Friday, December 19, 2008

In the news today

Our leading headline:

I am a mother once again.

Today, I was delivered 25 Buff Orpington chicks. All girls. (I hope.) Of course I haven't seen the girls yet, Andy picked them up at the Post Office. They are currently in their pen in the garage. We're using a temporary brooder which is a plastic tote with sawdust in the bottom and a heat lamp hanging above. we don't have the electricity hooked up to the Chicken house, so can't put the babies out there yet. And with this cold spell, they will be better off in the garage where it doesn't get very cold.

I'm glad they arrived today, because while I still have to work today, the kids are out of school for their Christmas Break and are at home to watch over the babies. I just love babies...

In the entertainment world today

Kev and I are very lucky. We happen to be friends with "The Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie of the Mennonite world!" I know, isn't that exciting? My brush with fame! See, we carpool with "Brad". He works with Kev. (We went to his wedding reception last April.) Brad is a really nice guy and talks all.the.time on his cell phone as we drive back and forth to work. On Monday, he was visiting on the phone with a buddy and he's the one who christened himself and his wife as "Brad and Angelina." And, with their busy schedule and social life, I understand completely what he means, because someone is always inviting them somewhere.

As a part of his faith, Brad doesn't have a radio in his car. And sometimes, since we carpool, I have his car once we are in town. I have it today. While I don't miss the radio, I do miss him having a clock in the car. And, Brad's unreasonably tall, so I have to pull his seat forward in order to drive that darn car. Today, I'm returning some library books for Brad. Since I have the car and all, it's only fair that I do errands for him. You can just call me "Brad's personal assistant." (Be sure to tell all your friends that you actually know someone who works for "The Brad Pitt of the Mennonite World." That's my gift to you, a little brush of fame all your own.

In library news today

It's the last day of the semester. I will be off until January 5. I have lots of things I want to get accomplished on my days off. However, realistically, most of them won't get accomplished. Today is extremely quiet, as students finished up yesterday. Two days ago, I bought some new DVD titles for our collection. Right now, they are all at my house, waiting for me to "preview" them to make sure all work. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!) One title I bought was Mama Mia. Miss Kat and I will have to watch that some time when Kev isn't home. He's not really into Musicals, but Miss Kat and I enjoy them. (Well, we both love Grease and Chicago, but I don't really care for the High School Musical ones.) Maybe I can teach her to jam to Abba tunes. Wouldn't that be a riot!

In Christmas news today

I'm almost done. I need one more thing for Andy, and I have to pick up another gift today. While I bought stationary for a Christmas's still unopened. Maybe I can get that done this weekend.

In basketball news

We have a game tonight. Miss Kat's game last night was cancelled. Andy's doing really well and we're enjoying his last season of ball. I've gotten the proofs for his Senior Pictures too, and really need to get my butt in gear and get them ordered. He cleans up real well. And, he had some taken with his Shotgun and his bow. I really like a couple of those. (Does this make us rednecks?)

That's all of the news today folks. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Men stuff vs. Mom stuff

We are currently in a nasty cold spell right now.

Andy's pickup won't start, but "we" haven't found the stuff to thaw the gas line or whatever is wrong. Actually, "we" haven't looked at the pickup to see what's wrong.

So, yesterday and today, he's driven the diesel. Diesels don't like cold weather. They made it fine yesterday. Today, at 7:55 a.m. I get a phone call:

"Mom, we're here on the highway on the hill just outside of town. The pickup died. I got it off the road, but what do I do?"

"Call the school, see if someone can pick you up and call your father."

Me thinks that "we" should have put the stuff in the gas tank to keep the diesel from gelling.
Me thinks that "we" should have looked at the other pickup last night.
Me thinks that this is a man thing, and not a "Mom" thing.
Me wonders why they always call MOM when something goes wrong.

Wanna bet that tonight Kev looks at both vehicles?
Wanna bet that tonight, "we" put "stuff" in both vehicles?
Wanna bet that somehow "Mom" will get involved in this "man" stuff?

I don't take bets on a sure thing...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas shopping

This is the first year ever that I've done most of my Christmas shopping online.

I ordered Kev's gifts (and had one shipped to my Mom.)
I ordered Miss Kat's gifts (and they are hidden in various places in the house. I hope I can find them all!)
I ordered one of Andy's and did get one in town (It's not hidden as well as Miss Kat's gift, cause he's not as snoopy.)
I ordered my Mom's gift.
I ordered my MIL's gift.
I ordered my FIL's gift.
I ordered Kim and Bob's kid's gifts. (We adults don't exchange gifts, but I might buy them a jar of's a family joke. I'll share it sometime.)
I ordered my Dad's gift.
I ordered my brother's gift.

I still need something for one niece and 2 nephews, but I think they will get either Walmart gift cards or maybe itunes cards.

I think I'll bring my kids to town tomorrow and have them get something for each other and I'll then get their stocking stuffers.

And then, I'll be done. Yee haw.

But, it's rather nice to order your Christmas presents--they come straight to you, and you don't have to find a place to park, brave crowds, or stand in line for hours.

My only problem with ordering has been my snoopy daughter. In fact, last night she called and said, "Mom, you'd better be glad that Dad grounded me from the computer, because I could log on to Amazon and see what you've ordered."

That made me quiver, because, crap, if she looked, then the surprise would be gone. But, as I thought about it a little more, I realized that she doesn't know the password, so I'm fine. whew! Saved by a password!

I still need to get Andy one more gift. Boy, has he proven to be hard to buy for this year. His list is short, and has on it; a car and a Letterman's jacket. Yeah, the car is not happening'! He'd really like a Letterman's jacket, but why buy a Letterman's jacket for a kid who will only be in High School 6 more months? hummm, just got an idea...maybe if I get him a letter jacket, he'll consent to being held back...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Stitching projects

I've been cross stitching frantically, trying to get a baby gift done. Hey, he'll be a year old in February, so I'm not that late... G, you will get this one too, unless you tell me differently... And maybe your child won't be almost a year old when you get it. Guess what it's titled...yep, Baby Feet.I put aside my project for myself in order to get this one finished. All my personal project needs is it's backstitching, which is pretty's a picture of it--it's titled, Frederick the literate.

All the titles of the books need to be back stitched, and some detail work to. It will go quickly, if I ever just sit down and do it!

I'd like to eventually have several "library" type of cross stitch pictures hanging in my office. This will be the second one. My first one is of a girl angel or fairy reading a book--in sepia tones. (I didn't save the pattern and can't find it anywhere anymore to give you the name of it, or to even find a picture on the web to post. Miss Kat has stolen the digital camera, so I can't even get a picture of it...yet.)

Anyway, I've been working on Fred on and off for the past year. The events of this past year haven't been conducive to me doing much stitching, but I keep hanging in there.

After I finish the baby one, then I'll go back and finish Fred. After that, I have 4 or 5 others that I've got waiting in the "office". And, I just ordered a bookmark of a Celtic design that I've loved for a long time. I might whip that up first, then again, I might not. Also in the office are some tea towels waiting to be embroidered for gifts. I'm hoping for a long winter, with snowy days and cold nights. Those will force me to stay home and stitch, and hopefully I can clean out my stash.

Problem is, is that I keep getting catalogs in the mail. In those catalogs are lots and lots of patterns that I'd love to do. I'd love to do a wolf picture for Jody. And I'd love to do something for my SIL's. And, every Christmas, I think that I need more Christmas ones up on the wall. And I'd love to do something wild, like a picture of fairy's or dragons in metallic floss. I like doing cut thread work. I'd like to do some red work, or blue work, or green work. I'd like to do some candlewicking. Heck, let's face it, I like doing needlework of just about any kind.

But right now, I need to concentrate on those feet. It's December 11. There's 14 days until it has to be finished. Wonder if my boss would mind if I worked on it at work...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I want that Wednesday

Today, let's talk about Christmas. More specifically, let's talk about what I want for Christmas.

This is an honest wish list.

  1. I want my pellet stove hooked up. It's not saving us any money sitting in the garage, and if it's in the garage, then Andy can't park the pickup in there.
  2. I want legs put on my Hoosier cabinet. (Which will mean that I will have to disassemble it and empty it again, but dang it, it needs legs.) I ordered legs a few weeks ago, but when I turned it over to get the legs put on...well, it isn't a standard kind of Hoosier, so the standard legs aren't the right legs. I'm not sure if it ever had legs or just large casters. And, I also ordered a latch because the latch that Grandad evidently replaced doesn't always latch. But the latch I ordered isn't the correct latch either, it's holes for screws won't line up with my screw holes. I think I have an off brand of a Hoosier cabinet, or I have one of the very early ones, because there never was a spot for a flour bin.
  3. I want my plumbing fixed. There were a few plumbing issues in our house when we moved in last year. But, we wanted to get in it ASAP and said we'd fix them ourselves rather than wait on the plumber. Big mistake. One year later, they still aren't fixed. We bought new faucets, but they are sitting in boxes waiting for us to hook them up.
  4. I want the garage doors fixed. Over the past 2 weeks, the garage doors have decided to strike and work when they want to. I want them fixed. (Kev does too...he's just not sure what to do.)
  5. I want all the rest of the boxes emptied and put away...somewhere.
  6. I want that "office" room cleaned up and looking like an "office."
  7. I want the garage cleaned out. The stuff we had in Colby that we don't need here and we don't know what to do with...I want it gone.

My list is a rather strange list, I know, but when I try to think about things I want for Christmas, well, this is what keeps coming up in my mind. I could use some sweaters for work, but I'd rather just have "stuff" done. And that's what I want this week.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A pointless observation

It's a cold and snowy day. And, if you were out and about today, you'd see me outside with my coat unfastened and no hood on my head.

That's just one of the weird things about me. I never fasten my coat. Never have. Ok, seldom. When it's 20 below or so, I'll fasten my coat and I might even put up my hood. But while I might put on gloves, I just don't like my coat fastened.

It's too...confining.

I know it drives my mother nuts, and it drives my friends nuts, but I really just don't like fastening my coat. I'll put my hands in my pockets and pull the coat closed, but I won't zip or button it up.

And, when it rains, I don't use an umbrella and if I'm wearing a coat then, again, it won't be fastened and the hood will probably be down too.

There's no point to this confession, I just wanted to share a part of my "weirdness" today...

Monday, December 08, 2008

A sunday stroll

Kev and I went out hunting yesterday. I didn't go to "The Hill" because there are some rifle hunters there, and I didn't want to be in their way. So, instead, Kev took me out to the ranch where he got his deer.

The Ranch belongs to the D family. They are a big land owner in Clark County, with farming and ranching operations. Daddy is in charge of the ranching end, cause he don't do farmin'. He's a cowboy through and through.

Anyway, they have several Mule deer who stay on their property, so we thought we'd try it. Kev and I sat for a while in a little hole down in a draw near the wheat and Milo fields. We scared out 2 does when we walked in and that was all the deer we saw.

Around 8:30 a.m., we decided to go check out some canyons. Mule deer like canyons. They can bed down on the side of a canyon and be out of the wind. On cold days, they like to bed down on the north side so that the sun can warm them all day as they sleep. Plus, the wind usually blows from the north, so they get the added bonus of being out of the wind.

Kev drove me over to the east side of the Ranch to some canyons he's been watching and it's an area he thinks is pretty as well. As we drove in, we saw a couple of antelope does. Can't shoot them, but it was nice to see them.

Then, we got to the canyons. Kev wasn't kidding; it's beautiful country. Made me wish that I had a camera along. Folks, if you think Kansas is flat, then you need to get off the Interstate and drive to our area. Canyon after canyon after canyon as far as the eye can see. Not little canyons either, but deep canyons. Some are deeper than 100 feet and are rather...vertical.

We parked the pickup near an autogate [insert lustful sigh] and walked about 1/4 mile over to one canyon. We didn't see any deer, but decided to follow the canyon around to the east and then circle with the canyons to the south and then we would walk back west to the pickup.

So, we angled down some, and around and walked and walked and walked and walked. I had my hunting gear on; my coveralls and my coat and was carrying my bow. It was a fun and beautiful walk. We not only looked for deer, but we enjoyed the beauty of the rocks and the canyons and the creek running through the bottom.

After about an hour of going up and down and around, we came to the Southeast corner. Somehow, even though we weren't at the bottom of any canyon, we were now closer to the bottom than we were to the top. And it was great, it was fun. I was enjoying myself until we turned the corner and saw the way out. To get back to the pickup, we had to walk back up hill, all the way. And it was a rocky and steep trip. We had to climb up several hills and sides of canyons, and it was pretty steep, and, and...

I got tired. Really tired. Tired enough that I stopped several times to rest and I was tired enough to really resent my coveralls. And my coat, my sweatshirt, and my bow, and especially my husband. Who at one point said to me, "You are really out of shape." Of course, he wasn't wearing coveralls. And his coat was lighter, he wasn't wearing a sweatshirt, and he wasn't carrying a bow either. And...and...well, maybe I am out of shape. But he didn't have to rub it in. I think this was about the time when I suggested that he go get Dad and a horse. And then I mentioned if he fell and broke something, I was just going to have to leave him to die, cause there was not way I could get him out of there. Of course he wondered why I'd warrant a horse, but he'd be left to die.

Even when we got out of the canyons, we still had an uphill trek back to the pickup. And I was tired. And besides being tired, my hands hurt from carrying my bow, and I was very sweaty. My t-shirt was rather damp next to my skin under the sweatshirt and coveralls and coat.

I talked to my Dad later on the phone and told him what we'd done and where we were. When I mentioned how steep it was coming out and how tired I got, he laughed and said "You can drive down there to the bottom on the far southeast side, but when you come back up, if you've got anything in the back of the pickup, it's going to slide out." Usually, he just goes horseback down there, it's easier. I know why, but I'm not sure exactly where you'd drive down.

But, I loved every minute of the walk. It was beautiful. It was refreshing. It made me thankful that I can see and appreciate the beauty of this area--even when I'd tired. So, if you think Kansas is flat, stop by and we'll just go hiking to the bottom of a canyon. Just leave your coat and coveralls and bow at home. You'll thank me later.

Friday, December 05, 2008

"almost" a teenage girl

I do not understand girls who are "almost" teenagers. Well, I do not understand the one who lives with me!

Wednesday night, Miss Kat got her hair cut. Not drastically, but she got 2 inches cut off and had some layers put in. Her hair does look nice, it really does. She also talked to the hair dresser about getting some low lights and such put in. We'll do that over Christmas Break.

But, Miss Kat was/is so excited about her hair cut. She's been flipping it around, she's been running her fingers through it, and most importantly, she's been running a comb through it. She's so excited and happy with it. And, I think, "Wow! She's really growing up!"

But then there's this underwear situation...

See, on SUNDAY night, she put on a clean pair of undies. I know, because I had her come up and get her clean laundry. She saw this pair of undies in the basket, and immediately put them on.

Yesterday morning, she was being crabby, so since I'm a nice and loving mom, I yanked her sleep pants down. (She and I were alone in my bedroom, and she was being crabby. This usually makes her laugh and snaps that bad mood away.) But, this time, it put me in a bad mood. I discovered, that she was wearing the same pair of underwear that she had put on Sunday night.


So, I told her it was past time to change those undies. I mean, it was Thursday morning. She'd had them on long enough.

Today, this very morning, when she came upstairs, I asked if she'd changed her undies. She didn't answer.

So, I asked again. Still no answer. So, I looked. The same pair.

This time, she said, and I quote: "I don't have any other underwear."


Yeah, boggled my mind too. And, I happen to know that she does too have more than one pair of undies. She's been ordered to change them today. And I will check tonight. can she do that? Seriously, how does this happen? Where have I failed her? Where? Will she ever grow up? Will she ever recognize proper hygiene? What would happen if she was in an accident? What would those EMT guys think, seeing my "almost" teenager wearing a dirty pair of underwear? They'll think that this poor young lady has a rotten mother, one who only buys one pair of underwear for her daughter. They'll think I'm a bad mother because I don't allow my daughter to change her undergarments daily. I don't know if I can stand the shame.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


You'd think, knowing that I'm a librarian, that I'd have a library in my home.

You'd be wrong.

If you haven't figured this out by now, well, then you need to stop reading my blog. Because the word normal does not apply to anything about me.

I love to read, I adore reading. Reading is one of my most favorite activities. I'd rather read than cook. I'd rather read than watch TV. I'd rather read than clean. I'd rather read than work. I'd rather read than perform my "wifely" duties. (Not really, but I had to throw something else in there! But, maybe you shouldn't ask Kev his opinion on that.)

But, being a librarian, folks just expect me to own lots of books. It always amazes me that they expect me to own books when I can borrow them for free! Hello! I work in a library, surrounded by books. I can borrow them--free. I can get my grubby hands on them before anyone else does! When something new comes out that I want to read, but don't think it would be popular at my library, I can use Interlibrary Loan! It's FREE. Why spend my money when I can borrow it for FREE, and before anyone else can get it! And, guess what, quite frequently, I don't even check them out. I just...take them. Sure, it drives my staff nuts, but I'm the boss, rules don't apply to me!

I do buy some books. I have books about raising Chickens and Pigs and Goats. I have a few homesteading type books. Oh, and a dictionary, I have one of those. I've got a couple of Bibles and a book of Bible stories. I have all of Diana Gabaldon's books. She's a great writer, but isn't very prolific...dang her. But, Diana's books, I keep. I re-read them all the time. Most other books I own are also those I can read over and over and over again. And, interestingly, most of them are Young Adult Harry Potter and the Little House books.

I buy books for my kids. I love buying books for my kids. And other kids. I buy them books through the Scholastic School program. Like me, both of my kids read fast and have high reading levels.

But, even so, my kids don't have a lot of books. As they've out-grown them, we've donated them to libraries or to friends. They've kept some that they enjoy re-reading and, until now, Andy has done more re-reading than Kat. Miss Kat discovered the Twilight series. Those we initially got from the library, but she now wants her very own set--so she can re-read them. (Yep, she's getting them for Christmas.)

Note who at my house isn't a reader? Yep. It's ironic too. Kev grew up in a home of readers, and he married a reader, and his kids are readers....but he's not. I don't think I've ever--in the 20 years we've been together--seen him read a book. It's most certainly a "mixed marriage."

So, don't come to my house expecting to see a room full of books. You're going to be very disappointed. Oh, and if I'm reading, well, talk to Kev. I'll catch up after I finish reading this page...

Monday, December 01, 2008


I've never liked seeing dead people. I avoid "Viewings." I hate funerals that force you to look at the body, either before or after and especially during the service.

When I was 13, my Great Grandfather died. His casket was in the church, open for viewings while we the family was at the dinner before the service. We kids were being kids, running in and out of the church. Some of the boy cousins dared each other to touch Grandad. I was just dared to be in there with him--alone. But, his lips were blue, and he didn't look like I thought he should look. And, it bothered me.

After that, I learned that most of my Woodruff relatives don't do viewings. My Grandad W. told me he simply preferred remembering people as they were when they were alive and healthy and not as they usually were upon dying. Made sense to me! So, I stopped going to viewings. And I got pretty good at avoiding them.

I did not view Grandad W when he died.

I did not view Grandma W when she died.

And, then, Grandpa B died. And, dummy me...well, I somehow was drug along by Mom and Sandy as they planned his service. And, when Mike, the funeral director said, "Now, someone will need to come in tomorrow to make sure everything is ok..." I volunteered to come with Mom because Sandy couldn't be there. I thought we would be checking the programs and such.

But, instead, we were making sure Grandpa's body looked like we wanted him to look.

Oh, that was hard. But, I did it. For my Mom.

And, I survived it.

And, Grandpa looked pretty good. He hadn't been sick long enough to not look like himself.

And then, last Tuesday, when Grandma died,

Mom called me--10 minutes after she'd died, right after Mom got the call. Mom asked me...well, she didn't have to ask, but I agreed to meet her and Dad at the Nursing Home.

But Daddy didn't get there as quickly as Mom and I did.

So, I went into Grandma's room with Mom so she could say "Good-bye." If Daddy had been there, I would have waited outside. Cause I just didn't know how I was going to react.

And, of course, I saw her. It didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. I can't say she looked good but she looked like she was asleep...with her mouth open, like usual. So, she looked like Grandma.

Or like Grandma has looked for the past several months.

And, it didn't really bother me.

So, either I'm growing up and am able to deal with death and bodies, or I've finally realized that death is a part of life and it's simply another natural step.

I mentioned to my Dad that it just didn't bother me like I expected it too. And, wise man that he is, he said: "I've come to realize that the body really is a shell and that the person I knew--who used to live in that body--is long gone. We're just dealing with what's left; and it's not so hard when you realize that."

And, he's right.

It's not something I want to do all the time, but now, I won't avoid viewings. I won't go out of my way to go, but when I have to go, it will be ok.


76 words

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Six months ago, I lost my Grandpa. Today, Grandma joined him.

Grandpa's loss was so unexpected and was totally a shock. We've been expecting and anticipating Grandma's death for a year or more, so all of us are experiencing some relief with our grief.

Where Grandpa was easy to love and was always ready with a hug, Grandma was not. She kept everyone--everyone except him--at arm's length. And that made it hard for all of us who loved her to show her we loved her and it made all of us try so hard to show her that we did love her, because no matter what we did, it never felt like it was enough. I never felt like she accepted our love. Maybe she didn't know how to allow herself to be loved--unconditionally.

Grandma was never healthy. Never. She had standing appointments at the Dr's office. Every Friday, we sat at the Dr's office. I've never been convinced that she was really ill... But I know at times, she truly was ill. She was very ill when she delivered Aunt Dorothy. I know she was ill at various times when Mom and Sandy were growing up. And yet. it was also a means of getting attention. And, as an adult, I wondered if being sick was the only way that the girl she once was could get attention from a very busy single mother.

My Grandma gave me many things. She taught me to embroider. She helped me with my 4-H sewing projects. We took art classes together. We also did ceramics together. She babysat me when Mom worked and I was too young to stay at home alone. I got my love of Chickens from her. I got my enjoyment of "farm wife" stuff from her. I have many fond memories of days and times with my Grandma. They weren't anything special, just everyday life. And, I will treasure my memories.

The woman she was died at least a year ago, and that small part that didn't die then, died with Grandpa. In my mind, Grandpa had finally run out of patience, waiting for her to come on her own and came to get her today. I imagine he told her that it was time to go and to just come on. And she did--as always, she went with him. She wouldn't go for anyone else, and she wouldn't go on alone, so she waited for him and then, she simply left.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Time, or lack thereof...

You know, I'm planning on taking off 2.5 days next week. I'm taking Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning off for vacation. (We closed Wednesday afternoon, Thursday and Friday.) So, in essence, I have all week off.

But, it's not enough time off for everything I want to accomplish. Here's my list...

  1. Go deer hunting.
  2. Go Christmas shopping with Mom--before Thanksgiving.
  3. Put up our Christmas decorations.
  4. Get the chicken brooder ready.
  5. Clean the house really well.
  6. Move the Hoosier into the dining room, move the old Armoir into the bedroom, move the dresser from the bedroom into the garage till we can get it to Bob and Kim. (Which means they all have to be emptied and then re-loaded with...stuff...)
  7. Get Steve's "inheritance" that we've got in the garage to his house and out of my way.
  8. Go to Colo Springs and spend 3-4 days with our family out there...
  9. Spend Saturday--this coming Saturday at the Berends Thanksgiving.
  10. Cook items to take to the Berends thanksgiving.
  11. Take Miss Kat to see Twilight.
  12. Buy Andy some dress clothes for his Basketball games.

It's too much! I can't get it all done. So, here's what I think will actually get done:

  1. Cook...something for the Berends Thanksgiving.
  2. Attend the Berends Thanksgiving.
  3. Take Miss Kat to see Twilight.
  4. Buy Andy's clothes.
  5. Clean the house.
  6. Go to Colo Springs.

If I'm lucky, I'll get to go shopping with Mom. We used to do this years ago--before I had children. Mom, Sandy and I went somewhere together before Thanksgiving. We'd spend the night in a hotel, and shop. We'd get all our Christmas shopping done in one day. We haven't done that since right after Andy was born. I took him along when he was a baby. Big mistake. I haven't gotten to do it since then.

If I'm really lucky, I'll get to do all the above and hunt too.

If I'm really, really lucky, I'll get to do all of the above and move around my furniture. Which will allow me to put up the Christmas decorations.

If I'm really, really, really lucky, then Steve will be able to haul his crap...I mean inheritance...home.

If I'm super lucky, then it will all happen.

But, I'm not counting on it.

Are you tired of Chickens yet?

Guess what!

I ordered me some chickens yesterday!

Yep, I will soon be the proud owner of 25 Buff Orpington pullets. They should arrive in the mail within the next 3 weeks.

That gives me time to get their brooder ready and to get electricity out to the chicken house.

It will probably mean that I have to take a morning off of work to get them settled, but I've got lots of comp time and lots of vacation time.

I'm so stinkin' excited!

Now, has anyone seen an IQ test for chickens?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You know, when I decided to to the "I want that Wednesday" posts, I really thought I'd have to struggle to find things I wanted. I'm not really that materialistic, and I guess most of what I want falls into the category of "stuff that makes me more self-sufficient" or maybe it makes me more "country" or even a "hick."

I don't care. I like me, and I like our "hick" life!

Today the items on my discriminating list include items that we need for processing deer. We butchered Kev's deer all by ourselves, but it wasn't pretty. We quickly discovered the necessity of having a good set of knives. A butchering set. Now, I have a set of kitchen knives, but they are cheap knives and just don't hold up to the demands of cutting up meat. They got duller and duller and duller as we worked. I've never mastered the art of sharpening knives with a steel either. That was Daddy's job and Kev sometimes sharpens my knives. But, we really really need a good set of knives.

Besides a good set of knives, I also need a new one of these...
It's a vacuum sealer. Or, some call it by one of the brand names-- "Seal-a-meal". I need a heavy duty one. I have a cheap one, but it wasn't cooperating with me when we were packaging our not-quite-professionally-cut meat. Sometimes, it would seal, other times, I had to baby it along. So, I want a new sealer.

Finally, I want one of these:

We make lots of jerky out of deer meat. We borrowed this exact model a couple of years ago from a friend in Colby. It was FABULOUS! We loved it! We've been saving up for one of these, and we want this exact model. Besides drying jerky, I can dry onions, fruit, and herbs (if my herbs ever produce enough to dry). I can make fruit rolls and lots of other fun stuff.

Someday, I'll have all this stuff. Then, butchering & processing meat will be so much easier. Maybe by then, we'll be good enough that our meat cuts will even look like they should...

(Hey, I should update you all too...I got my meat grinder that I wanted about a month ago. It worked so nice! Just ground that deer meat up into burger like a pro! While our steaks aren't pretty, at least our burger looks like burger!)

Friday, November 14, 2008

The hardest part of hunting

Today, at work, I mentioned to a co-worker that I was planning on spending all day tomorrow in my tree stand, hunting.

He asked if I took snacks. I said no. For the record, this is why I don't eat or drink when hunting...

Early in the morning, I put on fresh undergarments. Over that, I add long-underwear. Next, I put on a warm shirt. Then I put on the camo pants/jeans. Finally, I add a camo sweatshirt. My hunting socks and boots are last. All this is bulky and heavy.

Then, we drive to our spot, where first, I take a potty break, then I add coveralls, (bulk), coat (more bulk), gloves, head net, hat and safety belt. The safety belt has straps that go over my shoulders and under each arm, and other straps that go around and between each leg. Another strap goes around my waist and a final strap usually attaches to the belt between my shoulder blades and is wrapped around the tree--and it has to be under your coat, but on top of everything else. Finally, I grab my backpack and bow and head off for the tree stand.

To get to the tree, I have to go through a pasture, and through a field, climb over a couple of barbed-wire fences, and try not to catch my clothes on the barbed wire...I always catch something on the barbed wire...

I do all this, in the dark, trying to be quiet so not to scare off any deer.

Finally, I arrive at the tree and climb up the ladder to the tree stand. When I get to the top, I take off the backpack and hang it to the side of my stand. Then, I hook my safety belt to the tree. Finally, I pull up my bow (with a rope) and get ready to hunt. Now, it's still dark, so I can sit and rest until it's light enough to see and shoot.

Ok, so let's say that before leaving the house, I ate and drank.

At some time, usually right after I get settled into my tree, what went in, now wants out.

If I were a guy, I'd just whip things out and take care of the coffee or hot chocolate or Dr. Pepper--right there from the tree stand.

But, I'm not a guy, and don't have anything to whip out.

So, I have to make sure the bow and more specifically, the arrow, is in a safe location. Then, I have to carefully look around to make sure there aren't any deer watching, unhook my safety belt, quietly climb down from the tree stand, quietly walk away from my tree, take off my safety belt, my coat, and my coveralls. Then, I have to pull down the pants and both pairs of undergarments; do my business, then get re-dressed, put my coveralls, coat and safety belt back on and go back to the tree and...repeat.

I've tried the tree stand, like the guys, but there's too great of a risk of
  1. Falling from the tree and
  2. "Watering" the ladder rungs, which could freeze and would be a greater hazard when I was done hunting for the day.
  3. Or, getting some or all of my clothing wet.
  4. Or, having my shiny white hiney being spotted by the world record buck, who would then take off--after letting me see him running away from my big, shiny, white hiney.

A couple of trips up and down the ladder makes me really tired. And, it tends to scare off the deer. (Who are probably really hiding and laughing hysterically at me.)

Don't even ask what guys do when they need to do that other thing. Knowing guys, they'd probably do that from their tree stands too. But, I don't know, and I don't want to know.

And you thought the hardest part of hunting was shooting the deer...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My end of the conversation

Why are you crying?

What's my fault?

I didn't know the store would run out of those shoes.

I am not coming home to get you and bring you back to town.

Calm down. It's just shoes.

You do to have something nice to wear tomorrow.

Well, wear your flats.

Yes they do fit.

Oh, OK, maybe they don't.

What did Daddy say?

Honey, calm down.

Ok babe, calm down.

Kat. This is ridiculous! It's just shoes!

Kat. stop.

I will run to the store and pick up a pair of black boots.

Yes, some you can wear with pants or a dress.

I know, no heels.

Ok. Now stop crying.

I'll see you at home soon.

Ok. I love you too.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In light of my rapidly emptying Chicken Mansion. (Stupid birds.)

Today, I want...
Buff Orpington Chickens.

They are gentle birds. (Maybe Miss Kat can be convinced to gather eggs. Right now, she's scared of the rooster. and tries really hard to not gather eggs.)

They are big birds. (Probably not big enough to take on the 100 lb. and BIG lab.)

They are dual-purpose birds. (So, we can either have eggs or eat them--the birds, we already eat the eggs!)

They will set on a nest and hatch and raise chicks. (I still want to successfully raise some chicks of my own.)

They lay brown eggs. (There's no difference between brown and white eggs in taste, but brown eggs come in a variety of browns and are so much prettier.)

And, hopefully, they will stay out of the Dog pen. (And, we will be making the dog pen "chicken proof"...if there is such a thing...)

If I can't get any bought this fall, I'll wait till spring and get some.
But, I'd really love it if I could get some soon.
I will never again get Production Reds. They are some of the dumbest chickens I've ever had.
While I liked my Barred Rocks and my Rhode Island Reds, well, I've heard good things about Buffs. So...That's what I want....more chickens--just smarter ones.


Grandma is coming home. Except she's not.

See, she's been at another Nursing Home for a few weeks. They've been doing a mental evaluation on her. She's been depressed, and she's been childish and somewhat mean to the nurses. So, rather than keeping her drugged up all the time, they suggested to Mom and Sandy that she go for an evaluation.

I'm not sure what they decided, but they are sending her back today. And, she's going to the hospital because she has pneumonia. Which isn't a good thing for an 85 year old woman who probably only weighs 85 lbs.

I'm glad she'll be back in familiar territory, but I can't help but wonder if this is the end.

And, I'm so conflicted about how I feel about that.

Relief. Guilt because it would be a relief.

Fear. Because the holiday season is going to be hard on my Mom as it is. I don't want to add to it.

Hope. In a way, I hope it is the end, so that we can get this over with...which brings on the guilt again. And, yet, I hope that we'll see Grandma again.

See, the woman who is living in my Grandma's body isn't my Grandma.

My Grandma is already gone. Yet this person is still here, and she brings out these conflicting emotions and feelings.

I'm glad that Grandma is coming back. Except, she's not really coming back, and she'll never really be back...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid

I am annoyed.




Really, really, disgusted.





Cause 2 hens committed suicide today.

Damn it. I have their house winterized. I have a ton of free food. I have fed them well, watered them, talked to them, and then they have the nerve to go into the dog pen and get themselves killed.

This leaves the rooster and one hen, who doesn't lay regularly--or if she does, she's laying eggs somewhere where I can't find them. What good is ONE hen? Seriously. What good is she.

And, she's gonna get real tired of the rooster's attention. He likes his women and likes "it" numerous times a day.

Damn it. Damn it. Damn it.

This just pisses me off.

Stupid, stupid STUPID birds.

A father and his children

Maybe I'm paying attention more to my family because I know change is coming. Andy is a Senior this year. His time with us is growing shorter every day. Soon, he'll move out on his own, and be responsible for his own actions--without our guidance and input. Or, as he'd say, without my "bossiness." He's not a rebel but there have been times when Kev and I have said "No" and he hasn't appreciated it.

We lit a fire Sunday night and again last night. Kev is the official "fire starter" at our house, but on Sunday night, Andy was right down there with his dad, learning and asking questions of his dad. They were both on one knee, talking about the fire, debating about how to arrange the logs. Real "man to man" stuff. I watched Kev talk and share time with his son. They stayed there for a while while the fire got started, just visiting--having an adult conversation.

Earlier on Sunday, they'd gone hunting together. Andy did the driving--to prove to us that he knew his way to the farm and that he could get up early, and stay awake driving 40 miles to the farm. When they got home, my Menfolk worked outside together, on that wheat pile and in the discovery of the egg mess. They work well together, as a team, almost as equals. Andy's gotten so big and strong these past couple of years. It's interesting watching him learn how to take care of his dad does. I like watching them work together. Kev's still in charge, but Andy is rapidly becoming more of an equal when the work together.

Then I like to watch Kev and Miss Kat.

For a very long time, she was definitely a "Mamma's girl." But now, she's spending more and more quality time with her Daddy.

She and Kev have to watch Ghost Whisperer every Friday night (or sometime on the weekend if we're gone on Friday night.) They usually snuggle on the love seat to watch it. They discuss the plot and what they think will happen. They discuss their various theories about the existence of ghosts and such. It's their time and their "thing."

Monday nights are our family TV nights. We all like the CBS line-up and watch them together. Last night, Miss Kat snuggled up on the love seat with her daddy. They were laying back, using the same pillow. Kev was on the inside of the couch and had his arm under her head and shoulders. Their heads were leaning in toward each other as they watched TV. Miss Kat's leg was laying across Kev's leg. They were even sharing a blanket.

I love watching Kev with his kids. I like seeing him show his kids love. I like seeing them accept his love. I like seeing them like each other.

A father and his's just something...special. Thank you, God, for giving me this family.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Adventures in the Chicken Mansion

Since it's nearing the middle of November, this weekend, I decided it was time to get the Chicken Mansion winterized.

You know, so that all 3 hens and 1 rooster can stay warm and toasty this winter. (Since I put that in writing, today, when I get home, I fully anticipate to be down to 2 hens...)

On Saturday, after shooting his deer, Kev got some wheat from my Dad. A pick up load. It was waste wheat, left in the grain cart since harvest. We were more than happy to take it, but...well, we only have 4 chickens and what on earth would we do with so much wheat?

(I suggested we buy a grain mill and grind it to eat, but I got funny looks from the men in my family. I always get funny looks...but this one was a doozy.)

So, on Sunday, Kev and Andy transferred wheat from the pickup to a couple of 55 gallon drum barrels and several left over dog food, rabbit food, and cat food bags. And there was more in the pickup. We decided to dump the rest in the pasture.

So, we put all this wheat in the chicken house. I put new shavings on the floor for insulation and to help break down the poop. As it breaks down, it will emit some heat, helping to keeps the chooks warm.

As we were shifting things around to make room for the wheat, I asked Kev if he'd found that dead mouse we've been smelling. He hadn't, so he boosted Andy up to check the eaves, thinking Mr. Mouse might have died up there.

Now, we've been smelling Mr. Mouse for a couple of months, much longer than we all knew to be normal.

Andy looked up in the eaves and said "Holy crap. This is full of eggs."

You might call this a light bulb moment for all of us. We hadn't been smelling Mr. Mouse, we'd been smelling rotten eggs.


Andy pulled down about a dozen--carefully. He broke one, but it was empty. In fact, it had been emptied by Mr. Mouse. Who probably thought he had hit the jackpot.

You see, Kev had put up a high roost for the chickens. It annoyed me because it was right above my head, and I always worried about the chickens dropping poop on my head. And, there were times this summer when I wondered why we weren't getting more eggs... I now know the answer to that one.

The hens were nesting up in the eaves, laying eggs in the eaves. We counted over 75 eggs in the eaves. Eggs which are now rotten and smell every time Mr. Mouse and his family get hungry for a little protein. And, none of us had ever seen any chickens up in the eaves. Never. So, it never entered out minds that they would attempt to get up there.

So...what to do with more than 75 rotten eggs...well, we left them there. Some were packed in so tight, that by trying to remove them, we'd definitely break them. Eventually, they'll all evaporate and such. But, next spring, we'll have to remedy the situation and close off the eaves so that our new batch of chickens don't go up there. And, we are not putting in that high, eave-egg-laying-enabling roost.

Stupid Chickens. They had nice, comfortable nesting boxes, and instead, they chose to lay eggs way up high in the eaves. Stupid birds. (Thank goodness none were smart enough to go broody up there!)

Since we were out there, making wonderful discoveries, Kev pulled down some foam insulation he'd put in on the north side. It had 3 nice holes in it. he carried it outside, and out popped Mr. Mouse. Then, out popped Mrs. Mouse and a couple of friends! They scurried away, upset at losing their nice comfy warm, safe, winter home. The chickens caught one (it was caught by my only smart hen.) The cat's gave chase to the rest.

My new chicken mansion. Home for more than chickens. Somehow, that's not quite what I expected...

Friday, November 07, 2008


Miss Kat decided to go out for Basketball. She wasn't going to. For the past couple of years, we've heard about how Basketball is stupid and how she's not going to ever play it.

Volleyball ended, and Basketball practice started immediately. Day two of practice, she announced that she's going out for basketball. Why the change of heart? Because Jr. High Basketball practice starts in PE and continues after school for an hour. If she didn't go out for Basketball, she'd have to run for exercise. And that is "boring." An additional reason for going out, she was the only girl who wasn't going out.

So...yesterday was her first game. She has another game today. And, she's mad at me cause I couldn't go yesterday, and I can't go today. So far this morning, I've gotten 3 phone calls and my darling daughter says in a sinister, evil tone:

"If we lived in Colby, you'd come to my games. You went to all of Andy's games. I guess he's more important."

Calls like this make me so enjoy being a mother. And, they make me understand why some animals eat their young.

Anyway, she got home last night from her game around 9:00. And, she had math homework to do. So, she's sitting with Kev and I doing her homework and we ask about the game.

Us: Did you play B team?

K: Yes.

Us: What position did you play?

K: I don't know.

Us: Were you at the top of the key?

K: What's the key?

Us: That's the painted area, you know, the rectangle part under the basket.

K: Nope, I don't play base line.

Us: Nope, that's the bottom of the key, were you a guard?

K: What's that?

Us: Well, where do you play?

K: I play way over on this side and way over on that side and in the middle. And, we run some plays like yesterday, he called it a triangle, but today he called it a "3" and I got confused and didn't know what to do. I don't know what I'm doing most of the time anyway. He explained it to me after the game.

Us: Did you shoot?

K: NO! I don't like to shoot.

Us: Did you foul anyone?

K: No, I don't like to get fouls.

Us: Did you get fouled?

K: No, but I like getting fouled, cause I like shooting free-throws.

So, now...her loving father and I decide to mess with her...

Us: Did you play full court ball?

K: What's that? You mean did we go on both sides? Yes.

Us: Oh, so you didn't play 1/2 court.

K: No.

Us: Did you play 5 man ball?

K: What?

Us: Well, did you play 5 man or 6 man ball?

K: Ummmmm. I don't know. What's the difference?

Yep, she's my daughter. She knows as much about Basketball as I do about Football and Volleyball! I'm so proud! (and for the record, I do know Basketball!)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

playin chicken

Andy just called and gave me the bad news.

2 more of our chickens have committed suicide. They are crafty buggers. Instead of doing-themselves-in, they had the dogs do it.

Yep, the marched into the dog pen and dared the dogs to end their miserable existence. So, the dogs, being dogs, did just that.

You'd think that the chickens would have long ago realized that to go into the dog pen is asking for certain death.

Maybe they weren't suicidal...maybe they were just playing...


Maybe they were daring each other to go into the dog pen. If a dog caught you, well, oops. You lose. But if you escaped, you were a winner... Can't you just see a gang (well, flock) of chickens marching up to the pen, "egging" each other on, daring each other to go into the pen...

Stupid birds.

I started out with 27 chickens. I now have five until someone decides to play chicken with the dogs again.

Stupid birds.

Note: it's not 20 minutes later, and he found another one. I have 3 hens and one rooster. stupid chickens.

I want it Wednesday

What I want today is rather radical.

Today, I want people to stop saying "Obama, the first black president" and start saying "Obama, the President-elect." Cause, technically, the media should be saying "Obama, the first bi-racial President".

Let's not emphasize the "difference" and simply move forward. Cause, I've never cared if he was black, white, purple or green. And, here's a question for those of you who were around when Kennedy, "the first Catholic President" was elected. Was that the headline? Was his catholicism such an issue? Are we a society that has to note the differences? If McCain had won, would the newspapers say "McCain, the first Vietnam Vet President?"

So, today, let's ignore the "black" part and just look at the man who is the President-elect.

That's what I want today.

Monday, November 03, 2008

the perfect popcorn ball

At times like this, I wish that Miss Kat could find my digital camera. It was last seen in her bedroom. It is probably laying next to my new tube of mascara and with my eyeliner. The three will probably never be seen again.

But, IF I had my digital camera, I would take a picture of my box of goodies that our friend, Sharon brought us. (And, by us I really mean me.)

Sharon brought us (me) 45-ish popcorn balls.

The day before she arrived, she and her parents had made 175. I'm not sure just why exactly I didn't get all 175. She said something about sharing them with her co-workers, but I think she really didn't want to make me look like a pig.

I know her parents were making several hundred more for trick-or-treaters, so there's no reason I couldn't have been the recipient of the first 175 popcorn balls.

You are probably wondering just what could be so special about these popcorn balls.

I'll tell you.

They are the world's best. Not to sticky, not to sweet, they melt in your mouth, they are chewy but not too chewy, firm, but not hard.

The ingredients include:
  • popcorn--air popped
  • butter--real butter, not margarine
  • dark Corn Syrup
  • sugar
  • sour cream

Sour Cream is the secret ingredient. It cuts that super sticky sweetness and gives a hint of creaminess to the popcorn balls. I'm not positive, but I've been told that the Sour Cream also cancels out all the calories...

Being the nice person I am, I gave my Mom--who loves popcorn balls--13 of them. I've let my son, Andy, eat 2 or 3. That leaves 30 or so for me (cause Kev knows better than to eat one, and Miss Kat hates them.) If I ration myself, they'll last till Christmas. Who am I kidding. I'll be lucky if they last till Thanksgiving.

I have the recipe. Sharon's mom wrote it out once for me--on the back of a deposit slip, when we were both standing in line at the grocery store. I could make more for myself, but Sharon and her parents are professionals. They are popcorn ball artists. Masters of Popcorn ball college.

Besides, I don't own an air popper...

Thanks Sharon, Fritz and Denny...they are wonderful as usual and I'm enjoying every single one!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

sleepin GOOD

I slept good last night.

Yes, I know that proper English should be "I slept well last night."

But, as Kev says, I live in Kansas, and we don't have to speak proper English in Kansas.

So, I slept good.

You know what good means...

I slept all night long, didn't wake up once, and woke up refreshed, feelin' great.

Now think about it, when you sleep well ...well, that's different than sleepin' good. Isn't it.

When someone asks if you slept well, you will, more than likely, say yes.

And the word well encompasses a wide variety.

I can sleep well at a hotel, but I can't sleep good at a hotel.

See the difference?

So, last night, I slept good.

How 'bout you? Did you sleep well last night?

Or, like me, did you sleep good?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I want it Wednesday

I've wanted one of these since I was a Senior in High School.

See, around here, they are traditional graduation gifts for girls. We were even given a mini one from a local furniture dealer. I had my little one for years, until it got dropped and broke.

But, I want a big one. I want it to sit at the end of my bed. And, I finally have a bedroom big enough to allow one to sit at the end of the bed. I want to fill it with...stuff. Blankets and sweaters and fabric keepsakes.
Have you figured out yet what it is?

Yep, a hope chest.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Weekends should last longer.

Seriously, they go by way to fast.

Friday night was Senior night at the football game. The Senior boys were recognized, with their parents at the game. Kev and I, and the other Senior parents received candy bouquets. Steve and his boys came down to watch Andy and Kim and Bob and their kids came down for the weekend too.

While Bucklin lost again, Andy got to start and he played the entire game. (One of the starters had gotten caught drinking the weekend before, so Andy sub'd for him.) After the game, we all tromped down and talked to him as the team went back to the locker room. Andy loved his "fan club." The grin on his face was a mile wide and didn't stop. He didn't care they'd been 45'd again, all he cared about was that all these people who cared about him were at the game.

Kim, Bob and their kids spent the weekend with us. Steve went back home to paint his garage. (He really needs to work on his prioritites!) Bob and Kev and Andy and Tate went to the farm to chop wood for our fireplace. Kim and I had to run to Dodge for a few groceries. We should have then taken the girls to the farm to goof off, cause the guys had such a good time, and we all enjoy being outside. Yet, we girls had a nice visit and did some baking and relaxing.

When the guys got home, we shot some trap and then cooked supper and sat around the firepit. Simple, relaxing times.

Yesterday, we had a delicious breakfast and wonderful lunch. The guys chopped wood and watched a ball game while Kim and I napped. Isn't that cool, to have friends that you can just take a nap with during a visit?

After they went home, Kev chopped more wood and I did the laundry. I truely enjoyed the weekend, but I sure wish it lasted a little longer.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


This was taken at our local Sonic yesterday by a co-worker..

Anyone up for a burger?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I want it Wednesday

Today, my mind is thinking about what all we need to process deer.

See, one of the disadvantages of moving was leaving our hunting buddies and their labor and equipment! Gene, Lynn, Kev and I would cut up each other's deer. Gene owned a meat grinder. It was a old manual commercial one, but he'd rigged it up to a small motor and put it on a small platform, making it much easier and faster to grind that burger! Lynn had meat trays which we put our meat in after grinding and before wrapping. Gene skinned and cut the meat off the carcass and Lynn and Kev then de-boned it and cut steaks. My job was to grind burger and wrap the meat. Gene's wife was also a wrapper/grinder. Back when Lynn was married, Cindy also helped. Butchering goes really quickly when you've go so many people helping. We could usually do a deer in an hour--from carcass to freezer.

But...we had to move, and we had to leave our friends and their equipment. So, now we find ourselves needing to purchase our own equipment. This is the grinder I want...yes, I want this exact one. But, I'll probably get a slightly smaller one that's slightly cheaper. We don't really need this big of a grinder for just us, but I drool every time I see this!

So, what do you want???

And remember, to click over on the Homesteading Wife's link. This was Dana's idea, I just joined her. See what Dana wants...(but fair warning, she likes the same kind of kooky stuff that I do!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Grandma's story

For G--I'll be scanning the original and mailing it to you.

The following is a short biography that my Grandma wrote for me a few years ago. In essence, this is a transcript.

Katherine Salene Miller

I was born April 23, 1923 in the farm home of my parents, Israel A and Olive May Miller, five miles north west of Englewood.

I cannot think my life was much different than any farm child of that era. My father died when I was 3 years and 3 or 5 days old, depending on what records you go back to. mother always said he died April 26, 1926, so that is what I remember. I had one brother, Clyde Allen, who was born near Lyons on October 18, 1904. My father and mother are both buried at Lyons, Ks.

I do not remember anything especially different about my childhood. We lived on a farm. We had chickens, pigs and milk cows. My brother did the farming.

After the stock market crash of 1929, everyone was poor, the dust bowl years soon followed, so no one had much above their expenses. We used kerosene lamps and sometime in the 30's we had a gasoline lamp, and since my brother was able to fix things, sometime in the late 30's, he was able to fix us electric lights [grandpa inserts 6 volt battery]. Where he got a motor to fix I do not know.

Nearly all farm homes at that time had cellars. That's where we kept our canned fruit and vegetables, also the cured and canned meats.

A little about Mother working. I think that my Mother did a lot of nursing during World War I. She was called an LPN nurse, and went into many homes when people had the flu, during the war. They had just moved to Clark Co., not too many years before that. She did so some nursing that I can remember but not much.

Clyde, my brother was a good mechanic. He was always working on some machinery, but I really don't know whether he liked to or not. We always had a car of some kind during those years. Just drove only when necessary. We walked to our neighbors, and they walked to our house.

The one think of my childhood years were dust storms. This was in the 1930's. We were dry! Kansas Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas and north of us. The wind would start blowing and stir up the dust. You could not see across the road. You could clean your house, go to bed and the next morning, you had 1 to 3 inches of dust on the windowsills. The pattern on the floors were covered, so you couldn't make it out. The clean place on your pillow was where your head was. When you fixed a meal, you either covered the table with a tea towel or put your plates, cups, and glasses up side down. Everything had to be covered.

As I said during the 30's you did anything honest to make a nickle. Clyde did mechanical work. Also at one time, he worked a short time on WPA, a govt. work program and they planted trees along the highway. Also after some of the govt. programs for farmers were started he had a job helping measure the land.

We at times think we are poor, but farmers in the 30's and early 40's milked cows and had chickens. Your grocery money was from that. When we were married our grocery money was our egg and cream money. When I was little Mother would give me a penny and tell me to buy some candy. You knew which clerk gave you the most of 1 cent.

Clyde was also a pretty good artist. He made his pictures with colors (pastels) and he made several, but I don't know what Rose [his wife] did with them. He also liked to make fancy candy for Christmas, and was a pretty good cook if necessary. After I got old enough, I did the cooking if Mother wasn't able.

We also did a lot of canning, but we didn't have a pressure cooker. We canned in the old fashioned waterbath (3 hours of boiling water). When Graves' moved north of us, Edna had a pressure cooker and Mother did can corn up there.

All I remember about my childhood was it was alright. Since my Mother was a widow, she did do some work for other people. Until I was school age, people she worked for, knew I had to come along. She cleaned houses for people in town that could afford to pay someone. I usually set in the kitchen when she cleaned, or did the washing or ironing. The only ones I can think of now were the Billings and Lees. She also did washing for people at our home and Mother was a great seamstress, so she did a lot of sewing for other people. During the 1930's you either wore what you had or did without. My mother had a cousin, Florence Cole, who worked for people as a housekeeper. She sent Mother boxes of their no longer wore clothing, and that's what her clothes and mine were made from . The year I was a Senior in High School, I had my first new coat. It was a maroon wool coat. Since Mother sewed she taught me to sew when I was young, also to embroider, but since Mother was left handed, she couldn't teach me to crochet. ( I finally bought a book after I married, then I learned to crochet and knit.)

The one thing that bothered me during most of my growing up years was I had hay fever and had trouble breathing. After I married, I found out what I was allergic too. Ragweed, which grew all around our house.

We were lucky as we had a small ice box that they had got sometime, and ice was not too expensive. We mostly kept it for our cream and milk. If you ever made ice tea or a cold drink, you were really entertaining. If anyone wanted a cold drink you went out to the well and got a drink of fresh well water. I guess that's a habit I never out grew because a good drink of water is still best.

If you had unexpected company you caught a chicken, especially in the summer. You would dress the chicken, cut it up and fry it for the meal. We usually had some beef in the winter, we would butcher or get 1/2 beef from a neighbor. The Elmer Walkers were a small family, so usually we traded with them. If anyone in the neighborhood butchered, everyone helped and you usually gave them liver or a mess of meat to take home. When the Ward family lived north of us, they had goats, so once in a while, we would have some goat meat. Mother always cooked it and if you are hungry, you eat it.

Sharing was also done if you had field corn or a large garden, or mulberries and we had black currants. Everyone managed to pick wild plums and we ate a lot for fruit. Mother always managed some way to buy a bushel of peaches and some blue plums. We had a lot of fruit for dessert when I was a child. Mothers favorite dessert was her one egg chocolate cake.

As our house was heated by a wood and coal stove, we lived in the dining room in the winter, as it was the easiest to heat. We slept in cold bedrooms and used flannel sheets and wool comforters on our beds that Mother made We also slept on feather beds at our home. The only thing with feather beds was that the bed was hard to make. On bath nights you heated the kitchen, heated water on the stove, carried in the wash tub and took a bath. We took more pan baths than tub baths. My bath tub is a luxury. In the summer we sometimes used straw mattresses, but I was allergic to straw so that wasn't very good. I was allergic to feathers I later found out too.

And that's where it ends. She never wrote anything else after this.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Believe it or not, there's another sport that I know as well as I know Football.

Scary, isn't it!

But, I know the ins and outs of Volleyball about as well as I know the ins and outs of Football.

See, back in the dark ages (aka 20+ years ago), when I was in High School and Junior High, we didn't have a Volleyball team. Oh, we played it some in P.E. class, but not seriously, and only for a week or two. But, the rules have changed since then and now Miss Kat is playing Volleyball. It's a sport now, not just a 2 week diversion in P.E. class.

Thursday, I took the afternoon off to go watch Miss Kat play in her last game of the season. She plays on the C team, but suits up and is on the B team roster. Watching 3 matches Thursday, I decided that the tallest and biggest girls play on the A team. The medium sized girls play B team and the smallest girls play C team.

We got to watch Miss Kat play in a game early in her season. She served some, but never hit the ball over the net and she didn't get many volley's back over the net either.

But Thursday was an entirely different game. All the girls have improved. Miss Kat has been the top scorer for the last 3 or 4 C team games. I know on Thursday, she scored at least 9 points serving and she scored a couple by hitting some volleys back over the net. She's really improved! And, it doesn't go to her head either, because when I said something about being top scorer, she said, "O, well, I never pay any attention to that." (She gets her modesty from her mother.)

I had no clue on some of the calls that the referee's made, and I did figure out that anytime the ball hits the floor, somebody gets a point. I think maybe the rules might be easier than the Football rules, so I might become an expert bench judge someday.

But, I enjoyed watching Miss Kat play. I really enjoy watching her interact with her friends. It was a neat experience...even if I didn't know what was going on most of the time!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


One of the things I love most about Kev is that he's so sharing.

For, example, once he brought home a piece of cheesecake that a co-worker had brought to work. It was cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory. He could have eaten it at work, and never mentioned it to me, but instead, he brought it home to share with me.

He always shares a lap blanket with me when we are snuggled up on the couch, watching TV.

He will share the last piece of pie.

He shares news, and family gossip...eventually.

He shares funny stories from work.

He shares the car.

He shares his lunch hour with me sometimes too. That's always a treat, to get to eat lunch with my hubby.

But today, he went over the top today.

Today, he shared...

his cold.

He didn't have to share. In fact, I wish he hadn't shared it with me. But, that's the kind of guy he is.

Ain't he sweet?

I want it Wednesday

Over the past week, we've had at least 8 inches of rain.

We were about 6 inches behind "normal" rainfall for our area. I haven't seen official numbers, but I can safely say we're "over" normal amounts now.

Today, we can see the sun. I haven't seen the sun since Friday. I take that back, we briefly saw the sun Saturday morning, but she's been hiding since then.

Personally, I love rain, and this has been a nice, slow rain. No wind, steady rainfall.

But, it's soggy. I mean, there's water standing everywhere. We're saturated. Ponds are full to overflowing, but because it was such a slow rain, not any flooding in our area. Who knows, there might even be water in the Arkansas River! That would be awsome!

So, since it's soggy, and muddy outside, all we need right now--for "I want it Wednesday" are:

Waterproof, and versital, I can wear them to the treestand and not get my tootsies cold or wet or muddy.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Holding him back

I'm sorry to inform everyone of this fact, but...

Kev and I have decided that our young son, the Senior, needs to be held back.

I know, I know, holding your child back a grade is usually done in Grade School. But, we didn't think he needed to be held back then.

So, we're holding him back now.

Reasons to hold him back to repeat his Senior Year are:

  1. He'll be around another year to chauffeur his sister.
  2. He'll be around another year to keep an eye on his sister.
  3. He'll be around another year to play football.
  4. He'll be around another year to play basketball.
  5. He'll be around another year to run errands for his mommy.
  6. He'll be around another year to shoot in 4-H.
  7. He'll be around to do chores around the house.
  8. He'll be around the house where we can keep an eye on him for one more year.
  9. He'll be home where the girls can't find him.

Seriously, he's doing so well this year, that it makes us wish we had held him back years ago when he was in 2nd grade. His teacher at the time thought he wasn't as mature socially as the rest of the kids in his class. (Her primary justification to us was that he played with the same little boy every day and never anyone else. Hello! Phillip was his best friend, of course he wanted to play with him!)

We chose not to hold him back for that reason, it didn't seem valid to us, his parents. But, we both agree that we wish we had simply because he's having so much fun and is doing so well with this group of kids. He's just so happy!

While his football team lost again, the coach told Andy, "You are making me look good." This compliment was due to Andy's good punts. That kid can really punt! Sad part is, he never had an opportunity to punt before, so for him to have that now is really wonderful. And, having that skill being recognized, that's wonderful.

And, Saturday was the 4-H State Trap shooting match. Andy took 4th place in the 16 yard shooters (with a 48 and then a 25 in the shoot-off). He took 10th place overall with a 92. (Out of 150 or so shooters.)

So, we should hold him back another year, cause then he can become a better punter, and maybe place higher in trap shooting and who knows what the rest of the year will bring...

So, holding him back isn't selfish at all. It's all about him, right? Right?...

Friday, October 10, 2008

I am a grocery store queen

Yesterday, I had to leave work early to go to the grocery store.

See, we carpool, and I'd hate to make Patrick wait on me while I'm shopping at the grocery store. So, I left work early (which I also hate doing). I left at 4:30, and had to pick the guys up at 5.

My list contained

Milk (4 gallons)
Cheese (sliced)
Butter (cause it was on sale.)

I was in and out of the store in 10 minutes.

I got 4 gallons milk
8 packages of cheese (each package was $1.00 off!)
5 lbs of butter (real butter thank you and I should have gotten 10)

I also grabbed some fajita marinade
some donuts

That's it. In and out in 10 minutes, got only what I needed, and, I saved over $15 on my bill.

I like that. Especially since I noticed that flats of veggies have gone UP by $2.50 in the past week. Yikes!

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Kev and I got our bows out last night to get them sighted in and to get the "feel" of shooting again.

Bow season has already started, and we are just now getting our bows ready. That is so WRONG on so many levels.

We should have started practicing in August.
We should already have everything lined up and ready to shoot.
We should, by now, be practiced, confident, and out hunting.

But we aren't. sigh.

My sight pin was way out of alignment. I use a pendulum sight pin now because I really suck at judging distances. Before, I'd have to guess which sight pin to use, and, I always asked Kev and Lynn Dale to draw me imaginary lines...10 yards, 20, yards, etc. Now, my pendulum pin should work up to 30 yards, and it adjusts itself to the target. Much nicer for distanace-challenged me.

I lost one arrow somewhere in the grass. I broke another arrow. I kept letting off from full draw which totally screws up your shot.

Kev, the jerk, just goes out, fires a couple of shots, adjusts a couple of small items, and he's back in business. The jerk. Why can't it be that easy for me???

Me...nothing is easy for me. After spending quite a bit of time looking for my arrows in the grass, Kev rigged up a back stop out of some plywood. But the idiot (she will remain nameless) who was moving my sight pin, moved it the wrong way, and I nailed the plywood.
  • My 47 lb bow can shoot an arrow through plywood.
  • Shooting arrows through plywood is hard on arrows.
  • Pulling arrows out of the plywood isn't easy.
  • Husbands get really annoyed when they have to pull your arrow out of the plywood.
  • They get really really annoyed when you shoot it again.

We finally got my bow close to where it needs to be set, but now we need to find my broadheads. We've talked about me switching to mechanical broadheads (mechanicals open when they hit the deer) and not regular 4 bladed broadheads. Cause once I shoot a broadhead, we'll have to sight it in again. I really hope we have mechanicals bought already for me to use. I hope we can find them if we bought them.

But, shooting outside does get me in the mood to hunt...course I can't go this weekend, because we will be at a trap shoot... but, by the time I can go, I should be ready!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I want it Wednesday

Today I want this...

Yes, it's a Wind generator. I want one so I don't have to pay so much for electricity. I want to generate my own electricity. But, they cost a lot. More than I have right now. But, the wind blows all the time here. You might think that Chicago is the windiest city in the U.S., but it's not. Dodge City is. (look it up if you don't believe me.)

Wind farms are going up all around me and no one will pipe it into my house, so I'll just have to get my very own Wind generator.

random stuff...

Last night, we got a package in the mail from the gun club that sponsored the trap shoot Andy was recently in. You know, the one where he placed 4th.

Yesterday, he got a medal and a check for $22.00. Pretty cool if you ask me! He was pleased. And the timing is right, cause he'll shoot at the State Match this weekend. Of course the forecast is for windy conditions. But, we'll try to get there early to shoot before it gets too bad...I hope.


Kev and I are getting old. We actually watched the presidential debate last night. And, we watched the VP debate when it was on. Count us among the undecided, cause I like one guy on one issue, and the other guy on another issue. But, deep down, I know that they are both blowing smoke and just saying what they think people want to hear just to get votes.

Yes, I'm cynical.


Yes, it's Wednesday, and I'll post something about that soon..

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Since being back "home", close to the area where I grew up, I've noticed some changes in lifestyles and population and how kids interact. I like these changes, and wish things had been like this when I grew up here...

Wwwwaaaaaaaayyyyy back when, when I was in school, our school, like every other school we competed against was white. There were zero kids of color. Don't get me wrong, I am not bragging or anything, that's just how it was. We did compete against one school with ONE black kid.

He was a novelty, because we seldom saw anyone of color anywhere. Seriously, we would all watch him on the basketball court simply because...well, because he stood out from the crowd! And, we all liked watching him because he was unique. Poor guy...

It was so bad that when I went to college, I did not know how to act around anyone who's skin was darker than mine. (Shut up you people who are thinking "Shell, everyone is darker than you, you pale, glow-in-the-dark skinned girl.") I didn't know what to say, and I had a hard time understanding the urban black dialect. Sometimes, I wondered if they spoke the same language that I did!

But now, there's lots of color at area games. Black, white, brown, green, purple. It's a good thing, the kids there today are learning that color doesn't matter, it's the person who matters. So, it's all good. In fact, the kids don't say "that black girl, or that mexican guy." They say, "Bob, or Jose or Keesha, or that boy, or that girl."

Another difference, was that we all spoke English! There were some Mexican families in all our neighboring towns, but none could speak Spanish--they all had been here for a long time and spoke English. Now, most of our little communities have a more significant Mexican population.

The last thing I've noticed since being back in this area is that the kids in different communities interact more and my kids are friends with kids who live in other towns and go to other schools. That was unheard of in my day. You didn't talk to anyone from another town or school unless you had the misfortune to be related to them.

Isn't that sad? We were so isolated. I know it affected me, because when I went to college, not only did I not know how to talk to someone who's skin was darker than mine, (shut up, shut up, shut up) but I didn't know how to talk to anyone--especially guys. I still have trouble talking to someone I don't know well. And, I know it's because we were so isolated.

I'm glad to see these changes. It's good that kids don't see color first. It's good that kids have friends and contacts in other communities, it's good to be exposed to different cultures. These changes, I like.

Monday, October 06, 2008

just cause

Kev didn't remember what "Rock 'n Roll Love letter" sounded like, so I added it to my play list. Listen if you don't remember.

It goes real well with my other music all the way!

If you don't like music while reading, simply click on the playlist, then hit the stop button.

Somtimes I feel like music, sometimes I don't!

I won't keep "rock n roll love letter" forever, cause it just ISN'T me! But, give it a listen, and maybe it will be in YOUR head all dang day too.

You're welcome.

Friday, October 03, 2008

rock n roll love letter

For some reason, this tune is rolling around in my head this morning.

And, it's driving me crazy.


Baycity Rollers

"This is my rock-n-roll love letter

To you.

This is my rock-n-roll love letter

To you.

Gonna sign it, gonna seal it, gonna mail it away..."

dada da da-da....

Everybody, sing along...

Please, cause it'd driving me insane! I can't take much more of the Baycity Rollers or lame cheesy 1970's pop music.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

My kids both had their names in the paper last night.

Andy had kicked 105 yards last game and his farthest punt was 45 yards. I'm assuming that is good. Right?

Miss Kat even had her name in the paper for scoring the most points in the "C" team Volleyball game for Jr High. She had 4 points.

I "whoo hoo'd" both kids for getting their names in the paper. For some reason, they both rolled their eyes. At least I didn't get up and dance with them and spin them around and such. They should be grateful!

Now, I need to actually clip those articles out and get my CM stuff unpacked and get albums caught up!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

the pond...

You know how I mentioned earlier that the pond was finished.


And, remember I mentioned that it was losing water, so Kev has to take care of that now?


Last night, he said, "You know, I think I'll go get a bunch more cleache rocks and put them on the other side of the stream. Where it's losing water. Because then I can build that side up, and those timbers that are there now really look like crap."


The pond will N.E.V.E.R. be finished.

I want it Wednesday!

To go with my old fashioned looking stove, I want a farm sink. (I neglected last week to say that my old stove is really a reproduction. It's a modern stove made to look like an old one.) Back to farm sinks...

You might call it, an apron front sink.

Whatever. I want one. I don't need a double sink, one will do. I don't like stainless steel. (I know, I can hear you all gasping in shock!) Stainless steel is boring. I want an old, heavy single sink. And the apron front ones are drop dead beautiful.

Now the beauty above is a double sink, but she's a copper sink. Isn't she lovely? She'd really look good with my reproduction old fashioned stove. Of course she isn't cheap, but neither am I!

Can't you see me, standing in front of my sink, doing dishes, or peeling potatoes or canning tomatoes? See, that sink would look gggggoooooodddd next to me!

I want it!

Be sure to click over on the Homesteading Housewife to see what Dana wants. Hey, this is entirely her idea! I just stole it :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

stay-at-home mom

Today, my loving daughter told me that I should be a stay-at-home Mom.

Just so I could be at her beck-n-call. And, so I could go to all her games.

Thing is, I'd love to be a stay-at-home Mom and wife. I could so get into that. It's my life's ambition. Problem is, well, by the time we can afford for me to be a stay-at-home mom the kids will be grown and gone.

But, I'm willing to sacrifice and be just a stay-at-home wife!

Sigh. But, I'd bet that Miss Kat isn't willing to make the sacrifices we'd have to make for me to stay home. Selfish thing that she is. What would have to go would be the cell phones, and the satellite TV and the tractor and our wireless Internet. Kev would put his foot down at giving up the tractor. Miss Kat can't find her cell phone, but she'd revolt at giving up the TV and the wireless Internet. Andy would offer to pay for his own cell phone, but since he doesn't have a job anymore, well, that's out. And I'd hate giving up the TV too. I guess we all are just too selfish for me to be a stay-at-home mom.

So, I'll wait till the kids are gone and everything is paid off. Then, then, I can be a stay-at-home mom.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekend recap

On Saturday, Mom and I and "Mom's bestest and oldest friend", Faye, went to the Whimmy Diddle in Scott City.

The Whimmy Diddle is a large outdoors craft fair. It was a 2.5 hour drive, but it was fun riding with Mom and her "bestest and oldest friend". Faye and Mom grew up together. For many years, while each was newly married and were raising their families, they didn't get to see each other often and the certainly didn't get to "hang out". But, now that they are older, and aren't as busy, they've reconnected and spend a lot of time together. I like watching them, and listening to their stories. It's fun seeing your mom act like a person and not your mom.

So, we spent the day at the craft show, bought a few things, then we drove home. We'd met in Minneola, so when we got there, we all stopped by the Nursing Home to see Grandma. She didn't know us at first, but did seem to after we told her who we were. In fact, she said to Mom, "oh, yes, I guess you are my daughter." Faye went to visit with someone she knew and the Nurses called Mom over to visit, so I stayed with Grandma. I told her about Miss Kat's skirt, and she did light up and was really interested in the conversation. But, she's so drugged up that she really can't stay with you very long.

We left, and I drove home. When I got home, I realized that I had left my book in Mom's car. I'm lost without a book. I always have a book to read. And, now, I'd left it in her car. I called and ordered her to drive to my house to bring it to me, but she just laughed and made some smart-alec comment about me not being able to live for one week without my book.

I'll show her. I'll get through the week just fine. After all, I just got 2 new magazine issues in the mail, so I can read them. And, I've got a cross stitch project to work on. But I still miss my book.

Yesterday, I finished Miss Kat's skirt. We will never make a living as seamstresses. I ripped out the waistband and re-pinned it to sew it back on. I then sewed it back on, all was looking well, I was pleased. Then I noticed something that we should have noticed much earlier.

We had sewed one side seam "backwards". In other words, the seam was on the outside--the front of the skirt. For cryin' out-loud. What idiot did not catch that one? (I'm not the only idiot, Kat didn't catch it either!) So, I ripped that seam out, and had to then rip the waistband out on that side. I resewed the seam--correctly, this time; sewed the waistband again and we were finished. Well, I was. Miss Kat was not around for her sewing project. But she did wear it the rest of the afternoon, prancing around and wiggling, watching that skirt swing around her legs.

Kev and I finally finished the pond. Except, last night, he found a leak in the stream. sigh. I did laundry and then I relaxed and cross stitched (since I don't have a book to read!) And, I sneezed a lot and blew my nose a lot.

I think I must be allergic to Sundays, because for the past 3 weeks, my allergies have been terrible on Sundays and more manageable on other days. Am I allergic to my house? To something in the pastures? I don't know. Other than using a box of Kleenex yesterday, it was a great weekend!