Tag Archives: kids

A Day in the Life of a Farmer (Winter Edition) – Monday

7:30 : Up and out of bed.  I make a pot of coffee and Keith does a few loads of laundry.

8:30 : Keith heads to work and I work on this blog.

9:30 : The bank is now open, so I head down there and get a cashier’s check for the car purchase.  I run a few errands around town and then head home.

12:00 : My friend Jessie and her daughter E come pick me up.  They are giving me a ride to Monmouth so that I can get the car.  It’s about an hour drive to Monmouth.  E has had a lot of questions about God and Jesus lately, so Jessie asked me to try to answer some of them for her.  The questions were heavy-duty ones for a six year old.  She munched noisily on her carrot sticks in her car seat while I fumbled to answer.

  • When did Jesus’ spirit leave his body after crucifixion?
  • Why do Christians have a problem with gay people?
  • Do you like this cross I just made with my carrot sticks?
  • Why was there a stone across Jesus’ grave?  Why wasn’t it called a boulder?  That would make more sense, Rachel.
  • What does a Bible look like?  Does it have pictures?


I think next time we will talk about theology during a hike or long walk.  Doesn’t it seem easier to think about God while you’re out in nature?  I think E and I both had trouble wrapping our minds around some of the concepts we were discussing, while being strapped into a car hurtling down the highway at 60 mph.  She apologized later for being wiggly.  I felt kind of wiggly too.  Sometimes I have as many questions about God as she does, and often they’re the same ones.

1:00 : We arrive in Monmouth and exchange payment for keys and title to a snappy ’06 Ford Freestyle. (Fitting car name for a former competitive swimmer, don’t you think?!)  I’m pretty stoked at owning a car that was made in the last six years.  Keith and I have a big aversion to debt, so we save and invest most of our income.  We’ve been driving our paid-off cars since freshman year of college in 2002 and they weren’t new then.

I’m all kinds of impressed by the little features of this new vehicle:  automatic locks and windows!  a keychain button to unlock the doors!  adjustable lumbar support! bluetooth built-in!  interior lights that actually come on when you open the door!  headlights that light up the road even on dim setting!  Doesn’t take much to impress the Pricketts.  We think we’re fancy folks now.


E tries out all the configurations of the seats and cargo area before we leave the seller’s driveway. They all fold up and down and inside out.  It’s like a transformer – one minute you’ve got seats for 6 and then you pull Tab 1 and Tab 2, and you’ve got cargo space for miles .  E thinks it’s the best car she’s ever seen and approves greatly of my purchase.  She tries to get her mother to trade their newer model Subaru Outback for our Freestyle.  I was hopeful, but there was no deal.  Jessie is smart.

2:00 : Jessie, E and I decide to go have a celebratory late lunch.  We end up at J’s Grill in Monmouth and  we all order whopping big baked potatoes with cheese and broccoli.

3:00 : We all head back to the farm and the girls help me collect eggs, feed the chickens and the cows.  We work with Fritz to repair a fence that broke when he hit it with the tractor earlier in the day.  It’s kind of a two-person job to pull smooth wire with a fence stretcher.

I go inside and chat with Beverly for a little while.  I invite her to join us for dinner tomorrow night.  She is such a good cook and invites us to dinner so often that I like to try to return the favor once in a while.

5:00 : Jessie and I hang out in the farm driveway and talk while E scrambles around in the car trying out all the seat configurations once more.

5:30 : I head home, drop the mutt off and drive to Safeway for almond roca ingredients.  I have been making almond roca every Christmas without fail since I was in middle school.  My mom made it every year until I took over.  It’s my favorite candy in the entire world and I could eat it til my teeth fell out.  It’s best to get this stuff out of your house as quickly as possible, but I rarely abide by that wisdom.  Here’s the recipe, because I love ya so much:   ALMOND ROCA RECIPE

6:00: Home from the store.  I make myself a homemade Yumm bowl.  You’ve got to have real Yumm sauce for this, but other than that it’s so easy:  rice, black beans, salsa, cilantro, cheese and a dollop of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos.  Keith is eating dinner with his coworkers at Big River.  They are in training for developing their latest top-secret, super-dooper-cool electronic products all week, and are getting catered breakfast and lunch every day  and the occasional dinner out.

I clean the whole kitchen. I can’t cook in a cluttered space – it makes me feel crazy.  Then I pour myself a glass of wine and begin whipping up the first batch of Roca.  The whole house is soon filled with the delicious smell of warm butter and sugar.

Roca, pre-chocolate stage

Roca, pre-chocolate stage

8:00 : Keith gets home and admires the new car in our driveway.  He has brought all the frozen lamb over from our chest freezer at the farm and we go through it, picking out cuts of lamb to thaw for this week’s meals. Somehow I am missing all the roasts…they must have fallen out of the bag into the freezer depths.  So I pick out a beef roast to thaw for our dinner guests tomorrow night instead.  Not quite as exotic but still delicious on a winter night.

I finish up making the almond roca and leave it to cool on the countertop.  It probably won’t be ready to eat til tomorrow.  Agh, the agony of waiting!

11:00 : Bed, Fred.



Filed under Anecdotes

Can you Jump-Rope Better Than a 5th Grader?

This is the blog post in which I demonstrate that I have no business being anywhere near a game of jump rope.  I’ll blame that on a crippling lack of playground skills, which clearly affects my adulthood.  Homeschoolers R Special!

The preface to this story is that Keith and I up and left our farm for two weeks in the hands of two very capable young men.  They have the added quality of being a little strange…which makes them all the more endearing.

Exhibit A:

My brother, Ethan

Exhibit B:

Our friend, Cameron. With a bucket of guts, natch.

With the farm in good hands, we betook ourselves to the sunny land of the Dominican Republic where January doesn’t exist.  It was so good.  We ate amazing food and spent time with great people.

Here are a few stories for your enjoyment…

I tried to be “cool Aunt Raquel” and brought my friends’ three-year-old a ballerina tutu for Christmas.  It didn’t go down like I planned.  First she laughed hysterically at the stupid skirt.  Then she finally tried it on and took a couple test spins – prima ballerina style.  Next thing you know, she’d twirled herself dizzy and fell off the steps.  Cue the black eye and split forehead.  Back to the drawing board for Christmas 2011.

Valery, right before she cracked her head open

You would not believe the sound systems people install in their vehicles in this country. For the most part, they’re pretty great systems too, despite the fact that Dominicans have this habit of turning up the music to the point of distortion and then just a little more.  You don’t need those eardrums, do you?    This beats all though:  a minivan, with a pimpin’ sound system taking up the whole back.   Eat your heart out, soccer moms!

If this came standard, I might just buy a minivan.

As seen during my daily jaunts through town:  the Dominican Egg-Delivery Vehicle.  I need me one of these little truck things for my Portland deliveries.  This would be okay on I-5, right?

Just imagine the repercussions of a collision!

And now to the part of the blog you’ve been waiting for.  I present to you, Myself, running in circles and clearly not understanding the rules of the game.


Filed under Anecdotes

Farm Tours – kid version

One of the most rewarding parts of owning a farm is sharing the experience with other people.   Views like these are too good to be kept to oneself.

the farm at sunrise

The biggest attractant, though, is not the view but the fuzzy baby chicks in our brooder.  With batches of broiler and layer chicks arriving every four weeks, we have a constant supply of cuteness.  No matter how ungainly these birds will look in a few weeks, as day-old babies they bring out the  child in all of us.

After all, aren’t baby chicks what a farm is all about?

fluffy chicks

Many of my friends bring their kids out to the farm to see the baby chicks and to feed the laying hens.  The chickens are just the right size for a child to approach. There is nothing more adorable than seeing a little 2 year old girl in a plaid dress, hand-feeding chickens in a pasture. Heart-melting adorable, I’m telling you.

Know what else is adorable? These:

Kid's drawings - the price of admission for a farm tour

The last few kids who have come to visit the baby chicks have each brought me pictures and letters. One sweet little blonde first grader even brought Chocolate Banana Braed, as mentioned above.   Her note was written in blueberry-scented Mr. Sketch marker too…she gets extra points for that!

I’ve decided that the new price of admission for a farm tour is a hand-painted picture. Disney character drawings merit extra special farm tour priveleges.   I wouldn’t turn down a loaf of Chocolate Banana Braed, either.  That stuff was good.

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Filed under Project Start a Farm

Don’t Squelch Your Inner Child

We have a family pass to OMSI but seriously, how can you enjoy OMSI without kids? Don’t get me wrong, I could spend hours building paper airplanes and launching 2-liter pop bottle rockets. But you get more than a few dirty looks when, as a 24 year old, you are elbowing 2nd graders out of the way to get your hands on the controls of the little robots in the technology room. We needed a kid, and now!

Enter Ino. 8 years old, and more than willing to spend all day building paper cup flyers, and making goo out of gelatin with us. He is Keith’s little brother so there were no worried parents wondering where we were going and why we’re spoiling their kid rotten. And he needed us to race rockets with him, make sailboats to compete against his, and create colorful chemistry chaos with him. A fulfilling day at the museum, indeed.

We fed him all kinds of junk, bought him toys he didn’t need (well, he said he did, so ya know…), and introduced him to Portland street musicians, Finnegans Toy Store and the Omnimax movie dome. I think he liked it.

Anybody else want to loan us their kid for a day? We only saw half of OMSI because we got so carried away in one room…which necessitates a trip back to Portland asap. We promise that they we will have a pretty sweet time.


Filed under Anecdotes