Friday, June 28, 2013

Garden version 20.13

Yes, it's that time of the year: time for the yearly garden blog post.  I'm pretty pleased with the garden this year and it appears to be a fruit year as well.  Hopefully we will diligently care for the garden throughout the summer so we will have a great harvest - looking forward to doing some canning this August . . .
We did get a couple loads of nice mink manure (well, it was a little fresher than it should be, but still . . .) and that helped a ton.  Jared was also able to take some time and some funds and redo the watering system this year and it seems to be a little more efficient than before.  All in all, as I said, I am pleased.  And it's been so hot and dry that the weeds aren't even getting as crazy as usual. :)
Lots of potatoes this year along with peppers and zucchini in the foreground and melons, squash, pumpkins and cucumbers in the far left

Onions, carrots, lettuce, broccoli, beans and peas

Tomato plants

The fruit salad tree actually has plums this year and one nectarine along with the peaches.  So excited!

"Millions of peaches, peaches for free.  Millions of peaches, peaches for me"

Golden delicious apples abound

We even have a lot of Macintosh this year!

The pear tree has always been a great producer

Even our new d'anjou pear tree has a pear on it.

Can't wait for these honey-crisp apples


And, so far so good, our pumpkins look healthy and strong.  Crossing fingers they stay that way!  Hoping that the chickens like squash bugs if those insects show up.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Yes, chickens.  About 2 years ago at stake conference one of the stake presidency, President Jensen, who also happens to be a neighbor, talked about self-reliance.  He talked about the fact that we are so fortunate to have so much land and that we should be using it wisely.  He advocated vegetable gardens and fruit trees and then went on to talk about chickens, goats and cows.  Now, being a city girl I can't imagine ever having a cow (although I would love to have the beef!) and I would have no use for goats as I won't touch goat milk or products made thereof.  However, I was strongly impressed that we should get chickens.  Call it the Spirit speaking to me or call it guilt or whatever, I knew that we should have chickens. 
Fast forward 2 years later and many trips to IFA looking at the little chicks and saying, "We aren't set up to have chickens yet."
Jared and I were at IFA getting seeds and plants for the garden about 6 weeks ago and looked at the chicks again.  I told him that we would NEVER be ready to have chickens, that we would need to get the chickens and then get ready to house them.  While standing there one of the chicks escaped and walked right over to me.  She was a cute little black ball of down and I picked her up and she stole my heart.  Now, this story does take a turn for the worse before it gets better.  We picked out 6 chicks and a 50 lb bag of chick food and surprised Marin at home with her new pets.  They were SO cute in their little cardboard box, and so friendly.

It was the day that the second Star Trek movie came out, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and we had to go soon after bringing home the chicks.  Here's where it all goes wrong.  We were concerned about having a hot light in the cardboard box, worried about fire, so we turned off the light and went to the movie.  Yeah, did I mention that we were new to this?  Marin talked about her chicks all the way home and ran upstairs to see them and came back down immediately, devastated.  The chicks were dead, having gotten too cold.  I immediately sent her and Jared back to IFA to buy more and Nicolas and I went to work trying to bring them back to life.  There was one, Loki, who was still moving a little and three, Bellatrix, Dimples and Terra, who were still barely breathing.  Nicolas and I held them in our hands and breathed on them and got out the hair dryer for added heat.  Bellatrix and Dimples responded and we were able to save them but Terra died in my hands.  I hate this part of having pets.  I put Thor, Terra and Chipmunk in a box in the garage for later burial and we kept watch over the three remaining chicks to make sure that they would regain their health.  Unfortunately IFA was closed that evening but at least we had the three chickadoodles left.  I took Marin to IFA on Monday and she picked out three more, Cleopatra, Arrow and Nugget. 
This is at one week old when they were living in my closet and allowed to roam my room for exercise.  Aren't they the cutest little balls of fluff?
This is at three weeks old and they love to come to the garden to help us weed.  They stay right by us and are definitely our little friends, especially loving Marin and Nicolas.
And finally, at six weeks they are definitely taking chicken form and they are getting a little big for their temporary pool house.  As you can see they still love us as they came running over when I took their picture.  Now we are just waiting for Jared to have two minutes to make a chicken coop for them.  Between work and school, he sure doesn't have a lot of time, but he is seeing the need for our poor chickadoodles to have a permanent home.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I don't even know where to start.  Trek was an amazing experience.  I was excited for it, but not for wearing pioneer clothes.  I still think that we could have had a great experience without them, but they did complete the picture.  We took the youth to the Mosida trek area, on the west side of Utah Lake, and although I was a little skeptical at first of the location, I found that it was perfect.  There were places that were grassy with tamarack trees and there were hot, dusty areas with cactus and scrub; in other words, just like the environments that the pioneers would have trekked through.  Fortunately for us, trekking the first week of June was also perfect weather-wise.  We had one 90 degree day but the rest of our time there the temperature was in the 80s, the weather was  beautiful, cooler at night, not a rain cloud to be seen.  Honestly, I think that our trek experience was perfect, all the way around.
I was somewhat concerned beforehand about my role, or lack thereof, as I was not a "ma" and not in charge at all.  I was "support staff" and found that it was ideal, really doing whatever I wanted.  I gravitated to the Robertson's "family" of which Erik was a member and they just considered me to be the widowed aunt of the family.  After the first day I got in and pushed and pulled their handcart too, to earn my keep. :)  I helped the "food couple" with the meals, cooking and cleaning, and generally just made myself useful. 
Our trek coordinators, the Jackmans, definitely relied on inspiration in dividing up the youth into families.  All of the youth were exactly where they should have been.  Marin was in the Benson's family with sweet Fawn as her "ma" and siblings that were just right for her.  Erik was in the Robertson's family with his friends Brennen and Alia and had a great time even though he didn't want to.  I was thrilled to watch my kids have great experiences on trek.
As I said, I was excited for this trek, but I had no idea what an incredibly spiritual experience it was going to be.  Between the "vignettes" that the families performed periodically along the trail to the impromptu breaking out in hymns while walking, the women's pull and the family greeting us at the end waving white hankies, the Spirit was ever-present.  I could see youth being touched and lives changing forever.  I have gained a greater appreciation for and love for the pioneers who came across to build up our Father's kingdom on the earth, sacrificing so much for those that came after.  The "women's pull" which is always one of the highlights of the trek experience didn't disappoint.  It was so difficult and I wept to think of the pioneer women who worked so hard to get their families across the plains and mountains with little ones in tow in conditions far worse than ours.  I hope I can be stronger and be able to make my Father in Heaven proud as I "pull my handcart" through this life.
I hope that I will get another opportunity in this life to go on trek again although I don't think that it will ever measure up to this experience.  Thank you to the Jackmans for putting together this most amazing experience.

At our first break for a vignette - day 1 - Erik and Brennen

Marin and her "big sister" Jessica listening to the vignette on our first stop on day one

Jessica was a great big sister to Marin - they were inseparable

Erik had fun with the Benson girls and Brennen

Breakfast!  Marin and her "sisters" with Ma Benson in the background (pink)

Last powwow before hitting the trail.  Erik's family is ready to go with Ma and Pa Robertson in the foreground

Marin and her sisters ready to hit the trail - day 2 - still clean . . .

Erik making sure to stay hydrated and yes, I caught him smiling

Stopping for the afternoon - day 2 - exhausted on the hottest day

Erik can't say he didn't have fun

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hip hopping cousins

Years ago Markee and Tamsyn discovered hip hop.  Of course, as little sisters do, Marin and Megyn joined in.  However, without their older sisters around M & M didn't stick with it for long.  They have both decided that there are other activities that they prefer and this will be their last Pony Express days performance and their last recital will be this weekend.  The end of an era . . .
Thanks LeAndrena Hadlock for being such a great teacher and mentor to my girls!  They will never forget you!

Monday, June 17, 2013


With my new job at Westlake High School, I now have my summers off.  I will take some of this free time to try to get some blogging done.  So far we have had our youth conference (Pioneer Trek at Mosida on the west side of Utah Lake - INCREDIBLE!), Erik has gotten his driver's license, and we are getting the house back under control (cleanliness-wise).  We got chickens and are waiting for them to grow up and give us eggs but for right now we are enjoying our 6 new pets in the family room (!) until they are big enough to stay outside at night.  That's NOT helping with getting the house cleaned . . . And we are making sure to have a great garden this year because of my free time - whee, more time to weed . . .
I will do individual posts about each of these events, complete with pictures, but wanted to, first, touch base with the blog.  I think it is happy to see me. :)