Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oop! Ack! (Shameless Christmas endorsement ahead!)

As my old friend, Bill the Cat used to say so effectively.

I have been remiss in not reminding everyone to get out their editions of "The Autobiography of Santa Claus". In fact, now we/you're several weeks in the hole! Aaahh, just do like us and read a chapter at breakfast!

This terrific book covers all the bases! It smooths the link between Jesus and Santa in an inspired way; it covers the Santa's age issue, it covers the time travel issue, it covers the presents around the world thing and throws in great figures from history to boot. It even tells you what un-expected food you SHOULD be leaving on the mantel this year--hint: it involves caprines.

I didn't plan to like the book. I didn't even buy it for myself. I found in in my dad's pile a few years ago and wanted to see how they approached the whole Jesus thing. I was cynical and prepared to toss it back under the tree with disgust...

Didn't happen. I took it home, kept it and bought about 5 copies last year for a song on Amazon. I had a ball giving them away to friends. Wish I could find that same deal this year, but alas, no.

Get it. Read it. Love it. Not smarmy. Not trite. Interesting, sweet and worth reading each year.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Not ready

...for winter. I've done some of the prep work, but not nearly ready. We still need to get another load (50+ bales) of hay. We prefer to do that when there isn't snow on the ground, but the ground is frozen--kind of specific with our weather needs there.

Also, we don't have the stall flooring done, so we can't put up the south wall. And now, we've dug the stalls down to the point that today the water is seeping in under the skirt board at the bottom of the doors. So what little bedding in there is being soaked up with rain water.

Meanwhile I have $400 worth of rubber mats piled in the (future) tack room.

It was so cold this weekend that I had to put horse blankets on. It seems like I didn't use them until January last year. I cannot wait to have that south wall done, so I can shut the stall doors when it's raining and close the place up.

The giant sliding doors at each end have little gaps between the wood siding. I don't know what the ideal solution for this is, but I made a big trip to the log home store last year for Handyman and the guy there was nice enough to load me up with multiple options (for free), that we could try to decide how we would caulk these gaps without adding lots of weight to the already-massive doors.

My solution? Tyvek, man. I just want to staple tyvek across the entire inside of the door for the winter. Cuts down the breeze, keeps the snow out altogether. Handyman (Mr. Perfection) says no-go. Last year, in protest, and when I had an old, crippled rooster to watch out for, I stapled split open feed bags across the hayloft doors and the bottom of the big doors, to give the old buzzard a wind break.

Needless to say, this put H. into a twitching fit every time he came into the barn. But, it worked. He says Tyvek isn't cheap--not that that has EVER slowed him down on any plan he's ever hatched. I figure while he's in Evansville this weekend, Dad and I can do a whole lot of "visual damage" to the master plan.

Me and my dad--coneheads with a mission...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Parenting for $100

Ah, 5 year-olds. You think they are so grown up, sometimes. Today we are trying to hurriedly clean up the landfill that is #2 and #3's room so they can go to a friends' house to play. #3 is found with her hand faaaaaaaaar down the back of her jeans. She says "eewww." That's enough to put me over the edge and I say, "Go to the bathroom and take care of whatever is going on. And wash your hands, WITH soap."

She heads off to the bathroom. Frankly, I don't even want to know what it was all about, even though I probably should. Next time I come down the stairs, she's calling from the bathroom, something about why she's not in her room cleaning.

I don't really listen all that closely. I'm sure it's some ploy to avoid cleaning. Then I hear, "I'm trying to get the marble out of my tights."

My thoughts go back to the first incident. Then I wonder, how long has the marble been down her tights? How far down her tights is it? What made her think that was a good idea? Whatever....

Just get in here and clean up this room!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"Tree" house progress

Well, the roofing came in this week and we wanted to try to get it on before the snow fell, so #1 got her first lessons with drip edge...

You can see the full height of the place on the left side of the picture. That's an 8' green ladder below. On the other side of the house, it is only about 4.5 feet from the ground to the porch floor. That is where the "swinging" bridge will connect. The peak is about 12' from the porch deck.

While they were installing roofing, the building-permit guy came floating by...

Okay, not really, but we were totally surprised when this came over the back of our property. They were CLOOOOOOOOOOSE and so vividly beautiful.

This is the last piece of roofing going on for that side, and I had my camera set to night-shot because it was pretty dark. So, we're only half-done, but that's better than none-done.

All afternoon, while the construction was going on, I was doing "ultimate Fly-Lady". This is where you haul waste wood from the trees rows around your house and BURN them completely up, thus de-cluttering in the most intense way. It was very therapeutic. I was cleaning up the place, keeping warm and making sure Handyman didn't plummet off the side of his little obsession without supervision.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I can't ever go back...

I spent some formative years on a flat piece of cornfield that had been left with about 5 scraggly big trees in a fence row. My parents sculptured it to their liking--you can do that when you purchase earth-moving equipment for fun--and forced me into landscaping slave labor for eons, but it turned out really well. Then I went to college.

Then, like most people in this country, I moved into the city for a job. I had apartments, rental house and in-town neighborhood life. Where, when I washed my dishes in the sink, I could wave at my neighbor while she washed dishes in her sink. And where my oldest roller-bladed on my next door neighbor's paved driveway, RIGHT under my dining room window. The neighborliness was fun in some ways. Anyone who had Handyman for a neighbor was blessed.

Then one day, one of our kids' friends pulled too many needles off a pine tree when he was playing...and then Handyman's bike got stolen out of the garage while we were home and then there was the guy sleeping off his drunk in the BACK OF OUR CAR in the driveway. And the dogs couldn't even get their heart rates up going back and forth across the yard...

There is something so wonderful about opening your kitchen door and sending your 5 yr. old out with a baggie for chickens and two dogs to accompany and never having a worry. There's no neighbors to irritate, there's no roads to fret over, there's no pristine suburbia to damage...I don't know how others do it. We don't need no stinkin' curtains! ;)

We can dig big holes if we want and just leave 'em. We can pile leaves higher than our heads and then, leave 'em. We can fling manure over the paddock fence and pretend we're fertilizing the yard. We even sprinkle grass seed down the center of our driveway in the spring--to make Handyman's childhood fantasy come true.

We've already struggled through several years of removing the previous owner/tenants' piles of crapola, here and there and everywhere. We unloaded a lot of brightly-colored Little Tykes yardware this summer and now, we just don't really want to go anywhere very often.

We like to sit and watch our leaves, or our tomatoes, or our great blue herons, or the bats at night or those ridiculous chickens. We mow and shovel and rake and seed and sit and listen and see stars that our friends in town can't find on a good night.

Yeah, the manure is continuous, but it grows great tomatoes. The mowing is pretty constant, for a season, but frankly we fight over who gets meditation time to mow, now that #1 is heavy enough to keep the motor running when bouncing over the terrain. The driveway can be a pain in the winter, but that's why God invented 4WD--and my littlest buddy can climb real apple trees, with real apples and eat them and throw them and play outdoors without supervision for hours.

The only thing we're missing is some surf...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Thanksgiving" a few excerpts by Dave Barry

"The only way to be sure you've killed all the bacteria in your Thanksgiving turkey is to cook it until a meat thermometer inserted into the breast melts, indicating that the turkey has attained the same internal temperature as the sun. 'Basically,' advises the surgeon general, 'you want to be serving your family a sixteen-pound charcoal briquette.' Even then you should keep a flamethrower handy."


"Not everybody is comfortable with the idea of eating turkeys, which are, let's face it, living organisms, like dogs or celery. You may wonder: Is there a more humanitarian option that you can serve for Thanksgiving dinner? There certainly is: It's tofu, a semi-foodlike substance secreted by soybeans as a defense mechanism. Tofu can be used as a high-protein meat substitute, as well as a denture adhesive or tile grout. In its natural state, tofu is tasteless and odorless, but if you form it into a turkey-shaped lump, season it well, add gravy, and bake it for two hours in a shallow pan at 350 degrees, you can also use it for minor driveway repairs."


"Thanksgiving is not merely a time of eating until we are big, fat, bloated carbohydrate balloons lying motionless on the sofa watching the Detroit Lions while actual gravy oozes from our pores. Thanksgiving is also a time of giving thanks--as the Pilgrims did so many centuries ago--for the fact that the malls are open on Friday. Otherwise we'd have to spend another day cooped up with our loved ones, not to mention toxic levels of leftovers, and the number of domestic drumstick assaults would be even higher than it is."


"In closing, let's have a big group hug and join together in singing this traditional Thanksgiving song that we vaguely remember from childhood: "Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother's house we go! The horse is reluctant, and we can relate, because Grandmother's house has that weird smell."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tree House Update

Yeah, yeah, he's been working on it...we ordered the standing seam metal roof this week and it'll take about two weeks to come in. We considered the red that would match our barn roof, but opted instead for the sedate brown that is on the little box window on the front of the house.

It will be completely screened-in (can't remember if I already told you that), with porches on both front and back. There will be a "swinging" type bridge going out to it. And while you can't tell, it is set at a fun angle from the main house, which is giant personal growth for Handyman, who is all about square and straight-on and stuff.

Here's a picture of the finished place he is planning from--our friends' little abode known as "Wit's End":

Of course we'll never be able to sell this place and move away...every little thing is so filled with love and endearment...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Think I'm ready

Well, since I start chemo this week, I tried to get all the little things wrapped up for the animal/winter scene in advance. I got the heater in the paddock water tank. Both tanks are full-to-brimming from last week's rain. I got all the plexiglass put in the chicken house windows. Handyman and #1 carried in the saddles and brought up the medicine box from the barn. And, Handyman brought home some mouse traps for the hayloft. My mom has repaired the mouse damage in Reno's blanket, so it is ready to roll. And this week, while I'm "laying around", shedding--Handyman is going to get going on the stall mats and then the south outside wall. Yea!

I can't wait to have level flooring in the stalls, with no pee holes! Hoowhee! I know, it takes all kinds. Everybody has their dream--mine is a stall floor with cushy bedding and no pee holes.

The hens have finally caved and started laying again. We're getting 4-6 eggs per day--up from ZERO for a month! Yikes. It's not a henhouse, it's a "fowl" nursing home. #1 will be fashioning little walkers for them. Lemme tell you, they are SICK of apples. Now that they live in an orchard, it was fun in the beginning. They refuse to look down now. It's denial.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

just a little brag...

Yesterday, for at least the second time, a gray cadillac pulled down our LOOOOOOOONG driveway and came to a stop outside. Handyman was out there and recognized this as the Jehovah Witnesses that we have sent away before. They are very nicely dressed folks, with younger folks in the backseat, who seem to be the ones "on the job". I remember last time we sent them away I remarked that we should've told those young women that they don't have to "do that". That Jesus died for them, and no amount of works is necessary to save them.

Anyway, I didn't see the car until it was driving away, but I recognized who it was immediately. Handyman came in with a big grin on his face and sparkling eyes and announced that he had told them before they even got out that we were Christians, saved by the grace and blood of Jesus and that works were not necessary or enough! I said, "you told them that?!" and his eyes were a little, teeny bit teary and he said proudly, "Yes!"

I was so proud of him!! What a soldier for the Cross! I have always wished I could/would say that sometime and that big bugger beat me to it! I'm so proud of my big Handyman. Better than anything he could build here on earth are the seeds he's planted in the hearts of those people. I pray someday they can break out of the lies and find true salvation. All because my guy was brave enough to speak TRUTH!


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Politics, again...

I am struggling along, trying to keep the boat afloat with dignity and respect undertowed by fear and loathing.

Here's an interesting blog, highlighting some of President-Elect Obama's future plans:

And of course, one of my favorites, although irreverant and bold--the irrepressible Ann Coulter:

For my birthday, my dad gave me Bill O'Reilly's newest book: A Bold, Fresh Piece of Humanity. We read it aloud all the way to and from the funeral on Wednesday and it is very entertaining. I wish I had the opportunity to see him more often, but perhaps knowing him from writing is better...

Well, I better start planning for my "community service hours"...Yah, Comrade.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Time marches on

My 93 yr.-old grandma passed away this week, in a nursing home, in Ohio. It had not been a good situation for quite awhile and we were all sort of relieved. The service, done by my uncle, was really great. He spoke specifically to each of his brothers and sisters about how their mother felt about them and then he allowed people to come up at will and speak about "Gammie" and what she meant to us. That was so joyous and bittersweet for everyone. My own fine mother got up with yellowed recipe cards that had been written for her by Gammy many moons ago. As my mom read off the titles on the recipe cards, people were oohing and aahing aloud.

I came away thinking that I pretty much suck as a mother...I know that's an exaggeration and I know that Gammie's kids probably drove her nuts, but her life was distilled down to its most important impacts and they were all about how she made everyone feel special and she loved everyone, all the time, from their high moments to their bottom-dragging choices, she was all about love and support and more love and good food.

I'm about nagging and being disappointed and mad and frustrated. I'm about being a drill sergeant because nothing seems to work. My kids sneak off during the day to avoid me, because they say all I want to do is work. Where's the balance? #1 wants to spend time with just me, but she complains that she doesn't want to do it while I'm doing laundry...

Meanwhile every room, including the hallways and the cars, are piled with stuff and clothes and I get frustrated everywhere I turn. How can I be about love and good food, when I have trouble finding a horizontal surface to set a dish on? Why can't these darn kids do one thing they've been told to do over 487 times?? Is this just me?

Maybe I just need to wait for grandkids...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

McCain sighting

John McCain came to our city yesterday (and sounds like about 5 others as well.) I heard he travelled 3500 miles in one day this week--yikes. Anyway, some friends of mine headed out to the airport to see him and they ended up pretty near the front. She said they waited for an hour or so and the big McCain jet flew in right overtop of them.

Now this friend has three sweet daughters and one very handsome, busy son. This son is the wonderful boy who wore the pink breast cancer bracelet for weeks, for me, even to football practice (it was the football coach who gave out the bracelets to honor his wife.) This boy has climbed out my upstairs garage window onto the roof, just to see the view--he is ALL boy, and a nice one at that.

Anyway, my friend tells me that her son got to shake John McCain's hand!! She says to me, on the phone, "K. got to shake John McCain's hand and say hi to him! He shoved his way through to the front..."

From the background, I hear K say, "No Mom. I got on my hands and knees and crawled through peoples' legs until I got to the front."!!

I was not surprised at all! I can just see his smiling little face popping up in the front row, knees black with airport filth, hair tousled with static from peoples' pants legs, women shreiking as some unknown thing rifles across their calves--typical K. fashion. And he'll never forget that moment as long as he lives.

You go K! Your zest for life is inspiring--sometimes dangerous--but inspiring nonetheless!


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Thoughts on Obama

Okay, so we are single-digit days from the presidential election and the citizenship of one of the candidates has not been confirmed??!?! And, his birth certificate is not available to be scrutinized??? And, that just conveniently happened the same day he flew to Hawaii to see his sick grandmother, for 6 whole hours, during which he was photographed jogging on the beach, and we haven't heard "boo" about the grandmother since??? What is going on in this country?

I guess I figured when you go turn in your notice to run for president, that someone checks your birth certificate/citizenship issue at that time--like two years ago...but since that didn't happen, now we just won't worry with it, until he is president and then we'll have a constitutional crisis?? or just hand everything over to Biden and.....oh yeah, Pelosi. No wonder she's all for him!

Yikes. Please, please, please vote Tuesday and don't vote for Obama. Here's a concise little editorial letter from our paper today. Explains it very succinctly.

Oh, I just remembered, I was supposed to be delivering iced tea to Handyman, who is slaving away on the "tree"house....

Update: Home Depot

Word is coming down that Home Depot will make the word Christmas more prominent in its holiday advertising. Duh, yeah.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another one bites the dust!

Now Home Depot doesn't want to use that inflammatory phrase: "Merry Christmas" in any of its "holiday" decorating. Give me a break! Why don't we just become the land of Cream of Wheat--the country of blah-neutralism?? Our flag should be changed to a solid of beige--two-toned stripes being too divisive. No colors, no differences.

I can honestly say that if I were to ever visit India or China and I saw places or phrases celebrating their religious traditions, it would never cross my mind to be offended, in any way. I may not choose to participate in it; I may not agree with it; but it is THEIR way and THEIR country.

Does the left really think that we can create a world where there is never opposing opinions or views, really? Are there people who are OFFENDED by the words "Merry Christmas"? In what way does this phrase infringe in them? How can it? It's a statement.

I have never been offended by the words Happy Hannukah--wouldn't even cross my mind to be riled by that. Why should it? It's a phrase of celebration about something that I don't celebrate--sort of like Happy Halloween or Happy Kwanzaa. I don't celebrate either of those, but I'm happy to accomodate, in this tiny way, people who do.

It takes an expanse of consideration for others, not introspection and consideration only of one's self. We're losing the battle of putting others first in this country. It's been going for a long time. Parents, are unfortunately, on the frontlines of this battle and have been caving for far too long.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Politics, again...

Charles Krauthammer's column today warrants all our review:

Read here, "Why I'm voting for McCain" read now

For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Krauthammer, and why we should care what he thinks (as I was until this past year or so), here is a brief summary from Wikipedia:

Krauthammer was born in New York City to parents of the Jewish religion whose citizenship was French. He was raised in Montreal, Canada where he attended McGill University and obtained an honors degree in political science and economics in 1970. From 1970 to 1971, he was a Commonwealth Scholar in politics at Balliol College, Oxford.

He later moved to the United States, where he attended Harvard Medical School. In his first year there in 1972, Krauthammer was paralyzed in a serious diving accident. Continuing medical studies during his year-long hospitalization, he graduated with his class, earning an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1975, and then began working as a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital. In October 1984, he became board certified in psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

From 1975-1978, Krauthammer was a Resident and then a Chief Resident in Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital. During this time he and a colleague identified a form of mania (a part of bipolar disorder) which they named "secondary mania" and published a second important paper on the epidemiology of manic illness. The standard textbook for bipolar disease (“Manic Depressive Illness” by Goodwin and Jamison)contains twelve references to his work.

In 1978, Krauthammer quit medical practice to direct planning in psychiatric research for the Jimmy Carter administration, and began contributing to The New Republic magazine. During the presidential campaign of 1980, Krauthammer served as a speech writer to Vice President Walter Mondale.

In 1981, following the defeat of the Carter/Mondale ticket, Krauthammer began his journalistic career, joining The New Republic as a writer and editor. His New Republic writings won the 1984 "National Magazine Award for Essays and Criticism." In 1983, he began writing essays for Time magazine. In 1985, he began a weekly column for the Washington Post for which he won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for commentary.

In 2006, the Financial Times named Krauthammer the most influential commentator in America,[10] saying “Krauthammer has influenced US foreign policy for more than two decades. He coined and developed `The Reagan Doctrine’ in 1985 and he defined the US role as sole superpower in his essay, `The Unipolar Moment’, published shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Krauthammer’s 2004 speech `Democratic Realism’ set out a framework for tackling the post 9/11 world, focusing on the promotion of democracy in the Middle East.”

And, if only my grandma would read this before she votes: "The Comprehensive Argument Against Barak Obama".

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Beverly Hills Chihuahua

Yeah, yeah, I know. But #2 won movie passes at the library reading program this summer. And when she saw the previews for this, way back at Narnia or something, I knew this was in our future.

Can I say that I was pleasantly surprised? There was nothing objectionable, that I can remember, at all. There weren't any of those adult jokes meant to go over kids' heads. There wasn't innuendo or implication. I expected some drunkenness--NOPE. I expected some lasciviousness--nope. No bad words, nuttin.

Drew Barrymore had the perfect voice for Chloe and Andy Garcia was great as Delgado. But it was Poppy that I loved. The rat and the iguana were unnecessary and creeped me out, since we had that rat in the barn this summer.

But I let #3 go, as her first big-girl movie. I wasn't with her, but they said she did great and liked it a lot. Of course, it's not surprising, really, since we love dog movies--Good Boy is also one of our favorites.

PS-Bought a copy of Madison for hubby, on Ebay. If you haven't seen it, you should get it from the library. Handyman made the movie and it is really a great, true story. Especially a good boy movie.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I am so bummed that McCain is not spending more media money in my state. If you want a little inspiration today, go to and watch the video at the beginning, click through to the site and start watching the commercials. They run one after the other and it will give you a big lift.

Don't let our country slip away...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Yep! 100 posts. I hope you've read them all. Here's a doozy, and I didn't write it...

Socialism: A progressive political system that takes the power away from wealth creators and gives it to wealth distributors. Wealth distributors are typically a class of highly trained government bureaucrats who are being watched by a class of political commissars, who, in turn, are being watched by a class of secret police, all of whom are banded together by shared progressive morals. Because progressive morals are relative by definition, a certain measure of absolute propaganda is necessary to encourage collectivism and discourage counter revolution. Since such propaganda is delivered through mass media, arts, and schools, a degree of ideological monopoly, uniformity, and censorship is also required in those fields. The resulting mass enthusiasm creates a vibrant state-subsidized culture, leading to great economic successes and technological breakthroughs, e.g., North Korea.

The above humor from The Peoples Cube

Celebrity Sighting

Usually it's Handyman who sees celebrities...and I mean lots of 'em. He's been there, done that with more than i can remember. We play "Six Degrees of Separation" with Handyman and usually get it done in 3. Debbie Reynolds, yep. Liam Neeson, yep. Faye Dunaway, you-have-no-idea. John Mellencamp, almost had coffee in his kitchen. Courtney Cox, yep. Cloris Leachman, yep. Jennifer Anniston, yep. Angelina Jolie, thank-the-heavens-resounding NO.

Anyway, this week it's my turn. We have tickets to see Sarah Palin on Friday, in our own county! Wooohooo! Somehow, I don't think it will be up close and personal like Handyman gets. But, it'll be a glimpse of history for #1 and me.

I just finished reading John McCain's biography. It was very interesting. I learned a lot of military history. I enjoyed reading it. I wish he were more conservative, but I am just glad he's not a socialist. I am frightened for our country now.

Do I think John McCain is a great candidate? No. But he's not a socialist. He understands the importance of military strength and Palin understands small business and how to stimulate growth in small-town America. They should be banging away harder at Obama's associations/influences and his complete lack of experience. But they're being "nice".

My concern is that we've become a nation of whiners who want the government to solve and manipulate everything to make life easy for us. I see many people who look no farther than Entertainment Tonight for their information and couldn't define socialism if they were asked. More people can name Angelina Jolie's kids than can name their congressman. What's up with that? Bigger government is not the answer, and never has been. Quit waiting for someone to come along and make your life better.

If you're that unhappy with how things are here, feel free to move elsewhere; France could use some more people and they have "great benefits".

BTW, check out my uncle's new political blog at . Leave him a comment--he'll love it!

Anyway, we'll be seeing the gal from Alaska on Friday. My kin-folk are rolling in this weekend to help with my exciting week next week. Thank God for kin-folk. I'll be kind of busy next week, but hope to post by the end of the week.

Horses are enjoying the cooler weather since Reno is already fuzzy-like-bear.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Found this lying around the house...

On my way to feed horses the other morning, I came across this in the breezeway:

Whew! There's a shocker--for a horse owner--fortunately, it ain't an equine.

Actually, I had some foreknowledge of this little specimen back in July. We were out by the trampoline, and the closer you got, the more vile the smell. It was oppressive. And, I have always considered my nose to be not-so-sensitive. I've always marked it up to smelling lots of horse manure over the years, and now of course, living with Handyman for almost two decades.

Anyway, it was just noxious. I had no idea at the time what it was, nor was I all that interested in finding out. At that time, Handyman was out of town frequently for jobs and I was not interested in coming across "something" when he wasn't home. I felt the strength of the odor was indicative of the size of the "something" and I recognize my gag limits.

Well, the smell lasted for a couple of weeks and then was done. Thank heavens! I forgot all about it actually. Then 6 weeks or so ago, Handyman and #2 came in saying there was a complete deer skeleton on our property, down by the creek. I wish I had photographed it then. It was laying out in perfect formation, the spine in beautiful alignment. The legs were spread out somewhat, and I believe the pelvis might be missing altogether. But it was clean as a whistle and pretty cool to look at. I am really amazed at the speed with which it was completely "cleaned" by all forms of decomposers.

So, a neighbor boy asked for the hooves for some boy-thing, which we allowed. And the rest have been reduced to this not-so-honorable storage for now. A great project for homeschoolers; Handyman wants to lay it all out on the driveway and draw a chalk line all around it--snicker, snicker.

Part of the cycle...

Friday, October 10, 2008

This is too funny:

Today's funny, from Clair over at The Zees Go West.
If you had purchased $1,000 in shares in Delta Airlines one year ago,
you would have $49 today.
If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in AIG one year ago,
you would have $33 today.
If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in Lehman Brothers one year ago,
you would have $0 today.
But if you had purchased $1,000 of beer one year ago,
drank all the beer, then turned in the aluminum cans for
a recycling refund, you would have received $214.
Based on the above, the best current investment plan is
to drink heavily and recycle. It is called the 401-Keg.

Today's housekeeping tip:

Are you tired of those eensy-weensy fruit flies that spontaneously generate from the pile of tomatoes on your counter (or is that just at my house?) Every day the compost tub is producing new generations of fruit flies that can never be swatted. Today, they met their match at Netherfield.

Try your sweeper hose--just don't forget to empty the bag when you're done. I'll never have to worry about them again!

Happy sweeping!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Horse Blankets hanging in the wind

When I was in high school, I was head of the prom decorating committee, my junior year. I have no idea how I got in that position, but it involved lots of fresh flowers and crepe paper. Anyway, there was a class vote on the prom theme and I only remember that it resulted in one of the largest acts of dishonesty in my entire life. I'm sort of proud of it really--the class voted for Kansas' "Dust in the Wind", which is a really cool song, even though I haven't actually heard it in 15 years or so. But, as head of the prom decorating committee, there was just no where to go with that as your theme, other than floor fans and sand. And I just couldn't go there.

So, we created a conspiracy and told everyone that the winner was "The Way We Were" by the Carpenters. It worked out fine.

This is what I think of as my two winter horse blankets are astride the fence, drying out from yesterday's welcome rain. This was my first year to store horse blankets all summer and I thought I was pretty smart hanging them over a rail in the loft all summer. I knew they were getting some surface dust, but I thought it would keep mice out of them.

When we got hay the other day, I dragged them down to put outside for a dusting and was shocked to find mud dobber nests inside both blankets. The nests were abandoned, but not that small! Also, found lots of lethargic big black flies--ick-o-rama!

I left the blankets laying in the grass overnight for the flies, hoping they'd freeze to death. Then hosed off both blankets and left them to dry. Then it rained on them all the next day and today they are dry again. Perhaps not the method I'll go for next year, but seems to be ending alright.

The blankets are both hunter green and make the horses look like big pieces of LL Bean luggage.

The only horse blanket washing service in my area is called The Soapy Pony. I think that is the cutest name. I was considering starting a blanket washing/repair business, forcing my mom to do the repairs, because she can. But not this year. I don't think my customers would go for the whole mud dobber thing.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Just so you know...

I'm going to be starting another blog--for a more specialized topic; a topic especially for women. My new foray is super-evident this month, as it is Breast Cancer Awareness month and pink is everywhere! So, in order to keep my close friends even closer, I'm delving deep into the pink, so you can all journey with me, through Breast Cancer!

Yep, even with all that organic milk and no commercial beef, it got me! I have an early stage breast cancer, that isn't going to be staying with me long. If you want to know more details, or keep up with that segment of my life, you'll have to switch over to my new blog!

I'm going to keep them separate, because, dag gone it--this part of my life is way too big, and much too fun to spoil with all that.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Yeah, yeah...still here...

I know, I know. It's just another thing that I haven't been able to accomplish. Not that I haven't thought about it. I have fodder for blogging going on every day, every minute, and I even recognize it when it happens.

Like day before yesterday..."Mom?" says #3. "Yes," I answer dutifully. (This is question 894 for the day.) "Do fish hold hands?" (I am dead-serious on this.) "No!" (Sarcastically, like, surely you know this #3.) Undeterred, "Do they hold fins?"

Emphatic "No." (Of course not--I think this is a little much, don't you?)


"They do in Finding Nemo," with sincerity and trust and sweetness that pierces my heart and convicts my evil-mommy harshness to a sodden black lump in my chest.

"You're absolutely right, you little peanut! But it's a movie made by an artist, who can draw anything, just like you, little punky punk."

I'd love to write more, but I have a biology test to administer, my MIL's yard to finish mowing before she dies of a heart attack, a dinner party to clean up from and two horses that are begging to be ridden. Plus, I am now Awana Kindergarten room leader, and I have to get prepared for Menu Plan Monday and decide if I should rent a van with DVD players for Thanksgiving, and start some Christmas crafts, and....

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Why I Buy Used Shoes on Ebay...

My motto: Everything's a trade-off. My MIL reminded me yet again that the day may come when I will have to sell off those horses. And I pointed out to her, yet again, that I constantly trade off things in my life to be able to have the luxury of large, pooping mammals that require ongoing medical and footcare. I don't forget for one second that I am in a tiny, lucky segment of the population that is able to have several varieties of manure on my laundry...and I give up other things for that option.

Her response: "Oh, I know Netherfieldmom. I know it every time I look around this kitchen." ;)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

State Fair Soliloquoy

We started off at the little trail where lil gals "learn about farming" and Mom and Dad say things like, "This is where you pick up your government subsidy check for producing ethanol," and "Obviously they don't know anything about chickens since they have 200 eggs under each hen." Then we feel sad for little city kids who think that you throw a (fake) seed into some sand and step across the way and pick up a veggie and then get paid at the end. But, the lil gals love it!

Here's #2 taking her first and last steps on and off a school bus. She pleaded with me, "Mom, I've never been on a bus." Yeah, yeah. Thank heavens for that #2.

Requisite picture with giant fake fish, where I remind #1 and #2 that there are really fish this big swimming in Lake Michigan; where they are going with grandparents.

We all love draft horses, although whenever I am around them, I can't help
but pull my toes back inside my shoes as I imagine what ungodly pain it must be to have one step on you...

This was without any doubt, the largest horse I have ever seen, EVER! I have seen a LOT of horses, but he took the cake, and ate it! I know the camera angle is pretty bad--people would not get/stay out of my way for one second. Handyman is 6'4", with Binks on his shoulders, easily makes them close to 7' and that horse wasn't on more than a couple of inches of shavings, if that. We did not see him put his head over the top of the stall, but I don't think it would have been a struggle. The yearling in the stall next to him was eating the edge of the easy-up tent in the aisle behind them...

Here's one of my favorites--look closely...a little "plumber's action" goin' on.

We've been wanting a truck--this is what Dave Ramsey is recommending for our current situation...

Look who's driving! (Another instance where complete strangers would not stay out of our pictures!)

I think everyone should have one of these shots...

Day's almost over...

End of the day...

What's a soliloquoy??

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I know, I know, it's been almost two weeks--but hey! I just found the camera in the purse I carried at the wedding and then I had to find new batteries to even get it going and today is #3's fifth birthday and I have made two trips to two ER's this month and Handyman is on location for ETERNITY and tomorrow I am hosting a princess birthday party for 7 and I can't find my mascara, okay???

Anyway, here's a glimpse...

More to come...if I survive the Princess-fest!

Okay, it looked so pretty, I wanted to add one more...

I can't decide who the prettiest girl is...

(Anyone who has made the chicken "drumsticks", please report in!)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I know, I know...

the summer is waning. Every day, a few more minutes "lost". I have pretended for several months now that I am not a homeschooler. Sure, I had these great intentions to do math and spelling and handwriting all summer. But, I quickly decided to forget it. I don't even remember the specific reasons. I'm sure I could dredge them up if I needed to, but I don't.

I believe the kids needed a break from me and I needed a break from them "educationally". So, for the summer, I've been a horse owner, a small business manager, a housekeeper, a 4H volunteer, a really bad gardener and a wife and mom. That's it.

In the back of my mind though, I knew it was coming, here's a great post from a blog I found that resonates with me:

The Ten Habits of a Happy Homeschool

I wish this lady was my next door neighbor!

Oh and P.S. Got to visit another ER today! #3 crashed off the couch onto Handyman's cool new coffee table (an old hand truck covered with plexiglass) and gashed open her forehead, just two days before her birthday. I want some of that glue stuff they use, just to have around. So now all three girls have facial scars; what a heritage!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I can't believe I ate this...

My mother, the health nut, the woman who started buying raw milk out the back door of a dairy back in 1979; the woman who started a cheese co-op for her friends and had cheese delivered in a semi; the one who planted a garden that was larger than the footprint of her house; the one who made her own tooth powder in the '70's and has never lived it down; that same woman made supper for us the other day--and thank heavens! because we were getting hay...

ANYWAY!--she showed up at my house with a bowl of her amazing potato salad and a big ole pile of chicken legs. Next thing I know, after we returned the hay elevator to its rightful home and I drove across the county to pick up #1 and a neighbor at the living history museum; and then I picked up #2 at a friend's house and then we ran out of gas right before a major intersection and the friend's mom brought us gas and it didn't help and she then drove us home; and I took the neighbor boy home (and saw a Percheron being ridden down the road); the house smelled so good and there was a glorious pile of golden, crispy chicken legs on the table.

We proceeded to reduce the pile at a rapid rate with everyone commenting on the yumminess and crunchiness and how great these were AND they were done in the oven, Wow! They had parmesan cheese in the crust, I knew, because she had used all of mine. But the mystery ingredient...the mystery ingredient from Mrs. Healthfood-Before-Healthfood-Was-Cool...are you ready for this???

Crushed pork rinds.

'nuff said.

P.S. If anyone's interested I'll post the recipe--I'm sure we'll be having it again--although I have never bought pork rinds before, honest.

This recipe can be found in "Back to Protein". The Low Carb, No Carb, Meat Cookbook by Barbara Doyen.

Oven Fried Chicken w/variations

Trace or no carbs 4 or 5 servings

Seasoned Pork Rind Coating (see below)
1/2 cup melted butter (or olive oil) I have used Smart Balance and all was well
1 large chicken, cut up, Or two smaller chickens, with our without skin (I use all legs or strips)

1. Preheat oven to 350 deg or a convention oven to 325 deg.
2. (See below) Mix together the pork rinds, cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Place in a small pie pan.
3. Melt the butter in the microwave for 30-40 seconds on high. Pour into another small pie pan.

4. Coat a rack in a baking pan or a foil-lined baking pan with vegetable oil spray. Or use a broiling pan, coated with vegetable oil spray.

5. Dip the chicken pieces in the butter, then in the pork rind mixture, and place the coated pieces on the rack or baking pan.

6. Leave the pan uncovered and bake for 75-90 minutes or convection bake for 60-75 minutes, or until well-done and serve.


Variation #1 If you want more spiciness use the barbecue variety
1 cup ground pork rinds (I just open the 5oz bag, hold closed loosely and smash with my fist or soup can or rolling pin)
1/3 grated Parmesan or Romano cheese or a combination of both
1 tablespoon parsley
½ to 1 teaspoon salt
¼ to ½ teaspoon pepper

Variation #2
Follow above recipe, except make the pork rind mixture as follows:
1 cup ground pork rind
1 teaspoon summer savory OR substitute 1 tsp garlic powder OR 1 tsp paprika for the summer savory
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper


Monday, July 28, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Yeah, yeah, I'm at it again; hoping for better luck since MIL got 8-10 stones taken out of her common bile duct, even though they removed her gall bladder SIX YEARS AGO! So, now that the 4H Fair, Ryan's wedding and MIL's common bile duct are all taken care of and over with, I might be able to get my life on track again...

Before we left for the wedding-to-end-all-weddings (as my mother thought of it), I spent several Ulysses S. Grants at Costco on all sorts of good stuff, so I should be able to put it together. Handyman is gone tonight and I am just starting to feel the Ford logo leaving my behind; so tonight it's Personal Pizzas from Costco in the oven-o!

Tuesday: That old summer standby: Tuna Macaroni Salad with Ritz and Triscuits. Have I mentioned that my family, particularly Handyman and I are addicted to Triscuits, in all their glorious flavors? It is pretty common for me to spend $10+ on Triscuits at a time--this is when I can get them on sale. We particularly like SHARP cheddar cheese on Cracked Black Pepper Triscuits, or Fire-roasted Tomato Triscuits or Rosemary and Olive Oil Triscuits. #3 likes the Roasted Garlic. But I digress...

Wednesday: I'm guessing #2 and #1 will not eat Tuesday's supper, so I'll fix Salmon Patties and french Fries for Wednesday. They are quick, and I find it strange, but all my kids like them. I will throw in a product endorsement for Kirkland (Costco again!)brand Balsamic Vinegar. It is very superior to anything I've bought at the grocery. Of course, it comes in a vat (not really), so there's enough to feed a large Italian family for a decade.

Thursday: #1 will be at her 1836 interpretive post all day, so that means FAMISHED. I think I'll whip up one of her faves, Mexican Lasagna from Saving Dinner. I do add some stuff to it, like hominy. But now that #2 has decided that red spaghetti sauce is not poisonous, maybe she'll try it.

Friday: I'm going for something on the grill here. Handyman should be home, so think picnic food...

I picked several cherry tomatoes and one smallish tomato (THE FIRST ONE!) today! Hallelujah! I sliced it and had it on a bagel with bacon bits and Aunt Jane's Crazy Salt! Summer has officially begun! I wanted to take a picture of it to post, but I shot so many pictures at the wedding that my camera batteries gave up the ghost. I gotta get some batteries and upload to (sorry) Costco for printing.

My friend/housesitter's kids somehow missed the zucchini the size of a Prius in the garden. My kids were lauging because I like bigger zucchini--not those pansies they sell at the grocery. I slice them and fry them and I want them to be fairly sizeable, so I always say, "Let's leave it one more day." And by the next day, it requires a 4WD to haul it out of the garden.

Back from the wedding...

What do you call a housesitter who comes with 6+ children, takes care of all your critters, buys and plants flowers in your window baskets, leaves a tub of cookies, changes all the sheets on all the beds, does some laundry and leaves the house cleaner than she found it??

I'll call her "Often"!! What a treat...we got home at 12:30 a.m. this morning to a clean house and a pair of tired corgis--which I didn't know was even possible. I guess a passle of boys can do that. :)

I'll post some pics later of the world's cutest flower girl at one of the world's loveliest weddings. The weather was cooperative and we got to see some kin as well.

For now, I've got to unload the car...isn't that always a drag?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Menu Plan Thursd.........

Wow! What a beautiful day! Oh, did I mention that I spent 8 hours yesterday in the hospital with my MIL while she barfed her brains out?? Perhaps not. Yep. She called at 1:30 or so and needed someone to take her to the ER. So, that was me. Note to self: Do NOT wear flip flops to hospital. Cold feet, sore feet from standing, holding barf pan.

Fortunately, my mom (11 years younger than MIL) made supper for my whole family and brought it to my house. Fortunately, I have a child old enough to hold down the fort until reinforcements arrive. My mom even made an awesome dessert.

Sooooo, menu plan Wednesday: Call mom--food on the fly, and it's good!

Menu Plan Thursday--we're supposed to go to Costco today, and Handyman did a grocery store shoot yesterday, so he came home with bags of free stuff, so there shouldn't be any issues tonight...we'll see

P.S. #3 seems completely fine. I think it was a God-thing. If she had been well yesterday morning, we would have been at the pool when MIL called, so it would have been a struggle to cover all those bases. PTL.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Menu Plan Wednesday NOT

Okay, the menu plan worked really well last week. This week is already a train-wreck headed for the terminus. Sunday morning I woke to that too-familiar sound, a low whuffing noise; I leaped from my bed to see what was the matter and stepped into warm dog barf! So began my day, which included taking three kids to church without their dad to ride shotgun, but it went well. We even got a parking spot in the shade! What a blessing.

Anyway, I tried not to do housework on Sunday, TRYING, STRUGGLING to have a shabbat, which somehow means that there are mountains of sweaty laundry for Monday morning. So, I'll just plan my menu on Monday, right?

On Monday, we were all scheduled to work the food booth at the 4H Fair in the evening. I had to leap out of bed to race to meet a friend of #1 before her mom took off for work. Then we all headed to the fair in the afternoon. We went a little early to walk around and see all the animals we could not see when we had two dogs with us earlier in the week. It was then I found out that my watch battery must be going, because it was 15 minutes slow. So, off to the food booth we went and only had to work a 2-hour shift. So supper was several varieties of fried, dipped, powdered stuff. Yum!

Okay, I'll do my menu planning on Tuesday. Tuesday morning was spent cleaning #2 and #3's landfill--I mean--room. Got that done before noon and issued proclamations that they were not to mess this room up the rest of the week, since we have friends coming to house-sit over the weekend. Of course that means that they will decimate several other rooms instead.

#1 got a ride to the historical museum where she is a costumed "interpreter", so she was gone all day. Then Tuesday evening I loaded #2 and #3 and their two friends into the car for a few errands on the way to pick up #1 and our neighbor's two children. We stopped at the library and the bank and made our way to the 4H Fairgrounds, where it was exhibit pick up night. That meant that every person who showed at the fair was there, in this two-hour window, to pick up their exhibit. Sooo, the parking lot was crammed. As I pulled in, a friend called to ask if I could pick up her daughter's exhibit--sure, no problem. First, I had to drag 2 four-year olds and 2 9 year-olds through the parking lot, find the right building, request the poster (didn't know the grade of the child, for sure and didn't know what the poster looked like--I did point to the 4 yr. old friend who was with me and said "It has three pictures of her on it.")

Found it, signed it out and headed to our food booth to buy leftovers at a bargain price. Got 15 lemons, 6 green peppers and 4 bags of 12 ct. hot dog buns for $11. Then passed another friend in another building who said #1's grand champion picture was available to be picked up in ANOTHER building. Dragged 4 kids, 4 packs of buns, 15 lemons, 6 green peppers and a photography poster across the grounds to another building where I deposited them all on a park bench outside said building and retrieved said pictures. Then back into the sea of parked cars, many with teen drivers and lots of big pick-up trucks, where we buckled in a headed down the road to pick up three more kids to begin our drive for home. Every seat belt taken with sweaty children, I was reminded of my dinner plans, or lack thereof...

Menu plan Tuesday--pancakes, with blueberries if desired. Then I harrassed everyone into bedclothes before sundown (which occurs somewhere around 10:45 pm) and read Journey to the Center of the Earth until I was hoarse.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the power went out in a storm on Monday night, around 2:30 am. I used my indiglo watch to find the electric bill, read the phone number and dial on our one corded phone, to report the outage. Usually when I do this, the computer "reads" my phone number and automatically records my outage, no big deal. That night, it said press one for power outage, which I did. Then we went to a new menu at the end of which it said, "If you are calling to report a power outage, hang up and dial blah blah blah blah blah." Now at 2:30 am, in the pitch black, on a phone with a really short cord, your options for writing this number are pretty limited. I praised God for my crazy talent for remembering numbers and dialed again by the light of my watch!

This time it said, "If you are calling about a power outage, please enter your ten-digit phone number." ?? What?! It never says that. So I entered it, by the LIGHT OF MY WATCH! (Note to self, get a phone with glowing numbers!) It said, "We're sorry, we cannot locate your file." WHAT?! WHAT is this all about??! So, I think to myself quickly "Did I enter my old number, from six years ago? Did I enter my cel phone number or Handyman's SSN? What is the deal??!?? So I re-enter the number I fully believe to be correct and it says "We're sorry, we cannot locate your file. Please hold for the next available operator."

You have got to be kidding me?! It is 2:40 in the morning; I am standing in the pitch black while the storm rolls on around me. Handyman has to be up at 5:30, if he's even sleeping now. So, I hold. And I hold and I hold more. I actually doze standing next to the desk, listening to music, thanking God that is not old Fleetwood Mac songs, repeatedly. After ten minutes of this, I want to scream, but I do not. I do call Handyman to find a flashlight, and find the phone book to make sure I have not dialed some outsourced number that is ringing in New Mexico or New Dehli, where one operator is on his/her donut break.

He bumbles around, trying to use his cel phone as a flash light, can't find the white pages, complaining that the office is a "pig sty", which it is not. We just do a lot of "business" in here. Finally, he finds the white pages, we look up the utility company and bingo! It is the same number where I have been holding now for 15 minutes because they "can't find my account." They don't have trouble finding my account when I send the money in...

An operator comes on the line; I try not to imagine her with powdered sugar all around her mouth. I try not to scream. I do say "Good grief!" at the beginning. She says over 1800 people are out of power and that's why the computer was unable to locate my account. Whatever! Takes my address. I fall back into bed, thanking God for my indiglo watch. (Note to self: Buy bigger watch.)

So, you can see how this, as the precursor to the trip to the fairgrounds with four children, buns, fruit, poster, etc, was a launch pad for pancakes for supper...

Menu Plan Wednesday: #3 woke up barfing at 5 am. Thankfully, it was not 2 am. It was only teeny barf, because I know the pancakes are far past her tummy. Maybe she caught something from the dog?? All I know is the farrier is coming at 8:30 (came at 8:10), so I have to get up and get dressed and find my check book. No swimming today after all.

#3 is supposed to be the flower girl in a wedding in St. Louis this weekend. She better buck up pretty quick...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Results are in...

With apologies to #1, I only have pictures of #2 and Princess Tashi during the agility show for today's post. I was the ring steward in the Novice ring where #2 was showing. #1 was showing two rings away from me and I could not leave to photograph her, sooooooooo her pictures are all trapped in an ancient format call "film" that will require me to actually drive my SUV somewhere--increasing my carbon footprint, drop off a long roll of celluloid that must not see any light, wait for several hours and then retrieve said pictures. What a hassle! But they should be great when we get them.

#1 and Tucker the Wonder Dog, were champions in Standard Agility and Obedience and blue ribbon in Jumpers Agility, AND GRAND CHAMPION in Agility overall! Hoooooooweeeee! All that jumping up on the dining room table must have helped! ;)

#2 and Tashi the Princess, in their first year of competition, received blue ribbons in Standard agility, Gamblers agility and in Obedience, even though Tashi tried to nip at the judge--several times--during stand-for-examination. Her sit-stays and down-stays were perfect; so that carries a lot of weight and covers a multitude of "standing" violations. :)

The menu plan was a terrific help! I stuck to it through Friday, except we DID NOT eat fast food at the dog show Monday night. I decided we weren't spending more money because we had taken ourselves out to eat on the weekend before, on the spur of the moment, and it cost us $50 at a very modest hometown Mexican place. Sooooo, it was PB&J with some snacks thrown in. At the end of the night, the little food booth was giving away nachos with meat, as we were beginning to tear down the rings, so that helped out.

This week will be a little wild--we're supposed to pick up a small amount of hay tomorrow, still have shopping to do for upcoming wedding getaway weekend and get house prepared for house-sitters (friends who want to try out the whole hobby-farm thing).

Monday, July 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I am trying something new--goodness knows, if I write it down, it tends to happen; so I'm making a plan for this week...

Monday: This will be EEEEEEEEEK! fast food of some sort because we will be at the dog agility show until who-knows-when tonight. The kids will love it--I'll be burping...

Tuesday: Fuss Free Ravioli and Cheese Bake that I got from The Organizing Junkie website. Doesn't look like it could be any easier, unless it came with a maitre'd. We'll have garlic bread, of course, and a salad.

Wednesday: 5 Minute Southwest Layered Salad, also from Organizing Junkie's list, served with guacamole.

Thursday: This is also a dog-show night for us, so I'm doing a homemade quiche and Spinach Salad, so we can eat early and head for the fairgrounds.

Friday: Broiled Tilapia with a parmesan/butter/mayo topping and fettucine. This is an old recipe that was intended for walleye. The recipe makes more than enough for fish fillets so awhile back, I spread the extra on pasta, and yum! A rare, successful culinary experiment. I'll probably be able to whip up a rhubarb pie tonight as well.

I also want to improve on our breakfasts, and our lunches for that matter, since my children do not eat sandwiches, other than peanut butter. But, that will be another day. I've had a horse with a teeny bit of colic this morning and been to the fairgrounds to set up the dog agility rings for tonight. I have grocery shopping to do and a shower to take.

Wish me luck! Need more coffee...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Glory and Grief

The circle of life keeps on turning here at Netherfield. It has been a busy couple of weeks, with dog obedience and agility taking up two nights a week; Mowing our property, keeping Grandma and Grandpa's yard mowed (when it gets fertilized with enough chemicals to keep the lunar surface lush), trying to ride horses and do laundry and weed the garden, there aren't enough hours...

Thank heavens for daylilies. I love flowers that thrive on neglect. They are so reliable and cheerful. I love the colors and the variety and they don't call out to me, like so many other things here, saying, "You're not getting this taken care of." They instead bulge with buds and cheerfully open, day after day after day. No muss, no fuss. Thank heavens for daylilies. Here are some of the colors blooming at my front door right now...

On a sad note, old John, my crippled, almost blind rooster passed on last night. I knew it was coming and was thankful that he could go peaceably. #3 reminded me that now he can be in heaven with our precious little bantam hen, Sara. That was a comforting thought for all of us. We still miss Sara.

I loved it when I would carry John out of his winter "stall" in the kitchen in the mornings, to head out to the horse barn for the day and he would crow while I was carrying him. He was so excited to get out and strut his stuff. Lately, he has not been up to that level of activity, but he did enjoy sitting on the warm driveway and would perk up whenever we came out with crusts or popcorn or something.

My season of life housing chickens in my kitchen has come to an end. For that, I am glad. But he was a kind soul and almost everyone was thrilled to pet or hold a big rooster. It was almost like holding an eagle in your arms, really. He had a regal look about him. I am so glad I went the extra mile for him. And I am thankful for having known him.

Never forgotten...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Guess the total! UPDATE

I found my vet receipt at the bottom of my purse today--it was $45 per horse for sedation and $80 for floating, or as he noted it "dress teeth". Transylvanian Horseman commented that his horses got their teeth rasped in Romania without sedation. I remember vets doing that when I was young, with big old metal files like I see laying in Handyman's tool box!

My vet used a Porter Cable electric drill with two foot stainless steel extension with a 2" (or smaller) sanding disk on the end. No rasps around here gang! I'm paying the big adult dollars for the full-meal deal! :)

Okay--vet came here (trip charge) to give annual vaccinations. I was glad to get them done with the mosquito increase that must be happening during this monsoon season. So he decided that they should both have their teeth floated. I wanted him to look at Reno's, since he is old and they didn't look at them last year. But Princess is only 8! Wondered some about that.

Sorry no pics--they didn't call before they arrived and we were running out to meet them. Not sure you'd have wanted to see it while eating your breakfast anyway.

After looking at Reno's dermatological issues, he decided he'd give him some iodide intravenously ($$!) and a shot of cortisone to try to kill off the itching for awhile and maybe work on whatever fungus it is from the inside out.

So, out came the tubing, the syringes, the electric drill with the 2' extension, the hoist, the mouth speculum (?) and whatnot. He was glad I had electricity. I was glad I had 350' of extension cord. He doped Reno up to the point the old boy was staggering and had to spread his back legs about 5' apart! At one point during the show, #1 noticed that he was standing on the front of his fetlock joint. The vet quickly ran over and corrected that, then flipped down his nose-bridging flashlight and went back at it.

The girls especially liked the giant stainless steel syringe that squirted water all the way to the back of the horse's mouth and drained back out full of hay gunk. The vet said they were "rinsing and spitting". I heard the assistant say that Reno was swallowing most of the water!

Anyway, we all got plenty of looks at the tongues that look like giant sea slugs and the sharp edges that had to go. Sure enough, even though Princess is relatively young, she had never been done and did need it. He said that young horses should be done regularly as their teeth are softer and more easily maintained.

We got Reno out of the run-in stall and propped him up against the wall in the single stall while we did Princess. Poor old guy, I was worried that he was just going to drop over. It was kind of disconcerting. But he recovered well. I stayed out filling water tanks and kept an eye on him. Within about an hour, he was noticing me walking behind him and finally pricked his ears up at the carrot-snapping sound.

I was glad to hear the vet say that he looked good and could actually cut back a little on all his foods. Yea! Food is love here at Netherfield. Belly up to the bar! There's more! This is America! (That's what I tell my kids when the whine about someone eating the last of something...this is America--there's always more!)

Soooooooo, the grand is distressing to stand with your checkbook while the vet sits in his truck figuring and figuring and figuring. I figured he needed a calculator--can't believe he doesn't have a little laptop for all this. FINALLY, he gives me the damages--YIKES! More than a car payment and it's a good car!

Don't tell Handyman, but $577 in all. $80 per float (don't remember if that included the sedation or not.) I think he did give me a cut on the trip charge--$50 instead of $75. I hammered him with questions the whole time. Figure if I have to pay him to come, it's my time to find out everything I can.

His call on Princess' color?? He said something like "buckskin dun/palomino". I don't think that's a real color. He asked if she had Rocky Mountain Horse in her and I tried not to be insulted. Then he finished by saying, well, it's a good thing you don't have to register her. ;) #1 says Buckdunamino is a perfectly good color.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What color do you call this??

Okay, this picture would qualify her for mud-brown, dred-lock Rastafarian, but she has another look...

I have had questions about the exact color of my Haffy-cross pony. While to the amateur she may appear a "palomino", there are multiple flaws in her ability to qualify for such. She has the cutest little white patches under her jaws and on her belly-button, which would completely disqualify for palomino. Even if we avoided noting those altogether, she has a tremendous amount of black in her mane and tail, to the point of looking like my mom's frosted hair from 1973.

Then there is the hysterical smattering of single white hairs throughout her entire golden coat. Then there's the funkiest little brown patch the size of my hand on her hind leg! And then there's the good-sized white snowflake on her only brown/gold leg...I asked my farrier what he would call it and after many facial gyrations, the best he could come up with was "almost a chocolate roan". I think there's way too much gold for that.

What do you think?

Since our state is now gloriously 4" over for rain this month, I can't not show you the old man's effort at a mud spa makeover:

I love how even his eyelashes are coated...the funniest part, that I could not capture digitally was that the entire opposite side of him was sleek and shiny-clean. I think they both had fun on this day.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Which Doreman Burns cowgirl are you?

Joan at Mud Ranch introduced me to some beautiful western art, and I'm copying her for some of my mid-western friends...

Which Doreman Burns cowgirl are you? I was torn between a couple, but--for today--chose Red Ryder.

What d'ya think?? It's the real me, can probably see the teeny tiny math books and piles of laundry, waaaaaaaaay in the back.

The Perils of Dog Agility

Yesterday morning when I returned from haying the horses, I found Tucker, the two-time reserve champion 4H agility dog, standing in the middle of the dining room table, licking the placemats! I was completely shocked and trying not to laugh my head off!

Continuing today's humor theme, you absolutely must go see Grocery Store Wars on You Tube. #1 is now considering a chicken version of Star Wars, using my old rooster as "Obi Wan No-Toesy" and her banty rooster as "Cluck Strutwalker" and the only black hen we have as "Dark Mater", (since she hatched Cluck). She wants to use Reno's behind as the Death Star...not sure how that works exactly, but something to do with toxic gas fumes...

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Well, my friend Joan the fabulous photographer!, over at Mud Ranch's Real Dirt tagged me and I was pleasantly surprised! It also means that I can tag someone else and I actually love trivia, even if it's about someone else! So here goes, if you don’t want to know my ABC’s, stop reading now:

A. Attached or Single- Absolutely eternally attached--at the hip (together for almost 20--married for 16+)!

B. Best friend- Handyman--the coolest hubby ever. For sure.

C. Cake or Pie- Pie, pie, pie--especially my mom's homemade lemon meringue or her super special apple with caramel topping. Or my MIL's pecan, or my rhubarb, or my grandma's banana cream, or

D. Day of Choice- Sunday.

E. Essential item- Daytimer.

F. Flavor of Ice Cream- Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby--I don't know if they even make it anymore. Also lemon sorbet or raspberry sherbet.

G. Gummy bears or Worms- Sour worms.

H. Hometown- Don't really claim one, although I've lived near Indy the longest.

I. Indulgences- My horses.

J. January or July- Ick--hard choice--July, if I have to, but really September.

K. Kids- Three's company!

L. Last movie I saw in a theatre- Can’t remember…oh, yeah, Bourne Ultimatum. Very good. I sure miss goin'. Handyman is in the movie business and we love to go, just hate spending the money.

M. This one was missing so let’s make one up…Magic Kingdom or Sea
World- Magic Kingdom, i love the complete cleanliness, sweet atmosphere. I always want to believe that the world is a good and safe place...that doesn't smell of large fish ;)

N. Number of siblings- Nada, zip, zilch

O. Oranges or Apples- Oranges, really good navel oranges

P. Phobias or Fears- High winds, blackish green skies

Q. Quote- I LOVE quotations and could put down a million of them: Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.--von Geothe

R. Reasons to smile- My girls, horses, corgis and an old lame rooster named John

S. Season- Spring, Summer and Fall

T. Tag-(only if you want to) Friday Night Fites.

U. Unknown fact about me- I'd like to take one of those travel trips where you learn to cook in Tuscany or something.

V. Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animals- Carnivore with a little guilt...I love those wittle swimps!

W. Worst Habit- Keeping old magazines and leaving the dishes until morning.

X. X-Rays or Ultrasounds- Painless medical procedures? I'm all for 'em. I appreciate them both, but I like my pediatric urologist the best!

Y. Your favorite food- Anything mexican

Z. Zodiac- Christian

Monday, June 2, 2008

Here she is...

Thank heavens the young woman who was with #2, during the meeting with Julianne, did actually send the pictures she took!!! Here's #2, meeting the celebrity of her choice.

She said Julianne was as nice as she could be, but was "taken away" by her handlers. More things to do, I'm sure. Her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner was impressive, although like everyone these days, all over the map from the original. Still, it was hard to believe that such a voice comes out of such a tiny girl. Must be those tight jeans...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

It works!

Hey! The laundry soap works great! I made a dry version--got the recipe from my blog buddy Melissa, and it is doing great so far. I washed Handyman's winter carhart overhauls (ewwwww), some bathroom rugs, sheets, regular clothes, etc. No issues yet. I love the fresh smell of the Naptha--sort of zippy. Of course there are no suds, which is a mental hurdle for most of us. But my new washer ($175 on clearance at Lowes)does this funky, slinky little agitation, VERY quietly, that stops whenever you lift the lid. Soooooo, I've learned that I can't watch it anyway, so I just don't think about the no-suds thing. Everything's clean so far.

This is a big weekend in our neck of the woods--large auto race in the neighborhood. The great part for us is that the flyover jets cruise over our house 4-5 times every time they perform. Last year, I swear they changed their course to buzz our house, after they saw me and the dudettes wearing black and white and waving wildly in the field. They went over today several times for their practice and they went over last weekend for the qualifications weekend or the Vietnam Vet commemoration, not sure which. Anyway, tomorrow, we'll be out there, waving again.

Today was the big parade downtown and Handyman had a big role in shooting it. I remembered that several years #1 has gone with him and gotten to watch firsthand. So, this year, he took #2, since #1 was at a special Jane Austen themed sleepover. Well, if it wasn't the bees knees! They left the house sometime around 4:30 am to head to their position downtown. #2 got to sleep some in the truck (with the butt warmers on) while Handyman set up. Several of his close friends were working the broadcast booth all day and I had heard that Julianne Hough from Dancing With the Stars was going to be making an appearance in the booth. I asked one of our friends to try, please try, to get two autographs from her, for #1 and #2.

Now we watch Dancing With the Stars. Other than NFL, some NASCAR and the late news, that's all the tv we see. And the only tv that receives any signal is in our bedroom. This was our second season to watch it. We watch movies of our choosing, but not even that, frequently. So, we're pretty conservative with the tv, and how we got started watching DWTS is all my fault. Somehow, I can make the leap that it's still worth watching.

There is plenty about Dancing with the Stars that I do not like. We talk a lot about the skimpy outfits, and Handyman and I have them close their eyes/ears for most of the commercials (the Bachelor, Lost, Desperate Housewives, etc.). There are some dance moves that are pretty objectionable and we talk about those too--"yikes! That sure isn't pretty! What do they think they're doing?!"

But we like watching people work at it and improve (or not) and be critiqued and be motivated. And we like watching the pros and the live tv angle is pretty cool too! (We saw Marie Osmond faint!) Even Handyman watches, although he tries to pretend that it's because he wants to go to bed and we are all there in his way. My kids know who Jason Taylor plays for now and that the NFL theme song is a Paso Doble. #2 asked me about a particular star and who was she, really...when I answered "Elvis' wife", she was shocked. "I didn't know he was even married!" ;)

Anyway, all this to say, that #2 got to meet someone she greatly admires--Julianne Hough, the 2-time season champion of Dancing with the Stars--last year with Helio Castroneves (race car driver) and the previous season (which we didn't watch) with Apolo Anton Ono. Julianne did come to the booth and spoke graciously to #2 and we are anxiously awaiting the photo to be emailed to us (since I did not get up at 4am to locate my camera--loser Mom!)

#2 was VERY thrilled. I think this is her first celebrity. I'm glad it was someone so nice. Handyman meets and works with LOTS of celebrities. He refuses to be impressed, for lots of reasons. Mostly because a lot of them aren't impressive. Secondly, because it is unprofessional to be in awe, I guess. I still haven't forgiven him for not introducing #1 to Peyton Manning last year on a shoot. They were right there, together!

I'm sure she'll be wanting to work with him again soon!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Some firsts...

I put $92 worth of gasoline in my evil SUV yesterday. I am sure that's the first time I've ever put $92 worth of gas in anything! I was very thankful to be able to put $92 of gas into my heinous, destructive ride, but shocked nonetheless. I wanted to yell to the guy across from me, who was pulling a trailer of mowers--"You can't pull a horse trailer with a Prius!" I am sick of being demonized by the liberal wackos because I drive an SUV. When there are natural disasters, what kind of vehicles do rescuers tend to drive??? Do hybrids rescue people or deliver medical care to the trapped? Probably not.

I paid $27 for a smallish-bottle of special shampoo for Reno--the free horse with dermatological issues. I didn't tell Handyman the cost, especially since I had paid $18 for a bottle of iodine shampoo at Tractor Supply. He would cork, quietly of course, as is his way. I simply decided that that was my clothing allowance for the summer...

#3 came through surgery very well. We had two really nice visits from leaders at our new church, also balloons and treats. She was the best patient on her floor. All her nurses and aides loved her because she was so sweet. She loved the computer on the articulating arm that could hang over her bed where she could play fairy games on the internet all day. I enjoyed the articulating arm computer so I could lay on my couch/bed and watch Dancing with the Stars while she slept. She is having understandable pain when going potty, but that will continue to diminish. We didn't go to church today because I didn't want someone else to have to take her to the bathroom and now she's sleeping on my bed, so it was a good decision. Although I am missing the sermon on Colossians. Also, last week the Pastor pointed out that Mother's Day is falling on the same day as Passover so we would be having a "Spirit-filled Mother" contest...which mom could get to church without sinning!! :) He said the prize would be a big Pharisee badge! LOL!

My parents went to see my grandma for Mother's Day, so they are gone to WVA. I want to know if they are going to ask her who she's voting for in the WVA primary. My grandma votes Democrat. If Satan were a Democrat, she'd vote for him. I'm thinking she'll go for Hillary, the whole scorned wife thing perhaps. My grandma was a scorned wife once too. But who's not the issues with her. She is motivated by promises that her favorite grandchild (male, age 23) won't ever be drafted and that FDR saved the world, so we have to stay loyal to the party.

I have been frustrated with my children lately...they just don't seem to try to do a good job at things. They are not motivated when it comes to household chores and are more than happy to do a sloppy job and get called back 3 and 4 times. I am tired of trying to think up logical consequences for all this stuff. I just want it to get done and move on. I am too task oriented, I know. But when I am muttering to myself about what's the matter with them, I think that's about what God must be saying about me. "I have explained this before. Does she never learn? Why doesn't she get it? Why doesn't she believe me/trust me? I have told her this over and over and she doesn't listen." You get the picture.

I like to read the obituaries. I know that's weird. Mostly I enjoy the loving mother ones. You read about their accomplishments, usually during times that were less than perfect in this country. You read about what their children remember about them and what they were known for. It helps motivate me to see the big picture and to choose what I want to prioritize around our house. We need more laughing, more hugging, more sparkling can I get that and still have a clean house?? My dilemma....less sleep perhaps...

I am crossing a line in my life that will be thrown up at me for many years to come, I'm sure...I'm going to make my own laundry detergent. What with all the money going out to wacky causes (special dermatological shampoo for horses and cat bite ER charges), I've been looking into other ways to save money. I already shop at Goodwill and Ebay. I forego eating out and movies at the theater (my faves!) I yearn for Starbucks but never indulge. But I checked in at Biblical Womanhood on her Frugal Friday posts and was reading through the linky and saw the gal who loves her homemade laundry soap. So I checked it out. I actually like doing laundry, just not putting it away. But I am getting much better with that part. Anyway, I found this gal and read her story and her links as well. It sounds easy-peasy and they had all the ingredients at Kroger, so we'll find out!

The reason this is so memorable for me and will become fodder for all my future harrassment is that at one point in my mother's "return to earthy living" phase, she made her own toothpowder. I don't know if it was to save money or just to be healthier or what, but it was the worst! I mean, the absolute worst! My dad snuck toothpaste into the grocery cart to save us from it. We, of course, being the loving family that we are, have never let her forget it. So, I'm sure, this will be my Waterloo. I hope, however, that this will actually work. Whereas tooth powder just made me avoid brushing altogether!

Happy Mother's Day Mom! What goes around comes around, eh?! :)