Thursday, April 30, 2009

Motley and Manifold

~We now have two batches of kittens, totaling 6, I think, and the two mamas are laying together in the same "nest" nursing each other's babies. Stinkin' adorable.

~I have been battling a terrible headache off and on for a week now. It reached epic proportions last Thursday, and again on Tuesday I thought I'd like to just crawl into a little hole somewhere and die. No idea what's causing it, nor what will help it. No amount of ibuprophen, feverfew, essential oils, cold compresses, etc., etc., will touch this thing. All I can do is sit very still and wait for it to disappear. I'm not sure if it's actually a migraine because it's not classic migraine symtoms, but who gives a crap what it's called? It's still a really bad headache.

~I'm picking a turkey carcass today. I try not to think about the fact that this morning when I did chores, he was wandering around the yard devouring everything in sight and by noon, he was in the stockpot. (Not all of him, however. He's a big 'un. I cut out the legs, thighs and breast meat for freezing and am boiling the rest.) Ah, well. It was a good life that turkey led, wandering free around the yard.

~I am making myself crazy in picking a paint color for my living room. I sampled one that I thought would be great, but as it turns out, I don't want to be surrounded in it. And I don't want to spend a gazoot-load on paint samples. Especially when the checking account is empty. I'd really like to just pick one off the card and know it will be wonderful, but colors just looks so different on the wall. And did I mention I need to paint tomorrow? I have plans for Jonah to spend the night at a friend's house so that I can get it all done. I just don't know what to do.

~Me: "I'm about ready to just paint this room beige!"
Mom: "If you do that, I'll disown you."

~My sister, Alyssa: "Hmm... How about a lovely pale pink?"
Me: "No. I hate pink."
A: "Why noooot?"
M: "Because I'm not a girly. Also, 66.6666% of my household is male."
A: "I have a friend, who's a guy, who loves pink!"
M: "Yeah, some guys who are extemely secure in their manhood, like pink just fine. But not my manly man."
A: "Uh... so pink is only for girly girls and some manly men? That just seems wrong..."

~One of my new little Americauna (will lay blue and green eggs) chicks died the other day, mysteriously. I did everything I could for her, but it wasn't meant to be. I'm very sad about it. I only got two of those. I know chicks just die sometimes, but why couldn't it have been a meat chicken or something? It's always my favorites that die...

~Last night, we were talking again about buying plane tickets to Oregon for me and Jonah to go visit. We've been going rounds about this-- watching prices, missing deals, agonizing over whether or not it's worth it to fly all the way to Huston enroute to Portland. I've been looking at some certain tickets, but it was going to be over $700. Ick. So I've been procrastinating, but I have a limited timeframe when I can get away for two weeks and not have too much to do in the garden. So Nathan said, "Let's go buy tickets right now." And I said, "Butbutbut! The money..." He said, "Now." So I turned on my computer and prayed. And we found two tickets for $580! It's still a hurkin' lot of money, but it's not as bad. And we even have a direct flight on the way home! And we don't have to go south to go north! Praise God!

~One of my credit cards flipped on it's fraud protection sirens and would not let us purchase tickets. This morning I got a call from their fraud department. The other credit card has my whole middle name on it instead of my middle initial, so it didn't exactly match the name on the ticket, so the website wouldn't let us buy them, either. Nathan was given the run-around by customer service, then he said a prayer, tried again, and it worked.

~We leave on the 27th for two weeks.

~Isn't my husband sweet to me?

~I'm starting to think that turkey noodle soup will be delicious for supper tonight, and that I ought to go get started on it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Life Lessons

Yesterday while we were outside, Jonah observed the ducks... um... well... you know, birds, bees, etc. He chased after the drake, "No! You naughty duck! Stop it! You're hurting her! Go away!"

I said, "Um, Jonah, it's okay. You don't have to chase him away. Don't worry about it."

"But he was hurting her! He was going 'arwm-wrarm-narwm' on her head!"

"No, it's okay. He... likes her. He's not really hurting her."

"He's being a gentleman?"

"Ummm... yeah. A gentleman. Aaaaand... You! Would be such a gentleman to go into the chicken coop and collect those eggs for me!"

"I'm not a gentleman!" he said, "I'm a gentle boy!"

So he got the eggs and then we headed into the barn to check on the chicks.

We were sitting by the brooder box, watching the cute little fuzzballs, and our mama cat was right at our feet as usual. Suddenly we heard a "mrow-ROOWW!" from her. We turned and looked and... out plopped a kitten. Right there in the pathway-- straw, dirt, chicken poop and all. (I admit that I rolled my eyes. I mean, come on, she didn't know that was coming? Hello, brain-damaged cat.)

"A KITTEN!" Jonah exclaimed as he bent over to pick it up. (All slimy and bloody, right there on the mamma cat's tail...) Can you blame him? Dang, that was better than birthday.

Then followed the usual "newborn kitten lecture" and crying. Same every litter.

So we sat down to watch. The mama cat obviously didn't care. I mean, she started it, after all.

We watched as she cleaned up the kitten. We watched as it blindly bumbled around trying to find the milk bar. We watched as the mama noshed on some placenta.

Jonah asked questions. Lots of questions.

"Where did it come from? How did it get there? How did it come out? Why is it all wet? Is the mommy eating it? Does it need a bath? Is it bleeding? What color is a kitten's blood? Does the mommy have 'milking things'? Does the kitten need some food? How does the baby get the milk? Can I hold it now?"

I gave the answers as truthfully and simply as I could. To him, it's all just a new thing to learn about and talk about and I want to keep it that way. Though, I admit, it got tricky when he pressed for more information. "But where? Where does it come out? Yeah... but where?"

So... I gave him some more terms. Uterus. Birth Canal. Under The Mama's Tail Near Where She Goes Potty. That seemed to help slake his curiosity.

After a while, I could tell there were more kittens to come, but the mama was bothered by our presence. She picked up the one kitten and went and found a place to hide. I made Jonah go in the house with me and there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Of course, I've also had to reiterate the "newborn kitten lecture" repeatedly since then. We'll see if it does any good.)

Later on, Jonah was telling Daddy all about it. Having already been briefed on the subject, Daddy inquired, "So, where did the kittens come from?"

"From the mama cat's tail!"

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sweet!

I finally finished bottling the results of our first syrup adventure, chronicled here and here.


I've already shipped out quite a few bottle, so now the rest are occupying space on my countertop, waiting to be boxed and shipped to their respective destinations.

I didn't use the fancy bottles for my own syrup, but rather sealed all that into canning jars. I'm absolutely loving having my own syrup. Usually, I use it somewhat sparingly to make sure the small amount that I buy lasts the whole year. But now I have plenty of my own syrup and we're putting it on and in everything. It's wonderful!

I love it so much, in fact, that I'm can't wait to share it!

You see, I have this cute little pint bottle of dark, sweet maple syrup, just waiting for someone to love. Er... love it. I mean... someone to savor every delicious drop!



And for all you know, that "someone" could be you!

Because it's finally spring, and we're having 80 degree days (!), and the grass is green, and the birds are singing, my garden is even growing and I'm just so very thankful that winter is over... And I have a NEED to focus on my blessings today...

I'm hosting my first-ever giveaway!

Here's how you can enter:

1. Leave a comment and tell me what you're thankful for! (Hey, it's in my blood! My Grandma used to play this game after Thanksgiving dinner-- going around the table and making us all say what we were thankful for. She was a game-queen and a "Polyanna" if there ever was one and she was an expert on focusing on her blessings!)

2. If you would like an additional chance to enter, post about this contest on your own blog or website with a link. Then come back to this post and leave another comment linking to your post. I'll check it out and enter you for another chance to win.

BONUS: I might be persuaded to pick a second winner. If we reach a certain number of entries, which number I shall not disclose at this time, I will pick another winner for another pint of sweet, yummy, Michigan maple syrup. (Read: according to my whim, I might double the stakes!)

So, I'll let this contest run for... um... how about a week? So Friday, May 1 (May Day!)... at.... uh... Noon! My time. (That's Eastern Standard Time. With daylight savings. I won't make you calculate Amish time into that. Because I caved like a total lemming and changed my clocks, so I'm not actually on Amish time.) I won't count any entries after 12:00 noon on Friday, May 1. I'll link this post in my sidebar so that it doesn't get buried under other posts.

ETA: I forgot to mention that the winner(s) will be chosen at random using the Random Integer Generator at random.org.

Can't wait to hear what you're thankful for! Good luck!

Doodle Oodle

When we were little, my Mom used to sing "A Bushel and a Peck" to us. So of course, I've sang it to Jonah pretty much since he was born.

This morning, after breakfast, he said, "Mom, sing 'A-heck, a-heck, a-heck'."

I laughed.

So I sang.

I love you! A bushel and a peck!
A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck!
A hug around the neck and a barrel and a heap!
A barrel and a heap, and I'm talkin' in my sleep
About yoooouuuu! About youuuuuu...
Cuz I love you! A bushel and a peck!
You betcher purdy neck, I do!
Doodle oodle oodle,
Doodle oodle oddle,
Doodle oodle oot doot doooooooo...

"Now sing 'mess up the mother'...." he said.

I had a good belly laugh and sang some more:

I love you! A bushel and a peck!
A bushel and a peck and you make my life a wreck!
You make my life wreck and you make my life a mess!
You make my life a mess, a mess of happiness!
About yoooouuuu! About youuuuuu...
Cuz I love you! A bushel and a peck!
You betcher purdy neck, I do!
Doodle oodle oodle,
Doodle oodle oddle,
Doodle oodle oot doot doooooooo...

"Now sing 'the farmer in the heck'..."

I love you! A bushel and a peck!
A bushel and a peck and it beats me all to heck!
It beats me all to heck how I'll ever keep the farm!
Ever keep the farm when I wanna keep my arm
Around yoooouuuu! About youuuuuu...
Cuz I love you! A bushel and a peck!
You betcher purdy neck, I do!
Doodle oodle oodle,
Doodle oodle oddle,
Doodle oodle oot doot doooooooo...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bad Guys

With some kids, it's monsters.

For Jonah, it's "bad guys."

These "bad guys" are just as nebulous and undefined as "monsters," however.

He makes this statement (not a question, a statement-- presumably for his own reassurance more than anything) several times each day: "There's not any bad guys."

Jonah: "Daddy, there's not any bad guys, okay?"

Daddy: "Well, there are bad guys, but God protects us from them."

J: "No! There's not ANY!"

D: "Okay, there aren't any in our house, and there aren't any in our yard, and there probably aren't any bad guys in the neighborhood, but there are bad guys some places. You don't have to be afraid because God will keep you safe."

J: "No! They're all in jail!"

When I tell Jonah to go upstairs and get some socks, he pauses, looks worried, and then says, "There's not any bad guys."

"No bad guys upstairs. Go get some socks."

When I tell him to take the compost bucket out, he says, "Not any bad guys." as if to steel himself for the journey to the compost pile.

Explanations of protecting angels helps, but sometimes, when he talks to me about it (especially at bedtime), I don't even bother with explanations of why he doesn't need to be afraid. I just agree, "No bad guys." He can be a little 'fraidy cat sometimes, and I figure he just doesn't need one more uncertain thing to worry about. He's becoming more aware of his surroundings all the time and he's learning that the world is a scary place. He'll have plenty of time to learn about the "bad guys" when he's more emotionally equipped to understand. For now, I just agree-- "No bad guys."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I came across this Shakespeare quote generator, and still in spirit of my earlier post, you can easily guess which word I inserted...

William Shakespeare

Out, damned whine! Out, I say!

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:



William Shakespeare

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite whine.

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:



William Shakespeare

Uneasy lies the head that wears a whine.

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:





And absolutely perfectly:

William Shakespeare

Eternity was in our lips and whine.

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:

Please Tell Me It's a Phase

I live in a pit of whine.

I swim in a pool of whine.

I carry around buckets and bagfuls of whine.

Also, Huff, But-but!, Awwoh!, and Shriek.

But mostly whine.

If I say, "Let's have waffles for breakfast!" he answers with: "ShreeeEEEIk, I want paaaancaaaakes!"

If he says, "Can I have some tea?" and I say, "I'm making it." he answers with: "WaaaAAAAAHHH! But I waaaant teeeea!!!"

I say, "Let's go out and get the eggs and check the mailbox!" and he says, "Wheeeeeeaaaahhhhh... I don't waaaaant tooooo!"

When I'm driving, I make a right turn and he cries and carries on because he wants to go left. For the whole remainder of the trip all I hear is, "You went the wrong waaaaaay, Mommy!"

Last week, I made some soup for supper one night. He looked at it and said, "I won't eat it." He's usually a good eater, so this was plain stubbornness. "You have to try it." I said. "No." he answered. So he sat there at the table until bedtime, and in the morning, when he asked for breakfast, I said, "Here's your soup." The shrieking commenced and carried on. He held out until 9:35 when he finally gobbled up the soup followed by a plate of eggs and toast.

"Time to pick up toys"
WHIIIIIIIIIIIIiiiiiiIIIIIiiiiiIIIIIIiiiine!!!

"Here are your clothes, please get dressed."
Awwwoh! WhhhhhaaaaaAAAaaaaaahhh!

"Lets take turns stirring the onions in the pot."
NooooOOOOOOO! Wheeeeeeaaaaaa! I wanna do it myseeeeelf!

"Yes, you can help me srcub potatoes."
Whaaaa!!! But I wanna do iiiiitt!

"I'm hungry, Mom!"
"Supper's almost ready."
"AAaaaaaAAAaeeeeOOOOOeee! I'm HUUUNGRRRY!"

It mystifies me. Does it ever actually work? Why does he think this helps his situation? Obviously, he does it even when I've said yes (like the tea-making and potato-scrubbing). It's like a gut-reaction on his part-- whatever I say, he says the opposite. Nine hundred times a day, I send him "upstairs if you're going to whine!" Removing him from the situation seems like the obvious answer, but it doesn't seem to be sinking in.

He's a smart kid. And yet he persists in the contrariness that only makes life miserable. Or maybe it's not miserable for him. Maybe it's entertaining. He's an only child, after all, poor kid.

And it's SO tempting to take advantage of The Contrary by using Reverse Psychology on him. But I know that that's training to disobedience. So I refrain.

I thought this should be this golden time-- my sweet little boy who's growing up fast, turning 4 in two weeks, helpful, smart, talkative-- and he is all those things! But I don't wake up looking forward to greeting him now. I just wanna pull out all my hair and gnash my teeth over The Whine. (For the record, I've somewhat dreaded the age of 4, because I've known many an obnoxious 4 year old boy...)

The only time he's fun is when I tickle him. We do that a lot. But when I stop? WhiiiIIIIiiinnnnnnne!!!

And the only words of wisdom I've been able to procure on the subject: "You think this is bad? Wait until he's 15."

I get so exhausted and frustrated in fighting with him that I know I'm missing some prime constructive teaching time. By the time I get done with the breakfast and getting dressed fights, I don't have the patience for a project together. This is the prime age for learning to be a good worker, and he loooooves to help, but whenever I have to take over or handle something beyond his capabilities... he shrieks about it... I loose patience, yell... the "learning time" quickly disintegrates.

I try to leave some things to Natual Consequences, mainly because I just can't fight about everything. "Fine. Don't put socks on." So he wears his boots outside and comes in with a sore on his foot. "Well, that's what happens when you don't wear socks." But the next time I ask him to put socks on, he screeches and falls to the floor weeping.

Some days, I just wanna fall on the floor weeping, too.

Monday, April 20, 2009

How To...

Can you tell what Jonah is describing here?


video

Cheesy

It's so hard to get a good family picture...



Oh, the glare! Too bad I can't be in the picture and taking it...


And then there's this problem:

Aw... two outta three...




Um... and 0 for 3.

What can I say? We're crooked-smile kind of people.




Ya know, I really should get those glasses fixed. I bent them when I hit myself in the face with a broom-handle. Yeeeeah. Like two years ago.


This will have to be the best out of the bunch this time--

Saturday, April 18, 2009

That You May See What Manner of Freak I Am...

I will show you The Crazy. The Freakish. The Roll-Your-Eyes-In-Your-Head-Weird.


First-- herb-walking! Not so weird... except I was crouching under a brush pile filling a bag with stinging nettles. Mmmm...




But that pales in comparison to what comes next.

We were given a grocery bag full of freshly caught fish. YUM!

While Nathan filleted them...




...I took the carcasses and gutted them in order to try my hand at fish stock. Yeah, with the heads and eyes and everything.

And then?

(Warning: do not look if you are generally weak of stomach!)








I saved the roe.


(I warned you!)

That's right. Fish ovaries full of kajillions of teeny-tiny fish eggs.

This is new territory for me. However, having heard tell of the nutritive powers of fish eggs, I couldn't throw such gems away. I have every intention to (attempt to) eat these things...

Tomorrow: Roe Cakes! (maybe)

Another Newcomer


His days are severely numbered.



What started out when I was 7 years old with: "Daaaaddyyy... Can I have a rabbit?" ("How about a fish?" he said.) has led to a waxing and waning menagerie my whole life through. My menagerie currently stands at: 3 barn cats (two of which are, um, gonna pop any day), 18 chickens (2 roosters, 10 hens, 6 chicks, with a hen sitting on 4 eggs and 12 more chicks coming in a week), 5 ducks (laying eggs!), 1 yard rabbit, and now... an old turkey.



"Hooooney? Can I have some goats?"

Friday, April 17, 2009

Two Things from Today

First: Trout lilies.

Jonah and I were doing yard clean up today. We each pulled a wagon and I picked up all the sticks.

My back hurts.



Under the maple trees I was shocked to find trout lilies growing in the grass.

Now, trout lilies are certainly not uncommon or remarkable around here, but I was surprised to see them growing in our grass. They grow everywhere in the woods-- a fragile little plant that appears briefly and profusely in early spring with the morels and ramps and then disappear under the ground until next spring. Supposedly, they're edible, but I've never tried them. Maybe I'll have to, since I have them growing everywhere in my yard.

But I was delighted to find them and see that they're in bloom. I've never actually seen them blooming.



Aren't they cute little things?




Delightful.

(And those helicopter-looking sprouts in the background? Baby maple trees. We have nine hundred million of them.)




I'll just never understand the whole "manicured lawn thing". The reasoning escapes me completely. Why, why do people waste time and money and resources cultivating "perfect" expanses of plain grass? Monoculture is not nature as God intended it! What's so offensive about dandylions and plantain, anyway? Most "weeds" that grow in the yard are highly nutritious, medicinal, and even play an important part in the health of the land. I mean, come on... is "weed'n'feed" really more healthful than taprooted "weeds" pulling nutrients up from the subsoil? Isn't plain green as far as the eye can see kinda boring compared to little dots of flowers here and there and puffy little seedballs for kids to blow on? It's so fascinating to me how Creation funtions in different settings. I have different climates and cultures in different parts of my own little one-acre yard and garden. The soil and light and moisture levels all intereact differently in different areas to favor growth of different things, like moss and trout lilies in the thin grass under the maples and dandylions and chicory and plantain in the thick grassed sunny areas. I just find it so much more interesting than plain old grass (which I, personally, could do without, unless it's doing something useful, like feeding animals).

Wow. From lovely, ephemeral trout lilies to a rant about unsustainable modern agriculture in one fell swoop.

Sorry.


On to Thing Two: spicy fries.

I made these for supper to go with our buffalo steaks. (Not even kidding. Someone gave them to us. They were tough. I marinated and grilled them medium rare, but they were... chewy. Yummy, though, I must say.)



I kinda took my Mom's recipe: chili powder, brown mustard, paprika, plenty salt (left out the cayenne for Jonah's sake). Except I made it my own because she uses olive oil. And I don't.

I'm here to tell you, people-- olive oil is for the weak.

Ya gotta cook these babies in LARD. Bake 'em HOT (450 degrees) and LONG until they're crispy.

Yum.

First Cookout

Yesterday, Nathan planned that he would burn the brush/junk wood pile in the evening. The conditions were perfect: no wind, recent rain, gorgeous day.

So, in thinking ahead, he came home from town with--


A grocery bag full of Edible Food-like Substances.

Seriously, this is why I can't do a real-food blog-- sometimes we indulge in fake food.

And we like it.

Cuz it's fun.

Pppbbbbbb!!



Anyway.

Ack! No! Don't look at the ingredients!


Get real! What is UP with that? Bread should be: flour, water, yeast, salt, honey. I don't know about you, but I haven't been able to find a store that sells stearoyl lactylate and calcium propionate for my bread anywhere!

And is it strange to you that a bag of puffed GMO corn byproducts--



...costs more than fake rubber imitation meat?



And to make matters worse: cheap beer.


Mmmm-hm!

(Here endeth the Fake Food Rant.)

A proper campfire feast!

What else could we possibly need?

Wildman Daddy sharpened his knife to cut us some good roasting sticks...



...and built up a good fire...





...while the chickens and ducks worked hard at undoing all the new mulch I so laboriously laid on my rasberries.



We had to wait a while for the fire to have some good coals, as well as to make sure that we any wood with paint or other such ickies had burned up.

Jonah had trouble with this.

He was hungry.




But he made it to the good part and had lots of fun roasting his supper on a stick.








And even more fun devouring it (that is, after loosing one to the hungry, pregnant cat...).




After hot dogs came s'mores, of course.



And I just couldn't get enough. No, not s'mores. One'll do me, thanks. Maybe not even that much. I mean the DAY. I absolutely loved sitting there, outside, in the fresh air-- birds singing, frogs chirping (coulda done without the mosquitos buzzing, thanks so much)... gorgeous sunset, stars, warm fire... with my sweet little family.

Lovely.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Acme

I think I've mentioned here before that I occasionally dabble in web design. I almost can't stand to say it out loud, because, seriously... I'm nobody. Amateur, wannabe, and a serious wimp. Also, I have trouble understanding all things computer. Sad, I know.

And yet, several people have entrusted me with the oportunities over the last year and a half and I've relished them. I've learned so much! It's a great work-at-home sort of gig. I get high on the sense of accomplishment. And yet the frustration makes me want to throw up.

Why do I torture myself?

I have been asking myself that question repeatedly lately.

Sigh.

I actually enjoy it. Mostly. Sometimes. It's so satisfying to see the pixels obey my command. "Go here." I say, and they do it. "Do this" I say, "Stand up!" I say, "Bow to me."

And they say:
"Yes, your majesty, no your majesty,
tell us how low to go, Your Majesty!
Make some more decrees, Your Majesty!
Give us a kick if it please Your Majesty!
Give us a kick if YOU WOULD! Your Majesty..."

Yeah. Something like that.

Or not.

I love the flow of design. It comes to me after much pondering and research, and then BAM! I have to get it out in one big flush of inspiration and then I sit back and admire my creation. And then my rest expands beyond the requisite seventh day. It goes on to eight, nine, forty-seven. I get stuck. I don't know how to polish it. And then the client starts making changes. And I spiral into frustration and agony. I puzzle out the navigation. Structure... how to structure... I plow through pages of CSS and Javascript and JQuery. I pull hair. I cry. Polish. Need polish. How do I find that certain Je Ne Sai Quoi that this particular site needs...?

Eventually, after oh, eons, it works out. I find my way through the mire. And then... I still have the code ahead of me. Yes, from scratch. Because I'm picky (stop throwing things at me!) and too poor for Adobe, too proud for... free WYSIWYG. Trying to make the browsers know what is in my head is riddled with trial and error. Trying to get the browsers to play nice together? Even worse.

Eventually, it gets going... things click into place... like a rubic's cube.

Hm. I don't know how to solve one of those. They frustrate me...

I might be easily frustrated.

See: wimpy, above.

Anyway, then I hit the smooth sailing and it gets fun again. (See: Yes, Your Majesty, above)

It's good for me, right? Not killing, making stronger, and all that. Everyone experiences ups and downs in their work and I need to toughen up.

I currently have no fewer than three websites and two blogs hanging over my head. They're kind of like those big safes in the cartoons that drop unexpectedly from above. Except I can see them... hanging there.... and more or less perilous distances. The blogs are no big deal, two of the websites are just little one pagers (and paid jobs!) and won't be too bad... in theory. But there's this other site... this BIG site... with a cart... And fancy tabbed sections... and I still don't even know what the colors are.

So, if my blog goes un-updated for periods of time... you can figure that I'm laboring away... out in the sunshine pulling weeds.

Because if I can't see my computer, it can't hurt me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

On Having Babies and Shooting Deer

Jonah, getting jammies on: "Look! I have a BIIIIG tummy! There will be babies in it soon!"

Me: "Nooo... only Mommies get babies in their tummies."

J: "But I'm gonna be a Mommy!"

M: "No, boys grow up to be Daddies. Girls grow up to be Mommies, and only Mommies get babies in their tummies."

J: "But I'm a girl!"

M: "No, God made you a boy. When you came out of my tummy, I said, 'We have a little boy!' and it was you! You're going to grow up into a big man! You will be able to do all the things that Daddy does!"

J: "Yeah, I'm gonna shoot guns!"

M: "Sure... when you're big."

J: "And Daddy will dress the deer!"

M: "No sir. If you shoot it, you will have to dress it."

J: "But Daddy has to do it!"

M: "Daddy will help you dress the deer."

J: "Yeah, together, me and Daddy will dress the deer."

M: "Okay. Now you need to go potty so you can go to bed."

J, puts his feet in my slippers and starts off toward the bathroom: "Haha! Now I'm like a Mommy!"

M: "Hmmm... oh, yeah? How's that?"

J: "Good."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Memory Verse

video

Romans 8:34-- Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died,
yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God,
who also maketh intercession for us.



I know I'm posting this a day early, but I know I'll be so busy tomorrow that I won't have any time to get to the computer. Besides, even though it's technically still the penitential season, Christ has actually risen, so it is true every day that HE IS RISEN!

Blessed Resurrection Day to all.

Ear Lowering

Poor Jonah seems to have inherited my baby-fine hair. He's little, it could change, I suppose. But for now, it's just so fluffy.

For me, this fine hair causes the problem of completely flat, straight hair that will not take any styling. I can spend an hour working on it (well, I can't actually, because I lack both skill and patience) and any curl will hold for 10 minutes and disappear. For Jonah, his hair being short, the fine hair just sticks up all over the place.

When he was a baby, I called him Fuzzhead (the only nickname that ever stuck) because his hair...



...just stood up...



...all the time.



So now, whenever it gets to the point where I have to take a wet washcloth to his head to keep him from looking like Einstein (and I'm usually too lazy to bother, so he goes around with bed-head and a jelly-face-- sigh), I know it's time for a trim.

Yes, I use a scissors. Because I'm a crazy nutcase who has not bothered to buy a buzzer. And it takes quite a while to get that all fluff evenly cut.

I discovered that the secret to getting him to sit still is very simple:


A movie does the trick every time.

Until I get around to the front, and then he cries and wiggles because of the fuzz in his facial orifices.

I leave that part for last of course.


There seems to be no accounting for the cowlicks. I told him that he had cowlicks and he said, "They're not from a cooooow!"

I cut his Daddy's hair from time to time as well. It always amazes me to see how their heads are the exact. same. shape. Which also appears to be the same shape as Jonah's Opa. All three of them even have (er, had) the very same hairline (very high, and thin above the temples).

Strong genes these guys have...

Friday, April 10, 2009

I'm a Ding-a-ling! A Ding-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling!

This morning, I made waffles for the second time this week. We've had a sprouted-flour waffle addiction going. Especially since it allows us to indulge in our yummy maple syrup we worked so hard for.

I went to get more syrup from a jug that I have left sitting out. I've just been using a little here and there, figuring it wouldn't have time to mold or anything and I didn't bother to find room for it in the fridge or to seal it in jars. Well, this morning I noticed some spots of mold on the edge of the jug. That's pretty normal-- it happens sometimes. I got out a different jar of syrup to use, figuring I would just boil the stuff in the jug and get it sealed into jars.

So after breakfast, I set the pot of syrup to come to a boil, and I put some canning lids into a small pan of water to boil them briefly. And then I swept the kitchen floor, picked up toys, put some things away in my pantry, checked my email... and wondered what that smell was.

I went out of the office and noticed that the house was full of smoke!

And only then did I remember...




ARRRRRRGGGGGGGG!!!!!!


The syrup was foaming away over the edge of the pot AND ALL OVER MY STOVE!!!

I boiled some new lids and put the syrup into jars (no mold surviving THAT batch, lemmetellya!), but I still have THIS MESS to contend with:



Yes, it ran under the top and around the burners. Yes, I'm going to be scrubbing sticky crystalizing syrup aaalllll daaaaayyyy...




If I only had a brain...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

It's Alive!

Our trusty, little, purple minivan (I should say, our latest trusty, little, purple minivan-- I have lost count of how many trusty, little, purple minivans we have owned...) has been running poorly for MONTHS. Much to my clever husband's befuddlement. My Dad taught Nathan to work on these trusty, little, purple minivans (and a few other things... like a not-so-trusty Montero), and it's been wonderful that we don't have to take a vehicle into the shop when it needs repairs.

But this problem has been persistently elusive.

Nathan would work on it, test some thing, or replace a part, consult with Dad and test/replace something else... and it would run better! For about one trip. And then the same problem would start up again. I also noticed that it ran better after driving on a bumpy dirt road.

Jiggling, either from a bumpy road, or from various tools poking it's innards, seemed to be the key to good behavior.

Being far to proud to call the Car Talk guys (Dad, you can't read this with your eyes rolling back in your head... I said we didn't call them!), we've just lived with it and only used it for short trips and hoped it wouldn't die at an intersection or railroad crossing. Although, we did begin parking it at the end of the driveway, closer to the road, in hopes that some other car (or crazy teenage buggy driver, as the case may be) would just hit it so that we could total it.

Nathan has been tinkering on it whenever he has time (or makes it) and in his last round, while doing compression tests, I believe, but don't quote me on that, he discovered a bad spark plug wire. He replaced that and the thing runs like a dream. AND the van has several other shiny greasy new parts to boot.

Then Nathan also found that the something-something-something ends were bad, so he replaced those (I absolutely LOVE being married to a man who can fix my car! Having grown up with Dad fixing cars, I don't know what I would do otherwise. Nathan has handled a lot of repairs and he's gotten quite proficient!)

This last repair necessitated a front end alignment, which I was shocked to learn that Nathan cannot do properly --thousands of dollars of equipment, blah, blah, blah-- although he did manage a good enough job to make it drivable to the shop. So for the first time in my life, I took a vehicle to a shop. I also entertained my 4 year old in the waiting room for a hour-- not all that hard, hello, cars and tools everywhere, nuff said. The mechanic even replaced some safety-recall parts for me while we were there.

To celebrate my van's good-as-new state, I stopped by the carwash for a good vacuuming.

I've always been, um, not very regular about cleaning about the van. I have a place for trash, and I carry in the junk and garbage frequently, but the dirt, sticks, rocks, straw, spilled feed, etc.? Not so great. I mean, it's such a pain to find the shopvac, carry it to the van, find an extension cord, and spend a half an hour fighting the short hose and poor suction to get a reasonable amount of dirt out. (Lazy? Me? Nahhh...)

Then the shopvac gave up the ghost for good.

Oh, how very sad.

I missed it so much.

Not.

But the dirt built up. So in desperation one day last year, I scrounged up some quarters, and discovered the Super Suckers at the local carwash. And... I was stunned. How fast and easy it was! How convenient to have a trash can right there so conveniently located! Sure it costs a couple-few bucks in quarters, but it only takes 10 or 15 minutes and it's so satisfying!

Where have you been all my life, you gleaming, powerful hunk of corrugated plastic hose?

So my van has a new lease on life for the spring.

And I feel like a new woman.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Modern "Wisdom"

In doing some research tonight, I came across this little gem in an article by Dr. Tom Cowan of The Fourfold Path to Healing:

"What do we need to do to be sure we have enough vitamin D? We need adequate levels of cholesterol, from which we make that vitamin. Cholesterol is a waxy substance found only in our diets in animal fats (no plants have cholesterol). Eating animal fats, particularly from animals that eat green grass and spend their lives outside in the sun, is one way to get adequate vitamin D in the diet. Second, we need to maintain the oily coating on our skin, which contains the substances that interact with the sun to create the active form of vitamin D. And, finally, we need sun exposure, at least 20 minutes per day with as much of our skin exposed as possible. Thus, adequate vitamin D strategy is a high animal fat diet, from animals that live outside and graze green grass, limited bathing (bathing or showering washes the skin oils off, which is perhaps why traditional people rarely bathed), and adequate sun exposure. Oddly, the American way of life as prescribed by the “experts” is to eat a low-fat diet, bathe every day, and avoid the sun because it is going to kill you. Americans are severely vitamin D deficient."


(Emphasis mine.) Here's the whole article: The Metabolic Syndrome

Wait, Remind Me What Month it Is Again...

...because I thought I knew, but obviously, I was mistaken.



Very sorely mistaken.




I was so happy that we were getting a classically, "normal" spring, the kind of spring you would read about in a romance novel-- a slow steady warm-up with the birds singing and the sunshine increasing and gentle rain showers coaxing the flowers to poke through the steadily warming earth. No unseasonable heat or snow, just spring. Real, honest, down-home spring. We had absolutely NO snow in March. I thought that was great! So great, in fact that I had the gall to wash Jonah's snowpants and put them away! Talk about overconfidence.

Well, Nature decided to punish my unreasonable hurbis and put me back in my place by reminding me what state I actually live in.

The weather dude predicted 2-4 and by golly if we didn't get it. Today, I had to get the snowpants back out so Jonah could go outside.

But I know that Spring will triumph. It has to. Around here they say that after you hear the "spring peepers", there will be three more bouts of winter and then it's over.

This is three.

You hear me?

THREE!

This snow, however, has effectually killed off the spring cleaning energies I've been working so hard to accumulate. I got the laundry room done and now the office is halfway done and there it sits. I can't make myself wanna finish right now.

So, I'll just have to go watch my new babies!





I hadn't told Jonah about them until yesterday. He, of course, just wants to holdthemandlovethemandsqueezethemforeverandEVEEEER!!!





Yesterday, Nathan got the brooder box set up for me with a heat lamp and I moved the hen and her babies in there so that they'll be safe from the cats and will have a little more warmth and can move around more instead of staying huddled under their mama. They would have been fine in the cage, too, but I figured it would be easier for them to come out and eat without getting chilly. It's so cold and blustery today, though, that they're staying under her anyway. She parks herself right by the food and water so they can eat without going to far. She's a good mommy.



Saturday, April 4, 2009

Look What I Found!

It's spring on our little homestead and that means new babies!

One of my last two remaining Black Silkie hens has been sitting on a nest of 8 eggs and now hatch day has finally arrived!

(Sorry about the fuzzy pictures-- the barn is kind of dark and the chicks are wiggly. I'll post better pics soon.)



Yesterday there was one tiny little chick (bantam babies are TEENY WEENY!) and today there are six! Still waiting on two more eggs. If/when they hatch, I'll be moving the little family to a larger and safer cage to keep the prowling cats away.




SQUEEEEEEE!!!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Make-Work


I have wonderful things sprouting in my cold frame now.



A chinese cabbage and some spinach left over from last fall, some chives, and lettuce and chard that I just recently planted...



...and weeds. Oh, my dirty fingernails, the weeds.




I'm getting the feeling that I'm going to spend the whole summer painfully regretting that composted horse manure I layered on my raised beds.

I told Nathan this and he said, "Well, yeah. Horse manure IS the seediest kind."

Oh how we all did laugh.

I don't mind a little weeding. I have methods that make it tolerable. Raised beds are generally easy to weed. Things are planted closely so as to shade out weeds, and it easy to sit on the edge and pull what few weeds grow. And as for the rest of the garden, I just mulch it heavily and I have almost no weeding to do. What weeds get through are easy to pull up (and there are some that I let grow for eating when they aren't hurting anything. Yes, many weeds are delicious! Try adding some lamb's quarter and purslane to your salad... Yum!) I was chided once by an experienced gardener, "Oh! Don't use straw to mulch your garden! You'll just add weed seeds!" And my response was, "Well, I already have weed seeds! That's why I'm mulching!"

So I don't care about the horse manure on the garden. But my raised beds don't get mulch. And those are where I start the tiny, little, tender things that can be difficult to weed.

Normally, I don't make a big deal about weeds. But this...


...this is enough to make me weep into my garden gloves.

And it's even worse that I recently weeded half of that bed, and then when I watered it, apparently I got a whole new crop of weeds.

So I weeded it again today. All those teeny little weeds. I had to have great concentration to make sure not to pull out any of my little seedlings. And then I watered it all reeeeal well...

...To make sure the next batch of weeds will get a nice, happy start.