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

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Did It!

In spite of the bicyclist riding four to six abreast on a county road; in spite of heading into the sun with commuters on my rear; in spite of some knucklehead peaking out from behind me on a double double yellow even though I was up to speed, I made it down to our favorite chicken seller (Oh My, Oh My ). No, I really do mean our favorite chicken seller.

After last Wednesday's fiasco with dreadlock boy,
Oh The Plans They Are A Changing, we tried again the next day with a different Craig's List ad. This fellow was a Chicken Hunter's dream, a former APA judge, former Poultry Person of the Year at the Junior Poultry Expo (a few years ago). Ex APA Judge had lots of many beautiful, well cared for chickens, so all the girls, EBet, Anna Colleen and the Chicken Hunter's A. Grace and Anne Pants picked up some darling bantams to use for fitting and showing at the Jr. Poultry Expo.

But surely we did not go all the way down to the Orting Valley to pick up more chickens in the horse trailer with Holly (Anna's horse) inside. No, we did not.

As it turned out Former APA Judge not only has the prettiest birds we've seen, but he raises Quarter horses and has a beautiful stallion. Who happens to be a Palamino! Last week he and Anna talked about breeding and how she was looking for just that sort of fella to breed Holly to. Well Anna explained that she had less than half of his fee and Former Judge cut it down to what seemed more than fair.

Yesterday Anna determined that Holly was coming back into estrus and called F. J. With Stallion with the sad news that she did not have even enough at the moment for his gracious decreased fee.

He said, "Bring her on down."

Well, now Anna is without a horsey to ride this week but she is walking four feet off the ground anyway. She will be (hopefully) a horse grandma this time next year.

I am walking at least two feet off the ground because I drove that rig as if I had not taken a thirty, almost thirty year break from independent manuvering and driving my daddy's big trucks.

But just in case Dirt (are you reading today Dear?) thinks this means he can take a break from changing my oil, rotating my tires and driving the trailer. Think again. There are a zillion-kabillion reasons I am married to you Dirt and those are three of the top twenty.

See you soon Dear Reader, thanks for having confidence in me. I gotta go water those demanding Brugs before they start whining and knocking on my door.

Oh My, Oh My

This morning, before it gets hot and while there are lots of commuters on the road, I will be driving Dirt's truck with the stock trailer behind and Anna's horse in the trailer. The horse trailer doesn't have air conditioning that is why Dirt says I gotta go and I gotta go early.

I've never done this before.

I've never had to.


But if Dirt is willing, he is actually the one who suggested it, then I am positive I am more than capable.

Dear Reader I am sorry that I have been terrible at this blogging thing, not so much not getting things down over here, but getting out in the neighborhood to visit. I keep thinking that I will have nothing but time cuz of the hot weather, but not unlike frozen cold in the winter, this weather is causing a lot of work, along with all the regular stuff I'm supposed to be doing. I'll get out and visit soon, really I will.

I've been given such freedom and have had such victory lately that I can hardly wait to express all that I can. God is good, all the time!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Oh The Plans They Are A Changing

What! Are you talking no moon pies tomorrow (today)?

Whoa! Hold on there a minute, moon pies were not the only thing on the list for the last half of this week. Tomorrow (Friday, which is now today), barring anything drastic like a volcano, earthquake and hurricane hitting Roy, Washington all at once, tomorrow I will be making more moon pies.

So what is the change? Last we talked Dear Reader I did say that I was going to begin taking my summer cuttings for some propagation of the vegetation sort. My favorite rose, now unavailable is the top on the list. And my projected day for that was Wednesday and here it is Thursday night (Friday morning) and I have not yet gotten to it. (Although the last few days of morning marine front, cloud cover and cool air, is more conducive to taking cuttings than the blast furnace heat we had earlier this week.)

Mrs. Mike called and got a hold of Anna and requested that we change days for the little girl's riding lessons (my girls, big girls; her girls, little girls), something about needing to go to Olympia to get chickens. So my Wednesday became my Thursday and my Thursday became a crazy-man-with-a-hat's Saturday and now here we are, Thursday night and no cuttings taken. (I threw that crazy man thing in to see if you were listening.)

No cuttings it is true, but oh do I have a story for you!

You can read my dear friend, the Chicken Hunter's, perspective on this whole thing over at Suburban_Hedgerow and she'll warn you not to read it if you're a hippy or if you're a liberal or if you're a liberal hippy, but don't worry, I am all three of those things and what I am about to write is way more scathing to the type than what she's got, she is nice, I am mean.

So the story really begins when she gets to the Farm, Vicktory Farm and Gardens, throws her girls out the car door by the barn and swings by to let me jump in whilst she continues around the compound's circular drive at a moderate speed.

Somewhere about Yelm, nine miles into our drive, after we have solved the world's problems, I ask what gives for the trip.

She explains that this guy has some RIR (Rhode Island Reds) for sale, they are laying and they are only ten bucks.

Hey, good find, I say. This now has taken us to between the turn off for Lake St. Clair. and the turn for Hawks Prairie. In there she did manage to also say that we were headed to West Olympia. The phone rings. Her cell phone. She answers it.

"Yeah, hi Jordan," she says in her usual sweet and inviting lilt. "I am on my way there right now, almost to Hawks Prairie and I-5 so it won't be long. No, we hadn't talked about that last night. Oh, I see. Well I was only expecting forty dollars. Okay, I see, well fine, yes, good, we'll see you in a bit then." Snap. (She shut the phone closed and that says snap, not click like hanging up an old fashioned phone.)

I'm looking at her with that so what is up look. She says, "How old do you s'pose Jordon is?"

Well just wildly guessing and wanting to think that folks who sell chickens, even on Craig's list, are at least as old as I am but realizing that there wasn't a Jordan within seven hundred miles of my childhood, I knew he had to be a product of a generation no older than that one where everyone and their puppies were named with 'J' names, as long as all the family members' first initial matched whether the last one did or not. Thirty-ish.

"Why," was what I actually said.

"So after a couple of e-mail exchanges on what he had and where exactly he was located, I e-mail him and ask politely if I could come and get them on Wednesday and he pops an e-mail back fast that says, 'hey, they are all gone.' Then he phone calls me, just a few hours later, and says 'four hens just came out of the woods' and he would hold them until Wednesday."

"Mmm," I say, really meaning, "wow, this is odd."

"Just now he has called to say that he has to charge me fifteen dollars for two of them because that is what he paid for them and he can't take a bath on a couple of chickens."

Mmm so we go from coyote bait to valuable chickens in one day?

Now mind you, hindsight has it that this was Mrs. Mike's and my signal to turn around, turn around now, and go home. But no. We are trusting, hope-filled girls, wanting laying hens. How is it that you take a "bath" on chickens? Stock market, yes, land deal, okay, but two chickens with the price difference of five bucks that you have had for how long? That's a bath? What's he bathe in, a cup? A tea-cup?

So finally we are climbing the back road to this fellow's house, speculating on what kind of person we are going to find at the end of our rope, we should have been prepared. I am rufflin' up my hackle feathers, or so I thought, ready to strike at the idgit that switches prices on a person while they are en route to buy the product. The bummer was, too bad I wasn't better prepared.

Maybe it was the "hey, this place doesn't look too bad" feeling when I got out of the car. But just imaging that scratching ripping the vinyl-record with the needle sound as I wheel around to match a face to the "hi, I'm Jordon, welcome to the farm."

Yikes! From the forty-five pounds of dread-locks, right down to the questionable foot wear. Oh no, we've landed in Greenland!

I take the offered hand, telling myself, "Give the kid a break. Don't be judgmental little missy, you're sporting an eye-brow ring and grey hair for crying out loud. You were here once (not literally, figuratively)."

But the farther we go on this, the more it is just rubbing me the wrong way, like a wire brush on tender skin. He yaps on and on about how the girls free-range and he only brings them in at night and in order to get them in gives them just a little grain and that the grain is only organic. Which by the way folks, I would love to state here that organic does not, absolutely does not, equal nutrition. It can be nutritional, often it is, but it doesn't necessarily follow.

That they go in real easy should have been a tip off that he says whatever strikes his fancy. Because if they go in real easy why did these four "come out of the woods" miraculously one day? Go in real easy should have also been a tip off that perhaps they were not finding enough food. Oh the little voices in your head you don't listen to in time to prevent tragedy.

Right away I can see who the ten dollar chicken is. Dread-lock boy "farmer", who probably works part time at the Organic Nursery and Vegetable Stand we passed on our way up here, where there is an odd mix of patchouli soaked, toe ringed, underwearless, twenty somethings mingling with the fifty-something-cancer-paranoid-granola returnees who both flirt like mares with him, the first because their life-sustaining trust fund is about to run dry and the second because they miss the thrill of living life without a trust fund, has now really gotten under my skin because he is having to hoick his pants, read that, juvenile shorts, up to keep the waistband from hitting his knees and the hem from dusting the dirt just under his non-farmer sandals.

So I let him have it, "Where did you get these chickens and were they the ones who told you they are Rhode Island Reds? Because they are not, true Rhode Islands are mahogany, a deep mahogany color; you have at best production reds." I was thinking that this would just be the begining of my grilling of this yahoo.

He blows me off and continues to insist to the Chicken Hunter that two are ten a piece and two are fifteen a piece. And I just let him go, worried that the Chicken Hunter who is a tender and sweet person will be mortified if I go for it. So when she says, with twenty dollars stuck out to him, "Well I can only afford the two that are ten a piece," the vessel bursts in my head when he says in a vaguely conciliatory tone, after a long pause, "I can let you have a deal, I can give you three for forty."

What?! No, really, what!?! Do you think she is so nice and I am so grey-headed that we are going to fall for that or have you snorted so much incense into your wee brain that you can't do math?

My tongue is on fire by this time and I dare not open my mouth. I want to say, in a nasty, momma-has-you-by-your-hair-you-better-straighten-up tone, that what you can do is, you can let Chicken Hunter have the four for forty like the ad said it would be and didn't get changed when they first came out of the woods and you called to tell her to come and buy them. That is what you can give her!

So even though Jr. has zero business sense and changes the price on folks, and even though he clearly cannot add well or whatever operation it was that took me five seconds to see that his "three for forty" meant that now he didn't want just fifteen dollars for the ten dollar chicken he wanted twenty dollars for a ten dollar chicken, even though we now had all that information, we still proceed.

Why? Because the Chicken Hunter and I never worked out signals that's why. Next time we gotta have signals. Like: I take my sunglasses off the top of my head and put them on would mean, hey, I think you should ditch this joker and his deal. Chicken Hunter waving her money would mean, No, I've come this far I'll just take the stupid things. They are chickens and they will eventually give me the sixty eggs I need to pay for this transaction.

Then I would have felt better about all this, as it was, no signals, we didn't know what the other was thinking.

Now, let's get back to reality.

He insists that we bring our cage over to the pen so that he can transfer the hens from his cage within the pen into Chicken Hunter's cage. He is not offering for Chicken Hunter to look over the hens he is about to shove into the cage and we are too shocked at this point to ask for the privilege.

And that is how we got all the way back to Hawk's Prairie and the lunch parking lot before we discovered the first set of horrors, how really stinking ugly the one hen is. She may be ugly but clearly she is well trained to hide her face on the way to the car!

When we got to the house I had already decided that we would switch one of our production reds with Chicken Hunter's deformed one. She was so ugly I knew that she would polish off forever any desire the little girls had for doing poultry.

I enlisted Bet to help CH and I, while Anna kept the two little girls occupied. When I handed the bird to Bet I was floored by how light it was. Paper light. It was Bet who immediately discovered the tick on her neck. Ah yes, free ranging in a bone dry conifer forest and organic feed, most likely she had not been dusted for lice since leaving the real farm she previously lived at.

Bet flipped her over, gently, to show us how bad this hen's skinny really was. That thing at the top of the pic in the smack dab middle is not her shank; it is her keel bone (breast bone). It looks like she had been de-meated and only thing left were the bones and feathers.

Can you see how little flesh is around the keel? I've never in my life seen a chicken this skinny. Or feather and downless. My chickens molt but they don't go into final stage alopecia.

Part of her problem is debeaking. Not so much that she was debeaked, although it is offensive to the eyes and if done wrong can cause chronic pain for the chicken who is debeaked (however the chickens that where being pecked to death by the one now debeaked no longer have their chronic pain). Her problem is more that the last chicken on earth to be made to free range with just enough cracked organic grain to lure her into her pen is one that has had her beak clipped.
I wish folks would quit rescuing things. I wish I would quit accidentally rescuing things.
A debeaked chicken cannot forage like their non-altered kin. Along with not being able to gather much in the way of food they also cannot pick up the tiny pebbles it takes to hold in their crop to help grind what they do find or grind the cracked organic tid-bits thrown into the pen ahead of them at night.
I beg you, do not go out to a poultry farm that houses their birds together in such a manner that would require the birds to be debeaked; get horrified that the movie you saw in Junior High to make you hate farmers is true really true; think you need to rescue as many of these poor things as you can afford to buy; take them home and let the be happy free ranging. They won't do well.
Debeaked chickens need a crumble feed, fed in a fairly deep trough. They will need all the supplemental vitamins and minerals that they will be missing by not scratching and successfully picking up tid-bits off the ground.
I have been tapped on the shoulder tonight and given the what-for for wanting to lump a lot of folks together right now and be absolutely unforgivingly brutal.
Not everyone who uses the word green, and doesn't really mean the actual color, is bad.
Not everyone who yaps endlessly about only feeding organic is a hippy, fake farmer with unsheared shedding sheep and naked fleshless chickens. (Oh yes, he did.)
Not everyone who doesn't reside in Jamaica but wears dread-locks anyway is an idgit.
And not every pair of women, out looking for some nice laying hens at a decent price, are foolishly bamboozled.
Oh, I need to relax now, and I am sure you do too Dear Reader, sorry if I got you all stirred up either way.
I know, I have a lot of issues to work through. I will need to take folks in very small doses for a few days while I try to regain, and gain more, nice-ness.
I was going to publish Jordan's address and last name, flag him on Craig's list, report him to the authorities, and barrage him with scathing e-mails daily for a month from a new address each day. Instead I will be satisfied with hitting publish post after I go back through and take out all the over the top unkind things.
I do understand what is like to live confused, lied to and ignorant. You end up believing all sorts of whacky illogical manure.
And now for relaxing and a more soothing picture to end this hideous and frightening post, here is a picture of my Veronica spicata growing among my soon to be divided Iris germanica.
See you soon with the results of today's (yes, I am finishing this up Friday morning) Moon Pie test. Today is the fortieth anniversary of the splash down of the lunar landing crew!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My Head is Spinning, I Can Not Type

Nearly ninety today and lotsa moisture. Up at five and out in the sun from nine to three thirty. Wished I had got going out of the house a little earlier, I can't even remember what I dilli-dallied over. Feeling sorta queasy this evening. But I got lots done and big day tomorrow taking cuttings, good week for it but I've got to get to them early. No dilli-dallying tomorrow!
I'm taking my first rose cuttings, ever. I hope they do well because I have a rose that J&P doesn't sell anymore and it is my absolute favorite. Then it will be a slew of mock orange and lots of other snippets all over the Farm.
Started the day with harvesting sweet peas for the vase. Oh they smell so good. And then I had to give the vines a little spritz with Neem oil and Epsom Salt for the naughty little aphids and the mildew they bring with them.
Then out to the Highway Garden to cut weeds, water and read. I'm digging my new resolution to never pull another weed again ever, unless it is a buttercup. We'll just have to see how it works out. More on that later, with pics and rationalizations galore.
I'm thinking, thinking mind you, not promising, Friday for more test recipes for Moon-Pies. Sorry there were no pics taken yesterday at the party, oops. Bet did say, "Great party, a little history and junk food!"
Oh and Bowser has found a home! It is exactly the home I prayed would find him. An eleven year old boy who needs a puppy. He needs a buddy help him burn off energy out-of-doors and then be settled down inside. Bowser is a perfect fit! He will help show the boy how to play hard and then relax inside. Bowser is good at relaxing. They came and paid for him tonight and are picking him up at six a.m. tomorrow!
Right now it is beddie-by time. Looking forward to sweet dreams of life in heaven.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I've been going in and out all day listening to the different retellings and rebroadcastings of the Lunar Landing. It is so amazing that we, man, did that with the limited tools that we had at the time.

The girls, while they were around have been getting an earful that is for sure.

So the moon pies were delightful but not moon pie-ish enough for me. I will be working on a better recipe. The one I made today were little cake mounds, to much of a lump for me. And I will be coating my next ones with chocolate, hello these were naked. The filling was to loose, it was not marshmallowy enough. Norrine's DIL gave me a great idea. I will just make marshmallows from scratch and cut them to fit. Thanks for the great idea!

But hey, these were good, (if you weren't expecting a moon pie). The texture of the overly cakey cookie (they were like cup cake tops) was very lunar so it was very fun to have them at our party. Likewise the Tang. Fun to have it at the party, the rest of the little jar will go into the cupboard and await your arrival at the continual party. Dirt said it would be good with a little alcohol in it. Hmmm, I think I would feel bad for the poor alcohol.

But back to the reason for the party. What a feat! What an amazing time to be alive.

Yes, Kathy and other inquiring minds, Buzz Aldrin celebrated communion and recited John 15:5 when he and Armstrong landed on the moon. I recall reading that he even jotted down Psalm 8:3-4. "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?"

That had to be one heck of an experience above and beyond just being there.

Buzz Aldrin wrote about it in his book and some of the reenactments have depicted it. Unfortunately NASA felt they had to keep it quite after that anti-God lady with all the M's in her name put up such a stink over the men quoting from Genesis in a previous orbiting of the moon. The courts through out her suit of NASA but those at NASA were still nervous, so the men could not express their own faith on subsequent trips.

Have a very good night Dear Reader, sorry no picture of my little Granny Two Feet tonight, too much outdoor work and kitchen duty. See you tomorrow!

John 15:5-8 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fly Me to The Moon

Two weeks ago I came up with a great idea to have a party for the fortieth anniversary of the moon landing! Man, two weeks goes by fast!

Having not realized that days were actually passing, I got to Saturday and said, "Aw Sacagewea."

I was going to have homemade moon pies for desert and Tang. I thought it would be fun to put dinner in little bags that everyone would have to suck their meal out of. Remember? The big thing was that when we grew up (I was ten at the time) we would be eating food out of tubes every day like the astronauts, and riding in things that looked a lot like a few of the new cars that I would never be caught dead in, well maybe if someone gave me one I might use it.

Dirt has promised to save a little of my day and buy me some marshmallow creme so I can make homemade moon pies and I hope he can find Tang in the store. Do they even make the stuff anymore? Even though I forgot to send out invitations so all my friends could be here and enjoy my silly idea, I still get to celebrate what was a great moment in history for me, for all of us I'm sure.

I was ten years old and the future was huge. My family went camping during the time the brave men were headed to the moon and my dad, not willing to miss such a great occasion, took along a little tv. The place we went to actually had electrical hook ups and we got reception! (I can't get my cell phone to work so well when we go camping)

That night around the campfire I heard so many stories, of how far we had come and how far we were going. The special treat, my grandmother was along on the trip with us and she really had some perspective on how far we had come.

While I make my moon pies tomorrow I'll see if I have any pictures of my grandma I can put up for you. She was a little girl living in a Soddy in South Dakota before her family made it to the Okanogan area. Her husband, my grandfather on my dad's side, drove the Nighthawk stage coach between Washington and Canada. Some sixty, fifty years later, next to the campfire that night, she could see her grandchildren living and traveling in outer space. She was excited for us. Hey Grandma, maybe in ten, twenty more years or so, who knows, time goes by fast and technology seems to go even faster.

Really, we have come far, maybe not as far as we thought, no dinner out of plastic tubes, no walking the dog in a spacesuit, but in some cases we have come farther than our imaginations took us back in nineteen sixty nine.

Hey, if you still feel like celebrating later on I'm sure the tang comes in a large can, we won't drink it all tomorrow, and moon pies are quick to whip out. I'd be more than happy to put the garden tools down if you want to stop by for a belated moon landing party this summer. Maybe we could watch Blast From the Past or something like that.

By the way did you know that Buzz Aldrin took communion on the moon? That would be so cool. How close did he feel to God at the moment eh?

The Bluest, I Tell Ya

Scroll and read while listening, it'll kill two birds.

Perry's got it right

But I'm not so sure about my weather gadget on my computer. Because this is what it showed when I came in on Friday morning at about ten-thirty after Bet and I could no longer stand the heat in the Highway Garden. So I went back out to see if perhaps we were in a dream and the computer had it right.

I stepped out the Cook's Porch door and looked to the east, mmmm no clouds there.

I looked to the north east, no clouds there either. So certainly there could be no drizzle.

North and a little west, down our driveway, no clouds there. The trees are in the way of a clear northwesterly look ...

but west out over the barn and pasture sort of towards Roy and there aren't any signs of clouds at all let alone drizzling clouds.

Over the roof of our room and to the southeast, and still no clouds, not even any on their way.

Not even if they were coming straight out of the south and right over the top of the house. No clouds, no drizzle. I think the sprinkler must be on at the weather station.

Here's some more blue. Blue that makes my heart sing. The blue of my curly headed baby's eyes, my baby that turned eighteen at the beginning of this month!

Before her little sister came along we called Bet Baby instead of Elisabet. No one pronounced her name right any way (well most don't) and Baby was way easier.

Man, eighteen years go by fast!

That morning, Friday, EBet was out working Ivan like she promised herself. (Go visit to hear her tell of her Ivan woes.) Well at least someone in this family can keep promises. She must be her father's daughter, blue eyes, red curly hair, sweet tempered, promise keeping, yep clearly I was just the hatching box!

Did you know why she kind of goes by EBet, among her many other names? When she signs her name the E and the B form a butterfly! She is also known as Bettie Spaghetti, Spaghetti-O's, and once in a blue moon, Freddy the Freeloader.

She is very sweet and works very hard for the Farm. She makes me think of Beatrix Potter, an updated version, when she is out tending her little duck flocks. You should ask her why she thinks the Dutchhookbill have been misnamed! But she can be a little Annie Oakley when she is dealing with Ivan or Martin the Warrior.

A girl of many hats but one character, true.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Crumb-day-la-crumb or Just Plain Phooey

I did not get very far. Headed out to visit y'all but every blog I opened wouldn't let me comment (is that a subtle hint from y'all or what?) or close the window so now after shutting down my internet a couple of times I'll just quit.

Besides the cacophony of calls from the work that lies ahead of me today is giving me a little headache so I better go feed the mill and get my nose to the grindstone!

Hey, Is That Ketchup on Your Shirt?

I think it may be. I think I am as caught up as I will ever be. No not on housework, duh, not on the garden and not on much of anything but blog reading. 'Cept that I hear there are a few new blogs out there that I ought to read and so off I go this morning to do just that and (this is an important and mind you) not fall behind on the ones I already have in the gun.

But along with not caught up on the ever present housework (please don't bother to send me organization tips, I am a whiz at organizing, maintenance is my issue. And don't send me maintenance tips, I know how, I just find I would rather walk out the door with my work gloves and hat on instead, well until company starts driving down the driveway. And no berating, "you ought to be better" speeches or "I'm watching you!" talks 'cause then I'll just pack my bags and go elsewhere to write) and not caught up with the gardening (that whole thing Dirt would boil down to biting off a bigger piece than can be chewed and swallowed) I am not caught up with web logging.

I have succumbed to the "I started a journal and now I am not journal-ing" syndrome once again. This time I did get farther than on paper (on paper I never got past one month let alone a whole year!) and I did continue in my slump though not daily. So in typical Lanny journal-ing fashion I feel, for my own purposes really, that I ought to back track, lest in a year or two I forget what the heck happened to me. In three years I might be liable to look back on this time and make up a story about being in a car crash or in the hospital or traveling around the world where there was no Internet connection, if I don't put down what the heck we've been up to.

So the next few days I hope to be slopping a lot more ketchup on myself in the web logging department and I have no idea what that is going to look like. But please Dear Reader, don't feel like you need to read all of it. It will just be a lot of old junk that probably ought to be thrown out but I want to get it logged down so that if it was good I do it again and if it was a mistake I hopefully will avoid it in the future, 'cause the only thing I remember well are phone numbers. Bad ideas repeat themselves often around here.

I will be writing quick and dirty (hope mom is on the other side of heaven watching one of her other children, they're so cute!) so if you already are holding your nose at the awful stench of horrifying spelling and grammar, ridiculous use of commas and, for crying out loud, all those blasted parenthesis I use, it will only get worse for a while not better.

Quite frankly you can blame it on college writing classes, they foolishly taught this girl "stream of conscious" writing and she has been using it ever since, well her own brand of it 'cause I'm sure it had rules too I just forgot them. Now that girl is an old lady and she can't stop and besides why should she, she is too old to become the writer that she thought she would so she will settle to be the writer she is. Horrible. But with cute pictures. Well there would be cute pictures if I would just sit and clean them up and post them along with all this yapping.

So you have been warned Dear Reader, I appreciate you too much to subject you to my quick and nasty writing, the worked over stuff is already far beyond what I would imagine anyone would bother to read.

Now for some coffee. (and no I don't belive my mom is really up there in heaven spying on me, it is just a silly cultural joke that I like to perpetuate every once in a while especially after being at a women's group and getting the smack down for being mean and saying that heaven is not what we think it will be, we will not be going up to heaven to ride the horse your dad never bought you or raft the Colorado River like you always wished you could before you had hip surgery. We will be up there in the in-your-face presence of God, nothing else will matter, really, it won't. And if you think that will be too boring, a lot like going to church, you're in the wrong church, better yet quit going to church altogether and just be church like God asked you to be.) Now for some coffee.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ad Addendem

Please note Dear Reader, that in the post where I exposed my fond desire for a Dear Grandmamma, I did my best to point out that it isn't just Dirt that is in need of extra care. I am most likely the household's largest slob and project spreader-outter. It is just that when you add the dear man to the full day daily mix it does indeed get deep around here.

I'm not a very good conventional wife, I like to lift heavy objects and I like to do it out-of-doors. This has never been a complete disappointment to Dirt as he has all along appreciated that I desire to give a hand and flat out be the one to do some of the out-of-doors tasks. And that I am fairly capable of dealing with weights of more than five pounds without having to call him over or crush something in the process is a big plus in his world. So what if he has to eat peanut butter sandwiches for dinner sometimes? Although a steady diet of such is rather a bummer, I actually am the first to tire of not having "normal" suppers like my mom always had. Oh wait, I'm the mom now.

He says he married me for my .. let's call them sturdy yet shapely.. thick ankles and my mom's apple pie. He has repeated that and never wavered. He says that when he saw my ankles he knew I would never go lame. (He has skinny wimpy ankles and has "gone lame" often.)

The only problem with his reasons was that he made an assumption that if the mother could cook (and enjoyed it, day in, day out, morning, noon and evening) so did the daughter, ooops. My mother was nearly dead before I could roll a pie crust and get it to the pan, and so was I with the frustration of trying. I became very fond of cake. And I am certainly fond of cooking, at times horrifyingly passionate even, but the key is "at times." If I am consistent in anything, it is my inconsistancy. There isn't even any rhyme let alone reason to my inconsistent moods.

Oh, I cook when I don't feel like it. I'm not saying I am such a dud that I won't. The food from those moments is however perhaps two components away from making a good pesticide. It sure as heck is at the very least "just food" at that point and not life-sustaining love in the form of a culinary delight.

Outside is where I wanna be. I do not however, do anything mechanical any more, well obviously mechanical or at least maintainence on the car. (The word maintainance could be the dead give away, maintainence is not a project.) It is why I married a mechanic. Well that and the fact that my dad was a mechanic.

So actually, if our Dear Grandmamma could please add changing oil, filling window cleaner dispensers and a myriad of other car maintanence sorta stuff that I'd prefer to block from my brain, I am sure Dirt would appreciate that also. It would free him up to learn to make apple pie before the last of his girls leave.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Flag On the Ceiling and a Promise Kept

I made a promise a moment ago to a new friend, A_Joyful_Chaos, (a blog well worth the read for sure) that I would attend to an award she bestowed upon me over a week ago. And even though the pumpkin patch is growing hotter by the moment I am going to take care of this before heading out.

I'm not sure exactly what the award was for, she had lots she was distributing, something about Memes I believe which I find ironic since I can never quite do them like you Dear Reader, "just answer the question and get on with it." I suffer verbosity. Arencha glad I've been taking a writing break and Dirt has kept me busy outside beyond the reach of the thingy that makes the internet work on my laptop, oh ya, router?

So for this award, which I will not be passing on because sure as shoot my brain will explode trying to decide to whom it should go, (Decisions, not a strong point in my life, the root of all my shortcomings I am sure. A yakky un-decider, if that is not crippling and deserving of sympathy and donations I don't know what is.) I need to tell you seven things you do not already know about me.

What the heck could that possibly be? Well I realized that this post that I started on the Fourth as a little of my experience with the Flag Code of the United States would be perfect. So here goes, you keep track of the number of things you didn't know about me on your fingers and when you get to seven I ought to be done and out cutting weeds (pulling them disturbs the roots and checks the growth of the desired plant, check it out, it is factual and scriptural, imagine that Dear Reader).

This fine couple are my folks, Bethel Jean (Pape) Barker, and Eldon Ray Barker. This must be some where around nineteen-seventy two. My dad always had that white patch of hair right there, a second pupil in one eye, enormous hands that were permanently rough and stained, and when he wore jeans they always had a cuff in them, but mostly he wore work pants.

I am an orphan now, my father died two weeks after my first baby was born and my mom died the year my last baby turned one, my baby is turning sixteen soon. I miss both my parents as if it were yesterday.

They were the tried yet patient parents of these three, the youngest of six. My brother Mike, six years older than myself, my brother Chris, the one with a clam part hanging from his mouth, is only two and a half years older than myself.

And me? Yes, I'd be the one in the lovely purple print overalls, whacked out hair from being in pony tails or clips and the giant loud laughing face! I remember those blue tenny shoes and the day I finally, with inner pride, wore a hole in the toe much to my momma's chagrin. This picture was most likely the summer of nineteen-seventy.

It was a rough time, not financially, but our consciences were being tried. And I didn't fair too well. But that is another story or confession and testimony of God's infinite mercy and grace that I hope Dear Reader, you have come to know for your own.
Today it would be enough to say that these three youngest experienced the turmoil of the ages with a mild buffer of protection from their father.

Erb, was a man of conviction. He knew hard work was the only way to go. That our country is a great country no matter what. That all people deserve respect, unless they are purposely pusillanimous (Erb's favorite pejorative) then a person was pretty much dismissed and ignored, one of the many traits Dirt shares with my dad and most likely why I love him too.

He taught us to think for ourselves, work hard and honestly for others, and respect all people, moms first. He did not mind our questioning the way things were as long as in the questioning we were not just idly grousing.

And he let us know that it was a rarity in this world to be able to question what was going on and therefore, even if we were unhappy with what was going on in our country, what our leaders were saying or doing, that it was an immense privilege to live here and be able to express it. However, for Erb, and therefore for his children, there were correct ways to express it and incorrect ways to express it. He taught us indirectly that it was truly, and without a sneer or a self-centered belligerent arrogance, "Our country, right or wrong," because we were to always be working as true citizens toward the goal of, "Our country, may she always be right."

We were never to disrespect any one in uniform.

We were never to disrespect an elected official. Express our disagreement yes, but never to shame or disgrace ourselves by attempting to belittle or make the person appear comical.

We were to respect the work of others that had gone before us, whether we thought it correct or not. Respect did not always mean agree or accept.

We were to respect the symbol of our county.

I may have taken the risk of getting caught smoking but no matter what things I dared to light up one of them was definitely not the flag.

But the nuances of the Flag Code that my father so clearly knew inside and out, from where I won't ever know now, were a little more tricky. It was certainly made clear that it was better not to hang the flag if you were not going to make sure that in the putting up and the taking down you were incapable of making sure it wouldn't touch the ground or be tangled. But then there were the things I slowly learned and picked up such as, that while red, white and blue tablecloths and apparel were okay, things that looked more like the flag than not were not okay to be used as table coverings or clothes.

But one incident that has stuck in my mind was when he found that my brothers had put a flag up on their ceiling over the center light fixture. He was visibly upset. I didn't quite understand, because I thought he would be happy to know that my brothers admired the flag so much as to hang it in their room, in spite of their lengthening hair and constantly verbalized disdain for the current leadership.

I tucked into the flag corner of my brain that clearly there was a right way and a very wrong way to display one's patriotism by how you displayed the flag.

It wasn't until just recently when I did a post on the flag for Flag Day and received some stern comments, that I researched more thoroughly what I had always just assumed. Even in this day of technological finger-tip information there are a lot of places where you can get misinformation not because they say the wrong thing but from what they leave out.

Imagine my not-really-surprised surprise that in the actual flag code it really does say that the flag or any likeness that people see as the flag is not to be hung on a ceiling.
So much for my rebel brothers asserting their patriotism with thumb tacking the flag to their bedroom ceiling.

This flag code thing has me turning into a rather self-appointed American Flag police. I've pointed out paper plates and napkins in violation and in fair turn pointed out the ones that would be okay, in the middle of the store of course, rather noticably like any good embarrassing parent would. I've tisked-tisked a business community's over zealous and incorrect placement of flags. I am well aware of the obnoxiousness of my insistances, but remember, I'm a youngest of six, it is my duty to be obnoxious and annoying.

In a week or two or maybe a year, my family and friends will assume I have calmed down a bit, but beware, I will always be on the look out for a violation of the code, especially in those I know now know.

I know, Dear Reader, if you know me just a little you know I break laws all the time, my children are illegally home with me (yet another post for another day) and I have pushed the legal envelope in the past by letting people take milk from my outdoor refrigerator. So all of this "letter of the code" seems a bit much for me to you I am sure. And someday after my weeds are cut I will attempt to explain my seemingly idiosyncratic stances on things, for it all works out quite logically in my mind. But for now I really must go as I have one hour and ten minutes before the melting point is reached out in the patch where I have about six hours and forty-three minutes of work to do.

I am postitive Dear Reader, that all of you, even the ones that have known me for years and years, clicked off seven fingers worth of things you didn't know of me already, and those of you that didn't know me all that well, put your shoes back on and the baby's too I'm heading out to quietly contemplate my Savior, I am thankful He is infinite in everything He is. And I am very glad that my salvation, and therefore my eternity, does not depend on legalistic things, like the US Code.

This was a note on my side board this summer that I thought I would save into this article:

Check out:US_Code_Title_Four_Chapter_One.

You can also go here to the US House site of the US Code and read all of the Historical and Revision Notes, Codifications, Amendments, Findings and Reaffirmations of Language.

We have humbly learned a lot so far, there are a lot of things this family has done incorrectly in regards to the flag and its code, (and a few things we have done correctly). I hope you will enjoy our summer long study of the flag! Look for some intesting and somewhat humorous posts about our on going study.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Another Day Off

No not me, Dirt. I don't work therefore I don't need a day off or a vacation. Dirt teaches aviation mechanics at the college so he gets vacations (aka end of quarter breaks) and national holidays off.

Last week, when I was completely absent the college ended spring quarter and began summer quarter, consequently Dirt was home from the afternoon of June eighteenth to the morning of June twenty-ninth. That my Dear Reader is a long time. A long time to have yet another body in and out of the house, using it as if there was a doting grandmother in residence, to pick up behind the hard workers.

Since I cannot in all good conscience talk Dirt into taking on another wife for the purpose of tidying up after everyone and cooking daily meals whether inspired or not, I have gone to praying for an elderly woman who would just like to adopt Dirt and I as her children and the girls as her granddaughters. A woman who lives for the delight of cooking and cleaning and picking up the dirty socks that were taken off with the boots right at the moment and left at the spot when and where the feet finally began to throb undeniably.

A woman willing to come into the household's only bathroom after the four farmers have bathed, to pick up scattered shampoo bottles and razors, hang up towels, wipe down the tub ledges and scoop out the hay and weeds collected in the drain.

A woman who would need very little sleep as a big full breakfast (the main meal of the day) is now becoming the daily custom here, served at a quarter to six, but yet still awake, alert and ready to do the last tidying in the kitchen and living room from the snacks and beverages enjoyed from nine to ten by those who just must stay up and watch every dance and the results of the call in votes on SYTYCD.

Then, at a little after ten or some nights eleven for the foolish, follow them into the one bathroom to rinse the sink of the toothpaste residue, tidy up the towels take a peek at the incubator and brooder box on the bathroom counter as she grabs the broom to do one last final sweep up behind the person that remembered they needed to do something in the barn before brushing their teeth, resulting in yet another trail of hay seed and other barn crumbs to pick up.

And we would like said "Dear Grandmama" to be sweet and gentle, to refrain from muttering under her breath about ungrateful children and insensitive grown-ups, to always have a lovely verse on her lips to straighten our errant thinking when our world goes a wry.

Not to mention, because we don't send our children to school, just our Dirt, we would appreciate it if she would write up wonderful lessons for us to learn while we are out hauling water hose, fixing broken pens, replanting the bean seed that the turkey ate, calculating the amount of fertilizer for a given area, hoicking hay bales above our heads... . So that when we came in for her beautifully prepared lunch and to get out of the worst of the day's sun, she could delight and teach the girls some fascinating things and reinforce their academic skills whilst I bask in the beauty of it all and maybe close my eyes for just a wee bit.

Basically we would like one of those mothers that the Christian homeschooling magazines tell women that they are to be and can be and should be twenty-four seven. I've never met one personally, but certainly they must exist beyond some one's imagination. And so if there is one out there who no longer has a family that needs her phenomenal skills and freakishly kind attitude, we would love to have her come and live with us.

We can't offer much in accommodations, maybe we could find her a small trailer to sleep in, and there really isn't any extra cash lying around to supplement her pension, but we would show our appreciation nearly daily. Well, at least weekly if she asked us how she was doing, and maybe we would honor her with one day a year by giving her cards, a couple of chocolates we would expect her to share back with us, and a day she wouldn't have to cook one or two of the days three or four meals and snacks. Yes, we would all just like a mom to come live with us.

Well Dear Reader, those are the fresh thoughts from my brain this morning as the man with the day off slept in just before his shearing job on the other side of the big valley, and then bringing in more hay here at the farm this afternoon. But now he has caught me writing (read that "wasting some time") and wants to know if I would like to be his assistant for today's shearing job. Well folks, that means a ride on the motorsickle! Since I have yet to ride the motorsickly this summer I am going to give the girls the list of things I was going to do this morning and skip reading the seven-hundred forty-three items on my Google Reader (those are post of yours, unread by me) and ride off into the suns.. the ... sun and be with Dirt for a few precious hours.

Hope you have enjoyed my wishful thinking and new header picture this morning. I also changed the weekly selection from the flag code over on the side board, you might take a few minutes to check it out. Hopefully I will have time later today or tomorrow during Independence Day festivities to tell you a few quick stories about flag code in my life. Although I refuse to make any promises, since all I do is break them once made. The day in my head holds way more hours that the one in real life, and I write way faster in my imagination than what appears to be reality.

Dear Reader, as I ride on the back of Dirt's sickle today, I will be praying that all those I know intimately all the way to barely, are well aware that we all, every last one of us, ride through life in the palm of the hand of mercy of our Creator, the one true God, and that then we live our lives accordingly in acknowlegement and thanksgiving.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hang On Just a Little Longer

Unbeknownst to Dirt and the girls, I snuck away from all the work in order to sit down at the computer because the pressure in my brain was finally too great.

Unfortunately I have waited too long and my brain burst with a million things to write just as I headed to the computer.

So as soon as I collect my grey matter I will be back to down load all the stuff that has been going on around the Farm, as long as I'm not caught a loafin', or as Miss Bet says, "Shellackin' on duty".

Lots and lots to write but lots and lots of stuff demanding to be done and it will not be put off.

Dear Reader, have a great Independence Day if I can't slip away before then! And remember: God is infinite in all the things He is. He is merciful. No one is beyond His mercy or His justice.