Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hunters Education

In Arizona in order to hunt big game under the age of 14 you have to complete a Hunters Education Course.  The course focuses on safe gun handling and ethical shooting.  The course itself can be completed online or in person.  The hunter education course is important to Jake and he spent a lot of time studying the course, gun safety and hunting.  Jake completed the online course earlier in the year and today was his field day.

The days started out early in the morning with Jake making sure he had his equipment ready and his mom needed to get a picture of him.

Once there Jake filled out paperwork and we waited for the class to start.  The class started at about 7:00AM and the instructors went over general gun handling safety, range safety and basic hunting safety.  Once that was done the participants got to go to the range and fire from the kneeling, sitting and prone positions.  At the range the instructors fired various firearms at items to show the damage that firearms can and will do if they are used irresponsibly.  Then the participants were able to do the live fire.

Jake shooting in the kneeling position:

 Sitting position, Jake started well then let his feet slip out to far for good accuracy.  We talked about the position and doing it the same 100% of the time.

Prone position:

Once the live fire was complete the class split into two groups.  The first group went on a simulated hunt/blood trail search.  The second group cleaned half of the rifles shot during the day.  Jake was on the simulated hunt.  This presented the participants with Shoot/No Shoot situations and they identified hazards or other things that might be encountered on a hunt.

Jake identifying the make and caliber of a shotgun.

Jake talking to a 'land owner' on the simulated hunt.
Once the simulated hunt was complete for this group they went in and cleaned their share of the guns.
Jake assembling the cleaning rod. 
Once the simulated hunts and the rifles were cleaned the class reassembled and completed a written test.  The test had 50 questions and covered safe gun handling, safety and ethical hunting.  Once the test was  completed and graded the participants received a certificate, their education card and a patch.

I'm proud of what my boy did today and I look forward to hunting with him in the future.  In fact we're going to be putting in for deer tags in the next few days....

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Garden

The garden is growing pretty good, we're watering on a schedule and if the mulch stays in place the ground stays pretty damp, even in 98 degree temperatures.  I'm waiting pretty impatiently to start getting produce.  I'm also waiting for the chickens to start laying, they're about 20 weeks old so anytime they should start laying at least a few eggs.  The goats aren't producing milk so we have to wait to breed them and for them to give birth.  Right now all the things that are supposed to feed us are just consuming time, water and food.  Like I said I can't wait to start getting eggs from the chickens and produce from the garden.  I can wait for the goats, but I hate going to the store and paying for milk that really doesn't taste that good. 

Today we're having a party to celebrate Ashley's graduation so we're pretty busy, but Trudy went out and took a bunch of pictures for me.  A lot of them are below.

No updates on the solar cooker, or the rain water harvesting this week, but those will be coming soon.

This swing is really relaxing in the evening

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Garden on Mothers Day

This week we had a horrible wind storm.  I wasn't home at the time, my wife and son both were and were sure we had roof damage.  With the winds roof damage is to be expected and the damage we saw at neighbors was pretty bad, windows on cars were broken and one person had a cab over camper blown from one side of his property to the other.  Today I got on the roof to check the damage, only to find none, no cracked shingles, no missing shingles, nothing.  We were very blessed in this storm.

While I was up on the roof I took some pictures:

Happy Mother's Day
Relaxing in the shade on Mother's Day
The tomato's and beans are really growing.

The chickens free range and the goat pen is soon to be enlarged!!

We recently cleared brush down by the fence line.  You can see the brush piles.

We spend a lot of time out here in the evenings, it's on the east side of the house.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Busy Week and Graduation

This week has  been long and tiring. Things at work are getting busier and required reports have a new importance.  So work was long, tiring and filled with deadlines that I require me to wait for data from others before I can meet my deadline... If they get their data to me after the deadline then I'm late too, and I have no way of holding anybody accountable.  Needless to say there are many reports that are late and I get dressed down because of late submissions.  Such is life, I guess.

The great news is that my daughter graduated from nursing school this week.   She has to take the state RN boards, and find an R.N. job, but it's over.   Ashley worked hard to get to this point and we are very proud of her accomplishment!!  Home education really does work and home educated kids can go on and succeed in a  college environment.

Ashley walking back to her seat at Graduation

The Graduate with a proud mother, brother and father!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Homestead Update

Recently we bought chickens to replace the ones that were carried off by a bobcat.  They are about 18 weeks old and growing everyday.  We have one black astralorp that for a couple of weeks now I have been telling Trudy that it was a rooster.  She disagreed, she just thought that maybe the chicken was developing faster than the others.  Well this morning were were sitting drinking coffee, talking and checking Facebook and lo an behold the chicken started crowing near our back window.  We were both surprised and Trudy got up and ran to check which one it was and sure enough it was the one... So below is a picture of the rooster.  This is the first rooster we've had, but in the future we'll be able to let the flock replenish itself, which is a nice thought.

There's the rooster with one of the Hens.

While breakfast was in the oven this morning I went out and took pictures of the garden.  We still have plants that we sowed as seeds coming up, but pretty much all of our different plant types have finally come up.  I think we need to replant a couple of items like add more beans, and cucumbers, although we have one cucumber plant growing.   The tomato's are starting to set flowers, and they're starting to grow tall.

In this raised bed are luffa plants.

Strawberries... they're slowly filling in the small bed we have.

Some of the roma's they usually produce pretty well in the desert heat.

Most of the corn is up and a lot of the beans are up, but we will probably have to replant some of the beans.

More tomato's, these are Arkansas Travelers and there are yellow pear tomatos in there too

Strawberry Flower.... we added fertilizer to the strawberries and seem to be getting better fruit.

Cilantro Flower

Garlic Chive flower