Friday, August 31, 2007

The Homecoming

Steve arrived home tonight from his week long China trip. Normally he goes for longer, but this time a couple of the guys split their time, so he just stayed a week. I’m glad to have him home. No major excitement while he was away, that’s good. He took the shuttle from the airport to our little town, where I picked him up just in time for dinner, which he wasn’t hungry for, since he’s on China time and he would just be waking up. His plane left China 10:20 p.m. yesterday (our time) and he arrived in town at 6:00 p.m. today. It made for a long day and he pretty much looked like a Zombie standing there with his carry on and his computer bag as I pulled up. Now he is snoring away in the chair in front of the television “watching” some old cop flick on the Hallmark channel. He brought back a few trinkets and gifts he was given, which, in light of all the publicity surrounding the great quality of items that come out of China, I am afraid to drink, touch or even look at. :o) He was given a gift box of green tea and a couple bottles of wine. Neither of us drink alcohol; so it’ll probably sit around for a while. I do have a couple of good bread recipes that call for wine, but still. I asked him what the odds were that it contained formaldehyde or lead, lol.

The kids are gone to the first high school football game of the season. I’m not even sure who we are playing, but I do remember the fun of attending my old HS games, hanging out with friends, cheering on the team and stuff. Ah, good memories. Every Friday after the game our church holds Fifth Quarter where the kids can come hang out have pizza, pop, snacks, etc and I think they do a short, 5 minute or so message. All concessions cost a quarter each. The kids usually hang out till 12:30 or so. It’s a huge draw; 300 kids or so show up, not bad for a town of 1500. I should note, the actual town has about 400, the rest of the people live in the surrounding rural area, like us.

Becca is still without her car, they gave an estimated completion date of Sept 6th. Considering we dropped it off on Aug 8th, I think they have taken forever to get the work done. All I can say is it better be good, lol. Perhaps they’ve embellished it or pimped it out…ya that. And I thought I was tired of driving her around before…sigh.

Think I’ll tuck Steve in bed and wait up for the kids to get home, just can’t go to sleep when they are not home yet, besides I want to hear that we won our first game.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Varsity Team

We’re on our second week of school and have begun to settle into a routine. Josh went out for soccer and made the varsity team. He is pretty pumped about it. He is a talented soccer player and is looking forward to the season. His cross country coach is bummed that he chose soccer over XC, but he will run track in the spring. His school doesn’t actually have a soccer team; so he is playing for another larger school in the district. It took him a week and a couple of visits to various schools to decide which one he wanted to play for. I think he made a wise choice. He was steered toward a particular school by a couple of people. I took him over there, but I didn’t have a good feeling about it, thankfully he ended up choosing a different school. I’m glad he made the choice he did. If I would have forced it or told him he couldn’t play for a particular school, he would have been upset with me, but since he made the choice himself, all is good :o)

Yesterday I moved the last batch of chicks from the garage to the big pen. I checked on them several times and they seemed to be doing well so I left them together overnight. This morning I noticed they were pretty mean and had pecked the tar out of one chick’s head in particular, so I spent the morning constructing a pen within the pen for the chicks. I put the chicken wire just high enough that the chicks have full reign, but can run into the smaller pen for safety if needed. I put a waterer and feeder in there and also made them a small chicken house, so they have cover at night or in the event of rain. The big guys were chasing them out of the hen house, so now they have their own place. Hopefully they will get to know each other through the fence.

I also covered the top of the big pen with some deer netting that I picked up on clearance at the farm store. There was a pair of hawks in the trees next to the pen, so I needed to get that done today before I lost any chicks. I saw the eagles soaring around today as well; I’m beginning to think they have a nest on the peak near the west end of the property. I’ll have to hike up there soon and see. We found a previous years’ nest in the trees near the coop. The kids thought it was pretty cool. It’s really huge and had big sticks, amazing how strong they must be to build something like that.

Becca had an interesting day at work, 5 of her coworkers were arrested for theft. Made for an exciting day. I'm sure she will pick up more hours now that they are so short staffed.

I bought a DVD off eBay on the great depression. I love studying that era in history. It amazes me how people made do and weren't afraid to share what little they had with those in need. They pulled together and their faith was strong. Such incredible poverty on the heels of great wealth. I would like to think I would do okay if faced with similar challenges. It sure was a unique period in this country’s history. I’m looking forward to watching it when it arrives.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Miracle

Steve left for Shanghai early this morning. We Skype each other every day…for those of you in the dark, it is an internet program that allows you to talk for free via the computer. He is more than half a day ahead of us, so when he gets to his apartment at 9:00 p.m., we’ll be up and getting ready for Sunday morning service. I love being able to talk to him twice a day while he is gone. I never know what his schedule is, so I just let him call me at his convenience. Also, I know I can call him if the family miracle happens and he is available most of the time.

The family miracle happens mostly when he is gone or I’m under some amount of stress. What’s the family miracle, you ask? That’s when one of the kids suddenly becomes like God and knows all things, while I at the same time have my intelligence diminished to one level above a coma.

We had that very miracle happen this week. I was informed in the truck by one of my dear children that I really don’t know how to drive, nor do I know how to spend money and have a fun time, nor do I know how to raise children. This couldn’t be the same child who put the very truck in the ditch while traveling 5 miles an hour, doesn’t have a dime to their name, or needless to say, a child to raise. I must be mistaken.

Apparently I have lost quite a bit of my intelligence over the summer, perhaps it didn’t get packed or got lost in the move.…good thing school is starting. :o) I had to pull of the road and have a 45 minute talk and try to set some things straight…key word there try. By the end of the 45 minutes, I had visions of sounding like Charlie brown’s teacher, ”mwah, mwah, mahw, mwah, mwah, mahw, son, mwah, mwah, mwah oaky?” His eyes had glassed over by then and I knew he was day dreaming about motorcycles, girls or soccer. It appears I generally have lucid periods of 20 minutes, or maybe slightly longer if I’m lucky, then I’m back to hovering near comatose on the intelligence meter.

And they say these are the best years of my life, someday I’ll look back and know with certainty that they were. I think that day will come when the family miracle begins to occur in my children’s homes. Thank goodness I was never like that with my parents…cough.

On another note, I’ve had to put the chickens back in their pen. Seems a pair of eagles has decided they are a tasty snack. These eagles are massive and just beautiful, but I’m not into feeding them my fledgling flock. At the same time the chicks have picked up some respiratory bug, so I lost 2 that I know of to that. I put them on an antibiotic, when I found the second one hiding in the weeds, dazed and staring off into the distance, waiting to go to the great feed bucket in the sky. When they began to disappear, I assumed they were sick and went off to die, but an hour of searching the weeds and grass around the house revealed nothing. I decided to let them out and keep a close eye and sure enough several hours later an eagle began moving in. At the final count, I have lost 3 Cochin, 1 barred, 3 Sussex, 1 Rhode Island, 1 buff, 3 leghorns and 1 bantam. I’m guessing 11 to the eagles and 2 to illness all in just 3 days. Sheesh! I have just the place for a pair of stuffed eagles above the mantel! Good thing most of my hen chicks are still in the garage, having hatched just 3 weeks ago. Also the antibiotic has kicked in and they are all back to their normal, lucid selves. Perhaps I could use a little antibiotic myself, just ask my kids, they say it wouldn’t hurt.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mom's Taxi

I can’t wait till Becca gets her car back from the shop. I found out yesterday that the insurance company was thinking of totaling it, but it has such low mileage that they decided to go ahead and fix it. I’m so glad, because we have taken meticulous care of it and even though it is 10 years old, I know it will run another 5-10 years easily. It only had 57,000 miles on it when she started to drive it a couple years ago. I’m getting tired of chauffeuring her to work and back every day. Its 100 miles a day there and back twice! I try to do things in town while I’m there to make it more worth spending the gas on. I really hate being a taxi.

I told the kids to ride the bus home today. Josh really doesn’t want to ride it….and wouldn’t you know, they missed the bus. Maybe I should start charing a per mile fare :) He blamed it on the gal at the office who talked too much when he went to find out his student ID number after school. Um…ya…It’s always good to blame things on people who aren’t around to defend themselves. Yesterday he missed the bus from shop class….aaargh! Aparently the school district we live in drives kids 25 miles to a centralized class but then leaves them to fend for themselves with no way back to the main campus. At least that's Josh's view of it. I’m thinking a pair of running shoes are in his near future.

While in town, I stopped at the local grocery and picked up the produce they were tossing. There were a ton of raspberries, so I made a quart of raspberry jam tonight. There was also a half dozen lemons and some pears, plums, carrots, strawberries, kale, celery, broccoli, cucumbers and the usual tons of lettuce. I gave the chickens their share and washed up the rest and put it in the fridge.

I plan to pick apples tomorrow; there is a nice tree full of them just down the road from us near the river. I’m planning to make a bunch of applesauce and some pies as well. I also spied a wild plum thicket along the road, the plums are almost ripe. I haven’t had wild plum jam since I was a kid. Hopefully I’ll have time to make that this year. And lastly, I saw some elderberries along a phone pole in town. I still have quite a bit of jam and syrup from a couple years ago when I made a huge batch, but I’m tempted to go and ask the homeowner if I could cut those as well and make some more syrup. I’m thinking a personal chef is in my near future, lol.

I’m getting tired just thinking of it, I feel like I'm nesting or something. Then there are the peaches my sister and I will be canning this weekend. We are buying 50 lbs and spending the day together canning them. It should be a fun time. Rachael will be along, so it should make for some interesting conversation. Maybe I’ll hit her up to help with the pies and applesauce. I'm glad to have some things put up for the winter. I love having an abundance of fruits and veggies in the winter, it seems to bring a touch of summer to the table.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Shanghai Team

Three of the Shanghai team are in the states on business so we had them over for lunch today and took them to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. We had a really great time; lots of laughter, questions and explanations. One spoke fairly good English, but the others spoke very broken English. It made for a fun time and lots of questions and attempts and re-attempts at explanations.

I had been fretting all week about what to make for lunch. I don't keep octopus or tripe on hand, so I resorted to chicken. I figured that was pretty safe. When Steve travels there, he eats some pretty...uh...shall I say interesting stuff? I wasn't sure I could cook something they would like, but I knew they eat chicken and cabbage and I happened to have both. Although after I had the chicken smoked, Steve told me they don't typically like the western style of smoked food. Aargh! I frustratedly asked what he recommended and if he would like to go out to the grocery, he decided they could try smoked and might actually like it. :o)

They arrived around 11:30. They found the place on their own...well, with the help of a GPS unit...but still amazing. They are the first visitors who have been able to find the place without an escort from three miles out. Hershey had them pinned in their car, but she quickly warmed up to them after being introduced. In fact they loved her and kept commenting on just how much. "Hearshy," as they called her, "really a nice dog"

Earlier in the morning I had grilled the chicken for just a couple minutes over an open fire to give it some good smoked flavor, then put a light sweet sauce on it and put it in a slow oven to cook for a few hours. They laughed when I answered that I had indeed cooked the chicken over the smolderig fire outside...still not sure why they found that funny. Anyhow, it was just perfect when they arrived...and they actually liked it. They ate rather noisily, I was suprised that they ate with their mouths open, but Steve told me later that smacking your lips while eating is a compliment to the cook on the food. And here I just thought they had poor manners, lol.

After lunch we piled into their rental car and headed up to Estes and Rocky Mountain National Park. They were in awe of the mountains and took a zillion pictures. there were lots of ohs and ahs and laughter when we tried to explain things. They hadn't seen a coyote or elk before. They seemed pretty satisfied with the explanation of a coyote as a wild dog with really long legs, they practiced saying coyote over and over for at leas 1/2 mile, asking us to repeat it every now and then.

The snow lingering in the summer was mystifying...."but it ez not cold enough ou, how can it be dere is steel dis snow?" Every time they took a picture of each other on a rock or in front of a mountain view they had to take one of us as well. They laughed as they showed each other the pictures they had just taken. I think they currently have more pictures of our family at RMNP than we do. Then at one stop the sky opened up and poured freezing rain on us. It actually hailed very small hail. They had never seen hail before either. They were amazed and kept saying "Ice, Ice" as they pointed it out to each other and to us and took pictures of it from inside the car. Their eyes got big and they laughed when we explained that in some places some storms drop hail as big as a baseball.

We picked up some pizza on the way home. I don't think they liked it, they each had one piece and insisted they were full. They stood around outside taking in the view and said they liked the farm. They found it funny that the chickens just walk around in the yard, that they are not in a "box." They laughed when Steve told them that the sky is just full of stars at night. About 8:30 they headed back to their hotel and I started to clean up from lunch, dinner and cookies.

It was a day well spent. I really enjoy sharing an other's culture and sharing mine with them. I find the differences so interesting. They invited us several times to come along with Steve next time he travels there and maybe some day I'll take them up on it.

Friday, August 17, 2007


I meant to post this yesterday, so for a few minutes pretend its till Thursday...unless that's just too painful :)

School starts Monday for Josh & Em. Since I've been putting off the inevitable trip to the DMV with Josh I decided to go today and get it over with. I'm not usually one to postpone important things, but I completely procrastinated on this. He needed to get his license switched over from Oklahoma. No tests or anything, just the dreaded eternal wait in an overcrowded room filled with angry people who would rather be pretty much anywhere else, including the dentist, or even an IRS audit.

We decide to combine trips and go with Becca on her way to work. We dropped her off and headed to the DMV. "DMV, that even sound boring." Josh quips. Not sure what he was expecting. I asked what he thought it should be called. "MPG" he answered. Which would stand for.....? "Military propelled grenades." I've got to admit that would make the place pretty exciting, not sure what it has to do with driving, but okay.

We walk in the door, scan the crowd and grab a number. It's standing room only. Our number, 19. The number on the screen, 72. Quick math brain that I possess puts us at 47th in line. At 5 min per person, we're looking at just under 4 hours. Oh brother. We stand around for about 10 minutes to gauge the employees' efficiency....okay, redo the math, 10 min per person...put us at just under 8 hours....uh....they'll be closed by then. What to do? We take our number with us and decide to run some errands. We ran and got another load of the free firewood, ran to the feed store to window shop and pick up an axe and hit the grocery for some pop and bread. 2 hours had passed, so we decided to check back in at the DMV. Up to # 94, wow 22 people in 2 hours, these ladies were moving right along. at 5.5 minutes per person I figure we have another 2 hours or so, so its out the door and on to Best Buy. I used a reward certificate to buy a Christmas gift, and then we ran to Dick's sporting good and checked out he rifles and shotguns, among pretty much everything else in the store. Finally on the way back, we ran to the pawn shop and looked at some dirt bikes and four wheelers that had caught Josh's eye.

We walk in the door at the DMV and they are on #1. Okay what happened? 7 people in about 90 minutes, boy did they hit a snag somewhere! A nap, lunch out, a scrapbooking party? My mind contrives the possible scenarios. We decide to stay put. A couple of seats have opened up, so we seat ourselves and people watch.

Everyone there has better things to do than spend 4 hours waiting, it shows on their faces. A couple of women with small fussy children give up and hope they will have better luck a different day. As they leave, one kindly hands her number to an elderly gentleman on oxygen. For a fleeting second I see myself tackling him and wresting the number from his clutch, but then I come to my senses and smile at her, acknowledging her kindness. A small child sits on the floor in her bright red shirt and white pants, her dark eyes glow with happiness. She tugs at her dark pigtail with one hand while chewing a fingernail on the other. She is taking in the sights, smiling at another girl her age and chattering in Spanish to her baby brother in mother's lap.

Finally our number is called. The woman scarcely makes eye contact as she inputs Josh's info. Josh also makes no eye contact, he continues to text on his phone just out of her sight. She looks up, scowl on her face and quips, "I can waive all restrictions with one condition." Josh looks up and meets her eye to eye. "Yes?" "That you sing the Oklahoma song." He stands stunned for a moment, trying to decide if she is serious. "uh, well, the schools weren't very good there, they never taught us that," he answers with a puzzled look. She chuckles and continues entering info, he returns to texting. Finally after 4.5 hours and $21 we are done and out of there, and all we have to show for it is a piece of paper.

Becca had a short day, so we picked her up and headed home. That was the day in a nutshell. No wonder I procrastinated. It wasn't what I would exactly call a productive day, we left home at 9 and got home at almost 4 . But it is done and hopefully we wont have to repeat that experience for a long while. Just in case, maybe I should refresh my memory to the words of Oklahoma.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Errand Day

Today was a pretty mundane day again. I ran to the bank to deposit a survey check, to the post office to pick up Josh's new snowboard, a Christmas present, then into town to pick up the free produce from the local organic grocery and some free firewood from a Craigslist posting. There was a lot of lettuce again and celery, also a couple heads of nice cabbage and a few other miscelaneous veggies. I made runzas with the cabbage and some buffalo meat. They were great. Em made the dough and it turned out really nice. I used the leftover dough to make some garlic knots, and a pan of rolls for the freezer. We had some nice salads with the lettuce and some sauteed yellow zucchini as well. I made 3 more gallons of vegetable broth and put them in the freezer. The chickens enjoyed the rest of the produce.

I'm trying to accumulate enough firewood to heat the house predominately from the wood burner this winter. I got the hook up with a local arborist who cuts trees but doesn't want the wood. I plan on getting quite a bit of wood from him. I picked up a big load today, some of it is pretty green, some is dry. But either way, it is a blessing. I plan on loading up each time I run into town. I'll have to see how it pans out, but I've thought about cutting, splitting and selling the extra. Hopefully there is enough of the seasoned wood to last this winter. I'm curious to see how mcuh wood we go through in a season.

Becca started at her new job today. She seems happy with it. She said they aren't that busy so she gets paid to hang out in the back a lot. Her last job was pretty hectic. They were really busy so she usually had to stay an extra hour after closing to clean up and get things in order for the next day. I guess its a nice change.

We got rain today and the weather turned much cooler. Its a chilly 62 degrees as I sit here and type. The rain has really greened things up. The deer are coming around more frequently, although I don't think a day has passed that we haven't seen at least one. The most we saw at one time was 18. There have been lots of reports of bears, although we have yet to see one of those. They come down when the berries ripen to fatten up for winter, so I expect we should see one any day. I'm looking forward to the change of seasons here. There was a dusting of snow in the highter elevations yesterday, winter is not too far off. I've slipped into winter prep mode, it just seems natural to begin stocking up and preparing for winter.

Tomorrow I plan to finalize on the 2008 budget and get that ironed out for next year. I've been crunching numbers for the last week. Also, I need to get things ready for the Chinese group that is coming to visit Saturday. They are the group of engineers that Steve oversees. He flew them over to get some additional trainging, so we will be hosting them for the day at the house. Should be a fun and educational time.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Visitor

Today my 3-year-old niece Rachael came to visit for the day. Rachael really likes to come to Aunt Niese's farm. But I wasn't born yesterday, I know that it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the chickens. Like an addict, she just uses me to get to the chicks. Rachael plays with them like they are barbies, in fact Ken & Barbie would be jealous. She rocks them, talks to them and if you ask her they even talk back. In her words, "They said 'we want to go for a hike up the mountain' ", "they want to play dress up, this one wants to be a princess, is it a boy or a girl?" "Oh look its smiling at me" And she adamantly tries to convinces me that they really did talk to her. Despite her pleas, I've never known a chicken to request make-up and being dressed in baby clothes.

I let her gather the eggs. She wanted to put them in the "nursery." She was shocked to find out I was not going to put them in the nursery, but rather was going to eat them. Ha! Now she was speechless, but only for a few seconds. "Aunt Niese," she scolded me "you can't eat it, the egg said 'you can only put me in the nursery.' ". Uh, no, I'm pretty sure I heard the egg say eat me, before you heard it say put me in the nursery.

Also like an addict, she would go from family member to family member begging to go out and see them "just for this many minutes." 30 seconds after returning, she was onto the next person. Rachael is a reasoner, I'm convinced she's a lawyer in the making. You can't tell her something without her reasoning through your logic and giving you an off the wall solution...usually involving animals talking. It is pointless to try to outsmart her with logic, and yet I continue to try my luck. After chasing the smaller chicks and holding them upside down, rocking them in her arms for hours, I told her the chicks said "We don't want Rachael to hold us anymore, we're getting sick."

After which I got a lesson from her on giving a chick an enema.....yep an enema. Okay, that was more information than I wanted to know, especially form a three year old. But according to Rachael, "if you do that they will never, never ever get diarrhea ever again, so its okay if they get sick, you can just fix it." Well, that one set me back a bit. I didn't have a plan "b," I'd just been out-reasoned and made speechless by a 3-year-old. Time for a nap, I knew I needed a break.

Rachael is full of questions, interesting answers, and off-the-wall comments. She keeps us in stitches with her antics and we learn a lot of interesting things from her. I'm a better person because of the vast wealth of unsolicited information she divulges. Example, if your chickens ever get sick, give me a call, I can talk you through giving them an enema.

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Rachel in her "dress-up clothes" with a chick. Don't worry, she heard it, it said it likes to be squeezed.

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Rachael in awe of the chicken riding on Hershey's back.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Find

Well, today was pretty much an errand day. Less exciting than previous days, thank goodness! I did some work out of the office this morning and then ran to the post office and into town to pick up a few things.

I stumbled upon a great find last week. I've been trying to incorporate more healthy, organic food in the family's diet, but it is so darned expensive. I spent 104.00 on some food last month that the kids ate in about 3 days. At that rate I'd spend over 1000 a month, I have been praying for ideas and thinking of some alternatives because I normally keep the budget at about 1/5 of that.

When I processed chickens for a neighbor several weeks ago she mentioned that the local grocery tosses a ton of produce and she picks it up for her chickens to help cut the cost of feeding them. She also metioned that a lot of it is still perfectly good. So, I decided to check with my local organic grocery and sure enough they said they pitch a bunch of stuff twice a week when the new produce arrives. The grocer told me I'd be amazed at what they toss and he would save it all out in a separate bag if I called ahead. So today I went to pick it up and I couldn't believe all the good fruits and veggies in there. I sorted it and gave the hens all the scrap stuff which was about 70% of it and washed the rest of the nicer things for us. A lot of it I couldn't see why they had tossed it except that it was in a package with one or two items that were not sellable. I also made a gallon of vegetable stock to put in the freezer for soup this winter. There were whole bunches of really nice lettuce, I guess they were too small to sell so they got tossed? In any event, I think it was a great find. I washed and sorted the lettuce, wish there was a way to preserve it as there was enough to fill a 5 gallon bucket. Guess we'll be eating salad for lunch & dinner. He told me to plan to come 2x a week and get stuff. He said it seems such a waste to just toss it, they are glad to give it away to someone. So, looks like the organic produce desire has been met. Hmmmmm.....maybe I need to stop at the local bank and see if they will save me a bag of some of their green stuff :)

I ran to Target to pick up a couple of things as well. They have printable coupons for buy one get one at the Starbucks inside. That's a hard one to pass up, especially since friend had given me a Target gift card. So, the girls and I treated ourselves. We had fun perusing the aisles. Usually I'm a get in and get out kind of person, the last time I just shopped there for nothing in particular was probably a year ago. But, I didn't find much in the way of bargains, so ya. Oh well, we still had a fun time.

The UPS guy stopped by the house to drop off a return shipment and the dog had him pinned in the truck. He stood inside the door and wouldn't come out. I let him know she is a pushover for a good doggie biscuit. Stan, the regular UPS guy brings her a treat, so I think that was all she was hoping for. Large brown truck = treat! But I admit, she can be intimidating to some one who doesn't know her.

On a sad note, the chicks are big enough that I started to let them out to roam around the place and I lost one to a hawk or fox or something while I was in town today. There was a small amount of feather on the ground so we did a head count and sure enough, one was awol! Darn it! Guess some critter was hoping to incorporate more healthy, organic food in his diet too.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Tow Truck

Who says life on the farm is dull? On the bright side we met another of the upstanding businessmen in the community. Larry drives the local tow truck. We like Larry. Larry has the ability to rescue vehicles from 3' deep crevasses. Did I mention we like Larry? The whole event came to pass because Josh had to play Dance Dance Revolution with his new friends. They don't drive so he had to pick them up. There is a good reason teenage boys have higher insurance rates...ah, but I digress. I tell him I'm not fond of all the driving back and forth every day. I just filled the truck and the first time I go to drive it its at 1/2 tank. With an arm around my shoulder he looks into my eyes and says "Well mom, we have friends now, how can you put a price on that" Believe me son, I can put a price on it, Larry certainly had no problem.

So a neighbor brings him home. Seems he was run off the road by a barely english speaking maniacal dump truck driver delivering a load of firewood flying down the center of the road with no regard for man nor beast. "Oh sorry, can't stop now," he yells out the window as he slows. Ya, like that really helped. At least that was Josh's take on the whole thing. He also claims he was only going 5 miles an hour. A teenage boy driving 5 miles and hour, ya well, you be the judge. A Good Samaritan was a few minutes behind and gave him a lift. He was about 2 miles from home and had no cell service, thank goodness for caring, decent neighbors.

Larry's take, "Oh, this one is a toughie, she's resting on the drive shaft and the muffler, and the axle is partly buried. Not sure I can get 'er out with out damage, but I'll sure try" Not exactly comforting, but what are my alternatives. Besides, Larry looked like he knew what he was doing.....I hoped. Well, 2 hrs and 1 fat check later, the truck was back on the road. Larry did a great job, truck survived damage free, Josh snapped a pretty cool souvenir picture with his cell phone and me...I just wrote the check...hmmm, I'm feeling a little jipped.

Well, after yet another trip back into town, the gang has arrived and the Dance Dance Revolution party is in full swing. They seem to be having a good time. The light fixtures sure are shaking. Hmmm....I wonder if Larry knows a good electrician.

On another note we caught two more snakes. Not rattlers, but still. One was 6'5", he was hiding out in the garage sizing up the new chicks. The other was 5'2" I figure if ya got 'em in hand, ya may as well measure 'em....after all. I "relocated" them both to the end of the driveway, which is 1/4 mile long. I hope that was enough. We thought we had chased the same big one off already, so we spray painted a spot on his back to see if he comes back. That's an "Old Indian Trick" I learned form my dad. He has a lot of old indian tricks, but that's fodder for another blog. What are the odds the newly decorated snake will shed and return? I'll keep you posted on that.

Well, today definitely was an interesting day, I often tell Josh he keeps my life interesting. Just when I was beginning to think there would be nothing to blog about today. Here's to hoping tomorrow is dull; my checkbook just can't handle the excitement.

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Here are Josh's pictures. Only the front Drivers tire was making contact with the ground. The rear driver's was in the air and both passenger tires were off the ground down it the ditch. The truck was resting on the undercarriage, but thankfully its out with no damage!

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Nest Box

Today was a great day. I decided last night that it was to be a chore day, I put the kids to work and we got a lot accomplished. Becca cleaned inside and Josh and Em worked outside. We're in "Monsooon season" so they say, which means even though it is very dry here, it rains most afternoons. The drive has some spots washed out from the recent downpours, so I accompanied Josh and showed him what I wanted done and how to best do it. He drove the pick-up and I rode on the back, we went down the lane and examined the spots that needed repair. Riding on the tailgate reminded me of the days spent walking beans as a kid. I left him and came back to supervise the girls and get a few things checked off my own list. Josh returned about an hour later with a dead, but still slithering rattle snake. Steve says he has my aim and quick reflexes. He got it with a shovel just below the head, I told him I was proud of his quick thinking and his aim. it was 3' 1" long. Not a big one, but big enough!

Josh helped me to hang the 15 hole nest box in the coop today. I think it looks great. The hens love it. They went from hole to hole to hole checking it out, scratching the hay around, and clucking. I think they tried just about every hole before they decided it met with their approval and hopped on down and out the door. Hopefully tomorrow they will lay in the box and not on the ground.

I picked up the nest box from craigslist. It was in need of some repairs before hanging. Some of the floor trays were missing and some were rusted through, so we cut boards and made new floors for it. Josh was removing some staples from the boards before running them through the saw and rammed a chisel pretty deep into his hand. I told him it pays to use the right tool for the job...probably figured that out already :) He bled a bit. I made him wash it, I put some bactroban on it, butterflied it and then bandaged it. It probably could have used a few stitches, but he takes after me and wanted to leave it be. I told him to keep an eye on it for infection. I think it bled enough to clean it out. I think his plan was to fake dad out and tell him the snake bit him. I advised him to make sure dad was in a good mood first. :)

Becca took her truck into the body shop. She got in a wreck last week and seemed to be dragging her feet about getting it in for repair, not sure why. She is still waiting to hear about the new job. They have had some turnover in managment and she was told they want her, but they can't hire till the new manager is in place, hopefully soon. I reccommended she start looking again.

Tonight the kids had friends over to watch a movie. They like to hang out here. I'm glad, I can supervise and I like knowing what is going on and who they are hanging with.

We didn't get everything on the lists done, but we made a good dent in them, and we had an exciting and fun day hanging out together and working toward a common goal. And, I was reminded once again that I have a bunch of really great kids!

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Josh with the headless rattler