel is so good at finding ways to help around the house and with her siblings. She likes to think of David as HER baby and I can always count on her to be willing to pick him up or save him from his brothers and or sisters that get too rough around him. She was even a trooper and fed him stinky baby food every now and again!

Thank-you for choosing to be part of our family Rachel we love you bunches and hope you enjoy this beautiful day!!!!!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Back to Blogging!?!?!

Hi all, have you missed me?.....(Crickets chirping in background)......

Wow it's been a busy year! I really tried to do everything but I just found that I was stressing myself out too much! Homeschooling was a wonderful experience. I feel that I accomplished a lot that I wanted the girls to learn and experience. And now that School is out, I plan to get back into blogging! The cute kiddos will be back in public school next year (Bitter sweet). But I've found that I really need that quiet time in the mornings for house cleaning, shopping, paying bills, and exercise (things that have taken a backseat to the schooling) to help keep me sane! Is that bad?

Now I have a lot to blog about and try to catch up on! So this may take a while to get back into the habit! Some encouraging words may help. (hint hint)

Rachel's birthday is tomorrow, so I'll see ya then! hehe

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Isn't it clear?

Our comic in chief declared that "Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

Mz. Pelosi promised “We will bring transparency and openness to the budget process and to the use of earmarks, and we will give the American people the leadership they deserve.”

It isn't even debatable that these promises have been broken over and over. And I won't argue that Republicans don't lie either. But since these folks promised transparency, people ought to wise up and see that these people are as transparent as can be. They have a socialist agenda. They intend to remove our freedoms enough to control our lives so we can't hurt ourselves. They intend to take away our defenses so that we can't protect ourselves. To make sure everyone is equal they are intent on stealing from the middle class and giving to the lower class so that things are more fair and more equal.

I think there is plenty of transparency when these folks open their mouths. Whatever they promise that seems to be in line with what the people want, you can be sure they are working for the opposite.

Sunday, May 02, 2010


J: Yesterday I had a FREE Saturday again. No plans to be anywhere but home and it went great.

First: I took the Christmas lights down and put the last Christmas box away.

Second: I cleaned up the willow tree cuttings that littered the driveway. We have a corkscrew willow that is very pretty when trimmed well and leafed out. Each year it puts out new long leafy branches so it has to be pruned or the branches die en masse. I pruned it a week ago but never got the chance to cleanup and never delegated that chore.

Third: I mowed the lawn. A neighbor was nice enough to stop and comment on how nice the lawn looks after all the effort that has gone into it. There are very few lawns in our part of town.

Fourth: With the lawn mowed I moved to the back of the house and started laying out the new pathway. It has been covered with white rock that has slowly slid to one side due to the slope of the path. I had an idea to make some steps/retainers for the rock so it won't slide. I'm not much of a landscape designer so I don't know what we will do with everything else around it. But here is a picture of the progress so far.
The 4x4s are leftovers (gratis!) from other projects and from pallets from work. I had to do a little digging to make them sit level. The bottom set of boards is level with the patio. The next step up sits on the bottom step and will continue on in this fashion. The voids will get filled in with gravel. Iron form stakes hold the 4x4s in place. They are pound in level with the top of the boards. I've got a bazillion of them laying around so I am glad to use them. They are also being used for grow boxes in the garden. I skewed the front edge of the steps a little bit to make them a little unordinary.

Needless to say the project is not yet finished. I ran out of 4x4s but will remedy that his week.

While I worked on the path Ruth was setting up the new watering system for the garden. You can see the pipe and sleeve under the new pathway. It's almost ready. Tomorrow we will plant our starts for FHE! We will use old ice cream buckets for mini green houses. We will have to weigh them down at night so the wind doesn't blow them away. But, excepting for Ruth, I've always leaned to the more practical than attractive!

After lunch I got the grill going at a low temperature and threw a rack of pork ribs on the grill. Kept the temperature from 200-250 for five hours. Lunch was late so the meat wasn't ready for dinner (we all sampled it though and WOW! was it good) but we ate it for dinner on Sunday with corn-on-the-cob! I like to season the meat with a custom mixture of spices including ground sea salt, season salt, coarse ground pepper and garlic salt. I don't measure any of it. Just mix up enough and rub it in good. Costco sells a bottle of sea salt with a grinder in the bottle cap. Everybody loved dinner!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Enjoying Spring!

Aw, to be young again! Need I say more?

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Spring is almost here

Peach blossom on our third-year tree.Blossoms bud on the Purple Leaf Plum.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Jason: I finally had a Saturday to spend with my family at home yesterday and it was great. I've been ill the last couple days but woke up feeling considerably better. There was bacon in the fridge that needed to be cooked, so I got that started. I asked the kids to choose between pancakes, Swedish pancakes, and french toast. Pancakes! was the majority choice so Kaitlin came to help me make the batter.

Everyone enjoyed their pancakes with butter, syrup, and Cool Whip. Fresh oranges, bacon, and apple juice rounded out our delicious meal. Then the chores began. Dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, taking out the trash...all the kids were helpful.

Then the fun began. Remember the project I started back in December? I got stalled because I didn't have the right router bit. Then I fouled up the first glue-up. Yesterday I got back into the building of the two bookcases with the intent to have them put together before the day was through.
I started by correcting a couple mistakes I had made. Then the first bookcase went together fairly well with Ruth's help in the assembly. As you can see, our dining room doubled as a workshop. Maybe you've read Sterling North's "Rascal." The boy in the story will do anything do accomplish his goals.

On the second bookcase I found that the grooves for the shelves were not quite square with the front and the parts wouldn't fit together with any ease. So I had to correct those slightly. Everything takes longer when you are using hand tools for almost everything. The shelves and sides were all cut and squared with hand tools.

With both bookcases, after the sides and shelves were all together, the front and back edges did not quite line up. Ruth helped me to plane down the high spots to make it all line up. She did pretty well for a first-time plane user!

We nailed the backs on and filled all the holes. I showed the girls how to seal the knots with white glue and let them handle that task. They were sure excited to be involved. They can't wait to paint!

The shelf heights were determined using the Fibonacci sequence.

Of course after we were done the sweeping and vacuuming had to be redone.

After the kids were put to bed Ruth gave me a haircut and I got to sweep again!

Ruth: We were all so happy to be able to spend the day together and that we accomplished so much! It so much fun to see how excited the kids get when we let them help with these sort of projects! Thank-you for a wonderful day Jason!!! You're awesome!!!

P.S. We may be on the verge of going private. Someone added themself as a follower to our blog who we do not know. Their intent appeared to be to direct traffic to their blog to generate income. It is not hard to block a follower though so we won't take that step yet. However, if you have to log in to read one blog, i.e. Tim/Vanessa/etc., then you're already logged in to read everyone else who is private. So it may not be long...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day of rest


With six children and only a tiny yard for them, there is always something demanding our attention even/especially on Sundays. After church we return home and make lunch, ususally popcorn, fruit, cheese, and some summer sausage or salami if we have it. Following lunch is naptime for at least four of our family so that means "Quiet Time" for the rest. During quiet time the only activities allowed are reading, coloring, or writing. Every other activity has proven to generate noise beyond the acceptable level. Even coloring and reading don't work 100% of the time. But generally "Quite Time" works pretty well.

What doesn't work well for myself is the actual napping. There seems to be a paradox in that the duration of a successful nap is inversely proportional to my emotional state when the nap is ended. In other words, the longer the nap I get, the grumpier I am for the rest of the day. The shorter the nap, the less grumpy I am. Today we came home, ate lunch and then laid Aaron down in our bed with Ruth. David was laid in his bed. I settled into the recliner and read for a little bit. Then I napped for about 30 minutes. I had made an appointment to visit someone later which kept my nap short. So I awoke feeling pretty good. We walked to the other family's home and had a good visit and are now home and everybody seems in good spirits. Last week I slept for much longer, and definitely felt a little more selfish/self-centered when I got up.

Have you noticed anything similar at your house?

Hope you have enjoyed your Sunday and all your weekend!

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Our family is currently reading in Alma, where the sons of Mosiah are teaching King Lamoni and his father. Every time we read the name Aaron, our Aaron perks up and says, "Aaron?"

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Leave me alone?

This was left as a comment by a "Claudia Lawrence":

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Kind of disturbing, but then our blog is public. With Blogger it is easy to surf through other blogs in the world, though, as far as I know, there is no way to display a list of the blogs hosted by their server.
I assume this comment is a sales pitch by someone not from our country from the bad spelling and horrible grammar. And I'm thinking of making the blog private since I only want family and friends to read it anyway. Maybe there are other measures I can take to keep the unwelcome away.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

a rocking good time

When our family lived in Auburn during the second and third year of our marriage I bought Ruth a rocking chair at an oak furniture store. It looked like a comfortable chair and was solidly made. But being it was made in China, it had some features that didn't belong.

The chair didn't really rock. It had a distinct bump-bump in the middle of its rocking motion that has kept us from sitting in it often. Not only was there the bumping but also the chair seemed to dive to the left as it rolled forward. So it has occupied space in our living quarters for several years now without being used.

A couple months ago I got a little block plane out to try to smooth away the bump. It was bad timing so the plane got put away and the chair went back in the boys' room.

Well now all the kids sleep in what was the boys room; the rocking chair now resides in our living room. It is comfortable to sit in as it has a cushion on the seat and a fleece blanket over the back.

Tonight I pulled the chair into the kitchen, whipped out my block plane and started planing the bottom of the rockers. It is an interesting process. A bump in the rocking is caused by a combination of a high spot and a low spot in the wood. As the chair moves along the arc of the rocker, it finds a low spot and the rocking motion slows or stops altogether. Then it passes across the high spot and an abrupt change in the motion occurs and is very noticeable for the person rocking. So all the high spots had to get planed down.

After everything was smoothed out I measured the rocker feet and found the front tips more than 1/8" different and the back 3/16" different in the opposite direction. So, I will have to get the belt sander or a planer to make them match.

Here are some pics of the mess I made in the kitchen.

Friday, January 08, 2010

You know it's time to blog when...

...your children ask you to take pictures of them in funny poses or with their latest piece of artwork and suggest that you blog about it!

...people who usually read your blog to "catch up" with you are sending you emails or calling you at home! are spending HOURS reading blogs of friends and family that you haven't been keeping up with!

Oh, how I feel I have been slacking when it comes to our fun little blog here. I'm not sure how many people are reading this anymore for lack of comments, but I have made a deal with myself to be better about blogging and take time away from Facebook games and other distractions to update my loved ones with the goings ons out here in "Beautiful" Clearlake!

I've been keeping busy with all the kids at home! I'm always behind on the laundry, dishes, cleaning, grocery shopping, paying bills, school paperwork, etc...I don't know if I'll be able to get caught up! I've been able to fit in some exercise time this week, and I've been sore from not doing it for so long!! It feels good to be doing something though! Even if I accidentally kick a kid or two in the process! ;) Hasn't happened yet, but with the way they like to run around me when I'm in the zone, it probably will. Rachel has been good about reminding me to exercise too! Little comments here and there about how big my bum is compared to hers really seem to get me motivated. Although she hasn't helped me stay away from all the Christmas goodies that are STILL hanging around. Who said Wal-Mart could mark-down the Chocolate Oranges to .57 cents each!?!?
I've finally gotten to the point with the Homeschooling where, if you ask the girls if they like their teacher, they just might say yes!!! I know, what an awesome accomplishment right!? I still feel like they may be behind in some of their subjects, but I guess we'll find out when they take the state tests this March and April. I've gotten so much support from friends and family and I am so grateful for that!
I have set some personal goals for this year. Things I hope I can do better at and that will make me a better wife mother and person in general.

Jason is working for a sheet metal company based out of Nice (A town about a 1/2 hr. commute both ways) and he's learning lots of new skills. He started there last March working in the office on their books and secretarial work. The last few months he's been going out and giving estimates and building things out of metal to help out more. He's trying so hard (With much success, in my bias opinion) to be good at his job, church calling, and being a husband and father! Even with all the projects that I keep dreaming up to keep him even more busy! He's so wonderful, talented and smart! I'm so glad I have him!!!

Rachel is doing well with her school work. She enjoys it most days, is very motivated to learn, and she enjoys learning new things. She's also such a wonderful help with all the other kids! She has been listening to the Harry Potter books on CD/Tapes, and is really liking them. She's on the last one now. It amazes me how much she can retain! I read the books a few years ago and I can' remember much, especially after seeing the movies. Her memory has always been a bit better than mine! I used to tell her the grocery list so I wouldn't forget anything. She's awesome to have around!

Emily loves to have fun with whatever she may be doing. School is work for her and she is doing well! It's been difficult at times with her emotions and certain subjects. Her sweet spirit is so fragile. she really doesn't like being told that she's doing something wrong. She enjoys helping with David. And she likes to have fun with her siblings! She's very crafty and likes to reuse recyclable items to make other "things" She calls herself a "Tinker" like Tinkerbell, because she's good at making things. She's been hoping that the teeth that are hanging in by threads will just fall out one day and that she won't have to suffer through the pain of having them pulled! What a cute little whimp! ;) Love ya!

Kaitlin is learning how to read and write and all the things you learn in Kindergarten. Somedays, she pretends that I take her to the Elementary school here in Clearlake. She keeps her school work in her back pack when she's not at "School." She enjoys playing her learning computer games and having fun with her siblings and Polly Pockets. She's so creative when she plays, it's fun to just sit and listen to her. It's wonderful having so many "Built in" friends!

Christopher is such a cutie! I'm glad to say that he still believes in "Magic Mommy Kisses." They sure work wonders some days! He doesn't show any interest in learning what Kaitlin is learning when I ask him if he wants to learn how to read too. But I watch him read along with Kaitlin and her school books, play on, and I just have to smile. He's such a nut! You can definitely tell that he loves his life!

Aaron loves life too! The world revolves around him, just in case you haven't heard! He's a nut too! He thinks he can get away with anything as long as he flashes that cute smile! Too bad we can't see it in the dark when he tries, without success, to sleep with us in our bed. He loves anything with sugar in it and I think he can tell if it doesn't. He likes to watch as siblings play games and enjoys teasing them in any way possible. He seems to love to make Christopher cry! BOYS!!! His favorite blankie is falling apart at the edges and he brings it up to me every so often saying, "Fix it?" Add that to my to-do list!

David is such a joy! He's army crawling around as fast as lightning. He's just not fast enough to follow me from place to place yet, and I think that makes him mad. He's eating solid foods really well, better than any other of our children, and I think it shows! He's not a chunk, but he's definitely not a skinny little boy! He's just right! He's generally happy and he loves to watch everything going on around him! There's always someone here willing to hold and love on him!

They all enjoy visiting family, playing games with each other, playing dress-up, and watching good movies. What a blessing ALL of our children are to us! We are so grateful to be a family and be able to have so much fun together! Here's to what promises to be a wonderful ans stressful year! Hope yours will be great as well!

One Good one!
One of the many that won't make it's way to our family wall! But We're still happy to share our goofiness! This was the ONLY picture that David was smiling and looking at the camera! Hope you enjoy!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Here we Go...


I know it's been a while since I've blogged and I apologize to those who I have given a hard time about not blogging often enough. I could give a list of all my excuses, but instead I think I'll just blog and then you'll know all the reasons I have abandoned the blogging world for sooo long.

Here it goes, I hope you're comfortable, it's gonna take some time to get caught up!! :) Maybe it will just take longer for me to get it posted than it will for you all to read.

As most of you all know, I am homeschooling the girls this year. Rachel is in fourth grade, Emily is in third and Kaitlin has started Kindergarten. It was a rough first couple of months getting everything scheduled and getting used to the paperwork. I must admit that I wasn't prepared for all the things that I would have to do as a teacher, wife, and a mother! So many responsibilities, and I'm just hoping that I AM doing what's best for my kids! I'm going through a Charter school that requires me to keep track of what the kids do, track attendance and hand in samples of their work each month. I think the hardest parts are trying to keep them all on track so they know what to do each day, and correcting their work. I often feel like I'm being pulled in six different directions at once. Everyone wants and needs me at the same time, the dishes keep calling out to me and the laundry continues to pile up! I enjoy having my home clean and it never seems to get even close anymore. I do have the kids help in a lot of the work, but it still feels like it never gets done enough. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I CAN do it all!? :)

We spent Halloween at my parents neighborhood. Rachel and cousin Josh are really getting to the age where they don't want to wait around for the little kids before going on to the next house. Ah to be young and cute so people will hand you free candy just by saying three magic words! They sure are enjoying every minute of it! All of the kids had fun going door to door and they where so cute to watch. After the kids were done trick-or treating, we went back to my parents to crack open some pinatas that the girls had made for school. there was one for the kids and two for the adults. the kids laughed SO much as they watched us old folks swinging at the air. The kids, of course got all the candy, but they were also so sweet to share it with us. It was fun to be with family for the night.

I started David on solids the beginning of December and he's doing great!!! He's our first child that has taken baby food from the jars. Or maybe I'm finally getting this down and doing something right. It's about time! He's doing great and growing like he should!

We celebrated Emily's 8th birthday on Saturday the 21st of November, her actual birthday is on the 25th, which fell on the day before Thanksgiving. She invited three friends over (Emily and Caitlyn from her old elementary school, and Avrill, a friend from church) and asked to have a horse birthday party. she also wanted me to make a cupcake-cake. this was my first attempt and with Jason's help in the design and shaping, I think it turned out rather well!!!

We spent Thanksgiving with Jason's family this year. Great food and company all around! It's so nice to live close enough to family to be able to visit so often!

Emily was baptized on December 5th at the Rocklin Stake Center. We had a potato bar luncheon at the Loomis ward building afterward for those who attended and then we broke out the Volleyball net and showed each other our awesome volleyball skills!!! I think we were all a little rusty. We won't be ready for the next Summer Olympics that's for sure! I hope all who joined us had a wonderful time, I know Emily sure felt special. Most of our families were able to make it for the occasion. Thank-you again to all who came and participated in the wonderful day for Emily! She had a great time and I'm sure she felt the love of her family. We're so happy to have her special spirit in our family. and we hope that she will be able to develop those talents that will help her be the best person she can be and be blessed to return to live with our Heavenly Father someday! We sure Love you Emily! Thanks for being a part of our family!

After the stress of the Baptism was over, I was able to focus on Christmas gifts. I decided to make a stuffed animal for each of the kids. I made little dogs for the girls and dinosaurs for the boys. I didn't have them finished until the 23rd. Which was our Christmas Eve because we left on the 24th to head for Grandma's house. Maybe next year I'll plan better and have all my shopping and crafts done before the week of Christmas. It was way too stressful staying up so late every night for a week! I'm sure we weren't the only people in the world that have ever done that though.

Oops, wait! I can't forget to mention that we were able to celebrate Kaitlin's 6th birthday!!! She was so excited for her birthday, and very set on having a Hannah Montana celebration. I did what I could to accommodate her wishes. I decorated her cake with Hannah Montana pink and purple and she spread pink "Rock-star" sprinkles all over the rest of it! We ate yummy cake and spent the evening as a family enjoying each other as we finished up our caroling adventures. She let me know later that night that she had the best birthday EVER!!! We're so happy to have her in our family too! We are so blessed to have all these cute and wonderful spirits to teach and take care of. Each one has added so much to our family and I couldn't imagine my life without any of them!!! Thanks for choosing our family! We sure love you too Kaitlin! We spent our New Year's Eve at our ward party. We ate and danced there until 10:30pm when we decided that the boys should be in bed. We got home and stuck in the movie "National Treasure" thinking the girls would probably be asleep before midnight. When in fact Jason was the only one of those remaining awake that didn't make it to midnight. I turned off the movie at around 12:30 and the girls were sad that they couldn't watch to the end. I reassured them that they could finish it the next day, and they went on to bed.

All in all we had a wonderful Christmas vacation. Now it's back to the grindstone! Don't be surprised if you don't hear from me for a while again. Although I think I may just have to make time to blog! Reading all your blogs to get caught up takes too long! :) Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! Merry belated Christmas to you all and a Happy New Year!