Frost Strikes Again

Jack Frost has teamed up with the Grinch to ruin summer. It seems as though their attempts to destroy Christmas have changed to summer vacation.

For some reason June is colder than May. Twice now we’ve gotten frosted and the daily temperature is barely hitting 20 degrees centigrade.

The first frosting took out most of our cucumber and squash, the tomato plants survived for the most part. The second frosting took out some more, but the corn and tomatoes seemed to have survived.

Seriously considering building a greenhouse out of cattle fence and plastic. I’ve seen some on YouTube and it looks good, portable and affordable. Plus it would extend the growing season.

Put up a semi-permanent fence for the chickens around the shed, which was a task due to the curiosity of the chickens. I rolled the fence over to where they were free ranging and went to move some stuff out of the way. When I came back they were in and around the roll.

They wouldn’t move, even when the fence was rolled. We ended up feeding them as a distraction until we were done. It sort of worked.

They were under foot the whole time, but we got it up with out injury.

We are going to have to build a proper chicken coop before summers end, but for now they are happy.

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Getting Ready

We received a phone call yesterday from the hatchery saying they would have a batch of chickens ready early and asking if we would like them. Well of course! The sooner we get them the sooner we can start harvesting eggs.

But we ain’t ready.

We’ve picked up some of the stuff we need, but we don’t have a brooder or a coop ready. We’d been gathering the materials needed for building one, but also waiting for the snow to go away to start.

So we built a porta-brooder. A plastic tub with a door cut into the side and air holes in the sides and we are done.

We will get to work on a coop for when they are bigger, but we can get them used to being on the grass and acclimated to outside so it isn’t a big adjustment for them.

We started a bunch of seeds and they are coming up nicely. Hopefully we can get them into the ground soon.

Lunar Eclipse, and Breakfast

Yesterday morning we got up at three am to take in the super blue blood moon. For those who don’t know, the moon is at it’s closest point in its orbit of earth which gives it the super part of the name. Blue moon refers to the fact that it is the second full moon of the month (which usually only happens every 2.5 years but will happen again in March) and the blood moon is, of course, the lunar eclipse. This particular combination happens every hundred and fifty years or so, once in a lifetime you might say.

We had brought our telescope with us but had yet to use it on this trip. We invited our friends to join us for breakfast at the clubhouse, so at three thirty am we were carrying stuff to make pancakes and a telescope across the rv park. The eclipse started around four thirty local time, peaked at around six thirty and set behind the mountains just after seven around the time the sun came up.

Breakfast consisted of pancakes, eggs, bacon and muffins. It was a fantastic feast and was well received by the kids.

We had a good time eating and fellowshipping and watching the moon slowly fade and disappear.

Day 17 – November 16, 2017 White Sands National Monument New Mexico

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Loved the ripples in the dunes

Today we finally made it to the White Sands and WOW! What an amazing sight to see. The weather was perfect (27 Celsius or more) and we couldn’t have asked for a better day.  The sky was an amazing blue, the sand a blazing white.

The drive from Arrey to the sands was scenic, especially the pass over the mountains east of Las Cruces. Coming over that pass and to see that huge valley spread out under us was breath taking.  This is where the U.S. military tests out missiles and rockets.  Close to here is where the first nuclear tests took place.

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Panoramic from the top of the dune, the top of the bus is visible in the picnic area

Driving the Dunes Road, we felt like we were back home driving through snow drifts. We pulled over and the kids had a ball climbing the dunes and sliding back down.  It was deceptive as it was smoking hot out and yet we felt as though we were in the snow.  Even the parking lot looked like it was crusted over with ice and snow.

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The mountains rising up in the background were spectacular

The sand is cool and soft and is really fine, the kind you would expect to find in an hour glass.

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Handprints in the sand
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Another panoramic
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All smiles

The park is really nice, and cheap.  It cost us $10 ($5 per adult) and is good for 6 days!  There are lots of places for picnicing, hiking and more.  We want to go again.

They ask that you don’t take any sand in containers with you when you leave, but I think we had enough in shoes and pockets to fill one.  The floor of the bus is nearly white with sand.

This was a really great day.  We were all hot and tired when we got home (2 hour drive each way) but definately worth it!IMG_9798

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Messed up the settings on the camera and got some cool shots by accident

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Making sand angels

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A large family….whaaa??

We are a large family.  What exactly does that mean you ask?  We have more than the average amount of kids.  We have more kids than what qualifies as a family pass at the movies (generally this is four kids).  We have more kids than you can fit in the average SUV.

We have seven kids.

According to Stats Canada, in 2011 the average family in Canada had 1.1 kids.  It is amazing to note how quickly our ideas of what constitutes a large family has changed.  When our grand parents were kids, families commonly had a dozen children or more.  Now if you have more that three kids people look at you like there is something wrong with your mental state.

We chose to have lots of kids, even though our families, friends, doctors and society told us we were making a mistake.  We weathered comments of “don’t you know were babies come from?” and “how can you afford that?” and even “are you catholic or something?”.

We decided, even before we were married, that we wanted a large family.  We have been blessed beyond our expectations and would not trade any of it for anything in the world.  Is it easy?  Of course not, but anything worth having isn’t.

It is challenging.  We fail as often as we succeed.  The hardest part is to not be selfish.  To think of your family members before yourself and to put their needs above your own is extremely difficult, especially in our western society.  Everything around us screams at us to put ourselves first.  We are learning day by day to leave that behind.

Now we are a family of nine, sharing 240 square feet and one toilet. We are way beyond living in a tiny home, we are in a micro home. This forces us into a whole new dynamic and creates challenges for us to overcome. Privacy is nearly impossible, we are constantly tripping over one another and yet we are closer as a family.

We don’t know how long we are going to be living like this, but we are having the time of our lives.