Sunday, April 30, 2006

Good Day to Start Something New

Sorry to have been absent so long. For part of the week we were without internet access as a wonderful thunderstorm knocked out the transmitter for our wireless provider and we were in the dark. In that time a couple of things happened. The quick one – the queen arrived on Wednesday and I got her in the hive before going to work. I will check in a couple of days from now to make sure she has survived and the honey production can get going. I hope, I hope, I hope.

Yesterday was Claire's birthday. She had a good time, but I think that Sam was a bit jealous of the attention Claire was getting as he is now insisting that he is Claire.

The other was a discussion that has led us down a new sort of path. Melissa and I were talking about the house and all the things that are wrong with it. I have told the kids that upon the death of both Melissa and me they are to demolish this house as I do not want anyone ever assuming I built it. So, we asked ourselves, “Ourselves, why would we pour money into this house when ourselves plan to build a retirement home out here at some point? Why not just build the ‘retirement’ home now?” Ourselves thought that sounded good. We have spent the weekend on-line looking at metal buildings, green buildings and such. At this time we are looking to build with what we find on our property. We have a lot of rock that could be used. I think there has to be an adobe chance even though we have thick clay. I think there may even be a way to turn the caleche from small limestone pieces to solid, large limestone pieces. Anyway, we are looking at free cycle, green building pages and such to see if we can scour the countryside, picking up rocks on the side of the road and build a house real cheap.

Trivia – it was April 30, 2005, that we came to Coleman, saw this property and put an offer on it. It was accepted the next day. Two weeks later I resigned and six weeks later we were moving to Coleman with hope and prayers and little else. Perhaps this is the perfect time to begin quest 1A, the building of a green and cheap house.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Roller Coaster Pregnancy

Things have been very strange for me this pregnancy. I've had this feeling for a long time that we were having twins. I finally convinced myself that it was just one and then at my last prenatal appointment the midwife thought she felt 3 poles and heard a second heartbeat. Suddenly I was back to being sure there were twins. I even felt certain I could tell which baby was hiccuping when the hiccups occurred in different places. We were all very excited thinking God was giving us a double blessing.

So today we had an ultrasound and there was only one baby.

I've had ultrasounds before. It was always an exciting time and the kids were all there and we'd be happy and joke around and it was all fun and wonderful. Today was quiet. There were teary eyes and downcast faces. We didn't even enjoy seeing the little girl on the screen giving us a thumbs up. The only happy faces were Sam's and Joy's because they didn't understand twins and certainly didn't understand that we'd been wrong.

We all immediately went into denial thinking they just didn't find the other baby. But what are the chances of that? I don't really know. What I do know is that I want to be happy the day we have our baby and I won't be unless I accept that there's only one and do it now.

So it's been up and down and up and down. But we'll be up again when she's born. I feel like a spoiled kid on Christmas morning. I've received lots of wonderful presents and how do I react? "Is that all?" But my gifts are good and wonderful and better than I could have asked for. So nine will just have to be enough. For now.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Long Live the Queen

One of the things that creepy nerds like me do on the farm is keep track of the stuff we do. I keep track of the daily milk yield off the cow, how much we spend on feed for the chickens and when I go out and do stuff with the bees. For example, here is today’s bee journal entry: April 21, 2006 - 4:00 p.m. – killed queen.

Yup, I killed her. The one bee that is more important than all the others. I had to get into the hive to see if she was doing alright, it is something you are supposed to do after one week of the bees being in the hive. Killing the queen is supposed to wait for another time. I got ahead of myself. So now I have another queen on order from the apiary and it will go in the mail on Monday. I am going to have to pray all weekend that the bees do not run away over the next five days as I am absolutely powerless to do anything to keep them. I am going to get them some more food, maybe a pizza and some beer, to keep them satisfied while we wait on the new queen.

I took the lid off the hive and set it aside. I searched the hive for the queen and did not find her. I lifted up the lid and there was the queen – flat and dead. The bees have been the one thing I have been the most excited about since we decided a year ago to move to the country. It has turned out, so far, to be nothing but trouble. It was the grounding system for the electric fence around the bee hive where I cut off the tip of my finger and now I have killed the dang queen.

Faith is in my room sewing together some sort of “weird doll thing Grace and Claire asked me (Faith) to do” as I blog. I am fairly certain that if it were me at the sewing machine today I would sew my fingers together.


Monday, April 17, 2006

Warning: Ugly Picture (there is also a picture of my gnarled finger in here)

Still having trouble blogging. My finger is part of the problem and either my connection, software or Blogger are also to blame. Don’t know or care, just getting frustrated. I spent a fair amount of the weekend away from the ranch as I had to go to Dallas as my Mother’s condition steadily worsens. Spent all of Friday night in the Baylor emergency room and it was an evening that teetered between mind numbing boredom and fascination. There was one guy in there who was constipated. Why is this interesting? He was constipated because his bladder was so full it had blocked off his intestines. He was also way overweight and they had to use a sonogram to find his bladder. The doctors put a catheter in him to drain his bladder and as it emptied one of them mentioned that with that type of blockage he could have explosive diarrhea. The next voices I heard from that area were nurses. Those docs knew when to get the heck out of the room. That is me and my dad to the right. I am the handsome one.

I went to Dallas because my Dad was in Albuquerque visiting my sister. When we got the diagnosis – urinary tract infection – he decided to come on home. He and I passed on the road as he came home Saturday night and I came home as well. I got to have dinner with a couple of friends and I got to see a Stars game. This was the first hockey game I had seen all year. I like the new rules.

The bees came Friday morning, before I had to go to Dallas and they are busy in their new hive. I will look in on them again on next week.

On Sunday one of Melissa’s friends and her daughters came for a visit and I think pretty much everyone enjoyed the day.

Not only have I not seen a hockey game all year, but we have not had TV since we moved. I had no idea how little I was missing until I Saturday and was inundated with ads for a new series on NBC called “Celebrity Chef Cookoff” or some similar nonsense. I am betting that the current state of television is either increasing book sales and fueling the popularity of the Internet or we are all headed straight to the abyss in a speed boat. Melissa and I have laughed about the inanity of some of these reality shows and I thought “Celebrity Chef Cookoff” was about as far down the line of stupid as it could get, but then we Googled and below is a list of some of our favorite suggested programs – we think they are in jest, but would not be surprised to see them in TV Guide. Big thanks to, from whom we stole liberally.

Top Ten Worst Ideas for a New Reality Show
10. ULTIMATE REALITY! (a reality show about people getting on reality shows)
9. World's Scariest Toddler Chases
8. World's Most Uneventful Videos
7. True Life: I'm an Online Gamer
6. Middle School Blind Date
5. Rent-a-Cops
4. When Hobos Attack
3. Joe Heterosexual
2. Accountants (Whatcha gonna do when they audit you?)
And the #1 worst idea for a reality show:
1. The Saddams


Saturday, April 08, 2006

Always room for pie!

Sorry to have been gone for so long, but typing is still a problem as the index finger on my left hand is an important pecking tool. I took all the bandages off a couple of days ago and now it has a nice, crunchy scab shell to protect the finger to some degree. The doctor told me the finger would grow all the way back and the nail would come back, so it will mostly be a temporary inconvenience. The three oldest kids have been milking for me and while they do not care for the greater frequency they are doing a great job. Mitchell has also added “pumping septic tank” to his repertoire and Stephen has added “finished off bee fence” to his. The electric fence around the apiary is ready and charged up. I tested it myself yesterday. The bees ought to arrive Tuesday.

We went to our second “fancy” dinner in Coleman last night. It was the Chamber banquet. We went to a celebration dinner put on by one of the local industries last Saturday night. We have been to these kind of things in Grapevine countless times over the past twelve years. The two we went to in Coleman were nothing like what we were used to in Grapevine. This is a good thing, a very good thing. For example, after the Wine Tribute it was customary for Melissa and me to go and get a burger or some other normal kind of food afterwards. Why? Because we are beef/chicken and potatoes people, not oak leaf salad with yak testicle glaze, followed by breast of ostrich on a bed of St. Augustine with cranberry vinaigrette people. We would leave these events starving. Okay, Melissa would leave the event starving and I would leave starving and drunk from all the wine. Last night we had sirloin steak, chicken breasts, baked potatoes, green beans, bread pudding and ice cream. Last week we had steaks – great big steaks – with durkee onion green bean casserole, bread, mashed potatoes, and cherry pudding stuff on graham cracker crusts. All of it was served (both events) on paper plates, the good ones that are real thick and oval shaped. Real food for real people served up without pretense. Have I already said I love this place? Well, I do.

Today we are making pies for a pie auction at church tomorrow. It is a fund raiser to help get our kids to church camp this coming summer. Just the oldest three will be going this year and without some sort of fund raiser they would be stuck here in cow milking camp. I am going to make a couple of cheesecakes and Melissa will be making pies. Tomorrow my Dad will be coming for a quick visit as he is headed to Albuquerque to help my sister out with her broken leg. He had planned to go out a couple of months ago, right after she broke her leg, but the weather was awful. I would have thought you’d plan to go and help when the leg was really bad and the pain was great and not wait two months for a time when the weather was better. He is going to come out in September for a week to help at the farm and let me give my finger a rest.