Monday, September 17, 2007

A Leg Up

Sometimes, a task can seem insurmountable...

...without a big sister to help you...

...and to lead you around the yard for a pony ride.

Farm Notes:
No rain. You can hear the grass when you walk on it.
Beautiful skies, nice temperatures. Summer is over. Time to pot annual herbs.
Jorgen developed a swelling on the side of his neck. He had an injection last Thursday so that we could power wash his privates. He often has a small swelling at injection sites. This was large enough that we called the vet, as it encompassed the entire side of the neck. The vet gave him an IV injection anti-inflammatory and we'll follow up with Bute over the next couple of days.
I'm tired yet from spending a full day Saturday at my late Aunt Loraine's house, boxing, cleaning and moving things. Yet, I was very, very pleased at how well my sisters, my bil and my nephew and I all worked together without any animosity and moved a mountain.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Whirlwind Life

Wm held out his hand with a short, brown item and I was relieved to hear him say, "I found another chrysalis." Indeed it was, but I can't imagine that anything pretty will come of it. What kind is it, he wanted me tell him, and when I declared my ignorance, he said, "Well, you can look it up, can't you?" He's learning what I want him to learn - that if you don't know, you can find out.

Wm to Daddy: Why don't you have much hair?
Daddy: I don't know. It just went away.
Wm to Daddy: But you're still handsome, aren't you?

Last night, we went to a reception at a local library for the art studio where Anna studies. Anna had two drawings on display.

Today, I am off to Cincinnati to help box up the house of my aunt and uncle, both of whom died recently. Both people who'd survived the Depression, they were frugal and saved most everything. Some of the things have been most fascinating. I found a blow dryer from the 70's, and brought it home. My girls wondered about the brush attachment at the end. I told them how we used to curl our long hair in a flip along the sides of our faces to the back.

Some things were quite puzzling. Uncle Otis had save a small box with "cicada" written on the top. Inside, yup, a dead cidada. No idea why he'd saved it, no small note to tell us of it's significance.

Though I didn't visit there often, and when I was younger, Aunt Loraine and Uncle Otis usually came to our house, it is a sad knowing that they won't be there and that someone else will occupy the house they'd owned since the 60's.

Farm Notes

Horses 2, Walmart $2 sprinkler 0
Still no rain. Heard this is the worst drought our county has had in 100 years.
Neighbors' dogs, two of them, have resumed sniffing around the chickens in the evening. I'm going to have to complain again.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Sound of SH

One of the joys of owning a gelding is that periodically, one must become more familiar with a part of him that can't normally be discussed in polite company. Some horses love that clean feeling "down there". My horse, Bay, in fact, enjoys it a little too much. Jorgen, on the other hand (no pun intended), acts as if he is being molested. Lifting his hind foot, he tries to scrape my hand away.

You may ask why it is necessary to clean a horse there. Nature had a way of self cleaning during use and in submersion in water. Neither happen to a domesticated gelding. Jorgen was to the point of having what looked like asphalt adhered to him and he was swollen. Something had to be done. With a horse that won't "drop down" or allow you to be intrusive, you must sedate them or have the vet come do this.

I called the vet's office to get an estimate as to how much it would cost to just have the vet come.
"I need an estimate to have the vet come out and clean his sheath," I told Linda over the phone.

She began looking up prices. "It will cost about $60 for a simple case pluse the trip charge ($24) and sedation ($30), and up to $100 if he has to use the grinder."

Grinder? I am thinking. OUCH! To give you an idea of how hard the stuff was up in him, and how bad he looked when he did drop down to pee, I envisioned a little hand held tool...... Well, anyway, I guess I just thought the vet ought to know what he was doing. But grinder?

"So, this is going to run me, worst case, about $150 or more? I am trying to do it myself but....."

"Well, we don't recommend anyone trying to do their horses' teeth themselves."

Teeth? The little bell went off and I laughed out loud. "I didn't say teeth. I said sheath."

Linda likely had tears running from her eyes as she realized that we'd been talking about two different things and what an idiot of an owner who thought one might use a grinder on a horse's privates. I laughed with her, knowing that this story was going to make the rounds of our little town in no time.

Check at http://jmatt.net/ElecEq/sheath.html if you'd like humorous, yet accurate, directions as to how to clean a sheath without a grinder.

As to the end of the story? We ourselves gave old Jorgen a shot of Rompun/Ace from the vet and cleaned him ourselves. He's now as fresh as spring air.


Farm Notes for Thursday

Cleaned chicken coop and moved it. The baby chick is getting big and shows signs of being a rooster.

No rain in the forecast. Bought a new sprinkler and have it running all the time. $2 sprinkler didn't stand up well to 12oo pound horse rolling on it, but I think I fixed it.

Lots of peppers to pick. About the only thing my garden produced this year - hot peppers. I never even have time to pick them. I am thinking of giving up gardening until I'm older, have more time, and no one to eat the produce.

Found another chrysalis on basil I picked to dry. It is also a Monarch. Hung it up in container with other chrysalis which doesn't appear viable anymore. Maybe I'm being given a second chance?

The truck, used for a myriad of hauling and work, is beginning to sound like Darth Vadar.

The creek is completely dry except for a small puddle where some frogs still reside.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My Son

William's current career aspiration is to become a garbage man. I'm so proud. I may be able to influence that. Last night, I jokingly told him that he ought to consider becoming a doctor so that he could care of dh and me in our old age. Tonight, in the middle of watching some insane cartoon, he looked over and said in a despondant voice, "All right, Mom, I'll be a doctor."

"Why do you say that?"
"Well, I want to be able to help you." I don't know how this thought came out during the cartoon, but I released him from my expectations and told him I had been joking the night before.

Live Webcams
I've been gazing lately at the Earthcam website where you can click on webcams from all over the world. It shows live video, the current time and weather. I've been using it to show William how different parts of the world have different amounts of daylight at any one time. I like checking the beach where we vacation , particularly when I hear that a storm is brewing. (As an annual destination, we worry about it when big storms hit, as it is a home away from home.) I love the cam at St. Louis, which I caught just as the sun was going down and reflecting on the buildings. A funny - there was a spider on the cam and I could clearly see it crawling all around.

I'd love to set up a cam on our front yard, but I've not figured out how to host one yet. It would be really cool to have one in the barn, but the wireless won't go that far. I guess I could hook up a couple of hundred yards of USB cable!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Too Funny

Can I Help?

Wm. is always at the ready with "can I help?" He's particularly involved at dinner time when there's chopping to be done. "Wait, let me get my 'little knife'" he say, looking for the dull pairing knife he's allowed to wield.

When it comes to feeding our foster kitties, he gives me quite a chuckle. He'll ask, "Can I help you milk them?" meaning, can he help give them a bottle of milk. I am amused with the image of the both of us pulling on the tiny teats of a mother cat to milk her.

Update on the coccoon: It is definitely changing in color and overall appearance. We expect it to hatch Tuesday or Wednesday. In the meantime, go look at my sister's blog and the black swallowtail butterfly they hatched.

Friday, September 07, 2007

My Front Porch

I have often had animals on my front porch: other people's dogs, for example.
But throwing out the welcome mat for a horse might be going a little too far.

The problem is that if I am on the front porch, so is she.


And if you give a horse the opportunity to go on the front porch, she'll want to come inside. She actually knocked.

She may even make herself look pitiful enough that you consider it for just a moment.











Thursday, September 06, 2007

Future Daddies


As a former La Leche League Leader, I don't advocate bottle feeding (and in fact found this week it to be quite a pain to prepare the supplies), but could not help smiling as these boys nutured these little abandoned kittens.
My loving sister was given one apparently abandoned in a barn, and while at the pet store to buy formula, met a woman with two more. Instead of giving the woman the cat she had, you guessed it, she took the other two as well. I guess she and I have something in common - more animals than sense (or cents). Sister then proceeded to leave town for two weeks, leaving the kittens in my care.
The boys were so gentle with the kitties, which burp quite loudly after downing their formula. The boys found this quite amusing. We keep them in a bathroom where they can run around and stay out from underfoot, away from our giant, mean-old red tabby cats.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Chrysalis

Last Friday, William's friend, Aidan, pointed to a beautiful chrysalis hanging by a thread from a post on our front porch. It looked like a bright jewel - emerald green with gold dots all over it. Later in the day, we saw that it had fallen off the post, and so we retrieved it and put it in a safe bug container.

Googling it, we found out it is the chrysalis of a Monarch butterfly! It is due to hatch, we think, next Tuesday. (That is, if I can keep William off of it. He reported today, while showing to my friend, Becky, that it felt a little squishy. Oh, no!)
Here is a website (by someone else) where you can see it in all its stages of development. I'll post next week if it hatches or not, but we can already see that it is changing in appearance.



Thinking Outside the Box

I was trying to get dinner on the table with a five year old underfoot. Pulling out a worksheet, I read and memorized the short instructions and returned to the kitchen. I asked William to circle the items in each column that were above the others. Next, he was to cross out items below the others. When he told me he was done, I looked at the paper.

He had correctly circled the items above and crossed the items below, but it took me a moment to process that the middle objects were both circled and crossed out. This was, he explained because the flower, for example, was above the worm but below the cloud, so got both a circle and an "x".

I was amazed at his thinking beyond what was asked. Was this exceptional thinking? I looked in the back of the book (which I think is kind of amusing that they have answers for kindergarten worksheets, but thankful in this case), and in fact, they showed just the cloud and butterfly circled and the worm and log crossed out. They didn't think any further. Maybe I need to write them a letter.

This type of thinking reminds me of a time Anna, at about the same age, was asked on the Iowa Skills test which cloud of several was the smallest. She said that she couldn't answer the question. I pointed to the smallest (apparently to me) cloud. Anna responded that the cloud wasn't the smallest - it was just farther away. Sometimes, I'm just amazed at this type of early thinking and wonder how much of it is drummed out of us with the "right" answer.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Secret Code?

So I had to ask dh if anyone had ever touched his foot while in a bathroom stall. After the recent disclosure of a politician who allegedly was soliciting attentions from an undercover police officer by touching feet and running his hands under the stall wall, I was creeped out enough to wonder if this sort of thing happens often. No, dh assured me, he didn't know of any secret code that implies an invitation. Still, if you hear me yelling "William, are you in there?" very loudly at the men's door (since my five year old is now old enough (he tells me) that he has to use the men's room), or maybe even charging in and looking for him if he doesn't respond, you'll understand.

Monday, September 03, 2007

In Which I Show My Ignorance

Perhaps I've been in KY too long. But no, that's not it, I've never been interested in fashion or clothing. Like anyone, I feel better in nice clothes and like to dress to go out, but to be honest, most of the time, I don't think about fashion at all. I guess that's why I had absolutely no idea what a Coach purse is and (aside from the obvious mess to cleanup) why my friend would be concerned about an egg becoming cracked in one. (My place is the farm where the deed took place.)

In the car on the way to a family golf outing last night, I relayed the story but asked puzzled, "What is a Coach purse?"

"Oh, my God, mom. Everyone knows what Coach purse is."
I turned to my dh. "Do you know?" Yup, he knew. They gave a description. A purse with circles and brown and gold and they cost upwards of $300-$500. I started hyperventilating. FOR A PURSE???

And, I wanted to know, how did they know about this, my homeschooled teens? How did dh? One offered that at the malls....("but you don't go to malls") and in fashion magazines... ("but we don't get any fashion or popular magazines"). Okay, maybe TV commercials. Granted, I watch very little TV, but still, would I have not heard? Dh offered that it was kind of like saying you have a Rolex. Well, yes, I know what a Rolex is because some Chinese guy is trying to sell me one by email. Rolex is a metaphor of sorts for wealth. But Coach? Never heard of it. I guess I am a hopeless case. A chip off my dad's self-admitted "German Deutsch" ancestry. I can only think that I could buy a new computer for the cost of a purse. Amazing!

How to Turn a Conversation

"Skorts" are an interesting clothing item and a throw-back to my childhood. They are meant to look like a mini-skirt, yet have shorts underneath. Both a friend and I, unknown to the other, bought the same skort at a local department store and found that while driving on the highway, we were startled by blasts from eighteen wheelers passing by. Evidently, from their vantage point, the skorts look like we've hiked up our skirts. In our minds, they hit no differently than a pair of modest shorts.

Retelling our conversation to my husband and okay, a little puffed up that anyone would honk at me at my age, he stated that a truck driver would honk at anyone in a mini-skirt. In fact, he volunteered that he would elicit a honk if he donned a skort and a wig and drove down the highway. I laughed at the image at first, but then I got to thinking. "Hey, you mean that your 200 pound self would get the same response as I got?"

"Well, I have good legs," he replied.
"Yes, but, well, you're not built like a woman."

He continued to insist that he would get honks. Next, he'll be telling me that a 400 pound gorilla in a skort would get a honk, too. Men.

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