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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Middle Part of Christmas

Before an entire week blows by, I thought I would recount the middle of our Christmas; Day Six through Day Nine. My camera has a hard time finding its way out of its case lately so the only pictures I have for you are of The Fifth Day of Christmas and bringing back the Orange Tractor to the Farm.

The Orange Tractor Returns
So indulge me in a bit of back tracking. Dirt and Mike did a little equipment swap this summer, Mike brought out his back hoe and took our Orange Tractor in. Orange Tractor is an Allis Chalmers 1950 WD. It came to live with us nearly the first year we were here at the farm, it came here in the spring of 1986, from the Huckleberry Mountain range in Eastern Washington where my brother had spent some time raising buffalo.

When we first had the Orange Tractor we were warned that the tricycle type of tractors were dangerous as they tended to roll easily on hills. Not to worry, we farm flat land, low, wet, flat land. Not only is it hard to get parts for a tractor made in 1950 it is extremely hard to find the wheels for the front end, so Orange Tractor has been limping along in one front wheel for a long time.

The back wheels got a treat while in at Mike's. Mike bought Dirt tires for the back wheels and because the wheels were off and tire-less, Mike insisted that Dirt paint them up. Problem is now, the back wheels look new and the rest of the tractor looks old, including the bumper sticker on the cowling (the long upper part of the tractor where the exhaust pipe comes out of). The bumper sticker? ReElect Dan Evans for Governor. Which would mean that the bumper sticker has been there since 1968 or 1972 take your pick. Either way the bumper sticker has been on there a long time and the Orange Tractor is long over due for some tangible love.

I say tangible because trust me it is loved, well loved. The day my brother brought it here and I learned how to drive it I fell in love with my tractor and quite frankly green just didn't matter anymore. Orange was the color to be if you were a tractor. I think quite frankly that I would rather be orange, persimmon really, but orange for ease, than green any day. If like me you are getting weary of hearing about how we ought to be green, rebel against the established nonsense, be orange!

So I feel way better now that my tractor is home, it came home because it has some work to do, it has a lot of work to do, but hopefully Dirt can plan a time where the Orange Tractor can have some more beauty treatment.

Wednesday, the Fifth Day of Christmas found Dirt and Anna shearing some Romney sheep in town and Bet and I down in Sumner at McConkey's and McLendon's Hardware. McConkey's is a warehouse for nursery and greenhouse supply, I needed some sterile soil, a germinating mix, and to chat with the poly film expert about my poly tunnels and the best choices for them, be looking for a post on what I learned, it was pretty fascinating stuff and a real eye opener.

Anna managed to shear most of one ewe, they are big and Anna hasn't been out shearing in a while and wasn't in shearing shape, so her dad finished it up for her. When Bet and I got back up the hill to pick them up Dirt was almost done and his customer was advising him on an accounting program for when we go real this year.

Thursday The Sixth Day of Christmas and New Year's Eve was one of work, Dirt rebuilt one of his creep feeders, I'll post a few pictures of them and tell you all about creep feeders. Bet and I ordered her chicks and poults, and some turken pullets for my silkie rooster and future show girl chickens. We ordered from Welp Hatchery this year because they had everything we were looking for and they are not sold out 'til June like a lot of other hatcheries are already of those said birds we were looking for.

Bet is determined to produce her own meat hybrids and pasture raise them, so we ordered White Laced Red Cornish and Partridge Plymouth Rocks, a rather dark combo for a meat bird, dark pin feathers and all, but we will be marketing to a heartier type of consumer who won't be put off by a few dark pin feathers on the birds.

She also ordered some replacement turkeys for her existing flock, five Narragansett and five Bourbon Reds, her slates are doing just fine, and one new breed, Midget Whites. The Midget Whites guessed it Dear Reader, smaller than most turkeys and therefore a bit more usable for families year 'round and not just a holiday overindulgent roast-a-rama, but they also were named most flavorful turkey followed by the Bourbon Red in a taste test cited somewhere out there in cyberspace the location of which I have forgotten.

After we ordered chicks and poults we went out and measured up the dormant plant storage shed for the possibility of using it in its off season (Feburary to November) for a chick brooder shed. It looks like it will work out just perfectly. Now to find a GQF Digital Sportsman 1502 incubator on Craig's list a little closer than Worley, Idaho, so that Bet can incubate and hatch out birds to provide six families with their all their white meat year 'round, which is her 2010 goal as poultry manager of Vicktory Farm and Gardens.

We spent a little time tidying up a bit around the building and making tentative plans for the surrounding area. But I'm glad I didn't plan too much as I found out on Friday that Dirt has his own set of plans for the area. Not a huge conflict just a little terrain changing and so I get to rethink my plan and perhaps expand it.

Friday the Seventh Day of Christmas and the New Year, found me prepping some germination flats for onion seeds - I am attempting this year to stick to the moon and planet signs for planting and such at the Farm, I'll tell you more about it but for now, suffice it to say that Tipper and Momma Coulter are responsible.

But the bulk of the day, not necessarily in hours but more in enjoyment, was spent at the Bowerman's. It was a great late afternoon and evening, chowing down on a little brisket barbecued (slowly) earlier in the day by Dirt at the Farm, some wonderful beer selections and followed by a lovely pasta dinner and some good hearted fellowship. However, during the afternoon my balloon was burst when Dirt gained support for not playing along with my idea on how to do a second bathroom in an attached solar heated green house on the south side of our house and so I am greenhouseless for yet another year. Or more really, as I am not keen on the idea of having my back yard tore up in August, the suggested date of beginning the revised and "practical" doing of said project. So who knows if it will ever get done and if I will ever move out of the cramped spaces of the laundry room and into a real hot house leaving the laundry room for a revision into a fiber arts shed.

The Eighth Day of Christmas, Saturday, Dirt went to the lumber store for the second creep feeder and while he was in there he purchased, along with more beer,an accounting program. I may not be blogging nearly as much as I would have hoped after the holidays as my computer time will be taken up with paper work and setting up our books. But you have gotten by without my shenanigans before Dear Reader, I am sure you will do just fine without my planned daily postings, no really, I did really think I could get back to daily posting. Perhaps I still will, I do have a lot to record. I just need to learn to write shorter post, today is not one of those learning days however.

Our wonderful friends from the north came down for yet another great day with us. They are so accommodating to our not being able to leave the Farm easily, that it really makes me feel like a schmo when we always seem be the ones to ask them to travel this way for our get togethers. So we spent the day schnick snacking our way to dinner, steaks grilled (quick) by Dirt, the pronounced red meat guru by said northern friends, when the Bowermans joined us for another wonderful but abbreviated beef and brew fest. Yum. We really must figure out how beef can work a little more strongly into the Vicktory Farm and Gardens scope of things, we are running out of Chuck (our last briefly visiting steer) and he wasn't even the provider of the majority of our recent red meat rendezvous.

And now here we are at the Ninth Day of Christmas, Sunday, I have coffee, shortbread and computer and I am looking out my big beautiful new window in my new still-small but wonderful room at work to do. So I'm going to slug down the rest of my coffee and head out soon. Yesterday I had Anna bring in my box of garlic from it's storage place in the well house and my Shandong harvested this fall is already sprouting, so instead of letting it go to waste I am going to go find a bed where I can put it. "Why?" you ask Dear Reader. 'Cause who can have to much garlic growing in one year. Ahhh... two more problems to solve, where to plant garlic, and where to store it next year so I won't loose my eating garlic to early sprouting. Where did I store it before when I didn't have this problem? Ahhh the mysteries of living in Lanny Land.

Hope you don't find too many irritating spelling and grammar mistakes in this post Dear Reader, but I am sure if you do, you will find a clever and tender way of telling me you did.

Hip hip hooray for the coming long days of holiday-less winter, dark and bleak and wet. I am not looking forward to the end of the Christmas holiday season, I for one wish the holiday was longer or at least situated a little farther into the heart of darkness. Yes, I know, the days have turned around, we are on the upswing of longer days and more light, that is if you don't live in the Pacific Northwest, where the sun may very well be behind the iron curtain of grey but you really couldn't bank on it for the amount of light your eyes detect.

Yes, Dear Reader, if you caught a smidgen of winter doldrums and sarcasm you have made it to the end of this post awake. I will go and look at the calendar that tells me yes, we are headed for sunshine and dry land, in spite of my feelings of eternal damp and dark accursedness. My brain clearly is not one of the more evolved ones and I am stuck back in ancient superstitious times where uneducated dolts like myself thought for sure that this, December and January, was indeed the end of my small world and that the evil cloud gods have taken over and they will never let go now that they have gained control. I am going to go out and build a bonfire and see if I can burn them away.

Actually I am going to read a bit of His Word and pray a good while, while I lite that bonfire that I need to have to burn up rotting scrap wood, not the clouds. Please, feel free to comment about my spelling and grammar or the tractor etc. but could you be so kind Dear Reader as to resist telling me what I already know about winter depression made worse by the anniversaries of death and soul abusing events. I know what I ought to be doing nutritionally and in other ways to help my brain snap out of this spot, part emotion and part actual physical chemistry. I promise I will be better in awhile for I have not lost heart, I appear to be troubled on every side, yet I am not distressed; feeling very perplexed, but not in despair; cast down, but not destroyed. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me, including making it through these next few months of darkness and remembering.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bits of the First of Christmas

Dirt and Anna work on the lights
This is where I left you Dear Reader, just before our Christmas tree decorating night. Sorry if the break bothered you, but it was a tough and quiet week before Christmas and not looking any better, if you want the details on why Dirt and I are not our raucous jolly Christmas Tomten selves this year, google Pierce County Deputy, we've dined and joked and campfired with the man who survived being shot by a forty-five in the hands of a angry drunk and it brings tragedy like this incredibly close to home, especially after two Seattle city police were purposely shot in Oct. and four Lakewood officers gunned down in a coffee shop in November. It just seemed to get closer and closer. But all that may or may not be for another post, when I am ready to understand the sorrow I feel mixed with gratitude for the life spared.
This year Christmas tree night started with my lights not working, that always happens to a certain extent but this year only one little strand worked and all the rest were duds. Of course I was in denial because these lights were my favorite yet, I am very sad that they are no good now.

Bet tenderly unwrapping the ornaments
So while Dirt and Anna worked on the lights for over an hour, Bet unwrapped all the ornaments that she wanted to use. I have lots of ornaments and most of them don't end up on the tree, especially when the tree is a living tree. Living trees fill the room just fine, a grand specimen of our Christian take over of paganism, but they don't have nearly the same amount of hanging room on them compared to the ones we go to the mountains and cut down.
Many ornaments either stay in the box or are used in other parts of the house, but not this year, this year we are low key, the last left clunker on the board to be exact. Many ornaments have gone with the two older girls, each of our girls has a collection of ornaments that either I have purchased for them or their older wiser friends over the years have brought them. It is hard to see some of them go, but I know what it is like to start off with no ornaments.

Anna carefully stringing the working lights
Anna got over her frustration of burned out lights and the wasted time of putting on the first string only to have to take them off so that we could break out the new lights (I always have a large stash of lights, I pick up at the after Christmas sales).
But then her frustration returned and the hand full of lights got tossed at the tree at one point. Patience, not a big virtue in this household with the Lanny clones, patience is for Dirt and his clones. So Bet took her annual job back. As each girl has become the "oldest" they not only get to sit in the front seat of the car when just the girls go to town, and represent St. Lucia, they are in charge of decorating the tree. Each has patiently waited their turn and went through training.

Ornaments collected over thirty-one years
But Anna has claimed special circumstances and is requesting (nice euphemism for demanding doncha think Dear Reader?) that she be given a chance to do a few things, like decorate the tree. Hmmm where was she on the morning of December 13th?
My ornaments go back to 1978 and my first Christmas tree away from home, when I was learning what it was like being autonomous, why I should never have been on my own, and why I value multi-generational living. But back to the ornaments. My first tree had only three ornaments, green glass holly leaves, a blown glass angel blowing a trumpet, which she misplaced years ago, and a clear glass bell. I still have all three.

One heirloom but many fond memories are collected here
Doncha just love my gorgeous trays? They were an Ikea find. When my second oldest daughter was getting married here at Victory Farm and Gardens, I knew I needed some trays for my servers to carry the food to the tables so when I was at Ikea picking up ten cent champagne glasses (glass glasses) I found these for ninety-nine cents apiece. You know I bought those, the crazy design covers easily with parchment paper and these trays are tough and sturdy and big.
Back to the ornaments. There is a real oldy in this second batch, the ball with white and colored sections, middle top of the tray. This ornament is the only one I have of my childhood and it brings back so many memories. My brother Chris, only two years older than I, would sit with me in the arm chair next to the tree and we would share twisting up the string that this ball hung on and then watch in awe as it spun itself around and around.

The lights on and the ornaments almost all hung
For years, while the girls were little, they sat and watched from the couch as I carefully loaded the tree with lights, then ornaments, then on some years garland, some years ribbon, or bows on the tips of the branches. I only tackled tinsel one year, but on living trees it just means a mess and on a live tree it means that the goats and sheep wouldn't get their treat on January seventh so tinsel doesn't play in Vickville.
Besides, the tinsel these days is no longer actual tin. My mom kept her tin-sel from year to year on special card boards she designed for holding it. She would carefully pick it back off of the tree at the end of Christmas, place it on the cardboard and when it was full she would tenderly wrap it in newspaper so that the tin-sel wouldn't get bent and crumpled.
She was especially crazy covetous of her tin-sel, taking painstaking care of it, once it changed from tin-sel to plasti-sel. Plasti-sel develops a static charge in the winter air and clings and globs, not the pretty straight hanging shimmer of my childhood. She also carefully swirled angel hair around C-7 lights. Her trees were always so beautiful and carefully done.

Just the red berries need to be placed on the brances
I'm terribly fond of mono-chromatic lights on my tree, I love visiting other folks' houses where they use multi-colored tree lights but Mom switched over to all white in later years and so did I eventually. Then I discovered that I really really like blue lights on the tree in my green room, in fact I even like blue trees.
We have a lovely tall blue spruce by our flag pole now because I like blue with my green. But that year I didn't have any girls desiring to decorate with me. I decorated with long sleeves and gloves, alone. So I was incredibly excited to discover cork bark fir, or Abies Lasiocarpa Arizonica. They are an incredible blue, often blue-er than blue spruce but without the pain of the stiff poky needles.
I have some Arizona fir waiting in the nursery area, just not big enough yet to handle the indoor job of shading the packages that Santa brings.
This year we dug one of our unknown nursery trees here at our farm. It is a great tree, the dark green needles on the branches are long and full making the tree appear larger than it really is. I really like it. It does have a huge draw back, no fragrance. None. Zip. Even when you grab hold of the branch slide your tightly closed hand down the branch, open your hand and whiff, nothing. Blank. Gorgeous to look at but you really need to burn the evergreen candles because the tree gives you nothing for fragrance.
We are looking forward to when our other trees can be used in the house and even more excited to go and pick up more saplings at the Lawyer's nursery sale, so that in future years our choices will be greater and we can share with those we love.

No cookie baking for the boys today
The day after Tree Day was cookie baking day. Steph came out with the boys, but Kai decided that going to town to do errands with Dirt would be way more fun.

Oops they forgot something.

Now they are on their way!
A long list of Christmas foods, treats and a few presents in hand and they were off. Kai was so excited and the stories Dirt told of his time with his grandboy were priceless. Dirt is an introvert, friendly but business first, Kai is an extrovert, eventually the business gets done, maybe, but it is people first. So getting through the friendly Christmas crowds four days before Christmas was a little difficult for Dirt.

Just a small sampling of the beautiful and tasty cookies
The girls had a ton of fun making cookies and I had a ton of fun potting up forty-three Brugmansia plants that rooted since being trimmed off of the parent plants before they went into dormant storage earlier this fall. Ahh forty three water guzzling, fertilizer demanding tender tropical plants that are fragrant in the middle of the night.
I could have sworn that I was not only not going to have any new brugs (brugmansias) but that I was going to bring the ones I have into bloom earlier than I did this last year and adopt them out to someone who has way more time behind the hose than I do. But Dirt has promised me an automatic watering system for all my fussy pots and so here I am the proud parent of forty-three big fat babies. Fairly evenly divided among three colours, white, yellow (Dr. Seuss) and peach.
Funny, as a matter of fact on Tuesday and Wednesday, after Monday's Cookie and Brug Day, we went up to visit the folks where I first acquired my brugs a year and a half ago at one of their local nurseries. It was a lovely memento of a terrific trip up to visit newly acquired life-long friends. So really, I could never get rid of my brugs, even though the parent plants are no longer able to fit in the back of an Explorer let alone five of them all at once, they still remind me of the great time we had getting to know our Coulters better and further cementing our friendship. Now they are simply framily.
We had a great time up in Coulter-land, just Dirt and I, the girls stayed home to take care of the farm and do the final touches on our easy quiet Christmas. We looked at lights, did a little shopping in Mt. Vernon, went to dinner one night at a great little public house and the next late afternoon in downtown Burlington at a terrific ma and pa Greek and Italian eatery. They have some wonderful yarn shops up there and Becky and I tortured the fellas with a couple of stops.
We got home late Wednesday to a cozy home and happy girls looking forward to our Christmas Eve shopping date the next day. Due to November's remodel and lymph issues, December's pneumonia for me and Chippy Hacky's infirmity, we hadn't had a chance to get all of our gifting done, whether made or purchased.
The plan was to spend most of the day out and eat dinner at a restaurant so that we wouldn't have dishes and clean up to deal with. We got a late start due to chores taking a bit more time than expected and the shopping didn't go as smoothly as we had hoped, some decisions had to be redecided a couple of times, by the time dinner was the next activity not a one of us was in the humor to wait to be seated, wait for food to arrive. So we grabbed pizzas (Dirt grabbed a turkey pot pie) and we went home to the oddest Christmas Eve we have had. That won't be happening again, if we can help it. It wasn't horrible, just not the lovely Christmas Eve outing that we thought it could be.
The Tomten came through for the girls and dropped off their all time favorite jammies. Warm, snugly fleecy jammies, Anna's with penguins, her favorite, scampering all over the bottoms and Bet's have the cutest little bone chewing doggies, but Martin is a little put off by the raucous little invaders. It made for a wonderful fun and cozy Christmas Eve.

Lady Amber enjoying her Christmas treat
Ahhh Christmas Day. Everyone found a little somethin' somethin' for themselves, even the dogs. The married children stayed in town a little later this Christmas morning and didn't arrive at the Farm until nearly eleven. The girls, Dirt and I had a lovely morning, I had decided the night before to just go to bed at nine and get up at five and finish the wrapping and packaging that I had left to do. That was one of my better ideas, a stellar move! So I was up and coffeed well before anyone else was up. Dirt made a nice unpretentious little breakfast for him and I, but the girls were up later and snitching cookies instead.

Aksel and Vicktory Farms 2009 Christmas Tree
The boys came out to the Farm in their jammies and had a wonderful time just lounging and playing until dinner.

Steph put some past Christmas photos together for all of us
Christmas Day was joyful and joyfully followed by the First Day of Christmas, or St. Stephen's Day or Boxing Day if you please, we opened our house to some friends for the day, meatballs and taters, Kathy's lefse, Pat's tiramisu, Pablo's, Fryers and Long's pies and treats and Bet's coconut cake, the Coulter's provided a beautiful prime rib that Dirt barbecued - slowly and the Bowerman's brought a keg of Pipeline Porter. Dirt was in beef and brew heaven for the day. Well, we all were, all thirty-five or so of us in less than a thousand square foot, one bathroom home.
Sunday, the Second Day of Christmas, was a relaxing quiet one with our out of town company, we spent the day looking at pictures of our girls' childhood and talking about what we used to do for entertainment around Vicktory Farm and Gardens when Dirt and I were a young family.
Monday, the Third Day of Christmas was a very very relaxed day, well for me. I was reading and planning knitting and garden projects, what the year and the next few months will look like. And early in the day Dirt and Anna went shearing. We came together later in the day and not unlike last Monday when we had spent an odd off day only to hear bad news in the evening, this Monday we heard that our friend's partner was taken off of life support. Hard news to hear indeed.
Today, Tuesday, the Fourth Day of Christmas, we went to the Bowermans so that Dirt could pick up his tractor. The farm just isn't the same without the orange tractor. It was good to share a cup of warmth with my good friend Rebecca while Dirt got the tractor. They are much closer to the surviving sergeant and in fact it is the Bowermans who introduced them to our group of families. It is an odd and perplexing time. And it hangs in the middle of ordinary life.
We here at Vicktory Farm and Gardens, hope that you have had a wonderful start to the Christmas season, that you have found all the time you need to reflect on our Lord Jesus and the incarnation of God and continue to as we go through the season of wonder and reconcilliation.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


The Garlic is in. Thanks to my hard workin' girls we gotter done. Poor Dirt came out to try and help and he wiped out, lost air and couldn't stick with us. Poor Chippy Hacky.

Any way, all the garlic is in but for some reason the count I gave you yesterday was off, oh now I remember how that happened, I have an amount that a 4x16 foot bed takes up but not all my beds were an exact four feet wide. So by the number on the bags, an exact count of the cloves I planted, six hundred thirty-six, but I do have twenty three holes that I didn't fill yet. Remember I said that I don't plant all the cloves in a bulb because small cloves equal small bulbs, I do have some left over cloves that aren't too terribly small and would be worth filling in the twenty-three holes that are empty.

It was just a little before four when the sky turned bronze and I finished up the last rows of garlic and now dusk is nearly done, the light is all but gone from the sky and it is only four thirty. This is going to be a long winter. I was having a hard time today with the sun shinning, working in the dirt, the temp nearly sixty or better at times, drinking a coke, having had our ice skating freeze already, having been sick in bed already, it all added up for one of those days that made it seem like spring already! And tomorrow is the first day of winter! Yikes, I'm in trouble! I need some cold weather to return quick or I'll never make it to May!

But now I gotta say I am headed to the tub and then to bed, I might knit a little bit although I found that knitting in the day light this morning really helped me see the yarn better. So I might find it too frustrating after my lightning speed I was able to get this morning and just sleep instead. All that to say is, no big stories today, no rants (aren't you glad for that Dear Reader?) no long rambly post. Not that I don't have a lot of stuff running through my brain, gardening does that for me, but I just don't have the umph to get there this evening.

A busy week ahead for most folks I'm sure, but Dirt and I are taking our time and just walking through the week, hope everything that has to get done does and I hope that everyone has the wisdom to see what is necessary and what is not. Memory making and keeping is great, I will be the first to say that for sure, until it owns us and we become a slave to ritual. Bondage, even to what might seem like good stuff is really only bad stuff. These words I write for me not necessarily any one else. These are things I really need to remember. Tootles Dear Reader, Anna is out of the tub so now it is my turn. Yep, only one bathroom in this sweet little Farm House at Vicktory Farm and Gardens.

I'm outa the tub and taking back everything I said about going to bed at 5:40 pm the night before winter. I forgot that it is indeed tree decorating night. Dirt dug up one of my nursery trees, it fits just perfect, and I will tell you all about it tomorrow including pictures.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pink Fussy Fuzzy Grows On You and the Garlic is Just Plain Gonna Grow

When I wrote out the title I meant to just write "pink fuzzy grows on you." But instead of fuzzy I wrote fussy, when I realized my mistake I decided to keep fussy and just add fuzzy because it is very fussy.
Kathy, you like eye lash yarn because you are a weaver. Knitting with it can make you go blind! It takes at least twice as long because I have to keep checking if I am about to stitch the yarn or just a clump of the eye lash.
But now that both ear flaps are done and joined and I am done with the pearl stitch on the forehead and neck part to keep it from curling up, it will knit up quickly. I actually got quite far while I waited for these photos to load.
My computer is bogging down again, I think that means I should give it a slight lobotomy and get some stuff off of it. Organizing and putting my photos on my external hard drive would be a start and a good idea since I panic every time someone moves the lap top, the potential of loosing all of this year's photos you know. I really am bad at "paperwork" .

Check out what I use for a stitch marker. Yep that is a bread sack closure. I don't use them all that often because on regular tender yarn they have a tendency to snag the yarn because they are a little rough, but on this stuff, like anyone would notice a snag!
Counting stitches on this eyelash yarn is a bit of a challenge because it is hard to add one more thing to the mix of trying to find the yarn to stitch into. But counting and pearling, ugh. Pearling, putting the working yarn to the front, oh yeah, right, try seeing through double eye lashes. Yikes! The head that this goes on better be a thankful head is all I have to say.
I sure hope it fits. I hate doing the gauge swatches that I am supposed to do (prep work, not my forte) so I just measure my gauge off of the ear flaps and adjust the number of stitches on the forehead and neck piece. But if it doesn't fit one head it will fit another and several people at dinner last night were putting their dibs in for this puppy. So hopefully it won't be a case of the crocheted poodle toilet paper cover, "oh thanks, so much" said in a very forced happy face manner. You know, I have joked several times in the last month or two about poodle dog paper covers, I bet I make one soon, just to be silly and get my come upens.
Well I got the rest of my garlic separated and graded, I separate the big cloves from the smallish ones. There really is no point in planting the smaller cloves because they just don't make the size of the others, I might tuck a few of the in between sized ones, that I put in a different sack, in some of the flower beds or some of the other beds that will have other veggies planted in them in the spring. But they would be there for pest purposes rather than garlic production.
The girls prepped and fertilized the beds with Sea 90. Each bed took about 11 ounces of Sea 90, measured out in a red plastic beer cup, very scientific looking. All in garlic - five beds, four by sixteen feet.
Thats gonna be lots 'o garlic. It should yeild 720 bulbs of garlic next summer (that's nearly two bulbs a day), some braidable and some hard necked. I picked up three new varieties this year from
Fillaree Farms in Okanogan, WA , and we are looking forward to seeing how they will turn out. My list is out in the propagation house and I am in my beautiful new bedroom, but lets see if I can remember, Red Janice, Early Red Italian, and Nootka Rose. The ones we already had: Idaho Silver, Shandong, Chesnook Red, Inchelium Red, oh and an unknown soft neck that seems to do fairly well, just can't remember who he is. Lots of red in that list huh? Funny how that happened, rather by accident, and here I am posting about red garlic and pink yarn together, odder still.
Inchelium Red, new last year, isn't storing very well, I'm thinking our humidity may be to high and Dirt had the heat lamp on the well pump during the cold snap we just had. Or maybe we should quit relying on the well house to store all our stuff in. I wonder if the dormant plant storage would work it appears to be dryer in there than the well house. Unfortunately it is far from the kitchen. Maybe we should just try hanging some from the ceiling in the pantry. I don't braid that much anymore like I used to but I do have it in these great net bags. The netting actually comes in a long long tube, you just cut and tie it off to the length you want.
Speaking of braided garlic, we did pick up some more braidable varieties and are planting more cloves of the ones we had last year, so I am hoping to get back into braiding up garlic this summer, I love to braid it, it looks so beautiful and I like to braid in other herbs and some dried flowers. Then for gifts I go to the florist and buy some of their long stem rose boxes from them and get some excelsior from the craft store and box up my braids. But I haven't done that for years, I think it is time I got back to doing that.
There is a lot I need to get back to doing. And a lot I need to start doing, like paper work and doing things on time. I am such a procrastinator. And sometimes I get on a roll of being a great gardener and wife, then along comes some sort of thing, be it a crisis or just an impromptu party and off the wagon I go. And even when the crisis abates or the party is over and everyone has gone home, there I sit, unable to get back on the organized, do-what-your-supposed-to-be-doing, wagon.
I'm thinking this is a semi-annual New Year's resolution (I have two New Years, one in January like everyone else and one in September when I really feel like it is the best evaluate and reboot time.) and has been for most of my life. Well, I do suppose there have been those years when I have said, "to heck with it, I am who I am, I haven't killed myself or anyone else with my randomness." But I really do think that fifty is a good decade to finally get a hold of one's self and grow up a bit and be responsible, eh?
But I really would not like to be too organized and anal about everything, I am rather fun after all. Well at least fun to watch run around catching up I suppose! But really, the lovely thing about being random and easily distracted is that my girls always have the opportunity to drag me off to see some sort of crazy thing they found. And I to them. So it is a good thing that Dirt has a job that pays real money, so that we can go to the store and get those things that are still in the seed packet box and not in the ground growing like they are supposed to be. Lot of things are forgiving, like garlic, give or take a month or two, but then a lot of things are not, like corn and squash and tomatoes and peppers. And don't even get me started on all the flowers I keep planning on having but never seem to get started on time.
Okay, I've ragged on myself and my ineptitude long enough, lets just say I'm going to do my level best to get a grip this year and Bet is with me on that score. She claimed it herself just the other day all out of the blue and not when I was saying anything out loud. And I am going to hold her and myself to it! Anna on the other hand is just happy the foggy way she is right now and has absolutely no desire to change her wandering dreamy ways. Bet and I have just been careful to step around the poor dear lately. Making sure that we don't give her too many things to do at once or anything that involves sharp objects.
I think it is funny how I always seem to have one girl getting down to business and another girl that is in fairy land, and how they seem to perfectly switch off to the other at the same time the other switches. Not sure what I would do if I had two girls dwelling in fairy land twenty-four seven and me being my usual random procrastinatin' self. Yikes. That would break poor dear sensible Dirt I am sure. Well I have rambled quite enough tonight. I'm either tired enough to sleep now, this bedrest thing has my body clock thoroughly confused, or I will knock off a few more inches on the Fantastic Fuzzy Fussy hat. Now that it is on the circular needles and I am knitting in the round it zips by fast, eyelashes and all.
Tomorrow the last of the garlic goes in the ground and the beds get some mulch and I will rest easier, maybe we will even get to those last few feet of tulips and the cutting bed of daffs, before fall ends on Monday morning. But if I have to use the first few days of winter to finish up I will, vowing of course to plan better next year and not do a huge remodel and get sick during the time I'm suppose to be planting bulbs and such. (Before the month of pneumonia and bed rest it was a month of lymph nodes the size of golf balls, and I only exagerate slightly.) When are you supposed to remodel things? When isn't the calendar full of things you are to do regularly? I must figure out when our off season is or find one. Then I could plan a remodel instead of falling into one. However, I won't plan on being sick. Maybe we could plan to travel to a far away land. Farther than the huckleberry fields or the clam holes. Ummm.
Have a wonderful rest of the weekend Dear Reader, if you are a "Sunday is the holy day" person, then by all means, may it be filled with the wonders of God, and if it is a day like all the others, make sure that God owns it as much as He did your yesterday. He is who He is and worthy of our every moment, give them to Him freely and with joy in your heart. He came to earth that we may be free, be free indeed.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hat Madness

So my ear flap hat binge has gone over the edge. Eye lash yarn now! Oh my, now I remember why this yarn made its way to the bottom of my yarn bin. It may take me a while to finish this one but I am determined to finish and use up all my different eye lash yarns. After that I think I am going to incorporate some of Anna's granny squares into a hat.

Went to my grandboy's Christmas play this evening, he was adorable. Absolutely adorable. But then you knew that didn't you, Dear Reader.

Tomorrow is a busy day, well, not too busy because I will be resting in between things to do, but I have some definite catching up to do on some fall gardening. It is still fall after all ('til Monday 9:47 am) and therefore I am not really behind, I have a few more garlic and tulips to plant. So I won't be inside too much tomorrow but over the weekend I am going to try and attend to Ohilda and Lisa's request.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Well There You Have It

I was debating as to what to write about today, as usual my mind is full and in a million different directions. I had pasted a bit of my favorite song of the season, Advent, along with a few passages from Psalms, a little something Jesus said to the Pharisees and I was thinking that instead I would tell you all about redoing the pattern for my ear flap hats that I am into. As I was erasing things that I had already written and about to erase one of the verses of my favorite song, I hit the publish button or something and the next thing I knew this one thing was now published on my blog. I'll leave it, and this will be my topic.

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to you, O Israel!

The Advent season is a very precious one to me indeed. My folks never went all out with decorating up stuff like I have a tendency to do. My mom had a white candle that looked like a tree and sat on a cake plate, we didn't do stockings as a kids and if on some weird occasion we did we brought out real socks.

There were red bells that my mom hung in the dinning room window that plugged in and lit up, it seems to me they flashed randomly. We had several Firestone Christmas albums, my dad had a service station and we got a lot of promotional things. Our tree always went up much later than everyone else, we had an Advent wreath most years, and my dad always put up our lights on the first Sunday of Advent.

I went to the Parish school up the street, a million miles up the street it seemed but I think I remember counting twelve blocks up and two over. during the Advent season we did not sing Christmas carols. There were special songs for that, songs that told why He was coming, songs that prepared you for why you were about to celebrate the single most important event ever know to man, the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. If he had not become incarnate then the rest that followed would not really have followed now would it?

The parish that I grew up in and my family took the season of Advent seriously, no parties before Christmas, Christmas parties were for the Christmas season not for the time of preparation . It was in itself a beautiful time. A time that I as a child learned more and more each year as to why the incarnation of my God was such a huge thing.

Many a Advent Sunday I remember in a cold dark Church with my small hand slipped in to my father's enormous ones. How he would gently hold it and caress it, his face an odd mixture of sadness and peace. I think I am understanding the hint of sadness in his face. I know it is a big deal for Christians to go around loudly reminding all the people who dare to horn in on our season of celebration saying Jesus in the reason for the season, my friend saw a sign the other day, not on a church building but on a business, it read, "Sin is the reason for the season".

Sin and oppression, the oppression of rebellion against God. Foolish, ignorant, get-you-no-where-but-hell rebellion disguised by the Enemy as autonomy and freedom.

That was the sadness I think I saw in my father's face. During Advent he was reminded of why Christ had come into the world, to free man from the oppression of the Enemy. That isn't really sad but cause for joy, but to know that man was bound by chains of sin and death, that is sad business indeed.

But there was the peaceful side of my father's face, the side of his countenance that knew that he was free, that Christ had come indeed and had freed him. It says so in the scriptures that we listened to together during that season and it was repeated in the songs that we quietly sang together, that man would be free in Christ.

Come, thou long-expected Jesus
Come, thou long-expected Jesus,

born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.

Israel's strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art:
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child, and yet a king,
born to reign in us for ever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.

By thine own eternal Spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all-sufficient merit
raise us to thy glorious throne.

The other day I was thinking that I wasn't being very Christmas-y. The whole bed rest thing really taking the wind out of my sails and things are not getting done, baked or transformed. The girls are actually slowly decorating the house, slower than we usually do even.

And I was okay with it, Christ will be celebrated regardless of how many little bits are all over the house, in fact I was then looking forward to a simpler celebration. But then I reminded myself that this really is the time to be quiet and think about what we are soon to celebrate, to think about how that light pierced the darkness, forevermore. That I needed to return to that time of quiet contemplation that my father so embraced in the echo-ey cold darkness.

O come, divine Messiah!
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,
And sadness flee away.

Dear Savior haste;
Come, come to earth,
Dispel the night and show Thy face,
And bid us hail the dawn of grace.

O come, divine Messiah!
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,
And sadness flee away.

O Christ, whom nations sigh for,
Whom priest and prophet long foretold,
Come break the captive fetters;
Redeem the long-lost fold.

You come in peace and meekness,
And lowly will Thy cradle be;
All clothed in human weakness
We shall Thy Godhead see.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Ceiling: Room Redo Part 3

In a way I am sorry that I don't have a picture of what my ceiling used to look like. Just never thought it was necessary to take a picture of ugly with a capital U. Let me try and describe the amount of ugliness.

It had holes where swag lamp hooks once were, there were these large dimples, the size of monster clam holes, okay the size of quarters and half dollar pieces, they were sprinkled all over the ceiling, except in the area where you could see the outline of a four by four sheet of plywood right around the light fixture. Speaking of right around the light fixture, which was one of those lovely square glass numbers from the early sixties, the paint and fine (as in thin, not lovely) coating of texture was brown and peeling from the heat of the light bulbs. Maybe or maybe not, it could have been because in my desperation to see in a nearly windowless room I had put hundred watt-ers in, maybe.

Dirt and I had begun debating about the ceiling right away in the redo process, once we realized that it was going to be more than getting a new mattress and painting the walls. After I did the plaster on the walls I knew I was not up for a Sistine Chapel thing on the ceiling and was wanting something lovely, totally covering all the bizarreness and not all that difficult. What we found, nearly by accident, because I found it the day we were debating closet guts, was in my opinion nearly a perfect thing. Paintable wall paper.

It is supposed to look like pressed tin squares. Whether it does or not is beside the point for me really, it just makes the ceiling look lovely.

It was relatively easy to put up with all four of us working. We ended up working in the dark because, well because, this time of year it gets dark soon so if you really want to use the hours in your day, you will end up doing somethings in the dark.

Mr. Vick, aka Dirt, had assured me that the room was square, he had just put in the floating floor from Ikea (cheap but clean and lovely) and sure enough you could see that the floor was indeed very square, very surprising for this old farm house I might add. I am convinced that the folks, each different set, that built this house did so without a tape measure, square or level, like the kid who builds a tree house without using any of dad's power tools after the first day.

I should have snapped a plumb line, it would have only taken me a minute and would have shown that the top of the wall bowed in in the middle considerably, making the lines, and there are plenty of lines in the paintable wall paper, slightly off in some places and "would you please not stare at the ceiling" off in others.

Then came the debate over color. Yes, I so love color and I am so driven batty by large expanses of white that even the idea of white on a ceiling causes me to melt. Dirt being the color minimalist that he is, cannot understand why I don't just go white, especially on the ceiling. Well because, for one when white is in a shadow it is actually grey, when color is in a shadow it is just that color only with a shadow. We have plenty of shadow days in the Pacific Northwest and our fair share of grey.

My brain in fact is full of grey. It needs, needs I exclaim, color. And for number two, white is the color my canvas is before I put myself on it (yes folks, I used to be a budding artist, back in my hippy childhood days, the only classes I took my senior year were art classes including art assistant, four blissful hours of various art, I even toyed with majoring in art in college, until I spoke to my dad that is). In my world, white begs for something to be done and I have enough work screaming at me from all corners of my life without a bunch of "canvases" screaming at me that aren't really in need of anything because someone has painted them already, just painted them white.

So there you have it folks, welcome once again to inside my head, isn't it fun in there? I did notice that my skin was looking a tad jaundice and sickly with all the green so I knew I wanted to warm it up a bit. My ceiling in the dining room is a lovely mango so when the idea of using the metallic paint, "warm silver" was tossed out on its ear, I decided to go "pink".

I took one of my whiter mis-mix paints, dribbled a little of our trim paint in it, swirled it up and rollered it on. And I love it. It looks like the sky at sunset or early morning light coming across our wonderful mountain, all pink and glowing promises of a fantastic day.

After cruising the home interiors catalogs on-line with Dirt and the poor school teacher actually toying with the idea of spending over a hundred bucks on a mini chandelier, I found myself at Ikea picking up their lovely thirty-nine dollar special. Of course the European cover for the electrical outlet did not fit so Dirt picked up a "ceiling canopy" at Home Depot for about fifteen bucks, unfortunately he didn't find a solid black one and on the phone his idea of color isn't mine. I used the sample of warm silver metallic paint that I picked up for the ceiling to take the black down a bit and maybe later I will try to do a better job matching the canopy, the curtain rods and the light fixture, but for now it works.

In the two days that Dirt and I spent looking and contemplating mini-chandeliers on-line I came to find out that Dirt is a shiny bauble sort of guy, who knew, and all this new information after twenty-nine years of marriage, huh. So because I didn't care for IKEA's version of shiny baubles and went with the plain one instead, part of what I will be doing today to put the finishing touches on my room is putting baubles on my light fixture.
I had really wanted colored light shades but alas could not rationalize spending twenty bucks times five for just the perfect shade. Painting them turned out awful so I will keep the extra that I bought to cover my experiment, and see if attaching a few baubles to the shades help, if not off they come and I will just put the beads on wires draped on the fixture itself.
So that was my plan for the day, 'cept Dirt took my car to work and in it was the bag of extra baubles from Michael's Craft Supply.
Has anyone else noticed that the stores have less stuff in them than usual? The girls and I stopped in a Michael's down in a little town south of here on Thanksgiving weekend and I was surprised by the limited supply and selection of trimmings over last year. It seemed like they didn't even have the amount at the beginning of the season that they had a week after Christmas last year when we went to get stuff for this year (a favorite thing of mine to do and because we celebrate into the middle of January I put my new finds out right away and enjoy them for the current year and the next).
Any way, I thought the limited selection was because of the location of the store, so yesterday when Dirt took me to the Michael's on South Hill, I was again surprised by the limited supply and selection and the lack of crammed-ness feeling in the store. I have also noticed it in other stores, a nursery/cutesy shop here in our little town again seems to have the amount of stuff at the beginning of the season that it has had in the past for the "after all is said and done" sale.
I'm thinking the "bad economy" is finally starting to take its toll on the merchants that never seem to be affected. When the economy alarm is sounded, like it was with a vengeance last year, it is always hard to grasp, sorta like "global warming", because the wheels of commerce seem to grind merrily a long and people are seen still purchasing large quantities of worthless stuff and the garbage trucks never stop running down 304th street.
I haven't been in the stores enough lately, bed rest and all, to notice the amount of worthless-things-purchasing going on. It always seemed in the past, that folks just let the good ol plastic absorb their financial short comings. And of course it is always hard to believe the cries of commerce woe sounded by the news media the week before Thanksgiving and then again toward the end of the Christmas shopping season, come on we all know that is a set up, who owns the media, who owns the stores, really now. But maybe, just maybe, this year we really are in a recession or some sort of economic woe as a whole country, except I'm not really hearing much said about it as I am seeing evidence in the shops. That is a switch.
Don't get me wrong, I am well aware of the economics of regular folks and that some folk are really in a bind and have been for a while. It is just that, in the past, economic woes, as reported or felt, never seem to be reflected in the market place in spite of the horror that the media portrays. And this fall with the nonsense I heard going on in local churches and Kamp Krusty's reporting similar ridiculousness across the nation, who would have guessed that we were in the middle of hard economic times.
After all when a smallish church (200 or so) can kick in ten thousand bucks to the denomination's consultant to the region for what ails their church and then add to that the hiring of a fella to the tune of thirty-thousand to increase their numbers and up their tithing (yes, we know the joke) then clearly there is no one out of work in those congregations. When churches have leadership luncheons catered to the tune of thirty bucks a plate for a couple of sandwiches, then obviously if you are experiencing financial woes, you are doing so alone I say.
But I have heard that our President is encouraging folks to spend money, along with encouraging mothers to abandon their children and go back to school, so maybe our churches are just doing their level best to help shoulder the burden of the economy and spend money on dumb stuff. Then again maybe they just have a screwed up idea of what church is supposed to be. Oh wait, I forgot that verse where Paul tells Peter that church is just big business.

Okay I'm done ranting, how did I even get here, oh yeah, stuff in the stores, but enough of that, I actually have some reading material to enjoy along with doing up the bead work that Dirt brought back home in my car he stole today.
Speaking of things being delivered, today our mail was delivered practically in our bathroom. Our mail carrier drove her jeep down to our house so that she could use our potty, apparently the store on her route where she usually stops was having water trouble today. Yikes. Talk about unexpected company and in my bathroom no less!
So this is my current reading material. And I am so looking forward to it.

Because the one book, EcoFarming, has pages that look like this...

...and this. Exciting stuff I tell ya. All part of Dirt's and my journey to becoming real farmers and preparing for him to eventually stop teaching and work just from here.
What a concept, a time when my husband will just have one job! Ever since I've known Dirt he has always had more than one thing that he does to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. But that is a whole big post on work ethic and men taking care of their families and getting things done.
The other book is a reprint and part of it was run years ago in a magazine I use to get, Small Farmer's Journal out of Oregon, it focuses on farming using horses instead of tractors. This all kind of brings up a huge conflict for me, I am very much into the environment, always have been, when I wasn't contemplating majoring in art I was majoring in Forestry. I wore hiking boots and carried a back pack before they were standard issue, well the days I wasn't wearing a sizzler and wood platform shoes anyway. But this new trend of green this and green that and sustainable nose picking, for crying out loud, it is all just a bit batty driving.
It makes me want to spray chemicals just to be contrary. I have a few friends that do real farming and the fact that they don't get paid their due for good honestly produced food but some whacked out store can saran wrap two eggs call them organic and sustainably farmed, then charge the same amount as for a dozen eggs, it drives me. What the heck and how freaking gullible is America anyway? Please people, eat some protein so you can think.
So as much as it would behove us to market how green and simple we are, we won't. It fries me. Farmers have always been "green" yes, there have been times of corporate greed and careless activity, when there is money involved there is always that potential, Actually read the history books and its the college boys with their fixes for the uneducated dirt farmer that have screwed things up and got us into messes. For the most part the first guy that cares about the environment is the fellow who lives by it. Screw it up and your done, out of business. Not to mention not too many people work like farmers do, no guaranteed time off, no weekends at the beach, and then trash the very place they work in, live in.
Quit squawkin about the price of food on your table, compared to everything else, as long as you're not falling for that "organic" hoax, the price of food is ridiculously cheap. And you can bet your boots the farmer man sitting on the tractor or busting ice isn't getting the hog's share of any increases you saw lately. That, as usual, goes to the huckster that plants himself between the real producer and the ever gullible consumer, convincing the consumer that his services of interference are needed. What a load of dung. Oh if only someone could figure up a food insurance policy, now there would be some money makin' ventures without having to get your hands dirty, just your soul and who cares any more how dirty that is.
Wow, what is that two nearly unrelated rants, a couple of hinted at ones and some smashed little toes in one post that started out about my new ceiling. Time to put down the lap top and do some bead work or knitting eh?
Well you have a good evening Dear Reader, hope I didn't spoil your dinner of organic milk and heirloom sustainable broccoli that you paid four bucks a pound for.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sneaking Outside

Well I snuck outside and did a little work in the Laundry/Propagation House just before I went into the Doc's. Mostly the girls worked and I directed, even that for an hour was exhausting.

And sure enough, I did not pass with flying colors. Pneumonia still in the right lower lobe of me lung. Oxygen levels are up but still not what they should be. One more week of antibiotics, some percussion that Dirt is supposed to perform on the lower right lobe, more Vicodin, more rest. Oh and some warm Castor Oil per suggestion backed up by past experience, thank you loyal blog friend you. Oh and more steam your face off treatments.


I am going looney. I really really need to work and my brain needs to stop working. But I will follow the doctor's orders and suggestions of my friends to not over do it, trust me I think I would pass out before I could actually over do anything. So be prepared for more tangents. Tomorrow I will show you some pictures of my new ceiling. I stare at it a lot, you should get to see it too.

Well that's all I got for you today Dear Reader. Spent most of the day in town at the doc and then doing a little bit more shopping with Dirt and the girls. Everything for a reason I am sure of it, so I will be content and find what it is I am supposed to be learning from all of this, its not like my country is being invaded and my children turned into slaves, I'm thinkin' I can handle this, hopefully with minimal whining.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Living Among The Window Ledge People

So I've said a few time before and promised an explanation of not having rules especially in departments where some expect us to have rules.

Our daughters, all four, have never dated and won't. Two are now married. Some folks then wonder what our "rules" look like, how it is we "do" that. How do we keep them from dating, what our definition of dating is, when they will get to make that choice for themselves and what the consequences for rule breaking in our house looks like.

They seem to have at least a brain strain or more like a brain fracture when we say we don't have a no-dating rule. "Then they can date if they want to?"


"So then you have dating rules."


Eyes glaze over and they shake their head and wonder if we are just being obstinate or silly or knowing us slightly, both.

We see it like this.

We don't have rules about walking on the window ledge when you are in a building five stories up and better.

But we seem to live in a society that once you are above the fifth floor, the only accepted way of getting from room 502 to 534 say, is to climb out on the ledge and walk hopefully to the corresponding window and then climb back in.

We stand in room 502 knowing that we need to get to 534 and listen to insane people talk about how easy and sort of fun it is to go by way of the ledge. They seem to think we are nuts for thinking it absurd to go about in this manner. They have always gotten from room to room that way, they are fine. Only a few folks fall to their death, and some survive to come up and climb right back out on that ledge.

Sorry, but we think you are crazy. You have perfectly good hallways. Why would you want to risk the fall, the chance that you might not be at the right window, so many other pit falls of taking the window ledge instead of the hallway.

But because we live in a society that refuses to take the hallway from room to room, we seem to have a no-window-ledge rule. Because what do you say when someone starts climbing out on the ledge and looks back at you and says, "Are you coming?"

"No, what are you, nuts? We don't use the ledge."

"Oh, you have a window ledge rule don't you?"

"Well I didn't before today, didn't know I needed one."

That is how we feel about dating. We don't really need a no-dating rule because quite frankly it is as ridiculous as getting from room to room via a window ledge. It doesn't assure you that you will actually get to the room you are seeking and on top of that it is plum dangerous and unnecessary to boot. It is just that nearly everyone in our society climbs out the window and goes along the window ledge.

We firmly believe and it has been proven that God will bring along your spouse when and where you need them. It will be evident, not necessarily just to the couple involved, but to their immediate community. It will be confirmed and known to those who need to know.

If God cares about the hairs on my head, the job I hold, the house I live in, the vacation I take, why would he not care about the second most important relationship, topped only by my relationship to Him? And care enough to bring the person that I need, and needs me, into my life at the appropriate time?

I do not need to entertain myself until then, get to know the opposite sex, and play around with falling off the ledge. This is baggage that gets in the way of the eventual relationship He will bring to me, and is the makings of footholds in my life that allows Satan to climb all over me.

And that is just the stuff that is bad for me personally. Dating also allows for me to defraud others. The people I date, when they think I care more about them than I do, they are defrauded. I can't possible be honest with how little I do care or they would break it off and I would not be able to gain the personal pleasure that I get from having someone to do things with. Having to do things alone or with your brother or your mom or dad, is a pitiful drag and down right embarrassing why would I be honest and make myself have to get through day to day life in that embarassing uncomfortable manner?

I also defraud their family and mine. They become close to me and my family to them, only to loose when we say it didn't work out. They are left with an unusable Christmas gift in the closet when we timely break up in November so that we don't have to do that uncomfortable Christmas, but we aren't really that into one another, thing. They are left with emotions that have no place to go now, or they continue to get together with my ex because for some reason they seem to like them better than me and they waited so long for a brother or a sister and now it looks like they will have to wait even longer and won't that be weird when I finally do get hitched what will they do with my old ex that they still like?

Not to mention the constant danger of slipping off the ledge and plummeting to the death of our purity. Physically and emotionally as well. And it is not enough just to "avoid" actually falling. We believe that to constantly tell yourself you cannot do a certain something, but enjoying getting up to certain edges only to exasperatingly back off before it is too late, is as dangerous to future intimacy as actually doing what you are not supposed to until you have committed yourself before your God and community.

So no, we don't have rules against dating any more than we have rules of walking on the fifth story window ledge.

More later. As always. Please pelt us with comments and questions, it spurs us on.