Sunday, July 26, 2009


...The story of Barney Bug has not the happy ending I would have wished for, and I'm glad I posted about his pleasanter moments in life before the end of the day.

I will spare you the details, but suffice to say I had a serious talk with Susanna about "an eye for an eye..." and all that.

It's my opinion that dismemberment before death is a bit severe a penalty in return for a bug bite.
I think poor ol' Barney was trying to send the memo "I WANT to go home. ...NOW."

Anyway... assuming there's a place for bugs in Heaven, Barney probably has a real nice mansion. HA!
*(Presumably next door to Mattie's Cricket, Shauna) ;-P

I don't think Sue is ready for a kitten just yet.

* "Mattie" is my youngest sister. See Shauna's comment here;


On another note, if I had known Susanna when I was four years old, I might have been one nervous bug; but I sure would have been jealous of her big brothers!

This picture is not set up. I actually enjoyed spying on these two from across the yard one evening.

Zachary was weaving a flower into Susanna's hair while she held still so patiently. It was precious to watch, and warmed my heart:-)

I am so thankful for my camera to "capture" a few of these fleeting moments so I have something to jog my memory when the cobwebs take over!

What a lovely little girl! (I can't believe she belongs to ME!)

Friday, July 24, 2009

And I Shall Call Him...

"Barney, mom! It's BARNEY! The boys found him for me!!! It really IS him!"

{Barney himself}

Susanna squealed through the screen door this morning.
Upon closer inspection I reacquainted myself with the venerable Barney and received the fuller account of his return.

Susanna "found" Barney on a tree a couple months ago and promptly addopted him as her "pet". Where she got the idea I don't know, but then she's four. Four-year-olds can come up with almost anything.
I had felt a little bad for Barney because I wasn't sure how much loving a guy his size could take, but Susanna assured me that his buggy beetle shell was like armor. Sure enough he proved to be one tough bugger!

I have also had a few guilty thoughts regarding my daughter's "pet" depraved condition that she would have to resort to bestowing her affection on a tree beetle. Alas, even after dad and I "saved" the life of Barney by insisting his release that evening...
He has shown up two months later for more.
It must be a good life for a bug!

In the words of Zachary:
"Weirdly enough, mom, he seems to recognize her."

{My darling daughter: Proud pet-owner of a... Barney Beetle}

I agree with the "weirdly" part, and am impressed by how a girly-girl like my Sue isn't a bit sqeamish about picking up such a stickery-legged, long-horned critter.

Anyhow, Susanna has made a terrarium for Barney complete with Yarrow and Service Berries, which she is carrying with her everywhere today having informed (and demonstrated) to me how much he likes to eat them.

{Sue feeding Barney a Service Berry}

I'm just glad that the same forest that produces "pets" for my children, also supplies us with the necesarry fodder to keep them happy and eating well.
The price is certainly right!

And once again, the entertainment value? Priceless!

Am I Getting Braver?

I think maybe.


I know you want the night time potty update, so here it is:

I am very brave to go out to the privy by myself... at night... when my Great Guy is here.
Even if he's asleep.
Such as tonight.
I had thoughts to myself like "Am I brave?"
And then I opened the front door and heard crashing sounds in the forest beyond the meadow in front of me.
And eyes.
I saw "the eyes".
I almost thought to wake my beloved to accompany me, but then I thought "A moose."
"Only mooses thunder like a blunderbuss through the thicket where a salt lick use to be."

*(And I know "mooses" isn't correct English for the plural of moose, but I like it better and I'm the brave one telling the story here, so back to it!)

Plus, the poor fellow was probably scared out of his wits!
Amazingly I wasn't. I resumed my heroic thoughts and made the short sprint to our outhouse.
And back.
Now I will probably pay for that dash tomorrow, but...
I was pretty brave, don't you think?
And it makes a good story!

Just to be clear, if my Great Guy goes out of town again...
I will not hesitate even ONCE to use the hassock inside the house.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Because I CAN!

Today was the much anticipated maiden voyage of our Wolf stove today (first time using it).
I just had to try out my new cookie sheet because... ...because who gets to bake 35 cookies on a single sheet at once?

ME of course!!

Truth is, I am spoiled forever now. I baked a whole batch of cookies in 25 minutes and that was using only one oven.

I also tried a new bread recipe today and turned out FIVE loaves of bread in the oven at once, which only took thirty minutes to bake instead of one loaf in the barbecue for an hour. I felt like I was betraying my loyalty to the poor ol' barbie, but this new oven just beats it up one side and down the other!

It's okay. I won't blame you if you're jealous! ;-P
(But really... don't you think I earned it?)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Bit of Good Advice

*Do not wait until evening to wash the leftover oatmeal out of your pot.

Monday, July 20, 2009


...Bang! and again "Bang!"

That's what I awoke to the other morning at 6 am. Wha...?
To discover that a squirrel was harvesting pine cones from a tree - yes truly, of all the hundreds of tree's in the vicinity - right over the sheds metal roof. And he proceeded with diligence for abut an hour.
Later in the morning when we sat on our (ooh la la) upstairs porch sipping our coffee, we watched another squirrel in a tree farther out, running up into the very top branches to pick and drop pine cones. He was an industrious little fellow, and it was good entertainment to watch him scamper around that high in the tree, then head back down to collect his booty, only to take a pine cone back up into the tree to eat the nuts. It nearly wore me out watching him!
Do you know? I saw a squirrel carry a great big mushroom up a tree the other day? Didn't know squirrels ate mushrooms... unless he was using it to poison an enemy.

The other thing we had a good time watching, was our hummingbird feeder - or rather, the hummingbirds themselves.

Carolina (complete with morning hair do) watching the Hummingbird action.

You see, the Hummingbirds had just got accustomed to their sugary sweet "e how" fare, when I refilled the feeder and tried replacing the white sugar with Sucanat. Truly, I used Sucanat because I didn't want to tramp down to the basement for white sugar and the other was handy, but it did look questionable in the feeder, and my Great Guy accused me of trying to convert the poor birds to health food.
"Just give it a day..." I said, "...and I'll go back to the original recipe if they don't suck it down."
We watched.
And waited.
And finally, in the evening we spotted a couple birds brave enough to give it a try.
The first one took one sip and left. That was that.
The next brave heart took a sip, moved to the next "blossom". Then the next. And finally tried one more before leaving in disgust.
I was laughing so hard, and voicing Hummingbird-ish thoughts out loud: "What the...?! Surely she didn't fill this thing with MUD? Hmmm. It tastes like mud. Maybe somethings wrong with this flower. Let's try another. Another? Just one more try and I'm outta here! Yuck! That's terrible! What is WRONG with that flower???"

I think it's a shame they are going to miss out on all the wonderful minerals in the unrefined sweetener. I figure their mommas must have raised them on junk food, but if that's what they like to eat...
That's what they'll get. And After I cleaned the feeder out and someone was brave enough to try it again, the Hummingbird wars commenced once again.
And that's entertainment for ya!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Scattered Bits of This and That

I just love this picture!
She played such lovely tunes as she sat looking so big and sweet there on the piano bench. I have video too, but video's seem to bog down the computer. They'll have to be posted one day when we visit civilization.

Here's Olivia picking Huckleberries. We hear that it's another bumper crop this year, and so with two seasons in a row we'll be disappointed to find out what's normal!

I loaded Carolina onto my back a couple times in the last few days so I could take the children berry picking, and we really had a lot of fun! The only thing was, that I had to find bushes at waist level since bending or squatting wasn't working well for me;-)

Yesterday when we went, the boys accidentally stirred up a bee's nest and poor Olie took the brunt of it with a total of three stings - two on the face and one on her arm.
I am continually impressed with the wonders of Plantain. I chewed some up and applied it to each sting with a band aid, and by evening I couldn't even tell where the stings were! No welts, no redness, nothing.

Our wild Strawberries are ripening too, and while they'd hardly be worth gathering in any quantity, they sure are tasty and the children love to search for them on the ground under the leaves. Little red jewels, like finding treasure!

Zack is a first-rate picker. For that matter, ALL the children are great berry pickers, just that some days we feel more like eating than picking, and on other days we have some special goal in mind like making syrup, or tarts in which case hardly a berry escapes from the collectors cup!

All right, last but not least - the cream of the crop:
This is berry picking at it's best!

Zachary delivered unpicked branches to his two sisters so they could pick (and eat) berries from the comfort of their own home. Who ever would have thought of it?!
Thanks my boy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Maiden Voyage ...or "That's Why Boys Have Dads"

Back when Clayton was a wee lad, he dreamed up the idea of building a canoe. A very noble and ambitious idea, but who ever heard of "making" your own canoe? I mean... I know "people" do that sort of thing - in the magazines, that is.

Clayton's dad was more enthusiastic. He said it could be done.
That's why boys have dads.

With a curious (and admittedly skeptical) mother looking on, a pattern was found. Materials layed hold of.
And boys were thereafter to be found during late night hours in the barn working away.

Mother prayed that the "glassing" of the watercraft didn't kill too many of her men's brain cells, and secretly hoped her son wouldn't be disappointed if the project never left the four walls of that barn.

Paint chips came and went as the color of Clay's vessel was discussed and deliberated over.

Life's distractions - the inevitable villain.

Days and nights came and went.
The canoe sat sadly in a dusty corner and Clayton himself was relocated to lands where water is scarce and no barn or shop dwelt.
Ever the optimist (and his father's son in that regard) he continued to collect paint swatches and talk of the day when his canoe (yet covered in dust hundreds of miles away) would glide over cool waters.

His Momma? She hoped...

His Dad? Never once wavered from optimistically encouraging a boy and his dream.
That's why boys have dads.

Eventually a ray of light! An Idaho retreat only a couple miles from a beautiful little lake - a lake just pining for the company of a boy in a homemade canoe.
Immediately Clayton made plans, and a year after that (deciding it best to test his first launch before applying paint) his dad tied that happy canoe onto his truck, packed the whole family inside and set out for the lake.

All this to Mom's complete wonderment and delight! The maiden voyage of Clayton's canoe took place last Sunday, it's a true story and the rest is (as they say) "history".
You may enjoy seeing some of that history documented here:

Way to go my little buddy!

And that's...
why boys have dads.

Friday, July 10, 2009

End of the Day Musings

More of YOU Lord, less of me.
All I have is today. Now. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, not next month or year. Just today.
I am dead to sin and alive in Christ Jesus because I was buried with Him through baptism and resurrected a new creature! Praise YOU Lord!!!
Through all my aches, through all my emotions, through all my defeats you are here. The power of your Holy Spirit is mine to call upon, and victories (both small and great) are mine because of what Jesus did on the cross.
Help me to remember that in the chaotic moments. The still moments aren't so difficult to focus upon you, but the noise and clamor... I let them distract me. Call to me louder than the busyness calls me Lord!
I love you.


All is well on the home front. Progress clips along at the usual rate: sometimes fast and furious and other times frustratingly slow. Somehow there are always dishes. Always meals. Always hands to be washed, and dirty socks to pick up. I should be thankful for that I know.
I know it affects AJ too, because last night I heard him talking in his sleep "Susanna, Clayton, you know not to wear your shoes into the house! Look at the bottom of them - they're muddy! Go back outside."
That did not sound like restful sleep to me! ;-P

This evening as I was moving Olivia's neatly folded pair of worn overalls to another location, I kept hearing clinking sounds. "surely not..." I hoped silently, but upon closer inspection, sure enough. "Are your pockets full of rocks?" I asked, and she promptly grinned and squealed "Yeah!" (as in "but of course, mother dearest!")
Emptying the contents over the edge of the porch rail I commented to my husband below "I know I should be able to see the humor in this."

"I think that's one of those things people say we'll laugh about later"
he replied wisely and without expecting me to laugh at that moment.
According to my friend Carri in KY, if you're going to laugh later you might as well laugh now. I will try to implement that better in the future. For this evening I felt I was doing well to keep cool. I needed one more chore.
What a whiner!
Does any of this explain some of the thoughts expressed above? A thankful heart, a grateful heart... I serve HIM, and should do it without expecting recognition or thanks. More of Jesus.
More of JESUS! Less of ME. me. me. me.
If the Lord gives me breath tomorrow, I will be grateful for another chance to serve Him.

He is good.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Best Auntie EVER!

Bought nail polish...

...and found a willing party - extremely willing!

Inspection of the paint job

A complete party of toe-painting girls and an obliging Aunt.

More special time with Auntie Em.

Our week with her was too short, but wonderful anyway. Emma weathered the Montana Winter well, and was happy as a Lark to be the expert in all Winter-ish matters. The girls were in heaven to have all Em's Auntish attention and affection! As a mom and sister, it was a sweet pleasure for me to just stand back and take it all in:-)

I love you dear Emma!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Red White and Blue

We had a wonderful Fourth of July celebration with our friends Jon and Kelly, Emma, and my brother's family. For the last year we had been hearing about Jon and Kelly's small-town annual parade and other goings-on. Since it has also been Auntie Em's home town for the past year we thought we'd better attend - so we did!

Apparently people come from far and wide for this parade, and we thoroughly enjoyed gathering close with a good view and perfect proximity for catching candy.

The parade consisted mostly of ALL the available emergency vehicles in the area;

a long string of hot rods, some horses, two floats, and a host of sights that said to me "you might be a redneck if..."

Here are a few:

You might be a redneck if...

You might be a redneck if...

and you might be a redneck if...

Finally, you might be a redneck if...

...if you suddenly realize that you are having a great time being entertained by all the above!

And it is not every day you overhear: "...well, if you come over to our place we've got hot dogs and elk burgers to barbecue..."

Alas, we ate sandwiches and chips and cookies.
And lots of candy.
Because it turns out that what the town really shows up to the parade for...
is the candy;-) At least that's what MY children will be talking about for the rest of the year!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Birthday Boy!

One wrist rocket
One pair of super-neat-o goggles
One shovel
One package of confetti poppers
One huge box of Lego's
One birthday dinner with cousins
One chocolate birthday cake
One very happy birthday boy with one very blessed day!

I Have Not Been Attacked By Wild Animals...

...Unless you include the two-legged variety, and chores as animals.

No. I have fallen off the planet because my Beloved used this computer to work from home this last week, and work he did! It was wonderful to have him here. I just love having him work from home - even at the expense of blogging;-) (Pictures and goings-on when I can get my rear in gear!)

It is 4 am at the moment and I grab this solitary time because my back is in spasms. One of the companions that haunts me in my last couple pregnancies. If they're bad enough I get up and take Ibuprofen and some food just so I can get a couple more hours sleep. If you know of an alternative I'd rather try something else. I'm all ears!

Today is Zachary's 8th birthday. When I climb back into bed in a few minutes I'll probably spend a little time thinking about this day 8 years ago. There is nothing like that first first time of becoming a mom - of seeing yourself reflected in a small but real way in the face of your own child. I couldn't believe the hospital was going to take that baby home without a permit!!!

The hospital waiting room was filled up with family and some friends, and my Zachary Christian was born with a flat little nose (didn't notice at the time!). How different from the last babies with perky little noses form faster labors, and visitors that were notified AFTER baby was born.
I have been laughing because I'm 29 weeks along with this sixth little wiggle worm and have yet to have a bona fide real prenatal appointment! I have had a chance to hear his/her heart, one ultrasound, and have met the dear midwives up in Bonner's Ferry.

But Zachary...
My firstborn.
And now a real boy! No more "little" he is getting all-out BIG! that second front tooth is finally coming in; he carries his littlest sis here and there for me; fills the water jug; reads his Math assignments on his own; builds the most elaborate Lego creations...
He is just plain unwilling to stop growing for me! I've asked him to... I've asked them all. They all say the same thing - that it's impossible.
I suppose I wouldn't really want them to stop. Every age and stage is the best one. New ideas and thoughts blossoming all the time, and new opportunities to see the Lord at work in their lives as they learn to cherish one another. It is good to look back though and remember where we started:-)

I hope today is a special day for my boy!

I love you Zachary Christian - for over 8 years and counting!!!!!!! Happy Birthday:-)

All my heart,