Saturday, August 14, 2010


This is a catch-up post - the following events occurred in the past 3 months -

We had a very fast trip to Chicago - and crammed as much sight seeing in as we could. The highlight was seeing Aubrey's new baby!

The Sear's Tower - glass platform - cool!

The Chicago skyline - in the Bean!

Beauty and the Beast - MST college performance

Jorin and Jantzen sang and danced their way thru the play - they did a great job!

Our sweet sister missionaries - who spend every prep day at our house...

Dress-up day, again, for our rabbit, "Hershey"

Kiely - having a picture taken of her while she takes pictures of others - going to school full-time, working part-time, doing clinicals and holding 2 church callings aren't enough for her, she needs to take pictures for weddings, families, individuals and events too...

We visited Pres. Abe Lincoln's family this past month - they were doing well...and we highly recommend the AL visitor's center and museum in Springfield, IL to everyone.

Jorin and Jantz getting into the spirit of the beard after seeing Abe's...

We visited Elephant Rock State Park - very cool - huge boulders that look somewhat like a huge herd of elephants - hence, the name... We spent hours climbing and exploring.

The Garden - where we spent hours each morning - early, to beat the heat - weeding and, well, weeding. It's difficult to tell that with this picture. The weeds won.

One of our first major harvests. In one day, we picked 6 varieties of tomatoes, zucchini, butternut squash, straightneck squash, watermelon, potatoes, green peppers, hot peppers, cucumbers, basil and tomatillos. I was so excited...until they just kept coming! We have harvested about 380 lbs. of tomatoes so far - and about that much summer squash, it seems like. BUT WE LOVE IT!!
Canning - canning - canning is the name of the game in August - we have so many tomatoes, we actually made ketchup this year, in addition to salsa, spaghetti sauce, tomatoes & chili sauce.

Girls night out - at "Lamberts Restaurant - the home of throwed rolls" in Ozark (yup - they throw them right at you!) - lots of good food

Jantzen - running in her 5K. She beat her best time! GO GIRL!

Starting the remodel project on the old "kennel" - soon to be "guest rooms". Years of doggy smell makes insulation stinky!

Rance - the primary remodeler guy - making the first cut in the cement.

Jorin's 13th birthday was spent at Splash Zone - and then the river - do you think this guy likes water? He's a teenager - can you believe it!

Jantz - washing her chickens for the fair - complete with shampoo and a blow dryer and's true!

Jantzen standing by her chicken cage - which she built - and her chickens - which she raised from 1 day old - at the county fair. (She took 3 blue ribbons and 1 red)

Jantzen won the Showmanship trophy for her extensive knowledge about poultry and her confident presentation to the judge. CONGRATS!

Jorin - prepping Old Spice for his big debut at the county fair - this daily shower was a favorite for both the calf and Jorin! It was about 107 degrees every day - so any water felt good!

Jorin - showing Old Spice -who took a blue ribbon! CONGRATS!!

In addition to these documented events, our summer included:

blueberry picking
Visit to Cahokia - Indian Mounds - twice!
Visit from friends in Colorado
Visit to Nauvoo
Johnson Shut-in - great river experience
raised 2 flower baskets for the fair
got a rabbit
did a major clean up day at the fairgrounds
Spent 4 days from 7 am to 10 pm at the fair - in 107 degree weather - remember!
Attended a farm festival in Mansfield
Kids performed in Beauty and the Beast college play
Book group for Jantzen
made Strawberry and Peach jam
Jorin attended Scout Camp & 2 camp outs
4th of July party
Dev's surprise birthday party here with friends from Springfield
St. Louis Zoo - Science Center and History Museum
Ulyssus S. Grant Visitors Center
Sculpture Park
Swim team participation
Mika, our dog, got a venomous snake bite
Chickens started laying eggs!
Assembly of 4 Adirondack rocking chairs -with no injuries (please refer to Dev's blog)
Visit to US Military fort museums (3)- chemical warfare, military police and Corp of Engineers
4H meetings
floating on the river
Gooey Looey's (you'll just have to come here to find out about this!)

...and I am sure other things that I just can't remember right now...

I was too busy living this summer to document, I guess - and I will now consider myself successfully caught up on this blog - YEAH!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A few summer pictures...

Jorin's sweet calf, Ol' Spice

Jorin, working his calf in preparation for the fair. I love our yard.

a field trip to the St. Louis Gateway Arch - right before a thunderstorm

We watched this Amish man carve a wooden spoon at the Spring Festival at Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. in Mansfield.

Look who we found unexpectedly in Nauvoo! Uncle Sam!

Jorin and Jantzen getting into the spirit of Nauvoo!

It was so great going to Nauvoo with our dear friends, the Nelsons!

Jantzen's chicken tractor for moving around the yard...

Jantzen's award winning poultry waterer - hand painted upside down so as not to bend those 3 water drippers on the bottom! State Fair here she comes!

Jantzen made this pillow - the whole thing - by herself in 4H!!!

Jantz's chicks love being free-range!

Friday, April 16, 2010


Our barn cat, Taffy, caught something. That's what our cat thinks she is for - catching little things that run around on the ground. And usually, we agree. But this time..... Taffy came running up to the barn with something in her mouth - a pretty big something. Mika, the ever-curious puppy, ran to have a look. She quickly snatched the something from Taffy and ran out into the pasture, where she proceeded to dig a hole faster than we have ever seen, stuffed the something into it and buried it.

Jorin and Jantzen, who are also ever-curious, ran to dig up whatever it was and maybe return it to the cat, its rightful owner. I called to them to make sure and use a stick, not their hands, because you just never know what kind of germs are on dead animals, after all. After a few minutes of searching and digging, they unearthed a little rabbit. And it was still alive. And that's when it began........."Please, mom, pleeease! Can we keep it? Pleease!"

While I appreciated that they were asking in such a polite way, I was pretty sure we didn't want to try and raise a wild rabbit. Thankfully, we determined, after calls to the local vet and the Missouri Conservation center, that the rabbit's best chance of survival was back in the woods. After quite a few more "pleases" and "are you sure"'s, the kids took the little critter behind our house into the woods - and deposited it in a sunny spot, where I am sure it joined its rabbit family and is living happily ever after.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Missouri is known for its caves - and we were able to experience the first of many ( I hope)!

Kiely and I spent 3 hours in the Onondaga Cave last Saturday- taking pictures. It was such a cool experience! The typical tour is about 1 1/2 hours - but the photo tour was longer - and minus the commentary on the cave. The guide just let us go at our own pace and take pictures of anything we wanted.

First - I am not a good photographer - but I am learning - and trying to improve.
Second - I would not recommend using an unfamiliar tripod for the first time in the dark of a cave...
...but other than that - I would highly recommend this experience! We had such a fun time trying new things, seeing in a new way and learning from others.

The Onondaga Cave is beautiful! It has so many amazing and varied features! It's like walking through Canyonlands or Arches National the dark. We were awed by our surroundings the entire time. While I sincerely enjoyed the visual experience, I loved spending time with Kiely, experiencing first hand her talent and passion for photography.

Side note: These caves are only minutes from where we live - and I issue a standing invitation - COME AND SEE! (us and the caves!)

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Jantzen is a mama...of twenty chickens! We drove to Lebanon and visited the Cackle Hatchery. She picked out 6 Barred Rock, 5 Black Australorps, 5 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Crested Polish (the bad hair day chickens) and 2 Araucanas (which lay colored eggs!). She is so excited about these babies. They are growing like crazy and she is counting the days to when they will be laying eggs (a.k.a. money).

Jorin finally has his bucket calf! It is the cutest little black purebred angus. Bottle feeding is a riot! This little calf follows Jorin around - looking for milk. Jorin has named him Old Spice - because..."he's a man, man". (Well, kind of - we banded him last night).

Mika is getting used to the new additions to the family - she watches the chicks closely - and isn't sure about the calf yet (the only animal bigger than her!) - but we are hoping they will soon all be friends! In three months, Mika has gone from being a 15 pound bundle of puppy - to about a 45 pound bigger bundle of puppy.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Jantzen and Jorin came up with the idea of producing a weekly newsletter for our family. I love that they are doing this -not only will it improve their computer word processing skills, it is fun to read their perspective on family events! They print it out every Sunday and hand it out to Rance, Kiely and me. Here is their first installment...

Just a day in the life....

I know that you probably think I am canning in the middle of winter - but no - this is actually my cell phone, buried in a jar of rice. My phone was somehow left in my jeans pocket, and then washed - and dried - and then found, banging around the dryer. I immediately stuck it in a jar of rice - with very little hope that it would survive. Three days later - voila! It works!

Last night, Jorin and Jantzen discovered an opossum trying to find a way into our chicken coop! An opossum! Who has those in their yard? I thought they lived in South America or somewhere! While it played....possum, we scooped it into a bucket and drove it down the road to a more remote location and let it out. Two minutes later, Kiely came up our driveway, narrowly avoiding an...opossum!

Jantzen got a balloon kit for Christmas - and LOVES making new things with balloon...(By the way, she is very good at sewing, knitting, crafting, decorating, scrapbooking, and just about anything she tries to make..)