Thursday, December 5, 2013

The camping trip of a lifetime

I grew up in the Amazon in Brazil and obviously, when you grow up in such an exciting adventurous place you have lots of exciting adventures to show for it! This story is one of the many! My family was very close. We kind of had to be close to each other because we were all we had, no other extended family or anything for thousands of miles, just us and the other missionaries who lived nearby. My dad was a very adventure loving person, which I'm sure was part of why we ended up in the Amazon jungle as missionaries. He decided that we needed to go on a family adventure trip once a year. We had a family meeting and decided that the first year's adventure was to be a camping trip on the Rio Verde, which was one of the most beautiful rivers in the Amazon basin that we had ever been to and it was about a 3 hour boat trip downriver from where we lived. We got everything ready: hammocks, food, fishing rods, swimming gear and the family dog (who I must admit, was a Great Dane) We piled everything into the 16ft aluminum motor boat. It was quite packed in there and all 5 of us plus the dog who made up for two more and off we went on our merry family adventure. It started off by a wave knocking one of the fishing poles into the murky muddy water of the Madeira River, a river on which we lived but never swam in due to the dangerous currents and very muddy water. So, my dad sadly left the lost fishing pole in the river.

We were making good time in the little boat until about an hour down river when the motor sputtered and died. We drifted onto a sandbank where Dad tried to figure out what was wrong with the motor. We kids played in the sand, being careful to avoid stingrays and other dangerous creatures, but loving our adventure so far. He finally fixed it and we piled back in the small boat. Off we went again and the motor worked off and on. We finally made it to our destination about 5 hours later. It was everything that we had been told it was. Crystal clear greenish water. You could see all the way down past your feet when swimming in it. Our camping spot was a little somewhat clear spot on the side of the river. We unpacked the boat and found some good trees to string the hammocks up in.  See, in the Amazon, you definitely do not tent camp! There are too many creepy crawly creatures who might join you in the tent. So we each worked on getting our hammocks up before it got dark. With the hammock we also set up a mosquito net and a tarp to keep us dry if it rained. My brother John, who was a perfectionist and had done this many times before, set up his hammock and tarp perfectly. All the rest of us, who knew how did what we thought was a perfect job. Just as we finished setting up camp and went to start the campfire, the rain came down! We each grabbed a cold chicken drumstick and ran for the hammocks. Thankfully in the Amazon, sometimes the rain doesn't stay for long and it's usually a nice warm rain. After about an hour or so of rain, it died down and we went back and attempted to restart the fire and have a little more dinner. Sometime in the middle of the night the rain came again and our not so perfectly set up tarps soon began to drip down into the hammocks. If you've ever tried to sleep in a hammock in the rain, I will already tell you , it doesn't work too well! It was a very adventure-full night in the middle of the jungle in the rain.

The next day was beautiful though and we swam and fished and swam some more and explored the river and swam. Then we headed home. Our poor motorboat did not want to get us home though and when we finally managed to limp over to a little larger river, we caught a ride on a larger river boat and were able to be towed back home! It was a huge adventure for some crazy kiddos and their parents! One that I won't likely forget!

Chicken coop building plans

I was looking around on the internet for chicken coop designs seeing that I'm always looking for cool ways to build my hens a better house or new ideas for them and I came across this ebook on how to build a chicken coop. I thought it had some good ideas that might be helpful to some of my blog readers! They have some good ideas. Check it out by clicking here: Click Here!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Did you know you can eat Duck Eggs?

I have always liked ducks. Maybe it's their funny way they waddle around, maybe their cute little quacks, or maybe their little personalities and funny things they do but I've had ducks off and on for most of my life. At one point when I lived in Brazil I had up to 100 ducks, all Muscovies. They made a mess but I loved to watch them raise their babies and the dedication of the momma ducks with their ducklings. Of course I sold them too so I didn't keep that many but they were a tiny bit lucrative and enjoyable. They would sometimes frequently escape their pen and fly up on the roof of our house and if you weren't careful they would bomb you from the air with unpleasantness! I had to run out with the broom and scare them off the roof running like a crazy lady, broom waving in the air. I'm sure if the neighbors saw me they would have laughed. When you have lots of ducks like that you have lots of duck eggs and most of the time I let the mothers sit on their eggs to hatch them but sometimes we didn't have chicken eggs and so we would go to the duck yard and gather up some eggs. Here is what we discovered about using duck eggs. If you fry them up like a fried chicken egg, they taste a lot stronger and I didn't really like that taste. Some people might like it a lot. However, we tried using the duck eggs in a cake or brownies and they made the brownies more chewy and tender and the cake more fluffy and delicious. It was amazing how much better our baked goods turned out by using the duck eggs as opposed to the chicken eggs! Now every time we want to bake, we make sure we use the duck eggs if we have them. The yolks are bigger and the whites are thicker than chicken eggs. Currently I don't live in Brazil anymore but I still have ducks! We have several different breeds of ducks, the Pekin, the Blue Swedish and the Rouen. We also have a few geese and a bunch of chickens, but those are another story! If you haven't tried a brownie made with a duck egg, you should make some, you won't regret it!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My latest adventure in the great story of my life involves driving for two days and 1000 miles to take my purebred show quality Dachshund girl to breed to a champion male of the same breed. So to start this story off, I will go back to the very beginning of me having a Dachshund. It all started before I got married. The fiance really wanted to have a hound dog of some sort. He was leaning toward the Basset hound. I already had show dogs, but I always preferred the big dogs. Maybe that was due tot he fact that my first dogs were very large, German Shepherds and Great Danes! But he was a rather small man (in stature at least) and wanted something smaller than my current Labradors and Australian Shepherds. So we went to our dog trainer friend (well, my friend anyway) and he happened to have an adorable black and tan Dachshund puppy in the kennel. She was very cute and tried her best to win us over. I of course was immediately taken with her but he really wanted a Basset hound. The dog trainer was doing everything he could to get us to take the Dachshund and finally that is what we did. We took her home and boy was she full of energy and desire to hunt! I started campaigning her on the dog show trail and got her champion and grand champion title and she even won a Best in Show at one dog show. It was so exciting! Well, things in our marriage changed and we moved to the United States to try to fix things. We had to leave all the dogs behind which broke my heart, but we were able to send for Panda (that was her call name) and she came here to the cold winter. I wanted to breed her to a champion male and after much difficulty I finally found one, very beautiful and the breeding was successful. She was already getting up there in age and the litter had a rocky start but 4 survived and I kept the best of the litter, a perfect female who I named Gisele, after the famous Brazilian model who was so pretty! And now we are almost back to where my story starts! I showed Gisele in a few shows and she did really well and got some points, but then life got crazy and I didn't have time, so before she got as old as her mother's first litter, I decided to go ahead and breed her. The male was spectacular and I arranged for her to go meet him. This entailed an very long 10 hour round trip drive two weekends in a row to take her and pick her up. As of right now, we are awaiting the arrival of the puppies. I will keep you updated as to their progress! I guess when something is so important to a person, you just do what you need to do to make it happen!