We went on our yearly Christmas tree hunt and bagged a good one. I enjoy it so much and I think 8 did too. We might be the only ones. The Goblin Child decided she was terrified of the woods. She went through a period of great interest in mountain lions and we talked about how she didn’t have to worry about the because they live in the hills and trees, pine cone trees as she calls them. We were in the pine cone trees and she’s not stupid.
My perfect Christmas tree hunting husband was stressed by the need to find the perfect tree in size and form. On top of being quite sick. 8 and I were roaming happily, playing on the hills and in the draws. The trees all look good until closer inspection shows that each one is two or three grown together. We searched until at last the proper one was found. Then it was home for naps and setting the tree up.
Even if it is just a little bit. We try to make the best of it. Thursday afternoon, after school got out, The Goblin Child was crazed to get out and play in the tiny little skiff of snow we had. Friday with a bit more she was out and at it again. 8 is not as enthusiastic as she, but was getting into it.
Today with 8 and I a bit sick she bugged here father until he went out with her. He does play the funnest games.
We went to church today, over the summer that became the exception instead of the rule. I am always glad when we can make it, but this week and last especially so. Mostly it’s because of the music. Not that the sermon isn’t usually very good, it is.
The music though. We are blessed to have so many skilled musicians in the church. This week they opened with a full on blue grass rendition of I’ll Fly Away. The guy on acoustic guitar picked away at his guitar like a banjo and they totally rocked one of my favorite songs. Next it was the electric guitar guys turn and he played a solo worthy of any rock concert. I have often heard the songs they sing played on the radio and thought that I like their versions better.
And just when we thought it couldn’t get any better they brought the children in from children’s church to sing the closing hymn.
As they streamed in we strained to find The Goblin Child. Finally she came along bringing up the rear. She was craning her neck searching for us as well. As she stepped up onto the stage she spied us and from across the room waved and, loudly, sent a greeting. We waved back of course, what else could we do. She was adorable.
There were reminders all over the church today that it’s shoe box time! We are actually doing it this year! Operation Christmas child is a great program that packs shoe boxes with Christmas presents for children around the world. We did it right after The Goblin Child was born but have been too discombobulated ever since to even realize it was time much less get organized enough to pack our box. We are using a box this year that was left over from the last time I planned to do something.
The Goblin Child is taking a very active part in choosing gifts. We talk about how they are presents for a little girl far away who doesn’t have lots of toys and clothes like she does. So far she is doing good about not wanting to keep the stuff for herself. We are going to follow our box and see where it ends up. I hope the stuff we choose to pack it with is something our little girl will want.
Samaritans Purse is a program that I love and wish that I supported better, or at all. They offer charity and ministry in a way I can really get behind. In their Christmas gift catalog you can buy things for family’s like chicks that will grow up to provide eggs and meat as well as more chickens, sheep and other wool bearing animals, dairy animals and even oxen and farm tools and seed, as well as training in care and technique.
What better gift can there be than the knowledge and ability to care for yourself. I look at the choices and think how incredibly cool they are. But for now we will content ourselves with a Christmas shoe box and be glad that we are doing something at least.
There were other days, I meant to write about them here but never got around to it. They are on Rusty’s blog, here and here.
Today it was the big bunch from over west. We loaded up the four wheelers and took pickups and semis and went over bright and early to get them. Our four wheeler was well loaded with the four of us and Daisy. The cattle came in pretty easy, only a couple minor mishaps.
Tanna left hunting early, it was opening day morning, and came to help. She and I, and a few children, went back to the house with the first semi load. 8 was exhausted and went in for a nap right away. The Goblin child spied the cousins just arrived and ran to join them. After unloading Tanna and I started sorting cattle. Tanna did the sorting, and a great job of it, while I ran the gate. Before the first semi was hardly gone the second one arrived and the two horse trailers shortly after that. We were kept on our toes.
To make it slightly more complicated in one of the first loads was a crazed steer of undetermined ownership. He charged past us a few times and jumped over our most used gate. The gate was no longer able to close and latch after his loving attentions. We were able to get him sorted into the pen with the calves before my semi driving husband returned with his second load. Although it tried the steer didn’t quite succeed in killing us.
Six semi loads and four trailerfulls later we were nearly dead on our feet. After the last loads were hauled my hard working husband stuck around to help finish the sorting while everyone else went to hang out at the house. The extra person was appreciated and made the work quite a bit easier. Especially with our most used gate out of commission.
I had looked up and seen, much to my surprise, The Goblin Child and Ava climbing out of a semi on one of the last loads. Everyone had decided to go watch them load the cattle and at some point she had ended up over there. And I thought I knew where she was, I am such an awesome mother.
After a quick lunch break we all went back to work the calves we had sorted. The three of us, Tanna, husband and I, had made such a good sorting team we decided to stick together and push the calves into the shed. Soon 8 was returned to us and his loving father wore him for the rest of the workings. Little did we know that was going to be the safest spot for him.
The calves were going in pretty nice, for the most part. We had all talked about the abundance of large, yearling types in with the calves as well as the brand new baby calves, all of which needed sorted off. We discussed which pen they were going into and how one of the yearlings was crazy. We watched carefully for the crazy one with every sort we made and finally towards the end we got all the yearlings in one bunch.
The crazy one went in early and we shouted a warning into the barn with him as he went in. He went through, but no yearlings appeared in the agreed upon pen. The rest of the yearlings went in but still nothing was put in the separate pen. Suddenly in the barn there were screams and general commotion, calves billowed back out the chute.
In the barn the crazy yearling, all the yearlings, had been run through and given the same shots as the calves then, with our warnings well ignored, turned into a tiny pen right up against the door inside of which they were working. He had decided to come back in. Through the middle of the children hanging out watching the adults work. God is good though, he passed them all by, went through the barn and out the open gates and door on the other side. All lives were spared, but it was way to close a call for my taste. Apparently our children wont be able to get that close any more.
The yearling was long gone. A few people grabbed four wheelers and took off after him but he was long gone and on the fight when they caught up. When they tried to turn him he took the four wheelers and how much effort is it really worth putting in for a yearling of undetermined ownership? Maybe he ran back to where ever he came from in the first place.
The Goblin Child had lead the other, older girls into her room to play where it was “safe”, smart girl. 8 and I joined them and we waited for the others. The day was done, the work complete. Calves vaccinated and weaned, cows in the pen next to them so they can see and comfort each other if not be together. Now we attempt to wash the dirt off that worked it’s way into every crack and crevasse on an incredibly dusty, dirty day.
Oh, while we were pushing calves into the barn a herd of dogs showed up. Quite randomly and out of the blue, three of them were there in the yard. One of them was trying to kill a chicken. My protective husband chased it off and away from the poor chicken, we haven’t seen the chicken since but have hopes that it is still alive and out there somewhere. Two of the three dogs were caught and stowed in a trailer, the third was run down the drive as hard and fast as a four wheeler could run him. Neighbors were called until the owner was found and came to get them. It was a strange and, hopefully continues to be, rare occurrence.
We spend a fair bit of time complaining about the amount of money the school throws at sports while shirking the needs of academics. You can tell we’re not a sports family 😉 So when they do non sports activities we try to go and support them in it. Family Math Night was one that sounded great but we didn’t think there was anyway we could make it. 8 makes all things difficult.
Then my sister-in-law was there and able to take The Goblin Child in to meet her father and enjoy the night. I stayed home with 8 and enjoyed not having to try to wrangle him at Family Math Night.
Math/ teaching student from the nearby college came and set up lots of games for the littler kids from preschool through elementary. They did a great job of scaling the games down to the pre k level. And she brought home more candy as a reward. Yay. Just what we needed during Halloween week.
This summer, the children and I, painted our back door purple. We loved it. Unfortunately it forced me to really notice the bare rotting wood of the door frame. I had noticed it before and thought about colors but never got to it. We had talked about the sad state of the trim for years. At first, years ago, we wanted to paint the whole house then finish up the trim. But it became apparent that between children and work it was not going to happen. So I decided to paint the trim.
The windows and door in the back of the house went smoothly enough. I looked at all the little windows around the house, sitting at ground level, rotting, and thought that they needed paint the worst. I decided to do the big front windows instead. It was vanity, they are the most visible and I wanted to see them with a pretty purple accent, it would be so pretty.
I got to the first window and started scrapping. The first thing I encountered was a big plug of caulk in one corner. I don’t look up real close at them often, surely we had noticed this but never paid any attention. I started pulling, yanking away at it. It went deep. The plug turned out to be huge. A stop gap fix to a problem, done years ago then left for decades?, that would soon leave a hole through the side of the house if not attended to.
The wood of the trim had long ago rotted. The hole filled with caulk and left. The caulking was not adhered to the frame and caught all the water that ran down the big window, funneling it into the hole it was meant to fix. I pulled until I had to be right behind the drywall in the front room. Once I was no longer pulling loose pieces out the wood was still soft and powdery, in the advanced staged of decay.
I was horrified and didn’t know how to fix it so I did what any intelligent adult would do. I called my dad.
I know not everybody is lucky enough to have a Union* educated Master Carpenter for a father but I am. He knew exactly what to do and gave me careful instructions. The job I did is not up to his standards but the hole is plugged. Hopefully not in a way that keeps making the problem worse this time. It’s sealed up water tight and covered in a few good coats of paint.
Now, this part at least, is finished and my major goal is accomplished before the temps drop lower or snow flies. Almost, I did run into one other problem.
I found this happy little family in the corner of the window as I was cleaning it up for painting. I couldn’t evict them, so there they set. The window is scraped and painted. All except for their corner.
*I’m always horrified when people are anti union. Would they prefer to have there houses built by some uneducated idiot who was flipping hamburgers at McDonalds the day before? Or by someone who is schooled in the trade? On one hand you have to pay a little more, on the other your house falls down within a couple of years. It is especially amusing? frustrating? to hear people who are benefiting from union wages and insurance complain about how they had to pay a little out of their, very good, wages for the privilege. I suppose they would rather not pay dues and be receiving minimum wage instead? Thank you, rant over. Maybe.
Although the heat is unseasonal and a little disturbing it makes outside work much more pleasant. We spent a busy but enjoyable day out getting the garden cleaned up and playing on the hay bales with the cousins, depending on who you might be.
I’m not completely sure how, sometimes it was touch and go but Halloween is over and we are still alive.
The holiday started early with a trunk or treat in the big city. Main street was shut down and local businesses and clubs pulled cars, and motorcycles, in and decorated them. They did a great job, the Kiwanis club is awesome for doing this. 8’s favorite was the feed store, they had a stock trailer instead of a trunk and were dressed as a horse, a chicken and two pigs. 8 stood and stared, they weren’t like the horses and chickens he’s used to. He kept saying “neigh” and “bock” and they kept giving him more candy. I don’t know what anyone else’s favorite were. I was busy following an over tired 8 around as he through himself to the ground and crawled around. Neither one of them took naps that day and by evening they were tired and more than a little rotten.
Halloween was a very long day. Because small towns are awesome, 8 and I got to go along with the preschool trick or treating. They went to the nursing home then to all the businesses downtown. It was quite a walk and as much fun as we had many of the kids were exhausted by the end. I was exhausted. 8 needed carried most of the way and my arms are about to fall off today. Back at the school we left The Goblin Child to enjoy her school party without us butting in.
After lunch it was home for naps then up and right back to it. As soon as school got out for the afternoon we joined friends and went to the Methodist church for their trunk or treat and hot dogs. It is such a nice church, they are very active with a preschool, summer bible camp and now this. It was nice not to have to run clear home and then back in after supper and let us start, and finish, earlier. Going around our tiny town the children overflowed their buckets. People were giving out the good stuff too, hardly a tootsie roll in the bunch.
The legend of sleepy hollow is my all time favorite. Both the old cartoon which is the measure by which all other versions are judged and the newer movie with Johnny Depp. I spend lots of time trying to convince the children we should watch it. Again. My greatest sorrow was in realizing Brom was short for Abraham after we had already named our youngest child. Ichabod was ruled out as a name for obvious reasons as well as it’s sad meaning but Abraham we could have done. I suppose legally changing his name would be going a bit far.
I wanted more movies like Sleepy Hollow. Not scary but with the full beauty and ambiance of fall, the history, horses would be asking a little much but would be nice. So my always dedicated husband searched.
He found The Others. It had the ambiance, the history, no horses unfortunately. It was pretty good, there was only one problem. Unlike Sleepy Hollow it was scary. I could handle it though, if only because I had my husband to hide behind. By the end I was ok with it and did really like it and no nightmares.
The we watched The Woman in Black. I think he forgot the not scary part of my request. I really do hate ghost movies. This was just dark, terrifying, I didn’t watch it, with my phone held in front of my face the whole time trying to ignore it except for the times I couldn’t and peeked. Many times he warned me to be sure not to look. They added really unnecessary elements like stuffed monkeys and dolls, things that completely creep me out, aside from the ghost its self. On the bright side there was at least one horse and the scenery was beautiful.
Now Halloween is upon us and, as I am ready for Christmas music, it is unlikely we will continue our search for other great Halloween movies this year. That does leave plenty of time for next year though.
8 stood looking in fascination, still and watching for a whole moment at a time. He had found a moth enjoying flowers still not yet frozen. As he watched another joined the first and a huge bumble bee buzzed loudly past. We watched and talked about butterflies and how bees are owie bugs. The moths were quite docile, nearly allowing 8 to pet them. We have a bit of an obsession with bugs around here, bugs and spiders. I’ve mentioned our pet spiders, Charlotte, Moxie and Eatith, but I haven’t gotten around to our bugs yet.
This has been a good summer for learning about bugs. We got to see a freshly hatched cicada, and found it’s skin recently shed. I found a lady bug pupa on the leaf of a pepper freshly picked from the greenhouse. Ladybugs are our friends, I carefully saved it and set the leaf on the back porch. The next day I thought how strange it was that a ladybug had stopped to visit the cocoon. When it was still there in the afternoon I looked closer and realized it was a freshly hatched Ladybug from the pupa.
The Goblin Child even tracked down the sound of a crickets song. The cricket sat and continued its song as we watched in fascination.