Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fair Week and being 41

So I started out the week lamenting how expecting a baby at 41, battling heat and too much to do has been a challenge and frankly depressing. Things seem to be a little better. I still marvel at how far away anything is on the floor and how difficult it is to go up and down the stairs. Perhaps I mowed too much lawn last week and it has taken a week to recover. I don't know. My brain and body seem not to be able to cope as well this time around. I know I HAVE frustrated my family some as they are used to me being able to do and keep up with most things around here even if it is not house beautiful all the time. At least the family is accustomed to my making dinner and it not being too much of a challenge. Then they might find me taking a nap and everyone seems to be stunned. I never take naps and neither have I needed to while expecting. How odd.

I am excited the fair is just about done. The piggies are gone and the broilers go through the auction tomorrow. I will buy them back if they are not bid high enough. Then, we will clean up our area and head for home!!!!! Yay! The end of the fair always holds a glimmer of hope that we might start having a routine again and get on top of things here at our house a little more. Fair week means basically running back and forth to the fair to take care of this and that and attend stuff, and then the house gets somewhat out of control. I did find the strength to actually cook a decent meal tonight and the family noticed a difference and gobbled it down.

Charley and the kids are at a poorly attended Chuck Wick's concert this evening. I am sure Anna is enjoying it. Charley likes his stuff too. The younger crowd stayed home with me and watched some dvds and basically did nothing. That too was nice.

The kids during fair week usually lose their minds and seem not to remember the most simple tasks as they are pretty distracted by the chaos of life. I can easily say I can't take much more of this insanity and Charley has been stunned as well, but I remember that this has happened for the last several years so I guess we should just expect this.

If the baby comes a week early there are four more weeks left and at the latest six weeks. Cecilia is the only one who came early and Anna is the only one who came late. I notice this is the girls who didn't pay attention to their due dates. We shall see, but that does not leave a lot of time for MY nesting. There shouldn't be too many distractions to cause us to leave the house but the home front and the garden WILL keep us busy.

Oh, the kids did pretty good at the fair but they are not too worked up about it either. We are waiting to see how Anna's project did at the State Fair. There does not seem to be any results posted yet.

Off to my bed/sleep magnet.......

Friday, July 25, 2008

Drive throughs

I stopped by the ATM this morning and politely pulled around the building a second time since I could not find my card quickly. How nice of me. Then when it was my turn I discovered that I could not reach the key pad from my 15 passenger van driver's window which has not been a problem in the past or at least not in the most recent stomach was hindering me. So I had to pull around again as my body could not get out between the door and the machine. Sigh. I did my cute little depositing and get cash thing but apparently this was taking too long for the person in the car who was now behind so they started honking at me!!!!! I couldn't believe it. Was it not obvious what the problem was? And do we ever use our imagination when we are mad at the people in front of us for taking longer than we think is appropriate? So I pulled myself back into the van after they kept on honking. I was FINALLY done (we are challenged to get to the bank at all.....) I honked back once.........dear husband upon hearing this tale mentioned a particular scene in Fried Green Tomatoes. TaWanda! Ah Christian Love! Oh bother my stomach inconveniences others. Can you believe the gall of me to think I could try to keep living like everyone else. I should have just lumbered into the bank right?

Oh, this incident reminds of the time I was expecting Stefan and stupidly parked in a spot for expectant mothers. I came back out of the store and someone had parked too close to my driver's side and so......I had to crawl through the passenger side to be able to get in the car. Perhaps the signs should include some courteous note about allowing room for clearance. I have not tried this type of parking spot again.........

Wascally Wabbits

It's war. They ate most of our beans and I have NEVER had this happen. We have discussed all the various ways we can get rid of the pests and unfortunately that will require even more work. I thought we would be busy canning beans this weekend but instead we will be digging trenches. We could never consider relaxing or anything. A gun has crossed my mind but as I understand it there are rabbit hunting seasons and this may be against the law. I can't shoot a gun anyway but it does make the cartoon Bugs Bunny make a lot more sense. Bunnies are cute but perhaps that is their best defense. They are PESTS! You hear that Cindy????? Pests!!!! We have worked our tails off keeping this garden and to lose produce to a cute little bunny is more than one expecting mother can handle or let's see that is really TWO expecting mothers. Disgusting.

I think I need a nap.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"The View" is updated

Finally I have a current picture up. I last updated the view in April I believe. Yes, it is very much like a jungle in the yard. I barely keep up with the mowing. Last night I mowed the lawn so that maybe I would be SOOO tired that I would sleep at night. That didn't work. I may still mow a patch only so I don't get too terribly behind. Here is a picture of the much talked about garden.

When I mow the lawn I see a lot of work everywhere. There is still some tree refuse to pick up out of the field, some little person collected walnuts in a plastic bag where they have been cooking for who knows how long by a tree, poison ivy invades everywhere, creeping myrtle creeps, poke berries litter the fence, brush grows faster than imaginable in the less traveled fields and I try not to have an anxiety attack.

I still need to take current pictures of this years pigs and chickens. The chickens were weighing in at eight pounds earlier this week which is really very good. Perhaps I already mentioned that.

Anna and Erik get home tomorrow. We have been disjointed as a family for weeks and it will seem odd to have everyone back together again. I am sure it will take awhile for them

to recover. Sigh. Every day during fair week can be a challenge.

Quick News Flash

Anna's dress is going to the State Fair. Yay! She needed some good news as it has been a trying week for her (not here - somewhere else). So no surprise I am very proud of her and won't mention to other fair sewers that she only took a few evenings to make her regency gown entry. (Trying not to gloat).

I am sure she will be happy to get home to her own beddy bye and eat some Horner food.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


So there is a little more than six weeks left till baby and tasks on my list are frankly barely touched. We have gotten some done. I think I am at the point of survival and making sure I put up and use the veges that are coming from the garden. The onslaught is soon to come. I stayed up with my garden pal weeding last night till the sun went down. We got a lot done and the garden still looks great. She came back this morning in the rain and did some more. Charley would not let me go out and help which I felt sort of badly about but I am not sure I could help too much. We have had wonderful rain today so we should see a boost in production soon. The salad greens are still doing ok and are not bitter.

I love talking in the garden with my garden pal. The craziest things are talked about out there in the midst of sweat and hard work. It is far more fun to work together with someone else on such a project than going it alone. We review with each other the successes and failings between bugs and strange sudden deaths of plants and work together to figure out solutions. The crazy talk keeps us in good humor and helps us to perservere. I have no doubt that families worked together on such projects as a norm years ago and this sort of work bonded them as well. I can't say my boys are always bonding when taking care of chickens and such together but honestly digging, hoeing and hard work in general has always floated my boat and to have a kindred spirit willing to put forth this sort of work together has been quite a blessing for us both I think.

The fair is a week away and projects are turned in all next week. We are acccepting that some projects just won't get completed this year and we are NOT going to kill ourselves trying to make things work just so the leaders don't fuss at us. I will have to perfect the goofy smile if confronted by a bee leader who wants to know why our tired family did not have a project to turn in. Ignore, ignore, ignore....... Some are SOO into the fair and SOOO hung up on the competiveness that I have really aquired a distaste for it as there are many more important things to me than this whole fair thing. I know the kids learn things but my kids have learned because of themselves and their interests have been turning to other things as the years go by. Next years fair is in early July so we will have to consider what all else is going on before we commit to animal projects next year.

I better get to bed. The hoeing and digging left me restless and not sleeping well last night so hopefully sleep will cooperate tonight.

Chicken tractors

Some reader from a far who I have never met asked my mother what in the world a chicken tractor was so I am going try find an old picture of one. They are basically a cage with a lid that gets moved once a day to fresh grass and fresh bugs for the chickens health and protection from the critters. The picture on the bottom is of a turkey tractor actually and is pretty old. Matthew raised his first batch of 25 turkeys when he was 7 years old. He went out there faithfully and the birds were HUGE by the time they left the farm. You can see how huge they were and how 7 Matthew was from the picture. That was at least five years ago.

The picture on top is of Erik, ten at the time, pulling the tractor forward. I have done this on occasion, but not this year. We chose not to raise turkeys this year so we just have chickens. They still are doing remarkably well. I hope that helps the readers know what a chicken/turkey tractor is.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I forgot

My dear husband proved his eccentric ways last evening. He heard that a large tree had come down around the corner from our house. I am the one who told him. I clearly was not thinking when I told the man with the wood fetish that there was a large tree down within easy reach and free for the picking. So as usual while I was out and about for the evening my dear hubby gets it in his head to do the crazy.

He made a wood sled several years ago to pull logs in the winter time. The main part of the trunk of this tree was quite large and he had no way to lift it onto the trailer so........he somehow pulled it onto the sled since it is lower to the ground. Then, the crazy guy drug the trunk on this sled back to our house. People along the way were staring and apparently using their cell phones to call the police with their 'concern' for this lunatic. So when Charley got back to our house a policeman pulled in behind him. Mr. Policeman was smirking and asked him a few questions and relayed people's concern for his safety. Sigh. The log or sled had been putting out sparks as it was drug around. I suppose he could have told the policeman that he was from the mountains of Pennsylvania and that would have explained a lot. My husband will do anything for a log I think. He is now plotting what he is going to do with it.

Other times when I have left he has felled many a tree, some which nearly hit the house and definitely shook the house. I should never leave him home alone unsupervised........I never worry too much about the kids. Erik was laughing and taking great pleasure in telling me this tale when I got home with Matthew from Scouts. He will be telling dad stories till he dies. "I remember when dad did thus and such......." or "who needs Paul Bunyan, let me tell you about what my dad did one time."

Never a dull moment around here.......

Life on the farm

It has been a busy week here in Horner land. I am not sure where to begin. Since I last posted we have been cherry picking, weed pulling, house cleaning, you name it. The kids have been kept a lot busier with their pigs, which require walking and washing to prepare for the fair. They should have started this a while ago. The piggies are a little on the lazy side but still jump around with glee when I mow the lawn near their penned in area. The wash stand had rotted so the boys had to build a new one.

We started with 60 broilers and thought we might actually make it through with all 60 but a coon came to call the other night and got one. This is maddening as the coon only kills it and can't eat it through the fence in their chicken tractors. Then Sunday night I was awakened to the cries of another chicken. Fortunately it was not killed and but Charley and I did not sleep a whole lot as every little noise sounded like an alarm of near chicken death. Last night the boys put boards around the outside of each tractor and there were no mishaps last night. Phew. The chickens are big and I am hoping they all make it till their vacation trip to Walkerton in a few weeks. There is nothing quite like these birds for dinner any time of year.

The garden still looks fantastic. The kids and our gardening partner mom weeded the extra patch yesterday morning. Veges are mostly weed free. I need to go set the sprinkler going on some areas. The new area was the old chicken yard so it is actually twice the size in plants for being planted at the same time or later than the other patch. We must spread manure in the old patch this fall. We have bell peppers and Hungarian wax peppers coming on. I am happy to be eating more from the garden and less from the store. We need to inventory our canning stuff so we are not left panicked.

This afternoon the boys need to get into the hives and get their fair honey. Hopefully there is some. The swarm hive is doing very well by the looks of things.

Tomorrow we are going blueberry picking. The price per pound has gone up but so has everything else. I suppose it is true that homemade yummies will be much tastier than the expensive kind we pick up at the store. I love blueberry and cherry anything.

I should go relieve Matthew from the Stefan......

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

They're mine, all mine.....

So it is back to school time in the school supply arena and I have decided this year to not give them ANY school supplies. The supplies will be kept in my area for those kids who drift my way and their ticket out of my room will be to return the pencils to MY supply container. I haven't had brand new school supplies in a LONG time. They are sort of fun to see in all their newness in MY container. Lots of glue, maybe over 200 pencils (one penny for eight!) and the colored pencils are the best. I admit that when I bought some Dover coloring books to use in my art class that I bought a Cassatt book for me to color in my leisure all of my own. How silly. The rest will be used to give copies of certain artists through out the school year to color.

I am being beckoned

Monday, July 07, 2008


So 'the list' has finally had its effect. At least an effect that makes me very happy. Every baby has inspired nesting on the part of my dear husband. We have a room or project for just about every baby. Anna's was our previous home and ended up being the detached garage and making the windows work. Then we sold it. Erik's daddy nesting project was the roof - four layers of shingles including the original cedar shakes. Matthew's daddy project was.....I'm trying to remember........probably the living room and the dining room. Martin's was "The Big Dig" in the basement. Cecilia's were the cabinets in the basement. Benjamin's was most likely planting 350 trees but I am not positive of that. Stefan's project was definitely some of the trim work. Baby ? has multiple projects. So far we have the bookshelves in the basement hallway finished after seven years and ready to receive organized books in a few days. It took till baby number 8 for the daddy dear to discover the joy of hiring someone else to do some of the grunt work and so 'Santa Claus' (Steve the biker guy) is coming to plaster our stairway walls, and the kitchen walls and ceiling! I am so proud of dear husband. It took a lot of humble pie and plain old not having enough hours in the day to succumb to hiring this out. Or is it that we can afford to do that now and couldn't before???? Then......we are planning a painting party to attack the rooms that will need fresh paint and the rooms that need repainted. He is hanging the doors in the basement hallway as well. Yay!!!!!!!

He has BIT the NESTING BUG!!!!! Awwwwwww!!!!!! My nesting includes watching training dvd's on writing and literary analysis and helping dd get organized for applications etc. There is also that lovely garden which we are now enjoying broccoli and greens so far. I am also the cheer leader and organizer of tasks handed out to the Incredibles otherwise known as my children. Sigh.

I am about to turn into a pumpkin so better post.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Getting it all done/large families

I still think the FlyLady is a good thing but any dream of the house being put together until our youngest is maybe 5 is sort of a 'looking forward to heaven' sort of dream. Beginning the eighth month is bringing back memories of a few other babies who after they were born I was amazed at the mere ability to move easily again. I can't remember which baby it was but I think it was Matthew where I found this absolutely amazing. I find bending over quite the chore as well as standing still, like during church or while pealing and chopping veges, to be equally challenging. So in trying to conquer and divide I have many choices to make. My two oldest children have their own projects and aspirations to work on now-a-days and of course I have my own goals. They would really like to help with those goals too but then there are all the every day stuff that still takes time to attend to that takes away from practicing or reading or blacksmith work or whatever the case may be. So juggling and trying to be satisfied with what got done today still can puzzle me. I am not despairing or anything but this large family dynamic is really mind boggling at times.

Then there is the dear husband who I have told that I will steer completely clear of as far as expectations so he can work on the two things that are most needed around here. He has been diligently working on the vestment cabinet for church and I think can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This project sorely needs to be completed as it is quite remarkable the vestments don't just collapse in a heap as it is now. The other project would be to work on the trim work all over the house. Argh. That too is a huge project. He will feel burned out and then little bambino will probably be here and school will need to begin.

I guess homeschooling and having a large family are part of the dynamic and the only answer is to keep muddling. I am not upset at anyone in the family or otherwise it is just thinking through what is reasonable and what to do next. What I need to do next honestly is to waddle down to the vege garden and get some lettuce and peas for a 4th of July salad. Zucchini will be attacking soon! Not soon enough.

I do think that it would be cool to compile a Lutheran large family tips/forget the guilt guidebook for all the young folk who are endeavoring on this path that we are now 20 plus years into. Perhaps it might spare some pain somewhere and I would hope to warn the homeschooling crowd of the dangers of discussing these struggles with fundamentalists who wallow in guilt messages from not being perfect housekeepers and mothers and wives. Another blog has addressed the myriad of questions that they would love answered on this topic so perhaps that could become the book.

Off to the garden. Try hard not to visualize.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Approximately 62 days

or something like that......till baby. So we plod along on our projects and trying to have some fun and relaxation every once and awhile. The young folks or rather the older kids, successfully extruded the books from the basement hallway bookshelves. They sorted them and now I need to have someone begin tackling cleaning and staining the shelves so that area shapes up soon. The toys are sort of sorted and back under lock and key.

We spent the day at a friends lake cottage with a few extra children in tow to relieve their poor mommy. She was beaming when I picked them up and beaming when I dropped them back off. Perhaps I will do this more often. Fun was had by EVERYONE. I am myself feeling a lot like a lumbering elephant but did manage to take Benjamin canoeing and then kept tabs on the kids who got tired or cold and came up to the picnic area. I do so appreciate the help of the third families mom and kids with corralling the little ones and entertaining them. The mom and I had some opportunity to exchange horror stories of losing our children at various places (such fond memories) and the lack of empathy there is for any parent who might have the same thing happen to them. I mean losing in the "where did they go" sort of way. No, we didn't lose anyone at the lake for more than 30 seconds. Some little people run fast and find it witty to run behind barriers laughing at us. No biggie.

This evening we had the simple cop out meal of pancakes and bacon with some sort of fruit. I am glad the fresh ground whole wheat relieves my guilt of not knowing what is for dinner. The kids had made pigs of themselves at the lake so I knew they weren't starving.

It is late and tomorrow there are picnics to be had. I better get my rest so I can tackle potato salad in the morning.