Welcome to my little ol' blog. I'll be upfront about it: I don't blog very often any more. If you found your way here because you read my book "Trailer Life," have a gander! But it's easier to keep up with me on Instagram or on my Facebook page. I have this long, drawn out theory on why I'm a terrible blogger, but that is a story for another day. Enjoy the ramblings of my life from the last 8 years or so.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Using A Clothesline

I use a clothesline. It saves us tons in the propane use department. 
(Our dryer is broken, which is WHY it saves us tons of propane.)
With our sunny days and slight breezes (and sometimes horrible wind!), a clothesline is a no-brainer.

I'm a little tired of it, truth be told. It takes longer than throwing clothes in the dryer. The lint stays on the clothes. There are clothespin marks in the clothes. Denim and towels are unforgettably stiff.
But mostly I don't care for how the sun eats up our socks. The elastic just breaks down, and everyone's socks end up around their ankles. It takes about a month for a brand new sock to start to lose it's elasticity. Two weeks later and you need garters.

So glad I live in a time where garters are NOT necessary. How ridiculous would garters look with my cargo shorts and running shoes?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fun in a Basket: Cooking Around a Campfire

A weekend or so ago, my parents and sisters and their families came camping in our area. The kids and I went to visit them on the Friday night, and we just hung out. The kids were thrilled there was a fire, and my offspring wanted to know where the marshmallows were. They have some very specific ideas pertaining to camping, and marshmallows and fires go hand in hand. I told the kids we could go pack to that camping spot and have a fire and s'mores. They were so excited. I was a little nervous because there isn't a bathroom around for miles. (Or a tree or bush...) Then I slapped my forehead and chided myself for being an idiot... we have a fire ring at home. And a bathroom. Seriously, a major lapse in common sense on my part. (Still shaking my head...)
In the basket: 
  • One box Capri Suns
  • Bottle of ketchup and mustard
  • Two packages hot dogs and buns
  • Chocolate
  • Marshmallows
  • Grahams
  • Hangers
  • Fire Starter Log
  • Handy Dandy Clicker (The fancier-than-a-match lighter thing)
  • Scissors to cut open packages
  • Wipes
  • Phone (So I wouldn't have to run back to the trailer to answer it should someone decide to call.)
 The kids helped me make a log cabin to start the fire. They were more than ready to add the kindling. In fact, they started dismantling a bale of straw for the occasion and had a five gallon bucket almost full.
Not wanting to wait for coals, we got the hangers ready and put the hot dogs on. Hangers are *okay* in a pinch. We will be doing this kind of thing a lot, so I'm going to go get some good roasting sticks. Ones that don't sag under the weight of food. The hot dogs were gross. Slightly warmed up (possibly just by the setting sun...) and burnt to a crisp on one end. The kids still thought it was fun, although no one wanted seconds.
S'mores! The kids enjoyed the marshmallows the best. Turns out though that none of them really like s'mores. They all ate one, but then requested "just a marshmallow" or "a plain cracker." I, on the other hand, ate a ton.
(It could have possibly been the dirt that was on their hands that tainted such goodness. My wipees were insufficient. A fire hose would've been more appropriate, I think.)

We will definitely be having more campfires in the near future. It is an easy, fun, and cheap thing to do with the kids.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What Are You Doing, Anyway?

I now know the name of what it is I am doing, anyway. This whole "moving from the suburbs and into the mountains to build our own house" thing. It started six and a half years ago, when I was pregnant with Will. That's when we began to look at property all over Kern County. ALL OVER the county, while pregnant and peeing all the time. Why? Because, among other things like having no neighbors and raising kids in the country, Ryan and I wanted to have a bee business, and in order to have 500 hives we thought it best to have some ag-zoned land. On ag land, you can have an apiary (apiary being the real term for lots o' bees). Will was born, and shortly after (seriously, I think he was a month old), we ventured into the part of the county we currently live in. By the time he was six months old, we had purchased our property.

A few months later, we started the process of selling our house in the 'burbs and planning for the future in earnest. We gussied up our house (decorate to sell? Too much HGTV), we bought a truck and RV (to live in), put in a transfer for Ryan's work, and let it all unfold. Ryan was transferred, our house sold in three days, and the day after Will's first birthday we had a birthday party and then moved!

Five years, two more kids, an almost finished house, countless country life experiences, and only now do I have a name for what we are doing. A name for our goals and ideals and vision for our future. Ryan and I talk about it all the time: what we want to do in the future, and if what we are doing now is both enjoyable and conducive for getting us where we want to be.

We want to farmstead. It's not homesteading, as that seems to involve are more "living off the land" while building your house. Like, go chop down your own trees and mill your own lumber... with very few trips to the hardware store. We aren't doing that. (But you know? We're *this close* sometimes.) Our ultimate goal is to be self sufficient. Financially, housing, food, energy... and fun! We still have our eye on an apiary. I want to get some dairy goats for milking and making cheese. I'd like a lamb or two in rotation for meat. A sow. Chickens. We are getting horses and mules for packing. (We get to get a real, live donkey! So cute.) We are going to have a greenhouse so I can grow stuff without the critters eating everything. We want a few fruit trees. A pond stocked with some fish. (Okay, so fish are nice, but the real reason for the pond is for the kids and a canoe, swimming, and a ZIP LINE that you can jump into the water with! And, as a source of fire water for the helicopters.) We want to use wind and solar energy for various things around the property, and want to be completely off the grid. 

We have so many plans, most of which are chuckled at when shared with others. Like we are C-R-A-Z-Y. Probably because right now we still have to finish THE HOUSE. That do-it-yourself project that is slowly starting to bring us both down. The time has come for it to be finished soon, for many reasons. It's "Phase One" of our possibly ten phase plan. After phase one, everything else will be easy and fun! (Even the twice daily milkings of the goats I'm thinking about getting... and all the daily chores!)

The house will be finished soon. On some days, it's not soon enough, but it will be finished soon. How soon? I'm not sure. Ryan doesn't know. Every time we set a goal date, something comes up. Court cases, wildfires, daily life. It will be finished though. Then, we can begin our farmsteading in earnest! We'll have the mules, the honey, and so much more.

And I already have my cheese tasting party all planned out.

Friday, September 24, 2010

*friday photo fun*

A blog I enjoy reading and find quite useful is The Coffeeshop Blog. Free PSE actions, helpful blog designs tips and tricks... a good resource to have access to. Coffeeshop blogger Rita is doing a "Friday Photo Bliss" post every Friday. I think I'll do the same, in the spirit of being unoriginal in my own ideas and as an attempt to focus on my new hobby. The "rule," so to speak, is to post one picture that you have taken this week, that makes you happy. Leave a comment if you end up doing the same. That's it! I can do one picture!

Toothless and Happy

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another Day Trip!

Saturday the kids and I picked up Amy and headed over to the coast for a day trip to visit our friend Kibbe. Kibbe has been really busy this last year getting a Master's degree and working. Crazy! It was good to catch up. Amy took us to the tide pools near/in Montana de Oro State Park. I couldn't find my way there again without her, so no details on where it is exactly. It's not marked. You just have to know where it is. (And, I do not.)
Amy took this picture, with the aid of a self timer and a rock. In all of the pictures we took at the tide pools, the horizon is totally crooked. But the ground is not! It's because of the slant of the rocks. There was some very interesting geology stuff going on. I can't believe all the kids are looking in the right direction.
My kids like hiking (or, at least they are used to walking around a lot), and they were troopers once again. We only had a small problem at the very end when the boys took off to the car without us. Before we even started the hike we had a talk in the car about how Amy is our tour guide leader, and it's important to stay behind her, and even more important not to run because if you run you will fall down and bleed from your face. I have found that if you say, "You might get hurt." the boys think along the lines of "Well, I've been hurt before and it's not so bad..." . But if you say something like, "You will bleed from your face." it's much more graphic and understandable for them. With the exception of a small scrape for Ed and a sting for Zack, we were all safe.
After the hike, we went to a really awesome park. SO AWESOME. A three story play structure and this teeter-totter thing. The park is in Morro Bay, and I could get there if I needed to, but can't tell ya how to get there myself. The toys were in this dish, and we could park our booties and sodas on a hill that overlooked the whole thing and chat while the kids played. It was clean! The kids had a blast! And we had a good time visiting.
The day included a LONG drive, a picnic lunch in Kibbe's very child friendly, nicely done backyard, the tide pools, the park, and dinner at In-n-Out where Will pounded two cheeseburgers like a man. Very impressive.
All in all, a great day.

Monday, September 13, 2010

An Ed Update

Some "fun" things about Ed.
*He told me in the car last week that he NEVER wants to be an "old man." I asked him why, and he replied, "Because old mens are cwazy!"
*He LOVES to jump off the side of my mom's spa and into the pool. He got his start at the Kent's house by sliding down the slide, and then venturing onto the diving board.
*He is our middle child. Technically he's in a tie with Will, but because Will and Kacy are so close in age and such good friends, Ed is often left out. This results in tears, and to get the kids' attention he'll annoy them. I keep trying to tell him that throwing cars at them, or messing up their stuff won't help the situation. He'll get it eventually, I hope.
*He is so active and curious and has a hard time sitting still and listening. Primary is often a challenge. He's a "Sunbeam," the youngest group in there, and he's with two girls who are, well, GIRLS. They like to sit and listen to stories and color. Ed is a stereotypical Bunting boy, and has to move around lot. Doesn't make for a good mix. Again, he's gotten so much better than he was in January, but he has a way to go.
*He's counting down until he turns five and can go to school. We've gone from a full nine month until his birthday to eight and a half... whenever he asks and I tell him, I get an "Oh, dangit! It's taking so SLOW!!!" He's got it planned out already. He wants to invite everyone from church. Race car cupcakes. Little cans of soda. Presents. Meat.
*His favorite color is orange, and favorite show is "The Upside Down Show." He likes country music and riding in dad's 4x4.
*He no longer wanders off, and can be trusted to play outside by himself! Mostly. Ah, that's SWEET!!

The Next Baby

Another baby will be making their debut soon: cousin Lindsey is preggo with child number two. She is due in three weeks. She doesn't know what gender her baby is. On purpose. She and David like the surprise of finding out the day he/she is born. That would drive me NUTS!!! This is the second time they've done it. Cute names picked out either way. Can't wait to meet the new one! (And sorry Lindsey for the blur. I'm not sure if it's me or the lens, but I often have to be super careful with that lens. I guess I wasn't careful.)

A New Niece! Clara is Born

My sister-in-law gave birth to this little doll early Tuesday morning, September 7th, which is also my grandma M's birthday! They are 87 years apart. She was born around 2am, and was 9 pounds 4 ounces. My girls loved her, and want to hold her. Jessie makes no qualms about it, she was up in Jocelyn's space waiting her turn. Kacy was a little more shy about it, but loved holding her. 
Clara is a cutie! I'm excited because this is the first of Jocelyn's babies that I haven't one of my own to hold at the same time. When her oldest was born, Nathan, I wasn't interested in holding babies. I'm just not a big "other people's babies" holder. I get nervous. And feel awkward. Not so much with Clara yesterday, but at the same time, I felt like I should be the legs that chased all the other EIGHT kids around who were having a heck of day playing nicely together.
I think Clara will be well loved, and watched after. You know how motivational speakers and Sunday School teachers will issue challenges? Like, I challenge you to do seven kind things this week. Or, I challenge you to exercise a total of three hours this week. I took it upon myself to issue a challenge to Jocelyn yesterday. I challenged Jocelyn to have another baby in 18 months. I told her you just haven't lived unless you have two babies 18 months or less apart. She just laughed and said no way. We'll see. I'll work on her.
Can't wait to get my camera on this little girl!

Catching up with the Blogging World

I have been a blogging slacker recently, and I know why. First, when I moved my blog back to Blogger from my foray into the world wide web, I copied and pasted all my posts into Blogger. But as soon as my other site went down, the pictures disappeared. I have the files on my computer, but now I have to go back and re-post the pics. Discouraging. Also, I was in a camera funk. So busy with my kids, hubby, and house, that I came fro behind my lens. But you know what? I braved breaking out my camera and I love it! It's equal parts frustrating and rewarding, but I ALWAYS love my pictures when looking back. So, here is to some catching up, and to being more brave about taking pictures of people.

And for the record, I HATE, HATE, HATE !!!!! having my picture taken. I think I am going to ask my friend Amy to take some shots of me so I can get a good one. I've seen too many bad pics of me: double chin, weird mouth, frizzy hair... do I always look like that? If I do, I'm in BIG trouble! Anyhow, off to blog!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It Was a Busy Week

I didn't blog last week, and my grandma was wondering if I was still alive. I was busy last week, but can't really remember what I did. I didn't use my camera at all... and I need to. Honestly, what did I do last week?

Monday- I don't recall.
Tuesday- Playgroup at the park with Ed and Jessie.
Wednesday- Now, this I remember. I went down the part of the Kern River called the "Lickety." I went with Sierra H. and the two of us rode down the river on an inflatable thing that you lay on, on your belly, while being towed behind a boat. I had a good time hanging out with Sierra, but I'm not sure I would do that trip again at this time of the year. The water was fairly low, and hence, very rocky. So, each time we flipped, it was...interesting. A guy in front of us in a kayak watched us go down the first rapid, head first, and flip. When we got out of it and got ourselves settled (after a very ungraceful and bruising experience on my part), he said, "You guys are going down on that? You're crazy!" The scariest part was when I though I saw a hand in the water. With tan fingers sticking up. Without being overly dramatic, I was completely freaked out for about 5 seconds. Thought I was going to DIE because I saw a dead hand. Turned out to be a stick. With finger-sized twigs sticking up.
The difference between rafting and "tubing"= when you find yourself in the water, doing your best to go feet first and keep your bootie off the rocks (nothing like a good bump on the rump to make you forget how you ended up in the water to begin with), you will be rescued. With rafting, you can have complete faith that they will get you and get you back in the boat. With tubing, you are on your own. You can float feet first down the river, but if you don't do something to help yourself, you'll just be floating for days.
Thursday- Took Ed and Jessie swimming at the Kent's house. They have a diving board and slide, and Ed was loving it! He likes to jump into the water, and can almost 100% get himself out of the deep end and to the side of the pool. Thursday night was also "Back to School Night." I love our little school. I wish they had a music program, but I aim to help fix that somehow. On a side note, I am running for a position on the school board.
Friday- I realized it was the first of the month and we got paid, so I headed on over to the bank and Walmart. In our favorite desert town. If my favorite desert town (which is closer to us than Bakersfield is) had a Kohl's and a Costco, I'd be all set! NEVER go to Bako again, except to visit the fam, of course. But all shopping would be in the desert. Maybe someday.
Saturday- I don't recall much, except that we went to the library. I reserved "Mockingjay" (I plan to buy the whole set when I have a house) and I'm number 301. I also put in my request with Kelly Kent, as I might be number 27 on her list. Either way, I'm biding my time until I can finish up the series. In the meantime, I read Kate Morton's first novel, "The House at Riverton," have Suzanne Collins "Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane" sitting on my shelf (she wrote the Hunger Games Series, so I checked out her youth stuff), as well as "Storey's Guide to Raising Dairy Goats" and "Cheesemaking" by Rita Ash. Mmmm... goat cheese.
Sunday- We went to church, and then to the Bunting's house for Spencer's birthday party.
Monday- We went to the Sorensen's for a Labor Day/September birthday party. We swam, we ate, and we visited with long-lost family members (who, by the way, not only have cute boys, but also very NICE boys. I love it when I see teenagers and preteens being kind to little kids. They weren't too cool to hang out with the little ones! I always hope my kids are like that when they get older.) One of the older boys, who is 16, climbed up on the waterfall and did a back-flip thingie into the pool. Ed, who was standing opposite on the edge of the spa ready to jump, watched with wide-eyes. He immediately starts turning around and says, "That was so COOL! I'm gonna do that, too!" I stopped him. That boy is fearless.
Today- I read a book, watched Ryan install all the propane pipe in the house (DONE!), did some laundry, and all the rest of the day to day mundane tasks that can keep you busy. Jocelyn had her number five child today, Clara! She was early, and the first girl after a four boy streak, so all in all, exciting for their family!