Thursday, September 23, 2010

Life in a small Texas town

With Pla Shee at Venus Elementary, it's forced our hand a bit in terms of getting more involved in the town activities, especially those that involve the school.  Hence our participation in the Venus Homecoming Parade, which unfortunately was scheduled for yesterday afternoon at the exact time we had a huge  thunderstorm blow through town.  We made the best of it, though, and I thought I'd share some of these shots that Aaron managed to capture despite the rain.

Venus Cheerleaders and Bulldog Mascots

Yikes.  Not sure how these folks are associated with the parade.

FFA (Future Farmers of America) "Float":

Whataburger "Float."  Yes, those are cardboard french fry containers taped to the side of the truck.  Sweet.

Pla Shee got to ride on the Elementary School float because he exemplifies "good moral character."  Yes, that's a direct quote from the permission slip he brought home.

Kai hanging out in the rain watching the parade.  Note the package of candy he's saving for later stored safely between his thighs.  Nice.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hangin' with the donkeys

The donkeys, particularly Leroy and 6 month old Batman, seem to be just as infatuated with Kai as he is with them.  Every morning they greet us from the pasture and jog up to the fence to visit and beg for a carrot or some other delectable treat.  This morning, we took a mental health day and skipped out on church and just hung out as a family.  It was very much needed, as it has been a crazy first few weeks of fall trying to get back into the swing of things.  As you can see, Kai was modeling his Romo jersey in preparation for the big game against the Chicago Bears.  I think the donkeys were unimpressed. :)

Monday, September 13, 2010


Since Pla Shee is a very typical 9 year old boy in that he has LOTS of energy to burn, we decided to sign him up for soccer this fall.  He LOVES it.  Even though the other kids on his team have been playing for several years already, and this is his first time, he's caught on really quickly and seems to have quite a knack for it.  Tonight was the very first game for the "Funky Monkeys," who unfortunately lost 3-5 to the "Tornadoes."  The disappointment at the loss dissipated as soon as he saw that each player received a Caprisun and snack--for free!  Apparently it's the little things that make the difference.  :)

Looking very intense!

Aaron & Kai hanging out on the sideline, cheering on the team.

Listening to a pep talk from the coach after the game:

Pu Lue and Pla Shee:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Embracing a lifestyle

As you already know, we've jumped head first into our lives with the Karen refugees, and this means that we often eat, drink, play, and work as they do in some ways.  Our integration with the culture became particularly clear to me this afternoon when I came home from work to find Kai like this:

To explain, Kai is sleeping peacefully in a hammock that is strung up between two posts inside our barn.  What you don't see in the picture is that Paw Moo, Pu Lue's wife, is standing guard about 2 feet away and rocking the hammock.  Why would she need to stand guard, you ask?  To protect him from the stray chickens and goats wandering around, of course.

Kai normally spends his days in his new preschool, but, as luck would have it, he caught a cold that became another ear infection after his first week.  Paw Moo was on vacation this week, and decided to spend the week here at the farm with Pu Lue, and was literally thrilled to keep Kai while we went to work.  A win-win-win, for sure.  Anyway, just thought that this was a great thing to come home to and wanted to share.

Friday, September 3, 2010

We have a famous goat!

Well, it's official. Louise "Weazy" Mitschke has found her calling. The Hollywood scouts should be calling any day now. This morning, Weazy, Aaron, and Pu Lue were featured (well, featured is stretching it a bit) on Good Morning Texas, a local news show here in DFW. They were pitching Texas Fried Frito Pie, which is currently a finalist in the 2010 Creative Fried Foods Contest for the State Fair of Texas.

See the clip from Good Morning Texas here.

One word. Awesome.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Update on the farm

The Garden: We've been so busy this summer that we haven't done a very good job keeping up with the garden. Hopefully we'll be able to turn things around this fall. All is not lost, though. We are growing some luffa sponges, which have done surprisingly well. I'm excited about being able to dry them and encase them in glycerin to use as soap. We'll see how that actually pans out in the end! We're also growing winter squash, which, despite its name, does surprisingly well in the Texas heat. And, of course, okra always seems to be able to beat the heat in Texas. I wish it tasted better! Pu Lue's been growing bitter melon vines with quite a bit of success.

The Sheep:  The heat of the Texas summer is never particularly enjoyable for our animals, and this year was especially rough for the sheep.  Despite having sheared them twice this summer, and providing lots of access to shade and water, we lost two rams to heat stroke in early August.  This is the first summer we've lost any of our sheep, so we're trying to figure out what we need to do differently to prevent this in the future.  We've also got to figure out our plan for acquiring a new ram, since breeding season is just around the corner!

The Goats:  Curious as ever, and all five of them are trouble makers.  They're still my favorite, though.  We'd like to get Louise, our Nubian, bred this fall so that she'll start producing milk again in the spring.  With Kai drinking whole milk now, it will certainly be nice to have our own supply rather than having to run to the store every five minutes!

The Donkeys:  Leroy & Daphne are good as usual, and their son, "Batman," is about 5 months old.  Let me know if you (or anyone you know) is interested in adopting him ($50).

The Chickens:  The first chickens we ever purchased from Murray McMurray in 2007 are finally starting to show their age.  We're gradually adding new hens to the coop, so our egg production hasn't suffered too much.  The recent outbreaks of salmonella have certainly increased interested in farm raised local eggs, so I imagine we will continue to build up the size of our flock.

Back to School

We had a really great summer!  This was Kai's first summer, and so it was a summer of firsts:
As you've probably gathered from our postings, Pla Shee, Pu Lue's 9-year old son, has been living with us since May.  He has been a wonderful addition to our family, and Kai especially enjoys having a big brother to emulate.  Pla Shee started the 3rd grade at Venus Elementary last week, and so far seems to be adjusting really well.  I think it helps to have a smaller school environment because he feels special, and everyone knows his name.  Here's a picture of the boys on Pla Shee's first day of school:

Kai started preschool (I know, crazy!) this week in Arlington.  He is going Tuesday-Friday and LOVES it.  He is such a social little guy, and though he is small in stature, he makes up for it with his smile! ;)

He he is the morning of his first day, complete with miniature backpack: