Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Buck (Goat) Trapped Me in the Shed. True Story.

I've told you about my buck, right?

Yes.  I

So, the facts that we have established about Jem Dandy thus far are:   number one - he is a buck. number two - he is a big buck. like, a nearly look me in the eye buck.  number three - he smells really, really, really strong that there is a good chance your eyes will water and you'll carry the smell away with you on your clothes and skin if you make any contact with him, whatsoever.  And the smell doesn't just wash off. The fragrance is buck in rut. And I don't even know how to explain it in a way that would do it justice.  number four - he has a pen....that he's supposed to stay in.

Last week, the kids and I were just arriving home from a fun little 4-H rendezvous, laughing and talking....  WAIT.   What tha heck??  WHAT.THA.HECK.IS.JEM.DANDY.DOING.IN.THE.FRONT.YARD? Well, I *know* what he was doing.  He was eating and grazing and LOUNGING. But, *WHY* was he doing it in the front yard?? Imagine the thrill of excitement that washed over me. (Yes, that's it...imagine it starting with a tingling in my brain and ending with a cramp in the first knuckle of the pinky toe on my left foot.) 

I go in the house, change clothes, and mentally prepare myself by doing some Karate Kid moves. Wax on, Wax off.  Wax on.....

My first thought was, Hey...I can sooo do this.  I'll just get some feed in my little pail, and he'll follow me right up to his the BACK yard...UP the little hill.... and to the LEFT. So, I get the pail, walk toward him and lo and behold, he walks toward me.  I'm feeling so Mr. Miyagi (Karate Kid's teacher). Then I realize that he's only following the girls.  My milk goat is very well trained.  She'll walk up the fence line to the milk stand. He was simply walking up the fence line because she was....NOT because I was Mr. Miyagi-esqe. And since he wasn't actually following me, guess what happened when Annie stopped at the milk stand?  HE stopped at the milk stand.  Which is a good (oh, I hate guesstimating distances) 20-25 feet from his pen.  DANG!  Now I have a dilemma.  So, I try to coax him further with the feed pail. Nothing doing. I decided to get the leash, hook it on his collar, and lead him up to the a civilized manner. AS SOON AS I put the leash on him, he goes all gangsta...starts shaking his head, backing up, and raring like he's going to butt me.  I was NOT excited.  I might have yelped.  I am loathe to admit that some of my "I can sooo do this" faltered.  I reach over very s-l-o-w-l-y and unhook the leash from his collar...but, he's already feeling antsy...and he comes after me... for all of the world looking like he wants to hit me.  With his head.  On my body. And make it hurt.  You wanna know what I did?  *Blush*

I turned and hid in the shed.  :)   Ok.  *Technically* I just wandered inside the shed, and sorta closed the door behind me.  Because...I wanted to... you know...look around a bit and see if it needed cleaning.  The fact that Jem was on the other side of the door sniffing it had absolutely nothing to do with me choosing to be penned inside.  Nothing at all.  So, I peek out the door and there he is.  DANG!  I just KNEW he was going to butt the door and pop it open. And then I'd be trapped.  And have to wrestle him to the floor.  Absolutely.  So, I screamed.... just to warn him.  And realized I had my phone.  So, while I'm waiting, I think, ohhhh...wonder if I can get on facebook on my tracfone??  (yes, I have tracfone.  I'll wait while you snort, spit your drink out, and clean off your monitor.) Everybody knows nothing *really* happens till you post it on facebook.  Wonder of all wonders!!  I was able to comment on my post on facebook.  It took FOREVER...but, hey...I'm trapped in a goat shed...what else is there to do??

About this time, my oldest son comes outside armed with a bbgun....he pops him in the rear a few times (from a considerable distance) and I'm able to leave the shed.  Yeah...I was finished, anyway.   Jem runs from the bbgun ping on his hindquarters and is now acting a tad more nervous.  Malachi thought we should go inside and just leave him.  HECK, NO!  Be outdone by a *goat*??  NEVER!  I remember that goats like evergreens, so I find a little cedar tree and break out the top.  Walking up to Jem, I rubbed it on his nose, and he started following me trying to get a bite.  Yay!  This might work!!  He follows me up the hill and I'm feelin' pretty fly. I'm freakin' winning!! :) And then he stops at the trash...sees a box...and a plastic bag full of plastic bags.  *Sigh* He pulls the bags out and starts butting and hitting and throwing them everywhere.  I'm not sure if it was just the sound he liked, or what?  So, I grab the box, a plastic bag, and am still holding the cedar tree top.  And I begin luring him again.  He figured out how to get the bag out of my hand...knocked it around...and then looked bored again and walked BACK down to the bottom of the hill.  I keep knocking him on the nose with the cedar and luring him back to the top.  I did this about forty five and three-fourths times.  And it was getting really old. And my hand was breaking out from cedar irritation.  And Malachi almost shot me with the bbgun. And I was beginning to wonder if I *could* do this.  And started getting weird.

Do you have any idea how goats mate tease let each other know they want to mate??  Well, the female will get in front of the buck, flip her tail in his face, and walk off a few feet.  He'll follow her and she'll continue doing the same thing.  This gets him all excited and his upper lip will curl, he'll make guttural, grunting noises and lick his tongue out.  You know how I was doing that thing with the cedar branch?  You know...flipping it in his face and then walking off a few feet?  FLIPPING IT IN HIS FACE AND WALKING OFF A FEW FEET.  (let that sink in) OH.MY.GAH.  Yes.  Exactly.

He started talking to me and licking his tongue out.  *I faint*

I would flip the cedar in his face and he would just stand stock still.  And then freakin lunge at me while doing the grunting noise and trying to lick - NOT THE CEDAR BRANCH, BUT UNDER THE BRANCH.  *cringe*  I was dying.  And I can't quit.  Because it's working.  He's following me.  BUT FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS. VERY WRONG REASONS.

I had to continue teasing my buck goat all the way to his pen.  I was finally standing inside his pen and he wouldn't come any farther than the gate.  So, I do a little lunging of my own, grab his collar, and pull him in with me.  Wait.  I pulled him inside the pen with me.  I think the cedar was getting to me.  I laid the box down for him. (Yes...I was STILL holding the box.  It gave me some distance between me and his tongue.) I backed out of the pen...he peed on his face in triumph...or despair?  I don't know....and our dance was done.  WHEW.  Color me relieved.  And violated. Slightly.  I needed a shower.

I did find some nails and attempted to fix the fence where I thought he was getting out.  He came over to me and looked at me with his big goat eyes and licked at me once more.  I think we bonded, actually.  I just never want to flip him on the nose with anything. EVER. again.   :)

Signs Your Four Year Old May Be Too Computer Savvy

"Mom, Can I have a Poptart?"
"Sure, honey."
"And I want to put it in the toaster and *scroll* down."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Through My Fingers Like Sand.....

Do you ever feel like you are clutching things in the palm of your hand?  That you are gripping them so tightly that your nails are leaving little crescent moon shaped marks in your skin? And you open your fist, only to observe that, like sand, they are slipping through your fingers...and there's nothing there.  And you get tired of the gripping.  The constant hold.  You want to open your hand and have something sit there because it wants to ....not because you are gripping it.  You don't want to have to worry about it falling softly between your fingers and being gone forever.  You want to touch it...caress it... care for it. But, you don't want to have to clutch it out of fear of its loss.  Sometimes, you just get tired of the gripping.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Little Things That Let You Know You Totally Rock

1)  You lean over in church to pick something off the floor and bang your head on the pew in front of you so hard your eyeballs do a hallelujah dance.  (normally, you're leaning over to pick up one of those chocolate chip grips almost crushed so that the smell of chocolate is more intense and wafts up to tantalize your stomach that is empty because you have to choose between eating and putting on clothes to actually be there on time..and being that it's church, as opposed to say, WalMart, you kinda need clothes)

2) You are walking through the mall, texting your best friend something of the up most importance, like say, the fact that you really have to pee and the bathroom is on the other side of the mall....and nearly take out a six foot transparent sign in the middle of the mall walkway.  When I say "take out" the sign, I mean run straight in to it...face first, straddling it, eating the sign.  (in my defense, the sign was TRANSPARENT...  my peripherals didn't pick up on it quickly enough)

3)  You walk out of the rain into a gas station wearing flip flops and PURPOSELY wipe your feet on the mat because you KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE how slippery they are when wet.. you step off the mat, and BAM!!  You're on your bum...and you can't quit laughing...and you have to pee....  and ....  the cashier is still laughing when you finally make your way to the front. 

4) You are in the passenger seat, going down the road, enjoying the breeze coming in through the open window, when suddenly out of nowhere, something hits the antennae and comes flying in the window and lands in your lap.  To your horror, you look down and see....A FREAKIN BIRD...LYING IN YOUR LAP.  seriously.  I can't be the only one that's happened to...right?  RIGHT??  And then I'm paralyzed.  Because there's a  I mean, what do you do with that?

5)  You raise goats.  You milk goats.  One day, you help birth a goat.  And you snuggle him, and hold him, and call him your very own ...George.  And then your face swells, your eyes get puffy, and you realize you are allergic to goats... How can you develop an allergy to something you do every day of your life?.... and so you check into Michelin Man commercial opportunities ...because everyone knows you don't let a good swelling go to waste. 

I'm going to stop here, because if I don't, I will be tempted to share my favorite example of supreme "ROCK" epitome at the OB/GYN office.  And I'm not sure either of us want that.  But, it was funny.  Super funny.  Maybe if I see you out, I'll tell you.

This Day....

This day began at 12:00 am last night.  But then, y'all already knew that. What you don't know is what all this day has held since the clock struck that number.

As an aside, now that most clocks are digital, what phrase will take the place of "when the clock strikes midnight"?  That's so visually stimulating...  what does a digital clock do that can compete with that??   When the pixels flash midnight?  I don't know....seems lame.

So, my *intentions* were to sit up last night and work on the next unit study...which is a mini unit on teeth - per my 8 year old's request.  I also need to prepare for the next full unit study, which is yet to be determined...  Maybe atoms and molecules, but I have a third grader, so I don't know.  I'll have to see if it's too advanced.

ANYWAY, I got distracted folding clothes.  I only got distracted folding clothes to overcome my guilt for becoming distracted by a movie I began watching. At 1:30, I finally decide to go to bed.  I fall asleep and just reach the very fringes of REM and the nice paralysis that comes with it, and I'm awakened by the sound of incessant coughing.  Being mommy, I manually peel my eyelids back from my eyeballs, pick my legs up off the bed, set them on the floor, and stumble to the kids' rooms. I walk in to find Isaac sitting up in bed, red-faced, and mucus laden....the kind of laden that involves smears and bubbles. (you're welcome for the visual) After a quick hug and kiss (on the one dry spot on his head), I'm off to retrieve cough syrup.  As he is taking the syrup, he's suddenly seized with a massive coughing fit - while I'm in his face - meaning that the whole mouth full of medicine is now dripping off my nose ....and running into my eyes ... and sticking my eyelashes together.  Yeah, okay.  I'll just go get another dose for ya, baby.  He settles down...I'm back in bed.  Ahhhhh...finally.  Thirty minutes later, "MOOOOOOOOMMAAA!!" and his ear is hurting.  Oh well, sleep is overrated.  I mean, it only makes you think coherently, be able to remember things, keeps you relatively sane.....  who needs it?  So, I give up, go get a blanket and a pillow, and make myself (un)comfortable on the floor beside his bed.  And then the day dawns and I'm refreshed and ready to go....


I'm pretty excited to go outside and do farm chores, given the fact that it's raining so hard the puddles are holding umbrellas, but I venture out anyway.  I get up to the goat pen/feed shed and I see the door moving from the inside.  And I groaned because I *knew*.  There is this partition created by a wooden frame with wire inside it, that separates the goats' area from the little area where the feed barrels sit.  If the door is moving, that means the goats have somehow knocked that partition down and are with the barrels....well, technically, the barrels were with the goats, because they definitely weren't where they were supposed to be....the barrels NOR the goats.  So, I brace myself, open the door, and sure enough, there she stands triumphantly on the partition, looking very....well, triumphant.  The barrel that held the chicken feed is overturned and chicken feed is everywhere.  The empty barrel is overturned. Guess which barrel isn't overturned?  The goat feed barrel.  It's the only one they can't get open!  Hahahahahaa....  In the words of Mater (from Cars) "that's funny right thar"  So, after a few scathing remarks, which I'm sure hurt the goats deeply, I began cleaning up the mess.  When I finally got around to giving the goats the feed they had been so determined (albeit, in vain) to get to, turns out they weren't even hungry.  Little too much chicken feed, I presume.  Serves 'em right.

After that, the kids and I decided we had waited long enough for a Christmas tree and we were determined to go get one.  Malachi and I cut our own tree down one started out as one trunk and then separated into two... we only cut one side down.  This meant one side was completely bare, but turns out it was okay because we knew where to find matching limbs.  Hahaha...we cut one off and tied it on with twine.  This year, we thought we'd assimilate to normal behavior and just buy one...that had branches all around.   We all pack in the car and are off to find the perfect tree.  I only saw one place selling them...Food Lion...and the kids were just not having it.  "Mom...those trees aren't big enough."  I'm pretty easy to get along with....besides, it just so happens that the sky had opened up again and we were debating the whole affair in a monsoon.  So, I bought a grape Amp and figured we'd wait a day.  Instead, we went to Flick Video based on our recent knowledge that games are only 99 cents on Wednesday.  I had it in my mind that I wanted Just Dance 3....only when I get in there, I see the box in the new release section, but no game behind it.  Dang, I was so disappointed.  After some time though, I look at the box again, and there's a green label stuck to the front that says, "Take green box to front for game"...and I get all excited...and say, "Oh! look, Jacob! It says take green box....I can take this to the front and get it...they must do it different for new releases" and I'm all yippee skippee and excited....and Jacob gives me a look and says, "Mom... that box isn't's just the label."  Oh... yeah. I then to further his embarrassment, I snort laugh.

Oh, and Isaac watched Prep and Landing: Naughty or Nice the other night and since that time, asks me EVERY DAY, several times a day, "Mommy, am I on the naughty list?"
"No, baby."   (That's Mommy.  Guess I'll be buying my own gifts this year....but, what with the lack of sleep, if I purchase them early enough and wrap them, by Christmas I'll have forgotten what I got me. Cool, huh?)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Marshmallow Shooters and the Making Thereof :)

I was lying in bed...deeply submerged in the land of dreams. Guess what I was dreaming? I was dreaming about making the marshmallow shooters. Yes. I. Was. (Read here: for the parts purchase adventure at Lowes)
First of all, the shooter I was making in my dream was turning out all wrong. Instead of being a straight shooter with two elbows, it looked more like a rainbow....and I was stressing. And THEN, I dreamed that I had forgotten to buy marshmallows. Can you imagine? Marshmallow shooters with no mini marshmallows.
And then I woke up. And realized that I had forgotten to buy marshmallows. Seriously. Which was so cool. Not that I forgot the marshmallows, but that my dream was telling me I forgot the marshmallows.  Kind of like having a little friend in my head. Other than the one I talk to sometimes. So, I clean house (I actually vacuum and mop when company's coming) and do my farm chores and do some "research" on facebook and I finally get around to going and picking up the marshmallows. At 1:00. Everyone was supposed to be at my house at 1:30. Why do I do that? Why do I always think that I have more time than I actually have? So, after a non-profitable trip to store number one, a call to a 4-H mom on her way to plead with her to try a different store, a pick up of someone who didn't know the way,  and twenty minutes later, I'm back at home and the joint starts hopping. All the supplies are lying on the table outside and we proceed to open up the pvc pipe cutters. And no one knows how to make them work. I tried to squeeze the handles together thinking it would release some kind of spring and make them open. I tried connecting one little gear looking piece to something else between the handles. Guess what I finally resorted to doing?? I had to freakin Google "how to open pvc pipe cutters". And then I felt like a blonde...because the way to open pvc pipe cutters, IS.TO.PULL.THE.HANDLES.APART. It's inexcusable to make things that complicated. Sheesh.

Materials needed to create a marshmallow gun are as follows:
38 inches of half inch pvc pipe cut into:
    - One 8-inch piece
    - Six 5-inch pieces
Two half inch T-Joints
Two half inch Elbow Joints
Two half inch End Caps
AND a handy dandy pvc pipe cutter  (that you open by pulling apart the handles)

Mark the pieces with a ruler and marker and then cut them out with the pipe cutter. Oh, and the pipe cutter does this cool little ratcheting thing...and slices through the pipe like hot butter. I got a little excited using it.

After you cut the pieces out, lay them out like so:

And then put all the pieces together, like so:

Very cool, no?
Don't use glue to make the pieces fit more tightly....IF you do this, the marshmallows that *may* get sticky and wet when you inhale instead of exhale, will get stuck in the pipe. Or when you put ten marshmallows in at one time JUST to see if you can do a gatling gun effect, and they get'll have to take it apart. And clean it out. And put it back together. So, no glue.

measuring and cutting:

yes.. they work!  a word of caution...I thought I might wipe the pipe dust off of the blade and sliced my thumb. so, that might not be a good idea.

4-H'ers working together:

and the marshmallow war is ON!

Painting the shooters...boys did camo...girls did a pink camo....

Isaac decided he didn't need a gun...he used big marshmallows and threw them at everyone...

And yes...I have my own's now painted pink camo, of course....  :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Trip to Lowes for Plumbing Supplies...aka I'm Also A Contractor

This month was my month to plan our 4-H activity.  I always kind of break out in hives when my turn rolls around.  You know how any other time, you could think up a million things that kids would like to do, and then when it's your turn and the big finger is pointing at you, you get the "deer in the headlights" look.
So, I decided to make Marshmallow Shooters.  OMGah.  Color me ecstatic.
I look up the ingredients, er, supplies....make my list...and head to Lowes.  I ask where the pvc pipe is and am directed to plumbing.  Yay...finally... a place where my pants will feel at home.  Why is it SOOO hard to find cute pants that don't make you look like a plumber when you're putting your child's shoes on?  (You know....the exposure when you're bending over...I HATE that), at the moment, my pants are right where they belong...Plumber Blvd.  woo!  A handy assistant show up (is Lowes' slogan "let's build something together"? or is that Home Depot??...idk)  and he's helping me find my parts.  pvc parts.  you know.  anyway, he says, "So, what are you making exactly?"  and I say, "Marshmallow Shooters" and I think that's the end of the conversation regarding that.  We continue on....we now have (5) 10 foot 1/2" pvc pipes in our buggy.  Excuse me, not IN the buggy.  Rather, falling off the buggy.... nailing me in the rear because Sarah is pushing the buggy... and haphazardly swinging around looking for the life of me like they are going to take out every freakin plumbing item on the shelves of Plumbing Blvd.  Then I tell my handy dandy assistant that I need (30) T-joints, (30) End Caps, and (30) Elbow Joints...and I say this with confidence because I totally know what a T, Elbow, and End look like.  And guess what he hands me?  Contractor bags.  Yeah, baby.  I'm like a freakin contractor plumber girl.  I felt kinda awesome.  He asks if that's all I need, and I say, no...I need pvc pipe cutters.  And I get pvc piper cutters.  (that was kind of a let down, wasn't it?  there was no story to the cutters)  Okay..moving along... I say, "Okay, I just have to go get camo paint and I'm finished."  And he says, "Oh!  I have camo paint... let me show you."  and I obediently follow.  While we're looking at camo paint, he says, "What kind of Marshmallow Shooters are these?  Not the adult kind, right?"  And I have a moment of confusion and I try to cover it quickly so I don't look like the dork I am, and I say all knowingly...."Hahahaha..ummm, no...these are for kids."...And after a slight pause, I add, " took me a moment...I spend A LOT of time with kids."   And he laughs and buys my excuse and says, "Yeah, for a moment that was like, (and does the that just flew over your head gesture) and I smiled and laughed like I totally got it.  And guess what?  I still am not fully sure what an adult marshmallow shooter is....I assume it has something to do with alcohol?  Idk.  But, how would you shoot a marshmallow?  Idk.  I'm confused.  Okay, having just googled "adult marshmallow shooter" I'm even more confused.  Do what??  Am I missing something?  There's no such thing?
Moving along...  I get to the front, and of course, there is maybe one register open, but OH LOOK!! the self check-out is open!  I love self-check out... you get to be the cashier, the bagger, and the customer...all at once.  It's an ooooohhh, shiny person's dream.  The kids are clamoring for some chips and because I'm a good mom....and also because I was thinking if they are eating in the car, I can listen to an entire song on the radio maybe without having to turn it down during the part I REALLY wanna sing.
So, I begin trying to scan the pvc pipe...and it's ten feet long, okay?  And I am hemmed in between the register and some barrels of something or another.  As I am trying to maneuver (as an aside, the ONLY way I can remember how to spell "maneuver" is to say out loud, "man-e-uver"...)  anyway, as I am trying to man-e-uver the pipe between the scanner and the barrels...wait, they were buckets... and the only way to fit the pipe up to the scanner was to slide the pipe into the crack between the bottom of the buckets.  (five gallon buckets....just for your mental picture.)  I get two scanned and I'm totally feeling it.... I'm even snapping my gum like I work there.  And, the kids start handing me stuff...  and it's messing up my system....they are handing me my contractor bags...cause I'm like, a cool contractor... and I'm trying to scan those...and their chips...and paint....and you KNOW I didn't finish scanning the pipes yet...and I say, "wait!!  dang....y'all...."...  And so, then they start getting their things out of the bags.  Seriously.  You know when you use the self-check out, it has some kind of star wars force that knows when you put the item in the bag and it ALSO knows when you remove something from said bag ....and to the self check out demon inside the computer, taking a scanned item that has been bagged OUT of the bag, is akin to going to the dark side.  So, it's flashing me warning signs on the screen, "Did you remove an item from the bag?"  And suddenly, it's like I'm in an interrogation room and the light is in my eyes, and I can smell the cigarette but I can't see the inquisitor.  And I'm starting to sweat.  And as I begin to say to child one, "STOP!  for the love of heaven, don't remove the chips from the bag!!"...child two is removing his bag....and child one is putting his back in the bag...and I'm thinking, Oh dear Lord..this is it... we're going to self check out hades because we're messing with the demon in the computer.  And it won't scan anymore items....and I look at the guy running the register close to me...and realize he's already looking at me....and not because he thinks I'm cute...  but, because he is a minion to the computer demon and he must heed it's command. He comes over, enters his secret password... (I tried really hard to act like I wasn't watching his fingers move across the numbers, but I'm pretty sure 666 was part of them)  He fixes our mistakes and I exhale and wrangle a few more pipes between the scanner and the buckets and notice there is now someone waiting behind me in line.  Nice.  I love it when I'm sweating and flushing and there's a spectator.  Makes it all life and death and cage fighting like.   So, I finish everything EXCEPT...there was no contractor bag for the thirty 1/2" end caps.  But, heck, I've got this now...I KNOW what I'm doing.  So, I pick up the first end cap and think I'll breeze my way through this and the lady behind me will be mesmerized by my efficiency and probably even ask me if I work there.  I run the first end cap across the scanner and ......nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  The demon's red laser light doesn't even flicker.  NICE.  So, I roll it on the scanner.  I rub it on the scanner.  I grind it on the scanner.  Heck, I think I even licked it....just to get the dirt off.  Cause plumbers can get away with crap like that.  Nothing.  Danged end cap.  Must be a dud.  So, I pick up another end cap...I continue in this manner until I have about twenty end caps sitting in front of the demon....and only ONE scanned. By this time, I'm sweating like a mad dog...... my face is eyes are dilated...  my hair is flying wildly about my head...  I'm looking around frantically thinking where in the freakin hades are the people who actually work here and why don't they notice my cry for help.  Also, several people who walked by, snickered.  One man did for sure...and tried to cover it up like a cough...PUNK!!  I know you snickered.  Anyway... finally one very exasperated looking employee comes over and tries to scan an end cap.  Yeah, seriously...I tried that, lady.  Anyway, she inserts her employee number...I didn't even hide the fact that I knew what she punched in.  *for future reference when I buy end caps...I WILL redeem myself, dang it...I have a demon pin number*  ok...I really don't.  So, she puts in the quantity and fixes it all up and we're finished.  And I roll my buggy out the door, cool, calm, and collected ...and pretend none of that really happened.  As far as you know, staring suckas, I scanned all those end caps myself.  Who's your momma?

Could I Google Search End Results, Please?

there's nothing like sitting on the back porch, in the dark, listening to the rain make its way slowly down from heaven to earth.  nothing like hearing the ping as it bounces off of roofs, the gentle splash when it hits little puddles made up of previous drops, or the comforting surround sound of millions of tiny drops simultaneously kissing the leaves of a forest of trees.  it stills you, steadies you, and sometimes inexplicably saddens you.  maybe it just depends on what you're pondering.  do you ever feel as though it's a "danged if you do, danged if you don't" kind of scenario?  i mean, you get right down to the line and you just can't figure whether it would hurt more to be still or to move...  either way it's going to smart....and either way you're going to wonder if you made the right choice.  sometimes i wish you could plug both scenarios into google and search the end results....just to see if everything will, in fact, turn out all right.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Mystery

While gone to Miami, one of my goats died.  Shivers.  You know...the one I helped birth (ok, *I* wasn't necessary, but I like to think I was indispensable)  He is also the one who made my eyes nearly swell shut because I was snuggling him... and who initially began all of my trips to the Allergy Clinic. 
I'm not sure what happened to him.  Well, because I wasn't here.  But, also because it wasn't obvious why he died.  We had wethered him and had him in with the buck.  The buck had been slightly aggressive because we put the doe in for awhile and then took her out before leaving for Miami.  Anyway, my dad buried him out in the woods... put two logs on it to mark the spot...and Malachi made a little RIP sign.  The sign was so said, "RIP Shivers    A Most Noble Goat"
Anyway, I walked to the grave upon returning just to see where my little Shivers lay.
A couple of days later, the kids and I walk outside to do the chores, and I was assaulted by the most offensive odor.  It was the odor most easily identified.  It was the smell of decaying flesh.
Immediately, I thought, maybe something has dug up Shivers.

So, we run up in the woods to check and sure enough...the grave was absolutely torn apart and Shivers was lying maybe eight feet away..missing a few pieces.
Malachi and I are instantly in CSI mode.  We want to know exactly what dug him up.  So, we start looking for tracks..anything that would point to the culprit.  There was nothing... we were frustrated...and then... well, then we found the scat.  And I took a picture...and I'm going to share it.  Like, right now. You really don't have to do this, you know.  You can choose to just begin reading a different post... go get some lunch....  brush your hair... floss your teeth.... it's up to you.
But, if you're interested, here's some massive scat.  LOL.

It was big.  And it didn't really look like dog or whatever.  So, I imagined it was a bear.  Because it probably was, right??  I mean, it moved the two logs out of the pulled the goat out of the ground, removed it from the trash bag my dad had encased it in, and dragged it eight feet away.  Bear, right?  Right.

So, the next day, Malachi and I get up and can't wait to go check the status of the grave and goat. We arrive at the scene and the goat was probably (omgah...I really HATE estimating distances...I have to try to mentally imagine people lying on the ground, end to end, so I can figure out about how far it was...)  So, based on those calculations, I'm going to say it was about four people (short people) or twenty feet away from the spot it occupied the previous day.  We were ecstatic.  SURELY, it was something BIG...and scary.  We again looked for tracks...but due to the pine needle covered forest floor, there was no evidence.  No more scat either.  So, we sighed and looked up scat on the internet..and felt pretty sure it was bear scat.  Because dogs or whatever don't do big piles...and it had...nevermind... I'm not sure I can describe what I saw in the scat without feeling like I've totally given up my dignity.  :)

Anyway, we go outside the next day and to our surprise, couldn't find him anywhere!  We searched and searched until I noticed a drag trail that led even further into the woods.  We walked up to him and by this time the smell was so intense, it made our eyes water and brought breakfast close to the point of erupting.  Course, if you find the perfect place where you're upwind, you can check out the scene with less olfactory torture.  Finding that, we proceeded to look for clues.  Nothing, dang it.  No scat, no footprints, nothing.  The only thing we observed was that every day of finding him proved that another large hunk had been taken from him.  (I know it sounds heartless to talk of my goat this way...the mystery captured me)  So, we were thinking that had it been a pack of dogs...or several whatevers, more of him would have been taken.  Whatever was getting him was taking pieces akin to going to the butcher and asking for a cut.  We never did figure it out.  The last time we checked, the only thing lying there was his skull.  Sad....and a dang mystery.  I REALLY want to know what it was, dang it.

Target ....and Sons

I was in Miami and saw this building and immediately thought, "Ohhh!  Target ...and Sons"

Cause you know, it's the red circle like Target has...followed by two smaller circles.  Okay, am I the only one who finds that funny?  :)
This is actually Jason's Famous Deli.  I passed this restaurant several times without realizing what treasures were inside.  We were in Miami for four days, and I was determined before I left to have some hideously unhealthy, yet irresistibly delectable dessert.  A dessert I didn't have to make myself.  Finally, on the last night, we went inside.  I felt like a pregnant craver.  (I'm not pregnant)  I walk to the counter and say to the smiling man behind the counter...."I would LOVE some chocolate"... and I made a friend.  :)  He gave me some kind of little thing that was pastry on the bottom, filled with chocolate chip dough, and topped off with the absolute most delicious chocolate filling EVER.  He was pleased that I was pleased.  I told you we were instant friends.  So, then he shows me all of the cakes.  And there was a white chocolate mousse one ... and it looked so yummy...  and then I remembered that I had wanted a real cannoli.  (Thank you, Cake Boss, for making me crave a REAL one...not a frozen one from WalMart)  I ended up with cannolis, those little chocolate demons he first offered me, and a huge piece of cake.  I felt SO pregnant.  (I am NOT pregnant)  After he put them all in a box for me, and we paid, I gave him a hug and professed my undying love.  Okay, I didn't profess my love, but I should have.  When I opened my box, I noticed he had slipped me an extra chocolate demon...I looked at him in appreciation and he held his finger up to his mouth in a "shhhhh"... due to the fact that his not so pleasant manager was standing nearby.  After she walked off, he walked over to our table (decided to eat there) and asked me if I like pecans.  (which, truly, I really am not overly fond of them) and slips me a turtle...  asks me to take a bite and see what I think.  Again, I should have professed my undying love.  He stood there for a few more moments ...made fun of the fact that I said "I'm going to save some for "Laater" in my southern accent..and we had a nice conversation.  It absolutely made my day.  Heck, it still makes my day when I look back on it.  He was older, very smiley, and just seemed so good natured.  It was a pleasure doing business with him.  I should have professed my undying love.  :)

Civil War Study and DIY Aluminum Can Lanterns

We began studying the civil war several weeks ago.  The curriculum I am using doesn't really cover slavery as adequately as I wanted it to, so I found a few things to add to it.  I don't think they can really get an understanding of the war itself if they really don't have a concept of the emotions and fears surrounding the issue.
We read the greatest book...the name of it was "Moses" written by Carole Boston Weatherford.  It told the story of Harriet Tubman and her life devoted to freeing slaves.  It portrays her fears and the subsequent reminding through her faith that God will take care of and provide for her.  One of my favorite quotes is:  "She grips the ax to chop wood, breathes deeply and murmurs, Lord, I'm going to hold steady on to You.  And God whispers back in the breeze, I'm going to see you through, child."  How beautiful is that?
We also read a book entitled, "The Last Safe House" by Barbara Greenwood.  It told the story of a little girl's escape to freedom...along with her brother and mother.  The book included a lot of additional information about various things pertaining to the atmosphere of the time.
We made several lapbook activities pertaining to some of the most outspoken leaders in the abolition of slavery...these included:  Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Beecher Stow.
Following these activities, I let them make their own "safe house" lanterns.  I filled aluminum cans with water and put them in the freezer overnight, so they would be easier to punch holes in the following day.  I printed off pictures of the big dipper and north star, and taped them to cans as a template.  They then laid the cans on a towel to keep them from slipping, and punched holes into the can using nails and hammers.  We punched two holes in the top of the can for a wire handle.  They turned out so cute.

Malachi had the tallest can and was having trouble lighting the candle sitting in the bottom of his can, so he rigged up a way to extend the match to the candle.  :)

After lighting the candles, they took them to the darkest room in the house...the bathroom, of course, LOL... and were fascinated by their lanterns that they had made themselves.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

An Ocean/Sea Creature Birthday Cake future Gordon Ramsey chef (minus the head bobbing and near heart attack spasms), loves seafood.  He makes a spicy broiled shrimp, rice, and vegetable dinner for us nearly every week.  It is sooo nice getting a night off.
He couldn't decide what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, so I offered to make him an Ocean theme one. I did that for two reasons...  the obvious being that he loves seafood.  The second is because I love a challenge. :)   I wanted to see if I could form sea creatures from fondant.
Jacob gave me a list of the creatures he wanted included on his cake.  They ranged from an octopus to a shark to an angler fish.  I was so excited to get started.  I looked them up in an Ocean book the kids have and pulled them up on the internet, as well, to get a better look.  I didn't make everything on his list, but I added a few of my own.
Included here are:  a sting ray, shark, deep sea gulper eel, clown fish, starfish, jellyfish (can't remember its specific name), sea anemones, a spotted crab, and some scallops.  Sarah actually made the scallops by pressing them into a play-doh mold.  She did a great job.
Included on this plate are:  an octopus, jellyfish, and several tube worms.  Sarah helped me make the tube worms by wrapping pink fondant around clean pencils.  We left it to harden slightly and then slid the fondant off of the pencil and cut it into pieces.
The last few things we made were:  banded eels (those were fun to make, fun to look at, and easy to shape), some sea grass (Sarah made this by rolling a serrated fondant cutter across the fondant), and a black devil fish...I was loving those teeth.  :)

The day of the party, I made a cake and used Wilton's Whipped Icing.  It's the kind that comes in a mix the powder with ice water and it is absolutely delicious.  This cake was my first experience using it and I was definitely happy with the results.  It is so light and fluffy...perfect for the ocean waves I wanted to create on the cake.  I iced the cake and then sprayed it with blue icing spray.  I left some parts white for the crests of the waves.  Then I got to add the sea creatures.. I love that part.

The gulper eel started to slide before the party started... ugh!  I was out of toothpicks, so I broke a prong off a plastic fork and stuck it in the cake to make him stay put.  Unfortunately, I forgot to mention this to the guests and my sister-in-law ended up nearly eating it.  She took it well  :)  She thought the fondant was especially crunchy all of the sudden. 

Agent P Birthday Cake

Isaac decided that for his fourth birthday, he wanted a Phineas and Ferb birthday party.  The cake requested was Agent P.  You know...Perry the Platypus.....seemingly mindless platypus pet, who turns into a fedora-sporting secret agent and singlehandedly defeats Doofenshmirtz's every scheme.  The cartoon is actually pretty cool. Phineas and Ferb come up with some great ideas for things to build in the backyard...everything from roller coasters to a beach.
To get back to the cake, originally I wanted to make one in the shape of Agent P and cover it with fondant.  As the day wore on, I decided to just make two nine by thirteen inch cakes, put them together, ice them, and then cut an Agent P out of fondant.  I drew him on a piece of paper first, cut out the pieces and used them as templates for the fondant. It turned out pretty sweet.

However, the birthday boy completely stole the show with his angel face... 

Kitchen Pantry Chalkboard

The chalkboard I started creating on the kitchen closet door is completed.  I painted it on the inside so that if it didn't look right, it wouldn't be glaringly obvious to everyone that walked through my kitchen that I made a mess on the door.  After completing the board, I thought it looked pretty cool.  And I started to do the outside of the door....and lost interest.  Well, *technically* I didn't lose interest...  it's just that I had a plethora of birthdays coming up that needed my attention.  So, I laid my foam brush down and moved on to fondant.  But, seriously...I love that you can turn a door into a chalkboard.  And maybe no one else can see it, but I can.  And that's okay. :)

A Child's Imagination

We went to our family get together on Labor Day.  While there, the kids cut some bamboo sticks and brought them home....because, face it, bamboo sticks are the coolest.  They sound exotic and *pandas* eat them.
For days, the kids were knights with swords, samurai with swords, and just warriors in general.  Jacob hit his bamboo on the side of a tree and splintered the end. What followed was a progression of thought that led from bamboo stick to torch.
Jacob's first thought was to stick a pine cone into the splintered in because "it looked cool, Mom."
Then Malachi says, "Oh, Jacob...remember in Lord of the Rings when the Orcs had those torches?  We should make a torch."
This led to the adding of pine needles into the splintered end on top of the pine cone.  Pretty good plan....

Of course, the next course of action would be to light it up....

Malachi grabs the matches and off we go to a non-wooded area to give our torch a test run....

It's harder to light a torch than it looks...when there's a breeze blowing.  But, the warriors are persistent...and their perseverance pays off....

We have fire!

...and a lot of smoke...  smoke signal, anyone?

The boys got the torch going really well...  I had been telling them the entire time not to hold the torch straight up or the lit pine needles might fall down on their hands and burn them.  Once they got the fire going great, I said, "Oh!  I'll take a picture!  You guys stand together and hold the torch up."  Yeah, I said that.  And my child listened, and he held it up.  And of course, the pine needles fell down...and he threw the torch down.  And the fire went out...and they couldn't get it lit again.  And of course it was Mom's fault.  "Why did you tell me to hold it up, MOM???"
It was really cool while it lasted though.  I loved watching the imagination and thought that went into the making of the torch...and their excitement when the torch was on fire and smoking.  That was awesome. 

Perfect Fall Snack - Acorns!

I found the recipe for these little cuties online... 
You simply put peanut butter on a mini-nilla wafer (I used a sandwich baggie with the tip snipped and piped it on) and stick the kiss on the wafer.  You then pipe one more circle of peanut butter on the other side of the wafer and add a Reese's peanut butter chip.  They are just as tasty as they are adorable.  :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Chalkboard Works!

Well, you can write on it and erase it...that's all it does...but, OMGah!  I made a chalkboard....and that makes me happy.  I finally figured out that a foam brush works best.  Do not use one of those soft made mine all bumpy.

Oh, and that's one of my favorite quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson...  <3

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Summer Almost Ended Without Me Painting Something

Can you believe that??
Well, neither could I.
So, I found something to paint.
I have been playing on Pinterest (by the way, if you are the least bit "ohhhh, shiny" you will be on Pinterest for HOURS)
Anyway, on Pinterest, I saw some DIY projects regarding turning mirrors, doors, etc into chalkboards. cool.  So, I've decided to turn the front of my kitchen pantry door (just the inner panel) into a chalkboard. Drool.
I bought the chalkboard paint and got home and realized that the door has tiny grooves that are going to have to be filled and sanded before I can paint it.  ARE YOU KIDDIN' ME?!!?  Now, I have paint and nowhere to put it.  Sooooo, I remembered that I had an old mirror under my bed (don't's on of the lesser weird things under there) and decided that I would paint it, sand it  (the frame) and then paint the mirror part with chalkboard paint.  ---I'm still doing the kitchen door...I just had to do something while I waited to smooth the front of the pantry door.
I got the frame the way I wanted it...  and put the first coat of chalkboard paint on.  And you have to wait TWENTY-FOUR HOURS between coats.  I think it's a conspiracy against people who have a lack of patience.
I painted the second coat yesterday ...and it seemed my brush wasn't giving it a smooth enough look...
So, today I did the third coat with a mini's still not smooth enough for me...
Not sure what I'll do tomorrow with the fourth coat...

In the meantime, I bought a little brassy looking bird cage at the antique store.  I brought it home, got out the new spray paint can and saw this little white attachment:

You see that white attachment??  Well, when I first popped the lid off and saw it, it made me think of all those kids' toys I've bought over the years that have the little white tab on the back that you pull out to enable the toy to do it's thing....  so, of course, I pulled it out.
And then I began spraying my mirror frame.  I could not for the life of me figure out what was wrong with the dang spray can....I shook it some more...  held it level...
and THEN I turned it over to see if the can said anything about what to do in case of drips...
and I saw this.
Oh.  that little white thingie goes on there.... well, I'm sure PLENTY of people make that mistake.  like, all the time.
Anyway, so, I got that all worked out, and sprayed the frame several times and then sanded it lightly....
The green stuff is frog tape.  I'll take it off when it's dry.
Here's the bird cage...I'm going to hang it and put candles in it...  oh la la, baby!!!
This is the kitchen pantry door...with wood filler covering the entire thing.  And I was informed that the door is not actually real wood...and the filler might not stick.  So, I'm doing inside the pantry door first ... to see how it works....and I used all the wood filler, dang it. 

I LOVE the shape -- it's on the outside of the door as well.  Don't you think that will make a marvelous kitchen chalkboard?? 

Chickens Pecking Eggs

We had some trouble with our California Whites pecking their eggs a while back.  I read that once they begin doing that, it's nearly impossible to get them to stop.  We tried several different things to rid them of the habit, but when it became apparent that they were going to continue to do so, we ended up having them for dinner.  :)  Because chickens must learn that on the farm, you earn your keep...whether it be via eggs or via chicken and dumplings. 
Well, it came to my attention a few weeks ago that my beloved Black Australorps and four Reds had decided it might be fun to break open a few of their eggs.  I was crushed.  For one, because dang!  I don't wanna eat my favorite chickens!!  And for two, because dang!  They are the only ones laying our family's supply of eggs!
So, I started thinking on ways to break this nasty habit...
I thought....
And I thought.....
And I thought....
And then I thought some more...
I said, "Heck...maybe some oyster shells is what they need."....  Maybe they are cracking their eggs because they need more calcium...
In the meantime, I set about cleaning out the nest boxes and refilling them with fresh pine needles.  Well, the interesting thing was, when I began collecting them, I found that I was mostly getting GREEN needles, whereas usually, the ones you collect off the ground are the dead, brown ones.
The reason these were green was because we had this hellacious storm blow through a week or so hailed marble-sized pieces of ice like crazy...and the wind was blowing so hard, it nearly bent the old, tall pines around here in half.  Seriously.  The trees were bent over. 
You want to see pictures?  Yes?  Well, ok...anything for you...
The ground looked like it had snowed....  it was crazy...
 A picture of the paved road after the storm...ok, so you can't see the tree that fell over
nor all the limbs that broke out of the trees...but, you can see all the leaves and 
needles that were blown out.  Not as titillating, I know... oh, well...
So, where was I? Oh, I was refilling the nest boxes with pine needles and getting mostly a result of the storm.  And I had the thought, "Ohhhhhh.....maybe the smell of the fresh needles will kind of make them lose their appetite for the eggs.. because, I mean, if *I* had to smell green pine needles on my plate, while I would find the scent invigorating, I don't think I would find it appetizing."    Oh, dang...maybe that's a new diet trick....  put a sprig of green needles atop every meal.  Hmmmmm....
Well, guess what?  With the combined effort of giving them oyster shells, green needles, and checking the boxes twice a day so that no egg laid too long in the box, my sweet hens went several days without breaking an egg.  I was ecstatic.  Seriously.  And I really think it was the needles... just sayin.
I have to mention, just because I want to be truthful, that the last couple of days, those darn hens pecked some eggs. Now I'm going to blame that on the fact that I've been really busy and haven't been able to check the nest boxes quite as often.  I am annoyed, but I'm going to replenish the green needles and pull a California White egg pecker out of the freezer and stroll by their pen with it and pray they get the hint.

Ameraucana Update

The last time I posted about the Ameraucanas (think "Easter Egg" chickens...)
they were were in those awkward months of part chickie fluff and part adult feathers.  Since that time, they have completely come into their own...
The roosters are absolutely gorgeous...
Oh.  By the way, out of the six chicks, guess how many were roosters??  THREE.  Three roosters.  And need I remind you that ROOSTERS do NOT lay Easter Eggs.
Anyway, at least they have the pleasing to the eye factor to redeem them....  All three roosters are a different variety of Ameraucana...woo!!!  I love me some chicken variety diversity..  :)
One is a red color...  in the beginning, it seemed he would rule the roost...he had the fluffiest neck feathers and strutted his stuff...
However, another "cowboy" decided to start crowing a little louder, a little longer, a little more effortlessly...and Ole Red lost out in the pecking order... but it's not true what they say...the good guys don't always wear white...because even though this rooster is sporting his white, he's the meanest one of the bunch..  hmmm....maybe that's how you win the pecking order??
I'll have to get you another picture...that one doesn't do him justice...
Anyway, the other rooster is darker with lots of different colored feathers ...he's my favorite.  He's not mean and he is an original..  :)
Of the three hens, two are matching and one is a more generic looking rust color.  While the hens are pretty enough, the creativity in egg color is where they really shine...

Okay...take a look at the first egg found in the nest box...  DANG!!  I was so excited to get our first colored egg!  It's a very soft bluish-green color

Woooooo, baby!!!  Easter Eggs on the Fox Farm....color me happy :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

As Hiking Parallels Life....

The park with hiking trails near our house is only open Friday through, I've designated Friday mornings as hike morning.  Today was the first trip.. well, not the first trip there, but the first of the designated Friday trips there.  :)

The kids and I did the farm chores and loaded up to go walking....

When we got there, we opted for the longest hike...4.3 miles..with a brief detour at the end so that we could switch over to the trail that follows the river bank....because I do so love water..

So, we start walking and after a bit, I notice Isaac is struggling, so I reach down to take his hand, and he says,

"Thanks, Mom...I was really needing that."

And that's when it happened.  I thought, OMGah... that is SO life.  You're walking along and you don't even ask for it, and someone takes your hand, because they NOTICE you struggling...  and you realize how nice it is...  a hand in yours.

"Thanks....I was needing that."
And then the entire walk turned into so many parallels to life that I thought I'd take some pictures and share my thoughts with you....

Just moments after needing a hand, Isaac was running off, saying, 
"I don't need anybody's help now!"
(sound familiar??  LOL)

 Sometimes, you are the one that needs carrying... 
sometimes, you are the one strong enough to carry someone else.....

 Sometimes you get to revel in the fellowship of those journeying with you...

 Sometimes, you have march to the beat of your own drum,
and go against the grain  :)

Wow....the grass sure does look greener on the other side of that fence, doesn't it?


Sometimes, the path you're on is so dang beautiful, it takes your breath away...
and you are reminded why you endure....

Life is full of nuts...some of them you call "friend"  :)

There *WILL* be storms....and they will shake you to the core.  Looking upon the devastation will 
hurt ...  and maybe astound you that you survived.  You will have scars.

Sometimes, there are big, hairy things in your way...
but you find out when you are upon  them that they looked worse from afar
than they really are.

 You will sometimes feel hemmed in ...and restricted by your fences...
you will either straddle them, 
find an opening to the other side,
or find contentment in your pasture.

 There will be times when life is calm....
and you have a chance to reflect...
Take time to replenish your soul...
And stash away some peace for the storms you have yet to encounter.

Sometimes, being a rock means
staying in one place...
allowing things to roll on by you 
while you remain rooted where you are...

Other times, being a rock means
allowing yourself to be moved....
rolling, tumbling...from life's experiences. 
Either way, being a rock means that you 
remember who YOU are....

Sometimes, all you have to do is observe a path to know it's too rocky for safe travels...
and you either choose extreme caution or avoid it all together...

Sometimes, you feel all alone.
The path is lonely...there is no one but you in sight...
your heart loses hope..
you find the journey tedious, and lacking joy...

Remember during those times of loneliness, to look around...
you WILL see others walking the path...
they are there.
never lose hope.

Remember to take time to stop and notice the little things in life...
they will make your heart smile...
And give you photos for the inner eye for future bliss....