Saturday, February 27, 2010


The Crazy is really getting me.

I don't want to be writing about it all the time and sounding like a total nutcase, but I kind of am, so I'm gonna throw it all up right here and now and I won't promise that I won't write about it again tomorrow. I don't seem to have anyone to really vent on right this minute, so you all are gonna have to take one for the team.

I came across a term that made me snort tea out my nose. It just seemed so appropriate in an inappropriate and completely nonsensical sort of way. Also, I'm very much not in the habit of using language of poor taste, but in this case...

Okay, here it is. "Batshit crazy". It made me laugh, because I am part March Hare.

Evidently, it's not a senseless term said without reason. Guano, or bat poop, is highly flammable. If a person goes into a cave where bats are known to reside and takes a torch to light his way, he's said to be "batshit crazy" because he's gonna blow himself to kingdom come. (Ha. You didn't know THAT, did you? You just never know what you're gonna get around here.)

Not that I feel like taking fire with me while spelunking in a bat cave or anything. It's just that I'm a bit barmy these days and the idea struck me as funny.

It's cabin fever.

We three loons are all cooped up here together in this house, cozy and well-stocked as it is. We're clamping down ever more on spending, so that means, among other things, not driving. So Nathan is home. All the time. He doesn't have any outside work right now anyway, because, heck, who does?, AND he has extra church work to do because it's Lent and we have a service on Wednesday each week. So not only is he home all the time, but he's studying all the time. Here in the house. He can occasionally lock himself in the office, but the office gets kinda cold, so I certainly don't blame him for sitting by the fire with his work.

Problem is, Jonah wants to chatter at Daddy, ask Daddy questions, and Daddy, will you play with me? All day. Daddy needs to concentrate for very long periods of time, but Jonah forgets this very quickly. I can hardly blame him, either. He's 4. He has a pressing need to talk a lot and learn a lot. If it's just him and me, he can chatter at me all he wants (until I tell him I need to not talk for a few minutes, but then it's just that-- a few minutes) and I can engage or not. This is what he's used to. He's getting better at understanding when Daddy needs to work, and Nathan has made a habit of making some play time available every day, usually for a while before supper. But still. I feel like I have to be keeping Jonah from bugging Nathan while he's working, and I feel like I also have to try to head off the inevitable conflicts that are bound to arise occasionally and usually involve a certain amount of crying and... noise.

And the fact is, I just have trouble really accomplishing anything when Nathan is in the house. I really don't know why this is. You'd think I could just go about my day, but having him here all the time just changes the dynamic enough that I get a little unmoored. Maybe it's because I'm in the habit of giving him my attention, whether passively or actively, when he's here, so I can't quite disengage from that when he's here all the time. I dunno. I hate to even admit to all this, because it sounds horrid of me. It's definitely not him, it's me. And maybe I am horrid, but I'm very used to greeting him at the door and mealtimes, feeding him, and then sending him back out to work. Then I can turn up the music and dance all over the house while I get my work done if I need to, and look forward to greeting my sweet husband again. There's just something to be said for "hello, goodbye, hello".

(I just thought I should note here the fact that, slowly but surely, Good Things are happening in my kitchen. Things which have been put off and which I have been greatly looking forward to. Things which would not be happening if Nathan were swamped with other work right now. My husband really is wonderful and he really does love me and I really am spoiled rotten. Rotten, I tell you. And therein lies my problem, I'm thinking...)

And then there's the toy situation. Most of the year, toys are widely unnecessary. A small boy can find a many days worth of activity outside with a few choice sticks. But in the winter, the toys. are. everywhere. Jonah's current general occupation involves building entire civilizations. It's great, really-- it keeps him busy and it's amazing what he can come up with given a little imagination and a range of building materials. But this usually involves building launchpads, runways, a railroad to service them, several large rockets and crawlers to carry them, the occasional sanitation plant, and then all the vehicles, aircraft, Indians and knights (you didn't know they went into space, did you?) that go along with it. The rule is that everything must be cleaned up before bedtime, with varying degrees of success. No matter what, this megametropolis is usually rebuilt first thing in the morning.

I try not to step on anything pointy.

But say I want to put my mat down on the floor and do a pilates session? Well, I have to bargain for some real estate, of course.

Oh, and that's another things. I'm trying to commit to doing some pilates a few times per week, mainly at the urgings of my midwife (and as much as I hate exercise-for-the-sake-of-exercise, I have to admit that it helps me feel better...). But I can't do it when anyone is around. I definitely can't do it while an Amish neighbor is here using the phone. I can't even do it when Nathan is studying by the fire (I banish him to the office and tell him not to come out for 25 minutes, or else). In fact, I prefer if Jonah is otherwise occupied as well, but he really prefers to exercise with me, or at lease supervise. ("Are we doing exercising today, Mommy? Remember that the midwife said 'at least three times a week!'")

I am so whiny. Really. I sound like a spoiled brat. Am I complaining? Actually complaining? That I have a sweet husband and a busy little boy who are here giving purpose to my existence? That I have work to do that I actually (generally) enjoy? Heaven forbid. I wouldn't really want to be anywhere else.

I'm just giving vent to my loose screws.

My Dad would ask if I need an attitude adjustment.

In fact, today I really did need one. Whenever Jonah is being excessively whiny, I tell him to go upstairs and lay on his bed until he can come down and be a little more cheerful. So I had to do that to myself, too. After lunch, I cleaned the kitchen, took care of a few odds and ends, baked an apple gallette in attempt to "make it up" to my guys, and then took a large cup of tea and a book up to my bed. I spend an hour and a half or so there, reading at first, but then mostly thinking and praying for a little thankfulness and joy.

I did feel better after that.

Oh, and I also ate some apple gallette and there's definitely something to be said for self-medicating with sugar and butter.

Then I made bbq meatballs and french fries (real french fries-- double deep fried in actual lard) for supper because there's also something to be said for self-medicating with greasy food. (Oh, don't worry. We ate plenty of sauerkraut with it.) And my husband enjoyed it and I think I owed it to him...

I also have a website building job to be working on, and while I'm very glad to have an actual paying job, I'm also nearly bald. It doesn't help, I'm sure, that I do it the hard way, but seriously. I don't usually have blood pressure problems like I do when I sit down to work on a website. It makes me feel a little deranged.

I got into the shower tonight, because that is my favorite refuge and I have no qualms about draining the hot water tank on days like these. Oh, and also because we have church in the morning, and it just seems good to go there with clean hair. As I stepped in, I immediately tripped over several t o y s and some sour cream containers full of icy water, evidently left there by my little boy as a booby trap for his mother.


Anybody got some Spring in a Bottle?

My Army Dude

I thought that the colors in these photos were just crying out for some selective desaturation, but now that I look at them, I'm afraid it makes my lively little boy look a little, um, cold... Maybe that technique doesn't work quite so well for faces.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Go! Enter!

Cheat if you have to!

My Mom has a fun contest up at her blog. And the prize is quite fabulous...

Go see! It's fun!

Winter Supper

Coconut Chicken soup featuring nearly all ingredients that I grew in my yard (except the uh, coconut, obviously), homemade sourdough (well buttered, of course), fresh goat's milk from my sweet Opal, lacto-fermented chard ribs (an experimental pickle from late summer... the jury is still out on that one), and some sliced jicama for something fresh and juicy (on which I found a great deal at the grocery store-- didn't grow that one... though I tried...).

And just when I got it on the table and my guys came in like starved and frozen abominable snowmen (but far less abominable... quite lovable, in fact), the phone rang with a neighbor saying she needed Nathan to pull a car out of the snow. So off he went... and I'll be rewarming his soup.

Babies, Babies, Everywhere!

There sure are a lot of babies around, it seems. I know quite a few people having babies any day now, and even though the world is still deeply winter, I see the animals gearing up for baby season as well.

In the past, I've had times where I have to try not to think about my friends' babies too much --trying to just be happy for them and then get on with my life, the fewer tears shed the better-- but this time, I'm so thankful that it only whets my appetite and makes me savor the all the little kicks in my own tummy.

Yesterday, I got to have a nice, long visit and several large cups of tea with a dear friend (I'm not kidding about the large cups-- she has a small stockpile of those giant mugs that are possibly intended for soup, but you better believe we drink tea from them and savor every sip!).

She has this little sweet pea, whose birth I had the privilege of witnessing last summer.

He's just adorable, even when wide-awake and wide-mouthed.

His bright little peepers are always watching the world go by, but I'm sure he's cleverly crafting his impending destruction of it... As soon as he can figure out how to get around, that is.

My friend also has these adorable little creatures:

They're just the tiniest little goats, hardly bigger than kittens.

One of her Nigerian Dwarf mamas popped these three out a week ago, two girls and a boy.

I wanted to just bring them right home with me and let them take up residence in my house.

Not the barn... I'm not sure I could relegate such cuteness to the barn.

I just love cute babies!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Party Snapshots

I discovered that it is very difficult to host a party and effectively photograph it.

Especially when it's evening and the light is poor... Er, poor for photography. It made for good ambiance, though.

So I was a bit disappointed not to have very many photos, and especially not very many decent ones. I was just too busy! Need my brother to come be a resident photographer at these sorts of things.

But the valentine/mid-winter party was lots of fun, in spite of the lack of photography.

There were lots of kids!

Cute kids!

And I just realized that I have here several photographs of the same two cute kids! What can I say... I'm drawn to certain subject matter.

Ah, well.

A good time was had by all.

Monday, February 22, 2010


I know that I just have to write this post. I have to get it out of my head, so that I can get on to other things. I left you all hanging about the Valentine party, but that's only because it was overshadowed by other things, so I'll get back around to it. But I have to write this first and stop avoiding it.

So here goes.

We lost one of our beloved family milk goats over the weekend. And we're sad about it.

Wow, that really doesn't sound like much when I say it that way. She was only a farm animal, after all. People loose farm animals all the time.

I've had animals my whole life. I know how things go with animals. I've also always gotten very attached to these animals. I can't help it.

I consider myself a country kid and somewhat hardened to the "facts of life", so to speak. I'm well acquainted with all those earthy things of nature, including death. But death and pain are unnatural-- not at all what we were created for. And even though I well know that sin is the cause of death and pain and so are unavoidable in this world, and even though I've seen it so many times, it always saddens me, even when death is intentional such as in slaughtering an animal raised for meat.

In this case, I feel worse about it because it was so sudden, and so completely opposite of what I was expecting.

And it was an animal who was very special to us.

I wrote about Cappuccino last summer after we brought her here. We quickly came to love her. She was just so sweet and accommodating. Almost human, really. Soulful. One of those rare animals who is just so laid back and eager to please and pleasant to be around. Most goats are at least a little mischievous and troublesome, but Cappuccino was never irritating or frustrating. It was like she just understood everything, all the time. She was so gentle, she'd let Jonah climb all over her and ride her, and the even the chickens had recently taken to roosting on her back to warm their feet. She was just tolerant of everything.

All last week we were anxiously awaiting the birth of her kids (she was so wide that we were just sure there had to be multiples in there). She was overdue, so we were checking on her frequently, day and night, so that we could make sure to be there when she gave birth. We wanted to make sure everything was okay and that the kids got warmed up right away.

But when it finally happened, it was bizarre and somewhat nightmarish. I've been through lots of kiddings-- most of the time they're just fine, once in a while there are problems, but I've never seen anything like this. The kid was in a terrible (and very unusual) position, and already dead by the time I figured it out. I couldn't move him, hard as I tried. We begged help of a kind neighbor, whom we didn't even really know prior to this but she was a friend of a friend and very experienced with goats and sheep. She couldn't reposition this kid, either.

We were very frustrated and worried, but Cappuccino was still doing okay, so we decided to take her to the vet for help. That, however, was just asking too much of her sweet tolerance, and I wish we had been more merciful at that point. I know I would have second-guessed making that call, but it would have saved her so much suffering.

I'll spare you the gory details, because believe me, it was gory. The vet couldn't turn the kid, either, and it took drastic measures to get him out. There was just one very big kid (which has always been my horror for any kidding-- it's always better if there are two or three because they don't grow quite so big; especially with a big, healthy and well-fed mama).

We brought Cappuccino home. She was hurting and in shock. We made her as comfortable as possible in the barn with a thick bed of clean straw and a blanket and heat light to keep her warm. We gave her strong antibiotics to fight possible infection and I started dosing her with everything I could think of to try to help her start healing. I knew that it's never a good sign when a goat can't or won't get up (in fact, I've never had an animal live long past that point), but her head was up, so I was hopeful.

This, of course, all happened the day that I had planned for the party. We got home from the vet's around 1:00, and I still had to get the house cleaned up, along with nursing my sick goat. I was exhausted and sore from working so hard to get move that kid and from being outside in the cold all day. But I tried not to worry and decided to just enjoy my company, even if the house wasn't as clean as I wanted it to be.

All day Saturday I kept checking on her and giving her things to try to help her. An experienced friend came and brought some medicines for her and gave me good advice. But by mid-afternoon, I noticed that she took a turn for the worse. I said a prayer that if she was going to die anyway, that it would be soon so that she would not suffer anymore. The next time I went out, my friend was with me again to check on her, and Cappuccino was gone. We don't think she died of infection-- it seems more likely that her injuries were just too extensive.

And she was just an animal, right? Yeah, but I just hated to see her suffer. I'm so sad that it all went that way. And I miss her.

Also, we now have the problem of only having one goat, and goats hate being alone. They're herd animals, and are only content in a herd of at least two. I'm a little afraid that Opal will start getting into trouble (she's very clever with gate latches and such) or go off her feed and start moping. Last night when I gave her some grain, she started eating it as fast as she could, and then automatically whipped her head around to look behind her as if expecting Cappuccino to be there trying to steal her grain. (We called Cappuccino "the vacuum cleaner" with good reason.) So now Opal needs a buddy, and it was just last summer that I spent so much time looking for my ideal milkers and they were very hard to find. I'm just loathe to start that process again.

So she was only an animal, but we all just miss her. And I just can't get over how awful it was. It just makes me wonder why I do this, why I put myself through this, why I don't just give up and avoid the frustrations of raising animals.

I guess it's just in my blood.

And I probably do get unduly attached. Animals are just "stuff", too, and we shouldn't hold "stuff" too dearly. I know that God blesses and afflicts as He sees fit, and He never sends anything that isn't good for us.

Maybe this all sounds melodramatic, but I am an oversensitive sort, after all. I do feel better for writing it, anyway, and maybe now it won't bug me so much. It was a learning experience, I know, and I've had lots of those and will have lots more, I'm sure. All those "should-haves" that keep pestering me --should have checked her earlier, shouldn't have taken her to the vet, should have done this or that differently-- well, in the future, I'll know.

The Snowman: A Photo Essay

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sneak Peaks

So I'm having this wee, little party here tomorrow.

Are you coming?

It's gonna be fun!

Under the guise of a "fun, silly, Valentine party" (yes, after the actual day), it's really a "kick the winter-blues party" because the middle of winter is a good time to do such things.

So I spent today making food. Heart-shaped chocolate sandwich cookies which still need to be sandwiched and which (haha) I forgot to photograph. And sheet-quiches, under my Mother's instruction. One of them features dried tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil (all preserved from my garden) and feta cheese (which I made from all the extra summer milk). The other is potatoes, caramelized onions, mushrooms and cheddar. Mmmm...

I prepared a few (dozen) of PW's Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies (and didn't take pictures because I was too tired) because it's a compulsion of mine.

And I sliced up fruit and soaked it in wine as the beginnings of Sangria.

Some of the guests are bringing other delicious nibbles and I'm so glad... because I'm tired.

And I still have to clean the pit house.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Games They Play

Nathan hurt his back and is pretty much incapacitated. If you know anything of my husband, you will know how miserable this inactivity is for me him.

While he waits to feel better, he needs to find something to keep his mind busy(ish).

He and Jonah are working on a game of Rivers, Roads, and Rails. This is a great fun-for-all-ages sort of game that is easy enough for little people and yet interesting enough for adults to enjoy with them. Of course, it's actually is better to play on the floor because it can get pretty big, but Nathan can not get on the floor right now, so they played a mini-version.

The fun part is that every time you play, you get a whole new map!

Monday, February 15, 2010


Jonah and Nathan are having airplane battles again.

This time, Jonah has a jet and must fly past Nathan's anti-aircraft cannon. He was getting frustrated at always being shot down before he could get through enemy defenses. There was screaming. Also-- crying.

So I whispered in Jonah's ear: "When you fly by, tell Daddy that you have a Cloaking Device."

He giggled and went off, flying his airplane with it's newest defense.

"Daddy! You can't hit me because I have a Low King of Ice!"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My V-day Chocolate

On Valentine's Day, chocolate is obligatory. Don't care about much else, just the chocolate.

And of all desserts, I can never resist a good cookie. I thought the Double Chocolate Brownie Cookies in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook looked tempting, so in lieu of something fancy, I went for those.

I could have just eaten the bowl of dough.

But considering the day, I figured the dough should take on an appropriate shape.

Hearts, of course.


Saturday, February 13, 2010


It's a cold and snowy day, again, go figure, it's February.

So I decided to undertake a little Valentine's Day craft. I don't usually do much for Valentine's Day (except use it as an excuse to make a ridonkulously rich chocolate dessert). But this year I'm going to use it as an excuse to have a party in the middle of winter when we all need some cheering and fun. Um, except the party won't be until the 19th, but we'll just pretend it's all the same.

I need a few decorations to make my house look all Valentiny. I found a couple craft ideas from Mawtha and am going to put them into use over the next couple days.

The one I chose today involves peeling lots of old crayons and then making them into teeny leetle peices. Yeah. It seemed like a good idea at the time.


...crafting... just...

...unusually difficult.

But we endeavor to persevere.

Until we have lots of little crayony bits.


All over the house.

I'll be regretting this one, I'm sure.

The crayony bits get sprinkled inside a folded sheet of wax paper.

Which I then enclosed in brown paper and... gasp... ironed.

Yes, I'm sure I'll be regretting the single, solitary bit of red crayon that strayed from the paper and got melted into the ironing board cover.

And I'm sure my iron will smoke for the next 5 or 8 uses.

Eventually, as Murphy would have it, I ran out of wax paper. But only after I had a few sheets of waxy mess that didn't really seem worth the effort I had just put into them.

That is, until I cut out a pile of cute, little hearts...

...And hung them in the windows!

Bring on the cold winter light! I have warm hearts for soaking it up.

They dangle prettily in the windows, glowing with the light and twirling endlessly around.

I deem this craft a success (if a little messy).