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 dress....to school.....in front of everyone....my choir dress.....in 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 wheel.........wait......is 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 say.....new 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 me......um, 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 bus....er, 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?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spring Break

My goodness, it's amazing I am able to type. I've been gardening the last two days and my hands, back, neck, legs....okay my entire body is really sore.

Which means that for the last five months I have not moved a single muscle and now I'm paying for it.

We are so busy, so I'm just going to give you a run down and hopefully get some photos up later.

- built new raised beds
- hauled home a truck load of compost
- trimmed trees
- burned brush
- got baby chicks
- got more baby chicks
- got turkeys
- got two bee hives
- four pigs are being delivered on Tuesday

I'm exhausted.


Friday, March 13, 2009

That Homeschool Song Guy

A long time ago I posted the homeschool song by Tim Hawkins. Today when I was talking to my sister, Rechelle, she was giving me her daily dose of, "I HATE HOMESCHOOLERS" because she sees nothing redeeming in a homeschooled child or family or mother....basically she hates all things homeschool.

I want to make her a t-shirt that says HOMESCHOOLERS SUCK ! And you know, I think she would wear it.

Anyway I told her I was going to write a post dedicated to her all about the love of a homeschooled child and she said, "Why don't you just post another video by that weird home school guy that thinks his kids are so great?"

And so I did.

She didn't realize Tim Hawkins is a comedian and that video was doing what she does so well......MAKING FUN OF HOMESCHOOLERS!!!! Jazus, Joseph and Murray, Rechelle! Oh, and Rechelle, I love you almost as much as I love Jesus an homeschooling.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I not stupid, I NOT!

I was searching for a really stupid picture to post with this entry, I think I found it. When you're done freaking out, let me know. The scariest part is it kind of looks like my dog, Preacher.

I needed a stupid picture to relay how stupid Wal-Greens is. In their sale flier they were advertising buy one get one free Loreal make-up products. Since I had several $3 off coupons I decided to stop by and get me some deals, man!

But, the price for one bottle of foundation was over 14 dollars! Now, I haven't bought any make-up for a very long time so I stood there wondering if Loreal foundation really is that expensive and if I bought two bottle of foundation would I still be using it when my great-grandchildren are visiting me in the nursing home??? I decided to check the prices elsewhere before investing in a life time supply of foundation.

Last night I stopped in Target to pick up at least $50 worth of groceries because I had a coupon for $5 off when I purchased $50 or more and who can't spend 50 bucks at Target? I had all my boys with me, so I knew getting distracted by the home products was not going to be a problem and I decided I was going to STAY ON THE GROCERY SIDE of the store.

I had a list and all my lovely coupons with me. Just as we were heading to the check out I decided to swing by the make-up to check the prices on Loreal products. I was dumbfounded to see that the foundation was priced at a bit over seven bucks. Which means Wal-Green is charging you for both bottles! There is nothing FREE about their BOGO! I think their BOGO is LOCO and I won't be falling for it anytime soon.

The best moment I had at Target was while I was paying my bill. An older couple was unloading their items onto the belt while I was handing over my coupons. The gentleman started to watch as the checker was scanning them and when she told me my total at the end which was $62.70 he perked up and said, "Wow! That's impressive you started at $73!" I was thrilled to say, "No, no I started at $78!" He had missed her scanning my five dollar off coupon. Then I laughed and told him how I had just started using coupons and it's really working for me and I thanked him for noticing.

You'll also be happy to know that I bought a Sunday paper, sat my big butt down and clipped me some coupons. There were three or four that I used at Target and a couple that I decided to leave on the shelf next to the product for someone else to use.

The real test will be at the end of this month to see if I can get under our usual $750 for groceries and household sundries.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Brunette visits Coal Creek Farm

It was the brunette that braved another visit to Coal Creek Farm. The poor dear can't live without me. Sometimes she'll email me a picture of herself in an outfit and ask, "Does this go together?". She's an only child and I'm bossy enough to say, "Don't ever wear that skirt again. Throw it in the trash now!" And she usually listens to me.

And her husband, I swear, he is my little brothah from anothah mothah He acts so much like my dad it's frightening. I think he and my dad are about the same size too. Wittle, wittle, tiny guys with lots of spit and vinegar.

But, the best thing about these two are......

(April, I'm lovin' the black socks with the sweat pants, classy girl!)

the two cute little people that they made together. The girl is a precious little princess and the boy, oh, the little boy.....

ugh, how cute is he? He's so tiny compared to my boys. He's three years old and wearing a sweater that my boys out grew before they were two!

And he talks. Oh, Lord, does he talk. It doesn't seem right that such a tiny little baby should be saying so many words. I kept scooping him up and loving on him. I just couldn't stop kissing and hugging him no matter how many times he said, "Put me down! I wipe off yo kiss!" Right before they left to go back home.....

I decided I couldn't live without.....

EATING HIM ALL UP!!!! He was delicious.

My kids are too old and stringy! You know, they taste a little gamey.

Porch Funiture

These are the only after pictures I can find of the porch furniture. You can see the before here.

I probably don't have to explain why there is dog hair, mud and Lord knows what else on those cushions.

Good thing he's so sweet. PREACHER, GET DOWN!!!

Stay tuned, I'm going to post photos of our visitors from this weekend and there might be a shot of my hair too. Muwhahahaha, MUWHAHAHAHA!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Friday, March 06, 2009

Visitors to Coal Creek Farm

A couple weeks after we moved to Coal Creek Farm two of my dearest friends drove from St. Louis to make sure I was going to be okay living in Kansas again. They also thought they were going to help me unpack my house and get me organized. But, what they didn't quite understand was that my mom and dad were so incredibly happy to have us back in Kansas that in a matter of two days they had all my boxes unpacked, my kitchen set up and the beds made. I think they wanted us to feel like we never left and for GOD'S SAKE DON'T MOVE AGAIN!!!!

So, when my girlfriends showed up they were ready to work on something and they chose to re-do my porch furniture since I had this great new porch.

I sure wasn't gonna tell them that was a bad idea. Who am I to turn down free labor?

It was really bothering all of us that I had this pretty porch and none of the furniture matched. It was a bit sad.

We decided to spray paint all the wicker black, much to Clay's discouragement. No matter how many times I said, "Black is the new white!" he did not want us to paint that furniture.

We painted it anyway.

And we painted.......

and we painted. I think we went through ten or twelve cans of paint and our hands were crippled by the end.

Still having fun with the project we headed off to the fabric store to pick out what we wanted for the cushions. Two of us had some trouble staying focused.

One of us was getting a bit tired of being in the fabric store and was questioning her decision of coming to Kansas in the first place. We spent at least two hours picking out just the right fabric. When we got back home I found a bunch of old fabric that I loved and we used it instead. Uh..whooooops.

We stayed up until the wee hours of the morning a couple nights in a row to get the cushions done. With the aid of some wine, coffee, internet access and maybe a bit of Southern Comfort we kept ourselves on task.

And then I turned into a ninety-four year old man with stringy blond hair.

We wondered if we'd ever get those stupid cushions done and we decided visiting April in Kansas is exhausting.

We did get the cushions finished and they looked great for about two months. Then my kids and animals took over and well....yeah.

I sure wish my girlfriends would come back and sew me up some new covers, but that might be pushing my luck.

One of these girls has decided to brave the trip again. I can't wait to see her. Can you guess which one is dumb enough to come back? I won't make her sew, but I am going to make her do some gardening.