Monday, November 30, 2009

Cyber Schmyber

So today was Cyber Monday, the day that millions across America sat at their desks and got paid to do their Christmas shopping. See what I miss not having a job? Or at least a paying job. My job today was college and career counselor as we put the finishing touches on Lauren's college applications. Each one was a bit different, required a little something extra.

The most difficult, yet interesting, question for me, the homeschool teacher/counselor/mom is that I am to write the reason I decided to homeschool this child and my homeschooling philosophy in 1500 characters (characters, mind you, not words) or less. Well, I could write a book, and do - right here on the old blog. Think I could just send them a link?

Jorgen and new horse, Okie, fought the two times they've been together. I decided a new strategy was needed. I put copious amounts of hay about the field, half a bale. I put Jorgen out first to pick his pile. He began eating. I then added in Okie, who of course HAD to eat from Jorgen's pile, just to see if he'd be allowed. Surprisingly, he was. Etta then went out and that caused a momentary stir as Jorgen wasn't too happy that she's so promiscuous as to hang around the new guy after such a short time. Anyway, it's all about the food, evidently, for they behaved all day until the food was gone and it was time to come in for grain.

A cold wind is blowing. Can I survive? I'm thinking this way and it isn't even January yet. It is going to be a long winter.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving - But Not You Mr. 'Possum

I grabbed the two chickens by the tail and threw them into the yard, accompanied by the sound of what can only be called chickens screaming. Trying to remove them from the coop in the dark, I was fearful of getting bitten by the young opposum hiding in the corner. Rabies shots are not on my Christmas list.

It was later than normal chore time, having returned from a wonderful dinner at my sister's house two hours away. I would not have noticed it, except that Daisy (our Beagle-Dor, half Beagle, half Lab) was scratching at the edge of coop, something she doesn't normally do. So, I opened the hatch and looked in to see the wee wicked thing hissing at me. After removing the two chickens sitting there, apparently unaware of the danger, I took them to the barn and caged them. Though opposums won't normally kill a full-sized and healthy chicken, the two chickens in question were bantams.

So, tomorrow, I need to secure that coop. The bottom of the housing section hasn't any wire on it. With a dirt floor, somehow the 'possum squeezed under. Likely, he was after the bits of feed left over (chickens are messy eaters), but he may have been after his own Thanksgiving dinner.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Up and Over

Etta seemed a little unsure when I released her into the pasture with Okie. After touching noses, they both began walking about together, picking at what little grass remains. Two white horses, I shook my head. Lots of grooming. After assuring myself they were going to behave, I walked back to the barn and retrieved Jorgen.

Jorgen is a boss horse, a small pony with a big stallion attitude. Yet, he'd nosed Okie under the fence since Sunday with no apparent fireworks. I thought I'd see what would happen. He immediately made a jack#ss of himself, braying like a donkey and backing up to Okie. Both gave a good accounting of their ability to kick each other's rear. I sighed, caught Jorgen, and leaving Okie with Etta, put him on the other side of the electric wire.

All was well most of the day. The minis joined Etta and Okie, as Jorgen could only look on. In the basement doing bills, I didn't notice that it had grown dark, and with the darkness, Jorgen's insecurity grew. As I headed to the barn, I could hear, but not see, horses braying and running.

Sure enough, Jorgen was in chasing poor Okie. No harm was done, except both got a good workout and couldn't be fed for awhile. I checked the fence, and it was on and in good shape - meaning Jorgen had jumped it. Not the first time - he's a jumper, and at 12 h 3, he's jumped a four board fence - we saw him do it. So, I guess tomorrow, Jorgen will get the girl, so he'll not feel the need to jump the fence. Horse socialization is so interesting.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Changing of the Guard

I let the tears run down the inside of my throat. I wish I could explain to her why I was leaving her, why we were taking her away from her friends. After loading, Quid called to Etta, and my foolish human brain heard words in the whinny.

Quid: I'm over here! They've loaded me in the trailer. Etta! Etta!
Etta: Don't leave me! Don't leave! Come back!
Quid: It's moving, Etta! Help! Bye! Don't forget me!

If only I could explain, tell her that I was thinking only of her welfare, that we still cared!

Now, fool that I am, my eyes tear up just reading back my own imaginings. Truth is, Quid was very happy the moment she realized where she was going. She walked into the stall, and promptly checked out the food bin. Lauren stopped by yesterday, and Quid was in the biggest field, figuring out who was to be her new buddy.

Because of Lauren's heavy schedule and varied interests, Quid was languishing in the field, and for a horse like her, that isn't fair. Quid likes to run, and compete. I've seen her rear at a starting line, anxious to go. She is going to be ridden by one of the finest international games riders for the next year. I look forward to seeing her back to having a job and getting to run full out. Still, she's the finest horse we've ever owned in many ways. We still own her, but I had to do the right thing and let her go for awhile. It seems to be my season of letting go.

And where God closes one door....The stall door opened for Okie, my sister's horse who needed a place to stay for awhile. He's a big quarter horse who will be a fine ride for dh. He has a gentle disposition and is fitting in fine. He's been separated by an electric fence from Jorgen and Etta, until they all get to know each other. The minis, however, have abandoned protocol, crossed under the fence and spent the day with him. I'll try to post a photo tomorrow.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A blonde woman and her fiance just got married. They were really poor so she went to church and prayed. "God, I need to win the lottery. My husband and I really need the money. Please!" So she went home that evening and watched to see if she won the lottery. She didn't. So she went back to church to pray again. "Please, God, we really need the money. Please." She went back home and again, she did not win the lottery. She went back to church and she said, "God, why won't you let me win the lottery?" A big, booming voice said, "Lady, you need to buy a lottery ticket to win the lottery!"

Likely, if you have an email address, you've seen this joke. Well, I'm here to tell you that God doesn't always even expect you to buy the ticket. You know why I know? You got it - I won lottery money without buying a ticket! Now, it was only $32, but that's pretty good considering that I never buy lottery tickets, scratch-offs, bug-offs, or any type of state rip-offs. How did I win?

I was one fall day out weed-eating a patch that is down in a deep ditch near the road. We often just let it grow up there - no one can see it much, it is at the outlet of a culvert pipe that sometimes in a hard rain sends through a lot of water to our creek, and the vegetation holds the soil. But, about once a year, we'll beat it back. Often, while doing this chore, one has to pick up a good deal of trash that trashy people throw out their car windows. I noticed a lottery ticket of some kind in the weeds, but didn't bother to pick it up, weed-eating, weed-eating.....And then, my weed-eater hit the folded ticket, and money flew into the air! I killed the power, and looked to see. A twenty, two fives and two ones, $32! Unfortunately, the twenty was rent in two, and the remaining money was moldy and not in good shape.

However, the bank was willing to take the old money, and give me new. I won the lottery (or at least one of the games) without buying a ticket! My lucky day. Wish I could win a million like that. There was no way to know who had lost this money to return it, and before you say it was yours, I've already spent it. Also found in the weeds was a small binder which had last names in columns and notations of $3 or so in the far right column. Likely a "bookie" lost it. I left it by the road to see if it was claimed, and it did disappear one day and we noticed someone had, unasked, completely weed-eated (is that a word?) the area and removed all the brush. We don't know who. Was it a kind neighbor? Or was someone looking for their lottery ticket?

Etta had her stitches removed yesterday and had her first few hours outside. She is still very afraid of the fence.

Okie arrives tomorrow - my sister's horse who will live with us for awhile.

Bought winter wheat yesterday. We need to seed around the small arena we built. Winter wheat will hold the soil until the grass can come in during warmer weather.

We were in Northern Ohio, I think I told you. Were very interested that they had all their fall colors, leaves still, while here - only the oak trees cling to their brown leaves. It looks like winter here already with naked trees. Yet, it is warmer and sunnier. Why is that?

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Last night, dh read one of Lauren's essays for a college application. It was a well written account of her three week visit to Japan, and the difficulties in learning a new culture quickly. He suggested, however, that she remove the paragraph in which she described the complexities of the Japanese toilet. We laughed and laughed as he asked us to envision an admission officer reading the essay, "As I sat there, it suddenly dawned on me that I didn’t know how to flush the contraption!" * Did we really want the person deciding her fate to have a mental image of her sitting on a toilet? Maybe not. We laughed again. (I might or might not have originally suggested adding that as a memorable bit of her trip, make her stand out a little, eh?)

* (There are many buttons on these $4000 toilets that accomplish various tasks, such as spraying you with water and blow drying your bumm. No, really.)

We spent this past weekend visiting colleges and family, a four day road trip. We now have until December 1st to finish all the applications. Sleep is overrated anyway. The weather in northern Ohio was unreal - warm, beautiful weather. It should have been icy cold blown by winds, raining. Perhaps it was the area's attempt to get Lauren to think what a beautiful place it would be to attend college. It worked.

  • I stopped by Debra's place in Peninsula, Ohio but should have called ahead. She wasn't there, but I did meet her husband, see her art in person and buy a mug that I use for my daily coffee. Next visit, I'll have to tell her I'm coming! Funny thing is, I've passed her place many, many years on the way to visit family. What a coincidence.
  • My friend and hairdresser lives two miles from me. She told me she was going out of town. Oh, me, too! Same exact days. Where, she asked? Oh, you'll not know it, small town. Not only did she know it, she was going to visit her sister right down the street from where I'd be. Just a few miles. Little did we know we had that connection.
Etta is healing nicely. Should I take the stitches out tomorrow? She would really, really like to go outside.

It is dark here. Winter approaches.

Quid (POA horse) is going to go into training. Awaiting new arrival of "Okie", my sister's horse who will live with us for awhile. Can't have an empty stall, after all.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Disaster Strikes

I knew as it was happening that it was going to be bad, one of those slow motion train wrecks that you can only stand by and watch. Because of the new small arena construction in the front pasture, our horses were in the back. I had all the stalls readied, but no grain out and the minis were put away. So, I decided to let the horses out to walk up to the barn themselves. We do that all the time from the front pasture and the horses sedately walk to their individual stalls.

Well, this night, Etta balked at crossing the electric wire fence, the first I'd noticed that she was very afraid of it. Normally, she comes out a metal gate, no electric involved. Jorgen and Quid had already crossed past me, where I held the handle of the wire. Etta bolted past me and ran as only an Arabian can when spooked. She took off to the barn, up the driveway. Half-way up, she fell. I could do nothing, but follow. By the time I got to the barn, everyone was in their stalls.

Etta had several abrasions, but one bad four inch impact cut, needing stitches. The vet was called and stapled her together. It's been two days now, and I'm watching for infection, as one edge could not be sewn, missing skin as it was. She's confined now to her stall, and not all that happy about it, although she has the fat minis as company most of the day. I only let them out for about four hours a day. They are what we call "easy keepers", meaning they get fat just looking at grass.

I have decided to call the big rooster with black and red feathers "Lester" after his forefathers. Wm is superstitious about naming chickens after previously killed chickens, for fear they'll suffer the same fate. But he's a rooster. And I have two more.

The other rooster I name "Peter" after hearing the story of Peter denying Jesus at Sunday school, and the white silkie rooster shall be Judas, for he betrayed me by being a rooster instead of a hen.

Friday, November 13, 2009


I was having a bad day. I'd gone to have the tires balanced and rotated, and of course, they told me that the tires were so badly worn, I needed a new set. I told them I'd return another day. THEN, they told me that they were running a free "DNA test" on the cars that came in, and Eugene the Van could use a transmission and power steering fluid change.

"Oh, my van has a DNR," I replied, using their "cutesy" use of medical terminology. The man looked at me blankly. "It has 200,000 miles on it," I explained. "Do Not Resuscitate." He laughed, and admitted that with that many miles, stirring things up by changing fluids could cause more problems than solving them.

Then, at Wal-Mart, the computer at self-checkout would take neither of my credit cards. "Card not accepted," she said in a scolding tone. Knowing they were recently paid, I turned to the clerk. "Is your machine not working?"

"Oh," she said. "It wants me to see your photo ID."

Now, as much money as I drop in that place and as frequent, it ought to greet me by name and I jokingly told her so.

"Yes, but it doesn't know what credit card you are using."

Sure - it doesn't know anything about me - what brand toilet paper I use, where I live, how often I'm there, whether I use 1% or skim milk. I always use the same card. I was dissed by the Wal-Mart computer.

Dh wisely pointed out that maybe, they were making sure it was me to protect me and my card. That made me feel better. Maybe Wal-Mart's got my back. Right.

William found a magnifying glass, not very powerful, but powerful enough to get a little smoke from some dried leaves. This gave me the idea to burn our American flag that was in shreds. I had to pour gasoline on it to light it, and found that it burned down to bubbling goo. It melted. I wonder what it was made of?

November is proving to be mild. Dare I wish for a mild winter?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I was on the phone when William called me from the bathroom with an emergency. He'd dropped the fingernail clippers into the toilet while using it. Given the circumstances, I wasn't going in after them (they only cost $1), but we've had enough problems with the lines that he knew to ask before flushing. If you want to know, it didn't seem to have caused any problems - yet. And why did he have clippers near the toilet? He's learning to multi-task. Why am I writing this? He doesn't yet read my blog.


The teen girl, who attends public school, asked if I'd be offended if she asked me a question about homeschooling. When I told her to go ahead, she asked if my teen daughters could wear their pajamas all day. (I've heard this same question before.) When I replied that they could (though aside to you, they don't), she replied, "COOL!"

I find this amusing because just the other day, I'd been to a local retail store, and in front of me was an older teen wearing her flannel jammy pants and fuzzy slippers entering the store with her mother! Could not the mother be bothered to say, "For goodness sakes, throw on some clothes or stay home". (Or threaten to wear her flannel jammies which should elicit enough teen embarrassment of mom to get her to change.)

The horses winter coats are growing nicely.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

What would happen if...?

William question of the day:

Wm: What would happen if the earth stopped spinning?
Me: We'd all die.
Wm: Why would we all die?
Me: (making it up as I go along) Well, only one side would face the sun, and that would mess up plants growing and eventually, all the plants and animals would die and we'd have no food.
Wm: Even the cows would die?
Me: Even the cows.
Wm: Does the moon rotate?
Me: Don't know, I'll Google it.

So this is a wonderful reason to homeschool, I learn all kinds of things. For example, if the earth was to stop rotating suddenly, the earth would stop, but the atmosphere would not, meaning winds in the range of 1100 miles per hour for the world's greatest hurricane. And if it slowly stopped spinning, well read for yourself. And yes, the moon does rotate.

Of course, the recent harvest moon had us talking about the cause of the overly large red moon both at home and dh's work, where he learned that it is an optical illusion. On this website, it said that one way that you can trick your mind out of the moon illusion is to bend over at the waist and look at the moon upside down through your legs. I suggested to dh that management could use the same technique on employees to test morale. Substitute "happy employees" for moon. Maybe it wouldn't change the view of management, but it might lift morale.

Question of the evening: What would happen if the earth split suddenly in two? (I haven't researched this one - have at it.)

Work began today to grade our front pasture for a small arena to also be used as a dry lot.

The small chick born the other day suffered an amputation of the toe (cause unknown) which proved to be fatal.

H1N1 seems to scare more people than the health care plan.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Today, I took William, two of his friends and Lauren to see Doktor Kaboom. On the way there, the aroma in the car changed as suddenly as it only can with three small boys enclosed there. And of course, the discussion quickly degenerated into "who did it".

Boy 1: I didn't do it. (big goofy grin)
Boy 2: I think mom or Lauren did it. (you can guess correctly this was William)
Boy 3: (Sniff, sniff, smile) I think it smells good. Smells like bacon!

We were entering downtown Louisville, and so it is entirely possible that we'd just passed the Fischer meat packing plant where they do indeed make bacon. I can only hope.

My schedule is PACKED, and just when I think I have a moment to enjoy the fall weather, something comes to fill that time. Which is why I leave you now, with just this short blog today.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Apple Head

Anna's gone over to the Mac Notebook Pro side. It gave her a big head. She think's her computer is better than ours. She's right.
William says the only Mac he wants is a "Big Mac".

Trying on a Different Style

by Anna
Oil on Gesso
Using a "brayer" (print-making tool)

Would someone please inform the animals that the time has changed? No one told them.


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