Thursday, March 26, 2009

Homeschooling for us is a bit like deciding to go for a Sunday hike. You follow the path ahead, stopping to look at interesting things, and occasionally, going down a different path to investigate something new.

Most recently, William and I have been reading Mr. Popper's Penguins, written in 1938. Interestingly, it was started by Richard Atwater who fell ill while writing it. His wife later finished the book for him. The book brought up dozens of questions and ideas. For example, the illustrations showed twelve penguins walking in pairs. "Wait," William said with yet another interruption to my reading. "Six groups of penguins with two each is twelve!" (Math.)

Interruption again. "Whyyyyy, if the South Pole is at the bottom of the Earth, don't we feel upside down while there or fall off?" (Science.)

"Who was Admiral Drake and Captain Cook?" (History.)

So you get the idea. Resources for this book:

Library: where we get most of our books

Internet: Look up many questions:

Drake, Cook, South Pole, North Pole, why don't polar bears eat penguins (can you answer this?), how you know the Earth is round, not flat without going into space, how the poles are often in all darkness/light, do people live at the poles, all meandering around from Google

Netflix: Watching the March of the Penguins

Zoo: We'll try to make it there this coming week to see the penguin display

Real Life: Comparison of how our chicken hatched her many eggs with the hatching of one penguin egg. By the way, we're up to five! chicks now.


Update on George (my brother): Praise God he is free of cancer. The polyp, though big, was benign. He will still face another surgery for another polyp, but no chemo or radiation.

Lauren tells me Phantom is "not going to work out". She has been riding him for me several times a week, but his flightiness isn't improving. He spooks at the smallest things. Yesterday, he spooked when I kicked a dust pan out of the way while leading him. Today, some horses in a field ran up to him and he took off galloping. Lauren, a great rider, managed to rein him in, but then once stopped, he reared. She got off. I would have fallen off.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Signs of Spring

Birds insist on nesting in dh's grill though the lid is always down and covered.

At our Church.

Turkeys and white tail deer share a field.

Hopefully, they'll survive better than last year.

So far, three chickies born.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Breastfeeding Fatwa

My husband and I frequently listen to NPR in the morning to get a quick run-down of the world news. He was about leave when we heard this statement:

An Egyptian cleric — not on TV, but from Cairo's venerable Al Azhar University itself — issued the much-ridiculed "breastfeeding fatwa," which proposed that a woman could work alongside an unrelated man if she had breast-fed him five times.

Whaaaat? There isn't any unrelated man that I'd do that for just so I could get a job. For-get-IT. And then, I remembered having heard once that in the Arab culture, if one breastfeeds someone else's baby even one time, culturally the woman may look on the child as if it were her own. So, likely, they meant that if the woman had breastfed the man as a baby, it is as if he is now related to her, and so they can work together. Surely, that is what they mean. This would be a good example for a writing class on how easily one can imply the wrong thing.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Say-It-Again Sunday: George

Monday, July 30, 2007


This past week reminds me of a tunnel. My focus was to emerge, alive, at the other end and to not worry about the journey. Yet, I am full of things to write. It might take another week to do so. The week was too full, and caffeine pumps through my veins to keep me going.

This past week, my brother, George, nine years my junior, came to stay with me for his vacation. George was born with hydrocephalus and not expected to live beyond a few days. But live he did, and was one of the first babies to receive a shunt to drain fluid from his brain. Unfortunately, this left him with a multitude of physical and mental disablities.

There are so many things to learn from George, so many lessons for those of us who come to know him. Often, I'll hear a well meaning person say that God will heal you if only you ask and believe, that God always answers prayers. Sometimes, someone will link an affliction to God's wrath and disappointment at our behaviors. Yet, I look at George and realize that sometimes, afflictions are a sign of God's love. That may sound strange, for certainly, George has had a most difficult life. His disabilites were certainly difficult for my parents and our family.

I think God doesn't always send the answer that we think we need, rather the lesson that He thinks we need. Perhaps not even a lesson, George gives people the opportunity to demonstrate their humanity. He smiles at strangers, gets in their faces with a bleating "Helloooooo..." They'll either respond with a tentative hello, a confused and wary hello, or in on man's case, the readiness to fight if necessary (for George on first glance appears normal). "What's your name?" he'll ask. When they respond, he'll hold his hand over his heart and smile. "I'm George." After about the twentieth introduction, a quick exit from Stuff Mart was in order.

For a week, I had a chance to see kindness in people that I might not have otherwise seen. Strangers looked at me and smiled, collaborators in making George happy for a moment. And I could not help wondering, what if we all were "normal" and had no one to remind us how fortunate we all are?

Never again will I be aggravated that my five year old asks me to help him in the bathroom. It pales in comparison with a man who need similar help but has medicines that make it even worse (you don't want to know). Never again will I think brushing my little ones teeth is a chore, as I've brushed the teeth of a man on meds that make the gums bleed and teeth bad. Going to the store is easy now, despite my son's shenanigans, and getting to the car for an errand is speedy after waiting ten minutes for George to negotiate the steps.

Many times this week, someone has said to me how they admire me for taking him for the week. Yet, see, he's given me a gift. He's made me see how soft and easy my life is on a normal day. I never knew. He gave me the opportunity to model compassion and patience to my children. He taught my son that sometimes, he didn't come first even as the youngest in the house.

I won't say I'm not relieved that the week is completed, for I'd be lying. It was hard. But it was good. I had many a revelation, a few laughs, and sense of accomplishment. My right eye is twitching hard, but I think that might be temporary. I'm off now to set my house to rights and to try to get back to my regularly scheduled life, but perhaps, with a little different outlook. I love you, George!

Note 3/22/09: George had surgery on Friday for colon polyps. We are praying that the biopsy is benign.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Sycamore" by Anna

Anna's first watercolor painting

This is the time of year Kentucky likes to play with your mind. It is alternately cold, warm, windy, rainy, sunny, gloomy. You have to keep out all the winter clothes and spring clothes and you inevitably end up outside over- or under-dressed.

I can't even count the eggs that the bantam has collected and guards jealously. Now I know why my neighbor was gleeful to get my stash of old empty egg cartons for another friend who has hundreds of bantam chickens. I'm worried I might end up in the same boat!

Took William rollerskating with friends today. After an hour of spending more time on the floor than skating, we finally realized that his wheels were practically locked up. An adjustment with the wrench and zoom! He was off. What do I know about roller skating??

Friday, March 20, 2009

Girl Tree

Click on photo to enlarge

No Good Deed....

This week at the thrift store, a small wizened woman in a nurses' uniform peeked in the back room where I was sorting spring clothes and whispered that she needed to use the restroom. The director of the shop emphatically does not want us to let the public use the facilities which are only for the workers, after twice paying exorbitant fees for plumbing problems.

"Oh, please! I really NEED to use the restroom."

I relented and let her in, but was exasperated when she was in there for some time. Finally exiting, she went out shopping again and I folded more clothes. Then, it hit me. I had to hold my breath and go out of the small room. I never! The air was almost visible.

I opened a locked back door and got out a box fan. A large black woman came up to me. "Honey, I think you have a sewer problem here or something." I worried that they thought it was me.

After twenty minutes, the air somewhat cleared and I could go back in the room again, but it seems that all I accomplished was to push the air to the front of the shop! Lord, the woman should get herself to a doctor. ...and I did get my punishment for not following the rules.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


The farrier was here today. Along with his sharp knives and rasps, he often brings interesting insight into my horses. I described the Phantom horse I brought here before winter. Though right from an auction, this pony was calm, laid-back, quiet. Bullied by the other horses, he became fearful and now is skittish. Was this psychological damage from being picked on?

Being bottom of the rung should've made the horse more meek, he said, know he wasn't boss. Yet, now he seems mostly flightly. "Sometimes....." he paused, "...if they are sick when you get them...."

Well, yes he was quite sick...

"...or if they have a lot of worms...."

Well, he had a belly full...

"It may be that you are seeing his personality when he isn't sick coming through."

In other words, he was such an awesome horse when I got him because he was half dead. Great. I must think on this. Do I have the time to work with this horse?

Most of the farriers, equine dentists and chiropractors that come to my barn enjoy a good talk after they work and sometimes give me interesting tidbits about my neighbors. For example, a barn down the road sports Paso Fino show horses. One horse there is worth $600,000 USD. That just blows my mind. Not only that a horse could cost so much, but also that anyone could even afford that! Amazing!

Speaking of affording, he mentioned a hefty vet bill he had to pay for two surgeries on his French Mastiff. It seems the dog ate a sheet. A sheet?? As in a dryer sheet? No, a twin-sized sheet. Whole thing. Threads visible in her mouth and coming out her bottom. (I wondered aloud could he not pull it out???) It seems it wasn't the first time the dog had eaten strange items, and he had pulled things out before, but this was tied up inside her. Why ever would the dog eat a sheet? Surely it has no taste. His only explanation was that the dog was confined to her evening crate, and that her "elevator did not reach the top floor". It is recovering nicely.

Rested up from bending over the precious toenails of my six horses (of various sizes), he went on to his next visit down the road to trim some miniature donkeys.

One thing I do love about this time of year is waking in the morning to a gentle rain with the window open, a sweet warm breeze making it difficult to want to get up.

I am reading Mr. Popper's Penguins to William. I suppose it is a measure of the absurdity of my animal care situation that I don't think it is all that far-fetched that Mr. Popper opens his windows to the winter air, hoses down his living room, so that the kids and penguins can play and slide. Although you know I don't like cold.

A "friend" gave me some Amish friendship bread (sourdough) starter. Now, she is a friend, and I put it in quotes because the starter becomes something like a curse. Not wanting to kill this live thing, yet it is growing exponentially, as by the end of the instructions, you have a "bread" (cake, really) that will put on 10 pounds by smelling it, and four new baggies of starter. You then go around trying to find three or four suckers friends who will adopt one of the starters. If you haven't a large circle, most friends will have already had the starter, and will run when they see you coming like you were selling Girl Scout cookies. It is the best tasting bread you'll ever eat, though, as as long as you work like an Amishman, you'll not gain a pound.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Mostly Sky"

This is Anna's most recent painting from life, "Mostly Sky". It was inspired by the view from our back "sunroom" looking west at our neighbor's red barn.

I worked with the miniature horses and Phantom yesterday using an obstacle course and a balloon. Phantom was, of course, terrified of the balloon. Chiron was a little afraid, and kept his distance. By the time I finished with Roxie, I had popped the balloon (accidentally) on her back and she didn't even flinch. She worries me, though, as her eye looks cloudy and I'll have to call the vet today.

Lauren quote: "Accidentals (music term for those of us ordinary folks) are on purpose."

Story from my brother-in-law: His two daughters, my nieces were fighting over their cat. Thinking to be a wise and knowing parent, he took Solomon's example from the Bible: "Okay, I am going to take my knife and cut the cat in two and give you each a part." My youngest niece, a quick one, immediately said, "I get the head!" I'm a little worried about that child.

One black bantam hid in a tree last night, not returning to the coop. I suppose she'd probably fair as well in the tree, as the coop needs a lot of work, and bantams are known to survive well in barn lofts and the like. In fact, I've heard of farms becoming over-run with hundreds of them. I did find her though and returned her to her coop.

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Town Monday - Blowing Our Own Horn

My Town is known for it's trains and the horns they blow around town (they are forbidden to blow them in town). But there is another type of horn that tells a story about my town, but from millions of years ago. While walking along the creek that traverses our property, we often find Grewingkia canadensis Horn Coral with other fossils in the water, exposed by erosion of the creek. (When first we moved here, it was but a trickle. Recent neighborhood development has caused more water runoff and the creek has become both wider and deeper, eating away at the soil and exposing more rock.)

Once, my town was not rolling green hills and beautiful trees. Once, long ago, the place I inhabit was a warm, tropical sea. I like to imagine that: coral reefs, ancient marine animals and fishes. (I also picture myself on my deck, pina colada in my hand, soaking up the rays ocean side, but then some ancient monster fish would probably leap from the waters and devour me.) We also find shells, fossilized wood, and other types of coral.

Though a drive from where I live, there is a place that is unlike any other place on this Earth: The Falls of the Ohio. There, along the Ohio River in Indiana, is the largest exposed Devonian fossil bed in the world. After touring their museum, visitors can walk out onto the fossil beds alone or with a park guide who will point out fossils in the rocks. The river level rises and falls during the year, so it is best to visit when the river level is lower. If you are driving through or visiting Kentucky, it is well worth a stop.

I enjoy taking my kids there, and it is time to take William again. Kids love climbing up and down the exposed rock and on a nice day, having a picnic. Though not my seaside daydream, it still makes for a beautiful afternoon.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Say-It-Again Sunday: A Little Extra Protein

There is something in the spring air that makes me forget my gardening disasters of previous years: the tall weeds, the $30 tomato, the bugs. I begin looking at seed catalogs and racks with the best of intentions. Over a cup of coffee yesterday, my friend, Becky, told me of her plans to make a circular garden, a little secret spot on her 40 acres with fresh produce hiding inside the taller plants on the outside. We started laughing about this little incident from two years past:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Extra Protein

All families have food disaster stories. In fact, when Chris invited her readers to blog about food disasters, it took all day for me to Rolodex through the stories to select the perfect one. Should I blog about the time I used a new Cajun pepper spice on chicken and the kids said it was too spicy? I insisted that they at least try one bite, which one daughter did and then promptly threw up. This is now know as the "Gunpowder Chicken Episode" for that is what dh said it tasted like. Definitely, I will not live that one down for a while.

Yes, that was bad, but only mentioning home-grown broccoli will make stomach roll and cause my daughters to start retching a little bit. Last year, I still nursed the delusion that I could actually homeschool, take care of five acres and a house, and still garden. To my credit, I grew a beautiful crop of broccoli. Now, my family loves broccoli, I kid you not, which is why I grew a great amount of it. Even at a very early age, my toddlers would eat it. So, one evening, I ran out to the garden, cut a few heads, and stuck them in the sink to rinse off.

Likely, I was multi-tasking, making dinner, talking on the phone, keeping a young one busy underfoot, I didn't examine the produce closely. In fact, I didn't know I had to examine it closely. I cut it into pieces, popped it into a lidded bowl with a little water, and put it in the microwave. Proudly, I put the fruit (or vegetable in this case) of my labor on the table.

Everyone dug in, until dh suddenly pulled the piece of broccoli from his mouth. Something tasted strange and he examined his remaining broccoli closely. It was then he discovered the yellow caterpillars, now fully cooked, clinging to the branches of the broccoli. Announcing his find resulted in my daughters retching the contents of their mouths and very nearly, their stomachs, into their hands. The caterpillars, we discovered, were green on the uncooked broccoli, but bright yellow when cooked. They had blended so well uncooked, I'd missed them.
This year, I didn't grow broccoli as likely no one would have eaten it anyway. Wonder why?

Dh, upon reading this, would like to add that there weren't just a few caterpillars, the broccoli was saturated with them.

Dd#1 would like you to know that they were fat and juicy and very gross.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I Was Here

A door in our house have deep grooves which mar the wood. Sometimes, I run my fingers over them. I have painted them, but I leave the grooves, the imperfection of it.

They are a signature: "Juno was here". They are the claw marks of a Great Dane that was telling her owners "let me out!" I despaired when first I saw them marking the expensive door. Now, I'd gouge the whole door to have her back.

Similarly, my laminate flooring is marked with oil paint. Specks of it lie about under Anna's easel. I remarked on this to Anna's art teacher. She laughed. "Anna is one of the messiest painters I teach." Above is the table on which she puts her palette and brushes while painting. Someday, she'll take her easel, paintbox and this table and go. I will still have the paint on the floor. I think I'll leave it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Subscribe by Email

Several times I have heard "I used to get your blog by email, but don't anymore, and so don't read it, what happened?" Well, honey, if you don't know what happened, I surely don't. I did change over to to manage my subscriptions. It gives feedback on the number of subscribers (currently 50) who receive this blog in some reader service or subscription.

So, if you prefer to have this blog sent to your inbox, I have added a box in the margin where you can sign up for that to happen. Just enter your address where it says "Deliver this blog to my email address" and you need never miss another chicken post again.

Foaling Time

This time of year in rural Kentucky is foaling time. Many of them are on the ground already as racing horses all have the same birthday - January 1st - no matter what day of the year the foal is born. It is advantageous, therefore, to have the earliest true birthday in the year so as to have to oldest colt (or filly) possible when it comes time to race.

This is a poor photo of the frisky foal, but it does illustrate an interesting fact about this farm. You see the double fencing? This farm has stallions. The double fence keeps the stallions (or at least most of them) from jumping the fence to get to a particularly interesting mare.

My days are so full, I have to keep my windows calendar open at all times. Even then, I miss things. I feel so awful having missed William's baseball practice yesterday. I just forgot. Even while looking at the calendar.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

In Flagrante Delicto

Chris was playing with words when I saw this phrase, prompting a blog. We've owned two finches for some years, or rather, Lauren has. They reside in and mess her room, scattering seed shells all over her floor, but she likes their chirps and sounds. We got them from a woman who said that she was "allergic" to them (a lot like when someone has a dog "that needs room to run", it means "I am so done with these animals").
Anyway, some time later we found that she originally got them from another friend of ours, and that likely, they are brother and sister. Dutifully, they make a nest, the female lays eggs and the male sits on them. Though I've not seen them, Lauren says she has seen him in flagrante delicto (okay, she just said "do it"). But despite years of work, they've produced no offspring. This is not an entirely bad thing, for what would I do with the babies?

In a documentary on Koko the Gorilla, William and I learned that gorillas have a taboo against incest, even if it is just perceived (two unrelated apes raised together as brother and sister). I would not have guessed this of birds, given that Aloha the rooster has been caught exerting his "rights" with his mother, his aunt, his sister and has even been eyeing the cat. Roosters don't care.
And so, I answer the question from reader Dawn:
We are thinking about getting chickens this spring and I wondered if it was possible to have like a visiting rooster like stud service that other animals have or if he would need to live with the hens. We don't want a rooster (neighbors too close) but I would like to have a mamma.
Dear Dawn,
You don't say where you live, and a good thing or there could be a rooster that mysteriously finds it way into your yard! Yes, sure, roosters can be "borrowed" and he'd likely get right to work. He would have to stay with you a week or two. Some roosters do have favorites and will outright reject some hens. For example, Aloha loves Hawk (she's his Rachel) but will also service Rose (his Leah). He will absolutely have nothing to do with Buffy, a rather old hen who tried to be bossy. He retaliated and tried to kill her, so they are now separated. Point is, chickens do have preferences and you'll have to watch who he "hooks up with" so no one gets hurt.
Most people that have chickens long enough want the experience of hatching them. Unfortunately, most big breed hens do not have the same desire (it's been bred out of them) and won't incubate them. Bantam breed hens love to hatch eggs or you have to get an incubator. And remember, each egg has a 50% chance of being a rooster (100% chance if you go by my results) and you need to have plans to re-home the boys if you hatch your own.
If you plan to run the equivalent of a chicken convent, you might try going to the local farm store and asking if they sell sexed chickens. For $2 each, you'll be guaranteed what you want. (BTW, "straight run" means they have not been sexed.)
Yours truly,
Crazy Chicken Lady

Aloha Mo and Hawk

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


So you were right, after the tooth fairy's demise, Santa followed. Yesterday, I was forced to admit that yes, I bought the presents and put them under the tree. I had all prepared my explanation of how God's and St. Nicholas' spirit fill me at Christmas and I am just the instrument of their goodness. Didn't happen. How do you know about Santa, I asked? Aidan (his friend) told him but also said that the tooth fairy and Santa weren't real, but only God was "magic". So, he covered the subject succinctly. William seemed very matter of fact and very analytical about it all. "I guess I'll have to do this someday for my kids someday, won't I?" He's already moved way on down the road, leaving his childhood behind. I suspect the Easter Bunny is next. Poof! He's gone.

Phantom has become scared of his own shadow after being bullied by other horses and my benign neglect of his training during sub-freezing temperatures. Taking a rather cautious approach to avoid broken bones, I have decided to walk him every day I can to accustom him to the sights and sounds of the neighborhood. So what freaked him out this week? A paddock of miniature horses. Like the ones that are in the paddock with him every stinkin' day. Miniatures that are the same color and full brothers/sisters to the miniatures that are in the same stinkin' paddock with him every day. But they could be monsters! They could attack in a pack! Well, there were four of them. Pretty scary creatures, those miniatures!

Louise (kitten) chewed through Anna's mouse cord.

Monday, March 09, 2009

My Town Monday - Change

Chainsaws and chippers growled all weekend, cleaning up the bones of trees fallen in the last ice storm. Even after the dark as dh and I walked down the driveway from our barn chores, trying to enjoy pointing out the Big Dipper, North Star and "Ol' Ryan" (Orion, but differently named by Wm when he was younger), our peace was interupted by the weeeeeeeeeeeeeeraahh of the limbs being fed into the grinder. Farther down the street and into the town, piles of limbs lay near the street curbs, waiting optimistically for the county road crews to come remove them.

Change is in the air. This week, flocks of robins arrived. Is it spring, we asked? They were preceded by thousands of starlings. Yesterday, a killdeer screeched as I approached the field. And the green tips of daffodil leaves are above the ground now. It will soon be spring, I encourage myself, but with it come thunderstorms and tornados. Everything has a price.

The change in the air isn't just in the weather. I scan the Internet for good music schools and art schools. My girls grow towards their adult lives. I send them mixed messages: stay here! go! My motherly instinct is to keep them close where I can help them, be a grandmother someday, visit easily. Yet, I want them to be free - choose your dream, fly! Don't look back! Be!

Soon, they'll be away from my town. Will they, like the robins, return?

For other MTM posts, visit Travis.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Courage and Contempt

Anna took this video of her kitten "Louise" trying to investigate 14 year old "Jack".
Check out the look on Jack's face at the end.


Dh claims I tried to kill him. Pray tell, I ask, how I went about it in the event that I might want to write a murder mystery. It seems that he was about "done in" by a particularly slimy green chicken turd on concrete in the barn. I am relieved I was not there to witness it, as I surely would have laughed and the plot might have changed.

Roxie's eye is better after one day.

Bantam hen now has 7 eggs she thinks might make a baby. I haven't the heart to pull them, nor the desire to see them hatch. I will mark them tomorrow and make sure to leave only the seven.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

How to Catch a Fairy

Some people are too smart for their own good! Dh came downstairs this morning. "Trouble," he said. I assumed that little boy was arguing, but no, it was something else.

William tested the tooth fairy system himself last night. Having lost a tooth, he quietly slipped it beneath his pillow without a word. This morning, the "tooth fairy" not knowing it was a work night, had missed her rendezvous. I told dh I could "fix it".

With a dollar in my pocket, I slipped upstairs and told Wm to look beneath his bed. He moves about a lot in his bed, and perhaps the dollar fell off onto the floor. And there it was!

"No, you put it there. And besides, the tooth is still here. My MOM is the tooth fairy!" Well, it worked when he was five, but I guess a seven year old is a little too sophisticated for that.

"I just wanted to know who the tooth fairy is," he said. "I'm glad I know now. But you can still give me money." He ran off to stare at the hole in the mirror.

It is skunk season in Kentucky. The skunks are in high mating season, running back and forth across the roads. Some of them never make it.

Roxie (miniature horse) poked her eye and has a corneal abrasion. We now have the joy of putting medicine in her eye four times a day.

Today, it is supposed to get warmer!!

No, Thanks

In college, did you ever have the experience of a companion (as I didn't drink beer, of course) complaining that the beer tasted like horse, uh, urine? Maybe it was.

With Chris writing about fake eggs and wondering if my soft drink is cow pee, I think I'll stick to bottled water and toast, or at least start growing a bit of my own food.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Advice: Buy Stock in Tape

The girls enjoyed building with VHS video tapes. They made fences and buildings, barns and mountains out of them. No matter how I organized them so that I could find just the one I wanted, by the next day they were all a jumbled mess.

William, who hardly knows what a VHS tape is, thwarts my efforts to be organized by ensuring that there is never any tape in the house.

Here you see a space ship. Encapsulated in his Croc Shoe spaceship, a Star Wars Storm Trooper is held in place with all the tape that remained in the blue dispenser (now empty and discarded and I am now out of tape). The purple cord is our dog leash.

It hung this way in our basement until Sunday morning when he took it all down, saying he was going to wear the old Crocs to Church (without socks). I quickly put the kibosh on that, but was happy to end this particular "art exhibit".

Louise (Anna's kitten) has proven her mental and physical prowess by learning to turn on the lights and turn the door knob to let herself out of the bathroom. She can also unlock the door if it is locked. Last night, we were alerted that she had escaped when dh heard someone playing the piano at 2 a.m.


Recently, I followed a comment link on another blog, intrigued by the name "Brother Tobias". I browsed a few entries until I came to his poem:

Roses are red,
Violets are blue;
Our leader is Brown
And we're in the poo.

My first thought was to leave a comment that it was not at all okay or funny to make racially insensitive remarks about our President. Before typing my response, I glanced over the other 20 odd comments, until awareness dawned - this was a British writer. He wrote about Brown with a capital B. As in Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of England. And I became sheepish about thinking only from my own context. Yet Brother Tobias also admitted:

Junosmom - Welcome! Gosh, I hadn't been thinking beyond these small shores either, and see just how inappropriate my wording might seem. Gulp!

So, I feel a little better. Thank you, Brother Tobias for an interesting exchange.

Monday, March 02, 2009

My Town Monday - The Ups and Downs

A drive through Main Street shows a sudden and alarming trend - empty store fronts. It's not that businesses here always thrive. Main Street is home to small tourist shops: antiques, a bookstore/coffee shop, a gift shop, ice cream and fudge, an art gallery, toy store, and a shop that sells expensive quilt purses (that it is still there I'll never understand). But generally, the stores that do go out of business are quickly replaced with another try at entrepreneurship. Not so much right now. Several stores, three to be exact, sit empty.

When first we moved here 13 years ago, the town was a destination for those who enjoyed antiques. Little by little by little, the town remade itself into a more diversified small tourist destination. Given Anna's interest in art, we were delighted several years back to see the opening of art studios and the art gallery featuring local artists. In the spring, you'll see groups of (usually) women walking slowly along the street, peering in windows, shopping bags on their arms.

I suppose the fact that someone wasn't waiting for a spot to open up on Main is a sign of the economic times. I am not overly worried. The town has a history of almost "closing up shop" several times, particularly around the time of the Civil War. I believe that the town will weather the downturn, but concerned about what the economy will do to the "flavor". I know that StuffMart and BigGroceryRipOff will survive, but they are white bread, or rather stale toast. Our Main Street makes us unique and interesting.

Go on a virtual journey all over the world. Start with the list on Travis' blog.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Say-It-Again Sunday

In keeping a day of rest, I am continuing my "Say-It-Again Sunday" - looking back through past years and posting again some of my favorite blogs from years past. William is now 7 years old. It kills me that he's not my little baby any more.

Monday, November 21, 2005

This is one of my favorite photos from our vacation this year. Wm. never even paused to think whether or not he could lift this chain on a battleship. Optimism .

Let me know if you have something worth saying again, and I'll link to it below.


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