Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saturday Farm Report

Another Saturday begins...Happy Halloween!

As a Christian, I realize I'm not supposed to celebrate Halloween, and I have never been one for dripping blood from costumes, "dead" bodies hanging from our trees, or blood-curdling screams issuing from our home as trick-or-treaters come up the walk. Not that we have a walk, or trick-or-treaters here!

But, as Lutherans, we do celebrate it, in all it's glory. After all, the reason this holiday exists is because Martin Luther nailed those Theses to the door of the church, sparking a discussion that reminded Christendom of the battle already won by God to release us from all fear of ghosties and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night. Ah....Sweet peace! (And yes, I do realize that Halloween existed before Martin Luther. But you do realize I'm being Lutheran, don't you?)

Today we have a hay rack to unload. The sad fact is that a full hay barn will not remain so, and, occasionally, the doggone thing needs to be reloaded! Then I have one last room to declutter and clean. I will have this entire house done after that, and there will be much rejoicing. This afternoon, Miss Mary is helping out at a kids' Halloween party at the American Legion hall, and then she's off to portray Ginny Weasley at the "low budget Hogwarts" our friend is creating for today's festivities. Afterward, we may head to the Legion ourselves, for an adult Halloween party. I haven't talked John into costume yet, but I'm thinking that I have a M*A*S*H t-shirt and a stethoscope...and he would make a decent Klinger....A M*A*S*H nurse and everyone's favorite Army corporal? Whaddya think?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jane Austen Herself Would Appreciate Them

I've been a fan of the Dashwoods since I saw Emma Thompson's version of Sense and Sensibility. I read Pride and Prejudice in high school, but finally worked my way through S&S about 10 years ago. Marianne is one of those teens you want to take by the shoulders and shake. Elinor is so patient and careful with her mother and sister; at 18 she has more of those qualities than I did at 30! Margaret is the kind of daughter I want to raise. Wait--I am! And Mrs. Dashwood is just a hoot!

Recently, this book was published. I was skeptical, because I'm not a big fan of remakes. But then I found Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. What a great idea! These books will either entertain an Austen fan, which this one is doing for me, or draw in someone who might not have read the originals. I admit, you have to have read S&S to get all the humor in this passage:

The repellent Colonel Brandon's partiality for Marianne, which had so early been discovered by his friends, now became perceptible to Elinor. She was obliged to believe that the sentiments which Mrs. Jennings had assigned him for her own amusement were now real; and that however a general resemblance of disposition between the parties might forward the affection of Mr. Willoughby, an equally striking opposition of character was no hindrance to the regard of Colonel Brandon. She saw it with concern; for what was a silent man of five and thirty, bearing an awful affliction upon is face, when opposed to a very lively man of five and twenty, dripping with charisma and the sea-water dripping from his physique--accentuating diving costume?

or this one:

The Dashwoods were, of course, very anxious to see a person on whom so much of their comfort on Pestilent Isle must depend, and the elegance of Sir John's concubine was favourable to their wishes. Lady Middleton was not more than six or seven and twenty; her face was handsome and her imposing figure was draped in long, flowing robes of distinctive tropical hues. Her manners had all the elegance which her husband's wanted. But they would have been improved by some share of his frankness and warmth. She was reserved and cold, as if having been stolen from her native village in a burlap sack and made to be servant and helpmate to an Englishman many years her senior, for some reason sat poorly with her. She had nothing to say for herself beyond the commonplace inquiry or remark..

But this one is just plain slapstick:

He stopped. Mrs. Dashwood was too much astonished to speak, and another pause succeeded. This was broken by Willoughby. "It is folly to linger in this manner. I will not torment myself any longer by remaining among friends whose society it is impossible for me now to enjoy."
He then took his leave of them, his flipper feet fwap fwap fwapping as he hastened from the room.

This book is just too much fun to read to consider not buying P&P&Z when I'm done!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

And the Winner is...

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

Pro-Life Corner

Being a Christian is not a spectator sport; following the Savior calls for courage and commitment...The Lord has entrusted us with the salvation story...we are people of Christ with the one and only message of hope that can forgive sins and save souls. 'Thus far no further.' Here is where we make our stand.

Rev. Ken Klaus

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday Farm Report

Today was quite the day on the farm. It started out cold, wet and windy. It ended sunny and bright. In between...

I went out this morning to pick up milk at the dairy. One of the major rules there is "Don't be there when the milk hauler comes." In Illinois, it is perfectly legal to buy raw milk from the farmer, at the farm. The only difficulty is that the farmers sign agreements with the dairies that they won't do that. So I kinda have to sneak in and out; I usually do that when they're doing chores, so I can get a chance to chit chat with the farmers. It's that whole buying-local-build-a-relationship thing. Today they were gone, because I got there kinda late. Late enough that, just as I filled my first jar, I heard the milk truck drive in. What followed was a lot like those sitcoms where the boy has to be smuggled out of the girlfriend's room. I tossed my empty jars in a corner, shut off and covered the milk tank, grabbed my full bottle, and went out the back door, into the barn. From the barn, I watched him go into the milk house. Then I got into my car and made my escape.

It was nothing like James Bond. It wasn't even anything like Inspector Clouseau! But I will say that an adrenaline rush in the morning is quicker than caffeine!

After that excitement, nothing else would ;measure up. So I spent the rest of the day cleaning out closets. Woo hoo! But I did get them done, and my house tidied up, just in time for dinner guests.

So the rest of the night was homemade pizza and brownies, delicious wine and coffee, and good friends.

Just another day in Paradise.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Conversation at Menard's

So I stopped in at Menard's today, while out hunting and gathering. I bought, among other things, 4 bags of water softener salt.

A kind young man was enlisted by his manager to help me carry the bags out. Normally I have a minion along for this, but not today. As we got to the trunk, I said, "Hang on a sec. I have some groceries in there and I want to move them out of the way."

He said, "Yeah, that would be good."

I said, "Yeah, I don't have a problem with salt on my tomatoes, but not when it's in a 50 pound bag."

He said, "And you don't want salt with sodium chloride on your tomatoes, anyway!"

I couldn't respond.

Another reason to homeschool...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This Is My Son

Thanks, Polly, for pointing this out!

Monday, October 19, 2009

I Owe, I Owe, So Off to Work I Go!

My wonderful husband has asked me to find a job, already. We have spent more than we should, and owe more than we ought, so a little extra income will help. But I hate it.

It's not that I'm lazy. Say that one to my face! I do more physical and mental work around here than your average medical doctor and nurse combined. It's more of a philosophy.

Ecclesiastes 5 says, "Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work--this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart." God has blessed me with work; fulfilling, challenging work, in my home, and I'm good at it. Darn good, I'd say. Our home is clean, (generally) organized (mostly) and happy. Nutritious meals, planned by me and prepared mostly from whole foods, are enjoyed. Education is exchanged, memories are made and life is enjoyed. Each of us has our place here, and we're (mostly) content in it. No, we aren't rolling in the dough, but we have enough.

Remember, back in the Seventies, when women were "liberated" to go to work, and didn't "have to stay home raising babies anymore?" Taking me out of this and sending me to an office, shop or studio will be like taking those women who love their careers and sending them home. In fact, that's exactly what it is. It's making me exchange a fulfilling, interesting career for one that will never satisfy.

I believe that's because we've been stupid. We've taken what God gave, and grabbed for more, until He's had to pull back and let us realize that we're being disciplined. We've squandered the good and now have to settle for the leavings, just to get by. We're still at the point where part-time work will be sufficient, but even that will change the ecology we have here enough to make it uncomfortable.

So, if you have kids, have them read this. Maybe someone's kid will learn from our mistakes, and not have to go through this. I hope so.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pro-Life Corner

What is taking place in America is a war against the child...And if we accept that the mother can kill her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?

Mother Teresa

Friday, October 16, 2009

Welcome to the Future

Well, I can't embed this one, so I'll have to send you to a link. Go check it out, and then come back.

THAT is a fun song. It's got a great rhythm; I just embarrassed my poor daughter -cough, cough- by dancing through the dining room. The lyrics are good, too; they really point out how far we've come, and how fast.


You knew there had to be a "but."

I get a definite "homage to our President" vibe. I bet I'm not the only one. And that bothers me. See, I don't really like the guy's...policies. Yeah, I think these days that makes me a racist, but I don't. And I'm not a racist. I am very happy to have an African-American in the White House who isn't changing sheets or washing dishes. (At least not in order to earn his living.) I think it says a lot about our country that we can go from Jim Crow laws in the 50s to accepting a black person as a President in the year 2008. We aren't Ugly, we Americans. We can accept constructive criticism, change, and move on.

If only this election had been about that. I would guess, leading up to the election, only about 25% of the people I spoke with were Mr. Obama's supporters. I heard about his plans from less than 2% of those people. I heard a lot about his promises, but not about his plans. And, contrary to the wishes of Dr. King, whose words were quoted in the song, I didn't hear Mr. Obama being recommended by the content of his character, but, rather, the excitement around his election was more dependent on the color of his skin.

And that makes the excitement in this song rather hollow for me. Mr Paisley, (who I am sure will never read this!) I really like you, or at least the little I have learned about you. What's not to like? You have a lovely wife, adorable kids, and you seem to care about them very much. Your music says a lot, and is, mostly, a passable soundtrack for an average American life. But I gotta wonder what you saw in this guy. If it was about a platform and belief system you wanted advanced, well, then, I guess the marketing behind your image is amazingly awesome, because those beliefs don't coincide with what we see of you. If it was just a chance for black Americans to have something they never had before, well...There are better ways than remaking a country that had it's problems but was doing pretty well for over 200 years on the beliefs and attitudes it held dear.

But it's got a great rhythm, and I like the lyrics. I give it a 9.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

More on the Hunting and Gathering

Unlike some bloggers, I do not sort my blog posts into categories. This leaves me ample opportunity to forget whether I blogged on a certain topic, and then bore you with a rerun. So if this is one, I know I should apologize up front, but I'm just too doggone tired from my H&G day.

While out stocking my pantry shelves today, I thought of something that my public-minded self just has to share. If you get the swine flu, or avian flu, or the creepy-crawly-whatevers this year, especially with a sore throat, try my sure-fire cure. Brew a Tazo Zen teabag plus a Tazo Wild Sweet Orange teabag in a LARGE mug. Add some honey and drink, preferably in front of a "comfort movie" (think comfort food on film) under a nice, fleecy throw. A wood fire helps, too. This puppy is like magic on that raw, scratchy throat. A little rum in there couldn't hurt, either.

Oh, and if you should head out hunting and gathering, and your favorite place is like mine, 18 (.1) miles away, please do yourself a favor and check to see that, somewhere on your person, you are carrying cash. Or, at the very least, a debit card, or even the checkbook. My public-minded self just had to share that one, too.

You learn something new every day!

Lather, Rinse, Repeat, Part 2

Today we discuss further adventures in housewifery.

Yeah, OK, I lost about 2/3 of my readers, but, thanks to you for staying on!

In the "lather, rinse, repeat" files, we have Hunting and Gathering. Or, grocery shopping. Again, I spend countless hours planning meals, compiling lists, and heading out to do battle with the crowds and the checkbook. It's not pretty, and I have to do it again, week after week. The checkbook is complaining loudly these days. It's been going through some very lean times, even famine. Of late, however, it's been adequately nourished.

This gives me a little space to fill up our tanks, too. The pantry was looking a little spare. And the second pantry was bare. I like to keep about 3 of our most-used items on stock at a time. One stays in the pantry; two in the second pantry. They're both looking fat and sassy these days.

And that's a good thing, because you never know when the swine flu or the avian flu or the next disease of the week is going to strike and make us want to stay home.

Today it's razor blades and baking supplies and some paper products and animal feeds. I'll be gone about 3 hours, but I'll come back stocked up for a bit. If only I had done this yesterday, when it was grey, yes, but dry. Today I'll be dodging raindrops in the parking lot. My new coiffure (more on that later) will look a bit ratty. But we'll have beet pulp and dog food and garlic powder! We won't have to eat Robin's minstrels, but there will still be much rejoicing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Mess, Oh, The Mess

It's a sad fact of housewifery that everything you do will need to be repeated. Much like the shampoo bottle, it's all about lather, rinse and repeat.

In the Neverending Story of my life, I've been tackling our basement. It extends the entire length of our house, and is finished. Imagine, if you will, a steep staircase into a basement, which ends at a hallway. To the left, the utility room and all it's delights. To the right, an office/room-where-the-furnace-and-water-heater-live. This room is the only one with carpeting; we installed some of those stick-on carpet tiles when John needed a space to work at home. This is also the room, which, when water decides to make it's yearly foray into our basement, is the first the water visits. Carpet squares? Bad decision.

At the end of the hallway is our family room area. First on the right is our TV area, then our current office, from which I am writing to you as you read. We built it about 3 years ago. It has served as an office, guest bedroom, and, when we refinished the floors and rearranged bedrooms 2 years ago, the master bedroom. I can tell you from experience that it is the nicest of caves; something of a hobbit hole. Warm, usually dry, (remember that yearly thing) quiet, quiet, quiet. You could sleep deeply for days in this room.

On the left side, as you come down the stairs, you would first hit our bar. Not a wet bar, but a sink and refrigerator are steps away, in the utility room. The last space down here is a dining area, and a place for the kids' computer.

That's how I envision it.

However, right now, the utility room is piled with laundry and appliances that we use often but can't put away because the cabinets in that room are full of things we don't use often. I intend to clean those out, take them to the thrift store, and replace with the stuff we use, leaving the countertops available for...I can only imagine! I've never had them available for any length of time!

The bar is stacked with children's books that I have to find homes for. Some are spoken for, and some I'll keep. There may be children around here sometime that would want to read them. My intention is to clear that all off and use it--get this--as a bar. Novel idea, I know!

The dining area is stacked with more books, games, toys, and all the other detritus of a household with children. As our children become young adults, though, those toys are played with less and less. One cabinet that housed games has now found a new home under our stairs, where it'll house all kinds of things that I want to hide behind closing doors. The other remains, filled with school supplies, games we still play, and some science equipment. Eventually, like by the middle of next week, the mess will all be cleaned up, the dining table polished and decorated with a nice fall centerpiece, the computer desk cleaned and set up for a certain young lady to do her schoolwork, and some maps and pictures hung on the walls. In short, it'll become a more adult space.

The office is now stacked with books to be given away or sold, photographs of Grandma that need to be sent to my uncle, (no, David, I have not forgotten!) and a basket of baskets. These are the last of my collection of Longabergers; some lucky folks will be getting them as Christmas presents. If you like a specific one, let me know, before I give you one you hate! This will all need to be cleaned up and organized, so it can actually be used as an office and guest room. I will have to talk to John about this; his side/desk aren't any less gamey than mine, and I've been hearing how I need to get some things in order....

That leaves the old office, with it's 3 storage closets (one is cedar; one has a broken door.) That will need to be purged as well.

So, if you think I might have something in this messy space that you could use, drop me a line. We'll talk!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pro-Life Corner

Above all things, my faith motivates me to do as much as I can and strive to do more in the pro-life movement. As a child of God, I know a truth that is stronger than anything the world can throw at me--the power of eternal life through Christ. I cannot, because of who I am as a child of God, keep silent as my own generation is denied the chance to exist.

Janice Nihll,a 17-year-old senior and student pro-life leader at the 2008 March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Gods Must Be Crazy

I've never seen the film, so, if the reference is off track, forgive me. But I read about this this morning and I am stunned. And, apparently, I am not alone. I am not the most politically astute knife in the drawer, but even those sharper knives are, in the words of the article, stunned. It's too early, he's done little or nothing, and it's just...stunning.

Yesterday, while celebrating John's birthday with a family lunch, we saw a news report (TVs everywhere; another blog post for another day) which said that the White House is being very careful before committing more troops to Afghanistan, because of the costs. You know, war is expensive, and we have to be careful with the people's money. We can fling it at failing businesses like confetti, and we can whine and stomp our feet because uber-expensive health care isn't sailing through Congress, but God forbid we spend too quickly on our soldiers.

Ethan's comment was, "Gee. I feel so loved."

I guess the Peace prize must be because those soldiers aren't heading off to Afghanistan. I think a more likely reason that more soldiers aren't going yet is that someone would have to admit that that worked for the past administration, and, Lord knows, we wouldn't want to admit that anything worked for them.

My friends in the Lutheran homeschooling world are talking end of the world scenarios, mostly tongue in cheek. But some are glad they've put in so much time canning and freezing this summer; food won't be getting any cheaper. Deidre even says, "If the world is coming to an end, I don't have to finish cleaning my basement!" Well, Deirdre, mine is all torn up, too. I guess the two of us should just get together for some coffee!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Happy Birthday, John!

Someone else in our house is 50. Someone else gets to hear the jokes now.

So tonight we partied. He requested meat loaf and chocolate cake. We had them, along with some other fun stuff. It's possible much wine was consumed.

And we had special visitors, too! An Army guy came by.

Spiderman, too.

A rock star stopped in.

And a cowgirl.

We even had the principal as a guest. Here he was telling me how to take his picture!

It seems John is enjoying his party. Soon a play will be performed for the birthday boy, and then a birthday screening of Ironman is on the agenda. He'll get to bed way too late...for an old guy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I Have...

a new t-shirt.

A Camelback hanging in our bathroom.

ACUs here,

and here.

And a medic in our "guest" bedroom.

I like it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Must Link To This

No, I'm really not being lazy, although I could be, what with a rainy, grey day and a sinus or weather-change headache.

But, really, this just hit me as such a sensible question. And so easy to answer. But I'm thinking no one will take the bet that it doesn't get answered!

Check out Private Murphy.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Like a Phoenix...

I have been such a lazy blogger! Getting back into some semblance of routine after almost 2 months of hither and yon has been problematic...but we're looking like we're about there.

One of my stalkers, the inestimable Senor Sock, sent me something spiritually munchy this weekend. As I missed my Pro-Life Corner yesterday, indulge me. I'll post this video, for your approval...or not!

(BTW, according to, no, Einstein did not say or do this. But it's still an interesting argument...)