Monday, February 21, 2011

Kai the Shepherd

We've decided Kai has a knack for herding the sheep.  It helps that they are terrified of him!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gearing up for spring

About this time every year, we start getting really anxious for spring to get here.  We've got lots of big plans for the garden this year, and are excited about trying out some new seeds that we imported from Thailand at the bequest of our Karen refugee friends.  We're hoping that some of the vegetables they remember from Burma and Thailand and can't find in the supermarkets here will do well in our garden.  Above, our garlic, which was planted in the fall, will be ready to harvest in early summer.  Below, Pu Lue and Aaron working on preparing raised beds in the garden.

We bought a bunch of these magic seed starter soil discs on ebay, and just love them.  They start out like the little quarter sized disc on the right, then you just add water, and voila, an instant self-contained home to start a seed indoors.  So easy and so convenient.  When you're ready to transplant your seedlings into the garden or a larger container, you just tear off the netting.

Aaron starting various types of pepper seeds.  Chopsticks are a handy tool for this delicate task!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Kite Flying

One thing we have a whole lot of in Venus is wind.  I honestly think we live in some kind of wind tunnel most days.  Our crazy wind does make kite flying pretty simple, however, so today Pla Shee had a go at it with a kite he had received for Christmas.  As you'll see in the video below, kite flying can get a little crazy when you forget to hang on to the string.  I made two trips onto the roof of the house to retrieve and untangle the kite before we called it a day.  Good times.  Side note:  The incessant squawking you hear throughout the video is the lone remaining guinea we have from our original group of four.  As you can see, she makes enough noise for about 40 birds put together.

Friday, February 4, 2011

We have water! Hallelujah!

Aaron is officially my hero...he spent six hours in the well house with a blowdryer and a space heater and finally got our well running again.  It was such a welcome relief that any of the wariness I was feeling about the prospect of yet another snow day was really overshadowed by the sheer joy of being able to take a real shower.  I never thought I would be excited to do laundry, and I'm still not sure I'd call it excitement, but I was very...relieved. 

So all is well with all of us.  The sheep are in heaven, the goats, donkeys and chickens not so much.  Their water containers were solid blocks of ice yesterday, so Aaron had to venture to the store to buy a new hose to get them access to water.  We're supposed to reach 40 degrees tomorrow, and I think we're all looking forward to putting this behind us and gearing up for the Super Bowl.  Here are some pics from today.

Kai screaming at the sheep.  One of his favorite hobbies.

Not so thrilled with the snow.

Molly Wobbles waiting for her turn.

Pla Shee's miniature snowperson.

"Sledding" on a plastic box lid.  Venus is incredibly flat, which is apparently not great for sledding.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Living like pioneers!

This whole "arctic blast" hit us pretty hard on Monday evening with an ice storm.  With temperatures not reaching over 20 degrees since then, we've had lots of togetherness time, which has been nice.  What has been a lot less nice is the fact that our pipes in the well house froze on Tuesday morning, leaving us without any running water for now going on three days.  This experience has really forced me to recognize how much water we actually waste everyday.  I mean, I've always kind of considered myself pretty aware of water and how much I use.  I don't leave the water running while I brush my teeth, I try not to take long showers, etc., but these past few days I've seen that those things are literally just a drop in the bucket. (Nice pun!). 

We buy our drinking water in those big water dispensing containers anyway, so we had four of those lying in wait.  Needless to say, when your water supply is not only limited but also VERY expensive, you do what you can to conserve.  To wash the dishes tonight, I soaped them all up with minimal water, then heated a huge pot of water on the stove to rinse them.  It took me an entire hour, or maybe a little more.  Then, I scooped up the dishwater in the sink, strained it with our spaghetti strainer, and poured the water into the back of the toilet, so that it could be flushed.  That whole 'if it's yellow' jingle has been a mantra in our house the past two days!

Here's a pic of my 'shower' preparations this evening.  I use the term 'shower' in the broadest sense.

Pla Shee playing in the ice.

The eggs literally froze, expanded and cracked open all by themselves.

More snow is forecasted for tomorrow night, so who knows if we'll have school Friday.  I think we need to move back to Hawaii...