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Friday, November 30, 2012

"Take my picture and put it on your blog"


OK, Ellen.  Here is your picture on mommy's blog.
This Santa hat has spent all year on the top shelf of her closet.  Off and on she has wanted it down in the worst way, but I have made her wait 'til Christmas.  Well....close enough to Christmas.  She just couldn't stand it any longer.  So last night I got it down and this AM she wanted her picture taken and wanted me to post it on my blog. 

This was not what I was going to blog about, but it's awfully cute!

And while we are on the subject of Christmas.  Ellen has talked several times about Santa Claus not being real and all.  She wants to know the specific reason WHY he isn't real, and we go over how there really are reindeer but that they can't really fly.  Elves don't really exist...etc. 

But in school they wrote a letter to Santa this week, and Ellen was all happy about that.  Hubby wanted her to tell him what she asked Santa to bring her; you know, so he could get her one of those gifts and tell her Santa brought it to her.  But to hubby's utter annoyance and vexation she said; "Oh, I can't tell you, it's a secret!"  And she wouldn't tell me either.  I laughed and laughed.

BUT.  Last night she decided she wanted to write a second letter to Santa; and she wanted to dictate it to me.  So hubby is going to get some Christmas gift ideas after all.  Ha ha...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Where to go, how to go about this

It is high time to do some Christmas shopping. 

Do I shop locally, where they have nothing that I want to give as gifts?  Do I get the best of the mediocre that they have to offer around Dallas County?

Do I go out of our county to a larger town that may or may not have what I want?  That means spending more on gas. 

Or do I just go online and use the credit card?  Sometimes you can get good deals with low shipping charges, that would be comparable to the gas I'd spend if I went out of town. 

Hmmm...

I dunno.

Ellen wants a Barbie lap top.  I don't know what they do or don't do or if they'd grow along with her.  I think it'd be a nice idea to get her something computer-ish that she could learn from, with games and such.  i would just like her to be able to get some use out of it throughout gradeschool, not just when she is a little'un.  I guess I really need to go to a superstore somewhere and investigate the possibilities. 

Hubby reads this blog.  I already know at least 3 things that I am going to get him.  I already have one of them.  I think they will all be locally purchased. 

The rest of the family.  Hmmmm...

Hmmmm, I say.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Makin' a List

Way back when I still lived in Portland, I remember my wry, eye-rolling amusement at my sister-in-law for her lists.  She lived her life by lists and her day-runner (Blackberries and iPads and other such high-tech organizational helps not having been invented yet); grocery, errands, church activities, school activities...etc.  You name it, she had a list for it.

At that time I lived such a simple life I thought it was all hilarious.

Times have changed.

Not that I don't live a simple life now, and I am still terribly disorganized.

But I find that a running list helps me to get things done.  Hubby always has a running list of things to do. 

We, hubby and I, are alike in that we use no high-tech gadgets for our list keeping.  Not even a day-runner.  We specialize in random slips of paper; stuffed in pockets, lying around on tables, counters or chairs. 

It certainly helps me focus my activites to get things accomplished; even the simplest weekly house chores.  I write them down and then cross them off when I have finished.  At the end of the day or week I have a better sense of accomplishment. 

Someday Ellen will probably be rolling her eyes at me, but that's all good.  I bet anything she will start making lists by time she is in middle school. 

Ha.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Comfy, cozy...


As you can tell this is an old pic.  This was taken just a couple of weeks after the great ice storm of 2007.  We were out of power for about 9 days, I believe.  I was 8 months pregnant and not happy.

However.

Matilda, even during the ice storm, whilst the rest of us were slogging around in the ice, snow and sub-freezing temps...Matilda spent her days curled up on the sofa; blissfully ignorant of the rigors of keeping warm and milking cows with no electricity.

I am of the opinion that if you have a happy cat; you are quite likely to have a happy home.  Comfort attracts a cat like a magnet.  She will find the snuggest place in the house and curl up there.  In fact, I just pushed her off of my lap to write this.  It is difficult to type with a cat in your lap.  If there is much dissension in the house, the cat will be nervous.  Cats can sense things like that. 

Matilda has been a great kitty.  She kills rats in the summer and keeps my lap warm in winter. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

To Urbana we went today...

We had to take two non-producing culls to the sale barn, along with the bull we just got last year.

He was the white one.  I was sad to have to get rid of him, but he was siring these humongo calves that needed pulled from the cows.  Hubby was going to put him in with the heifers after we got this last blue-blooded bull, but decided that if he is giving the older cows such calving problems, what would he do to the little heifers? 

So, off to the sale barn he went.  At least we have another 9 months of his progeny to come along.  I hope we get a bunch of cute little white heifers. 

This was not what I was going to post for today, but my computer is going so slowly I knew I wouldn't be able to get a pic to load on here before I had to shut down.

I will try for something more interesting tomorrow.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happenings today

Ellen and I went to church.  Hubby stayed home and worked on his hay baler.  Then this PM he baled hay with the neighbor.  They got a grand total of 8 bales which, when split, of course gives us FOUR bales each.  WOO.  and  HOO.

Hubby says he probably won't do that second cutting next year.  HA

The people we'd met last week and I'd invited to church, actually did come to church this week.  They likely will not be permanent residents in the area, but it was nice to see them anyway.  I hope they come back.

Just the past few days Ellen has become totally enchanted with reading.  It has become magic to her.  She gets books that have languished on her shelves for awhile and is trying to read them.  She can pick out quite a few words.  Some of the books she has memorized, or mostly memorized, so she can sound out a few of the longer words.  Every so often she will get aggravated, throw down the book, and say that she just can't do it.  But it isn't long before she's got it up again and is working at it.  If I am busy and can't sit and help her she spells the words out to me and I help her that way. 

By first grade I am sure she will be reading Tolkien, if not Tolstoy.

Ha.  JK JK  (as the teens would write.)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

various...

Today has been a day of laundry.  This weekend seems neverending.  It has seemed like Sunday for the past 3-4 days, I guess because Ellen is out of school.

Did you realize that Christmas is just about 4 weeks away?  I am still working on my Christmas cards, and need to work on the Christmas presents. 

We will be having another Ladies' Meeting in a week or two.  We are supposed to have a cookie exchange, but they aren't too "down" about cookie exchanges.  They are asking us to bring 18 cookies.  Um, we aren't going to be able to take home much of a variety of cookies at that rate.  Oh, well.  We are also supposed to bring something to eat.  I am going to bring deviled eggs.  (or DOUBLED eggs, as Ellen would say.  She still says it that way, though she has ceased saying "Stinkerbell.")  But not just regular deviled eggs; a different, fancied up recipe; though I WILL skip the margarita deviled eggs; seeing as it's a church function.

(heh heh heh)

Wally called hubby tonight,  I guess he was checking up on those 2 heifers he sold us.  Yes, Wally, one of them had a bull calf here about a week ago.  She's doing well.  The second time we tried to get her into the milk barn she tried to climb the corral panel, thankfully hubby has it welded.  But by the 3 time she came in by herself.  She's giving a 40 lb per day average.  Now that she's starting to eat good hay maybe she will up that number a bit. 

That's all for tonight.

Today I am thankful for heat.  It was 17 degrees when I went out to do chores this AM at 6. 

UGH!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Why do they give that to people in Missouri?

I have only once taken part in the insanity that is Black Friday.  That was long ago and far away in Portland.  It wasn't that bad.  But things seem to have changed since then; people get crushed and killed.  I hope that does not happen this time.  Though one of the clerks today in the grocery store said that our little WalMart got so packed at  midnight that they had to lock to doors until some shoppers finished and exited before they could let in more customers.  I guess it got rather heated because they ended up calling the police to help keep the folks locked out from rioting.

Such insanity.

******************

On the lighter side; last night Ellen and I got into a discussion on school lunches.  She always takes her lunch.

I asked her if she wanted to buy a lunch at school.

"No, mostly they don't have food that I like." Ellen said. "They have all that Japanese food."

Me, bewildered; "Japanese food?"

Ellen; "Yes, like tacos."

"Oh," I said.  "That's Mexican food."

Ellen; "Sorry, yes Mexican."  There's a pause while we walk.  "Oh, and they have BURRITOS."  She says it in a capitalized voice like that.

"Those are Mexican too," I reply.

She thinks about it a minute, then says; "But what I don't understand is why do they give food like that to people in Missouri."

Hubby and I had a good laugh over that one. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

21, 22 and Happy Thanksgiving 2012

Reasons to be thankful:

21. Rain  You take it for granted until you don't have any.  Then you really realize what makes the world go 'round. 

22. A healthful meal shared with family.  And the will power to eat only one sparsely filled plate; plus a bit of dessert.

Hope everyone had a great thanksgiving with family and friends.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

More Thanks

Didn't I leave off at 10?

I believe so.

11.  Teaching the teens at church.  They never fail to make me laugh.  I used to be terrified of kids; teens in particular.  But we have such a great group of teens at church.  Their sincerity for Christ is always an inspiration.

12. My health.  I never take that for granted.  I always give God thanks for good health.

13. Music  I am not a big music fan; of any genre.  But when I get in the mood to listen, I enjoy it very much.

14.  The car.  You may laugh at this, but I can't overemphasize how nice it is to go grocery shopping in a car instead of a truck.  Especially when I have Ellen along.

15. The gift of laughter.  The older I get the more I learn how to laugh at myself.  I wish I'd learned the knack of not taking myself too seriously back when I was about 12.  I think I would have been more outgoing.

16. Living in a land of plenty.  There is no other country in the world where food is so plentiful and cheap.  It's a privilege we often take for granted.

17. Good teeth.  Another one you can laugh at if you want.  But I think it's a great blessing to reach age 44 and not have a cavity.

18. The icemaker.  It simplifies things in the kitchen for one thing.  And for another; all I have to do at meal time is put ice in the glasses and Ellen will hear it and come to the table from where-ever in the house she may be.  It's like a dinner bell for her. 

19.  Electricity.  Listen, you may think this is a trivial one, but I know there are places in the world where they don't have any.  Back in '07 we went 9 days without it and believe you me, life is so much easier with electricity.  As in, hot showers...etc.

20. A husband who knows how to fix things; everything from wells to toilets.  He's the man!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanks on the Dairy

During this month of thanks over on Facebook many people have been listing what they are thankful for every day.  I have been pondering the things I am thankful for.

There are a bajillion things to be thankful for in my life; Christ, family, friends...etc not the least.

Here are a few other things I am thankful for:

1)  Country living.

2) A child who wants her hair long.  She's never gone through the 'stage' of wanting to trim her own hair.

3) A husband who says "Thank you" after almost every meal. 

4) A climate where we can grow sweet potatoes and watermelons.

5) Good neighbors.

6) A great church family.

7) Wonderful in-laws.

8) A warm fuzzy cat who doesn't get on table.

9) A computer to connect with the outside world

10) Books.  I love books.

There's ten of them.  At the moment I do not have time to elaborate on each one. Some have funny stories to go with them. 

Maybe next time.

Monday, November 19, 2012

What to blog, what to blog, what to blog...

OK Drawing a major blank here. 

5 minutes max to blog.

No time to post a picture. 


Oh, OK...how about this?

Just read an article on MSN about diet soda.  Do you know diet soda actually CAUSES obesity?  It's because the artificial sweeteners fool your body into thinking it needs more calories.  The calories in the sugar in regular soda actually fills you up.  Diet soday messes with your metabolism as well, among many other things. 

Scary. 

I am so glad Ellen won't drink the stuff. 

I wonder if the PTO people would crap their pants if I stood up at a meeting and stated I wanted the soda machines removed from all of the Buffalo schools.  Along with the bottled water.

We need to install a cold water station or two at every school and give out aluminum re-usable water canisters.

La child, I can just hear the shrieks of protest now!

LOL

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Random Thoughts on a Random Picture

Ellen got hold of the camera whilst I was out of the house momentarily on Friday night.  Here is what I found on my camera just yesterday:


She was watching "The Wind in the Willows."  For some reason she wants to take pictures of movies she watches.  Mean mother that I am, a few weeks ago I erased the pics she took of "Spirit; Stallion of the Cimarron." 

Here are some of my random thoughts and comments on this picture.

1)  Yes.  We DO own a television.  Remember the 29" monstrosity that hubby won this past spring?  It is in its box sitting here behind the front door in the living room.  We loan it to the church to use, if and when they wish.

This means that Ellen watches her DVDs on the computer.  It all works out fairly well, except for the long warm-up wait.

2)  There is a white folded scrap of paper that has yet to be tossed; but it might be useful for scratch paper.  Like for hubby to write down a number off of Craigslist, or something.  Ha.

3)  To the right of the white paper is a pic I tore out of a Swiss Colony catalog that came the other day.  It's a pic of a German Chocolate Cheesecake.  It looked sinfully enchanting, so I tore it out so I'd remember to Google the recipe.  There are tons of variations you can make, but none that have a layer of filling in the middle, as the pic shows.  Hmmm...I will have to think about how to do that.

4)  For some reason Ellen also put one of her defunct watches here on the computer table.  Along with her used Tinkerbell toothbrush that she is loath to give up.  I do not fully approve or condone the scantily clad flitting fairy, but we must choose our battles.  I have won the NO Sponge Bob battle; so far.  I will concede the Fairy battle. 

That's all the random thoughts on this picture I can conjure up for the moment. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Too bad we can't roast him...


Ellen wanted to do a "project" this weekend.  This is what she came up with.  We both worked on him.  I drew the body and she cut it out.  She cut out the brown wings and did the gluing.

She insisted I take a picture of her with it and post it on my blog. 

Voila!


Ellen and her turkey.  I think she's going to put him up in her bedroom window.  She only wanted 2 blue feathers.  Only she knows why. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Oh Great!

As if there aren't enough freaks in the world.  Now we find out that the latest one was going to act out here in Missouri; just one county away from us.

If you hadn't heard go Google "Blaec Lammers Bolivar Missouri." 

When I first moved out here, and on various occasions when I speak with people; they've congratulated me on living out in the country and what an ideal place it is to raise a child. 

Yes.  This is true to a certain point.

But humans tend toward...um...human-ness, and that involves all the bad as well as the good. 

Here in the country the drug issue is probably as bad or worse as in the city.  Gangs aren't that big of an issue in our county; but drugs certainly are.  And mental illness knows no geographic boundaries. 

Thank God for this guy's mother and her timely call to the police.  I hope they put him away for good. Poor kid. I don't like making MSN headlines in this fashion.

Hopefully this will be a better weekend.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I. Am. Tired.

Yes.  I am. 

Another busy day here on the dairy.  I am too tired and it's too late in the evening to write a coherent post.  I will entertain you with a list of randomness.

1) Ellen has either another virus or a sinus infection.  Hubby is leaning toward a sinus infection.  I think it's a cold.

How does one tell?  I dunno.  She HAS been stuffy for the past week or two; so have I.  I think this time of year the cedars start putting off some kind of gunk.  A lady at church said she'd been having a sinus reaction as well. 

But, then Ellen tells me that there are 2 or 3 others in her class who aren't feeling well either.  Hmmm... 

At any rate, there may not be a trip in store this weekend to Silver Dollar City.

2) I took this pic a few days ago; back before I decided what to do with the third pumpkin.

If Ellen is around she so helpfully insinuates herself into any picture I might want to take; just a hand maybe, or a smiling face.

One pumpkin I boiled and then pureed.  One pumpkin I baked, then cut up, threw in the slow cooker with some sugar and spices and made into pumpkin butter.

Today I took that intact pumpkin pictured here, baked it, chopped it up and put it in the fridge; because I did not have time to puree it.  I doubt I will have time to puree it tomorrow. 



3) Tomorrow is Friday.  I always go to town on Fridays.  Therefore I rarely ever have time to do anything else.  If Ellen has to stay home tomorrow it will make the shopping trip even more "special."

4) I am too tired to do any more blogging tonight.  Plus I am afeared (as the oldtimers would say) that this computer will crash and I will not fulfill my blog pledge.

Bye

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My random thoughts about: The EOTWAWKI

On this forum I visit; Homesteading Today, they have had major discussions about The End Of The World As We Know It.  And about the whole Mayan end of the calendar thing.

On Facebook I had one or two Friends more or less stating that the EOTWAWKI has or will soon come since Obama has been re-elected. 

I remain skeptical about the whole issue.  I (as well as the majority of the adults in, say their 20s) probably remember the whole Y2K hysteria.  Just a couple of weeks ago a lady at church said she and her husband are still eating the MREs they had stashed away for the Y2K crash that was supposed to happen.  Ha ha.

What happened then?  Nothing major.  The sun kept shining, rising and setting it its appointed rounds, the wind still blows, the birds still sing. 

So what really will comprise the EOTWAWKI?  I dunno?  Will it be the crash of the world financial systems?  Will it be the disease, starvation?  Will it be Armageddon and the end as described in the Bible?  Maybe. 

I am not going to sweat it.  I read the end of the Book.  I know how the End will be for myself and other Christian believers.

But I also wonder how often the End of the World has actually happened for people all over the world.

How many inventions have come along that have changed EVERYTHING?  Microscopes.  Pasteurization.  Vaccines.  The wheel.  Electricity.  Computers.  Henry Ford's motor vehicle.  Sliced bread.  Plastic.  Cell phones.

The advent of each of these things has been the beginning of the ending of what the world used to know; in one form or another.  You will find very few farriers around nowadays.  Once upon a time at the beginning of this nation every town had one, if not several.  How many people actually know what one is? 

 Pay phones?  They are going out rapidly.  Who needs one when you already have one in your back pocket? 

The end of the world as someone used to know it. 

Sometimes I just wonder about these things.  Sure, if Christ tarries, life, the world as I know it, for my daughter will be close to 100% different than what it is now.  But I don't think it's any reason to panic.  At least not yet.  :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ready for School


There are times I of of the opinion that my child is too much like her mother; in temperament, behavior, left-handedness, hobbies...etc.

Then she goes in to get ready for school and I am comforted by the fact that she certainly must have a goodly portion of her dad's side of the family in her. 

I don't believe that from the day I started Kindergarten I ever wanted to wear a dress.  But a dress or skirt is what Ellen wants to wear EVERY day.  On these really cold mornings she will even consent to wear tights, so she can wear a dress. 

In this area we are so blessed that she has a grandma and an aunt who love to either make her lovely little dresses, or who manage to find them dirt cheap at closeout sales.

Yes, Ellen revels in wearing girly stuff.

AND she insists on painstakingly going through her jewelry collection to pick out the right accessories.  On Sunday mornings she even has to put on her "makeup."

I am glad she is like this.  I wouldn't want her to be a tomboy like me.

:)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Half of a Heifer

Here you can see about half of a 3 year old heifer.  Well, not quite the full half, but let me tell the story below.


About 3 weeks ago hubby went out and found a heifer down; couldn't get up.  The end of the story is that she had a shattered back leg.  In an unprecedented move we went ahead and had her butchered and split her with a neighbor family of 5.  The broken leg was so damaged that we lost about 50-60 lbs of meat, maybe more, I don't recall, so we didn't get all the meat off of her that we could have.  She was about 3 yrs old and being a dairy cow instead of a beef cow, she didn't have any good cuts on her.  We got some jerky cuts for the neighbor, some stew meat for us, and the rest in hamburger.  We gave part of our hamburger and stew cuts to hubby's mom. 

Hubby has never before, as far as I am aware, in the history of his dairy, ever butchered one of his animals.  For one thing, unless they are sick, he prefers to take them to the sale barn and get whatever cash out of them he can.  And, if they ARE sick, he's not going to have anything to do with eating them, so the coyotes and buzzards get them. 

So.  Now I have a freezerful of hamburger.  Anybody want to trade?  I'll take some other kind of meat, pound for pound?  Ha.  I can't remember the last time I bought any beef.  The only beef we get is what might be in a can of chili beans; and usually I get the chicken or turkey chili.  Or on rare occasions we will have hamburgers at a fast food place.

I don't even buy roast beef deli meat.  It isn't that I don't care for beef, it's that I just never learned to cook with it.  Given my dad's refusal to eat red meat of any kind, my mom just never fixed it.  Of course, I know how to use ground beef, but other than that...

A funny story here about beef.

Just a few weeks ago we went to a Holstein Association meeting down near Springfield.  They had a barbecue there and served barbequed roast beef.  It was the only meat they had.  Hubby was first in line and got some on a bun.  Ellen wanted some on a bun as well, like daddy. 

But when Ellen went to eat it, she wrinkled up her little nose and said; "I don't like this meat, it taste-iz sour. "  I had to giggle at that.  It was perfectly good, normal-tasting roast beef, but she had never had roast beef.  And that was her opinion of it.  I wonder how she will handle the hamburger. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thank you Veterans

And thanks also to all those who have served in our military since the inception of our country.  My brother, Dan, my Uncle Milton, and so many others, some of whom will never be known or remembered.

Ellen's great-great-great grandfather, Edward Spain Howard, was a Lieutenant in the Army in the Civil war.  According to what information we have, he marched with Sherman through Georgia.  Ellen's aunt has a photocopied picture of him.  I wish he'd kept a journal or something like that; that could have been passed down over the generations.  I wonder about his wife's family; what her maiden name was and if there are any descendants on that side of the family. 

He and his wife are buried at Benton Branch Cemetery in the London Smoke area, I believe.  I am not clear about the neighborhood names around here. 

God bless America!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Blue-Blooded Bull

Meet De-Su.

He is a GIN-YOU-INE registered Holstein bull; about 18-19 months old.  His registered name is: DE-SU 1288-ET.  And he has quite the pedigree.  Here is his registration certificate, on the left, and his pedigree on the right.

The pedigree is just a listing of stats of his dams and granddams.  About their milk productions, protein scores and all that stuff.  They are all DOM, or dams of merit.  Whatever that means. 

All I know is that he cost a pretty penny.  And he'd better be worth it all. 

Bulls are supposed to carry the better part of the responsibility of siring good producing cows, as well as calving ease...smaller calves, that is.

In nine months we will see about the calving ease, and in 2 yrs and 9 months we shall see about the production.  Seems a long time to wait.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ellen and her Cake

Here is Ellen and the cake she won at the cake walk during the Long Lane Carnival last Saturday.  She was pleased as punch to win.  We only played the game ONCE and she won.  I forget, did I already blog about this?  I don't think so.  And if I did I know I didn't post this picture.

Anyway.

The label on the cake says it's white with white frosting, but when I cut into it the cake is actually red.  It's pretty good.  I think it even has homemade frosting on it.  The store stuff usually has a subtle taste you can detect. 




***********************************************************************

In continuing pumpkin news:

I have one pumpkin in the crock pot; hopefully cooking down into pumpkin butter.  The seeds from it just came out of the oven.  YUM!

I have another pumpkin in the freezer in a pureed state.  Hopefully to become pie or pumpkin bread or somesuch other yummy. 

The third pumpkin is yet sitting in the kitchen floor; awaiting its fate.  Whatever that fate may be.  We will see how the pumpkin butter turns out. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Pumpkin Post

Today at church we had our ladies GLOW meeting.  This is just the church ladies getting together.  GLOW stands for something, but when hubby first heard it he called it, God's League of Old Women (or God Loves Old Women...something along those lines.) so now I just think of that and can't remember what it really stands for. 

Anyway.

We made felt pumpkins: 
It's a cute idea.  The example was cute.  But somehow my crafts never look cute.  I need to rearrange the felt a bit; that might help. 

I think the person who organized this craft said she got the idea off of Pinterest.  If you are interested go to Pinterest and find it.  Or, you could do as I did and Google "Seven pieces of felt for pumpkin craft."  That will take you to someone's blog, where the whole idea probably originated in the first place.

We had fun making them, though.

***********************

Then, one of the ladies at the GLOW meeting said she had pumpkins to give away.  So another lady and I followed her home afterward.  I brought home 2 large and one small pumpkin.  I just took one of the large ones out of the oven.  I think 54 minutes is enough to bake a large one, don't you?

Really, I haven't a clue. 

I want to process all 3 of them for pumpkin puree to freeze.  I have never done this before.  I shall keep you informed of my failure or success.

I kept all the seeds, too.  I seasoned and roasted the seeds from the pumpkin Ellen and I carved a week or so ago.  They were YUMMY!  So I am going to roast all of these seeds, too.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Whatever Kind of Post

This means that I am under pressure here to produce a valid blog post for this date.  I have 25 minutes to do so.

I shall not succeed. 

I shall just post randomly.

1) Christmas is less than 2 months away.  Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?  I have, but not on a full scale operation.

2)  Ellen changes her mind daily on what it might be that she wants for Christmas.  This makes it hard to shop ahead of time for her.

3) We are supposed to get a new bull today.  He is supposed to be a registered ET bull, with good bloodlines...etc.  100 meaningless points if you can guess what an ET bull is.  HA.

4) In this month of thankfulness it occurs to me to be thankful that my daughter fights me every time I want to trim her hair.  She has never wanted short hair; thus she has never butchered her hair in an attempt to trim it herself. 

5)  I have run out of things to write about.  This is not lack of material, but lack of concentration.  I am sleepy.  I can't think when I am sleepy.

Bye

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Random Photo

This is just a random shot I took last month of a box turtle.  He was hanging out down over the hill in hubby's rust garden.  (Well, I don't know what else to call it.)  I am 90% sure he's a HE because he had red eyes, though you can't see them very well in the pic here.  Usually the males are more colorful than the females. 

I wonder about the holes in his shell there; did something try to bite him, did some kid injure him?  The world will never know.

*************************************

Today is our 8th annivesary.  We celebrated by doing our civic duty and voting.  Such excitement!

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Budding Janet Oke...


From the moment Ellen could hold a writing implement in her little hand...and it was ALWAYS the left hand, mind you...she has been doodling away. 

Just this past year, in Feb and March 2012, she started composing her own books.  They were generally just a series of pictures.  Her first one we gave away to her Aunt as a birthday present. 

I think the book had something to do with gardening:
The first page was drawing of all sorts of gardening tools; rake, hoe, trowel, shovel... 
The second page was of Aunty and Ellen in the garden, with rows of vegetables.
The third page was either a basket with veggies in it, or a kitchen scene, I forget.
Fourth page was of Ellen, Grandma and Aunty sitting at a table eating the veggies.

Ellen would get a sheet of contruction paper and make a cover for her book, have me spell out her choice for a title and then she'd write her name.

Over the past few months she has made several picture books like that; with various themes; haunted houses, trips to the zoo, whatever.

Now, after 2 months of Kindgergarten this is Ellen's next book she is writing.  This time with text.

In case you are not able to read the pictures; she is writing about a trip to Pizza Hut.

Why a trip to Pizza Hut?  I have no idea.  She has never been to Pizza Hut in her life that I can recall; at least not with me, and certainly not with Mommy and Daddy together.  (When she got a free gift certificate from the library for their reading program I DID take her to Hip Pocket Pizza in Buffalo, but Daddy didn't come with us.)

Nevertheless.

A book about a trip to Pizza Hut.  (Ellen's spelling; Hot.  lol)  And she draws pictures and writes text each page in sequential order; we take our seats, Mommy carries the pizza...etc.

I can hardly wait to see what she will be writing about in FIRST grade. 

And, yes, certainly, most definitely I am saving all of her books! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Long Lane Carnival 2012

This year was our first year to participate in this HUGE local event.  LOL

The Long Lane Elementary school annual carnival is the biggest social event of the year in our tiny town.  It is sponsored by the Long Lane Parent Teacher Organization.  Since Ellen started Kindergarten I have been attending PTO meetings.  So far they have all consisted of planning this weekend's event. 

I took my camera, but did not get the chance to really get any good pictures. 

But here's the rundown. 

We got there just barely in time to get tickets and play a couple of games before I had to be at my station at the Duck Pond at 6 PM.  Ellen was not happy to be stuck with me at the Duck Pond for an hour; but she summarily refused to go off and play games with any of her friends or cousins.  She got good at helping me hold out the different boxes so the kids could pick their prizes. 

To make a long story short; Ellen won two stuffed toys (like she NEEDS any more stuffed animals) at the Toy Walk, various little prizes at the Duck Pond and Fishing Hole, and a CAKE at the Cake Walk.  We only played the Cake Walk ONCE and she won straight off; standing behind number 13.  (Let no one ever tell her that 13 is an unlucky number.)

Her dad and aunt showed up in time for the coronation of the king and queen (the Kindergarten class won, as usual) and we stayed around a bit for the auction.  Ellen was about to have a breakdown so I left before they did the raffle.  But when hubby came home he gave me MY prize!!  Can you believe I won something?!!

It was a carwash and a free fix for a chipped windshield; together worth $50. 

******************

Last weekend at a grand opening for CHC Home Center in Marshfield I won a $50 gift card in their grand prize drawing!

Bully for me! 

I went and picked it up and spent it on Friday!

The Howard women are very blessed!

HA!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fall Color 2012

Here are just a couple photos of this year's fall color, which was particularly spectacular.  I certainly wish the brilliant fall color would last longer than a few days. 

The bright colors lend a certain glow to even the most mundane of objects, like the bulldozer.


And the hillsides down in the creek bottoms were a lovely patchwork of colors.  A picture doesn't do it justice at all. 





Friday, November 2, 2012

Wriggly Critters

This September, out in my tomato patch among several dozen hornworms, I found this BROWN fellow.  I found him fascinating.  He inspired me to do some research on his kind.

I found that he is a true hornworm.  See the light "V" patterns on him?  That indicates he is a hornworm.  If he were missing the bottom slash and had only stripes instead of "v"s he would be a tobacco hornworm; of the which I have found at least one out in my tomato plants.

However, while not terribly rare, he is rather uncommon in that he is brown instead of green.  In my research they said that you can raise them and that they are easy to keep as pets.  

Hmmmmm....

Hmmmmmm...I say.

I dunno about the pet part, but I put him in a glass gallon jar and kept tomato leaves in there to see what he would do.
 

Three days after I put him in the came the day when he went to the bottom of the jar and just crawled around in circles.  I read up a bit more on him and his habits.

Ahhh, yes, he wanted to bury himself and pupate.  So I put a few inches of dirt in the jar and voila; a few hours later he had buried himself. 

The websites all said to wait for 2 weeks to check him, but I couldn't resist.

After 9 days he looked like this:


And, yes.  That little hook thing is part of him.  I thought it was weird that he'd have a hook on him, but well, there it is.

I checked him again just a few days ago and he was still wriggling, with no change.  I have his jar in the coolest place in the house; by the back door.  I wonder when he will finally emerge.  Fascinating science stuff for the kid.  The kid in me, that is, Ellen isn't really interested in him.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Plethora of Pencils

A pencil for every season.
A pencil for every reason.
A pencil for every cause.
A pencil for either paw.

Christmas, Valentine's Day
Hallowe'en, Thanksgiving, too.
Even the Fourth of July
 Is there for you.

Listening Library, Merrill, CHC
Smokey the Bear, he's my man
Let's say "No" to Drugs and there's
Even one for Data Dan.



When you have a kid you find out that the easiest thing for folks to give for any and every holiday, even and cause is a pencil; often more than one.

How many pencils can one possibly use?

The Data Dan one I have had for a LONG time, but you'd have to ask my brother at InsideOutPut about that one.

LOL

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Were they; Separated at birth?

This past summer during the drought we were forced to sell off many of our young heifers due to the fact that we just couldn't afford to poke so much hay down their gullets.  Hay that was supposed to be for winter months, not summer months.

Now we are in the process of replacing these heifers.  Hubby wants to get springers (heifers soon expecting their first calves) and dry cows (cows that aren't milking and are expecting a calf in a few weeks). 
A couple weeks ago we went down to a small dairy by Rogersville and took a look at this guy's springer heifers.  Hubby liked what he saw so we bought two of them.  In the picture above is one of them; the one in the foreground, looking off to my left.  What struck me was the strange similarities of their facial markings.  It is difficult to see the markings clearly of the heifer in the background, but the main difference is that on the one in the foreground; the top white part extends all the way across the top of the head.  Also, the nose blotch on the background heifer is more pronounced.  

I thought it was just weird that they were so similar.   

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Green Beans, the Arora Borealis and the Taste of Christmas


Or...what I did for most the the morning of Sept 11, 2012.

This past spring in my garden I planted my first half of a garden bed of green beans on May 29, 2012, the second half I planted about 2-3 weeks later.  I watered them all the rest of the spring.  No blooms.  Hubby watered them for 2 weeks while Ellen and I were in California.  No blooms.  We came back home and I kept them watered through an interminably hot, hot summer; daytime temps 90 degrees and over for at least 2 months...sometimes over 100 degrees for a week or two at a time.  No blooms.  I watered them when they looked so wilted and decrepit I thought I ought to stop watering them.  No blooms.

But I persevered.

Hubby said nothing, but had severe doubts, I believe.

But finally a few weeks ago, when the temps dipped below the 90s at last; LO! to my everlasting relief my green beans started to bloom!  THREE MONTHS after planting!  About 2 weeks ago I canned about 6 pints.  Today I canned 7 quarts, and have enough for another 2-3 quarts.  I think if we don't have an early frost we might get more!

Hubby was off on a well job today.  So I carted all of these green beans inside to clean and snap them.  To help pass the time this job is best done as a community affair; having someone to talk to helps pass the time.

I was alone.  So I plugged in a DVD of the second season of what used to be my favorite TV show (back in the day).  Can you guess what it is, from my title up there?

While I was watching and snapping I broke down and indulged in TWO cups of cinnamon-flavored Starbucks coffee.  Yes, I fell off the wagon and started drinking coffee again.  This happened because I found this bag of STARBUCKS coffee at the cheap store for just $3.  It was only 3 months out of date; still good.  Cinnamon makes me think of Christmas, and it was a good thing that I had green beans and Joel's adventures to distract me, else I might have become distraught at the thought of Christmas shopping.

But, after 2 and a half episodes I had the beans snapped and was buzzing from the coffee.  Three hours later, I am still buzzing and the theme song keeps replaying in my head!

These must be the reasons I feel the urge to wax philosophical like my friend "Chris in the Morning." HJe quoted Jung all the time, but I shall paraphrase a Bible quote: "But let patience have its perfect work..."  James 1:4 

Hey, or even Galatians 6:9  "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not..."

In other words; keep watering your green bean vines, no matter how hot the summer, they will bear fruit eventually.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Run, Bob, run!!



I went out to our 'west' garden this morning.  The only thing the deer have left us are the tomatoes.  Not that the vines are actually producing any tomatoes, but there are LOTS of vines.  And on closer inspection, there are-or were-also lots of visitors chomping on said vines.

You can't see them very clearly in the picture; but I found SEVEN of these nasty buggars on my tomato vines.  They are Bob the Tomato's worst nightmare; tomato horn worms.

Bob, stop smiling like an idiot; RUN, BOB, RUN!!!



Friday, August 31, 2012

In the meantime...


Here are a couple of pictures to illustrate what happened to our yard in Missouri after 2 months of no rain and temps between 90 and 100+ degrees. 

Here's Ellen in early May; out helping me garden.  Looks like we are behind on the mowing and weedeating chores a wee tad.


Here's Ellen in the first weekend in August; dressed up to go to a family reunion.  No need to mow here.

A little randomness: 

Bet you have never tried to tow a road grader with a bulldozer, have you?

I have.

It was quite the adventure. 

Hubby got himself a newer road grader this summer.  The place he bought it from loaded it with some kind of crane-jobber-thingy-mabobber; which meant that the blade on the grader was cocked at a weird angle.  (Keep the blade angle in mind.)

So anyway.  The grader is on the trailer.  Said grader cannot be started unless it is towed.  Hmmmm...  Thusly grader must be unloaded from trailer by brute force. 
Have you any idea how heavy a road grader is?
Me either; let's just agree that it's mighty heavy and can't be manually pushed off.

Hubby has a large bulldozer and a handy wife he taught how to drive it forward and backward. 

So there we are in our respective machines, and I am told to keep an eye on the grader blade...though I can't see it from where I am sitting.  But I go backward in the dozer; no movement.  I put a little more power to it. 

BAM!

The chain breaks. 

If you have never broken a heavy-duty chain by trying to tow a grader with a dozer; you haven't lived life on the edge.  There's no feeling like your heart in your throat. 

We try again. 

BAM!

This happens THREE times!

Finally, though, we get a chain that is stout enough to do the job.  We are moving forward...well, the grader is moving forward whilst I am moving backward. 

Suddenly it's moving sideways!  Faster than it takes to read this. 

OOPS.  Did you forget the blade position?

Yep, it caught on the side of the trailer and pulled the front end of the grader off of the tracks. 

So hubby had to use the dozer to lift the grader BACK onto the tracks.  THEN he advised me he wasn't sure if the brakes worked on the grader, so brace myself.

The end of the matter was that we got it unloaded and towed to where it needed to be.  And the emergency brakes worked, so I do not have whiplash. 

A happy ending to a summer adventure.

Monday, July 30, 2012

ARGH!

Back after a long hiatus.  I am having trouble logging into this blogger thing.  It's very annoying.  It just takes FOREVER.  I think it's our connection. 

Well, we have had adventures since I last blogged.  Ellen and I went to CA for 2 weeks. 

Cool, green California.  I will post pictures when I get a chance.  Here; I will post this one, if it will let me.

This is one of my favorite pics of her from CA;

This was taken at Sequoia Park, in Eureka next to the zoo.  This is a redwood stump.  Ellen was kind of leery standing next to the "cave" in the stump, but it wasn't really as dark as it is in the picture. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Case of the Disappearing Sign

It was my fault.  I'll just say that from the beginning.

It's that time of the year again; elections are coming.  And well before any election the campaign signs start popping up like mushrooms.  We have quite a bit of road-front property, so we get a few requests for sign posting.  This is OK.  We don't let anyone know how we vote so we give sign posting rights quite freely to most anyone who asks nicely.

No problem.

We have one stipulation:

Just one.

No signs near the house. 

A couple weeks ago the son of one candidate who is running to oust the incumbent...I'll refrain from naming names or offices...but if you are local I'll just say the incumbent goes to our church and you will know of whom I speak.

Anyway.  The opponent's son stopped by and asked hubby if he could put up a sign.  "Sure, sure;  no problem.  Put it up there a ways."

So he did put it up there.

Well, I was annoyed to go out and find it near my garden.  I'd thought hubby meant like 1/2 mile up the road "a ways."  So I yanked it up and took it up there MY definition of "a ways" and told hubby later.  Well, I could tell he was annoyed, so I went up there and brought it back a "ways" closer. 

Apparently it wasn't close enough.

The son stopped back in on his way by and asked us where the sign was.  Hubby explained. 

The son CALLED us.  From home, after he'd gone by where said sign was supposed to be.

HE CALLED US!!! to ask where the sign was.  (it had fallen over and wasn't visible in the grass)

Hubby explained again.  Then went up there and set it back up. 

A few days later the sign was MIA.

Gone.

Hmmm....

We figure we'd offended him so much he just yanked it and gave it to a true supporter who'd allow it to be posted in the yard.

Well.  To me it seems a little on the obsessive/compulsive side to stop in again and then CALL about your political sign.  But I guess if you'd paid money for it you might want to put it where it'd make the most impact.  I dunno.

I just thought it was funny.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fat Tuesday-The Wedding Shower Edition

Hmmmm...yeah.  What do they serve at wedding showers?  Broccoli?  Carrots?  A nice fruit tray?

Ummm...no.

But, well.  It WAS Sunday afternoon.  And I had already decided that Sunday is the day of the week that I am going to cut myself a break and splurge a weeeeee tad.  So I had a cup of punch and a polite chunk of cake. 

It is gratifying to note that after a week of avoiding sugary things anything with sugar in it now tastes cloyingly sweet.

And I did try the Skinny Chunky Monkey cookies as suggested by the Lumberjack's Wife.  I will post a link if I ever get time.  Needless to say, with no eggs or sugar, they taste like a vegan dessert, but in a pinch they will satisfy your sweet tooth.  Hubby ate a couple and pronounced them "OK" and probably would eat them if there were nothing else sweet in the house.  But Ellen was totally unimpressed; "they taste funny."

Five year olds.  Gotta trust them to come out with the truth.

I have been faithful to exercise at least 5 days a week.  Except I may not get to today.  This morning I went a picked 2ish gallons of cherries.  (Thank You Lord for friends who will share their fresh fruit.)

The problem with that is once you get 2ish gallons of cherries you have to clean them.  These aren't the great big Bing cherries I am used to in the northwest; these are the little pie cherries.

Question for the week; How many pits in just 2 quarts of pie cherries?

Way too many. 

BUT. 

I am going to plant these cherry pits and attempt to grow my own cherry trees. 

Because I am crazy like that.

But, in the meantime here's some awesome, super, great news;

My diligence in counting calories and exercising is paying off.

At least 3 pounds gone!

YAY FOR ME!

 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fat Tuesday-The Taters and Mole Edition


Yay me!  I HAVE been exercising most every day; at least 5 days per week; walking and weights.  I have been reading my Bible and praying-though once again, not as much as I ought.  And I have been doing much much better at avoiding sugar; at least for the past 3 days.  Ha.

On Saturday I had a bit of a shock.  I have been trying to do most of these things for the past month, the exercising part anyway.  But when I checked the scales on Sat I'd gained instead of lost!  

AACCKK!!!!  (I would like to think it's because I've build up muscle, which weighs more than fat, but alas, I doubt that's the case.  Ha)

So, that was when I started recording what I eat, AND counting all the calories.  I am going ot have to find one of those websites where you can record what you eat and THEY will tabulate the calories. 

Anyway.  On to my story; because I promised you stories to go along with these Fat Tuesday posts. 

So the number one rule of thumb here on the dairy is that when it comes to exercise, regular chores do NOT count.  If regular chores counted as exercise, you (read: I) wouldn't be fat in the first place.

Right?

YES.  RIGHT!

BUT, come gardening time I count it as exercise because it's not something I do year round.

So anyway.  Hubby was down at his mom's this morning and called me from there to see if I could come down and help ridge potatoes.  (This means he tilled between the rows and then you come along and pull the dirt up around the plant where the spuds will develop.)

YAY!  Some exercise!  Ellen and I went down there and I helped ridge potatoes. With 3 of us (Ellen helped rather halfheartedly for 3 minutes, then she sat on a bench and worked in one of her workbooks that she'd brought along.) working it only took about 1/2 hour to do 3 rows. 

We'd just finished and were congratulating ourselves on a job well done, when Ellen piped up and said; "Look, look!  What's that?"

Crawling on the ground not 3 feet from her was a HUGE mole.  He was about to dive back under the ground when my husband took a few bouncing leaps with his long legs and landed on the top of the it just as it was about to escape. 

Then, not one to pass up a learning moment; hubby picked up the dead mole (which was still intact, though thoroughly dead) and had a biology lesson with Ellen.  They looked at its weird pointy snout, its big shovel-like front feet and stubby tail.

Ellen was fascinated.  She has not yet learned to be grossed out by dead things and I am glad of that.  She might was well get used to the fact that animals die and not to be squeamish about it. 

At any rate; as a footnote to that story; we are having an all out war on moles here; they are taking over everything.  And they eat our earthworms, we want our earthworms for our gardens. 

That's all.  Happy Fat Tuesday-ing everyone!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Bucket Truck


The newest member of our farm.  Here is hubby trying it out to work on the windmill. 
He said he was a little nervous up in it the first time. 


He also said that when we get to using it regularly he will have a harness for me to use when *I* am up in.  As in ME.

This is because he says he needs to be on the ground to figure out what went wrong should it ever break down.  Once the motor stops, for whatever reason, and you are up in the air...well...

You are up there until the motor is started again.
Funny husband.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fat Tuesday-The Wednesday Edition





Yesterday morning, whilst I was out in the garden burning calories, my husband approached on the 4-wheeler.  I knew something was up. 

Yes.  He had this great idea.  He was in pursuit of yet another member to add to our Homestead....a bucket truck.  A bucket truck that was 150 miles (give or take a few) away.  Would I go with him?  Hmmm....

So yesterday, instead of blogging my Fat Tuesday post, I took a 300 mile round trip up north of Lake of the Ozarks.  And, yes, we now have said bucket truck.  That would be another story. 
For another day.

In the meantime.  I have had some Fat Tuesday successes and fails.

Exercise:  Success.  I have been keeping up with my walking fairly well.  Yes, I have.
And, as my reward, so far I haven't acquired any tick or chigger bites...yet. 
When I haven't walked, I have done my Santa imitation in the garden...you know, "hoe, hoe, hoe."

Heh heh heh. 

(That's actually my husband's joke, so don't roll your eyes at me, please.  Thanks)

Rigorous hoeing actually is great ab work; ask me how I know.  My abs are very sore.  I spend an hour or more out there hoeing; mostly weeds, but I have had to hoe out hills for squash...etc, too.

Then, here, I MUST confess.  There were a couple of days last week when it was way too stinky hot and humid to get outside and exercise.  So I turned on the A/C and exercised in the front room to a DVD. 

 Don't laugh too hard, but these are the guys I exercised with:




The Wiggles


Laugh all you want, but when you stop, remember; there's a reason these guys are so skinny.  If you do not know who they are you obviously don't have small children in your home.  And, truth to tell, you aren't missing too terribly much.  I actually think the show is rather asinine.  Ellen loves them however. 

Ellen has a DVD by title of "Hot Potatoes-The Best of the Wiggles."  There are 35 of their "most loved" songs on it, some 50 + minutes of dancing around. 

And really.  Do I want to watch some skinny chick (like Jillian somebody-or-another) dancing around in her tight clothes...the likes of which I'd never put on my body?

Or would I rather watch some vaguely attractive men dance around?

Men, it is. 

Besides, they have great accents.  No? 

Oh, the rest of my goals...

Well, mostly they fell by the wayside.  I have done some freeweight stuff.  I will have to post pics of that.  And I HAVE been praying and reading the Bible and all that too. 

Sugar avoidance?  Ummm...epic fail.

There's always this coming week.

Right?
RIGHT!

(For some reason my text is centering itself, much like "The Lumberjack's Wife" blog.  I am not doing this in deliberate imitation of her.  But it seems to work anyway.)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Preferred Pump Customer Appreciation Barbecue 2012



This past weekend, on Saturday, we went to the barbecue at above named company.  They are the ones hubby gets water well supplies from.  Every spring they have a barbecue with mounds and mounds of food and tons of prizes.  I think I have written about them before.  They have games for the kids, and for the ladies.  Then they have the big prize drawing at the end of the whole shindig.

Ellen looks forward to this every year.  She calls it the Cake Walk, because the first year we went they did have a cake walk there.

This year however, they did not have a cake walk, but had 3 of those inflatable party type games.  See below.  They also did face painting, or feathers in your hair.  Ellen opted for the feather.  See below.

She loved this baseball one.  The cone blew up a stream of air that would keep the little balls floating.  She was pretty good at giving them a whack.  She didn't make it into any of the holes in the back wall, but she didn't even realize that was what you were supposed to do.

This is Daddy; showing her the basics of the game.

Now here she is trying it for herself:
                                   (It always works better when you stick out your tongue a bit!  Ha.)
                                (Behind her you can see there's a basketball dealy.  On the other side of the baseball 
                                   one there's a bouncy house; Ellen would have none of it...AT ALL!)


                       This year for the ladies they had Bingo.  Ellen and I played.  I won the imitation plant, Ellen won the little jewelry case.  Then they had the door prize drawings.  Ellen won a little canvas kid-sized fold out camp chair (I forgot to take a pic of it), I won nothing, and Hubby, Hubby the bah-humbug-anti-TV dude, WON the big screen TV!  The second to the last prize and he WON it.

                                             What a HOOT!  I just laughed and laughed.

In the seven plus years we have been married we have never owned a television.  We don't really watch it.  Now we have one.  Ellen says she wants to watch her movies on it instead of on the computer.  We will have to figure out how to hook it all up.  Oh the joys of being blessed. 

                                 Ha ha!