Saturday, May 31, 2014

Just a Few Pics

I have decided I probably should start watermarking the photos that I put on my blog.  Not that they are all that wonderful, but they are all taken by me rather than 'borrowed' or used from some other source, and once in a while some come out really good.  Which is totally a fluke, I assure you, as I don't really know what I'm doing when it come to professional type photography.  Nevertheless, it's those dang good ones that I don't really want someone else stealing and claiming as their own (and possibly printing out for sale).  This all started a few months ago when I saw, online, a picture that looked amazingly identical to one DD2 had taken a few years ago of one of our barn cats.  That got me to thinking how easily the things we put online can be 'taken' from us and used maybe in a manner we wouldn't want them to be.  So, from here on out my readers will have to put up with watermarks.

Here are a couple of pictures I took in the last week that I like, and have attempted to watermark.

I don't know, I'm thinking the watermark needs to be bigger to be effective (and not easily cropped off), but I don't really want to detract from the picture, because then I'm less apt to post pictures at all.  I personally hate looking through large watermarks on photos, because my eye (and brain) is then drawn more to the words than the image.

blossoms on the flowering crabapple by the garden

Song sparrow taking a mouthful of caterpillars to its nest

Friday, May 30, 2014

Challenge #21: Mend Something

I confess, my mending basket is overflowing, and some of the items in there one or the other of my daughters has outgrown since the day she put it into the basket to be repaired.  Oops.  Definitely time for me to grab that basket, my needles and thread, the button jar, and actually make those items in the basket wearable again.  Not to mention the fact that DS2 brought me a flannel shirt down from the U.P. that needs two buttons sewn back on, before August, when his summer internship in Detroit ends and he gladly heads back to the semi-wilderness of the Keweenaw Peninsula for his last year of college.

How about you?  Do you have a mending basket?  Or just a shirt that is missing a button?  A pair of shorts from last summer that needs a button or zipper replaced before you can wear them this season?  A skirt with a slight tear that you can fix, that will be hidden in the fullness of the skirt thus making it wearable to work or church again?

Maybe you don't have any clothing in need of mending. (How jealous am I!!) What about a broken knick-knack or a mug that lost it's handle and is awaiting some super glue?  Or a favorite book with loose pages in need of some book tape?  A toy that needs a minor repair before being chucked back into the toy box?

Whatever it is, now's the time to give it a little attention and TLC to return it to serviceable condition.  Shouldn't take you very long.  Well, unless it's a big basket like mine, that has a few year's worth of accumulation of 'quick fixes' to deal with.

What are you waiting for? (What am I waiting for?) Mend something!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Like a Duck to Water

The weather really warmed up in the past week.  Feels like summer now (as a side note, this is the reason I wait until Memorial Day to wash and put away all our winter gear--any time prior to the last week of May there is still the possibility of frost and cold, chilly days).  

Since the ducklings and goslings are getting so big, with the warm hot weather, DD2 was begging me to let her put them in some water so they could go for their first swim.

She found an empty plastic tote that she thought would be big enough, and begged me some more.  Being as the outdoor temperature was above eighty degrees, I gave in, as long as she dried the birds and put them back in the brooder where they could get under the heat lamp if they were chilly.

First were the ducklings.  They loved it, paddling around and dipping their beaks in the water.

happy wet face

Next were the goslings, who filled the tote a bit more than the ducklings did.  Their lack of space didn't stop them from diving under the water repeatedly, getting themselves all wet.

I guess once our new waterfowl are old enough to move out of the brooder, we will have to buy a wading pool for their pen.

They also liked walking around in the grass and the flowerbed.

"which way do we go?"

running to follow DD2 across the yard

preening to fluff up their damp down

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Quilt For Toad

Some of my readers might remember back in March when I announced that I am expecting a new grandbaby and had recently found out that it is a boy.  Ever since late October, when DS1 called me with the news that he and K2 were expecting again, I had planned to make a quilt for the baby.  As early as November, I started picking up fabrics (tractor, camo, Jesus fish) to use in the quilt no matter what gender the baby turned out to be.  As soon as I got confirmation that he is a him, not a her, I finished my fabric shopping (blue, the mudder trucks, the blaze orange) so that I could get cracking on that quilt.

Well, it took a bit longer to finish than I expected, but the quilt is now done. Toad, as I have taken to thinking of him, has a quilt awaiting his impending arrival in the next six weeks or so.

He also has his official moniker for this blog :0), which involves a long story about the name his parents have chosen for him and how his father--DS1--was unable to make the hard 'C'/'K' ("kkk") sound for most of the first four years of life, instead saying "ttt" as the first sound of his first name and that of DS2.

Anyway, to recap, here are the fabrics I had chosen for Toad's quilt:

And here is the newly completed quilt:

For the backing, I used the blaze orange that is the thin inner border on the front of the quilt.  In this next picture, the wind caught a corner of the quilt and flipped it, showing the backing.

Now I anxiously await the day that dear little baby boy arrives, when I can wrap him in his quilt, and hold him in my arms.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Reclaimed Wood

At this little place here, we have quite a few things that are made from wood we have "reclaimed".  That is the current catch-phrase, anyway.  Used to be we just called it making stuff from things that were still useful.

Like the deck my parents removed from their house ten or so years ago.  I had helped my dad build that deck in my middle school years, and it had given my parents a good twenty years of service when they decided to replace it.  Some of the deck boards were warped, but with the exception of the pilings and some of the joists, just about all of the lumber was still solid.  So, when it was offered to us, we gladly drove our trailer over, loaded up all the pieces of a 24'x12' deck, and hauled it home.

Once home, the lumber was sorted and stacked by size, and through the next couple of years it became several useful items:

a 'two-seater' chair that sits by our fire ring

a 'single' chair that sits by the fire

the picnic table that resides on our deck

cellar shelves

more cellar shelves

All those useful items!  And our only cost was the time and gas it took to go get the wood, plus a few nails and/or screws that DH all ready had leftover from previous projects (like building the house and barn at this little place here). The picnic table was built about 2005, both chairs were built by DS1 and DS2 in the spring of 2007.  Twenty-some years as a deck, several years stacked up waiting to be reused, and seven to nine more years of sitting outside year round, and the wood is still nice and solid.  I can see that picnic table and those chairs still being in use a decade from now. (Plus, that table is so heavy the only way it is ever coming down off our deck is in pieces!)

Some of our reclaimed wood was delivered to us, saving us even the cost of gas to bring it to this little place here.  Many of my garden stakes had former lives as door or window trim in the home of a family we go to church with.  The trim was replaced when they remodeled their home, and knowing we heat with wood, the husband brought a truckload of old trim work over one summer evening.  DH instantly recognized it's potential as sturdy garden stakes, and cut it into appropriate lengths for it's new assignment rather than burning it.

Another batch of garden stakes arrived to this little place here in the form of deck railing from a golf course clubhouse that our friend the junk man was hired to haul off.  DH took apart the railing, removed the balusters, used the long boards for some other project, and put all the balusters in my bin of garden stakes.

Still more stakes, all my extra long ones (6'+) were sticker boards from when we had some oak logs milled into boards to make the trim work for our own house.  They served several years holding the layers of oak boards apart for good airflow while drying, then once the boards were used, the 1"x 1" dimension sticker boards became extra tall stakes that are mostly used for marking the seedling trees we have planted all around this little place here.  The weeds and grass (or field crops) can grow and grow, three, four, six feet high, and we can still see the stakes marking the little trees, keeping those trees safe from the mower, or the combine.  Being oak, they last for years and years out in the elements, until the trees have grown tall enough to be easily visible no matter what grows up around them.

Back in the garden, the posts that DH set a few weeks ago for my new grape trellis are also wood we got for free.  They were, I believe, part of the golf course decking delivery from the junk man.  Or maybe a different load he brought us that year.  Anyway, they came from lumber that was otherwise destined for the landfill, and instead ended up neatly sorted and stacked at this little place here, ready for reuse.

DH's latest project using reclaimed wood (some more of that golf course decking from a few years ago), was to build a pergola for the entrance to the garden.  Really, he needed a trellis for the hops vine that is planted to one side of the entrance (that last summer completely engulfed a nearby young sugar maple).  So he decided to kill two birds with one stone: give the hops something to climb, while dressing up the opening in the rock wall where we enter the garden.

It's kind of funny.  That pergola went up on Sunday.  In the first 24 hours of it's existence, it received compliments from three different people, two of which wanted to know where we got it!  They never would have guessed it was made from wood someone else threw away if we hadn't told them.

Old wood doesn't have to take up space in a landfill.  It doesn't have to rot away in some junk pile stuffed in the corner of someone's acreage.  It can be quite useful if in the right hands.  Hands that are willing to take the time to inspect it, save out the solid pieces, sort and stack them by dimension, and dream up a new purpose for a pre-used hunk of wood.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Challenge #20: Cook With Fire

This should be an easy one, since it is Memorial Day weekend, typically one of the great cooking out weekends of the year.

Your challenge is to cook something outside.  Not in your kitchen.  On a grill, either gas or charcoal, or over coals made with real wood.  It can be as easy as roasting a few hot dogs, or as fancy as making grilled pizza or grilling some sort of dessert.  That is up to you.

The possibilities are endless.  At this little place here we will be eating lots of stuff cooked with fire in the next few days.  Hot dogs, hamburgers, some grilled potatoes, possibly some other veggies on the grill (onions, mushrooms, etc), maybe some venison shish kebabs; my menu for the next three days is still coming together.

Be creative.  If you don't have a grill of your own, do you live where you could make a small campfire and cook on that?  What about going to a park that has those cast iron grills up on stands?  We've used those many times through the years while traveling with the kids; we've grilled in parks in Florida, South Dakota, Illinois, Montana, Kentucky . . . Don't automatically say you can't cook with fire just because you live in an apartment, or don't own a grill.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I am a Chicken Racist

I have never in my life claimed to be politically correct.  I try not to purposely make comments that are in attack of other people, or their beliefs.  But that doesn't mean I am PC.  Far from it.  I was just taught that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.  So as to not be hurtful, I often just keep my mouth shut.  I do have opinions on pretty much every issue under the sun, and those opinions are often strong.

But this post isn't about abortion, or gay rights, or women's rights, or animal rights, or equal opportunity employment, or equal opportunity education, or any of that stuff.

This post is about a realization I had this week.  I realized that I am a Chicken Racist.

It's true.  I am.  I am unabashedly a Chicken Racist.

I have had many different breeds of chickens in the last eleven years.  After the first year or two, I purposely started getting chicks of breeds I currently didn't have in my flock, to make it easier at culling time to tell the old hens from the young ones.  I have had Leghorns, and Rocks of every color, Buff Orpingtons, Brahmas, Easter Eggers, Dominiques, Speckled Sussex, Hamburgs, Silver Penciled Wyandottes and Gold Penciled Wyandottes, Lakenvelders, Anconas, ISA Browns, New Hampshire Reds and breeds I cannot even recall at the moment.

Some of those breeds I vowed I would never own again, due to their stupidity.  They were the flightiest damn chickens, constantly nervous and panicking at the slightest little thing.  Sometimes doing themselves bodily harm flying into walls in a blind panic just because I entered the coop to refill their waterer.

Other breeds could have cared less if a tornado came and whipped them up into the sky, coop and all.  In fact, one time a big storm did blow over my portable shelter that the chicks live in between leaving the brooder and moving into the big coop with the grown ups.  That particular batch of chicks happily wandered around the vicinity of their upside down home until I came and righted it, rounded them up (fairly easily, as herding chickens goes), and closed them safely behind chicken wire again.

Anyway, the revelation I had which led me to confessing my bigotry towards certain chickens, is that all the white egg laying chickens I've had (as opposed to those that lay brown eggs or green/blue eggs) have been the dumb-ass neurotic ones.  It didn't matter which breed they were, be it Leghorn or Ancona or Lakenvelder or. . . whatever else I've had.  If it laid white eggs, it was inferior in common sense to a chicken that laid eggs with colored shells.

So, there you have it.  I don't like chickens that lay white eggs.  I'm a Chicken Racist.  A hater.  Now the PC society can brand me as a horrible person.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Visitor in the Marsh

A great blue heron stopped by to do a little frog hunting in the flooded out spot around the marsh.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Peepers, Beepers, Quacks, and Honkers

Headcount at this little place here went up last week.  Quite exponentially.  We are now feeding thirty-one more mouths than we were last Monday.

Back in March, I decided to order this year's replacement pullets from the hatchery instead of getting them at the feed store.  In kind of a devil-may-care moment, I decided that I didn't feel like individually choosing and ordering which breeds of layers I wanted and I went with the hatchery special called the "Homesteader's Delight" in which the hatchery sends you 10 brown egg laying pullet chicks of their choice.  I opted to have them arrive during the week of May 12th, when surely the weather would be warm enough to set up the brooder in the garage.

When May 12th (last Monday) rolled around, I got the brooder set up, checked my heat lamps, and washed out the chick waterer and feeder.  Now all I needed was food for the expected newly hatched travelers.

On the 13th, I went to the feed store to purchase chick starter to have on hand for my expected shipment of poultry.  While there, I saw a newly arrived batch of Freedom Ranger broiler chicks, and I decided, on the spot, that I was going to get a dozen of them.  Oh, and then in the next brooder (aka water tank) I spotted some Welsummer chicks.  Welsummers were one of the breeds I considered before opting to let the hatchery choose my 2014 egg layer chicks.  So I told the feed store sales guy to grab me a couple Welsummers and stick them into the box he'd just put my dozen Freedom Ranger chicken nuggets on legs.

Freedom Rangers and Welsummers
(Welsummers have the darker brown feathers with brown stripe on head and back)

Now I had fourteen little chicks in the brooder, which is just a small pen of 2x4's and chicken wire that DS1 made during his high school days. Adding in a second batch would make for cramped quarters before they were feathered out enough to move outdoors. Well, I would just set up our dog crate and use that, plus my extra heat lamp, for the chickies coming by mail.  

Speaking of which. . . I was expecting an email from the hatchery letting me know my order had hatched and was on it's way.  Didn't get an email Tuesday.  Didn't get an email Wednesday. Then, on Thursday, I had the miserable stomach crud of the apocalypse starting about 1:00 A.M.  And wouldn't you know, right about noon, I got a call from the post office saying my chick order had arrived, and could I please come ASAP to pick it up?

Um, no, I could not.  I was in bed, and the furthest I'd made it from bed in the previous 11 hours was to the toilet and back (15 feet?) about ten bazillion times with nasty stuff coming out one end of me or the other.  Getting in the truck and driving to the post office was definitely out of the question.  I wasn't even sure I was still currently alive, or going to be alive, by the time the post office closed that day.

So I did what any sicker than a dog farmer whose husband was out of state on a business trip would do:  I texted my 16yo daughter at school, and told her she had to go to the post office immediately after school ended for the day, and get my chick order!! 

Which actually worked out great, because I'd let her in on a secret a few days earlier.  The Homesteader's Delight I'd ordered was not just 10 randomly chosen brown egg layer chicks.  It was also 2 turkey poults, 2 ducklings, and 2 goslings.  Breeds of the hatchery's choice, of course.  It was more like a surprise package than a poultry order.  DD2 had been asking for years for ducks, so she was more than happy to go retrieve the noisy box of fuzz balls on legs from the post office the very minute school got out that day.

Once home with her package, she set them up in their brooder fashioned out of our dog crate (an extra large dog crate has proved to be a very handy thing to have).  Since then, she has been trying to guess which breeds we have.  

Looks like the hatchery sent us an extra turkey poult, as we have one who looks to be a midget white, and two that are definitely bronze.  The ducks appear to be pekin, but we are not sure of the goslings yet.  They are definitely one of the gray breeds: Chinese, African, or Toulouse.  As for the chicks, as they feather out, we will be able to better tell.  Right now they all appear to be either white or buff types.

an inverted frisbee makes a handy chick feeder in a pinch

For the next few weeks, my garage is alive with peeps (the chicks), beep-beeps (the turkey poults), and the soft little noises of the ducklings and goslings that have not yet deepened into quacks and honks.  Meanwhile, DD2 and I need to get busy constructing a pen and housing for the ducks and geese when they are ready to move outdoors.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Coolest Thing!

Earlier this week, before I came down with the miserable stomach crud of the apocalypse, I had a really cool day at the horse farm. Four of the horses there, including two of my own, needed to have their teeth floated.  When asked about it, the long-time vet for the horse farm informed me that he no longer was floating teeth, and that he could refer us (the farm owner and I) to a number of equine dentists.  We thanked him, and then called the vet that the farm sometimes uses for emergencies (a vet that is actually much closer, but wasn't in business 30-some years ago when the owner of the horse farm became a client of her regular vet).  That vet clinic sent a vet out on Tuesday, and that vet and I had a very nice chat during the hour and a half he spent floating teeth.

You see, he lives just up the road from me; we are a mile apart with only fields and woods, and no other houses, between us.  His older sons attended school with DS2 and DD1, and his youngest son is only a grade behind DD2.  Sure, we talked about our kids, but we also talked deer management, as both his family and mine (and a handful of others around our 'neighborhood' of several square miles and not very many homes) try to selectively harvest deer in the fall rather than willy-nilly shooting at any brown thing that moves.  We also talked about some of the common trespassers in the neighborhood during hunting season, and their lack of a deer management program. . .

That, however wasn't the most enjoyable part of holding the horses while they had their teeth floated.  I've held horses for floating many times through the almost thirty years that I have owned or otherwise been involved with horses on pretty much a daily basis.  This time, was different.  What a difference technology makes, LOL!

Traditionally teeth are checked by having someone hold the horse while you grab it's tongue, hold the tongue out one side of the mouth (so the horse won't close it's mouth, biting it's own tongue) then put your hand in the mouth to feel the edges of the teeth with your fingertips.  Always a chance of getting your fingers bitten if you lose hold of that tongue--it's slippery and the horse is trying to wiggle it out of your grasp. In my 4-H days I had a friend who got the tip of one finger bitten off while she was checking her horse's teeth.

Then, in the old days, to float teeth you--if you are the vet that is--would take a float, which looks like a short rasp blade on a long handle with an elbow in it, and start filing away at the high spots on the teeth needing work done.  Very labor intensive, and not especially able to do any fine tuning.  The horses don't especially like to hold still for this, even while tranquilized.  It takes quite a while, a whole lot of stopping and starting, usually a lot of sweating and sometimes some bad language.

The new way of floating teeth is to put a speculum in the horse's mouth to hold the jaws apart, which enables you to do a much better examination of the teeth with your fingers (and virtually no chance of getting bitten).  The horses seemed to like resting their upper and lower front teeth on the speculum a whole lot more than having their tongues cranked sideways and held out of their mouths.

Floats have been replaced with 'drills' that look more like an electric hedge trimmer, minus the teeth on the edges, with about a 2" round knobby movable disc in the center of the top of the 'blade'  on the furthest end (the end that goes in the horse's mouth).  It works much like a dentist's drill, grinding down the tooth to be smooth and even.  Not so labor intensive, and much more accurate than the floats.

What I found so interesting, more than the power tool now used to 'float' teeth, was how with the use of the speculum, the vet can really get a good look at what all needed to be adjusted in the bite before going to work at grinding down those high spots on the teeth.  The vet, after he'd taken a look and a feel at each horse, asked if I wanted to see (with eyes and fingers) what was going on in each mouth.

Did I?!?  Boy howdy, I did!  I got the opportunity, for the first time ever, to really check out the inside of a horse's mouth with my fingers.  Not just the teeth closest to the bar of the mouth where the bit goes, but aaaaaallllllll the way back to the furthest molars.  My arm was literally up to my elbow in a horse's mouth, and I was totally stoked!  On a few of the oldest horses, I could feel where they were missing a molar or two (horses lose their teeth as they get really elderly).  On all the horses who were having their teeth done that day I could feel the hooks, ridges, and ramps the vet was talking about needing to file down.  He even let me have a feel before and after doing one of the horses so I could 'see' the difference that floating makes.

It was the coolest thing.  For the rest of the day, I couldn't stop telling people about it.  Good thing I only really saw people who know me best and understand I wasn't a total lunatic raving on about having my arm in a horse's mouth feeling hooks on teeth.  :0)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Challenge #19: Take a Day Off

This challenge is brought to you by the nasty stomach virus I had yesterday which has left me totally wiped out.  I normally have an iron stomach; the last time I threw up was in 1997 while pregnant for DD2.  So to throw up every 20-30 minutes for six hours straight, well, it was beyond nasty.

Anyway, without going into too many more disgusting details, this week's challenge is to Take A Day Off.

Please don't wait until a really awful illness forces you too.  Everyone needs to take a day, now and then, to just slow down and breathe.  Maybe you're in the mood for a movie marathon.  Maybe there's a book that's been calling your name.  Maybe there is a knitting project you'd like to spend more time on.

Or maybe you just want to go do something different.  Go to the beach.  Go hiking on a nature trail. Go garage saleing.  Spend a day just letting your whims dictate your schedule (or letting your level of strength dictate what you do; after not eating for 24 hours straight to make sure my stomach was good and empty, I'm not feeling all that zippy today).

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Spring Storm

Pictures I took yesterday, over the course of about an hour and a half.  The story of a storm building, hitting, and moving past, as told in pictures of the big oak tree out in the field at this little place here.

beautiful blue sky with fluffy white clouds

no more blue, no more fluff!

suddenly, everything went dark

and the rain started

the heavens opened

after fifteen minutes, the rain stopped

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Time Out For Knitting

In the midst of this crazy season that is spring planting, as well as planning and shopping in preparation to build fences and stalls to finally bring my horses home to this little place here, I have been taking a little time out to do some knitting.  Knitting is a relaxing activity; it's repetitiousness is soothing to an active mind (a mind which is juggling quotes on wood fence posts versus t-posts and non-climb mesh versus electric horse tape, discounts by the pallet of posts and how many posts are in a pallet. . . ) while at the same time accomplishing something amidst the relaxation.  Plus, it's portable.  I can knit on the living room couch during a downpour.  I can knit in a chair out by the campfire on a warm Saturday evening.  I can knit on a stool at the kitchen island while keeping an eye on dinner simmering.  I can knit sitting on the retaining wall behind the house while grilling a venison loin.

Currently, I have two knitting projects on the needles.  On my circulars, I have a cowl in the works for DD1's birthday in July.  I am making it in her favorite color, and in the pattern Milanese Loop from Ravelry.  (

The second project is a pair of socks on size 1 dpn's.  I just couldn't hold off starting another pair of socks any longer (I hadn't knit socks since finishing a pair in late March/early April).  My local yarn shop is having a Sock of the Month Club from April to October, and I just could not resist getting in on their May sock.

It's is the pattern called Circle Socks, also from Ravelry (, and I am working it in Plymouth Yarn's Neon Now in colorway 003.

I am loving the way the circles form themselves in the leg of the sock.  It looks so complicated, but it is really just knitting six stitches, slipping a few stitches, knitting six stitches, slipping a few stitches, around and around, with 3 rows of purling between each set of knit & slip rounds.

I am almost done with the leg of the first sock, and from there on out it is just form the heel, then knit, knit, knit, with no slips or purls.  I started this sock on Thursday, May 8th, so as you can see, it works up pretty fast.  The pattern says it fits a women's small/medium size foot.  Once this pair is finished, I will decide who they are for.  I wear the smallest shoe size at this little place here.  If they are looser on my foot than I like, they will probably become a birthday present for DD2 this fall (she loves blues and is totally drooling over the neon yarn).  If they fit me well, they're mine all mine!  And if they are a bit tight on me, I will give them to my mother, who wears a women's small.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Kids and Storms

Spring brings the thunderstorm season back to this little place here.  And with it, some observations on little kids and fear of storms.

There was a day last week when DD1 came home from her job at the preschool and told me that one of the 4-year-olds had brought head phones to school with him that day.  Not the kind of head phones you use to listen to music, but the kind some people wear while mowing the lawn, to drown out the noise of the machinery.  He had brought them in because the weather forecast was for storms, and he is afraid of thunderstorms.  So when it is stormy, he wears the headphones.

Which led DD1 to ask me "Were we ever afraid of storms when we were little?"

To which I replied "No.  Well, you, personally, tried to be, but I taught you not to."

Let me explain.  DD1 was the only one of my four kids to ever show fear of storms.  And I honestly blame that on her aunt.  Because it was after being babysat by that aunt during a stormy afternoon, that DD1 showed fear the next time a storm rolled in.  (This aunt is, still today, very leery of storms, but at least has stopped calling DH and I to tell us we should go to our basement every time the weatherman says a 'severe' thunderstorm is in the area.)

So how did I teach DD1 (and the rest of my kids) not to fear storms?  By making storms seem interesting more than fearsome.  When it thundered, I would say "Wow!  That was loud!"  and tell them how when I was a little girl my grandmother would say that thunder was God bowling up in heaven and the more thunder there was, the better bowling game He was having.  And then, of course, being a stickler for truth, I explained that the sound really was made by cold air and hot air crashing together, which made the storm.

When there was lightning, we would count how long before you could hear thunder and then they would 'know' how far away the storm was from us.  If the storm wasn't upon us yet, but I could see one brewing, I would take them outside(if we weren't all ready)  and we'd watch the cloud formations and I'd talk about how thunderheads are shaped and how to recognize them.  We'd also feel and smell the wind (to this day, DS1 amazes people with his ability to 'smell' rain or snow in the air hours before it arrives).

When the storm would be overhead, we'd go in the house, and watch out the windows.  We'd still watch the clouds and how the trees moved in the wind.  We'd watch the lightning and call out what color it was.  Lightning isn't just a white flash; it can be yellow, or blue, or green or even pink.  When it would thunder hard enough to shake the house, we'd all look at each other and say "that was a good one!"

That isn't to say we don't take precautions.  If you know the sky, and you know what to look for, you can tell a run of the mill, no worries storm from one that can spew tornadoes.  Swirling clouds are a clue.  So are clouds with pointy bottoms. So is a flat yellow sky in the distance and animals behaving strangely.  Those are times to take cover in the basement.   Calmly, without hysterics.  Little kids can be taught this too.

Knowledge is power, and power removes fear.  Teach a child the science and wonders of storms and you will empower them to not be afraid.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This

Today was so warm and sunny my seedlings got to go outside for about six hours.

Some people might not like dandelions, but in my opinion their bright yellow heads look cheerful.

The woods have taken on a greenish haze.

My bleeding heart plant is in bloom.

Nothing smells better than laundry dried in the wind and the sunshine.

The tulips are loving the sunshine too.

Orange ones are my favorite.  
(And hard to find, took me years of searching to find bulbs for a truly orange tulip).

Of course, the yellow ones are pretty too.

These burgundy ones look nice against the foundation of the house.

There is a robin's nest tucked into one of the pine trees near the garden.

Goat milk from a friend.
First time we had ever tried it--it is delicious!
Now I need some goats at this little place here.  :0)

One of the pear trees has started to bloom.

My best cherry tree is blooming too.