Tuesday, September 30, 2014


We are playing in the desert this week. Be right back...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Over The Rainbow.

Yesterday Ivy's class took a fieldtrip down the street to Rainbow Orchards. This visit is the first of four trips to Rainbow as the farm hosts 1st graders one day out of every season. The Garden teacher Mrs. Frost (that is really, truly her name), encourages the students to pick an apple tree and study it's change from season to season. Farmer Tom (owner) takes the students on a hike around the farm and teaches the students about agriculture. I love this fieldtrip, I was lucky enough to go on Savannah's fieldtrips to Rainbow when she was in 1st. Thanks Grandpa Dan for watching Goo for me!
Johnny Appleseed came to visit the students and read them a story of his travels.
Here "The Donut Queen" (Krista Campbell, owner of Rainbow) gives the students a tour of the cider mill, barn and kitchen (where the magic happens).
The magic.
I just want to say a little something about Apple Hill:
I know we have this crazy fire (King Fire) burning here right now. The fire has made business difficult for the many farms in Apple Hill: CUSTOMERS NEEDED. Today's rain brought fire containment to 55%, which is huge progress. Over 8,000 firefighters are working hard, it's really something to see these crews during a shift change. This morning on our short drive to school we watched as an impressive caravan of firefighters from Los Angeles Fire Department headed back to fire camp. I could barely keep back the tears. Fire trucks from all over pass our house in a steady flow throughout the day; Novato, San Bernardino, Incline Village, Fremont, Calistoga, Los Angeles...
I say this all because I want you to know how proud we are here in this 'neck of the woods', we love where we live and want to share our joy of harvest with you. Right now there is so much pride living inside the people of this community, we have so much worth protecting, so much to be thankful for and I hope you get the opportunity to visit Apple Hill in the coming days or weeks and see what I mean. Come eat some donuts and see the firefighters. Just come.   

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Rockefeller Loop.

On our way home from Dee Dee's wedding, we stopped with Shannon and John a half hour south of Fortuna to walk Rockefeller Loop. The hike is short and easy, and the grove? It's magic. If you've never been to The Redwoods before you can't possibly comprehend how fresh and lovely the forest smells. And because of the duff on the forest floor and the cool damp lushness of such dense forest, there is a quiet that envelops you like an embrace. You feel as if you are in a reverent place. On hallowed ground and perhaps we were after all, the giants in these forests are ancient and carry the wisdom of many years gone by. Their roots have long forged deep throughout Earth's history.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dee Dee Gets Married.

My sister Deanna got married on Saturday at her home in Fortuna.
All nieces and nephews were in the wedding, The Little Girls were enamored with her beautiful dress and how special they felt to be included.
Dee Dee and Brandon exchanging rings.
A family photo.
The siblings. (Jared, Shannon, Deanna and I)
Congratulations Dee Dee and Brandon!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Best Kind Of Drive Thru.

My sister Deanna got married this past weekend and on our drive towards the northern coast of California, we stopped at Chandelier tree, the famous drive thru tree. 
Chandelier Tree: 
2400 years old 
315 feet high (obviously I couldn't get the whole tree in the photo, but I wish I could have, what a sight!)
21 ft in diameter
Tim driving our van slowly into the tree, Littles in awe.
We climbed around the fallen redwoods and drank in the fresh clean air. While Goo played lumberjack and used his buddy's "clainsaw" to of some work.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

King Fire.

(Photo posted and shared on facebook.)

Hi Hutters. The King Fire is a few miles from our community and home. This blaze is truly a monster. Winds the past few days have been pushing the fire and smoke northeast and so above our acre the sky is blue, the air smells sweet and there is a constant stream during daylight hours of low flying aircraft. We are getting quite the show. So far the fire has burned 18,544 acres and is only 5% contained. The terrain is rough, steep and difficult to transverse. For current and accurate information we are following this website. Though Tim and I feel optimistic about the safety of our home and community (so far no structures have been burned), we are nervous and The Littles are just well...frightened, so it's slumber party every night in our bedroom until this beast is out. The second day of the fire we decided we should pack an emergency bag just in case as we have heard from friends who have had mandatory evacuation that the order comes quickly and the enforcement swift. This is the scene six houses down our street:
This is a different type of excitement for us during late summer early autumn harvest. The traffic is different (water trucks, CDF and CAL Fire crews, forestry personnel, engines and the aforementioned helicopters and water planes) our conversations different (all fire, all the time--no clue what is happening in the rest of the world) and our pride is different in that we have never felt more pride in our surroundings than when they were/are threatened.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hive Check.

Krista and I did a bee check Saturday evening, the top super is full of honey! So here is kind of the bummer about your first year beekeeping...you can't take any honey........ugh.........the bees will need all reserves to support the health of the hive (food, brood, space, warmth...) during their first winter. If by chance there is extra honey in the Spring, we can extract it. HOWEVER, Krista contacted the local beekeeping association and the beekeeper in charge, Bruce, said we need to take two frames from each hive (four frames total) in order for the bees to not overcrowd. And as it was, when we pulled the frames from the outer edges, the comb was attached to the wood box AND the frame, causing the comb to rip and spill out honey. We were overjoyed to help make room for our bee friends and have a little honey ourselves. 
These frames are HEAVY and a bit awkward to hold with sticky gloves.
So I'll skip ahead here real quick and mention how we borrowed my Dad's extractor. I wanted to take some photos but as Tim and I were all hands on deck for this part I'll just describe the process right quick. I used a hot wand (a beekeeping tool) to uncap the wax holding the honey in the comb. The next part is a blur...me: frustrated. Tim: really just wanting to watch a football game...but the process was this: honey is spun out of comb in a metal barrel using elbow grease (Tim turning a crank) and centrifugal force. I held the barrel down in a fashion too embarrassing to describe here. But never mind that, look what came out the spigot?!
I separated beeswax from honey through a strainer and look!
 We got 6 pints!!
Here is a little look at Krista and I tasting the honeycomb for the first time!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Little Runner.

Savannah has been running with me a couple times a week. She chatters rapidly the whole 2.5 miles and once back at home she has a shot of energy and even sings in the shower! Her first Cross Country meet was yesterday. She was so worried about suffering a side stitch or being dehydrated. It was a hot afternoon and by the time the race started Tim and I were struggling to keep Ivy and Grady from the crankies.
Savannah did well, and her team ran strong and had an awesome showing.
Coming into the finish, I was so proud of her I choked out a cheer but it was squeaky with emotion.
Otter pops and icy water with her girlfriend Sarah after their race.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

June Lake.

While camping this weekend we took a quick car ride to June Lake. Tim and I came to June Lake once before years ago with our Saint Bernard pup and camped overlooking these pristine waters. We were excited for The Littles to see it all these years later as we have mentioned this special spot to them before. There is a loop you can drive which follows the shorelines of two other lakes as well, the scenery is incredible. Both times we have come to June Lake it has been incredibly windy! 
All The Littles and Tim out for a swim.
Some visitor before us made this heart art.
All the colors are starting to turn and early Autumn is showing on the aspens.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Car Camping.

This weekend we met up with friends from college (and high school) near June Lake off Hwy 395. Highway 395 is a favorite drive for both Tim and I so we were happy to meet The Whitcomb's (Jay, Stephanie, Julia & Thomas) and The Evan's (Brian, April, Sam & Maddie) at Glass Campground.
We celebrated Tim,
ate delicious food (we split up the cooking--each family was responsible for 2 meals, which was so great),
and enjoyed good company/conversation around the campfire.
All of our Littles played so well together, they made the most clever fort! With pride, all of us parents watched their progress from the campfire. So fun to see them work towards a common goal.
This was about half way through the construction. They did all the cutting themselves and only needed help from the dads a few times to haul logs. 
Ivy stuck close to me a lot this weekend when she wasn't helping with the fort. She was such a little nature girl, bringing me smooth or soft looking rocks and tree bark with interesting patterns.
We also spent an afternoon at stunning June Lake, I'll share those photos tomorrow.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Ultimate Big Guy.

Today is Tim's birthday. He isn't fond of attention on his birthday but we give it to him anyway. This weekend we will be celebrating on a camp trip with old friends...and have to wear the birthday hat.
I want you to know a few pieces about our guy. Tim is and has always been an involved, present and supportive dad. I am so excited for The Littles to have him as an example and a champion for them. He is excited about the current ages of The Littles. He has made sure we have family activities we all equally enjoy and been thorough in his hopes and plans to teach them necessary kid-tasks like swimming independently and learning to ride a bike. Right now he is reading aloud to The Little Girls, the 1st Harry Potter book, they love it. Oh, and nobody recommends better books than Tim. He is a terrific librarian (not a tidy one, more like a card catalog type librarian--essentially he can pick a good new book for you just by hearing a few of your old favorites).
This house explodes into giggles the moment his car pulls into the drive at the end of the day. Littles scurry this way and that to find a hiding spot so they can "scare" him as he walks through the front door. As for me, I am excited to have my partner and best friend home after the workday apart. Once inside and settled down, everything is as it should be and all the puzzle pieces in place.
Happy Birthday Tim.