Friday, June 30, 2006

Checking in

We are getting bad about updating I guess. It's been a week since our last post. So here are a few updates.

Gloria is 5 weeks old today. She's still adorable. She is beginning to coo and loves to look at her siblings when they come over to kiss her or talk to her. She also loves to watch the mobile in her crib when the bears spin around and the music plays. Occasionally she takes good naps during the day and I can get something done besides nursing a baby. She's over 10 lbs now so I guess I'm doing a good job nursing her.

Still no glasses. I've torn the house apart. We've been through every room thoroughly and even have moved furniture and such. Nothing. I've prayed and received no answer. It's rather discouraging. The 4th is coming up soon and I'm still hopeful that we'll find them.

And we have ants. They are taking over the house. I don't think we're blameless because sometimes a mess gets missed when we clean. We don't see it but the ants do. This is getting really bad though. They are getting into sealed containers. They've gotten into rubbermaid containers that were sealed tightly. They've gotten into sealed plastic wrappers that food comes in. I've tried natural repellants, baits, and ant spray that was supposed to keep them away for up to 12 weeks. I don't think it even worked for 12 minutes. It makes me very anxious for the new house to get built.

And on that note, Roger, Stephen and Mitchell went out and cleared some ground for the new house today. Roger has put tons of time into studying and planning and now finally some muscle gets to go into the house. It's very exciting for us! Here's a picture of the future house. It's not much yet. ;-) This is from the north looking at what will be the back of the house/barn.

We also have a new puppy. Stephen, Gloria, and I were at the local grocery store when Gloria was about a week old. So this isn't super new news. We came home with a puppy. There was a lady out there desperate to give away an Australian cowdog puppy. So we helped her out. Here's a picture of Clark with Lucy.

That's our news this week.

Melissa

Friday, June 23, 2006

9 - 2 = hole

Mitchell and Faith spent this week at church camp and our family was thrown totally out of balance. They got home a few hours ago and we are back into the swing of normalcy. For those of you that don't get to raise nine kids it may be hard to understand how we could miss two when seven are still here. I think the best way to explain it is that most families these days have two kids. If these two kids were gone to camp, they would be missed. Well, we have two kids that went to camp and we missed them. Mitchell and Faith, though they are a part of a set of nine kids, are loved just as much as if they were the only two kids we had. Take them away, they are missed and there is a hole to deal with. It is that simple.

Stephen has a J-O-B working construction. He's working for a friend of a friend on the construction of a metal building. This is good for us as we are getting ready to build a metal building. Stephen wears a cap about 98% of the time he is awake. This has left him with a very tan face all the way up to the mid-point of his forehead, at which point it is a pale white. He also has raccoon eyes from the sun glasses he's been wearing. All in all he looks goofy and we are enjoying it. He also enjoying having a job. The last three nights he has called out his new job as the good thing about his day and tomorrow I am to wake him up at 5:30, like I've been doing since he got the job, so that he can stay in practice.

Happy to have all of them home -

Roger

Friday, June 16, 2006

Broken Glasses

Two days before Gloria was born, Mitchell's glasses broke. We called 20/20 in Grapevine, where we got them last year sometime, and they sent us a new pair--trusting that we'd send back the broken ones. We set the broken ones on the counter waiting for the new pair to arrive.

The new pair arrived after I'd had the baby. It took me awhile to get around to it, but today I went to get the broken glasses to send them back. But they're gone. We've turned the house upside down searching, but cannot find the broken glasses. We found some really BIG spiders, but no glasses.

I called 20/20. They were nice about it, but the best they could tell me is that if we can't find them, we'll have to pay $265. We just don't have an extra $265 laying around! We have until July 4th and then we'll have to start making payments.

So I am praying, and asking each of you to say a quick prayer, that we will find the broken glasses. It may sound really trivial, but it's really important to us to find them.

I want to also add that just before they broke, Mitchell was telling us he needed new glasses. He said first that he was seeing spots and then that they were so scratched up that he couldn't see through them. We weren't sure how we were going to afford new glasses for him so I prayed and asked God to provide. It turned out the spots were coming and going and were migraine related. That went away with a magnesium supplement and a stern reminder that our family seems to have a hereditary problem with caffeine and cannot tolerate it at all. (He'd been sneaking sips of Roger's coffee and eating chocolate ice cream at youth group. He understands now.) But the glasses were still really scratched up and hard to see through. When they broke I wanted to cry. Now we'd HAVE to buy new glasses and right away. I prayed and asked God what we should do now and then it occurred to me to call 20/20. I was thinking it had been too long, but called to check anyway. They said it was under a year and they were under warranty. It cost us $40 to get the new glasses. That's a hardship for us, but nothing like a brand new pair would cost and I was praising God all day that they broke and we got new glasses for only $40!! Poor Mitchell couldn't see for a week waiting for the new pair to arrive in the mail, but God provided and I was happy. So for the broken pair to be lost now is such a blow! I feel like it's a spiritual attack which may seem silly to some of you, but there's a lot going on here right now and I believe Satan will attack us in anyway he can. And this was such a recent gift from God I feel certain Satan would want to take it away.

Anyway, whether you believe it's a spiritual attack or not, I would sure appreciate you saying a prayer that the broken glasses turn up somewhere. We really NEED to find them. God knows where they are and He could help us. Also, everyone here is really grouchy now trying to find them and having no clue where to look. Everyone's checked the kitchen at least 5 times each because we all know that's where they were. So please pray that God will help us find them and that meanwhile the kids and I will stop being grouchy and stressed out trying to find them. He's helped us find things before. We need His help again.

Thanks for your prayers!
Melissa

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Medlin/Ringler

This has nothing to do with life on the farm.

It has everything to do with failing to remember.

June 12 and 13, 2004 was a pair of very bleak days. At 3 a.m. on the morning of June 12th a drunk driver killed Darren Medlin, a Grapevine Police Officer. The driver is now in prison. Darren was survived by his wife and daughters. The next day, as they were leaving a baseball game, Matt Ringler - an off duty Grapevine firefighter - and his son were killed when their car was crushed by an 18 wheeler on the interstate. His widow is now alone.

I have one of those magnet ribbons on my truck. It says "Grapevine Remembers". I forgot. I drove the truck today and saw the ribbon as I was coming out of a meeting in Abilene. I have been gone for a year, almost exactly now, and still the loss of those two is very disturbing to me, yet I forgot the anniversaries over the last two days.

The tragedy of it all is how absolutely pointless it was. There were no heroics to remember as these two men who lived their lives to protect others were just killed. Nothing but death for these two men and a son. I was told that none of the them would have suffered. Probably none of them knew it even happened as their deaths were pretty much instantaneous. Just a pair of wives and daughters left behind.

I have nothing profound or wise to say to mark their passing. I didn't have any such words two years ago either. I'm just sorry it happened and pray for Gina Medlin and Becky Ringler.

To read more about Darren: link

To read more about Matt: link

Roger

Monday, June 12, 2006

Fudd, Elmer Fudd


Weird day. Stephen went out to the far barn to get a hockey helmet (a story for another day) and got himself stalked by a bobcat. Really. So, when I got home today the two of us went out to hunt down the predator. Why? Well, because it will kill our chickens and sheep if left to its own devices. The problem is that these things have huge territories, we have no idea what we are doing and it was pretty dadgum hot out there this afternoon. So, we came back with a dead rabbit. It was kind enough to stand still long enough for me to shoot it a couple times, the second time fatally. Wabbits awe not always cwafty cweatures.

We are still trying to figure out the new house. Looks like we might build a pole barn and then build a house underneath it. The underground round house made from sand bags is a goner now. Papercrete - a paper pulp building material - looks like a frontrunner as well as the rocks on the property and the cordwood idea that Melissa still likes a lot. I think cordwood looks like a load of work, a big load of work. Melissa thinks it looks neat and points out that the mesquite trees are free and we are poor. Hmmmm. Could be done afterall.

One final note - GO MAVS!

Roger

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Small Victory

I said in my last post that I was going to work on updating our webpage. Updating took minutes, but uploading my updates was a much bigger deal. After my computer crashed, I had to reload lots of software and such. That meant I had to re-do settings and passwords and all kinds of technical stuff that I barely understood the first time. I'll spare you all the boring details, but I had to share my success. I spent 2 days on it, but I can do it now! I finally figured out how to upload my files! Hurray!

See, to me, this world of computers isn't a matter of knowing what I'm doing, but more a matter of testing and re-testing until I find what works. It can be rather time consuming that way, but it works for me! I don't think understanding all this stuff would ever happen! So I get especially happy when I figure something out. Woohoo!

Melissa

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Chicken processing day

Yesterday was a busy day. Roger could probably tell you more about it since I just sat in the house and held a baby (and did a few dishes and some laundry and took care of an ill 3 yr old), but he's resting right now.

We had 100 chicks we purchased when we didn't think the ones in the incubator were going to do well. I'd candled the eggs a week into it and couldn't tell if anything was happening. I did the math and figured out that if we ordered chicks from a hatchery right away, they should be ready to process about 2 weeks before the baby was due. This was important since I was the only one who could really do the eviscerating. Stephen and I made a good team, but I wasn't sure he could do it without me. I was pretty certain he wouldn't be happy about it if he could.

Then the time to process came, but the chickens weren't really big enough yet. I figured this meant we had to wait until I was ready to process them after the baby was born. I don't know how long that would be. Meanwhile, we would have to continue to feed them, water them, and take care of them. Now, baby chicks are cute, but full grown chickens aren't. They are stinky, messy creatures and we don't really like to keep them longer than necessary. Nevermind the fact that they end up costing us more money than they are worth if we have to feed them for an extra month or two!!

About 3 days after Gloria was born, on the Monday that Roger recently blogged about, the chickens were decidedly large enough to process. Figures it would happen that way. I was certainly not feeling up to processing them! But guess what. My mom had a couple of her friends from California flying in for a visit. They are all nurses and my mom figured they could do it. So my mother and her two friends spent a day of their "vacation" processing chickens at our house!! Roger and the kids showed them what to do and they just pitched in and got to work. What an incredible blessing!! I just want to publicly thank my mother, Carole, and her friends Marie and Marsha for being such good sports and helping us out! I'm praying God will give you all a special blessing for your efforts here.

We now have a half emptied tractor and a freezer FULL of chicken. (Contact Roger at orders@panivinoranch.com if you want to order some. He can answer questions. It's $1.90/lb if you come here to get it, or $2.50/lb if it's delivered. I'll try to get the webpage updated soon.)

Melissa