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



Saturday, January 31, 2009

Inspired to Share a Memory

So Saturday, I spoke of how Mildred inspires me, she does so with nearly every post, I try desperately not to be inspired by her lovey tea, coffee, chocolate and lemonade sets, lest Dear Dirt, just a poor school teacher and sheep shearer, be driven further into poverty by his wayward wife and her tucked away plastic.


So because of Mildred, and Empress Bee, who is always gallivanting off to sea, wearing a tiara, to eat cake, luscious delightful cakes and when she is on land is always speaking of making these clearly southern creations of hers, and because I live with Cake Girl, I was inspired to build a cake Friday. If you're hungry and you missed it, scroll on down and have a slice, there is a little left I am sure.



Another inspiring person I read is LindaSue, (you are all inspiring really, otherwise I would not be reading, and I hope to get to you all). She is in the middle of kidding season, not to be confused with comedy month. A while back she told of going to rescue a neighbor's_goat that got it's head stuck and the rest of the herd was bashing the poor thing.

Then in another post about kidding she and Kathy were discussing how goats and sheep have little sub-herds within the larger herd and so now she has inspired me to tell you a story of when Dirt and I were starting out in the sheep life. Pull up a cushy chair 'cause this is another of Lanny's Longies.


As most of you know, Dirt and I rent our farm from the late Dr. Dale Tibbits DVM and his lovely widow Norine. Twenty-two years ago, after we had been here a year Dale brought his sheep from another farm out to this farm to eat for the summer. The flock stayed into late fall, mid-December, and one actually lambed here, a very early, but not unheard of, start to lambing.




Dirt found the momma and lamb off by themselves, we scooped them up and brought them into the barn until Dale and his farm manager could come and pick up the rest of the herd before they lambed under the inexperienced eye of his crazy renters (us). How inexperienced were we?

Even though I had been raised by a farmer boy and a farmer girl, the farmer boy went on to be a suburban businessman because farmer girl never wanted to be on a piece of land that even remotely looked like a farm ever again. So my farming knowledge came from having been farmed out to cousins in the summer and listening to hours and hours and hours of farming stories, lore and advice all my growing up years from my father. And the gazillion books I read. That was all the experience I had, but it was enough to know that Dirt had next to zero.

I had already introduced him to gardening and learn that he knew that plants went into the ground and that was pretty much the extent of his garden knowledge. But he was especially deficient in the lamb department, because when he saw the lamb he freaked out because it had a tail! I stood in disbelief because even though I had never been around my cousin's sheep farm during lambing season I knew they had tails that needed to be taken off. Besides, had he never recited Little Bo Peep?

The flock, ewes and the ram, came back early the next summer so that the lambs could stay at the other farm and be weaned. While the flock was here, Dale asked if we wanted to see them through the next lambing season and he would split the lamb crop with us. "Cool" was our less than mature answer, we thought Dale made that offer because he saw what great farmers we were.



Lambing season went really well (the last year that happened) and late winter passed onto early spring in a "happy go lucky, laid back, life on the farm", John Denverish sorta way. Everything about "farming" went well for Dirt and I that year. My garden had been huge and profitable, nearly every meal clear into early spring came from the garden, the root cellar and the cow that we had butchered. And now with lambing season having gone so well, we looked forward to the lamb that would be on the table next winter.

One day Dale's farm manager shows up on his way back from the auction, and in the trailer he has a young sheep, a Cheviot type. He explained to me and attentive little Stephanie, that the previous fall the lambs that had been kept over at the other farm for weaning were then ready to be slaughtered but mixed in with the lambs for slaughter was the farm renter's pet lamb. On slaughter day the slaughter guys arrived before he or Dale could get there and of course the first lamb to be dispatched was the friendly little guy who immediately came up to the fence when people showed up.

The renter's wife was very sad, and a little mad, so Dale and his farm manager, Bruce, promised to replace it. So here they were with the replacement. Which I found rather humorous because it was clearly no one's pet and wanted nothing to do with people and it was here at this farm instead of the other farm where the renter who lost the "pet" lived. But that was how things were done in my life from then on out.

I was happy to have her, she was very pretty and very different from the rest of the flock, however the flock did not agree with me. Yes, they could tell she was different but they were not happy to have her. She was all white, clean white face with stick up ears, they, being all Suffolk, were white fleeced with wool-less back faces and legs, and their enormous black ears droop slightly to the sides of their heads, very different sheep indeed. You might say like day and night. And they knew it!

For weeks she was not allowed in the barn by the other sheep. When they were all outside she was many yards from any of them at anytime. I felt very bad for her and gave her extra treats, but as she was not very trusting of humans sometimes she didn't always get her treat, because our big moosey tame Suffolk were always there to get it before she did.



One morning we were having some nasty spring weather, I sloshed out to the barn to do chores and I was glad to see that she got up the gumption to go inside the barn with the other sheep. Poor thing was against the wall on one side of the barn while all the other girls were lined up at the wall feeder on the other side. I felt bad for her but at least she was in out of the weather.


After lunch I went out to check on everyone and see what was going on. I didn't see my new little friend anywhere in the barn. She must have gotten tired of being a wall flower and went outside, the weather had cleared so she would be okay. I went to lean over the half door to grab the water bucket and it wasn't there. What the heck had those silly sheep done with the bucket? They were all staring at me in a rather sheepish manner.


"Girls, where is your bucket?" I said as I hopped over the door. Once I was in the barn I could see that the bucket was under the feeder. "For crying out loud, I was coming out to give you more water, there was no reason to throw a fit," I exclaimed to them as I tried to tug the bucket out from under the feeder.

I had to get down on my knees and reef on the bucket to get it out, "What the heck?" I griped while tugging and tugging.

Once I got the bucket out I could see there was something else behind the bucket way under the floor of the feeder. I reached and grabbed onto it and pulled out my sweet little friend.


They had bashed her to death, and then stuffed her under the feeder hiding the evidence with the water bucket. The evidence was clear, the bucket was still retaining it's new oval shape. Unbelievable, murderous sheep. Just because she was different. Not of their herd.

I was sobbing by the time I got her out from under the feeder and shaking by the time I got her out of the barn. I had yelled and screamed hateful things at my other dear sheep, now that I knew what they were capable of, shewing them out of the barn and locking the out into the pasture.


I was racked with sobs as I headed to the house to call my husband. His friend and colleague, Jim, answered the school phone.


"Jim, is Phil there?"


"Yes, but what is wrong?" Clearly Jim could hear the distress in my voice.


"Oh, it is horrible, one of our sheep is dead, the other sheep killed her."


"That's too bad, but are you sure she is dead?"


"Yes, I am sure."


"Did you try Sheep P R?" he says completely even toned.


On any other day, if it was someone else, that quick witted Jim was pulling this on, I would think it to be rather funny, but not today and not to me.

"Uh, Jim, could you just get Phil please?" I say in a sad voice, not a hint of laughter.


"Sure."


Phil got on the phone to hear the bad news and he said to just put her in the wheelbarrow and that he would take care of her when he got home.

"What are you going to do?" I asked.


"I'll just take it out onto Weyerhauser land and set a trap for the coyotes."


"You can't do that. You can't let her be torn to bits by those coyotes."

Long pause on the other end by the sensible husband talking to the irrational, momentarily overly sensitive wife.


"I'll just bury her" I say. I thanked him for talking to me and being willing to help but that I would just take care of it.


So back outside I went. I hoicked the body into the wheelbarrow and took a break while I surveyed the areas where I could bury her.


All around the house and in most of the pasture the soil is nearly rock-less, so that wasn't really a factor in my decision but I didn't really want to go too far as the baby and little Steph were in taking naps. I thought of how the Indians planted fish under the corn for a better crop so I figure I would put her in my garden where I was going to plant tomatoes.


I got the shovel and began to dig. I took a break to go get my inhaler and continued. I had a beautiful grave dug for her. Sides were straight up and down it was nearly chest deep, okay it wasn't six feet down but this wasn't a county grave site and she wasn't a human. So I hopped out and took another puff on my inhaler as I went to get the wheelbarrow, aka hearse, with the poor deceased sheep in it.


I wheeled her right up to the edge and though it didn't seem very dignified I figured my best bet for getting her into the hole was to just up end the wheelbarrow and let her slide on in. Besides it was better than what Dirt was going to do to her.


So I grabbed the handles of the wheelbarrow and up they went, but contrary to expectations she did not slide right in. I did not account for rigor mortis having set in and her molding to the wheelbarrow. I tried to shake her out but all that happened was that I lost hold of the wheel barrow and the whole works went into my beautiful grave.


Oh this was not good. All that was sticking up were the handles of the wheelbarrow. Straight up. I stood and stared at it for quite a while. Then I resolutely turned toward the house.


I walked back to the house, grabbed the phone, dialed the number for Dirt. Again Jim answered, but I spoke so firmly and my voice was strong enough that Jim just answered with, "I'll get him, hang on."


When Dirt came on the phone I explained that I had dug a beautiful grave in my tomato garden. He agreed that it was as good a place as any and it might do the plants some good.


I explained to him what had happened when I attempted to dump her body in. He inquired as to what I wanted him to do about it.


"I wanted to know if we could use the handles of the wheelbarrow for tomato stakes?"


To which he busted out laughing and told me no, that he had just bought that wheelbarrow and no, tomato stakes should not cost fifty bucks. I told him I thought he was being very narrow minded and unfair. He told me to get the wheelbarrow out of the hole.


So I did. But first I took another puff off of my inhaler.


That garden saw many grave stones in the next year. Then we had to branch out. There have been a lot of deaths here at the farm, there have been many sorrows, tears, anger and a little callousness has set in also, reality eventually dawns on even the idealistic. Many deaths have come after hours of work, like floating cold lambs in the bathtub till your arms feel like they are going to fall off, only to have them never make it.

One time my husband and some of his work friends and their wives rented my sister's house on Cannon Beach, at the last minute I didn't join them and my girls because my favorite Nubian goat was so pregnant with triplets that her back legs went out and she couldn't move. Even though I was fairly pregnant myself I would hold up her back legs and take her for "walks." That however, was one of the successes of our idealistic crazy work. She lived for many more years and her triplets all survived too.

As another blogger Cliff, a real farmer says, This Farming Game Is Not For Sissys. And there have been plenty of times that I have come to the clear conclusion that I am the chief of sissys. But then there are times when I am Eldon Barker's daughter and I buck up and put my shoulder to the grindstone. Once in a while I even come out with a funny story. Thanks Linda for inspiring me to share this one rather humorous story.

Cake!!



Dear
Mildred is very inspiring to me, I made her Hummingbird_cake yesterday for gathering (at Rick and Pat's).

This is before it traveled twenty miles in a big F350 Diesel Dually (I'm sure Dirt will edit my manner of describing his truck so hang in there men, the girly pronouncement will be dealt with soon) hauling a trailer. It was not easy and quickly we noticed that even though I was holding it in my lap there was some slippage occurring because of the jiggle factor.



So then I held it up off my lap and became a giant shock absorber for the next nineteen miles. We attracted the attention of a Pierce County Transit driver. He made us roll down our window so we could talk cake. Apparently
Bee, everyone loves cake!



So it made it to gathering with just a little blooping out the bottom layers. Before I put the layers together I really did attempt some leveling by trimming from the tops of the layers. But I must admit I didn't do too much so I did try to cheat with icing as a leveler (works okay with mud and tile not so great with cake and cream cheese icing) so the "extra" filling jiggled its way to the sides.



In spite of its less than grand looks it got rave reviews, even the nut hater, Rick, had two pieces!

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Comic Interlude

The girls and I went to a movie this afternoon.

A rare occurrence indeed for us.

It was a good laugh, right off at the start. It dwindled a little towards the end. (I think they forgot that they were making a comedy)

What movie?, "New In Town."

Got a few extra bucks? Go see it and have a good chuckle. I was snorting into the hood of my jacket with in the first moments of the movie.

But I must say Harry Conick Junior is not holding up too well.

Well, Dear Reader, I'm catching up to the part in my audio book, The Mill on the Floss, by George Elliot, where I left off last, so I'm going to go without much ado. Just wanted to pop on and tell you to go have a good chuckle.

A good chuckle and no skin. How nice well worth a few bucks.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Continuing What I Started

So back to Ethel's assignment for me. As said before this will not make sense if you do not read the two prior posts first so scroll down if you please to "I've Been Tagged."

So where was I.


1. Wild Weather
2. Wild West
3. Witness

And as per suggestion from Lisa, Wisdom, I could not possibly pass that one up. Wisdom from God has served me well, I only wish that I had more. I love the Wisdom of God, pure and clear.


4. Wisdom from God.

Meli, sorry but I cannot love walnuts, I certainly appreciate them and in a few things they are very good. Dirt cannot have chocolate chip cookies unless I make them with lots of walnuts barely broken. Unfortunately sometimes due to a chemical reaction with other food, walnuts absolutely shred the inside of my mouth. I lean more to pecans as my all time favorite nut but that would be a "p" not a "w."

And water, have you seen my pumpkin patch? It is often under water. Yeah, no doubt water is groovy and we need water, after all that is what we are mostly eh? But around here we have beavers so water becomes an issue. Admittedly not as bad as the folks that loose houses and cars from flooding, but certainly enough to keep it off the love list. Lets call Lanny and Water pals shall we.

Now there is a type of water that I cannot live without but it starts with an "L." There it is, the "L" again, should have had "L" so that I could put Living Water on the list.

Oh Lisa, that reminds me, yeah, for the most part waves are groovy and hopefully I will be jumping in some this summer, maybe June. But there have been times in my life when I have disliked waves so I couldn't put them on my list. One was when all I wanted to do was go fishing with my dad. Big fish fishing. Out in the Ocean. For those of you who have done such things you will understand or be terribly confused.

On my first ocean fishing trip, as we went over the bar (the place where the harbor water meets the ocean water and no matter what it is always rough) I was thrilled! My brother informed me that this was where people lost it. Uh, really, cause I loved it. Hit me, beat me, tear me apart, I love to go crazy wild places, the adrenaline surges and all is forgotten.

Unfortunately we had a beautiful day on the water after that, nearly glass smooth. The boat just gentle rocked back and forth, back and forth with the little gentle waves of water. My belt buckle saved me from flipping into the water while retching my guts out. I believe I lost three toes out through my guts. I hate to throw up. Hate it.

Dirt and others in my life will say ridiculous things to me when I am sick like, "throw up, you'll feel better." That is insanity! Who can feel better when you are blowing chunks from your nose for the next week? And I am convinced that it comes out my eyes. (Lachrymal ducts). So anything that has caused me to throw up cannot go on my "I love" list. Well, except for Dirt getting me pregnant and the girls rolling around inside me like a reverse row boat ride.


So where are we. The count is four. Oh and Melli has suggested whipped cream. Heck yah, I have no fault what so ever, except that I will change it to Whipping Cream, heavy style, that way I can use it for more things like: homemade ice cream, (the girls and I love to make homemade ice cream); cream sauces which are almost, na they are as good as anything with whip; homemade butter, which I don't usually make but I would if I ran out; and the base for a good cream soup or chowder. Like the clam chowder we had last night with our good friends.


So now the count is up to five! Half way there!


1. Wild Weather
2. Wild West
3. Witness
4. Wisdom from God
5. Whipping Cream
6.Woods

Definitely that one fits. It feels good. I'm reaching... and finding nothing that would keep me from saying "I love woods." Mossy green, ferny, dark and cool woods. Woods of my childhood where I played carefree, or curled up with one of my favorite books. Woods of adulthood, here at the farm. Yeah, its in.

7. Wellness, just came from the doc and I gotta say I love wellness. I love being well. Okay, so something is making my toes numb but I just checked my lab returns on the net and my thyroid is great, my blood pressure was one hundred four over seventy-three today. No signs of diabetes (those labs were done a while back). When I was getting ready this morning I sneezed , hang on Ditto, five times in a row, but I used my Netti pot and all is well with my nose tonight. So I can't wait to see what the neurologist (got a referral today) will have to say.

8. Weakness. I need my weakness. I am weak in myself but in Christ I am strong. "out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens." Hebrews 11:34 I love the things that show my weakness, when I must admit my weakness for then all I have is Christ. And then I have everything. (Paul says it better, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

9. Wonder, I love wonder. It is amazing that there is now more wonder in my life than when I was a child. I know we all like to like children and we love to think that childhood is the ultimate pinnacle of life. But it is not. Wonder fills my heart each day and it is a phenomenon that it does because as an adult I am supposed to know a lot of how all this works, I'm supposed to understand how the moon comes up at night and the sun goes down and how the stars hang in the sky. But for all the understanding I have I really only have wonder. For all the uncovered mysteries only produce multitudes more mystery and wonder.

Exodus 15:11 "Who among the gods is like you, O LORD ? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?

Job 5:9 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.


10. Worship. Real full body worship. Working as if unto the Lord, reading as if unto the Lord, hugging a child as unto the Lord, comforting the sick as unto the Lord, singing in my yard like the sparrow if she were me and singing as unto the Lord.

Full body worship, bearing a burden not only in my heart but in my body for those who hurt and are in pain, bearing a burden and praying all night for healing and restoration or a baby or a marriage.

Full body worship, dancing in my seat because I hear a song that sings what is deep in my heart.

Hey Thanks

(This will only make sense if you scroll down and read the ''next" post first, which really is the first post, you know the drill)

Linda Sue and Lisa have made me think I shoulda had L for a letter! Thank ladies.

Linda Sue you read me like an open book. You gotta know I love Witness. I dislike the idea of a private relationship with God, we can only do "this thing" from the inside of the Body of Christ, which is us, and "us" is not one person and God, all alone.

I am strengthened beyond measure by Jesus Christ and he uses his Body to strengthen me! Through pray and recitation of the word of course but, praise God alleluia, big time through witness. We do have an enormous cloud of witness. And I am thankful for everyone, past and present, far away and local.


Lisa my dear, I will tackle yours when I get back from the doctor. Gotta go start the process of testing now that they know my symptoms_are_real. Yes, I know it has been quite a while since doing the "symptoms, are they real or imagined? test" timing is not my forte.

Thanks again. (I'm thinking wonder might work too, we'll see and "enormous" does not have enough letters in it for being enormous.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I've Been Tagged

And I seem to remember that I was tagged a long time ago about something and I forgot to get to it so even though several days have past I will attend to this one. Just warning you, Dear Reader, I was never good at assignments.



Oh maybe for one or two, here and there when I was going to turn over a new leaf, but it never lasted long. I did them, but it was never a pretty process, never tidy, never a good attitude, much flopping and flipping like a goldfish on the floor. They were always too hard or too easy. What I wanted to do but need more time or what I didn't want to do and was wasting my time.



You might surmise that when it comes to assignments my name is Mary. Mary Contrary. Even if I were to make the assignment I would find fault with it, probably larger fault than an assignment by anyone else.



Ethel did this to me but I am not going to send you there as she is taking a retreat for a while and I do not want to be anywhere near any supposed pressure for her to surface from her time off too soon. So I will send you there for some other reason when she is up and at 'em Atom Ant again.



And I must say that now with what you know, Dear Reader, giving me an assignment like this is not what I would consider loving or even polite. I excuse Ethel because dear that she is, she had no idea. And of course I know I could easily have blown her off, either by "forgetting" like I did the last time or by going ridiculously over the top like I did once before when tagged.



I guess what I am saying is, now that you know this about me Dear Reader, you cannot in good conscience tag me for an assigned writing endeavor. don't you think that would be pushing our friendship just a little if you did that now that you know what shear torture it is for me? I thought you would see it my way.



So what was I tagged with? Well as much as I can surmise it is to list ten things. Ten things apparently that "I love". (I wonder if it could be admire or appreciate or if it has to be love.) It appears that we are stuck with the letter "W." (and is it Love love or more like like love?) I'm thinking I cannot even come up with ten things that start with the letter "W".



Well I could start off with my state, Washington, but with my recent noticeable tirade about moving to a place with weather like most of you are having and hate, would any of you swallow that one?



As far as that other Washington, well right now you know I think the majority of its inhabitants smell worse than Limburger cheese so you would schmerck at the drippy sentimentality of that wouldn't you?



You also know by now Dirt's real name so I cannot pretend his name really is Wilford Brimley and that he eats oatmeal.



And even though my favorite saying from my father is: "If a job is once begun, never leave it till it's done, be the labor great or small do it well or not at all, " to which I added for my children: " Whether you do all or part, do it with a happy heart," all that added to the idea that Dirt and I do not look at work as drudgery I certainly cannot say that I love to work or do the wash. whether it is washing dishes and having a clean kitchen or doing laundry in my Wash House and having beautiful folded piles of tantalizing colors, fresh and bright.



What's left, I can't think of anymore W's? Women, there is a w for sure but what would you think of me if I said that, I can hear at least one Dear Reader, who never identifies himself by commenting, who would be rolling out of his chair with guffaws at the jokes he would then get to tell. Ya, I'm not giving him that ammo even though I really do appreciate women, womanhood and enjoy having been a woman all these years.



Ooh this is not going well at all I have come up with five, or six if you divide work and wash, of w's I cannot use and have yet to come up with one that I can put on the "I love" list.



Weasels, (thought of them just now as I was debating if I should weasel out of this, I could come down with a horrid disease and not be able to continue) who in their right mind would like weasels? Even pretend weasels are not usually a lovely thing now are they? Unless of course some one were to give me a coat made of weasel killed in the winter, now I could love that but then it wouldn't really be a "w" thing because no one calls them weasels then, then they are called ermine and we forget what they are really like, egg sucking evil things. So no, ermine or weasel will not work here either.



I'm feeling a little goldfishy here. I didn't mean to. I surely meant to take this like a woman. Just roll up my sleeves and do it, but heck I can't even say I like weather because once again you, Dear Reader, would call fowl on my declaration of love for weather. You know that that would have to be qualified as "remarkable" weather not just weather. That would be like saying I like children when really I only like remarkable children so I can not say I like children when most of them are like small dogs, annoying unless they have a personality or clever trick. So no, I could only say I like weather if it is wild.



Ah Eureka! Wild Weather. I love Wild Weather! Which is not to say I like everything wild because I just explained that I do not when I told you I do not like wild weasels that suck out eggs and kill chickens



But along with Wild Weather I love the Wild West! It was such a time of history, such a remarkable time and yet so short. I wish in someways we still lived by Wild West rules, in wild west buildings with bare wood floors and tall ceilings and rode horses that are tied to the hitching rail out front.

Rough and dangerous for sure, heartbreaking and crushing but alive. Not mambee pambee effeminate man hating modern west, with men wearing pink shirts and special socks with sandals and calling it hip and cool. A place where men could respect a chick like Annie Oakley but not every chick had to be an Annie to be respected. Where real men punched other men for speaking carelessly in front of a woman.

So yes, I do believe that unequivocally I love the Wild West. I would gladly throw myself in a time machine dialed for eighteen-eighty-four, anywhere in the west, maybe all over the west on my palomino with my buckskin trailing behind. Or maybe I would dial it back a little farther so I would not run the risk of being in caught in the effeminating modern west.


So where am I?:

1. Wild Weather

2. Wild West

3.

Bother I am stuck again. I just now thought of windows. To love windows. Well it is nice to be able to see outside but not necessarily be outside. But then if you love windows one would also then have to love the care of said windows. And I don't. So windows is not in concideration.

Will I have to get out the dictionary? I can't even think of "w" words let alone things that could be loveable and "w".

I'm not anti morning but I only occasionally embrace morning so "I love waking up" would not work.

Vikings are in my heads only pronounced like Dirt's grandma Alma would pronounce it Wiking. does that count? Let me know if that is cheating cause I will use it otherwise.

I could say Wisconsin or Wyoming but I've really never been to either state before and just because I love the idea of the state from descriptions and story books, I think to say I love the state would be, well, wrong.

Sacajawea this is hard.

I gotta go to sleep, I have a Dr. appt in the stinking morning, wakey wakey. But I need a post for today/yesterday so I am going to post this and get back to you on the next eight things of "W"ness that I can honestly say I love. Hey Ethel, I hope that break is doing good for you.

Dear Reader, until we speak again, right next to time spent with God all day (not just in the morning), have fun all day.

Monday, January 26, 2009

What an Incredible Day

What an incredible day, is right! Praise be to God from the top of my lungs.

Okay, so even though I had to delay my cocoa with the girls, we had a very good lunch, hand made burritos with cocoa. Real cocoa. Real cocoa with whip cream in our snowman mugs at the dining room window looking out at the birds and the snow. Great lunch.

When we went outside to go to town this pretty little things was singing the sweetest song. Look at that sky, so blue and clear. An amazing start to a great day in town.

We checked out a new shopping center, I introduced the girls to Mary at McConkey's Nursery Supply where Anna scored big on the "take it for free" shelves. (and Mary's candy bowl)
And then home to an easy but satisfying real dinner made by Bet while I immediately fixed my ninety percent off (fake) bouquets, out with the pine boughs in with some white carnations and now they are perfect for February. Oh, and I modeled my seventy-five percent off leather dress gloves for Dirt.
After dinner we were laughing at Janie and saying how she looks like a little piglet like Toot and Puddle, so Bet went up and got her book Toot and Puddle, by Hollie Hobbie and read to us while Dirt ate his banana split. You're never to old for a read aloud from a good picture book.


Who would guess that I feel very close to the emotions Paul spoke of when he said, "that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life."

Burdened by the things of this world that taunt and pull at all of us, the very things that drag some of us down. Burdened for those who's struggle runs deep, who are entangled beyond sight.

Burdened by the things of this world that are the fire that Jude spoke of when he wrote: "And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh."

In between that hard spot of compassion, heart aching compassion and tenderness for some and the urgency, gut wrenching, adrenaline surging reaching for and hope of pulling others from out of the fire. The hopeless fire of the pride and desires of this world that scorch and burn the core of the very people you love, the very people that only God could knit into your heart so tight that you can't breathe when they hurt. Tirelessly expressing hate for the defilement caused by the flesh, sometimes spoken in harsh words, sometimes spoken in silence. Feeling overwhelmed by the fight. Yet being buoyed by the knowledge that:

"Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many. "


Being buoyed by the prayers of the faithful, who pray whether they know the situation that their brethren are slogging through or are just burdened through the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Lifted up. Lifted up out of the quagmire and "despair for life" by the very thing from Christ, His Body. The members of His Body in prayer for one another.

Comforted by the sweet mercies that God brings. His cool soothing breath that He breathes on my heavy laden heart. Sweet mercies that are echoed and appear in days like today and days like tomorrow. Mercies that I cling to, Sweet Breath that I breathe in, breathe in again, breathe in deeply. Mercy and comfort to my weary soul, tired but not spent because of Him and Him alone. Comfort even in the face of endless escalating battles. That I might echo Paul:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation. "

Oh Lord God, that sweet sparrow songs could come from my throat, burned and aching from the scorching battle. Oh Lord God, you make it so, you make me sing the sweet song in the morning. You wake me gently to clear skies and songs of mercy and love. You wake me from deep and restful slumber, taken in Your arms alone,

You hold me up when I can no longer stand. You dance me on my feet, You give me strength to hear and catch the beat and cadence of Your doing, You set me gently on the branches above the raging muddy flood waters of pride and lust and put Your clear water before my beak, that I may drink and sing to You my Dear Lord.

I look forward to the comfort of tomorrow and I pray that I may in turn deliver comfort to one who needs it. My hands are scorched but my Lord has brought soothing balms, He has tenderly applied the balm as I have wept and told Him of my deep sorrow. It is His song and breath that sang me to sleep and rest that I found strength and resolve to continue when He calls.

Today's verses (in purple) are primarily from Second Corinthians Chapter One . A dear sweet messenger delivered God's words to Dirt and I last week that we should drink them in and share them out.

Sorry, Noonish Isn't Going to Work For Me After All

Hey, Cocoa breakfast turned to Cocoa lunch because of farm chores, and now I must dash off to my nursery supplier down in the big valley thirty or so miles from here. I will return with more stories than I can tell.

Dear Reader, may we keep our spirits sweet and gentle but honest, true and bold.

See you this evening Dear Ones. You're better than the tube by far!!!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Snow, Snow, Snow, Snow

Okay not really that much but enough to brighten the heck outa my spirits.

Looking forward to cocoa tomorrow instead of coffee.

Chose coffee this morning because Dirt was heading us into town. (Which by the way did not have snow, a few errant flakes but not like what we had, that is unusual)

Coffee can be grabbed and go, or drank while getting ready and picking things up.

Cocoa not so soa (feeble attempt at rhyme, it worked in my head) but you get it right? You must sit with cocoa, unless of course it is in a thermos and your drinking it while doing winter sports, ice skating, sledding, skiing.

Tomorrow morning Bet and I have a cocoa date, we'll let Anna come too but she isn't going to make us drink her powdered inferior stuff (although she prefers it, like macaroni out of a box).

I am going to have melted chocolate.

See you shortly after that with pics and a recount of Lady Amber and her antics in the snow last night with the blind lady "looking" for her.

Tomorrow noonish then?

Till then Dear Reader I am meditating on: 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 "But even if our gospel is veiled it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine upon them."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Did I Have Oatmeal In My Mouth? But Before You Answer That, Call the Police, I've Been Robbed!

Okay, that was a long title. But this is a really long post, so it should have a long odd title.

Dear Reader, please do not feel obligated to read it or even finish the whole thing once you start. I do not hold that you must belong to the clean plate club around here, I would be sad indeed if I knew I caused indigestion. I only desire that you have fun (well that and grow in Christ and tell me when I am not). So if you have somewhere else to go, something fun to do, go do it, this is no place for you to be today.




I was robbed this afternoon. I'm sure it would barely make it as a misdemenor but it is upsetting none the less.

It was no burglery either, this woman, young woman, walked boldly into my house today and ripped me off. The item was only worth twenty-five bucks but the feeling of helplessness that overcame me was awful. I have never felt anything like it.

Not to mention she chatted with me as if it was no big deal. The boldness these days.

I was going to sell Christmas Kitty's brother in the next week or two and instead this woman just came and took him. And if she thinks that bringing me some fluffy coffee-esque drink from her place of business and a pound of coffee beans makes up for the theft she has got another thing coming. I get those from her anyway, almost once a month, for nothing. And now somehow she thinks waltzing in here with a coffee in her hand entitles her to waltzing out with my product!

I'm telling you, children, even grown ones have no respect these days. And her sister, Anna, so willing to aid and abet. What is this world coming too?

And on top of that she probably won't name him what he is supposed to be named. It will be another "Questie" aka "I Have A Question" debaucle but at least Mr. Woolsey's people paid for him, paid for the right to ignore my better naming skills. But this chick, an ex Vick Chick, just hauled "Seven Dirtson" outa here with a snicker about his name.


Come on folks, who of you can deny that that is clearly a seven on his chest and that he is sporting a goatee thingy that looks just like Dirt's. On top of that, those close to Dirt know all about his freaky attachment to the number seven, the number of completeness. This is a complete cat! And she just took it. I'm not so sure she even said thank you. I know her husband won't. (I'm thinking he is saying something entirely different tonight actually, poor guy.)

You know, now that I think about it, I'll bet I coulda gotten way more for him. Mildred, how much do you think they got for Heartkun? I bet he didn't go for no stinking twenty-five bucks and how hard is it to find heart-shaped stuff, Sharilyn, at It's A Heart Rock Life, finds heart shaped stuff all over the place. She has a zillion things heart-shaped. Anybody out there got a blog about finding seven-shaped stuff? I don't think so.

And wouldn't that be cool, stuff shaped like the number for completeness. You could go freaky with all the hidden meaning of that, so clearly the fact that no one has a blog about seven-shaped stuff indicates that there are not any random not-really-sevens-seven-shaped items out there and therefore my cat that was stolen from my house today is highly valuable. I'm thinking grand theft valuable.

Add on to that that he has an uncanny resemblance to the master of the house he was born in, who has an eccentric fondness for seven, the number of completeness and you've got a million dollar cat theft performed today. (Or is that "who" supposed to be a "whom"? I always have problems with that problem, I think it should be "whom" 'cuz it refers not to the subject but it just sounds weird. Help me out Kathy, you are good at that "who" "whom" stuff)

Oh well, I suppose because I cheerfully waved good-bye to her and handed her the shots for the cat she has at home, it would be hard to pin this grand theft on my second oldest daughter, Michelle, I suppose it really wouldn't make sense and no one would understand me. Kind of like when I wrote my last post. I musta had oatmeal in my mouth cause somebody did not understand me.




No, Wingmaster, I will not be drinking any of Dirt's Appletini disguised as wine while thinking of politics. Clearly even having had it in the home and perhaps previously drinking it (I reserve the right to retain deniablity) has caused me to be terrible at getting my point across.

Daisy, I appreciate your encouragement and support but clearly I am not a very good writer even though you are so kind to tell me that sometimes.

Because in my post on Thursday I could have sworn that I did not make any reference to my being fearful.

I could have sworn I did not say that I hated anyone, including anyone in the current President's political party, of which I am a registered member and have, up until this year, voted as such (or for some third party party) in Presidential elections since I was eighteen.

I could have sworn that I never denied the Soveriegnty of God, in this or any other post, and in fact stated something to the effect that I was glad I knew Him because He never changes and my salvation rests with Him, in Jesus, not my government no matter who is at the helm.

I could have sworn that I explicitly said that I was not talking about policies like: two wars, the economy, the creation of gitmo, Americans torturing prisoners, illegal phone tapping of Americans, the lowering of taxes, increases in spending or abortion or the disregard of the rights of certain citizens.

I could have sworn that I said that by actually saying-writing: "I'm not at this point even really speaking of his policies, policies that include spending ridiculous amounts of money on programs shown to be corrupt and hindering at worst or ineffectual at best, or having us spend government funds for people choosing foolishness and the murder it takes to dispose of the resulting inconvenience. I'm speaking of something far more insidious. "

So I must have had oatmeal in my mouth or sumpin' because Don is really nice guy (an opinion based on reading his blog) who is in the eduction field, has cool chicks (baby chickens), and a georgeous barn and builds really nice picnic tables for his school's fundraisers.

So I guess I owe an apology to anyone else who misunderstood what I was saying. If anyone thought that I was saying that our nation is perfect just the way it is, I am sorry because I know it is not. But it has also done some amazing things in the past and the basic ideology that defines America is a darn good one and one that has helped her through her mistakes and has enabled corrections which are by no means complete.

And don't we all misunderstand one another most of the time?

Sometimes I become so frustrated at the misunderstandings that I come away with when I read something. If I would just slow down and take a good look at something I am sure that I would not misunderstand half of what I do. Like how I misunderstood, I'm sure, that I was being told that I have the power, little ol' me, to thwart all the good leadership President Obama could give us because I have a closed spirit. (What is a closed spirit? I think I do have one because it is hopefully soley under the ownership of the Triune God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so I guess that would be closed because I have no intention of selling it to anyone else.)

So clear over here, all the way across this huge great country of ours, I have the ability to make Obama a bad leader, because I have a closed spirit because I think, based on analysis of his own words and history, that he has some dangerous things up his sleeve. Now that is just a crazy idea so I really must have misunderstood that comment.

Because if Obama is a great leader, I cannot stop him. I would certainly not even want to. The idea is kinda funny because my closed spirit is the same spirit that leads me, nay commands me then leads me, to I pray that he is a good leader and that he will listen to the God he claims to follow, the very same God that my spirit is sold out to. So clearly I misunderstood that comment.

But thank goodness I just write on this here (well and two other) blog(s), and that I don't write anything important. It is a good thing that no one is forced to read my incoherant mush mouth writings, unless it is their funny bone forcing them to read it for my ridiculous ideas.

I usually don't write follow up on comments that bother me, but really all joking aside this one really touched me because it really made me feel misunderstood. But unfortunately I am a slow learner, very very very slow. So it will take me a few more outspoken posts that someone is going to misunderstand that I will feel I need to clarify, before I shut up about our country and just write sweet little posts about skinning moles.

Which isn't to say that people only mis-read what I say on these serious political-ish type posts. But I usually never feel the need to clarify when someone says cake when I wrote that I made a pie or calls my sheep chickens or wonders why my son Anna rides a quad.


If there is only one thing Dear Reader that I hope you know about me is that my hope lies with God and God alone. And that hope is very different from the hope that says "I hope the weather is nice tomorrow," or "I hope Obama is a good leader." Because I will stake my life on my hope in God but I will not stake my life on the weather or a leader, although I hope that if I feel it is God directed I would be willing to lay down my life for my country. Please understand that my political concern is not that I think that the beauty of my life depends on who is in office, locally, nationally or otherwise. Any beauty or comfort or assurance in my life comes from God.

Also Dear Reader, I wish to put to rest the idea that I am afraid. I am not fear-filled. My trust in God prevents me from being afraid. However, I can recognize a dangerous situation. (Some might call it discernement.) I can recognized that it is a little more dangerous for me to attempt to stand on the top rung of my sixteen foot ladder than it is for me to do so on my ten foot ladder. But I am not afraid of my ladder, (okay, my adrenaline surges when I look down but I'm not afraid.)

It is dangerous for my kids to walk on ice that is not tested, but I am not afraid of the frozen pond. It is dangerous for a leader to go unchecked and for nearly everyone to say no one can say anything critical of him, but I am not afraid of leaders or even afraid of those who are unwilling to be critical of a current leader but I can choose to not read their anti American rhetoric.

But I am not afraid. I trust God no matter how bad things look or actually become. I have nothing else.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Have I Ever Been Gone So Long Before?

I'm outta sorts, I have written so many posts in the last few days. But none have shown up here.

I have even tried, desperately tried, to write silly willy nilly posts about pruning, cats, (not pruning cats, pruning trees and watching cats), nutty dogs, hard jobs, good friends, bad scenes (the naked bottom of a trifle bowl), homemade pizza, frozen water, wild birds, new cake recipes, downloading books from the library and how they are "returned." I have a ton of things to tell you, to joke with you about and I even have a huge list of daily thoughts about God and exhortations for both you and I Dear Reader, to become better at following Him, hearing Him. But all those posts are drafts, or ended up stuck on my One Note.

Somehow in all those posts amid the joking about dogs and girls are snide comments about our new President. Many of them entirely juxtaposed and non sequitur. But un-deleatable. Yet un-Publish Post-able. So there lays my quagmire of no posts as of late.

If only I could get my hands on a glass of kool aid that is a flavor I like, I could drink deeply then, chug away at the mind numbing, moderate-education erasing fluid that millions upon millions of my country men have draught down into their gullets to course through their veins and block their brains from clear reasonable thinking on at least the level that we would expect from a junior high student.

"And yet, they were willing to put all they were and all they had on the line - their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor - for a set of ideals that continue to light the world. That we are equal. That our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness come not from our laws, but from our maker. And that a government of, by, and for the people can endure. It was these ideals that led us to declare independence, and craft our constitution, producing documents that were imperfect but had within them, like our nation itself, the capacity to be made more perfect." Barak Obama, from an inauguration week speech.

He says wonderful things such as this and our nation's mind goes numb, forgetting who is saying this or because of who is saying this, we look no further for hints of what the man holds as truth. I'm not at this point even really speaking of his policies, policies that include spending ridiculous amounts of money on programs shown to be corrupt and hindering at worst or ineffectual at best, or having us spend government funds for people choosing foolishness and the murder it takes to dispose of the resulting inconvenience. I'm speaking of something far more insidious.

In spite of what he has said in the above paragraph he goes on to say within the same speech:
"And yet while our problems may be new, what is required to overcome them is not. What is required is the same perseverance and idealism that those first patriots displayed. What is required is a new declaration of independence, not just in our nation, but in our own lives - from ideology and small thinking, prejudice and bigotry - an appeal not to our easy instincts but to our better angels."

Echoing from an October speech where Barak Obama said, “This is not a time for ideology; this is a time for common sense."

Hate to break it to his speech writers and him, that in America, common sense American style is ideology. He addresses it himself in most of his train speech where he waxes poetically about the perseverance and dedication that the first Americans had "for a set of ideals that continue to light the world." That, my Dear Reader, is ideology.

He brings it up in the pejorative and hopes that it can be slipped in because some where in the backs of our minds, ever so subtly, we remember the word "ideologues". And then we too will jump on the band wagon of being free from ideologies, and then he will slowly drop from his speech the "ideals that continue to light the world."

He begins to set up the opportunity to shame the citizenry for their holding onto ideas and aims that build their comprehensive vision, their way of thinking as a nation built on certain principles, that he may then, after all vestiges of American Revolutionary desires are stripped away, embed his ideologies, but they will not be as cohesive, they will be more like not having any ground under us at all. It will be destructive to the very core that we have come to know is America.

This is the same trick that Napoleon Bonaparte contrived when he turned the term ideologies onto those he call ideologues, oddly enough he used it against those in his days that were considered liberal, his opponents. To discredit and shame them into silence. Ideology, ideals are bad, so said Napoleon Bonaparte and so now says Barak Obama.

By calling for "freedom from ideology" in one speech and "declaration of independence, not just in our nation, but in our own lives - from ideology" in others, he is setting in our brains, should we care to allow him to serve up his kool aid, that we are not to hold fast to concepts that this country was built on. He is laying the road to shredding out of our minds the very things that make us American. He will redefine us in the future as a undefinable androgynous amorphous blob of collective human flesh at his disposal.

And he has already done so. I have no idea what this person's past integrity was like, I just recently added them to my reader list because I was looking for more farm blogs to read. But they are no longer on my list. I do not mind those who are hoping that the future will be made brighter by a new fresh face at the gate. I do not mind those who truly believe that the road to freedom is isolationism and thievery on either side of the isle, what I mind is a person plowing American soil with this thought in his or her head:

"We have waited for this moment in time when we can be so proud of our country. For many, it's our first experience of authentic patriotism. At last we are able to hold up our heads as Americans. We have spoken; democracy is indeed a reality." An unnamed blogger speaking of the inauguration of Barak Obama.

What a display of self-indulgent, short-sited, un-educated understanding of America. Clearly they have been drinking from the Cup-of-Michelle. Can't wait to see how Democracy works without freedom of speech.

I said last spring, perhaps not on this blog but in person, that this man is dangerous and I say he still is. Not for his policies that can easily be changed but for his shaming our country into giving up its profound, distinct and noble ideals that make up its ideology. He will do it not thorough anything we can fight by vote except in our own person, because he will do it through his sleep speech, speeches designed to leave our eyes open and our hands clapping all the while it puts our mighty brain to sleep. And yes, he is free to use speech but I hope that, unlike the blogger quoted above, we are not willing to succumb to his sleep speech.

As a Christian who happens to be American, I know that no one can strip away from me what is the ultimate in importance. That said, I can also see how unfortunate it is that we are willing to shame all the good that this country has meant for the last two-hundred years because we are about to get a cookie. I am ever so thankful that I know my God, because I'm not so sure I will recognize my country in eight years, and I am glad that my salvation does not rest in such a fragile thing as two-hundred years of Democracy

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow



This is yesterday's scenery, it is very peaceful and pleasant.




Very calm and very serene.




This is light fog compared to what we have had for the last few days, but I still needed to see a little sunshine yesterday. I needed something besides soft, quiet, damp, steely blue. So I went with Dirt on his Saturday shearing job. He promised me sunshine. He promised me foothills above the clouds with some wind.




Well I had fun chit chatting with Dirt all the way down through the big valley and up the other side but the fog was actually thicker up in the foot hills. And even though it was fairly chilly it was not cold enough to make the fog exciting, nothing more than more lovely soft, quiet, damp, thicker steely blue fog.


Here are Dirt's clients. All waiting patiently for him to come and de-fleece them.


The first little guy is not so thrilled with his missing locks.





But Dirt just keeps on shearing and shearing.



And one by one the bags were filled.



Until the pen is empty.



Today the sun came out. I celebrated by making a yummy Clementine Cake, with orange curd filling and whipped cream for icing. Unfortunately it was racked before it cooled enough so two of the layers stuck to the rack. But it all went into the trifle bowl and now the fog it really gone.


Tomorrow there are more promises of sun, (I'm more confident in these promises after today!) Dirt is home and I am well and going to prune trees!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

So I Gotta Move, Is That It?

What is with you people who live in places like North Texas, I thought that you were all warm all year 'round? What the heck you have twenty-one degree weather? If I moved my pond down there it would freeze and I could go skating! What the heck!

I really gotta think of why I live in the PNW and why I haven't moved a zillion years ago. This green thing is starting to choke me. I am usually pretty rational about the whole weather thing the rain stuff, always sticking up for my beautiful PNW and all the cool things I can grow. Well I'm ready to say, "forget the blasted azaleas, peony and iris, I'm outa here." I want snow and ice in the winter, and blast furnace dry, I mean dry, heat in the summer. Spring and fall can figure themselves out from there.

Oh, wait, Dirt, I forgot. The ol' boy never seems to give a lick about the rain. Oh, he makes a joke or two and when it is haying time and still raining he can get a little cranky, oooh watch out cat he might not pet you today he is so mad. But this winter thing, too much Viking, "I can go for months without any sunlight" blood in him. He barely notices.

The sun is his enemy. He had malignant melanoma once. Well twice really but once was a biggy, had margins cut twice. Yikes. That was a little scary with three little baby children. So unless we buy stock in Sunscreen America or I learn to make wool sombreros (Dirt, sheep, wool) I fear I am stuck in Soggyville for the rest of my days.

I am sure that there is just this incredibly huge really cool, book jacket reason that God has me living here.

Ummmmm........

Like learning contentment and giving up my ideas. Oooohhhh yea that's book jacket worthy. More like borderline looser that still doesn't get it. Be content already. Deal with it.

While I'm on the subject, I was wondering. What would my response be if God took away everything, absolutely stripped me of everything? No Dirt, no girls, no beautiful place to live, no walls to paint a new saturated color, no music, no animals. Nothing left. Nothing.



Could I still be in love with God? How long would it take for me to not be resentful, angry, scared and worried what was going to happen next.

Am I chasing after God, or the promises and things of God? I love God, why? Because of who He is? Or because of what He does? What He says is mine because I follow Him? Or do I just follow Him?

What if everything was stripped away in the most hideous ways imaginable? Who would I really be?

I cannot imagine myself without God. But I have had little in the way of trials and tests. God knows I am a weenie I guess, because he has not given me much hard stuff. You know, he only give what he knows we can handle. I obviously can't handle much. I would like to think that I would stand firm, cling naked and hungry, all alone to my God and never want for more than Him. I pray that that is true. I pray it is only God I seek.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Yikes

Quick, write something in ten minutes and then get in bed.

Uhhhh....

Oh I know, I gave the onions a haircut today. I know you've been wondering about them, so there you have it, an onion update. I do need to get a stronger grow bulb on them though they look too weak.

Put in my first seed order to Territorial Seed Co finally today, peas, toms, a couple of peps, a couple more onions and a little broccoli to get us started.

Tomorrow Steph and I will make up some seed starting soil, that is if Kai present comes in the morning like it was supposed to come today. He is coming out to watch it with me. I'll tell you what it is after we watch it, I promise!

I have a lot of work to do tomorrow before we go in for gathering. Dirt has a three day weekend but he will be shearing and finishing the duck pen.

Oh, look over on the side board and notice that someone has a new post up. Yeah Bet! I am hoping she has broken through her blogging slump. She has a lot of good things up in her little noggin that I wish she would share more of what is up there. Just good encouraging down to earth things.

The girls practiced parallel parking the other day. I hope they do again soon because I didn't get out to get pix before they were done. You gotta see what they used to practice on. Tooo funny. It is a good thing we live in the country and are off of a main road that's all I'm gonna say for now cause it has struck my bed time.

Sing some praises to your Creator and Sustainer tonight, He is waiting to hear from you and to whisper comfort in your ear. Listen to Him, its the only way to fly.