Friday, February 29, 2008

Farm Cliches: Part I

If you stop and think about it, many of our cliches are things we just have no clue to how they originated. For so many 100s of years we have lived as a farming society and it's just been of late that we've become so far removed from it. So, here is a brief synopsis of farm cliches... I now know how they originated, because we live them first hand!

Don't put all your eggs in one basket: as evidenced by Kellar bringing in the eggs and tripping over a rock, crushing all but one of the eggs therein.

Ruffled Feathers: Well, let's just say, after you see a rooster get a 'back ride' (thx Deb for the terminology to use!) from a hen, she will fluff up her feathers and shake them out, as if shaking off the indecent exposure she just endured!

P**P rolls downhill: our chickens all have clipped flying wings on one side, in order to keep them from being able to fly out of the barn yard and into the mouths of foxes... so, that being said, they have great difficulty flying up into the safe tiers of the coop. So, Don put a plank on an angle so they can reach the upper regions of the coop.... fast forward to morning... 15 chickens = a lot of droppings thru-out the night.... and amazingly enough, it's all rolled down the plank! So, yes, P**P does roll downhill!

Sitting Duck: So sad... it takes much effort for a duck to get lift off, especially off the ground. In times of urgency with a dog or a fox on their tail, some are lucky - others are just 'sitting ducks! Down 8, 5 more surviving!'

Cocky: Well, if you were the sole man of a harem of 14 chicks.... you'd be cocky, too!

Got your Goat: When goats are around horses, the horses remain calm. When a goat is removed, the horse becomes a nervous wreck. Maybe we need a goat (not!) See the Great Escape entry.

Mind your P's & Q's: This one is really not a farm cliche, per se. However, the story goes, when the Irishman went to the local pub and wanted to run a tab on his intake, he was to mind the chalkboard that showed how many "Pints & Quarts" he had been drinking in order to settle up at the end of the evening. However, if he wasn't minding his own "P's & Q's" the barmaid might add extra tally marks, causing his tab to run amuck!

Hen-Pecked: Like all mammals, we seem to establish a pecking order. However, with hens it's quite vicious to witness. A hen will peck at any imperfection another hen may have (real or perceived!), causing the rest of the flock to join in. Sound like anyone in your life you might know???

So - with each happening in life, it all becomes a teachable moment for the homeschooling family! Farm living is full of surprises and really teaches one to take each moment in stride! The best made plans are best not set in stone! Hummmm, now there's a cliche' to figure out!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

No Longer A Baby - Hannah Turns 12

Today is the big day! My firstborn turned 12 at exactly 11:38am, twelve years ago today! The joke then was "Cheri, hold off 12.5h and you can have a LeapYear Baby!" Bad joke then, but would have been cool had it worked out that way! So, earlier this week Hannah came down at like 1130p to ask me if I wanted to pull her last baby tooth! Such a bittersweet Kodak moment. You know me - grab the paper towel and away I tug! $10 later (the price of the last tooth!) she's back up to bed! At least the Tooth Fairy didn't have a chance to forget this all-important event!

Anyway. Hannah! What can I say! I'm so amazed by her. She's a brilliant child... er... tween, and is growing to become such an incredible young lady. She is so kind and thoughtful. She has the ability to truly hear what is being said to her and will file the information away for future reference! This is a good thing, as so many kids today think they know it all! (didn't we know it all back then, too?)

At the time of writing, her interests and hobbies include: collecting musical snow globes, reading, singing, reading, playing piano, reading, writing poetry, reading, playing with babies (the real, live ones), reading, plowing over opponents on the soccer field, reading, using precise language, reading, giving "The Look", reading, training her cat (ha), reading. And did I mention that her nose is always in a book? One last thing. Hannah loves the ocean! She is an awesome swimmer. I'm sure she'll be on a swim team here soon! She takes to the waves like a fish in water. Don thinks it's because she was born in water (on purpose!). She's been preparing me for the day she leaves home, because she claims she's moving to the beach. I believe it, too.

Thank you Lord, for my first little girl! I love you, Sweet Pea!

Go girl, seek happy nights to happy days. William Shakespeare

I never knew a girl who was ruined by a good book! James Walker

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Grace the Horse Whisperer

After getting to meet many of the neighbors in last week's Great Escape, we received an early morning phone call stating our white horses are out - again! Nervously, I look in the back and see them both grazing - so I shake the cobwebs out of my brain and really listen to the phone caller giving me directions as to where his wife spotted the horse. This other 'escapee' happens to belong to our dear friends. So, I throw on my Carhartt bibs, as do the kids, and we load up a bucket of sweet feed, a halter, and a lead rope. Sure enough, MoonMan has escaped and is happily grazing in his backyard! Grace grabs the equipment from the truck. Bold as brass walks up to him and throws the gear on him, snaps the lead in place and leads him to his stall in the barn. She's such a little peanut - with no fear! Obviously the horses know this, as they melt like butter when she's around!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Date Night Part I

So - what can I say? Our life has been hectic and chaotic, and I guess that will be the norm and not the exception. Don and I have finally arrived at a point in our children's lives that we can go out - ALONE! (We can probably count on 2 hands how many times we've been out since our oldest was born 12y ago!) So - what did we do for fun our first night out? We drove to the far end of the BigTown to eat at Chipotle and then went looking for a fitness dealer. However, we were 'forced' to take a detour at Half-Price Books! Need I say more. $22 later we were walking out the door with a hugantis bag of some awesome reads and new friends to enjoy life with! How did Don get so lucky to find me???? LOL

“You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” Paul Sweeney

(And let me just interject here - someone PLEASE send me some REAL Mexican food!)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Inspiration from Books

Lately our family has lived thru many heartaches and trials. At the time of posting, I'm not at liberty to say much, other than what we've lived through, most people would never believe unless they lived it with us. During this time I have first turned to Yahweh for the cleft in the rock he provides, through prayer and fasting. Next, I turn to my hubby, my best friend. Of course other family members and close friends are beside us each step of the way. And I'm so grateful for them all! I am so blessed.

I have also found inspiration thru books. I love books. I've always loved books. I married a book lover too! My oldest got the gene, as well! It's a joke amongst us homeschoolers that in order to homeschool, you probably own 100 times more books than you own shoes and outfits combined.

I have taken refuge in reading of other's tragedies and learning how they have coped and survived and later thrived once again! These people have faced greater adversities compared to my own, IMO. So, if you find yourself in need of a getting your nose inside an inspiring book, here's what I recommend: Psalms, And the Violins Stopped Playing: the Gypsy Holocaust, The Hiding Place, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and Unveiled.

The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it. ~James Bryce

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Last night was Hannah's bday party! She chose to go ice skating with her girlfriends - and daddy! (He's a former hockey player, back in the day... and I don't think you'll ever see me on blades of gory!) Grace had an indoor soccer game that caused us to show up late for the skating venture! I had 2 sobbing boys who were desperately wanting to cut some ice. Of course, being the 'mean mom' that I am - I had to firmly remind them it was NOT THEIR PARTY! Meanwhile, Don was busting out his hockey manuevers and Hannah was doing pretty awesome herself! She is apparently a natural at it, being that this is only her second time on ice. I'm wondering how much rollerblading plays into her abilities! Grace - well, if you remember Grace - always grinnin' and always bouncin' around (off the ice - off other skaters - off the walls) and constantly laughing! NO FEAR!

I'm so frustrated that I'm such a computer flunkie and can't figure out how to upload the pix to all these stories on the blog... some day (hopefully soon) we'll get hi-speed and I'll be able to do so!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Poem by Hannah

Big Bold
All different shades and hues.
Sunsets filling the sky with the amazing fire of God.
So vibrant and colorful, big and beautiful.
So many different kinds.
I cannot wait until the Time when the sun goes down,
And the colors arise.

by Hannah 2/19/08

My sweet girl is such an awesome poet! More from her in the future! I love you baby!

The Great Escape

As we were turning down our long drive coming home from piano practice, imagine my surprise to find 2 of our neighbors handling 2 white horses, and there are 2 sheriff patrols all the way down at my home. Something about this pix was not adding up! So - what turned out to be a 7 hour escapade will now be condensed into a RD version, hopefully:

~ something(or someone's dogs - see a few entries below) spooked our 3 cows & 2 horses
~ they all tore thru the electric fence mangling it - disastrous!
~ the horses ran up the drive & fortunately stopped to eat pristinely manicured green grass at another neighbor's lawn (unfortunately for the neighbor- sorry)
~ she phoned the sheriff's office
~ another neighbor, who is older and arthritic, captured & haltered our horses
~ the 2 young, burly sheriff deputies watched from their vehicles (jerks!)
~ another neighbor came to help out with the horse rescue (thank you!)
~ Sheriffs go to leave & introduce themselves w/ a handshake - whew - was waiting for "Beast on the Loose" citation! (not complete jerks then!)
~ cows are no where to be seen - like they vanished into thin air
~ horses brought home & stalled in the barn
~ cow rescue next - following hoofprints - EVERYWHERE
~ we trudged thru about 15 acres of OPP (other ppl's property) shaking a bucket of sweet feed - NOTHING - no bellowing, no lowing, no nothing!
~ cross barbed-wire fences to stand on RR Tracks to see if cows are filet mignon'd
~ ripped clothing and faces from brambles & wild roses
~ realized that adrenaline is wearing off & that it's about 18* with the windchill & I'm not in my Carhartt's or knit cap! (my bad!)
~ Meanwhile, phoning Don, who works an hour from home, telling him to "GET HOME NOW!" instead of being at this really profitable meeting
~ oh - did I mention we noticed our recluse of a neighbor has brought in all 4 of his dogs! Two of these dogs normally roam the countryside terrorizing horses, cows & cats! Ha - at least HIS pristine lawn was shelled with hoofprints! (This guy NEVER brings in his dogs - you'd think they worked for the postal service - "thru rain, snow, sleet or heat!" those dogs are outdoors - even tho they don't own winter coats!)
~ Don gets home - gets in the farm truck - takes off - no words spoken
~ Don gets to meet ALL the neighbors in search of missing bovines!
~ Don is told at one home: "OH, so you own Annie & Dory!" (they have ear tags)
~ Annie, Dory & Steve (our cows) are in the barn of the local middle school principle
~ An hour later Don comes home & tells us all to load up
~ Dory contunies to slam Don and I (but mainly Don) up against the pen as Don attempts to harness her! boy is she honery!
~ Don sustains being stepped on by 1/2 ton Dory about 20 times...
~ Dory is Alpha Heifer, where she leads the others follow - we pray
~ Dory is secured to the back end of the truck (or so we think)
~ I'm pulling Dory behind truck as she's bracing herself against it! - lasso around her neck - too tight
~ find razor blade for Don to cut it loose
~ other neighbors join in the rescue, wife in truck, her dh on horseback (this is turning out to be a regular rodeo!)
~ we make it 700' down principle's drive & halter lead rope breaks from truck
~ oh, did I mention the sun is down & we're at the last stages of dusk before dark settles
~ we make it up to the main road, I'm in the lead w/ hi-brites & hazzards flashing, running a truck off the road so we don't end up w/ hamburger meat, prematurely
~ cows thinking this is great fun - throwing up heels & frolicing about
~ horse mount continuing to reign in unruly cows - along with Don on foot
~ cows cut thru pristine lawn of neighbor's house - AGAIN - boy do we owe her!
~ get the cows home - e-fence repaired - plan to take everyone out to dinner
~ Don realizes cell is missing - returns to scene of crime
~ phone found in hay pile!
~ show up at local family run restaurant - they close at 7p - it's 740p
~ drive to other end of town - they close at 8! but were gracious to stay open for us all!
~ Don and I now speaking to each other... PRICELESS!
~ following morning - bag academics for the morning - making cookies as peace offerings!

So - we thank God - no animals or humans were truly hurt during the making of this memory! We're thankful it happened on 2/19/08 and not a day later, due to horrible weather coming in! We're thankful it was a full moon to light the way home! We're thankful we have some great neighbors who willingly and unselfishly gave of their time & energy to help with the rescue! A huge thanks to J, J, B, J, A, B and all the neighbors who gave us clues to follow to find the cows who disappeared without a trace! Thanks for reading the RD version. Many details & bruises left out in the telling of thus said "GREAT ESCAPE"!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Strike One for the Tooth Fairy

Charlie asks me last night during church to wiggle his tooth. It barely moved. I swear! Then a few moments later he says, "Mom, something just snapped." "Good," I'm thinking to myself. That's a start. So afterwards he comes to me with a PT and asks me to pull it - right there in the aisle with everyone milling about. So, I sort of brush it aside, still thinking there's no way this tooth is ready - we've got a week minimum to work on it. But, I dutifully go thru the motions of wiggling this tooth back and forth and on the second back and forth, it snaps out of there like a rubberband! So - fast forward to later that night. We say prayers, sing lullabyes and exchange kisses and lights go out. Don and I head downstairs to watch the weather and head off to bed - early for once! neither of us giving a second thought to the fact that our ecstatic son is anxiously awaiting the tooth fairy's visit!

Now - putting this in perspective, this is the 3d tooth he's lost. However, the first two were pulled by the dentist because the permanent ones were coming in behind, like a shark, and he'd have wound up having two rows of teeth. So, we're talking - he's REALLY excited - for - his - first - pulled by mom - tooth! So, now we FF to morning as he crawls in bed beside me. I cautiously open one eye and see the "Tooth Fairy Pillow" - knowing it's empty! - and see the most puzzled, yet hurt face on my sweet baby boy! What a schmuck I am. I mean, really! Let's face it - my oldest is about to lose her last of baby teeth, my next in line is almost done, too! I know the drill - I've been down this Fairy business road before. My pixie dust has taken flight. And yet - I deliver the crushing blow to my son. He wants to know "Why????" So, I think fast... oh yes - here's a good one, "Charlie, you know the strong winds we had last night? Well, the Tooth Fairy is so light & tiny that she would have been blown right past our house. But I'm certain she'll come tonight!" (as I tie a string around my finger to remind myself... ok... it's modern day - I set the alarm on my cell phone to go off at 11p in order for me to don my Tooth Fairy costume and fly up the stairs with money and treats galore!)

Seriously - let's be honest here. I've forgotten with Hannah and Grace, too - but NEVER during the time they still believed in me, I mean believed in the Tooth Fairy. Flog me with a wet noodle. Wish me luck that Verizon has good connection tonight so my alarm will go off!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Down 2 Lives & None to Spare

This past Monday, we inherited a new cat. As most of you know, "Strays R Us!" Our neighbor, Len, realized after 20m that Bubba, the local bully dog, was racing around her pool. She discovered a cat bobbing for life in the frozen iced waters. Fortunately for her, he was too weak to put up a fight during rescue, and fortunately for him, he had more lives to live, as he was down 2 in a matter of minutes: escaping the jowls of Bubba and not sinking like the Titanic. Now Jode, as he's been named, is doing what cats do best ~ catnapping! Our God is good. He knew how sad we've been over the disappearance 2 wks hence of one of our other cats, Ba-Juliet. In recognition of both of these furry family members, I am reminded of my favorite poem in book form... as Ba-Juliet was the best and most creative of cat-nappers!

An Ode to Ba-Juliet and Jode:

CATS SLEEP ANYWHERE by Eleanor Farjeon
~Cats sleep anywhere ~ any table ~ any chair ~ top of piano ~ window ledge ~ in the middle ~ on the edge ~ open drawer ~ empty shoe ~ anybody's lap will do ~ fitted in a cardboard box ~ in the cupboard with your frocks ~ anywhere ~ they don't care ~ cats sleep anywhere! ~