I quit smoking on March 22, 2011 with Electronic Cigarettes

Saturday, April 10, 2010

what came first? the chicken or the dyed egg?

Hope you had a Great Easter!! We did.

I decided, like I do every year to let the kids dye eggs. I had no more than got the viniger in the second cup with the color tabs and hear the boys laughing. I turn around and there is Bow, with red lips.. spitting... He had decided to 'taste' it. THEN before I could put water in the first 3 cups, Bow spilled the first one. Green. ALL over everything.

But we got the 36 eggs done. and Bow only spilled 3 cups of color.

I have been trying to get back to church for a while now, Sundays are just such a hard day on us if thats the day BR takes off. We just have so much to do. But with him taking off during the week now we are able to squeeze a few hours out on Sunday and this one happened to be Easter. Come to find out our church was having a dinner, egg hunt and fun day. The congregation was asked to bring candy filled eggs and desserts or chips, the church was providing hotdogs or hamburgers. So, I found out Saturday afternoon about it. And I cant go somewhere and bring all my kids and not contribute, so I decided to make a cake. I didnt have any of the stuff I use normally, so I had to impervise. I knew what I wanted, and managed to get a presentable facsimile.

Two things that to me scream Jesus and my love for him are the old rugged cross and dogwoods. So I used both in my cake.

The bottom tier is white cake with buttercream frosting, the top teir or cross is white cake with handpainted fondant. As are the dogwood flowers.

Sunday morning the heathens got their baskets.

When we got there I took the cake to the ladies who were getting the cooking started. They loved the cake and asked if they could auction it off. I didnt know there was an auction, so I said it was given to the church, to do as they wished. They decided to auction it.

Church was wonderful, so many souls were given to the Lord, and the love was beautiful. The food was good enough to eat, and the kids had so many eggs to hunt that they couldnt carry their baskets! The auction was going great, it was for relay for life, and there was some good money being raised. Then it came time for my cake. The lady who was labeling everything didnt know who I was so the auctioneer asked who made it.
Well, my eldest, who never misses an oppertunity to speak; spoke.

"who?" said the auctioneer
"Michelle Byerly" said big mouth
"well Michelle Byerly, can you tell us whats in it?"
so I started talking, from the back, where I was hiding. But he couldnt hear me, so Brett took over.
I guess the auctioneer was impressed with him, so he told him to auction it off. Brett was so proud!

The man who bought it in turn gave it back to the kids. That was mighty nice of him. Un-needed, BUT nice. LOL

Once we left there I called my sisterin law and mother in law and told them we were on our way. So they got the Easter Bunny to get busy. When we drove up they and my brother in law were there. The kids were almost too tired to hunt them. Seriously. I am VERy lucky that my brother in law and sister in law were there to follow the Easter Bunny around, because they could remember where those eggs were. Where as when it was my mother in laws turn to follow, she failed to remember.. So, the kids gave up after about 33 of the 50 plus eggs were found. (we had some plastic eggs too). Then it turned into an Easter egg hunt for the adults.

We also had two new chicks hatch out that day!!

BR was off on Wend. and told me to get the stuff ready, we were going fishing. OH JOY. We let Rayley skip school too, since she only sees her dad for about 3 hours a week on his one day off.. She is in bed when he comes home all the rest of the time.
Dont get me wrong, I love the serenity of fishing. The quietness, the peacefulness, the fun competition that BR and I have with it. We have spent many an hour fishing together. I dont mind the dirt, the smell, (well except stink bait... ), the worms, can bait my own hook, unhook my own fish, and undo most of my own tangles. Till BR decides he can do it better and takes it away. But fishing with kids is... differnt.
Especially four of them..

BR had one thing he had to do before we got started, he had to tote some dirt for my great uncle. So the kids and I drove to the pond and sat around. Finally, when I knew that BR was close to being done, I told them to unload the chairs, poles, and tackle box.

Kids being kids they just couldnt resist wetting the hook, so Brett threw his over the dock railing. That is when I knew the day had just went to hell. because he had no sooner than dropped that hook in, then he had a bite.
I kid you not. there was NO bait on it. NOTHING. just a hook!

I knew then and there that I was NOT going to let them start before I had another able bodied adult beside me.

When he got there, I did Bow's first, and the kid has never seen a fishing pole before today. But he took to it like..well, a fish to water. It didnt take him 2 seconds to start screaming "got un" and he was right! I didnt even have Rayley's hook baited yet..

Now Rayley had decided she was NOT going to use a worm. She will play with worms, but she wasnt gonna squeeze ones guts out she said. OH WE could bait it with a worm, but she wasnt.

So, I got to bait her hook too, till I dug through the tackle box and found some fake hot pink maggots. She LOVED those, and started baiting her own hook. Now the first fish she caught, like 45 seconds after we got there, I took off, but with everyone catching them so quick, and having to even help the boys out at times because of the way the fish were taking the hook, I finally told her that if she was going to fish, she was gonna do it all. So she decided to learn to get it off the hook her self..

Bow wouldnt touch one to save his life. he kept saying 'bite me' thinking it would bite him. It was just little perch, although some were real good frying size.

We put the first 30 or 45 minutes 'handsized' catch's on the stringer to just take a picture of. And threw back 30 that were smaller. Then we quit keeping them. we told the kids that they were all too small and threw back the strung ones too. manyof them were great eating size, but we just honestly didnt want to clean them.

We did this for about 4 hours. Just constant, bait, hook, reel. The boys and even Rayley for the most part were self sufficiant, exept for all the trees, and each other that they kept hooking.

I even stopped baiting Bow's line to try and save myself the headache. But Bretts first fish was not a fluke. They would still bite the empty hook. LOL

Finally it was time to go home. I started gathering everything up and the kids helped.

***Now, as I am writing this blog I said to myself "self, where in the HELL is the camera?- you cant blog about this with out pictures-" and self said "why sweetie, I dont have a clue. Wonder where you put it?" actually, self was NOT that nice.. But this blog is family friendly....

So Me and Self started looking.. we couldnt find it.. We looked in the truck, in the armsof the chairs, in the house.... finally I told self that she needed to go back to the pond and look. cause I'm pretty sure the moron left it on the tire of BR's tractor when we were getting ready to go.. You know, to keep it out of little dirty grubby hands??..... yep..
Well, Self refused to go. So I did. Down the highway, down the lane past my garden, through the hay pasture, past the blueberry patch, into the woods and to the serene little hole where the pond is on my aunt and uncles land...

and guess what I found?? I can tell you this, I could just kick myself...

If you dont know, on Wend night, it rained over an inch and a half. and BR's tractor tires are HUGE.

Amazingly, it survived.. and it will still take a picture.. I dont know if the pictures will ever be good, or right, but it will work...

****** Confession over. back to your regularly scheduled program. which is NOT supposed to make ME look like an idiot. *************

Thursday my grandfather and his wife had offered to come over and help us process the 20 broilers we had left.

when I got Bertha Sue and the boys up that morning, her to go to school and them to feed, she was NOT going. I told her she had to. If she didnt she wouldnt be able to go to the zoo next week. That the truency officer would call the cops on me and I'd have to homeschool her too.

So she started to sulk. AND cry. and beller. When I asked why she said "I'm not gonna learn how to kill a chicken- then I'm gonna grow up and be useless!! Its not fair!!"

I assured her that there would be plenty of time for her to learn. But she wasnt convinced.

I honestly have never butchered a chicken before. Deer, squirrel, Rabbit, coon, snake, fish, all of that I can do- I was sick when our family helped my cousin do his. and although we knew the general way to do it. I did want guidence. AND I wanted my birds to still be whole, like you buy at the store, not cut from sternum to pelvis.

And wanted to know how to kill them by watching, not just being told. So he showed the boys how to wring their necks, we dipped them in hot water, plucked, and seared off the hairs and feathers, then we gutted them and put them on ice. It was really not hard work. And the boys really did work. I was proud of them. In the next day or two we will get together again and my grandfather is going to show me the best way to actually cut up a chicken. I get mystery peices.

But in the end, we got over 100 lbs of chicken. each bird weighed anywhere from 5 to 6 pounds after butchering. Thats not bad.

Poor Bertha Sue came home right as the last bird was being cleaned out. She missed all the 'learning and fun' as she called it. BUT, she did promptly offer up a solution. She wanted to kill her daddys big rooster. When I told her she could, if she could catch him and then we'd show her how. She counter offered with getting her BB gun and taking care of it. But she wasnt getting close enough to lay hands on him till he was dead as a doorknob. I declined the OH so tempting offer. One day he will be in the stew pot though, cause that is one mean clump of feathers.

Bow is still taking care of his ducks, EVERY day he tells me he needs to feed them. And I actually had to start buying him green beans to feed them with. At first the kids all claimed a duck. But I think they have pretty much decided they just all belong to Bow. Of course they might be the only thing on the place, save the dogs that are safe from us. NOONE I know eats duck. Its ALL dark meat, and quite greasy.. I've heard that wild duck is good, the breast, cooked on a pit. But I aint willin to chance it. Hunting duck is expensive.

Of course, when the kids asked me the other day if we were gonna start raising ducks and butchering them, and I told them no- that the ducks, horses and dogs are about all that was safe around here- one of them, little miss darling to be specific said "well, I aint too sure about the dog part" .....

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I think I just ate a ......



seriously. THIS is what I heard at the dinner table tonight. Seriously.

BUT, let me rewind a few days..

The kids are talking to me again- Thats a good thing.

On Friday morning we got up early, loaded up our chickens and went to the fatstock show.

We were the last to check in, and Bretts birds were accepted. One of Matts had a broken wing- dont ask me why this matters, ALL they check is the breast. thats all they even touch. The drumsticks dont matter, noone eats the wings, they dont even LOOK at them. BUT, we had to grab an alternate. It wasnt as good of a bird, but it made a trio.

We were brought in in waves of 10 and there were 30 kids showing. Of course, we were the last ones in the ring.

Here is what you do, you walk in with your 3 birds, and 2 people who either love you too much to say no, or owe you a REALLY big favor. You take these birds, that weigh between 8 adn 10 lbs, and you hold them up. You hold them with one hand, by the feet. Upsidedown, breasts out. And you want to hold them up chest high for the judge. Now if you dont think this gets hard, try holding a frozen turkey up by one hand for 3 hours. OH and while you are doing this, have someone stand behind a counter and occasionally lob globs of slime at you. 'cause chickens are NOT discresionary eliminators. Matter of fact, in my experience, in that very small brain that a chicken has, it has just a few functions, EAT, attack if its a rooster, and poop. EVERYwhere. And if you are holding it upside down, the poop CAN defy gravity.

Okay, so it wasnt 3 hours, but he had 30 kids and all 30 kids had 3 birds each.
He was kinda placing them as he went. And Brett quickly moved up past Matt. Then he moved up past the next kid. Then finally the judge sent some kids to the end of the line. Then he kept moving Brett up. He even took him and his birds (and his birds handlers) all the way across the ring and compared his birds to the ones at about halfway down. We got excited for a minute. He felt up one bird, then the other, then the other, and on and on. FINALLY he put Brett back in line. where he was to start with.

when it ended the kids were in 28th place for Matt and 21st place for Brett. We could have done so much better if we had guidence from the start, but our Guardian angels didnt know we needed help till 3 weeks in. And we did real good once they got here. He helped us ALOT. We would have never even made it to the ring if we hadnt gotten that help. We didnt make sale, and the kids didnt get to do showmanship, but we did learn, we did finish the project, and we now know what to do next year. PLUS, my kids have more knowledge about chickens and how they come to be on your dining room table.

Ours were not as big as some, but the judge said they were nice. He liked one of Bretts alot, but you need to have 3 great ones.

Once we were elminated from the ring we looked at the rabbits, and then the hogs, then not knowing what else we had to do, ( stay, listen, sign out, do showmanship-??) since thats something they dont tell you when you are getting ready for show- I guess they think everyone just knows.... we started home.

Once we got home, we had a dead bird. And one that was dying. They stress really bad, and are not the healthiest of animals, I mean you are putting 8 pounds of meat on them in 6 weeks- so they will have heartattacks pretty easy. So the boys decided to butcher them. They also got two roosters that were not in my laying flock and should have been butchered the weekend I got so sick. The general rule of thumb when harvesting chickens is- do as many as you can, cause if you do one, or you do 20, you are going to have a MESS.

They did all of it. They killed them, plucked them, and cleaned them. Their daddy had given them their pocket knives that morning to carry at all times, so they got to use those. And we gave some guidence where we could.

Getting your pocket knife as a country kid is a very important time. Its like getting your first gun. We had never let them have them before because we really couldnt trust that they wouldnt bring them to school. Or loose them since they wouldnt be keeping up with them all the time. But he decided the time was right. And it was. You dont know how often you pull out a pocket knife when you are outside working. And yes, I carry one most of the time.

Once the kids got done with the butchering, and we got done seperating the seed peas from their hulls we headed to the gardens to plant the 10lbs of corn.

I am not sure how many rows we got. I lost count after the 11th row. But I know it was alot. cause I had to walk behind the planter every step of the way. And its not a brisk walk. Its a slow, tedious walk, constantly watching the ground. Walking in tilled ground. Our planter is about 50 years old, and sometimes it has issues. When your driving the tractor you dont know that the gears have stopped and your not planting.

Oh and I got to carry Bow- about halfway through the corn my grandfather came and got him. He had fallen asleep and never even knew I transfered him, but I was SSOOOO relieved. Talk about deadweight!

Towards the end I decided to take a break, and told Hoover to watch the chains. Its like bike chains that turn the fertilizer hopper and the seeder.

Matt did about half a row, and I walked back to the tractor and jumped on to talk to BR. I was sittin on the hood and next thing I knew Hoover was sittin on the planter. I told him that was fine, but he better watch the one chain, I'd watch the other. At the end of the rows BR would pick up the planter and then set it back down when he lined back up. this was fun, so Brett decided to join Hoov.

We got to the last row and BR happened to ask "everything okay back there?"
well I looked behind us and could see right off that no, one was not spinning. Then we had to find out where we had stopped.

this entailed walking back down the rows and digging it up till we found corn. It was 3 rows back.

We fixed that, and again, I had to start walking. IT was NOT fun. By the time we were done I was dusty, and my feet hurt so bad that I didnt think I could put one in front of the other to walk anywhere else.

We came home, fed and relaxed the rest of the day. Usually we try to clean at least one of the stalls or coops a day- we decided to skip it. LOL And we REALLY needed to casterate the meat hogs. But, just didnt have the energy. If you dont cut them, they can make the meat taste bad, and they dont grow out as quickly. A cut animal puts on more weight quicker. And like I said, the testosterone being gone will make the meat taste better.

The boys decided to cook breakfast one morning for me. The night before I had kinda fallen asleep early, I try to wait till BR gets home around 10-11. But I had a fever and just didnt feel good. The next morning I got up, got Rayley headed to school, BR's lunch cooked and them awake to feed. Next thing I know the smoke alarms are waking me up. Now they have cooked breakfast before, so they know how. But our alarms are VERY sensitive. They didnt burn anything, they just got too much smoke going I reckon.

Then, yesterday morning I had sent them out to feed around 6. Next thing I know its pert near 9 and they were still gone. So I set off the truck alarm. We had to start school AND they still had their chores in the house to do. Like gathering up laundry, making the bathroom presentable, etc.

They came up to the house, out of breath. I asked what they were doing. THey had found a rich lighter pine stump in the woods and as a suprise were chopping it up to use in the BBQ pit. That was soo sweet. Except I knew they were stalling, not wanting to get their day started. But they did chop me up a 5 gallon bucketfull.

We ran to town yesterday and got some WHite Oak saplings, I think there is about 100 of them, to put out. We got them through our local NWTF chapter.

And once we got home it was feeding time and time to start supper. We needed to fry up the chickens that were in the fridge. So we fed everything, (roughly 91 animals. ya know- thats ALOT of poop...) and then I was messing with the horses that we are boarding and Bow was putting water in the stock tank. The boys had ran off to the edge of the clearing about 25 feet away. Then I hear:
"There it comes!"
"well STOP it"
"okay I got it!"
"what is it?"
"I dont know"

I asked what kind of snake they had- they said it was a big un. That does NOT tell me much.
Then, it started into some underbrush, at this point Brett grabbed the tail, it whipped around to hiss and strike him. But he was quick.

They killed it and brought it to us. I told them to feed it to the hogs, we had to get supper on the table. Fryin chicken is NOT a quick meal.

Plus its not good to let Bow see you playin with a 'nake' as he calls them. He doesnt have the sense to kill it first.

So they came in and washed up. Brett cut up the chickens and proceeded to fry it. Matt was helping, but then he disapeared. Come to find out he hadnt fed the snake to the hogs after all and had it placed infront of the steps with a string on it to pull it in front of his dad when he got home. I dont know how that turned out since I was supervising the cooking. I helped them make a couple of pans of biscuts and BR came home. He had ran out of hours he is allowed to be on the road and got to come home early- so we all sat around talking.

Rayley finally made it home- she had been with my mother in law after school and they had to run some erronds. Then my MIL's truck broke down. which we need to go and get fixed this morning. its just a belt and the pully arm. Anyway Bow told his
all about his day. In his own language.
Every day he feeds his ducks. I give him a bowl of green beans and he heads out and hand feeds the 4 babies. He cant count past 3, so when you ask him how many ducks he has he will put up his fingers and with the first finger say "un, ooo, ree," and then another finger and say "un". He also told his daddy the story of killing the 'nake'. Without words he uses alot of hand and body motion.

Finally around 9 supper was ready. mashed taters, gravy (which I had to make, cause noone else around here can) biscuts and fried chicken.

I am very proud of my boys. They raised these birds from a day old. they kept them warm, they fed them, cleaned up after them, watered them, then they butchered them, cleaned them, and prepared them. I know grown folks who couldnt do that. And they were good. If you've never had a fresh chicken, you should do everything you can to get one. They are VERY good. you would be suprised at how bland a store bought chicken is. I reckon somehow they take every bit of the meat taste out of them at the plant.

Anyway, the meal started off like they all do, with the prayer- which Rayley likes to say. Bow likes to say it too. And sometimes we let him. But if someone else is saying it, he will cross his little hands and talk along with the one giving Thanks. Some of the words are legible. And if he thinks you are going on too long, he will start throwin out an Amen, to speed you up. I need to record it one day.

Then we ate. Everyone was talking about differnt things, we discussed the math and history the boys are learning, Rayley talked about school, and Bow smeared food on everything. We do have protocol as to what can be discussed at the dinner table. I dont like potty humor. PERIOD. Now, we will talk about chores we have to do on occasion, mucking stalls, etc, but for the most part, I just want normal conversations.
We all ate so much we were having a hard time moving, and were starting to get up and clear away stuff when Rayley took her last bite.

She screwed up her face and said "I think I just ate a testical"

We didnt gasp, we didnt freak out. This was one of those moments when you dont even laugh, you just tear up. You need to laugh so hard you cant. One of us managed to say "what?" and she said "Really! Its hard and nasty!" So, amid wiping tears, and laughing BR said "I think you meant 'grissle'."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

LIfe just sucks sometimes.

I got to do another cake! I am proud of parts of it, and embarressed by other parts, but all in all, I think I did a pretty good job.

It was for a grand opening of a new store in town called 'camo and lace' - Its handpainted on homemade fondant. I honestly dont know how much it weighed, I meant to weigh it but forgot. It was over 6 batches of cake. and 2 batches of fondant.

The kids helped by mixing up everything for me. it was a good learning experience for them, all recipies had to be doubled or tripled. And that is fractions. plus, they got to watch me level it, make it square, and hey- I painted it, and even if you dont like the painting, or dont think its good- thats some of that art appriciation crap that you have to learn in school... right?? I mean seriously- who looks at a Picaso and says "beautiful!!" or a Salvidor Dali? Its art, you look, then you appriciate the fact that some other idiot paid a gazillion dollars for it, therefor making themselves look like a fool, and has to hang it in THEIR livingroom and stare at it all the time, making them regret making a purchase when influenced by wine and caviar, and swear to never do it again. So it was a lesson in math, home ec, and art appriciation. OH and a 'bring your kids to work day'... so that like... 4 birds with one stone .. right?? yep...

They were also my official taste testers. I had never made fondant and so I was using them as guinia pigs. I have heard alot of bad things about it, and that people hated it. they LOVED it. the batch with vanilla flavor they said tasted like the middle of an oreo.

Rolling out enough fondant for a 1/2 sheet cake wasnt easy, but honestly it wasnt as hard as I thought it would be. I was also scared of it being hard to smooth, or not meeting on the edges and looking good. I plopped it on there and it acted like it had been molded for the cake.

I was soooo scared. cause if the 'hard' part of the cake ended up that easy, I knew something would screw up. Then the painting went so well!! I was impressed.
Then came the part that every mom who has ever made a cake can do- I mean you get tips, you get bags, you make frosting, and you pipe .. right? well I cant pipe. I am NOT an artist. I just CANT do it. so thats the part that I am disapointed in.

The last few weeks have been going well. The kids are getting into a routine and we are really getting to know each other. Its amazing how much you dont know your kids when you dont see them for 11 hours a day. I really cant wait to get Rayley out of school.

The inlaws got the boys some bikes last week. Theirs were all tore up. they had tried to 'fix' differnt things and it just didnt work. They hadnt asked their daddy or I to fix things, they had just jacked the pliers, screwdrivers, wrenches, whatever and 'fixed' it themselves.

Plus they really hadnt taken care of them, to be honest, so I was happy to let them request bikes for a little while longer, and had thought about them being a birthday present for Matts birthday in April. But the inlaws showed up with them and I didnt know about it. Matter of fact, they drove up at like 8 one night. I was sending the kids to bed. and a large truck drove up. BR drives a small truck, so that detail makes a differnce. :) Anyway, after I got them out of the windows, and secured a firearm, (hey, I live in the country, it was dark and noone said they were coming over), I stepped outside. The dome light comes on and I see who it is, so I just walked back in the house, putting back the gun, and sat down. my mother in law came in and the boys ran outside. Or Rayley and Brett ran outside to see pawpaw. Then my mother in law says "Matty, go see what pawpaws got in the back of his truck"

That was IT, I saw RED. I said "what the hell has he got?? It BETTER not be alive!"
cause you know- thats my luck- oh speaking of being such a lucky duck. remind me to tell you about the ducks... she laughed and said no- but wouldnt tell me WHAT it was. So I fiqured she was lying. But it was just bikes. So, mad as I was that they had spent the money, and not at least waited till a birthday to do it, I wasnt mad, cause I dont have to feed it, clean up after it, or try to keep a headcount on it. I swear thats all I do all day. COUNT. count the kids (there are 3 all day and 4 at night), count the pigs (3 grown, one feeder, and 8 piglets), count chickens, (like 35 or so), count dogs Cause sometimes they go down to the highway..., count rabbits, (16), count broilers (actually, I count how many died that day- started out with 50- down to about 18...) But I'm really tired of counting. and honestly, cause I think I have some sort of OCD- I like my counts to end in odd numbers... and EVERYTHING around here, although ODD, is even... drives me BATTY!!!

BUT I digress...

They had tried to find Rayley some training wheels, she has a 12 inch, but they couldnt. She was heartbroken--- had she kept up with hers that came OFF her bike she would know where they were.... So the next day they showed up with an 18 inch for her. Its pink and purple, and has the tassles and the whole nine yards. Its almost too big, but not quite. Its HUGE. dont get me wrong, but her long legs reach just fine. BUT we did remember after she tried to ride it why she had insisted on the training wheels being taken off. See when you live in the country, you dont have nice smooth concrete to ride on, you dont have a soft, even, mowed lawn. You have ruts, you have small hills, you have rocks, and potholes, and dogholes, and sticks, and everything else. Well, all the kids had gotten rid of their training wheels a few years back because you get high centered pretty quick. Poor thing gets stuck everytime she turns around. She told her me-me the other day "well I reckon that bike is gonna whoop me yet".
But they also got BOW a bike. and all he wants to do it 'whide his ike' its a little 12 inch. cute as all get out. But he doesnt reach the peddles. so the boys have to push him. OR he will follow them everywhere they go, by pushing the bike. LOL He does get on it and 'vroom vroom' but cant make it go. He does love it though. He had a small 10 inch, that he CAN reach, BUT it is old old. Its been around since before I had kids. So the sprockets and such are froze up on it.

Brett did finally tie a string to his bike and will pull Bow on his. But he has to be careful, cause Bow will fall off. LOL

OH yeah- DUCKS.. there are a few words that I would LOVE to use in this little story that works well with duck.. But I am trying to be ladylike.
So anyway- I am at tractor supply the other day- and the manager is always pickin at me, cause of my kids. ya know- the heathens that I have to drag around with me? It seems that when they walk in that store they literly loose their heads. and their hometrainin.
So anyway, I had to get a few things, and they were actin a fool. and I was trying to thump their heads with out cameras catching me. Just about to pull out someones hair.. Bow could hear chirping. so he said "me see babys" so I drove the buggy over there. and then the manager saw us. he said "y'all need some ducks" I told him 'uhhhh not NO but HELL no we didnt need no durn ducks... ' He laughed, I laughed, he said "Matt, get one of those boxes and pick you out 4 ducks" I said "do it and DIE" - So now I have to count 4 ducks. - 2 peking ducks and 2 mallards. they are cute. But NASTY. seriously. Right now they are in a cage- with food and water. But ducks have to have a bowl, cause they have to dunk their head and clear their sinus' or something.

Anyway, daily I take these ducks out of their little cage, and fill up a pool with about 2 inches of water, and let them swim and chase green beans. Then we take them out, and let them walk for a while. then they have to go back up. they are still babies. But there are quite a few facts that I didnt know about ducks. Things I'm not sure I wanted to know. they are actually nastier than a chicken. they poop like 20 times more- AND, the minute they get in the water- they poop. kid you not.

but they dont peck like chickens, they kinda just snap their bills together it really doesnt hurt, and it makes a funny noise. they are kinda cute. but DANG IT- I didnt need something else to feed, count and wonder about.

The boys have been working with the nicest couple on their chickens. I found him a few weeks late, we were already 3 weeks into the wrong feeding program, I was keeping the chickens too hot (cause I was keeping them like normal laying chickens), and I hadnt expanded their wingbands- which would have resulted in them having deformed wings, OR their wings cut into. I didnt know any of this. But he and his wife have been a Godsend.

he has shown the kids what they need to be doing. he has shown them how to do it. and he has spent some time with them. I am a firm beliver that anytime an adult will spend time with a kid, especially one not kin to them, is a great thing. It shows them how to interact with more adults, how to learn from differnt people, and allows them to use their hometrainin.

Our show is tomorrow, and we have to be there at 7:30 to check in. I dont fiqure we will do well. Our chickens might weigh in at around 6 pounds, and they still dont have all their feathers cause of me keeping them too hot for too long. But I hope the boys do learn something. I know they did learn from our Guardian Angels.

Tonight was the night to pick out the 3 each boy would take tomorrow, and an alternate. Our chicken gurus were here and we were in there knee deep in chicken poop, laughing and learning. Then I noticed that the dadgum piglets had got out of their pen and were in my sweet potatoe patch! so I ran over there to rescue my tater sprouts and next thing I knew everyone was screaming at Bow to move, trying to get to him, and Duke, my old dog and Cheeto, the kids newest adoptee were tied up. Cheeto had Duke by the throat and Duke couldnt get up. His back is so bad that he can barely walk right half the time. he isnt in pain perse. its more of a paralized thing.

Mrs Barber was able to grab Bow, and Brett ran over, I hollered at him to get out of there, and I went over and grabbed up a patio chair. I was trying to get them apart, but one look and I knew. The pit in cheeto had come out and he was locked on Duke. there was no stopping it. So, Mr Barber hollered at the boys to get the hose. The dogs were literly fighting against the coop the kids and he had been in. All the coop is is a box, just a frame with chicken wire around it. And they were against the chicken wire. I was still trying with the chair, and Brett got the hose. They were hollering not to hurt Cheeto, and spraying them with the highpowered hose. He wasnt letting up. So I headed to the house. I didnt have a choice. My baby had been knocked down when they started fighting. and everyone knows what happens when a pit locks onto something. I came back out and the kids really started screaming at me then. But there was no hesitation. I did what I had to do. He was killing my dog. It was over fast. and afterwards Mr Barber told me that he had hit him in the head twice with a shovel as hard as he could. Nothing was making him let go.

All 3 of the older kids were crying, But I do have to give it to Matt, I went and got the tractor, and he told me, "stay there mom, I'll put him in the bucket". I told him that was awful grown up of him. I understand how upset they are. they did love that dog. And he was a good dog, I dont know why they tied up. I guess it has something to do with Bowdrie. He was standing there petting on Duke, and then Cheeto wanted attention too. I am just lucky he was knocked backwards and into a chair.

The kids are all mad at me. Right now they are at my sister in laws. I thought a little time away from me might help them a little. Rayley is really mad. She spend the first 45 minutes after it happened sitting in Mrs Barbers lap and wailing like a banshie, talking about how much she loved the dog. Mr Barber took the boys on a walk. Brett is really heartbroken, he had pretty much claimed Cheeto from the start. sneaking him food when I said I wasnt feeding no damn stray. And he would bath that dog, and did take care of him. And he was a good dog, he chased off whatever would come up- he tree'd snakes, he never offered to hurt the kids. I had even relented and started feeding him AND letting him sleep in the house. But sometimes you just dont know what will be the trigger.

I dont regret it, and although its always hard to take the life of one of God's creatures, sometimes you have to do what you feel is the best for your family.

Now, when the dog first showed up, I said we needed to shoot it. BR said we needed to shoot it. We didnt know how he would act around OUR dogs, or how he would be around the livestock. And especially didnt know how he would react to 4 squeeling, screaming, roughhousing kids. He had obvious pit in him. And I am not one who looks at a pit and has fear- I've owned them before and they were the best dogs. BUT I raised them from pups on up. I didnt get a dog with baggage.

He fit right in. We let him in. And he turned out to be a good dog. BR even said one day- its hunting season, that damn dog better not interfear with my deer hunting, or I'm gonna shoot him- well before you get offended, thats a way of life. Strays are an unknown. And we feed our family deer hunting. But that next day BR said "I'm going out hunting, if he follows me he is dead" do you know that dog followed him to the edge of the woods and stopped. That was as far as he went. I think thats when we just decided he was here to stay. And he was treated like one of our own. we didnt want another dog, we were just at that point in our lives where we were kinda on the cusp of being dogless. Duke is old, and wont be around much longer, but we accepted that he was given to us and we gave him a good home. I dont regret my decision. I would make it again in a heartbeat. It could have just as easily been my child. Any one of them. Or a stranger. I am just glad that I was able and willing to do it.

Duke should be okay. His back is hurting him pretty bad, he is stove up. It was all I could do to get him to walk back to the house. He was bound and determined to stay with the kids at the barn. But he was just dead on his feet. Luckly he still has his winter coat, and there doesnt seem to be any bad wounds. he is pretty bruised up, and very tired. And a little confused I think.

When I started this blog, it was to keep me sane. And it has helped me alot through the last few years. More than you, my dear reader will know- Its given me the chance to look back and laugh at things my kids have done, its given me the chance to vent and whine and bitch about my life and all my troubles. I have started using it as a diary. A way to deal with what life throws at me. I dont tell everything- contrary to popular belief- LOL , but I do use this as therapy. Its amazing how much better you feel when you are able to get stuff off your chest. And I know I usually entertain you, make you laugh, or at least -shake your head, then turn it up to the heavens and thank the Dear Lord that you are not me. But, I do try to portray an honest picture of our lives. Of my struggles, with raising 4 headstong kids, trying to teach them right from wrong, and trying to be a good parent and person. I needed to get this off my chest, and this is how I do it. So, I hope you understand why I wrote about this.

Now, my kids are home, and I am going to get off here and try to convence them that I didnt do what I did out of spite,or to be mean, but instead, out of love. pure and simple. And I would do it again. It sucks, but thats what being a mom is all about- protecting your children. Even those with fur. Protecting them from current and future hurts, and trying to make their lives easier and safer.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I have a new profession!!

Well, I've been threating for years- NO, I did not drop my kids off in the middle of the woods 50 miles from home.... - I took them out of school. The boys anyway, I am homeschooling them. Rayley is still going to finish out Kindergarten, but I'm sure she will stay home next year.

She is also getting to ride back and forth to town with my Mother in Law, to the daycare and then to school. So no more BUS!! She leaves at 6:30 instead of 6:10, but its a quicker trip, with less things being said and done that no 5 year old should know about.

I am enjoying doing the homeschooling, the boys are kinda torn. They miss their friends, but are enjoying the freedom of being home more. They are also learning in a differnt way.

We didnt go with a program, we are just going with what you need to know. I am taking them to the library and we check out books that pertain to what we are studying, like I decided to totally restart American History, from the colonists on down. They thought the pilgrims were the first settlers. Or the only ones who stayed and THEY founded this country. They didnt know about the House of Burgessess, or much about the reason for the Revolution. So we are taking this very slow, and really filling in alot of the gaps. Plus, they like to compare what the colonists had to do in everyday life, compared to what we do, and what the differences are.

We are also working on Math, both indoors and out. We work on what they need to know, plus they learn that math is something you use in everyday life. A tablespoon of viniger per gallon of water is needed for the chickens, you have to cut boards the correct length, not a half an inch too much or too little to build something, you have to cut angles exactly to make a door frame fit, each animal gets a certain amount in weight of food. How many pounds of food gets you how many pounds of meat. If an animal is eating more than its giving money wise.

And of course science. If you think about it, our home is a HUGE science expeiriment. Didnt you plant a pea in school, to watch it grow? We plant a few acres. Didnt you disect a frog? or even a cat, squid, etc? Here, we kill and butcher meat. Chickens, hogs, deer, fish, rabbits. They have to identify the parts, they get to ask what they do- and then eat the meat.

Did you study the chicken, the egg and the outcome? Here we not only raise the chickens, we do it from the egg. The ones that dont make it to hatch are disposed of, and they get to see the stages. They are able to find and dig up the lowly worm, find out what it does that is beneficial, and search the woods for skulls, or bones, to identify animals and such.

They have to know what benifits rain and snow and heat have on land, animals, and themselves. What below freezing means, and how it will affect you. They learn that flooding will erode, dry ground will crack and not grow anything, and that proper irregation is paramount to keeping pastures, feilds and pens clean and thriving. How to watch weather cycles to find out what you should do. which clouds mean its time to scramble and get everything waterproof, or which mean its time to sit and relax and enjoy the day.

Plus, they like to help in the kitchen, and cooking is both Math and Science.

And they are NOT learning things that as a parent I feel is inapropriate. Here lately I learned that our middle school has a drug problem. I had heard about it, but never heard it first hand. Then when I heard one story, I started hearing MORE. we are talking 12 year olds. What I think is worse than the fact that there IS a known drug problem is the fact that so many parents just say "well it happens" and dont think its THEIR kid doing it. It might not be, but chances are, it could be. Its not just the trashy kids doing them. And it can happen to you. I decided the best course of action is to do everything possible to make sure it doesnt happen to me or more importantly, to my children.

I am making sure that they do realize that they are still doing 'school' We get up now at 6, feed and water everything, Do whatever chores need to be done, and eat breakfast, then around 8 we start with whatever book learning we will be doing that day. We also spend alot of time at the barn, checking on babies, and everything else. And we are able to spend as much time on any one subject as we wish.

We have had lots of new babies around here- got the kids 50 broilers for 4-H. And finally about 3 weeks into it, I found a wonderful man who was willing to help me. Cause come to find out, broilers are nothing like normal chickens. You keep them cooler, you feed them differnt, you wake them up to eat, you even use differnt lights on them. Whats amazing is the fact that a organization thats motto is: "to make the best better"
and pledge is:
"I pledge my Head to clearer thinking,
my Heart to greater loyalty,
my Hands to larger service and
my Health to better living, for my club, my community,
my country, and my world."

can be such a cut throat buisiness. All the 'secret recipies', lack of trust, secretiveness, its all too much. I am not saying that people shouldnt be able to supplement diets with stuff,- as long as its not illegal, to tell someone, "oh just feed them chicken feed" while you are feeding them 1,000 calories a day is just wrong. I dont mind doing a little research, and did. I am not sure we will be able to show these chickens- they just wont hit the 8 lb mark in the next 3 weeks. And honestly, had we lost them all to death, I wouldnt be mad, that in itself is a lesson to the kids. What upsets me, is we will meet the mark for clubs that have minimum/maximum weights, and hands out booklets , give differnt feeding plans, have workshops etc. But not one that doesnt. And its not just the chickens either, I have heard it about all animals.

We also had baby pigs. Both Sows had their piglets last week. One had some issues, and I had to help her, but for the most part it was a wonderful thing to get to see.

We are getting ready for planting season, bought and cut up 50lbs of taters this week, that made 8 rows of taters. The kids helped alot, and my sister in law came over to help. The kids were a great help, but they had more fun then they worked, when BR was smoothing out the the field with a railroad iron, they were using the furrows as ditches to hide in. They were a dirty mess before we even started planting!

In two weeks or so, we will be planting the corn and peas. I pray that the entire crop comes out good, it will really help with groceries if it does. Between the hogs and the garden, we will have alot for the freezer.

BR is still working 6 days a week, from daylight till dark, so he cant be in the feilds every day. I hope our schedules will allow for a productful garden.

Once the crops start to come in, we will be spending alot of time in the gardens.

Bow is really enjoying the kids being home- for him its playtime ALL the time. Till they make him mad- he still doesnt talk much- there are some words you can understand, but he just doesnt talk. He does make alot of noise though. Well, the other day the boys were really messing with him. Finally he pointed at them, pointed at the door and said "Bettmatt, scool NOW!" He decided he needed some quiet time.

I am enjoying the boys being home too, I'm able to enjoy their sense of humors, their conversations, and just being with them in general. Its amazing how less needy they are when they have your ear all day, instead of for just a few hours a day. They fight less, are showing more compassion to each other, and aside from a few bad habits they picked up that we are working on, they are fun to be around.

I did take them to vote the other day. The ladies there were very accomodating, and I was able to let them read my ballot, and they were more than willing to give me their opinion on some of the things I was voting on. Then once we left, we were able to discuss it in detail. They had no clue what I was doing, what it meant or anything else. They knew last time I was voting on the President and such. But didnt understand that Texas has a goverment just like the Union does. I honestly dont know what grade they are supposed to learn this type of thing, but would have thought that by now they would have some basic knowledge of the branches of goverment, the parallel between the state and local and national systems and what primaries are. I know that personally I have explained or at least touched on it before, but didnt realize that it wasnt clear to them at that time. I have a feeling that once we get to the Constitution and all of that in our studies we will spend alot of time learning how it all works.

I have learned I was putting too much faith in what they were taught in school. I didnt realize how many gaps I needed to fill in at home. I knew I had to teach them life lessons, manners, being self sufficiant, that sort of thing, but I am fiquring out that if it isnt on the standerized tests, kids really dont learn it anymore.

We are even teaching them about electricity. BR and I had to run a line from the main breaker box to the barn. Not rocket science, but something everyone should know how to do. Well, I had went to town to purchase what we needed. The boys were helping BR and learning about circuts and stuff. Which Brett had been learning about in school.

I got home, and we had to string it up through a tree. You remember the picture of the tree that they were at the top of? the magnolia? well that tree. Which upset them, since they are no longer allowed to climb it.

But it was between the barn and the pole, and was tall enough to hold the line off the ground. the boys were IN the tree, and BR was using a pully system to get the heavy line up to them. They couldnt hold it and tie it off at the same time, so guess who got to climb the tree? yep. First let me say, I am TOO old to be climbing trees.

Well I got up there, got my legs thrown over a branch and was comfy enough to proceed to tie it up. I look up, about 10 feet OVER my head and there is Hoover- standing on a branch leaning on a few others and pretending to be asleep. Since he is notorious for going to sleep I really thought he was.. I knew if he fell from there he would knock ME out, AND hurt himself. Well finally I got it done, then it was time to get down. Did you know it is easier to climb a tree then it is to get OUT of a tree?? seriously?? it is. I was trying to throw my leg over, but between my pants being a little tight, and my boots - I couldnt. So I had to take off my boot to get my leg over the branch. It still took a few minutes. Boots are not the easiest thing to get off, especially when your suspended over the ground hanging on to nothing except future firewood.

When I finally got out I headed to the barn with BR and we got the breakers hooked up. Then I got to climb all over that running the lines... Well, the boys had wondered off and we were just talking, and I was in one of the pig pens measuring where a light would go. He happened to remember to tell me why the 'stray' dog that adopted us might be an asset. Seems he had found a snake where the boys were playing earlier. Then proceeded to tell me WHERE. It was IN a tree. I am SOOO glad that he waited until I was on SOLID ground and AFTER I had climbed a tree.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A winter- wonderland it wasnt.....

well, I am gettng worse and worse at this blogging thing...

Lets see, its been 3 or so weeks. And shortly after I wrote last time Texas had a freeze like you wouldnt belive.

It got below freezing for a few nights. Which reeks havoc when you have outside animals and their various water throughs. Plus of course your own pipes and such.

Now we've been in this house for 4 years, and have never had a problem. So I wasnt real worried about much. Of course, we have to rewrap the outside faucets each winter because the tape comes off, or they just get uncovered.

So, I asked the kids to do the horses faucet, gave them the stuff to wrap it with, the links of tape they needed (because I knew if I sent them out with a full roll of duct tape, someone would either A.) become hopelessly entangled in it and end up attached to the faucet, or B.) be delibertly taped to a tree and left there.

I told them to fill the horse trough and turn off the water, detach the hose, empty it out and then wrap the pipe. I was busy doing another pipe, and winterizing the rabbits cages, and double checking them having pulled the water from the chickens and the rabbits. So I fiqured they could handle such a simple job.

Dark caught us and I never got the chance to check their handywork.

THis was taken about 10 the next morning. The icicle is from a drip in the faucet. Luckily there were no issues.

Within a few days it would be well below freezing both at night and during the day.
We were also out of feed, and BR knew that incase of ice he wouldnt be able to work for a few days, so he was working late. A friend of mine and I drove to get feed, we buy it in 1,000 lb sacks. And you have to unload it with a tractor. We did this the day the front was rolling in. By the time the kids got home, and we everything wrapped and ready to go, BR still wasnt home. the hogs were out of feed and so I got to put it in the feeders.

The kids helped. there is a solid metal hook that we put on the bucket of the tractor, then manipulate the bucket till we get all 4 straps on the hook, then we just tote it where it needs to go.

Under it is a draw string, you release the string and it empties into whatever you are putting it in. This is a MUCH better way that us dumping it in the feeder out of 50lb sacks one at a time. Especially easier on the person driving. I had two of these to get picked up, and moved, and it was COLD. VERY COLD.

Once we got the first one done, I told the kids to run back to the trailer and meet me there, Having Bow on my lap was enough, I didnt want the rest of the kids hanging off the tractor too.

This is what I saw when I drove back up.

the kids singing and dancing. they didnt have any music, it was 45* we had been working hard, trying to get stuff done, and they were still enjoying themselves. Or scared that if they stood still too long they would freeze in that posistion...

BR got home before we finished, and he helped finish up everything that we needed to get done.

The way the rabbits water is set up, is its just a bucket sat on top of their hutch, with clear lines ran to nipples inside their cages. It freezes pretty quickly.
and is a major PITA to deal with on freezing days.

I have tried a few methods, Emptying it out for the most part, then going out with warm water the next day. forgetting to empty it out and having to defrost it the next day. (by toting about 50 pots full of boiling water) , bringing in the whole contraption, before and after it freezes..

Of course on the days that it stayed below freezing all day we had to trapse outside every few hours with hot water and dump in there, to eliminate the slush that was forming and keep it going.

the chickens water is in a galvanized thing... I cant explain it. Its a big bowl, tall like a chili pot with a bottom on it that holds water. Then you put a lid over it and it forms a suction that doesnt allow it to just empty. anyway, the lid goes all the way to the bottom of the pot/pan thing. And when it freezes you have a HUGE 5 gallon block of ice.

The hogs have huge .... pools.. I guess. its a rectangle about a foot and a half deep, about 8 foot by 4 foot. there are pictures of them on previous blogs. the mud day blog is one of them.

and the horses have a 60 gallon rubbermaid ... thing.. its tall, and big, like a bathtub, but taller.

Anyway, The chickens and rabbits we had to deal with constantly. The horses and pigs we just had to break the ice. OH and I still have 2 horses down the road, they too have a tub, about 2 foot tall, 4 foot long and 2 foot wide.

BR had told me that I needed to wrap the faucets at the horse pen, and the hogpen/coop. So we did that.

and we came in, had supper and went to bed. it froze that night. Getting down pretty dang cold. The next morning I woke up to get the kids to the bus, and Rayley went in to brush her teeth. There was no water. The kids came in to tell me that the horses and pigs had almost 3 inches of ice over their water, and that we had ice skating rinks all over the yard. It had rained during the week and the puddles had not dried up yet.

I decided to keep the kids home, woke BR up and told him about having no water, and we waited on daylight.

I was very worried, the rabbits couldnt go very long with out water and they had already been since 7 the night before with out it. . and although we had emptied their lines, a little water had stayed in some and they had frozen up.(doesnt work well to do that sort of stuff after dark..) So I couldnt start defrosting with boiling water with out ... well water! I had the kids bring in all the lines. to thaw them out in here.

We had no clue how we would deal with the frozen lines. Our water comes up through the horse pasture, its a pretty good peice from the highway to the house, burried. But BR decided the first thing to do was to check the lines around the house, especially the one coming into the house. Come to find out he hadnt told me to wrap it. And since its at the back of the house, up under it, I never thought about it.

But, that pipe freezing was a blessing. As he was walking around the side of the house to check it, he stepped in slush. and on frozen ice. and it was leading all the way down the hill towards the barn.

We got the kids on blowdrying the pipe that goes to the house, and he and I worked on fixing the broken pipe. It was busted UNDERGROUND, at a freakin T! talk about hard to fix. We had to cut out the T, collar it in 3 places and get all that to go back together. Not hard when you just have lines infront of you. But these were burried about 12 inches underground. so we didnt have much play. Plus, it was bitterly cold and they were brittle. Just cutting the lines we were cracking them.

We finally got it done, and started to cover it back up. It didnt take 30 minutes, and already the MUD was frozen! the MUD!! So BR got on the tractor and headed to get a load of dirt to put on top of it. To make sure the hole was filled in really good and it had a protective layer. This area had eroded a little bit, because part of the T is going up to a faucet and the kids are bad about turning it on full blast to clean their mud boots off. so it had ate into the soil, only leaving a few inches of dirt over the pipes.

When he got the bucket full of sand to put over it, there was literly a layer of frozen earth. Like he had gotten asphalt and brought it up there. It was about 3 inches thick.

Finally we got water, and started trying to break up water for everyone.

The kids got baseball bats, broke it open for all the animals, and then went to beating on the ice patches in the yard. So noone would step on them and fall. Plus it was fun...

We managed this for about 4 days. There were a few more issues. One time when the kids brought in the rabbit waterers, they broke about 3 fittings. Well, I have about 20 fittings, and another 20 feet of plastic pipe. I couldnt find it ANYWHERE. I put it in the 'safe place' and now its gone. So I had to drive to town to buy 3 .25cent fittings..

Then there were the times they would come in the house SOAKING wet. and I do mean WET. in 25* weather.

They were surfing on the water troughs. because the ice was a layer, about 3-4 inches thick, they started off by stomping a hole, well then they realized you could 'surf' on it. and they did. And they used the mud holes in the hog pen as slip and slides. They had a blast.

Luckily that was our only 'no water' scare. My inlaws were not as lucky. She called me and said they had no water, and I told her I'd come and fix it, since I am the only person who will fit under there, thats willing to do it.

When BR (who came along for emotional support I think... ) and I got there, we found the problem strait off. about a 6ft section of pipe had literly splintered all the way up. So, not a problem. I changed it out and got it back together. Granted I would cut it and it would split further, it was still VERY cold, and the pipe was 15 years old. But it wasnt hard.

Then when we turned back on the water we checked for more leaks. and we found another one.

In the meantime, I walked around the side of the house, my sister in laws truck was in the driveway and her son was in it, with my mother in law talking to him. As my mother in law walked away she patted him and I saw his face, he looked like he was sick or in pain.

COme to find out, He and Matt had been playing football and Matt was trying to strip the ball, and Masen fell, trying to catch himself and breaking his arm above the elbow. She was taking him to the ER. I hadnt heard anything. And the yard is NOT that big, None of us knew. Everyone said he screamed pretty loud, but I guess BR and I tune out screaming or something. Matt felt just awful, but we told him that accidents happen.

Once we got to where I could pull the pipe down and cut it we got back to work on it. This was the one where a pipe did about 3 90*'s and went INTO the house. Luckily it was the hot water heater, so we could get to it easy. That one was NOT as easy, as there were drain pipes, other lines, and blocks and beams all with in inches of the broken pipe. I got it together, turned on the water and there was a leak. So I had to undo all the work, get more pipe and try again. More splintering and pulling and pushing. Luckily BR was there on the outside of the house cheering me on. I dont know what I'd do with out him.

come to find out, the dang elbow that I had put on originally had a freakin crack in it. We finally got the plumbing fixed, and the kids played some football with my other BIL and SIL when they got there. No, they dont learn.

I am glad this is not something we deal with on a regular basis. It was a week of constant worry, agervation, and trouble.

OH and because it was getting down in the 20's at night. We ended up letting that stray dog in the house. HE was VERY well mannered. He would come in and lay behind the couch, never moving. But now he thinks he belongs in here. He doesnt.

I also brought in the rabbit momma and her month old babies- it was just too cold for tiny little rabbits to be outside.

I was lucky enough to be able to tarp up the brooder with the baby chicks, and kept them outside for the most part, although they did spend some nights inside.

Other than the hard freeze, things have been pretty normal. the kids have not brought in any live creatures. Although they did find and bring me in a skull. I dont know what it was- I'm guessing possum.

When I told them I didnt have a clue, they said "well maybe we can reconstruct its skeleton and fiqure it out." At which I laughed and said "sure, if you can find it all"
This is the point where they proceeded to produce the peices.....

The time for the baby bunnies for 4-H to be born has came and gone. Only one doe had any, she had 7, and had them on the wire and not in a nest, and we lost them all. Then our meat doe, (hers were not going to be pure bred) had 8 babies, but we ended up loosing them too. I just pray the broilers will pan out, because if not the kids will have nothing to show, and we will be out ALOT of money for nothing. I have rebred the does, hoping for some spring babies, to sell for meat, use for meat, and to keep a few breeders.

Here is Rayley on one of the cold days, dressing for school.

We have also spent the last 3 weekends fixing BR's front end. He has had my truck for 3 weeks.
6 days a week for 3 weeks. I have to wait for him to get home around 9, make sure all the kids are in bed, he is fed, and then go to walmart to get groceries. If I need something from the feedstore, which is closed on Sundays, I have to get someone to pick it up for me. Luckily the parts place is open on Sunday. The first Sunday I spent running to all 3 stores, trying to get each and every part- some had them for much cheaper, some didnt have them, one place would have something the others didnt. I have learned more about tie rods, pitman arms, idler arms, boots, ball joints and various other gunk than I ever wanted to know. And I HATE to be greasy. and a front end has LOTS of grease- ESPECIALLY a 4X4.

We hope to get it finished Sunday. I pray we do, I need my truck back. of course, even if we get it done Sunday, we have to wait for BR to be off, so we can trailer it to town and get it to the tire store to have a front end alignment done on it.

Last weekend was pretty chilly while we were out there, and the kids were banished to their rooms to get them clean. I ran to town to trade in some parts. When I got home, this is what I saw.

THe boys had abandoned ship first, going out under the guise of helping dad or checking on rabbits or something. Leaving Rayley and Bow inside. Well, she knew he couldnt go outside nekid, so she dressed him, so they too could go outside.

Yes, that is a princess jacket. and the socks are pink. Apparently his boots didnt match the ensamble, so they just ignored the need for footwear.

Speaking of the Princess of Whinesalot. She lost her first tooth day before yesterday!! We tried to pull it the night before, well BR and Brett did. I didnt, loose teeth gross me out. But couldnt get it out. So, she ended up loosing it at school the next day.

So, as you can see, nothing has really changed. Even Hoover is still living up to expectations.
Last night he asked if he could make Tuna Fish. I told him yes. And was picking up and cleaning the kitchen as he made it. I had to tell him each step to take, so I was staying close. Walking out occasionally to do something else. I told him to get a colander to drain the tuna in it. And walked back into the kitchen to see the colander sitting on the table. I apparently wasnt clear in my instructions for him to put it in the SINK.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The isle of misplaced items...

Well Happy New Year!!

They say that what ever you are doing on New Years day you will do for the rest of the year.

I debated on not cleaning, because I really dont want to be cleaning all year, I thought about not cooking, not doing laundry, not hollering, not cussing, not threatening someones life.

BUT, to not clean would mean my house would be eligable for consideration as a National disaster area all year.

Not doing laundry would mean I would have the 12 loads in my bathroom floor ALL year.

Not cooking would mean I would hear "I'm starving" all year, plus, it would mean no cabbage and purple hull peas for luck and money.

the hollering, cussing, threatining, and such would mean that I couldnt spend the day with my kids, meaning I wouldnt see them in the new year.

So I just decided to treat it as any other day; clean, cook, scream, holler, and do alot of praying.

We took down the Christmas Tree. Its artificial, and I am kinda ornament happy. So there were ALOT of ornaments to take down. I put them up with fishing string, and unbeknownst to me, my children- apparently everytime they walked by, twirled the ornaments on the branches, wrapping the line around each branch.
multiple times.
IT was NOT fun to try and unwrap them from the branches. each one. wrapped. around and around.

and I REFUSED to cut them, because it took me hours to tie the fishingline onto them when we decorated the tree.

THEN I had to proceed to get the tree apart, its like an 8ft tree, VERY heavy and VERY full. I cant find a box big enough for it, So, I decided to put it in large garbage bags. I had to tie the branches down, then pull and tug the bags. this took quite a few bags and even more Duct tape.

I finally got it into 3 huge garbage bags.

Then we had to start on the actual house.

But as I write this, I realize, I havent even told you about Christmas!

It was nice. Christmas eve we went to BR's moms, where the kids got their gifts from them, Rayley a jewerly box, the boys a Romo Jersey (the Dallas Cowboys quarterback for you sad folks who dont follow Americas Team) and Bow got an airplane to ride on.

Here he is explain how to get it out of the box....

When my brother and sister in law showed up, The kids got into fine form. They dont have children yet, so they relish in corrupting mine to the fullest extent.
At school Matt has learned some... dancing techniques, I guess you would call them and does them every chance he gets. noone can keep a strait face when he starts doing them. And he dances like that everytime he gets around Amanda and Luke.

The kids also got to open their Christmas eve gifts from BR and I, their PJ's and houseshoes and such. They changed into them shortly after.

And Matt being Matt, he put back on his cowboy boots. cause thats just how he is.

Then he proceeded to dance around - at my sister in laws request I do belive....

Dont ask... I dont know. all I know is- the kid needs some sun on them legs..

When we finally left it was late and Rayley was in the truck whining. She said "ya know, its late and we should be snug in our beds by NOW!"

I had planned on a special Christmas picture of the family that we did when Rayley was a baby. I had talked BR into being Santa at the kids school that year and got some pics of him and the kids.

FINALLY on CHristmas eve night after we got home, I was able to get the picture.

I had gotten my sister in law over early in the evening to take our family portrait infront of the tree. IT didnt turn out well. BR looks like he was snatched off a murderous rampage and shoved in the chair. Of course, he really doesnt have a poker face, so this might be his true feelings about having to take the picture.


But once we got home I was able to take our santa pics. And Bow LOVES santa. He didnt want me in Santas lap, he didnt want ANYONE but him in Santas lap. He doesnt look happy, but I can assure you, this is his "dont even think about moving me" look.



He was quite disapointed when Santa left to finish his duties.

Christmas morning we all woke up, the kids opened presents and then we went to my grandfathers and his moms. We were having fish at his moms for Christmas dinner.

All in all it was a nice Christmas, BR was home and we all enjoyed ourselves.

IN addition to their other gifts, santa also got each kid a card game. One night they were playing poker. Matt had gotten out all his change, and they were playin poker. After a little while Rayley came in here mad as a wet hen. Then she started gripin about the boys, in a way that only an overly dramatic five year old can. something about havin to go 'all in' and loosin all her money. I asked WHY she went all in. "well MOM, its Matts Money and Bretts cards, they said I had to- they were mad cause I was winnin.. I KNOW'D I shoulda folded. Stupid BOYS!"

this is why momma doesnt let the kids HAVE board or card games, they dont play pretty. Sometimes I could just STRANGLE santa.... He even gave Bow a deck of cards. I am not sure why... something about trying to 'even out the gifts'... needless to say, they were all over my floor for about 3 days, till I caught them all asleep and threw them away...

I can say that I despise gift cards, especially given to children. The boys get it, and were happy, Rayley was just confused. and then they spent them on some of the dumbest stuff. They all traded some of it to me for a McDonalds meal, then Brett bought food from the deli with some more of his another time, (they were walmart gift cards) and Rayley and Matt bought toys with part of theirs.

OTher things that have happened this week:

We hatched out baby chicks this week, I tried to put them outside, but I cant keep the brooder a good temp. I was attempting to rig up the light one day, got the drill, and started screwing in a board to hang it off of, when I couldnt get it to grab the screws. THe bit was just ate all up. I was so mad. I had planned to start the kids chicken coop that day too. But couldnt do it with out the drill. Now, I cant imagine why the drill was put up with an ate up bit on it, well yeah, I can, but the bad part is, I cant get the bits out. I am just not strong enough to do it. So that entire plan went down the drain. I was so mad that I swore I would get me a quick connect for the drill and bits to fit it no matter what I had to do to get it. I hate when my plans go awry because of someone else!

The kids also got into an arasol fight. One had deoderant, one hairspray, one athletes feet spray and Bow had a spray water bottle. My house still stinks. Its really never a good idea for me to take a shower. It always ends in disaster. or at the very least with me having a miagraine.

So- as you know, Matt has a slight problem with HIA syndrome. Usually its reserved to you asking him to get you a glass with ice and a Dr Pepper and after 5 minutes you holler and ask where its at and he says "oh THANK YOU, I was wondering why I was in the kitchen holding your glass" Then he brings you back some tea with no ice.
OR my favorite when he comes back empty handed and the dishwasher is now running: "huh? I thought you wanted me to put it in the dishwasher"

And sadly, the kid isnt playing. I mean he isnt mentally challenged, he just doesnt pay attention. I've sent him to the barn, to check on the rabbits and he has came back to tell me there are no eggs. I ask how the rabbits are and he says "I dont know, I didnt check them"
so you ask "WHY"
"well when I got down there, I forgot what I went for, so I just checked the chickens."

OR I will send him with a pot of food down to give it to the hogs,

an hour later I ask him where my pot is. there are usually two places. ONE, he fed the hogs, dropped the pan outside the fence, and walked back home. OR two: he set it down by the door, opened the door, went outside, forgot what he was doing and decided to chase a grasshopper.

Now, most normal people would not rely on him for anything, I am not normal. Dont get me wrong, the kid is QUICK. he is VERY smart, he is just one of those people with his head in the clouds. I mean we call him Christopher around here. After Christopher Walkin. He is notorious for just busting out with some off the wall statement in the middle of anything. Like the family just sitting watching something on TV, and he comes up and says "hey- Did you know Lions dont live in Jungles?"

Now this kid is the clown of the family, always making someone laugh, and he is a mimic on everything, he can do some really good impressions and can quote lines from movies and commercials all day long. even movies he has seen ONCE.

BUT, none of that is really relivant to what I am tellin about today.

My cousin had came over to do my hair, and she washed it in the kitchen sink. Well the next time I was in the shower I rememembered that I had forgotten to bring the shampoo into the shower. So I waited the 3 minutes and 27 seconds it took for one of my children to have some catastrophe that noone except me could solve and when they did I decided I'd catch them and ask them to bring it to me.

It happened to be Matt.
so- this is what transpired.

"hey babe, will you go and get my shampoo out of the kitchen? its by the sink"
"why do you need shampoo?"
"well, I decided to wash the shower walls while I'm in here bathing"
"oh, do you want the pinesol too?"
"nope, the shampoo will do"
and I proceed to stand under the hot water, washing away my troubles and pretending not to hear someone bouncing off the walls.. I think they were throwing ornaments at each other.

"mom- there aint no shampoo by the sink"
"yes there is baby, its called 'mane and tail' its a big white bottle, with a blue lid"
"alright, but I didnt see any, you sure the pinesol wont do?"
"I'm positive"
and I went back to scrubbing. ignoring the slamming front door, just hopin it wasnt Bow going out in the freezing rain with just his diaper on again.

About 5 minutes later he came back. "there is NO shampoo in there, "
"are you looking by the sink? there is a bottle of Ivory dishwashing soap, then on the other side between the sink and a plate with whats left of Bretts cake, there is a big white bottle with a blue lid, thats what I need"
"why aint it in here? aint this where you use it?"
"remember, Pat washed my hair the other day?"
"oh yeah"
So he goes off again, by now I'm runnin out of hot water. But it wasnt long before he was back
"mom, its NOT there" He says with a mouthful of something.
"whats in your mouth?"
"some of Bretts cake"
okay, so he found the cake, maybe it had gotten moved. so I wash my hair with ivory bar soap, remembering how hard it is to get body wash out of it, condition it, and get out of the shower in time to hear a glass ornament shatter, there are only like 10 out of 100 balls on the tree that are glass- Bow always seems to find them to chunk at someone- next thing I know I look down and there is Bow with a belt telling me to go and whoop someone. He doesnt say it, he just grunts, hands me the belt and says "ett". I'm guessin "ett" was not happy with him throwing the ornament and had gotten onto him.

I walked into the kitchen, and then went to retrieve my camera.

Because, there - right where I said it was, was my shampoo.

I called Matt into the kitchen and asked him what that was.

I asked him why he couldnt find it.
"I didnt know you meant the KITCHEN sink"
"so I thought back over the entire conversation, maybe he had missed the word kitchen in the first sentence.- so I asked "between the SINK and Bretts cake?- what did that mean? close to the ivory DISHWASHING soap? do we keep that in your bathroom?, There are FOUR sinks in this house. TWO in my bathroom, so those were eliminated strait off, ONE in YOUR bathroom, where we dont keep Ivory DISHWASHING soap OR Bretts cake- that leaves?????"

"well, you still never said KITCHEN its not like I can read your mind"

at this point I just decided to laugh. seriously, what else could you do?

Then fast forward to today. I told the kids that we had alot to do, we had to get the house picked up and everything before we went to town I HAD to get dog food and cat food, even after spending ALL day in town yesterday, I was out. They were NOT on the list. - BUT I did get me a quick connect for BR's drill. AND while I was there, I saw a good price on another drill and flashlight combo and just decided that I did deserve a Christmas present after all. *smirk*


As I was cleaning up the Christmas tree mess, packing it up and getting decorations put away I asked the kids to pick up the livingroom and lets vaccum. I would turn around and they would be watching cartoons. I decided to let them watch the bugs bunny marathon, for one, because you seldom see bugs on TV anymore, its mostly just those stupid cartoons with crummy jokes and worse animation. and because I love them. And, I didnt want the day to be ALL work, we can work and watch TV too right?

Not here.

everytime I turned around, from doing laundry, to pulling Bow out of a toilet full of pinesol (Rayley was cleaning their bathroom... ) they would be sitting watching TV.

"at least get the living room cleaned up so you can vaccum"
"mom, I cant find the vacuum"
"well, if you clean up a little, it will magically appear." I said, looking at it.
After an hour of wressilin the tree, the duct tape and trying to keep Bow from throwing all the ornaments like baseballs, and asking them to vacuum up the broken glass from the tree area about 10 times, I finally lost my cool.

"GET THE VACUUM AND GET IT DONE! I want to set the bags with the tree in it back where the tree was, till I can get it outside, and then we can have enough room in the rest of the living room to get it picked up and vaccumed" I said as I shooed Matt out of my chair where he had been sitting watching TV.

"mom, I really cant find the vacuum. I looked in YOUR room, in MY room, in Rayleys room, its NOT in here! I think you loaned it to someone and you forgot.. like when you lost the tree last month... " (and I didnt LOOSE the tree, I just simply forgot where I had stored it.... )

I looked at him, and he shrugged and said "I promise, its NOT here"

"did you look everywhere Matt?"
"what color is it?"
"green" he says like I have lost my ever lovin mind
"how tall is it?"
"bout yeigh high" he says raising his arm up and looking at me funny.
"does it have a long black cord?"
"mooom, what are you getting at?"

"nothing Matt- I am just shocked that I am amazed that you lost the vaccum." and I took out my camera, while sitting IN my chair mind you, and took the following picture, never missing a scene from the Bugs Bunny Cartoon on the TV.... .