Thursday, July 31, 2008

Day: Made

Is this what heaven looks like to a three-year-old boy?

It's not at all heavenly to me.

I went to bed kinda late last night, you see.

Road work noise at six in the morning? After a piddly five hours of sleep?

Not even close to my idea of heaven.

But to a three-year-old boy, it doesn't get much better.

Totally Looks Like...

You all know how I Can Has Cheezburger cracks me up... Well, now I've found a division of them that's even funnier. Seriously, check it out for a good crack-up.

P.S. Jonah just got up and was sitting on my lap as we looked at those pictures. As I navigated to Blogger, he sighed and said, "What we can have? Pancakes... or a video?"

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


My brother left a comment on my last post about something to the effect of my blog making his day. Well, let me make your day even better, brother of mine...

I heard a few days ago that he's going to be home in Oregon briefly during the middle of August before heading off for his next adventure- in Ecuador. "Can you come, too?" Mom asked. Yeah, right, I thought. But...

We spent a few days messing around when we should have bought tickets right away which made for a ticket-purchasing nightmare today (which included a call from one of our credit card company's fraud protection questioning multiple attempts to buy plane tickets). But the short version is that WE? We're going to Oregon! ALL THREE OF US! A real, live, honest-to-goodness family vacation. For real. Nathan is going, too. This is monumental. The funding for the tickets was gifted to us, for which I am extremely grateful as there is no way we could have afforded it. But, did I mention, WE"RE GOING TO OREGON!

I'm a little excited. I've not really been able to focus on anything all day (which could also be due to spending 5 hours fighting with online ticket booking and watching the prices climb steadily). I'm a little worried about the tremendous amount of work to be done before we leave in TWO! WEEKS! but I guess there's always work to do. And I'll be gone for NINE! DAYS! right when tomato season will be getting going, so I'll hope for a long and bountiful harvest this year so that I can still get plenty of sauce canned.


Of Blubbering, Bribery, and a Gratuitous Cheeseball

Yesterday I had to make a trip to the city to get a tile-saw blade for Nathan. He had gotten one that turned out to have the wrong size center hole. Seems that this tile saw needs an unusual sized blade. I had a pretty hard time finding one, too, and the one that I ended up getting is a leetle bit big. Here's hoping it doesn't go flying.

Anyway, Jonah wanted to go with me so badly that he got himself in the car when I was in the bathroom. Normally, this would be fine. I take him everywhere with me, and he's a great little traveler. He likes to be out and about. The thing is, he still seems to be a little under the weather (aside: Somebody please tell me where that expression came from! "Under the weather." I know what it means, but what does it mean?) from that fever that he had over the weekend. He pretty much laid around on any available surface all morning yesterday-- I couldn't imagine dragging him around in stores and getting in and out of the hot car. He was desperate to get out of the house, but I don't think he knew what he was in for.

So I tried to reason with him. I pleaded with him. And then, I bribed him. My angle was to avoid the inevitable tantrum. "You can stay here with Daddy! Daddy will let you watch a movie!" That's huge, movie-watching. A rare treat. Didn't work.


So I tried again, "I'll bring you a present!" (Go ahead. Marvel at my stunning parenting skills.)


So I carried him in the house.

The Tantrum ensued.

So he did watch a movie, and had a nap (good thing I left him home!). And I got to browse the clearance racks by myself.

So when I walked in the door several hours later, the first thing I heard was, "You bringed me a present?"

Yes. Yes, I did.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

In Reflection of My Mood Today

I found a fun site where I could create my own magazine cover.

And what did I come up with, you might ask?

My only inspiration seems to be the discovery of Early Blight on my tomatoes and potatoes, a handful of Japanese beetles, cabbage and broccoli riddled with holes, homicidal zucchini, and itching. Lots of itching.

My mood was not improved by spending the weekend (and staying home from church) with a feverish and excessively whiny child. Anniversary date? Hah.

But this little diversion made my day:

Eat my dust, Martha.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Five years ago today, we did this:

(On seeing that picture, Jonah said, "That's not Daddy!")

I overheard Nathan saying to someone the other day that it seems like it's been longer than five years. He went on to explain that he doesn't mean the time has dragged, but that this is life now and he's happy and can't imagine (or hardly remember) it being any different.

Oddly enough, I feel the same way. (Aside: last year on our anniversary, my friend D. asked if it felt like four years. I told her no, it felt longer. She said, "That's because you're married to Nathan!") When we got married, I started a new life. So now, life before that, even though it was only a few years ago, seems like a long time ago.

I have this recurring dream (nightmare?) that is always a variation on the same theme: we're not married anymore. It's always a strange reason that only makes sense in the dream (not divorce, of course, and only once was it death) that we're not married. We were, but now we're not, and we're decided if we want to/can get married again. I'm always incredibly sad about it. Once in the dream I was married to someone else and I was very upset about that. I didn't want to be with that guy, I wanted to be with Nathan. Other times in the dream it's just been various other nonsensical reasons. I think I only have this dream during the rough times. Maybe it comes to remind me that I'm very thankful for what I have. (A few days ago I was listening to a couple of acquaintances talk about their husbands and I thought, "Wow, I've really got it good.")

Anyway, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. It's been five great years, and I'm looking forward to many more.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fiery Harvest by Sunset's Fiery Light

Sorry to go all poetical on you, but I was really struck by the image of my newly harvested garlic drying in the mudroom (which, by the way, stunk for three days after I hung all that garlic in there).

After I harvested it a few days ago, I was looking at it, imagining all the yummy and garlicky things I'll cook. Nathan said, "What are you doing? Trying to pick your favorite?"

"No... I'm just so happy to have grown our own garlic!"

Short pause.

"I'm so glad you can be happy about things like garlic and you don't need diamonds or indoor swimming pools to be happy."

"I'd much rather have yummy food and a kitchen to cook it in than jewelery and such."

"I like that in a wife."


Jonah: I don't wanna skip quiet time today.

Me: You don't? Oh, okay, then. Go pick a book and go upstairs.

J: No! I don't wanna! No quiet time today!

M: Oh. Well, I guess we can skip it.

J: No! Don't wanna skip quiet time today. No quiet time.

M: If we "skip" quiet time, that means no quiet time today.

J: Yeah.

M: Okay, so we'll skip it.

J: Dooon't waaaannnaa quiet time today! Not skip quiet time!

M: Er... Then go upstairs.

J: No quiet time!

M: Yes! No quiet time! We'll skip it!

J: No! Not skip quiet time!

M: I think you're having problems with the English language.

J: I'm huuuuunngrrrrry!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Soon, soon, very soon

You must excuse my lengthy absence. I've just been... busy. That busyness included helping two other people to pick 109 pounds of blueberries on Monday. It was a crazy and insane scheme that took us 6 long hours of picking. I was tiredt. And then some. Yesterday was a co-op delivery and a ton of running around and visiting and such (and included the repair of my laptop! Yay!).

And I just braved the mosquitoes and picked more beans, cukes, peppers and zucchinis which I now need to do something about. And I don't know why, but every single summer, I pick a boat-load of zucchini and think, "okay, time to make some zucchini bread!" and invariably, I don't have any crushed pineapple as called for in my favorite zucchini bread recipe. Why don't I learn to think ahead a little?

Anyway, I thought I would give you a quick update on the kitchen progress:

As I write this, Nathan is mortaring the joints in the cement board for the countertop:

Also, these days, everything Jonah does has something to do with some form of heavy machinery. Here he is behind a lazy susan pretending to be a train. Usually it's more bizarre-- "Look Mom! I'm jumping like a manure spreader!" No, I don't get it either.

So it's moving along! It looks as though I might be making my zucchini bread in my new kitchen in the very near future!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Outer Space

Nathan and I have been watching Firefly every night after Jonah is in bed. SciFi is an illness.

Anyway, we just watched the last episode. I now have nothing to look forward to each evening as I wash dishes. They canceled that show after one season, and it really is a shame. It's a very clever and well-written show. There is a movie called Serenity that was made as an ending to the show, which I saw when Nathan rented it a couple months ago (before I started watching the show). So at least there is that for closure...

I feel like I've spent our whole marriage (5 long years next Saturday!) fighting the SciFi addiction he brought into it and keeps infecting me with. Stargate, Dune... now Firefly. And he's been trying to talk me into Battlestar Galactica for a long time.

Trying. to. resist. the force. Luke.


Why? Why did God have to make mosquitoes? And if He had to make them, why do we have to be food for them to make their stupid, little babies? I don't want them to make their stupid, little babies. They'll just grow up and bite me so they can make more stupid, little babies. I'm against mosquito procreation.

And why do we have to have the kind that BITE ALL DAY?

It is 11:30 in the morning. Practially noon. I just came in from my garden. I was picking beans and cucumbers. And I was eaten. Jonah ran, screaming, back inside. Even his powerful desire to help me wouldn't keep him out with the mosquitoes.

Two hours ago I thoroughly coated us in this very awesome spray so that I could pick pie cherries at a friend's house (which should have been picked a week ago, but I didn't know about them, but at least I got enough to make my sweet husband a cherry pie, but I don't have any cream for whipped cream which I know he loves on his pie. Anyway.). Normally that stuff works great, and it did at first, but it's supposed to last 6 hours. However, when I went out to the garden, the mosquitoes swarmed me and said, "Hey! A lemon-eucalyptus flavored person! Let's get ready to make some stupid, little, lemon-eucalyptus flavored babies!"

We wait, all winter, trapped in the house, for summer, when we can be free. And then, instead of being imprisoned by snow, we're imprisoned by mosquitoes who want to drink us dry for their stupid, little babies.

Meh. I'm gonna go make pickles now.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Oh Crappy Day

Today, I tied Dandelion, the goat, down behind the barn. I always make sure to try to check on him frequently because there are lots of small saplings down there that he eats, but also gets tangled in. I untangled him around lunchtime and peeked at him a couple times during the day. When I was making supper, I heard him yelling, but he sounded funny. So I went down to check on him. His chain was wound around a tree right near his collar and the collar was twisted by his neck.

I'll spare the gory details, but he was in bad shape. I couldn't get the collar off, so I ran back in the house and grabbed some scissors, hoping they would cut the heavy nylon collar. I ran back out there, but he was struggling so violently and wound so tightly that I couldn't get the scissors under the collar. I ran back in and tried to call Nathan's cell. He was doing some work at the house of our friend, K., just a few miles down the road. He didn't answer, so I called K's number. I told her what happened and asked her to send Nathan right away.

I ran down behind the barn again to try some more, but it was too late. And I, being the soft wuss that I am, sat down on a crate and bawled.

Jonah was very concerned about me, and couldn't understand what was wrong. He hugged me and told me to stop crying. "Let's fix him, Mommy! Give him a drink!"

Nathan and K. arrived in the truck, but of course there was nothing to do. K. was very sweet-- she's an "animal person" too.

Now, I've raised a lot of animals. I've lost a lot of animals. It just happens. And I have no problem with raising animals for meat. God gave them to us for food. But I've always been known to get very attached to my animals-- even irritating, useless ones. And this was very sudden and traumatic. And I feel like a stupid idiot. I suppose even if I had been able to get the collar off, it would still have been too late for him. I wish I had checked earlier. I don't know how long he suffered like that.

I've always known it's not safe to tie goats. (I tied my first goat, until we figured out that it didn't work very well. She died a miserable death, too, but not from being tied.) This is why I don't want to have animals until we're set up to keep them properly. I do want animals very, very much. It's programmed into my genes, I guess. But I still don't want them at the expense of poor management. Success with raising animals really depends on doing things right. We do have an area for a small pasture, but fence is expensive and low on the priority list. I just keep praying for something to come along (we're certainly not above scrounging someone's used fencing).

It got me thinking, though. I know the saying, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away" is so cliche, but it is actually true. Dandelion was given to us and we were going to fatten him up over the summer for meat in the fall, but as my Dad reminds me, "Man proposes and God disposes." But it's just like everything else we have. We didn't get it for ourselves, we were blessed with it. God has provided all we have. (Almost every stick of furniture in our house was given to us. Even our wonderful, faithful pickup truck was a gift.) All of our chickens were given to us, but we're having a lot of trouble with them. I was hoping the flock would multiply over the summer, but instead, they're decreasing. And the rooster died the other day, so that cuts short their chances of further multiplication. I'm bummed about it, but there's nothing I can do.

Sorry for rambling, but I'm seeing this pattern in my whole life. Absolutely everything.

I think I'm supposed to be learning a lesson, here.

God chooses the gifts that are best for us. I should not try to force my will. And it's not like I have anything to complain about. We're certainly taken care of, and none of this world's crap is gonna matter in the end (may it please come soon). We have rich blessings. Even if every thing was taken from us, we'd still be richly blessed with our Salvation. This world is just stuff.

And now I'm realizing that this is about much more than I'm saying here, and getting into deeper territory that I'm normally comfortable publishing for all the internets to see. How did this post about my poor goat turn into this batch of navelgazing?

I had better hit "publish" before I chicken out.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Back in Time

I must have really been off my creative ball yesterday not to have thought of this:

(Kris's comment on my lawn mowing post reminded me. )

Feline Entertainment

Jonah has a cute occupation this morning. The kittens kept running away, so he found away to bend them to his will.

Our neighbors across the road from us defaulted on their house a while ago and are now moved out. I know it's terrible to say it, but we don't really miss them. We also inherited their passel of cats, and I'm quite annoyed. I do not like all these irritating cats underfoot, begging for food, prowling the porches, trying to run into the house every time the door is opened. We have our two cats, they earn their keep, and we like them. But if two's a couple, three's a crowd-- and a dozen is insanity.

Anyway, these two kittens belong to one of those cats. And kids like kittens and Jonah's no exception.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lawn Mowing: Oldschool Style

Nathan got an old push-reel mower at an auction. Saves gas, and builds arm muscles, I'm thinkin'. It actually cuts quite well as long as it's kept in good shape. Actually, he said it was for me. No, I haven't used it. But it made for some great workin'-man training.

Monday, July 14, 2008

In My Oven

I love summer. Have I mentioned that? I might have. I love going out to my garden and picking supper. I just put this lasagna in my oven, complete with tomato sauce from last year's garden (since I'm still waiting on this year's crop...) and plenty of fresh basil and ground pork from my neighbors down the road. And I have all this kale in my garden that was big and beautiful until the Bugs got it. Now it's very sad. So in effort to use it before They eat it all, I threw in some of that, too. But I was very careful to clean off all the worms and their poop before I layered the kale into my lasagna. Oh, I'm sorry, did you just loose you appetite? I do hope you weren't eating anything when you read that.

(Note: this photo is a test. I'm trying to see if I can get better resolution and photo quality by hosting the images on Photobucket. Duh, you say. I'm a little slow, all right? I think it's a little better. What do you think?)


Yesterday, we went to Toledo to visit an elderly friend. He recently had two heart attacks and a stroke (not necessarily in that order) all in quick succession, and is amazingly still alive after heart surgery and numerous drugs and who knows what else. He's in a rehab center and doing quite well. We heard that he and his wife may be moving to Tennessee soon so their son can help them. This rehab center had a nice little duck pond with a pavilion and dock. We hung out there and visited and Jonah had lots of fun feeding the ducks.

(Doesn't he look like such a little boy? I can't believe it! Where did my baby go?)

You'll have to excuse my laziness today in not editing my photos and getting them cleaned up a little. They really are horrid. I just have too much other graphics work to do for this website I'm working on and I don't feel like playing with pictures... I promise to try to do better. Soon.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Chicken Flip

My brother, over there on the other side of the world, posted some pics today of him swimming. That is, I can only assume he was swimming, as he isn't in the water in any of the pictures. Apparently, he was preparing to do a backflip off a concrete wall of some sort. I'm just thankful he hasn't yet adopted the custom used in some parts of Europe of wearing a Speedo. Anyway, there was no picture of him actually hitting the water, so I can only imagine that this is what must have happened:

Ready for this?

It's kind of embarrassing...

Notice how he get's about half way down and quickly changes his mind and flips himself Kung-fu style back up to solid ground. "Ack! Whoops! Big mistake!" Then when he gets up, you can see the relief in his face-- "Whew!" he says as he looks up and thanks his exceptionally vigilant guardian angel.

The big chicken.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Jonah, with an old wallet, now a play wallet: Look! It's my wallet!

Me: Cool! What's in your wallet?

J: Um, dollars.

M: Wow! Can I have some dollars?

J: Sure! Here's a dollar!

M: Thanks! Can I have another dollar?

J: Sure! Sixteen niney-nine?

M: Yeah, that would be great!

J: Here!

M: Er... Could I have a hundred dollars?

J: Yeah! Here you go!

M: Wow. That is awesome! I'll put it in my pocket.


M: Do you think I could have another hundred dollars?

J: Um... Want birthday cake?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

View From Above

So, better late than never, here is the aerial garden tour I promised.

Looking out the upstairs window, we see this scene. I like this view because it's harder to see the weeds.

And turning north to look over the kitchen roof, you can see the little plot that Nathan just started this year. It contains a poorly-germinated and especially weedy patch of corn, as well as potatoes (also weedy) and four kinds of squash (not weedy! Mulched!) with which I am experimenting to see if they do well growing into the corn patch (better take care of them weeds perty soon...).

Also visible is the heinous organized mess of scrap metal, wood and junk, (one place I'm a little thankful for weeds...)as well as the rusty, but very useful pole barn and a small goat pen off to the side.

Also note: Lovely surrounding countryside-- no corn fields or houses!

So, now for the specifics.

This is pretty much everything I have growing. Not listed are some stray sunflowers, volunteer cherry tomatoes (everywhere!) and the watermelons that are being taken over by cucumbers. I've never had the cukes grow quite this much because we've never gotten so much rain! Usually the vines stay pretty small. I need to get something rigged up for them to climb.

And finally, we'll see the wonderful raised beds that Nathan built me. I lovelovelove them. Some things in them are already done, such as the spinach, early lettuce, two plantings of radishes, and I just put in my third planting of cilantro. Also, at the end of the bed in the far left is one lonely parsnip. I didn't even plant parsnips this year. But I planted them last year and they didn't come up. But here is one rogue parsnip, and I'm sure it'll be yummy.

I'm afraid I'll really be in the deep end in a couple weeks when canning/freezing season hits...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Summer Delights

I was surprised to see these beauties in my garden. I planted some sweet peas, but they weren't looking very happy, so I didn't know if they would bloom. But, sure enough, here they are!

And Jonah seems to be fully enjoying summer as well:

Kitchen Lust

I have a thing for kitchens right now. I'm slightly obsessed.

So when I saw Pioneer Woman's post today about her Fourth of July party... well, the only thing I noticed was her kitchen. Yeeeah.

Thou shalt not covet.

I know, but...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Owies and sundries

Today I was pulling the stinging nettle that has taken up residence in one of my raised beds. There is no getting rid of it completely, since it's one of those that will grow back from the tiniest piece of root. So I just make sure to be careful of it and pull it before it goes to seed. I hang it upside down and let it dry and then add it to tea as it is very nutritious. I've touched it before and felt a little itch, but it's never been that bad. I always use gloves when I pull it, as I did today. Then I removed my gloves and started to pull some weeds and accidentally touched the heal of my right hand against a tiny new shoot of nettle that I had missed. And it hurt like flippin' blazes of thunder. It got all swollen and bumpy and the burn just doesn't quit! Sheesh! I figured out that I've always touched the tops of the leaves, but this time I touched the underside where all the poisonous spines are. So I'm going around with a wad of yellow dock leaf taped on my hand to at least make the burning tolerable.

Then I went out to get my laundry off the line, and proceeded to step on a honey bee. With the same foot that I stepped on one yesterday. Yeah. Time to mow the lawn. The bees are reeeeallyl liking our clover crop out there. So I have a wad of plantain taped onto my foot to relieve the sting.

I am a walking herb pharmacy, baby.

In other news... my kitchen is getting cabinets!! Nathan worked on setting them today.

And we borrowed a tile saw, so next he's going to build countertop. Yay!! I'm so excited I could cry. I go in there and I can just feel it... In my mind I can picture using my kitchen and I can just taste the satisfaction that will come with having a place for everything and plenty of room for cooking and canning.

The hole there is where the dishwasher will (somedayprobablyintenyears) go. To the left will be the sink. Now, I can just hear my Mom already: as soon as she sees that picture she's going to leave me a comment about the corner cabinet with a shelf in it. Hey, we got it covered. There are three of those in this kitchen, and that was the one that was brand new and came with a shelf. We decided to leave it. One of them came with a lazy susan and Nathan's building one into the other. Ita be faaaahine.

The gap here is where the stove will be. The cabinet to the left of that will not be there, we'll be replacing it with a 21 inch piece that we originally thought we wouldn't need, but now we have extra space because the corner piece is 33 inches instead of the 36 we had planned for.

Nathan was cutting plywood for countertop underlayment and kinda forgot about the wide piece where for the breakfast bar on the other side of the penninsula. So he has to redo that yet, then will come the layer of cement board and then... tile! Yay.

Yay, yay, yay!!!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Amish for a day. Or three.

I had a very witty post composed in my head yesterday. It was about being without electricity. It was really great! You would have loved it. However, since I had no electricity in my house at the time, I couldn't actually turn on the computer and connect to the internet. I also couldn't do my laundry. Or flush the toilet. Or take a shower which I already hadn't done in three days. And my caller-ID was completely non-responsive. Well, so was my phone. We had to go get a phone that has a cord and doesn't need to be plugged in.

Wednesday night we had a bad storm and the power pole across the road from our house got stuck by lightening and blew out the transformer. (This is startling to me because... well... dang. That could have been one of the giant, old maple trees in our front yard, which have been struck in the past.) And with entire towns out of power throughout the area, two houses in the middle of a predominately Amish neighborhood were pretty small potatoes.

So much for the 4th of July party I had planned here. I had to pack it up and move it to a friend's house.

But we survived. I tend to forget how spoiled we are. We kinda had fun playing games by the light of the Coleman lantern after Jonah was in bed. However, here's a tip: Don't start a game of Risk at 10:00 at night. Especially if you're playing against a man. Risk is such a guy thing. And it's boring. And it takes a looooong time.

But the water buckets and flashlights got old. So did everything in my freezer. (Thankfully our neighbor lent us a little camping generator that saved our food just as it got soft.) So today is Saturday and we cheered when the power company dudes finally showed up to hook us up.

We had made sure to unplug the computer equipment, but failed to unplug the phone because we didn't realize it was plugged in somewhere else. With an oldish surge protector. So the phone got fried as did the phone jack side of the DSL filter. So now we still have to use the cord phone and we have to unplug it and plug int he DSL when we want to use the computer. Which means we can't get calls when we're on the internet. Doesn't that sound familiar somehow? I seem to remember dealing with that... Oh yeah, it's kinda like dial-up. Hm. Bummer. So if you can't get ahold of me, well, send me an e-mail.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bedtime Prayers

We fold our hands and close our eyes--

"I thank thee my Heavenly Father, through..."

"ummm... thank you for going swimming today!"

"Through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that..."

"And... thank You for the boat..."

"that Thou hast..."

"Thank You for books!"

"that Thou has graciously kept me this day. And I pray thee..."

"Thank You for the rain... and..."

"And I pray Thee that Thou wouldest forgive me all of my sins where I have done wrong..."

"And... um... thank You for dump trucks!"

"Okay, lets say the rest of the prayer now. And graciously keep me this night. For into..."

"Thank You for ducks!"

"For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and..."

"Thank you for milk!"

" body and soul, and all things. Let Thy..."

"Thank you for Zacharia and the big yellow angel!"

"Let thy Holy Angel be with me that the wicked foe may have no power over me."

"And thank You for the tire swing..."

"A-MEN! Now good night!"

"And thank You for Jesus died on the cross..."

Evening in the garden