It is a delight to be the spouse of a hard working, joy-filled, dedicated man.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Dear reader, I reread my readings from yesterday in St. John of The Cross. And my confession is that Book one chapter one,, outlining the faults of the beginner as to pride, describes me.

A year ago when I wanted everyone to read with me, Celebration of Discipline, and there seemed to be at first a struggle to get anyone to join me, I was secretly glad of it for then I intended to go it alone and alone reap the benefits of the spiritual disciplines, so that I would not appear to be a spiritual dunce. Gross. I am so utterly gross.

It is hideous to me how I can desire God and be so dripping in pride all at once. May God release me from myself, that I may no longer live a fraudulent life.

All the beautiful favors God has bestowed upon myself and my lovely family seem to be a huge entanglement. I am poorly prepared to be his able servant because I believe myself to be his able servant.

If the time of testing should come in my lifetime I am not sure that my faith will withstand the trials. I read a little in the biography of St. Teresa of Avila this morning and was touched by her childhood desire to be a martyr, and the pain of the realization that it was for very childish reasons. They, the reasons, were not far from me.

God, take me in your arms.
I trust that you will not leave me here
on the steps of your castle
but take me deep within.

Take me first into your beautiful wash room
wash away the pride
that insidiously replaced the first pride
that you so dearly, gently washed me of years ago.

The stench of this spiritual pride
is worse than any dung.
Ready me to be your humble
and sweet spirited servant.

This I pray today
for all my days.

Anna's Doves

This is Anna's dove pen.
It used to be a small cage that hung on the wall and was difficult to get into not to mention didn't afford the doves much room. Her father conceded to give up his fire wood stacking spot (the reason for the plywood "wainscoting") and built this pen for her. Kathy gave Anna yet another replacement dove after the pen was built, thank you Kathy (see, all my friends are too good to my children).

Shortly after the new replacement, Anna's doves were laying and hatching out their eggs. Unfortunately the first hatch only produced one and it fell out of its nest. The next fertile batch were abandoned by both parents just days before they were to hatch, most likely because of a little confusion created by the inexperienced owner who left infertile eggs in a nest. Those unhatched but cheeping eggs were the eggs that Anna brought in to finish hatching in our incubator. See Anna And Her Projects for an account of the hatching. Through that ordeal of trying to raise the squabs by hand we learned some valuable things and are now prepared to try again. Maybe even on purpose.

Since then, Anna's doves laid fresh eggs, hatched them out on their own, fed them and because we took out the Cochin hens just prior to hatching, no tragic accidents occurred. Now here they are. The young ones are in the potted tree, able to fly around and hold their own with the Cochins who were returned to the pen yesterday.
This is one of the parents sitting on the water pot. They are very sweet birds. Nothing like the Love birds Bet used to have (we actually called them Hate birds after awhile, very mean, very loud, sharp and shrill).
This is the other parent.
This lovely blue box you see here used to be a home made incubator that was a poultry project when Stephanie, our oldest, was in poultry 4-H. Now it covers the dryer vent so we don't have dryer lint flying all over the front yard. This dove cage is off one end of my laundry/propagation house that sits across the driveway from our house.

Our house and farm is very interesting but we love it. The laundry machines were moved out of their spot in the house during a remodel. They never fit the space that was made for them by previous owners, unless a person really ought not to mind not being able to fully open the dryer door. So I, being the perennial ideas person, thought it would be great to give them, the laundry machines, their own space out in my old shop.

My shop used to house all my 4-H doings including my computer. But the computer had come into the house five years prior in order to be hooked up to the phone lines and the sewing was, at the time of remodeling, heading upstairs to a soon to be empty room. The remodel was all happening because my second oldest was getting married at our home, which freed up a room upstairs.

I'll take you for a guided illustrated tour of our house and farm soon. I promise. I will make it a goal of mine for August, a priority. There is a lot of history behind our place. Most of it prior to our living here but I certainly am more familiar with the stories of what has gone on in its last 23 years since we have rented it from Doc and Norrine.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

They're Home and Settled In

Meet Holly and Ivan

(there names have been changed to fit their owners)

This is one happy girl.

Do you suppose the smile will ever come off this face?

I'll share a peach with you.

ooooh and when your lips tickle my hand it makes me feel all fuzzy.

Two girls who couldn't be any happier right now.

Course Change

One dark night,
fired with love's urgent longings
- ah, the sheer grace! -
I went out unseen,
my house being now all stilled.

In darkness, and secure,
by the secret ladder, disguised,
- ah, the sheer grace! -
in darkness and concealment,
my house being now all stilled.

On that glad night,
in secret, for no one saw me,
nor did I look at anything,
with no other light or guide
than the one that burned in my heart.

This guided me
more surely than the light of noon
to where he was awaiting me
- him I knew so well -
there in a place where no one appeared.

O guiding night!
O night more lovely than the dawn!
O night that has united
the Lover with his beloved,
transforming the beloved in her Lover.

Upon my flowering breast
which I kept wholly for him alone,
there he lay sleeping,
and I caressing him
there in a breeze from the fanning cedars.

When the breeze blew from the turret,
as I parted his hair,
it wounded my neck with its gentle hand,
suspending all my senses.

I abandoned and forgot myself,
laying my face on my Beloved;
all things ceased; I went out from myself,
leaving my cares
forgotten among the lilies.

This is The Dark Night Of the Soul by St John of the Cross

As it stands, just the poem alone, I am drawn to it.

I have, whether consciously or unconsciously, a burning desire not only to dwell daily deep in the interior castle (see Teresa of Avila and the Interior Castle) but with the last stanza of this poem on my breath, every moment.

Because I have severely misplaced my Teresa of Avila book and it will be a while before I can order up a new one, I am going to be using this poem and the accompanying explanations for my study and meditations for a while. (Hence the title: Course Change, but hopefully not a change of course) I have a hard copy of St. John's work but I will also be using a web site with the entire work on it (see side bar), hopefully then I cannot be foiled by my current penchant for loosing things. I hope I will have fellow travelers on my journey, as you who know me know, I love parties, even work parties.

Lord God, you say to me,
"Be still and know that I am God."
I am so desperate to be still.
Lord hold me, and make me still.

For I seem to be all wiggly and jiggly
like a small child
that is unsure yet excited
about what the day will hold.

I trust you.

Hold me, still me,
that I may know you more clearly
and love you more dearly,
that I may follow you more nearly,

this day I pray
for all my days.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New Family Members

Well, I 'm not sure what just happened to Phil and I, but the girls have two new horses.

We had recently borrowed a horse from our good friend Cindi. I have been out riding with them for a few days and got re-bit by the horse bug. So when Anna came across a nice buckskin on Craig's list, (I should not have shown her how to look things up) we decided to go look at it. Then before we could get up to see that one, we found another one very close by for much less.

When I called the lady who was selling him she told me that she actually had two she needed to sell. Brother and sister, eight and four respectfully, buckskins, well duns really.

We went to see them last night with Stephanie and the boys. I think Stephanie was more excited for the girls than they were.

The temperament on both horses is incredible. The mare just followed us around like a puppy and would let us do anything to her. They were so calm that we all felt calm. And that included when Aksel was hollering and flailing around right by them. Amazing.

This morning the girls and I went back to ride them. Tammy, the woman selling them, was a little nervous about the gelding so she had the girls saddle up the mare first. Anna rode, no problem and then Bet rode, no problem. Then I started out the gelding and really didn't have any problem to speak of since the horse had not been ridden for nearly two years. Nothing that with a little time can't be corrected. And he did really well under Bet. Oh and btw they stood still for their saddles and bits - nice.

I feel bad for Tammy because she really loves her horse, the mare, and she is proud of her husband's horse, that is clear to see. But she is very pleased that they are going to a very happy home.

And so are we.

This is Baby Rep N Scoot

Her brother, Dusting D Scoot looks just like her but he was being a boy for his picture so I am opting to not post it. We'll take another I am sure. They are both reg. Quarter Horses.

Oh and here is a picture of one of the five dogs that they live with. Anna bonded with this dog and was having him do tricks by the end of this morning's visit.

But the ultimate was when he sat on his friend instead of sitting on the hard stoney ground.

Teresa of Avila and the Interior Castle

Our dear friend Kathy left a comment on my last post inquiring about my meditations on St Teresa of Avila's book, Interior Castle, that I had intended to share with you, dear reader and this is my answer to her and to you also if you were wondering what had happened to my invitation to join me in a read and meditation on her writing.

Well, I can't find my book. I went to gathering at Rick and Pat's that Friday night and for some reason took it in with me. I don't know why I brought it in with me from the car, I didn't have anything to share out of it, I had picked it up from my collection just to reacquaint myself with it on the ride in. I know full well that I took it in to Rick and Pat's, but the next morning I could not find it anywhere. I found my Bible and Celebration of Discipline, both I had also taken in to Pat's, together on the dining room table but no Interior Castle.

I have looked everywhere, all over in the car, my bedroom, even though I don't remember taking it to my bedroom that night, called Pat, called Rebecca, in case she picked it up. I have no idea what could have happened to it. But I also can't find my glasses, not that I lost them the same night, more like a week later, but it goes to the fact that I loose stuff easily. Oh and my best pair of sunglasses, luckily I still buy sunglasses at Wal-mart for about five bucks or so.
But at far as St. Teresa and her book goes, I remember enough of my previous reads of it to think, meditate, about the salient points.

St Teresa's Interior Castle is her description of the soul of a believer. She imagines the soul as a castle or a gem stone with many chambers, like the mansion described in Scripture that we will inhabit in Heaven. But different in that the chambers of the soul are different layers. We access or live spiritually in successively deeper layers as we grow deeper in our relationship with God.

The first layer I imagine from her description is like my screened porch, part of my house,
under the roof, but still very effected by the outside world. On my porch the honeysuckle insists on growing in the cracks and crevices it can find and even pushing the screen aside, bugs crawl on my porch, cobs make webs, the cats and kittens are on my porch, leaves and twigs end up on my porch along with the cotton from the trees.

It is far dustier on my porch and mud and hay is swept off daily because it is easily tracked there all day, quite frankly it could be swept several times a day. But it is still part of my house and warmer and safer than off of the porch.

She invites her reader to see this common occurrence as a description of the first chamber of the soul, the place where the new believer comes to reside or those who may travel deeper into the soul surface back to in times of stress and trouble. Think of my honeysuckle, mud, bugs and spiders, cat hair, dog chewed sticks, tree cotton as the wilds of the world, anxieties, worries, lustful temptations, distractions, pride, self indulgence, selfwillfulness, rebellion.

As you know dear reader, the farther away from the back door and the deeper you go into your home the less you find mud clumps, hay seeds, weed burs, car oil stains, gravel pieces. And those of you with lovely large homes would find it even more so, I can imagine though and remember from my childhood how much more often rooms close to the entry doors were swept, vacuumed and dusted than the bedrooms that were set very far from the entryways. Or at least for this child, who just wanted to go play, I could not understand why I was vacuuming or sweeping a perfectly clean floor.

I even think of the things we set down as we come inside, (like the book I lost), keys, finds from the thrift store, library or school books, these things come in, maybe as far in as a room or two inside, until they find that flat surface where they sit until we unpack, take our coats and sweaters off, grab a cup of something warm or refreshing, and then deal with the things we brought in. If you have a stair landing, you may even find some things collected there as they trickle into their rightful places. My point is to hopeful re-illustrate the way St. Teresa of Avila imagines the soul as we progress deeper into the rooms of it as we progress farther with God. As we do fewer and fewer things from the world touch where we are.

But unlike our homes perhaps, Teresa sees that as we go farther and farther into the castle not only do the things of the world have less and less effect but the rooms grow brighter and warmer, sweeter and more comforting, more and more like our True Home will be when we arrive there someday. Unlike our earthly homes that we dwell in, where we go in and out of the deeper rooms to the exterior rooms to the outside and far from our own front doors into the world, in our souls as we are called and follow the Lord deeper and deeper, the less we return to the exterior rooms.

Some believers travel so deep with our Father that they never return to those exterior rooms no matter what or how severe those external pressures are. Those are the Christians that over the ages we have come to admire and use as examples for their strength of faith, their unwaivering understanding of spiritual things, their ability to love in the face of persecution or severe disappointment.

They dwell moment to moment in the presence of our Lord, they abide with Him daily and deeply even as they walk among us, work beside us, tend to the sick and needy. Dealing with the problems of this world does not cloud or shadow or dust the deep room of their soul where they abide with their Lord. That is where I want to be.

Often those of us who dwell day to day in the exterior rooms have what we like to call spiritual moments, mountain top experiences, where we get a glimmer of what it is like in those deep interior rooms. I believe that is God calling to us, calling us to go deeper with Him, to stay longer in the interior of the castle, which is our soul in Him, and attend less to the world while we actually tend more to those lost in the world and less to ourselves.

How is it that we switch from dwelling in the outer rooms to dwelling deep in the interior of the interior castle? I believe, from her writings, the writings of others and Scripture, it is through the common spiritual disciplines, the ones Christ himself practiced and taught his disciples to practice.

More on this in future post. But only if you would like dear reader. I will continue to look diligently for my book so that I can share more, and accurately, of this woman's extraordinary understanding of spiritual growth. And I would love to share what she has to say and what others have to say about how we travel deeper with our God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Love is:



not jealous

not boastful

not proud

not rude

not self-seeking

not easily angered

keeps no record of wrongs

does not delight in evil

rejoices with the truth

always protects

always trusts

always hopes

always perseveres

Love never fails (from 1Corinthians 13:4-8)

Love lives in many things, many actions, many thoughts, many feelings.

It is not found where self is important, where self needs to be protected, where the actions of self need to be defended, where self interests are considered.

Acting lovingly, or doing those things where love desires to live, for what you get out of it cannot contain a love that will last or build and therefore is not true love.

God is love. He loves us beyond any level we can imagine but a level to which we are called to run after, chase and desire.

He loves us and what is it that he gets for it?

A people who would rather be slaves in Egypt.
A people who would rather lay with prostitutes and murderers and worship their gods
A people who would rather have unruly troubled children than trouble with their upbringing.
A people who would rather wallow in filth and the consequences of pretty lies than come to Him pure of heart and on our faces before him.

Yet, He loves us over and over and over. He loves us knowing full well and before any of this world existed that He would not get a good return out of his investment.

How dare we then love in any other way but his way?

How dare we declare our love and do loving things for certain return from those we love?

How dare we counsel others that if you perform this loving thing then your beloved will most likely react in this fashion favorable to you.

Those who teach will be judged more strictly, and woe to those through whom sin comes, they will better off to be thrown into the sea with a millstone about their necks. We must watch ourselves. Our actions and our counsel.

Our first motivation in love and in loving gestures must be God, we love because God first loved us. Then our motivation can be the other person, whom we place before ourselves, out of reverence for our Lord. Our egos, our "needs" must remain at all times out of the equation. If not, our attempts in the first two goals, to love God and to love others and esteem them more than ourselves, fail. And true love does not fail.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Look Out Its A Moose!

We were out for a family outing today and Anna shot this moose.

Sunday Drive

I remember Sunday drives. Some of the time we would still be in our church clothes, although us girls could take our hats and gloves off. If Dad had a long drive planned, we would go home first and change. In the early years that was an easy do because we were only blocks from our church.

It was fun to sight see with my parents because Mom always knew or wanted to know about everything and Dad just wanted to have fun and tell stories, lots of stories. His stories were about people he knew, Mom's stories were about people she would like to have known (historical characters). So I always got the best of both worlds.

Dad was also always good for treats. Mom never objected, but rarely did she ever suggest and the children were never allowed to beg and quite frankly what we might deem now-a-days as just asking, in my folks' book it was begging.

Things are so different for my children. We "church" on Fridays and other random days of the week with just a few people in their or our homes, dress normally, eat a whole meal and drink wine as our communion and never know when we will be ending the afternoon or evening (for that matter we are not real precise about the starting time either). Church for us is not an event on a certain day at a certain time and it is definitely not a place. It is a who. And we are the who and we are who we are all the time.

With gas at four bucks a gallon you would have to be a nut to drive all day for nothing. Every time we get in a car it is for a purpose and if it is over twenty miles or so it better have several purposes. Sight seeing is an extra thrown in.

But then again things aren't so terribly different, my girls have a daddy who loves to buy treats. It appears that he doesn't, but I sure wouldn't have hit McDonald's this morning for breakfast, whether I was fasting or not (see Good Start) And never in a million years would I ever buy the full meal for each person. If we, the girls and I, ever do stop at McDonald's or Jack in the Box or the like, we get one, maybe two items off the dollar menu and water. So they knew full well they were being treated this morning.

So why were we out this morning bright and early, so early we were at Cabela's an hour before they open? Because Anna bought fifteen quail from nice folks out on the peninsula who offered to bring them down to Cabela's this morning.

And the concept of multi purpose tripping? Well, Phil had a knife sharpener to return and a new one to buy; the girls have never been to Cabela's and have been waiting since it opened for their lame-o parents to take them; and Costco is right across the freeway. So I figure our mileage was well accounted for today.

I know that my girls will cherish the trip to Hawk's Prairie today. It was very full of: new accomplishments, valley quail and Cabela's; silly times, taking a picture of the moose, change shooting at us from a vending machine; important things, identifying road signs for future driving tests and remembering that flavored-no-calorie water usually has Splenda in it.

So no, it isn't flowers in the Puyallup Valley while dressed in crinoline and getting the elastic chin strap snapped by your brother, but it was memorable. Our memorables.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

That's My Girl

After I got home from our horseback riding (see Oh Mercy) I went back out to the clearing to pick some wild black berries, the indigenous kind. Amber, my new Rat Terrier pup, and I had a great training walk. We saw Phil, who was out back cutting next winter's warmth, ate some berries, then came back. When I returned home and popped around the corner of Dale's machine shed, I spied my daughters.

"Where the heck are you two going?" I inquire

"Out back to pick berries and see Dad," was the chorused reply.

"Did you set the water, Anna? I questioned, half knowing the answer but hoping none the less.

"Oh, shoot, no." came the expected answer.

"Get to it before you go," I insisted. She took off and went and did the job she was left to do a half an hour ago. That Anna, she isn't blatantly rebellious, she just has my side tracked gene in spades. And because it comes from me I can be both merciful toward her and terribly hard on her, cause I know what her life will be like if she doesn't get it under control now.

"Hey, what do you have in your hand?" I asked her sister.

"A beer."

"Whatcha doing with that?"

"I'm taking it to Dad"

What a gal. I'm telling ya, that girl belongs on a real farm with a big strong, hard working, thirsty, beer drinking man someday.
Wait a second, I should have thought of that beer, I could have won me some points this afternoon. It could have been worth a new rose arbor or a hot water heater in my laundry/propagation house.
Oh well, better luck next time Lanny, see you later Bet.

Oh Mercy

This is Mercedes, our friend and famous turkey incubating lady, Cindi, loaned her to Anna until she can find a buyer for her.

People are too nice to our girls.

Now that the girls have an extra horse they have been bugging me to go ride with them. I haven't ridden in a long time. I had some issues with my back a few years ago and I quit ridding because I didn't know what the cause was. When I found out that it was Transverse Myelitis and not effected by riding I just never returned to it.

A couple of months ago I swung up on Roy, our orange horse, and went for a little random bareback ride in the pasture while Dirt and Bet worked on her Turkey pens, enough to tell me I was out of riding shape and missed it.

Today I gave into the new pleading and went for a good long ride with the girls. Besides my hind end being powerful angry with me, I had a great time. I really miss riding. Now that we have an extra horse, for a while anyway, I am going to try and squeeze in at least three rides a week with my girls. Easy, my horse, whose picture is on my profile is getting as flabby as I am. We both could do with the added exercise.

I'm just not sure where I am going to steal the time from. You got any to spare dear reader?

Friday, July 25, 2008

We all came to the farm in this box!

We love our ducks, we let them wander around the barns and nursery area in the day time and they are locked into the barn at night. It is amazing how Fluffy, our big sumpin watch dog, doesn't even give them much of a second look. He once had a notorious time of duck killing, nothing short of a hand grenade could get him off of a duck.

He is a funny dog. If a chicken gets out of the coop he polishes it off straight away, no if ands or buts and no questions asked. But often he will squeeze into the coop when we dump something he deems as tasty in their scrap bucket and when he gets in he won't touch a feather on their head, or tail. He is totally territorial. He understands when he is trespassing. If you're in his yard however, you're in his yard, your mistake not his. This is the face you will be greeted with:
But if you happen to drive a certain colored box truck and wear shorts, or if you come out of the house to train puppies smelling like training treats, or if you are sitting down with a plate on your lap after the smoker has been going all day this is the face you are greeted with:

But it doesn't matter if you belong in the yard or not, if you happen to be a puppy or are within 10 feet of food that could be his, he will growl like a grizzly bear or snap at you. (not people, just other critters) He went on trial once for murder. He was caught at the murder scene, and we all, those of us in the kitchen, heard what we thought was evidence enough but it was all deemed circumstantial, there was no definite evidence that he had really done anything besides being in the wrong place at the wrong time and the only one around when the authorities arrived.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Maybe I Should Have Just Watched The Show

Sorry dear reader if I subjected you to the result of my trying to multi task. I was probably too tired to even mono task. But I have cleaned up my terrible writing (worse than usual) and set the post Electric Day right.

Today's goal is to focus on what I am doing and get it done.

No more murders last night, but the night before we lost a Polish chick. And I'm telling you, the thing out there is very strange indeed. Phil did get up at two in the morning because he heard a ruckus. When he got out to the barn the ducks were all stirred up but this morning everyone is accounted for.

Bet and I have to go up to Eatonville later today to pick up a full grown Bourbon Red turkey so that we have something for the display at the fair. This murderer or muderers must be stopped!

I'm Done

I have just spent over 45 minutes editing and re-editing the following post. I have been trying desperately to get the spaces between the paragraphs. I can't. I have tried a zillion different ways. I can't. I'm done. Please be patient with me dear reader. Thank you, cause I know you will be kind.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Electric Day

7:00 Order some chickens for next year's laying and breeding program and 25 broilers. Too late to get the ones I really wanted, once again procrastination does not pay off.

9:00 The electric day really begins now with electromyography, not unlike tripping over the electric fence while wearing the dog's training collar while the dog is standing on the switch and then landing into a pile of thistles. Good news is I'm not crazy, the test shows that I have valid reason to think my toes feel numb because of the bad news that I have peripheral neuropathy. So step one is done, now for step two, hopefully finding out what is causing it, there are a slew of causes, and getting it stopped or better yet, reversed.

10:21 After the electrifying test, we, the girls and I, head up south hill for a blood draw for a thyroid follow up. I dash in, dash out and off to Costco for some quick shopping,

10:39 Costco, ah lots of carts in the parking area, not crowded, yay. I get some undershirts, jeans, dress shirt and a pair of shorts for Phil and groceries for the house.

11:35 We hustle our bustles to Stephie's, eat our sushi lunch while she finishes her dishes. Kai has a small taste of pickled ginger, thinks it is good, has a big chunk and it ends up in the sink. New experiences don't always go smoothly.

12:00 We jump in the cars head over to Michelle's get a bucket of ice for my oysters to stay cold since we forgot the ice chest at home and then head to Point Defiance.

12:30ish and we have a fun time in the fuchsia garden while someone, we won't mention who, complaines that she just wants to get to the zoo and why do we have to do the garden too.
1:00 As we head back to the car we travel through the rose garden and now someone is wandering around smelling everything, picking out the best flowers and guessing their names.
1:30 No parking in the zoo parking lot, circle, circle, circle, circle, got one! Did anyone else hear musical chairs music playing? Off to the zoo. Quick stop at the ladies room and that means a quick stop to see if they have anything on sale in the gift shop. Yahwhoo a way cool pitcher or is it vase, well it is a fish and too cool to let the 50% off sticker get overlooked. Okay now off to the animals.

The draw for the day is clearly the lemurs and the meerkats; the mole rats, pygmy owls, poison dart frogs, elephants, tigers and penguins are just extras today.

3:00 But now my achey legs (you go sit on an electric fence on high and let me know how your legs feel) are really done and so we head out to the parking lot, trade passengers, Michelle rode out with me so I get Anna back and Steph takes Chelle and head off to finish the rest of our day separately. All very much to Anna's chagrin, she would like for the day together to continue for ever.
3:39 Since we're in the "neighborhood" I stop by the downtown Tacoma's Group Health office to pick up earrings I left there back in May but not until we swing through the Proctor district to see if Auntie Gee Gee is home, she wasn't. While I am on the same floor as radiology I stop at their desk to see if I can schedule an appointment for a lumbar series that was ordered with the EMG. Well, I can't make an appointment but I can just get it done as a walk-in, how 'bout now. This is too easy, but okay! And I am still out in under 3o minutes so my stay in the parking garage is free!

4:00 Okay so we're in the "neighborhood" lets stop at the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory In the door and immediately hit with the beautiful fragrance of lilies, some really cool things inside, like the pitcher plant, many different orchids, Vireya rhododendrons and other botanical treasures.
4:40 Tuling down Yakima I can not help but pull into the Dollar store that inhabits the old Elvin's store in the old Hi Ho shopping center building that I used to frequent during my late childhood. Having fun finding things like boraxo bar soap, paper doilies, a hairbrush for in the car (coulda used it today), hand lotion, a cream pot and a few other things all for a buck!
5:47 Home, Anna jumps out runs in the house and changes her clothes while I show Phil his new ones, they kiss me good by and head off to shear a couple of sheep at the bottom of Muck Creek Hill. Bet and I unload the groceries and the dollar store finds.

5:59 An old man named Jessie calls for kittens - I thought our ad was done yesterday, he wants a female, he is on limited income, I ask Bet if she is willing to sell the tabby female that she and Anna want to keep (a couple of our mom cats have gone missing (maybe with the little blue rooster Who's Poop Is This? )).
She says no and so I ask the fellow if he can't do with a male. I listen carefully to his story about how he has always had two cats at a time, three or four sets, most of them living for 13 to 15 years, always females, usually sisters, always allowed to have one litter each, indoor cats. I listen to how he can't spend much on a cat and how one of his wives spent $20 bucks on a cat back in the day when the military didn't pay much (they pay a lot now?) and that caused him to call the cat "Riches". I get sad as I listen to him tell the tale of how his latest set of sister cats are two and a half years old, and how they are strictly indoor cats and when he was gone back east to a funeral one escaped and got run over. Okay, I'm not in tears but I am close. I take his name and number and I tell him I will try and find him a black or nearly black female cat.

I hang up and go talk to Bet. Having successfully talked Bet into giving up her little kitty to this nice old man and his sad and lonely cat, I call him back tell him that my daughter is willing to sell the tabby she was keeping for herself and give him directions from his Hawks Prairie home to our house. I just hope he can get here and get out of here before Anna comes home. I can handle one crying girl but not two.

6:30something As I am watering containers and Bet has the puppies out playing with them she tells me to grab them cause "that guy" is here. As I am trying to grab them I see his car and ah yes, Phil's truck pulling in the driveway. "That Guy" gets to know the kitty while I quickly and quietly explain things to a shocked Anna, Dirt steers completely clear. Of course Jessie buys the kitten puts her in a cardboard box that he says his latest two kitty cats rode home in (I believe him).

6:46 I finish watering the plants down in my nursery beds. Anna consoles herself with a visit to Mercy (I'll have to tell you all about her soon, thanks Cindi)

7:27 I find some old frozen burger patties and go in and make dinner. Hey it works. Bet sets her trap for mystery killer or a raccoon whichever. Gee, I recall I bought a chunk of meat yesterday to put in the crock pot for today. I'm sure its got something to do with the peripheral neuropathy (why I can't remember the things I set out to do)

8:12 The girls and I join Phil in the living room for "So You Think You Can Dance" (he has been staring at the frozen face of Kat Deely for twelve minutes) and I start writing this post which seems to have taken longer than the actual day. But there it is, proof that I can get something done.
Nearly Midnight I don't believe that any of today is on my "To Do List" for July but I still feel pretty stinking good about my accomplishments today.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Who's Poop Is This?

I have a scat identification book, I just haven't gone up to find it.

This belongs to the animal that absconded with our beloved (and not) little blue bantam rooster. Last year an animal came to our farm that we had never heard before. It has a creepy screamy rattly yowl (sounds like a piece of sheet metal being rattled) in the middle of the night or shortly after dusk right down by the cherry tree and the barn pond. And now I wonder if it is all the same animal that has done the evil (or blessed) deed at the chicken coop that sits just above the barn pond.

We'll miss the little blue bantam. Unfortunately we didn't know that we needed to have a picture of him, and besides a picture could never tell you how much a person could love the little bugger and kick him across the coop all at the same time. He was vicious, clearly suffering from short man's syndrome, the only reason he could stay and not be done in was that he was barely a pound and could only hit as high as your boot, hardly a threat really unless you're silly and go out into the coop with shorts, but definitely annoying when you're bending down cleaning feeders, collecting eggs, closing up the waterer and the like. But now he is gone and no one could even find a feather of his for a memorial to our little buddy (irritant).

I think it is funny that Anna and I are reading Hank the Cow Dog, by John R. Erickson, and Hank is solving a chicken murder case. I think I am riding the rails between two parallel universes.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Great Day On The Farm

Mike and Michelle came out to the farm today and we just hung out, picked a few cherries and strawberries, got things watered and filled flats to seed tomorrow. The girls all went for a horse back ride.

Dirt had a great day. He replaced his tire on his motorsickle, now he can take me for a ride, safely.

He read his manual on Thursday to see how to remove his rear wheel before he got started (he always reads the manual). He went to the index and looked up rear wheel removal. He flipped to the page for rear wheel removal and it said the following "Remove brake caliper. Remove rear wheel."

I don't care who you are, that's funny.

Looking forward to this week.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sheep Shearing On The Pennisla

Family day out sheep shearing.
It is interesting how many sheep owners are out there that don't get a job done as often as it should. Sheep should be sheared once a year, for the fleece quality, for their health, for the ease of shearing only one year's growth.

These folks bought these sheep two + years ago and it took their
neighbor calling all the feed stores he could till he found Webster Road Feed out between Graham and Eatonville and Brian gave him Dirt's number.

Mind you they are in Gig Harbor and that is quite a ways from Graham and Eatonville. Makes me wonder how many feed stores he called before he found Brian, Webster Road Feed and us.

Funny, the last time I went on a shearing job with Dirt we went out onto the Peninsula and they had a small flock that hadn't been sheared in years. Makes me wonder about people across the bridge. Beautiful homes though, you gotta givem that for sure.

Picked up fire wood for Rick and Melody Cabinier at their dentist's beach house. Turns out that my family went to school with the dentist's family, he was in between my middle sister and brother and his younger brother was in my class in elementary school, small world, go figure.

The salamander was relocated to a safer place than the moving wood pile.

On to another shearing job out in Home

on a small vineyard

This woman has beautiful gardens, lots of work, very inspiring

They worked their awning into the end post of the grape supports, very clever.

Heading home, first to drop off Rick and Melody's wood,

a jump in Rebecca and Mike's pool

and then home to

get to work!!!

And maybe sell some kittens and hopefully a puppy or two.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Still Missing Girls

The girls spent another day in town with Rebecca and I spent another day forgetting what all I need to do.

Thinking about an old "assignment" from Friday gathering a "this I believe" sort of thing we were all supposed to be doing but only Phil has done so far.

What I was thinking was that community is a really big thing with God and is one of those Spiritual Law things much like gravity.

Well I haven't formulated much at the moment to share with you . Maybe when the girls get home they can take a picture of me at the top of my new sixteen foot shinny aluminum orchard ladder and I can figure out how I want to say what is rolling around in my brain.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Missing Girls

Martin (the Warrior Slayer of Rats) and I are having a sad day. I'm all alone today and missing my girls terribly, he is a mopey little dog today missing his Bet girl smooch his nose, Janie misses Anna and is hiding upstairs. The girls went into town yesterday with me and stayed over night to help Rebecca get ready for Mike's parents to come for a month long visit. I am sorry to miss out on their helpfulness to me today but I am more pleased to be able to loan a good friend good help.

They are a real blessing to us, as their older sisters were and still are. I am very thankful to God that years ago he showed Dirt and I that children did not need to go through a teenage stage, that a person could become a normal adult without having to go through an eye-rolling, snarking talking, isolationistic, disrepecting time where the only people they care to related to are their peers and the only work they do is for money and someone else. Our girls are twenty-six, twenty-two, (the older two have been married since each were eighteen) seventeen, and fifteen (almost) and none of them were ever sullen teenagers.

Buttcha know I am supposed to be writing a book about our parenting adventure of having brought four girls to maturity and marriage without dragging them through rebellion, dating, and the ilk. My friends don't bug me very much about it, the book, like they used to, but the day before yesterday my husband brought it up, quite unexpectedly and quite affirmatively. I can't say that I would necessarily be the writer because while I am the one who types it out and works the words around to say what we mean, Phil is always right there when I write out stuff, whether he actually is and is verbally saying his input or if his voice and principles just play in my head while he is off at work. Did I mention how much I love him and depend on him?

So maybe I'll get started on that,

just as soon as my girls get home.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Beautiful Day

Oh it is exquisite out again today!

The cherries on the big tree are so red I can see them from the house.

I just hope the birds can't see them today.

I think I am going to talk the girls into buying a 16 foot orchard ladder from McLendon's today and tie it to the top of the car. We have reached the limit of my dad's old wooden 10 foot orchard ladder.

A new ladder will also be welcome this winter for pruning the "Widower Maker".

And I know one dear reader who will be thankful we are not climbing to the top of a 50 year old ladder reinforced by duct tape.

Perhaps Grandpa Erb's ladder can be retired to something genteel like hanging pots of flowers off of it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Crumb, But My Girl's Are Fun To Hang With

I am not supposed to be up this late. But Terry is doing VBS so I don't have to exercise in the am and when Dirt and I got home my girls begged me to come and watch something they thought was very funny on the TV. And who can refuse girls who shoot vermin and then skin them. Here is their latest, shot by Bet, skinned by Anna......

...Nah I can't bring myself to put in that picture, it is pretty gruesome. Stop by someday and they will show you their collection of skins.

One might think that with their new bent of killing off the marauders around the farm and then skinning them out that they are destined to marry some boys from Arkansas.

Hope they're walking here.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ta Da, The Grape Is Draped

I did it and in less than an hour!
It will definitely need better arranging this fall or winter when I can manage the vines better without greenery on them but for now it works.
I can actually tell I have a dining room window.
Off to my next job.

I'm Up, I'm Up

Up earlier than usual but right about what I planned. Need to get stuff done before the sun gets too bright. Going to tackle the grapes first and then some weeding and planting. Looking forward to a great and beautiful day listening to the Holy Spirit's leading.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Second Story Grape Arbor

We finally put in the arbor over the upstairs windows so that the grape vine has something to guide it. We know, grapes vines shouldn't go out that far from the main trunk, but we have come to appreciate the shade for the back of the house that the grapes provide, especially now that our back yard is treeless. Amazingly enough even though we don't tend our vine like we should, Dirt harvests 96 bottles of wine from our one vine each year. All that wine and we still get some to eat fresh at the table.

Dirt is really into the wine making thing, Jim, Kathy's husband, got him started and encouraged him along the way. He makes a terrific raspberry wine for our raspberries that are not exactly good fresh but the wine is great. The apples he turns into something akin to an appletini, a little stiff to be just a wine!

He also has made wine from our precious huckleberries that we get each year up at Burley Mountain. But the consensus is that huckleberry pie is better. We can't wait to go up each year, play in the Cispus river, cook great food around the campfire with great friends- family really, and drive a crazy drive up to the huckleberry fields at the 4,000 foot level on a road barely wide enough to hold one vehicle.

But all that is for another post, I am just excited to have my arbor up so that tomorrow before the sun gets to hot I can see if the grape vine will disentangle so I can get it on the arbor headed up to the window.