Saturday, September 29

Oh, bother.

In the midst of all that is good and right with God (and the world, it being autumn and all), I am having a huge pity party. I'm not proud of this. Therefore, I will try to keep it to myself. I hope to keep blogging through it, but if it's quiet under the pines, please, just pray.

Tuesday, September 25

Went fishing the other day

I didn't catch anything with my expensive lures. Dad caught a nice big crappie on his Swedish Pimple, but I didn't catch anything. Why did I give him the Swedish Pimple? Why didn't I keep that for myself? (Because it was his birthday gift.) I'm gonna have to get myself one. Or a bunch. They are really nice lures.

I called for my correspondence course today. I'm gonna get all the stuff I need to teach myself about trapping. Then, if I pass the test, I will go to Palisade and have my 8 hour infield instruction with a pro, and then I can trap on my land by myself.

It looks like I will be doing some hunting this fall. I talked to a hunter a few days ago about grouse hunting, and he agreed to take Lynae and me hunting after the leaves fall. I'm excited.

I need a Swedish Pimple. You guys can all get me a Swedish Pimple for Christmas. Don't bother with the Pro King. Those aren't so nice. Never caught anything on my Pro King lure. Maybe that's because it looks like a squid. Anyway, you can also get me a bag of Zoom lures, the ones that are like little green plastic lizards, cuz bass love 'em. And while we're here, let me advertise for the Cajun Line, which is red, casts very smoothly, and turns invisible in water. I love it!

Sorry this post is so darn boring. I am bored just watching myself type, or doing anything else. "I think it's all the stress in my life. I'm 31 years old and I still don't have a girlfriend, I'm about to lose my job, and my car is making this 'hickonk hickonk' noise." No, that's not it either. I could put up with that. I don't know what my deal is.

Lynae and I cut up apples last night. Mom is making them into apple butter. I was the Quality Assurance guy this time, so we may be able to give some of this batch as gifts. (Last time, Lynae and Mike did it, and despite Mom's diligence, the apple butter may still contain some extra protein.)

Sunday, September 23

Charlie Maguire - Fall is Here

When my cows no longer care to go
Out to their pasture far or near
But stand close in the last warm sun
Around the place, I'll know that fall is here

And when the corn goes into dent
Across the fields like old men appear
And we pick it and store it all away
Around the place, I'll know that fall is here

When the limbs of the apple and the pear
Lean down with their fruit so near
And my children go a'gathering
Around the place, I'll know that fall is here

And when the hunters come from town
Seeking the pheasant and the deer
With their dogs in front to point the game
Around the place, I'll know that fall is here

When the hay and straw are in the barn
Stacked to the roof, tier on tier
Smelling like a summer come and gone
Around the place, I'll know that fall is here

Around the place, I'll know that fall is here
When the evenings come early and the mornings are clear
Over all of the fields that I worked this year
Around the place, I'll know that fall is here

Friday, September 21

I tend to forget

Two weeks ago, I locked my truck and promptly forgot the number code to unlock it. I tried several combinations before I was able to recall the right one. I've had this truck for five years and lock it all the time.

One week ago, I took the kids for tetanus shots. I had to call Toby from across the waiting room to come and confirm one of the kids' birth dates for me. I couldn't remember the month or the day.

Earlier this week, I filled out five identical papers at the eye doctor's office. Halfway through the last one, my mind went blank. I was staring at a paper with words on it which may as well have been in Chinese. It didn't matter that I'd just filled out four others the same way. Thankfully, I was able to figure it out, but not before I was caught looking really foolish.

Later that day, I used my debit card at Walmart like I do every week. But the cashier had to walk me through every step of it, because after each step I apparently thought I was done. Needing a stranger's help because my brain wouldn't work... that was embarrassing.

I forget stuff all the time at home, but there, no one outside the family has to look at my stacks and stashes of redundant lists or my backtracking or head scratching or hear me muttering about what I'm trying to recall. I take it much harder when I'm in public.

But then there was the time I was putting dishes away and forgot what went in the most convenient place in the cupboard... I tried and tried to think of what belonged there. When I couldn't remember, I decided that the cereal bowls would go well there, and gave that a try. But no, bowls go on the other shelf. I walked away and had a good cry. Someone then reminded me that that spot was reserved for the cute little plates we use at least once every day. The plates I'd just finished drying and stacking.

No wonder I'm content to be back in the area where I spent a huge chunk of my childhood. Many places I go, people I see... I remember.

Saturday, September 15

It's all in the details

From Jon's narration of Heidi:

"And I felt a little nervous about saying, 'Aunt Dete' because it didn't really feel normal to me, but I thought you might like to know her name."

James Whitcomb Riley - When the Frost is On the Punkin

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then's the times a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bare-headed, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here --
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock --
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries -- kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below -- the clover overhead! --
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!

Then your apples all is getherd, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin' 's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too!
I don't know how to tell it -- but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me --
I'd want to 'commodate 'em -- all the whole-indurin' flock --
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!

Friday, September 14

All set for five years... maybe

The farmer who used to live here never thew anything away. He just stashed it all around the property. We have stacks of railroad ties with the metal pieces from the ends removed and hung neatly over a tree branch. We have pots and pans and refrigerators and barrels and pump handles and all sorts of stuff.

As obedient as my kids are (snort), they cannot resist the draw of these treasures, especially since they're to be found pretty much everywhere.

It seems the pot with one side missing worked just fine in the treehouse kitchen. But alas, Gracie cut her finger when she fell on it.

That seemed like just the right time to haul them all in for tetanus shots.

We caused quite a flurry of activity when we walked into the clinic! I guess in such a small town full of seniors, they don't get much action.

Believe me, as we prepared for our doctor visit, I recalled horror stories of homeschooling families with vaccine exemptions and their attempts to get relevant health care... I expected a stern lecture and some interesting questions. So I prayed, made peace with a few possible outcomes, and left it in God's hands.

He handled it beautifully. The nurse who was taken aback by our situation was considerate as we discussed vaccine options. No one checked the kids' bottoms for signs of spankings. No one called social services. And all the kids were polite and pleasant. I was amazed.

On the way out the door, Michael said (in his typical loud voice), "Now we can go play with more rusty metal!"

He even repeated it to his dad at the supper table. Only he then said I'd replied, "Maybe." That's how he interpreted my "I don't know about THAT." You see what I'm up against??

Saturday, September 8

This was a great weekend

Which is probably not what all them public schoolers are sayin'. See, they all had to go to school this week, and I've been doing it all summer anyway. Allow me to start this post with yesterday morning, for that is where the action began.

Yesterday morning, we all got in the truck to go to Chisholm, way north of here. So we thought maybe we should stop at the post office before we began our long journey. Much to everyone's surprise, Lynae came out with two large packages, a magazine, and an envelope, all of which were addressed to me. So, I began frantically opening everything. The contents were as follows:
Box #1. Hat, large catalog with gunsmith supplies. I may never need it, but another catalog doesn't hurt.
Box #2. Gun case, gun cleaning kit, and ear muffs for sound protection. I used that all the way to Chisholm, since the siblings were being loud.
Magazine. Ummm... Didn't really look through it. It is a little kid magazine, kinda.
Envelope. A bunch of paintings for Christmas cards that Ducks Unlimited wants me to buy.

So, I put on the earmuffs and the hat and started working on school. My big assignment was to make a set of rules that I would enforce in my house. I labeled this assignment "The Exceedingly Just Rules" and they are as follows:

1. Anyone who breaks anything or makes a mess will restore everything to normal. But if this incident occurred when the person was disobeying or using something without permission, they will be sentenced to community service of a magnitude directly proportional to the magnitude of the damage done.

2. Dawdling in any task may result in (but is not necessarily limited to) loss of privilege, extra work, or missing a meal.

3. Any aggression (hurting, yelling, unkind words) will get the offender(s) put in a separate room to calm down, and will not be permitted to leave or get up until they have calmed down and are ready to make it right. After this, the offender(s) will lose a privilege.

4. Any profane or obscene language will result in loss of privilege for one week and washing mouth with soap, in addition to everything listed in #3, and shunning all contact with the noun responsible for educating the child to speak that way. If that cannot be performed, then the noun responsible for educating the child to speak that way must stop.

5. Any sign of disrespect to anyone, superior, inferior, or equal, will result in extra work on the part of the offender, possibly for the offended, after appropriate apology, and committing Bible verses on humility, meekness, or respect, to memory.

6. During church, devotions, prayer, and school time, full attention must be given. There must be respect for these things; no goofing off or distracting people. Any such behavior will result in extra work, after an appropriate apology.

Well, then we finally got to Chisholm. We went around in this labyrinth place called Ironworld.

After wandering around, getting lost, and finding ourselves again, we saw Charlie Maguire in concert. That was cool. And if that isn't cool enough, I got to talk to him. And if that isn't really super cool, I told him that I can play some of his songs, and he gave me a business card and told me to send him a tape.

And if that last paragraph wasn't so cool you fell out of your chair, wait till I tell you about what happened today...

... Oh yes. This morning, Mom told Michael and me to get up and do what we want. We started fantasizing about what we should do: catch a cottontail, kill Grace's dollhouse people with our knights, make another birthday cake. We immediately got to work after breakfast.

We got bored with our other ideas and made a giant catapult instead. It shoots stuff about 3 or 4 yards, which is really pitiful, but it looks impressive. We made it out of logs and rope, no 2 x4s. And the fulcrum is about 5 1/2 feet high. Wait'll you see the pictures!

Talk to ya later, and by the way, I didn't post this so late at night. I had it saved and it just got published late.

Thursday, September 6

Could've been better -- could've been worse

Dear son made a mess in the laundry room today. (Thankfully, it is not a nasty mess!) He's been taking his sweet time cleaning it up. Unfortunately, he will not clean unless I am in the room with him, and then it is sometimes at a snail's pace. Fortunately, I was able to be with him and also supervise the others. Unfortunately, it's not a comfortable place to spend several hours. Fortunately, I was able to distract myself by finishing two books I hadn't picked up in quite a while.

Having posted this and updated the book list, I must return...

Wednesday, September 5

A real, live school day

Here's what we did before lunch:

Read and discussed Proverbs 5
Read Genesis 25 and 27
Lynae and Grace did some sorting
Jon, Michael and I reviewed addition, subtraction, equal, and unequal
Michael read two BOB books and did several phonics pages
Jon wrote a Bible verse and read Heidi
Grace practiced writing her name and numbers, then did some coloring
Lynae learned some words with Latin roots
Toby did lots of science and some Bible reading

So much more to do... after lunch and a nap!

What did your school day look like?

Monday, September 3

Edna St. Vincent Millay - Portrait By A Neighbour

Before she has her floor swept
Or her dishes done,
Any day you'll find her
A-sunning in the sun!

It's long after midnight
Her key's in the lock,
And you never see her chimney smoke
Til past ten o'clock!

She digs in her garden
With a shovel and a spoon,
She weeds her lazy lettuce
By the light of the moon,

She walks up the walk
Like a woman in a dream,
She forgets she borrowed butter
And pays you back in cream!

Her lawn looks like a meadow,
And if she mows the place
She leaves the clover standing
And the Queen Anne's lace!

How did she know?

Saturday, September 1

State Fair Revisited

Mom already told y'all 'bout the canoe. However, she did not tell you that we went swimming the other day (or did she? I didn't really check), but that was fun. She also didn't tell you that I didn't do so great on my health test the other day, awesome mother that she is. I think I'll avoid that topic now.

We didn't go to the big midway at the state fair, 'cus we didn't bring $50,000 with us. Just as well. Grace was the only one who wanted to go there. "Hey Toby, you and I should go on that thing there! The one that goes way up high!" I politely but honestly replied, "No, Grace. I'd die."

The FFA barn was cool. We saw a couple of lambs, and a calf, and a movie showing a cow giving birth, which was very interesting.

I would like to inform the world at this time that I shot that great picture of Mom and Lynae eating the battered potatoes. I did that. Give it up for Toby, a world famous meteorologist and a great photographer!

The girls were really excited about going on a Ferris wheel. I however, was scared to death. That all reversed when we got on the Ferris wheel. At the very moment we started going high into the air, and were high enough to see that Advil pavilion we had been searching for all day, I lost all my fear of the dreaded Ferris wheel and joined the dark side, while the girls realized what a terrible mistake they had made. I began to shake the seat and make jokes and poke my head out, and say "Oh my gosh, the seat is about to break!". Mom was not amused. Not by a country mile. Neither were the sisters. They missed out on the enjoyment of some clean, family-friendly entertainment, and that's their loss. Not mine. Oh no, not mine.

We saw the state's largest boar, which was disgusto, and nasty, and an eyesore. He was so fat, he couldn't even open his eyes. But, the rest of the swine barn was very uncrowded and cooler than being outside, so we stayed there, away from the nasty boar, as long as we could. And I think we had a good time. Grace slapped a 260 pound gilt who, in a fit of fury, trampled on the lazy barrow she was sharing a sty with. Grace was amazed. She thought it was hilarious. I'm sure that the barrow would disagree, but Grace didn't ask him.

We inevitably got hungry on the way home and snacked away at Tobies until 1:00 am. Good times.

On responsibility

Instead of dropping our work and heading to the lake, we did the right thing.

The back window is almost entirely scraped and sanded. (Not yet picture-worthy.)

All the ripe apples have been gathered.
Apples are being peeled, cored, and sliced as I type, on their way to becoming applesauce and maybe apple butter.
Dozens of ears of corn are being husked, on their way to the freezer.
School plans are being finalized, and books stacked in a meaningful way.
It occurs to me that the first week of school will fly by, leaving me torn at the end of the week between planning the second week and transplanting bulbs or picking apples or mowing or canoeing... I think I'm ready for fall vacation. But alas, I will take responsibility for my change of plans. We didn't (all) do school in July and August, so we cannot take September off this year.

At least the cooler nights mean we will sleep well and wake up refreshed, ready to pack a lot of living into each day.

Wildlife Seen in September

  • 42 Deer
  • 6 flocks of Canada geese
  • 5 Loons
  • 4 Ruffed grouse
  • 3 Pileated woodpeckers
  • 2 Blue herons
  • 2 Ducks
  • Chipmunk
  • Black squirrel
  • Gray squirrel
  • Red squirrel
  • Fisher
  • Silly rabbits
  • Several Leopard frogs
  • Bald eagle
  • Kestrel
  • Woodcock
Backyard birds
  • bluejays
  • cardinals
  • chickadees
  • goldfinches
  • hairy woodpeckers
  • hummingbirds
  • phoebes
  • red-breasted nuthatches
  • rose-breasted grosbeaks
  • white-breasted nuthatches

Priorities, schmiorities!

It looks like the chickens may have to spend the winter huddling under a canoe. But it was a good deal, and it's been on our list of things to buy, and Loren said yes (although it may have been a bit underhanded of me to call him at the restaurant during the lunch rush on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend to get his approval... ya think?). Toby and Lynae are each part owners, which, as you can see, makes them very happy.

Do I need that comma after "owners"?

Should the question mark have gone inside the quotation marks?

It's too bad I've piled so much work on us for the rest of today. It may have to go unfinished while we head to the lake.

Lynae says I've had them do school at the beach before. Maybe we'll have to do it again.