Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fog!!

No, not frog, fog. This morning the weather outside mirrored my mood, there seemed to be a fog hanging over me and I really had no desire to get out of bed. Turns out the sun is in breech of contract and I think I may have to sue. The deal is quite simple, if the sun gets up them so do I. Well if the sun was up, it was obviously not doing it's job as the fog was so thick I couldn't see the barn from my bedroom window and it looks directly at it. Well dh got me out of bed against my will and got me ready for work then I poured myself into the car and forced myself to stay awake for the entire hour drive. Once I parked I wanted to go back to sleep but a Ford Focus is quite small and I don't imagine it would be comfortable so I went to my desk, stopping for a quick shot of hot chocolate with coffee :) Well I'd better do some work :)

Hi to all the new readers, don't forget to vote in this week's poll :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lots of Rain and birthday fun

When you add days of rain to a pig pen you get funky smell :( The pigs are loving their giant mud pit, unfortunately, without a easily distinguishable potty area it means that they have opted to go on either end of the pen. I look forward to a few drier days. But, in the mean time I am extra thankful that I live upwind of the pig pen :)

To be fair though, the cow area isn't smelling so sweet right now either :( But they spend a lot of their time in the pasture so there is less smell issues to deal with when filling their water. Though it would be nice if I could teach them to all go in the same spot out in the pasture, like that could happen, lol. Anyone know where I might get a copy of cow training for dummies? :) I'm looking for the crate training chapter, haha.

Well, today was baby's 1st birthday and we did our ritual; cupcakes, hats and banner :) She loved it, though she was a bit confused about the birthday candle. I don't think she'd seen a flame before so she half wanted to touch it and half cautious of it. She decided to just wait and see what we were going to do about it instead. Once the flame was gone she knew exactly what to do and began sucking and licking the frosting off the candle :) She didn't even bother to start in on her cupcake until the candle was clean, lol. Yes pics are coming . . . soon, I promise, have I ever let you down . . . don't answer that . . . I said they're coming :)

Flies - Part 2

Well, so far I am very impressed with the fly strips. I am amazed that there are so many flies, it's like they are being replaced as we get rid of them. Thankfully they are being replaced at a severely slower rate :) The jar with the water is a phenomenal fly trap, I had to add more water since it had trapped so many flies that you could no longer see any water. Scary!! It's weird though, it was like there was a bee line for entry to the jar, like they didn't realise that it is the jar of no return :) Pics to come soon :)

The role of a wife and mother

It was a revelation one morning that mine is the job of diamond polisher for my husband and diamond miner to my children. I guess it is funny because I never thought of the role in quite that way. It occurred to me that I never gave diamond polishers nearly enough credit that they are due, believe me they deserve it, lol.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Strong enough

Today has been an emotionally stressful day, I don't have much to say (unusual for me, I know). I thought I would share the lyrics of a song that has really helped to get me through. Remember that God dwells in His praises and even on this difficult day I will continue to praise Him.

Strong Enough - Stacie Orrico

As I rest against the cold, hard wall
Or will you pass me by?
Will you criticize me as I sit and cry?
I had fought so hard and thought
That all my battles had been won
Only to find the war has just begun

Is He not strong enough?
Is He not pure enough?
To break me, pour me out, and start again
Is he not brave enough?
To take one chance on me
Please can I have one chance to start again?

Will my weakness for an hour
Make me suffer for a lifetime?
Is there anyway to be made whole again?
If I'm healed, renewed and find forgiveness
Find the strength I've never had
Will my scars forever ruin all God's plan?

Is He not strong enough?
Is He not pure enough?
To break me, pour me out, and start again
Is he not brave enough?
To take one chance on me
Please can I have one chance to start again?

He took my life into His hands
And turned it all around
In my most desperate circumstance
It's there I finally found

That You are strong enough
That You are pure enough
To break me, pour me out and start again
That You are brave enough
To take one chance on me
Oh thank you for my chance to start again

(c) Starstruck Music

Monday, July 28, 2008

3yr olds, lol

I turned around to see why the baby was making such loud sucking sounds on her bottle, I found that her 3yr old brother was the one sucking on it. I instinctively asked, "are you sucking baby's bottle?" He looked me dead in the eye, popped the bottle out of his mouth and said, "No." I just about died laughing. I love that kid. :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

FLIES!!!!

I hate flies, I don't think I said that loud enough, I HATE FLIES!!!!!!! The worse thing about Kansas in the summer is flies. When we lived at the mobile home it was just as bad, so it's not just the whole farm living thing. Tonight I decided to take them to task and I have put out the fly traps, in the house, barn and the general corral area. I am eager to see how many we can eliminate. The children are very excited about this and have been checking every five minutes the progress of the fly strips. I cannot imagine what it must be like to be a cow or pig and having to just deal with the swarms of flies. The minute we set any kind of feed out for the animals the flies are there, waiting for the crumbs. The pig panels look like they have black polka dots. Fortunately for the pigs the mud helps to keep the flies at bay. The cows aren't so lucky however and have to keep swatting them with their tails, or heads. (that is hard to explain, you'd have to see it) They don't have as much trouble out in the pasture though so that may explain why they rather sit in the shade of the wild sun flowers.

Poll #3 Answered

Q: What is the waiting period for a cash refund (at Wal-Mart) if I paid by check?

A: None. According to Wal-Mart FG 501 Refund Guidelines, "Purchases made by check do not require a waiting period for cash refund." The words "do not" are in bold on the policy.

Thank you to all those who voted. :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Living for the moment

As an adult I see how much my father influenced my life. Take something as simple as an egg breakfast. My father has ALWAYS without fail, had his eggs either scrambled dry or boiled with salt and black pepper. Those were the only 2 options and as such that is all I ever knew. It's not that my mother didn't enjoy her eggs any other way it is just that his was the deciding vote in most all things food. Even after they split my food destiny seemed pretty well formed and I seemed doomed to never experience the wonders of food. That is until today when I decided to not repeat the cycle and allow my dh to take the lead and expand our children's food experiences. I found a great recipe on PW and I decided to make it for dh and allowed his experience to be the one that shaped the children's perception.

The experiment seems to be a success, even my most picky eaters are raving about egg-in-a-hole. I have always been fascinated by eggs over easy and/or medium and decided to give it a try (you only live once right), not to mention I have always been curious about the rich yellow stuff's flavor. I'm not sure what the big deal is but it wasn't bad. So today I lived if only but for that moment :)

The Last Lecture by Professor Randy Pausch

video

Forget that this is done on the set of Oprah and listen to what he had to say. The reality is we are all dying (sorry to break the news), just some sooner than others. Life is short no matter how long you live the important thing is the LIVE it the best you can. He died last Friday and I wanted to share this with everyone so that I never forget.

He has a book with the same title available at Amazon.com (not a paid advertisement)

Swan Lake



I was over at Ginger's blog when I saw today's post about Swan Lake and I just had to share. To say the least the kids and I sat mesmerized for the 6 glorious minutes of the clip. I mean, did you see that? She is amazing, He is so strong, They all were wonderful. I think the children will be working on the bouncing tree frog routine, it was really good.

Don't miss this it's fantastic. What did you think?

Kissing vs Making out

I'm sure you're thinking, they're pretty much the same thing, but they're not. It's funny how you go from making out with your then future husband to just kissing him good bye. What's up with that? I'm not saying that there needs to a marathon make out session every time you see each other. I am saying that it shouldn't just be that thing you do as a sole means of foreplay. Try making out with you husband/wife for no particular reason and watch it change your relationship, it works.

Can you tell I've been thinking again? :) That's because the pigs are happy and content and the cows are grazing happily, infact they lay in the shade of a wild sunflower patch during the hot part of the day, rather than trek back to the barn. I knew those things would come in handy, and people call them weeds :)

We have lots of old farming type equiptment around the ranch and we decided to move the big iron spring tooth so that if we get something to mow with, it would not be in the way. Wow is that thing big and heavy. The other thing I'm not sure what it is, it looks like the frame of an old hay trailer. The rims are pretty stuck in the dirt though and that will take a bit more work to move.

I'm still looking for the mysterious apple and pear trees that the former owner mentioned but at least we finally made it over to that part of the property. 10 acres is not that much but it is easy to never venture to certain places if you aren't using it all that regularly. Next to the house is about 3 acres that we haven't really gotten to, it is over by the pole barn, which is a very nice pole barn but since we don't have horses much of the fencing is not practical for our cows. Especially since our cows are little, they could bend their head and walk right out.

I guess everything in time. I'm off to make out with my hubby, nah, he's sleeping but it'd be a nice way to wake him up, don't ya think? :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Save a horse, Ride a cowboy.

Let me start by saying, good bye to my more conservative readers, you'll be missed. No really I do value you, I promise tomorrow we'll be past this post and back to our regularly featured broadcast :) Just kidding, it won't be that bad.

I was driving to work this morning and this was the song that came on, I was amused because I was listening to my regular country music station. I know you're thinking, they're a country act what's the big deal. Well, as I really listened to the song the first thing that hit me is how NOT country it is. Aside from the reference to a cowboy, there really is no other really country defining moment. Frankly they would be better to be considered something in the rock genre.

The next song to come on was so pop I felt like I was back in the 80's and Whitney Houston was still on top with "How will I know". Don't get me wrong I enjoy the fact that country has began to experiment with different types of music but if you listen long enough you start to wonder if this is country or just the new music junk drawer.

Why else would a hack (pardon my language) like Jessica Simpson attempt to break into country. I can explain, she has no talent and she's hoping no one will notice with the pop type crap she usually does that seems to be the new "country" trend.

Good ole George Straight would turn in his grave, oh wait, he's still alive. What is he like 200 now. I love George Straight, he is a great singer, the last of his breed to really make good music. Anyway, I'm off my soap box now. Glad I got that off my chest. :)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Nikon Coolpix P80 - What do you think?

Here is the Camera that has caught my attention:

Nikon Coolpix P80


The reviews would indicate that for a non-pro like myself this would be a great camera. What do you think? Anyone tried it? Hate it/Like it/Love it/Can't live without it?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Warms my heart

There's something about watching a father teaching his son that warms the heart. Today my dh began teaching our oldest to drive, I know what you're thinking, "isn't he only 10?", and the answer to that is yes :) The thing about living on a farm is that it is necessary for as many people working there to be able to drive the vehicle. He is teaching him on the old Suburban and the kid's a natural. I was really impressed as dh had him practicing figure 8's around the riding arena. It is amazing how well he was able to handle himself around those barrels. I love that kid :)

I'm thankful that I was not in the passenger seat with the little lead foot, but instead was sitting at a safe distance up on the podium. :)

Pigs sheltered and cows pastured

Well we were finally able to move the large "box" type structure out of the barn and over to the pig pen. It is made of a heavy plastic sheets on a wooden frame, we're not quite sure what it was previously used for but I can tell you that it is now a pig shelter. We even placed a pallet in it to keep them up above the ground so that they can have a cool dry place :) Gotta love having handy stuff lying around.

Once we got the box out of the barn it was quite the puzzle trying to figure out how to get it into the pen as the gate is much narrower than the box. I looked at the box for a while and finally decided that we'd just have to suck it up and try to lift it over the fence. We would utilise the smooth back side of the box to try to slide it over. Well it worked but let me tell ya it looked nothing like I imagined it would. When we got it up I felt certain it would take down the fence. Thankfully it didn't, in fact the fence took the weight beautifully, bending with the pressure and then snapping back up one it was over. It was perfect.

It's been 3 days since we got back out to look at the fence. I found a spot I felt that Lot would have no trouble getting out and dh secured it. Since then we have sent them back out to pastured and they have not tried to escape. Of course I am still keeping my fingers crossed that that will last for a while. As we were working on the pig shelter I looked out to the pasture and saw them all over by the fence line, that immediately cause fear and panic. Given the distance I could not tell if they were on my side of the fence or on the road (darn street walking cows). I jumped into the focus as it looked for sure like they were on the road, I was so happy to be wrong. In fact when I got there I realised that the they were nearly as close to the fence line as they looked. I was very thankful for that.

All in all we have had a great start to the week, my garden is growing, the pigs are fattening and the cows are happy and content. I am almost certain the Ms Marian will be calving by late February. She seems to have put Christmas in July in her place and taken the lead as head cow, it's quite an interesting reversal of roles.

I'm looking for camera suggestions, here are the basic requirements that must be met, the rest is up to you. Must have: a rechargeable lithium ion battery, a lot of zoom capability so that I can snap photos of the cows when they are in the pasture, and the picture quality must stay sharp even when the zoom is used. Obviously I don't know much about cameras and those may not even be the real terms for what I want but I think you get what I mean :) I look forward to hearing from you :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Early to bed, Early to rise

Well, this morning I am tired. It might have something to do with the fact that I was up late last night chatting with dh on his lunch break. I choose to ignore that possibility. In my defense however, I will say that the children kept me up and then by the time I got them down for bed the phone rang. Dh always calls on his lunch break even if just to say, "I love you". He really doesn't mind the hour twiddling his thumbs, or at least that's what I tell myself. The extra hour of sleep translates into 2.5 hours of time we get to spend together. I'll just have to work on getting the kids down on time from now on :(

Monday, July 21, 2008

Poll Question #2 Answered

Q: Can I return an item to Wal-Mart that I purchased at Target/Kmart/Dollar General?

A: The best answer to this question would be maybe. According to Refunds and Exchanges: FG 504 - Refunds without a receipt, the last paragraph reads:

"Merchandise currently carried by Wal-Mart can be returned to any Wal-Mart Store, regardless of whether the merchandise was originally purchased at a Wal-Mart Store."

Stun your physician

If you're like me, and you're probably not, you have a real weakness for shock value. Don't get me wrong, it's really that I'm trying to shock others it is more that I know I will and I am amused by their response :) But is that really so wrong? :) Well I went to see my Dr for a little female trouble (that's as detailed as you get, sorry to be so graphic :)) and naturally as is the case with most doctors the "cure all" recommended was birth control pills. Well, it was at that point I realised that she was up for a good shock :) I look at her nicely and said, "I don't do birth control." She gave me this blank stare, it hadn't registered, she said "what?" to which I repeated myself, "I don't do birth control." this went on for a few more minutes as she asked me to explain. I was so amused. I don't think she'd ever heard those words uttered before.

We are quiverfull and believe in leaving the family planning to God, He's always taken great care of us and we find no reason to not trust Him with this too. There are tons of couples trying to have babies and even though there is nothing wrong with them He has not chosen to bless them in this way, at this time. Why would we think that we alone are to be in control of this? Children are blessings for God and should be treasured as such. The doctor was able to find an alternate solution as I knew she would but it was not her immediate choice as it was not the "quick fix" she's used to prescribing. Funny how that works.

Looking back to look forward

While I've always known I wanted to be a mom, it was quite a shock to my senses when I realised that I would rather be a housewife, living on a farm. By all accounts farm life is hard and I've always had an aversion to hard work. Though I have been known to enjoy domestic activities as a kid, that didn't carry into my adult life. By the time I got to college I was far more concerned about what to wear than what to cook. Fortunately I didn't have to think too much about that as I had a nanny/housekeeper as I was a single mom. That experience taught me that I don't want other people "raising" my kids. It seems nice and it affords a lot of freedom but there are so many other variables that are not necessarily positive.

The first lady (the pincher) didn't have children of her own but had looked after her nieces and nephews. My dad had known her for sometime and felt comfortable having her watch his only grandchild. She was pleasant and mild manner but a complete neat freak to the point that she didn't like my son to play with this toys. So she'd pinch him, I was usually at class or work so I hadn't really noticed and he was too young to really know any different. It became obvious however when I was on break and I noticed that he'd go into a cleaning tizzy and that he was prone to pinching. I became very curious and started to really watch the interaction between them and that's when I say it happen. She was not going to be watching my kid after that to say the least.

Attempt number 2 was not a neat freak, did not pinch and had children of her own, yay!! Coming from a country with a high literacy rate I never even considered the possibility that she was illiterate. My baby was a year at this point and I wanted him to have the benefit of bedtime stories and general little mental stimulation. It was clear however that the closest thing she would be able to provide was her ability to work the remote. I was also amused by how much she would eat, she wasn't a large person, in fact she was rather petite. But whenever she cooked or anyone else cooked for that matter, she always ate half the pot.

I had had it at that point and entered the wonderful world of daycare at that point. This was a delightfully expensive exercise for a single mom and when dh and I got married it was one we didn't care to continue. I became a housewife/student and he worked. Once I graduated I was excited at the prospect of working, until the reality set in that I was not going to be there with my kids.

Don't get me wrong, I actually really like my job, I find it quite rewarding from a mental stimulation stand point, but while it affords me the benefit of being able to buy this farm, it deprives me the ability to be with my children. Well, I'll have to stick it out for now but as soon as we can afford to do more with the ranch full time we will.

My heart longs to be home, to cook and bake. The desire to do laundry and wash dishes, not there yet but it would be welcome. I enjoy working around our animals and sitting outside watching the children play. I love that my garden is growing, though I am clueless on how that process should have gone (I have gotten a few tips since and will be working on them when I do my winter planting). My dh is so much more at ease when he is home working that when he is at work.

Someday we will come home not have to go to any other work. Someday our children will reap the benefit of our ranch and make the decision to work it or not. Someday, hopefully soon :)

If you have any gardening tips or book recommendations, please share them, I am eager to learn more so that I can grow all that the farm requires to sustain itself. Thanks for coming by, hope to see you again soon. :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A visit with the Sheriff

I got up early yesterday to get feed for the animal from the Co-op before they closed at noon. I really like that place, they have the most interesting stuff. :) Anyway I got back home and started watering the cows when the county sheriff pulled into my drive way, I don't know about you but that usually gives me a sinking feeling, could just be me though ;). He introduced himself and asked if we called 911, I immediately thought of the children but that wasn't it. He was inquiring because he was recommending that we call 911 so that they know where we are in case of an emergency. Having never lived in a rural anything, this seemed rather bizarre. Then he went on to ask if we had a weapon, I thought I was being rather reassuring when I eagerly said no. He then told me that I might want to consider getting one. My first thoughts were, is he serious? I mean why would I need a weapon? I'd thought about it sure, but that is usually in fits of complete panic which I can be prone to now and then. Then he asked if we had little ones and I told him yes, he said well, it's just a suggestion, or maybe it would be better to just call 911. (since they'd now where I am). I thanked him kindly for his visit, told him we would keep it all under consideration, reassured him that if we did get a weapon that my oldest was at least trained an with that he left.

I am new to this rural life, is this normal? How great is the threat of coyotes and/or wild dogs? Would you get a weapon? What kind of weapon would you get? So many questions,so little time.

Friday, July 18, 2008

So many pics, so little time :)

WARNING: These are not professional quality pictures and they should not be critiqued as such, lol :)

Sammy Before



Sammy After - Could you tell it's the same dog?



Here's another



As promised here are piggy pics :)

First let my introduce you to the diggers



Please note the fresh mud on their legs. Of course it is hard to deny the fact that they are outside of their pen.



My cool dude



I've decided that he must be practising for later in life, lol.



Can't you just picture the apple in his mouth? :)

Here is a random shot with all the pigs.



Notice that Sammy is standing guard while dh is putting up the bricks :) My little guard dog, thinks he's so tough, lol.



This one is to try to give you an idea of the size of the pen.



I like this pic because it looks like the cows were just parked in front of the barn, a completely unstaged pic, I might add.



Doesn't this smile scream, I'm having an awesome summer? It does to me :)



Here are the oldest 3 feeding the pigs





Well that's all for now folks. What do you think? I told you I'd put up the pics :)

Early to bed; Early to rise.

No matter how many times I've heard this I could never quite convince myself of the value of waking up early. It really seemed rather useless. I have been trying out a new schedule of going to work for 7:30, there are a few things I have discovered: 1. I am way more productive when I get there at 7:30 than when I would get in at 9, 2. The really great parking spots are all pretty much open, 3. There are a ton of other people in my office that come in at that hour. Of course this means that I can no longer chat with dh during his lunch but I am hoping that I will start waking up when he comes home so that we can do morning chores together as we will have an hour to ourselves before I have to get ready for work. Not to mention this new schedule will give us an hour and a half after I get home before he has to leave for work. So sadly this means that my night owl days are numbered and I will have to go to bed by 10:30. I guess it's a fair trade :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Good Soil

I was walking my mini garden (I know I owe you pics, get off my back, I'm working on it, sheesh, lol :)) and I realised that I am really thankful that the soil is much like that of my homeland (Trinidad), by that I mean, I can put a seed in the ground and not worry about if it will grow. It will :) We had bought some cantalopes for the pigs a few week or so ago and imagine my surprise yesterday to realise that I already have shoots :) All the rest seem to be growing very well also, but this one really surprised me as it was regular store bought fruit and I didn't really do much but dump the entire cup of seeds in a hole my little HG dug. Life is good and I am thankful. :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Poll question issue

It was brought to my attention that the poll question was not worded properly so I will pull it and re-write it. Sorry for the confusion :(

Thinking more about the pigs.

I was talking with dh and since the initial shock, from the stench, of the pigs has worn off, they really are quite pleasant. Here is a pic from where they came from



Observe the cold hard concrete floor that is devoid of all warmth as these cuties deserve. You should also observe the lack of vegetation for them to forage and the nice clean warm soil so that they can burrow.

There are a lot of pig set ups similar to this and quite frankly they are appauling. Our pigs have a wonderful area that they can dig to their hearts content and create as many mud puddles as they can handle. They also have a wonderful assortment of fruits, veggies and grain. We're working on fresh eggs to add to their diet. Sure it's not the cheap easy way to do it but we prefer happy pigs :)

It is so fun to watch them play and run around. Depending on how this all goes, we will have to re evaluate this no more pigs idea. They have really been quite interesting. We will be creating 2 additional pig areas to be able to move them as they get bigger. Funny how opinions can change in such a short time :)

Pics will be sent to be developed on Friday (our computer card reader no longer works :( )

Monday, July 14, 2008

Poll Answered

Q: You can only get a gift card on a return to Wal-Mart without a receipt?

A: Myth - Wal-Mart policy states that; returns under $25 can be given back as cash, though amounts over $25 is to be given back as a gift card.

Thanks for voting :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Games

Today the children started learning how to play Candy land and The very hungry Caterpillar. I was pleased that they were willing to pick up all the pieces before moving on to the other games. They also got to play in the little pool twice today and then I decided to work on the outdoor game set that I had gotten them for Christmas.

The set includes games like volleyball, badminton and some other games I don't think I know the actual names of. Anyway, it was really great, I totally crushed my oldest at badminton - of course he'd never played before but I'm still claiming the win :)

As I was setting up the net I realised that prior to moving here, I was a confirmed indoor person only. In fact I was anti-outdoors. I didn't even like the light to enter, nor the air through the windows. But something about this place makes me want to be outside most days. I like the cool breezes and often don't mind the heat (as long as I'm in the shade :))

To say the least this works out very nicely for the children as the love being outdoors and finally have a chance to do so. I'm thankful that they have a chance to really enjoy their summer even though there are no organized extra curricular activities. They may not know what is happening on the latest shows but they are getting a great tan and having a blast doing it.

Fence adventures : Part . . . who knows

I started my day making breakfast for the pigs a wonderful medely of fruits and vegies etc. I threw their food in and before I could sit and enjoy the pig pile (lol) I figured I'd go work on getting them fresh water. Imagine my surprise when I see Lot mosey on up to me like nothings wrong. Of course that was before he saw that I was holding the hose and the water was on, lol. Maybe it's because the water from the hose is cold . . . maybe.

Anyway, I walk off thinking I should go get him some cube but decided that I was tired of him being such a cube whore (pardon the expression). I walked over to the corral gate and just called him over and he calmly walked in without even a word. I'm glad that he is so manageable as I would not expect this type of obedience from any of the others.

The only trouble we're having is that we cannot figure out where he is getting out. Dh walked the entire fence and was baffled. So once again the cows are penned until further notice. :(

Maybe I could just live with his nightly escapes . . . nah, that's probably not safe and there's no guarantee that the cows would not eventually decide to follow his lead. Oh well, I will have to take a look tomorrow.

Stewardship

The point of this blog is to be as open and real as possible about the journey from moving from city life to country life. That would not be complete if I didn't also talk about the need to be proper stewards of our resources. This lesson came with a gentle nudge this weekend when we realised that we had not adequately planned how we were going to spend the money we had. Imagine the surprise to realise we had spent every penny.

There were lots of things that were unpredictable, the more than $400 in vehicle registrations, the $200 in pig panels for the pen and the list goes on. The point is there were other areas, like trips to McDonald's or Wendy's because we didn't plan adequately for long trips, that could have been eliminated.

Thankfully we stocked up on food a little last week and on Friday we had full tanks of gas. This week will be interesting to see how we manage the resources we have. I am thankful that God gives us these gentle nudges to help rein us in and bring us back into focus of the big picture.

To say the least the tractor is out but I figure God has a plan and maybe even a better one for us. We are learning to better stewards of our resources and that is a good lesson.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Not to be outdone

I awoke this morning to find my oldest saying that a neighbor was at the door . . . wait . . . I feel like this is deja vu. The only differences are that the neighbor was a woman and only 1 bull was loose. Thankfully, he is an easy one to get, he loves his range cubes and will come running to get them. DH shook the bucket, then opened the gate and he walked back inside. DH then found the spot of the escape and fixed it. It's amazing how much cows/bulls/pigs are just like toddlers, testing every measure of boundaries. (roll eyes here :))

I am thankful however that with all the rain the pigs did not get loose and the pen does not smell, even when we're close up. :) They love their mud though. We have found them to be so fascinating that we pull up our lawn chairs and get ready for the feeding show to begin. It is hilarious to throw the food in and see them pile on each other to get their share. They work their way around as it is not uncommon to be squeezed out of the group and have to fight to get back in.

And so ends another day filled with fun. Join us tomorrow when we do our head count :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Pig adventures: Part 3

DH had to go to Wichita to get our dog groomed, he needed the works (before and after pics coming). There was also an issue of needing to register our new vehicles and take the "new" focus to the dealership. Anyway, that's all a story for another time. By the time it was all said and done we were leaving to come home around the same time.

Imagine our surprise to find that the pigs had escaped their pen :( I had read that pigs like to dig but I did not expect this. (I enjoy my naivete) Anyway, Dh once again opened the gate to the pen after having stocked it with food and we began to wait. Just then the new and improved Sammy proceeded to round the pigs up by running ahead and behind them, and then rounded up any strays that he missed. We were in shock as this wonderful little mutt just herded them one after the other into the pen. YAY, Sammy (we totally take back every dumb dog comment - he kept trying to attack the cows).

We have since put bricks down in all areas that are either low lying or that have very soft soil. They go check thing out to see if they can dig and walk away.

They also seem to have established a potty section of the pen, they sleep and eat on the other parts. I have really become fascinated by them and it is so cool to see their personalities. The one that I have really taken a fancy to is a solid reddish brown color and is so mellow and relaxed. It is hilarious to watch as (he/she - dunno yet) just lays there trying to sleep as the others run around in a practical frenzy.

I will have to video tape what feeding time looks like as there really is no way to adequtely explain it.

Next on my to do list is to extend their pen to wrap around the barn and buil them a 3 sided shelter off the barn. So much to do, so little time.

Who said that the car issues are over . . .

I was driving to work this morning when all of a sudden I looked down to check my speed (since I don't have cruise control) and found that everything on my dashboard was dead :( Thankfully we are still in our warranty period, I called rusty eck and the service guy said to just bring it right in. He did sound a bit concerned though :( I guess we'll find out soon. Dh is coming to pick up the car and take it in as I have a lot of work to catch up on :(

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pig Adventures: Part 2

Having decided very early this morning that we were not going to run after the little buggers, we decided to build them a pen. I went down to the coop and talked to Tony our wonderful store keeper and he recommended pig panels. The funny thing about that is that I have at least 3 laying around the ranch. I picked up an extra 5 just in case and some T posts.

I had to send dh back to actually pick up everything as the panels are 16 ft long, thankfully we have a 16ft stock trailer :) Once he returned we got right to work and soon we had a 16 x 48 pen with a door that we took from Quinn's former isolation chamber . . . er . . . pen :) (Quinn has since joined the relocation program and be moved to an undisclosed location, lol, nah, we put him in the corrals).

While doing this we realized that all the pigs were loose and roaming various locations of the property, including the front by the highway. Apparently they found it very nice and cool in the ditch among the tall grass. I think the biggest thrill for this lot is that they'd never had a chance to really free range. They were having a great time, especially in the areas that were muddy from the rain. :) Pigs and their mud, lol.

I have found that they are not stinky once they have a large area to roam but it's only the first day :) We headed off to Wichita and took care of making sure our lawn would be mowed and took full advantage of banana Thursday as we call it (you can buy them at $0.18/lb and wally world has no limit on that), since wally world also does price matching we bought some cantaloupes 3 for $4 as opposed to their 2.50each :) We were able to find several leads in our quest to lower our feed bill for the pigs, it was a very productive day :).

Once we finally got back home the pigs had regrouped and were looking for water. We filled a couple bowl and began cutting up fruit to lure them to the pen, then pulled up a couple chairs and watched them work it out. It was beautiful, we even took some pics. (I will post soon).

We met the guy from the repair shop and he gave me some great tips on tractor buying, he does seem to think a bit too much like dh however. They both thought of a 12 gauge shotgun, men!! It was nice to meet a neighbor out of town like us :) They have a beautiful 90 some odd acre property that is practically tucked away behind these massive trees, but when you get up close and it is like Home and Garden Magazine. I love meeting neighbors :)

Anyway keep watching for future installments of the pig adventures, to be continued . . .

Pig Adventures - Part 1

I call this installment: Frustration, thy name is Pig. We picked up the pigs last night and I must say that about 5 minutes into being there (the farm we bought them from) we decided that we would not be running an operation like there's nor would we keep more than 5 pigs ever again. Pig farmer is just not in the cards for us. They really stink if not kept in a "free ranging" type environment. Think toddler poo, ewe!!!! but worse, ewe!!! That smell is so hard to get off it is ridiculous. I'm getting ahead of myself.

We get there to realise that the farmer now has to catch the ones we're buying, and he hasn't even washed them down or scrubbed them up. So we watch in amazement as he ran through one door and emerged through another holding a pig by the legs, it was dirty, stinky and heavy.

We stopped on the way home and tried to wash the stink off of our hands again, no luck. We decided we did not want to take them home in their filthy condition so we decided to stop at the car wash. The high pressure hose released lots of warm soapy water and then lots of warm water to rinse, nice clean pigs :)

Then we headed off to find ourselves at a loss of how to get them into the training area. The plan became; back trailer up as close to the electric wire as possible without touching and then shoo them out the back door. WE figured that they would jump into the fenced area, wrong!! They ran up to the door and stopped. I ran closer with the push broom and they ran around me. :( New plan; I would shoo them out with the broom and push them out the back. A good plan in theory but it lacked a few pieces. WE had not re-tested the hot wire when we backed up the trailer. It was dead on our first attempt and the ones that were out took off running. We finally got that fixed when we tried again. One pig fell on the fence and since it was already getting zapped it just kept running out :( (At this point we are affirmed in our decision not to keep pigs as any kind of true livelihood).

The plan changed again. This time we shut off the fence and decided to drive into the barn and get them out one at a time. DH would catch them and walk them into the barn. Then I pulled the trailer out and he shut the doors. Phew, 9 out of 15 in the barn. Since we don't have a fenced yard we would have to wait for the light of day to get the rogue 6 that were able to escape.

I'll let you know how that goes . . . I'm off to the Co-op to get supplies.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Pigs!!

We are off to pick up 15 weaner pigs today. The deal was too good to pass up and as with most of the other things we have found on this journey it seems God-timed. I had been looking at this guys ad for a little while and thought it would be nice but blew it off. I finally asked dh to call as I figured we should get a few for the home. Turns out the guys had planned to take them to auction today, so we ended up getting them for a steal of a deal, in the nick of time. (God time) :) Well, we're going to have to talk to dh's work and see what kind of deal we can make to buy produce, my garden was not quite ready for them yet. Well, we'll see how it goes. We'll begin taking orders in the next few months for the whole or halves, pricing details will need to be worked out and will be listed soon. :)

FYI, I've added a blog subscription option so everyone can keep up on the happenings around our little ranch via email. :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New blog feature :)

As a nod to Dh, I have decided to add a Wally world fun facts and trivia for you. This information is based on their company policies, which are rarely publicized. Happy voting, the answers will be revealed weekly. :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Long Day!!

We started the morning pretty early heading out to Wichita to take care of business. Of course we realised 40 minutes into the trip that we forgot the stock trailer which was half the purpose of the trip :( We still needed to go so we continued thinking that we'd go to the bank and then check mail and head home to take care of our fence. Not quite.

We got to the bank and everything moved quickly, YAY!! Then as we looked for a bite to eat I remember that I had scheduled a Dr's appointment this afternoon :( That was way too many hours away but we took it in stride figuring that we could go look at plants in the mean time. We went to Lowes and found a few, I was devastated however that they were throwing away shelf after shelf of plants :( (Devastated that they would just send them home with me that is :) )

At this point I was driving as DH's face was still swollen from an abscessed tooth for yesterday. I called the local dentist but since they hadn't seen him they could do a prescription. I finally found a real live person at our former dentist's office and they wrote the prescription. We went to wally world to have it filled and as Dh went it the phone rang, it was the local dentists office calling to make sure he was able to get the prescription. (aaawwww)

Anywho, we decided to go to the local tag office and get a refund on our tag from the voyager, figuring that it would be a while and it was but we'll soon have our $35, lol. Then we headed back to wally world but the prescription was not ready yet. I started looking around the garden department to see what vegies they had available, I was in luck they had way more than Lowes :)

As I perused their selection a woman walking out caught my eye, only because there were 2 men and another woman hurrying toward her. It was crazy, she stepped out of her flip flops and started yelling that they could not touch her. Well the 2 big guys weren't listening to that, one subdued her by grabbing her arm and keeping it behind her back as the other instructed the woman with them to grab her bag. They all left to go have a nice little chat elsewhere until the police arrived. Fortunately for me I had heard a million stories similar to this so it was really interesting to see it first hand.

I finally checked out with about 20 plants and dh went off to check on the prescription. We made a brief stop at Family Dollar who was having a 50% off sale and got a few books for the children, since Dh forgot to pack milk or formula for IL :( Then we were finally on our way home. We needed to make a quick stop in the little town before ours to let the nice folks we met yesterday that we would not be buying one of their puppies. While we would love to get an Australian Shepherd, neither of us has the time to commit to train the puppy to be a herd dog. :(

We went home and finally got started on planting the 25 new plants and spreading some seeds for the cattle feed we are trying to grow. We want to be as self sufficient as we can. In fact several of the plants bought are in preparation for our soon to be bought pigs.

Anyway the day has finally ended and it was at that point that we realised that we completely forgot to do some grocery shopping. Turns out our little town (Liquor store and all) shuts down at 9pm Monday thru Thursday. :( Dh had to drive 20 minutes to get a few things from the horribly overpriced convenience store on the Highway. :( Well I'm off to enjoy my $2 soda.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Irritated

I was looking over the caringbridge site, as I had not had a chance to call Corrine's son to get the bank information, and noticed that there was a link to make a donation. I was curious about this as I wanted to send them something, so I sent her a private message and that is when she told me that those donations are for the site not for the families :( I was so mad (glad I asked first though). While I get that it's a service being provided for these families, its so wrong to try to get money in the name of people when their families are struggling. I went back to the site and re-read the donation thing and it says: "Make a donation in tribute to Rachael to provide CaringBridge to all families who need it." UGH!!! IRRITATION!!! I will be calling her son tomorrow and getting the info, anyone wanting to make a donation to help the family, feel free to send me a note and I will send it to you.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Ramblings . . .

My arm hurts, it's pretty all of a sudden and disturbing. It hit me as I was about to drive home from Church. I finally got to go to Mass, YAY!!!! I'll get back to that. But seriously my arm hurts, up by my shoulder but on the arm. It's like I've been punched or something. :( Ok now that I'm done whining.

I went to Mass. There is something about going to Mass that makes me feel renewed and energized. My sis and I were chatting about it tonight and while I don't get the whole exercise and feeling good analogy, I totally get the it makes you feel good thing. When you don't get there it doesn't quite hit you that something is missing until you've missed quite a few and then you know somethings off but may not be sure what and then you get there and you realise it's like getting a drink of water on a hot day and your so thirsty. I can't imagine what it'd be like walking around a desert without water but that's just cause I can't imagine the walking part :) The thirst part I totally get and that for me is the feeling of missing Mass.

We've finally figured out a way to get to Mass with our crazy schedule and while there are several hours of prep work that are required to get there, it is so worth it.

Sleeping in and mother's wisdom

What is it about sleeping in that makes everything better? Dh and I watched a movie (fool's gold) when he got home at 5 and before it was over the children had woken up. Once it was over we went to bed and it was a glorious sleep. Naturally once I woke up my house was trashed but that was great sleep.

Whenever I see my house trashed I am perpetually haunted by my mother. (no she's not dead, but she haunts me anyway) For years she would talk about training the children to pick up after themselves, but that has always sounded like work :( I mean I have tried and they do if I'm there but it's the minute I turn my back that they forget everything. I guess we'll have to work in this training thing, *yuck*. I did not sign up for this quasi-military lifestyle.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Hair cut and books

I usually shave my boys heads bald each summer so that 1. they look neat and tidy and 2. I have a few months not to have to do anything else.(don't you dare say lazy) :) Anyway, today I realised that I did not have a working pair of clippers so I turned to the next best thing, scissors :) Having changed my hair frequently during college I am no stranger to a pair and am definitely not shy using them :) Well I must say, my little man looks so handsome. I am very pleased with his haircut (pics to come soon, promise :))

Since becoming tv free my children have discovered the joy of books. My oldest has been spotted on several occasions reading to his captive audience . . . er . . . siblings :) My mother in law sent us the Dr Seuss books and they are hooked. I think we may move my oldest up to some of the Hardy boys books so that he has something closer to his reading level but for now I am just thrilled that they are enjoying reading and book.

They also have a strange fascination with playing tag. They run around and around and laugh hysterically. At least they're getting some exercise and having a good time bonding. :)

Shameless plug :)

A fellow momy is trying to raise some money and I offered to put in a small plug so that you my dear readers might have a chance to see some beautiful bows at very reasonable prices. These are just a small sample of what she's got, for more information and pictures you can check her stuff out here

All ribbon ends are heat sealed and guaranteed* NOT to fray. All handmade by Sheryl! She prefer paypal, but will take money orders.

Add $2.00 FLAT RATE SHIPPING NO MATTER HOW MANY YOU BUY

Set of 8 little clippies $10.00


Pigtail sets, $4.00 each pair
Bumblebees


Dragonflies


Cherries on light blue background, I have two sets of these


Pink w/colored Polka Dots


Pink Organza, 5 inch, 1.5 inch ribbon, partially ribbon lined alligator pinch clips $5.00


Smaller 4 inch pink organza on partially ribbon lined alligator pinch clips, $4.00


Ruffle Bows $4.00 a pair 4 inch on alligator clips

Yellow


Sugar Coral


Light Tan


Royal Blue


Red




*All guarantees and warranties, express or implied are made by Sheryl of Shadows Inspirations and are not the responsibility of the blessed nation ranch blog or its contributors.

Fourth of July



Today is the day of celebration and remembering. We remember those who "supposedly" on this historic day signed the declaration of independence to make us a free nation. Since I did not grow up here this was assumed to be true and never questioned. This year as I sat at my desk attempting to look busy I discovered (the wonderful power of the Internet and their news headlines) that the declaration was actually first signed on July 2nd* and the rest of the signatures continued to trickle in through August. However the following year everyone forgot until July 3rd and at that point began making arrangements to celebrate the historic occasion and we've celebrated it ever since on July 4th.

I wonder if that would work with children or a spouse? You forget their day and so you forever celebrate it on another. hmmm. Personally I would not be pleased but luckily independence is not a woman and therefore there is not issue. Though it makes you wonder if they are teaching this historical inaccuracy in schools around the country. Yet another reason to homeschool.

Another wonderful discovery this year was the origins of our patriotic songs, you can read the Livescience article here.

Well these are just a few of my thoughts and musing on this fourth of July.

Happy Birthday Emily, you will never be forgotten.





*In 1776, John Adams declared, "The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore." Read More Here (oh and Have I mentioned how much I love Lincoln?)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Remembering Rachael, Emily and Sofija

Well, I'd love to be witty and funny today but I don't know how. This weekend will mark the 1st birthday of Emily Sofia, who died on Februry 10th 2008. This week also marks the birth of baby Sofija who was born still last year. And now it will adds Rachael Emily Kligmann to it's list. :(

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Logic

I have decided that logic is not something men are born with the ability to use, in fact I am pretty convinced that men that have learned to apply it have only learnt to do so by hitting their head against a wall repeatedily. DH, love him dearly, but the man has no ability to use logic. His inability to think things through is unnerving at best, irritating most of the time and pretty darn humorous on occassion.

I was chatting last night with a few momys when I heard mooing. That is rather unusual believe it or not. I thought to myself it had to be Quinn but why was he mooing, he is usually very quiet at night. Well, I was not about to go outside to find out considering that it was around midnight and I have neither a shotgun, baseball bat or flashlight for that matter.

We decided that it would be best to create some noise and scare off whatever might be bothering him, so I set off the car alarm. That seemed to work for a little bit. Thinking nothing more of it I went to bed. DH called letting me know he was heading home and then again, that was strange. He was outside the house and found the source of the mooing, it was Marion. Keanu, her baby, had gotten out of the electric fence (since somebody didn't listen to me about the calves getting out with no electricity running to the bottom wire).

Keanu is a beautiful dark chocolate colored calf, very skiddish though :( She is the only one of the animals that we have not "touched" in some way. I'm hoping it's a phase, leave me in my denial. Anywho, this morning she found herself between a rock and a hard place as it were. On the one side she had her mother (who had missed her night feeding and it was looking like she might not get the morning one either) who was very full of milk (that hurts let me just say, ouch!) not to mention she is scared for her baby. On the other side is my DH who has put no thought into what comes next, only I want to catch her now.

After a few minutes of laying down I finally decide to go an offer my assistance. As a mother I can feel for Marion and I can tell that Keanu is afraid. At this point my DH is very frustrated as the calf (and the cows) are not doing as he wants. I finally convince him to let her be for a bit so that we can think this thing through. Little steps like closing the backside of the barn so that if she comes close enough to the training area we can let her back in without letting the others out. Done.

She keeps running for a bit longer until gets into the arena area, without thinking Dh begins to open the gate. I yell across the areana, "DO NOT OPEN THAT GATE!!" He was not pleased, it hadn't occurred to him that by opening the gate she'd be able to get to the pasture and then we'd be stuck. Finally she makes her decision and decides to come back in the way she got out, taking the sting of the electric fence rather than being caught. I probably would have done the same.

Mother and baby were reuinted and it all was right once more :) So I ask you this, at what point do you think men learn to apply logic? :)