Wednesday, August 29

Exploring Minnesota: State Fair

When Loren and I decided it would be best for only some of us to go, I was nervous. I hadn't driven in a city without him in some time, and I wasn't sure how much walking I could handle. But I really wanted to see Greg Brown, so I put on my brave face and my walking shoes.

Shortly after we arrived at the fair, I heard a marching band. We made our way to the parade. We got there just in time to see our local marching band and some people we know, but I didn't think to get my camera out just yet. I did get it out in time for the RCMP and the mosquito. It wouldn't be the Minnesota State Fair without a life-sized mosquito.We enjoyed a few rides together, and Gracie rode the bumper boats. Why didn't I get a picture of that? I don't know. All the other parents did.

Then we made our way to the barns. That was a long hike through a sea of people that was almost more than Lynae could take. Toby must've done a good job talking up the swine barn, from the look on Grace's face.Oh, yes. They loved the swine barn. I fear there is at least one pig in our future. Would you believe all the goats had been sent home the day before we got there?After surviving the trek to and through the barns, I thought we deserved some delicious fair food: Australian battered potatoes. With cheese sauce. I persuaded Toby to try on a hat. I have a very handsome and cool son. Something about this picture reminds me of my mom.After a lot more walking and riding the gondolas and tilt-a-whirl and eating delicious fair food, we settled in for the Greg Brown concert. He was polite to the people who bugged him before the show, but we exercised amazing self-control and did not tell him we were related to the front-and-center-scarf-wearing-lady he sees so often in New England. Nor did we tell him she'd be listening from afar.
No, instead we took goofy, excited pictures of ourselves waiting for the concert to start.Here are a few concert pictures, proving that we were really there, and that I still don't know enough about photography to take good concert pictures.
Bo Ramsey is as fun to watch as Greg Brown is to listen to. It was a great time.

I bet the girls wish they had gotten up sooner to dance.

After the concert, we wandered around just a little longer. We heard Weird Al in the grandstand, bought Grace some cotton candy, and finished what would later be confirmed as the 5-mile walk. On the way home, we stopped at Tobies for some real food and relaxing conversation.

And that, friends, was our day at the state fair.

Tuesday, August 28

Scaredy pup

Look at that goofy dog. He's a big baby, I tell ya!

He doesn't like lightning or thunder. He will cry the most pitiful cry from his crate if it's storming at night! I have to turn on the light so he doesn't notice the lightning. And I have to turn on the radio so he doesn't notice the thunder.

This morning, Loren turned the light off when he left for work at 4am. Guess who cried until I got up and turned it back on? I didn't coddle him, just so ya know. I gave him a stern reprimand as I turned on the stinkin' light.

There was no more thunderstorm at 4am, only a gentle rain. Apparently, this sweet pup didn't care.

Good thing he's cute and wonderful and obedient.

Sunday, August 26

Help me decide!

We are getting ready to build our chicken coop. The last one we had was actually a shed we moved across the property and rebuilt, and it had a wood floor. We had no problems with that. Still, the final design detail for us to decide this time around is whether we want a dirt, wood, or concrete floor.

What has been in your coops and barns? What are the advantages/disadvantages as you see them? Which would you recommend for a coldish climate?

Send your farming friends this way -- I could use their input, too!

Sunday, August 19

Yesterday was our town's Fun Day

That was a lot of fun. I went down there, looked around, came back. I got Manoah hooked up to the wagon. You know where this is going. I took the wagon into town, and gave the little kids free rides. I shoulda charged 25 cents per person, but I didn't. The biggest person who got a ride was Mr. J.S., and he's a year or two younger than me. Then, we had some yummy food, longingly watched the beer garden (the main attraction), and listened to '80's music. Seriously, it was playing the top 100 songs from 1987.

I danced of course. I danced like an '80's freak. Some of the adults pooled some money and said they would pay me $5 to dance through a whole song. I declined, because the next song was kinda slow anyway.

Then we saw some wicked sweet fireworks. Those were awesome!

At the fair, we saw a goat show. That was ok. What was really cool was me doing karaoke. I sang "Jesus Freak" and "The Last Dance". Yeah dude.

I also thought it was cool that they had a jester who had a fool's cap and rode around on a unicycle. He carried stuff around on his unicycle. Signs, bunnies, etc.

I need to go now because it's late.

Saturday, August 18

I'm missing all the action!

Today our town is having a local celebration, about which I don't know nearly enough. I was hoping to hang out with the kids and get to know more of my neighbors, but alas, that was not to be. I have children who need desperately to be home today.

I am grateful, however, that this is the sort of town in which my older children can be active participants, even without me. In our aging community, Toby and Lynae are becoming well-known and respected. They have been friendly, outgoing, and have even done bits of community service on their own here and there, and people have noticed. (In a town of ~100, it would be hard not to notice. Especially when Lynae hoisted Toby up so he could fix a couple of street signs.)


Loren was planning to join Toby at the pancake breakfast this morning, but something happened and Loren was unable to go. So Toby went by himself and had a great time. After he got back, I heard a baseball game across the tracks.

Later in the day, Toby, Lynae, and Michael went back over for the pig roast, and Michael played some football. Toby brought home a t-shirt... it looks like it will be passed down to his siblings before long.

Toby is there now, taking pictures of a model of the town which includes our house. I'd have loved to see it for myself, but it doesn't look like I'll be able to go. I'm hoping this is an annual event so I can see it next year. I do hate to miss it!

Tonight there will be a concert of some sort, and fireworks after dark. I think Loren will be home in time for us to all go and enjoy that together. We'll have to bundle up, though; it's 61 today and will be much cooler tonight!

Update: Jon snuck out and went across town by himself when he was supposed to be doing chores in the house. I went over to get him, and the other kids told me Toby was already bringing him home. So now I'm home with a grounded son, and Loren is over there with the other kids.


Maybe next year.

Friday, August 17

Taste a little of the summer

We never did pick more blueberries to add to the juneberries, so I went ahead and made jam with what I had. I didn't use a recipe; I totally wung it. If I had it to do over, I'd add more pectin, I think. It seems to be a soft set so far, but it may thicken up more as it sits on the shelf waiting for winter.Some of us went to the fair yesterday. Unfortunately, fair season is around a very emotional anniversary in our family. For a few weeks before and after that anniversary, we have to be very careful of how we carry out planned activities, as potential for meltdowns lurks around every corner. I praise God for the flexibility we do have, and for wonderfully responsible and understanding older children.

The fair we attended was wonderful! It wasn't too loud or too crowded. People were dressed modestly. The 4-H exhibits were in a building of their own, larger than the entire exhibit area we were used to in Kentucky. There was so much to see and do, we could've spent an entire day and not been bored. Tired, yes, but not bored. We watched the 4-H goat show, wandered through several of the barns, watched a magic show, and checked out all the exhibits except the flowers.

duct tape wedding dress

antique fair ribbons

Toby tossed hay bales and sang karaoke. We enjoyed funnel cakes, gyros, egg rolls, lemonade, and hot dogs. We never did make it to the flower building, the old general store and farm buildings, or the train engine, and we skipped the midway entirely.

It was a beautiful day, as well. The sun was shining, a breeze was blowing, and it was about 72 degrees.

Loren is taking Lynae to the fair tonight, and I'm a little jealous! I'm sure they'll have a great time.

Monday, August 13

Let's see what's growing today

We're taking a break from making jam, so we can go scope out the orchard and garden.
Some of the carrots were ready today. I'm totally underwhelmed.Harvesting our "afterthought" lettuce
I guess we're getting a decent return, considering our efforts. I just want to plant a LOT more next year.
We have just enough grapes for a few fun pictures.
Apparently the chickens weren't getting enough foam insulation in their diet. I'm quite ready to have them fenced in and reclaim my shade garden.
"This is my fruit. This is my sister." ~~ Toby poses possessively
Thistle bee - say it out loud. It's fun.

Just another manic Monday

Loren's got it rough. His boss is taking him whitewater rafting today. They planned to go whitewater rafting, but the water level was too low. So they had a picnic and went hiking. Doesn't that sound like fun? Ok, more fun without the boss, but still!

He deserves to have some fun. Last week he had the Procedure of Which We Do Not Speak. The results were not unexpected, nor were they worrisome. Thank you, God!

One of his nurses was an old family friend. It was great to see her. I think Loren would agree. That same day, I also saw five other people I knew. I ran into someone from the church we attended when I was a kid, and she actually hugged me. After 23 years away. She's that kind of sweet.

On the way home, took my truck for an estimate. A few years ago, while in a McDonald's drive-thru, a sheet of ice slid off the roof onto my truck. It didn't look like much at the time, and I'm sure I had plenty of other things on my mind, so it didn't occur to me to file an insurance claim. Now I have several rusty spots on the truck which must be refinished. So we went to our auto body guy. After having seen each other at least a dozen times since January (including gun safety class) and having spoken on a few occasions, I finally got up the nerve to tell him who I am. We were in the same class of ~25 kids from first grade through seventh grade, and his dad was my bus driver. So that was interesting.

The time has come for the restaurant to be opened in Bemidji. We knew it would... but it's still weird to remember how long we planned to move there. Now we're all settled in, and Loren has turned down requests to go run that restaurant. It's hard for me not to feel a little guilty on his behalf. They've only been able to find one manager to work there so far. I'm praying God will provide the right people and bless them amazingly.

There's a birthday in the family today. I'm receiving an exceptional level of affection from the birthday boy, and taking it at face value as often as I can. I still like to think he can be happy and huggy on occasion, that it's not all manipulation. We will have a toned-down celebration this evening, including the pizza he's requested and the cake he chose. Every year it becomes harder to find appropriate gifts for him, but I think we did very well this year. He's getting two very cool shirts, a new Bible, Mad Libs, and a deck of cards. Loren has agreed to teach him to play solitaire. Maybe that will help his math brain. :-)

Sunday, August 12

Ok, reason 439 why I don't believe in macroevolution

Macroevolution requires that humans came somewhere near the end of all the random mutations etc. Humans are superior to all the other living creatures in many ways. Humans have the best brains, the best memory, and superior eyesight over all the other creatures. Every time a mutation takes place in the theory of macroevolution, genes are lost, not made, not replaced; therefore, anything coming close to the end of mutations and changes would be most deformed, and would be incapable of living, if we are to believe in survival of the fittest. Thus, it would almost make more sense to say that everything evolved from humans; humans were here first, and everything evolved from them. But we weren't, and they didn't.

That is all I have to say.

Monday, August 6

Photographic Odds and Ends

Sleepy feetBug on a rose bush
I thought of Robin
My poor camera wishes it and its operator could capture a decent moon picture, especially on a night like this!
Ah, it's almost soap making time!

Saturday, August 4

Farmer's Markets

Today we shopped at the local farmer's markets. They offered fresh vegetables, freezer jams, breads, and blueberries. Let me tell you, blueberries were $3.00 per pint, which makes me so glad that we can go out next to our property and pick as many as we want for free!

Anyway, I met the lady in charge of one of the markets. She said it only costs $1.00 to set up a table, so if we set up later this year we will do it there.

Then, after buying corn, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, green beans, and bread, we came home. We spent some time in our garden, which is coming along nicely. Then we picked two dozen plums! I tore off a bunch of dead branches from the plum tree, so now it actually looks like a tree worth keeping.

Well, that's all for now. Until next time!

Friday, August 3

Book talk

I was first introduced to Rick's blog through someone else's recommendation... actually, I think it was a few someones. I had been reading there for some time before I realized that Cumberland Books might have books I'd want to buy (duh!). It was around that same time that his and the "someones' " continued mention of Wendell Berry led me to read Jayber Crow. I connected with many aspects of that book. I look forward to exploring Berry's other types of writing.

I've had it in my mind for a while that when I'm ready to buy more good books, I'll start at Cumberland Books. This morning I went back to the website, and I'm getting excited about placing an order soon! I love the thought of supporting Rick's business in addition to getting just what I'm looking for.

A few weeks ago, we went thrift store shopping. Feeling a bit like DeputyHeadmistress of The Common Room, I chose several books which looked promising, thinking I might actually read some of them now that I've taken up reading again (albeit infrequently). I began reading one of them this week, This Country Life, by Samuel Ogden. It has no dust jacket, and I must admit to having picked it up in a hurry and only having guessed what it might be about before I bought it. I was pleasantly surprised to find references to Ray Mungo, a name I've just recently learned thanks to DeputyHeadmistress herself, and Helen and Scott Nearing, names I've heard since I was a child. I look forward to finding more time to read this book.