Sunday, August 28, 2005

Not sure what this is about

I am not at home this evening. I am at my last hurrah in City Management as I am judging a bunch of award nomination packages for the Municipal League here in Austin. So, I am stuck here in a suite of my own at the Austin Renaissance Arboretum Hotel. I have turned up the air conditioning to about 82 degrees and I took warm shower, not a hot one. I am very comfortable. I have already been to the exercise room and after not jogging or doing any other type of cardio since June I had my best run in ages, possibly ever. I lifted after the run and feel great. Melissa and I have talked about how I am considering this farming thing we’re doing as a sport. Staying in shape and hydrated are, to me, key to farming and sports. The result is that my cardio shape seems to be as good as it has ever been.

I also have TV here and am watching CNN and Fox as Hurricane Katrina comes toward New Orleans. They are expecting storm surges in excess of 25 feet. In Gulf Shores, AL, the storm surge is expected to be 20 feet. Last year’s Hurrican Ivan had a 12 foot storm surge that nearly destroyed Gulf Shores. Losses are being predicted at $15 to $30 billion. If you have not started praying for these folks better start. It is looking grim. The surfing is also great in Gulf Shores. It is almost funny listening to the Fox anchor talking to the Mayor of Mobile about the surfers and why he isn’t doing anything.

There are now two anchors talking about the surfer and wondering how he could do such a thing and “has he no idea how much danger he is in?” How dumb are these anchors? Of course the guy knows how dangerous, that is exactly why he is out there.

Roger

Friday, August 26, 2005

Water

Roger mentioned our brown water in yesterday's post. I would like to elaborate (or vent) on that one.

I am using cloth diapers these days. Well, I'm putting them on my baby anyway. I don't particularly like cloth diapers, but they save us a lot of money so it's worth it. And it really motivated me to get the almost 3 yr old out of diapers! But I digress. I wash the diapers twice, then give them an extra rinse before drying them. I've always done this whenever I've used cloth diapers (which has been off and on through the last 15.5 years either to save money or help avoid rashes from disposable diaper allergies) and it's always worked. Any stains would disappear when the diapers were hung in the sun and I still have nice white diapers. Until now anyway. We have brown water. Even the diapers that weren't brown before going in the washer are coming out brown. It's rust. I'm doing everything I can to try to avoid it. I add Calgon water softener to each load. I'm using vinegar in the final rinse. I hang the diapers in the sun. But still the diapers are stiff and brown. It's awful. And then there's the dish towels that used to be white with floral designs. They're now tan with floral designs. I won't mention our underclothes. Let's just say skidmarks are the least of my laundry problems.

I'd been noticing that I'm getting a decent tan this year--not real dark, but not as pale as I usually am. Then I was sitting in the tub the other night and noticed that I'm about the same color as the water. Am I tanned, or rust-stained? I don't know.

I'm thankful right now that we don't have a dishwasher or it would be all stained brown inside just like my washing machine, our toilets, bathtubs and sinks.

I've never been anemic. I have the opposite problem and have to be careful not to get too much iron or I get sick. I have to filter the water before I drink it or cook with it. We have very little water pressure and the filter slows that down even more. It takes a long time to fill the pot to make oatmeal for us each morning or to soak the beans for dinner, or boil water for pasta or whatever. I'm going to have to get more patient I guess.

And then there's the smell. I kept thinking someone hadn't flushed or the trash hadn't gone out or something. But no. It's our water. Imagine sulfur and rust combined. It's just gross.

We've been pricing water softeners and filters. That will wait until we have new pipes. The water here is rusty, but we think our problem is worse because of the old pipes that service our house. We occasionally have chunks of metal come through the faucets. So we are going to wait until we switch our water supply giving us new pipes, new water heaters, and a new water softener all at once. I'm looking forward to not smelling like metal all the time. But I might lose my nice, new "tan."

Melissa

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

We have multiple projects working here at the ranch and we are getting close to turning a bunch of corners. The remodel is in the “omigosh I can’t do the next step until I get the stuff I forgot to do done” phase. The stanchion’s roof is almost complete and it is possible that Stephen will be able to focus on this project long enough to finish it tomorrow. The brooder is at least sited now. The bread making part of our home is in full swing with Melissa making loaves, pizza crusts and rolls with great skill. The deposit has been made for the new water meter which will take us off the low pressure, brown city water and put us on the high pressure brown county water. Herman (our neighbor that has been such a blessing) is helping out with getting the electrical system upgraded from 70 amp to 200 amp. Yes, you read that right, our entire house has been operating on only 70 amps! (For most of us the amperage on our house is as interesting as the chemical reaction that happens when cement cures and becomes concrete. In a nutshell, at 70 amps we would not be able to have an air conditioner or central heat as the blower would be pulling too many amps. Amperes are just a measurement of the amount of current flowing in electricity, the higher the number, the more energy in the line. The higher the number, the more likely you are to die when you touch the wire.)

So, we are closing in on a brooder (now we can order chickens), stanchion (now we get a milk cow), boys’ room (they get out of the dining room), laundry room (the clothes boxes leave the near barn giving me a workshop), better water (now we’ll go ahead and get a water heater) and more amperage (which means central heat and air). Makes your head spin, huh?

Roger

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Church, nature, slaughter

We went to a new church on Sunday and have been back each day in order to hear the preacher leading the revival. Would his title be Revivalist? Melissa still has not met her confirmation homeschooler, but it seems that every other way we turn is coming up aces for this church. We also realize that we have yet to hear the Pastor preach a lick, just the Revivalist. He won’t be preaching this Sunday either, so we are going to go and try out he last church on our list and see if it can knock off the current leader.

One of the two new windows on the west side of the remodeled area got put in today. Tomorrow the second window will go and in and it will be time to go to Brownwood to pick up some minor supplies and fill out Melissa’s Wal-Mart list. Once this is done it will be time to insulate and then drywall. I am not optimistic about getting the sheetrock up before the week is out, but I am feeling good about getting the insulation up before Sunday.

Plenty of nature the last few days. Clark and I saw a blue tailed lizard and Mitchell saw a skink. We have averaged a scorpion kill a day for the last week or so and tonight I saw a snake under a barrel but was not able to get to it. I do not think it was venomous from the quick glance I got, but could not confirm.

We also have solved the brooder riddle. We will use the bed of the junked out pick-up truck for a brooder. This will mean a minimal outlay for us at this time and will allow us to get going with the chicken business. We still have not slaughtered anything, so we don’t really know how we will like it. I think it will probably be a bloody, gory experience and we will all laugh about it during some future family gathering as we cook some mammal that we all chased down as a family and killed with our teeth. Hi, Karen.

Roger

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Seek And You Shall Find

We've been church hunting. We've been praying for guidance to find the right church and have been trying different churches each week. Coleman boasts of being home to 22 churches. They are mostly all small. And while we respect our elders and know we can learn much from them, the kids and I were all hopeful to be able to meet some people closer to our own ages at a church, too. We've been to a couple of churches where our family would more than double the number of kids. Nice people! But we were hoping for a youth group.

We were driving around town the other day just looking at stuff. (We found a park with what looks like a fun playground!). It seemed I kept passing this one church and thinking we should visit there. Then I would tell myself, "NO. No more tiny churches." A day or so later Roger tells me someone invited us to that same church. And he said they have a youth group. So, okay, I'll try it. But this is the last tiny church. There are a couple of churches in town with an average attendance of 100 or so people. We can go to one of those if we don't like this last teeny church.

So we arrive a bit later than we'd hoped and there are cars everywhere! Then Clark yells, "they must have children's church 'cause there's a playground!" Well, I hadn't noticed the playground before. Hmm. There's hope. Then I see a couple of kids peeking through a window. Then we walk in and there are young people everywhere! There are people of all ages there! And it wasn't nearly as small as I had expected it to be. We enjoyed the service. They're having a revival this week so it wasn't the usual pastor preaching, but it was good. After the service I went to get Clark from children's church. As I caught up with my family I saw they were visiting with the youth pastor. It turns out he's been praying for someone who plays hockey! (We've been praying since before we moved that we'd find some way for Stephen to keep playing hockey even if it meant he had to teach some people how! Mind you, we don't have "hockey players" in our criteria for a church, but it does answer a prayer!) I think we all felt that "this is it" feeling at some point today.

Well, I've got a revival meeting to get ready for! If I meet any homeschoolers there, I'll KNOW this is it.

Melissa

Saturday, August 20, 2005

I can't believe you wore that!

No one got hurt today! All of the animals are still alive! The remodel of the garage is getting ready to really take off this week with drywall predicted for the end of the week.

Our quick trip to Grapevine went well and we got a room painted and the pool looking good. We also arranged for yard work to get done by a friend (call if you want a reference as he could be on the cusp of a new career here) the house will be shown by Melissa’s sister (again, this could be a new career for her) and I got to hang out with my poker buddies for another evening and lost all of the money I had, which was very little. And the food – in a word – fabulous. We ate Arby’s and Taco Bueno. A couple of joneses that I have not been able to get filled out here in Coleman.

Did our trip to the city mess up our resolve to be in the country? Nope. As we hit Weatherford we got hit with crushing headaches. I think it was a red day in the metroplex. We also got into a load of traffic and weaving drivers trying to get ahead of us as 70 is not fast enough. I can still navigate in it as this is the place where I learned to drive many years ago, but I am not as good at it anymore.

We got some watermelon tonight and spit seeds at the dogs and threw rinds into the future orchard and stepped on scorpions and shook our shoes out and felt comfortable being at home. In a little over 24 hours in the metroplex I saw, perhaps, 3000 people as we drove through town. I went to Home Depot and Lowes twice. I did not see one person in overalls. I am an overall wearer and in Coleman, Santa Anna and Brownwood it does not matter where you go, there will be someone in overalls. And if there was not someone else in overalls, no one would look at you like you were some kind idiot.

There is something about this place that is worth commenting upon that is directly related to the overalls. In the metroplex it sure seems that people care a great deal about how they look. You know how the Japanese are all so polite because to act otherwise would cause great trouble on their crowded island? It seems that there is a culture in the metroplex that all must look good or there will be a great disturbance in the force that keeps the area going. It was, at one time, a Dallas thing. In the late 70’s and early 80’s you really could tell the difference between a person from Tarrant and Dallas County. Now you can’t as Dallas seems to have won and you must, you must, you must increase you bust if you want to get along in the life of the community. Here, if you wear curlers to the Shoppin’ Baskit no one cares and the only person that notices is me and my family. We are getting over it.

I went to a meeting last week and three of the people there – two board members and the interim executive director – were in shorts. It seems that the dress code at work out here is “keep you private parts private.”

Keeping my privates private,

Roger

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Ouch!

Mitchell and I were making great progress on the remodel in the garage when the project came to a screeching halt. The spots in the roof where you could see daylight were plugged, the receptacles were marked and wire pulled to serve them. This was one of those days when we were set to go far. Until I put a nail into the palm of my hand.

Mitchell and I were framing up small walls for closets. He had cut the pieces as I had pulled wire and he was holding one end while I used the air hammer to nail the base and sole plates into the studs. These walls are only two feet long, so they were easy to handle. I pulled the trigger on the nail gun and it shot two nails into the sole plate. The recoil from the first nail pushed the nail gun away from the board as the second nail fired. It entered my left hand in the middle of the palm and stopped when it hit the bones to my ring finger. I couldn’t get in to see a doctor for about 4 hours and so decided to just skip that expense. We have it wrapped in bandages and coated with triple antibiotic ointment. It is sore, not surprisingly, and it is hard to use the ring finger as I type or do anything at all. Still, I am so thankful to have this injury as had the nail not gone into my hand it would have hit Mitchell. For where he was standing and the angle of the nail it would have struck somewhere in upper body or head/face and this would be a very different post.

Since I can’t get much real work done we are shifting our plans and going to Grapevine tomorrow to paint a room or two so our house will sell.

Roger

Monday, August 15, 2005

The edge of wetness

We got to have a day without any measurable precipitation for the first time in ten days. We did get 2½” between Sunday afternoon and this morning, but none after sunrise today. Because of the agreeable weather plenty got done on the remodel – both inside and out – and the ground got to dry out a bit. Still, every shoe we have is covered with mud and it is not dried out enough to get us past that. The mosquitoes are also big right now. They are swarming and it was like running a gauntlet to get from the chicken coop to the house. Do remember the ad with the guy sitting in a tent filled with mosquitoes and his shirt off? It was like that except we did not have the tent or the Deep Wood Off.

The puppies are doing well. They are not muddy as the girls and Clark are carrying them around everywhere.

The boy’s room/laundry room project is almost half way done. The framing of the wall between the rooms should happen tomorrow. If the weather looks agreeable the drywall could happen by the end of the week. It has to be agreeable as I do not want to buy sheetrock and have rain storms kill us on the way home. Lots of work between the framing and covering as wiring and plumbing have to happen.

This morning at about 8:30 or so was my last moment as the City Manager of Grapevine. I was eating oatmeal and thinking about using horses or oxen to power our future farm equipment at about that time. No big deal since that life is well gone from our lives now. Now we boil water so we can bathe since there still isn’t a water heater. We shake our shoes before we put them on to make sure there are no spiders/scorpions/wasps/other things in them. We do this every time. We always check underneath things very slowly and deliberately before we move them much. I am home every night before the kids go to bed as I have been home all day leading up to bedtime. Melissa cooks more things from scratch and we are eating better for less money than ever before. Bed time hits a whole lot earlier than it used to. Good night.

Roger

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Another day, another dog

Jimmy and Scout drinking water. 7 weeks old.
Stephen, Faith and I went to Home Depot today to get supplies for the next step in the garage remodel. Okay, we went today because the dog sellers are out on Sunday as well and we were hoping to get another dog. I guess I had been hoping to get a Shepard or a Blue Heeler or a dog that fit the bill as a working dog. Stephen and Faith were just wanting a dog. We got a dog, a seven week old female, black Lab. I was going to name her Karen after my first wife but decided that I didn’t even want to name a dog after her. The three of us decided to name her Scout. This was going to be Bandit’s name before Mitchell pitched a fit and insisted on some other name. It is also an appropriate name for a female as it was the name of the main protagonist, a girl, in To Kill a Mockingbird. (While I did not always pay attention, I did pick up on some of the vocabulary words in English as I knew they might be useful in some trivia contest in later life and thus I was able to use protagonist in a sentence just now.)

Anyway, we got her home and she is now sleeping on the porch with Jimmy and they both seem to be getting along well. We will see how well once there is some dry ground for them to play on and they are more accustomed to one another. All is well for now.

More rain again today. This is something like 14 straight days of rain. I have heard that we’ve gotten some 8 to 10 inches now in August. I know that we have gotten an inch and a half since the rain gauge has been up and that is only since like Wednesday. I forget when it went up, the week has been busy with dogs coming and going, in-laws in town and making salsa. If anyone has a good recipe for salsa, please write to me as I am just winging it and without much success.

Roger

Jimmy

Jimmy at 7 weeks
Well, we didn't get a good working breed of dog, but I thought this photo might show you why we just had to get him. Isn't he adorable?

And I'm just not a dog person.

Melissa

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Wal-Mart Meat Market

We have a twisted little family joke. When I see one of the kids doing something stupid I tell them, in as serious a tone as possible, that they should not do such a thing as whatever they are doing because that is how my brother, Jimmy, the one they never met, died. Jimmy has died many different ways. He has died from running with scissors, jumping off a chair, running with a knife, not going to sleep at night, not taking a nap, stuffing too much food in his mouth, swimming too soon after lunch, not washing his hands, running with a stick and climbing a tree without being careful. You get the idea.

There is another Jimmy story for another time when we tricked the kids in believing that Jimmy was real, but not today. Today was the day that the replacement of Bandit began. We went to the Brownwood Wal-Mart and out at the end of the parking lot was the row of cars and trucks with dogs being given away. Now I look at the loss of Bandit as a chance to get a dog that is built for working on a farm. A shepherd of some sort, either a German, English, Anatolian, Australian or other. Perhaps a Blue Heeler or some kind of rough looking mutt that will do the job of herding and protecting will be the next animal for us.

With these thoughts in mind we ended up with a rat terrier this afternoon. He is a precious little dog and I am very glad we have him and wish he could come inside with us, but he is not the answer to our dog needs. So, I will troll the parking lot again tomorrow looking for the right animal. I feel sort of dirty pulling up to the trucks, checking out their wares and trying to determine which of the pieces of flesh will best serve my needs. But hey, on a rainy afternoon without football this is about as good as it gets.

Why the story of Jimmy to open this crummy post? The dog is now named Jimmy. It was the winner over Wally, Gomez, Bill, Larry, Pedro and Fecamint. Jimmy is sleeping on the porch and I am trying to decide if I should get him off the porch and into the office in the workshop or if I should just leave him out there sleeping. I do not know what I will do…….(tune in tomorrow)

Roger

Friday, August 12, 2005

Friends and Family

What a fun day! My good friend, Kim, from Grapevine stopped by with her kids and we got to visit for a bit. How wonderful to see a familiar face! I still haven't really met anyone at all here. It was especially nice to see someone I've known for a while (6 yrs I think?).

Also, my mother and her husband were in town and we had a great visit. It was nice and relaxing and a long enough visit that I think they got to spend quality time with each of my children. Not an easy feat with 8 of them at once all shouting for Grammy and Grampy at the same time. ;-) She's still grieving over the loss of her mother and I think this was a good visit for her, too.

Meanwhile, Roger managed to get some work done on the siding of the house. He's trying to beat the rain. The forecast was calling for rain again after a couple dry days and he wants to get that done before the rain comes back. It looked to me like he made good progress today. But he doesn't seem as happy about it.

Time was also invested in the search for a new dog. What breed? Is it available for less than a small fortune? Any mutts around that sound interesting? Or should we wait for a dog to find and adopt us? Joy and Sam (ages 2.75 and 1) haven't grasped the reality of Bandit being gone and both have tried to call for him.

Melissa

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

No More Bandit

A tragic, foul and crappy evening. We had all just come in and the kids were getting ready for bed. I had just cleaned out the coffee maker and was pouring water into the coffee pot when Melissa and I heard Bandit yelp. We heard him yelp two or three more times and then never heard more from him again. The dog that loved to chase cars got tagged by a pick-up this evening. The truck broke Bandit’s back. Melissa, Stephen and I got to him first. I was the only one with shoes on at first and went to him. He was in the ditch and in pain. His breathing was labored and there was blood trickling from his mouth.

Bandit’s back was broken about two inches in front of his hind legs. The hind legs were not moving. At first Bandit tried to move to get to me, but with only his front legs to lift him he fell back in the ditch. The young man that hit Bandit was very upset. I know it was hard for him as he told us he is a dog lover and he had to watch a parade of crying Nelsons come out to say good-bye to their dog as he died. The young man’s uncle came down to help and we got a piece of plywood to lift Bandit from the ditch and put him in the neighbor’s car. He took care of shooting Bandit. Thank God for good neighbors. Tomorrow I will go and get the body and we will bury him somewhere here on the property.

Roger

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Some Like It Hot

Today it rained again and most of the day the temperature was around 68*F. We were all cold. I was laughing about having goosebumps in August in our non-airconditioned home! Who'd a thunk it?

To keep the kids out of the mud we let them watch 2 movies back to back. We watched Shrek and Shrek 2. The kids were complaining though. They'd rather be outside. The biggest shocker was when Stephen said he wished he could skip the movies and work outside on the milking stanchion he's trying to get a roof on. Stephen has always been a huge tv addict. If it was on, he was there. And never ever complained about what he was watching as long as he got to watch something. Don't get me wrong, he's also very active, but the tv draws him in. I had had a moment of doubt today and prayed for confirmation that we were doing the right thing by being here and got confirmation all day. This was a biggie though. My tv-addicted son who was also the most resistant to moving out here was complaining that he couldn't be outside working on the farm instead of watching movies he enjoys. Praise God!!

But hey, we think the sun'll come out tomorrow! Hopefully the large puddles/lakes in the yard will dry quickly.

Stickin out my chin and grinnin,
Melissa

Monday, August 08, 2005

Small House Day

Today it rained. It really poured hard and the yard is very wet and muddy now. Fortunately, I spent the morning (before the rain) getting the sun porch cleaned up and about half the toys out of there so there was room to play with the toys that were left. When it started to rain, the first thing the kids did was run outside to play in the mud. I stopped them since I was just finishing washing (and re-washing) the clothes from the big mud fight last week.

Anyway, they had to come in and play with toys. They're all used to running all over the place now so that was hard. And to top it off, Sam was sleeping so they had to stay relatively quiet. Many arguments followed as we were all tripping over each other.

The kitchen felt really tiny with the girls finally doing breakfast dishes, Mitchell making his popcorn snack, and me baking bread. Then there's the stack of stuff that was going to go to the far barn today, but it's too muddy to drive out there right now.

On the bright side, it was cool enough to bake bread and it smells delicious.

I then took a break from the kitchen while dinner baked in the oven. The kids snuck outside. Roger is bathing the little ones right now so they can come to the table for dinner.

Hmm. I guess I have to learn how to get mudstains out of cloth diapers now.

Melissa

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Shooting turtles, sparing spiders and hunting poultry

This evening was varmint eradication night at the pond. It went ok as Stephen and I think we got about four or five turtles. It was very difficult at twilight to look for the dark spot in water and the little it of a head poking out. Tomorrow Stephen and I are going when the sun is high. I want to get some of the water moccasins we know are out there, but they are cagey punks that do not show themselves as readily as the turtles.

Stephen has a better eye for spotting the little buggers than I do, but I have a bit better aim than him. At least we think that is the case and it is kind of hard to figure out if you’ve hit a turtle in the evening. Right now it is getting even darker and I must go put away the chickens……..took longer than I thought it would as one of the roosters is missing. No big deal really since it turns out that of the 10 chickens we have, seven of them are roosters. We are going to slaughter here pretty soon as we are feeding animals that will do us no good in the long run. Did not even get a stinking egg tonight.

We have giant spiders at the farm. They have black legs and yellow/white/black bodies. Their webs always have a zig-zag pattern under the center where the spider wait for an unlucky meal. Normally I hate spiders, but I make and exception for these fellows as they get bigger than most birds and are just fascinating to watch. They really do get bigger than most birds, about the size of a dinner plate if allowed to get to full size. We have one in the future brooder and I am not too sure that the brooder might not have to wait for him to get old and die.

Roger

Don't worry, we won't do a telethon

You may notice there are no more ads to the right or on the bottom. We got rather annoyed with them and since none of our three readers ever click on the ads anyway it made no sense to keep them. Just so you know, we had nothing to do with the ads that were in the margins, they were generated by Google as they have a program that scans for key words and puts the ads in place.

For example, Melissa posted about using a clothes line to dry our clothes and so we got ads about clothes odor removers as well as ads about the removal of odors from specific nether regions. I had a post a couple of days ago about Sam going on a trip with Melissa because I cannot breast feed. We got ads about meeting hot guys and gals. We figured that since we have a rooster now and may write about him going cock-a-doodle-doo that we ought to give the Google computer matching program a break.

Your ad-less friend,

Roger

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Melons are goood!

Melissa is back. It is nice to have the home educator back in the home as I am simply the home substitute teacher with all of the problems that the sub brought to your classes when you were a kid. I can turn my focus back on the remodeling of the house. The door from the new laundry room, the ceiling framing for the new laundry room and new boys’ room, a screen for Joy’s window and a new step are on the list for tomorrow! Maybe half will get done, but as my buddy Jerry Pittman always said – if you’re shootin’ at nothing you’ll hit it every time.

Watermelon has been a treat almost every night this summer. Last night we had fried chicken from Best Fried Chicken in Coleman and followed that with watermelon. We had the summer’s best watermelon Saturday night. The whole melon tasted like the heart. As we are getting closer to the end of summer the rinds are getting smaller and the red melons are getting sweeter. The last yellow melon we had was so ripe it was breaking open. With as many folks as we have we go through a big melon every night and then throw the rinds over the fence into the future orchard area. I taught Melissa how to throw a few weeks ago and she has been trying to get better at her aim every evening. The rest are all learning how to throw or have learned how. Tonight I worked with Claire and it turns out she is a lefty. Melissa says this will be good to know for school. I think we make fun of the lefties and force them to stand in the corner until they become right handers. At least that is what I think we do.

Roger.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Signs, signs, everywhere are signs

Melissa gets back tomorrow. This is a very good thing in my way of looking at the world. I do not care for cleaning, laundry or being a teacher, thus my desire to be a pig farmer. I do like building stuff and knocking other things down. I have not done any of that since she has been gone.

At the same time, I have had a pretty good time with the kids. We have been for a walk and done some fishing and we ate some good watermelon and fried chicken tonight. It is getting close to 10 though and as I type I hear Joy talking – loudly – down the hall. She has been in her bedroom for almost two hours for no good reason it seems.

Went to put up the chickens tonight and the dog spotted a rabbit, dang he can move when he wants to. He chased that rabbit for a good 200 yards and was gaining on the thing. The rabbit got out under a fence and Bandit had to stop. He immediately began chasing a car down the road for another run of a good 400 yards and then back to me for another 200 yards. He was ready to go again. To be such an athlete as my dog would be great.

I forgot to out up the chickens until about 10:15 last night and I could not find my flashlight. So the dog and I went for a stroll in the dark to the adjacent field. It is at times like these that I really hate the movie Signs. In particular there are three scenes I hate now that I am a farmer. The scene where the silhouette is on the barn, when mel Gibson and his brother go to chasing the thing and it just gets away and when Mel sees the foot in the corn field. I hate that movie. Hate it, hate it, hate it.

One more night and Melissa will be back to keep me safe from aliens as I sleep.

Roger