July 20, 2014

Tiny Donkeys, on the Farm, Make me happy....Yeah, that's as far as that goes.

You may remember back in December when we added to our livestock. Ruby, a miniature horse, and Opal, a miniature donkey came to live on the farm. A few months later the cousins who sold us our girls gifted us Deacon, their mini stud horse. Deacon is more than 20 years old, missing an eye, and had been dubbed "The Walking Dead." He's done pretty good at our place. Put on weight and decided the girls aren't going to boss him around too much.

At the beginning of June, Ruby had this little guy:
His name is Jasper. Deacon is his daddy. (This picture was taken the morning after he was born.)

Back in the spring I started following a small farmstead with a FB page. The lady who runs the page is a friend of a friend. In March one of her mini donkeys threw a little stud jack. He was beyond cute and I commented on a few of his pictures.

Just over a week ago she contacted me to see if we wanted to buy him. There was another buyer lined up but she had to back out. So today, Charlie (formerly known as Leon), came to live on our little farm.
 He met Ruby. She wasn't terribly keen on sharing her home with an interloper even if he was the same size as her baby boy.

 After a few tense moments, Husband had to pen Charlie up to keep him safe from the girls but still let them get acclimated.  It didn't take too long.
 Before too long Charlie and Jasper were playing and becoming fast friends.
I love watching the two of them play. 

When Charlie grows up the plan is to breed him with Opal and add to our herd. Ruby was bred shortly after Jasper was born so there should be a new baby here around May. My fingers are crossed for a filly. 

July 18, 2014

Partying with HT

BabyGirl has been gone for 3 full weeks. She came home on Wednesday. She went home with QM, spent a week and a half in TN, and then they took Pa and headed to Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia for a week.

I'm in the process of downloading and order prints from the 900 or so photos that came home from the trip. You can tell when people have fully forgotten the days of 24 exposures on a roll of 35 millimeter film. BabyGirl doesn't have a clue what "film" is and I'm pretty sure my folks have forgotten. But it's all worth it if it causes my daughter to tell me something anything about her trip.

When they brought her home, HT hitched a ride. Yesterday he came over to spend the day while QM and Daddy went shed shopping for Busha and Bucka. He spent the night, went to VBS with the FarmHands, and is hanging out with us today until Grammy and Pa come back after him.

This is my FB status from last night:

I am the worst aunt ever. I only let my nephew play Wii for 1 1/2 hours. I wouldn't let him watch Supernatural. I made him play outside today in the beautiful weather. I wouldn't let him stab his cousin with a pocket knife. I didn't let him run screaming at the chickens, horses, or goat. I wouldn't let him roast his own hotdog over the fire (I didn't let any of them as I wanted to eat & be in bed before 10 pm). I made him eat "all" of his hotdog before he got roasted marshmallows (there were still 3 good bites left when I let him share it with the dog). I made him take a shower. I made him help clean up the toys he got out so there will be room for him to sleep tonight.

On Wednesday I was awesome.

Today I'm pretty sure I suck.

But this boy is beyond entertaining- that is, when I'm not ruining his life by not letting him sleep in #1 Son's bed or making him eat his lunch at the kitchen table.

When he got here yesterday, the kids were at VBS so we had about 15 minutes on our own. He walked around the living room and kitchen (where he's been 500 times before), looks at me and says, in his best 22-year-old-seeing-his-buddy's-bachelor-pad-for-the-first-time tone, "Aunt FarmWife, I really like your place."

While making lunch yesterday I asked if he like pineapple. HT only has 2 settings: on top of the world, and depths of depression. He jumps and shouts, "YES! I LOVE THAT STUFF!" so I handed him a bit of dry pineapple I was snacking on. He bites in with relish, stops short, and stars at me like I grew a second head. "What is this stuff?!" I explained it. He rolled the piece around in his mouth for a moment, grimacing like he's trying to chew up earthworms, and finally says, "Aunt FarmWife, I like my pineapple wetted down."

After lunch he was laying in the living room floor. Suddenly he jumped up and ran to the living room window. "Is that a horse or a giant chicken?!"


"Oh, nevermind. It's just a cow."

#1 Son told me a story from VBS this morning. The song leader asks the kids for "God sightings" everyday during closing ceremonies. The kids volunteer things they've seen in nature: clouds, a butterfly, wind, a squirrel, etc. Today was his first trip to VBS and, naturally, he needed to chime in. He raised his hand and told the song leader, "I got a new video game of Transformers and it's got MEGATRON!"

Yup. It's been real interesting.

July 15, 2014

Absences followed by begging.

I know I don't come here often. I know I am a fair weather friend. But I also know that if you're still taking the time to check in here you must care for me at least a little bit. The begging will come later.

There are some very deep, very painful, very personal issues in the extended family. Husband has taken a firm stand on something that has the possibility of causing a lot of healing or a lot of hurt. Right now hurt is the frontrunner.

Without going into detail, Husband drew a line in the sand with his extended family on Sunday. One that means, for the moment, we will have little to no contact with members of the family we love the most. Our hearts are breaking. I know theirs are as well. But I deeply believe that this is a step that has been years in coming. And, for us, it is a stand that has everything to do with the physical safety of the FarmHands.

I know that the family we are currently estranged from would never intentionally put our kids in harm's way. I know they love our children almost as much as we do. I also know that their actions are enabling someone else, someone who couldn't care less about our kids, to put them in harm's way. This individual has caused unimaginable hurt in the past and is currently, quite possibly, the most toxic individual I know.

After years of hurt and anger and secrets, on Sunday Husband publicly stated that if the enabling continues, we are out. The family members involved do not see things the way we do.

Not only does this remove us from the center of our family, but it removes us from our church family. When the two are nearly the same, you can't cut one tie without cutting both.

My prayer is that someday we will all come to a place of healing, forgiveness, truth, openness, and strength. I pray that damaged relationships will be mended. I pray that toxic relationships will be ended. I pray that the decision my husband has made for our family is the right one and that it will show our children that no matter the cost, they are what we will fight for. I pray that we all come out of this better in the end.

I am sharing this today to beg you, my friends, to lift us up in prayer. All of us. This is injury that time alone will not heal. Only God can mend these broken places in our lives and in our family. Please, please pray for us.

May 30, 2014

Shoes are a thing of evil. Sort of.

When Husband and I were first married I found out, very quickly, that he was of the remove-your-shoes-or-face-my-wrath school of house entering. No shoes in the house. Ever.

We had that rule at our house. For about a year. Just after we moved in and the carpet was brand new. Slowly but surely QM succumed and we started tromping across the floor in what ever we happened to have on.

So when Husband and I got married it took me a bit of getting used to. I didn't wear shoes around the house on a regular basis, but I also didn't shuck them at the door the moment I set foot inside.

But now, 4 kids, 10 acres, and countless animals later, I'm 100% on board. And I know it's not just those of us who live on a farm that face these issues.

 I've found quite a few pages dedicated to the removal of shoes upon entering an abode. Did you know that up to 60% of the toxins in your house can travel in via your shoes? GMA did a whole bit about how much dirt you can keep out of your house by removing your shoes. There's even fear of pesticides you may be tracking into your home.

In many parts of the world, you'd never dare to enter into someone's home with your shoes on your feet. Inkling could explain a bit about Canada's shoeless practices.

But this is what I know for sure: there is a rug at my back door. It is the heaviest traveled spot in my entire house. Husband and the FarmHands are in and out 800 times a day and this is where the shoes stop.

I willingly admit that this rug does not get cleaned as often as it should. I'm a haphazard housekeeper at best, so there are often weeks it goes unvacuumed. This was not one of those times.

Early on I discovered that even after I vacuumed it, when I picked the rug up to move it, dirt would still fall out onto my vinyl floor. I'm not sure what prompted me to vacuum the back side of the rug, but I did one day and I was beyond shocked to see the mess that was left behind when I picked the rug back up.

The top picture shows the rug prior to vacuuming. The second shows me vacuuming the back side of the rug (yes, it's frayed  and stained and in bad need of replacing- I just haven't found one I like that will fit the space). The last 4 pictures are what was left on the floor after I vacuumed the underside of the rug.

I flipped and vacuumed the rug 4 times (once on the underside and once on the carpet side for each "time") before it quit leaving massive amounts of dirt behind.

I cannot imagine what would be in my living room carpet or in the FarmHands' bedrooms if they'd have worn their shoes into the house.

So if you come to my house and find yourself accosted at the door over shoes, you'll know why. I'm not trying to be rude, but this mess grosses me out!

May 3, 2014

The End is in Sight

By my count, there are 15 school days left in our year. 3 full weeks of school then we're out for 81 days. 81 blissful days of sleeping in, wearing pajamas until noon, no homework, cooking for 6 instead of 160, sunshine and heat instead of cold and snow, and a world wide open to possibilities.

Every year I get delusional around this time. Every year I see the summer as a long stretch of euphoria and familial bliss. Every year the second week of Summer break slaps me in the face like a wet rag. The heat is unbearable. The children cannot stand each other's presence. There is no food left in the house 3 days after a grocery trip. The electric bill skyrockets as the AC runs 24/7 in an effort to keep the temperature tolerable. And we all fall apart a little.

But for the moment I am dreaming of afternoons spent in my lounge chair, slathered in sunscreen, wearing a giant hat, fully engrossed in my latest novel while the children play hours of Marco Polo and splash around in the pool. I dream of burgers on the grill, dandelions spotting my yard, and sticky hands grabbing for Pop Ice faster than I can snip the ends off.  I'm dreaming of the buzz of bees in the clover of the hay field, songs of robins waking us up in the pre-dawn moments, and slapping mosquitoes as they land on our legs. I will dream of lightning bugs in mayo jars, roses blooming under my bedroom window, and the scent of honeysuckle wafting up from the creek.

Let me enjoy my dreams for the time being. The harsh reality of humidity, cranky kids, and it being too hot to function will soon break down my door.

April 9, 2014

Babies, babies everywhere.

Everyone is having babies. My Facebook feed is covered in new arrivals and ultrasound pictures and soon-to-be-grandparent announcements.

It's wonderful.

It's even better that it's not me.

Don't get me wrong, I've been jonesing for a little one to smell and snuggle and hold and cuddle and smell. Did I mention smelling? Yeah. I need a hit of that sweet baby smell. And washing Bitsy's nearly 7 year old hair with Johnson and Johnson's shampoo, slathering her in Baby Magic lotion, and wrapping her in Dreft washed jammies just isn't the same. Don't ask why I know that. I just do.

Luckily Rachie, Husband's cousin, is expecting. I'm really hoping she'll cash in some of that free babysitting I owe her from years past. But in reality I know I'm going to have to stand in line to get to the bundle of joy and, quite possibly wrestle him/her away from a certain hyperactive grandpa or two grabby aunts who won't want to share (Yeah, A Starry Night, I'm talking about you and your darling SIL), but I'm pretty sure I can take them. Well, the short one, anyway.

Actually, I'm just uber thrilled that our Rachie is going to have a baby. I'm so excited to see the next round of cousins having babies. I'm excited to see our family grow. With so many cousins I know it will just keep growing and growing and growing.

But mostly I want to smell a baby.

March 31, 2014

I promise you, dear readers, that I have not fallen off the face of the earth.

I promise I will, someday (soon), return to the wonderful world of blogging.

I can tell you that I felt my little corner of the world here slipping into sadness and that was not where I wanted it to go. I needed a season of mourning, but did not want it to be permanent. It has not been. I still have moments of unexpected tears, but they are fewer and farther between.

Things on the farm continue on as always. There is chaos. There are arguments. There are lessons learned. There is love.

I want you to know that I have not abandoned you nor have I given up on our little slice of cyberspace.

I will return.

I am Spartacus....wait...no....that's not right.