Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A not so fun day on the farm – funny now though!



Last night we were in the pantry, planning out meals for the rest of the week, when Kiley let out a squeal. Turns out she was looking eye to eye with a mouse! Little brown eyes and a wiggly nose, sitting right on a pantry shelf! Ewww!!!!

Honestly, I have to interject here. When you live in a house that is 130 or so years old, on rural property, mice are a fact of life. There is a reason we have a couple cats in the house, and we usually only see one or so a year. The cats take good care of that. But fall is arriving and they are looking to come into warmer quarters. Ugh. We are always looking for how they got into the house and sealing it up. But, it is a fact of life. One that I really could live without.

Well, we have five pantry shelves, in a house with eight kids and a lot of activity. So the shelves tend to evolve from the organized unit I want it to be, to a cluttered, things just put on a shelf, no matter what it is, kind of thing. We were in the disorganized phase. And now there is a mouse staring at us!

The mouse ran to the back of the shelf, hiding behind things, while Kiley jumped out of the pantry and the rest of us ran to see what was the cause of the excitement. Eww. Just eww. We rapidly moved glass items off said shelf and tried putting a cat on the shelf. We even just about put the cat on top of the mouse. Obviously Bravo was a little disconcerted by our reactions and suddenly being thrust onto a shelf in the pantry we generally shoo'd him out of! He didn't even notice it! And the mouse did the smart thing and beat a retreat to go behind canned goods! Then ran down to the shelf below.

We tried putting another cat in there, who also was so distracted by all the excitement that she never realized that she had a job to do! At that point, we decided that we would have to take over.

Imagine this. Our small pantry – was probably origionally a small coat closet, with nine of us crowded around it. All in search of one little mouse.

We made a chain, passing items from the shelves out to be put on the table and warily watching for the mouse. I kept a close eye on the spot where I had last seen it. Turns out mice can really flatten themselves against stuff. We eventually found it, it jumped all over, and there was lots of noise from all of us – not our most courageous moment, and the mouse made it to the floor. With three kids on guard to make sure it didn't get out of the pantry (imagine nightmares of waking up to it in another area of the house – I don't think I would have slept for dreams of it sitting on my nightstand looking at me) we continued to empty the pantry. Eventually the last hiding spot was removed and the mouse shot across the floor and lo and behold, right down a tiny hole in the corner by the baseboards. So now we knew how it got in! That was progress, and it was out of the house – at least, that is what I am going on, so please don't break my illusion!

Whew. What a mess we now had. Little mouse had been all over our shelves and left its calling card. Ugh. Out came disinfectant. We washed EVERYTHING in there. All the shelves, walls, cans, everything that had been in the pantry was washed down. We sealed the hole with spray foam so hopefully the mouse won't be back!

So, now my pantry is well organized, very clean and I know where every little thing is.

Not how I was planning on spending my evening, but I am sure the kids will never forget it. Ugh. Funny now, but not so much then. Welcome to fall in the country.

So, if you come and visit us, you will notice that there are a couple inside cats and at least ten barn cats. This is why. No mice allowed. Our kitties are generally good mousers and that is there job. I have to admit that this morning, we were heading out to get a load of hay and Zeri was cleaning out his old pigeon cages – one of the barn cats came streaking by with a big mouse in her mouth. And me, the animal lover, praised that kitty all over. Yay for good mousers!


"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bloggy ramblings!

Just wanted to update a little, and capture a few stray thoughts.

The girls and I are still in NY state.  We will be leaving tomorrow morning, right after taking the little girls to school for the day.  My brother got home yesterday and so we got to see him and spend time with him too.  It was great to see him, and hang out just chatting about things.  He has slides of my dad's, from when he was in the military and quite the world traveler.  He was able to show me some that he has on his computer, and it is looking at my dad when he was in his early 20's, just amazing.  Before my folks were married or had even met.  And boy, oh boy, can you see him in my brother!  Probably me too, but you really see it in Eric.  I only have a few photos of my dad as he was generally always the photographer.  I recall him at age 44, the age at which he passed away, and it is really neat to see him in younger years and wonder about his life.  Eric has said he will get me copies and I really look forward to it.  Heritage and family.  Very important.

We have had a good time with my nieces, trying to keep their world spinning as normally as possible.  I think it has gone pretty well.  We drove to Niagara Falls on Saturday - I was so proud that I got us there without getting lost - these roads around here are very winding and don't follow the grid patterns the farmland around our home does!  We had a good time, walked a lot, it was a gorgeous day!  All six of us girls got a necklace to commemorate our "girls time" and as a souvenir.  It was fun.  Talk about amazing looking at the power and majesty of the Falls.  Simply amazing.  We saw two wedding parties there for photos, and heard many languages all around us!  People from all over were there, doing exactly what we were doing - snapping photos, and being amazed.  We were tired by the end and glad to head home after just a couple hours.  A quick dinner and chores and we were ready for bed! 

Sunday my brother's in-laws picked him up at he airport for me (I was very glad for one less place to try to find in an unfamiliar city) and they all came out to his house.  We got everyone settled, had some lunch that my girls decided to cook up, and visited and saw the animals.  It was really nice.  Then we took off for the Lewiston Peach Festival!  Close by and sort of like a mini carnival or fair.  Yummy fresh peaches!!!  We had peach shortcake - it was HUGE!  I am so glad I decided to share with someone, as even just a half had me stuffed.  We saw lots of dishes at the stalls that were new to us, and some that I want to try - Italian Rice Balls!!!!  It smelled so very good, but I was still full from lunch, so didn't try them there.  And slovaki's or something similar to that.  I will have to look up the recipe and give it a try.  It all smelled so amazing, but I simply couldn't eat a thing!  Bummer!  The girls had fun on some rides and all five rode on the haunted house ride - some of the older girls even admitting that they shut their eyes!  But they were all smiling and laughing when they came off!

We have had fun, established a routine for ourselves, but homesickness is really starting to set in.  We are all ready to go home, to be home.  I do admit we will miss family here, and the riding arena (!!!!), but we miss our own family, our own routines, our own life.  The girls are even admitting to missing their brothers!!!!  LOL!  I am ready to sleep in my own bed - I never sleep well when I am away from Steve and this has been a long stretch for us.  Miss my guys, all of them.

So, tomorrow we will take the little girls to school - say our goodbyes, and start the trek home.  I figure we won't get home until maybe midnight, but I can easily live with that.  To wake up in our own beds!  To hear all my kiddos around me!  To hug my hubby!  Sounds like heaven to me!

I have been pondering about 9/11 also.  It was quite emotional for me yesterday morning and I just couldn't coherently blog about it.  I so vividly recall that day.  All of it, and all that came after.  We are so blessed to live where we do, to have the safety we have, the protection and freedoms we have.  It is through the sacrifices of our military, our firefighters, our police, and so many others, that we can HAVE our daily routines, and our simple lives.  I remember for months after 9/11 thanking all of these brave people and praying for them each time I was able to safely tuck my children into their calm beds, into their safe beds.  We can never forget.  We must always remember, and always protect ourselves.  We must value those who sacrifice so much for our safety and lives - not just the folks who are on the front lines, but their families at home who sacrifice also!  I fully intend to raise my children to know of that day, though they were so small when it happened.  We must never forget.  There is so much we must never forget.  I thank the Lord daily for His protection and love.  I pray for our leaders, our country, as we must.  And I try to raise my kids to be the kind of people we need in this world.  I hope, I so hope that we succeed. 

Love to you all from NY!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Blogging from the road!

Hi all!
The girls and I traveled to NY state to take care of my nieces while their parents are both gone.  It was a situation of one of those things of "what are the odds of both of these trips needing to be exactly at the same time" kinds of things.  And of course, that is the way it fell.  Plus it is the first week of school for my nieces who are in elementary school.  So, help was needed and it made most sense for the girls and I to come out and help - horse experienced - since they also have a hobby farm with horses!  So, we drove out after Kiley finished her horse show Sunday afternoon.

That was a great experience by the way.  The horse show, not necessarily the drive, though that was no big deal either.  Kiley reall stretched herself and entered in 13 classes over two days - the most she has ever done.  I have been encouraging her to take advantage of all the classes she can, because this year our focus is getting the experience, not  really caring if she does very well, but just getting to know what showing is like and getting the experience under her belt.  Well, she and her trainer have also been working their butts off, and to see the progress Kiley has made since October is just amazing.  I missed the last show - had to work - so seeing this one, the last of the year was huge.  She did great.  Her focus has never been the ribbons or placing, but has viewed that as a bonus.  Lots of the folks she is competing against have been showing for longer than she has.  I love her attitude.  She was so excited in the past when she placed in one class at each show.  Well, this show, she scratched - decided not to do one class - it was so hectic, too close to another class, just too much.  She did twelve classes and got a ribbon in ten of the twelve!!!!  She got a couple thirds (the highest she has placed so far), a bunch of fourths and a couple fifths.  She was very happy with that, because for most classes there were quite a few riders.  It is a bit less of a thrill taking a fifth when there are only five riders!  LOL!  So, she was very happy.  It was a great experience and what an improvement in her skills!!!!  She is really becoming quite the fine rider and all her hard work shows. 

So, once we had packed up all her things, we drove on to NY.  It was about ten and a half hours.  We stopped twice to nap and got here mid morning - it worked out really well.  I missed seeing my brother off, but had thought we might.  I will see him when he comes off, and so we have been learning the ropes and routines here before my SIL leaves tomorrow!  Great fun.  Five girls and me, no boys (as the girls keep reminding me!).  Several of us have little colds, but that is no biggie.  Keeping an eye on it and TLC works. 

I am so glad that we were able to do this for my brother's family.  It worked out just perfectly that we could and I am so glad to spend time with my nieces!  It is an adventure for us girls!  Lifelong memories for us all.  We did AM chores, had breakfast and the girls are playing tag and hide and go seek.  Having fun together.  Pretty soon we will head out and clean out the chicken coop, and then pack the girls backpacks for school tomorrow.  Kiley is planning on some riding so I am sure that we will get that done too.  They have a nice indoor ring here, and I am sure that we will take advantage of that while we are visiting.  Our main goal is keeping my nieces' routines and life as normal as possible.  I think we can manage that! 

We will start school at home the week after we get home.  It will be good to get that routine going too.  We decided to not even attempt until we got back from this adventure.  So, we won't take as many breaks as we sometimes do - shorter Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, but that is just fine.  Staying in our routines year round does really keep us more sane anyway.  And with not knowing when we are traveling to Ethiopia, the plan is to just keep it all together and get as much done as we can so we have flexibility in the future.  At least homeschooling allows this. 

As we were driving we were talking about the states we traveled through, the state capitols, what we could recall about each state and comparing how they are similar and different.  Not hugely educational, but it was also mostly at night!!! 

Well, life moves along, doesn't it?  I miss my guys at home and our routines there, but we will all be fine.  We can enjoy each moment and look forward to being together again!  I understand they re-fenced our front pasture that we had been having trouble with electrifying - the two baby horses would get out though thankfully the big ones didn't!  But this should keep everyone in while allowing all the big horses free access to grazing.  Yay!  All those projects that are on the "to do" list!  We keep whittling them down, but then we also think of new things, so it doesn't feel like the list is getting smaller.  So, I keep reminding myself of what it was like when we bought the place and how far we have come!  Each project really improves things.  It is a journey, that is important.  Living it together and spending time together. 

Hugs to everyone and thanks to my dear hubby holding down the home front so we can help my brother!  Love you Steve!!!  Love you boys!!!!  Enjoy your "guys week"!!!!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11