Saturday, December 04, 2010

Fancy Fiber Farm

Cooper, Madelyn, Matthew, K.J. Caleb, and Leila

That is the largest Angorra rabbit we have ever seen!

Courtney and Leila

They spent the whole morning walking hand in hand--so cute!!

Madelyn and dolly the sheep
I used to teach with Mary Berry years ago, and this summer, we bumped into each other at Olive Garden. She now owns and operates Fancy Fiber Farms in Farmersville, Texas which is about a 25 minute drive east of McKinney. Mary has over 50 animals that she raises for their fur/hair. She is also a master weaver, and when Madelyn was born she knitted a beautiful baby blanket from the fibers she spun and dyed.
She invited us and few of our good friends to brave the extreme Texas heat and tour her farm.
Mary spent the morning walking us around the farm, letting us pet and feed the rabbits. The hardest part for our motley crew was trying to remain calm and quite, so that we would not frighten the bunnies. The kids really did try, but they were so darn excited! Especially when Mary brought out Hercules, the ginormous Angora rabbit! He was a beast!
We got licked in the face by the goats, chased chickens and even got to spray the bellies of the Alpacas, as they sought respite from the 100 plus heat. And a great bonus was that Mary sells cage free chicken eggs, so we all left with fresh eggs to enjoy at home. We greatly enjoyed our morning on the farm, but as you can tell from the pictures, we were HOT and ready for a fun lunch date at Chick Fila and so much needed air conditioning.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tourists in Abilene

I have been to Abilene many times to visit with Michael's family, but being the history nerd I am, I wanted to be a tourist in Abilene and check out some of the local museums. By far my favorite museum was Frontier Texas! It was highly interactive and informative for all ages 4-104. The kids had a great time exploring, riding and moving all sorts of artifacts.

Explored a Tee-Pee encampment.

Learning about wagons and trail rides.

waiting patiently for the 3D frontier experience
Its a free site, that has a plethora of illustrated pages and artwork from many familiar stories and award winning artist on display. The reading room had a giant table made out of books. It made for a short story time fun.

The Grace Hotel and Museum

Jonathan drove Maddy around in the ambulance.

Madelyn and Mackenzie dressed up and gave us an encore performance in the Children's theatre.

Kivihlen Family Reunion 2010

Fun with Jonathan and Mackenzie

Granny and Madelyn

The back porch, where I sent many hours working on a puzzle.

The Harris Herd

David, Granny, Linda and Judy
For the first time, the family reunion was not held in Crossplains, Texas rather in Lawn, Texas. Technically it is smaller than Crossplains, which to this city dweller was harm to fathom. But we stayed at the Miller Ranch retreat, that was able to sleep everyone in the dorm upstairs. It was fun to stay up late and visit with the family.

Summer Fun

Cosmic bowling

It was very hot during July, and the best way to cool off after cutting the grass was to turn on the sprinklers and run through them as many times before they cycled off. Maddy especially squealed with delight when daddy swung her through the sprinklers.

Enjoying the festivities of Fourth of July.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Moose Salad

During our entire stay, I kept asking if I could "bait" the Eckles backyard, so that I could see more of Maddy the Moose. While at the Alaskan Center for Wildlife studies, I found a recipe for Moose Salad. It really lists food such as cranberries, watermelon weed, and dandelions that are super scrumptious for a Moose. Very tempted to try it, but we ended up laughing more about the idea of it.

Waiting for story time

Learning about the globe

A science experiment on water cohesion

Kaelin and Maddy in circle time.

Touching the teeth of a Beaver Skull

Going for a hike down to the stream.

I got really excited when I got to see the tree mushroom things, that I had always seen in the Smurf cartoons, but had never seen naturally occurring in Texas. Look those things are real!

Maddy and Kaelin exploring the flora around the stream.

Small world, our ranger Sarah, had just moved to Homer from Melissa, TX (just north of McKinney).

Kids learning about the available fresh water in the entire world.

Cute Baby Squirrel we found on our hike

To help us learn more about the flora and fauna of the stream the kids made stream headbands complete with whales, bears and salmons.

The center was atop of a mountain and we had a great view of the Homer Spit on the way back down.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bald Eagles

Michael did a great job capturing the majesty of this eagle.

Homer is home to and a natural sanctuary for Bald Eagles, thus hundred of America's iconic symbols can be seen flying around the area daily.

This Bald Eagles nest was in town and if you look close you can see some eaglet beaks peeking out.

Bishop Beach were a baby bear had just been spotted walking on the beach
Dandelions, tall ones were everywhere. Madelyn and Kaelin loved to pick them and blow the wispy tops off.

Sea Farer's Memorial and Star Fishs

The memorial is on the Homer Spit and is dedicated to all those who have lost their life a sea.

Maddy was just added beauty to an already picture perfect scene.

Kaelin, Koren and Madelyn....three little monkeys sitting on the wall

Kachemak Bay and if you can see in the lower right hand corner...Sea Otters!

Star Fish...huge ones

A purple star fish that matches our shirts

Madelyn was not so sure about feeling the tiny suction cups on the bottom of the star fish.

Throwing rocks, her new favorite past time.

Did you know that popping fresh sea weed pods is equivalent to popping bubble wrap?