The Week was a Whirlwind!

I’m sorry I’ve been gone.  I had a wonderful, lazy birthday last week.  I wore my new red birthday jammies to bed and got up on Friday and let the dogs out.  Then I let the dogs in.  Then I wished I hadn’t.  Guess who messed with a guess what  – FOR THE 3RD TIME!  This time was the charm for the skunk.  Lexi took a direct hit.  Gagging and foaming at the mouth right onto my brand new red birthday jammies!!  Oh my Lord, the smell!!!!!  And Joel had come home on my birthday to spend the weekend and he got to enjoy a cold, skunky house.  At least he was so glad to be home that he didn’t mind too much.  The last of the smell lingers in the laundry room and I am only so thankful that the sewing room was moved OUT of there.

Joel was very impressed with the shelves that Kristen and I put up and when he did a Lowe’s run on Saturday to get lumber for the base of the new pond dock, we picked up the lattice for the back of the shelves in the sewing room.  We will definitely need to work on the lighting down there; even with 3 lamps it’s a little dim.

Friday night Karra and I went work-clothes shopping with our friend, Penny.  We overwhelmed the new career girl!  We both would say, “just buy it to get the great price now and you can always return it.”  She only had so much money and it flustered her not to know how much she was spending.  I’ll be returning some things for her and I told her whatever is over her budget we will pick up the tab for her.  We had a good time other than that and Karra was satisfied with her purchases.  She looked so professional as she headed off on her first day of work.

Monday I took Luke for a walk at the park and I could still walk yesterday!!  He didn’t tire as easy, but he insisted on smelling every stick he peed on the week before.  He did excellent with other dogs and bike riders.  The only dog he growled at looked just like him!  Silly puppy.  We passed a couple when we were almost back to the parking lot and he just laid down in the grass like, I’m so beat.  I wish like crazy I could take him today, but I’m too busy.  Yesterday Kurt got his lower braces on and the rams went to the butcher.  We loaded up the old van and drove away.  I was kind of heavy hearted all day and tried really hard not to think of sweet Toulouse having to go there.  What’s done is done and it’s the reason that we kept them.  And it appears that Moe managed to nail Honeysuckle ahead of their group meet-up.  She looks ready to explode!  We’re thinking another week at the most.  Men – they always find a way, don’t they?

Also on Monday I fell for an online scam.  I can’t believe I was so stupid!!   An alarm started going off on my laptop and completely freaked me out.  I called the number that came up in the warning box – STUPID!!!  Vaguely, in the back of my mind, I thought, is this really Microsoft?  The guy was so nice and gave me his name and technician number and the name of the company and I STUPIDLY let him run a remote diagnostic on my laptop and make the alarm go off.  When he said I had a firewall breech and he could fix it remotely for $200, I said, “you know, I have a friend that’s a computer guru (Penny’s friend really) and I’ll have him take a look and see what he thinks.”  And the guy was so nice and said I shouldn’t use my laptop until I got it cleaned up and de-bugged.  AND THE WHOLE THING WAS A SCAM!!  At least I had the presence of mind NOT to give up a credit card number.  It’s really creepy how people can just jump into your laptop like that.  Penny’s friend has my baby (laptop baby) all better and she didn’t think he’d found any viruses on it which makes me so grateful – still feeling extremely stupid, but grateful.  And there’s a nice, yummy cherry pie cooling on the counter for him 😀

As I stood at the kitchen sink, pitting cherries and making pie crust I couldn’t help but think how nice it will be to look out the window and see the garden going again.  We’re going to put in the grape vines this year and I’m hoping to plant raspberry and blackberry vines as well.  This 50 degree weather in February has got my gardening juices going!!  We had thunder and lightening last night!!  And we could see a few flurries tomorrow.  What a crazy winter.  But at least I didn’t have to wash my van – just parked it outside last night.  I’m so brilliant  NOT!!!

And That’s What’s Happening on the Hobby Farm

I Can’t Possibly Hurt This Much

Ah, Monday.  The weather was beautifully pleasant and above freezing!  So, I decided to take Lexi to the metro park for a walk.  Karra just HAD to come (even though she was there to run in the morning) and she brought Luke.  Dogs.  Park.  People.  BAD IDEA!  The walk itself was wonderful – the same 3 miles that Karra had run earlier that day.  It was really pleasant and a part of the park I’d never been in before.  The dogs were pretty good too (on the first half of the walk).  Once Luke got tired, he stopped pulling on the leash and walked quite well.  He did have to pee on every stick he saw;  must be a guy thing.  Merrily we walked along to the half way point where we would turn around and head back.  And then the people started appearing out of the asphalt.  And Lexi was firmly convinced that she must eat, or at least threaten to eat all people, bikers, joggers, etc. that she saw.  By the time we walked the mile and a half back to the car I could hardly hold onto her anymore.  She definitely needs a gentle leader to control the lunging and carrying on.  But the walk felt so good!  And I was so glad that I went in spite of the ginormous cramp in my calf.

Tuesday morning my body wanted to know what possessed me to exercise in the first place and to take a 3 mile walk with dogs in the second place.   I MUST have been insane!!  My right hip flexor hardly worked and my shins felt like they’d been kicked by all 3 cows multiple times.  I hobbled and groaned every time I got up and had to literally lurch forward to get myself going.  The only reason I can think of for the hip pain is how many times I had to plant my leg to brace myself against Lexi and haul her back.  My oldest brother texted me a Happy Birthday picture with his new grandson (he’s always a couple days early with my birthday, but it’s the thought that counts, right?) and I had to tell him I actually feel older now.  I hurt in places that haven’t hurt for 20 years!!!!

Oh, but that walk felt so good and I can’t wait to do it again.  Sadly, Karra will not be able to accompany me anymore.  She works tomorrow and Saturday and I have to grocery shop on Friday and she starts her new grown up job next Monday.  Her childhood is officially over on Feb. 1st.  The next time I get a chance to walk – maybe tomorrow – I’ll take Luke along since he tires out like I do and doesn’t feel the need to eat the local populace.

Oh, Lord, my poor shins are killing me!!!!

And That’s What’s Happening on the Hobby Farm.

Quick Catch Up

I know my blog family has missed me – I’ve missed me too.

I’ve been struggling with the depression a bit over the last couple of weeks.  I ended up with a chest cold after Black Friday – totally explained the massive headache I had that day that I blamed on only one mug of coffee before we left instead of the whole pot!  My SIL and niece were really great about my pooping out – I literally fell asleep on the floor at Loft while they shopped!  Karra kept saying, “Mom, Mom!” so that I would wake up and not fall over and drool or something else equally as embarrassing.  I’m having a deja vue moment – have I told you this already?

Anyway, I saw my doc this morning and she’s upping my dosage  a bit to see if we can bring me back to a more normal level (for me anyway) and get me focusing again.

So . . . .   I have the Christmas cards almost done and I took pictures to post for you (we’ve exeded our Exede, but I’ll try to get them online anyway) and was putting the inserts in last night and then folding the Christmas letter and I ran out of 2-sided tape.  Ugh.  So I sealed up the ones I had gotten done and then realized that I needed to put Kurt’s and Kristen’s birthday pictures in – so I pulled out all of the ones that need pictures so that I can open them up and insert pictures.  I had to find some stickers to help them reseal afterward :p  I’m reduced to using a glue stick to put the rest of the inserts into the Christmas cards.  I’m really happy with how they turned out and in the future I hope I will remember to only print enough Christmas letters to go in the cards that I put the letter into and not for the whole stack of cards I send out!  It cost $40 to get the letter printed – because she cheerfully used a glossy paper stock without asking if that’s what I wanted!!  I should have bought the ink and done them at home – that would have only cost me $45!  Of course, the paper wouldn’t be as nice and I’d have to clean the print head every 10 papers, but I would have only printed the 25 that I need – see, I told you I was having trouble.

I did talk to my Mom late last week and she sounded much better than she did a few days after her partial knee replacement.  She had gotten so discouraged about the therapy machine – 6 HOURS A DAY! and finally told the therapist she wasn’t doing it anymore.  Once the staples were out and weren’t pulling on her skin she could sleep better and she doesn’t have a cane or a walker, so she’s moving around their small house much better.  My Dad sounded really relieved that she was more cheerful (after all he’s the grumpy old fisherman!).

Which brings me around to today.  I was leaving Meijer with a few groceries after my chiropractor and doctor visits when the old phone rings.  “Mom, did you let the chickens out today?”  Um, no.  “Well, Lexi has the rooster and it looks dead.”  Which rooster?   “Not the silky one.”  Ok, breathing can return to normal.  I arrive home and Kristen tells me that Big Foot is okay, but when she found him he was lying on his back with his feet in the air and one leg was shaking.  I was sure I was coming home to a rooster with at least a broken leg.  So, we start investigating to find out how the dogs got the rooster, and it turned out that someone hadn’t pulled the chicken coop door all the way closed this morning after he filled the feed tubes.  The cows had decided to go in and visit the chicken coop – isn’t that a sight, cows INSIDE the chicken coop!  And when the dogs wanted to go outside to run around and bark at the world, they went under the gate and into the pasture to look for tasty morsels of poop and found an open chicken coop with live chickens!  On the positive side we only lost one Barred Rock – it was gross and she was eaten.  The real trauma came when we couldn’t find our silkie, Brik.  He had simply vanished.  We couldn’t even find a feather!  We looked and looked and called and called and no little silkie rooster.  I was about to give up when he sauntered into the barn as calm as could be.  We have no idea where he was hiding out, but it was a good and safe spot.  Big Foot is a traumatized mess – I should get a picture – with a bare spot on his back and only one long tail feather left.  I don’t know how Lexi didn’t kill him, but he must have put up a pretty good fight.  Maybe he won’t flog us anymore.  The hens may not lay for a few days, but most of the harem is still here.  From the original 15 chicks, 2 were roosters, Lady Grace (the surprise bantam hem) died when the weather turned cold, and we’ve lost one hen to dog terror.  11 hens and 2 roosters.  I should look for a couple of Easter eggers to fill in the gaps.

And That’s What’s Happening on the Hobby Farm.

Hello August!

I thought I should welcome the month before it disappears like July did.  I can’t even say that time is flying because we’re having fun – it’s just flying!!!

I know I promised the picture of the rainbow and I think I have a couple of others that need to be shared, but we’ve exceeded our Excede for the month and we’re on slow internet.  I’ve been up since before 5am this morning and could have loaded the pictures – except I discovered after turning the lights on and talking to the dogs and starting the coffee pot that the nephews were sleeping in the living room instead of upstairs like I thought. – Grrr.

So, I turned the lights off and tried to keep Lexi quiet, an impossible task.  She goes outside and announces to the world, ok, the neighborhood, that she’s up and going potty now.  Then she has to talk to her echo – carrying on a conversation with herself, just like a woman 🙂  And then she has to find a bone and play with it on the linoleum (I HATE that stuff by the way) thud, thunk, thud, thunk.  Come on, Lexi, it’s 5:30 in the morning and the boys are TIRED!!!

Joel’s brother came down with his boys yesterday and they took all of the kids “kayiyaking” and then all of them except Kristen went to see “Guardians of the Galaxy”.  Kris and I stayed home and watched “The Avengers” for the umpteenth time.  So, the majority of the people around here are worn out from fresh air and exercise.  Me?  I couldn’t sleep because of my back.

Why does my back hurt?  Well . . . . I’m not sure initially.  It was a little sore and I thought oh, I’ve tweaked a muscle, what’s new.  Then on Wednesday (or was it Tuesday) Kristen and I cleaned out the workshop of all of the spoiled, wet, wasted  hay and the lambing jug mess and moved the jug over into the new barn.  As I’m playing She-Rah and hauling the stall mat – those things weight a TON, ok, 80 lbs – I got it outside of the workshop and tripped, landing straight down on my knees on a chain lying in the grass.  (Kristen very courteously did NOT laugh out loud until later in the evening when we were talking about it).  Now, my knees are currently a beautiful shade of black and yellow and still sore to the touch, but I think hauling the 80 lb. mat might not have been so good for my back.  Then on Wednesday we put together the wood table that we got 2 years ago from some friends (it’s been lying in the basement and then I used it for the garage sale and then it sat in the garage for 6 weeks and it’s been lying back in the basement in pieces for 2 weeks).  We pushed and struggled to get the slightly damp pieces in place and Kristen screwed them together – she did all of the hard work, but MY back still felt a little sore.  AND yesterday while the family went kayiyaking I mopped the floor and cleaned my bathroom (pick yourselves up off of the floor), went grocery shopping (THE NEW MEIJER OPENED ON THURSDAY AND I AM SO EXCITED!) and lifted softner salt bags into the van, hauled groceries, unloaded the salt from the van and the groceries and put them away and walked the dogs – that counts since Luke is a leash puller.  Every time I rolled over last night I could feel my back, so I got up early only to discover the nephews sleeping in the living room.

On the bright side, the lambing jug looks great in the barn, Kristen hung my This Barn is Blessed sign that she made for me for Christmas (on the side of Joshua’s stall and I can see it from the house), we got the table put together and the bunnies moved out to the barn.  I scared the daylights out of Champ when I waltzed in to let the sheep out yesterday; the poor little guy knocked his feed container right off the cage he was so scared.  I did feel bad.  I have 10 loaves of zucchini bread in the freezer (not all from this week) and I made pickle relish for the first time – nobody told me to drain the stuff first so there’s a lot of liquid in the jar.  I figure that will help improve the taste and we can drain it when we open the jar – IF Joel will even eat.   AND I have Karra’s Official High School Transcript completed and all of the class descriptions typed except for 3 that I remembered in the middle of the night Thursday.  We’re off to visit another college on Monday. Hi Ho Hi Ho it’s off to colleges we go!

And That’s What’s Happening on the Hobby Farm.

Why I’m Satisfied with Older Things

I told Joel the other morning that the older I get the more I’m satisfied with less. Give me my animals and I’m happy. I really don’t care that my van is 13 years old and has over 260,000 miles on it. I really don’t mind. My house is as old as the van and probably has as many miles on it and could use some sprucing up, but I’m okay with it. I’d have a fit if the carpet were new and the dogs ran across it with muddy feet (or Lexi “used” it) or Hubby wore dirty shoes across it or put a greasy machine part on it. It’s better to have older stained & torn carpet then a heart attack every time someone lives in the house.

Now, I did just go on a clothes spree at the re-sale shop, but I haven’t paid much attention to my wardrobe in years (part of that slow downward spiral that took a long time to hit bottom and take it’s toll).  My fashionista, Karra, looked at my clothes and said,

“Mom, you have some cute clothes you just need more color.”

Aw, that’s so sweet.  So, we all went and tried on clothes and I found some tank tops (more neutral than colorful) and a pretty ferns & flowers blouse, and a summery sweater in shocking pink! and a gorgeous knit shirt (that makes me look like Dolly Parton) in a bright torquoise.  Sometimes you need to wear something different than the norm.  I even bought a skirt & followed it up with a pair of pantyhose!  Gosh, I haven’t worn a dress to church in an eternity – or since I outgrew my really nice dressy clothes and never replaced them.

I guess I’m not satisfied with my 10 year old wardrobe anymore, but honestly I’m not interested in having a showplace house that’s perfectly decorated and right out of a magazine – that’s just too much work.  I like to tell people “This is a working house.  If you want to see a showplace, I have a friend that lives down the road.”  And her house is gorgeous.  It’s well kept, neat and tidy despite the dog.  It’s just not us.  Hello, we live on a hobby farm!  Even before the animals we had 5 acres of clay that turns to mud when it rains, or snows, or dews, or just gets looked at.  And I wouldn’t trade my animals for anything (though a house on the beach is VERY tempting, but comes with its own set of messes, i.e., sand, dry sand, wet sand, sand, and more sand).

So, I’m content.  Not that I want the whole world to see my shabby happy palace.  Now, the carpet is mostly the fault of the installers who put a seam right down the center of the room – for real???  Of course, I did pick a white berber because it wasn’t brown and the only other choice was blue.  We thought we’d replace our floorings in 5 or so years (before I filled the living room with stuffed to the gills bookshelves and the huge entertainment armoire that I will love FOREVER – it’s an Ethan Allen and I got if for a song at Big Lots!!!), but let’s see 5 years after we moved in we had given birth to my bouncy baby boy, had gone to Florida on vacation, I had discovered homesteading and was thinking about chickens and cows and sheep or goats, oh my!  Actually, we went to Hawaii and then got chickens but that was in ’07.  And of course we’ve mostly built a barn and had and  lost animals and now have two fun and lovable dogs.  So, the carpet stays, the paint is nicked and dirty, the wall around the new window in my closet still needs to be drywall finished and repainted and the bonus room (someone’s college apartment) is still unfinished.   Buy hey, once the kids start rotating out we’ll be able to fix up the girls bedrooms (which need it much more than Kurt’s).

I guess in the long run, my kids are healthy, intelligent, gifted and blessed.  They’ve given their hearts to Jesus.  What else really matters?

And That’s What’s Reflecting on the Pond Today.

So Many Thoughts, So Little Memory

I’ve had so many good ideas over the last couple of days and of course nothing handy to jot them down.  Hopefully once the juices get flowing something will come back.

I’ll start with the most important thought of all . .  HE IS RISEN . . . He is Risen Indeed!  Happy Easter everyone.

I was thinking about sleep this morning, particularly how much more hopeful I feel when I’ve had enough of it.  Thursday night Kurt was staying up way too late at night playing a new video game and Lexi ended up staying out of her cage – and I got 9 HOURS of sleep!  It carried me through Friday until about 5pm which then meant that there was very little left of me at Good Friday service.  Last night, Joel left Lexi out of her cage when he went to bed around midnight and again I got a ton of sleep.  Of course based on the amount of “accidents” Miss Piddles has had in my house today she will be crated tonight!     I felt very rested yesterday and even though it was a long day and I had to push myself through some activities I was able to handle it.  And today i just felt rested.  Sleep is an amazing thing.

I’ve also been thinking about how I grew up a cat person.  I almost always had a cat.  From a little white stray named Whitey I moved to my first official cat, a black and white tabby I named Tammy O’Malley.  The vet would joke about my Irish cat, but I LOVED the Aristocats.  We ended up keeping two of Tammy’s last kittens, a male named Dizzy and a female my brother named Cermit the Kat – he liked the Muppets.  After my parents remarried and we moved Tammy ran away back to our old home.  The neighborhood kids told my Grandma they had seen my cat, but when we came to get her the people living there said they hadn’t seen her.  The neighbors said they were lying and the next time they saw my cat they grabbed her and took her up to my Grandma who kept her on the porch until we came to get her.  My Grandma hated cats.  It’s one of the few times I can point to that I felt like my Grandma cared about me.  First Dizzy and then Tammy succumbed to hit and runs, but  standoffish Cermit lived to a ripe old age.   We were without a cat for a long time until I convinced my Dad to let me get another one and I would keep it inside so it wouldn’t chase the birds at his feeders.  I got a stray from a woodpile that was my dream kitty – a calico.  I named her Charlene after one of the characters on “Designing Women”, a sitcom my Mom & I enjoyed.  Charlene was my baby and she saw me through a rough period when I needed something to love that needed me back unconditionally.  I still had her when I got married & she and Joel did not like each other.  She wasn’t a cuddly cat & he thinks cats are for touching.  She had to be put down when Kristen was a baby and he took her in for me because I couldn’t, I COULD NOT take my baby in to be put to death.  Joel buried her here on the Happy Palace before we built the house.  One of the sewer lines went right over her grave.  I guess that was his final “dig” at my cat.

We’ve had other cats – Karra’s Stephanie & Zoe and now Catnip.  When we had to put Zoe down it broke me in two and made me realize that I had never grieved for Charlene.  I’d pushed it all down inside because I had little girls to take care of and they didn’t need to see Mommy crying all of the time.  That was a rough and tramatic experience for me.

And all of that brought this lifelong cat lover to the place where she is absorbed by two dogs.  Who would have ever though?  I’ve documented how hard it was to let Hunter go, but if we’d never had Hunter we wouldn’t have Luke.  If we didn’t have Luke we wouldn’t have Lexi.  They are such a joy.  They play and run around and wrestle like a couple of little kids fighting over a truck in the sandbox!  And then they absolutely collapse (like right now) and sleep it off.  When Luke was about a year old I starting telling the kids that I think every couple contemplating children should have to raise a puppy.  I learned so much about consistency and rule enforcement from having a young dog in the house.  Oh, how I would have done things different with my children if I had had the experience of raising a dog first!  And even now I’m having to do some remedial work with Luke as we start to train Lexi.  Just like kids, raising dogs doesn’t end; they all need refreshers on following the rules.

And lastly I’ll end with food.  I look in the mirror and groan, yet I take a Scarlett O’Hara approach to exercise and smart eating:  “Tomorrow is another day.”  And I’d better get my act together tomorrow!!  Of course as Kurt told me leading up to his birthday, “Tomorrow will really be today when it gets here.”  I guess that’s why they  say, “There’s no time like the present.” and “Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”  I dislike philosophers.

Since we didn’t make huge plans for Easter dinner and I only had a frozen ham in the house this morning, we decided to do Arby’s 2 for $5 deal after church.  We had packed a cooler with drinks and & Joel declared “NO FRENCH FRIES”.  Of course Arby’s is the place you WANT the fries because their curly fries are so good!  So, we pulled up to the drive through and waited for the car in front  us.  They rolled forward and we pulled up.  Nothing from the little box.  Joel said, “Hello.”  Nothing from the little box.  We waited.  Joel said, “Hello, are you there?”  Nothing from the little box.  We waited.  I said, “Let me go inside.”  We waited.  Someone asked, “Are we sure they’re open?”  I said, “Nobody closes on Easter anymore (sadly).”  Nothing from the little box.

We pull forward to the window and there is a note:


Well what do you know!!  It was kind of nice to be proved wrong.  Of course the fact that there wasn’t a single car in the parking lot should have clued us in much sooner!  And we ended up having hamburgers at Burger King.  The ham will be ready between 7-8pm tonight. 🙂

And That’s What’s Reflecting on the Pond