Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I am alive

I have gotten a few comments recently so I know there are people out there reading.

My daughter stole my camera.
My new Internet is not friendly to loading lots of pictures.
I am busy (wait that is all the time)

Recent adventures: cheese making with raw goat and cow milk; cleaning out the upstairs of the barn; sewing a (loosely) Middle Ages costume for one of my suppliers; enjoying the beautiful fall weather; nursing a cold, plus the colds of my children; hosting a small group for church; canning applesauce and tomatoes; making soap; driving to town for various appointments; supporting J in her first theatrical role, including driving to some rehearsals; being single parent while Todd has been in South America.

J promised to share some pictures with me, then I can pass on some to you. You can also checkout her blog to see what we have been doing.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fair week: no pictures.

It was a crazy week here this week. I kept friends and family up to date via Facebook. Here is brief a journal of the week.

July 23 at 11:55pm: Still entries are due tomorrow at the Saginaw County Fair Grounds. Almost done..just a twin quilt to bind and then garden crops/flowers in the am. Then a little break until Tuesday...see you at the fair!!!

July 24 at 8:54pm: Took 88 still exhibits to the fair today. Then took a 3 hour nap.

July 26 at 10:41pm: Animals are all tucked into their fair homes. Hope the goats stay put better this year than last. I am already tired. If Todd thinks this thing is going to be restful I may have to sick our 4-H leader on him with some jobs.
Looking forward to seeing you at the fair.

www.mlive.com Saginaw County Fair begins today
Hundreds of volunteers and hundreds of animals are expected to attract more than 20,000 attendees to the Saginaw County Fairgrounds this week.

In the article is a picture of my hand holding my (well my daughter's) goats in one hand. I believe with the other I was holding a chicken.

July 27 at 8:05am: Less than an hour until show time.
Goats today. See you at the Fair!

July 27 at 7:33pm: Had an great and exhausting day at the Fair...highlights: G, Grand and Reserve grand champion Angora Goats, best of show for G and J in still exhibits, lots of blues for J and I especially.
-Josie {typing for Mommy} Oh, and she won the *very prestigious* "Home maker of the Year" award! :) :) :)

Aunt Ruth: Will us plain old ordinary house wives be able to associate with
...the royalty up there?Don't let Todd forget this award!!!
Me: You plain ordinary "housewives" are my mentors and heroes

http://www.wnem.com/ 96th Annual Saginaw County Fair Begins In Chesaning N is in a video segment getting her bunny out. The little girl interviewed is in our club and was in my embroidery class..yes she really is that pretty and sweet! She won Jr. Showmanship for goats. And will show her Turkey tomorrow and Bunny on Thursday

Wednesday 7/28 AM: Starting another long exciting day at the county fair...poultry (2 girls and 6 birds), style show, and public speaking (4 kids and 5 speeches)
And of course I will be there in my crown and sash--maybe some make up.

PM: J, N and D did dramatic readings. N had a costume that I finished last night at 11, chanting to my self 'I am my mother". J's was amazing. G did a group thing on goats then and individual on dog care.
G and N did well with their chickens. Unfortunately they were competing against each other. G also got a blue ribbon for the goat obstacle course with her dwarf.
Todd stayed with some of the kids to watch tractor racing. I just put little girls to bed. I plan on them crashing.

Wednesday at 9:52pm: Another long tiring day at the fair. G got 3rd (by 1/2 point to 2nd) for poultry showmanship. The 5 birds received 2 first, 2 second and a fourth. G and Hugs (goat) won a blue for the obstacle course (she can get him to do almost anything). Speech/reading placings were not posted when I left.
The little girls fell asleep before I could kiss them goodnight. Todd has the rest watching tractor racing and fireworks; so I am trying to decide between a hot bath or a cool shower and then the hot pad and a good book.
Tomorrow is Bunny and the dog show. And I really want to watch the showmanship round robin where all of the best showmanship kids compete switching animals.

Thursday at 10:31pm: Another fun filled day at the fair. G and her team won best of show for their demonstration. J won first for her reading and N second (different age groups). N's rabbit showmanship class was very competitive and she learned a lot.; her buck placed #5. Spent the day with friends...and we saw a bunch of friends from church today. That made the day go faster for the little ones.

Tomorrow is 3 horse classes for G, the auction (we don't participate, but friends do) and the rodeo (spectating only)

The highlight for our club was that of the 3 top showmanship levels 2 went to Stoney River Riders members. And the top points went to our dear friend Paige Carman.

Only two more days of the Saginaw County Fair. If you haven't been out come on out. Today is the youth Pleasure Horse Show and the Rodeo. Tomorrow is Youth Speed Horse show. Of course all the cute animals are still there and the rides and the still exhibits.
Sunday will be a serious day of rest around here (after we get everything and everyone home from the fair grounds).
Only 2 more days to see me in my tiara and sash, except for rare public appearances...I hope that doesn't scare you away

Friday PM: Fair report: G earned a first, a second and two fourths in her western pleasure walk/trot classes. J and N helped with the livestock buyers' dinner. I got to watch some of the auction. It was amazing to see the fair community come together to bid on a donation Lamb...the winning bid raised over $5000 for the fair grounds. Made me cry. It was beautiful.

Stayed for the rodeo and fireworks. The children and I were there from 9 am to 10 pm. A very long day.

The Argus-PressSag. http://argus-press.com/news/community/chesaning/article_e77d2d1a-9b1d-11df-aad3-001cc4c03286.html Goats take their shot at ‘obstinate’ course County Fair event pits goat in obstacle competition
The "obstinate course" is hilarious to watch.
We cheer and laugh and cheer and laugh.
They are doing it again tomorrow...well later today...at 4 PM in front of the horse barn

Finally G's show pants are in the dryer and I can get in bed.
Tomorrow is the youth Speed Horse Show, G will be riding 3-4 classes depending on how the horse is doing. See you at the fair.

Saturday 11:PM: Only a couple of events today. The Youth Horse Speed Show started out a bit damp, but it became a beautiful day. G earned 2 thirds, a fifth and a sixth in her first speed show. Later Hugs earned a 6th place for the second obstacle course. His pen-mate Heidi came in last I think. It's easier to push or pull a little goat around than a big one.

Fair ends tonight: relieved and exhausted and sad and happy and overwhelmed (at the mess in my house that I haven't even been in most of the week.)
Last year was good, but this year we were more involved, and it was just an amazing experience. The effort the organizers, volunteers, parents and especially the kids made this week is stupendous.

I am not ready to talk about next year's fair yet, but ready to think about preparing, mostly animals and their issues, for what we think we want to do in the next year with out "farm"
I have been eyed for an even more involved position when T is big.
Even through all the just hanging around the little ones had to do while they watched and waited for the older ones they are sad that there is no Fair tomorrow.

We have a 4-H meeting Tuesday so we won't go into 4-H withdrawal to deeply. My children all made new friends or strengthened old friendships.

Tonight after dinner Todd asked the children what their favorite thing was at the fair. T: Puppet show, M: candy (at the vendor booths), D the electric trains, N riding rides with 4-H friends, G winning gold fish at the midway (more animals), J hanging out with and getting to know 4-H friends, Todd seeing em get my award and the rodeo. I think my favorite was the camaraderie of the fair family and being part of it or seeing my children challenged and rewarded for hard work.

Hopefully J or I will get pictures on our blog this week.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Upcoming County Fair

Friends have asked about our participation in the Saginaw county fair. I wanted to let everyone know what our schedule is like during fair week. We will be at the fairgrounds everyday of the fair; you will most likely find us in the Jr. Livestock Barn or the Small Animal Barn. Please come say hello.

Tuesday is Veterans Day—Vets get in free.
9:30 G will be showing her four goats
Wednesday is Senior Citizen’s Day--$3 of admission
9:30 N and G will be showing their chickens
2:00 N will be participating in the style show.
3:00 (following style show) J, G, N and D will be doing public speaking in the still exhibit building.
4:00 G’s goat will be in the goat obstacle course.
Thursday is Pre-Schooler’s day—ages 2-5 receive $3 off admission
9:30 N will be showing her rabbit
1:00 G will be doing the dog show.
Friday and Saturday
Gwill be participating in the youth horse show (on a barrowed horse).

Our family also has many still exhibits that will be on display. The children will have embroidery, photography, sewing, crafts, art, culinary and agriculture displays. I am entering sewing, crochet, photography, jam, floriculture and agriculture categories. Todd said he wanted to enter the deck, but we couldn’t figure out what category it was in.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Home baked goodies for sale.

Well not yet, but now it is legal in Michigan!

I looked into the kitchen thing when we were doign the design work of finishing the basement. It appeared to be too much bother and cast to put a certified kitchen in so when I saw this bill was in committee I changed my basement plans hoping, praying and even writing an email that it would pass. I see that it has!!!! Yeah. The girls can sell cookies and pies from our own kitchen.

Here is the scoop.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Update via my Super Blogger

J's blog Has all the latest.

She has time to take some amazing photos. I have been putting out fires, getting things ready for the county fair and being a mommy.

The cute ducks went back home to the neighbor's. I think they were driven away by our dog who keeps digging out of his kennel. Tonight Todd installed some cement board around the base of the kennel so hopefully that will help.

July has been busy so far and will only crescendo until the County Fair the last week of July. We have something on the calendar almost everyday. 75% of it is 4-H related.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jemima and Jeremy

Friday our neighbor stopped by. We started talking about the power outage we had earlier in the week. He was surprised that we did not have a generator. he had a second one that he wasn't using and told us we could have it for a good deal. Todd checked it out. Turns out that the generator came with 2 ducks.
I guess these 2 ducks were not getting along with another two he had and he wanted to separate them. At their original home they used to live with chickens, the chickens left (to our freezer) and the ducks took over the hen house. They had never been on the pond. They loved it.

Now they are free to roam. They have stayed pretty close to the pond. They are eating all the time. Hopefully, they are eating things we don't want. Like weeds, algae and bugs in the pond. They also like the grass.

It turns out that Todd was told that I wanted ducks. I don't remember telling anyone that. I did think it would be fun to watch ducks on the pond, and it is. Watch what you think out load around your children. Now the three little ones are fighting over whose ducks they actually are. The ducks do not go near anyone so I am not sure why any particular child would want to "own" them. They don't cuddle, they even swim the other way when you get close. Oh well.

Sticking with our literary theme I named the girl (we are assuming they are a male female pair) Jemima from Beatrix Potter stories. Jeremy just goes with Jemima. I can't tell them apart and we just call them "the ducks". But it is fun to give them names.

I hope I can get one of the children to build them at little lean-to. They didn't like the hard rain we had Sunday.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Father's Day Weekend

We had a very busy weekend last weekend. I was planning to blog the whole thing, but J beat me to it. It is amazing how a young lady can find time for that kind of stuff while the mom of many can't fit it in. (Plus I'd rather be sewing) She swiped some of my photos so I will swipe her posts. (Just click on the pink letters to see the pictures.)

Friday evening our church community group had a potluck. We always eat very well.

Saturday our 4-H club sponsored a horse show and we helped.

Sunday the oldest son of a dear family got married. It was a small wedding and we were honored to have been invited. We met this family when they were a small family of 6. I remember saying after knowing them for less than a year: "I will never have 4 children and I will NEVER homeschool, they are nuts". Well, now It seems kind of funny that I thought that. We have 6 children now and they have 9. The mom is still my hero in all that she gets done with a quiet and gentle spirit. So as we start the season of witnessing young people we have seen grow up I think I will cry more and more, tears of blessing. I teared up as Dustin stood beaming as he saw his new bride walk down the aisle. In my eyes he will be 10 years old (the age he was when we met) forever.

Eight of the nine children in this family have participated in restored to Glory Dance Ministry. The youngest is still too young. So it fit that there was dancing at the reception, this is unusual for the weddings we have been to within our church family. The children did most of the dancing, but Todd and I danced one dance and I got our on the floor with the children for a few. The host family has quite the collection of moves. The poor Norris children are not rhythmically gifted in the same way, but they kept up in effort if not grace. Unfortunately the flash on our camera is being weird and very few of the pictures turned out well . But I did get some pictures for documentation: The father of the groom and one of our pastors were both caught on film (wait it's digital, so how does that go?) I also have blurry pictures the groom's brother J.P. dancing with little T (he is on his knees). The younger boys were also bustin' some moves were to fast for my camera.and the mother of the groom participating in the last line dance. J.P. also lead a sort of Conga lineBride's Maids', flower girls and TIn the background here you can see a couple of the groomsmen This is the youngest of the family. She was adorable, but ready for this whole wedding business to be over.Finally J got out on the dance floor. She made this Sense and Sensibility Dress for the occasion. The bride shares my love for sewing. It just happened that all of the girls (including me) except one were wearing homemade dresses. And many of the men just couldn't miss the golf thing....I understand it was a big one. I am not sure why Todd, who hates golf, was there. He claimed something about bonding.

Monday: Since we had a social engagement on Father's Day and the blue gill were still biting in Rose City, Todd took Monday off and we spent the day fishing and sleeping and swimming. OK, I did the sleeping and the kids swam and fished a little. J read a book and kept me company while I snored. Todd, with some help, caught 40+ bluegill.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chickens and young ladies

I snapped these pictures while I had the camera out taking pictures of our new goats. Who by the way have settled down a bit but don't like to be more than a few feet from each other.

This is one of our new Ameracaunas trying to figure out how to get back with the flock.

This is Esmeralda. The day we picked up the chicks she was walking funny and we thought it best to leave her with the 4-H leader and let her deal with the eventuality of her death. Well 2 weeks later she was doing just fine so she got sent home with us. She got picked on when we first put her in with the others. But after a couple days where they could see each other, but not pull her feathers out she go a long much better. She is smaller than the others, but if she lays eggs like the rest we'll be happy.

This is my friend George. Chicks grow and change faster than people babies and remember much less. But she will always have a place in my heart. N has chosen her to be one of her show birds for the county fair.

This is Whitey (G's bird of choice from this group), Phantom (N's bantam), and one of the no-name birds.

N found this outfit at goodwill and has decided that for the costume parade for rabbits and poultry at the fair she will be Elpheba from Wicked (AKA the Wicked Witch from Wizard of Oz) and Zoser/Flops (her bunny) will be a winged monkey. In wicked he has a name,but I can't remember it, you will have to ask my Wicked expert.

Speaking of....

J stuck this silly pose as I walked by:

Then she sat down on a log with the pond in the back ground. I thought it would make a lovely picture. But she wouldn't smile. I asked why and she said she hadn't brushed her teeth and had food in them.
So she did a quick swish and clean her teeth the best she could. I couldn't see anything, but she is conscious of stuff in her braces that she is ready to be rid of.

In the end I got a beautiful picture of my eldest young lady.


I made this quilt for my brother and his bride for Christmas. I didn't have a very good picture in my Christmas pictures, so he sent one to me. He said no props were added. The pictures behind the quilt are one that my grandmother had in her house, then hey were in my mom's house. I am glad my brother has them displayed in such a prominent place. I believe the pictures of my mom and her parents were taken in the mid 1960's
Thanks Greg.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Romantic Dresses

A few weeks ago I made M and T each two dresses from Jennie Chancey's Romantic Girls' Dress. I have made this pattern a couple times before. Sensibility patterns are very easy to follow. So I whipped up these dresses in a few days, but I never posted them. So here they are:

Todd has taken the children fishing recently. M thinks it is a great thing...time with Daddy doing what he loves to do. So when Todd thought he'd check on our little fish (we stocked our pond last spring) M was right there to help.

"Yeah, I got one!"

"Keep reelin' M, keep going"

"This is getting hard!"

"He's kind of small."

"Ooops, he swallowed the hook. Don't want that to happen, these fish have to grow to be dinner some day."

So Todd let M and T feed worms to the fish.

All out of worms. Bummer

So we found something else to do.

Dresses made from this particular pattern are very good twirling dresses

I think that was too much twirling for T

Chasing tadpoles and minnows

Last year we didn't have any wildflowers. I was sad. This year we have a ton! The girls love to pick, so we have many bouquets gracing our table. The things that are blooming and thus on our table are a flower that looks like a daisy, but stinks; white yarrow; and various variety of clover, much of which we seeded. Now that they are allowed to pick the wild flowers they are much better about not picking flowers in my gardens.

T had a little trouble with a choice for bunch of flowers. This white yarrow really wanted to stay where it was,

"I love my sister"

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Elinore and Marianne

About 9 weeks ago I saw an add for two female pygora goats not too far from us. G had talked about getting some sort of fiber animal for some time. We visited them along with our 4-H leader and decided we wanted them.

Today was the day to go pick them up, now they are almost 9 weeks old. We left from church to drive to Lapeer. After a couple stops, lunch and TSC for last minute necessities and the latest MaryJane FarmGirl magazine, we were almost there. Even Todd asked "Are we there yet? Lake Huron should be right over the next hill."

We arrived to find a note taped to the door. We were about 45 min after the time I had said we'd be there. But the number the owner left for me to call wasn't working. So I hid the money and found the kids with their mama.

None of them were real sure we should be there, but the kids are little enough that they could be convinced. The Mama was small enough to handle too for that matter being 50% pygmy

They were very quiet on the way home, cuddling together in the borrowed animal crate.

Their grand entrance into the barn

Heidi had to see what was going on. (or maybe she was looking for a treat.) She responded with a motherly bleat to the kids' little baby bleats. We have to keep them separate for a period of time. Kind of like quarantine when you bring animals into a new country.

They were hesitant to come out of the crate, but came eventually

They found the water and salt block right away, but weren't too sure that we were safe. When G put the grain in their stall they got busy with that. It took a bit for them to be sure the alfalfa was good, but when they did they munched away and got closer to us.

If we got a hold of them they would sit quietly on our laps until we let go. Then they were off to the other side of their stall.

I can't tell them apart very well yet. Marianne has curlier hair on her body, less hair on her head and is bigger. She was the one to go to the grain and alfalfa first.

Elinore has more fluff on her head, but is smaller and less curly on her body. She took a little longer to warm up to her new home.

Here is an up close of the fiber:

It is still short because they are babies, but it is very soft and curly. Their dad's fur is very long and curly.

In this picture they are standing right in front of the door to their stall. The top of the door is about the same distance as from the bottom board to the top board.

After we had the girls settled and had moved on to other things, Todd was putting his good fishing poles away in the barn when we heard hollers for help.

Nothing panicky, but obviously something he didn't want to deal with alone. One of the goats (he can't tell them apart either, he might never be able to) had jumped the gate to the stall. He managed to coral them then head to the house for the cordless screwdriver.

The outside of the door.

We thought for sure it would be tall enough, but one of the kids had shown us her climbing ability when we were trying to get her out of her original home: She was on top of a box that was on top of an old kitchen cupboard. She jumped from there into the adjoining goat stall. After we got her sister out of the stall the climber jumped back in from the next stall. Then while we were securing the pen she climbed to the top of a pile of hay bales. Actually, with my back the way it is, it was easier to get her down from there than up into my arms to carry her to the van.

He grabbed an extra board and made the door a bit taller.

They supervised the redesign of their new home from the top of a dog house. We got the dog house for Hugs and Heidi. Hugs (the dwarf) like to stand on it to be tall. Heidi doesn't need any help to get up. She is our resident mountain goat. Todd and G made a small pasture for Hugs and Heidi. Heidi won't stay in. The fence is standard cattle panels and the door is a palate that has been added to so that it it taller than I am. We wondered if Heidi didn't "tell" the kids how to get over the door.

It should be plenty tall now, but we have checked on them a few times. It seems to have worked. They have been calling for their mama, but haven't escaped again.

Goodnight Heidi, take care of the babies.