Sunday, July 29, 2012

LOOK! Up in the sky!

Last night, the whole family went to the EAA night airshow.  The EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) holds the worlds largest air show every July.  Hubs usually goes with the kids every year, but so far, I've avoided it.  Last night, I finally went.  The air show was okay, I guess  don't get too excited over airplanes, though it was neat seeing them flying through the night sky shooting fireworks and stuff out of their tails.  Then, there was the fireworks show.  Wow...just wow.  It was incredible.  The best I've ever seen.  They shot them off synchronized with music, one of the songs was Dwight Yoakam's version of Crazy Little Thing Called Love, which made it all the better because I absolutely LOVE Dwight.  The very best though was Louis Armstrongs What a Wonderful World, just incredible.  I didn't know they even made smiley face fireworks.  Too cool.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A chicken-free bathroom at last!

The kids and I got the last of the chickens out of the bathroom this morning.  Yesterday, hubs and the boys built a coop in the barn for the broiler chickens and we stuck them in there.  So after cleaning out the converted stock water tank from the broilers, we moved the layers in this morning.  They like it much better there than the bathtub...actually, I don't know or care if they like it better there, I like them better there than in the bathtub.  Notice though, that I didn't say the bathroom was bird-free, just chicken-free.  The baby birds Angel #4 rescued last weekend are not only still alive, but they're thriving.  Who woulda thunk?  They live in an empty Mountain Dew Code Red box on the shelf next to the bathtub.  BTW, in case you're wondering, WHY the bathroom?  It's one of the only rooms in the house that you can easily shut all the bird eating animals out of.

We've been getting a lot of rain lately.  It was a regular monsoon on Wednesday night as we were driving home from Bible Study.  It rained on and off all day yesterday and today.  I hope the rest of the drought stricken parts of the country are getting it as well, as for my little chunk of Wisconsin, we're all greened up and pretty.  My garden is going great guns and we've been eating beans, peas, zuchinni, cukes and kohlrabi.  It looks like the corn will be ready soon if it recovers from being bent over from Wed night's monsoon and I even got a couple of tomatoes this week, though it'll be awhile before I'll get inundated with a full-on ripening. I also picked up a half bushel of peaches yesterday.  They're a bit green yet, so sometime the middle of next week, I'll be having a huge peach canning party.  Wanna join me?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Together again

Saturday afternoon, our whole family was finally all together again.  We spent the morning rummage saling with the girls, then picked the boys up at a friends house.  Once we were all in the van together, we went on what has to be in the all time top ten of weird family outings.  Angel #2 said there was a car show she wanted to go to, it was on our way home.  Her friend had a car in it, her friend Hearse Boy.  So, we all stopped by at the Wisconsin Hearse Owner's Organization get-together.  Different kind of people drive hearses....just sayin'.  You need the right kind of sense of humor to drive around in an old renovated hearse.  We saw Twilight themed hearses, one with a skeleton in the drivers seat, a bumper sticker that said "Last Responder" and one family orientated one that had the little stickers representing the family members stuck on their back window like a soccer mom's mini-van, only the family members were zombies.  We wandered around looking at the hearses for awhile, chatted with Hearse Boy and met some of his friends.  All in all, an interesting time, definitely not  your normal family afternoon activity, but as you know, my family is anything but normal.

The boys had fun at the concert the went to on Friday night.  Angel #1 even got an onstage shout-out, thanking him for his service in Afghanistan and the band sang a patriotic song dedicated to him.  How cool is that?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Eventually we'll all be together

I picked Angel #2 up from work yesterday, so technically, my whole family should have been together last night, but on the way to picking up #2, I dropped #1 and WE off at a friends house for the night.  So, we still haven't had a time for all 6 of us to be in the same room together.  The boys should be coming home this afternoon, so maybe then.

Thursday, me and 3 of my kids and Angel #4's friend met my sister and her 3 kids at Bay  Beach Amusement park for an afternoon of fun in the sun.  Except the sun forgot to show up, so it was a day in the rain.  It didn't rain so hard that we ran for cover or anything, more like a constant drizzle.  They shut a few of the rides down, but opened them up later in the afternoon, so we didn't miss anything at all.  Because of the weather, there weren't quite as many people there as usual, so the lines for the rides weren't bad either.  At one point, the only ones on the bumper cars were the 9 of us family members and one lone little boy.  It was really fun having the whole bumper car area to ourselves - we called it family feud.

We've also got two additions to our bathroom menagerie.  Angel #4 found a fallen swallow nest in the yard yesterday.  So now she and Angel #2 are attempting to raise the 2 homeless baby birds.  Experience tells me how this is going to end up, but for the moment, our 21 baby bathtub chicks have been joined by 2 baby swallows.

Afton, if you ever start a rock band, you have my permission to use Wonky-Leg Chicken for its name.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I'm a local celebrity

I was asked to judge the library summer reading program's talent show today.  There were about 8 acts performed by kids between 7-12.  At first, in preparation I thought I'd practice my Sharon Osborne impression for my judging stint, but I've got an awful accent and figured I'd be better off shaving my head and going as Howie.  In the end, I just came as myself and that worked just fine.  I figured I was asked to judge because I'm the local author - or maybe the head librarian knows I don't really have much of a life, either/or I guess.  I'm not sure what my fellow judge's qualifications were, if she was also a local celebrity like the manager of the convenience store or something, or maybe she just doesn't have a life as well.  Whatever it was, the judging was fun and I was surprised at how brave those kids were.  A couple went up and sang acapella and two girls danced as well as sang.

Our garden is starting to produce finally.  I froze some beans today, we've had fresh zuchinni and peas and my kohlrabi is just about ready.  I love this time of year when the veggies first ripen and I'm not sick to death of them yet like I will be in a week or so.  Hubs also brought home some sweet corn for supper last night.  The corn isn't ready up here yet, but people make trips down to Illinois or Missouri and bring up big loads of corn to sell up here to all of us who just can't wait another week or two for our own corn to ripen.  Corn on the cob is something else we'll all be sick of in a month, but it sure tastes good now.

Despite all the netting we put up over our chicken coop and the extra fencing, we lost another full grown chicken the other night.  I found her headless corpse lying outside the pen yesterday.  I've now only got 3 laying hens left.  I've also got the wonky-leg chicken and the lone healthy survivor of the batch I hatched out in March, the healthy one should start laying early this fall.  The 51 chicks headed for the freezer are living in a stock tank in the barn.  Since they're only a little over a week old, I've still got to deal with them for another 2-2 1/2 months before they're ready for butchering.  Then there's the remaining 21 chicks, they're the same age as the 51 meat chicks, but don't grow as fast.  They're still living in the bathtub.  I never thought I'd see the day when I'd be happy to only have 21 chickens in my bathtub.  I've learned to lower my expectations over the years.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Joy and sorrow interwoven

It's been a weekend of ups and downs.  It was great getting Angel #1 home on Friday.  My little boy is getting so big, it's hard to believe he was my little baby once.  For the first time since November, all 4 of my kids were sitting together around the supper table Friday night.  It wasn't that long ago that that was a nightly thing, now it's a novelty.  Hubs didn't get home from Hawaii until Sunday night, and by then, Angel #2 had left to go back to work, so the whole family won't be together until this weekend.

Saturday there was a big welcome home party for him at a friend's house.  We all had a really fun time and the boys and Angel #4 ended up staying the night there, so I didn't have my kids together for long before they all flew the coop again.

Saturday afternoon we got the news that our friend Sunny's boyfriend was killed in a motorcycle accident Friday night.  Sunny was the very first friend we made when we moved to Hawaii and we got together frequently when we lived down there - hubs usually stops by her place at least once when he goes down to Hawaii now.  Sunny is kind of a lost, lonely soul and Toby had been really good for her, giving her the love she so desperately was searching for.  Toby was a nice guy and he'll be missed.

Then, even more tragically, Sunday afternoon, one of Angel #4's classmates was killed in a hunting accident.  He and another boy were out shooting birds and he was accidentally shot.  The Angel was pretty broken up about it, this boy had been her boyfriend all through 6th grade.  We  used to joke that they lasted longer than most celebrity marriages.  Though they weren't as friendly during this last year of school.  There are only about 50 kids in their entire class, most of them had been together since kindergarten, so there's going to be a big empty hole from now on.  Thirteen year old kids shouldn't die, it's just heartbreaking.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

fun in the sun

Yesterday I went to a picnic get-together with the local romance writers group.  I haven't been to a meeting in a long time and no longer belong to the group, but was invited to the picnic because everyone wanted to see me again.  It's nice to be wanted.  :)  It was great seeing people I hadn't seen in a couple years and I met a few new folks as well.  I had mentioned to someone I just met that I had 70 baby chickens in my bathtub and she commented that that was rather unusual and my friend Stacey said, not for her.  Heck, 70 chickens in her bathtub is practically normal for her house.  Stacey's known me for a loooong time.

Afton, booyah is kind of like stew.  It's really popular in this part of the state.  It contains chicken, pork, beef or all three, plus a bunch of veggies.  It's made in a HUGE pot big enough to feed hundreds of people and usually takes a day or two to get it all cooked up.  Our neighbor sets his pot up on a burner outside the back of his garage, they scoop the booyah out with saucepans used as dippers and put it into big Nesco cookers so we can help ourselves.  It's pretty tasty stuff, though eating hot booyah in 90 degree weather is less than ideal, but it's so darn good you're willing to overlook the unseasonableness of booyah in July.  A lot of churches have booyah dinners for their congregations and every fall the old Catholic church down the road has a big fall festival serving booyah, brats and ice cream while a polka  band oompas in the background - all the things that make Wisconsin great.  (Another thing that makes Wisconsin great - at parades, some floats, instead of throwing candy out to the crowds, throw out packages of string cheese.  I love the Dairy State!)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Getting to know the neighbors

So, Friday night was the big party next door.  The fireworks were as great as I expected.  Hubs and I sprawled out on the pontoon boat with some other people and our host and watched the fireworks explode overhead.  While the fireworks were going off, Ken, our neighbor/host, made a call on his cell.  I don't know what he was calling about, but I caught a bit of the end of the conversation and had to laugh.  Ken ended the convo by saying:  "Well, I gotta go, I've got company."  There were about 200 people sitting there watching $10K fireworks going on and "he's got company".  Talk about being the master of the understatement.

Hubs, who's a major extrovert, was having a blast getting out and meeting new people.  The next morning, WE was telling me a story from the night before.  He and his friend, Bobbi, were sitting on the grass by the lake when Bobbi said, "My grandma just went by on the Gator, she was sitting on some guy's lap."  And WE said, "That was my dad."  I tell ya, I've got to keep an eye on that guy wherever we go.  :p

I got peopled out around 11 o'clock, but hubs stayed on for another hour or so.  He came home with about 2 gallons of leftover booyah.  I packaged it up and we'll be enjoying Independence Day booyah this fall when hot soup will really be appreciated.  Talk about appreciated, we ate our first fresh spinach and zuchinni from the garden yesterday, so the craziness of summer food preparation is about to begin.

We had some beautiful weather.  Things started cooling off on Friday night, so it was comfortable sitting around at the party, then, by Saturday, we could turn off the a/c and today, we're enjoying having the windows open again.  I hate running air conditioning if I don't have too.  It's bad enough having to be at the mercy of the furnace from September to May, I sure hate to have to keep the house closed up the remaining months as well.

Friday, July 6, 2012

woot woot

I am typing this entry on my brand spanking new laptop.  WOO-HOO!!  The kids and I were in town yesterday and stopped by Walmart to pick up critter food.  WE wandered into the electronics department and we went to find him, and that's when I saw it - the clearance table!  I've been griping about my old laptop for quite awhile now.  It's horrible slow, freezes up if I try to open more than 4 windows at once and the other day, it took 45 minutes of coaxing, unfreezing and restarting before I could even get the crazy thing going.  The battery hasn't held a charge in over 3 years.  The bills are getting paid around here and life is good, so I just couldn't resist plopping down some moola to make my life a little more pleasant.   And this isn't totally selfish either, I use my computer for more than playing, all our company's bookkeeping is on my computer.  I've gotten a couple blue screens of death in the last couple months and I don't even want to think about what would happen if it just wouldn't start up at all some day.  I back up my work and everything, but still, not a nice prospect.  So now I'm getting used to using a new computer and getting all my stuff transferred from the old one to this cute little guy.  I think I'll name it Shiny in honor of Firefly, because that's the first word that popped into my head when I unwrapped it and got my first look at it.

The other day I stepped on a nail.  That's one of the hazards of using old lathe from your house remodel project as row markers for your garden.  I couldn't remember the last time I got a tetanus shot, so I figured I'd better go in.  Getting the stupid shot was more painful than stepping on the nail.

Tonight is the big Independence Day party at our next door neighbor's house. Last year he hired a company and blew off $10,000 worth of fireworks, I'm sure he'll be doing the same again this year.  Between fireworks, all the booyah you can eat and all drinks we should be in for a fun night.  I've got Angel #2 making cookies for our contribution to the meal - which is a pretty good deal for me since Angel #2 isn't even going to the party tonight, she's got a date.

Life is good

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

boy, it's hot

It's been pretty warm around here lately.  Nothing like the over 100 degree days I've been reading about in other parts of the country, but the upper 80's is hot enough for me.  We had a nice rain this morning which brought in a cooler breeze for a little while, so I went out into the garden while it was still relatively nice outside.  But it didn't take long for the hot and humid to come back full force.

This last weekend was rodeo weekend back in the town where hubs grew up.  He, Angel #2, Angel #4 and her friend went to the Friday night, spent the night at my brother's house, did the parade the next morning and then the Sat afternoon show.  Hubs and the 2 younger girls volunteered to work (you get in free that way) on Saturday afternoon/evening, so spent a hot sweaty 4 hours in the kitchen serving burgers.  Angel #4's friend had never been to a rodeo before - she comes from a classic rock concert family, but she got in the swing of things pretty well.  Hubs wanted to give her the full redneck experience, so they went to visit his friend Jim as well.  She got an education.  ;)

Angel #2 had a great time at the rodeo as well - she usually does, she really really loves horses.  She had her own vehicle, so she stayed late Friday and Saturday nights to enjoy the dancing after the final performance.  She even danced with a steer wrestler.  She's also decided that she's going to run for rodeo queen next year.  Since she's got some riding experience, she also wanted to ride the mechanical bull.  She got the hang of it rather quickly.  The guy running the bull usually takes it easy on people, so her first ride ended up lasting about 30 seconds before she fell off.  By her 3rd or 4th time though, she told him to stop making things easy on her and he ratcheted it up a bit.  It got where she was a mechanical bull regular and he even threw in a ride or two for free because she was enjoying it so much and was doing so well.  In the end, she rode the bull 7 times - and she sure was feeling it the next day.  So, in addition to becoming rodeo queen, she also want to become a bull rider.  To think this was the kid who spent most of her childhood up in her room reading books - I guess you can say she's come out of her shell.

I heard from Angel #1 last night (thanks for your thoughts, Jeanie, they're greatly appreciated).  He was pretty excited - he just bought a car.  Not like his $400 junker he bought in high school, but a real live, $10,000 vehicle with all kinds of nice bells and whistles.  He said it was exactly what he was looking for.  Now I hope he gets rid of his motorcycle - those things make me nervous.  He's also looking forward to being here on leave in a week and a half.  There's already a welcome home party at his friend Sarah's house in the works, a water skiing trip planned by WE and hubs wants him to help re-side the house.  I guess we'll keep him busy. 

Yesterday, Angel #4 and I went to Bay Beach.  It's a local amusement park right on Green Bay - I hadn't been there in awhile and there were a few changes.  It's now got a roller coaster.  It's not particularly big or scary, but it's got a great history.  It used to be Elvis' roller coaster, so it's the Coaster of Kings, people.  Imagine - for a single dollar, you can sit in the seat that Elvis (and  his peanut butter & banana sandwich) sat.  Since I've already sat on Lisa Marie's lawn mower, I've had a lot of experience sitting on all things Presley - I'm practically a celebrity myself.  We only spent about 3 hours there, it was just too stinking hot.  Funnily enough, I was taking to Mike while waiting for our lunch number to be called (we went to the park with Mike and his kids) and a guy was standing nearby.  I was saying something about my sisters and mentioned them by their first names.  Later, the guy came up to me and introduced himself.  Turns out, he's my 2nd cousin, I hadn't seen him in years - he'd overheard me talking about my sisters, recognized their names and in turn, recognized me.  We chatted a bit, then headed off our separate ways to eat lunch.  My family is so big it seems I can't go anywhere without running into someone I'm related to.  It's kind of fun.