Saturday, January 30, 2010

Skye!

Her name is Skye.



Like a good girl, after we picked her up, she went shopping. We took her grocery shopping (she and Mary stayed in the car) and to WalMart, where she picked out some toys and was asked to leave. You can't take a dog into WalMart, even one wrapped in a towel and carried. Who knew?

She came home and tried a snack,




but she was too excited to eat, and also too busy meeting new friends.

She met Four Socks, who lifted her paw. The claws were retracted and she did not hiss. She handled meeting Skye with far more grace than any other new animals she's met since she's lived here!



Skye met Henry, who has been worried about her all night. After all we leave her in her crate at times, and she cries. He does not like that at all. He barks at us.




Guinness was too worried about his supper to pay much attention to her at first.

{Should be an adorable video of Guinness jumping repeatedly up to counter height to get a glimpse of his dinner being prepared. But it worked unreliably, so I deleted it!}


She comes from decent bloodlines on her mom's side, with Scottish grandparents! (Och, aye lassie!) She is named for herself but we learned, from her mom's pedigree, that she is also named after her great-grandmother. Although she has a cozy crate set up in Mary's room, the girls are sharing a bed tonight. Let's see how long that lasts as I think she's going to be a pretty big lassie!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Fun

Well, we may be nuts, but we're getting a puppy tomorrow. Mary has been wanting a Border collie, and we'd been looking into it. I mentioned it to the 4H leader, who has a couple. She told me her brother was thinking of breeding his Border. We went on the short list for puppies, although we knew it probably wouldn't happen until May-ish.

About mid-November, she told us he had decided against breeding her. We were sad, but not for long. About mid-December, she told us that Tana had had puppies. Seems she shares living space with a male mutt (half Lab, half pit bull) and it had become apparent that they had shared more then living space...

So we talked, and Mary thought a free puppy who was only half Border would be OK. Tomorrow, this little girl



will be joining our family. We usually try to pick up puppies in March or April, when the weather is better. It's nasty cold now, so training her is going to be uncomfortable. (But I don't have to worry about that this time, do I?) Then again, no matter how nice Puppy Pick-up Day has been, there's always blustery cold and snow or sleet for the next three days or so. So, weather be damned, we'll have a new puppy tomorrow!

Her name? that's a good question. Mary has gone through about 27 of them in the past few weeks. Just when we think she's settled on one, she says, "Nah. That's no good." We'll keep you posted on that one!

(Any suggestions? The front-runners have been Sky, ("That's really for a black Border collie) Sadie, ("Nah.") Anna, ("Maybe.") Annie, ("NO WAY!") and Fly "(I don't know...")

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The AP Fact-Checks the State of the Union Address

Here.

Remind me. Is the AP one of those news outlets that is right-wing-anti-hope-astroturfing the country? I can't remember.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Year 1000: Heads For Food

This chapter highlighted March, the month during which the short days of winter give way and at the equinox, March 21st-ish, the amount of daylight in the day equals the amount of light. The picture from the Julius work calendar brings to center stage the plowman, the guy who tills the soil, allowing it to be planted. Back when your food came from the ground and not the grocery store, the beginning of the planting season was very much anticipated. Two passages from this chapter really struck me.

The first;
Stop reading this book a minute. Can you hear something? Some machine turning? Of all the varieties of modern pollution, noise is the most insidious. Yet in the year 1000 the hedgerows actually had a sound. You could hear baby birds chirping in their nests, and the only mechanical noise you would hear came from the wheezing of the blacksmith's bellows.

Imagine. Silence when you wanted it, or needed it. Even now, in my quiet house, I am listening to the furnace running and a truck coming close to pass by my house. It was a simpler time, some say, without all the hustle, bustle and worry of our day. But I wonder if there weren't as many things to worry about then...

The second;
It is a commonplace that slavery made up the basis of life in the classical world, but it is sometimes assumed that slavery came to an end with the fall of Rome. In fact, the Germanic tribes who conquered Rome captured, kept and traded in slaves as energetically as the Romans did...the tribes of central Germany enjoyed particular success raiding their
Slavic neighbors. If you purchased a bondservant in the centuries leading up to the year 1000, the chances were that he or she was a "Slav"-- hence the word "slave."


Well, yeah, there was slavery in Europe. That makes sense; Europe had been Roman for a long time, and old habits die hard. But wait...

In England, the Anglo-Saxons proved to be slavers on a par with their Germanic cousins. Weallas, or Welshman, was one of the Old English words for slave--which shows where the Anglo-Saxons got their slaves.

Bristol, on the west coast of England, was a slave port. It is close to Wales and close to Dublin, where Viking merchants ran the largest slave market in 11th century western Europe, according to sources from the time.

And...people also surrendered themselves into bondage at times of famine or distress...in the year 1000 the starving man had no other resort but to kneel before his lord or lady and place his head in their hands. No legal document was involved...It was a basic transaction--heads for food.

The man became a bondservant, a slave. Us moderns might think the concept of slavery to be ancient, un-evolved, inhuman. But it exists today,and for the same reasons. People are hungry, poor, alone, have no other recourse. I never thought of it that way. I always saw it as a power grab by the slaver, and didn't really look at it from the point of view of the slave other than thinking it must be an awful way to live.

But I'm coming to realize that we all live in some form of slavery. To debt, to our appetites, to recognition from others. It's why, as a Christian, I can accept the concept that I am a dirty, rotten sinner in need of help. I get it from my Lord, and revel in the fact.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Peter Pan

The weekend was long and fun, and we spent yesterday recuperating. But this year's play is over and done. We have pictures and even some video, to show you.

Mary played Skylights, who, it was learned the second night of the performance, is a GIRL pirate! Hook himself was shocked to learn that a lady had stowed away on board, and that she handled a blade better than he! (Not that I would spread that around. Skylights would like to stay alive!)

Skylights in all her glory. This was just moments before being sent into the dark scary cabin where the Lost Boys were waiting to kill her. (Never mind the contradiction between staying alive and Lost Boys waiting to kill her. Remember, this is Neverland, and the pirates will be back to fight the Lost Boys tomorrow!)



Prior to this scene, she and other pirates were delighted to find their names in the program for the evening.



They tangoed. (Warning; this scene opens with a horrific scream, I mean, solo rendition, from Mr. Smee. You have been warned.) (Skylights is to the left of the scene, behind the pirate with the cape. Yes, she bobbled the opening.)

video

The pirates gather around as Hook bemoans his lost mother (who was a sheep stealer, and was hung for it) and decides to kidnap Wendy...



Afterward, she took her bow (far right.)



And met with some fans.




Our little friend, Bella, showed up dressed quite appropriately for Peter Pan!



Although Mary swore several times in the last month that she would NOT BE DOING ANOTHER PLAY EVER AGAIN, she came home from the cast party very excited about next year's play.

Which is...



(Thanks to imbd.com for the last image!)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pro-Life Corner

God has brought so many broken and hurting to us in ways we can't even comprehend. We continue to proclaim Christ's healing, and serve the needs of women and men who have experienced the loss of a child through an abortion. We know that God is in control we also know that he uses people to do His work.

Grace Kern, director of Word of Hope

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Farm Report

Today Miss Mary will star as the pirate Skylights in Peter Pan. She and a Lost Boy have been preparing a fencing bout for the stage, and she's been practicing the tango for another scene. It was a little disconcerting last night to see her at the dress rehearsal...with a beard and mustache. My delicate little flower. Ah, well, I guess there were no girl pirates in Neverland!

Today was also the beginning of the 4H dog program. We had an early orientation (10am is early when the rehearsal wasn't over until 10) in a cold pole barn! Evil people, making us sit on icy metal chairs. Mary will be training Ethan's Henry in obedience this year; her puppy will be too young.

Friends and family will be over soon to eat chili and prepare to head over to see Peter Pan. Must log off and check all the final preparations!

Friday, January 22, 2010

I'm a Book Geek

This is coming out next month. Squeee!! I'm a book geek, and a medieval geek. No one will be able to talk to me for a week. I'll be ensconced on my bedroom sofa, chocolates to the left, red wine to the right, reading about Charlemagne, and Saracens, and Visigoths and oh, boy, oh, boy, oh, boy!

Philosophizing

So. I had intended this post to be a further discussion of The Year 1000, but I've been doing too much hunting and gathering these past two days or so. The pantries and cupboards are filled the freezer is bursting, but my brain is fried. So deep discussion is deferred to another day.

Ethan, however, has been thinking deeply. He started classes again this week. His favorite is Philosophy; 3 hours of Philosophy, in fact starting at 9am Fridays. So, in his honor, the following. (Please remember the British meaning of the word p&%#ed)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Copper, We Hardly Knew Ye

As reported here, Mary looked at a two-year-old Border collie/Australian shepherd mix dog. She decided that she wanted to go with a puppy, but I really liked Copper.



He's s sweetheart; cuddly, well-trained, neutered, friendly, good with kids, happy...but. You knew there had to be a "but," didn't you? Well, here on the farm, one of the most important qualities one can find in a dog is not their beauty, or trainability, (although that is #2) but that they look the other way when near the animals.

Copper didn't. He stayed with us for a week, and he never missed an opportunity to bark at the horses. I wondered if we would be able to take him on rides, like I wanted. I worried about being in the saddle when he decided to let them know that they needed to HEAR HIM. He also never got used to the goats. They scared him the first night, causing him to turn and run back to the house. He barked at them daily, and pretty viciously too.

But worst was the chickens. I caught him one day tearing into our younger rooster. The rooster tore back, and Copper backed off. But then I caught him sitting outside the chicken run one day. He sat there in the snow for about 45 minutes, just watching. I could just hear his little brain; "When they get out, I'm on 'em."


Dirty old egg sucking dog

DeAnna | MySpace Video


I keep them in the pen during the winter, but they free-range in the warmer weather. I could just see the little dead bodies I'd be picking up. A chicken-killing dog just doesn't have a place here at Pine Ridge Farm.

So, as hard as it was, I packed up Copper and his crate yesterday. I drove into the country, and returned him to his original family. I told them he'd be great for a family on a side street, (our highway was also a big draw to this big boy) a family with kids and no chickens or livestock. They were disappointed, as was I, but there was nothing else to do.

Sorry, Copper. I wish you well.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Haitian Winter

Unless you live under a rock, you have no doubt seen pictures of Haiti. The devastation and despair...I can't even imagine it. We hear stories of looting, and say, "Can't people even control themselves when the whole country is suffering?" We can't imagine a situation where our house home and family have disappeared, and our only hope of a meal, perhaps our last one, is to steal it.

This morning our pastor preached on Revelation 19:7-9, focusing on this horrendous catastrophe. About 20 years ago, people in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Kentucky wondered about the possibility of earthquake here. Not a likely occurrence, nevertheless, one of the more devastating earthquakes in this area occurred about two hundred years ago, along the New Madrid Fault. Coincidentally, this earthquake in Haiti was the worst in two hundred years for that country; both quakes happened about the same time. In this case, the death toll is unknown. 100,000? 200,000? Can you fathom those numbers? I can't.

Christians, consider this number; of the close to 3 million people in this the poorest of countries in the Western Hemisphere, the majority, 90%, consider themselves Christian. Although maybe half of the population practices voodoo, I find it hard to believe some of the theories behind the reasons for this earthquake. (Please.) It's hard for me to understand why Christian brothers and sisters are having to suffer through this horror.

Dr. Thomas Zehnder, LCMS World Mission executive director, issued this request this week; "Pray that people would not despair in this very difficult situation but that God would use it for His purposes." What possible purposes could there be in such an event? Couldn't God have kept the people in Haiti safe from such a thing? Couldn't He have prevented this?

Well, of course He could have. But after pastor reminded us that He asks that our faith be in his Word, not in His miracles, he emphasized that He (God) is who He says He is. I can't argue with that. I wouldn't even want to.

This happened to brothers and sisters in Haiti. This has happened where I live, and could happen again. I don't know what time will bring. But I do know who is in control of time, and of my place in it. That will content me. I will, in the words of Revelation 19, remember that "...our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him the glory!"

(If you are interested in helping, Lutheran Church Charities will be sending relief to Haiti. This organization is working with LCMS World Relief and Human Care to direct resources to the immediate needs in that country.)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Quiet Evening

This evening started with a phone call at about 4:00. "Melody," he said, "it's Chris. I have some hay for you. Do you still want it?"

Hay has been hard to come by this winter. What we do get is terrible; the last batch looked like straw. For those of you without animals relying on you for food, hay and straw are not the same things. Hay is dried grass. It has stems, seeds and leaves; the fewer stems, the better. Straw is stems of different grasses; we usually get wheat straw, sometimes oat. There are no leaves or seeds on good straw. Straw is for bedding; hay is for feeding. In the past, we've paid $2.50-2.75 for a bale (about 50#) of hay; this year, it's running around $5. The weather last year just made for a crummy hay harvest, and we're paying for it, literally.

We were down to about 7 bales of hay; that translates to about 4-4 1/2 days of food for our critters. We knew where to find local hay, but were really hoping for some "imported" hay; imported from somewhere that had better "hay" weather this summer. This hay is from Wisconsin, up near Green Bay. Chris had to drive 380 miles to find it. But it was good, green hay, with lots of seeds and leaves, along with a decent amount of stems. Our horses and goats will enjoy it. Maybe I'll give the stemmy stuff to the chickens. They don't usually mind.

So we drove over to Chris's, loaded 100 bales of hay, give or take, and came home. Then we had to unload it. John hadn't arrived home until 6, and the loading at Chris's took a while. It was dark, and we are expecting rain tonight. Unloading hay in the dark is really no fun. Even in the summer, when the dark is later and warmer, unloading in the dark is no fun. Add in ice and snow, and it's not really something you wanna do! Because the snow here is sugary, soft and slippery, we couldn't drive to the barn. We had already gotten the truck stuck on the driveway when we hooked up the trailer. So we just plain knew better than to try it. We used John's handcart to haul 3 bales at a time; Ethan followed with a bale in each hand. Mary and I stacked, until she went in to clean up the supper dishes. Only one handcart-load fell over into the snow, and, in general, the unloading event was...uneventful. There is a full hay tent in our yard, so our critters needn't fear starvation. They might eat a little later tomorrow morning, though. I think I'll sleep in!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Why Do You Go to the Movies?

It's possible we've talked about this before.

Why do you go to the movies? I've been talking with people lately about various films, putting some on our Netflix queue and ignoring others. The topic has come up when someone will say, "That's a nasty film." Nasty as in, bloody, gory, trashy? Nasty as in, carnal, erotic, slimy? Sometimes. Sometimes it's nasty because it's poorly filmed, badly written, horribly acted. Sometimes it's nasty because the viewer just didn't "get it."

Forrest Gump could be considered nasty, in terms of the "third dimension of nastiness." I have heard/read a few people saying, "It just didn't make sense to me," or "I didn't get what the big deal was." I know that, for me, it was a fun film, and I picked up some of its messages, but still feel like there was a large, underlying thought that just wasn't getting through to my brain. Bears of little brain have that problem sometimes.

I felt that Pulp Fiction fit into that "second dimension of nastiness," although I have to qualify that by saying I never really saw it. We rented it, put it in, and, after 10 minutes of watching, I asked John to take it back to the video store. I just can't enjoy a film that repeats the F-word that often. I don't know what it is about wretched language that does that to me. I realize they're just words, but there are so many better ones from which to choose.

The Die Hard movies fell into that "first dimension of nastiness" for me, although I watched three. Even enjoyed the humor of them. But I didn't need to see Alan Rickman's brains hitting the window to be satisfied that the truly nasty guy was truly dead. And that, generally, is my reaction to most shoot-em-up movies. (With a husband and three sons, I've seen more than my share!)

I like to go to movies to experience storytelling in a different way than orally or through literature. Sometimes I like a light, fluffy story, like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Slumdog Millionaire (yes, I know there were deep truths in there, but I saw it as fluffy.) Sometimes I like a story that makes my brain work, like Forrest Gump (I have hope I'll get it someday!) or Babel. And sometimes I like the stories that aren't fun at all, that really stink and hurt and make me sad, like The Kite Runner, or Hotel Rwanda. If a film is well-written, beautifully filmed, and cleanly acted, all the better. But I liked The Sound of Music, too. Sometimes it's all about the entertainment.

Sometimes, about a film I've mentioned, someone will say, "Ah, don't waste your time." I realize that's just an opinion, and a valid one, but maybe I want to waste some time. Maybe I want to sit in a darkened theater, popcorn in hand, watching a story like Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, a truly wretched film that can be summed up in the lines, "Anakin!" "Padme!" "Anakin!" "Padme!" "You make me sad!" "I'm mostly dead!" (May have mixed my films there, but you get the idea.) Just because it's awful doesn't mean it's not entertaining. In fact, we have a blast here at the farm, throwing out cheesy lines from that film.

I don't know where you stand on this, and I would like to hear. I imagine I will find out that just as many of us like the high-art films as like the cheesy-happy ones. It's a good thing there's a little variety out there.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tired

I have been really tired these past two days. I don't know if I'm sleeping right at night, and my mom landed herself in the hospital again, so I've been worrying. Maybe the two are related. I'm too tired to know anymore! G'night.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pro-Life Corner

"Abortion and 'mercy killing' are hopeless solutions to human problems in a sinful world, but God has words of hope no matter what the situation: 'Choose life, that you and your offspring may live' (Deuteronomy 30:19.)"

Linda Bartlett

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday Farm Report

Cold, cold, cold here today. We had some more snow this week; about 4 inches. It shut down the local schools. I have to laugh at that. When I was a kid, (here I go, talking Geezer again!) we went to school unless it was -15 at 6am. This week, it was -5 wind chill (not even real temperature) and they closed the schools. Most of the kids don't even walk to school anymore; it's busses or Mom's taxi. Maybe I'm just jealous; I had chapped knees most winters, walking to school in those dresses and knee socks!

Today was up and at 'em, cleaning stalls, buying hay and shavings, and feeding critters. Miss Mary has been promised a Border collie, and we are fortunate enough to have two free ones from which to choose! Granted, they are both Border collie mixes, but they look right and the price is certainly right! One is a three-week-old puppy, and the other is a two-year-old dog. I think she's leaning toward the puppy; the jury is still out!

We also got a call from a sweet boy whose family we know, asking if we would meet them for some sledding. How could we say no? So, after farm chores and visiting the dogs, we headed for the sledding hill. We spent about 45 minutes sliding and freezing before the other family had to head home. We decided to head for McDonald's and hot chocolate. Now we have a nice, relaxing Saturday night ahead of us, with church in the morning.

And big decisions to be made about dogs...

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Year 1000

So, I've jumped into this book. I'd like to say I did so with both feet, but it's taken me five days to read two chapters! Life just got in the way.

This is a book of 12 chapters, each headed with a drawing from the Julius Work Calendar. The calendar itself was meant as a learning tool for young monks. A line of Latin verse for each day of the regular year was likely chanted by the oblates as they learned the routine of the life they were choosing. A picture of the month's secular activities, and a listing of each month's zodiac sign, helped them remember where they were in the year. A short sentence each day helped them learn which saint they would be commemorating that day.

Their simple, short (most adults died in their forties) lives, lived in service to God, were lived, ironically, according to this calendar. Ironically because, although we take them for granted, calendars were very important and loudly debated at the time. In England, where this calendar was written, those who were influenced by Irish monks when reckoning time dickered with those who followed the Roman calendar, on which the Julius Work Calendar is based. And the whole point was figuring out which saint's day it was, so that person could be commemorated.

This was not a time when people doubted the existence of good and evil, God and Satan. God and Satan were living entities who must be obeyed or avoided. Recognizing a saint on his or her day was not like taking in a Presidents' Day sale. The life and personality of each of these revered people was read, learned, digested and passed on to the next generation. After all, these were real people who had suffered and died, just like the readers, and could be emulated along the long walk to Heaven.

Regular folks of this time spoke Old English, the language of Beowulf and King Arthur (although we read about him from the French.) Here's a fun quote I found in the middle of the second chapter;

"Computer analysis of the English language as spoken today shows that the hundred most frequently spoken words are all of Anglo-Saxon origin:the, is, you--the basic building blocks. When Winston Churchill wanted to rally the nation in 1940, it was to Anglo-Saxon that he turned: 'We shall fight on the beaches; we shall fight in the fields and the streets; we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.' All these stirring words came from the Old English as spoken in the year 1000, with the exception of the last one, surrender, a French import that came with the Normans in 1066..."

Irony. The English are really good at it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Over the River...

Today we'll be off the farm, visiting Grandma. She needs some help with her car, and the family fixer is in the town next to us. So we'll head down, get her car, and bring it up. While there, we'll probably clean something, eat something, buy something, and maybe cook something. Just a day in the life.

Speaking of which, we're hearing that there will be snow tonight and tomorrow. We'll potentially be blessed with up to 9 inches of global warming. Well, I always figure that, if it's going to be cold, we may as well have snow. That way we can strap on narrow boards or belly flop onto a sheet of plastic and hurtle at unsafe speeds toward the trees at the bottom of the hill. What fun!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

You say DMV, I Say SOSO

Whenever the characters of a television show or film say, "And I had to go to the DMV," it is obvious to an Illinoisan that that writer is not from Illinois. It's especially jarring when the script calls for the action to take place in Illinois; for example, the late television series ER. Illinois doesn't have a DMV; our motor vehicle issues are handled by the Secretary of State's Office, or the SOSO. And, when you have to go there, you may as well send up an SOS!

As in other states, the SOSO exists to handle all the licensing, tax and registration issues of the vehicles in the state. The SOSO (ironically, that's the quality of the service provided there...) also tests and licenses drivers here in Illinois. Today I had to go in and renew the license plates for our pick-up. This gets done every year and is anticipated with much the same joy as a visit to the dentist. Like the dentist, we have to go at least twice a year, because the plates for our cars expire in different months. Last year my driver's license expired, so I got the fun of heading into the SOSO for another visit mid-year.

Today's visit was as pleasant as can be expected. When you walk in the door, you can expect to be greeted by the personnel at the Information Desk, or the ID. In most establishments, the ID exists to give information; if you know what you're doing, you don't have to bother stopping. However, in the SOSO, the ID Desk exists more as a Gatekeeper. You have to talk to the personnel, tell them why you're there, ("I'm renewing my plates") show them the relevant paperwork to get the job done, ("Yes, I have my old registration and the mailing I got to remind me to come in") and then follow their direction to the letter (don't step to the left of the rope line if they tell you to step to the right, even if no one is there and the end result of your motion is the same.) In the past, I've had conversations like this; "Why are you here?" "To renew my driver's license." "You'll need your renewal paperwork, or else you'll have to go back home and get it." "I have it right here," pulling it out of my purse. "Oh." Their disappointment was palpable. There is some bit of joy involved when a member of the SOSO personnel sends someone out for further documentation. This is not bitterness on my part; this is actual observation of the grins they share when the "offender" leaves.

Today, shock of shocks, there was no one at the ID. Although there was a long line to transfer titles, the line to pay for the transactions at the cashier's window was very short, with only one person ahead of me in that line. As I headed toward the window, I fully expected to hear, "Stop! Where are you going?" behind me, but I did not. I paid my bill and was out within 5 minutes.

Not without feeling very juvenile and moronic, though. Another function of the SOSO personnel must be to make the people of Illinois feel like we've been hauled into the principal's office, or getting lectured by Dad. I asked a question today; big mistake. I asked why the plates I was paying for were cheaper than the plates I have to pay for at the end of the month. She held up my registration and pointed at the due date, "These plates expired on December 31," she said. (Yeah, I drove illegally in that vehicle for 6 days. But that's besides the point.) Her tone was the type reserved for explaining long division to fourth graders, or, worse, adding and carrying over to first graders. "The plates that expire at the end of January," (emphasis hers) are $20 more. After January 1, the price for plates is going up $20." (Emphasis again hers.) Now, I should have felt silly, not knowing that. I didn't because I haven't been paying attention to Illinois legislation news. I've been preoccupied with the Federal legislation news. No, my feelings of chastisement came from the tone with which she addressed me.

I just know I won't get to have dessert tonight, even if I do finish all my carrots.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Free Range Funny

I picked up a copy of the Jan/Feb issue of Hobby Farms magazine today. In the Reader Resume section, a monthly feature on well, a reader, I found this gem. Thanks, Ike Johnson, for making me laugh out loud.

Free-range sounds so pure and wholesome when you are buying poultry for the table, but in practice, it is a constant carpet of crap.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Pro-Life Corner

"When we view abortion through the lens of our Christian faith we do not see a moral issue that needs correcting or a political issue that needs strategizing. We see a spiritual issue that takes priority. The child in the womb belongs to God formed by His hands and purchased by His blood. Abortion not only assaults human life, it assaults the Creator and Redeemer of human life"

Rev. Dr. James I. Lamb

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Saturday Farm Report

Frigid cold today. We woke up to -5 with -22 wind chills. Right now it's "warmer," 6 degrees with -11 wind chills. The horses stayed in until about noon and so did the kids.

Mom and Dad, though, headed out to run a quick errand. Just one. All we had to do was buy horse dewormer at Farm and Fleet. We ended up having coffee with some friends, buying a birthday gift, (shh...it's a soft pink pig with glasses for a certain 3 year-old I know!) some dog food and some people food, some good stuff at the thrift store, and having lunch. Oh, and we did remember the horse dewormer. It wouldn't have been the first time that we headed out for something specific and forgot it. But we didn't.

What is it about heading out for errands that turns it into an all-day event? We kept thinking of things we "need" and our wanting to be home by 12 turned into being home at 3. I feel like we wasted the day, despite getting done some things we really needed to get done. Try as I may, organization often eludes me. That's probably the biggest chunk of our worries; not doing what we want because we did what we "needed."

Although we did need dog food, people food and a birthday gift. Just gotta find a way to organize those trips better....

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Resolution.

I have been thinking, these past few months, that I need to get back into reading. Not that I don't read. I read instructions, teachers' manuals, e-mails, and even some novels, if I've assigned them to Mary. But reading for my own fun or even edification has been rare for the past, um, five years or so. I've been trying to come up with a scheme, a plan, a project, to encourage me to read.

Well, someone came up with one for me. I found a blog at Medieval Bookworm which announced a Tournament of Reading for 2010. For those of you not inclined to follow links, she is challenging readers to read at least 3 medieval books; "medieval" meaning 500-1500, and literature from all over the world is included. Seems many people think the Middle Ages happened only in western Europe, while the rest of the world floated in suspended animation or something.

Now, I happen to find that time period the most fascinating of all. And I happen to like western Europe most of all. So I will shoot for reading six books this year. At least one will be a history, one a piece of medieval literature, and one a piece of historical fiction. That will put me at the level of Lord; 3 books of any kind makes one a Peasant, and nine books, at least two of each kind, a King. I may aspire to Kingship, but I'll be content with Lordship (Ladyship?)

Today I started reading a history, titled The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium: An Englishman's World. To be honest, I've read this before, but I remember very little of it. It was one of those times when I should have been reading a children's novel, and I read a history. I'll bet you've had those! So I'm hoping this will "count;" not that anyone, besides, maybe, you, will be checking up on me! I'll try, as the year goes on, to let you know how I'm doing and what I've been reading. Maybe you'll even be interested.

Oh, and if you're interested enough to do this yourself, she has posted a list of suggested titles for reading. Just go to the blog itself, not the post about the Tournament, and page down a few days. They're right there, on December 26!