The Higginsons

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Attack of the Voledemort

Attack of the Vole-demort!

(Voldemort from the Harry Potter Movies)

No, this is not the Voldemort I'm talking about.  I will explain.  Today I went outside to get a 
box of tomatoes so I could start on a batch of salsa.  As I picked the box up, I noticed something dark and furry move very quickly out of the box.  At first I thought it was a mouse, but then I remembered we'd had problems with Voles last winter and spring.  They had left a maze of tunnels throughout our entire back yard, which happens to be kind of big.  

(Typical Vole tunnels found after the winter snows melt)

These kind of tunnels were EVERYWHERE in our yard this last spring.  It was so frustrating because we had tried so hard to get our lawn free of grubs.  Then the Vole disaster struck.  

(Vole tunnels with the dead grass removed)

Again, this is what our back yard looked like after the snows had melted this last spring.  Little did we know that a very tiny creature was ruining our beautiful yard all winter long underneath the thick blanket of snow!  I've twisted my ankles several times stepping in these darn tunnels.  They really are a pain to deal with!

(A view of a typical Vole)

ANYWAY.....This cute, adorable, tiny little Vole jumped from the tomato box right into our house because the back screen door was open, and I was trying to bring the tomatoes in!  As soon as he hit the floor I thought, "Oh Great!  I'm never going to catch this thing!"  But catching him proved to be quite simple.  I guess Voles are blind or mostly blind.  I just waited for him to run into a corner, and then I tried to grab him.  He escaped twice, but on the third try I was able to get him and keep him in my hand.  I thought everything was fine until I felt a sharp pain in my thumb.  I looked down to see my thumb in the Vole's mouth.

(A closeup of a Vole's set of teeth)

I checked to see if he had drawn blood, but I didn't see any.  I actually tried to pry him off my thumb, but he just dangled there, jaw firmly locked and teeth in my skin.  He finally let go, and I tried to find a little cage to put him in.  As I went to put him into an old pet rat cage we had, I noticed blood dripping down my hand.  Then I realized that he had really given me a serious bite!  That little sucker bit hard and deep!  The above picture shows why he was able to do the damage he did!  I guess Voles have teeth very much like beavers do!

(What the Vole looked like after it bit me!)

After being bitten and having my thumb bleed like mad, I decided that this Vole was more of a little monster than a cute, furry little animal.  I think he may have the same genetic makeup as Gremlins do.  

(What a Vole skull looks like.  Look at those TEETH!)

So to make a long story short, I went to the doctor and took my little Vole-demort with me.  The doctor said voles don't carry rabies, so all I needed was a Tetanus shot.  He also recommended antibiotics.  Needless to say, I've learned my lesson when it comes to picking up cute, furry little animals.  They are not what they seem!  

(A typical Vole)

I don't believe in just killing animals, even if they are ruining my back yard.  After the doctor's visit, I drove to a more remote part of town where there was a giant abandoned lot full of tall grasses and weeds.  I let the little guy go, and I hope he doesn't return!  And I just have to say thanks to my sister Lindsey for being so sympathetic about this whole thing.  When I told her I'd been bitten after picking up the Vole she said, "Well, DUH!!!"  I Love You Lindsey!!!  You are the best!!!

Love, Lisa

Thursday, October 09, 2014


"A Tale (tail) of Two Doggies!"

(Boba and Duke, from left to right)

Meet the Boys!  Boba (as in Boba Fett) and Duke (as in Count Dooku).  Yes, I'm a Star Wars fan, but I did it for my sons, Vaughn and Dean.  I'll stick with Boba and Duke, and the boys can call the dogs whatever they want!  So...anyone interested to hear how two wonderful, handsome, beautiful, gorgeous dogs came into my care?  And yes, it has something to do with the title of this blog entry! is "The Tale of Two Doggies!"

(Boba on the left, and Duke on the right)

I often visit our local animal shelter to see the dogs and cats there.  It helps me to feel better whenever I need a pick-me-up.  I went to the shelter on Monday, and just as I pulled up, a man was getting out of his truck.  In the back of the truck were these two dogs.  I knew he was dropping them off, but I wondered what the story was.  I immediately went over to the truck and listened as two of the staff members came out and took a look at the dogs.  

The man said he'd found them on the side of the road.  They were very malnourished and very thirsty.  He got them into the back of his truck and immediately drove them about 35 miles north to the shelter.  Well, unfortunately, our local shelter can't take animals from out of their area, and 35 miles away is out of their area.  The man was beside himself.  He told them, "I can't take them home with me.  We have a cat and they'll kill it."  The ladies made a few calls to see if anyone wanted them, and one said they had found a possible home, but that they wouldn't know for sure for at least a few days.  The man again said, "I can't take them home."  Then he added, "My wife is beside herself.  She doesn't want them to die, but if you can't take them, I'm going to have to shoot them."  I thought to myself, "This guy really means it!  He's going to shoot those poor dogs!  What am I going to do?"

(Boba sitting for his picture)

It was then that I spoke up and said, "I'll take them."  That guy was so elated that he offered me money to buy the dogs some dog food.  Then one of the staff said that if I took the dogs, I would have to keep them at my house for two weeks before they could come back to the shelter.  She also said that I would have to claim ownership of the dogs.  Finally she added that I would have to pay $50.00 per dog in intake fees when I brought them back.  The shelter charges those fees so they can neuter them, give them all the shots they need, insert a microchip, and register them for foster placement.  I was overwhelmed at the thought of $100.00, and knew we didn't have the money.  I was so sad that I wanted to cry.  But then the most amazing thing happened.  That WONDERFUL man said, "I'll give you the hundred dollars if you'll take them off my hands."  I said, "You've got yourself a deal!"

(Duke sitting for his picture)

I ran over to Kent and gave him a huge hug and a kiss on the cheek!  He was surprised and said, "What will you do for $200.00?"  I told him, "I'm not that kind of girl!  I'm married!"  He just laughed and said, "I know.  I'm so old I couldn't do anything even if I wanted to!"  The ladies helping him laughed too.  And I'm glad that they knew he was joking!!!  And just to prove he had no ill intentions, he offered to take the dogs to my house and help me to get them into our back yard.  Right there I declared ownership of the dogs, gave the shelter my phone number, and then we were off to get them home!!!  I was so happy!!!

(Boba on the lookout)

After getting them home, and thanking Kent for letting me have the dogs, I immediately gave them some cold, fresh water.  I probably set out at least a gallon's worth, and they drank it all!  The poor things!  They were so thirsty!!!  I also raced to find some meat in the house.  I used up the last pints of pork, turkey and hamburger.  I also gave them a can of Vienna sausages.  They ate it all!  Then I went to Walmart down the road and bought a 40-lb bag of dog food.  I also bought collars, leashes, brushes, dog shampoo, two bones, some toys and a bag of dog treats.  After getting home, I set out more dishes with the dried dog food and some treats.  They polished off EVERY LAST BIT OF FOOD I set out for them!  Then I gave them each a bone, and they ran to separate parts of the yard to chew on them.  

(Duke up close)

Duke and Boba were VERY dirty.  I found out later that they had been wandering around the mountains 35 miles south of here for a good 2 and 1/2 to 3 months.  They had been living off of the scraps they could get from neighbors, and then what they could kill in the mountains.  I had to tie Boba to a tree and wash him down.  He was SO happy when I got done.  Duke wanted nothing to do with the whole process.  So I waited a few days until I could get him into our tub in the house.  We've got a special sprayer attached to the shower head, which made it SO much easier!  Duke played dead, made his entire body limp, just like a little kid!  I laughed so hard!  I had to literally PICK HIM UP and put him in the tub.  WHAT A BIG BABY!!!  Once in the tub though, he just sat there and relaxed.  The warm water was soothing, and he was so good!  30 minutes and a lot of dog shampoo later, Duke was a very clean and happy dog!  I however, was VERY wet and VERY dirty!  Oh well!

(Duke relaxing after his bath and a good brushing!)

After his bath, Duke was SOAKING WET!  I got him to jump out of the tub, and barely caught him before he started shaking off all that water.  I threw two towels on him and saved our home from the flood.  I ushered him outside, and the moment he got out, he started running around, hopping like a rabbit, and shaking himself silly!  Boba got excited thinking that Duke wanted to play.  When he ran over to get him, Boba got sprayed with all the water Duke was shaking off.  It was so funny!  Duke and Boba proceeded to romp and play and wrestle with each other for the next half hour.  Then I took them both on a walk so that Duke could dry out fully.  When we got home, I took the brush and while Duke laid on the grass, I brushed out every possible snag he had in his fur.  I had to cut several chunks of hair off of his tail because they were so embedded with burrs it was impossible to brush them out or remove them in any other way.  I spent over an hour brushing his coat and getting his tail free of snags.  Duke fell asleep and was so relaxed that I had to take a picture of him.  He was in PURE DOG HEAVEN!!!  Great job Duke!  And great job Lisa!

(Boba feeling dejected; he wanted to be brushed too!)

Well, as you can see above, Boba felt left out.  He wanted me to brush his coat too!  What a big baby!  So I snapped this picture, and then started brushing him.  He LOVED IT!  I made sure he was nice and relaxed, and got the same quality time as Duke did.  I even gave him a treat afterwards because I felt so bad that he felt left out.  I'm such a sucker for sad faces and those big brown puppy dog eyes.  Boba knew exactly what to do to get what he wanted!

(Vaughn petting Boba and Duke)

Boba also decided that he would get on Vaughn's good side.  That was easy to do since Vaughn LOVES animals.  All Boba had to do was stick his nose into Vaughn's hand, and it was an instant friendship!  Vaughn is extremely tender with any animal.  He is so ready for the responsibilities that come with taking care of any animal.  He REALLY WANTS A DOG!

(Duke and Vaughn enjoying the weather)

As you can see, this illustrated perfectly how much Vaughn loves animals.  From an early age he fell in love with our cat Ivan, who has since passed away.  Ever since Ivan died 5 years ago, Vaughn has cried several times about him.  He misses him, and has expressed his desire to have another cat or dog MANY TIMES.  He even prays for Ivan.  It is so cute!
Vaughn was brave enough to try walking Boba, and he did a good job, but Boba is really strong.  He's even a little hard to handle when I walk him.  But Duke has the best temperament.  He doesn't try to resist and walk ahead.  He obeys and waits until I tell him to go ahead and sniff out some bushes.  I had Vaughn try walking Duke, and it was a success!  Vaughn was so proud that he was able to walk the dog.  I loved seeing that look of pure satisfaction in his eyes.  What a tender, darling young man!  I love you Vaughn!

So now we're looking to find them a good home.  It's sad because I want to keep them!  But two big dogs is too much for us right now.  I just hope we can find a good home for both of them.  I will insist that they go to the same home since they are such good buddies.  Please pray for us to help us in this effort!  And thanks for checking out the blog!  

Love, Lisa

Saturday, July 18, 2009

October 2008

It has been so long since I've posted anything that I've decided to sum up each month until we're current again.


Brian rarely comes home for lunch because he works in Orem. It's about a 20 to 25-minute drive from our house, so it's not really practical to try to make it home for lunch and be back again in one hour. But I think on this day Brian was working in the Provo area. I was excited to see him during the day for once! So we "celebrated" this unusual event with an out-of-the-ordinary meal.

I cooked thinly sliced chicken in taco seasoning, and paired it with shredded lettuce, chopped cilantro, cheese, homemade tomatillo salsa and homemade regular salsa, and of course, corn tortillas. Brian was in heaven. And just so you don't think he's too weird, he put that giant piece of cilantro in his teeth on purpose.

I think having Brian home for a little while during the day put Deano in a good mood. Here he is looking as plump and gooey as ever.


Laura came by later the next week for a quick evening visit. Whenever Laura walks into our house she somehow takes all the stress away and everyone feels better. Vaughn of course is the first one to hug Laura. She really has no choice considering he runs to her and jumps up into her arms!

I think this time Vaughn had just woken up from a late nap, so he was still slightly grumpy and didn't really want to talk to anyone. But he still let Aunt Laura hold him, and she loved it!

And speaking of naps...the next few pictures are from earlier in the day just before Vaughn was supposed to take his nap....

Just for fun I put Deano in bed next to Vaughn. Vaughn was so excited to have Deano next to him that he almost didn't dare to breathe in case he might upset the Deano.

Vaughn's excitement couldn't be held in though, and eventually a giant grin spread across his face.

Vaughn eventually decided it was safe enough to move his finger to his mouth.

Deano really had no clue what was going on. Either that or he was too distracted by the camera to really care whether or not Vaughn was moving or spazzing.

Finally Deano noticed Vaughn (well, actually Vaughn's Spiderman doll) and Vaughn decided it was time to make first contact with the Deano.

Deano watched intently as Vaughn showed him some cool Spiderman moves.

Deano eventually started to freak out and had to be moved to his own bed, but Vaughn was still happy as a lark for having had a few moments with the Deano. And here is Vaughn giving the camera a great big smile.

Vaughn is especially attached to this Spiderman doll, as you can tell. And the only reason I call it Vaughn's Spiderman doll is because that's what Vaughn insists I call it. One time I made the mistake of calling it the Spiderman action figure and Vaughn immediately said, "Mom! It's no, no is action figure, it's Spiderman DOLL." I learned my lesson very quickly and it has been called Spiderman Doll ever since.


We always enjoy it when Brian's sister Linda and her husband Danny come to visit. They had three adorable children. Their second-oldest and only girl is named Lorna. By the way I love that name. Lorna is a darling girl with a giant heart, and she took immediately to Dean. Here she is with her adorable smile and Popsicle-stained chin!

(I'm not quite sure what Deano thought about the situation though!)


The next day was spent back at Mom and Dad Higginson's house to make sure that Vaughn and Dean got as much time with the kids as possible.

Above is Kalel, Danny and Linda's oldest. And just as a little side note, Linda and Danny named him Kalel way before current Hollywood actors decided to resurrect the name. We call him Kal for short, and the name fits perfectly.

Little Alvin is a chipmunk at heart. He is a full-throttle kid. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen him in any other mode than "insanely active." He is go go go all day long until he basically drops from exhaustion. I feel for Linda, and I admire her. She is a wonderful mother. And Alvin is so dang cute that you just want to squeeze the little chipmunk until he pops!

Vaughn absolutely adores Kal, and to prove his adoration, Vaughn actually let Kal hold his Spiderman Doll AND take a picture. I couldn't believe my eyes, and I knew you wouldn't unless I put up the picture.

Alvin has the cutest button nose and the biggest brown eyes in the universe. I think Grandpa took this picture of him while he was trying to escape being dressed after a bath. I don't think I could take it if I had those big brown puppy dog eyes looking up at me all the time. Too much cuteness in one bundle!

Back to Spiderman. I asked if I could take a picture of Vaughn, but he wanted to make sure that his Spiderman Doll was in the picture. If you look closely you can see Vaughn looking to the side, directly at the camera to make sure Spiderman Doll was front and center.

Once Spiderman Doll was photographed, Vaughn paused for a moment for a shot. But his thoughts were far away, thinking about how cool his Spiderman Doll is. And...

...he decided he wanted Spiderman Doll back in the picture. I hope he doesn't grow so attached that he has to take this doll to college with him or something. I do fully expect though that he will want to sleep with this doll every night until he's 18 or moved out. Either way, I'm going to make sure we keep this doll forever. It will be really fun to pull it out of his remembrance box later on in life and see the look on his face. (This is assuming at some point he'll let the doll out of his sight or grip).


I bet you didn't think I would ever have a supermodel spread on this blog. But here it is! This GORGEOUS woman is the one and only Linda, Brian's sister and my sister-in-law. Now you can see why I was so jealous of her before I knew she was Brian's sister. I knew I didn't have a chance if I had to compete with this Miss Universe!

Linda is, as I've already said, GORGEOUS! She reminds me of sunshine. She is the epitome of the "California Beach Babe" mixed with the wholesome "girl-next-door."

Did I mention GORGEOUS?!?

She has the longest, thickest, most luxurious hair I've ever seen on a human being. She also has the most perfect teeth and lovely smile in the world.

Linda is a woman of many talents. She is an all-around athlete and she excels in gymnastics. (I'm pretty sure I remember Linda doing a cartwheel only a month after Kal was born). Linda has a beautiful singing voice. Her voice reminds me quite a bit of Karen Carpenter's. She is an expert seamstress. She designs her own swimsuits (50's style) and sews them. She has made all kinds of gorgeous dresses, including a spectacular empire-waist dress. She also designs incredibly cute shirts, shorts, pants, kid's clothing and Halloween costumes.

Linda is also an exceptional cook, a great dancer, a pianist and a wonderful mother. And most importantly, Linda is one of the most loving and understanding people I've ever met. She has the ability to truly forgive and to really understand people. She is a truly Christ-like person, and I am grateful to know her.

I love you Linda!


This day started out like any other. I was in the kitchen getting breakfast for the boys and Brian had just barely walked out the door to go to work. It was a Monday, so of course something was bound to happen...

About five minutes after Brian left, the kitchen floor began to rumble. I thought maybe construction was going on outside, but that was ruled out quickly when I heard a giant rush of water. I knew instantly that our sump pump had failed and that the basement was flooding.

It probably seems a little odd to think of a basement flooding in desert country, but it happened! The city sewage system backed up and flooded the basements of several houses on our street, and ours was one of them. In the time it took me to call my next-door-neighbor and my in-laws, our basement had three or four inches of water in it. Yikes! The above is of Dad Higginson standing in our basement after we got all the water pumped out.

Dad Higginson got here first and then my neighbor Dawn quickly arrived on the scene. (Those are her feet above). While Dad worked on getting the water pumped out of the basement with a shop vac and buckets, Dawn and I quickly unloaded everything that was in the water or close to being in the water. It was a nightmare! The water went up to the first step leading into the basement.

All of our food storage was down there, so you can imagine how upset I was. I had tried to make sure that anything close to the floor was in water-proof containers. I had also put many things on pallets and shelves. But when you deal with water, and especially sewage, ANYTHING made out of WOOD has to be THROWN AWAY. There is no way to clean it. SO...all of our wood shelves had to be tossed.

This is what our back yard looked like after emptying the basement....

....keep going....

...this too. And yes, that is the Utah Disaster Kleenup truck sitting in our back yard. They had to come in and spray down the basement with high-powered, super hot, disinfecting solution. They santitized the walls, the floors, the steps, and anything that was plastic that was touching the water. Everything else had to be thrown away.


Disaster Day 2

I had stored canned goods and bottled goods up off the floor, but the water got to them anyway. Disaster Kleenup said I had two options....throw away everything, or disinfect everything that was in glass or cans. I chose option 2 since I wasn't about to throw away all that food! So I set up a washing station which included tons of hot water and CLOROX.

Brian's parents took Vaughn and Dean while I spent the next 8 HOURS washing....
My neighbor Dawn came over again and helped me wash for I think 2 hours. Then my wonderful sister Laura came over and helped for 4 hours. Without Brian's parents, Dawn and Laura, I would still be washing and disinfecting everything! After scrubbing everything until my hands were raw, I had to re-label everything as well. Laura and I enjoyed this part because we were already delirious from the sun and Clorox, and the permanent markers only added to the delirium. We wrote little jokes here and there on different jars or containers. It has been pretty fun since then to read them as we've used up the food.

(If you look closely you can see bottled turkey, hamburger, zucchini relish, tomatoes, grape juice, peaches and salsa. So you can understand why there was NO WAY I was going to throw hundreds of hours worth of work away!) Brian's brother Jared also spent most of a day helping me to get new metal shelving picked up, put together and in the basement. Then he helped to load everything that was clean back into the basement and organize it. It was intense.

So.....Here are a few words of advice....

(Metal shelving can be cleaned and sanitized, wood shelving cannot!)
(on your metal shevling)
(If I had stored everything in plastic containers, only the containers would have needed to
be sanitized, and Disaster Kleenup would have done that!)

And last but not least....

#4 Have some waterproof boots and gloves on hand, and not in your basement!


The end in sight, and a hot meal in out bellies!

After almost 48 hours without sleep, I was incredibly grateful to go out to eat. My parents (I love you Momma and Poopa) offered to pay for a few meals and it was so great! We went to Bajios which is a fantastic Mexican restaurant here, and it was a much-needed break. Here are Vaughn and Brian enjoying the atmosphere.

If I tell Vaughn to smile he tries really hard and winds up looking like he's hurting. It is adorable.

I was so grateful to be out of the sun, away from the Clorox, and in a place where I could sit down and eat. It was awesome. And it was nice to just be able to sit and play with Vaughn too. He and Deano had really missed us. There's nothing that brings family together like sewage back-ups and Mexican food! (I'll let you think about that for a while!)

Thank you to EVERYONE who helped us! Your labor was priceless!!!

I'll leave you with my favorite picture of Linda...

Love, Lisa