Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Scary experience

Well, I did something this morning I never thought to do...and it absolutely terrified me. I was on the radio.

A few weeks ago I received an email from a Christian talk show host in Flint, Michigan inviting me to appear on his half-hour broadcast. Since I have what amounts to a virtual phobia about being on the radio, I knew I had to do it just to get over my fears.

The phobia stems from the one other time I was on the radio in 1999 on a local station when we lived in Oregon. I always thought I did terrible - simply awful - and was so mortified over the experience that I never so much as listened to that episode even though it was recorded.

But my husband warned me that eventually these types of invitations would happen, and by golly he was right. So when Mr. Chris Levels of WSNL Victory600 in Flint, MI invited me to participate in his show called Politics and Prophecy, I was scared to death.

Mr. Levels was a perfect host. He fully understood my fears and encouraged me to be myself. After a restless night, I got up this morning at 4 am (even though the phone call from the station wasn't slated to come through until about 6:45 am Pacific time) because I couldn't sleep. As the hours ticked by, my hands grew colder and colder until they were positively icy.

Yet Chris Level's beautifully-modulated voice walked me through the interview with nary a trouble. His professionalism and kind encouragement were a welcome balm to my fears, and I'm hoping I didn't do half-badly.

A sincere thank-you, Chris, for your kindness in helping me get over this little phobia. I couldn't have asked for a better re-introduction to the world of radio, and actually find myself looking forward to the next opportunity.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A glimpse of the future

Ever wonder what life in America will be like thirty or forty years from now if we continue on our course of absurd governmental micro-management? We don't have to look any further than our friends across the pond in Merry Olde England.

Pet shop owner fined £1,000 and told to wear an electronic tag... for selling a GOLDFISH to a boy aged 14

By Jaya Narain
Last updated at 11:42 PM on 30th March 2010

Her offence was to unwittingly sell a goldfish to a 14-year-old boy taking part in a trading standards 'sting'.

At most, pet shop owner Joan Higgins, 66, expected a slap on the wrist for breaking new animal welfare laws which ban the sale of pets to under-16s.

Instead, the great-grandmother was taken to court, fined £1,000, placed under curfew - and ordered to wear an electronic tag for two months.

The punishment is normally handed out to violent thugs and repeat offenders.

The prosecution of Mrs Higgins and her son Mark is estimated to have cost taxpayers £20,000 and has left her with a criminal record.

Mark, 47, was also fined and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Last night, as an MP criticised the magistrates, Mrs Higgins - who has run the pet shop for 28 years - said the family's eight-month ordeal had left them traumatised.

She added: 'It's ridiculous. I mean, what danger am I that I have to wear an electronic tag? These last few months have been a very stressful time.'

The seven-week curfew imposed by the court means she is unable to babysit her great-grandson at his home or go to bingo sessions with her sister, and will be unable to attend a Rod Stewart concert after tickets were bought for her by her nephew, actor Will Mellor.

Her son said: 'I think it's a farce. What gets me so cross is that they put my Mum on a tag - she's nearly 70, for goodness' sake.

'She's a great-grandma so she won't be able to babysit a newborn baby. You would think they have better things to do with their time and money.'

Mr Higgins claimed the undercover operation was a clear case of entrapment - when a person is encouraged by someone in some official capacity to commit a crime - and said the case should never have gone to court.

He said: 'The council sent the 14-year-old in to us. It is hard to tell how old a lad is these days. He looked much older than 14.'

He added that his mother almost fainted in the dock when magistrates told her she could go to prison for the offence.

'I told her they wouldn't send her to prison but she was still worried,' he said. 'The only other time she has been in court is when she did jury service.'

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 it is illegal to sell pets - including goldfish - to children under the age of 16 unless they are accompanied by an adult. Pet shops must also provide advice on animal welfare to buyers.

The maximum penalty is imprisonment for up to 12 months, or a fine of up to £20,000, or both.

The Higgins family's ordeal began when council officials heard that Majors Pet Shop in Sale, Greater Manchester, was selling animals to children.

They sent the 14-year-old schoolboy into the shop to carry out a test purchase and Mr Higgins sold him the goldfish without questioning his age or providing any information about the care of the fish.

A council officer in the shop at the time also noticed a cockatiel in a cage that appeared to be in a poor state of health. A vet found the bird had a broken leg and eye problems. It was later put down.

Mrs Higgins and her son were charged with selling the fish to a person aged under 16 and with causing unnecessary suffering to a cockatiel by failing to provide appropriate care and treatment.

Pleading guilty, Mrs Higgins told Trafford magistrates the cockatiel had not been for sale and she had been bathing its eye daily.

She had intended to take it to the vet but had been distracted and worried because her other son was in hospital.

The court heard that Mrs Higgins had possessed a licence to sell animals for many years and had never had any problems before.

She was fined £1,000 and given a community order with a curfew requiring her to stay home between 6pm and 7am for seven weeks.

Mrs Higgins did not have her licence to sell animals removed, but both she and her son were told that if they ever appeared in court for a similar offence they could face a jail sentence.

David Davies, Tory MP for Monmouth, said: 'You simply couldn't make it up. It is absolutely ludicrous that old ladies should be hounded through the courts and electronically tagged for something like this.

'At a time when courts are being told not to lock up career burglars we have them issuing severe punishments like this on little old ladies.' Mr Davies, who has served as a special constable for three years, said: 'Not only is it traumatic for her but it is a complete waste of time and taxpayers' money. It is ridiculous.
'Instead of getting 14-year-old boys to act in this type of sting they should have them trying to nail people who sell drugs outside our schools.'

Trafford Council said it launched an investigation after an unsubstantiated complaint that the shop had sold a gerbil to a 14-year-old girl with learning disabilities. The council claimed the animal later died after the child placed it in a disposable coffee cup with a plastic lid on top.

But the complaint did not form part of the legal action in court and its truth cannot be verified.

Mrs Higgins said the shop had not stocked gerbils for months before the complaint anyway.

Defending the goldfish case, Iain Veitch, head of public protection at Trafford Council, said: 'The evidence presented for this conviction clearly demonstrates that it is irresponsible to sell animals to those who are not old enough to look after them.

'Let this conviction send out a message that we will not tolerate those who cause unnecessary suffering to animals. The council will always try to support pet and business owners so that they are able to care for their animals properly, but where they continually ignore the advice they are given, we will not hesitate to use our statutory powers.'

The goldfish was later adopted by an animal welfare officer and is in good health.

As my brother (who sent me this link) noted, "These people are at the helm? No wonder [insert world catastrophe here]."

Monday, March 29, 2010

Paper dolls

Our neighbors have a daughter Anna who just turned six. For weeks our Younger Daughter planned a birthday surprise for little Anna in which she made dozens of paper dolls and angels, as well as four houses/castles. Then she conscripted the aid of Older Daughter and some of Anna's brothers to carry all the dolls down to the woods, where she strung up the angels from branches and set up the doll houses in bowers of branches.

Little Anna was thrilled to pieces. And Younger Daughter is glad to (a) finally stop making paper dolls, and (b) get all that stuff out of her closet.

Pix of the twin calves

I went next door yesterday to see the new twin calves. Here's the neighbor's youngest boy, balancing on top the corral fencepost in a typical display of ten-year-old immortality:

Daisy and Lilly. And no, I don't know which is which.

Unfortunately, since the calves were inside the barn, I had to use a flash, which gave everyone white eyes.

If you look closely at the back left teat, there's a stream of milk coming out.

Update on Riley

You may remember our 15-year-old neighbor boy Riley who suffered a hideous accident last month in which he accidentally amputated his left thumb and forefinger. I posted an earlier update here. He was over visiting yesterday evening and I told him I wanted a picture of his cast so I could put an update on my blog. Before I could stop him, he said "Here, I'll take it off." I hadn't realized he'd graduated to one of those removable braces.

He says he has feeling in both digits and can move them. Naturally he's undergoing physical therapy, but the doctors are confident he'll have a full recovery. He'll have scars, of course, but like any typical boy he's immensely proud of his battle wounds and doesn't hesitate to show anyone who cares to see, LOL. I have to admire his attitude, which doubtless contributed to his recovery.

Thank God for modern medicine!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Neat picture

As some of you may know, I write a monthly piece ("Beginning Business") for The Crafts Report Magazine. Depending on the subject matter, I sometimes seek input from various crafters and artists about their experiences.

One such artist is a fellow named pablo solomon (yes, the lower-case letters are part of his brand) who sent some helpful information. He was so pleased with the resulting article that he took a photo of himself with the printed issue and sent it to me. Isn't that neat?

Chuckle du jour

Ya just gotta love those scam emails we all get from Africa, informing us of all the millions that will arrive once we send in a mere $99 (in this case) and all our personal information. I just received this one, full of the usual gaffs in spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax, etc. What a hoot!

(They want a copy of my picture??? Whatever for?)

Good Day,

I have registered your Bank Draft. But the manager of Bank OF ENGLAND told me that before the check will get to you that it will expire. So I told him to cash $1.500,000.00 all the necessary arrangement of delivering the $1.500,000.00 in cash was made with FEDEX EXPRESS COURIER This is the information you will use to contact them for delivering of your package to you.

FedEx Express Courier Company Plc.
37 Workerni Street Avoturu Akpakpa Accra Ghana
Phone: +233241863334
Please, Send them your contacts information to enable them locate you immediately they arrived in your country with your BOX. This is the information they need from you.

Note that this is there E-mail contact (
Please make sure you send this needed info’s to the Director General of FedEx Express Courier Company Plc ACCRA-GHANA, DR. WILLIAMS HESKEY with the address given to you and call DR. WILLIAMS HESKEY on phone immediately you send the needed information to him.

Note. The FedEx Express Courier don't know that the contents of the Box. I registered it as a Box of FILM MATERIAL. They don't know the content is money. This is to avoid them delaying with the Box. Do not let them know that is money that is in that Box.

Thanks and Remain Blessed.
Mr. Alfred (Esq.)

Saturday, March 27, 2010


So I was just settling myself down to milk Matilda this morning when one of the neighbor boys came panting up. "Samantha just had her calf!" he gasped. Samantha is their Jersey cow. She was bred to Gimli, our bull, last spring and they've been waiting for her to give birth.

Our girls quickly pelted over to see the new baby. I finished milking, then grabbed the camera and headed over too. I was met at the fence of their corral by my oldest daughter. "Twins!" she shrieked. "She's having twins!"

I vaulted over the fence (okay, I climbed cumbersomely) and dashed over.

You can see the first calf on the ground near the wall. Gee, uh, guess where that second calf is?

Calf #1 tries to stand.

The second calf just sort of hung there for the longest time - at least five minutes. All the kids were speculating it was dead. But Samantha was just waiting for another contraction to push it out.

Sloop! There it goes.

The baby was still almost totally encased in the amniotic sac. Samantha starts to lick and slurp it away.

Meanwhile the kids still speculated the second calf was dead because it hadn't so much as twitched.

Suddenly the calf twitched and took a breath, and everyone cheered.

Samantha has the sac almost all the way off.

My husband had an appointment for which he needed the camera, so after this last shot I had to dash home, download the photos, and pass the camera off to him before coming back to coo over the new babies. I'll take more shots of the dried-off cuties as soon as I can.

Oh, and they're both little heifers! Sweet little girls, as yet unnamed. UPDATE: They named them Daisy and Lilly.

You know, I've heard it said by some people that rural children are pathetic and deprived because they never get to go to museums, concerts, or any of the other fine amenities a city has to offer.

I beg to differ.

Random pix


Tax time.

Once, long ago, I tried using QuickBooks to do our taxes and hated it. Hated it with a searing, loathing passion. I'm not overly computer literate at best, and trying to fit our unusual home business into the pre-ordained slots set by the software drove me to cussing some creatively bad words and pulling my hair out, literally.

So I do our taxes by hand. Month by month. Tally tally tally. Document document document. Works beautifully, doesn't take too long, and I have paperwork up the whazoo if we're ever audited.

Plus our tax preparer is superb and she loves the way I do things, so I figure I'll just keep it up.

Can I help?

Elder Daughter occasionally asks for special chores to earn a little money. This time it was cleaning the car thoroughly - vacuuming, dusting, etc.

She didn't count on the extra help Matilda was willing to offer.

Homeschooling aftermath...

I've heard rumors that some people can actually homeschool neatly. Not us. It always looks like a war zone in our room after we're done.

Don't know why. I guess it's just how we operate.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Still fits...

Awhile ago, someone asked if Lydia (who is now ten months old) still fits in her favorite chair.

Yep, still fits. Barely.

I don't think so....

We had a squally day today - windy and chilly and (this morning) snowy.

When I opened the door to Matilda and Pearly's stall, the last thing they wanted to do was venture out in that mess.

Couldn't blame them.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

You want me to do WHAT??

This was photographed in Florida.

I'm glad I live in Idaho where all I have to put up with are bears, cougars, and wolves.

Update on the Doles

My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves. (Proverbs 3:11-12)

I'm pleased - no, thrilled - to report that the Doles are getting back on their feet. The community (and lots of readers!) have rallied with generous help like you wouldn't believe. I can honestly say that their needs have been met (or are being met, depending).

I cannot thank everyone enough for their charity, generosity, and prayers that uplifted the Doles during this excessively difficult time. It brings tears to my eyes to think of all the wonderful people there are in this world.

Thank you all so very, very much.

Quote of the day

"Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil - it has no point."

- Unknown

Thursday, March 18, 2010

How much can one family take?

Sometimes it seems tragedy hits in waves. We know one such family that's getting hit in spades.

My friend Tiffani called yesterday. "Even as we speak," she said, choking, "The Dole's house is burning down."

This was shocking enough news, but piled on top of what the Doles have already endured, it seems unendurable.

The Doles are a homeschooling family with eight kids. They lost a baby a couple years ago. Mike Dole lost his job a few months ago and managed to find a minimum wage job in Spokane, an hour's drive away (gas prices - cha ching).

Tracy Dole was pregnant and learned that the baby had a rare and usually fatal congenital heart condition. The baby was born three weeks ago and has already undergone one major surgery; we're not sure he will live.

And now their house has burned down.

What is God thinking?

I don't know, and I can't even begin to guess. I just know these people are hurting and need our prayers.

I believe there is a fund set up to defray the cost of little Jethro's care. I'm hoping it will accept donations for the Dole's physical needs as well. I'll post what I find out.

UPDATE: Here's a news story on the Dole's situation. Donations can be made to: FBO Jethro Storms Dole, Sterling Savings Bank, PO Box 285, Plummer, ID 83851

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The beauty of mathematics

This was sent to me.

1 x 8 + 1 = 9
12 x 8 + 2 = 98
123 x 8 + 3 = 987
1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876
12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765
123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654
1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543
12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432
123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321

1 x 9 + 2 = 11
12 x 9 + 3 = 111
123 x 9 + 4 = 1111
1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111
123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111
12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111
123456789 x 9 +10= 1111111111

9 x 9 + 7 = 88
98 x 9 + 6 = 888
987 x 9 + 5 = 8888
9876 x 9 + 4 = 88888
98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888
987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888
9876543 x 9 + 1 = 88888888
98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888

Brilliant, isn't it?

And look at this symmetry:

1 x 1 = 1
11 x 11 = 121
111 x 111 = 12321
1111 x 1111 = 1234321
11111 x 11111 = 123454321
111111 x 111111 = 12345654321
1111111 x 1111111 = 1 234567654321
11111111 x 11111111 = 123456787654321
111111111 x 111111111 = 12345678987654321

Mind Boggling...

Now, take a look at this...


From a strictly mathematical viewpoint:

What Equals 100% ?

What does it mean to give MORE than 100% ?

Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100% ?

We have all been in situations where someone wants you to GIVE OVER 100%...

How about ACHIEVING 101%? What equals 100% in life? Here's a little mathematical formula that might help answer these questions:



Is represented as:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.



8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%



11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%



1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

THEN, look how far the love of God will take you:


12+15+22+5+15+6+7+15+4 = 101%

Therefore, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that:

While Hard Work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, It's the Love of God that will put you over the top!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pearly pix

Here's Pearly at two weeks of age.

We had a light dusting of snow this morning...

Which melted by afternoon.

Pearly has a dog leash (with the loop handle slit so it won't catch on anything) hooked to her halter and dragging on the ground. This is a good step toward halter-training a calf, for two reasons. One, she learns to stop when there's pressure on the leash (because she steps on it); and two, there's something we can grab hold of when we want to catch her.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Interesting coincidence

So I'm chatting with my friend Enola Gay the other day, and the subject came around to preparedness and its relation to the Proverbs 31 woman. A Proverbs 31 woman is something she and I (and a wide circle of our friends) aspire to become.

Enola mentioned that the phrase "She can laugh at the days to come" had always puzzled her until she put it in the context of preparedness. We who are concerned about our future, be it personal, governmental, or economic, have an interest in storing some basic necessities as well as some basic comforts of life.

But once you have such items stored, it makes that passage much more understandable. It's a whole lot easier to "laugh" in the face of economic uncertainty if you know you're not going to starve to death.

So anyway, I thought it was an interesting analysis of that passage. Later when I was doing my bedtime Bible reading, I flipped to Proverbs 31...

And found I'd already underlined it.

You can pick them out in a crowd...

My girls and I were in Spokane yesterday picking up a couple of items at Costco. As we walked out, we passed the food court where we saw a woman sitting with five kids ranging in age from about two to about ten. The reason they caught my eye was one of the kids bore a striking resemblance to a friend's child, and for a moment I thought the woman was my friend. She wasn't, of course; but close on the heels of this thought was the conclusion that the family must be a homeschooling family. I couldn't have told why. They just "looked" it.

Anyway we walked passed them and went on our way. But my oldest daughter mused, "I'll bet they're homeschooled."

Startled, because she echoed my thought, I said "What makes you think that?"

Her reasons: The kids were sitting properly (not slouching); they were wearing practical clothing (not "fashionable" or revealing clothes); they were using good manners (no elbows on the table, etc.); and in general looked "wholesome."

I thought this was an interesting assessment from a fourteen-year-old.

Canning closet

Well, I did it. After several years of having my canning jars, rings, and lids scattered hither and yon, I finally got everything consolidated and (more or less) in one place.

Our house is kind of a strange house. It used to be a three-unit apartment, believe it or not, so when we first moved in we had three bathrooms and three kitchens. One of each was for the main apartment, but the other two sets of facilities were so small as to be functionally useless, so we gutted them.

Kind of. The little bathroom we call our "front room bathroom" no longer has working plumbing, but all the facilities are still in place. Eventually we will totally gut this space and transform it into my canning storage.

For the time being, all my full canning jars are being stored in our younger daughter's closet (which is this weird overly large walk-in space), but the unused jars and other paraphernalia were just put wherever there was room.

But last week I completely emptied out the front room bathroom, organized my jars into quarts, pints, and odd sizes, separated out my wide-mouthed and small-mouthed rings, and put my wide-mouth and small-mouth lids in separate boxes. Whoo-hoo!

Here are my boxes of canning rings stacked on the toilet. Large-mouth rings on the tank, small-mouth on the seat. And no, I don't know how I got all these rings. I certainly have never purchased any rings separately. I think they breed in the dead of night or while we're away.

My collection of wide-mouth lids...

And small-mouth lids.

This is my stack of pint jars. I tried to get a picture of my stacks of quart jars but the space was too narrow and I couldn't "fit" them in the camera view because they're stacked in the shower stall.

Some of the 3.5 gallon bakery buckets we get from a grocery store bakery ($2/each). These buckets are terrific - airtight and sturdy. I store our five-gallon buckets elsewhere, but these buckets hold the stuff I use on a more frequent basis - sugar, flour, rice, that kind of thing.