Gaming

Cade has been bugging my poor beleaguered husband about Minecraft for quite awhile now. he is nothing if not a doting uncle and loving father so he put it on one of the computers. Then a couple of kids would squeeze in front of it and play together.

So he put it on another computer too. And made it s they could play in the same world, their little square computer people. But still more children wanted to play. So he got another computer set up.

Who knew that playing computer games was such a social event?

The kids and the cousins get together and play together, both in the same room and in the same computer world. Building things in a team effort, killing each other, supporting each other. Leaving their seats to g help the other one out when something is hard to figure out. Taking breaks form the very active screen time to go outside and climb on the bales.

I can really get behind this kind of screen time.

Robotics

The Goblin Child joined the robotics group this fall. The little kids one that is. I volunteered to help because I like the idea behind it and want to encourage both children to do this.

The kids, some of them, worked really hard and came up with some good ideas. In The Goblin Child’s group there were a couple of great older kids and they came up with an idea that was great. The theme was building a base on the moon. They had lots of Legos and a motor to motorize one of them. They had to build a moon base with ways to provide water, power, and food. Lots of other stuff too.

Their idea started with a simple fish tank. hen they added filling it with grey water that turned a generator as it flowed into the tank. In the tank were fish of course, but also water plants grown to eat and produce oxygen, gravel to help filter the water and capture all waste for future use as fertilizer. Then out of the tank through another filter and back into the water supply.

The oldest boy in the group designed and built a crane that turned around powered by the motor they had to work with. the whole thing was wonderful and well done.

Today was the competition. Everyone got up early to get their kids clear down to Sydney in time. All the work and effort of the last few months and now was the time to show it off. I was more than a little grouchy when there were no microphones, nobody could hear or see a thing of what was going on. The they took a break to decide on the winner. They came back to hand out awards to….

Everyone!!

Yay. They all got participation awards. The ones who did nothing got exactly the same as the ones who worked hard at it. There was no point to any of it. Sure the kids got to spend their evenings working hard on a project. I suppose they should appreciate the experience? But why bother? If the competition is so completely meaningless why not just get together and build with Legos? We could skip the long drive. We could skip the expensive products from Lego and use regular blocks. We could skip the team shirts. We could let the kids build what ever they want and not be forced into the yearly theme. It might be more fun for them.

But anyway.

Old Fashioned Games

When The Goblin Child invented a game this fall she was so proud of herself. Mostly it showed that there is nothing new under the sun. I told her that her great grandpa used to play that game when he was a little boy. That when I was little he had taken me out in their backyard with a metal hoop off a wagon wheel and a stick. We had spent hours rolling it down the hill.

It didn’t bother her that she hadn’t found a new game. Instead she was even more excited that she was playing the game her grandpa played. They spent the warm weather rolling the hoop all around the yard.

Christmas Eve

We were going to do the family Christmas ting on Christmas eve instead of Christmas day. But we had all morning to get ready, nothing going on until noon. Or so I thought. I was still running around the house in various states of undress when the doorbell rang. The kids flung it wide and invited the slightly unexpected company in. I ran around the house picking up underwear hoping there was some way he wouldn’t notice.

It was uncle Leland. He had gotten up early and made the drive up getting here well before noon. After visiting for a bit he was ready to go ice fishing. We managed to get him to wait long enough for us to go with.

It was warm enough out that we didn’t think there was anyway there’d be enough ice to actually fish. We were wrong. The ice was many inches thick and they set to work boring holes. The ice creaked and groaned. I couldn’t handle it and stuck to the shore.

8 and I explored the shoreline. The ice had heaved and buckled all around the edges. We made our way through cat tails much taller than us and slid down the hills of ice. The The Goblin Child got tired of watching them sit staring at holes in the ice and came to join us. We explored our way clear to the play ground. Then it was time to get going.


Then it was time for the Christmas festivities. It had been declared that lunch would be at noon. No waiting until evening to eat lunch this year. I was determined to support my mother in law in her declaration so we had to be there in time. We rushed home and got our soup warmed up then hauled our presents and food up. We ate, soup, deserts, home made ice cream, then we opened presents.

Then we rushed off to the kids Christmas program. They had been practicing diligently, learning their lines and getting ready for their big night. They were doing a Christmas alphabet poem, each child had a letter and they all did a couple of songs together. They were exhausted from trying to fit everything into one day. 8 was barely hanging in there but managed to pull through. The whole service was beautiful and I always love the last song sung by candle light. They changed it up a little this year, everyone stood around the edges facing each other. It made taking pictures a little more obvious and quite awkward 😉




Christmas Practice

We’ve been making it to church regularly since Thanksgiving. Nothing like the pressure of a Christmas play to get us back in the habit. This year the kids are going to walk one at a time down the aisle and say a letter of the alphabet along with the beginning of a poem. There are an amazing amount of children in this tiny church right now. Five littles that are going to do this. Five big kids that are going to read the rest of the poem and accompanying bible verse. One to manage the littles on stage and one to send them up at the proper times. More kids than there are adults in the church!

I don’t know how it will go the day of. Practice has been interesting to say the least. The littlest kids have been there almost every week for practice. The big ones not so much. Hopefully they wont be tired after a whole day of Christmasing. We’re doing the family Christmas eve. Nothing like stacking everything in one day. The Goblin child is wonderful. She stands tall, speaks her lines loud and clear and remembers everything. 8 not so much. Oh well, if nothing else they’re cute!

First day of practice

Second day of practice

Live Nativity

It’s a tiny little church out in the middle of nowhere, miles from any town. Still the parking lot was filled and people streamed in and out all night long, come to see the nativity.

The children were restless and tired and cold, reluctant to sing and unwilling to sit. The animals much more compliant stood patiently munching on hay.

It was a beautiful night.

The Cousins Christmas Program

The library did a soup and a craft table for the Santa soup cook off. After spending the evening working on that we stayed to watch Ava’s Christmas program! We haven’t gotten to for a few years because of small children who can not sit still. This year we were determined to try, children and all.


Electrical Issues

Snow has been forecast for this weekend ever since, last weekend. As the week went on the amounts crept upwards. By Thursday they were predicting nine to fourteen inches.
So Monday two of the heated automatic waterers were froze over. The fuse was blown and the new one immediately joined its predecessor. My husband came home from work early and he and his father check wiring, multi-meters and other things I shy away from. The short was somewhere underground between the barn and the tanks. Everyone hung their heads and cried a little on the inside.
There were no shut off valves. Not below ground at least. No way to keep the water pipes from freezing in one old tank that was perfectly good and one they had just spent days getting installed. The heat had to be fixed before the storm coming in with the weekend.
The power company came out and located lines. They found the short, or maybe just where there was a splice, simply wrapped in electric tape and  buried underground. With a payloader, skid steer and shovels they dug it up. The bucket snagged the wire, pulling it loose but fortunately just scraped the waterline, not breaking it causing any further messes.Sure enough the wires were black and insulation melted. My computer guy/farmer/electrician husband tested the wires before patching and reburying. He tends to be cautious and a perfectionist.
There was another short. Somewhere else in between, underground. The the snow melted and it all drained into the hole. Now there were not only wires to fix but they were under a foot of water. Pumps are good to have. It was still muddy.
They called up Scott. It’s good to know people with trenchers. Abandoning the old line They trenched in two new wires to reach the waterers separately to avoid anymore under ground splices than absolutely necessary. With shiny new wire, wire that’s actually rated to be run underground, above ground junction boxes, a new trench dug, and wire ran, to the tank that has had an extension cord run to it for years. All that dug through knee deep mud. Knee deep on 8 that is.
It was all buried in and working good long before the cold and snow hit. With time left over for taking the duals off the tractor and putting the big snow blower on.

Category: 8, Cows, Farming  One Comment

Quite A Cluster

Some cows got out this afternoon. Not a big deal but  the father in law stopped to ask if I would help chase them in. Of course I would. As I hopped on the 4wheeler with him I absentmindedly called Daisy to come help. She didn’t come I worried a little then forgot about her amidst the whole cow chasing thing.

8 and I went to pick The Goblin Child up from the bus. Daisy is usually bouncing around wanting to come with. She wasn’t there. Again I remembered that she hadn’t come earlier either. Now I was worried. I tried to remember when I had seen her last. She had come with to feed in the morning.  I couldn’t think of a time I had seen her since then. She couldn’t have not gotten out of the feed truck. Could she?

We had a very little time before the bus would be there, we could make it to check for sure. Barely.

Sure enough. I opened the door and out leapt Daisy. When we get out she will just sit there. She has to be told to come out with us and apparently I didn’t do so. It was dark in the quanset and I was rushing to make it to the bus. I haven’t seen if she did anything to the inside of the feed truck yet. She’s a good dog. I didn’t smell anything. Keeping my fingers crossed that she didn’t hurt anything.

Out at the neighbors driveway that is our compromise meeting place, the bus driver complained about driving clear to our mailbox, I refused to have The Goblin Child unloaded on the highway, we pulled to the side of the road and waited. At the highway two vehicles sat. A car and a pickup. Their people sat on bumpers in between hanging out, talking. The bus managed to squeeze around them and made it up the hill slick with snow and ice.

After unloading the bus went back down the icy hill and waited for room to pull out. The two vehicles still sat, unperturbed by the traffic they were impeding. While loading children I watched a FedEx van pull out from across the street and head down the hill towards the bus. I waited and watched to see if he would slide right into it. He didn’t.

Pulling into our neighbors drive we turned around as usual. Backing out into the road. I put the car in drive, and we went backwards. As usual when things don’t go anywhere near as expected, it took a moment to think it through. I put it back in park and we stopped moving. Back in drive and we slid backwards again. Well, that didn’t work. This time I tried reverse, we were getting quite sideways in the road, maybe I could straighten it out and find some traction further down the hill.

The car straightened. There was no more traction though. A couple more tries and it became apparent that the only way we were going was down the hill. Down to where those two… very nice people still sat. Apparently unaware of the traffic swirling around them, They weren’t bothered at all by blocking half of the road. Easing the car as slow as I could down the slick road I aimed for the sliver highway I could see that was unobstructed. If we could just get to some clear ground and make a run at it we could make the hill.

Of course this whole time the children are sitting, standing, kneeling, spinning circles, and talking loudly in the seat next to me. Of course they weren’t buckled in for the one mile of county road home. Not distracting or impeding my view at all.

I managed not to hit either of the vehicles. The… very nice people sat, still unbothered by how incredibly annoying they were and stared at us as we backed past them. On the cleared pavement of the highway we were able to get started and made it up the hill with no more difficulties. Then finally home. To Daisy.

Ridiculous.

This is getting more than a little ridiculous.

First my hard working husband came home early from work to find the problem with the waterers. They were bowing fuses, not keeping the ice thawed. He found the problem. Somewhere underground between the fuse and the tanks.

Then the light in the kitchen kept fluttering off and on while we ate supper.  It was easily fixed with a new light bulb.

Then at bedtime the light was off in the fridge. Another simple fix. Mostly. The plug in is well hidden behind the stove. I don’t know how my poor electrically inclined husband goes about it, but it’s a reach.

Even the light up Christmas tree in the Little Blue Truck book quit working. That is taking it too far.

It doesn’t seem like much now that I get it written down but it’s a Monday. Bad enough on it’s own between work, robotics, and children. Altogether it just feels like it’s pilling up. Hopefully the rest of the electricity keeps working!