August 19, 2010

Old photos

In preparing for the Air Force's 63rd Birthday Ball and Brad's upcoming promotion I came across some of these old photos. It's amazing how young Madeline (age 5) and Jack (age 3) looked. Enjoy.

Brad's promotion from Captain to Major - October 2005

Back on the Farm

Well, we enjoyed it so much we escaped back to the farm for 2 days! It seems the only way to get away from work is to "get away". We spent 2 days hiding out on the farm, this time more equipped for camping and cooking. We've expanded our fleet and now along with Elijah, we have Cook-E the camping stove. We had a wonderful dinner of buffalo burgers, couscous and s'mores; followed by the "All American" breakfast of bacon, eggs & pancakes! The kids commented that good thing we weren't staying on a pig farm as the pigs might get worried at the smell of bacon!

We were able to introduce the 1st generation farmers with s'mores (w/ an international flare of course). After inspecting them for awhile and then watching as we showed them how to eat it, they took the first bite with some hesitation. Moments later we noticed the marshmallow stringing from Opa's chin, and guessed it was well liked. After eating their second s'more they disappeared....we wondered if we had sent them into a diabetic coma with all the sugar. Did I mention these weren't your ordinary s'mores, these were based on spanish cookies (Maria Cookies), covered with Nutella and then topped with an ever so light browned ooey, gooey marshmallow; a must try!

Sorry there are no pictures, not sure what happened to them. Until next time!

August 04, 2010

A Weekend on the Farm

Well, we finally found some time to get away to the beautiful countryside of the Schwaebische Alb! We packed light, threw the tent in the car and headed 45 minutes south to the foothills of the Alps. As we were driving through the villages we notice a farm road that disappeared into the wheat fields - of course, we did a u-turn and went exploring. We ended up at a diary farm in the middle of no where! We stopped and asked if we could camp and we were warmly welcomed.

The farm had 170 head of dairy cows, horses, goats, cats and dogs. We all received first hand farming lessons during our stay to include feeding, cleaning & milking!

As you can see here Madeline and Jack are all smiles when it comes to watching the milking process, but it's a different story when they take part - hands on!

We saw the fruits of our labor the next morning at breakfast with farm fresh milk and cream for our coffee! (However, Jack couldn't get past the fact that milk actually comes from a cow this way - he insisted that it was always store bought!) We had a great lesson on how our foods get to the local grocery!

Next task, to set up camp. We hadn't planned on making a fire, so at the last minute we gathered wet wood, paper and borrowed matches. After many attempts we finally were able to get a spark....and then fire. Elijah we weren't, but we kept insisting that Brad call fire down from Heaven. With a little help from our foot pump (we now call Elijah) we had enough O2 to feed the fire - ingenious, I know! The downfall, if we stopped pumping the fire died.

Jack and Madeline took turns chopping wood, but we decided it would either be Christmas or the ER before they made it through this log.

We weren't sure anymore what was dirt and what was dung, but we were sure to keep our teeth nice and clean during our stay! You might have noticed our "cool" weather clothes - yes, it's still July here in Germany but our highs only reaching the 60's in the day. I'm not trying to gloat for all you who are still suffering triple digits this summer, but we sure are enjoying it!

Along the way we stopped in at the Marbach stud farm, . We were able to see the new foals, practice driving a carriage and cracking a whip!

Continuing down into the Lautertal Valley we stopped in at the Hohenstein Hofkaeserei (organic buffalo farm cheese) . Again the kids were put to work.

This by far being the stinkiest job of all. There must have been over 100 head of Albbueffel (buffalo), plus more flies than we could count!

We bought some fresh cheese, a chunk of bread and hit the road again. This time for some R&R (or so we thought!). We decided to hike up to one of the local castle ruins. On the way the kids found a field that was begging them to come and chase Daddy around in.

What a view from the top!

Our journey home landed us in a glider club watching the gliders launch and land. The kids wanted to know if they could fly this "baby" home rather than taking the picturesque drive!

All in all..... we had so much fun, we'll do it all over again!

Military Police Dogs

We had a opportunity to see some up front training of military dogs this past week. The kids learned about how and why these dogs are trained; and were able to see some demonstrations of drug & explosive sniffing and of course the most interesting..... attacking an enemy. Yet another perk of the military life we're living!!