Sunday, July 28, 2013

I shouldn't be hearing this

It's July 28th and I'm hearing a sound I never thought (or wanted) to hear on this date, the sound of the furnace kicking in.  The temps have been in the 50's for the last couple of days and it's getting ridiculous.  Hubs got home from Hawaii yesterday morning and after 10 days of the tropics, he couldn't handle the cold, so on went the furnace.  I don't approve of this weather.  You shouldn't have to dress warm to go out pea picking in the garden. I want a refund on my summer!!                                                                                                            

Friday, July 26, 2013

jammed up

Wednesday, I picked a bunch of black raspberries at a friends house - she's been too overwhelmed with life to deal with the huge patch they have in their backyard.  Yesterday, I made 12 pints of jam out of them and I'm happy (and amazed) to say they all sealed.  I usually always have at least one clinker in the bunch after a day of canning.  Since I've already got 4 different jars of half-eaten jam in the refrigerator already, I'm glad I didn't have to add to the menagerie.  I hate having more than one jar of jam in the fridge, but during canning time, it happens, along with having various unsealed jars of green beans and tomatoes.  I'm a fridge minimalist, I freak out when I've got packed shelves in my refrigerator , which is what I've got now.  So I'm on a leftovers clear-out binge and I'm not cooking more food until the stuff in the fridge is gone.  And we're going to be eating lots of bread and jam to get those jars out of there as well.

Yesterday, WE got back from an overnight trip down to the military facility that does the intense physical to see if recruits are able to join up.  He passed with flying colors and is very relieved.  He was afraid they's find something we didn't know about and ruin his chances for the military.  Being in the Marines has been his after graduation plan for years and he would have had to rethink his whole future.  Anyway, he passed, so his plans are still intact unless he does something stupid and gets in trouble with the law, but his head is screwed on pretty tight, so I don't foresee any problems.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

On with life

Thanks so much for the sympathies Tonya and Afton, Dave will be missed by many people.  We were at the funeral yesterday and the family shared Dave stories during the service and it made me wish we'd known him better.  His family looked exhausted yesterday, so many people had gone through the receiving line, WE was at the wake on Thursday and said it was solid people for over 6 hours straight and the funeral service started late yesterday because the pre-funeral receiving line was so long.  WE was there last night and said that after it was all over, the family went outside and lit sparklers and released a couple of those paper hot air balloons into the sky and just celebrated life.  Now it's time for the healing to begin.

The heat wave we've been having finally broke last night.  We'd had steady temps in the high 80's-low 90's since Monday along with high humidity.  Around 8 last night, I went outside and noticed the temps had dropped to 73, so I shut off the a/c, opened the windows and enjoyed the fresh air.  When I let the chickens out at 6 this morning, the thermometer was at 64 degrees, what a huge difference.  I've got laundry waving in the breeze and the kids outside doing garden and lawn work, it's so nice not being stuck inside the house.

Yesterday morning, I heard motorcycles outside and saw that 2 Harley's were pulling into our driveway.  I didn't recognize either driver, they were both scruffy-looking guys with the bushy beards, leather Harley vests, motorcycle boots, the whole deal and I was wondering what the heck a mini motorcycle gang was doing in my driveway so I went outside to find out.  This big guy gets off his hog and says:  Do you own the property all the way to the county road?  I told him no, that was our neighbors and he explained.  He said, "We were driving along and I noticed all the martens flying around, I've never seen so many in one spot. I love martens.  Then I noticed the marten houses, those are the nicest I've ever seen and I wanted to talk to the person who put them up."  He then told me about the marten houses he had at his house and the houses he put up.  So yeah, the big hairy motorcycle guy stopped by because he was a bird lover.  You never know who you're going to meet.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Still kind of numb

Friday night at the neighborhood party, hubs and I had a great time with our friends, Dave and Connie, who also happen  to be WE's girlfriend's parents.  Initially, WE had a fit that we were socializing with them, but finally we convinced him that we had lots more interesting things to talk about than him and his girlfriend.  Like I said, we had a really fun time and I'm doubly glad that we stayed out and socialized with them a little later than we usually stay out because on Sunday morning, Dave was killed in a car accident.  He'd been taking the hay off from the field next to our house and was taking a load to their farm when his truck collided with a semi.  I saw the ambulance go by before we left for church and said a little prayer for whoever it was coming for, but didn't realize it was for a friend until we got home from church and Connie came over to tell us what happened.  She needed us to get WE's girlfriend, who was taking a class in Green Bay and hadn't heard the news yet.  Someone needed to get her and her car home, because she was not going to be in any shape to drive.  I was so glad we could do something to help, because nothing makes you feel more helpless than a death.

To let you know what kind of a guy Dave was, here's a story.  We were at their house on Sunday night and they were looking for pictures for the memorial.  Somebody said, here's a 'hands on the van' picture!  Dave was a 30 year old bachelor dairy farmer when he met Connie, who was divorced with 3 little girls - her youngest was only 2.    Dave realized he was no longer a single guy and had a wife and 3 little girls to take care of, so he decided they needed a mini-van.  If you ever want to be rich, don't go into small family dairy farming, the money to up and buy a mini-van just isn't there.  Around that time, a local car dealership had a contest, whoever could keep their hand on a mini-van the longest would get a 2 year free lease on it.  Dave stood there with his hand on the van for 105 hours, then his ankles started swelling and he could no longer waste time touching a van because he was falling behind in his farm work, so he finally gave in.  He'd figured he could have beat the only contestant left besides him, but it just wasn't worth it for only a 2 year lease and would have been a different story if he could have won the stupid thing, besides, there was a farm to take care of and who knows how long the other guy was going to hang on.  Anyway, I thought that was an incredibly sweet story about a man who was willing to stand for 105 hours by a van to try to take care of his brand-new, instant family.  I'm sure he'd tell you today that it was worth every minute. Though they weren't his children by birth, those were his girls, especially WE's girlfriend, who is the youngest of the 3.  My heart just broke in a million pieces when I heard her sobbing in the backseat of my van and say "he was my daddy."  The world lost a great man.

All day Sunday, cars were driving real slow past our house and I was trying to figure out what was going on.  Finally, I realized that it was the neighbors checking Dave's fields to see if he got the hay off before he died or if they family would need some help.  It was already all taken off, Dave died at 8:30 am, when we got home from church before noon, there were about 3 tractors out in the field finishing up the haying.  All neighbors, pitching in to help.  Death doesn't matter in farming, the cows still need to be milked and the hay still needs to be taken up before it rains, and a farming community knows this and pitches in to help their own.  On the way home from church, before we even knew about Dave, WE and I were discussing living in a small town and how everyone knows everyone else's business.  Sometimes, that's not such a bad thing.  As soon as word got out about the troubles, our community was there to help.  Small town life does have its blessings.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

big booms!

Last night, if anyone had wanted to find my house, I simply would have told them to follow the fireworks.  It was our neighbor's annual 4th of July party last night and the fireworks were wow...just wow.  The sons in the family set them up on either side of the far end of the lake so they're coming from both directions and we sit further back and enjoy the show.  So do a lot of our neighbors who weren't invited to the party, they all had parties of their own.  There's also all the other random people in town who know the party is going on and park along our road and sit in their cars to watch the show.  I know last year Ken told us he spent $10 grand on the fireworks and I know he had to have spent at least that much on them this year as well.  It was pretty spectacular.  He also supplies a beer wagon, pop and juice and a huge pot of booyah and tons of chips and pretzels, so we were all well fed and hydrated as well.  Hubs and I parked our butts around the bonfire with some friends and ended up being about the last of the crowd to leave.  Of course, we all had the advantage of living nearby, so we didn't have much of a drive, a lot of the guests were family friends who lived in and around Green Bay, so they had a half hour or more drive ahead of them to get home.  This party is one of the few times when our house is actually near the center of things and within easy walking distance, usually, we're the ones with the long drive to get anywhere.

In other excitement, we're opening up the crawlspace under our house to make our basement bigger.  The original part of our house was built with a full sized (though really dirty and creepy) basement underneath, but the other half of our house was a later addition (meaning it's only about 100 years old instead of 150) and only has a crawlspace beneath it.  I really need more space to store my canned food, right now, it's scattered all over the house - beans and corn in the basement, canning supplies in one of the outbuildings, apple pie filling in the closet in the office, cans of beans in the laundry room, you get the picture.  It would really be nice to have most of my food, as well as my canning supplies, all in the same spot.  So we've got WE and two of his buddies making us a root cellar.  It's a big messy project.  First they had to jackhammer their way through a chunk of the 2 foot thick rock wall foundation, then start digging out the dirt.  They're filling 5 gallon buckets and hauling them up the outside cellar stairs -thank goodness we have those, there's no way they'd get them up the narrow, creaky inside set of stairs to the basement.  We're hoping to get maybe a 10 or 12 foot room out of the deal, then it's going to get floor to ceiling shelves and a couple of nice bins to store onions, potatoes and carrots.  It's going to be a pioneer woman's dream, people.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Down to 3 kids

Angel #1 is in the air back to California right now.  We had a wonderful time with all of the kids home, but it was over much much too quickly.  Angel #2 goes back on Tuesday, then it's a return to what passes for normal here.

Sunday morning we picked #1 up at the airport and headed back to town to watch the parade.  Angel #4 and her friend were on one of the floats and made sure they got WE and his friends good with their super soakers as their float went past.  After the parade, we enjoyed the music and watched the horse pulls for a while.  The boys went to a pool party and discovered that despite #1's military training, brothers vs brothers chicken fighting will usually be won by the brothers that are both well over 6 ft tall and over 200 lbs.  Our two shorties didn't stand a chance.  At 5ft 10, WE is the acknowledged giant of our household.

Monday night we had a small party for some friends and family celebrating the return of the children. I just made a huge batch of taco fixings and sat back and enjoyed our company.  Though I tried, I couldn't convince any of our guests to take home one of the kittens.

Tuesday was family picture day.  I'm willing to guess that our photographer never had a request for zombie poses before.  Angel #2 rocks at being a zombie, Angel #1...not so much.  We saw a small preview and it looks like we're going to get some great pictures out of the deal, even the zombie ones.  As long as we were out there, we had her do WE's senior pictures as well. Might as well kill all those birds with one stone, imo.

We went to the rodeo on Thursday night.  WE's girlfriend had never been to a rodeo before, so she got an education.  It was a lot of fun, though no one managed to stick on a bull for the required 8 seconds.  I tell you, those guys are nuts.  When the boys were little, they both had rodeo aspirations, I'm glad they outgrew those dreams.  Angel #1 was going to be a bull rider and WE,of course, had plans to be a bull fighter - not the Spanish kind, but the guys that go out there in clown make-up and distract the bulls away from the fallen cowboys.

Yesterday, hubs and I went to a neighborhood party while the kids headed out to Bay Beach, our local amusement park and today, hubs and the girls are back at the rodeo while WE and I are going to hang around home and get things ready for some overnight company we're having tomorrow night.  I also have to make something for a potluck we're invited to tomorrow after church.

So yeah, we've had a busy week.  Oh, and I also managed to can up about 21 pints of strawberry jam somewhere in there as well.  Time goes so fast when you're busy.