Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday Farm Report

We had about 2" of nice, gentle rain last night. The garden and lawn are so happy; my horse, less so. Hope is not a "mudder;" maybe that's why she wouldn't get into the trailer again today. She did fine on Thursday, but balked today. That's probably the excuse she would use, but I think it's pure laziness.

We had Jackie and Bucky out this week for swimming in the pond. My desktop is also balking today, and my laptop is just too doggone slow to upload photos, so I'll have to wait until Monday or so to share the photos I took.

Friday night we had a special meal for my birthday. Keri and Kris were nice enough to make me ribs, corn on the cob, salad with raspberries and blueberries, and strawberry shortcake with cream whipped by Mary. It was a delicious meal, topped off with coffee and Bailey's, John's contribution. All in all, a good day.

Today has been grey until now. It's also been cooler, but still extremely humid. Enough to curl my stick-straight hair! As if I should complain. John will be home for the next two weeks, with short interruptions for paying work. We'll finally be getting done some desperately needed farm work. And some desperately needed rest.

For now, though, it's Saturday afternoon. The sun just poked out, the cicadas are humming, and it's a soft, quiet afternoon. Just right for napping. So, guess what I'll do next? Yep. Head to work. Have a nice evening!

Friday, July 30, 2010

They Fought For You

I turn 51 today. I want to thank all the men and women of the military for making it possible for me to have a safe, happy birthday. I will always be grateful.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Daily Work

It just never ends. I spent Monday and Tuesday just slogging through life, getting things done as I went along. Today, there's still a to-do list as long as my arm.

Someone who was not Christian once asked me if I really thought I'd like sitting on a cloud all day with a harp. Hey, after all this work...that would be delightfully mind-numbing!

Tried to mow the lawn today. Mower wouldn't start. Went shopping instead, for feed and hamburger for supper. (I have a freezer full of the stuff, but had forgotten to take it out to thaw. It was too late to try the plastic-bag-in-the-sink trick, and we don't own a microwave.) Sue at the Feed store and I had a little chat about the upcoming fair, and I ordered broiler chicks for mid-September.

After lunch, I made some chocolate chip cookies. The grandchildren will be over tonight, and, last time, I was told, "Grandma, you haven't made cookies in a while." It reminded me of Calvin and Hobbes; especially, the many times Calvin would list his dad's "approval ratings" as a father. I figured I wanted mine to be high, and I had butter and chocolate chips, so, what the hey, I made cookies.

I mixed grain, organized a little in the barn, and headed inside.

Now I have to start supper. What was it my friend said? "There's no rest for the wicked, and the righteous don't need any." Bah.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Family Business

I went today to help fulfill one of my mom's requests. In 1958, my parents had a son. Paul Lee lived only 24 hours, and was ultimately buried at the feet of my paternal grandmother, who had died only a couple of years before. My mom asked that, after she died, we move Paul to the foot of her grave (or thereabouts.)

That meant dealing with two cemeteries, two county governments and a funeral director. As if that wasn't complicated enough, 52 years had not been kind to the remains of a 7-month infant buried in a simple container. Eddie the gravedigger dug carefully, but all that was found was discolored soil. We filled a small container with it, leaving some and his marker at the original cemetery. We took the container to the new one, interring him right over Mom's heart/lap area.

We then went to a local, family-owned monument company, where we picked out what looks to be a simple, dignified marker. It will have a little camping (their favorite activity) scene along with the names of my parents and brother.

Every piece of this day was handled quietly, personably and with great respect. I am so thankful!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Wonderful Day

What a glorious day! I was up early, but not too early, and, after eating, headed for the garden. Got another planting of green beans, carrots, lettuces and radishes in. I fed the critters. I mowed the strawberries. (You know, I shoulda taken a picture of that. It would have helped when I post about the strawberry renovation I'm working on. Oh, well.) I picked the hot peppers. Then I got heat exhaustion. Really. I had been working about two hours, and realized I was hot, shaky, headachy and not thinking clearly. I headed inside, where I tried the Cure; a glass of water. Didn't work fast enough, so I got into a cool shower. What a lovely thing that was!

I recovered quickly, and, after lunch, got my minions to help me clean house. After a nap, I rode my horse. I haven't had time to do that in ages, and it was lovely. She's learning to neckrein, at the age of 18. As that appears, according to this website, to be about 42 years in human years, well, she's younger than I, and should be able to learn! But, given that I've never really taught a horse much of anything, I'm feeling pretty good about it. Especially since I ended my ride with a nice wash-up and a Shiner Bock!

Tonight Jay and Kris are cooking dinner for us; ribeyes, corn on the cob, potatoes au gratin (well, I did make those) and some of that cucumber salad I mentioned the other day. I can smell the mesquite and the potatoes, so I'd better let you all go. Here's something to enjoy while you're surfing the web tonight.

Monday, July 26, 2010

We had some terrific storms late last week, which gave us about 5" or so of rain. Rain is a good thing. I didn't realize how good until we moved to the country. Our income has never, and still doesn't, depend on the weather and the growing season, and may never depend on that. We've had lots of opportunities, though, to observe those around us who do depend on the weather and good crops to put food on their tables. By that, I don't just mean a good crop of tomatoes in the family garden. I'm talking about the folks around here, mostly corn and soybean growers, who work doggone hard to get a good crop each year. Sometimes they even get one.

Last year it really hit home to us, because the hay harvest was so nasty. We had already struggled with bad corn and soybeans causing our animals' feeds to go up significantly in price during the previous two summers. Finally it hit the hay, which is just dry grass, after all, and not so susceptible to weather and other factors. With the long, cool, wet spring we had, followed by a cool, wet summer, the hay was stemmy and sparse and often rotted in the field before it could be baled. The price went up, even for the garbagy stuff that resulted. Our "hay guy" drove up to Green Bay, Wisconsin, before he found hay good enough for his customers, which include one of the local feed stores. We paid painful prices for good hay last summer. While we're getting better hay locally this year, it seems the price isn't going down much. That's more a factor of people like us being willing to pay more last year; why bring the price down now?

This year, though, we seem to be getting good rain at good times. The temperatures and the sun seem to be cooperating to produce healthy plants and what looks to be a good crop, come September and October. Stay tuned...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pro-Life Corner

Along with the facts about abstinence, parenting, adoption and abortion, it is important for parents to talk with their teens before a crisis. Teens needs to know there is nothing they could ever do that could not be handled with God's help.

Lutherans For Life

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Funny

Thanks to my dad, a chuckle for you all;

All eyes were on the radiant bride as her father escorted her down the aisle. They reached the altar and the waiting groom; the bride kissed her father and placed something in his hand. The guests in the front pews responded with ripples of laughter. Even the priest smiled broadly. As her father gave her away in marriage, the bride gave him back his credit card.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thursday Totals

14 cups of grated zucchini, frozen in small packages for winter baking.

13 loaves of zucchini bread in the freezer. Make that 12. There's also a loaf of banana bread in there. (Elisha, Kris, Jay's fiance, says her mom freezes these breads all the time, and they thaw wonderfully.)

About a gallon and a half of dill pickles, um, pickling, in brine in the frig.

One chocolate zucchini cake, which everyone agreed was delicious.

A little more than half a gallon of cucumber salad dressed with olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Yum. We'll probably get tired of eating it before we run out of it, but it's going to be "Yum" until then!

Six garlic braids, made from the garlic I dug on Monday. I also boiled about a third of those Red Pontiac potatoes from Monday. They'll be potato salad, au gratin potatoes, hash browns and other yummy concoctions over the next week or so.

May I go to bed now?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday--What To Do With All That Zucchini Edition

The Pack

We're a bit overrun with critters these days. We've actually got the farmyard animals under control; 2 horses, 4 sheep, 2 goats. The goats are headed for the freezer, as are 2 of the sheep. Then there are about 15 hens and 10 turkeys; those last are also headed for the freezer.

But inside...Inside...We have 4 dogs, 2 cats, a turtle and a guinea pig. Hammie the guinea pig is visiting with Keri, and the turtle is a hatchling we're fostering until fall. We've done this before; found a youngling outside in late spring, raised it until fall, and then let it go. The first time, I called the Chicago Herpetological Society for advice, hoping they would suggest we let it go. Ethan was younger, and was very excited to have found this little thing. It still had its egg tooth, which suggested it was less than 48 hours old. But, no, I was told that, at that age, they're raccoon bait. The best thing for the turtle (but what about ME?) was to raise it inside for the summer, and then let it go into a pond in the fall. So we did, and are doing that again with the little one we found this year.

The dogs. We have Henry, the 5 year-old corgi, who Mary took to obedience class this spring, placing 4th in the county. We'll be heading to State fair in late August. Skye is her dog, the Border collie mix she adopted this past winter. Skye was "too young" to go to class this spring, although she's been learning apace with Henry when Mary has time to school her. Jip, the Jack Russell mix, is not getting along well with Skye. He is more of a suburban dog than a farm dog, we're finding, and is going to need a new home. One of my jobs, now that we're out from under, is to find that home for him. And Rambo, the wonder Cheweenie, (chihuahua/dachshund mix) is also visiting with Keri, although John may hide him from her when she and Matthew move out and tell her he ran away. The two of them are forging quite the bond.

And the cats. We have Four Socks, who will stay here until she dies, which may be sooner rather than later, if she insists on continuing to escape periodically. And then there's Buster, I mean, Nero, who belongs to Jay and Kris. THEY'D BETTER COME GET HIM SOON, before John really gets tired of him jumping on the counters and falling in the toilets and digging in the plants and hiding in the cabinets, and scratching up the sofas and dressers and sleeping in the napkin basket and...

I know you've all met them before, but I thought I'd remind you of the chaos, I mean, joy, that fills our home. As I always say, "Pets add so much to our lives!"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sorry, Guys, But...

I've had to go to moderated comments. Seems our friends to the Far East have decided I need their porn, and have begun posting here to entice me. I don't really want to subject my Stalkers to that, so I'll delete those things before you have to see them. You're welcome!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Out From Under

I've been laying low since my mom passed away. I've been just getting done what needs to be done.

Well, this weekend, I decided that I had to re-engage with my life. I had a garden that was overflowing with produce...and weeds. I had a house full of hairballs so big they were being mistaken for the actual animals. And I just felt like it was time. Not time to move on, of course. We'll revisit the grief and mourning thing again and again, I'm sure. But time to re-engage.

So this morning I dropped Mary off at VBS, where she is a worker bee, skit participant and snack deliverer. I headed home to feed the critters, and then hit the garden. I emptied two beds.

The first one, above, was full of potatoes and peas at one time. The peas were pulled out a couple of weeks ago; today, I dug the potatoes. There were Red Pontiac and Yukon Gold. I've used my size 10 foot to try to show how many potatoes I dug. Of course, you could count, but I didn't think of that. Hadn't had a second cup of coffee yet!

Jip got involved with the digging. At one point, I caught him snitching a potato. He ate it. Yep, we have a vegetarian dog. He also eats my morning glory vines. Speaking of those, I finally got a bloom today.

It always makes me sad to see a photograph of these. The camera just can't capture that purple. As pretty as the picture is, it pales in comparison to the real deal.

In this second bed, I found broccoli, garlic, beets and some onions. I have a problem growing onions. In the past, I would plant sets and, after caring for them, get a slightly larger set. Not anywhere near an onion! One year I planted plants, and got decent-sized onions. This year, I couldn't find plants, so I planted sets. Hope springs eternal. Well, you know what happened. No sooner were those puppies in the ground and I found plants! Sure enough, this year, the plants faded and disappeared. The sets, well, the sets did what they usually did, although I did get a couple of decent-sized onions out of them. Maybe I should just give up on onions.

Oh, and I found a single celery plant in there, too!

I looked around in a couple of other beds, too, and found pickles, cucumbers, tomatoes, and Swiss chard. I noticed the my peppers are being very prolific, and need to be picked. I also noticed the the cantaloupe is setting some fruit; I'll have to thin them. I also need to cover those first two beds with some compost, till it in, and plant again. I'll plant beans, lettuce, spinach and Swiss chard. I'll also move some strawberries from our strawberry bed. I plan to kill that off, because it's overrun with weeds from 4 years of growing. I'll cover the area with a tarp to kill off all the vegetation. Then, after the berries peter out next summer, I'll replant that area for 2012.

I'm thinking ahead to 2012. Guess I really have come out from under!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pro-Life Corner

The Bible tells us that only in the heavenly home will we come to know the meaning of perfection. (Revelation 7:16-17) Our neighbors, whose beautiful little girl is suffering from a brain tumor, will not have to wonder why she should be afflicted in this way for there will be no disease and imperfections that we live with while here on earth. We will not see bodies dying of malnutrition, and no more tears will be shed...Is it no wonder that St. Paul, knowing the heavenly home awaited him, said, "For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21)

A Life Quote from Lutherans For Life

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

+Nancy Kruger+

Sometime between 4:30 and 9am today, my mom went to be with Jesus. It's been pointed out to me that her earthly father died on this date 31 years ago. We are in mourning, but rejoicing in that now she is face-to-face with her Savior.

Update; No, I was wrong about that date. Today was my parent's 53rd wedding anniversary. Her father died on July 9.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Tiamat, the Mesopotamian god of primordial chaos, would seem likely to be comfortable in our house these days. We have had houseguests since Saturday. The previous Saturday-Tuesday, Mary and I traveled to Oklahoma to get Keri. The Thursday and Friday before that, we had more houseguests, and, the Thursday through Sunday before that, we had still more houseguests. -whew-

Before I rest, though, I have to think through further chaos...Henry, the corgi, Skye, the Border collie mix, and Jip, the Jack terrier mix, live here. So do Four Socks (inside) and Dinah (outside.) Then we have the orphans; Nero and Zoe. Those last four contribute cat hair to the mix. Two horses, two goats and assorted poultry figure in there, too.

Yes, I've been washing towels daily, and cooking for at least 12 for three meals a day, and cleaning constantly, in between loads of laundry, garden work, and critter care. And then there's the towel washing.

In there, also, we had a couple of rainstorms. No, I have not had time to get all the mud up off of the floors.

I should be a looney woman.

But I have been blessed with flexible houseguests who eat whatever I put before them, and sleep wherever their head is lying at bedtime. I have wonderful family who pitch in and clean or cook whatever needs doing. (Although Ethan did sneak out of town before we woke this morning; he's off on a short CAP adventure.)

So, Tiamat, begone! Our lives and our home are under control and happy. Take that, you monstrous mother of sea serpents, dragons and merpeople!!


Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Fourth

From John Adams, via Wikipedia;

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.

Leave it to lawyers. The 2nd is the date of our legal separation from Great Britain. The 4th is the date the Congress finally adopted the Declaration of Independence.

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

In thanks for those patriots who pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor those 234 years ago, and in thanks to those who continue to do so today, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in the US. I can never repay them.

Saturday Farm Report

One of the joys of country living is that people love to visit. Now, being a little extroverted, I call it a joy. John, not an extrovert, calls it a vocation. Yes, providing vacations for others is our vocation. That means that we're realistic about the details, but look forward to the fun.

This weekend cousins from Iowa have joined us. Tonight we settled down for a movie, complete with popcorn, and the artillery was pounding. By that, I mean the fireworks. Yes, we have fireworks in the country. The difference is, almost every homeowner treats his neighbor to a pyrotechnic show. We do not; we just watch theirs! Tonight was a little scary, though, especially for the horses. Suffice it to say that these would make terrible cavalry steeds! The noise really had them upset.

Tomorrow there'll be more noise, so I don't anticipate any riding. But the Fourth is one of my favorite holidays!

Friday, July 2, 2010

It's Been a While!

We've had houseguests, and that trip to Oklahoma. Now we're back in the saddle, so to speak, and almost recovered. Just in time for more company to drop in tomorrow!

Today was a catch-up day. Some provisions were procured; among them,a lovely bunch of trout, which Keri packaged in foil so that John could grill them until they were YUM. I dug some potatoes; our first in three years!! I think the raised beds are a hit. At least they are for me!! My mom boiled them and made her famous parslied new potatoes. We had a salad from the garden, some peas with pearl onions (from the freezer section) and a Sauvignon Blanc. Oh. My.

Hay was acquired today, and loaded into the barn. We're good until mid-September. Keri and I picked some black raspberries, which will become ice cream for the 4th. We'll get some more tomorrow (the mosquitoes chased us in) and they'll become jam, and I think we'll get some mulberries and red raspberries for jam, too. Mary worked with Wakiya, and Keri and I both rode Hope. Not at the same time, of course.

All in all, a good Friday. Hope yours was, too!