my life as an 8y old boy

i am silas, jennifer’s  nephew 8 years old and  pretty strong i  do wall walking monkey bars and parkour  stuff outside my fellow house. i am pretty strong although i play billions of video games.  Part 2 My stuff will be until later.

Cherry Picking

Jill and I picked cherries near her house yesterday – about 20 pounds worth.  We climbed way up on ladders (they made us sign waivers first) and picked for about 45 minutes.  Two varieties of sweet cherries; Lamberts and Rainiers.  Yum.

Lambert Cherries

It was perfect weather, not as hot as it’s been at Jill’s recently, and we finished up just before the rain started. Here’s the gorgeous view from the orchard.

View from the cherry orchard

I drove home in the afternoon (it’s about a 4 1/4 hour drive) and this morning I woke up to 20 pounds of cherries to deal with.  The first thing I did was search the internet for pitting techniques.  A cake decorating tip works well and I started with that, but eventually switched to a chop stick.  My fingers are all stained and shriveled now.  I had cherry juice spatter all over me, I looked like something out of a horror movie.

Cherry juice spatter

I protected my cell phone from the mess with a zipper baggy – so I could still send and receive texts from my sisters (who text constantly, by the way).

When I was looking for pitting techniques, I came across a recipe for cherry pit vinegar.  I was very excited that all those pits, with yummy cherry flesh still clinging to them, wouldn’t be put to waste!  And then I discovered that cleaned and dried pits can also be used to make microwaveable heating pads!  But first I had to figure out how to clean and dry the cherry stones.

Cherry stones soaking in water, waiting to be cleaned

Mom has two food dehydrators, so I begged to borrow one and the first thing I did was load that up.  I did two trays of each type of cherry.  It’s tedious slicing all the cherries in half and arranging them cut side up.  They better be yummy!

The Lambert cherries are about half-way dried

I made a batch of no-cook jam out of each kind of cherries, which I’ll put in the fridge.  If you ask nice, I might share some.  I also made two big jars of the cherry pit vinegar, one with apple cider vinegar and one with red wine vinegar.  Several trays of cherries went in the freezer for later.  And finally, I made a gluten-free cherry cobbler!

Lambert cherry pit vinegar (back right), Lambert cherry jam (front left), Rainier cherry jam (centre) and Gluten-free Ranier cherry cobbler (right).

I didn’t stop for lunch; I just snacked on cherries all day.  I hope I don’t regret that a bit later.  I have a few more cherries to pit and freeze tomorrow and that’s it!  So fun and rewarding.

How to Compost Your Chihuahua’s Doo Doo (aka Poop)

Today I finally built a composter for my Chihuahua’s waste.  She’s only 6 1/2 pounds and on a raw food diet, so her waste is minimal.  We’ve been just piling her doo doo in a corner of the yard for over 2 years now and the pile really doesn’t grow.  However, it really was time to do something a little more attractive.  My intent is not to create compost to use in my garden, but to simply let it decompose and absorb into the ground.

Materials and Equipment

Materials Required

  • Plastic bucket with lid (15 litres / 4 gallons – you’ll need to go bigger for larger dogs)
  • Nylon rope (approx 18 inches)

Equipment Required

  • Shovel, digging bar, crow bar or anything else you like to dig with
  • Drill and bit the same diameter as the rope
  • Utility knife

Optional Requirement

  • Level (to impress your Grandfather with your perfectionism)
  • A little helper for asking questions, getting in the way and minimizing the overall efficiency of your labours

How to Build a Dog Waste Composter

Step 1: Cut the bottom out of the bucket

Step 1: Cut the bottom out of the bucket

Use the utility knife to cut the bottom out of the bucket.  I left a rim all around the bottom simply because it was easier.

Be careful; take your time; avoid cutting yourself.  Keep your phone handy and ensure that your little helper knows how to dial 911.

Step 2: Drill Holes in the Lid

Step 2: Drill Holes in the Lid

Drill 2 holes in the lid, approximately 6 inches apart.  These are for the rope handle.

Please do not underestimate the serious nature of drilling holes for a 5 year old boy.

Step 3: Complete the Rope Handle

Step 3: Complete the Rope Handle

Thread the nylon rope through the holes, tying the two ends together in a knot on the underside of the lid.

You can do this; I know you can.

Step 4: Dig a Hole

Step 4: Dig a Hole

Dig the hole wide enough and deep enough that the bucket fits in, with just the brim above the dirt.  You want to be able to put the lid on it, but not really see any more of the bucket, other than the lid.

If at all possible, get someone else to do this step for you; a 15 litre hole is more work than you’d expect.  Holding on to your back, walking stiffling and rattling a bottle of Ibuprofen might help with enlisting aid. In my case, the family hole digger was off gallivanting on trails with his mountain bike , so I did it myself.  If you happen to be using the optional little helper, s/he will probably wander off before this step is complete but will want to come back to “try out” the hole occasionally.

Step 5: Place the Bucket in the Hole

Step 5: Place the Bucket in the Hole

Once the hole is the correct width and depth, lower the bucket into it and then tweak things until it sits nice and level.

If you’d like to impress your perfectionist Grandfather or just be able to sleep better at night, use a level and do it PROPERLY!  Don’t be surprised when you try and teach your perfectionist little helper how to use a level and he ALREADY KNOWS.

Step 6: Backfill the Hole

Step 6: Backfill the Hole

Carefully add dirt back into the hole (on the outside of the bucket), using the level frequently to ensure that the bucket remains level.  Gently tamp in the dirt and continue to fill in the hole to the level of the surrounding dirt, ensuring that the bucket is securely buried.

At this point, you are almost finished.  Resist the urge to stop and have a cold drink because if you stop now, you’ll probably never finish and will end up with a bottomless bucket buried in the corner of your yard for no apparent reason.  This will become a hazard to small children, as well as teens who wander around the backyard, not looking where they are going because they are too busy texting their friends.

Step 7: Clean Up and Admire Your Work

Small Dog Waste Compost (the blue lid conceals a buried plastic bucket)

Once you’ve put away your tools and dusted yourself off, this project is complete. You may want to paint the lid to camouflage it and/or to make it clear to passers-by that it contains nasty doo doo waste products.

Find somewhere to dispose of the rocks and dirt that were removed from the hole.  I don’t recommend that you fling it over the fence into the neighbour’s yard … then again, our neighbour has been known to fling their dog’s doo doo over the fence into our yard ….  My current strategy is to leave it in the wheelbarrow until my spouse needs to use the wheelbarrow and thus, is required to figure out what to do with it’s contents.

While your Chihuahua (or other small pet) may wish to carefully investigate the new structure in their yard, they will likely be VERY alarmed if they are placed inside said structure.

Tomorrow’s plan: Move aforementioned pile of doo doo into the bucket and locate a local source of doo doo composting enzymes.

Mostly-boring

OK OK OK.  It’s been too long since my last letter.  But I haven’t been particularly energetic.  However, I have been up to a few things…

Today I cleaned my fridge AND a cupboard – so clean…

Clean fridge

Clean cupboard

Do you see that blue bottle on the top shelf that looks like shampoo?  Well, it’s coconut oil.  But what’s funny is that the opening is about 3 mm across.  And in my neck of the woods, coconut oil is a solid.  So I can’t get it out of the bottle.  I’m going to have to gently melt it and put it in a jar.  I think it was packaged for warmer climates … like the ones where the coconuts grow?

And that bottom shelf … 14 boxes of tea … which still isn’t enough … I need some peppermint … and some licorice.

And, here’s a picture of my blue fingernails.  I had lovely turquoise nail polish on and I just took it off tonight, but my nails are still stained very turquoise-ish.  Silly nail polish.  Is this their ploy to get me to use more?  I’ve never actually finished a bottle of nail polish in my life.  Has anyone?

Turquoise finger nails

What I’ve mostly been doing lately is geocaching … or preparing for geocaching … or thinking about geocaching.  I’ve finished a couple of tricky puzzle ones lately and spent way too much time doing so.  Here’s the area I’m working on.  The happy faces are all the ones I’ve finished so far.  Hopefully by the end of the summer there will only be happy faces :)

Geocaching progress

And really, there isn’t much more to say.  So that’ where I’ll end it. Love love!

Fairy Bath

Yesterday I had a play date with Isaac, my 5-year-old nephew, who’s practically perfect in every way.  Here’s our list of accomplishments:

  • Shopped at a nursery and only spent $6
  • Petted goats, a sheep and a bunny
  • Purchased a Tim Horton’s vanilla dip donut with sprinkles (sprinkles are incredibly important to 5-year-olds)
  • Made perler bead creations
  • Bowled, canoed and dueled with swords on the Wii
  • Made chicken salad sushi rolls (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it)
  • Played Candy Land (I won)
  • Geocached/walked/Isaac rode his bike
  • Made sloppy joes (during which he operated a food processor with great professionalism)

He also wrote a bunch of words and asked me what they said:

  • doxo
  • clo
  • iso
  • coxo
  • xod
  • oxo

He’s apparently fond of x’s right now.  Then he used a high-lighter to “light them up”.

As for photos – I’ll share with you a little something I created Sunday, in my yard.  I only had a small tray for the top level, so it’s for small birds and fairies to bathe themselves.

Fairy Bath Decoration Thingy

Fairy Bath in Context

I’m very eager to get back out there – lots more to do outside, but I don’t think I’m a rainy weather gardener.

 

Not cooking, not cleaning, not shopping

I really let last week’s nasty weather get to me – it was a cruddy week.  But come Saturday, it wasn’t raining (only really cold), so I started working on my front garden.  It was a MESS.  Sunday was the same, so I kept plugging away.  And today was actually sunny!  Three days of gardening (but no cooking, cleaning or anything else).

Those of you who know me know that the last couple of years have been rough for me – yucky family stuff.  Gardening was one of the things I neglected.

But that’s all changed!  And nothing will explain it better than some pictures…

Before it’s finished, but after removing all the hostas and ferns

After!

The small petunia plants (and Miss A’s two strawberries) are the only plants that were purchased (petunia’s were from Miss A for Mother’s Day).  The rest was transplanted from my island bed, which I’m getting rid of.  The lilies and daylilies aren’t at their peak, but I’m hoping they’ll perk up after some tlc.  I think it’s gonna look FABULOUS after everything’s blooming.

I’m VERY excited about my soaker hose.  Mr T bought me the hose for Mother’s Day (it’s what I wanted).  My Grandpa R and Mr T installed a drip system for me a few years back, but it didn’t have enough attachments and it just wasn’t working out.

I made some super fancy hooks to secure the hose … Mr T was skeptical of what I was up to – but they worked!

Soaker Hose Holder Downers (made from coat hangers)

And here’s before and after pictures of the rest of it…

Before (SO MANY WEEDS)

After (NO WEEDS AT ALL)

Maddie keeping me company (can you believe our lawn – what a disaster!?)

Mom, aren’t you proud of me?!  If you don’t go down to the comments section and tell me how great it looks RIGHT NOW I will be very sad.

Did I mention that I did all this BY MYSELF!  Did you see that amazing edge?

Maddie kept me company, of course.

I also used our fancy weed puller outer thingy and sucked 200 weeds out of our lawn.  It doesn’t look like I did anything at all.  It’s just too out of control out there … it’s not safe really.  Since we have some nasty, chemically Killex in the shed, I’m gonna use it.  Die weeds die!

I still have a few more plants to transplant out of the island bed (yay for daylilies) and then I think I’ll let Mr T dig that beast up.  It’s like a solid mat of weeds and turf.

And now it’s time for a cider and an epsom salt bath.  I hurt … everywhere.

Gardening Outfit

But before I go, I thought you might like to check out my ultra-stylish gardening outfit.  Are you jealous or what?  I diy’d that top from a t-shirt.

And can you see that my arms got a bit of sun?  SUN PEOPLE!

Oh dangit, the neighbours are putting out their yard waste … pick up must be tomorrow.  I guess I’d better do that first.

The Chihuahua’s Birthday Party

That should be the title of a children’s book, should it not?

My baby turned 3 today! My baby is a Chihuahua named Maddie.

Usually we just snap a picture, post it on Facebook and it’s over.  But this year things got a little carried away…

Breakfast in Bed

Our family always serves the birthday boy or girl breakfast in bed.  I decided that Maddie needed the same treatment … mostly ’cause I thought the pictures would be hilarious.  So breakfast in bed it was!  She was a bit confused, but since it was her regular disgusting breakfast of raw meat and veggies, she didn’t waste any time scarfing it down.  The little slice of strawberry provided as a special treat took a bit more time … it was just too weird for her … but eventually that went down the hatch, too.  The umbrella drink just got a suspicious sniff.

Maddie the Chihuahua has breakfast in bed on her birthday.

“Mmmm, I love strawberries… Wait, what’s a strawberry?”

Party

While chatting on the phone with my sister this morning, I mentioned that it was Maddie’s birthday.  She passed the news onto my nephew Isaac (age 5).

Awhile later he called me back and asked ever so sweetly, “Aunty Jennie, can we come to Maddie’s birthday party?”

What’s an Aunty supposed to say to that?  So, of course I ran to the grocery store for a cake mix (vanilla, ’cause chocolate isn’t good for dogs) and threw that thing in the oven.

Isaac helped me frost it and decorate it and he carefully arranged the candles “in a triangle”.  We sang Happy Birthday, Isaac blew out the candles and we all ATE CAKE!  Really, it was a decent excuse to have cake, which I’d been craving for days anyhow.

The birthday girl licks the beater.

“Oh my gosh, this is so embarrassing”

Birthday girl licks the candles

A chihuahua sized serving of cake

What?!  That’s all I get?

Miss A was NOT impressed with singing Happy Birthday to the dog (I assured her it was voluntary), but she was fine with the EATING CAKE part.

And last, but not least, Dear Isaac brought Maddie a doggy treat, wrapped up in tissue paper.  Apparently it’s the same tissue paper that he used to wrap a present for his Mommy earlier today … a used pair of her own undies.  Such a thoughtful little tike.  Maddie didn’t seem bothered about the twice used tissue paper.

Maddie gets a birthday present from her cousin

Anyhooo…

Things are finally back to normal … Maddie is curled up snoozing in my lap.

An Anthology of Sorts

It’s been a few days, so I’ve compiled a few vignettes of the weekend, etc.

The Great Gum Exchange

I had my nephews, Isaac (5) and Silas (6), in the backseat of my car on Saturday.  I gave them both a piece of yummy green apple flavoured gum.  When it was time to get out of the car, Silas tried to hand me his gum, saying, “I don’t want this anymore.”

Isaac piped up, “Aunty Jennie I swallowed my gum.”

“Do you want some more?” I asked.

“Yes.”

I suggested, “Silas is all done with his, why don’t you take that.”  I know, so gross – but they’re brothers, for goodness sake.

Silas handed the chewed wad over to Isaac, but was met with a disgusted, “But it has spit on it!”

I thought that was going to be the end of that and I’d have to dig around in my purse for a fresh piece.  But Silas piped up in the sweetest, helpful big brother voice, “I’ll get the spit off it for you.”  He proceeded to roll the wad between both of his hands, like you’d do when rolling bits of play dough into worms.  “Here you go,” he proclaimed.

“Oh thanks,” said Isaac and popped it in his mouth.

Communion Greed

So, it was Communion Sunday at church this week.  In our congregation, that means that little shot glasses of grape juice, representing Christ’s blood shed for us, and tiny wafers of bread, representing Christ’s body broken for us, are passed up and down the aisles and we all partake together at the appropriate time.

Wellllll….

Mr T’s friend Mr M was sitting on the other side of him and then there was a big gap down the row until there was more people.  So Mr M asked Mr T to hold his little grape juice while he carried the implements down the aisle.  For some reason, Mr T passed it down to me.  Then Mr M came back with his own little grape juice and I was stuck holding TWO!

Communion should be a quiet and reverent thing … but I think Jesus will forgive us all for getting the giggles.  It was awful.  Those two jokers snickered and snickered.  Mr M tsked at me and whispered about how greedy I was being.  And when I shot back not one, but two little glasses of juice – they very nearly lost it.  But what was I supposed to do?  I couldn’t leave one full, it would have spilled on the carpet or upholstery.  And I don’t know why it was so hilarious, but it was.   What would you have done?

All I’m saying is, “Mr M – you’d better watch your back!”

Geocaching

Miss A, the two nephews and I went on a geocaching adventure on Sunday.  At one point, the GPS took us to a point right in the middle of the trail, where a cache couldn’t possibly be hidden.  So it had to be off to one side or the other.  We chose the side that made the most sense and hunted around for a while, with no success.

We looked over at the other side, which consisted of a chain-link fence which I could just reach the top of.  Directly on the other side of the fence, was a barricade made out of those giant concrete blocks that they use on the sides of roads to prevent avalanches from burying your vehicle.  They fit together kind of like Lego.  It was just a bit taller than the fence.

I thought I would casually climb the fence and just peek on the top of those cement things to see if the cache was sitting up there.  Ha ha ha ha.  Not sure why I thought I could still climb a chain-link fence.

So Isaac said, “I can do it Aunty Jennie.”

I held onto him and he climbed to the top like a little monkey.  The next thing I knew he’d climbed up and over and was standing on the concrete barricade, like 9 feet in the air.  “Isaac, you weren’t supposed to climb over the fence!” I shrieked, “But since you’re up there – do you see a cache?”  Might as well make the most of the nightmarish situation.  He came up with an empty Starbucks cup, but that was it.  “OK, now get down,” I hissed frantically.

Just as he was backing over the edge and trying to fit his little feet into the chain-link fence, a couple of people came down the trail.  “Oh my gosh, do you need help?” they exclaimed.

“No, we should be OK, he’s really light,” I responded, as Isaac was trying to stand on my face and simultaneously untangle his sweater from the pointy tops of the chain-link fence.  “We’re fine, really.”  So embarrassing.

Hopefully they don’t call child protection … or his Mom.

We found the cache, it was on the other side of the trail, where we originally looked.

Geo-treasures

For those of you in the know about geocaching, it requires that you replace whatever you take from a cache with a treasure of equal or greater value.  Since I’m not really into introducing more junk into our environment, I don’t like to buy dollar store toys like a lot of people do.  I’ve crocheted a lot of flowers through the years and left those.  But recently I got a new idea.

These are the designs I finally settled on. The flower is for tiny caches that don’t have much room.

Every time Isaac has been over at my house lately, he’s wanted to make something with the “beados”, as he calls them.  They are also called perler, hama or melty beads.  You arrange the plastic beads on a peg board and then fuse them together with a clothes iron.

Well, I got the brilliant idea to make a bunch of geo-treasures with the “beados”.  And that’s what I did.  ALL DAY YESTERDAY.  Seriously non-productive day.  I got lost online looking for patterns.  Then I had to experiment with patterns and make a bunch of prototypes.  Once I finally settled on my design, I had to make a big batch of them.  The idea is for Miss A to take over this job, but I’m not sure if she’ll be a willing participant.

I feel so silly for spending so much time on it, but it was probably more productive than reading … yet ANOTHER zombie novel.  (Do I need an intervention?)

Perler bead charms for geocaching. The little bag in the bottom right corner is how I package them to put them in the cache.

Can you find the robot with the missing legs?  He was in an industrial accident … poor fella.

Books and Dust Bunnies

Gosh, another rainy day with no gardening in site.  A perfect day to hole up and read The Zombie Survival Guide.  Apparently I have a lot of preparations to make; it’s really quite exhausting thinking about it.  Just being eaten and getting it over with is actually starting to sound appealing.

Other than my efforts to enlighten and educate myself for the coming apocalypse, I also accomplished a few things around the house…

I tidied and purged my children’s book-case, my crafting book shelf, and my cookbook cupboard.  I also cleared out a bunch of old magazines and a few articles of clothing.

The children’s books all fit in one book-case again.

The sewing and craft books all fit on one shelf (crochet books not included)

Today’s purge pile of magazines, books and clothing

An hour or so after lunch, Maddie started acting all needy and neglected, so I HAD to sit on the couch with her for a while and cuddle/rest.

Then Mr T and Miss A came home and the pizza making began…

Taco pizza on a whole wheat thin crust (all handmade). Mmmmm.

And that’s about it.  Other than my unsuccessful search for some sort of eye drops to soothe my dust filled eyes.  Book shelves were very dusty … so itchy.

P.S. I still haven’t sewn the curtain.  But I did find the fabric and lay it out to remind me that it’s being neglected.

Thank heavens for rain

So glad it rained today … I had an excuse for not gardening.  Phew.

Instead I cuddled my dog, went for a massage (which was 1/2 painful and 1/2 nice) and made up a yummy lentil stew for supper (inspired by Leah’s suggestion ).

Lentil Stew over Rice

Ingredients:  Red lentils, stewed tomatoes, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, agave nectar, apple cider vinegar, curry powder, chili powder, salt.  Serve over rice.  Gobble.  The end.

The rain did eventually let up and I needed to escape from a certain someone (who might just be a teenage girl) who was driving me bonkers, so I hosed off the trampoline and the play structure with a very violent spray of water.  Great way to drown out the craziness.  Silas and Isaac, come quick before the spiders and mold comes back!

I purged magazines!  It was delightful.  I made a very weighty stack and Mr T has promised to carry it downstairs for me.

Sir W visits every Thursday evening, so we hung out and he told us about his plans to build a nuclear, hand-held weapon that shoots a kind of force field at the target.  I couldn’t figure out whether it’s lethal or not.  He said it does NOT have a safety.  Apparently he’s been researching atom splitting.

And I think that’s about it.  Leah mentioned popcorn on Facebook and now I’ve got a hankering, so I think that’s next on my agenda.  I may also see if I can find some more stacks of magazines to throw out!

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