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Live Richly, Live Free. Embrace All The Blessings From Our Creator and Marvel in His Creation.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

the notorious kitty cuddler

Here are some cute pictures from last week. One is of the boys, who fell asleep watching tv together. The other one is of Moonbeam with our zany cat, "Puma Kitty". Though I've never been a cat person, I have to admit, this one has grown on me. From killing pack rats 1/3 his size, to his persistent obsession with snuggling Moonbeam, he's becoming a part of the family.
It's been a fun week. On Monday, after doing school with the kids, I got out in the kayak for a good long time. I went just a little bit further than I've ever gone before and explored a new part of the river. That evening, my husband took me out to eat. We ate at the only open place there is - the local lodge. It was fun, but unusual. We were the only patrons there. Just a few weeks ago, the main mercantile/restaurant/bar mysteriously closed. Nobody knows why or for how long. Its a mystery to all the locals. Some of them who go there every night don't know what to do with their evenings. At any rate, nobody knows how long it will be closed for. Its very strange driving through the "town" part and there is nothing open.
Today I enjoyed a really nice morning. After devotions with the kids, and getting them started on school, I ran a couple of miles with my friend, Mist. We started running a new route through the woods. There are logs down on the trail and its a bit of an obstacle course. After that, we savored a cup of her good coffee and some zucchini chocolate chip bread. She had a whole bag of clothes she had gone through for me and I had fun browsing through them.
On Friday I am having a "Chic Flick Night". That should be fun. I love the different personalities of my friends. Its such a unique diversity seeing us all together. They are coming to hang out with me "in my hour of need", since my husband will be gone that night. Yes, I am learning that contrary to my prior belief, I am not "male dependant". I actually can survive without my husband for a day or two! He had been gone on business the past couple of weekends. I wanted to go with him, but he is convinced that I spend too much money to be trusted all weekend in a big city. I'm not sure why he thinks this - possibly because I spend too much money!! I never mean to, it just happens. Last time he let me go along, I wanted a motel with a swimming pool. I wanted to eat at the "Hu Hot" which ended up costing us over $80. Then I accidentally backed into a cement pillar and munched the back of our Suburban. I could on, but I would only incriminate myself further. I'm just not one of those women who are good at being thrifty. I'm more of the kicking and screaming temper tantrum throwing type wives. Ok, I'm a reformed kicking and screaming temper tantrum throwing wife. Anyway, a chic flick night will be a good distraction ;-) I can't get into too much trouble doing that..... or can I?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Exciting Movie of "Super Catman Verses A Mad Scientist"

Act One

Act Two

Act Three

The Dysfunctional Gardner and The Famous Frog Farm

Here is my friend, Skippy Jon Jenn's flower. I have graced her with the screen name of "Skippy Jon Jenn" in honor of my favorite character "Skippy Jon Jones". This is a great honor, to be bestowed only upon someone worthy of such a title. Isn't it lovely?! The flower I mean. How come she can grow cool stuff like that?! I am still traumatized from trying to grow Sunflowers. One day I had budding artist Sunflowers, the next, they were beheaded. That fateful morning, I went out to admire them and all that was left was carnage. Yes, a terrorist had struck. Ok, it was a deer, but that's beside the point. It was very traumatic. There was a few that were just coming up. It gave me hope, but as soon as they had heads, they too were devoured. All that was left were stems. The stems grew and grew. It was like I was being haunted by Sunflower ghosts. oooohhhhhhhh........
These kinds of eerie things happen to me when I try to garden. As you may be aware, I am "garden challenged", or maybe a better title would be "a dysfunctional green thumb". Whatever you want to call it, this disability came upon me at an early age. I can still remember it as if it was yesterday. I told my grandma (who raised me) that I was going out to make a garden. She assigned me a spot in the yard. First, I dug all the grass out. Then I lined the area with bricks. Then I planted my first seeds. I was so excited! I waited.......
An unspecified amount of time later, I happened to check on my garden to discover it had become a pond! Yes, my garden was a pond. My grandma was a bit of a conniving woman at times. No, she didn't sabotage the garden. She had instructed (or maybe encouraged) one of my aunts to put in drainage pipes from our yard into the neighbors. Since we got a lot of run off from the other side, she figured that the neighbors trees could soak it up. It was done under the cover of night (or maybe during the week when they weren't there). Two small, inconspicuous, drains were buried under our drive way and opened at the fence line. Unfortunately, the neighbor discovered them and plugged them. With the not so secret drainage pipes plugged, the yard flooded again. Since my garden was lower than the grass line, it felt obligated to entertain the water.
I had no choice but to turn my garden into a "frog farm" much to my grandma's displeasure. Yes, I figured since I couldn't garden, I could farm frogs. I dug out the garden spot deeper. Then I added more water. Then I went down the road to a near by swamp and caught all the frogs I could find. I even added some tad pole larvae. I put up a sign that said "Famous Frog Farm". This success was short in nature. Due in part to my inability to control where the frogs hopped. Also, because the sun came out and dried up the water. One lone frog lived there. My grandma was convinced it would die if I didn't rescue it. With disgust, I captured the frog and returned it. My garden spot lay desolate. I was only to discover it would be the first in a string of failed gardening attempts.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Inspiring Friends

After a busy day of home school, processing apples, and dealing with a fussy teether, I escaped to the river. The sky was pure blue and the sun was shining. Because of the water being transparent, aquatic plant and animal life could be observed in an almost breath taking manner. I watched a little fish swimming, marveled in a forest of underwater growth and sighed in ecstasy. Feeling so inspired, I began to think about the things and people who inspire me. I have a lot of cool friends. So many of the people that I hang around with have the ability to inspire me.
Take my friend "Forest Forager" for example. She's a cool mom who home schools her big brood. Her kids are mega educated and they eat ultra healthy! She's kind of like a super model for womanly virtue. She and her family just learned a cool new skill. They are going out into the lakes and harvesting wild rice. Then they work together to process it. Any time that I have a home school question, she's only a phone call away.
Then there's my friend, Goat Girl. She hates gossip. Say you're with a bunch of gals and Goat Girl is there. You're chatting about silly things. Then somebody brings up the neighbor and their problem. She'll tell us something like "maybe you should be spending more time praying for them and less time gossiping about them." Whoever was talking puts their head down totally humbled. I know better than to even gossip with good intentions around her. It sounds harsh, but its been really good for me. Consequently, she's somebody I can count on that will never talk behind my back.
Goat Girl has a Mega Green Thumb. She's hands down the best gardner I know. The other day she asked me why I had fruit on trays in my window. I lamented to her that the plums I picked just wouldn't soften. She picked one up, studied it and smiled. "That's because they're crab apples" she informed me. Yeah, I'm that domestically challenged. Good thing I have people like her around!!
Even my daughter is pretty virtuous. When I left home, I didn't know how to fry hamburger. I survived on Kraft mac n' cheese, fast food and breakfast cereal. Dishes sat in my sink for a week or more until my boyfriend's mom would stop by for a visit. She'd wash them, then a few weeks later, she'd find another disaster. Yeah, not the kind of material you hope for in a daughter in law. Anyway, my daughter is incredible. She can cook pretty much anything. She can do any house hold chores. She can manage the baby. She can balance school along with all of that. She is, by the way, an incredible student. She's the child who, at age 4, begged me to teach her to read. She taught herself phonics from a children's toy. Her school assignments are impeccable. Yeah, you guessed it, I cheated my way through school. My daughter never ceases to impress and amaze me. In her free time, she has organized her own ministry outreaches, is teaching herself to play the guitar, reads and does other research on the Internet.
Later on that evening, my husband took me to a beautiful spot over looking some mountains and we watched the sunset together. It was such a memorable experience. He gave me just a small glimpse into his world and I saw a side of him that I haven't seen for a long time. I was reminded what an incredible man that he really is. Rather than pursue money or other pleasures, he has chosen to focus on being a good father and husband. Despite being a brilliant man who has succeeded in many areas, he's given up many opportunities to stay true to what he believes in. He's the most solid, dependable, faithful person I've ever met. Yet, in an instant, he will change if he feels that God is leading him in a different direction. In today's world where so many men have fallen short in character and morals, my husband is a man of strength, steadfast, and honor.
Today, remember the friends and family who inspire you and celebrate their qualities and strengths. Embrace the Gift of God in them and grow.

Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Working Mom Blues and The Case of The Squirmy Scuba Boy

As the clock ticked on this morning, it sounded as if it was nagging me. I drug myself out of bed, taking care not to wake the sleeping baby who was taking up residence in the center of our bed. Though I had gotten up a decent time, I couldn't seem to cook breakfast, get myself and the kids ready and have a nice dish ready for the church pot luck in the allotted time. As the time drew near to leave I began to panic. Despite my ever going vivid imagination, I couldn't think of one good (and fast) dish to bring. Just as my husband was reasoning with me that we could just come home afterward, the light bulb went on. A happy, smiling tossed salad danced through my brain.
The thing about pot lucks is that I always eat too much. If I'd thought reasonably and ahead, I could have loaded my plate with the salad I brought and then added a few little spoons of stuff. But No, all that church service as I paced the back of the room with my baby, I was thinking carbs. I couldn't wait to pile my plate full of high fat, cardiac arch nemesis type food. Oh the agony! As I sat smiling and visiting with "the new family" over my fat laden plate, I couldn't help but contemplate the dessert table. My good friend, Sister Good Cook, brought her famous Trifle dessert. Despite having started a sugar fast, I made the corporate decision that I would have to make an exception "just this once". After all, Sister Good Cook's trifle dessert doesn't come around all that often. For some odd reason, an extra lot of the dessert seemed to come off the spoon onto my plate. Possibly this is because I put the spoon back into the dish several times and back onto my plate several times. It may have been that Sister Good Cook's serving spoon had hypnotic effects. Yes, I think it may possibly have been that Sister Good Cook's serving spoon was inherently evil. At any rate, next thing I knew, I was back visiting with "the new family" shoveling down more food that I didn't want to be eating. I often wonder what comes over me when I get in the line at a pot luck. I wish I was more like my oldest son who takes the baby and goes off to visit. The idea of eating at a pot luck disgusts him. He waits till he gets home and finds some left overs. He is thinking "gross! germs!" While I am thinking "mmm......oh mmmmm".
Upon returning home thoroughly disgusted with myself, I commenced to nap with my Moonbeam. As I slept, I may have dreamed that a trifle cake was chasing me around the church. I tried to get away, but the spoon used its hypnotic effects on me and I was cornered between the front row and the podium. As the trifle dessert neared, it began coughing up bacteria and fungus. Each pretty layer had different kinds of bugs crawling around their respective layers. Just as it was about to consume me, I turned to see that the bowl of chili was planning to fight it for me. Yes, it also was calling dibbs and wanted to consume me! I also may not have dreamed this.
At any rate, I made time for a quick run before getting ready for work. As I was walking out the door, I asked Super Catman if he wanted to ride his bike along with me. He was laying on the floor, squirming, with a plastic tote belted to his back. He had a blanket over his head and there was a fringe from the blanket in his mouth. I asked him what he was doing. "Isn't it obvious?!" He was scuba diving. The plastic tote on his back was the oxygen tank. The blanket was the water. The fringe in his mouth was the oxygen mouth piece. He was at the bottom of the sea and couldn't be bothered with such a trivial detail as a bike ride. It occurred to me that he comes by his imagination honestly.
As I ran out of my drive way, a car I didn't recognize drove by. Soon my imagination was running faster than I was. I was involved in a drive by shooting, witness protection and the mafia all in a matter of seconds. Then my unusual neighbor was being surrounded by undercover police. What made matters worse, on the way to work, traffic was stopped because of a rolled tanker truck that nobody could locate. Of course, there went my imagination again. It's a good thing that nobody, especially patients can't see inside my head. Really, its quite entertaining in there. Not necessarily textbook type material as one would hope, more like a spy novel.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What Granny Clampet and I Have in Common

What do Granny Clampet and I have in Common? Well, I imagine she rendered plenty of bear fat! I haven't, however, stooped to feeding my family crow gizzards or possum innards.
Today was rainy and overcast. My good friend, Elasta Woman was coming for a visit. Long before I even dragged myself out of bed, our eldest son, "The Archer" (pictured here), had cooked himself some breakfast and went out in search of game. I did a daily devotional with the other kids, got them started on school and hurriedly began straightening up. My husband did math with the kids as usual. Just as Elasta Woman and I had settled in with a good cup of joe and some zucchini bread in burst Archer.
Ecstatic, he told us he had "predator called" in a mammoth black bear. It's weight was likely over 300 lbs. The younger boys loved the excuse to post pone their school work until later on. With lots of hoopla, my husband and all three boys headed off to pack out the meat, fat and hide. The bear was so big that all of them together couldn't drag it out.
We try very hard not to waste anything. It would be such a travesty to me to kill such a majestic animal and not use all of it. This is why I began rendering the fat. I have actually found that rendered bear fat is great for deep fat frying, for baking, etc.. It's organic, doesn't have access to what the "city bears" do, and there are other health benefits as well. Animal fat has been used among indigenous people for centuries. Heart disease and Diabetes were not as prevalent among them until they had access to processed foods. Ok, I'll get off my soap box about that. We also eat the meat (though it has to be cooked very well) and keep the hide.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

very inspiring!!

Walking on Sunshine put up this inspiring post and i wanted to share with you all :-)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Working Mom Blues and the Plight of the Homeschooling Mother

Scattered and Rattled are never good adjectives to describe a parent. It is always best to avoid these appearances both to ones children and to the public in general. It is always best to maintain a fissad of organization, calm and intelligent demeanor, and lastly but foremost complete confidence in any and every situation at hand. Despite this great advice I am giving, I rarely find myself following it. Its a good thing that I am a great actress.
Last week was a mecca of activity. The harvest screamed dutifully from my kitchen. Had it been personified, I would have given it the character of a demanding car salesman. The kind who never lets you leave and stoops to all kinds of attention getting tactics to make the sale. My parents were here and we had a wonderful visit. I took a grueling two day Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course. All in all, my every moment was spoken for and even moments (needing to happen) that went beyond the 24 hour time period seemed to vie for my attention. I find it best in these circumstances NOT to start home schooling. I'm never at my best stressed out and disorganized. I find that my children don't learn well in an environment of my stress and anxiety and so with that in mind, I waited to start till this week.
Working a job and home schooling kids can be quite challenging. Back in the days I was working more, I could be seen arriving at work with a huge stack of books. Much of the time I could barely make it down the hall under the weight of the burdensome, towering pile. In the middle of night, during my down time or lunch break, I could be found correcting a week or more's worth of somebodies school work. This greatly pained my children in many ways. One, they didn't like starting school late and were usually up before I got home. Two, if the night was busy, it was all in vain and I had to take it again the next day! Three, there was a week or more of "remedial work" to do once the correcting got done.
These days I am grateful that I don't have to work as often. It makes life activities much more doable. Add to that my husband taking over math and you would think I could maintain functionability. Unfortunately, I still find myself doggie paddling just to breathe. Take yesterday for example :
At 4:15 I awakened to a flurry of activity. My 18 year old was already making himself breakfast. He was anxious to head for the hills. Soon he would be disappearing deep into the mountains in search of bear, elk and a grand daddy buck. He beat me to all the good leftovers, though with all the energy he would be expending, I didn't begrudge him. The little boys had slept in the living room and they were wide awake. Apparently "they couldn't take the smell" in their room and so they had vacated there. I'm not sure what exactly they are smelling, but whatever it is, it would lurk there until I can investigate today. I awakened my baby, who happened to be enjoying a peaceful slumber to get one last nursing in.
The clock seemed to take pleasure in my impending doom. How would I ever get out of the house on time? Just as the baby fell asleep, I ran into another roadblock. The crib rail had some how come off its tracks. While I was fumbling around with it in the dark, Moonbeam was aroused to my fiendish plot. She is never pleased with being put in her crib and protests rather loudly. Of course my hubby wasn't pleased about this turn of events either. The only person still peacefully sleeping was Sock Fashion Expert, who inherited my ability to sleep through a ruckus of any magnitude.
The rest of the house revolted to my departure as well. All the socks in the sock bin refused to surrender a match. The water bottle caps in the cupboard craftily hid themselves, while enjoying a chuckle at my expense. Even the food in the refrigerator refused to cooperate. By the time I headed out the door, all the house seemed to be revolting in chaos.
I worridly pondered how the school day would unfold. I had pre-assigned the children their work so they all knew what to do. I wondered how my first grader would respond to help from his brother and sister. I also wondered how Moonbeam would fare. My calm, quiet and capable husband smiled seeming anxious for me to leave. He could handle things just fine. Little was I to know that I wouldn't have time to ponder this at all until much later. The day would hold my attentions managing a busy emergency room all day long. I would also later come to discover that the only challenges the children would face would be that somebody dropped a pocket knife into the toilet and they had to problem solve to get it out. As for school, well, it all got done. The only exception was that "Artdog" thought the subject matter I gave him to teach "Catman" was boring and decided to do something else with him..
Each day I wonder how in the world I will get everything done. Each school day presents itself with new challenges all its own. Every time I work, I am faced with the dread of know that I'm really not all that smart or talented of a nurse. I have come to find peace with my inadequacies. I know I'll never be smart enough, organized enough or good enough in general to do what I do. I resolve to revel in the fact that His grace is sufficient in all situations and that He prefers to use the simple things of the world to confound the wise.

1 Corinthians 1:26-28 (King James Version)

26For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

27But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

28And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are

2 Corinthians 12:9-11 (New International Version)
9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

debriefing from my blue trauma funk

Ever had one of those days where you typed up your post and just as you added the finishing touches it disappeared with one wrong bump? That's about how this post has gone. I'm beginning to get superstitious about posting on continuing education. Its like there is some kind of conspiracy going on to keep me from this subject. Well, whoever those evil people in blog land are, they won't stop me. I'm in a blue funk today and I have nothing better to do than lie around eating chips, cookies, pie, mac n' cheese and finish this post on my blog!
It all started at 3am on Thursday morning. I awakened sporting a pouty frown. It was a triple whammy for me. 1. My mom and dad were leaving. 2. I had to participate in a grueling 2 day emergency nurse pediatric course. 3. I had neglected to read the text book prior to taking the class so I was not fully prepared.
I slunk in the door only to discover that I was in a test pilot course. I was one of 5 students with 4 instructors. Three of the instructors were testing as instructors in order to bring the course to our hospital. There would be no hiding in the back of the room for me this time. The course included food, much to my agony. Candy bars, candy and carbs roamed about the tables daring me to consume them. As picture after picture flashed on the screen I began to lose my appetite. Gruesome scenarios unfolded with graphic photos. Despite my loss of appetite, I managed to consume a months worth of junk food. Candy and candy bars in bowls continually called out my name. I also liberally helped myself to lots of fresh ground coffee. Despite my early fears that our petite, athletic emergency director would feed us a small lunch of bird type food, they proved unfounded. As she pulled out frozen pizzas, I found myself calculating how much I could politely consume. Since we were all sickened considerably by the child abuse photos just before lunch, there was a lot of left overs. Disgusted with myself, I found despite my lack of appetite, I had consumed half a pizza by myself along with everybody Else's left over cookies. Why is it that I respond to stress by eating while all the other thin, pretty women in my class do just the opposite?
In an effort to debrief from the frozen pizza, I took a brisk walk around the hospital grounds. I was amazed to discover a forgotten weedy treed area on the edge of the property. Just a few feet out of view, a small orchard of trees weighed heavily under an array of burdensome fruit. Apples, pears and plums sat rotting on the ground with no one to harvest them. I made a mental note to return there later, and went back to class feeling a little bit better.
I had considered not taking the course, but memorials of children I couldn't save live close to my heart. Memories from shallow graves in my mind became unearthed and I found myself reliving many scenarios from years gone by. Pressure to pass the series of tests at the end, disturbing photos from the course and haunted by old trauma scenes from years gone by, I wallowed further into the bowl of chocolate. By the time I drove home from the course the first day, I wondered if it would drive me to drinking! Fortunately, there was a new supply of cookies, pie and pizza at home. I embraced my baby thanking God that she is healthy and well.
The next day, it began to occur to me that I was using food as a crutch. I mentally made a note of that as I helped myself to some more camels. I had got up early, studied the material and instructed my daughter on how to do the Heimlich maneuver for the fourth time before leaving her to babysit the children. Leaving your kids to attend a class about all manner of children's emergencies is quite nerve wracking in itself. At lunch time, I again feared my petite, athletic emergency room director would feed us something healthy, but she came through with some soups, breads and more cookies. I generously helped myself to an ample supply and raced out the door with an extra cookie as I headed for the orchard with paper sacks. Harvesting the fruit was a good distraction for me. By the time we were thick into testing, I was jittery from days of coffee and crashing from my sugar high. A kind doctors wife showed me some lavender growing near the education house. I picked a big bouquet and began huffing it. I also added some to my hair hoping the aroma would help calm my nerves. I imagine I may have looked a bit odd huffing lavender aroma after each test question. Luckily, the instructors were preoccupied with being tested themselves and pretended not to notice.
After testing in triage, written and practical, I was mortified to discover that I along with everybody else had failed something. Four of the five of us had to retest the practical part. One woman was bawling. I began vigorously huffing more lavender. I couldn't possibly eat any more chocolate, ok, just one. I went off to meditate outside with my failed evaluation. It seemed impossible to jump through every hoop. I felt like there was no possible way for me to pass. Dread overwhelmed me and anger began to surface. How in the world could anybody do this? After reading where I went wrong with my evaluation no less than 5 times I returned inside to test again. This time, I some how passed it. I also earned the highest score in the class on the written test. By the time I was done, it was almost 6pm and I was more than ready to escape and flee for home.
Again, I embraced my baby with gratitude. I didn't argue about watching a Rambo movie with the boys. I thanked Sock Fashion Expert for a job well done. I watched the cheesy home commercials they had concocted. Despite experiencing stress from the course, I learned allot. Hopefully I'll never have to use the information, but if I do, I'll be glad I learned it. I'm especially grateful for the gift of 5 healthy children. Life is fragile. It doesn't last forever. These days we live in are a gift not to be squandered. I think my funk is finally coming to an end. I have a lot to do and there is no good junk food left to eat anyway ;-)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

John 3:15-17 (New King James Version) 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Naster Blaster and the Rat

Our small community hosts a variety of personalities. The remote, eccentric, rugged beauty in which we live is unique. Consequently, it compliments the remote, eccentric, rugged people who dwell within. We who dwell here are an independent, strong and spirited people. We are passionate about what we believe and passionate about this place that we have the privilege to live in. There is no place like it in all the world.
Recently, I was challenged about my belief system. I'll tell you the story in my paraphrased imagination so as not to offend anybody. My belief system is important to me. Though we now attend a community church, I will never forsake the roots from which my own faith grew.
As Naster Blaster approached, the sky became very dark. He furrowed bushy eyebrows and pointed a gnarled finger straight at me. "Heathen Woman" he bellowed! "The doctrine of your church came from the bowels of hell!" he fumed. Ok, most of that was my imagination retelling the story. "How dare you believe what you have been taught?!" "My doctrine is far superior to yours, in fact, yours is wrong. As you can see, I am much more learned than you. If you do not believe how I believe you will most certainly be banished to eternal damnation". A thick fog enveloped the scene and an eerie glow illuminated from the creepy character. My imagination would have continued on had it not been for somebody else on the scene. Somebody much more hot headed. That somebody was my temper. It's true, just ask my husband, I have a terrible temper. Disgustedly, I realized that the fog enveloping the group was actually smoke coming out of my ears. I got redder and redder and soon warning alarm sirens started sounding in the form of sighs and groans. Then another voice could be heard. "Don't do anything to attract attention" wined fear.
This war may have gone on for quite some time, and probably would have had I not decided to consult somebody less listened to. Quietly, from the back of the room a small voice spoke up. She waited her turn patiently listening to all the other voices. When she cleared her throat, however, all eyes were on her. Sister Wisdom has just that kind of reputation. When she speaks, everybody stops to hear what she has to say. From past experience, listening to her, always leads the listener down the right path. "Excuse me, but doesn't the man's inaccurate words just reaffirm what you know to be true?" I stopped and pondered that for a moment. "Yes, but he slandered what I hold to be true" I moaned. "But he ignited a passion in you to reaffirm its truth". I paused, my temper fleeing as quick as it had arrived. Suddenly I knew the truth and was no longer in the fog.

Not long ago, I picked up a cat for our legendary son, "Catman", who has wanted one for years. It's a small black kitten I got from a farm brood. We hadn't had a pet for several years. Catman, ecstatic, graced it with many titles. Eventually, he settled on "Puma Kitty". Today my husband was shocked to hear a loud squeak and find this! Puma Kitty has made a name for himself. As you can see, he's not very big, but he wasn't afraid to take on this huge pack rat! Hopefully he will inspire me (and you) not to be afraid of the adversity we face, but to challenge it with wisdom, truth and passion. Try not to uh... cough up any hair balls in the process.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Time Is Not Cooperating With Me, How Rude

Mom and Dad have been here for a week and time is flying by! I find myself wishing I could force the clock to drag its heels, but it keeps on marching steadily along. I never imagined the incredible harvest that would seemingly drop from the sky into my kitchen. First the giant squash, then the corn and apples. The same day a friend gave me a plethora of zucchini. Pineapple Sage and Thyme from the neighbor girl drying in the window and blowing with the breeze just add to the never ending kitchen activity. Then yesterday, I was given ten more boxes (that's 400-450 more pounds) of apples besides the 8 boxes (320-360 lbs) that I already had. Just to do the math, I'm going to be processing some where between 720-810 pounds of apples depending on the weight of the boxes.
Despite the sudden assault of fruits and vegetables on my kitchen, we have also enjoyed a variety of other activities. The boys carved "walking sticks" for my parents to help them navigate the rocky, hilly trails. Every day we manage to put in a hike or two. It's a good thing, too, because I can't seem to stop serving up lots of good food! The boys also took my mom (and their cat) out for a boat ride. Mom enjoyed most of it (except for the mishap getting out of the boat)!
Yesterday, we went to town and enjoyed some sight seeing. The day before that, I took Dad to some "country Gospel" type church meeting. It is NOT my style of music, but I knew my dad would like it. As I look back on the week, I find myself wondering where it went and just what else we did!
They also joke that they feel like "The Walton's Grandparents" who work right along with the family. The kids are quite elated Dad has been doing all of the dishes. He also helped them get a load of fire wood. Mom cleaned the bathrooms today and has also taken over the laundry. Today we all worked diligently on apples.
The men (my husband and eldest son) have been out all day up a mountain looking for elk. I got up with them at 4 am to make them a hearty breakfast. I had to do a double take when I came out of my bedroom, because my 18 year old was decked out in cammo and had black face paint on. I fed them, prayed with them and sent them off with a blessing. It's a good thing I have my parents here and the ton of food screaming to be processed. Worrying about them (my men) running around with bows in Lion and Grizzly country does me no good. I just have to put my trust in God, otherwise I'd have flown over the coo coo nest by now. With boyish fervor and giddy anticipation they shouldered their supplies and disappeared long before light.
Well, good night John Boy.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Moosely Visitors

Here's a photo of one of two mammoth moose who graced our views the other day not far from where we live. We had seen two others just a few weeks before that on our trip down the river. They seem to be out and about just like all of us.
The little valley that we live in is all hustle and bustle. Children returned to the little country school house, though mine will not resume home school until my mom and dad return home. For now, my kids are enjoying their last week and a half of freedom with their grandparents.
People are also storing and harvesting like crazy, probably just like you. Gardens are bursting with vegetables and many have begun to harvest the readily available wild grouse. Just yesterday, my husband and kids brought in 7 of them. I split them open, dipped them in a seasoned egg mixture, and rolled them in flour and cracker crumbs before frying them. Fueled by the delicious meal, the boys were gung ho to head out and hunt for more.
Even the food shelf seems to be bursting with harvest. They had an opportunity to get an unlimited amount of corn and apples if they could pay for the shipping. The people who use the food shelf didn't have the resources to do that, so they appealed to the community making orders available for $5 per crate as an attempt to offset the shipping cost. It was a great cause and an affordable way for everybody to have a surplus of the bounty. Our household will be very busy after tomorrows shipment comes in.
Shaggy mane mushrooms are beginning to make an appearance, another harvest in themselves. Bow season for elk and deer is just days away. Even wood cutting seems to be causing a craze. Because the forest service has shut down so many roads, people are highly competitive for wood. Everybody seems to have a "secret spot" and some locals seem to be going to crazy antics to get their winter supply in.
My biggest concern seems to be finding space in my bulging freezer.