Sunday, August 31, 2008

Master of DIY

This is the drip irrigation system that Nathan engineered for my garden.

We used it last night and it worked great! He mostly used pipes and old hoses that he's had lying around. He had to buy the little connectors and some pipe fittings and narrow line to run to each plant. He really didn't spend much on it.

The system is gravity-fed from this tank:

We fill it with the hose (or ideally rainwater from the roof) and then it just drips to the plants. It's more efficient than trying to run sprinklers from our wimpy well. We're not watering the whole garden with this right now, just the things that I really need not to die, like tomatoes and peppers and sweet potatoes.

Coincidentally, our well pump chose the time exactly after filling the tank to give up the ghost. We are currently without water. Why does this sort of thing always happen when I haven't had a shower in several days (went to church bohemian-style with a bandanna on my head today) and have a mountain of dirty dishes that need washing (from canning and freezing peaches all day)? Seriously... why? It makes me rend my clothes and weep. I'm going to have to take a bucket-bath tonight cuz I'm gettin' sick of the pit-funk and greasy hair. I heated water for my mountain of dishes today and we're eating off paper plates now (gasp!). Sigh.


Jonah was pretending to help with the irrigation, but mainly he was snacking on beans and cherry tomatoes. Can't complain about that.

(Can you tell he's learning to dress himself?)



Be vewy, vewy quiet! He's hunting exabators!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I'm so making this for supper TONIGHT!

Savory Bread and Butter Pudding

PW has been hosting a dairy recipe contest in the cooking section of her blog. I specifically did not enter this contest because I can't stand to have anything to do with conventional dietary assvice. The rules specifically stated that the contest was open to recipes containing plain yogurt, cheese or milk as the main feature. It excluded cream, butter, buttermilk, etc, all things that I hold in the highest esteem. Contrary to popular wisdom, I think we should all eat more of those things, and I cook with them in quantity all the time.

Whoa... getting a little off track here... ummm... Oh! About the recipe.

I am not, however, against using the recipes featured in the contest. The above is one of the finalists. And it looks SO yummy. Of course, I'll probably add butter. Lots of butter. (Why, I ask, is it called "Bread and Butter Pudding" if it contains no butter? Oh, I guess the pan is butter, but that SO does not count.) And I'll use homemade sourdough bread.

So anyway... I'm looking forward to supper. Mmmm...

Random 3YO, part III

(After breakfast, in Daddy's lap)

"What's that noise in you tummy??"

"Um... That's the sound of contentment."

"I has a con-ten-mint, too!"


(Getting into the bathtub)

"Put your dirty clothes into the hamper."

Looks at the hamper- "In the wocket ship?"

Blink, blink.

"I put them in the wocket ship, Mom? Mommy?"

"Uh... sure... that would be fine."

Throws clothes into the hamper.


"I do it!"




(Right after saying grace before eating)

"Not Ay-men... Aahh-men! Now I pray!"

"Okay, go ahead."

Touches forehead to folded hands, squeezes eyes shut. Pause.


Long pause.

"...thank you for this food..."

Longer pause.

"...and for a present for me... ...Amen."




(Making a lot of noise in bed before falling asleep.)

"What are you doing?"

"The green dinosaur!"

"What green dinosaur?"

"I kick him! I kick a green dinosaur!"


"How old are you?"

"Umm... I SIX!"

"No... I think you're three!"

"Nooo... I six, so I can go to school!"


"I. Can. Do it. MYSELF!"


"I fly a airplane!"

"You did?"

"Yeah! A blue airplane! An' it go up, up, uuuup into a sky!"

"Wow! That's pretty neat!"

"Yeah, and the black smoke go up, up, up!"

"Black smoke? Did you crash?"



"I'm a girl!"

"No... God made you a boy."

"No! I wanna be a girl!"

"Well, then, you can't be a working man. Only boys grow up to be working men."


"I wanna be a worker man!"

"Then it's a good thing you're a boy!"


"I'm a girl!"


"I do it myself!"


"I'm hungry, Mommy!"

"Okay, I'm making lunch."



"I can do it myself!"

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Midwestern Buttcrack

(Heh, heh, I'm posting about "buttcracks" two days in a row. Hee, hee, "buttcrack" heh! I'm like an 8 year old boy.)

Since returning home from my beautiful hometown in Oregon, I'm struck more than ever by the fact that I live. in. Michigan. Oy. The Fine People of this state are trying to rise above ridicule by changing their name from "Michigander" to "Michigainian". Make sure you extend you pinkie when you say that. This is the state with the motto of "Great Lakes, Great Times." Huh?? This is the state where everyone has an "eccent" when the speak (say "grhem crecker" quickly and you'll get the idea), but no one will admit to it. This is where if someone asks me to sweep the floor, I don't know whether to get a broom or a vacuum cleaner. Everything anyone ever gives you comes in a "sack" instead of a "bag", even if it's just a birthday card. This is Michigan.

When I was in Oregon I had a great visit with my cousin, Rika, and her husband Jeff (collectively known as "Rikanjeff". Visits with them are always fraught with hilarity. I don't know that I've ever laughed so much in one weekend. Hey, I should do a post about them. Rikanjeff, if you're reading this, consider yourselves warned). They live in California now, but they both grew up in Michigan. They asked where we were living. I tried to describe it, but they hadn't heard of the po-dunk towns around here. I was thouroughly chided when I resorted to "central, just north of the Ohio border." It is a serious misdemeanor among Michiganders to mention Ohio in reference to Michigan.

So I did what everyone from Michigan does. I held up my hand.

See? It looks like the lower peninsula of Michigan. Oh, come on, have some imagination. Really, it does.

So then I could point and show them where we live. (I'll have my cute little assistant demonstrate.)

It occurred to me that if you scrunch up Michigan like this:

(Betcha didn't know Michigan has a front-loader behind it!)

...It kinda looks like a buttcrack. See?

It's a... erm... wrinkly buttcrack.

So, now you all know my deep, dark secret. We live in the Buttcrack of Michigan.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Plumber's Crack-- Now with Applesauce!

This morning Jonah and I picked up the apples off the ground around one of our apple trees. I was feeling discouraged about how wasteful it is to have three apple trees that are practically useless due to years of neglect. One of them makes decent apples that are only a little buggy, but the tree is so tall that the only way to get the apples is to wait until the fall on the ground. Some of them are near perfect except for the cracks and bruises where they hit the ground. So I checked my complaining attitude and told Jonah how thankful we should be that God gave us some apples this year (last year we had none!). After an hour cutting off the bad parts and salvaging what was good, we made sauce.

That was at 2:00 this afternoon. The sauce is still not all canned up though, because since then my sink and stove have been in the process of being moved.

This is the apprentice we have on the job. He doesn't have a full plumbers crack because, being and apprentice, he still has a little modesty left. So he keeps his underwears up when the pants slip down.

Here's the master. He doesn't bother with plumber's cracks.

He does, however, make 9:00pm runs to the store for more parts.

If the planets align in my favor and fate smiles and the cracks are free of applesauce, I might get to wash dishes (and finish canning applesauce) in my NEW kitchen tonight before I go to bed.

It might be a looooong night.

Monday, August 25, 2008


One of the nice things about digital photography is how easy it is to share pictures. I hijacked my brother's and Mom's cameras and downloaded whatever pictures I wanted to Nathan's laptop. Granted, this took a long time since, as we discovered, that old dino doesn't have a USB 2.0. Whatever. Anyway, I now posses pictures which prove that I was actually on this trip. Do you believe me now?

I have so few pictures of Nathan and me together. I'm always the loose nut behind the lens, so if you look through my photo albums, you might doubt that we even know each other.

But here is the proof. Not only do we know each other, but we eat together!

We even took a vacation together! Good thing we're married. At least we're honest that way.


"Sure it is all good and well to suggest offering an older baby a pat on the back or your warmest assurances of love and good times on the morrow, but when someone tries to mug me I give them my wallet. You'll go back to sleep if I feed you? Done."

I'm linking to this blog post because it made me laugh so hard in all my overtired, late-night, still up reading, I promise I'm going to bed soon! punkyness. This woman writes stream-of-consciousness posts that crack me up every time.

Do not read it if you don't like mommy-bloggs. I'm just sayin'.

Sleep? When?

I'm jetlaggin'. Ugh. I always think it's harder to adjust going east than west. When you go west, it's easier to make your self stay up late than to make yourself go to sleep early when you're going east. Last night, tired as I was, it was almost two (a.m. in case you were wondering) before I finally went to sleep. Then this morning I had to drag myself out of bed to go to church and the service was great, but I had some trouble staying awake... Now here it is, midnight again. I slept for 2 1/2 hours on the couch today. Helped my energy levels (buzzzzz!) but there's no sign of sleep in sight now.

We just watched The Fifth Element on Hulu. Dude. There is a reason I have never seen that movie. (I don't even think I've heard of it.) Star Wars Prequels meets Austin Powers. Jar-Jar Binks hooks up with MiniMe and they hire Bruce Willis. Wow, stink.

I really need to post some more pics from our trip. It just feels so weird to do that because then I'm not bloggin in real time and how can I blog now in the past when I didn't blog when I should have but didn't because I was too busy/lazy? Did that make sense? Ah, sleep deprivation.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


"Perhaps the FDA should call up a billion dollar team to consider irradiating another health hazard - the FDA itself, which is almost as dangerous to our health as the pharmaceutical industry."
That is a quote from this great article that I just finished reading about the new food irradiation bull-doo-doo.

"This FDA proposal is so bizarre that it makes you wonder whether the people working at the FDA are smoking crystal meth."

I'm pretty sure they are. It seems like it would take that kind of insanity to so broadly deceive and poison the entire population. You are what you eat, people, and if you eat irradiated foods, you are... irradiated.

And don't even get me started on GMO. (The video in that link is must-see. I mean it. You must see it. Also, this one.)

Do you think nature will band up in "Save the People" organizations? Prolly not. Can you say "extinction"?

Maybe the FDA (Federal Death Association) will go extinct. Hey... there's an idea...

At this point, I am so thankful that God has given us a a little piece of land where we can grow and find good food as well as the where-with-all to know better than to eat all the processed crap. If we want to stay alive (and well), we should eat food that is alive.

Random Points on our Return

  • It's always tough to come back home. We walked out of the airport at 12:30 in the morning into the stinking, muggy air and said, "Oh, dang. We live in Michigan."
  • When our first flight landed in Denver, Jonah started squealing and yelling, "Oh yaaaaaay! We did it! That was a great time!" and everyone around us laughed.
  • When we landed in Detroit, Jonah sighed with self-satisfaction: "Ah. I'm so glad I did it. I flew the airplane all the way here."
  • The last 20 minutes of the drive home were, well, agony. Nathan was very tired and I was trying to keep my eyes open and keep talking to him and it's a wonder we didn't sleep in the ditch.
  • And when the roosters (yes, that's plural) started crowing right under my window this morning, I got up and threw a Kleenex box at them.
  • A little while ago, I discovered that Jonahs back-pack full of books, trucks, toys, markers and gifts from Grandma is still at the Park'n'Ride near the airport. It's kind of a long ways away. I have to call back on Monday to ask about having it shipped to me.
  • I am so tired, it hurts.
  • And it's awfully lonely around here.
  • But at least I didn't walk in the door and start bawling like I used to a few years ago. I'm all about improvement.
  • What the heck time is it, anyway?

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Peter, crying: "Jonah punched me in the eye!"

Me: "On purpose?"

P:"Yeah! He went 'grrrrr!' and hit my eye!"

M: "Jonah, did you hurt Peter?"

J, crying: "Yeah..."

M: "On purpose?"

J: "No..."

M: "You need to be careful not to hurt people. Go giver Peter a hug and tell him you're sorry."

J, hugs Peter: "I'm so sorry, Peter."

P: "I forgive you."

J: "It was accident."

P:"Yeah, accidents happen."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I've been hanging out with the adorable, fat-cheeked, incredibly chill and laid-back little guy. He's Roman, our youngest nephew, the fourth child of Nathan's younger brother.

And just check out the chunk on him:

I could eat him.

I did eat him.


Anyway, most of the time, his expression is something like this:


He always looks unimpressed with the world, like he just can't wait to grow up and be able to actually do something about it.

"What. Ev. Er."

"Gah! Help! Ugh!"


"Guh. Whatever."

"What. Ever."


The main reason that we came to Oregon for this visit is that my brother, Kris, was here visiting from Switzerland before heading off to Ecuador on his first assignment for his new job. So we had a little family reunion of sorts, getting all my sibs together. It may be a long time before we get to do that again. I know I'm behind on posting all the good times, but I'll try to catch up.

So, this crazy brother of mine, he got some rest:

Had some good times:

Even got a haircut (and some good nose-pickin' by the looks of things):

Then it was time to say our goodbyes.

Fare well! We're gonna miss ya! Don't stay gone too long.

Monday, August 18, 2008

This Is Us

From left: Kris, Dad, Seth, Neal, Alyssa, Nathan. Mom and me in the chairs, Sam on the ground, Peter in the middle, Jonah in my lap.

We managed to neglect to take a family picture before the sun went down. That was so not smart. The only time we're all together, and we can't even get a decent picture. Arg. 'Course, we've got so many goofballs that we never can get a decent picture even in good light...

I love hanging out with all my fam. It sure has been fun...

Friday, August 15, 2008


Round 1 *DING*

"My muscles are bigger than yours"

"No, mine are."

"No, mine are."

Round 2 *DING*

"Mine are bigger!"

"No, mine!"

Round 3 *DING*

"I'm gonna bury you!"

"Look at my muscles!"

Round 4 *DING"


Arm Wrestle



Yesterday we had our "a-plane" rides. Wah. Hoo.

Flying with a three-year-old is SO much easier than flying with a baby, though.

The entertainment possibilities are unlimited, if a little tiring.

Now I need to go work on the jet-lag...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I'm checking things off my list. Yesterday, among other things, I did this:

And this:

(I'm so glad I'm married to a Real Man who doesn't care that hemmed jean cuffs are the ultimate in Dorkophagy.)

I had a volunteer to clean the bathroom:

(Somehow, the bathroom doesn't look that much cleaner...)

And a friend helped me with these (of which I have more to do today):

So today, it's pretty much been this:

Sunday, August 10, 2008


To make up for my boring story earlier today, and to further prove my boring uneventfulness, I thought I would enthrall and entertain you with my To Do List for the next two days. I currently have two and a half days until we get on a plane, Oregon-bound, Lord willing. I say that, "Lord willing" because I have gone to get on a plane before, but not actually got on a plane like I had planned. Twice. (Hey! I just thought of a story I could tell!) The first time was, well... plane crashes and buildings burning-- I think you know the story. The second time was an over-vigilant airline people. So twice in a row, I didn't fly. (Remind me to tell you that story some time!)

So yes, two and a half days and much to accomplish. So without further ado, here is my todo:


  1. Make breakfast while explaining that we cannot live by pancakes alone, so we can't actually have pancakes EVERY day.
  2. Read blogs. Check e-mail very quickly.
  3. Hem up Nathan's new jeans by 1 3/4 inches.
  4. Wonder aloud with some slight cursing why Wal*Mart can't sell their $9 jeans in more exact sizes.
  5. Distract Jonah from crying for a snack because we just ate forpetesakes.
  6. Vacuum floors so I can delude myself into thinking that I won't come home to a scummy house.
  7. Dust.
  8. Vacuum again because in dusting I messed up my floors.
  9. Not really on the vacuuming again because I am WAY too lazy a housekeeper for that.
  10. You're hungry again? you got a hole in your leg, kid?
  11. Grout tile countertop.
  12. Can peaches.
  13. Realize the peaches are not quite ripe yet.
  14. Some slight cursing of the people who sold me unripe peaches four days before my leaving on a trip.
  15. Garden work.
  16. Rend my garments and weep because my tomatoes are just getting ripe and I am leaving.
  17. Get over it because I'm GOING TO VISIT MY FAMILY!
  18. Notice that pickles need to be done... again.
  19. Ignore them.
  20. Think about cleaning the bathroom.
  21. Think the better of it and go read blogs.
  22. Realize that it's 6:00 and I don't know what supper is.
  23. Wash dishes.
  24. Wrangle a monkey to bed with much weeping and gnashing of teeth.
  25. Get to bed at a decent time for cryinoutloud! (Haha. Yeah, right.)

  1. Make breakfast while explaining AGAIN that we cannot live by pancakes alone, so we can't actually have pancakes EVERY day.
  2. Start laundry.
  3. Read blogs. Check e-mail very quickly.
  4. Hang out laundry.
  5. Wash more laundry.
  6. Snack for child.
  7. Give up and put all further loads in the dryer.
  8. Dig out luggage from under avalanche that is my storage room.
  9. More laundry.
  10. Mix up bread to bake and put in freezer so I don't have to do it when we get back.
  11. Question my sanity on the bread subject.
  12. Start packing things into suitcase.
  13. Take out half of it in order to try to fit the most essential things into ONE suitcase.
  14. Some slight cursing of airlines.
  15. Another snack?!?!!??
  16. Pack Jonah's "packpack" with fun stuff to do on airplane.
  17. Debate with myself the wisdom of allowing a three-year-old to have markers on a plane.
  18. Put stuff in suitcase.
  19. Take it out.
  20. Put stuff in suitcase.
  21. Wonder if we really need more than three pairs of underwear each.
  22. Pack my backpack with airplane snacks and a novel that I probably won't even crack open.
  23. Show Amish neighbor kid in great detail how to take care of my chickens and water my flowers.
  24. Make list of above chores just in case he forgets anything.
  25. Fret that something will be forgotten and my flowers and/or chickens will be dearly departed when I get home.
  26. Get over it because I'm GOING TO VISIT MY FAMILY!
  27. Realize that again, I don't know what supper is.
  28. Throw some grub on the table.
  29. Clean it off and wash dishes.
  30. Wrangle monkey, etc, etc.
  31. Tie up loose ends.
  32. Make list of things not to forget when we walk out the door for the airport.
  33. Get to bed before 1:00
I'm tired already.

I am going to try to practice the whole "bed at a decent time" thing.

Stories (read: Rambling)

I've been terribly remiss in my blogging lately. There's just... nothing happening. It's the usual work around here-- laundry, dishes, canning/freezing, kitchen-building (moving in-- soon! Watch for the Big Reveal right here coming... soon! Within the next year, for sure!), and a surplus of tantrums which have caused me to completely loose my faith in terrible twos. It's all about three. Uh, where was I? Oh, the usual. Also, eerie dreams about bombs and scorpions. And it's been shockingly cool around here. Feels like September. What is up with that? I heard how my family's side of the world had such a cold spring, but we were normal. Now we're going to get a cold late-summer? Come on! What about my tomatoes?

Oh, how I do ramble.

I've noticed that other bloggers whom I admire tend to tell stories when they have no new news to share. And the stories are usually much more fun than news. It helps that these other bloggers have such great writing skills and, well, they can actually remember things. I don't know what's happened to my brain these days. I used to have this great memory, and my mom said how I remembered everything. But I must have accidentally hit the "flush" button, because I can only think of the present and future and the past is in some file cabinet and it takes me a lot of house-cleaning to find the key. Boy, that was a very incongruous analogy. What I mean is, this doesn't make sense to me because my past is really not that long, and yet I always seem to have a way of getting side-tracked by more recent events.

Okay, where was I going with this? Oh yes, telling a story. So... how about the time I...uh... nah. Or maybe I'll tell you the one about that day... nevermind. Nothing interesting. How about a not-interesting story from yesterday? I can do yesterday.

Jonah and I went to a birthday party yesterday. Jonah, always the youngest, was feeling very shy, poor kid. (But he plays a kickin' game of Limbo!) (That actually had nothing to do with my story.)

The hosts of this birthday party have a geriatric, old (you think that was redundant, but in reality, it was emphatic), Shih Tzu dog named Odie. He's a sweet old thing, but, well, old. And when I say "geriatric" and "old", what I mean is completely deaf, sensitive, and um... er... incontinent.

A mother came and dropped off a child at this party and came in the house to talk with our hostess and the other parents. In the midst of all my smiling and nodding, I happened to look down. And there... on the carpet, was a puddle. Poor Odie. Needed to go out, and couldn't wait. Normally, I would have said, "Hey, got a paper towel?" as puddles and piles are really no big deal to me. But I, in all my wisdom and foresight, was being polite and I waited for a break in the conversation. But as I tried to discreetly alert my hostess to the puddle, I watched this mother's sandaled foot land in it. And then I had even more trouble. Instead of something more direct "Excuse me, watch your step, the dog had an accident on the carpet." or even "Watch out! Pee puddle!", or I dunno, a delicate shriek of feigned horror, I tapped our hostesses shoulder and pointed. See how sophisticated I am? She didn't see what I was pointing at, so I said, "Under her foot!" What am I, four years old? Geesh. She quickly soaked it up with some paper towel and the other mother laughed and left, wiping her foot on the grass on the way to the car.

So, now that I've proved my point, you believe me about my uneventfulness? I'm sure stuff has happened to me. I'll try to think of something. Someday.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Garden Guardian

What's he looking at?

No, not the crumby window edge.


I must be into bugs lately.

So for some relief from the bugginess, here's some shots of the storm the blew over us (without raining on us, unfortunately).

Ignore the junk. Just keep your eyes on the clouds and light.

Cool stuff.