Christmas Letter 2022

Merry Christmas to one and all from the Brock family! We are so abundantly blessed and 2022 has been no exception.

Cosima (3) is the sweetest little love and occasionally a spicy Pickle. She bravely and excitedly goes along with the flow of the big kids busy schedules. She loves ballet, her kitties, doing art or playing Barbies with “Lelly” (Azelie), and being wild with Caidoc. Daddy is her “bestest buddy”. I spend a lot of time chatting with Cosima when the big kids are busy and I absolutely love hearing what is going on in her head, she has so much to say; “Stickers are my best. Sometimes, I love ripping dem.” One of her new favorite things to do is run around clanging pot lids together yelling, “party!” I aspire to that level of enthusiasm and energy. We love our little Pickle, Cozy Bear- toddlers are so hilarious!

Azelie (8) got her ears pierced last year in celebration of receiving her first confession! She loves playing tennis, soccer, and baseball. She completed piano guild auditions for the first time this past spring, scoring exceptionally well. The Christmas recital was her favorite event in piano this year. 2022 was her 3rd year in 4H and she participated in the spring fair and state fair. She won a blue ribbon for her art project in the spring fair and another ribbon for her poster in the state fair. This year she joined American Heritage Girls and is loving earning all the badges! Azelie participated in a week long Shakespeare camp and played Hermia where she discovered she loves acting- no surprise to this momma. Azelie is my big helper and Pickle whisperer. I am so grateful for her encouraging comments to me and her tender, sensitive heart. She always looks on the bright side of things which impresses me to no end.

Caidoc (10) I’m a little freaked out I have a TEN year old, but Caidoc doesn’t feel like he’s growing up fast enough. He got glasses this year! He has played piano for four years now and is really bursting with talent. He participated in his third guild auditions and scored exceptionally well. He has been in 4H for three years and got first place for his Lego invention at the spring fair. His true love is baseball and he absolutely loved playing for another season this past summer. Caidoc played Lysander in A Midsummers Night Dream during Shakespeare camp and while it was not his favorite role, I was proud that he embraced the experience with confidence. Caidoc has joined Trail Life and is really enjoying making friends and taking on extra responsibility. He loves our kitties and chickens and takes good care of them. His most recent thrilling experience was being able to finally sit in the front passenger seat of the car. He is as good a co-pilot as I always knew he would be. He did express disappointment that the role of “shotgun” didn’t actually come with a shotgun. I am so proud of my boy, he is incredibly helpful to me on a daily basis. I am loving watching him grow up.

Abby (30 something) My greatest joy and privilege is being able to be a wife to Chris and a mother to Caidoc, Azelie, and Cosima. While I usually feel like I have no idea what I am doing, I love homeschooling them and nurturing their growth. I spend a lot of time cooking, reading, and making ambitious plans like putting on a week long Shakespeare camp this past summer for 10 kids. At least that keeps me busy from acquiring any new animals much to Husband’s relief. I shamelessly spoil the chickens and cats. I guess I am becoming a pet person- wonders never cease. Between Field Trip Fridays with my Adventure Crew, long days spent explaining math concepts and Latin roots, and helping fundraise for the kiddos clubs, I am quite busy during the school year. Despite the sports, clubs, camping, and general shenanigans, I still find time to experiment with my herbal brew making, most of which doesn’t explode, and I try to forage as much as possible, usually conscripting my children and Husband into joining me; “it’s for your health” I say. Interpret that as you will. I look forward to more traveling, and as always, not taking a single day for granted.

Chris (basically 40) Chris works tirelessly at his job as engineering manager to provide for us in a most ample and generous way. We are so spoiled by him. When he is not being volun-told (not sure who would do that… )to coach the kids sports teams, or become a leader in Trail Life, or a volunteer in 4H, he is dropping everything to help me out with my wild ideas. Chris travels quite a bit for work which is always an exciting experience for both of us; he can occasionally explore new places and I get a reminder that doing this parenting gig without him would be impossible. Still an avid soccer fan, he hopes to start playing regularly in the coming new year, and possibly picking back up the trombone. I suppose I should count my blessings that it’s the trombone he’s settled on and not the bagpipes which was his original thought. His current favorite hobby is making sure to have his beard comb with him at all times in case the opportunity arises for him to mortify Caidoc and Azelie with a good combing sesh. Classic. We make a great team and I can’t wait to see what our future holds together. He’s my best friend and I am the luckiest wife in the world.

Well friends, that’s our year end update in a nutshell. I always look forward to reading y’all’s Christmas letters during these long dark evenings so don’t forget to send yours our way, be it paper or electronic, we will gladly welcome it. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Much love,

The Brock Family

Chris, Abby, Caidoc, Azelie, and Cosima

Kitties Freyja and Isla

Chickens Sorcha, Petra, Zita, Rose, and Dagmara

Christmas Letter 2021

Hello dear friends,

We are anxiously awaiting Christmas in what feels like a bit of a fog. Our advent has been wonderful, busy, and full of preparation. God works in mysterious ways and He surely was preparing our family for right as I finished up a batch of winter meals and delivered extended family Christmas gifts, we all came down with Covid. We are so grateful to be feeling much better, Chris is back at work, the kids are bouncing off the walls again, and I am slowly regaining my energy for the final push to Christmas. Chris and I still cannot taste or smell anything, but we are confident we just need time. One night during our illness I was laying in the cold (a boon with fevers!) and dark of my room around 2 am feeling utterly peaceful. For that moment everyone was asleep and safe and I was filled with profound gratitude for the safety and gift of my family. We are all here and we are together. That is enough.

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

As I reflected in those wee hours on the wonderful gift my family is I thought of my son. My little helper buddy. This year Caidoc has really become an indispensable help to me, from remembering things we need at the store, to being someone to bounce ideas off of, to helping me find the correct tool for a job or make plans for the day, I truly am loving watching him become a independent little man. His favorite sport to play this year was baseball which he likes much more than soccer. Caidoc is in the forth year of piano (in September), performing for Guild Auditions in May, two recitals, and composing his own pieces. Perhaps his favorite activity is still building with his Legos, although inventing various clubs, and swimming are a close second. He is in 4th grade and it boggles my mind that he is going to be TEN this coming May, he’s certainly growing up too fast (yet not fast enough if you ask him). Caidoc is really glad to be able to participate in 4H in person finally, and is hopeful to show a chicken at the fair this year, last year he and A submitted posters. He is our chicken wrangler, our cat cuddler, and our cookie maker extraordinaire- I couldn’t manage life without him.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

I was jostled out of my contemplative state by a light in the bathroom. Azelie my loving and thoughtful girl didn’t want to wake me but she needed salt water to rinse her aching mouth so she got it herself. She is becoming more competent and independent by the day. It is all I can do to keep a steady supply of reading and art materials coming for she loves a quiet time full of beautiful thoughts and drawings. Azelie is the self proclaimed “second woman of the house” and is, as always, my amiable darling eager to be a great little mother to Cosima. Math is her favorite subject and she loves a good book that “gives her a thrill”. She continues to rock her piano excelling particularly with theory. She will compete in Guild Auditions this year for the first time. This year she played soccer as well but discovered her true passion in tennis! She cannot wait to play again next year. Azelie is my empathetic and compassionate helper always ready to try and make things easier for everyone. 4H is an exciting new program that she hopes to explore more this year. She is greatly looking forward to being able to go to confession for the first time this winter. The other night at rosary she offered up her suffering while being sick for the health of her family- and nothing sums up Azelie more. She is my darling little lady.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

I hasten back to bed because a small shape is visible sitting up in her little bed next to mine. Cosima croaks, “mama?”, making sure I am definitely back in bed and not going to leave her again before she flops down on my tummy asleep-effectively pinning me with all 26 pounds of wild curls and feisty personality. She still loves to be my little baby but also yearns to be included with the big kids in all their games. We delight in her starting to use full sentences in her own little voice which has really become quite pronounced and (sometimes) quite loud; “BRUDDA, SHUSH!” Cosima was the bestest sidekick to watch all the soccer and baseball and tennis practices and games with, really being our adventure baby and going with the flow. She asks for “adventures” daily by wiggling her little arms across her body and is quite disgruntled when she finds out we are staying home. She has discovered the library and loves picking out her own books, most likely Llama Llama, Little Blue Truck, or Pooh. If anyone is outside working on the chicken coop or gathering eggs she eagerly asks to come get “ohms” aka eggs and puts her little clogs on, usually complete with an Elsa costume. She is emphatic, opinionated, eager, and amazes us everyday. I slowly move her little inert body off of me and cover her with a blanket.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

I roll over to check on Husband, he’s fever free but still very tired, not surprising as he goes above and beyond to fulfill all his roles each day. He coached both kids soccer teams this year, assisted with C’s baseball team, and was Pickle’s buddy during hours of piano events and 4H meetings. He’s climbed ladders at work though I know he is ready for a new adventure. I tell him each day I’m game to just pack up and move, just say the word. That day may come soon, or it may come down the road but I am glad to be sharing this life with a man as involved with the children as he is. Chris is my greatest supporter and helps me along with all my crazy projects- even if it means that some bottles of my latest brew explode all over the cabinets, or I’m panicking over why only one chicken is molting and thinking they all need jackets. He wakes up each morning and starts my tea without fail and I feel like I’m living in a RomCom, with a husband as thoughtful and fun as he is.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

In the Bleak Midwinter – Christina Rossetti

It’s 3 am by now and I get up to go make sure that no one else is up looking for water or a cough drop, or even just some snuggles and sympathetic whispers of “you’ll be better by Christmas, I promise” and I am grateful I can give that promise. We have been wildly blessed this year and despite any struggles we’ve had, I can confidently say I knew things would get better -that is a gift denied to many and our blessings are not lost on me. I pray each night during our rosary for Peace, Joy, and Contentment. I pray for Courage. I pray for Wisdom. I pray for Patience. In these days I feel all of those are slipping from my grasp, in a final test of the year as I am trying to regain my health in time for Christmas. But who says things have to be perfect to be worthy? Our Christmas celebration will be perfect simply because we are here, and we are together. That is enough.


The leaves are all falling from the trees around us. The glorious burst of vibrant color is fading to the bare black branches and the early dark and shadow of short days mirror our hearts. November seems to bring some herald of sorrow these past few years.

A friend of ours passed away this week. He was just 32 years old and a father of five. He fought a deadly, aggressive cancer heroically. I have no doubt he is in heaven, for all knew him to be a great man. My heart is shattered for his family, his wife, his children, his parents, and his siblings.

The heart cannot comprehend such loss which is why I think grief is felt so bone deep. The ache you feel in your chest is the body and mind struggling with each other to make some sense of it all. The mind says there was a reason, there is reason for everything. But your heart starts to leak from your eyes and reason ceases to exist. There is only sorrow.

This grief cuts deep as this month is also the anniversary of the death of another young father, a co-worker of Chris’s, who passed away in a car accident. He too was a wonderful human being and we still feel his loss deeply. My daughter A just made a drawing of him to put up in church for All Souls Day, all her own idea. My son is asking to write a letter to the daughters of our friend who died this week to tell them how sorry he is for them, in particular he wants to write out the poem he is memorizing for school, “O Captain, My Captain!”, for he said he thought it might help them in some way. Their hearts inspire me to not cowardly push away this grief, but to embrace it, let it come in and stay.

With this season of Thanksgiving tangled in this season of sorrow and loss I am grateful for every single breath. For as we know Life is so utterly fragile. We might be gone with the next leaf that drops from the trees, or worse, someone we love might have said their last words to us on their way out the door.

My heart is heavy while I focus on each day but I also feel gratitude for having known these men who have touched so many lives. In a world with so few good men, the loss of these men is so bitter. But we walk on, stumbling and sorrowful, we walk on.

Blessed repose and eternal memory. 

Giving Thanks

I am so full of the Thanksgiving spirit y’all! I have been struggling with my health lately, as my autoimmune condition continues to add more challenges to daily life. But it’s times like these that always makes me acutely aware of how blessed I am. I am abundantly showered with so much. This is how suffering is transformed into something powerful isn’t it? I am so grateful I have a warm home. These rainy nights spent locking up chickens has been really helpful at reminding me how blessed I am to be surrounded by warmth and light.

C and A have started their Thanksgiving trees. Seeing what they put each day makes my heart sing! Just yesterday C put “Life. Life is great” and without knowing what C put, A had written “to be alive”. How amazing is that!? I was touched. I’ve even made the trees twice already so I’m feelin’ pretty special.

We have had two wonderful field trips lately; the first was to the Washington State History Museum where we also peaked at the glass exhibits on the bridge adjacent to the museum. It was amazing! The museum exceeded my expectations and we had the place to ourselves.
We are so blessed to live near so many incredible museums.

We also went geocaching which I can’t recommend enough. It’s been awhile since we’ve gone but just this weekend we were able to hike to two, which was so fun! Geocaching is a great way to start hiking with little kiddos. We’ve always called it “treasure hunting” which proves to be very motivational. I am so thankful for these adventures I get to share with my amazing children .

And how can we forget spooky season?! What a great Halloween we had! We went trick or treating twice. The first was a trunk or treat our city hosted, and the second was around our neighborhood. Confession: we’ve never gone trick or treating in our neighborhood! But it seems that there are more families moving in around us as the retirement age folks leave. We had a blast in the neighborhoods around us and I am so grateful for it!

We had our own Halloween recital too!

I hope you are able to find all the things you are grateful for this season friends. It truly does make the difference. Just the other day I was washing dishes and when I looked up I saw this…

Look at that color! I was blown away. What a beautiful world we live in. I’m trying to make sure I see the beauty and enjoy in the little things. We are only here for such a short while that we can’t afford to spend our time not reveling in the wee moments of joy and beauty, right?

A Multi-generational Tradition

Apples are the quintessential autumnal symbol, don’t you think? In our house we love apples; my son in particular has an apple a day- it’s his very favorite quiet time snack. It pairs best with a fresh book from the library I’m told.

Both of my parents grew up in apple country, on the eastern side of the state where the dry (yes, some parts of Washington’s are very dry!) climate yields some of the best apples in the world. So, I guess you could say, apples have been a staple of my life for as long as I’ve been around. I wouldn’t have it any other way and I’m happy to have my children be involved in one of the most time honored traditions in our family- apple pressing!

A few weekends ago we packed up our crew and headed to eastern Washington for a long weekend at my parents place where we cranked through a whole crate of gala apples in one afternoon which yielded about 52 gallons of fresh cider. There is nothing like the taste of that thick, sweet cider poured right from the sticky, dripping cider press. The stuff you see in the store pales in comparison! No, literally; fresh pressed cider is a dark brown, not yellow-y colored like store bought. C and A built up great anticipation for cidering this year because, “we are able to help more this time mom, because we are big now!” Help they did! Between washing apples, chopping them, and feeding them into the grinders, collectively they put in several hours worth of work. They must get that work ethic from their father, as I can confidently say that at their age I was generally focused more on the tasting portion of the job.

The bestest road trippers I ever did see

The eastern side of the state gets so much more sunshine than the west side. Basking in clear days was a welcome break from the torrential downpours we’ve been having here. To help remember that sunshine we’ve got several gallons of cider fermenting on the counter which are turning a lovely amber color, reminiscent of the cloud free gloaming at my parents house. The rest of our share is frozen, destined for apple cider caramels and summer time popsicles.

I’m so grateful my children will have fond memories participating in such a sacred tradition. What a gift to be able to say they pressed apples into delicious cider with their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents all at one time! My hope is that whenever they bite into a fresh apple, smell fragrant cider, or feel the wind blowing autumn leaves, that they feel the love of all of those who have kept the cidering tradition alive for them. I know I certainly do.

Cosima *2*

Cosima is two years old! I say it every time my children have birthdays but man! That went by fast.

I am fairly convinced that the older I get the faster time moves. It’s a terrifying and invigorating conundrum but accepting that our time with our children is so short makes me glad I’ve stayed home to school and raise these munchkins. It’s worth it to embrace the slow pace with our kids because time will march relentlessly on won’t it?

I truly believe that raising children is by far the greatest privilege and responsibility that one can have. We really only get to borrow them for a short while don’t we?

Cosima Philomena Eponine, you and your siblings are my greatest adventure. Thank you for choosing me to be your mom. I love you Little Swan.

Mount Rainier

Our last camping trip of the year was a success! We visited Mount Rainier, which we have done before, but this time stayed at the Ohanapecosh campground on the Sunrise side of the mountain.

The campsite was great and we practically had the place to ourselves. The loop we stayed in was almost empty, but we couldn’t figure out why because the sites were secluded and the Ohanapecosh river serenaded us just 50 yards away. It was quite idyllic. There were reports of a forest fire many miles away, and smoke possibly effecting the area but we didn’t experience anything worse than a little haze part of one day. We lucked out!

The views were breath taking as always and the kids are well trained hikers. The Grove of the Patriarchs has been on our list to visit and it was incredible!

1000 year old trees!

The hike to Silver Falls leaves right from our campsite loop and while we didn’t go that way this time (since we connected two hikes together) we throughly plan on taking advantage of that handiness next time.

Silver Falls

We drove to Naches Peak were wowed by the view of Rainier and the alpine meadows and lakes. We even hiked on a bit of the Wonderland Trail.

I think the kiddos favorite part was the river by the campground. On the opposite loop the river was set up to be easily accessible. Crystal clear water flowed slowly and in several waist deep pools making it very safe, and many kids were swimming! Whew! Chilly water but they seemed to have a blast.

Mount Rainier
River on the campground
Good little hikers

Camping with kids is a lot of work (particularly when your toddler decides to not sleep) but it is always worth it and so important for them (and me!) to experience nature that way. One of my favorite things about Mt Rainier camping is that there is no cell service! I really enjoy unplugging. Next year though, we need to go for longer because two nights away just isn’t enough time to explore or relax with my family. But! I will take what I can get and am very grateful for such a glorious place to visit so close by.

A great camping trip, then home to celebrate this little lady turning two!

Till next time, Rainier!

What’s brewing?

Foraging has recently become a hobby of mine, and if you ask anyone in my family you’ll hear various humorous stories about me mucking about in the woods this spring or eating parts of a tree on a walk. Doubtless I look less the wood nymph and more of a nutcase but I love it.
The interest in plants as medicine really started a long time ago, when my eldest daughter had chronic ear infections and I was skeptical about the amount of antibiotics her doctors kept prescribing. I felt that there must be another avenue to look into and that round after round of antibiotics couldn’t be good for her. After digging around on my own, I found that homeopaths suggested that garlic oil in the ears can help. I mentioned this to the doctor and was severely chastised and told “never to do that!”
Fast forward six years when my second daughter got an ear ache, guess what I was told; “Garlic oil in the ears is the first thing you should do. Antibiotics are really a last resort.” What a different tune! I’ve had a several other similar interactions involving my health and my husband’s which has really reshaped my thinking on the medicine we take. I now reach for herbal and holistic remedies before I try OTC or ask for prescriptions.

This past year I’ve taken a bigger leap into alternative medicine by creating more of my own. I especially enjoy making tinctures because they are so easy, yet potent. I’ve been making nettle tea and tinctures for a couple years for Husbands allergies, but this spring I expanded my horizons. On our last camping trip to Fort Flagler I came prepared and had a whole list of things I hoped to find, including yarrow, nettle, St. John’s Wort, plantain, and pineapple weed.

Rosemary oil. Used for hair products.

Armed with my gloves and bags I got a good amount of fresh nettle, which I intend to use for dye, since I already have plenty of tinctures. Yarrow was growing EVERYWHERe on the coast so I got a whole bag of that too. While there was a great deal on plantain as well, I couldn’t find it far enough from a road, so I’ll look for it another time. Right up on the fort I found St. John’s Wort growing too and I scored big on that. Pineapple weed, otherwise known as wild chamomile, loves to grow all over the sidewalks in our city, but I could not for the life of me find it in the woods or in a less toxic environment. Such a bummer! I grow chamomile but I was looking forward to boosting my supply since those tiny flowers last long.

Yarrow tincture

However, I was able to get enough yarrow and St. John’s Wort to make several tinctures, one of which is a combo of the two with some of my own lavender thrown in. A powerful anti anxiety brew!

St John’s Wort is a yellow flower but turns tinctures pink!

In addition to medicines I’ve been foraging for spruce tips in order to make beer. That has been a really fun experiment and several of the batches turned out super well. One batch did exploded once it was opened and one was grossly sweet, but most of them taste like a lager, like Blue Moon. I started making non grain beer since both Husband and I don’t do gluten and usually don’t eat wheat. Spruce tips are the new growth that emerge on spruces in the spring. They are very fun to pick and can be eaten right off the tree, resulting in a citrusy taste and a great boost of vitamin C.

I found some great blue spruce in the woods, there is also some small fir tips in there, which work just fine too.

I might have gotten a little spruce tip crazy, so now C and A can identify a spruce from a fir, and they point out spruce tips all the time, haha! I’m sure they will thank me later, right? Haha!

Spruce tips also make a great remedy for sore throats and coughs, so I’ve made a tincture of those too.

Looking forward to summer and fall foraging I’m compiling a list of things I’d like to add to my medicine cabinet or use in various projects, such as naturally dyeing clothes. So far my list has elderberries, sumac, conifer (not just the tips this time), and acorns. Rosemary, thyme, chamomile, oregano, and lavender are all doing well in my herb garden. I have plans to preserve those for cooking, medicine, and tinctures to last us till next blooming season.
Let me know if you have any herbs or plants you need “pruned” I’ll come help ya out! 😉

Summer bucket lists 2021

Every year the kids and I make individual summer bucket lists on the last day of school. I love seeing what they come up with! This year C kept it short and sweet:

Get water guns.

Get a new sprinkler or pool.

Get more chickens.

Get candy and eat it in the sunshine.

We’ve successfully accomplished all but one of those (sorry buddy, Official Pet Ban and such…)

First camping trip of 2021 at Fort Flagler

Azelie had a longer list with more specific requirements.

Go to the cabin.

Go swimming.

Help Cosima try out a new little pool.

Get popsicles.

Go camping.

Go on a picnic.

Sounds like the perfect summer to me! We’ve done most of these already and it’s only July, but we do have a few more camping trips planned and we have to go an what Azelie deems a proper picnic. One cannot simply eat food outside, oh no. The picnic blanket must be on the checkered side, and we have to have packed a lunch, “not just snacks on the deck, mom.” The girl has picnic protocol down.

My list involves a lot of what the kids would probably classify as “work”. Berry picking, jamming, walks and bike rides, organizing for the new school year, BBQing, brewing, foraging, etc. I’ve already got strawberry jam in the books and blueberry season is eminent!

22 lbs in 45 minutes- BOOM!
Camping at Fort Flagler

Our bucket lists give us some good goals for the summer but we always have other activities to fill our time as well. Caidoc is doing baseball again this year (yay for sports being back!) and his developmental leap has been amazing! Azelie will be taking tennis lessons in July and she is so excited. Both of the “bigs”, as well call them, take piano lessons through the summer. This year we are doing two two week sessions of summer school- much to C and A’s chagrin. It pays off to not have any of the “summer slide” though. I’ve been really cashing in the summer time vibe and we’ve been watching movies, eating ice cream, and having lots of fun adventures.

Father’s Day 2021

Pickle maintains the title of Adventure Baby. She loves to get out and do things. Her life goal is to be a big kid and she’s always asking to be included with whatever C and A are doing; she always “practices” piano after them and patiently waits her turn each day- so sweet!

Starting to peddle and she’s not even 2 yet! Slow down babe

The chickens and kitties are really keeping us busy. C and A have morning chores with the animals, “doing these animals chores makes me feel like we have a farm, mom!” We are all learning a lot, especially from the chickens. We recently had to clip the wings on our cross beak who likes to scale the six foot fence. She better be a good layer because between the beak and the flying she is giving us a run for our money. Those birds are so much smarter than anyone gives them credit for. The other night I went out to lock them up and Sorcha was still out. She’s taken over being the guard chicken since Lucas has been re-homed (that was hard!😢). I talked to her saying, “now lady, you can go to sleep it’s okay, it’s just me”, to which she promptly came over for a pet, then flew up into the coop. Such good girls.

Getting acquainted
A pretty Pickle on a field trip Friday
C has got quite the arm.
Getting a walk in.

Our summer has been a blast so far! We are blessed. I can’t wait for the rest of it! I look forward to more gardening ( it’s been a great year for the garden!), more foraging, camping trips, and getting myself psyched for the school year to come. I can’t wait to show you what we have planned for field trips for year- just wait! In the mean time, if you’re bored and in Washington, feel free to stop by anytime. We are always good for a popsicle or a cold brew and our willow tree has the best shade around. Come on over!

Good Times Keep on Rollin’

Well, 2020-2021 has been weird for a lot of people in a lot of ways. For me, it became The Year Of The Pet. Meet Freya and Isla!

This is a good story, let me fill you in.

My original plan was to have the chickens be a financial lesson for the kids; they would gather eggs and sell them, using the egg money to buy a kitten sometime around Christmas. Well. On a walk one day the kids and I saw a “free kittens” sign in the neighborhood. We all were very excited thinking maybe we could rationalize expediting our plan if the kitten was free. I told them not to get their hopes up as it might be that they were all gone, or not a good fit for our family, etc. I texted the number thinking, “meh, doesn’t hurt to check.” Next thing I knew I was texting this guy down the street about an 8 week old litter one of his tabby cat’s just had- and asking to take two. Apparently, a Siamese male is making the rounds in the neighborhood because his other tabby has a litter now too! Anyways, he tells me he will hold a pair for me, and sends me kinda blurry pictures. I didn’t tell the kids because I wanted to make sure this was really happening. Husband went to check them out and talk to the guy- he was so nice! We picked up the kittens three days later.

Having the kittens been such an awesome experience! They came litter box trained and eating kitten food so they adapted really quickly. We named them Freya and Isla. Here is where the story gets a little more…interesting. The guy told us they were both girls. Well, after a few days I’m looking at these little kitten bums and thinking, “I’m no vet but uh…” we took them to their first vet checkup and yep, both boys. The kids had been bickering back and forth for a week wanting to know if they were boys or girls, and quite a bit of consternation was raised. Bear in mind we’ve been calling them Freya and Isla for about a week and a half at this point- basically 10 years in kid time. So, will all the bickering and having already established names… I decided not to tell them, stating that it didn’t matter and they were nice kitties and healthy and that’s all that mattered. That settled that. Yep. I took the easy way out.

(Kids, if you’re reading this one day, I was sick of the bickering so yeah, our boy cats stayed Freya and Isla. Plus, I didn’t want to get into with you, but we are going to have them fixed the end, it really won’t matter.)

Freya and Isla are the most easy going, beautiful, and fun kittens ever! We really lucked out. Online it says a mix of a tabby and Siamese are called a Lynx point Siamese..? It doesn’t really matter to us, but that’s what the all knowing internet says. They are very affectionate which is a very good thing with three littles who want to cuddle all day. Their bond is sweet and entertains us to no end.

They are sure growing fast and love spending time outdoors. Freya is our warrior kitty, who frequently stalks the squirrels in the backyard. Isla is a chunky love who needs to make sure everyone is tucked in at night. They love to wrestle each other and chase a laser. Cosima is loving having little animals to boss around. You can see how this past year was been The Year Of The Pet for us. I’m officially on a self instated pet ban now. I think we’ve maxed out our space and time commitments. That is, until the kids get older and more capable of helping out..and we get more space…maybe a few more chickens would be nice…as a learning experience of course.

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