Monday, August 31, 2009
One small stick of cinnamon, broken into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp whole allspice
Crush the last 2 ingredients between 2 spoons. Put all three ingredients into a piece of cloth, pull up the 4 corners and tie up with a strip of cloth. Wave the spice bag in front of any snoring stuffed animals.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
No time to investigate at the time, we needed to continue on to church to help set up a potluck. After returning home we looked closer for the cause. A quick check of various drains showed the septic system was to blame.
The Mom called around and a septic pumping outfit right near our place could come out. Miraculously, the owner said he didn't charge extra for a Sunday call. "If my toilet quit working I'd want help--weekend or not" he said. He was surprised the septic level alarm didn't go off. I checked and the alarm light was flashing but unfortunately the the "silent" function was on.
The lift pump is broken and we'll get that replaced later this week, for $400-$500:( But we had the holding tank pumped out so we can use everything in the mean time. As the gentleman was pumping it out I thought it was taking a long time so I asked why. "You've got a really thick crust on your sludge, really really thick."
Wow. What does one say in reply? Should I be proud of my really, really thick septic sludge crust, or should I hang my head in shame? Thick or thin, like a pizza? What does it mean? Too much fibre, too little fat? Some sort of vitamin deficiency? In the end I went with the neutral response, "Well there ya go", I replied.
The waste water system of our homestead is functioning, the audible septic level alarm is on and we are off to enjoy a sunny Sunday afternoon.
How thick is your crust?
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
We blanch our corn and other veggie we freeze outside for two reasons. First, the propane cooker heats the water up much faster and I can then use a bigger pot, this one holds 1 1/2 dozen ears at a time. Secondly, then I don't have all that humidity in the house. Put the ears in boiling water and start counting as soon as they are in. We blanch for 7 minutes, other people might tell you a different amount of time but this has always worked wonderfully for us.
After seven minutes take it out with a tongs and plunge it in cold water to stop the cooking action. I change the water after every batch so that is is always icy cold.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
The main reason I hate putting gas in the car is because we have this crazy gas cap on the van that is like a safety cap on a pill bottle. It has to be pushed in and jiggled just right or the thing will not come off. The dad oddly doesn't seem to have this problem. So if I do have to get gas I am already worried that I won't be able to get the gas cap removed before I have even turned the ignition off. When I get out I just know that they are watching on those security monitors in the store. I can hear them in there saying "Hey everybody, look at this woman trying to get her gas cap off" as they fall down laughing. The longer it takes me to get it off I start to wonder if I will end up at their Christmas party where they show funny videos from the year prior that has happened at their store. My other fear is, if I can't get it off, do I go in and ask for help or just drive off? I imagine them calling the cops that I was a drive off and then when they pull me over with the sirens screaming and the lights flashing I will have to tell the officer that no I didn't steal any gas, I can't get my gas cap off.
The other reason I don't like to do it is because gas pumps hate me. Truly, along with copy machines, they hate me. I had to stop once to pump gas because I was out of town, the dad wasn't with and I wouldn't have gotten back home without running out of gas. I stopped at a station and got the cap off but then I couldn't get the pump to pump. I went into the store and told the teenage clerk that my pump wouldn't pump and she said you pumped $19 something in to your tank. No I didn't I tell her. Our pumps are verified every so many months and you pumped $19 in your tank she snips at me. I am imagining them calling the cops, because I wasn't going to pay for gas I didn't pump, the officer looking at my car and seeing that the tank really was empty I just don't know how to work the pump. He would go back to the station and tell everyone how he had to go to a call and the only thing wrong was the only woman in the world who can't pump gas was there. Finally this older clerk took pity on me and came out to see what was going on. After verifying that, no I didn't pump any gas yet, she shows me this little, tiny, handmade sticker they had put on the pump that said "push" and that was how to turn the pump on. Really, I am already tense about the gas cap and you expect me to see some little sticker?
This is why I think pumping gas is a man's job. In my defense, the dad has never taken brush to toilet bowl so I feel this is more than fair. After all, how hard is to run a toilet brush that he never does that job?
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Now that it is almost fall, we are looking at what is going to be on the chopping block and what we will fit into our schedule. Some of what we had to choose from was soccer, band, library buddies, science class, horseback riding lessons, co-ops, Awana, youth group, and so on. A lot of these are no brainers because there isn't enough interest there so it is easy to pass them over. Others take some thought, prayer and tough choices. Finally, I think we have the list for fall. Some of these make a commitment only through November so we can reevaluate then if we want to sign up again or not. We can do anything for two and half months - right?
Spark is going to be in 4-H, homeschool gym at the YMCA which includes swimming lessons (the reason it got included), flag football through community ed, 4-H After-school adventures, and Sunday school.
Dancer is going to be in one dance group (she wanted two), 4-H, and a book club.
My goal is that this will be a good balance for us. We have a fairly active 4-H club, there are a few church activities coming up and I have one meeting a month so the weeks will fill in quickly. We also want to get to a few more farmers' markets before the year is totally over so Dancer can make some money to pay for her dance expenses. We also have a few little day trips we would like to get in. One plus to this schedule is that Sparks gym day and Dancer's dance class are on the same day in town so we can combine the trip and hit the library at the same time. The down side is that we have one night a week where we have to bring dinner with us or eat out. I say lets eat out every week but the pocket book usually says otherwise.
I know other families work in more activities that this, but I just can't. I like to have times open if something fun pops up and to be home at night snuggled in when the snow starts to blow.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
This morning I took the dog out to potty and noticed a large shape out of the corner of my eye. In back of the house, under an apple tree, was a Bald Eagle eating one of the ducks. We had thundestorms last night and the ducks had been making a racket playing in water by a down spout through the early morning.
The eagle took flight as soon as I noticed it. The pup and I went to check out carcass. There was a six foot diameter circle of feathers and scattered "duck parts". It must have been working on it a while as usually birds of prey just eat some organs, a few chunks of breast and fly off. It's possible that something else killed the duck as this noble bird isn't too proud too eat carrion.
If you have been following the blog you know the ducks are being a nuisance in the garden and having one less is fine. Recalling the ducks rampage through the bell pepper garden I say "Fly on majestic bird, enjoy your 'Duck on a Bed of Apple Leaves' and come back soon"
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
The plant of many names grows in creek banks, swamps and moist forests. When the seed pods are ripe, a slight touch will send the seeds flinging as far as five feet away. This is the first year I have noticed them so there must have been a lot of seed flinging going on last year. However, we did plant a fern down in the swamp so perhaps it came along with that plant as I saw a ton of them in the ditch were we got the fern.
It can be used to treat poison ivy, stinging nettles (which we call burn weed) and athlete's foot. It is an ideal addition to humming bird and butterfly gardens.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Tuesday it got terribly hot and humid out. That was the day Dancer's goat Eeyore got over heated and we spent the afternoon trying to get him back to normal. The rest of the week with him has been spent worrying that he was too hot. We checked him about every 15 - 30 minutes all day long. The make shift pen we made for him so he could be under the trees turned out to just be an inconvenience for him. Almost every time we checked on him on Wednesday he was out of it. The kids kept piling more lawn chairs, tables, kiddie pools, buckets, saw horses, and anything else they could think of that might keep him in his enclosure. By Thursday they had something constructed that, for the most part, kept him in, but the area he had to walk around in was ever shrinking. On Friday we finally made him an enclosure out of fencing materials and now we can leave him without worrying he will wander where he shouldn't. At night we were still worried about him being too hot in the barn and went out and check him multiple times. The temps were so hot in there we would start sweating just from filling water buckets. We couldn't leave him outside at night because we worry about dogs and because he would have been scared outside all alone. Several of our other animals didn't look so great in the heat either, they would be breathing heavy long after the temps had cooled down.
On Wednesday, when I was looking up in the 4-H newsletter what time Spark's day camp was on Thursday, I saw that Dancer had to have a resume and project report for her state fair entry into the extension office on Monday. Great, we missed the deadline and now she will be disqualified to take her project. I worried most of the night about this and didn't sleep well at all.
Thursday morning, when Dad took Spark to day camp, Dancer went with to ask the 4-H person what could be done about these missing papers. Just bring them back this afternoon when you pick up Spark and I will bring them in to the office she says. We were relieved that she could go to the state fair but now we had to find out what was expected in this resume and project report and then write them. No pressure there! She also had a few things to do to her project to make it look decent since it spent five days at the county fair and looked like it had.
To add to the day, my contacts were scratchy from not sleeping great the night before so I had to wear my glasses. I hate glasses. Actually that is not a strong enough word, I detest glasses. I can't really see with them on and I certainly can't see with them off. They make me crabby. I thank God for who ever invented contacts.
When I called our 4-H leader to ask her about the resume and project report she said oh yeah, you need those and one for every project she did to send in for judging. We were in a different club before this last year and they did not put importance on these records so we had never done them. I was hoping to blow them off again this year but I guess not. So now we have been cranking out a couple of these reports everyday with the hopes of having them done before our meeting next Wednesday.
Of course our regular week also had to happen around all of these other things happening. Dancer had three days of dance classes, Spark had day camp, we had company for dinner one night, chores, errands and so on and so on. There is nothing extra on the calendar tomorrow and I hope it stays that way!
On a good note, it cooled down and rained this afternoon so we can quit worrying about our little goat.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I got up early this morning to go to day camp. I had to bring a sack lunch. I was the first boy there. First, we played a game called the name train. You go around hopping like a bunny asking people their name. After you ask somebody you have to yell out their name the you follow behind them and hop to the next person. The person you just asked asks someone else their name, yell it out, they join the line and hop to the next person until everyone has joined the train. We sang the song the bedbugs and the skeeters were having a game of ball and Waddleleeatcha. We played a bunch of relays. We got a dish with lots of cups in it and the three primary colors. Then we mixed the colors together to make a color for every dish. You could even mix colors in a tray. We made sun ray bracelets that turn color when the UV rays get strong and you should put on sunscreen. We colored on bandannas with Sharpies and dropped alcohol on the drawings and the colors ran. We learned about the colors dividing off of something. We had lunch. We got these really cool hard clear things that when they sit in water they get huge and they are see through. We watched and were in commercials during our popcorn and juice snack. It was weird not to be there with my sister this year.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Mom's Peanut Butter Cookies
1/2 C. white sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. shortening
1/2 C. peanut butter
1 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
Friday, August 7, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
The park is in a neighborhood that when it is wet out there is a little creek that runs through it into a big swamp. There was a little water in the creek this morning and it had frogs in it. The kids had a great time catching and putting them in cups that they found. Oh, and one mother's water glass she brought with, but it isn't going to be her glass anymore now that it has had frogs in it. All the kids had a great time doing this except two of Dancer's friends. They thought at 12 years of age that they were just way to cool for this activity. I was glad that Dancer didn't cave to their coolness and went down with the younger kids. She had a great time while they sat on the slides sulking. I guess once you make a big, loud announcement that you aren't going to catch frogs because it is dumb and your friend doesn't follow you, you either have to sulk or take it back and go play. Hopefully next time they will join in with the other kids because the sulking girls looked bored and irritated. Which, now that I type that, would make sense since that is what sulking is.
A sad thing about the frogs was that about half of them only had one back leg. One had a short stubby leg with a couple toes, one had a bump where a leg should have grown and the rest had nothing to mark a leg spot. I would have had a picture but didn't think there would be anything to take a picture of so we left the camera home. I am pretty sure the lack of legs was related to the beautiful weed free lawns in the surrounding house and the park which didn't even have a patch of clover in it. I wonder if when people start having legless children, they will rethink their perfect lawns.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Mix all together and heat. This pot was not big enough so get out a two quart one or you will just have more dishes to do.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Cook over medium heat about 15-20 minutes depending how ripe your fruit is until the peaches are soft.
Cook the pulp down until it is thick. Watch it careful so it doesn't burn.
Pour into hot sterilized jars, leave a 1/4 inch of head room, wipe of rims, put on lids that have been boiling in water and twist on rings. Put the jars in a water bath or whatever kind of canner you use, we use a steam canner, for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes take them out to cool on the counter and listen for the pops. I just love the popping part!
The three smaller jars will be for Christmas gifts. No one on our gift list really needs anything so we always try to give something they can at least eat.
As we were buying our tickets it was clouding over and threatening rain. We waited to go in because it was sprinkling a bit and but soon the sprinkles stopped and it seemed safe to go into the grand stand. We get in there and it starts to rain, not enough to get soaked, just enough to feel damp. Lighting started flashing in the west and over the loud speaker an announcement proclaims "Get off the metal bleachers immediately, you are sitting on a huge lightening rod". Well, you didn't have to tell us twice. We no sooner get out and the rain starts. Then downpours. Then torrential rains. Then the wind picks up. By now though we have scurried into the cattle barns and are safe. It rained like that for 45 minutes and coming down on metal roofs made it sound like the world might be coming to an end.
While we were waiting out the storm, Dancer had a good time in the barn bonding with a cow named Zeus. He just would not leave her alone. He was rubbing on her, licking her, moving his head in all directions so she could scratch him and enjoying the little handfuls of hay she was stealing from the cow next to him. Poor Zeus at that moment had an empty feeder.
Finally, we got to go back into the grand stand and the show started. All the rain really made the field muddy which makes it more exciting as the cars slide better and mud flys into the stands. The announcer was really good at his job, they shot out t-shirts, guys on the field got the crowd cheering for cars and Auto Value, the sponsor last night, threw lots of trinkets into the stands to make it an exciting show. Spark got a dash board pen holder and he was thrilled. Only at an event like this would he think that a pen holder was so cool. There were a couple engine fires and the sirens sounded as the fire department ran out to spray down the cars with fire extinguishers. The kids loved it and are ready to go back tonight. Once a year will suffice for them, any more often and it will probably loose it's appeal.
The night also included Spark eating his annual funnel cake and a dance with dueling DJ's. Spark danced and danced and then was so tired he fell asleep on the way home.