Friday, September 28, 2007

Treaures left behind

One of the treasures left behind in the barn was a bicycle-built-for-two. It's so dang cute. But, it's even cuter with two big boys riding it.

One of my old friends brought her boy out to get reacquainted with Seth. They didn't remember that they were the best of buds when they were two years old. It didn't take long for them to decide they could be friends again.

I guess when we moved from here nine years ago we left behind a few treaures too.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Juglans nigra

This slimy, alien-shaped, orbish-thingy resembling the globe with one hemisphere being basked in light and the other shadowed in black, is a walnut. A black walnut (Juglans nigra L.). This is what they look like after removing the husk. What's a husk you say?
It's the green spongy outer layer that surrounds the shell. This is a small bucket that I picked up on our southern drive. We have a glorious row of these beautiful hardwood trees lining both lanes coming up to the house.
Problem is, they drop a lot of nuts. All over. They have no discretion, they plop down whenever and wherever they darn well please, kinda like my kids with their socks and shoes and books and toys and oh cripes, I have trees that act like my children, why does everything around me have to make a mess? Ya-know, this year it's okay, because nothing this land throws at me can deter my happiness of being in this little spot of Heaven. So, nuts!

What you see up in the photo is a box (I seem to have quite a few of those around lately, hmm) full of husks and not just husks, but also some other things, little white things....called maggots. Husk maggots to be exact. I know, it creeped me out a bit too, but after I shucked about fifty-seven of them the gagging started to subside. I shucked them all full of maggots. Clay thinks I'm saying something bad when I use the words, shuck and maggot. I think next time someone ticks me off I'm going to yell, "Hey! I shucked 'em all full of maggots!!" and see if I get a profound reaction.
The reaction might be the same as people are giving me with my stained fingers. Black walnuts will turn your skin the color of a tanning cream gone bad. Hey, if you think my fingers are dirty, you should see my kids' feet! That's what I plan on saying to the next cashier that tells me my hands are dirty.
What are my kids doing while I'm shucking maggot filled walnuts? Why, getting an education of course. Seth sat beside me and read aloud a little Kipling while holding one of our bazillion kittens on his lap and Levi, well I think he was digging in the dirt or climbing in the fort or swinging on the tire swing or chasing his tail, I don't know, he's still alive that's all that matters.
After I shucked and shucked and shucked then I washed the nuts under our hydrant. The brackish water contains the toxic chemical from the walnuts called juglone and it prevents many plants from growing or thriving and it will kill earthworms so I made sure I poured it back on our drive to save the worms.
It's very messy and brackish so of course my two little boys had to splash around in it.
Did I say it's wise to where rubber gloves? I learned that only after wearing my cloth garden gloves the first go around. I also learned it's hard for me to stand up after I've stayed in a bent over position washing walnuts for more than a few minutes. Oh, look! There's Levi, he's still alive and obviously preparing to stick his head in the bucket of water, which he did.
Freshly washed and maggot free walnuts.
I put them in another box, because you know I collect them, to dry in the sun. It should only take a few hours in the sun to dry and then several days or weeks to cure. But, of course it rained about twenty minutes after I set them in the sun, so now I have no clue how long to leave them out there and they will surely mold just like my children's notebooks and socks that I find left in the yard after a good rain or two.

But, at least I can say, "I shucked 'em full of maggots". Maybe I'll get to throw some in a batch of brownies then tell my kids they were full of maggots and I'll get all the brownies to myself.

Monday, September 24, 2007


I'm working on a post about walnuts, cuz I got a lot of them growing on my land. My fingers are stained a nice shade of brown from shucking walnuts today. I'm not sure that all the work is really worth the two pounds of nuts I'm getting, but ya know what? They were on the ground and needed to be picked up, so heck, might as well shuck 'em and then I might even eat 'em.

But, it may take a day or two for me to walk into the kitchen, pick up my camera, walk back to my computer and download the's hard work you know? So, I decided to take the lazy way out and show you some other pictures of walnuts. Well, maybe there not really walnuts.....maybe there pictures of something that looks like a walnut. Ready?

Prepare yourself......

I warned you.......

Yes, this is my husband, he is a nut.  A big freakin' nut job.  Nut, nut, nut.

And this one isn't much better.


Have you recovered from the last one?

Be careful, you might hurt something when you look at this.......

I know. Nut-ball. 

More about walnuts tomorrow.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Moving Day Part II

moving day remembered cont....

We arrived at our destination in Kansas Sunday evening. Mom and Dad decided to check into the hotel with us. Dandy Randy the Realtor dropped by and gave us the keys to our new place and then we tried to go to sleep. But with two cats, four kids and two adults all stuffed into one hotel room not to mention the constant hum of nerves and anxiety about what the next day would be like we didn't get a whole lot of sleep that night.

The next morning we dropped Ellen off at her new school and showed Ike his classroom. Clay and I had to steer a very reluctant and nervous girl around the school. The Headmaster was dashing us around giving us a quick tour of the school, but Ellen was walking slower than molasses in the winter. Clay and I kept pushing her on the back to try to make her move quicker, but I swear if we would have let her, she would have made a break for it and run for the hills. Poor thing.

Here she is in her Shmarmy-Marmy Uniform. Uh, and yes they go to school in a renovated Butler building, what of it?

This is the father that just dropped his daughter off at school for the first day. It doesn't matter how old she is, he can't take it. He wanted to run back in the building, scoop her up and swaddle her in a blanket. He hates the first day of school, he doesn't like to say goodbye to his kids. He finds no joy in letting them go and that's pretty darn sweet if you ask me. I can't imagine what he's going to be like on her wedding day...geesh, we're going to need a good therapist.
Then we headed to the house to unload the trucks. Just when I started to get something done, I had to head out the door to deliver Ike to afternoon Kindergarten. Here he is on his first day. He was so excited and so was Levi, he really thought he'd get to stay right there by his brother, but was sorely disappointed when I told him we had to leave, it wasn't pretty. Oh, by the way Ike's teacher, the one doing the arabesque in the background, she's really sweet and stands about a foot taller than Ike, she's little. Also, the class in made up entirely of blond headed boys.
Oh, I forgot to say RECHELLE single handedly unloaded the entire U-Haul and put together all the beds and tables using only her finger nails to tighten the screws, she's amazing!
That week Barbie Doll and Deborah came to visit. We took the kids out back and made them climb over a barbed wire fence onto this old Chevy that sits on Ramone's property to take photos. Who doesn't love an old Chevy truck? Especially with cute kids as hood ornaments?
And a pretty teenager, who would rather be getting a pedicure than touch a rusty object.
I want that Chevy. I want to fix it up, paint it red and make it my vehicle. I'll fill it with pumpkins in the fall and a big Christmas tree in winter.
Good buddies arm wrestlin' on the rusty Chevy. When's the last time your child had a tetanus shot? That question keeps coming to my mind, maybe I ought to get the kids up to date, eh?
Deborah, exhausted after staying up until 2:00 in the morning doing a sewing project. But, she still manages to look beautiful, twit.
Barbie Doll, she had decided my house will be her new vacation spot. She's coming again in November, I can't wait.
This is the view from my back porch. Do you think the farmer will notice I snatched a dozen stalks? Should I put them back? The previous owners left behind a world of treasures in the barn and the lean-to. See the back-pitch? Seth pulled that out of the lean-to.
Here's what you all have been waiting to see. The porch furniture. This is what Barbie and Deborah helped me do. We stayed up until 2:00am two nights in a row sewing, drinking, laughing, complaining and ultimately deciding we are not professional seamstresses, but we do know how to create "cute".
Deborah and I no longer have any feeling left in our right hands due to emptying twenty odd spray cans of black paint onto this wicker furniture. Look at Ramone's cattle in the background, they like the furniture too...I mean they like it moooooo.
Dang, it turned out so CUTE! Okay, the boy and kitten are pretty cute too.
Did I mention we came with two cats and now have six? Yeah, six. I'm the cat lady, with cute porch furniture.

Moving Day Remembered

It's been two weeks since we packed up the U-Haul, but it feels like months. I can't believe it, I'm in some sort of weird weird time suspension.

It's time to share some stories, tell some folks thanks and show some pictures, doncha think?

This is my oldest son and his best bud, which just so happens to be my dear friend Deborah's little boy. They came over to help us before the big moving day.  I caught the boys outside taking apart shelving and talking just like they were a couple of old men.  I watched them for awhile and then snuck a few photos.  These two boys were so sweet together and so much alike it's frightening.
We can't move from a place unless it's icy or rainy.  Moving day was rainy.  We backed the truck up as close to the garage as possible and then rigged a tarp between the roof and the truck.  Look at the crew that showed up to help us.  They were such a blessing and  they're smiling....because they were happy to help, not because we were leaving...I think.
These are my peeps, my girls, my entourage.  The brunette, let's just call her "Barbie Doll" is about 10 years younger than me, she's the little sister I never had.  I can boss her around and tell her not to do stuff and she actually listens to me and then does back flips, cartwheels and a few yoga poses to help me and she still comes out looking like Julia Roberts with a perfect complexion, skinny legs and enough voluminous hair for ten people...twit.  She's also the mother of Ike's future wife.  Then there's Deborah, the blond in the middle.  She's my older (yes she is older, 5 whole years older...shut-up, she does to look older than me!) anyway, she's my wiser, older, calmer, friend.  She's the mother of my older kids' buddies.  I learned so much from her, like how to communicate better with my kids and to open my home to others no matter what.  She was always up for any project, craft or party, she kept me going during some really yucky times and I don't think I ever told her how much I respected her, but maybe she'll start reading my blog and then she'll know.  She looks beautiful all day everyday no matter what...twit.
Here's one of Deborah's girls with Ellen.  This one gave me a big hard hug and then we both just sobbed the day we loaded the U-haul.  She is such a sweet girl, Ellen adores her.
This is Deborah's wonderful husband.  Do you see a theme here?  Yeah, they're all very photogenic and beautiful....jerks.  After a long day of loading the truck and cleaning the house, Deborah had "Barbie Doll's" family and my family over for dinner.  
When I say my family I mean my family and my parents.  Here's Deborah in her kitchen doing what she does best, serving.  That's my mom getting the pleasure of Deborah's fine home cookin'.  And that cute little girl is Deborah's youngest and she absolutely idolized my Ellen.
We went home and slept on the floor that night.  Sunday morning we woke to finish the last bit of packing and scrub the house.  My parents were a whirlwind of energy and I was so glad they were there.  Dad wrestled on the floor with the little's and Mom told the older two stories and kept them laughing instead of crying, cause Clay and I were pretty sad and I don't think we had much left in us to keep the kids morale up.
We took our two cast with us despite their protests and they are adjusting fairly well here.
The trucks and vans were loaded.  The last thing we did before leaving TBLDBT was gather in a circle and pray.  We thanked God for the time we had in Missouri and for all the wonderful people that had crossed our paths, we asked Him to bless all those who had helped us on our journey and we asked for His hand to be with us as we traveled and settled in our new home.
Thank you to all who came to help us, you were such a blessing that day.

Jack, Monte, Steve, Mark, Wes, John, Johnny, Bryan, Allan, Hope, Mel, Deborah.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dorothy? Toto? That you?

I can't find my blinkin' battery charger for my camera, so I can't show you all the ridiculous amount of energy I've put into decorating my's just too fun to leave alone. But, my sistorian has documented some of my go check it out.

Things I've forgotten about Kansas, but am enjoying all the same...

The Wind- Good Gawd the WIND! No hills and mountains to block your view or the WIND!

The Dry Climate- My eyes, my throat, my nose, my skin....all dried up and turned to dust a few days ago and then blew across the corn field while I was stealing stocks from the farmer next door....shhhhh, don't tell.

The People- They act like I never left. I've had emails and phone calls from folks telling me to come to this and that and wanting to meet my kids and blah, blah,'s wonderful.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Private Conversations

This little post is for Clay. I copied and pasted our most recent IM conversation. We are very brilliant and exciting folk.

Clay: are you there?

april: yessss

Clay: are you posting?

april: noooo

Clay: doh

april: reading all the stupid emails I have.
I'm a very important person you know.

Clay: I know
what is seth doing

april: digging to China

Clay: If he has some time, send him out to mow some of the yard

april: okay boss

Clay: I don't want him to do the edges, but he can mow a big square around the septic field
or a big circle

april: how bout an octagon?

Clay: you're funny
now use that funny to write a pot
post, i mean

april: maybe I'll just sit on the pot

Clay: (blink, blink)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Word from Kansas

It's been the longest weeks of my life. We arrived here Sunday evening and spent the night in a hotel. Monday morning we took Ellen to school and showed Isaac his classroom then we headed to the house.

These are the parts I remember;

We pulled into the drive, lots of unpacking, lots of driving back and forth to school and volleyball practice.

My parents stayed until Wednesday morning and they worked their little hineys off.

My dearest girlfriends came on Thursday and we did a very sweet project that I'll show you pictures of....real soon. They left this morning.

We drove over to my sisters to get the last load of boxes that we had stored at her place and we brought back my four nephews to spend the night.

Everyone is happy, healthy (if you don't count a couple runny noses and the adjusting to the drier climate...lotion is constantly being applied) and eager to get settled.

That's all I've got in me for now.....goodnight.

Friday, September 14, 2007

To Appease The Masses...

April wanted me to post and let everyone know that we are currently without Internet access.

The technician that is required to set it up is "busy" until next Thursday. So, hopefully everyone will be hearing from her anytime between 1:00p and 5:00p Thursday afternoon.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

One More Thing

One more thing before I go. Could you all keep these two in your prayers? They are having an especially hard time with the move. I have two very sweet and sentimental boys and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Need A New Bag?

My sister is giving away three incredibly adorable bags on her sight.  Rechelle gave me an Annie Wolf bag for Christmas and I love it.  I'm sad that Annie won't be making purses for global consumption anymore, so those that are sporting one are very lucky to say the least.

Go check it out and if you're in a poetic mood enter the contest.

Oh, and yes it is almost 4:30 am and I'm up preparing the house for all the guys that will arrive in five hours to help us pack the moving truck.  Well, I also couldn't sleep, so might as well blog!

Hey, this will most likely be my last post from Missouri, so I'll see you in Kansas Toto.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


I'm still packing.

One of my friends calls me nearly everyday and asks, "What are you doing?" When I reply, "Packing" she's stunned and confused and even asked, "Why?" Tomorrow when she calls I think I might say, "Oh, you know the same ol' same ol'.....PACKING DAMMIT, why don't you stop calling and get yo' butt over here and help me!"

I do have one friend that can't stop helping me. She even bought me a new mop and demonstrated how to use it on my kitchen floor. I told her I didn't quite understand how it works and asked if she could come back tomorrow and show me again. You know what? I think she probably will, she's very sweet....and gullible, I think I might find a box to pack her in tomorrow while she's mopping.

It's not easy finding boxes to fit all the stuff, but Wal-Mart has come through for me. Although, I'm having a bit of trouble stomaching that some of my kitchen items are packed in a large Depends box. I know, I know, it's not like my plates are wearing used Depends, it's just...just...just kitchen plates and Depends don't belong that close together.

I have decided one thing through this whole process. I will do everything in my power never to move again. NEVER. I can't believe how much work it takes to move my family. It wouldn't be so bad if we were moving across town and could make multiple trips if everything didn't fit in the first truck. But when all the crap I own has to fit in a 26' truck and I only get one shot to fit it all in, well, I have found myself repacking the contents of an entire box to make one more thing fit in it. It's all about space efficiency.

And during this whole process life keeps going. Everybody keeps doing what they always do and they have no consideration for me wanting to tell my friend, "I'm done packing!" I still have to do all the school stuff, house work, feed the kids, blah, blah, blah. I would very much like everyone to freeze for a few days so I can get this house packing finished once and for all. No more eating, no more getting toys out, no more laundry, no more messing up the bathroom. Just stop! You know what the ridiculous part of this is? Next week I'll be whining about the unpacking!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Next Tuesday

"It's Tuesday, Grommit."

By this time next week I'll be done unloading our U-Haul. We can take possession of the house at 8:00am on Monday and no sooner. But, before that happens I have to get a couple of my kids up, dressed, fed and delivered to school by 7:30am. A school they've only seen from the window of our minivan. That little detail is causing me some serious anxiety. I know they will be fine, but the thought of dropping my kids off in an unfamiliar place makes me want to hurl. Would it be too weird if I followed them to all their classes?

Ellen is going to be playing volleyball for the first time evah. The school's junior high team had 16 girls and they needed more girls on the JV team so that's where they put Ellen. Did I mention she's never played before? Evah? No, nevah. Her first practice guessed it, Monday. So, here we go, plunging right in.

I'm going to wear some deep ruts in that driveway with all the back and forth, back and forth, forth and back that I'll be doing this year. Lord, have mercy.

The picture of the drive was taken from atop the tree fort, where I'm going to hide next Monday, so I won't have to help unload the U-Haul.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Long Live The Redheads

I read in National Geographic that natural redheads may be extinct by the year 2100. Apparently, both parents need to carry the gene to create a redhead. Only 3% of the population is redheaded.

I think I'm going to start a group for parents of redheaded children. It will be called NAFSR, the National Association for Saving Redheads. We can then introduce our children to each other, force them to get married and start mass producing redheads.

Long live the redhead....and freckles.