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My phone camera has not been working very well, so you will probably have to click on the pictures and zoom in a bit to see the coyotes that came to visit on Friday morning. Kelsay and I had just gotten up and we heard a  very loud yip-yip-yip. At first I thought it was Houdini and something was wrong. I turned to go to the mudroom to grab my shoes and Kelsay ran to the window. Suddenly she yelled, "Mommy, look! What is that?" I ran to the window in time to see a coyote saunter through the yard and toward the chicken house. It was 8 degrees that morning and had been colder before  we got up. I think our low was 2 or 3. So  I hadn't been outside to open the chicken thankfully. The coyote stared at and circled the coop and then a second coyote walked into the picture and joined him. After deciding that they could not get into the coop for a fresh chicken dinner, they marked a perimeter around the coop and chicken yard and left. So I knew that they would be back.

That eve…
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North Pole

We took the kids for a surprise trip to the North Pole today. It is basically like a Joyland with a Santa twist. We wanted to go before they got too old to enjoy. On some of the littlest rides, the magic was already over for Maddy.  They had some cars that you could "drive" around a track. We got about 20 yards into the ride and Maddy suddenly let go of the wheel and said, "I'm not really driving." Other rides were still so scary they made both kids cry. Both left the tilt-a-whirl bawling and not wanting to get on anymore rides. Maddy did pretty good with  the bigger roller coaster but Kelsay was scared to death. All the people watching her ride said her face looked "totally freaked". There were lots of good in between rides that both girls enjoyed and did more than once.

 They got to feed some English Fallow deer.

 We also did candle dipping and watched some glass blowing. Sixty and older gets into the park free, so Nanna and Grandad came for the l…

Chickens and Cows--The Next Stage

We have continued to enjoy raising our cows and chickens. A couple of weeks ago, we had a little tragedy when we forgot to shut the chicken coop and went out to find one hen completely missing and 2 other hens and a rooster dead in the chicken yard. We suspect coyotes, but who knows. So that put us down to 16 total chickens. This past Sunday we loaded up 6 roosters and headed to the ranch to have a chicken butchering lesson. We kept one rooster who was the runt of all the chicks we got. The girls named him Cuddles. Hopefully Cuddles lives up to his name or he might find himself on the menu eventually, but he'll be good for egg production later, so he got a reprieve. The other six roosters became future dinner. Matt and Ashley( Aaron's cousin and her husband) helped Aaron and I butcher the chickens so we gave them three and kept three. The chickens were pretty small. These rooster were not intended to be meat chickens. We are considering getting some meat chickens in the spri…

Thanksgiving and Christmas

I did a terrible job taking pictures at Thanksgiving but we had such a fun time seeing everyone in west Texas. The weather was amazingly warm and the kids spent a lot of Thanksgiving day playing outside. We had great food, great conversation, and, of course, scrabble. Maddy enjoyed eating Grandpa's food at the assisted living place at lunch one day. Grandpa opted to wait to have a burger with the rest of us. Maddy said the food was yummy. She also picked up over 30 lbs of pecans for Grandpa so he will get a nice amount back shelled next month from the pecan shelling place. "Maddy the pecan picking queen" was an oft repeated phrase while we were there.

 We cut a Christmas tree the Monday after Thanksgiving. We found an entire bobcat skeleton while we were out looking for our tree.

 The girls got to get their own tree for their room again.

We went big this year! Happy advent!

D.C. Trip

On Veteran's Day weekend, we went to D.C. and Frederick, MD to see Tammy and Jeff. We got to D.C. after midnight on Thursday. Kids maybe got in bed around 1 or 1:30 and Aaron and I maybe by 2. It was exhausting. Our flight started in the Springs, then we had a stop in Dallas and flew from there to D.C. Our hotel had a shuttle bus that went right to the National Mall. Tammy met us at our hotel about 10 on Friday morning, we took the shuttle and proceeded to the Mall.
 It was cold and VERY windy on Friday so we ended up going to many of the Smithsonian museums located on the mall. Our first stop was the Smithsonian Castle which is the original Smithsonian building. The founder of the Smithsonian is interred in the foyer. The castle has a display that gives a sample of what you can see at each museum. It also has a program that you can plan what you want to see and then it will email you a map and a plan for all of your stops.

 Maddy found this statue of a nude so interesting she t…