Self-Sufficiency Series

Monday, August 31, 2009

Busy day

This was what my Monday was like. While I won't say every day is like this, it's by no means unusual.

Up at 4:30 am. We have a shipment going out via FedEx this morning, and I still had a batch of tankards to test (for leaks). Then I tagged all 45 pieces and packed the box. Done by 7 am.

7 am - 8:30: Drink my tea, read the news (online), read my emails.

7:30: Don leaves on errands, etc. that will keep him from home all day.

8:30 am: go find Matilda (as usual, in the farthest corner of the property) and bring her in for milking. Done by 9:15.

9:15: Take the dogs for their usual 1.25 mile walk.

10 am: Peel tankard bodies out of the hoses and duct tape used to clamp them together (the girls helped with this). Mark bottoms. (It's hard to see, but the boards are marked with six-sided shapes, one for each tankard, all numbered.)


Start what will be the first of three loads of laundry.


11:45 am: Finish out the batch of cream cheese I started last night (it ripened overnight). The bag hangs to drip dry for about twelve hours.


Yield: about 1 3/4 lbs.


12 pm: schoolwork with the girls. Today it's math, science, history, geography.

2 pm: Cut tankard bottoms (100 in all).



3 pm: Sand bottoms of tankards.


(The ones in the crates have their bottoms sanded; the ones on the floor are next.)


4 pm: Dishes. Before:


After:


4:30 pm: Haul the tankards upstairs (we do a lot of piece work upstairs in the great room). Oldest daughter visits the neighbors. Youngest daughter (who has a cold) sorts and stacks the tankard bottoms.

5 pm: Start gluing on bottoms.


6 pm: Break for an hour workout (20 minutes on elliptical trainer, 20 minutes stretches/crunches/strength, 20 more minutes on elliptical trainer, pant wheeze).


7 pm: Time to get Matilda (as usual, in the farthest corner of the property) and bring her in for milking. Done by 7:30. Kids feed and water chickens and refill livestock tanks.

7:30: Strain and chill the milk. Take the dogs on their (shorter) evening walk - about 3/4 mile. Back upstairs to continue gluing.

9:30: Don gets home. Put the kids to bed. He comes upstairs to help me finish gluing on bottoms. Done by 11 pm


11:15 pm: Finally take a desperately-needed shower.

11:30 pm: Hair soaking wet, stay up and read emails until hair is dry enough to braid for bed.

Midnight: Bed

What I didn't get done yesterday: Make butter, make English muffins, work on cleaning the barn. Another day.

Oh...and the obligatory Cute Puppy Pic:

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Snark of the week

Oooh, someone doesn't like me!

In response to this weekend's column (the title of which doesn't thrill me - I originally called it "The Death of Responsibility"), a reader wrote the following in the "Digg" section:

"She has the intellectual clarity of Palin, the racism of Rush, the moral turpitude of a junk yard dog, and the logic of a three year old."

So let me get this straight. If I suggest (in the column) that Americans stop their lunatic dependency on government largess (which always has strings attached) and instead strive to be as independent and responsible as possible... then somehow I'm intellectually deficient? A racist? Morally bankrupt? And illogical?

Wow. Imagine that.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Alpha citizens

In response to last week's column on disciplining brats, a reader sent in the following comment:
_________
I have written the following to several people in the conservative media, but no one seems to get it. I know you will. Thanks for writing something that has been so desperately needed ever since Dr. Spock published his foolishness.

I'm an equine veterinarian now in my 43rd year of practice. I mention that because I have observed something happening at the town hall protests that reminds me of a principle that is fundamental to training horses... establishing that you are alpha to the horse. In every herd there is an alpha mare, stallion, or gelding and every horse placed in training will test your status (you and the horse are a herd of two), and if you are not alpha then he or she will be. There are kind and gentle techniques that wise trainers use to establish that they are dominant, but sometimes a horse will bite, strike, or kick in an attempt to intentionally hurt you. That is when you send all witnesses away, revert to the language of their momma, and take care of business until they get the message in the only way they will understand AT THE MOMENT. If it is done effectively you might never have to do it again. If you establish you are alpha, then life is good, but if the horse continues to be alpha you are in an untenable position.

I've heard several talking heads exhorting people to treat their elected officials with respect, but what I see are people establishing who is alpha in the only language these elected buffoons understand AT THE MOMENT. For far too long the "officials" have been alpha and we have been instructed to call and email them, respectfully, while they continue to impose laws that hurt us. Your momma gave you a middle name for a reason, and our elected officials need to hear theirs used like Mom did when we misbehaved and she established who was alpha in a heartbeat.

John Hunt, DVM
Carthage , Indiana

Hurricane Lydia strikes again

Now that Lydia has lost her initial new-family shyness, she's become a true (ahem) puppy. Meaning, she's into everything. She's so incredibly mellow when compared to other dogs we've had, but she's still a puppy! We've started calling her "Hurricane Lydia."

I'll try not to turn this into a "puppy blog" except when the urge becomes irresistible.

On our morning walks...




Naptime strikes again.



Naughty dog. She climbed the couch on the backside and we caught her standing on the stove. Good thing the burners weren't on!


How can anyone resist this face?



She's still small enough that she can cram under the bookshelf in my office. That won't last much longer - she's growing so fast.


Plastering her warm little body against a fan after a walk...



Yep, fun dog.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Makes me want to SCREAM in frustration

What the hell is this world coming to?

A ten-year-old homeschooled child has been ordered into public school because she was too good at defending her Christian faith to a judge. This didn't take place in Pakistan - it took place in New Hampshire.

The problem apparently stems from the guardian ad litem who was "appointed to participate" in a court hearing to modify the parenting plan for the child (whose mother had been divorced since the girl was born). This jerk - er, guardian ad litem - clearly hates Christians. ("If I want her in public school, she'll be in public school." "[The girl's] "vigorous defense of her religious beliefs to [her] counselor suggests strongly that she has not had the opportunity to seriously consider any other point of view." "[The child] appeared to reflect her mother's rigidity on questions of faith" "[The girl's interests] would be best served by exposure to a public school setting" and "different points of view at a time when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief ... in order to select, as a young adult, which of those systems will best suit her own needs.")

Best of all, this jerk - er, guardian ad litem - told the mother she wouldn't even look at homeschool curriculum: "I don't want to hear it. It's all Christian based."

From the article: "The order assumes that because Amanda has sincerely held Christian beliefs, there must be a problem that needs solving."

The spineless judge apparently saw nothing wrong with this jerk's - er, guardian ad litem's - assessment, and let the matter stand.

Arrrggghhhh.

Random photos

Went into Coeur d'Alene yesterday to buy wood for our business. Came back with the truck loaded to groaning.



These boards will be gone - turned into tankards - within two to three weeks. Then I'll be off to buy more.

Here's what the chickens do the moment I finish milking - help clean up any spilled grain from Matilda's after-milking treat.


Fifteen seconds of fame

After posting my "quick thinking" definition of lust, I decided to send the story to Dr. Laura, a sort of what-the-heck thing.

A reader emailed the next day and said she heard Dr. Laura read my email out loud on the radio!!! And I missed it!!!

Anyway, here's the link. I'm embarrassed to admit I made a typo in my letter to her. Oh well.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bats in our belfry

Our oldest daughter came tearing out of the chicken coop the other day, where she was feeding and watering. "Mom, there's a BAT in the chicken coop!"

Sure enough, what was probably a Myotis lucifugus (Little Brown Bat) was clinging to the side wall of the coop.

Bat have been known carry rabies, so never capture a bat without gloves. This one squeaked bloody murder when I picked it up, but then it clung to the glove.

Our kids excitedly called to some neighbor children, so I showed it to everyone before trying to transfer it to the trunk of a tree.

Instead the bat lifted off and fluttered gracefully away, to the gasps of delight from the five kids who had collected to watch it.

Why I've been so quiet

So sorry for the silence - it's been a loony week! We're gearing up for the opening weekend of the Kansas City Renaissance Festival, where we own a booth (we're Booth #400, if you can find us). We won't actually be selling our products ourselves (we're too busy making the damn things). Instead we have a phenomenal husband/wife team who manages the booth for us and sells whopping quantities of tankards.

Whereas all WE get to do is stay home and make them. And ship them. And make more. And ship more. And make yet more. And ship yet more. Et cetera for seven weekends.


KC opens Labor Day weekend, so we're frantically getting stock to them before opening day. We've been up until midnight a couple of nights, trying to keep on schedule.

I've got all sorts of nifty stuff to post - just no time to post it!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Scary quote

This came from Suzanne Venker's excellent blog, No Bull Mom. Like her, I found this quote to be terrifying:

Norman Mattoon Thomas was a leading American socialist, pacifist, and six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America. As a candidate he said this in a speech in 1944: "The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of "liberalism," they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened. I no longer need to run as a presidential candidate for the Socialist party. The Democrat party has adopted our platform."

Sorry, can't resist - more puppy pictures!

Lydia is settling in nicely, though we're keeping the poor little girl on the run.

We took her to the lake a few days ago:




Naturally everyone had to pet her...


Purloining an illicit role of toilet paper...


We were invited to a neighbor girl's Renaissance-themed birthday picnic in a nearby park. Since we can't leave Lydia at home (yet), she came with us.




On the boardwalk through the marshes:


Spanning the circumference of a big tree:



Home for some chow...


A drink...


And a much-needed nap!