Monday, September 30, 2013


Chased off a whole family of moose tonight.  First the mom, who jumped down the rock wall into the street to get away from me.  Then as I was standing proudly in my front yard, watching the momma moose munching on the neighbor's trees, a cyclist came cautiously down the street.  He was watching Momma Moose... making sure she didn't turn around and bolt at him... when a bull moose with a huge rack came trotting right down the side of my yard.  I hollered at the cyclist, who finally looked up from the momma moose to see the bull barreling toward him.. he started backing his bicycle up the street, toward my driveway.  He probably would have trundled right into the bull if I hadn't yelled.  The bull basically ignored him, and went over to join the lady moose.  My neighbor whose yard was now being munched was out mowing her lawn.  She hollered at them to get back to my yard, assuring them my trees are much younger and tastier.  The bull was unimpressed and came over to see what she was yelling about.   She abandoned her lawn mower and went inside for her camera.  She sent me these pictures - you can see Thing 1 on the porch with the dog.

Then two baby moose came over and started munching on my trees!  The cyclist was still at the edge of my yard, watching to make sure the adult moose were distracted enough to not mind him cutting between them and the babies.  I started throwing bark and small branches at the babies.  I am such a lousy shot they ignored anything but a direct hit. Thing 1 came out and started huffing and growling at them and one left, I finally landed a piece of bark and the 2nd left.  I don't see how my little trees are going to survive.

Thing 2 has been doing really well at her riding.  She was in a school show a couple of weekends ago.  

She did really great on the dressage part, but she got muddled on the jumping part and missed a couple of jumps, and went around to do them again, and her time was bad.  But she had fun and I guess we learn a little more each time she does it. 

I am coaching Thing 1's Lego League team.  There are only three kids on the team, Thing 1 and two of her friends, I don't know how I'd handle more than that.  The 4H group held a coaches meeting to give us some advice, and one of the more veteran coaches said his first year they were just happy to have a robot that could do one or two missions, and that he kept reminding himself "Every hour spent on Legos is an hour not spent on Minecraft."  Amen.
This Thing 1 is trying out for yearbook photographer at her school.  I think it's absolutely wonderful that she's opening up to new experiences.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Yes We Have Moose

Construction has finished!!!


Our two month project was stretched into two years, but it didn't stretch into three and we are DONE.  ALMOST!
It's down to me puttering around, moving grass, putting in a few plants.
But it took so long, I had a friend asking me about our new landscaping plans. 
She said "A lot of your neighbors have a wagon wheel in their front yards... There's an old rusty mining cart up the street, and I've seen an old plow.  But you went a totally different way... that Excavator is a really bold statement..."
I mean the thing as basically been there for TWO YEARS!  It would move around on occasion, it left for the winter, but Hubby was suspecting that our Excavator guy didn't really have anywhere to park it, so in order to avoid storage fees over the summer he just gets a job, and lets it sit on those people's property all summer.
It's a pretty bold statement...

But now it's done!  The excavator is gone!  I need to add a picture of the finished product.

But in the mean time, I would like to call your attention to the trees, pictured just behind the excavator.
We put them in last fall.  About a year ago.  They leafed out nicely in the summer, but haven't been doing as well as their counterparts on the other side of the yard.  These aren't just any old aspen, mind you, I don't like any old aspens.  These are special Swedish Aspens.  Ya!   They don't just turn yellow in the fall, they turn red and orange!  And they don't sucker as much.  And they're much more expensive, of course.
I was wondering why they were more scrawny, when I saw that the moose and deer follow down the side of the house and just stop right there and munch on our trees!
I thought it was quite charming... so rustic...

So outdoorsy!  Yes that is a baby moose in my trees!  Awwwwww!  No wonder the trees are kind of scrawny on that side...  But the moose were here first...  they can have a few leaves... it will leaf in next year.

Then this morning... I saw this.

And the stupid moose have earned my ire.

Three for three.  They broke off each of the trees right above the tether level.  

Stupid moose.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The summer of fun

We had a super lousy summer two years ago.  Between all the pain in the neck of decluttering our house to put it on the market, Thing 2 breaking her arm, and all the furor of moving, the kids seemed to feel like they'd been robbed of most of what should be the funnest time of their annual lives.

Last summer I did my best to make up for it, and we did have a nice summer, but I felt like I missed the high mark I'd hoped for. 

This summer is, in my opinion, nailing that mark.

It is always a challenge for me to balance activities to keep the girls entertained with down time that my girls seem to need.  Too much down time and they're bored.  Too many activities and they complain that they never got a chance to relax and play around the house.  They play really well together, and like to do their own things, so having them around the house is really not a problem.  We've done pretty well at taking time for both this year.

One reason I'm feeling good about this summer is because of the overwhelmingly successful trip to the Oregon coast taken by my extended family.   A lot of that success was due to the choice of house to rent.  It came down to two houses, a more expensive house that was roomier and probably more centrally located to what we thought we'd be doing, or a little bit cheaper house that didn't claim to have as many beds but looked more private.  The decision was up to me and my sister-in-law, as we are the ones with the kids and would have to figure out the sleeping arrangements with the smaller house, possibly putting someone on a couch or floor or something.
We went with the private house.  And we won.
I had a hard time stopping congratulating myself on what a fabulous choice we made.  The house itself contributed greatly to what a wonderful time we had.

We had a beach mostly to ourselves...
The girls found a chest of buried treasure on the beach...
 There was a comfy couch that we relaxed on a lot...
 We went on a fishing expedition.... and had fabulous fish dinners  for the next couple nights!
 We went to a glass blower, returned a couple times, and bought some glass
 Spent a lot of time playing on the beach!
We watched a lot of sunsets from the house (Yes this was our view!)
 One of the highlights was escorting a baby seal back to the water..
 We had a totally fun time and can't wait to go back next year!

It was hard to leave.
As we were packing up Thing 2 asked "What is our next big vacation this summer?"
"Honey, this trip to Oregon is a really big vacation.  Bigger than we usually do.  We're not really going to have another one like this this summer."
"You mean the whole rest of the summer is going to be totally boring?!"

No, there is your birthday, there is horseback riding, there are a couple of summer camps.  There will be dinners on the deck, and bike rides, and hikes.  Totally not boring.  Not nearly long enough, but totally not boring.