We've been busy. We haven't done a thing it seems, but we've been tied up busy. Go figure.
Got the milker back in business. Dang if Dewey didn't make a surprise, one day "service call" and visit after 3 weeks and he tinkered with the milker and finally that little set screw on the pulsator. We had been making adjustments to it after the tear-down and rebuild when it was off, but hadn't gone enough. Sheesh if that knowledge wasn't annoying as all get out!
Either way, we're milking high on the...the cow...again and my wrists and hands are very appreciative :)
Dewey took a 1 day visit, like I said. He came in Tuesday night and spent all day Wednesday with us and left out (albeit late) Thursday morning. I don't know what's worse...not seeing him at all for so long, or only having a single day. It was super hard on everyone for him to leave again.
You know, when Jennifer was little, she'd wake up before Dewey left for work in the morning and she'd stand there just looking at him and he'd tell her he'd see her later and she'd stare up at him and real quietly say "daddy, stay home with me today" and bingo, it was all over. He couldn't leave then. He hated having her come down the stairs before he made it out the door because he knew he'd never leave.
Emily hasn't attained that sweet-talking skill yet I guess. She smacked his leg after she hugged him and told him goodbye....she was sleeping in mom's bed again!
We went for a walk this week. My children will never leave the property for a walk with me again. The weather has been incredibly nice lately, and hunting season is coming - in fact, squirrel season opens this Saturday. There aren't going to be anymore walks in the woods around here. Too many numb-nuts out on 4-wheelers with high powered shootin' sticks. I won't even walk my own property painted blaze orange from head to toe.
However, a weekday in pre-season and I figured we were good to go. We penned up the dogs and off we went thru the property here, across the creek bed and over the neighbors' timber to the edge of the rise to the ridge. About half an hour into our trek, here come the dogs we penned up. Good trackers, I suppose...and the shepherd is a great snaker...she stays ahead of you on a trail and if she sees or senses something you *will not* get around her. When she goes alert, you just wait her out. If she lays her ears back and stands every hair on end, you make tracks back the way you came or she'll lay you out to get you away. The lab...well, he just wanted to find every bit of water he could so he could flop around in it. He's a bit dense at times...we should have named him Baby Huey.
So, we walked...and walked...up along 2 ridges and never could see a thing off the mountain. Our side here is just all heavy timber and ravines you could lose a 2 story house down in. We walked a good 2 hours up there on wash-outs and finally some horse trails when we hit hunting club lands. We came off the mountain on a deserted gravel back road we *thought* we knew. Go up and around the bend past the grain silo's and home, slick as pie.
Down the road, around one bend, you had another 12 miles of stuff, a gorgeous walk, sure, but long and too too far from our actual home. Down the other direction, you had a bend in the road and a cut-off road and a blessed 4 miles to our home.
You know where this is going. Go ahead...guess...which bend did we take?
Momma needs a course in orienteering.
When we passed several back hills houses, and left a section of nice gravel road for a steep incline of junky sand gravel, and saw the sign changing us to a road number *in the next county* we got the idea. We went across the bluff/ridge of our mountain, crossed onto the next mountain, came off on the opposite side of said mountain, and then went father out of the way by taking the wrong bend in the road. With 8 children, 2 dogs being led by the boys' belts (we were in 'populated' space now supposedly, and the lab will not tolerate strangers or unknown dogs near the children, we didn't have leads because we didn't plan to bring the dogs along, so belts it was), the .22 and a couple of feed buckets full of quart jars....
with this we popped out of a trail in the woods from up on the mountain....
we looked like a mountain family comin' to town to sell our 'shine.
(note to self: next time, dress better, carry koolaid because it's not clear liquid in quart jars...or get a dang map and compass!)
So, some ::ahem:: 16+ miles, a wonderful friend in a small pick up truck, and 4 1/2 hours later, we arrived at home. And no one will ever take a woodland stroll with momma again.
What else have we done? Hmmm....the children picked a space in the woods to the west of the pond and started clearing away the sweet gum patch there. They want to build a "cabin" of about 10x10, but Dewey says go a little bit larger so they can really use it. They started cutting the smaller sweet gums yesterday. Most of these aren't even the size of my arm, so easily taken down with the axe or hatchet. Emily was very upset I wouldn't let her have the small hatchet to help. She told me it was her size. Yeah...maybe so, but isn't there a rule about a 4yo chopping trees down...with a sharpened hatchet?
Sweet gums are useless trees. Great tall straight trees, albeit on the slender side, and strong as steel...when standing naturally in the ground. Once cut, they deteriorate unreasonably fast :( I don't know if they'll even be worth breaking down to cook stove lengths for kindling. We could put them to use as temporary wattle fencing inside the barn, to divide goat pens this winter for kidding I suppose, but typically, you're lucky to get a season of use from them.
We'll map out their little cabin and get these trees cleared while the weather is nice. We're also fencing another cleared area and walking Miss Judy down there during the day to enjoy the grasses. After she's eaten it back, we'll move the goats out there as we'll be including a good portion of wooded underbrush as well they can clean up for us. I think we'll need a couple more rolls of fence, though.
Ok, on FB we had a discussion about my going out last night to get pizza for a late dinner. It garnered several comments and PMs. You'd have thought I'd committed some capital crime or something :( I was told I'm wasteful, and the kicker that stirred up my hackles was how I obviously didn't really want my husband home like I claim, because buying pizza was not being a good steward of the income I am supposedly trying to save and be frugal with.
LOL...all I can say is some of ya'll really need to get a life :)
A bought pizza or two (we got 4 mediums, truth be told) is not going to ensure my husband's working out of state future. The world isn't going to stop turning. We are not going to go on welfare because of it.
The folks who balk at these things with me are my more Plain living friends. Sure, we could have made our own pizzas, but the day got ahead of us and it was 7pm. That's late for youngers to be doing dinner, at least in this family. We simply got busy having fun and family time and pretty soon it was much later than I realized. Yes, the olders could have and should have gotten dinner going as they were sitting here at the house and the youngers and I were in the woods, but they didn't. Life keeps going.
We don't fit in with Plain folks. We don't fit in with the general population around us either. We're fish out of water no matter where we are, really. I like that. With our more decidedly Plain friends, we have differences they like to point out and chastise us for....store-bought pizza is one thing (and for the record, if my children get another take out meal in the next 6 month it will be a huge deal...we don't eat out...this was not a normal thing). We also differ with our Plain friends because we spend money on curriculum they wouldn't buy, we homeschool ourselves, not in a group together, we have a milk machine and aren't hand-milking all the time, my children sometimes wear skirts and shirts and not always Plain clothing, we use our washing machine and our dryer (and waaay too often...) and the list goes on. We were even shunned by a group of Plain friends a few years back because we dared to allow our eldest to wear a bright blue 'hawaiian print' shirt to a gathering. Oh, and he mentioned a friend he talks to a lot who happens to be a girl. :::gasp! horror! shame!:::
Last time I checked - and, btw, I'm usually shunned because I don't quote Scripture enough - I didn't see any of these things even hinted at in my Bible as being Salvation makers or breakers. We have a milker, it was a huge, incredible blessing to us, and my carpal tunnel wrists and arthritis hands sing praises at least 2 times a day for it. I don't think God is shaking His Head in disgust because I use it and don't adhere to some warped code of Plain judgmental lifestyle rules. Same as I don't see Him sending down wrath and destruction because we ordered pizza.
Seriously, We dropped the ball yesterday and I got pizza for dinner. Yes, Jacob will be a handful today because of too many additives in that pizza binge I'm sure, but please...how about we change things up a bit and talk about all the things YOU do wrong in a day and how I can, lovingly of course, set your path to right walking again so we can fellowship? I'd be willing to do that for you, you know. I would. Friend, just let me tell you about how you should be and need to be living to truly be 'right' .... I want to help you.