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Monday, February 21, 2011

Calves, calves, calves

We have had a spurt of calves in the past 2 weeks; maybe 5 of them. One little bull died, for no good reason that we could determine, though we didn't autopsy or anything.

All of our calf huts are full (we only have 3) so hubby made a temp holding pen in the hay shed. There are 3 of them in this shed. Woe be unto the calfkeeper who has to bottle feed 3 new calves in one pen. It's a messy job. This morning I fed the 2 who'd come to me to get their bottles. Then I had to climb in there with a bottle to feed the newest little bull that has no clue about anything. I got slobbered on and headbutted, but I survived to tell the tale.

Hubby called the guy who has been buying our calves...well, he called him on Thursday. No response. Now we have TWO little bulls to get rid of and still no response. He, hubby, went ahead and advertised them on Craigslist. This has been a chronic problem with these folks. They won't respond to our calls for a week or more. Then they'll just show up out of the blue. Hubby is waiting to see if they show up this afternoon sometime, then he will respond to the CL responses and see what we get.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Flying a Kite

About 2 years ago on a whim I bought Ellen a little kite for her birthday. I figured it was just a little gizmo that wouldn't fly. But I thought it was pretty. At the time she didn't take any interest in it.

She found it again this past fall. Now she gets antsy to fly it. So on windy days we take it out and get it up in the air for a bit. The cord is only 40 feet long, but it flies pretty well.

Here is a pic of it up in the air. It looks like it's tangled in a tree, but really it's several yards away.

Here's what it looks like in hand:

You wouldn't think this little thing could fly, but we were all pleasantly surprised. For now it's just the right size for Ellen, and it stores easily as well. The windy season will soon be upon us; I expect this butterfly will do lots of fluttering.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Duck Box

For Valentine's Day our church had a little party for the younger children; all of whom were to make their own Valentine box for display and for a friendly contest. They broke them into age groups; ages 8 and younger in one group and then on up to 12 years or so in another group.

Well, Ellen just HAD to have one you know. Not that she knew anything about was her mother who was rabid to make a box. About a year or so ago we found one of her little stuffed toys; a quacking duck, that had been catnapped by a stray and carried off into the hay shed; it had been mangled, but the quacker was still good in it. I took out the quacker and tossed the duck.

So I asked hubby; how would we go about making a duck Valentine box that quacked when we opened the lid? His sage answer; "I'll think on it."

Hmmm...yeah, right.

So, after a week or so of pondering, I came up with my solution to the make-it-quack issue.


The Quacking Duck box:

Lift up on the top half of his bill firmly enough and he quacks. Here's the mechanism in back:

The box is actually just a large bleach bottle. (We specialize in those since we go through one of those huge 2 litre bottles every two weeks, for dairy use.) As you can see I just cut the top of the bottle almost off, so it would open, then cut the handle so that, when lifted, it would press on the quacker. Simple.

Ellen won a prize for creativity for her box. I felt bad at first, but then one other little guy had a 4 foot cannon box, mounted on cardboard wheels..etc, which he also won a prize for, though it was obvious that HE didn't design or make it all on his own either.

At any rate, the problem remains; how do I top this for next year?


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Shattered Patio Door

This happened today. Ellen and I were outside flying her kite (which is what I was originally going to blog about) for, oh, about 1/2 hour, when we finally gave up and I took kite back inside the back door. Hubby was in there on the phone; he motioned to me.

We just stood there and watched as the inner glass panel of the sliding glass patio door spontaneously cracked. You could hear it crackling and popping. It was weird. It didn't explode or pop out or anything; just developed this spider web of cracks in it. It hadn't been hit or bumped or anything like that.


He called the nearest glass place; they said over $200 because it would be a custom job.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Equal Billing, as it were...

Yesterday Ellen and I went outside and played for a good long time. After all the snow on the ground, the frigid temps (down to MINUS 18 degrees F one morning) and a cold, the forced shut-in time was producing cabin fever in us. I had to hang out laundry, too. It was sunny and breezy.

Then Ellen said we needed to build a snowman. This means that *I* have to build it. So I set to work. I refused to build a 3 big ball snowman. I just started building a tall-ish column. I kept whacking handfuls of snow on it. Then something happened; I got a handful of snow here, and fistful there and it started to resemble something other than a snowMAN.


So I just started building off of that;

I didn't finish the head, the snow is melting too fast, and I just am too exhausted at the time to finish her. But today I went out and did some decorating for the sake of picture taking;

All in all, I think the next snowfall that comes, I will try and do some other sculpture; this isn't too bad for a 40 minute, or so, job.

Ha ha

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Electronic Gizmo or Book?

On Facebook I am a fan of Ted Dekker; a contemporary Christian author. He frequently posts "Notes" asking his fans for input on his newest books.

A few weeks ago he said he'd write as many words in one day as "like" that we gave to that note. There were over 5,000 of us who "liked" it. He replied that his normal day's word count was 2,000, but he'd try to humor his fans.

Just a couple of days ago he asked for our input for the picture for his newest book's paperback release. (If that makes sense; Immanuel's Veins is being released soon in paperback form, they are choosing a cover for it) We, his fans, surprised the publishers by prefering one cover and not liking the one they thought we'd like.

Today he said they wanted to know our opinion on whether we prefer to read our books on electronic gizmos (not their words, mine), like Kindle, or on computer or actual books. I put in my two cents; a real book, and was interested to count up that in the last 50 comments (of over 1800) about 32 of them preferred real books to electronic readers. Some used elec for school...etc, some had eye trouble and could enlarge print electronically, but almost all still preferred paper.

Someday I may own an electronic gizmo to read, but I will always prefer the weight, the feel, the smell of a real book in my hands. There is something enchanting about walking into a library or a bookstore and smelling the real books there. There's nothing I love more than a real book bound in leather. A book that has a history of being read; cherished and held and by other hands. A book like that has personality; something that doesn't have to be recharged.

Just my humble opinion.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Things I am thinking about...

When I wanted to have a kid, oh, about 5 or so years ago, there are so many things that I did not take into account at that time. Not that I would change my mind now, about having a child that is, but I would have started back then saving up my change and any and all craft stuff to use in the years to come.

Halloween costumes
Christmas gifts, Christmas costumes,
Valentine's Day stuff
Easter stuff
The tooth Fairy
...and I don't know what all yet.

What brings these thoughts on right now is that fact that I am in the middle of making a Valentines box for my child for the Valentine's Party this coming Sunday. (Which the weather had BETTER clear up for!)

Not to mention that I am now working on my THIRD batch of Valentines. Batches one and two are in the round file...if you know what I mean. This batch had BETTER work.

That's all.

Well, other than I am wondering how to prepare the pork for supper here in a few minutes.

Any suggestions?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Yet More Snow

Three more inches last night. On top of the rest from Tues that hasn't really begun to melt yet. They are predicting flurries for most every day next week.

Today I spent a great deal of time making Valentines for next Sunday afternoon's scheduled Valentine's party... a party which may or may not take place. Hopefully if it gets cancelled they will reschedule it for the next week. I'd be very disappointed after making almost 30 Valentine's. I stole the idea from sis in law, but that's alright, right? It involves cooking cornstarch. Fun stuff.

We are starting to run low on supplies; especially in the fresh fruit department. Mom in law had someone with a 4WD pick up her medication. We may have to break out the old 4WD cow truck ourselves and take a trip to town. The trouble is when to do it. Just trying to get the chores done takes up most of the day.

We didn't have to dump any milk the other day, but only by a hair's breadth, and by rescheduling the milking. Hubby waited until after the milk man came yesterday. So believe it or not, we actually slept in until 5 AM. Well, Ellen woke me up at 2 and I didn't really go back to sleep. So sleeping in didn't do me much good.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

More Snow

Oh, yay!

Yesterday we got about 12 inches of snow. In one place I measured 11 inches, in another 13, so we figure somewhere in between. Hubby had to get out his little bulldozer and clear our driveways and all. He had to doze his way out to the field and make paths for the 4-wheeler so he could do round up and get hay out to them. He had to doze his way down to the little heifers out in the woods so we could feed them.

This time Ellen isn't so enchanted with snow. Just a bit ago, while we were out doing chores and she'd clambered and stumbled and slipped around, she said; "I hate snow." Poor kid. It's tough when you have short little legs. Not to mention that it's currently in the single digits out here, with a nippy wind blowing the index down below zero. But nothing will do but that she come out with me and then have one of us take her down to her grandma's place. Last night, before hubby'd been able to doze a 4-wheeler path down there, she had to stay home. She wasn't happy.

As is usual when we have any kind of big storm; one of the cows just HAS to have a calf. We knew she was close so on Monday we brought her back down here. She could have had it then, BEFORE the snow, but NO, had to have it now. At any rate, it's a little heifer and she's doing well; just slugged down her bottle.

Our road still hasn't been completely cleared. The snowplows made one pass this afternoon and blazed a one lane trail, but it's still iced over. This morning as he was putting out hay hubby saw tracks of neighbors who'd tried to get to work and had had to turn back. Someone even landed in the ditch. He had to steer the tractor with the brake; it's a mess out there. And this isn't even half as bad as what other places are getting.

We are praying for a warm-up and a fast thaw.