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Target Practice November 25, 2006

Posted by Joe in Family.
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While Uncles was home for the Thanksgiving holiday, we got together for a little target practice. We had a great time.


Benjamin, who has learned gun safety and how to shoot BB guns from me and at Cub Scout Resident Camp, got to shoot his first real gun, the .22 rifle that I learned to shoot with when I was a kid.


He also to got shoot Uncle Chris’ 9mm pistol.


The picture was posed after the fact; I actually helped a bit to dampen the recoil.

All in all, a lot of fun.


Mohawk for a Day November 21, 2006

Posted by Laura in Family.

Benjamin has been begging us to cut his hair into a mohawk for months.  As you can imagine, the answer has been “no.”  He’s lobbied hard, but could not convince Joe, who usually gives him his monthly shave, to do it.

Last week, Joe was in Seattle for a conference and board meeting.  Benjamin’s hair was pretty shaggy and really couldn’t wait another week until Joe was back to be cut.  I looked at our calendar and realized we had nowhere we had to go between Monday and Wednesday (except Cub Scouts), so I let him have a Mohawk for a Day.


Do you think he looks just a LITTLE excited and proud?

Yeah, I know a “true Mohawk” would have been shaved down to the scalp on the sides, but hey, this was as far as I was willing to go.

(By the way, the other Cub Scouts were a bit jealous, I think).

It’s my birthday and I’ll squeal if I want to November 20, 2006

Posted by Joe in Family.

Rachel’s birthday was a few days ago. We celebrated it after dinner since I was a bit late getting back from a business trip to Seattle, hence the pajamas in the pictures.

The anticipation of cake! The build up of excitment! You can see it in Rachel’s eyes. It was almost more than any 5 year old could bear. Fortunately the Happy Birthday song isn’t too long.


Finally, the moment came – blow out the candles!


And then, she had to immediately liberate the gifts from that oh-so-restrictive wrapping paper.


Ahh……a job well done.


The fairest little town on the plains November 9, 2006

Posted by Joe in Family.

Auburn University holds a very special place in my heart; I spent a number of years there as a student, probably more than my fair share of years if we’re being completely honest. It’s also where I met the beautiful young woman that eventually became my wife and the mother of my children. So it’s no wonder I look back fondly. I had a great time while there.

The Flags of Auburn

It’s been far too long since I’ve been back, probably 10 years or more. So I was really excited when I had an opportunity to return to Auburn this past weekend. The kids and I made the trip on Thursday evening, spending the night with my mother about an hour outside of Auburn that night. I completed the journey on Friday morning.

I had meetings with the School of Business that consumed the majority of the day on Friday. But the highlight of the day by far was getting to catch up and even spend the night with a nearly long lost friend of my youth.

Friends since 8th grade, I haven’t seen Anthony since we both graduated from the MBA program back in 1991 – gosh some 15 years ago. When we got back together, though, it was like we’d never missed a step. Sure, time continues on – he’s happily married now and the father of four great kids – but the best friendships adjust and persevere over time.

I was able to get tickets to the Auburn football game on Saturday so Benjamin and Rachel were treated to their first college football experience. They loved it!

Before the game we walked around campus, stopping to tailgate at the School of Business for a little while. Here they are in front of Haley Center – Rachel has her orange and blue bling and Benjamin’s already grown a Tiger tail.

Haley Center

We made sure to make it to the stadium in time to see the eagle fly. Before each home game, the War Eagle of Auburn, named Tiger no less, flies from the upper deck to mid-field. It flew right in front of us before landing.

The Eagle has landed

We watched the game; Auburn won 27-0, so the outcome was never in doubt.




After the game, we headed towards an old Auburn tradition after a home victory – rolling Toomer’s Corner. We bought a few rolls to toss up in the air. When Rachel unwrapped the paper packaging off her roll, she asked “What do I do with this?” Beck answered “Just through it on the ground.” To which Rachel looked at me inquisitively and said “Really?” I explained it to her, she smiled, and she took her first small step in rolling the corner.

Benjamin loved tossing the rolls in the air.


Rachel opted for a more methodical approach.


Earlier in the day, Benjamin wanted an Auburn football from a vendor in the stadium. I told him we’d look for one elsewhere because those were fairly expensive and we’d just have to carry it around all day. He agreed.

When we reached Toomer’s Corner later, dozens of kids and adults alike were tossing footballs around. And we didn’t have one. Benjamin was disappointed to be sidelined during this time of fun. He got over it when Beck returned with toilet paper. Oddly enough, about half and hour later as we were throwing our final rolls of toilet paper skyward, a couple of teenagers walked by with a nerf football. They extended it out to Benjamin and asked if he’d like to have it. You just gotta love the home town atmosphere in the fairest little town on the plains.

Oh, I’m very happy where we live now and have absolutely no desire to move, but it was wonderful to return on a fall weekend to that special place called Auburn.

Frontier Days November 8, 2006

Posted by Laura in Family.


One of my favorite things about homeschooling is the ability to have “school” whenever and wherever we wish. This wonderful flexibility allows us to participate in events that would otherwise be off-limits because they take place during the “regular school” day. We can go at times that are less crowded or busy and take advantage of discount ticket times, too.


(Benjamin and a friend watch sorghum being made the old-fashioned way at the Tennessee State Fair).

Our homeschool group at church has gone on many field trips together-  visited museums, participated in art lessons, and had enrichment times to work on projects like model bridge building, among other things. It’s been wonderful.


(Rachel displays the boat she made from aluminum foil to test what shape will hold the most ballast [paper clips] before sinking).

This past weekend, Joe had meetings with an alumni group he is a part of at Auburn University. I can’t travel while pregnant, so I stayed behind and took care of the animals.

Joe was in meetings all day Friday. My dear mother-in-law Becky took off a day of work and took the kids on a field trip.  They went to Fort Toulouse for Frontier Days where groups of actors were re-enacting life in the early years of our country in period costumes. I think they ALL had a ball.


(Benjamin got to ask questions of a “real” Native American from Oklahoma who came to be part of the event).
(After their exciting field trip, cousin Sarah Elizabeth came over to play and spend the night.  Here you see the “One little, two little, three little Indians…” in costumes Becky whipped up for them in an afternoon).

Pumpkin Time November 2, 2006

Posted by Laura in Family.


One of the great pleasures of fall is the smell of pumpkins!  The vivid orange of the rind along with the vibrant leaf colors warm me on the inside even as they remind me of the coming cold and the drab lack of color that accompanies winter.

We did plant some pumpkin seeds this year, but a bit too late probably, and they suffered from lack of rain.  We never did make it out to an orchard to pick apples or to a pumpkin patch, but hopefully we’ll do better next year.  We had to settle for store-bought ones this year.



(Yeah, cats may be curious, but so are chickens.  It seems it’s hard to get a picture of anything outside WITHOUT a chicken in it!.  We kept having to run this one and a few others away while we worked.  She just couldn’t wait for her share!).


The children were very eager to scoop out the seeds and design the faces on them.  Rachel stirred the seeds and pulp around and around and offered “pumpkin soup” to the dogs and cats.  There weren’t many (any) takers, so we saved them to toast and eat ourselves later.  The chickens did partake of the cut-out pieces of pumpkin, though.


(What fun!  We trick-or-treated at Grams and BePops house before going over to Cousin Kay’s new house.  Unfortunately, I forgot to get a picture of all the cousins together.  Kay was a very cute ladybug).

When we went to the Harvest Party at church last weekend, the kids dressed up as a pirate and a princess.  They liked the same themes for their pumpkins.  (Come on- you can SEE that pumpkin on the right is CLEARLY a princess pumpkin!).



Are You My Mother? Part 3 November 1, 2006

Posted by Laura in Farm.

It’s been a few weeks since I posted the story of the lone turkey poult. I thought I would give an update.


(Turkey poult, just a few days old).



(Same turkey, at about 3 1/2 weeks old).

The dear little baby has done quite well. It’s grown quite a bit, is feathering out nicely, and is very vocal. It has blue eyes. Whenever it hears me come into the barn, it begins to trill and chirp. Now, when I take food in, I must be careful to only pull aside the scrap boards just barely enough to get my hand through. As soon as the cute yellow baby sees me, he tries with all his might to fly out through the hole I am peeking in. It insists it is too big to be in a crib now!


We started some more chicken eggs in the incubator a little over a month ago. Since we had been able to get the turkey to hatch despite the chill outside when the eggs were abandoned, I was quite hopeful we would have a nice hatching of chicks. Boy, was I wrong! Only 5 ever made it out of the shell, and of those, only 2 have survived and they both have leg problems. And that was out of many dozen eggs!


(Hatching is hard work. This little guy took nearly 24 hours to “pip.” Tap, tap, tap for several hours, then rest. Then back at it again. Kinda homely when they first emerge, huh?).

After the new chicks dried off and warmed up from their hatch, I took them down to the water trough (made into a brooder) that the turkey was in. Since the poult had new roommates, I released the other two, much older chicks to go back to the henhouse. Now that the turkey poult is nearly as big as they are, I’d like to let it out so it can learn how to forage and so on, but I’m going to wait until it’s fully feathered first. The nights are getting pretty cool. I’m not sure how it will make the transition from total captivity to total freedom, though. Maybe we will need to move a hen or two out of the original chicken tractor so that the turkey can be with the older ones of its kind.


(Those two tiny-looking things are the only surviving chicks. One has toes curled under on one foot. The other limps badly. I’m not sure if they will be able to survive later when they have to compete for food or evade predators).

The other turkeys are quite big now. They probably need a tractor all their own now. I’d really like to let them free-range on our property, but I am too afraid they will be eaten by predators. (I was standing in the yard last week when another hawk swooped down and tried to make off with our little Frizzle hen. I went running across the yard as fast as my round, heavy, pregnant belly would allow, yelling and waving my arms. The hawk apparently hadn’t gotten a hold of anything but fluffy feathers because when it tried to pick her up and fly off, the banty was left behind and black feathers flew everywhere. She hid under the nesting boxes for about 2 days after that).psychofrizzle10-06.JPG

The turkeys are too big to be threatened by hawks, snakes, or opossums probably, but dogs and coyotes are another story.

There has been another twist in the turkey story, though. Back a month or two ago, I had posted this picture of “George” with “his” developing snood and wattle.


Well, neither one ever got much bigger (just a tiny nubbin above the beak and slightly larger, redder throat skin). “George” never got the show-off tail feathers, a “beard” on his chest, or a “gobble” call either. More research told me that some females will exhibit these small versions of snood and wattle. So guess what- we seem to have Martha Washington and Betsy Ross! I’m hopeful that the lone turkey poult will turn out to be our “George” or we may STILL not have a breeding flock this year. (We have one final batch of turkey eggs in the incubator, but after the last hatch, I’m not holding my breath for a good outcome. Ironically, they are due to hatch on Thanksgiving Day 🙂 ).