I am going to take the easy way out this first time and post our Christmas letter from this year. If you didn't receive a card from us... and most of you didn't... then here is the year in a nutshell. Our economy (money to bill ratio) has not been so hot as of late and so if you didn't get a card in the mail... it most likely wasn't because I don't like you anymore (there is that chance I suppose but for most of you this is not the case) it is just because I am poor (or as one of my friends puts it... I chose to spend my money another way... LOL)
~ Merry Christmas 2009 ~
If you remember, we last left off (nearing Christmas 2008) with the announcement we had moved to the community of Elk Washington. We moved up just in time for the hardest winter in a half century. It wasn't long before we realized that they make four wheel drive vehicles for a reason! After the first , of what would become many rescues by our wonderful neighbor, (Ryan, we could not have done it without you) we traded in our trendy city cars for something a little more country friendly. Christmas morning we awoke to a river of snow sliding off our roof, that literally wiped out the deck railing... that is when we learned what a roof rake is... oops! The sledding on our driveway was amazing! We parked the cars at the top with the brights on and went all night! Funny thing though... it makes it really hard to drive up after you smooth it down with sleds like that... whole different kind of sledding for Ben trying to go to work and back in the morning!
After the snow melted it was time to get to work... with the help of well, just about anyone we could con into coming up here, we made some major progress. We have cleared the area around the house fairly well now and are deciding what to do with it all. The hen house is now full and producing about ten eggs a day, (now I know why there is a whole section for eggs in the Better Homes and Gardens cook book! ) although we lost poor rooster George to the coyotes. We were going to build one of those super cute chicken coops that look like an old Victorian house... but did you know that chickens absolutely reek? Yup, not putting that sort of work into something that smells that bad. Funny there wasn't a scratch and sniff sticker in the Country Living Magazine article! The eggs are great though, so they're here to stay!
We tried our hand at gardening and got just enough to really know what grows well and how to plant better this year. Amy joined the Elk Homemakers Club and one of the ladies (thanks Miss Evelyn) taught her how to can... AMAZING!!! It's not as hard as we had heard and so, so, so much fun! The greenhouse is in and so with an early start, well planned garden and the new found love of canning... it's official... Amy has her eye on the country fair! The kids are hoping to get a goat for 4H this spring (which ought to go well with the hens, bunny, dog and cat that already call this home... don't get too scared, they are all outdoors except for the dog and that's only at night, no matter how much the kids beg)... oye!
Let's see, that takes us to fall... hunting season! BJ got his first deer this year and Ben has major venison envy! With the help of some good seasoned hunters we all learned the art of skinning (thank you Bert) and butchering (the "Frailey Way" thanks to Richard). We have started to make friends and the folks at Peaceful Valley Church sure have been good to us. The pace of life is much slower here and the people are so kind and full of love for their families and ours. We are so glad we made the leap of faith and followed our dream.
So, just so we're clear... log cabin, hens a laying, homeschooled children, bunny, stray cat (that we feed, so I guess she's ours), guard dog, four wheel drive, cowboy hats, belt buckles and mamma's good shoes are her boots, it's official... The Kaeding Family has GONE COUNTRY!
Yee Haw and a Very Merry Christmas to y'all Love, Ben, Amy, BJ, Raven, Trinity and Jedidiah
(said with deep southern drawl)