We had a fun experience here in SV. The Missoula Childrens Theatre came to town. They auditioned elementary kids on Monday and by Saturday put on a performance of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves". Mattie tried out and got the part of Bob (the head dwarf). They practiced for a couple of hours each night that week before the performance. The company brought all the costumes and the set. It was really fun. Here are a few pictures of Mattie in action.
Mattie is the one on the left.
She looks pretty cute in a beard!
What a fun experience for these kids. We've decided that Mattie is quite the ham!
So for the last few months, my brother Bill has been replacing the siding on our house. I just realized that I hadn't been documenting it. Oops! He had to tear off the old wood siding, fir out for insulation, put on house wrap, and replace several windows and doors. It's been pretty exciting and I'm thrilled with how the house is looking.
This is the front of the house. He put in the nice big picture window to replace the 3 narrow windows that were there before.
He's also putting up metal soffits and fascia. We replaced the small basement sized windows with big windows. (In the bedrooms, it gives us egress . . . in the family room it just is so much brighter and nicer)
Here's a view from the east end of the house. (notice the new door and window)
So here's how it's shaping up now. . . Let's compare that with how it used to look:
The back of the house with the new patio door. When the weather warms up, we will paint the cement foundation under the deck to match the new siding.
On April 14th, Joshua turned 8 years old. Luckily that was also the day of our stake baptisms and so he was able to be baptized right on his birthday! He was very excited. To make things even better, his big brother Caleb baptized him. Here are a few pictures of the day. Sorry that some of the pics are fuzzy. . . It's all we've got. :-(
We tried to get a picture of all of Joshua's siblings that were there with us. . .
Unfortunately, his siblings aren't very good at pictures!
I'm not sure what's going on here but evidently JT said something funny.
JT isn't funny anymore and most people are looking but WHAT is Caleb doing?
About this point, it was time to give up. (What is Caleb doing?)
Joshua's cousin Coleman. It made Joshua's day to have a cousin there.
Uncle Bill and Aunt Marty and Aunt Sarah!
Grandma Baird and Grandma Clines
Four generations on both Clines and Baird side.
Joshua reading a card that he got.
The whole family
I love this one because Joshua looks so pensive as he holds Little Jon.
It was a wonderful day. We are so grateful for the family that came. Congratulations Joshua!
Last fall, when we moved to our new house, a friend gave us his chickens and 2 turkeys (a hen and a tom). Alas, the chickens weren't long for this world due to a neighbor dog with a taste for fresh chicken. We lost all but 2 before we could get them sufficiently protected. As for the turkeys, our kids found great amusement in chasing them through the weeds. One of them quickly tired of this and ran off, never to return. The one that remained we thought was a hen. (remember, we aren't experienced poultry farmers) Imagine our surprise this spring when our hen turkey started doing this:
He must have felt the effects of spring (feeling twitterpated as Bambi would say) because he spends most of the day strutting around like this. I'm not sure who he's trying to impress since the hen turkey is long gone but . . . the chickens aren't very impressed.
So much for our ability to tell turkey sexes apart!
We've had so much to learn about running our little farm. We were excited when we first moved in because we had 5 acres of grass hay that we could cut and put into the barn and hayshed. We felt so self-sufficient to have that hay in the barn for our animals. After we got the cow, we noticed that her milk production was going down. When we asked some of our dairy farm neighbors, they asked what we were feeding her. When we told them grass hay, they just shook their heads. Evidently, grass hay doesn't have enough protein for a milk cow. Bummer! So we ended up selling the hay we had so lovingly hauled and stacked in our barn and hayshed. Then we had to turn around and buy alfalfa hay from a friend.
We were having a hard time figuring out how to haul this hay home from Smoot. (We had hauled our grass hay on a flat bed trailer behind our van.) There was snow now and we knew the van couldn't get into the field where the hay was. Also, our van and flat bed trailer couldn't really haul more than a ton at a time. What a dilemma. Enter our wonderful neighbor, Blair Hillstead. He said he'd be glad to help us out. He showed up with a tractor and wagon and we headed on over.
Man did I get a better appreciation for my brothers and dad after loading this load of hay. For most of my growing up years, my dad and brothers hauled hay by hand. For those who aren't farmers, each bale weighs 65+ pounds. We had to throw all this hay on the wagon and stack it up that high. It was Russ, Betsy, and I. (Caleb was at school or he would definitely have been in on this!) Of course Br. Hillstead pitched right in too. He's over 65 and he totally put us all to shame. He just never got tired. (I was one ball of jelly from head to toe when I was done!)
Br Hillstead with Russ and Betsy
Ok, ok so I look tired. . . I am!
A.J. got to hang out in the car while we were loading.
Can we go home now??
Some pretty SV scenery where we were hauling hay:
The saddest part about all of this is that after we drove home to our house, we had to do it all in reverse. (Unload that trailer and stack it in the hayshed) Whew! What a day!
Here's a few pictures of our little farm. (This is mostly for my little Michael (grandson). He loves pictures of our animals to look at.)
First our chickens on their roost. (Sorry for the fingerprint on the lens)
Then here's a couple pictures of our cow Molly and calf Spot.
This is how Russ would find them at night when he went to separate them after the calf had nursed. (such a cute picture) Molly has been an excellent mother and this isn't even her calf. When we bought her, we were nervous that we wouldn't be able to use all the milk and so we bought a calf with her. (In the dairy we bought her from, they always separated and sold the calves so that the dairy could get all the milk). They just waited to sell her until a different cow had calved and sold us the calf. We were a little nervous that Molly wouldn't take the calf but she has been amazing. You would never know it wasn't her own baby.
Here is one of the true dairy maids (Hannah), dressed in her fashionable milking attire and on the way out to milk.
Now you've had a little tour of some of our animals. (Sorry you didn't get to see the turkey or the rabbits) And just think . . . you got this tour without any of the accompanying aromas! ;-)
All right so I guess I'm not the dairy maid . . . that's Hannah and Mattie. They are such good milkers. They can get more milk from our cow than Russ can. They don't balk at milking even when it's 5:00 am or -20 outside. We really don't know what we would do without them.
However, I'm the one who deals with the milk. We have been getting about 4 gallons a day. We have several people who like to get milk from us and that usually takes care of the extra. But sometimes it backs up on us. I have been learning how to make all kinds of things with the milk. I make my own butter from all the cream (we get nearly a quart of cream per gallon) It is so pretty and so tasty. Here's a picture of a bowl of freshly made butter.
(don't you want to spread that on some homemade bread?)
I've also learned to make yogurt. My niece Sarah had the recipe on her blog that I tried and I have LOVED it! It is so easy and so tasty. My little boys just eat it like crazy. (I unfortunately don't have a picture of it.) However, after straining my yogurt through cheesecloth for a few hours it makes yogurt cheese (very similar to cream cheese). I used this to make a cheese ball. It was very yummy. Of course we needed to have something to eat it on and so I made homemade wheat thins. They turned out surprisingly delicious. Here's a pic:
(mmmmm . . . I'm gonna have to make some more, this makes me hungry!)
I also learned how to make homemade mozzarella cheese. It's surprisingly easy and only takes about 30 minutes.
(pretty cool, eh?)
The next thing I tried was culturing my own buttermilk. My dad was raised in the south and loved to drink buttermilk. I learned to love it from him. I was really hoping that my home-cultured buttermilk would be drinkable. Alas, I don't like it well enough to drink it. However, it makes killer pancakes, biscuits, scones, etc. So I guess I'm happy.
It's fun to learn to do so many new things and to find ways to not waste our abundance of milk.