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.