Sunday, February 13, 2011

Heading Back to Las Flores with 4H Friends

We've been enjoying our local open space - Las Flores Ranch. Eventually, the city of Santa Maria plans to turn a portion of it into a new landfill. Meanwhile, we're enjoying the serenity and beauty of the place. The raptors and oaks are fabulous there. Our horse enjoys her portion of the picnics as well as anyone in the family. And the girls are doing really well on horseback.

Recently, E's 4H horse group gathered for a trail ride at Las Flores. Mr. B, V and I enjoyed a nice family hike while E rode up the trail with her horsey peers. They had their own adventure before making it to the picnic area where we crossed paths on our way back to the truck. Another beautiful winter family day on the Central Coast.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Touring the Dairy Unit

February saw the return of field trips, thanks to energetic young homeschooling families who are sharing the labor of planning and seeing through events. We've enjoyed taking part and making new friends.

This week, we headed to SLO for a tour of Cal Poly's Dairy Unit. It was the perfect week to visit with new calves dropping regularly. We watched one less than an hour old trying to walk, and enjoyed petting countless others. It would have been nice if we'd hit the barn at milking time, but the Poly students certainly won every kids' heart by closing the tour with dishes of ice cream.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Chicken Rides Out Winter

Yep, Flo's still with us. She's weathered well this winter, and seems well used to her new home. She spends most of her time free range throughout the backyard, only hanging out in this enclosure after dark or when we're not around. She puts herself to bed and stays out of trouble.

Well, she stayed out of trouble 'til I planted the new garden. She hadn't spent much time over there this winter, while the weeds grew rampant. But now that it's cleaned out and the seeds are in? Oh yeah, you bet she's been over there peckin' and scratchin'.

I foresee fence planning and building in our VERY near future. Oh, and the addition of an actual LAYING pair this spring.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Meet Leo, the Latest Addition to Our Menagerie

I don't believe there's an animal V wouldn't want to have under lock and key, or sleeping on her pillow. Point out anything with fur and she's likely to say something akin to, "It would be fun to have one of those." I don't know if she's interested in the hunt, or the actual ownership of the animals, or the daily care. Wait...I know she's not into daily care. (Check the litter box cleaning record.)

Still, Santa gave in this holiday season and provided her with the materials she'd need to complete her terrarium so a hard-shelled reptile could find a home here. She spent the month between Christmas and last week learning about turtles and tortoises, reading up on various species, and finally settling on a Leopard Tortoise. (For the record, I wasn't particularly keen on a pet that lives, on average, 50 years. How many kids really have an attention span that long? And really, do I want a pet tortoise for the next five decades? Umm.....)

Still, the project's been a good one for V and her dad. They've joined the local turtle club, done some reading and research together, mapped out their terrarium setup and are working on an outdoor enclosure plan so "Leo" can get plenty of sunshine on our warm, sunny days.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Farewell Shadow Kitty

Last weekend, we said goodbye to our long-time furry friend, Shadow. Mr. B and I picked up this little black furball from the pound in the summer of 1998. Since then, she's been a good companion, bird catcher and thrill seeker. But she'd never been a particularly stout kitty.

Recently, she'd been losing weight and growing increasingly surly. A couple of weeks ago she got involved heavily with some chocolate and that weekend we thought she was going to call life quits. But with the help of canned cat food (a luxury around here) and some TLC she pulled through.

Last weekend, however, she took a sudden turn for the worse, and passed away within ours of her apparent downturn. She died in my arms Sunday morning at the stroke of 9 while the girls and Mr. B were at church.

The girls held a funeral for her. E made a nice wreath to place on her grave.

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