Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Well, this wasn't the plan, but it'll work

Guess what? We bought a house! We've been working on the deal for a couple weeks now, but I didn't want to say something until the papers were all signed. I didn't want to jinx the deal. We weren't looking to buy a house and didn't really even want to buy a house, but we passed this place that had a For Sale sign in the front of it. We called the number on the sign, looking to see if they're rent it to us if it didn't sell. The owner offered us such a deal if we bought it that we just didn't see a reason to not go ahead and sign on the dotted line. It's an old farmhouse with 5 outbuildings. We've already got a chicken coop built and full of happy clucking chickens who are giving us almost a dozen eggs a day already. We're going to fence in some pasture for more critters, because you know my family, it's just not complete without a herd of animals wandering around. We put the garden in almost 2 weeks ago already, a couple days after we put the offer in on the house, actually. We wanted the garden in as soon as possible and decided it was worth the risk of the house deal falling through to make sure it was all planted and growing before it was too late.

Now, the coolest thing. The house is really old. It only has one bathroom, so we want to get a 2nd one in before we even move in, especially since all the bedrooms are upstairs and the bathroom is on the first floor off the kitchen. So hubs is knocking away lathe and plaster, we've hauled over a ton of it to the dump already, and he starts chipping away at an outside wall to see how much insulation there was in it. Once he gets a small hole in the wall, he's trying to figure out why there's no insulation and a wall beam stuck in a weird position, then he realizes what it was. Our house was a log cabin! How cool is that? He knocked out the rest of the lathe and plaster on that wall and found great big old square cut logs with chinking in between, right out of Little House on the Prairie. I found an old newspaper stuck in the wall, it didn't have a date on it, but there was an advertisement for books in it and all the books were published in the 1880's, so that's probably a pretty good guess. We're planning on moving in around July 1st, so we've got a busy month ahead of us. Angel #1 is coming home on leave for about a week and a half, so we'll have another grunt to help with the heavy work. I can't wait to get in.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Half my kids are now out of school

I was incredibly proud to see my beautiful oldest daughter receive her diploma last night. I was also relieved to see that she didn't fall off her ridiculously high heels while doing it. The graduation ceremony was very nice and much much shorter than Angel #1's was last year where they had both the principal and valedictorian give horrendously long boring speeches. Plus, #2's class had 51 kids graduating, while #1's graduating class had over 300. My, how things change in a year's time. They announced scholarship winners and there were a few kids who really cleaned up. Each time one walked on stage to get their scholarship certificate, I could hear their parent's checkbook sighing in relief. Since #2's decided to not do college, my checkbook is safe for the time being.

Rent-a-Grandma and Hubby's dad and older sister came for the graduation. I hadn't seen hubs sister since before we moved to Hawaii. She lives in Manhattan and makes it to Wisconsin about once a year, but never at the same time as my once a year trip to Wisconsin, so it was nice to see her. We didn't have a whole lot of time to visit, but it was nice to see her nonetheless. I think she's looking better than ever and I'm wondering what her stay young looking secret is. I suspect it has something to do with never having any kids. :p

Friday, May 27, 2011

Yay for Graduation!

Today is Angel #2's graduation day. Two down, two to go. We've finally nailed down a date for a graduation party for her. It'll work out good, because Angel #1 will be home on leave during that time as well. I'll have all my babies together again, for a little while at least.

WE ended up in two relay races at the Sectional track meet last night. The team didn't do real well and in one race, one of the boys dropped the baton, which was real frustrating for poor WE. By the time it was his turn to take the baton, all the other teams has finished the race. One of the downfalls of being the team anchor man, I guess. They came in last in the other race as well. But, considering they were a team of freshmen and sophomores competing at the sectional level, I think they did pretty darn good even just getting there. Nows he's all excited to start cross country practice this summer.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

yay for gardening

The girls and I pretty much finished planting the garden on Saturday. We got the last of the potatoes planted as the rain drops started to fall. It rained the rest of the afternoon, giving the seeds a happy start in life. We still have about 3 or 4 empty rows to plant. We had one big packet of seed corn and 4 or 5 little ones and I thought that would be more than enough, but when we opened the little seed packets, there were only about 15 seeds per envelope. What a rip-off. So we planted what we had and will wait a couple weeks and plant the remaining rows, that way we'll have corn for a longer stretch, though I've got the feeling that by the middle of August, we're going to be sick to death of corn on the cob.

Last night was the regional track meet. I thought after that we'd be done with track, but now WE thinks that his relay team did good enough to go on to the sectional meet. Sectionals are held in a town about 3 hours drive from here, I don't think I'm a good enough track mom to go that far to see my kid run for a total of about 45 seconds. I'm just happy he's enjoying himself so much. I talked to his coach last night and he was telling me what a great kid WE is and what a great job we did raising him. As much as I'd like to take all the credit, I know WE's a great kid just because he's a great kid. I'm so glad other people see that in him as well. He was such a little stinker when he was little, I have to admit, I was a little concerned about what kind of teenager he'd be. He hasn't given us a sleepless moment yet. We've been blessed with all 4 of our kids.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Redneck Girl

A beautiful, sunny day today, FINALLY. We were going to put the garden in tomorrow, but I just couldn't help myself and I got most of it in today. We just need to get some seed potatoes in and plant the corn and we'll have one beautiful garden. Not so beautiful was the sunburn I got. I was wearing a tee-shirt, so I guess you could call it a farmer burn since farmer tan would be an incredible understatement. After being covered up from the elements since September, my poor skin freaked out at the sight of the sun. Oh well, no big deal. If I know my skin, which I do since I've had it for 43 years, I'll be almost as white as ever within 3 or 4 days and it'll look like I never saw the sun.

Tonight we had the school athletic banquet. WE got a letter in track, which made him pretty happy. Angel #1 comes home on leave in a few weeks and WE's pretty sure he's going to be able to beat him in a race. I told him he'd better not get too cocky, not only does his brother run for fun, but he can do it with a grenade launcher in his hands. I've got the feeling that I'm in for 10 days of intense one-upmanship between my boys this summer.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Danger: Pressure Cooker Crossing

Thanks for the tip, Jeannie, now all I have to do is find our county extension office and I'm good for canning. I read an article today about a woman in Florida whose pressure cooker fell off her stove, exploded and sliced her leg off. Then I read the comments on the article, because frankly, I usually find the comments more interesting than the articles themselves, and so many people were freaking out and saying that pressure cookers were unsafe, unnecessary and should be outlawed. What a bunch of bologna! The woman was 80 years old, so her pressure cooker was probably one of those old ones that don't have pressure release buttons, which is why it exploded. Secondly, it was a FREAK accident. Pressure cookers don't commonly explode (especially now with the safety features) and if they do, they don't take body parts with them when they go. That's like saying if a clock fell off the wall and hit you in the head, you should outlaw clocks. Thirdly, you better believe they're necessary if you can vegetables or meat. The first time I ever canned green beans, I didn't read the instructions properly and canned them in a water bath canner, fortunately, I noticed they all went bad and dumped them before we got poisoned to death or something, but you better believe that I was a whole lot more careful after that and I loved my pressure canner.

Okay, rant over. Yesterday, angel #4 had her spring band concert and rent-a-grandma came to watch it. It was really nice and #4 was so happy to have her there. Afterwards, she spent the night, since it's an hour and a half drive back to her house and this morning we had a great gabfest over coffee. She's planning on doing the same thing when Angel #2 graduates next week, so we're all going to get a lot of quality grandma time.

We're planning on putting in the garden on Saturday. The good news is that the weather is supposed to warm up as the week progresses, with a high of 68 on Saturday. The bad news is, there's supposed to be thunder storms as well. To tell you the truth, I'm over this whole "spring" thing and will welcome summer (if it ever comes) with open arms.

Monday, May 16, 2011

it's been here, now it's gone

Well, summer came on Thursday. We had a beautiful, sunny day and I even got a sunburn in the back of my neck when hubs and I went on a 5 mile walk. I'm glad I enjoyed it, since by 6 o'clock that evening, the clouds rolled in and we had a monsoon, which necessitated hubs and I making a mad dash from WE's track meet and rowing our truck home in the rain. Now that we had summer, fall is here and the temps are back in the 40's and it's so freaking windy I can't hang my clothes on the line. I'm suspecting frost soon, then snow, possibly a blizzard or twelve, then maybe, just maybe, we'll get another summer day sometime in mid 2012.

It looks like we're going to manage to get a garden this summer (if it even shows up), and I'm extremely excited for this. We haven't had a decent garden in years and I can't remember the last time I did some serious canning. The girls and I did a few city-wide rummage sales this weekend and I hit gold at the very first one we got to on Saturday. I managed to get a pressure cooker canner for only $10. It's exactly like the one I used to have that I had to get rid of when we moved to Hawaii. I was afraid I'd have to break out big bucks and buy a new one, (they range from $75-$200) so I was one very happy camper when I scored a used one that I was already familiar with operating. Now, I just need some canning jars.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

When will it stop??

Froze our butts off yet again last night at WE's track meet. It was a gorgeous day, warm and sunny, until about an hour before the meet when it got cloudy and the wind picked up. I'm so sick of freezing my hiney off and I can't wait for summer to finally get here. On the bright side, the woods surrounding our house is full of spring flowers. That's the neat thing about moving to a new house. Since we've never been in this house in the spring, we keep getting surprised by unexpected flowers popping up all over the place. I think there's about 5 or 6 different kinds of flowers sprinkled around the yard right now. So pretty after brown grass and snow for so long.

WE did great at the meet last night and surpassed his own personal best in all four of the events he competed in. The coach has given him extra team responsibilities and has mentioned that he may have him competing at varsity level by the end of the year. Pretty good for a lowly Freshman. Since yesterday was an all Conference meet for freshman and sophomores only, I got to see that the competition looked like. As I've mentioned before, our kids go to one of the smallest high schools in the conference, there's only one that's smaller. All the other schools outnumber ours by at least 150 kids...and when you're schools entire population is 260, 150 kids is a LOT. In so many events, we had one kid competing when other schools had 4 or 5, and our one kid had competed in 3 or 4 different events when the others were only in 2 or 3. That makes it pretty hard for them to get a decent amount of team points. Fortunately, the coach is a great guy who helps keep things in perspective for the kids. Despite a last place for the meet, WE came home bubbling with excitement over how well everyone did. The coach does a great job building the team and the kids up. I'm not a big fan of sports in general, but when your main competition is yourself, you can come out of it a better person - IF you've got the right attitude. I'm so glad WE's enjoying himself and doing well.

The middle school had an informal track meet for the 5 & 6 grade yesterday as well. Angel #4 had a lot of fun and is discovering that she enjoys track events. She beat the entire 5 & 6 grade, boys and girls, in the long jump, which thrilled her to no end. My kids definitely get their athleticism from their father.

During her ride along with the vet yesterday, Angel #2 ended up on an emergency call for cows. She goes along on Tuesdays because that's horse day for the vet, but a cow emergency is a cow emergency and can't be ignored, especially here in dairy country. She decided that she definitely prefers horses to cows, but was disappointed that she's going to miss the cow surgery the vet scheduled for Wed morning. I don't thing an intestinal obstruction sounded all that enticing, but to her, it's fascinating. To each their own.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Ah spring, when thoughts turn to winter coats

I froze my patootie off last night at WE's track meet. It's his only home meet of the year and I didn't want to miss it. In the truck on the way to the meet, it started raining and continued almost steadily until the meet was almost over. Cold and wet is not the way I like spending my evening. What really stunk was that WE wasn't in his best form (he wasn't feeling good) and didn't do well anyway. He's got a couple of meets left, if we've got some good weather on a day when there's one nearby, I'm sure we'll go, just so we can enjoy watching him instead of spending all the time shivering. A lot of the talk at the meet was about a boy who died on Wednesday afternoon. He was a freshman who went to school at the town 5 miles away from ours, our school competes against them in sports. This boy was in track practice and basically dropped dead during the warm up. They suspect an undetected heart problem. It's just so spooky having your perfectly healthy kid suddenly die like that, I gave WE a few extra hugs after that one, it hit too close to home. It had to be extra traumatic for the boys friends on the track team who saw him die right in front of them. A coach and a teammate did CPR, but it wasn't enough. So sad - I keep tearing up thinking about it. Between that and the death this week of a local boy fighting in Afghanistan, I've really been appreciating both my boys a lot lately.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Happy Birthday to WE

Yep, it's my little boy's (well, not so little anymore) birthday today. It seems like yesterday he was earning his blogging nickname and he was eating worms for fun and profit, and now he's a 15 year old high school freshman with girl problems and anticipating getting his drivers license. He had a great day today, it was the freshman/sophomore invitational track meet and he got 2 ribbons and got a 3rd place medal, he also got his personal all time bests in all the events he participated in. He was positively glowing when I picked him up at the school once the bus got him back to town. I'm so happy that he enjoys track so much and that he's doing so well in it. He said that even though his whole team did great, that their final team standing was still 6th place out of six teams, but he said that some teams had as many as 25 kids on their team and his little school had only 7 freshmen and sophomores competing, it wasn't that bad.

When he got home, he had a big celebratory piece of birthday pie. I made him a pie for his birthday and we did all the singing and stuff for him yesterday since we knew he was going to be at his meet today and we wouldn't see much of him. He's got another meet tomorrow and a 3rd one on Thursday, so he's going to be a busy boy this week. But, it's Wisconsin, you've got to run laps while the sun shines and the snow's not falling.