Thursday, May 26, 2011

Skyler's pitching debut for the Taylor Ridge Rockets

Tonight after Skyler's first 2 games were cancelled, we finally had decent weather and got to have a softball game!  Skyler's friend Karlie pitched the first 3 innings and Skyler pitched the last 2 innings (this was Skyler's first time ever pitching at a game -- pretty exciting).  They both did AWESOME!!  Skyler got a triple her first at bat and she struck out 3 girls during her pitching debut.  They ended up winning the game 19 to 8 -- GREAT JOB GIRLS!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Great Weekend!

Skyler's softball team still hasn't gotten to have a game yet...but they at least got their team pictures on Saturday (that coach on the right is pretty hot!!)
Sky and some of her teammates having
a great time!

Our chicks are done hatching and we have 5 little healthy chicks.  It is hard to get pictures at this point because they are usually tucked underneath mom to stay warm but I did get this quick picture when three of them were out exploring.  It is funny to watch because chicks will peck at anything that moves.  They pick on their mom by pecking at her eyeballs and waddle.  Mom puts up with it but I'm not quite sure how she does it.

We had a great weekend hand-tilling and raking a portion of one of our future deer food plots, spreading a truckload of mulch on our gardens, weeding and planting more veggies in the garden, washing windows and getting spring cleaning done at home, playing with our little chicks, practicing with Skyler on her pitching, and playing basketball.  Hope you all are enjoying this beautiful spring!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chicks Are Hatching!!

Chicks are Hatching!!
Our chick has has a "pip" hole prior to fully hatching
I am so excited!!  About one month ago one of my Buff Orpington chickens went "broody" and wanted to sit on a clutch of eggs.  Since I don't have a rooster, I ordered fertilized eggs off of Ebay (weird, I know) and received them about 3 weeks ago when I placed them under my broody hen.  I didn't make any posts about it because I really didn't know if this whole thing would work....but....IT DID!
Yesterday afternoon when Skyler and I went out to check on mom and her eggs we noticed that one chick had pipped her egg and we could hear her chirping inside.  This morning she was huddled under mom next to the rest of the eggs.  I don't know if the other eggs will hatch but we are hopeful at least a few more will.  It has been so exciting to watch our hen religiously sit on those eggs 24 hours a day for the last three weeks.  So cool to see this whole process that seems to have become almost a lost art.  Incubators have taken the place of broody hens so this is a process that I have never gotten to fully watch and no one I know does it.  The challenge was daunting but exciting.  Skyler has been in on every step and the photos we have taken and what we have learned will be part of one of her 4-H projects for the fair this summer.  Woohoo!!  As long as this little chick makes it I will continue to post about his/her beginning's hopin'!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our Track Star!!

Skyler and her friend Karlie
Skyler has been so excited about yesterday's track meet.  The 5th and 6th grade classes from Reynolds got to race up at the high school track.  They have been practicing and trying out for different spots in the meet.  Skyler qualified for the high jump, 800 meter coed relay, 70 meter hurdles and 50 yard dash.  Skyler did AWESOME!!  She placed first in 5th grade girls for the 50 yard dash, placed second in her heat for the hurdles, and ran awesome in her leg of the coed relay!!  It was so much fun for Paul and I to watch and brought back memories of when I got to watch Paul do so well in track back in our high school dating days.  Congratulations Skyler!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Happy Turkey Hunting...

I had a blast this past weekend as I was privileged enough to get to attempt to call in turkeys for my friend Megan Klauer on Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings.  Saturday was awesome as we heard and saw a lot of turkeys.  One huge turkey came in very close -- but as turkeys sometimes do -- he came in fast and hard without any warning and Megan wasn't able to get a shot.  We later had two jakes who were just a smidgin out of Megan's comfortable shooting range.  We saw several more but none of those wanted to play.  Sunday morning (Mother's Day) pretty much sucked as far as getting a turkey goes.  Nothing was gobbling all morning and we only saw one in the distance.  Also, in our transfer of hunting items between vehicles I dropped my facemask so had to turn my hoodie backwards and use it as my facemask for the morning -- incredibly stifling and uncomfortable -- plus a little tough to get my coat off with the zipper in the back!  Megan and I decided to give it a go one more time Monday morning before work and it turned out to be a better day again as the turkeys were gobblin' again (and I remembered my facemask - woohoo).  We had one huge tom and 4 hens come in about 75 yards out...but as luck would have it, the hens didn't want to give up their big Tom, so they led him away.  At least we got to watch the show for a while before he took off following his girls -- strutting all the way.  We had several birds talkin' but our time was so limited (we both had to get to work that morning) that we weren't able to work 'em like we would have liked so, unfortunately, Megan didn't get to fill her tag -- but not for lack of trying.  Thanks for letting me go out and try to call a bird in Megan!!  I had a super time and now I will go hang my head in shame for not being able to get the job done.  But I know Megan agrees with our philosophy that a hunt is about much more than the kill.  Although harvesting is our ultimate goal...enjoying time spent in the timber (and with friends) is what makes it all worth it!

Friday night we had a fun family get together with Paul's family to celebrate Skyler's birthday.  Since her birthday is never all done in one day -- she enjoys how the celebration gets spread out over more like a couple of weeks...

Saturday Paul and I decided to take part in the QDMA (Quality Deer Management Association) bow shooting competition in Aledo.  We had a fun time out in the timber taking shots at thirty 3-D archery targets.  I placed second in the women's division (Megan Klauer got 1st -- woohoo!) and received a QDMA t-shirt as well as some beautiful wildlife photographs.

Sunday (Mother's Day), after turking hunting, we kept busy as a family working in the gardens, hauling firewood, clearing paths in the timber, mushroom hunting and just generally enjoying being together outside -- absolutely my favorite way to spend my Mother's Day!  Skyler made me a pretty necklace and sweet card...can't beat the gifts from the heart!

Monday after work Skyler had another 4-H meeting.  Since each 4-H'r was to bring a small animal to talk about, Skyler decided to load up one of her chickens.  All of the kids enjoyed seeing the chicken and learning everything that Skyler knows about raising them.  While she was at her class I got to run for an hour with my friend Renee so it was a win-win situation!

Tuesday morning Paul called turkeys for his dad and Karen.  They heard some gobbles and two hens came near, but no males responded so they were unable to fill their turkey tags this year.

Last night was so stinkin' we had a family water fight.  Because of the viciousness of our family -- hoses and buckets are used to drown the "enemy" and not everyone walks away happy...but within a few minutes all is forgiven and we try it all again as the cycle continues.  After the water fight I grabbed a bucket and sponges and washed my truck again.  Lastly we went out to one of our hunting properties for a food plot check until dark.

Hope you all have been enjoying the "get outside weather" we have been having!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Skyler!

Friday night found us staying at another cabin before turkey hunting Sat am.  What a fun night!!  Just as I was falling asleep I heard a mouse scavenging around.  The mouse which I named "Fievel" (the adorable mouse on An American Tail") was struggling with all he had to emerge from a garbage can which he had fallen into.  Paul was kind enough to carry Fievel outside and release him back into the wild where he belonged.  However, it was quickly clear to us that Fievel's Mama and Papa were still bunked in the cabin with us -- which is where they stayed for the night. 

We had an awesome morning hunt with lots of belly crawling and sneakin' up close to birds (which is now my favorite way to hunt turkeys).  Between the sneaking' and Paul's callin' we had more birds in range than either of us ever had in one hunt.  We were both satisfied with the birds we have already gotten so, although I would still like to get a double with Paul, we really just got to enjoy the shows the turkeys put on that morning.

Monday was Skyler's birthday -- and it just happened to be ANOTHER day off school.  So I decided to take the day off to spend with my little girl as she turned 11.  Her best friend spent the night Sunday night and we all decided that we wanted to go to the zoo on Monday morning.  I am glad that Skyler still loves to make it out to the zoo even though I used to take her at least a dozen times a year when she was little -- she never got burned out on it.  Skyler's favorite animals are the goats at the petting zoo.  She had one favorite that she would have took home with us if she could.  Just a warning -- the pig they now have at the petting zoo is some kind of freakazoid who tries to attack you if you reach for it.  And if you think pigs are slow, I invite you to try and pet him -- he can make a vertical leap that would put most basketball players to shame.  After he tried to attack both me and Skyler we decided to leave him be (but I did get a quick pic prior to the attack).  It is hard to believe that 11 years have passed since that great day when Skyler was is even harder to believe we ever lived without her.  Happy birthday Sky!

Monday night we went on a family mushroom hunt and were rewarded with quite a loot of mushrooms.  I was having fun taking pictures of different flowers and mushrooms along the way.

On Wednesday morning Paul and I wanted one last morning hunt in the timber together.  Although temps that morning dropped to a very chilly 30 degrees -- we could not be swayed to stay home.  So, with having fun being our only goal, we set out in the dark and propped ourselves up next to a dead fall.  We heard some turkeys and Paul had fun talkin' to 'em with his calls.  It was a short hunt because again we needed to make it into work on time -- but it was fun all the same.  Just a great morning to be alive.

We have been busy with Skyler's softball practices.  She is now beginning to pitch and has caught on incredibly fast.  We have been practicing with her in the back yard and her accuracy and speed are increasing daily.  I really think it may end up being her niche.  And although they like her to play first base because of her great ball handling and quick thinking -- we also are in need of some good backup pitching and Skyler is more than excited about it.  We will have to see how things work out cuz she is up against girls who have been pitching for a couple years now -- rather than her couple of weeks.  Hope you all are enjoying as much outdoor time as we have...spring is one of my favorite times of year -- if only I could deer hunt in the spring it would be my all time favorite time of year, hands down!