Sunday, June 29, 2008

Just Babble

And now, for the second half of our week. Thursday, as expected, we headed to town. This time we managed to get everything done in one day. Yeah! No extra $4+ a gallon trip to town! I was thrilled when Pa returned from the Post Office with a good sized box, containing our Summer Science project. The kids were tickled to recieve their first Reading program prizes. Everyone was happy! A good way to begin our weekly excursion.

We then headed to the Grocery Outlet where we scored some good deals, spending a bit over $40, and saving better than $30. Afterwards, we headed to Walmart for a change. I was in search of a sweater drying rack for my knitted garments. There were none to be found. I'm beginning to think I'm going to have to figure out how to make my own. We did, however find a great pair of shoes for Lindsay. She just loves them! We like that they have a decent tread, and are breathable for those warmer Summer days. We also like that they are mostly brown in color, so they don't look dirty after one run around the house. She likes that they have a velcro closure, so she doesn't have to tie them. We all found it highly entertaining that these shoes have a name, and that name is Lindsey! A tad bit different spelling, but still basically the same name. They were also on sale which is always a good thing. We did manage to find some more good deals at Walmart, and I was able to pick up a few things we can't seem to find elsewhere.

Homeschool Fun!

Upon returning home, after getting all our groceries put away, washing up and having dinner, I eagerly dug into the box. I located, and carefully pulled out the manual and began reading. It looks like this is going to be all I had hoped for and then some. I am really looking forward to getting started on it this week, and reporting on our progress here.

In the meantime, we are studying Costa Rica in school. The kids are both enjoying learning about it, as it is home to so many different species of both animal and plant life that interests them. They are also excited to learn about a Country that seems to be appreciative, and protective of it's natural resources and the wildlife they coexist with. I couldn't be more happy about their reaction, as this will be a fine intro to our Science lessons yet to come.

Nathan and I are both learning exciting new things in math. I find it interesting that he, at 10 years of age, along with the rest of our nations school age children in the lower to middle grades, are learning math skills that I was being taught in High School! Fortunately it was an elective subject, as no matter how hard I tried I just couldn't seem to get it. The nice thing about children learning it at an earlier age, is that it is explained in a manner which is much easier to understand,even for me! I still need to figure out that Pi thing though...;-)


I'm nearly finished with the front portion of Nathan's shirt. I decided to try something new with it, and added shaping for a placket. The placket shaping is finished, and all that's left now is to finish shaping the neckline, knitting it on up for the shoulders, and knitting my placket, before I continue on with the sleeves, and the neckline.

Before making the final decision to go with a placket, I got out my Vogue Knitting book, upon which I have come to rely more and more. I looked up the instructions for the different styles of plackets, as well as buttonholes. These are both new techniques for me. The placket shaping was simple enough, just a matter of deciding how big I wanted it, and which style I wanted to go with.

I decided the button holes were going to take some practice. I knitted a swatch the intended size of the placket and proceeded to try a couple different styles of buttonholes. First I tried taking the easy way out, with a simple eylet. That was way too small, so I took a look at the various other options I had. I finally decided if it was worth doing, it was worth doing right, so chose what looked to be the most difficult, but also the nicest looking. It took me several attempts but I finally got it right. It really wasn't nearly so difficult as I imagined. I was also tickled to find the number of stitches I chose to go with for the buttonholes turned out to be just the right
size for the buttons on Pa's shirts, so all I have to do is choose an old shirt that he no longer wears and remove the buttons. I'm looking forward to seeing how the final product turns out.

Saturday Night At The Movies!

This week the kids chose a movie from the selection at the Library for their Saturday evening viewing. We were pleased to note the Library had acquired some additional movies to chose from and the kids were excited to find one they'd seen ads for. Alvin and The Chipmunks, an old favorite trio from Ma and Pa's childhood was an excellent film! The whole family enjoyed it! Jason Lee was terrific as Dave Seville, and the supporting cast was great as well. The only negative aspect was trying to get the kids calmed down for bed afterwards. Wonderful family film!

Once we managed to get the kids calmed down, Pa and I sat down to view our choice for the evening. Usually we choose a comedy for Saturday night, but I had so many things going on this last week that I somehow forgot to make my weekly trip over to Netflix to update my qeue, so we ended up without a comedy this week. Instead we watched a foreign film, Blame It On Fidel. This film shows politically turbulent times in Paris in the 70's,and the changes a family who becomes politically active went through, from the childs view. If you don't like dealing with subtitles, or are not able to comprehend the French language, then this film is not for you. We do enjoy foreign films, and don't normally have a problem with subtitles. However, in this particular film, as well as a few others in the past, we found it extremely annoying to be attempting to follow the story line, with highly inadequate subtitles. It was like trying to figure out a conversation while only hearing half of it. What we were able to glean from it seemed promising. We both feel it is probably deserving of a 4, and possibly even 5 rating, but with the missing words, it's impossible to tell for sure. Perhaps it was the particular disc we had? If anyone else has, or does watch this film, I'd be interested in hearing your experience with it.

Boondock Yard and Garden

The last few days we've been hard at work outside in the yard and the gardens. Pa's been busy with his Bushwhacker, as well as the chainsaw, while I've been utilizing the hand clippers to cut away all the grass and weeds that Pa couldn't quite get to with his tools of choice. Our yard is slowly but surely beginning to resemble a real yard. It's quite satisfying at the end of the day, standing back, noticing the improvements from the days and weeks before, then to think back even further and realize the huge difference from when we first moved in. It's really quite amazing, and makes me wish we had gotten some "before" pictures.

My gardens are both doing well. The peas are starting to show signs of flowering, and I was thrilled to note the first signs of flowering in my broccoli plants! My potatoes are all flourishing. All three bags are now covered, and filled to the top, and I only plan to bury the three plants in the garden one more time beore allowing them to grow and be pretty for the rest of the season.

Ven, our Grandma cat was a bit confused, and less than thrilled with me yesterday morning, when she witnessed what I'm sure seemed to her a punishable crime. I had mixed up a diluted solution of powdered milk and, just as she was passing by the garden area, I was beginning to feed my zucchini and acorn squash their calcium supplement. Her eyes got big, and her nose was just a twitchin' as she pressed it against the fence, watching me create mud puddles from that delectable substance. Several times yesterday I noticed, as she walked by that area she would glance in that direction, stop, and take a closer look, her nose in the air, searching for telltale signs. Although I did find it amusing, I also felt just bad enough about my inadvertant tease to have the kids take a treat out for Ven and her "pride. "

Nathan and Lindsay's garden is also coming along quite nicely. Their potatoes are looking healthy, their garlic is looking great, and their lettuce is growing faster than mine! Nathan also has some sunflowers started, as well as some carrots. We're all having fun with our garden experiments this year.

The Dinner Bell

Last weeks Turkey was consumed in a variety of ways over the span of several meals. Unfortunately, I don't have a regular oven at my disposal (we are currnetly using a tabletop roaster oven, which is fine for some things, but not things that require a dry heat). so I was not able to make my turkey pot pie. But we made good use of it anyway, including the obligatory turkey sandwiches. Daniel made an excellent gravy from the drippings, and as a bonus he made enough that we were able to enjoy it with subsequent meals. Something about leftover turkey that just doesn't seem like leftovers.

Once we had dined on that for the allowed safety period we we picked the carcass clean and froze it and the bits of meat seperately. Today we are enjoying the aroma of simmering turkey carcass, and anticipating a yummy meal of turkey stew with dumplings for tonights supper. One nice thing about the cool weather this year, we can enjoy those comforting foods more traditionally served in the fall and winter months.

Hope you're all having a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

One Afternoon

Yesterday, I had a list of things I wanted to get done. There were 6 things on that list. By the end of the day I had only managed to cross off 3 of those things. It was the third thing on the list that took hours to complete. The scale! We removed the instructions from the box and read them through, then proceeded to unpack the contents of the box. It all seemed so much more simple than I imagined. In just a few minutes time we had the scale set up, looking fine on our dining room table. We admired it for a moment before setting to the surely simple task of zeroing it in.

We followed the instructions,then stood back expecting something exciting to happen. It just sat there and stared back at us, as if it were awaiting some special command. Hmmm. I lightly touched the pointer. It didn't move. Okay. I touched it again, with a bit more force behind my touch. Still nothing. Daniel proceeded to do the same thing, which, surprisingly, (because he is a man after all) produced the same results. Nothing! Hmmm. We looked through the instructions again, thinking perhaps we had missed something. No such luck there. I double checked for bits of styrofoam that may be holding things up. There was none to be found. We took a closer look and determined that there was something, securely screwed in to the top of the pointer, and hanging down that was bent, and holding it in place against one wall, which resulted in the pointer itself hugging the other wall quite snuggly. It was at that point that we decided the best thing to do would be to call the company we purchased it from. Fortunately they had provided a toll free number for that purpose.

Evidently it was my turn to make a product malfunction phone call, so I dialed the number and spoke to a very nice young man named, Matthew, who listened to my woeful story, sympathized with me, and then kindly transferred my call to another very nice young man named Brian. Unfortunately, the connection with Brian was a bit dim. I could barely make out what he was saying. I managed to follow along, and answer his questions, but then we reached the "This is what I want you to do" portion of the conversation, at which point I politely interrupted, explained that I could barely hear him, and was going to pass the phone to my husband who has better hearing than I. I'm sure the kids would find that highly entertaining considering all the times they've had to repeat themselves because Dad either totally misunderstood what they were saying, or didn't hear them at all, but when it comes to phones, somehow he just hears things better than I do.

It turns out it was a good thing I had passed the phone over to Daniel as the intructions turned out to be a bit more mechanically involved than I probably would have understood, not to mention, although I'm actually quite handy with tools, there's really no point in asking what tool it is I'm using. If it's not pliers, or a screw driver, chances are we've become acquainted, but have never been properly introduced. Anyway, after maybe a 20 minute phone conversation, Daniel set to rounding up the required tools, turned our new scale on it's head (which I found a wee bit alarming), and set to work. Maybe 30 minutes later I was thrilled to see the pointer bobbing up and down freely in it's place. I then gave Matthew a call, and requested that he give Brian the message that all was well, and thank you very much. Matthew seemed tickled that we took the time to call back.

At this point I have to say, we are very pleased with this particular company, Home Science Tools. They have a great product selection,with Homeschool friendly quantities.Ordering is easy, and they're quick to fill and ship the orders. We're also impressed with their customer service. They are all about Science and are incredibly homeschool friendly. Their prices are moderate, and they have great sale prices. I believe the scale we purchased, at just under $70 (plus shipping) is on sale through the month of June. This scale is accurate to within .1 gram. You can't get much better than that! If you're searching for Science related items for your Homeschool, this place is worth a visit. They also have a few newsletters to choose from if you're interested. We've already recieved one and found it to be excellent for the age group it focused on. Fun and informative.

Now, you would think this would be the happy ending to my little tale, and I really wish that were the case
but..... No. We still had work to do. Although the pointer was happily bobbing away, no matter what we tried to balance things out, we could not get the scale to stop bobbing at the zero mark. Daniel even got his level out so we could be sure the surface was level. It wasn't, so we made adjustments for that (several pieces of light cardboard, cut down, neatly stacked and stuck under the low end of the scale, yeah, we're real hi-tec folks!). I adjusted the little knob. Then we tried moving the scale around in different directions (perhaps it has a pole preference?), we repeated the above with numerous variations, and still it would not perform as we desired.

Finally, I started looking closer at the various parts. I gently nudged and jiggled. I learned that the "plate" and it's stand moved back and forth, resulting in different readings. At one point I actually managed a zero reading. I was so excited! My elation didn't last long though, as the slightest movement changed the reading and I couldn't seem to get it back again. I then began checking around the pivot point, finding that it wasn't too very difficult to move, and, once again, I managed a very short lived zeroing in. Daniel was out of the room at the time, so I left it there, just so he could see it really had happened. He was impressed, until we tried moving something, and lost the zero point once again.

This was getting a bit more involved, and time consuming than I had counted on! However, my little experiments did give Daniel an idea. Once again I cringed as he plopped the scale over on it's head and set to looking around, poking and nudging. Finally, he turned the scale back over. Somehow Pa, and his magical hands had managed to get everything securely seated in place. It only took me a couple minutes to get it zeroed in. I then weighed a couple things, just to make sure I could find zero again.

Now for the news I just know you all have been wondering about ever since you laid eyes on your very first craft stick. A single wooden craft stick weighs just over 1 gram.

And that is the happy ending to my weighty little tale!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Week In Review

This weeks Backyard photo, taken, and chosen by Nathan is of Lindsay, doing one of her favorite things, reading outside in the sunlight.

It's been another busy week around the homestead. Thursday's adventure began at the library as usual, where the kids found oodles of reading material to keep them busy for the week, and they signed up for the annual Summer reading "contest", which they look forward to each year. While we were at the library, Daniel made his run to the Post Office, returning with several items I'd been anxiously awaiting. The book I mentioned last week was there, as well as a shipment of yarn, some really great pattern booklets an online friend had sent me, and a couple other things I'd ordered. We ended up making two trips into town as we had an extra, rather time consuming chore that needed dealing with on Thursday. Pa had managed to pick up a nail in one of the trucks tires, so we paid a visit to Les Schwab. That is one popular place to visit! Fortunately, we were able to drop the tire off and set about our shopping, but as busy as they were, they still weren't finished by the time we returned an hour later, so we needed to return on Friday.

Thursday's shopping took us to the Grocery Outlet, a rediscovered regular stop for us. With the high price of gas, and the resulting higher grocery prices, this oversized bargain bin has made for a substantial reduction in our weekly grocery bill. Besides, it's kinda fun seeing what new offering they may have each week, including items that are new to us, and priced so we can afford to try them.

Friday we returned to town to finish our shopping at Albertsons, where we were fortunate to find a few things we needed on sale. I gotta admit, sale prices are providing me with quite a shock these days. It seems most items, at sale prices are higher than normal prices just a few months ago, and each week brings a new shocker. I'm beginning to wonder just how long it will be before those "sale" prices are only good for a few days, with prices going up daily, rather than weekly. It's getting downright scary! Needless to say, my hopes for a bountiful garden harvest this year are increasing right along with those prices.

Summertime At Last?

It's beginning to look like the weather is finally considering a more seasonably appropriate behavioral trend. Friday, the official Summer Solstice was spent in warm clothing and jackets, Pa and Nathan spent a good portion of the day splitting wood, which Lindsay neatly stacked, and we used to heat the house. That evening I enjoyed the warmth eminating from the woodstove as I got caught up on my knitting. Our Sunday dinner consisted of roast turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, and, of course a turkey dinner isn't complete without cranberry sauce. So, we took advantage of the cooler weather and came up with some frugal leftovers for this week. It would seem we made it just under the wire, as things started warming up a bit yesterday, and, according to the weather guessers, things are going to continue to warm up this week. We may be able to yank those fleece sheets, and winter blankets yet!

Saturday Night At the Movies!

This weeks big movie event was one the kids had been looking forward to for a long time. Daddy Day Camp is a sequel to another film the kids watched awhile back and really enjoyed, Daddy Day Care. The kids found this movie to be highly entertaining.Pa and I had a differnt take on it. We felt the humor too rude for a childrens movie, yet it was lacking for more mature audiences. It felt like they had attempted to merge the two, making it appealing to both worlds, ending up making it less than worthy for either one. Daddy Day Care, while pushing the envelope a bit for viewing by children, didn't quite break through and was entertaining. The sequel had some entertaining moments, but they dropped the ball.

Sunday evening Pa and I sat down to watch our weeks choice, Strictly Ballroom. It was, in many ways a typical formula, yet we found it oddly enjoyable. The dancing talent was great, and I think it spoke a bit to my rebellious nature as well.

School Days

As homeschoolers, we've opted to school year round, finding that any break longer than 2 weeks results in needing to go back over previously taught subjects. However, there is a certain something about summer, compounded by the neighbor kids vacation time, that just begs for release of some sort, so we try to get our schooling out of the way a bit earlier for summer fun in the afternoons. We also find summertime to be the most fun time of year for certain school activities. Science is probably the most prominent of those subjects. This weekend I went in search of the perfect Summer Science project. After finding it, I then went on a much more extensive search for the lowest price. I was amazed at the wide span I found, anywhere from (rounded to the nearest dollar) $125 to $170. Obviously, we went for the lowest price, which, I was pleased to note, was also the vender located closest to us, in California. When I spotted this item and read about it, I got excited. Each site I visited, searching for prices, as well as reviews, I learned more, and became even more excited. Not meaning to be a tease, but I will be posting more about this project, and our experiences with it in the weeks, and months to come..

Last week, we made another purchase for school. Again, I went for the best deal I could find, which still seemed an expensive purchase at around $70, but I've no doubt it will be something we will get a lot of use out of for years to come, both for school, and for other applications. This was a Triple beam scale. The kids just finished with their other lessons for the day, and my laundry's done washing, so I need to get my clothes hung out to dry while the kids have their lunch, then we need to get everything ready for unpacking our new scale , and set to work reading instructions, and hopefully managing to get it put together and functioning. I'm just as excited about this purchase as I am about our science project, yet to come.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Better Late Than Never

I guess it's about time I posted an update!

Last week I added each of the kids as users on the 'puter. I figured it would cut down on the junk piling up on my side. However, I was a bit concerned about the less than appropriate junk they might run into when surfing online, so I added what looked to be a good solution , offered for free by Firefox. We decided to try it out on Lindsay's side first, figuring we could always add it on to Nathan's side later on if we liked it. It was called "Glubble". Really a cute thing, and provided plenty of child friendly gaming sites. Although some of the sites were a bit below Lindsay's level, there were plenty to keep her happy, and it wasn't too difficult to add others on for her. Only problem was, we couldn't find a way for her to utilize other aspects of her computer experience that we deemed necessary. In the end I decided this would probably be a fine program for younger children, maybe through 6 or 7 years of age, but my children need a bit more freedom of accessibility than this program offered, if for no other reason than research for school, so I set out to delete the program.

I searched and searched. I searched on Lindsay side, and I searched on my side. Nowhere could I find the Glubble program, other than when we went online on Lindsay's side, where it was being quite persistent, and nowhere within it could I find an option to remove it. It seems Glubble was quite content in it's present position and had no intentions of leaving, no matter how uncomfortable I tried to make it feel. Finally, out of desperation, I chose to delete it's Mother, Mozilla Firefox.

Actually, I had become quite fond of Firefox, and was sorry to see it go, but it seems Firefox was downright angry to be discharged from it's duties, and was bound and determined to let me know all about it! Fortunately, the majority of the things she chose to grab, and take with her on her way out are things I will be able to find, and replace, although it might take some time. One thing that has me totally baffled though, is why and how she managed to remove our previous access points to our Gmail inboxes! It took awhile for me to finally figure out how to access them in another way. She also somehow managed to remove my membership in several sites, some of which I had belonged for quite some time before I even met her! Ah well. I'm getting it all figured it out. It could be worse...

Sunday, Father's day was a fun day. The sun was kind enough to shine on our resident Father, and the kids and I had a grand time preparing his special meal. Since we had just finished studying Sweden in school,we thought it would be fun to prepare a Swedish meal. It all turned out so good! No leftovers! A sure sign of success. For our main course we had a dish called, "Mr. Janssen's Temptation", which, evidently is a very popular dish in Sweden. After sampling it ourselves, we can certainly understand why! We did make a couple revisions, due to issues with the kids taste buds, as well as the size of the dish. The original recipe called for 20 Anchovies, for which we substituted 12 oz.of salmon, which we "smoked" ourselves on the BBQ. We're planning to make this dish again, using the traditional anchovies next time, as, after trying it, we feel they would add more to the overall quality of the dish. Also, we did end up adding quite a bit of salt at the table. Since the recipe yielded 10 servings, and there's only 4 of us, we also cut all other ingredients in half, except for the cream, which I used a bit more than half, baking it in an 8" square pan, rather than the 9"x13" pan it called for. The results were just amazing! I can imagine this is considered comfort food in Sweden, much as Mac n cheese is here:

Mr. Janssen's Temptation

10 large potatoes - peeled and sliced thin 2 onion, peeled and sliced 20 anchovy fillets, drained and brine reserved 1 1/4 cups cream 2 tablespoons bread crumbs 2 tablespoons butter
DIRECTIONS: 1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees (225 degrees C). 2. Place a layer of sliced potatoes over bottom of a large baking dish. Top potatoes with a layer of sliced onions, then a layer of anchovy fillets. Repeat layers up to the top of the dish, ending with a layer of potatoes on top. Drizzle about 2/3 of the cream, and the reserved anchovie liquid over all. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top, then dot with pieces of butter. 3. Bake for 30 minutes on the center rack. Add remaining cream, and continue baking for another 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
This was a very filling dish, and the spinach we served on the side made for a perfect meal. For dessert Lindsay and I made Swedish cream, which we topped with strawberries. It was just incredible! A creamy delight! Opus Too, a wonderful restaurant and Jazz club in Portland made this recipe public several years ago:

Swedish Cream

1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup plain yogurt (not vanilla)
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp Grand Marnier or Harlequin liquor
2 cups whipping cream
2 cups fresh or frozen berries
In a large bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients, mixing well.
In a small saucepan, heat the whipping cream to just below the boiling point; slowly combine with sour cream mixture. Pour into Irish coffee glasses, leaving 3/4 to 1 inch in top. Chill thoroughly. To serve, top with berries
6-8 servings
Alrighty then! There is no way this is going to serve that many people! At least not any people I know! It's just too dang good! We ended up splitting it between 4 short glasses. I did make one other revision, since we were lacking the liquor it called for. I substituted 1 tsp of almond extract. This was just to die for!

I'm guessing no one's even going to bother asking about my diet at this point....LOL Yeah, Monday morning was another of those don't even glance at the scale days. But, it was so worth it!

Saturday night at the Movies!

I didn't post any movie reviews on Sunday, because I wanted to dedicate that day to Father's day, so here ya are, a wee bit late. The kiddie flick for last Saturday was Two Brothers. A great family film, about two tiger cubs who are separated as youngsters, and the events that follow them both. This film was directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, the same fellow who brought us "The Bear", another great movie that we plan to rent in the future, for the kids. There is a bit of violence in this film, a tiger attack on a human, and it shows mistreatment of tigers, which yielded a PG rating. I guess I can see it, as a young, and very sensitive child may have problems with it, but, for the most part, I think so long as a parent is there to discuss it there should be no problems. Our family all agreed this one deserved a high 4, if not 5 rating.

Ma and Pa didn't manage to watch any movies this weekend, but we did pop one in both Monday and Tuesday evenings. The first one, Intolerable Cruelty was a comedy, that really didn't manage to tickle our funny bones. To be fair, we were only able to watch the first half (the DVD was mucked up), and it did look like it might have some redeeming qualities in the second half, so we gave it a 3, which is neither thumbs up or thumbs down. Tuesday nights feature was much better. HenryV, a Shakespearean film, was difficult to follow at first, perhaps because I was so tired, but once my ears got used to the speech I was able to appreciate both the story, and the acting. I didn't realize when I rented it, that Judi Dench was in it, so that was a nice surprise. Her acting abilities just amaze me! No danger of type casting for her!


I'm nearing the neckline on the back of Nathan's top. This is my first attempt at creating my own pattern, and I'm pleased to note it's going quite well. Of course this is just the back.The front could be a whole other story! I'm not going to stress over that too much right now though. Just enjoy how well things are going now, and hope the front follows suit. Of course I'm planning ahead, in order to increase the possibilities of that happy ending...


This morning as I strolled around the yard, I noticed my potatoes are ready for a new blanket of soil. I'm finding they need covering twice a week now. Also need to get my peas trained up. They're looking healthy and green, but a bit lazy, preferring to hang out on the cool garden floor, rather than putting out the effort to climb the ladder provided. Today is our weekly library and shopping day though, so the gardens will just have to wait til tomorrow.
And the clock is ticking, so I must get ready to go...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

To My Daddy

Daddy took a shower
I'm told he left his socks on
Daddy paced the floor, then
Daddy heard a baby cry...
Daddy was a Daddy!

Daddy took us camping
Daddy pitched a tent
Daddy built a campfire
We roasted marshmallows golden

Daddy tied a sparkplug
And a safety pin
On a piece of string
To a long strong stick
Daddy was surprised when
I caught my very first fish!

Every summer Daddy
Got us up quite early
He took us to the beach
Where Haystack Rock loomed large

While Daddy watched, we romped and played
We climbed, we made sandcastles
We caught razor clams and then
Daddy seemed surprised to learn
The clams were not for eating!

Daddy made a patio
Where we entertained our friends
Where picnics were had on the picnic table
And where a duck named Rollo May
Kept us entertained

Daddy took us to the dump
We thought that high adventure
Who but a Daddy could make that trip
One so eagerly anticipated

Daddy was served breakfast
Cooked with loved by me
Daddy thought those eggs just fine
Though I guess I hadn't heard
Oil is an ingredient
You need when frying eggs

Daddy fretted as I grew up
As Daddy's tend to do
I suppose I gave him reasons plenty
But he loved me just the same

Daddy knew one November morn'
What I would soon learn too
My turn to fret was drawing near as
Daddy paced the floor, then
Daddy heard a baby cry...

With all his love, and his two hands
Grandpa made a cradle

Happy Father's Day Daddy!
I love you!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hodge Podge

We had a good weekend, just enough sun to entice the kids to roam outside for some much needed leg stretching, and use up some of that excess energy they had stored up during the week. They spent most of Sunday romping through the woods, and migrating back and forth between the neighbors and our house.

Garden Fun and Woes

I didn't get so much gardening done as I had intended, but the weeds haven't taken over too much yet, so I suppose that can hold off for a wee bit. The grass is enjoying all the moisture even more than my potatoes, peas and spinach though, and I thought I would need to get out there with my grass clippers and give the rows a trimming, but Nathan had the same idea, and beat me to it, so I was left with some extra time for other worthy pursuits. I did go out and take a little tour of my garden areas, and discovered what it was one particular Blue Jay had been so interested in. It seems Blue Jays, or this particular Blue Jay anyway, are fond of baby spinach! I noticed several bare spots in my rows of spinach, and within those bare spots were tiny holes. That dadgum bird had pulled those babies right straight out of the ground! I am NOT happy with that bird! One way or another the two of us are going to have it out, and I'm bound and determined to come out the winner! He may be sly as the proverbial fox, but I've got some tricks up my sleeve as well, and I'm bigger than him!

If you read my last entry, you may recall we have a problem with kities in one of our gardens. Yup, that's right. Kitties in one garden, birds in the other. I just can't help thinking there's something really, very wrong with this picture!


Thanks to the kids enthusiastic helping hands in the garden, I was able to get some knitting done over the weekend, and the last couple days. I actually managed to finish one project which had been crying for attention for quite some time, and have moved on to trying different pattern stitches, searching for just the right one, or combination for my next project. I'm hoping to have that, as well as a good idea of gauge, etc. all figured out by the time the yarn I ordered arrives. I'm a bit nervous about this project, but excited as well.

Readin' and Learnin!

During one of my recent internet browsing sessions, I came across the title, and several rave reviews for a certain book. Honestly, it sounded a bit too good to be true, so I headed over to our libraries site, found it within the coop, and ordered it for a preview. This book is absolutely incredible! It covers most everything I could think of(and several things I hadn't) for living in the country. There are recipes galore (including a few more "daring"ones for squirrel, oppossum, raccoon, even porcupine and muskrat!) actually, they could have removed the recipes, and created a seperate cookbook just for them,resulting in two seperate, but still content rich books but, they are merely a small portion of this huge book. It is packed full of information on gardening, animals (from cats and dogs to rabbits and chickens, to horses, cows and pigs) There are instructions for making soap (I may manage to get that checked off my "list" yet! LOL), for making, and repairing floors, for constructing "homes" for rabbits and chickens. You name it, it's in this book! About the only thing I haven't found in it (yet) is knitting and crochet, but that's okay. I've got plenty of sources for that sort of information ;-)

This book, in my opinion, is a must have for anyone living, or planning to live in the country, and may even be a worthwhile book to own for some city dwellers. After leafing through this book for a little bit, I knew I had to have it, so went online and found it, New, for less than $20. It has been ordered, and I hope to have it in my eager hands by next Thursday. Oh! The title!
"Country Wisdom & Know-How ; Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land"

Google It! Check it out at your local library! Let me know what you think!

Sunday Night Movie Review

Sunday evening, after tucking the kids into bed, Pa and I sat down to relax and watch the second movie we had ordered from Netflix. We usually try for a comedy on Saturday nights, saving the drama, or action, or whatever for Sunday night. This Sunday our viewing choice was "The Simple Life Of Noah Dearborn", Starring Sidney Poitier. I just loved this movie! As the title indicates, it is a story of a man, and the simple life he chose to live. Perhaps it is the longing within me, which I've had for as long as I can remember, to live a more simple, natural life, away from the dependancy on the grid. Or, maybe it's my natural rebellious nature, always tending to do things a bit different than the norm. Then again, maybe it's a little of both with a generous sprinkling of belief in the basic goodness that all mankind must possess, whether it's apparent or not, but I became completely immersed in this film, and was sad when it ended, wanting it to go on forever. As well as being a story of this man's chosen lifestyle of simplicity, focus, and hard work, and the benefits it reaped for him, it is a story of greed versus goodness, and of our need for other humans in our lives, no matter how self sufficient we may become.

If you're looking for high adventure, rough 'n tumble, horror, sci fi, or tear inducing comedy, this movie is not for you. If, however you are open to a thought provoking, sometimes humourous, sometimes sad (rather like real life), mostly gentle portrayal of life lived simply within a society of excess, and the ultimate triumph of good over greed, perhaps you will enjoy this film as much as I did.

With, or without me, the second half of our week is beginning, and I don't want to miss a second of it! Time to step away from the keyboard and jump in.

Until next time...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Computer Ate My Homework!

Earlier this morning I had a post all but finished. I was on the last paragraph, with one sentence left. I chose that time to head outside for a short break, take a look at the gardens, and breathe in some fresh air. I returned, sat down at the desk and prepared to finish my work. As I glanced at the screen, I was met by an odd, and rather disturbing sight. The screen looked different than when I had left it not more than 5 minutes earlier. While I was outside, Pa had decided to heat up one of his frozen burritos, a favorite breakfast option of his. It seems the computer didn't like sharing the power source with the microwave, and had decided to signal it's discontent by logging me off. That action caused me to lose the entire post! I searched and I searched. The post I had worked so hard on had completely disappeared. How many times had I seen a similar situation portrayed on television, or in a movie, usually in a comical setting which, predictably, caused me to chuckle, or at least crack a smile....I was not smiling this morning. It's not nearly so entertaining when comedy meets real life! *Sigh* Ah well.... On to my Sunday update..

This weeks Backyard View photo was taken by Nathan early last June. Actually, the date was June 8, so exactly a year ago today! Hopefully the sun will cooperate and grace us with it's presence long enough that we can get some more updated photos soon, but in the meantime I'm enjoying browsing through the photographic memories my youngest two children have accumilated in the past couple years.

This last week brought rain, and lots of it. Due to all the rain, we didn't spend so much time outside as we would've liked. I took advantage of the situation by getting at least partially caught up on my knitting. I managed to finish my summer top, and actually wore it on Wednesday when we took Lindsay in for her follow-up eye appointment. I'm quite happy with how it turned out. Once I finished that, I got to work on some projects that had been awaiting my attention for quite some time, finishing one, and getting a fair amount done on another. I also ordered some yarn, which was actually on sale, for my next two planned projects. If the sun decides to get over it's shyness for a long enough period of time, I hope to get some snapshots of the sweaters I've knitted this year, and post them here for those who have expressed interest in seeing them. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will be able to manage that later on this week.

All the rain we got this last week has made most of my vegetable garden plants very happy. That in turn has made the kittens very happy! They are three healthy, active kittens who are most appreciative of their humans obvious attempts at keeping them entertained. At two months old the kittens are having a grand time discovering the world around them, and the multiple ways they can utilize their surroundings for their amusement. One of their favorite new games involves climbing, and they were delighted to discover their humans had provided, surely for their sole benefit, a brand new piece of climbing equipment, conveniently located right smack dab in the middle of their self proclaimed playground! Not only had we generously provided said climbing equipment, of just the right height for a challenging climb, but we had even included a prize! Should said kittens choose to accept the great climbing challenge, and conquer it, tucked inside the structure is the most fantastic reward, a play area any kitten would envy! There, amongst mounds and mounds of gloriously fluffy soil (a treat in itself), an amazing array of green toys, tucked just deeply enough in the soil that they would stay in place if desired, and spaced just right for running through, and wrestling around. These little green toys are just the right height, and flexible enough for batting about, yet strong enough to hold their own should the kittens choose. Even better though, they are placed just deeply enough in the soil that, if they desire, the kittens can easily dig them out, and reposition them, or simply rip them to shreds, which results in a whole new toy!

Obviously, the humans these kittens are so fond of have some brainstorming to do....

Saturday Night At The Movies

Last nights kiddie feature, Short Circuit, was a repeat performance, first viewed a few years ago. It's a great family romp, packed full of whimsy and adventure. Filmed in Astoria, Oregon, it also features some great scenery, which those from the PNW will recognize and appreciate, while providing a glimpse into our little slice of heaven for those from other areas of our continent, and beyond.

After the kids were tucked snuggly in their beds, Ma and Pa popped in our chosen film for the evening. Something To Talk About, while laced with a bit more "strong" language than I thought necessary, was an entertaining film. The profanity was limited, and possible to get past, so we could enjoy the film for it's main content. It deals with a rather uncomfortable subject for some, infidelity, as well as a somewhat dysfunctional family and the sometimes humorous fallout from both. Julia Roberts fans will enjoy this film, and there are several scenes the Equestrians may appreciate as well.

Currently, outside, the sun is shining. I have dressed for gardening, and am holding out hope that the ground has dried out enough that I can get some weeding done today. Before I can tackle that project though, I have some dishes calling my name, and a pile of laundry that needs tending. And so goes the weekend ritual of this Boondock Ma...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Invasion Of The Slime Monsters

A short while back we took a trip to the Dollar Store. My main objective was to find some rubber snakes for my garden, thinking they might help dissuade the many birds that call our yard home from feasting inside our fenced vegetable fortresses.

In the past, there seemed to be an almost limitless selection of various rubber snakes prowling the aisles of the Dollar Store. On the particular day we chose to visit however, the only snakes to be found were the kind that, while already nearly life size, were designed to be soaked in a tub of water for several hours in order to produce an even larger version. I thought about it a moment, and decided even if it did rain, it wasn't like they would be soaking in a tub for hours on end, and besides, it was June. Chances are the periods of massive rain were probably pretty much over with. I grabbed two brightly colored snakes, and we headed home.

The next day the kids and I headed out to the garden, and selected what we thought to be the perfect location for our snakes to begin their journey through what we hoped would soon become neat little bird free jungles of vegetation. Each evening we returned to the gardens and moved the snakes, just sure we were fooling those pesky birds. Three days ago it began to sprinkle. It wasn't much, and despite the forecasters warnings, I didn't think it would turn into mass amounts of precipitation. We moved our snakes as usual.

It turns out the forecasters got it right. The next morning we arose, and looked outside to see nothing but sheets of water descending from the sky. We spent most the day inside, watching the digits on our weather machine rise as the rain bucket filled. By yesterday morning we had received just under an inch of rain in a 24 hour period.

Yesterday, during a brief break in the rain, I ventured outside to take a peek at my garden areas. There were the two brightly colored snakes, right where we had left them, only they weren't looking so mobile any more. They also weren't looking quite so svelte as the last time I'd seen them, just one day earlier. They were huge! I can only imagine the resident birds must have thought the gardens had been invaded by anacondas.

Not only were they huge, looking as though they had spent the entire 24 hour period gorging themselves on everything within slithering distance, but they were extremely slimy! It seemed that their foraging had taken them through a highly populated slug haven where they had blissfully rolled around in the slime before returning to their predetermined locations, and settling down for a nap, the slime oozing off their now vast bodies, and gluing the poor things to their places! They look disgusting!

The kids have chore charts, which contain a list of daily chores, including a variable chore, which changes daily, Today, I'm sure they'll be delighted that their variable chore will be entering the two garden areas, and removing the huge, slimy snakes. Thankfully, my children aren't quite so squeamish as I am when it comes to big slimy things. I'm hoping our next trip to the Dollar store will yield a fresh batch of snakes, which are not prone to unauthorized growth spurts when introduced to water.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Memories: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

This week's Backyard photo, taken by Lindsay is of one of our apple trees, in front of the building we discovered shortly after moving in to our home.

When we first moved in here, the whole front and side yards were covered in blackberry and ivy vines. In order to maneuver through the yard we would travel through "tunnels", that led under and through the vines. There was a tunnel that led by the side of the house, which then forked, one going along the front of the house, and one leading down towards the front edge of our property. The only place that wasn't covered in probably 18 years worth of growth was the large parking area, where, along with the shop, the former tenant had enjoyed his woodworking pursuits.

One of the first things we purchased after acquiring our new home was a bushwhacker, which has paid for itself many times over. After maybe a week of whacking Daniel found, maybe 30 feet from our front door, and perhaps 5 feet from the side shop door, a building. Said building is roughly 10' by 20', and we had all walked by it numerous times, most every day, with no idea it existed. It was completely covered, with very large, thick ivy vines. One day this building will cease to exist, resulting in a larger yard and play area for the kids. In the meantime, it serves as a humorous reminder of the former state of our property, and how far we've come in our attempts to turn the jungle into a family friendly yard.

We had a wonderful, although way to brief visit with my Mother-in -Law, and Sister-in-in-Law on Wednesday. We visited the Aquarium in Newport, viewing some very interesting sea life in the changing exhibit. Grandma bought the kids eacha new stuffed critter from the gift shop. Lindsay chose a Nurse Shark, which she named Nellie, while Nathan chose a most creative name for his new Orca, "Keiko". Afterwards, we had planned to go to dinner together, but they had to leave early, as Sister in Law needed to return to work early the next morning. We spent the night at a Motel, ordering pizza, which we consumed in the comfort of our room, while taking a trip down memory lane with the kids. In spite of the black and white viewing, the kids became completely immersed in "Leave It To Beaver", "Mayberry, RFD", and "The Beverly Hillbillies". They enjoyed these old Ma and Pa favorites so much that they have requested we search for DVDs of them for future Saturday night viewing. Speaking of...

Saturday Night at The Movies

This weeks special event featured a 1969 movie, My Side Of The Mountain. The kids both enjoyed it, although Nathan was a bit disappointed that it "wasn't anything like the book." I attempted to go about my business, but was quickly drawn in, standing back, watching for "just a minute", which turned into several minutes, then half an hour, until Daniel suggested perhaps I ought to give up, sit down and just watch it. I hesitated but a moment before realizing that was probably a good idea. Although there were a couple brief scenes where the movie did not reflect true life in the wild, we found it to be an entertaining film, with some great scenery that the whole family could enjoy.

Ma and Pa's choice for after hours viewing was, Chocolat . For some reason I had put off ordering this film for quite some time, until I noticed a favorite actress of mine was in it. Judi Dench was, of course, marvelous in this film, as was everyone else. Excellent casting, including Johnny Depp.


Prior to leaving for Newport Wednesday morning, I covered my potatoes in the bags. Upon returning, early Thursday afternoon, I was surprised to see the Green leafy tops reaching out, soaking in the suns ray once again. We needed to get unpacked, and get ready for our weekly trip to town, so waited 'til Friday morning to cover them up again. I really covered them up good this time, and was even more surprised when I checked on them again, Saturday morning, discovering them stretching their necks out once again. One bag is nearing it's maximum fill. I'll probably only be able to cover it twice more before allowing it to do it's thing. I gotta admit, I'm rather looking forward to that point, as I do find the potato plant to be quite lovely. I also noticed we have green onions and carrots sprouting around the tomato plants, and several blooms on one of the tomato plants. The zucchini, acorn squash, and cantaloupe have all emerged from the soil as well.

Yesterday, we got the fence put up around Nathan and Lindsay's garden area. Today, they will be busy planting all their later season choices while I busy myself with weeding my gardens. It's beginning to look like we can anticipate a busy harvest time come Autumn!