Tuesday, June 30, 2009

4-H Banner

Our banner for the fair is done! This is all the kids that were on the committee for the banner. The best part was we met at our house and for once we didn't have to drive anywhere! We met one time last week to get the background on the banner, make the bees and get the hive sewn and glued on. A good majority of the weekend was spent making the flowers. This morning we met again and cut out the letters and put the whole thing together.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Gutter cleaning or tree removal?

The gutter on the side of the garage is just sprouting with life. It had just hundreds, upon hundreds, of little maple trees growing out of it as if it were a planter. Dancer, bless her heart, climbed up there, plucked the trees out and then dug out the smelly, rotting leaves they were finding such a good medium to grow in. There are maple trees coming up everywhere this year. It is probably because there has been rain every few days and every thing is moist. Funny thing is, a couple of years ago we had a maple tree grow in the rocks around the house. We were so excited about having a tree come up that we carefully dug it out of the rocks and planted it in the yard. For the last couple of years, we have been babying this tree along with extra waterings and put a fence around it to protect it. Our hard work has paid off as the tree is about 5 1/2 feet tall this year. We are planning on putting a few of our plethora of trees in pots to see if we can get some growing well so that if we want to plant a tree anywhere else we will have some at the ready.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Indoor garden

This is a garden Dancer made in a flower pot for a 4-H project. It has to be in the pot at least one month before judging. She arranged five different house plants in it. To keep it looking like this she will have to keep turning it in the sun everyday so it doesn't grow in just one direction and nip off any new growth.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fish tales

We went fishing tonight at a pier in town. This is Dad, Dancer and Spark at the end of pier. There a couple of these and few docks around town for fishing at.
The wind was really whipping, even Sparks short hair was blowing back.
This is what the kids call their secret fishing spot. Two other kids were over there so I don't know how "secret" it really is.

Spark always wants to go fishing. He asks to go fishing. Then when we get to the lake he looses most of his interest before the lines even have leeches on. He mostly runs around creating havoc. This includes, but is not limited to, him falling in, the bait getting knocked over, a pole falling in, yelling, running on the dock and just being an annoying little brother.
There was a beautiful sunset.
The fish weren't biting at the pier so we moved to another lake that has a dock. Here is the kids sitting at the end of the dock.
Dancer was excited she caught a big one!

Dancer out on the dock. She loves to fish and would every morning and evening if someone would take her. She expects them to be biting though and she has the knack to get them. Even when the rest of us are standing with our lines dangling in the water without any nibbles, she is pulling them in.

It kept getting darker and darker, to where it was hard to even see the bobber in the water, but Dancer and Dad just wanted to try "one more time".

The mosquitoes starting coming in so Spark and I walked back and waited in the car for Dancer and Dad to decide they were done. It is hard to imagine that in just eight years Spark will be sitting over there and actually driving.

Dancer's big large mouth bass. She caught 3 and Dad caught 1 that were worth keeping. This was very exciting because we always catch a lot of fish but rarely, very rarely, do get any that are "keepers". Last year, for the whole summer, we caught a meager three that we kept. The fish go in the freezer and then when we have a couple saved up, we thaw them out and fry them.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Somebodies knocking, should I let him in?

The Dad, for years, has worked nights. I sleep well when he is at work but I have to admit that I do sleep much more deeply when he is home knowing that if something comes up he will take care of it. Last night he was working so subconsciously I was on alert. At 1:45 a.m. a jolting BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG has me flying out of bed with my heart racing so hard that I can feel it outside my chest. The kids and I have been reading the Sisters Grimm series and in those books every time there is a knock at the door during the night, Sabrina, one of the sisters, gets up and stupidly opens the door and it always turns out to be a bad idea. So crazily, my mind goes to these stories and I worry about who, or what, could be out there. Not that I was expecting a Jabberwocky or anything but it did cross my mind. Remember I have only been awake for about 4 seconds when that thought went through my head. As I am going down the hall, I can hear that Dancer is up and I don't want her to go to the door. At the same time, I need to be quiet because I don't want whoever is out there to know that we are awake since they haven't knocked again since the initial BANG, BANG, BANG. I also start wondering how I am going to look out and see who it is because we have a window in our door so they could see me before I can get a good look at them. We live among corn fields, so I am assuming it is a crazy ax murderer out cruising country roads and decided to stop and kill someone. Dancer starts mumbling something about not being able to find knob. Knob? Just stay in your room I whisper, and don't answer the door. Then she says something about not being able to get out of my room and because she can't get the dresser out of the way. She thought the bedroom door was shut and that she was sleeping in my room and while getting up to go to the bathroom she couldn't figure out where she was. In her defense, I am the only one who sleeps in the same spot every night, the rest of the family is like a bunch of gypsies sleeping where ever they find comfortable that night. When I finally sorted all this out she was trying to get into her closet. As she woke up a little more she said she was pounding on the wall trying to find the knob to get out of the room. My heart is still pumping like I had just ran a 5K so I have to decide, is this really what the knocking was or is someone still out there. I feel my way in complete darkness to the door, quick flip on the porch light so I will startle the wanna-be intruder, look out the window and see no one. Oh, thank heavens! It did take a few minutes to get myself back together and then even longer to fall back asleep. The Dad is home tonight and I couldn't be happier.

Dancer's knitted dishcloth

Dancer finished up her dishcloth and it turned out really nice. By the time she was getting to the last 15 or so rows she was moving along quite quickly on it with only a couple mistakes to fix. She will put it in the fair now for a needle arts project. I don't know if she will make anything else as it turned into a chore instead of a pleasurable activity for her, timelines will do that to you. Maybe this winter when the snow starts to fly and it is dark by 4:30 pm she will try another project.
The pattern for the dishcloth was simple. Cast on 30 stitches, knit every row until it is square and bind off.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

25 year highschool class reunion

The postcard came in the mail announcing that yes, it has been 25 years since we thought we knew it all and were ready to conquer the world. The Dad and I graduated from the same high school the same year (yes, we were high school sweethearts). Will we go? At this point we are thinking not. Our class was small by some standards, about a 100 people, and I helped organize the 20 year and so really caught up with what people were doing. I am sure there will be some changes, a few deaths, perhaps a midlife baby or two and by this time there should be grandchildren's pictures to show off. But we are busy and for the most part, our fellow classmates are strangers to us now. Sure, I send Christmas cards to a few of those who were good friends at that time in our lives, but otherwise they are people I have seen twice in the last 25 years.

This got me thinking about our kids who won't have class reunions. No pressure about am I done with college at the five year, do I have an impressive enough job at the 10 year, am I married with kids and a beautiful home at the 15, can I loose some weight before the 20 year and how old will I look compared to my classmates at the 25? It could be another benefit to homeschooling!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June is dairy month

To celebrate dairy month the 4-H club gave free root beer floats to everyone who came into the grocery store. The store donated the ice cream and we just had to buy the root beer and the cups. The kids set up right inside the front door. You can see by the picture that the store is very crowded with merchandise. It is about 1000 square feet but they have just about anything you would ever need to buy and even have a meat counter. Every aisle is so full of displays that only one cart, the small narrow ones, can get down a aisle at a time so if someone else is already in the aisle you have to wait your turn. I think it is more jam packed than a flea market. They also don't have the equipment to scan the UPC codes so everything has a price tag on it. It is a fun place to go and we appreciate it when we need to pick up a few thing. We don't do our big shopping there but if you do, they bag it and carry it out to your car. I hadn't seen that kind of service since I was a kid.

Monday, June 22, 2009

She won!!!!

Dancer filled out a Go Green question sheet where she had to go around to all these displays and find the answers at city hall this last weekend. For filling out the paper your name got put into a drawing to win a video recorder or a night at a casino. Tonight there was a message on the phone that she won a prize and come into town to pick it up. Her prize is what every 12 year hopes to win. Not only did they give a her toilet bowl cleaner but she got a little speech about how important it is to be green. I guess there were two grand prizes and then they drew for some items such as this. Well, it was nice to be a winner anyway.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

PG - 13

The Dad and I watched a movie tonight that was rated PG-13. My, oh, my, there were a few scenes that seemed a little raw to us. The watcher would be ready for their wedding night after that show. Is this what 13 year olds out there are watching as entertainment? And I know that many, many, kids younger than 13 are allowed to watch that rating. Call me a prude, but as the mother of a 12 1/2 year old I really don't think she will tuning in any time soon.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Town festival = fun, fun, fun

Our town had it's summer festival and it was packed with activities from sun up to sun down. The kids and Dad went to the the fishing contest at the beach early in the morning. Each caught a fish but not big enough to win one of the big prizes. They each came home with a bag full of tackle which they thought was a wonderful prize on it's own. Next, they were off to the minnow races were Dancer's minnow came in first place twice and she won a bottle of water. Very nice prize when the temp is well above 80 degrees and the sun is beating down.

Our church had free games for kids under 10 years old. We were part of the planning for this so we spent most of the afternoon setting up and then running the games. We decided to go with an old fashion theme so there were sack races, here is Spark racing in his sack, egg on the spoon race, jump ropes, hula hoops, three legged race, train ride pulled with a 4 wheeler, balloons, and freezies for the whole family. Then we zoomed home to put our wagon together for the parade. The overall theme for the festival was "Go Green" so we used that on our 4-H sign as a hint to join 4-H. To make things as simple for everyone each family designed their own wagon and we pulled them down the route to not use any gas and be 'green' while the kids threw candy to the parade watchers.

The night ended with a street dance and fabulous fireworks display. One of the great thing about living in a small town in that when you are in town there is always someone you know so we got a lot of good visiting in as well.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The love between a girl and her goat

Hard work makes you tired

Spark finished up basketball camp today. He had a lot of fun all week and made a new friend. He was also slept really well, didn't have to tell him to go to bed twice, ate a lot and drank a lot (the drinking was because that is what the coach told them to do so he followed orders). We went to watch the last half hour today and oh boy can 30 hot little boys stink up a gym. To celebrate his week we went for ice cream afterwards.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

She's back!

Last year we had a toad that lived in the rocks around our house. You can read all about it here: http://minabema.blogspot.com/2008/10/natural-bug-control.html Spark found this girl, he thinks it is a girl, behind the house and was so excited that Toddia was back!!!! The Toddia from last year and the Toddia from this year look vastly different from each other but that must be because she changed over the winter. If that is what he thinks who am I to argue, Spark was excited and that's the main thing. Now we will have to wait and see if Todd shows up again this year.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Finally a Peony

Four years ago the family bought a Peony and planted it in a small flower bed by the goats pasture. Peonies are the very colorful plants that are often seen next to home foundations. The plants have round, ping pong sized flower buds that are covered with ants just before they open. The Peony won't bloom the first year it is planted and the plant grows new from the ground up each year. Our Peony was in tough shape because the dad kept forgetting where it was an tilled it up every fall. Last year the Mom put a pile of rocks around it and saved it from starting over this year. Here is a picture of our first bloom.


We had hay delivered today and it almost didn't get up to the barn. As the trailer was coming around the patio it sunk into the grass and stopped. We figured it to weight about 18,000 pounds so it was no match for the rain soaked ground. Using our truck we loaded the back with bales, drove it up to the barn, unloaded it, backed back down to the trailer to start the cycle all over again. It was slow going. Every time we took a few loads off the guy would try to pull the trailer out and it was to no avail. Actually, it look uncertain if he would get it out after the trailer was empty. We called the neighbor to come over and pull it with his tractor and he had the trailer out in no time. Once he got the trailer up to the barn we just threw them from the trailer unto the stack. I never thought I would call unloading hay easy but now I know it all a matter of perception! Spark went to step in the hollow the tires made to show how far down it sunk. It is about 18 inches deep at it's deepest, so about an inch for every 1000 pounds. Now what to do with the huge hole. I thought the easiest might be to put a couple tomatoes in there and fill it in with dirt from the garden.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stray Bears

Stray cats have shown up in our yard now and again, but never bears. The road in front of our house is a county road and along one side of it is a minimum maintenance road. Where the two roads meet at the corner, these two bears were carefully propped up together in the ditch. It was a sad sight as we have been having rain for the last day and half and they were quite wet before we spotted them out there. We brought them in and gave them a tumble in the dryer. Both are about three feet tall so we wonder if they just weren't too big for their home. Our other theory is since the white bear has "heart" Day 2006 on his foot that a love has gone dreadfully wrong and the owner just couldn't 'bear' look at it any more with out being overwhelmed with deep heart break. Leaving them out in the rain was a testimony to the despair they were feeling over the relationship. The bears aren't talking so we will never know the truth about how they landed themselves in the ditch of a rural country road. Perhaps I will get the kids to write an adventure story about them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Exciting day for Spark

Spark had two exciting things happen to him today. First, he started basketball camp. He will go every day this week for 2 1/2 hours and run around a gym with 25 other boys to learn how to be basketball stars. He thought it was the greatest thing and can't wait to go back again tomorrow.

Second, he sold two of his rabbits. A couple of weeks ago he put a Bunnies for Sale sign out by the road and waited patiently for some one to stop and buy them. There were 16 he could sell and I think he was surprised that the first 16 cars that went speeding by didn't stop to buy one. Today was their last day before we were going to cull them and tonight about 6:00 a mom and little girl came to get two of them. He brought them out back to see all the rabbits he had for sale, gave them a water bottle and a hanger, and said that if they had any questions that they should just stop back and he would be happy answer any questions them might have. He was the perfect little salesman. He gets half the price that he sells them for, the other half is to pay for their food. Actually, their purchase price wasn't even close to the amount of food they have eaten but he gets a little change in his pocket and at the same time learns about business expenses.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Knitting lessons spill into life

Dancer is under taking the task of knitting a dishcloth for a needle arts project for 4-H. While she has knit before, she has never actually made it through a whole project because of frustrating snags along the way. Dancer, since she was a toddler, is the kind of person who wants to do everything perfect the first time or she really isn't interested in it. Practice is not a popular word in her vocabulary. This time, however, she is determined to make it to the end of this project.
Thus far we have restarted this project no less than four times. The stitches are all cast on and the first row has 32 stitches, the second 28, the third is back up to 30, the fourth is 33 and so on. I am not sure how she accomplishes this but it is teaching her that without a good basic start things don't turn out how you planned and there is no shame is trying again.
To combat this problem of the ever changing stitch count, we decided that she would bring her work to me after every row and we would look it over to ensure she had it right and was ready to move on to the next row. I hope she will learn that some mistakes, even though they seem small at the time, are impossible to hide as thing go on longer. I also want her to learn to bring her problems to me while they are still small enough for me to fix. One row with a mistake is easy to rectify, six rows isn't. One little mistake in life is usually easy to fix, doing it over and over until it is a big mess isn't.
As the rows have begun to add up and the dish cloth is growing in length, she is starting to check her own work. She is learning that looking back at what you are doing once in a while keeps you on the right road to success.
Once she came to me and said that she knew she made a mistake but didn't know how to fix it. Knowing you have made a mistake is more than half the battle of setting things right again I told her. It is those who are making mistakes and don't realize it that are getting deeper and deeper into trouble. I also hope she remembers that she can always come to me with a problem and I will do my best to help her sort it out and get her back to where she can go on successfully.
She is also starting to have more and more rows without any mistakes. I am delighted to watch her finish a row, look it over, smile, flip her work over and continue on. Success is sweet even if it is only a row of perfect knitting stitches.
The last thing she is learning from this project is that if you don't do anything there is no progress. While this seems to be a long project for her, leaving it lay on the end table for a few days doesn't accomplish anything. I want her to do at least a row a day so she can see that even little amounts of effort add up quickly and brings you closer to your goal.
I also hope that this project will encourage her to take on other, more difficult knitting project and she can grow her skill level even though she was frustrated at first. I am restraining myself not to throw in a 'I told you so' moment and say "see, practice makes perfect and your hard work is paying off." Even I am learning a few parenting lessons from this dish cloth!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Potato salad recipe

We had company for lunch yesterday and I made potato salad. Last night before going to bed Dancer was coveting the last serving and she said "this is so good, why don't you make it more often?" Good point, why don't I make it more often? It shouldn't take company for me to make some of our favorite foods. From now on I will make potato salad because it is just like any other day and I want my family to enjoy something good. This recipe isn't very much work so I don't even have that as an excuse for not making it.

Potato Salad - no picture because it is already all gone!

About 6 medium potatoes
1 1/2 C. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 Tbsp. mustard
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 stalks of celery
1 medium onion
4 radishes
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped

Prepare and boil potatoes. Hard boil the eggs. I do this the night before and have them in the fridge so that it is all ready to go and cold the next day when I am ready to put it together. Dice potatoes to make about 6 cups. Chop eggs, celery, radishes and onion. Mix together the rest of the ingredients and toss with the chopped veggies and eggs. Chill before serving.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Receiving blankets - the under used household gem

The simple, soft, flannel receiving blanket has been a staple in our lives since the Dancer was a babe. When she, and later Spark, were newborns I would wrap them up tight like an egg roll in receiving blankets so they would be calm and sleep. After they were a few weeks old I would wrap them up to their arm pits so they would be covered and stay warm, but could have their arms free to fling around and gain control of. When they were wrapped up they couldn't kick the blanket off and suffocate themselves. Yes, I was one of those mothers who checked over and over again that their baby was still breathing. Actually, I can still be know to do that from time to time. The blankets also made great burp rags. They served as no defense in projective vomiting but for regular little baby spit they were great.

As the kids got older, I used the receiving blankets to set them on the floor, as a shield between them and changing tables, at the doctors office on the exam table (like that little paper roll on the table is enough germ protection for my precious babes), to prop them up in the shopping cart, and high chair, before they were really good sitters, and other germ barrier uses.

To potty train the kids I used cloth diapers. They both hated them and didn't take long to get them trained when they realized that the super, I don't even know I am wet, diapers were not coming back into their lives. While they were getting the hang of potty training I cut the blankets up and used them as diaper liners. If they had a poo it got thrown away and if it was just wet I would wash them and use them again. If you are wondering, yes I know they make cloth training pants, but if they poo those need to be pulled off down their legs which then in turn are covered in poo. Diapers were just easier until they got that part of training down.

They also worked great as toys. When they were babes we would play peek-a-boo and other hiding games to reinforce the 'just because you can't see it it is still there' concept. Dancer would wrap her stuffed animals and dolls up in them. The possibilities were endless and we never put the blankets away.

After heavy use most of our original receiving blankets are gone, probably in those training diapers, but we still have lots of them and put them to good use every day. I have gotten most of ours at the food shelf/clothing drive that we volunteer at every month where there seems to be an overwhelming number of them. Here is how we put them to use:
  • wipe up spills
  • dust rags
  • cleaning rags
  • they are perfect for washing windows
  • cleaning off udders before milking the goats
  • cleaning birthing goo off newborn goats
  • quick grab hand towel
  • dog bed liners
  • bath towels for animals - we used a few today to dry off a goat that needed a bath
  • wiping off wet lawn furniture
  • when Spark has a cold he likes them cut into little squares to wipe his nose because they are softer than tissues
  • in the winter we shove them in the side of door to keep the cold air out
  • to tie an ice pack on a hurt ankle or where ever ice is needed
  • and lots of other uses but you get the idea

Then we just throw them in the regular wash and cycle them through again. The great thing with them is that if you clean up something too gross just throw them away. Or they can be bleached and if they fade it doesn't matter. Bleaching them does shorten their life but sometimes it just can't be helped if you want to reuse them.

The blankets also serve as a little prayer ministry for me. Often times when I pull one out to use, I will send up a little prayer to God to bless the child that was once tenderly wrapped in the blanket, and if it is an old one from our kids, I smile and thank God for blessing us with two wonderful children.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dinner and a movie

Tensions have been running high around here the last week for some reason so tonight we decided to take the kids to dinner and a movie. We told them we were going to go to town to get tabs for the car and to get ready to go. The town we went to is about 35 minutes away and when we got there about 5:30 we said "oh, they must close at 5:00 but since we are here let go out to eat." Our dining experience was an over priced Chinese buffet. In the whole restaurant there was one other couple when we came in. As they were leaving they came over to ask us where a store was because they weren't from there. As we were leaving one other couple had just come in. Seems everyone knew it was over priced except for people from out of town. The kids had a good time though and so we called it a success. The restaurant was right across the street from the movie theater and so as we were eating the Dad said "To bad there isn't anything else to do in town since we came all this way. They don't have a rodeo, an amusement park or even a movie theater." The kids jumped all over that one and pointed out the theater. Well, how convenient. We went over the to just look at the theater and then we opened the doors and went in. The kids were really surprised and excited. We choose the movie UP. It starts out sad but ends up being a cute, happy story. The movie was in 3D so we had to get the glasses to wear. There is a racket. A dollar to rent these glasses and then you have to give them back at the end of the movie. Didn't feel to bad about handing them back over as they were made of hard plastic and cut in to all of our ears. We had never seen a 3D picture before and it sure makes the screen come to life. Spark was especially cute in his glasses because they were so big and I didn't have the camera with!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pictures by Dancer

The sky is the daily bread of the eyes. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. - Lao Tzu

Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it. - Confucius

That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet. - Emily Dickinson

I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex. - Oscar Wilde

Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else. - Alison Boulter

As I work among my flowers, I find myself talking to them, reasoning and remonstrating with them, and adoring them as if they were human beings. Much laughter I provoke among my friends by so doing, but that is of no consequence. We are on such good terms my flowers and I. - Celia Thaxter

A cat is there when you call her - if she doesn't have something better to do. - Bill Adler

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"What color bands should I get"

This is a question we here from Dancer every time she gets new bands put on her braces. The braces and bands question is much more serious than one might think. Several times the family has been given ballots with many color combinations to vote on, through many ballots the choices are narrowed down to a more manageable several dozen.

The band colors have a deeper meaning that we ever thought. pink and red for Valentines day, Red and white at Christmas, green and white for the basketball tournament, silver and blue for the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader show premiere and countless others.

Here is the before picture...

and here is the after. I'm told the green represents 4-H for a parade Dancer and Spark are in next week. Dancer has never taken the Dad's advice to go with brown and green (so you can brush your teeth less).

Monday, June 8, 2009

Planting delicious onions the easy way

Friends, are you tired of bending over to plant row after row of onions? Sick of scrubbing muddy stains from the knees of your garden pants? Does every bite of home "groan" onions send your back into spasms from the memory of planting?

"Suffer no more friends!!!! The job of planting onions will make the family scattering no more. Once you purchase the All New Handy Dandy Little Giant Onion Planter your family will gather around to see why you whistle while you work. They'll gaze in wonder as you plant perfectly spaced and depthed (depthed???) onions."

OK. The kids will probably mutter "that's neat Dad" before wandering off to do something more interesting, but it is nice not having to bend over to plant each onion. The Dad is not to fond of planting onions as each one has to be placed in a shallow trench -- root side down. Not to deep or the bulb will never get big, not to far apart of you will do way to much weeding.

If one drops the onion from waist high it will, more often than not, land wrong side up. The same is true with potatoes and gladiolas, there are just so many more onions in each row. The new onion planter is really just a pipe with a diameter about 2 and 1/2 times bigger than the onion. That way the onion stays right side up as it falls through the pipe but won't get stuck. The onion makes a cool noise as it falls through the pipe for a special bonus feature.
So far, so good. Onions do require lots of thorough, diligent during the season. No new tool for that. Yet.
Here are our 840 onions in nice straight rows.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dancer's newest project

We are full steam ahead on 4-H projects. Dancer has a whole list of things she wants to put into the fair and she spends most of the summer working on them. This afternoon she made this bag out of Simplicity pattern 5151. The fabric is a bright orange with white flowers which didn't photograph very well. The fabric has been in our fabric bins for the last few years. First, it was going to be a dress for her but got passed over, then a pair of short and again got passed over for something else. Finally, part of it has found it's use in a bag. Now the hard part will be not using it until after the fair at the end of July, or if she does use it, keeping it clean.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Rain, Glorious Rain

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Rain on the roof
Reminds me of you
Drip, Drip, Drip

Would you believe my mom taught me that little ditty when I was a kid? Of course, she didn't mean me!

We are being blessed today with a long awaited rain. The lawn is already dead, the garden is requiring daily waterings and everything is dusty, but today, all that could be changing. Only a quarter of an inch has fallen so far but we are happy with any amount at this point. The forecast is for a few days of rain so hopefully it stays together over us. It seems lately that a storm will come up and then fall apart right when it gets to our part of the state. It is also cold, a high of 48 degrees, but if we look on the positive side we haven't had to turn the air conditioning on yet.

We went to a goat show this afternoon. It was interesting to see them show the goats, we had never been to a show before, but it was really hard to hear what the judge was saying he liked and what he didn't. We wanted to see Saanens but today was mostly La Manchas and Nubians. It is a two day show so other breeds must come tomorrow but we won't go back tomorrow. The way the judge looks them over and makes them strut back and forth it made me think of a Miss America pageant for goats.

We went to the Walmart in the town where the show was. Walmart has the yogurt we like for the best price, so any time we are near a Super Walmart we stop in to get some. This store is over 30 miles from our house but we ran into some one we knew and had a nice visit in the meat department. It seems like no matter where we go, no matter how far away from our house, we bump into some one we know. I wonder if that happened to the person that wrote the song "It's a Small World" and it prompted them to write a song about it.

Spark had a quarter burning a hole in his pocket and he got a gooey, glow in the dark eye ball out of one of those vending machines that dispenses those little plastic containers of junk. He is thrilled with it and has had hours of fun so far grossing us out. He has been calling the whole trip and day a success because he got that eye ball. When I find that thing stuck in the carpet that will be the end of it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

How many times....

does a boy have to wash his feet before they are clean? Six. Six times. Six times of being sent back in the bathroom to rewash them. Do boys have on blinders that filter out the sight of dirt? Spark even tried to tell me during one of the foot inspections that his feet were hairy and that was the large black spot I was seeing on the side of his foot. Nice try blonde boy, go wash them again. Now Dad just came in to get him because he didn't feed and water all the rabbits and so at 10 p.m. he got his clothes back on to go out and finish. One of the few jobs Spark has is taking care of the rabbits, which can be done in about five minutes, but he has the ability to drag it out to take all evening. Anyway, I am sure he will need to wash his feet again when he gets in. Or maybe a couple of times. Hopefully not six.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Three rhubarb recipes

The mantra for gardeners seems to be that you can't waste a single thing from the garden. That being said, we had some rhubarb that didn't sell at the farmers' market yesterday to use.

Dancer made a pan of these yummy bars. We just got the recipe yesterday morning from a friend and were excited to try them. They turned out so good we ate almost the whole pan. The bottom of these bars are darker because I only had hard red whole wheat flour on hand. If I had had any white flour it would had a more regular pie colored crust bottom.

Rhubarb Dream Bars
Blend together:
1 C. flour
1/2 C. butter
5 tbsp. powdered sugar

Press into a 8x8 pan and bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees

Mix together:

2 eggs
1/4 C. flour
1 1/2 C. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
2 C. rhubarb chopped

Spoon over crust and bake for 40 minutes

Spark and I made two jars of jam. This is recipe a I just made up with what I had on hand but it turned out so good the kids were eating it with a spoon out of the jar.

Rhubarb Jam
5 C. chopped rhubarb
4 C. sugar
2 chopped apples
1 package Sure Jell

Boil rhubarb, sugar and apple together until apple is soft, about 10 minutes depending on how small the apple pieces are cut. Mash with a potato masher. Add box of Sure Jell and boil one more minute. Pour into jars and freeze. Leave a bit of room at the top of the jar for expansion when it freezes.

This next recipe I made for Dad to take to work tonight. Nurses who work all night deserve a treat now and again. This recipe is a tried and true that we have made it many, many times and it always gets rave reviews. That is how we got the recipe in the first place, it was brought to a pot luck and we asked for the recipe so round and round it goes. Not a great picture of the crisp but since it was going with to work I didn't want to cut into it.

Rhubarb Crisp - also works for apples
Rhubarb diced - fill 3/4 of an 8x8 pan
Shake over rhubarb 1 cup of sugar and a tbsp. of flour.

1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 stick butter melted
1/2 c. oatmeal

Mix together and crumble over rhubarb. Bake until top is golden brown and fruit bubbles. Double amounts for a 9x13 pan.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

First Farmers' Market

We went to our first farmers' market of the year. All we had was rhubarb, a few dozen eggs and goat milk soap. Nothing else was planned for the afternoon so we thought we would go even though we wouldn't make much money because of our lack of product. Dancer and I usually have a lot of baked goods as well but to sell baked good we have to put the tent thing up to comply with state laws. I didn't feel like doing that since Dad had to work and wouldn't be there to help set up and take down. We did surprisingly well! I am always amazed at the amount of rhubarb we sell every year since is seems as though everyone is trying to give it away. All of the eggs we brought sold. Another vendor also sold out so hopefully we do a good egg business there. Other years we were the only ones with eggs but this year there are three of us with them. All little competition never hurts, makes us work harder on our customer service.

The kids had a wonderful time reconnecting with a friend who's mother also has a stand. Another family, who has a friend for Spark and Dancer, live in the neighborhood where the market is held so they walked to their house to get them to come over to the market and they all had a good afternoon together. I need to bring more snacks next time because it seems when kids get together they want to eat!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Things aren't always as they seem

A duck sitting by a log

Look again and it is really a duck sitting by a log with a brood of babies under her!