Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Goodbye Blogger

This place was home for many, many posts. I loved this place, but I needed more. I shopped around and decided this is where I belong. However, I'm still crying over how much I miss this little spot. Please, please come visit me.......I can't blog without you!

Coal Creek Farm

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Clay gives Pdub.....


Coal Creek Farm's doors have opened. The furniture hasn't arrived yet, but I'm moving in anyway. Come over and get all the dirt on Pioneer Woman.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Vacationing at THE LODGE!

Take a look.

Guess what I forgot to pack?

My camera cord and the cell phone charger. Good thing I didn't forget that I'm an IDIOT!!!

This is the end of communication and the end of the world.

It is 4:20am. Marlboro Man is going to come wake us up in about an hour.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Titanic Trippin'

My sister and I and our poor husbands are going away for the weekend....together. We might be going somewhere to re-enact the sinking of The Titanic, or not. I don't really know how to tell you where we're going, except it's crazy, so it should feel very normal and not at all weird. We might be getting a heavy dose of counseling because after trying to combine our blogs I was searching through the Yellow Pages for Blog Counselors....there's a market there people, if you are a counselor reprint your business cards now with blog counseling available.

My new blog Coal Creek Farm is sitting there waiting for me to work on it some more. I would love to hear what you think so far, what you would like to see and if I should make any changes. It's a bit like I dumped clean laundry on the floor and can't find any hangers. So, I'll take advice, but I may not be physically able to implement anything right away. There is a learning curve......I'm at the bottom.

Okay, line up your chickens and give them a big peck for me and I want you to know, you are my favorite reader, yes you are. Oh, the arrogance, it's what keeps me going. Love, love, bye, bye, kiss, kiss, hug, hug.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Meet the new member of our family.


Sure wish he'd have the courtesy to stay outside...or go away.

I have something I need to tell you.

This blog. This blog that I've used as a therapy tool for the last few years is going to move.

I know many of you read my darling older sister's blog in which she has told you a bit about the merging of our blogs and then the un-merging. What can I say, Rechelle, she changes her mind......a lot. Refer to this post for validation. Also, she thinks I'm too bossy, to which I told her she needs to keep her hair dark, stop dinking with the hutch and start following some garsh darn rules already! Does that sound bossy? Do you all think I'm the older sister? Most people do. I'M THE BABY! Got it? Did you know I even have a sister?

Anyway, not merging our blogs was a huge relief to me, I was starting to think my therapeutic hobby was going to turn into a stress inducing task that would cause me to suffer major migraines and hide from my sister forever.

Rechelle is going to launch her new blog sometime today and on that blog she has had her designer put some very cute links and one of those links is to my new blog, which isn't quite finished. Kinda like I fixed the front of my hair, but left a roller or two in the back. Rechelle gave me the option of taking down the link, but I told her to go ahead and leave it, cuz I'll get around to moving someday.......maybe.

I don't like to move. I mean, yes, I just moved hundreds of miles a year and a half ago to our new home and that was wonderful, but I don't ever, ever, ever want to move again. Which is why my butt is large and in charge. So, moving this blog is painful and time consuming and mind draining.......but a little exciting. Did you know these..... are the best way to express a pause in your writing? Yes, it's true.....I know.....I'm a professional blogger.

er, anyway......

You see, blogging is my hobby, not my job. Although, one time, when I was feeling like a professional blogger, I told the young girl that was cutting my hair, "I do a little freelance writing." What? What did I just say? I know. I'm an idiot. Because then I had to tell her I was a blogger. Idiot. Eeeedeeeeaaaht! I just don't want to pour more of myself into this hobby than I already do, because I fear I would start to dread coming here, it would be a chore. I hate chores. Well, some chores.

Blahhh. Okay, so all that to say, there will be a new sight coming soon, April Showers will still be home base for awhile and I think all of you that take the time out of your day to leave me a comment or stop by and read my dribble are strangely wonderful.

I'll reveal what our new house guest is later, one of you guessed correctly.

I'm still trying to get ready to leave town tomorrow. My four nephews are coming to stay at my house with my parents while I'm gone, so I'm trying to be a nice daughter and fix some meals, stock the fridge, do the laundry, leave instructions for the animals, give a detailed itenerary for each child and make life as easy as possible for them so they will offer to watch my kids again someday when I want to take a four month vacation to Europe. Har har, ha ha, hooooooo! Hey! I can dream!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Over the shoulder

boulder holder.

Or in my case, small landscaping rocks. April has purchased two new bras! It's a miracle, a true blue miracle! Well, except the bras aren't blue. I'd show you a picture, but, um, no. I will tell you that I bought them from Target and they were under $8 on the sale rack. Please, please, I know, thank you, really, please hold your applause, thank you.

In other news....

When it rains it pours my friends. I'm trying to get my life organized enough to leave town for the weekend, but all I can do is turn circles.

Today I lost a load of clean laundry I was going to fold. Just so happens I took it out of the dryer, put it in the laundry basket then put it all back in the washer to wash again. Gah.

The store I need to go to today doesn't open until 4pm and I'll be doing one of my little volunteer jobs at that time, then taking my son to his "GOD PLEASE PICK HIM" baseball practice, then picking up my kids from church, then, then, then.....

Clay is conveniently out of town for business and will get home just about the time that I've picked up all the kids and started for home. Yeah for me.

I've become completely distracted by a potential job that I would love to have, so much so, that I can't think of much else. And that's not good, refer to laundry mishap in first paragraph.

The other night I spent a strange amount of time searching for boar semen. I know. We plan to artificially inseminate one of our pigs and I thought I should start researching boar semen now. Who knew there was such a big market for that stuff? Wow. Being a Pig Farmer is not the job I was referring to. I'll let you know about that later, maybe, if I can remember.

What was I saying? Boulder holder, lost laundry, job, yeah, I think that about covers it. Oh wait. I forgot to tell you that we have added a new member to the family!

He comes and goes as he pleases. He lives in every room. Sometimes he stays outside, but right now he's on Ellen's bed. The boys love him. I, well, I, um, er, I hate him. He causes me a lot of work. I wish he would have the courtesy to stay outside where he belongs. My family doesn't seem to notice him sometimes. Especially Clay, he just forgets that the little guy might be tagging along with him. Do you know what he is?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mother Suffering from Baseball Ulcer

Dear God,
Uh, I'm about to write a post about baseball.
Please help me.

My oldest son turned 13 a couple weeks ago and all of the sudden he's gone from a tiny little bundle of chub with auburn hair that smelled like a wet puppy rolled in sugar to a giant, stinking beast balancing between boy and man.

I know several people that are going to say, "April, Seth has never been tiny." And to you people I say....phlbbbt, he's a babaaaaay! A tiny helpless infant!

Seth, my baby-buh-buh-buh was asked to try out for a baseball team because he just happened to be in the right spot at the right time.

When he got home Clay told me it's an older team and they do a bit of traveling...........and that's all I heard. Traveling. Traveling. Traveling.

"But, you know, he may not get picked. They're trying out four guys for one spot." said Clay.

"Gah, I hope he doesn't get picked!" I complained.

The coach called today. They want Seth to come practice with their team tonight and again on Wednesday. They are interested in him, but can't promise anything. And now. And NOW. AND FREAKIN' NOW, I'm all nervous!!!!!

I'm not nervous that I'm going to have to take him to all these freakin' tournaments all over FREAKIN' KANSAS! No. I'm nervous that THEY WON'T PICK HIM!!!!!

For cryin' out loud what if he gets all excited about playing with this team and they choose one of the other boys? One of those other stinky boys that is NOT a teeny tiny baby boy with wittle bitty fweckles on his squishy wishy nose? I'm not sure I can take the rejection....I mean Seth, I'm not sure if SETH can take the rejection.

Oh boy, I think I might have a problem.


Oh, Lord. Why? Why is my life steeped in sports? Why can't my children like art and dance and music and....and...FARMING!!!

Opening a Beehive

Clay has talked about having bees for years. He lucked out this year when the gentleman farmer that sold us our pigs informed us that he was moving and we offered to buy a couple of his hives from him. Also, Clay works with a young architect that has been dabbling in bees since he was a teenager and Clay peppers him with questions that fueled his desire to get into the apiary business sooner than later.

The young architect let Clay borrow his bee suit so he could take a look inside the hives without getting stung to death. The young architect is just a tad smaller than Clay which is obvious when you see how we had to duct tape the suit and around his ankles and wrists. Clay felt a bit trapped. Have I ever mentioned that Clay is horribly claustrophobic? He hates the feeling of being trapped.

Note that little orange tool in Clay's pocket. That is called a hive tool and it is crucial when you want to open a hive, especially one that hasn't been opened all winter because the bees glue everything shut with something called propolis or bee-glue or virgin wax.

He's suited up and protected from any stinging bees. The next step is to create some smoke to sedate the bees before opening the hive. We don't have a smoker yet, so we created one in a metal coffee can. Not the best solution, but it worked, mostly because it was a cool windy day the the bees weren't very active.

Dryer lint and leaves make a good smoke. Kansas wind makes it difficult to start a fire.

But that same Kansas wind was very helpful blowing the smoke into the hive. A little smoke into the entrance below and then....

take off the lid. The smaller white box on top is where we will collect the honey, it's called a super. The lower two boxes are where the bees live and work and breed and most importantly, it's where the queen reigns.

All of these things have names like supers, boxes, brooder, nukes, blah, blah, blah. I would fail a test right now, so bear with me as I learn. Clay is using his hive tool to take out all the things that the bees will build wax comb on and then insert golden honey, we call them frames.

The frames come with wax or plastic bases that have a hexagonal shape embedded on them. The bees build their wax directly on top of the hexagon grid. You can see a bit of the yellow wax that has already been built on top of the white plastic grid.

Down in the that oval shaped hole you can see the bees. Clay blew a few more puffs of smoke in the top of the hive so I could rush over and take these photos.

After taking out all the grids Clay loosens the top. The bees glue down everything. That is why you have to have a hive tool.

I can't remember what this board is called but it can be used to invert a jar of sugar syrup inside the hive to feed the bees and you can place a little one way door in the oval to keep bees in one part of the hive.

It was glued down pretty tight. The bees were calm and stayed inside the hive because it was incredibly windy and a tad chilly. You should never open the hive if it's below 55 degrees F.

There are approximately 40,000 bees in this hive. They could product up to 50 pounds of honey.

The brown specks are the bees. Clay was contemplating his next move. This was the first time he had opened the hive and he was excited and nervous.

In the end he decided it was too darn windy to take out any of the frames inside the hive for fear he would find the queen and she would blow away. So he removed the wooden board with the oval hole and inserted a queen excluder which looks like a metal grate. You can see it lying on the ground on top of the white lid. It allows the worker bees to crawl up to the top super and make honey but the queen is too big to get through the grate, so she stays below to lay eggs.

Here's what we have spent on our bees thus far:

$200- for two completely built hives includes two queen excluders, only one hive had live bees.

$50- to attend a bee conference and become members of the Kansas Beekeepers Association which sends out newsletters and crucial information for beginners.

We still need to buy a suit for Clay ($70-90), hive tool($5-7) and new bees for the second hive ($????).

Stay tuned I'm trying to get another post written about our hive that died.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Mr. Roboto

Do Mo-Do Mo

I'm afraid to tell you how long I've been singing that song with those exact lyrics. Not one person has ever corrected me. Ever.

I had no idea what a maughty goto was, but I figured meh, it's probably Japanese. Am I as dumb as I think I am? Yes, and I would think even a tad more.

Thank you very much.
Domo Arigato.

Now, who wants to know about bees? Yeah, me neither.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Solving my clothing delima one bid at a time.

My friends, I want to thank you for advising me to check out Ebay to solve our clothing problems.

I'm happy to say I'm having a very sultry affair with this Ebay and it's paying off quite lusciously.

So far, I've purchased two dress shirts (one new, one used) and one pair of new dress pants for Clay. Normally I would have paid around $200 for those three items, but I only shelled out $30. I know!!!! It's like Heaven has opened up and rained Ebay on my head.

Right now I'm in a bidding war with some awful person that wears the same size jeans as I do. She has no idea who she's bidding against, I think if she did she would have mercy and stop bidding on those Calvin Kline jeans that need to be on my body!!!!

Don't worry, I do have a bid limit. I'm still the cheapest person in the world and I think I will be saying goodbye forever to those very cute Calvin Kline jeans that should be covering my big bodacious self. Dang it.

I also hit a thrift store a few weeks ago when I visited my sister. I spent $7 on a new Gap back pack that was full of playstation games and music cds, two shirts, one wool skirt, adult sized snow pants, rain jacket and several sweatshirts for the boys and Clay. I was surprised some of the clothes were in great condition and were name brands like Abercrombie, Gap, Carhart and American Eagle. My boys have been having a great time with the cds they found in the back pack. SCORE!

I told Clay that I might be able to cloth our family for around $1000 a year at the rate I'm going.


I tell ya, it's time consuming and somewhat irritating doing this debt thing, but I dig the challenge. Mostly, I appreciate all of you that have helped point me to some great resources. Thank you!

Now, I've got to go check my bids.

Monday, April 06, 2009

What the heck is a blouse?

I have a very good friend that is a decade younger than me. She's a lot like a little sister because on occasion she will email me a picture of her in an outfit and ask, "Does this look good together?" And I love her so much and trust that she will still love me after I say,"NO! Don"t ever wear that, ever."

Today she emailed me a photo of her in an outfit that I told her she couldn't wear right now, because it's not right for the season. Then I told her to look for a blouse and a jacket. Her reply was, "What the heck is a blouse?"

And that is when I had to pause and wonder if our age gap makes me an old person that doesn't know anything about fashion. Because I still believe that you can't wear white or open toed shoes until after Memorial Day. I also try to stick with light on the top and dark on the bottom.

After all I didn't take Mrs. Short's clothing class in high school for nothing. I learned a lot of valuable information in that class. However, it was 1988 and there is a slight possibility that some of those critical fashion faux pas are now, in fact, fashionable.

But, for my friend's sake and for my daughter, whom has no fashion sense AT ALL, I thought I would write a list of fashion rules that I try not to break and therefore everyone should probably do the exact opposite.

1. Never wear boots past March, except cowboy boots.

2. Never wear white shoes or carry a white purse until after Memorial Day. Um, I might be carrying a white purse with big colorful flowers on it right now.

3. Never wear jeans to church on Sunday. Clay, Seth and Isaac wore jeans to church yesterday. sigh

4. Never wear a dark bra under a light shirt. Do we need to talk about April's bra debacle of the past few months? I found myself wearing a sports bra under a sweater a couple of days ago giving me a nice flat uni-boob look.

5. Never wear a sports bra under a sweater.

6. You can wear jeans that are from the 70's but not the 80's or 90's.

7. Just say no to acid wash.

8. Never give away any jewelry because it will come back in fashion.

9. If you don't wear something for a year get rid of it.

10. Hunt down all the stuff you got rid of because it is now in fashion.

11. Keep everything.

12. If it's old call it vintage.

13. If it's new call it chic.

14. If it's torn call it shabby.

15. If it's stained call it grunge.

16. Only old people call shirts blouses.

17. Underwear for boys.

18. Panties for girls.

19. Boxers for guys.

20 Thongs for flossing.

21. Bras should be optional and made with chicken feathers and bailing twine.

22. Having one pair of decent jeans will force you to wear skirts or old sweat pants everyday.

23. Challenging yourself not to buy new clothes for nearly a year will cause you to gain weight.

24. Gaining too much fat in your bodacious areas will decrease the amount of pants that fit over your soft jiggly parts.

25. Excuse me while I curl into a fetal position and cry for a few days.......never mind I'm too chubby to curl into a ball.......I'll just recline on the couch in my tight jeans and whimper for a bit.......never mind....I can't bend over.....or breath.....

26. Sweat pants are God's gift to a chubby housewife. Wear them everyday.

27. Wear whatever the heck you want.

28. I hate clothes.

29. I'm never getting dressed again.

30. Never ask me a fashion question.

Friday, April 03, 2009


Remember when I wrote about The Family Promise Network?

Our church hosted the guests in Family Promise again this week. I went to help serve dinner one evening and brought my two oldest children with me.

I met the guests and their children. Some of them have been in Family promise for many months while others have only been staying there a few weeks.

One mom opened up a little to me and all I can say about her is that she is raw. Like skin stripped away and placed under running water. Like a bruise that people keeping punching. Like a cut on a finger that gets lemon juice poured on it.

It stings.
It burns.

When I went to the training class that is required for all the volunteers at Family Promise I learned the most important thing to do while interacting with the guests is to treat them with dignity and not ask them very many questions, especially questions about their current situation, because they only stay in a church for a week and usually a different group of people help serve dinner every night so, if you had to explain to people why you are homeless while eating your dinner every night, well, I think dinner would start to be pretty unappetizing and a very dreaded time of the day.

I think I may have erred a bit on the side of not talking to the people for fear that I would make them uncomfortable. Even when the woman started telling me how she became homeless I kept quiet and listened to her and maybe that's all she needed, but I was hoping she didn't want me to offer advice or feel like she had to explain why she was there, but maybe she did. I'm sure it's hard to have a stranger look at you and know you're homeless and feel the need to explain that you're not a complete loser, but life threw you a few too many punches in a row and you just couldn't recover from the multiple beatings before the next punch came and landed you square in the pit of homelessness.

I think some of the people at Family Promise had more fight in them than others and view being in that spot as a temporary step and not their housing solution.

I was impressed by the children, they were all well behaved and sweet. They had fun playing with my kids and for the most part seemed happy. Their parents are doing the best they can for them right now.

I fed a toddler a bottle and watched two little boys so their mom could go outside for a break, I talked to a mom about the classes she was taking and her hectic schedule and I laughed with another mom about something silly that one of the children was doing.

When I left that night I felt heavy. I had guarded my heart and held my tongue. I knew my tiny contribution to these people was not going to change their situation, it may have slightly lightened their burden for a moment, but what I realized is it's up to them. Really. And the question in my head now is do they have the will and desire to fight? Will they be paralyzed by their fears, inabilities and lack of resources?

Some of them are going to have to fight a much bigger battle than others. Mentally, physically and spiritually all their battles are going to have to be fought and conquered if they want to cross the bridge to self reliance.

I know they are getting some help that is very beneficial and I hope they can take the hand that is being extended to them and hold on tightly until they are able to walk freely on their own.

I'll continue to help serve the guests in the Family Promise Network. Next time I'll be more comfortable interacting with the women and children, but I hope the next time my church hosts that some of the families that I met will be missing because they have found a home of their own.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Laundry Lady

Only my good friend, Mrs Mama, can make doing laundry look so good.

I'm having a serious internal battle with myself about posting these photos. But, remember I also posted photos of me in my clown costume.

So, I guess it's okay to step back from my martyrdom and post a few gratuitous photos.

Right? Hold on a sec....I need to go drink some Pepto and think about that question.

Yes. I swear. Everyday, I wear a skirt and heels and hang pretty quilts on my clothes line and I have a person taking photos of it and I post them on my blog for the whole world to see.

What? You don't? Why? Because it's not normal? What? I'm a weirdo? Where's that pepto?

I swear, this is the prettiest my laundry has ever looked and that's the best I've ever looked doing laundry.......uh, no, I mean I look like that ALL THE TIME!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

woman wearing clown costume weaves a chair seat

Yes, I fixed my dining room chairs. But, only two of them. Because my hands are withered and sore after doing these two, and I used enough fabric to circle the globe....twice. I swear.

This one turned out to look a lot like my college dorm room. I had a peach comforter and I used light green floral to accent everything. Gag. Some of the fabric is at least twenty years old and came from the now extinct TG&Y. All this chair is missing is a duck with a bow around its neck stenciled along the arm.

I did this one second and thought about the colors a bit more before starting. Unfortunately, I ended with that gingham print which ends up being the dominant pattern. I do like this one more, but lets just say this was an experiment.

All the knots that tie the fabric strips together are on the bottom. That was the hardest part, retying the fabric so the knots wouldn't be on the top or sides.

I still need to tuck in a few on this chair, but my hands are too mangled at the moment.

Not a bad fix for a while. When and if and when and if and when I can spend some extra cash on the actual cane, I think I'll re-do them. Or I'll wait another 25 years until these fall apart and then I'll sell them as vintage antiques. Har har.

Now, let's talk about what I was wearing while doing this little project.


-it was snowing
-it was a Saturday
-I have a very meager and pathetic wardrobe
-I wanted to feel vintage, like the fabric I was using...


Brace yourself.

Yes, this is me. In capri pajama pants OVER, mind you I said, OVER a pair of long johns. Add some striped grey and pink wool socks and top it off with an ancient LA Gear sweat shirt that my elderly neighbor found in her house and thought one of my kids would like it. Please don't tell her it's one of my favorite things....she really thought my kids would like it.

Ellen helped me. The weaving is easy, the keeping the fabric tight is hard....on the hands.

I thought this chair would be a pretty blue and brown and white. I had gobs and gobs of fabric and thought I'd finish the chair with those colors.

Uh, nope. I had to break into the peaches and pinks and greens before I finally had enough fabric to finish the darn thing. That is why I have a lot less fabric stored in my fabric box.

You could do this with really cheap polyester sheets. I know this, because I also used some really cheap polyester sheets in the project. The longer the fabric the better so there are less knots to tie.

Can you see why my back is sore? I found the direction on how to weave the seat with fiber rush on line (that's what was originally on the chairs) and I decided I could probably do it with fabric just as well. So I did.

The End

Guess what I did?

Wanna guess what I did yesterday?

Here's some clues...

1. My hands are aching.

2. My back is sore.

3. It was snowing, raining and really cold outside yesterday. (That's for all you crazy people that are going to guess I was gardening).

4. It has something to do with repairing something that was broken.

5. I spent no money.

6. Think about the room that I talk about the most in my home.

7. I have a lot less of something stored in a box....a lot less.

8. My hands, did I mention how sore they are?

9. Calico Corner, TG&Y, Wal-Bart, Gibsons and JoAnns all played a part in my activity.

10. Who grew up with a TG&Y store? We called it Toys, Guns and Yo-Yos.

Do you know? Huh? Can you guess?

Pictures and the full story at ten.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Dear Mom, I'm sorry.

Dear Mom,

I'd like to apologize to you for making you live with me from the ages of eleven to twenty.

I'd like to say I'm sorry for all the times you were explaining the ways of the universe to me, but I couldn't understand anything you were saying because I was too busy rolling my eyes to the back of my head and sighing very loudly.

I totally understand why you sat down at the piano and banged out gospel songs after you would send Rechelle and me to bed and vacuumed the house at five o'clock in the morning. It was your way of irritating us while avoiding beating us to death.

I'm sorry you didn't have a blog to escape to.

I'm sorry I thought you were stupid for making me do all those useless tasks like; clean my room, do laundry, help make dinner and spend time at home. It was so hard for me to do those things when I was walking around with my eyes rolled back in my head, I hope you understand, because I can see quite clearly now....especially since I got glasses.

Remember all those times you said, "I hope you have a kid that is just like you, then you'll understand what I'm talking about?!"

I totally understand.

I also want to thank you for teaching me the fine art of embarrassment. Remember all the times you sang and danced in the car to songs you didn't know? Remember how you would get out your Mary Kay lipstick in the compact case with the three shades and apply it with that little retractable brush while looking the in the rear view mirror? Ugh, that was so embarrassing, and yet, brilliant. Remember yelling at us down the stairs in the basement to move the car because we parked it in the wrong spot on the driveway and when you finally poked your head through the door ranting and raving we were filming a spoof for the Johnny Carson show with a few of our friends? Oh, wait....that was Dad, never mind. But, wow, that was really humiliating, thanks Dad, I'll keep that one on the back burner.

Again, sorry you didn't have access to a blog.

I also want to retroactively ask your permission to wear all your clothes and your pearl necklace that I broke. Also, I won't get ticked when I see you likewise raid my closet and show up at school wearing my choir dress that no fewer than twelve other girls own and have no doubt that you are wearing the choir front of choir public......dear God, that was a priceless moment, I don't think I can top that one. Nor was I able to convince the entire school that you were NOT MY MOTHER.

I'm sorry for the times that I didn't claim you as my mom.

I'm sorry for not thanking you for all the time you spent driving me to dance classes. That is, until you discovered Rhonda Jarrett and her VW Bug and basically turned all parenting responsibilities over to Rhonda, the perfect older girl in the neighborhood that was able to protectively herd Rechelle and me through junior high and the first two years of high school. Thank God for Rhonda.

I am in serious need of a Rhonda and her VW Bug right now and also, could I get a male version of Rhonda for the boys?

Mom, I want you to know that at some point in my twenties you became a very smart woman with great ideas. I hope I can live long enough to become a smart woman with great ideas, it appears that I'll be teetering in that dancing in the car phase for many, many years to come. I fear I'll become so proficient at embarrassing the kids that it will become my normal to sing in an opera voice to all the songs on the radio and shake my shoulders while holding the steering it normal to do those things when the kids aren't in the car? I think I have a problem.

Mom! What am I going to do?! When am I going to be normal?

My kids are too spread out for me to have a break between wanting to bash their faces into their smelly laundry and looking at them with love and admiration for MOVING OUT OF MY HOUSE! I am always going to have someone in emotional upheaval, hormonal egress and behavioral malfunction.

Mom, please feel sorry for me.

I really am sorry for having been a teenager and putting you through hell. Now, will you please come get all your grandchildren......wait, leave them here, come get me and take me home with you? Please, rescue me from these kids! They are driving me CRAZY!!!

I love you the most.

Your Favorite Daughter,


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Clothing Issues

Reading this article from Zen Habits was my daily dose of keep on keepin' on.

We are currently in a clothing crisis of epic proportions. Before we became the cheapest people on the face of the planet and before we decided that we were going to pay off every single cent of debt before we die and before we decided that using any kind of credit card was Satan's probe in our backside we would occasionally shop for new clothes.

Once a year, usually right after Christmas we would use some of Clay's bonus to resupply his work wardrobe which came straight from Men's Wearhouse. We would walk out with dress shirts, ties, maybe a new pair of shoes and pants that are hemmed to order. We always went to that store because they have shirts in size Freakishly Tall and Thin as a String which just happens to be the size Clay wears.

We haven't bought Clay new work clothes since we moved to Kansas 18 months ago. He is hurting. Not because he desperately wants new clothes to wear, but because he destroys his clothes. Holes in the sleeves, rips in the pants, missing belt loops, stains that can't be treated, he's worse than the kids. He's also lost all of his collar stays, you know, the little plastic arrows that slip in the back of the collar points to keep the collar from winging out like the flying nun? Yeah, those things. And apparently the dry cleaners don't have any extra collar stays, EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE THE PEOPLE THAT TAKE THEM OUT OF THE SHIRTS IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!! Not that it makes me angry or anything that a business would remove something from your clothing, but not have the decency to put it BACK!!!

All this to clothes are NOT IN THE BUDGET!

I know, I know, Damn Ramsey would say that clothing should be in the budget every month and blah, blah, blah. But, but, butt butt-hole!

My daughter, the child that wears the same dad-gum pair of jeans everyday until I fall on the floor and scream and wretch and beg her to please wear something else, for the love of all that's clean and fresh, WEAR A DIFFERENT PAIR OF JEANS, she has come to me and begged for some new clothes. I don't remember her ever asking for new clothes, but she has no shorts that fit and she's actually desperate for some new clothing.

My little boys have torn the knees out of most of their jeans and the other jeans are waaaaay to short, because did you know that children like to grow eight inches the month their parents decide to spend any extra cash they have on farm animals? It's true. Try it sometime. Go buy four pigs, two beehives, 37 chickens, two turkeys and a freakin' turken and see if your children don't sprout right out of all their clothes.

And, really, do I need to mention my bra debacle again?

Okay. So, what am I going to do about this clothing problem?

Ummmm, well? I did buy some clothes for the kids at a thrift store and I'm challenging myself to attempt to dress at least my two littles from garage sale finds this summer, it's pretty hard to find clothes that fit my daughter, even in a store, so I doubt I'll be able to dress her solely from used clothing. And Clay, well, we've talked about him dressing more like an engineer and less like an architect. Which means wearing khakis and short sleeved dress shirts or polos. Which would help preserve his dressy clothes for when he meets with clients and we would spend a lot less money on the casual clothes.

And I think I'll make new bras out of chicken feathers and bailing twine.

Remember when I said I wouldn't buy any new clothes until my birthday in April, the month, not me? Yeah, well I think I'll have to push that back and resupply the rest of my family first.

I tell ya, bumps in the road like this are a pain in the arse, but the challenge is what keeps me going.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pigs at Coal Creek Farm

We have four pigs this year. Unless you want to count our dog as a pig, then we have five. We bought them from the same gentleman that we had purchased from last year. He likes to keep his pigs until they are 10-12 weeks old and they weigh 40-50 pounds. We paid $50 per pig. This year we will keep one and breed her because our gentleman farmer is moving to another state. If all goes well we will have little piggies in December.

Pigs are very curious animals, they have to put their mouth on everything in case there is even the slightest chance that something could be edible.

If I prop my foot up on the rails they will come over and give my shoe a taste which is okay now that they are little, but when they get big, OUCH! You don't want the pigs tasting you, it hurts.

Preacher's tail was too much for the girls, they all had to give it a taste. This is why you clip pigs tails when they are born, otherwise they will chew off each others tails, not pretty. The pigs will be bigger than Preacher in a few weeks and I don't think he'll want to try to play with them anymore, because they will CRUSH him.

We used our old trampoline net to shade the pen. A sunburned pig is a miserable pig. Right now it's too cold to make mud for the girls so we put dry hay in their bedding pen and shade them from the morning sun and they keep each other warm and dry.

We bought 900 pounds of feed from a mill. We have had the pigs one week and they have eaten 125 pounds, so that feed won't last long.

This year we plan on purchasing all our feed from the mill in bulk to keep our cost down. We are also going to keep a better record of how much all our farm projects cost in hopes of being able to budget for next year.

Mmmmm, bacon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

stuffing my stuffer with stuff

Right now I find myself wanting to answer the much too common question, "How are you?" with "WE"RE JUST SO BUSY!" and then I want to punch myself in my crooked nostrils. Because I think that answer is over used and tells people to stay away and not ask anything of, so maybe I should use it more often, der.

I have lots of critters that are requiring my attention. So, a bullet point post is all I have in me.

*We have 18 meat birds in the basement that creep me out and eat more food than I ever imagined. Which also means they poop more, which means I am constantly cleaning out their cage.

*We have two baby turkeys that I have nearly scared to death when I do my turkey call.

*We also have 21 chicks of various kinds peeping their little beaks off in another pen in the basement.

*Did I mention the turken? We got one turken also known as a naked neck. One of my chicken loving friends recommended it, so we got one to see if we like turkens.

*For those of you that have trouble with math, that adds up to 41 birds in my basement.

*We have one rooster and five hens left from our flock last year out in our chicken coop.

*I am getting one egg a day. It's very irritating. I had to buy eggs last week. Dad blab ricken frig grrrr CHICKENS!

*Mark your calendars on May 2nd we are planning to butcher the 18 meat birds (and possibly the lazy hens in the coop). I will post all the gory details right here for your viewing pleasure.

*Jean, Ellen is alive and well and yes, she spends most of her time hiding in the dark corners of our house to avoid being the subject of a blog post. The boys, however, wish I would post about them everyday.

*We went to the first of two beginning bee keeper classes. I'll try to post about that soon.

*One of our hives is dead. We're trying to decide if we should get a new queen this year or wait. There are so many details in the apiary business. I had no idea how much work bees can bee...hee hee. Also, it's not a cheap hobby. More on all that later.

*For the third time I hung out laundry and then started to burn sticks and brush. My clothes all smelled like smoke. I had to wash them again. This does nothing to help make my life easier or prove to others that I have any brains.

*I've planted peas, beets, lettuce, spinach, onions and herbs. I desperately need to get potatoes in the ground.

*We had a violent wind storm here all day yesterday and last night. I was certain our barn roof was going to be torn off and splintered all over the field, but it's still intact. I honestly don't know how it survived.

*That's it for now, gotta run, cause, you know, I'm so, I mean, uh, um, I got some stuff to do and then after that, some more stuff, and then my stuff has stuff to do, and then I'm gonna stuff some stuff in my stuffer.

*Now line up all your critters and give them a big hug and kiss for me and for the sake of the baby turkey's don't gobble.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Clay's Lunch Menu

Madeline and her daddy go to the park.

Some of you may have clicked on the link for the Liz Logelin Foundation that has been popping up on the Blogher ad network. If not, then please go watch this video on Matt's blog.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Peep Squeal Buzz

You really do bring them home in a box, like they're dinner. I have 41 chickens in my basement right now. More photos of them later.

Our fair city gives away compost every year. They charge $10 if you want them to dump a big scoop in the back of your truck. I'd say that's a good deal.

The two glowing orbs were a surprise. I'm not sure if I'll be able to use them in the garden beds. Also, you should have seen my bathtub that night. It looked like I had unloaded the entire contents of the truck into it.

My boys worked really hard tearing apart the remaining bits of our shed that was blown to bits.
Boys and hammers, they go together like pie and ice cream.

They took out all the nails and reused them to build.......

this lovely raised bed. I have to tell you, it drives the Architect crazy not to use pretty wood that's perfectly straight, but repurposing what we have is FREE and since we are the cheapest people in the world right now we find ourselves saying, "that'll do" quite a bit.

We bought two beehives this year. Preacher was fascinated by them and has already been stung a couple of times because he tries to catch them as they fly out of the hive. Silly dog. This is the hive that we put by the orchard.

We have one very active hive and one hive that we are certain all the bees are dead. We'll buy a new queen and try to split the good hive. I say that like I know what I'm doing, but in fact this is all new to us. We'll be attending a bee conference this week to learn as much as we can about bees and honey. This is the active hive, we put it back by Ramone's old vehicles in hopes that our honey will have a nice rusty flavor. Do I have to say I'm kidding for you city folk? Okay, I'm kidding, we put it back there so the cows wouldn't be lonely.

Our pond has filled up nicely. Maybe we should get ducks. Do you think ducks would like a mud hold the size of a jacuzzi? No? Well, Preacher loves it.

Preacher also love the pigs. He thinks we got them just for him. Today, he got in their pen, lined up an ate a meal with them. It was weird, our dog thinks he's a pig.

Isaac, my 7yo, took these photos.

He was trying to make it look like he had a giant hand reaching out to touch the pigs. He's a very goofy little boy, or did you already guess that?