Friday, October 20, 2006

Go Cardinals! (Nothing to do with the post, just wanted to get a shout out for the Cards)

Melissa went to Granbury for a cheap vacation. She and her mom are doing fabric shopping and things like that. I am so very glad to have not gone on that trip. The kids and I went on a trip of our own to the Library. There is a renovation/expansion underway at the Library and I have made some meetings on it. We have a great collection of historic Texas documents and I am thinking that the Library could use those to bring folks to Coleman. A neighboring town, Cross Plains, does that with some Conan the Barbarian manuscripts – I forgot the name of the writer, but he lived in Cross Plains for a while, so they got his stuff. Talk about a niche, they put on a literary seminar every year on Conan the Barbarian. Go for it.

Anyway, I raided the freezer for the last of the steaks and back strap and we had a nice dinner this evening. We ate until we could not eat anymore and then we got in the truck and drove like crazy all over the property. We can’t afford Six Flags tickets for 11, nor do any of us have the patience to wait in line all day for a stinking three minute ride, so loading everyone up in bed of the truck gives the kids a 10 to 15 minute ride and I get to see how the cow is doing. She still has some milk in her, so the calf stays put.

It is 10 p.m. and I just realized that I forgot to do the Bible reading part of school this morning with the kids. Hmmm, do I wake them up? No, because none of them are asleep. Being one of five girls means everynight is a slumber party. The boys are not as annoying as the girls on this one but it isn't because they are asleep, its because they talk lower and their room is further away.

When Melissa is gone there is no one to police the police, so I have eaten a gob of piƱata candy today. More like a gob right after dinner. The DOTS are gone and the Tootsie-Rolls are fewer than before. I am trying to eat better, just not all that hard. Speaking of eating right, I learned today that powdered sugar is also known as confectioners’ sugar. Did you already know that? Good for you. Can you tell me when you learned they were same? I can, it was October 20, 2006 and I now have a permament record of this discovery.

Roger

Monday, October 16, 2006

I found an old girlfriend today

Faith could not find her horse earlier today and I had not seen the cow since late Saturday, so this evening she and I went to find our respective favorite large mammals. Bella has been drying out in anticipation of her delivery Clark and Claire, because they cannot resist the chance to get out on the property, went along for the walk. We never did find the horse, but this is not a big deal to me as the horse is a drain on our resources and the cow is a money saver for us. I would rather find Bella than Abraham any day.

We checked the creek bed, the home of the finest grasses on the farm, but she was not there. We checked the house site and the pipeline site, again to no avail. We checked the tank and there weren’t even tracks to report. After about an hour of walking (and playing hide and seek) we found her in the midst of some mesquite trees. As I walked up to her she just stared at me with her big, brown cow eyes. Her udders are beginning to empty, which is a good thing as we want to get the calf out of the chicken field as soon as possible, but if Bella has milk in her the calf will steal from her and keep her lactating. A bad thing and we try to avoid bad things.

So I checked out her udder and in the process got a great big whiff of cow. You’re probably thinking that this will be leading up to some cow poop comment. It isn’t. The smell is like living leather with sweat mixed in. Bella has her own distinct smell, like each of out kids has a smell that they have had since they were given their first bath after being born. It isn’t baby oil or powder, it is a smell, an essence, that is the person (or cow), that overpowers whatever else you smell. With Bella this smell is also a part of the taste of her milk.

Anyway, I got a great big whiff of Bella and realized, as dumb as this sounds, that I have missed milking her and smelling her every morning and evening. It is a part of the routine and the rhythm of life here on the farm and even though it has just been about a week and a half that we’ve drying her out it has thrown off some of the simple joys of living out here. Bella must have enjoyed smelling me as well because she followed me all the way back to the house. Funny, but three weeks ago getting her to come in for a milking meant pulling her in and then pulling her back out after it was over. Maybe she missed me also. Don’t tell Melissa, but the cow seems to love me.

Roger

Thursday, October 12, 2006

White Water and Wasps

Well, we have run out of Isabella's delicious milk. She is at the end of her pregnancy and we have to let her dry out before the calf is born. That's anywhere between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day depending on I don't know what. But that means we're back to drinking pasteurized, homogenized milk. After all the research I just did on raw milk and its benefits I hated the idea of it, but really thought I'd like the taste just fine. I guess after drinking nothing but the best for nearly a year, I was thoroughly spoiled. The milk from the store leaves a strange aftertaste that I don't remember ever tasting before--except after flossing my teeth. There's just something really wrong-tasting about it. Not bad, but just not right. Some of the kids call it white water.

Have you heard Walmart is carrying "organic" milk now? In their own Great Value brand? I was reading about it the other day and it made me really sad to think they are lying to so many people who just want to be healthy. Okay, they aren't exactly lying, but they aren't telling the whole truth. It may fit the organic label, but it isn't natural! Apparently the cows are milked 3 times a day (2 is much more customary. 3 would be hard on the cow, but I guess they don't really care) and fed organic grain. That would be like a human eating nothing but organic lettuce and thinking they are doing well following an organic diet. Yes, it's organic, but it's not all you need. Cows need grass. Without good fresh grass, they aren't getting all the vitamins they need. Most people understand that a nursing mother needs to eat right in order for the baby to get good healthy milk. Well, the same is true for a cow. She needs a good, healthy diet in order to make good, healthy milk. But you can't do that on such a large scale, sell it for low prices, and still make a profit. So they pile too many cows together and only put them in the pasture when they are not milking--a couple months per year. It reminds me of how back in the 1800's they found a lot of people were dying from the milk. The cows were being fed poor quality food and made poor quality milk. The cows became sick and their immune system was shot. No immunoglobins passed into the milk so the milk was lacking in vitamins and immunoglobins. People got sick and died from the milk. So the people learned to pasteurize it to kill the germs. That was probably a good thing, but a better answer might have been to take better care of the cows. Well, I can't change the world, but I sure am glad we moved here so we can have a cow and get good quality milk most of the time.

Clark's swollen eye

Changing the subject now. We have a lot of wasps or yellow jackets or something. They have wasp-like bodies and they sting. Yesterday, Clark went outside and set his hand on a nest without looking. Of course, the wasps didn't like that. We pray every night for safety from spiders, snakes and scorpions and we've begun to add more and more things to our list--wild dogs, ticks, ants, and wasps. Well, it must be helping. The wasps were mad and were flying all over the place. Clark only got one sting and it was near his eye, not in it. He swears it hardly hurts at all. I gave him some Benadryl (although it took 2 stores to find the dye-free kind) and I don't see much change at all. He's a tough kid though and doesn't seem phased by it. We had to go to the store and he was prepared with an answer if anyone asked what happened to his eye (I was born this way. I'm a goblin.), but no one asked. Several offered advice. I guess lots of people out here have seen it before. Everyone seemed to just know what happened.

Naptime/Quiet time seems to be officially over now. I guess I better go try to settle the fight roaring out there. The thing about being fruitful and multiplying is that the fighting increases exponentially. Thankfully so do the blessings.

Melissa

Friday, October 06, 2006

Gloria at 4 mos


This was just such a cute picture I had to share it.

Melissa

Not much of anything, a little of everything, lots of rambling

It's almost the end of a two week school break. I love those breaks. I can get things done that I otherwise don't have time to do. So looking back over the last two weeks, what have I accomplished?

We started some pinatas. That's all, just started. Maybe we'll get them done when we start school again. I can call it art. We need pinatas for Children's church. The kids have a verse to memorize each week. Whoever knows their verse gets a swing at the pinata.

I've finished Faith's website, but already blogged about that. That was an accomplishment though.

I sold some stuff on Ebay. Not very successfully I might add. I spent most of one day taking pictures and describing the stuff. Then I spent most of the day the auctions ended answering questions and closing out the auctions. I got everything shipped except for the one item that isn't yet paid for. Between ebay fees, paypal fees and small closing bids, I made about $15 for 2 days work. How do people make a living doing this?!? On some of the auctions I actually lost money because the closing bid was lower than the ebay and paypal fees. I guess I'm not very good at this ebay selling.

I spent an afternoon baking bread so the kids could take it to shut-ins as an outreach activity at church. But then I took too long getting it done and it wasn't ready in time. On the bright side, we have plenty of bread to eat now.

I've made several slings this week and they actually look really good. They are denim and I'm using the heavy duty thread that's kind of a brown color that jeans are often made with. Then the selvage edges are frayed looking and I've left them on pockets and one of the edges. Very cool looking. I need to take pics for Sew Many Children, but haven't gotten that accomplished yet.

I spent some time preparing for a talk about healthy living. I think that went well. The ladies I spoke to actually listened and seemed interested. Either they were really polite or they really enjoyed it. I am still amazed that after all these years of my family rolling their eyes at me when I talk about eating right, someone actually WANTED me to talk about it. And even more amazing is that I never really felt nervous.

I've read a gazillion books to Sam and Gloria. Sam LOVES that I've had more time to read to him. Gloria thinks the corners of the books taste good. Joy listens a lot, too. Clark brings me books that are hard for me to read. They have lots of words on the pages and I tend to fall asleep if I sit still too long without turning pages. Is that Attention Deficit Disorder or Sleep Deprivation? Or maybe a bit of both.

I've spent oodles of time nursing a baby. Growth spurt? I don't know. But she's nursing frequently and it's okay. When she's not nursing she really is getting to be sooo much fun! Whenever she sees me she squeals with delight and wiggles like she's doing a happy dance. I just love being a mom! Then Sam will come up and just out of the blue say, "I wub you Mom." He's my buddy these days and I really should take advantage of that and potty train him. But it's just not happenin'. I've started a few times, but after changing his underwear and wiping up the floor a bunch I just quit. Someday soon I'll get tired of diapers enough that I'll be motivated enough. My experience is that the child never gets potty trained until *I* am fed up enough with the diapers.

Oh,yeah, I also started to sort through clothes to see what is needed for winter and what doesn't fit anymore. That job gets bigger every year. The kids get bigger, we have more of them. . . So now I have piles of future hand-me-downs to get out to the barn. We have a few things that we'd like to get rid of--older kids never wore them and younger kids say no way, but forget ebay!!

I still have quite a list of things to get done and tomorrow and the weekend are the end of our break. I guess that's life though. So much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it.

Melissa

Monday, October 02, 2006

Little Clay People

Our daughter, Faith, has artistic talent. The girl can create something out of anything. Well, I guess most kids can, but we usually call it a mess! But Faith is one of those people who makes something beautiful out of just about anything.

A while back she started making little clay people to play with. Well, now she is baking them and selling them.

So my post today is just a shameless plug for her new website where you can order little clay people. They would make great gifts and Christmas is just around the corner. . .

Go to www.sewmanychildren.com/littleclaypeople.html and order soon before she gets so busy she realizes she needs to raise her prices!

Melissa

All the news that's fit for the birdcage

I don’t know why this came to mind, but it did. From time to time the kids get this idea in their head that they need to do a newspaper about our family. There is always a weather forecast which they do as well as any other weather forecaster can muster. They usually have a short story about one of the animals and a cartoon. There is never any good hard-hitting journalism, just a bunch of fluff. If I wrote the family paper I would have plenty of stories and interviews and features, like...

Stephen talks about washing chicken grease off dishes, shares his tricks! (lifestyle section)

Mitchell comes out of room! (front page)

Faith rides horse! (front page picture)

Why did Grace drive the van? When will Grace admit she drove the van? (investigative column)

Claire invents tape clothing line to an awe filled Milan (Fashion Coleman! section)

Clark, fixated on saying “wearing coats”, gets beaten by older brother (crime page)

Joy pokes cow (sports page)

Sam shuts his own finger in toilet seat accident, treated and released (local news)

Mom talks, does anyone listen? (advice column)

Dad still in bad mood over still lost keys (pretty much in every issue and ignored - like Jumble)

Getting out of bed after bedtime is bad (editorial page)

Every issue would also include a weekly dinner menu in a weather forecast format so that if there is a 40% chance of meatloaf on Tuesday and we have spaghetti instead we still have an out. I am concerned about being able to get ad revenue for a paper with a circulation of 11.

Roger