Wednesday, October 31

Wildlife Seen in October

  • 2 Loons
  • 5 Rabbits
  • Red fox
  • Gray squirrel
  • Mink
  • Chipmunk
  • Porcupine
  • Beaver
  • 14 Wild turkeys
  • Assassin bug
  • Rufous-sided towhee
  • 50 Deer
  • 4 Bald eagles
  • Pileated woodpecker
  • Red squirrel
  • 5 Flocks of geese

Backyard birds:
  • black-backed woodpeckers
  • bluejays
  • cardinals
  • chickadees
  • goldfinches
  • hairy woodpeckers
  • juncos
  • large, chicken-eating owl
  • red-breasted nuthatches
  • white-breasted nuthatches

Tuesday, October 30

About Halloween

OK, Mom has finally stopped laughing so hard she can't talk. (She was proofreading my letters to some friends.) She communicated to me that she wanted me to post this paragraph on the blog, so get ready. Mom thought it was funny, so you may want to grab something stable.

"You know, Halloween is coming, and I've been thinking about how dumb the whole thing is. I mean, if you shop at Wal-Mart (which I do), you probably don't need a calender to know Halloween is coming. If I am waiting for Mom and Lynae to come out of the hair color aisle, I see a box labeled 'Bloody Foot $3.97'. I can't even go get flour without seeing that stupid inflatable skeleton on a motorcycle. And what is with all these signs saying 'Happy Halloween'? Happy? I wish. They ought to say 'Creepier than last year's Halloween, and it'll be creepier next year!'"

Wednesday, October 24

Oh, what a week!

Tuesday morning, I went to the doctor for an infection which included kidney pain.

Tuesday night, I was in the ER with what seems to have been my first gall bladder attack. It was a nightmarish experience, reminiscent of laboring with Lynae (during which I basically threatened to fire my doctor... in an Army hospital). I am not a typical patient, by any means.

Today, I had a second appointment with the dietitian regarding my leap into the world of learning to control diabetes. She is very encouraging, and I felt much better after talking with her.

Tomorrow morning, I'm sending Loren and Lynae to the clinic. Loren has had his cough for two months, and still sounds awful. Lynae has had hers for a month, and it's gone from "tickly" to "congested". I have a touch of the same cough, but right now that's almost beside the point.

On Friday, I have a scheduled ultrasound to find out if Tuesday night's pain was really my gall bladder.

We may have to change our plans here soon... Christmas gifts may include removed stitches, co-pays, labs, and prescriptions.

"If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything." -- Count Rugen

The dog drama was minimal. Hospital reported to law enforcement, I got a phone call, information was filed away, if it ever happens again we may have a situation. Dog and boy are remorseful, wounds and relationships are healing.

While I was gone on Tuesday morning, the son of the person who sold us this house (and is trying to sell the 80 acres behind us) was loading his tractor and wagon onto a trailer to haul to the Cities. Toby went back to ask if he could trap on the land, and was given permission to do so. He was then offered the tractor and wagon, in exchange for letting the guy drive it around when he comes up to visit. So now Loren and Toby are learning how to operate the tractor, with help from our friendly mechanic. (Please don't ask.)

For some reason, my dear, wonderful husband thought that with two weeks' worth of rain soaked into the ground, it would be a good time to take my never-meant-to-be-taken-off-roading SUV through the field to the tractor. So tomorrow morning, the friendly mechanic will be here to pull out his co-worker's truck with a newly broken winch, as well as my truck. Maybe it will come home with less damage than it sustained when he drove it through a creek. :-)

Monday, October 22

Oh, what a night!

Well it's a good thing Toby was all set and ready for whatever! Shortly after he finished his blog entry, he spent some time with the dogs. He invaded Manoah's space while Manoah was enjoying a meaty knuckle. Next thing Toby knew, Manoah had bitten his face.

My heart sank when I saw the two ½" gashes on his earlobe. We went to the ER, where he received 5 stitches and a lot of Mom's lame jokes. Yes, the boy will be scarred for life. But praise God, he will otherwise be just fine.

We'll probably have some dog and law enforcement drama tomorrow.

Sunday, October 21

I'm all set and ready for whatever

Except school tomorrow. Dang. Let's talk about what all I am ready for:

3. I'm ready to go trap some cool animals.

Let's talk about what I am ready for: obviously, trapping. Well, I felt like I wanted to trap rabbits this winter, so I looked at my hunting and trapping regulations, and lo, behold, I can't trap unless I have a trapping license. Weird, huh? Anyway, I really needed this trapping license dealio, so I thought... who would know about how to get one of those things? Mr. R had told me that there was a guy a few miles away from my house who was president of the MN Trapper's Association, so obviously I needed to talk to this guy. So I called Mr. M and asked him how to get a license. (continued in next paragraph)

He said I needed to take a trapper education course, but since there was no such thing in the area, he told me to call so and so to get a correspondence course.

So I did that, and I took the test afterward, and then Mr. M took me to Palisade where I had gone to camp, and had met Mr. R. I learned how to set traps and make different sets, and I was the only one who wanted to make a set by myself, so I took a fox/coyote trap and made a "dirt hole set". It was fun. Trapping season for most species opens... either yesterday or this Saturday. I can't remember. Anyway, Mr. M told me that if I want to trap, he has traps I can use, and lures, baits, and all the stuff I would need, and said not to spend my money on that stuff. Wicked cool huh?

So I need to call Mr. W and see if I could set some traps in the 83 acres behind us. If not, Mr. M offered to let me trap on his trap line with him, so I'm excited.

Sunday, October 14

A little silliness

One afternoon, I took the girls grocery shopping while Loren and sons worked on the chicken coop. Being the youngest of 5 kids, Grace has made it to 5½yo riding in the cart seat. It's about time she learns how to walk with us while we shop. So I was teaching her what I expect, and my helper-wannabe kept pushing the boundaries.

Halfway through the store, Loren called. We ended the conversation just after I looked down at my daughter and said, "I'm trying to teach someone how to walk holding onto the cart in the store, and she just took off her shoes in the soup aisle!"

As I saw a woman walking by us just after I said that, I realized how ridiculous it sounded. I thank God I was able to see the humor in it. That kind of silliness would normally make me angry.

Friday, October 12

Exploring Minnesota: Return to Banning State Park

October began with gorgeous days interspersed with rain showers. We took advantage of a sunny afternoon and returned to Banning State Park for a picnic and a hike. Driving between rows of glowing yellow trees, we could feel the light from them, as though God was pouring a special blessing on us. And just how wonderful is it of God to have designed the trees to do this every year?!

Chicken Update

This week we got our first egg! Yes, it's really green.
Unfortunately, we also lost a hen to a large owl.

Thursday, October 11

Accurate and convicting

The lost tools of living: do for yourself by Rick Saenz

You can't go home again

But you can have fun trying. We took a trip to the "town" where I grew up and had a great time driving over washboard roads, following a pileated woodpecker, searching for deer in the fields, and collecting agates we found in the road down by the creek.

Wednesday, October 10

Exploring Minnesota: Moose Lake State Park

We celebrated Loren's birthday by taking him fishing with his new lure. Toby and Loren fished, Lynae and the littles explored, and I took pictures. I couldn't keep up with the explorers, so I hung out with the fishermen. Loren caught a gorgeous bluegill, but those pics aren't blogworthy.

Monday, October 8

Exploring Minnesota: Chisholm

For our first field trip of the year, we headed up to the Iron Range. We went on that day with a specific purpose in mind, so we weren't altogether disappointed when we found a museum closing not only for the day, but for the year. We'll definitely check that out another time.

I guess we were still in Monkees mode when we got there.
Our target destination was Iron World -- we wanted to hear Charlie Maguire! When I learned of the concert he would be performing with area elementary students, I didn't realize the extent of the interconnectedness of things. His performance was part of a traveling Smithsonian exhibition, Key Ingredients: America by Food. Once again, we saw the shift away from the agrarian lifestyle and people's ability/desire to produce their own food. That shift and its consequences have been the focus of much of my own study over the past several months.
Grace quickly found the applesauce, made using the same tools we use here at home.
After learning from the exhibit, we settled in to enjoy great stories and songs by Charlie Maguire. He was accompanied by several 4th graders playing the spoons and jaw harp. We were pleased to hear many familiar favorites that night.

Sunday, October 7

Photo shoot

To celebrate the end of our first week of school, we went on a field trip. The day was so gorgeous, we had to stop for a photo shoot on the way. It felt like a scene from The Monkees. All these were taken within about 10 minutes, then we were on our merry way. Remember, you may click on a photo to see it larger.

In the following picture, each of the children is expressing the very essence of his or her personality. What that says about Grace, I will leave to your imagination.

Here is another photo which captures their personalities.

Friday, October 5


I couldn't stop thinking about this commercial, so I finally hunted it down on YouTube.

Edited to add: I do have my own cute dancing boys.

Hands-on learning

We finally began working on the chicken coop in September. I think we've procrastinated as long as we possibly can on this project. As of today, it looks about the same. The guys are building stud walls in the garage, and will erect them when they're all ready. In this picture, Michael and Lynae are digging a trench around the perimeter so we can attach hardware cloth and backfill. While studying the Israelites' captivity in Egypt, we made a scaled-down version of bricks with straw. Yes, they look yummy. But they're not. They're made of modeling clay and grass. If the inside of your oven doesn't look like mine, I don't want to hear about it. I bet you're wondering why Jon is wearing a backpack. He wore it for most of that day, as an example of a heavy burden. Kinesthetic learning in action.

More September pictures

One morning, Toby and Michael were bored. They discussed a plan to set up a battle with Michael's new Playmobil knights, but it seemed like too much work. So they scrapped that plan, and decided to build a catapult in the backyard instead. I felt like we were a real homeschooling family that day!Knowing that frost was on the way, I took a picture of our corn harvest. See it? This is what happens when you plant corn in July in northern Minnesota. I don't recommend it.
Here are the girls in our corn plot... see how tall it grew?
Our poor sunflowers didn't get a chance to develop their seeds, either. But the whole family learned a lot about the rhythm of northern gardening this year, and I'm sure we'll do much better next year.

Let me back up

I've been taking pictures for the past month and not sharing them. How distracted of me!

First of all, here's a picture of Grace, which reminds me of a picture of my sister when she was little. I still have a framed drawing of that one packed away somewhere.
One evening in early September, I surprised the kids with a spontaneous trip to a lake. They enjoyed jumping off the dock, swimming, canoeing, fishing, and trying to catch frogs. As night fell, we had to leave before the mosquitoes got us. Such is life in Minnesota. And we do love it!