nature

So our friends bought a farm

Yesterday we went to visit Brady and Holly’s farm.  They bought the place several months ago as a weekend getaway for their family.   It’s a not so little slice of heaven in south Tennessee.  Postcard perfect.

We loaded up the truck and took the kids down to visit them with a couple of other families from the neighborhood.  Because we’re “avoid the highway whenever practical” road trippers, we took the scenic way down.  Along the way, Casey spotted a giant sign that read “Ask us about our chickens” at a local farm store.  So we turned around and asked about them.

I walked into the store and asked the first guy I saw about the chickens.  He showed me to an area that had baby chickens (or chicks as it were). They probably had 200 of them or so.  I asked how much they were and and he looked me straight in the eye and said $1.25 per.  I nearly choked on my coffee.  Never dawned on me that you can actually buy a living, breathing, chicken for 1 dollar and twenty five cents.  He asked how many I would like and I said “well, I’ll take twenty.”  As he began to quickly shuffle the chickens into a box, I am beginning to rethink my not so little house warming gift for our friends.  It’s not like we’re buying them a nice plant and a bottle of wine.  Twenty baby chickens might be a little much and, not knowing anything about the upkeep, I said “hang on a sec, let me think about this…I’ve never owned a chicken, and these aren’t for us. They are for our friends that just bought a farm.”  He said, we would have to buy a “blue light”, a coup, and a couple of other things to keep them warm, etc…. Which I thought was a little too much so I said, “do you have any older chickens that don’t require much maintenance at all.” He said, “sure, follow me around back.”

Around back there is a large coup with probably 40-50 grown chickens–both hens and roosters.  He said these didn’t require much at all – just a place to get out of the wind, some food (which he pointed at), and some fresh water.  I said, “how much are they?”  He said, $12.00.  I pointed at the largest, most beautiful rooster of the bunch and asked, “how much is that one?”  He said, “well that one’s $12.00 too.”

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I am really shocked now….  You can actually buy a fully grown, 2.5 foot tall, beautiful rooster, for $12.00.  I said, “I’ll take two.”  Since they are flock animals and all…

So he grabs a big muskie net and scoops up a couple of chickens (we settled on hens), puts them in a bag (the white one above) and ties it off with a snap tie.  This is a plastic bag and we have 25 more miles to go before we arrive at the farm. I am thinking about the horror-stricken faces of the kids when we arrive with our house warming gift – a couple of suffocated chickens in a plastic bag.  I said, “are they going to be able to breath in there.”  He said, “how far do you have to go still?”  I said, “about 30 minutes probably.”  He said, “well I will cut some breathing holes in the bag then.”

So we load up the chickens in the truck (which is a Suburban – with 3 kids and 3 adults) and take off down the road.

We arrive at the farm and the kids freaked when I cut open the bag and the chickens ran out.  They immediately built a chicken fort with sticks and firewood.  This one of Brady and Holly’s 4 kids, Parker.
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The chickens were a hit.  Brady and Holly are going to make some wonderful memories with their family at this place – it’s middle of nowhere awesome.  Here is a picture of Meredith and Casey walking on top of the hill.
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Here is a picture of their house – cozy, woodsie, and awesome.
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Here’s a picture of Casey walking on the bluff above the valley.
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Here’s a picture of Natalie with her homemade chicken coup.
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Here is a picture of Jacob with “Hen-Peck” (yep, they named the chickens)
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Here’s a picture of the sunset yesterday–looking west from Brady and Holly’s porch.
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It was a great day with great friends and family.
Categories: Camping, Family, Hiking, nature | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Crystal Cove State Park – Corona Del Mar, CA

Feeling a bit nostalgic today, I thought I would share a little about Crystal Cove State Park in Corona Del Mar, CA.  We lived in CDM a couple of years ago before work took us to Nashville.  Crystal Cove is approximately 3.2 miles of beach and 2400 acres of undeveloped beach scrub right on the Pacific ocean between CDM and Laguna Beach.  The waters just offshore are designated as an underwater park and  it has towering kelp beds.  These beds break off from time to time and create kelp patties that float towards Catalina depending upon the wind and tides.  The fishing off of these patties is crazy good.

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One of the cool things about fishing in this area is that you never know what you’re going to catch.  We’ve had many 8-9 specie days.  Our buddy David Foster caught a Moray Eel above.

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The tidal pools in the park are also super cool at low tide.  Erin, the kids, and I used to spend hours exploring the small worlds of the tidal pools.  Matthew is is running down the beach towards 3rd break above.

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I snapped this picture of a bird down there one time, but I have no idea what it is.  I just thought it would make an okay picture.

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This is Erin and Meredith checking out a sandcastle.  Mer Mer absolutely loves the beach and had we lived there longer I am sure she would have developed a great love of surfing–we’ll have to get back to that at some point.

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My mom and Casey are sharing a moment on the bluff above the park above.

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Matthew and Casey are playing on the sandstone cliffs at China Cove.

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We had a pretty good view looking north a couple of blocks from our house.  This is Newport Harbor at sunset.

Categories: Camping, Family, fishing, Hiking, nature | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fearless

This girl is fearless.  She is kind.  She is smart. She is STRONG. She is my daughter Casey, and she is 8.

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She knows how to play in puddles (evidence above).  She knows how to ice fish, rock climb, set up our tent, camp, hike, regular fish, snow ski, and now water ski (see below).

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She is part of our family with this guy–who is also a stud.  He too knows how to fish, hike, camp, and I have personally seen him hike 1500 vertical feet over 9 miles (there and back) when he was 5 (he is now 7) in the high sierra.  He too is learning to fish and is becoming a good man.  He is an athlete.

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And, finally, my little nugget Meredith who is as carefree as they come.  She is truly a breath of fresh air, a free spirit, and she gets a little tired keeping up with her brother and sister.  She is 4.

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This is our family and we have another one on the way (just found out that he’s a boy)

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We’re trying to raise our kids with exposure to the great outdoors and want to use this as a forum to keep ’em interested.

Categories: Equipment, Family, fishing, Hiking, nature | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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