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.