Monday, June 29, 2009

A dairy that defies description

Knowing my interest in things dairyish, a friend sent me this link. It describes a dairy farm Indiana which produces - are you ready for this? - enough milk in one day to supply Chicago and Indianapolis - about eight million people.

And I thought it was a lot of work to milk one cow!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A trip to the mall

I had errands in the city this past week on a day when I didn’t have to rush home for anything. In looking at a map to determine the most efficient route to complete my errands, I noticed I would be passing right by a large mall.

“Hey girls!” I announced to my kids. “Would you like to walk around a mall this afternoon?”

For the record, we haven’t set foot inside a mall in four or five years. Why should we? There’s nothing we would buy (most of our clothing and household goods are purchased second-hand) and the nearest mall is an hour and a half drive away. So this was viewed as a huge treat by my girls. Besides, I thought it would be interesting to stop in and see how malls have changed.

Well it was interesting, all right, but not because of the stores. In fact, it turned into a fascinating sociological and anthropological experience.

Remember this was early summer, on a Tuesday afternoon, so the mall was full of… teenagers.

Believe it or not, my girls don’t see a lot of teenagers outside our home town, at least not in large numbers. Urban teens are a whole different species than rural teens. There wasn’t a cowboy hat – and even very little denim – to be seen.

Now understand, I have a teen. And I knew there would be teens at the mall. A good part of the reason I wanted my kids to go to this mall was… well, to show my teen what’s out there. What she’s missing. What her publicly-schooled peers are like. What they’re wearing, how they’re acting, what makeup they have on, what the boys are like, that kind of thing.

And please note, the kids at this mall were not bad kids. Far from it. They were quiet and well-behaved, walking around in groups and not causing any trouble. They shopped. They ate. They hung out. No big deal.

But my kids were shocked nonetheless. To them, it was like watching a circus freak show. “Look at that one!” one or the other daughter would whisper, pointing discretely. “Oh my gosh, look at that one!” Spiked and/or unnaturally colored hair. Tattoos. Body piercings. Fashions. Language.

It reminded me of an incident that happened when my oldest was about eight (in fact, it was probably one of the last times we were in this particular mall). Coming out of a Barnes & Noble, my oldest tugged at my sleeve until I leaned down. “Mom!” she whispered, pointing. “Is THAT what you don’t want me looking like when I’m a teenager?”

I looked at a fourteen-year-old human Bratz doll walking by, complete with fishnet stockings and makeup that must have been applied with a trowel. I whispered back “Yes!”, pleased that she understood at so tender an age what is considered inappropriate in our family.

So now that my oldest is thirteen and taking an interest in her appearance, I am so so so so so so so happy we live in the country and are homeschooling, and that her peers – even the publicly-schooled ones – don’t look like Bratz dolls and hang out at the mall.

My girls understood what they’re missing, all right… and both expressed gratitude that they’re missing it.


Friday, June 26, 2009

WAY cool video clip!

The depth of talent one finds in this world never ceases to amaze me.

Here's a link to an a cappella jazz choir from Slovenia called Perpetuum Jazzile. They're singing "Africa," which was a huge hit in 1982. But get this - there are NO musical instruments beyond the voices of the singers. The video starts out with a simulated thunderstorm - turn up your speakers and enjoy this amazing rendition.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Adieu, Michael Jackson

So Michael Jackson is dead.

He was only a few years older than me. It’s not that I was a huge Michael Jackson fan, though I liked a lot of his 80’s stuff. But he was a cultural icon throughout my life. While growing up, he was always “there” in the background, making hit after hit. I remember dancing with friends to “ABC” when I was about seven. I listened to his music as I worked in the campus library when I was in college. I watched with bewilderment as he kept the emotions of a child, never quite managing to grow up. He couldn’t seem to handle the normal adult responsibilities such as finances, marital commitment, and fatherhood.

But I always knew that, whatever his personal proclivities, he had immense talent.

I feel like I’m just embarking on my life. Now his life has ended.

May he find the peace in death he never managed to find in life.

Air Force Jet Honors Slain Officer

I pulled this off the Dr. Laura website because I thought it deserved a little extra circulation.
Air Force Jets Honor Slain Officer
June 25, 2009 on 12:00 am

This story is actually four years old, but many people seem to have discovered it only recently, so I did a little investigating, and thought it was worth sharing with you. Because this has made its way around the Internet, like the game of “Telephone,” new things have been added and some things have changed as it’s been forwarded. My staff went back to the original story to verify the facts, and that’s the one I’m posting here.

Luke Air Force Base is a little west of Phoenix, and it’s surrounded by residential developments. People have complained about the noise from the base and its planes. One day in June, 2005, an individual who lives somewhere near the base wrote the local paper complaining about the group of F-16s that disturbed his day. Here’s his Letter to the Editor of The Arizona Republic newspaper:

“Question of the day for Luke Air Force Base: Whom do we thank for the morning air show?

Last Wednesday, at precisely 9:11AM, a tight formation of four F-16 jets made a low pass over Arrowhead Mall, continuing west over Bell Road at approximately 500 feet. Imagine our good fortune!

Do the Tom Cruise-wannabes feel we need this wake-up call, or were they trying to impress the cashiers at Mervyns’ early-bird special?

Any response would be appreciated.

Tom MacRae”

Mr. MacRae received a response from a commander at Luke Air Force Base which was published in the newspaper the following day, but it’s the response from Lt. Col. Scott Pleus, commander of the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base that caught the attention of everyone. This letter was also published in The Arizona Republic, four days after Mr. MacRae’s initial complaint:

“Regarding “A wake-up call from Luke’s jets”:

On June 15, at precisely 9:12 a.m., a perfectly timed four-ship of F-16s from the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base flew over the grave of Capt. Jeremy Fresques.

Capt. Fresques was an Air Force officer who was previously stationed at Luke Air Force Base and was killed in Iraq on May 30, Memorial Day.

At 9 a.m., on June 15, his family and friends gathered at Sunland Memorial Park in Sun City to mourn the loss of a husband, son and friend.

Based on the letter writer’s recount of the flyby, and because of the jet noise, I’m sure you didn’t hear the 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, or my words to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques as I gave them their son’s flag on behalf of the president of the United States and all those veterans and servicemen and women who understand the sacrifices they have endured.

A four-ship flyby is a display of respect the Air Force pays to those who gave their lives in defense of freedom. We are professional aviators and take our jobs seriously, and on June 15 what the letter writer witnessed was four officers lining up to pay their ultimate respects.

The letter writer asks, ‘Whom do we thank for the morning air show?’

The 56th Fighter Wing will call for you, and forward your thanks to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques, and thank them for you, for it was in their honor that my pilots flew the most honorable formation of their lives.

Lt. Col. Scott Pleus
Luke Air Force Base”

The postscript to all of this is that Mr. MacRae, to his credit, wrote an apology that was published in The Arizona Republic on July 9:

“Regarding ‘Flyby honoring fallen comrade’

I read with increasing embarrassment and humility the response to my unfortunate letter to The Republic concerning an Air Force flyby.

I had no idea of the significance of the flyby, and would never have insulted such a fine and respectful display had I known.

I have received many calls from the fine airmen who are serving or have served at Luke, and I have attempted to explain my side and apologized for any discomfort my letter has caused.

This was simply an uninformed citizen complaining about noise.

I have been made aware in both written and verbal communications of the four-ship flyby, and my heart goes out to each and every lost serviceman and woman in this war in which we are engaged.

I have been called un-American by an unknown caller and I feel that I must address that. I served in the U.S. Navy and am a Vietnam veteran. I love my country and respect the jobs that the service organizations are doing.

Please accept my heartfelt apologies.

Tom MacRae”


Whoever this Tom MacRae is, his apology is heart-felt and sincere. I tip my hat to him.

God bless our troops.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Oh for pete's sake - where's the global warming?

This is what the weather looked like yesterday:

What you can't see is the freezing wind that was blowing. When I went to get Matilda for milking, I wore boots, hat, scarf, gloves, and winter coat. I might add....this was the second day of summer.

Here's what the thermometer read this morning, the third day of summer:

We had to put an extra heat lamp in the chicken coop to keep the chicks from freezing their newly-sprouted tail feathers off. The coop is still just an unfinished (and uninsulated) shell.

Tomorrow the temp is supposed to get up to 84 degrees. Go figure.

Meanwhile, here's what the weather in the rest of the country looked like this morning:

All the peach and dark purple colored areas are suffering from excessive heat. Go figure.

These global warming people don't know what the hell they're talking about. It may be hot in some places (doubtless where they're measuring), but it's cold in other places (doubtless where they refuse to measure). HellOOOO?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Of all the arrogant, detestable snobs!

So I hear Brigadier General Michael Walsh of the Army Corps of Engineers made a faux pas while speaking with Senator Barbara Boxer: he called her "ma'am."

I heard the audio clip and nearly fell over when Sen. Boxer reprimanded him for having the audacity to address her as "ma'am." She wanted to be addressed as "senator" because she "worked so hard to get that title."

What this little lady doesn't realize is "ma'am" is a respectful and accepted military indication of rank. A superior officer would never address a junior officer as "ma'am" - that's a term reserved for those in higher authority. So although little ol' Barbie is vastly below a brigadier-general in rank, he had the courtesy to address her as "ma'am" and then bore her ignorant and unjustified reprimand with dignity.

I felt intense shame (on her behalf) that an elected official would pull this kind of snotty crap.

Later on Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, said "I've always been suspicious of women who are insulted by pronouns."

Amen, Elaine. I wholeheartedly agree.

And Barbara can call me "ma'am."

Dehorning Raven

Unless you have polled cattle, you need to dehorn your calves. "Polled" is a genetic mutation that results in hornless cattle, a highly desirable trait because let me tell you - dehorning is a pain in the butt. And foot, and belly, and back, and arms, and anywhere else a thrashing animal can jab you.

We only dehorn our heifer (female) calves, not the bull calves. We steer (castrate) all our bull calves and put them in the freezer when they're two years old, so there's no sense wasting a good dehorning if all we're going to do is eat them.

But heifers grow into cows, and cows hang around for many years. Our two herd matrons have horns, and we wish they didn't. So we make it a policy to dehorn all our heifers.

For years, old Doc White came out and dehorned our heifers when they were less than six months old. Doc White was the beloved farm vet in this area. I know for a fact that he'd come out to our place, wrestle a calf into submission with hardly a blink of an eye, and administer shots, dehorn, castrate, eartag, or whatever else needed to be done, without hardly breaking a sweat.

But Doc White passed away a few months ago, and for several months prior to that his health didn't permit him to do large animal work. God almighty, but I hope Doc White is whooping it up in heaven right now because he sure made our lives easier here on earth. I miss him greatly.

One of the techniques used to dehorn a calf is to use a giant pair of loppers (for lack of better term). The blades of the loppers are half-circles, so when the blades come together around the horn base, in theory the torque of bringing the handles together chops the horn off. The bigger the horn, the harder it is to chop. Then after the horn is removed (and believe me, blood is involved) you need to cauterize the horn bud to prevent regrowth. The whole ordeal is painful and terrifying for the calf and not a whole lotta fun for the humans either.

Because of losing Doc White, we'd put off dehorning our heifer Ebony until she was about ten months old - BIG mistake, because this meant her horns were now about five or six inches long. And - no offense - we made another mistake by bringing in a female vet to do the dehorning. She was terrific - she showed my husband the place and technique to administer intramuscular shots to cattle - but she simply didn't have the nonchalant arm strength Doc White had when it came to dehorning.

A ten-month-old calf is a whole lot bigger and stronger than a younger calf. Suffice it to say, dehorning Ebony was a nightmare. A bloody, struggling, painful, noisy nightmare...and it left a scur (a scur is an incompletely-removed horn, which will grow back - and for some reason often curls around and grows into the animal's skull unless it's removed again later). The loppers hadn't been sharpened, which made the job harder. We'll never again use this particular vet for dehorning.

Additionally, poor Ebony now totally distrusts us. We've ruined this sweet calf's disposition by waiting so long and inflicting such pain on her. Never, never again.

So this time, with the birth of Raven last Sunday, we decided to try something new: dehorning paste.

Dehorning paste is just that - a paste you apply to a young calf's horn buds. It's a nasty caustic material which essentially burns the buds away and prevents them from growing. While this sounds cruel, I can assure you (if the calf's behavior is anything to go by) the pain is minimal and the results superb. We'd heard about this for years and are kicking ourselves for not having gotten some sooner.

Firstly, we could do it ourselves - we didn't need to call the vet (farm calls are expensive). However there's a fairly narrow window when the paste is most effective, when the calf is between three and ten days old. So on Wednesday, when Raven was three days old, we isolated her in the milking pen and gave it a go.

First we used clippers to shave off the top of her head where the horn buds were. We could see the small bumps under the surface of her skin. Then, while Don held her still, I used a popsicle stick to spread a thin, nickle-sized smear of paste on the horn buds. I was careful not to get it in her eyes, of course. She was calm during all this.

The toughest part was wrapping her head up in duct tape. My, how she struggled! We needed to put the duct tape around her so she wouldn't hurt her mama while nursing by rubbing the caustic paste on Ruby's udder. We made sure her ears were free from the duct tape, of course.

When all that was done, we pushed her out of the pen to her by-now frantic mama. How she sulked! She was tired from her struggles, too, which gave us a very drooping calf:

We removed the duct tape the next afternoon, and Raven's been bouncy and cheerful ever since. She'll soon forget the indignity of having us manhandle her as we did. There was little to no pain. No blood. It's over and done. Why the hell didn't we do this years ago?

Talk about a dirty look!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Snark du jour

I have a new critic, a fellow who has taken it upon himself to read my columns and then send a reprimand. These are always fun to read.

In response to this weekend's column, here's what he wrote:

Why do so many people seem to be so fond of labeling and pigeon holing everyone? In typical human fashion, you are guilty of such. Liberals do this, but conservatives that. All conservatives are getting ready and all liberals are waiting for the government. Such garbage and drivel. You are only trying to convince yourself that your political philosophy is superior.

I hate to tell you this, but neither liberals nor conservatives are monolithic and so easily defined. We, as a people are not - either or. We are varying degrees of both depending on the issues. For every imagined ill caused by an apparent liberal, there is an apparent conservative doing the same thing.

Your philosophy is a larger part of our problems as a nation. You wish to define everything and classify it as black or white. You are divisive and seem to pursue a course that will make us more so. This has nothing to do with being liberal or conservative - it has to do with being human and insecure and needing to validated as a part of the "good" group. Grow up and wake up. Work toward unifying and finding common ground, not tearing down and attacking.

Tell you what, pal. When the government stops taking over private businesses, when it stops spending trillions of dollars it doesn't have, when it stops pigeon-holing conservatives as domestic terrorists, when it stops redistributing my wealth and trying to microchip my livestock and passing life-altering laws in which we had no say and increase prohibitive legislation on gun ownership and try to re-enact the muzzling "Fairness" Doctrine... then maybe I'll consider your point of view a little more seriously. Until then, I'll do my part to stir the masses into action.

As for trying to convince people that my political philosophy is superior.... damned straight I am. I'm advocating returning to the ideas of our Founding Documents. What are you advocating?

Bee careful

A 19-year old neighbor developed an interest in beekeeping. This homeschooled young lady is teaching herself everything there is to know about bees and beekeeping. The other day she took me out to see her hives, then sent me photos she'd taken earlier.

This is a picture of the queen - the long, elegant bee in the center.

She has eight hives, and in the last two weeks has had four swarms. Here's a swarm gathering on the end of a teeter-totter in her yard.

She placed an empty hive near the swarm, and the bees went into it.

Dressed in her bee suit, she prepares to hive the swarm.

Here she is, lifting combs out of a hive.

The day I saw her hives, she told me the bees were "bearding" outside the hive openings. Basically the bees were collecting in...well, "bundles" (for lack of better term) near the opening, the better to fan the interior to keep the temperature a consistent 72 degrees on that warm day.

I asked where the term "bearding" came from, and she emailed me this picture (not a picture of her, I should add, since this person has a mustache):

Apparently as a parlor trick, some beekeepers apply pheromones to their chin and invite the bees to swarm over their faces. Better them than me, I say.

Friday, June 19, 2009

"I love day care..."

I dunno, I just found this news story to be slightly nauseating. If I understand this California program correctly, it involves giving welfare recipients assistance in job training and job hunting - as well as subsidizing care for their children.

But with the severe budget crisis in California, the state government is now considering paying parents to...stay home and take care of their own children. California will actually save money doing this! (Man we screwed up in this country somewhere along the line...)

When I think of how hard my husband and I worked to avoid putting our kids in daycare - a dirty word in our household - it makes me impatient with those who "love daycare" because "kids learn so much." (Sounds to me they just want to get rid of their little brats.) Sheesh, why the hell did you have them if you don't intend to raise them?

Look, I know things are tight in this economy and people have to make hard choices. We've lived close to the poverty level for sixteen years, so don't give me any guff about how much people are suffering financially. We've been-there-done-that. We still are, for that matter. But because we never considered daycare an option for our family, we've moved heaven and earth to keep one of us home at all times (usually by working alternate hours).

Choices, people. It's all about choices. If something is rock-solid unacceptable, you'll find alternative ways. To us, daycare was rock-solid unacceptable. The alternatives we found were extreme frugality and working different hours.

Those "choices" (ahem) also include not having babies out of wedlock. Gee, what a lot of pain to society could be avoided with that choice...

Dance of a thousand hands

I invite you to watch this awesome video clip of some Chinese dancers. Here is the info that accompanied the video:

"There is an awesome dance called the Thousand-Hand Guanyin which is making the rounds across the net. Considering the tight coordination required, their accomplishment is nothing short of amazing, even if they were not all deaf.

Yes, you read correctly. All twenty-one of the dancers are completely deaf.

Relying only on signals from trainers at the four corners of the stage, these extraordinary dancers deliver a visual spectacle that is at once intricate and stirring.

Its first major international debut was in Athens at the closing ceremonies for the 2004 Paralympics. But it had long been in the repertoire of the Chinese Disabled People's Performing Art Troupe and had traveled to more than forty countries.

Its lead dancer is 29 year old Tai Lihua, who has a BA from the Hubei Fine Arts Institute. The video was recorded in Beijing during the Spring Festival.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Give 'em hell, lady!

Oh. My. Gosh. This has to be THE best spanking of our out-of-control government I've ever read.

Pass this post on. Email it to everyone you know. We have to keep this woman's words circulating.

Described as "The Letter," this came from the Glenn Beck website. Glenn Beck did a follow-up interview with the writer as well.

GLENN: I got a letter from a woman in Arizona. She writes an open letter to our nation's leadership:

I'm a home grown American citizen, 53, registered Democrat all my life. Before the last presidential election I registered as a Republican because I no longer felt the Democratic Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. Now I no longer feel the Republican Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. The fact is I no longer feel any political party or representative in Washington represents my views or works to pursue the issues important to me. There must be someone. Please tell me who you are. Please stand up and tell me that you are there and that you're willing to fight for our Constitution as it was written. Please stand up now. You might ask yourself what my views and issues are that I would horribly feel so disenfranchised by both major political parties. What kind of nut job am I? Will you please tell me?

Well, these are briefly my views and issues for which I seek representation:

One, illegal immigration. I want you to stop coddling illegal immigrants and secure our borders. Close the underground tunnels. Stop the violence and the trafficking in drugs and people. No amnesty, not again. Been there, done that, no resolution. P.S., I'm not a racist. This isn't to be confused with legal immigration.

Two, the TARP bill, I want it repealed and I want no further funding supplied to it. We told you no, but you did it anyway. I want the remaining unfunded 95% repealed. Freeze, repeal.

Three: Czars, I want the circumvention of our checks and balances stopped immediately. Fire the czars. No more czars. Government officials answer to the process, not to the president. Stop trampling on our Constitution and honor it.

Four, cap and trade. The debate on global warming is not over. There is more to say.

Five, universal healthcare. I will not be rushed into another expensive decision. Don't you dare try to pass this in the middle of the night and then go on break. Slow down!

Six, growing government control. I want states rights and sovereignty fully restored. I want less government in my life, not more. Shrink it down. Mind your own business. You have enough to take care of with your real obligations. Why don't you start there.

Seven, ACORN. I do not want ACORN and its affiliates in charge of our 2010 census. I want them investigated. I also do not want mandatory escrow fees contributed to them every time on every real estate deal that closes. Stop the funding to ACORN and its affiliates pending impartial audits and investigations. I do not trust them with taking the census over with our taxpayer money. I don't trust them with our taxpayer money. Face up to the allegations against them and get it resolved before taxpayers get any more involved with them. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, hello. Stop protecting your political buddies. You work for us, the people. Investigate.

Eight, redistribution of wealth. No, no, no. I work for my money. It is mine. I have always worked for people with more money than I have because they gave me jobs. That is the only redistribution of wealth that I will support. I never got a job from a poor person. Why do you want me to hate my employers? Why what do you have against shareholders making a profit?

Nine, charitable contributions. Although I never got a job from a poor person, I have helped many in need. Charity belongs in our local communities, where we know our needs best and can use our local talent and our local resources. Butt out, please. We want to do it ourselves.

Ten, corporate bailouts. Knock it off. Sink or swim like the rest of us. If there are hard times ahead, we'll be better off just getting into it and letting the strong survive. Quick and painful. Have you ever ripped off a Band Aid? We will pull together. Great things happen in America under great hardship. Give us the chance to innovate. We cannot disappoint you more than you have disappointed us.

Eleven, transparency and accountability. How about it? No, really, how about it? Let's have it. Let's say we give the buzzwords a rest and have some straight honest talk. Please try please stop manipulating and trying to appease me with clever wording. I am not the idiot you obviously take me for. Stop sneaking around and meeting in back rooms making deals with your friends. It will only be a prelude to your criminal investigation. Stop hiding things from me.

Twelve, unprecedented quick spending. Stop it now.

Take a breath. Listen to the people. Let's just slow down and get some input from some nonpoliticians on the subject. Stop making everything an emergency. Stop speed reading our bills into law. I am not an activist. I am not a community organizer. Nor am I a terrorist, a militant or a violent person. I am a parent and a grandparent. I work. I'm busy. I'm busy. I am busy, and I am tired. I thought we elected competent people to take care of the business of government so that we could work, raise our families, pay our bills, have a little recreation, complain about taxes, endure our hardships, pursue our personal goals, cut our lawn, wash our cars on the weekends and be responsible contributing members of society and teach our children to be the same all while living in the home of the free and land of the brave.

I entrusted you with upholding the Constitution. I believed in the checks and balances to keep from getting far off course. What happened? You are very far off course. Do you really think I find humor in the hiring of a speed reader to unintelligently ramble all through a bill that you signed into law without knowing what it contained? I do not. It is a mockery of the responsibility I have entrusted to you. It is a slap in the face. I am not laughing at your arrogance. Why is it that I feel as if you would not trust me to make a single decision about my own life and how I would live it but you should expect that I should trust you with the debt that you have laid on all of us and our children. We did not want the TARP bill. We said no. We would repeal it if we could. I am sure that we still cannot. There is such urgency and recklessness in all of the recent spending.

From my perspective, it seems that all of you have gone insane. I also know that I am far from alone in these feelings. Do you honestly feel that your current pursuits have merit to patriotic Americans? We want it to stop. We want to put the brakes on everything that is being rushed by us and forced upon us. We want our voice back. You have forced us to put our lives on hold to straighten out the mess that you are making. We will have to give up our vacations, our time spent with our children, any relaxation time we may have had and money we cannot afford to spend on you to bring our concerns to Washington. Our president often knows all the right buzzword is unsustainable. Well, no kidding. How many tens of thousands of dollars did the focus group cost to come up with that word? We don't want your overpriced words. Stop treating us like we're morons.

We want all of you to stop focusing on your reelection and do the job we want done, not the job you want done or the job your party wants done. You work for us and at this rate I guarantee you not for long because we are coming. We will be heard and we will be represented. You think we're so busy with our lives that we will never come for you? We are the formerly silent majority, all of us who quietly work , pay taxes, obey the law, vote, save money, keep our noses to the grindstone and we are now looking up at you. You have awakened us, the patriotic spirit so strong and so powerful that it had been sleeping too long. You have pushed us too far. Our numbers are great. They may surprise you. For every one of us who will be there, there will be hundreds more that could not come. Unlike you, we have their trust. We will represent them honestly, rest assured. They will be at the polls on voting day to usher you out of office. We have cancelled vacations. We will use our last few dollars saved. We will find the representation among us and a grassroots campaign will flourish. We didn't ask for this fight. But the gloves are coming off. We do not come in violence, but we are angry. You will represent us or you will be replaced with someone who will. There are candidates among us when he will rise like a Phoenix from the ashes that you have made of our constitution.

Democrat, Republican, independent, libertarian. Understand this. We don't care. Political parties are meaningless to us. Patriotic Americans are willing to do right by us and our Constitution and that is all that matters to us now. We are going to fire all of you who abuse power and seek more. It is not your power. It is ours and we want it back. We entrusted you with it and you abused it. You are dishonorable. You are dishonest. As Americans we are ashamed of you. You have brought shame to us. If you are not representing the wants and needs of your constituency loudly and consistently, in spite of the objections of your party, you will be fired. Did you hear? We no longer care about your political parties. You need to be loyal to us, not to them. Because we will get you fired and they will not save you. If you do or can represent me, my issues, my views, please stand up. Make your identity known. You need to make some noise about it. Speak up. I need to know who you are. If you do not speak up, you will be herded out with the rest of the sheep and we will replace the whole damn congress if need be one by one. We are coming. Are we coming for you? Who do you represent? What do you represent? Listen. Because we are coming. We the people are coming.

Remember: pass this on! It needs to be seen by as many people as humanly possible!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The joys of country living

Here's one of the annual joys of country living - calves!

Our cow Ruby dropped her calf on Sunday afternoon. Here she is, about two minutes old:

All the livestock milled about, watching the new arrival:

The first thing a cow does is lick her calf vigorously. This accomplishes three things: it cleans the calf, it stimulates its circulation, and it familiarizes the mother with the scent of her new baby. This is an important bonding time.

First shaky attempt to stand, about ten minutes old:

Boom, she's down!

Another try:

Our horse, Brit, couldn't contain her curiosity any longer:

Mom's still licking:

We were concerned when the calf stumbled toward Brit, apparently mistaking her for mama:

She got right between Brit's back legs.

But with the utmost care, Brit disentangled herself from the calf and stepped away, to Ruby's (and our) relief.

Meanwhile, Matilda - who had been grazing elsewhere - came over to see what all the excitement was about. She couldn't believe her good luck - a calf to spoil!

Searching (a little inaccurately) for a first meal:

And that was our excitement on Sunday. We named the calf Raven.

How nice of them to help me decide!

I was never a big fan of designer jeans (except the kind you get at thrift stores), but now I don't ever have to worry about buying any Calvin Klein jeans.

Consider this billboard advertisement in New York:

Why would a company deliberately advertise its products by illustrating a perverted sexual romp (possibly involving minors) and then put it on a billboard so large that the body parts are the size of automobiles? Is this suppose to encourage us to buy their jeans?

It certainly is thoughtful of the Calvin Klein company to help make up my mind never to buy any of their products. I'd say their advertising campaign is a smashing success.

Ha! I knew it!

So now we learn that breastfeeding is linked to higher intelligence in children, as indicated by school grades and college attendance.

I breastfed both our girls for two years each. YES!

Ahem. Okay, I'll calm down now.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Chuckle du jour....

Got this off the WorldNetDaily jokes page. Thought it was worth repeating.


Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson, Brian Williams and a tough old U.S. Marine sergeant were captured by terrorists in Iraq. The leader of the terrorists told them he'd grant each of them one last request before they were beheaded and dragged through the streets.

Katie Couric said, "Well, I'm a Southerner, so I'd like one last plate of fried chicken." The leader nodded to an underling who left and returned with the chicken. Couric ate it all and said, "Now I can die content."

Charlie Gibson said, "I'm living in New York , so I'd like to hear the song 'The Moon and Me' one last time." The terrorists' leader nodded to another terrorist who had studied the Western world and knew the music. He returned with some rag-tag musicians and played the song. Gibson was satisfied.

Brian Williams said, "I'm a reporter to the end. I want a tape recorder so I can describe the scene here and what's about to happen. Maybe, someday, someone will hear it and know that I was on the job till the end." The leader directed an aide to hand over the tape recorder and Williams dictated his comments. He then said, "Now I can die happy."

The leader turned and said, "And now, Mr. Marine, what is your final wish?"

"Kick me in the behind," said the Marine.

"What?" asked the leader, "Will you mock us in your last hour?"

"No, I'm NOT kidding. I want you to kick me in the behind," insisted the Marine.

So the leader shoved him into the yard and kicked him in the behind. The Marine went sprawling, but rolled to his knees, pulled a 9 mm pistol from inside his cammies and shot the leader dead. In the resulting confusion, he emptied his sidearm into six terrorists, with his knife he slashed the throat of one with an AK-47, which he took, and sprayed the rest of the terrorists killing another eleven.

In a flash, all of them were either dead or fleeing for their lives. As the Marine was untying Couric, Gibson and Williams, they asked him, "Why didn't you just shoot them all in the first place? Why did you ask him to kick you in the behind?"

"What!?!" replied the Marine, "and have you three report that I was the aggressor....?"

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A boatload of strawberries

You're gonna love this.

We gave up on planting strawberries this year. If you remember, our berry patch is so weed-infested that I'm giving up and transplanting everything elsewhere. I tried growing strawberries a long time ago, but the weeds got 'em.

With all our other projects, there wasn't time to build strawberry beds, so I figured it was hopeless to order bareroot strawberries this year. I didn't count on Don's creativity.

Many years ago, while picking up a truckful of used field fencing, Don came home with a battered wooden rowboat he got for $5. He had hopes of restoring it.

Well, it never happened. The boat sat upside down for five years, getting more and more weathered. Meanwhile a dear old lady gave us a canoe she no longer wanted since her husband passed away, and thus we had no need for a boat.

So Don suggested using it for strawberries!

I thought this was a spiffy idea. He drilled some holes in the bottom for drainage. Then we roped it up and pushed and pulled it into the orchard (which is now contiguous with the garden). The durn thing weighs a ton and it took a whole lot of work to get it into place. I spaded out a slight hollow and we settled the boat.

Then Don scooped dirt with the tractor and filled it. This dirt is pretty bad stuff, but we topped it with rich wonderful composted-manure soil from the corral.

Meanwhile I ordered 75 bareroot strawberry plants...and waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. Finally the company said they'd shipped them, and I waited some more. In fact, it took two weeks for the strawberries to arrive after being shipped (some sort of delivery mixup), and I was sure they'd be dead. However I followed the directions to soak the roots for half an hour, then settled them into that beautiful corral soil, now snug in the strawberry boat.

So far so good. We'll see if they make it.

Awwww, but they'll miss the prom!

Once in awhile someone will criticize a homeschooling parent by implying what a shame it is their children will "miss the prom."

Uh, I hate to break it, but proms ain't what they used to be.

Read it and weep. And don't EVER try that line on me.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


A friend sent this to me.

We need to show more sympathy for these people.

* They travel miles in the heat.
* They risk their lives crossing a border.
* They don't get paid enough wages.
* They do jobs that others won't do or are afraid to do.
* They live in crowded conditions among a people who speak a different language.
* They rarely see their families, and they face adversity all day every day.

I'm not talking about illegal Mexicans; I'm talking about our troops!

Doesn't it seem strange that many Democrats and Republicans are willing to lavish all kinds of social benefits on illegals, but don't support our troops and are now threatening to de-fund them?