Tuesday, July 31

It's the little things that make life so sweet

Little things like plums! I got to eat a fresh, juicy, red Superior plum from my orchard this week. The wild plums aren't doing much yet, and I don't really know if they will. But this plum tree is beckoning, and I will likely take a basket back there and harvest plums later this week. When I do, I'll take the camera with me.

Little things like our current yard flowers

Little things like adolescent chickens

Little things like crab apples

And "regular" apples... these boughs were so heavy they were touching the ground. We've tied them to the frame of the old swingset. We'll see if that helps!

It's the little things which grow in my planted-too-late garden, which I enjoy anyway! The corn was planted a month ago and probably won't do anything but look cute. Beyond that are (late) tomato plants of a few different varieties, peppers, and basil. The lush plot behind it contains grape tomatoes, dill, nasturtiums, and cucumbers. You can see my potted herb garden in the back, but the lettuce is hiding behind a tomato plant. We certainly have plenty of room to expand the garden in the future, as we get the hang of northern gardening.
The lemon balm which really does taste like lemon
The basil which promises to make lovely pesto
And the grape tomatoes which will soon be red and juicy and the perfect, bite-sized flavor of summer. We have 11 plants loaded with blossoms and green tomatoes, so we will be eating a lot of summer! We also have about 16 other tomato plants, which may or may not do anything because they made it into the ground so late.
And it's the little things like happy, swimming children that I really need to capture with my camera, isn't it? We've been scoping out and enjoying several area lakes. Hopefully I will remember my camera next time we go.

Sunday, July 29

I am never doing that again.

Oh gosh. I think last week was the worst week of my life! Okay, as you already know, Toby was at camp last week, leaving me to do his morning chores which would have been fine if it hadn't been so hot. It was all in the 80s and 90s except for the huge thunderstorm and it all had an awful heat index.
Then, as if that wasn't nearly enough, Mom was feeling bad and so I had to help with the little kids a lot more.
Anyway, on the plus side Mom and I cleaned the Project Room and Toby's Room and they both look wonderful.
Well, I'm going to go see if I may go ride my bike.

Saturday, July 28

I'm back now

Camp was fun. The first night, we all sat around a campfire. Some people had lost their wood cookies, so they had to sing the Barney song for everybody. I didn't recognize the Barney song because I don't watch Barney. (Surprise) (Mom says I used to watch Barney. Thankfully, I've forgotten.) I asked if I could sing a song, and so they said yes, and so I sang Jesus Freak. They loved it. They went wild. 45 screaming fans. (It was 45 exactly.) They liked it so much that they kept asking me through the week to sing it for them.

Through the week, we canoed, hiked, swam (yuck), sang, shot bows, shot pellet guns, and weeded the lake. On Thursday, we went to the range in a really low quality bus. I hate that bus. The leather seats were green, and the... oh dear, we'll just have to hold that thought...

Well, first, I shot a .22 at a target 50' away. That was fun, but the gun was stupid. It didn't always eject the cartridge, and the sights were not aligned well. If you hit a bullseye, it was more luck than skill.

Then, we learned about gun cleaning. That was okay. Kinda boring, but how exciting can you expect it to get?

Then, I got to shoot a shotgun of my choice. I chose a 28 gauge to start with. We were shooting trap. I didn't hit anything, so I decided to use a 20 gauge instead. Oh yeah. It was a heavier gun, so it had less recoil, and so it was more accurate, and so I hit 2 in a row.

Then, we ate lunch. I didn't eat my chips, because ever since I discovered Old Dutch potato chips, you can't make me eat those discount garbagey excuses for potato chips. No sir. Anyway, I ate my lunch and sat with some of the adults. We talked, and then we had to hurry up because a storm was on the way. I changed a snow song to fit the occasion. "There's no biz like rain biz when rain is what we wish for, rain days are fun days to frolic like Eskimos, so what can we say but hip hip hurray, and on with the rain! To see a great big man entirely made of rain. Rain, rain..." Anyway, then it started raining really hard, so we didn't finish, we just got on that clunker bus thing. The cold front moved in so fast that the bus windshield fogged up and the driver couldn't see anything. I salute that guy. Boy was he patient. Well, I decided the bus wasn't worth its weight in cow manure when I saw that the windows were flimsy and wouldn't go up evenly, and when the emergency exit in the roof leaked on the seat to my right.

When we got back, we had our tests and watched an "educational" movie about field dressing game. I said "educational" instead of educational, because most of the people in the audience thought that it was hilarious. Especially when the guy was cutting around the deer's plumbing. And when he was working with meat, they all started puking simultaneously.

Then we had to perform our skits. Each dorm needed to make a skit, and ours was the best. We did the first annual LLCC fashion show, where we imitated the counselors.

On Friday, I was awarded the "Future Member Of DC Talk" award for singing Jesus Freak on Sunday.

I have a few pictures from camp. I have 44, but Mom wants me to do no more than 5 for each post. This may take a while.

Here is a muskie about 4 1/2 feet long.
This is a fisher, related to the pine marten.
Here, of course, is a wolf.
A picture of Gary (counselor affectionately called "Gare Bear") holding a bull snake.
And this is a bobcat.

Friday, July 27

Toby's home - yippee!!

I'm so glad he went to camp! Not only did he qualify for his third hunter safety card, his roommates decided it was time for him to learn what a condom is.

He'll be posting lots of stories, I'm sure. But I bet he won't tell you that on the first night, he got up in front of everyone and sang "Jesus Freak" a cappella! He also had a couple of fans who couldn't get enough of his guitar playing or his great muscles.

From what he's told me, it sounds like he handled himself well in a variety of situations. I'm proud of that young man, and very glad to have him home again.

Tuesday, July 24

Well, I'm alive!

I didn't pass swimming so that really disappointed me a lot. Really, I was mostly just emotionally beating myself up because I strove to pass and kids half my age were easily passing. But I did my best and besides, I have never been a good swimmer. I'm always afraid and yet, I went off the diving board into the 12 ft. at least 10 times!
I need to take care of Toby's chores in the morning so I need to go. Don't forget who's taking you home and in who's arms your gonna be. Goodnight!

Saturday, July 21

Goodbye peopo, I'm leaving

So tomorrow I will head off to camp. I am basically packed up now. When I get back I'm gonna paint a garage and do some serious research on pigs and stuff. I just checked "The Pig Site" and got it bookmarked so I can just click and read.

Dad just woke up. He's gonna find out that I shut down his game of spider solitaire... oh good, he's asleep again. Ah, yes.

Today we went to Cloquet again. We go to Cloquet a lot. Well, then we came home. We didn't listen to the radio this time because somebody flipped the switch and that makes the music all fuzzy. Probably the same person is the one who busted the shifter thing. Boy are they in trouble.

Friday, July 20

Today was the last day

Hurray! Now it's time for camp in two days.

Today was interesting. We have been testing for swimming all week, so today was going to be free time for everyone. Then, the party pooper came. Quite literally. Some fool left feces in the swimming pool, so they closed the pool for the day. But I passed.

Then, I went to lunch. Since the pool was closed early, I made it in time to eat lunch with everybody else. Maybe I shouldn't have. Everyone was envious of my lunch. "You're gonna give that sandwich to me right?" "How come you get a big sandwich?" "Can I have a bite?" "All I get is PB&J!" etc, etc, etc.

Then I started cleaning the cafeteria. I was sweeping. Brendan kept complaining.
"I don't see why I have to do work; I thought there were JANITORS at this school."
Then when I kept working, he said "Cleaning is for retards -- kinda like you." I got him really mad when I payed no attention. And when he said that in the end, the world will be ruled by retarded monkeys, I explained to him that he is using faulty science, and explained to him that the end of the world will involve a mountain of rock falling from the sky and poisoning 1/3 of all the water, and that the very end will involve terrible torture for three months for anyone who doesn't have The Mark on their foreheads. He seemed especially attracted to the mountain of rock part.
He asked me "So, you said this 'mountain of rock' is called 'Wormwood'? Why is it called Wormwood; does it have like worms running through it or something?"
I said "I don't know, I haven't seen it yet, but I don't think so because it is a mountain of rock, and worms don't go through rocks very often, but I could be wrong. Anyway, the important part is that it will poison 1/3 of the fresh water and 1/3 of the people will die because the waters were made bitter."

Nobody got mad at me or anything. In fact, the people supervising him and I seemed kinda... intoxicated.


I thought that making 10 jars of blueberry jam would be a great project for me this morning, what with the kids gone and all. I was wrong. I've got at least two more batches of blueberry to make, plus juneberry and gooseberry. And I'm waiting for my helpers!!

I love hearing the :: ping :: as the lids seal!

Other projects I've got planned for the next week or so:

  • put craft and school supplies on the project room shelves the guys assembled for me last night
  • help Toby finish up his "practice" roll of film, get his pics developed, and get him another roll for camp
  • help Toby label his stuff and pack for camp
  • sew some skirts and/or aprons with Lynae
  • make soap
  • maybe tear out first batch of peas, if they're as done as I think they are

Thursday, July 19

It's almost over here too!

Yup, I'm 'bout done. After tomorrow, it's time for camp! Hurray! Today I helped out with teaching the little kids, and then when it was time for my lesson, we were covering the same stuff, so it was easy for me. In fact, I was the fastest, went the farthest, etc. Then, I went and ate lunch and helped clean the cafeteria. That was weird. Somebody had been assigned to clean the cafeteria, and a few people (including me) were helping out. Then, she saw us helping and just left. So, we kept cleaning, and we didn't know where she went and didn't really care since she wasn't really working hard when she had been in there.

It is gonna be fun at camp! I can eat, drink, swim, maybe fish, maybe CLIMB TREES, uh... learn, think, distribute business cards, etc.

Today I got 2 magazines in the mail about hunting. That was cool. A lot of the stuff was fishing too. In fact, I think that the majority of the stuff is about fishing, which is cool because I like fishing, and I don't know about hunting, and the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know. Besides, I have never really been really good about fair chase. I always think it's so easy, but then when you get out there, you can't remember your own name, let alone DON'T SHOOT YOUR DECOY!!! Or the duck sitting on the water, or the bear taking a nap.

It's almost over!

Tomorrow is the last day I have to get up early and get on a bus! Thank goodness too. I'm tired of getting up at 7:00, doing chores and eating as fast as possible, making sure everything is clean and packed, and getting on a bus soon to be filled with kids and then staying with those kids for 4.5 hours.

Lately I have felt like my life has been taken and replaced by something crazy and hectic. I'm just not getting enough water and fresh air which disappoints me because I love both.
Speaking of water, I am doing really well in swimming classes. In fact, the other day I mustered up enough courage to jump from a diving board into water that was 12 feet deep (this is a big deal because I have always had a fear of deep water).

Well, thats all for now, I'm kind of tired and would like a little rest. Until next time.


Pop Wagner

Pop Wagner will be performing soon in my own, very small town. In fact, we will be able to walk to the concert. How cool is that?! Anyone remember him from A Prairie Home Companion?

Wednesday, July 18

It's not about me

And thank God it isn't, because I'm very selfish and short-sighted. I am the same woman who was so blinded by a headache yesterday that she couldn't find the full bottle of Excedrin, and used that and the heat and her restlessness as an excuse to make a long trip in the air-conditioned gas hog SUV to buy more Excedrin and a Pepsi (because everybody knows that caffeine helps a headache).

I am the same woman who planned that trip for right around supper time so the kids would be well rested from their naps dh could be easily talked into eating out with us, regardless of carefully planned menus and shopping lists and budgets.

I am the same woman who is currently drinking aforementioned Pepsi, even in the absence of the slightest hint of a headache.

Therefore I feel I can safely assume that, if it were about me, I would have the kids registered for public school before they even got home from swimming lessons this afternoon. Because a selfish, short-sighted woman might care less about character and love of learning and Christian worldview and tailored lesson plans than she does about peace and quiet and freedom to work/play/nap/read uninterrupted for hours at a time, in broad daylight. She might begin to believe that a well-tended garden and clean house are more important than nurtured young minds and spirits. She might notice how much easier it is to weed a garden than to train a child, and become utterly discontent with her responsibility to mother her children. (Or maybe she already has.)

Yes, thank God it's not about me. And thank God, He truly has shown me what is more important in this season. I pray that He will help me remember that when the yellow bus comes back this afternoon!

Tuesday, July 17

Today I had swimming lessons

And today we were practicing saving people's lives and whatever. I had to save the lifeguard 4 times. Everyone else only had to save the lifeguard 2 times. The lifeguard was my partner, that's why. Anyway, in the pool today, I forgot which end of the pool I was in. I thought that I was in deep water. Well, it turns out that I was in the shallow end, so when I kept swimming down, down, down, in water 3' 6" deep, well, I hit my face on the bottom of the pool. Ouch. Now I have a big red spot on my chin.

Then, when swimming was over, I was looking around frantically for my lunch which was secretly possessed by Lynae. I walked the perimeter of the school twice and never saw her. So, I went to sit outside. That was fine until some girl dumped water on my head, while I was in dry clothes. I told her not to. I warned her. We'll see who gets the last laugh. Huh, I'll bring a stinkin' five gallon bucket of water tomorrow. Yeah.

Then, we went to Cloquet, which is weird because I could've sworn we went to Cloquet yesterday; anyway, we went to Wally World and Perkins. On the way home, we listened to the radio. What a treat!

I'm getting a new Bible in a few weeks. It's like back order or drop shipped or something. Drop shipped. I wish. I want my new Bible. The one I have now is really fally aparty, like whenever I open my Bible, the book of Ephesians falls out, and from Genesis 1 to Leviticus 14 falls out. This time, I ain't making the 1-800-mistake. Not by the red spot on my chinny chin chin. Nope, I'm buying a hardcover Bible this time. I'm getting a cover for it, too. I need one. Boy, there was one time I left my dog in the truck with my Bible, and he started chewing on it. That's probably part of the reason Ephesians falls out and Genesis 1 to Leviticus 14 always falls out.

Well friends, it is late, I'm tired, and I've got a big day tomorrow. So this is where I say that I'd better start winding down.

I'd better start winding down. In fact, this is the place I say that, in fact, I should be done now.

In fact, I should be done now.

Lynae is here...

Hello everyone, this is Lynae telling you that from now on I will be posting here on my mother's blog instead of my own. I will post more later. Nice meeting you!


Monday, July 16

Exploring Minnesota: Agate Days and Bear Lake

Two of my peeps are in this picture, watching rocks and agates and quarters being dumped on the street for the agate stampede.

Unfortunately, it is open to adults as well as children, so most kids hardly stand a chance at finding anything fun. Toby was assertive and did find a handful of tiny agate chips, but we would've done better to look along the roadside here at home, I think.

On a whim, we stopped at a lake on our way to get groceries. I took pictures of water plants while the kids looked at fish and Toby told us about the bluegills we saw.

As we were leaving, we saw our first Minnesota loon. This unclear picture was taken through the truck and across the road. She had at least one baby with her, possibly two. We could see both adults on the lake as we zipped down the highway on our way home that night.

Live and learn

Today my children learned what happens when they disregard the teacher and run away rather than sitting in a time out, and also what happens when a pocket knife is taken to school.

I am not a great mother. I could not help but say I TOLD YOU SO, since I had, in fact, told them so last week.

On a positive note, Miss Grace is learning skills I had planned to cover in kindergarten. Since mastery in her class of one means we can move on to something new, I can rewrite my plans to cover many new things.

I love the way she writes her name!

The last couple weeks I have been helping out at the school. They are doing a two week summer program, and I am helping. I guard the locker room. I am lord of the locker room. That is a very... challenging job. A lot of people like to sing or dance or scream instead of just taking care of their business.

Yesterday we were driving home from Cloquet when we saw a sign for feeder pigs for sale. Feeder pigs are piglets that have been weaned and are ready to start eating real food instead of that imitation colostrum. (Yuck) Mom said I could maybe get one. A feeder pig I mean. Not that imitation milk or colostrum. (Yuck)

Today at the school I played hockey with some other people. That was fun. I decided to be the goalie because if there isn't much to do, I would rather not do much standing still than chasing after a ball that I can't get to.

A couple days ago I went to Moose Lake to collect agates. These people dumped a bunch of rocks on the street, so I picked out the agates. Then we saw a bunch of people selling agates and petrified wood or fossils, and I would have bought some, but the only ones worth having were the ones that cost between $20 and $2,000,000,000, so I didn't buy anything.

Next week I'm going to camp. Hooray! I can eat, drink, swim, maybe fish, maybe CLIMB TREES, uh... learn, think, distribute business cards, etc. That'll be cool.

Friday, July 13

Now I know

The remedy for silly putty in hair is hand sanitizer.

Five children in a public school setting is more drama than I can handle, even from home.

Monk: Season 4: Disc 3 contains the best episodes since Sharona left.

When I go to a restaurant, I no longer need to ask if they have unsweet tea.

I really am a worse procrastinator than I care to admit. So as much as this is an admission, it's even worse.

Wednesday, July 11

Thousands of words

You simply must click on this picture to appreciate these flowers. I'm amazed at how this picture turned out! Anyone know what kind of flowers these are? The leaves look sort of like large, compact raspberry leaves.
My silly garden - this shot includes pumpkins, marigolds, tomatoes, peppers, dill, cukes, and basil. You can also see the neighbor's garage. Toby will be painting that for her in the next week or two. Funny, months before he was asked to do so, Michael had a dream that he was painting her garage for her. I might send him (and Loren) over to help for a few minutes, just to make that dream come true.

I don't know what this is, either.

Tuesday, July 10

Ba da ba ba ba... I'm lovin' it!

The highest high in the forecast for the next five days is 74. I must go do the happy dance. Outside in the chill. Oh, I'm feeling positively giddy.

No, that's not shivering, or vishering, it's giddiness.


(C'mon, you already knew I was strange.)

I wrote something, really!

I thought I'd posted something a few days ago. Turns out it was saved as a draft. Now the content is irrelevant. So much for that.

I've added Toby and Lynae as contributors to this blog. We'll see how that works out. You can still read their old posts by clicking their links. If I'm ever truly bored, I may begin pasting their old posts into this blog. I can't imagine being that bored, but hey, it could happen. While we wait for them to sign in, be sure to check out their most recent entries on their own sites.

Tansy. That's what I've got growing next to my front steps and all around the property. The previous owner's son says it's just a weed. I say a plant is only a weed if it's in the wrong place. (Even horseradish.) I happen to like tansy next to my front steps. Ok, six inches to the right would be even more ideal, but I'm not about to transplant it. In fact, it might inspire me to make the whole front corner of the house into a lovely, bushy, wild-looking herb garden.

Tansy was also the name of my neighbor's dog when I was a kid.
Which reminds me, we had a goat named Coriander.
I look forward to getting goats.
Which reminds me, I must tell you that I love watching our chickens grow! They've found the compost pile, and love to scratch around in it. One of the young roosters is beginning to crow. He sounds so cute and goofy!

You know, on those days when life is a bit rough (every day), I must always remember to walk the property. I'm filled with gratitude and happiness every time. That is very good medicine.

The kids have swimming lessons and classes this week and next. It's just as I thought; I can get my own chores done much faster when they're not here. On the other hand, getting up a couple hours earlier to see them off is whooping my butt. I guess in that way it all evens out... but I sure do love the quiet!

Maybe tomorrow will be the day I venture into my overstuffed email inbox. Or maybe I'm a worse procrastinator than I care to admit. We shall see!