New chickens coming soon!

Thursday, July 28, 2011
You might remember that we had to cancel our order for new chicks last spring due to a poor hatch rate. We were planning to wait until next spring to order again but we changed our minds. 2 of our 3 chickens have started molting which means they won't be laying eggs for quite some time. Having only 1 chicken laying has us itching to get our hands on some more girls.

I spent most of yesterday afternoon researching and ultimately choosing our four newest flock members that will arrive in early September. I had been hoping to get some ornamental breeds but our need for more eggs and dependable layers won out.

I'm not really sure how Lucy, Effie, and Flo will feel about their news friends and honestly, I'm pretty nervous about the introductions. I've been doing a lot of research on introducing new flock members so hopefully things will go as smoothly as possible.

Free ranging chickens don't have a very strong pecking order in general and that is true of our sweet girls. However, I'm not sure what they'll think of their new friend, the Turken (otherwise known as the Naked Neck).

Image source

Look at that chicken!! This is the only chicken I ordered that isn't a regular layer (they average about 2 eggs a week) but I couldn't resist. I don't know what color ours will be but I'm hoping for a white one like this. The other three chickens we ordered are an Australorp, a Buff Orpington, and a Silver Laced Wyandotte. All four of these breeds are readily available so I'm not worried about a poor hatch rate this time.

We've got a few weeks to get ready for the new little chicks (crossing fingers they are all females) and I'm lucky I have a little farmer who is eager to help me out. He's even suggested some names for them: Jabba the Hut, Cad Bain, Storm trooper, and General Grievous. (Umm...yeah, no.)

The Trapeze Swinger

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

 Image source

Today is my 35th birthday. I don't usually draw attention to it but I had to share with you guys the super random and very cool present that my husband gave me.

Trapeze lessons. True story. 

(I promise a write up complete with ridiculous pictures once I take the lessons. Absolutely can't wait!)

Our Nothern Arizona Getaway

Monday, July 18, 2011
My sister in law's family has several cabins up in Williams, AZ and each summer they are gracious enough to let my family use them. We've gone up there for the past several years and it is always a blast (not to mention a relief from the crazy summer temps here in Phoenix) - this year was no exception.

We had a fabulous time getting away from it all spending time together.

The kids had an amazing time with their cousins.

And even managed to squeeze in some good wrestling matches.

We went to the Deer Farm and became fast friends with the animals there. The deer freaked Oliver out last year but this time, he couldn't get enough of them. He kept walking next to them with his arm around their neck as if they were old buddies.

We had fun exploring and spotting the wild life.

We went and checked out the trains at the Grand Canyon Rail Station. I love this place. The Grand Canyon Rail Station is a major draw for the little town of Williams and draws visitors from all over the world each summer. My favorite thing to do is walk around town and try to figure out how many different languages I can hear. So fun.

We even managed to lose power (blown transformer) and run out of water (for a day and a half!). Fortunately, we were in good company and didn't mind the minor inconveniences all that much. (HUGE shout out to my sister and her husband who rented a room at Motel 6 just so we could all go and take showers there ;)

 Hope you are all enjoying your summer too! I can't believe how fast it's flying by (the boys go back to school in just a few weeks!).

Give.A.Way. for a Safe House

Sunday, July 17, 2011
I am excited to share with you about an amazing opportunity. An opportunity to donate to an incredible organization and an opportunity to win some incredible loot!!

My friend Sarah from Ground Swell has put together a giveaway to benefit Feeding the Orphans. Feeding the Orphans is an organization started by a young girl and her family to help raise funds for orphans in Ghana and Togo. They are currently seeking to raise enough funds to build a safe house for Ghanian children rescued from the fishing slave trade. You can read more about their efforts here.

This is where you come in. For a $20 donation, you have the opportunity to win an AMAZING prize package valued at over $1500. In addition, you will know that your donation will make an incredible impact on children who so desperately need it.

To enter and read more about the Give.A.Way, please visit Ground Swell. A HUGE thanks to those of you who donate and spread the word.

Cave Springs Camping

Friday, July 8, 2011
We took the boys camping up north last weekend. We went to a beautiful campground just north of Sedona along side Oak Creek called Cave Springs. It was the first time we've taken the boys camping and they did great. As you can see in the following pictures, they especially loved the dirt.

Tomorrow we're heading up to Williams, AZ for our annual family trip. I am so looking forward to getting up in the woods and escaping the heat. After 110+ degree weather, it was exciting to be able to pack my jeans and hoodies!

The Great Haboob

Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I was working in the office last night when my husband told me to come out in the backyard. This is what I saw.

Dust storms, technically known as haboobs (no joke), are pretty common during the monsoon season in Arizona but I've never seen anything like this one. 

This dust cloud which has been estimated to be 3000 feet tall and 60-100 miles wide was barreling straight towards the metro Phoenix area. It was incredible to watch.

Once we secured things in the backyard (including the chickens), we went inside to hunker down and watch from the windows. We don't get very exciting weather in Arizona so when it's this dramatic, it's pretty exciting for us.

About 2 minutes after I took the picture above, everything went pitch black. Literally. It went from being light outside to being completely and totally black out - zero light and zero visibility. Strangest thing ever. And a bit freaky.

This video shows an amazing progression of the haboob swallowing up downtown Phoenix. Check it out - it's incredible.

Aside from a major layer of dirt everywhere and a torn shade cloth on the garden, we are fine if not a little dusty.