2 Ben out playing for the chickens on his ukulele. Merlin seems to be his biggest fan. Ben is VERY loud!
3 Out on a hike - Ben chose to carry this flag the whole time :)
5 Down to the beach to look under rocks.
7 Sam is a good crab-hunter. He knows if they are male or female, too, by looking at the underside.
8 And is very concerned about protecting them while observing them. He made this comfy rock hide for the crab in his hand.
9 Nice guy!
11 This is a story Sam wrote in school. He even made the cover, too! Can you believe he knows how to do fonts and page borders in Word?
14 Good story, Sam!
16 This is the orange segemented worm we found. Any idea what it is? UPDATE! It's Nereis virens, a polychaete or bristleworm which can reach 5 ft in length! My friends at Bainbridge Beach Naturalists sent the photo out to their network of experts and I just got an email in my box saying "Your worm" in the subject line - so exciting to have the answer! It had so many legs we former Hawaiians really thought it was related to the centipede so we were none too eager to touch it. Sam was not afraid, though. Read the reproductive cycle for this worm...pretty crazy. Involves a suicidal mom and a huge egg mass tethered to her. Source: http://www.sustainablebainbridge.org/bainbridge-beach-naturalists.aspx
17 Super low tide on Manitou Beach!
18 A crab Sam found. Red rock he thinks.
19 Such a nice walk all the way down there and back. 4.4 miles.
20 And somebody (Jersey) is in the last nesting box, completely and utterly, singularly, without blinking, focused on being broody - keeping eggs warm. This just started last night - she and HollyRamona were in the same nesting box together!
21 And there's Jersey's tail end. I put new bedding in to make her feel cozy. Merlin loves new bedding. When I put it in he goes right over to a nesting box and tucks himself in for a little sit-down to try it out.
22 This one usually bosses the others out to get that first nesting box, but not now that Jersey is broody. They do NOT mess with her. Very interesting.
23 There's the factory of sweet!
24 And Mr. You-Know-Who! This is how he eyes me when he's sharpening his beak inches from my back as I toil in the coop!
25 There's one of the peep girls, pruning in the mirror.
26 The garden has been growing for two weeks now. A few close calls with frost but all seems well.
27 Lettuce. Obviously, right?
28 Special peas developed by a Capuchin monk in the 1500s I think. I couldn't resist it.
29 Ben loves to drive this Hummer, still, Doug and Mary. Loves it! As fast as he can down the driveway, little legs flying behind it. I have to actually jog pretty good to keep up with him!
30 Here he is racing back down after getting the mail!
31 Which he then shows to the chickens. He tries to pick colorful pieces for them.
32 Merlin liked this one quite a bit.
33 Guitar practice with Daddy is fun for everyone!
35 Sam is really getting good. He's playing "City of New Orleans" here.
36 Giving some of our fertilized eggs to Brownie, a hen who went broody when ours did.
37 Ben built this incredible structure while I was working one afternoon. I was wondering why it was so quiet. Usually that is not good, as any parent of a 4 yr old knows. He told me this was "The NINE states."
38 Loads of gravel and mulch being delivered for us to haul around all weekend. Dave and I are beat! That's after hauling away 4 huge pickup truck loads (not this truck - a Ford F250) of green waste that we'd cut down.
39 The best $150 birthday present ever - a gravel pile! The boys played and played and played in it! King of the Mountain was a big hit, especially when the neighbors all came over and tried to get mommy off the mountain! Mommy also tried to jump the mountain and did not land so gracefully on the other side. Dave fed me a very good Belgian Ale for lunch after I had been working all morning leveling some ridiculously hard ground for him...oy! The kids thought it was hilarious, though.
42 Lots of digging - helpful digging!
43 And more King of the Mountain!
44 This is 6:30pm and we're finally going to McD's for dinner. That is how hard we'd worked all day. When do we go to McD's for dinner??? Never really - Dave is usually cooking up great dinners for us.
45 Sam made this pulley system to haul himself up and down. He LOVES riding on it. He calls out "Mom!!! I'm FLY-ING!" You'll see this later at Ben's party.
46 Guarding the chickens from hawks and eagles. We've seen a bunch of them buzzing our chickens, and our friends' chickens.
47 Baby birdies!!
48 And tadpoles!
49 Taking a break in the garden.
50 We really have no before pictures. This is halfway through the big dig.
51 And before the gravel went down.
53 Jersey in her nesting box. Only 7 more days to see if she hatches a few!
54 The boys love to play in this tree. Sam has rigged up a great pulley system to hoist himself up the tree.
55 Azaleas in bloom at The Bloedel.
56 Relaxing by a pond. Sam said something about "swimming chickens" that had us all laughing!
58 Nice trails...
59 and a boardwalk through a marsh.
60 The labyrinth was fun.
61 This retirement home is situated with a beautiful view. Prentice Bloedel built it and the grounds with the intention of donating it for public use through a Foundation. Very generous. I read up on him last night after visiting. He actually contracted polio at age 15 and had a limp the rest of his life. But that didn't hold him back. His timber company was among the first to undertake reforestation from seedlings and even created the first pres-to-logs from sawdust shavings.
62 The view.
63 Eagle is up there by his HUGE nest!
64 More flowers!
65 These are neat pinwheel flowers.
68 I think you can eat this clover.
70 Seemed fitting to have goat cheese, grapes and crackers after a nice walk.