Thursday, January 31, 2008

Chains thou shalt fasten...Exodus 28:25

It is 8:30 a.m., 33 degrees outside and snowing. That means it is a big slushy mess. I'm hoping things improve by noon because the kids really want to go to their music lessons this afternoon. The Man is working in the ER today so I will be taking them (we hope!). The Man drove his 4wd to the hospital this morning. The plan is for us to swap vehicles before I take the kids to music lessons, and then I'll bring his truck home. He should at least be able to get back to our driveway before chaining up. If it is too bad, I'll go get him in the morning.

Here are the current road conditions over the mountain to the city:
All four wheels! We do have chains for all four wheels, but I've never used them. I'm up for the challenge!

And this one:
CHAINS OR SNOW TIRES ARE REQUIRED [on the highway to music lessons]
We will have studded snow tires at that point.

Chains are on the back wheels of the van now. I'll take them off when I get to the end of our driveway. I would love to not have to put them back on before we get to the city, but I will if need be. I do have a Sew Crafty Friday project to post tomorrow, but if I don't post you'll know that (1) we spent the night in the city or (2) our power went out.

I just sent J out to start bringing in enough wood from the woodshed to the back porch to last us until Sunday. That snow is coming down fast and piling up quickly!

P.S...I'll take this opportunity to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY! to my little brother. 34 years ago my status as the baby of the family was disrupted. Go say hi to him here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Run to and fro...2 Chronicles 16:9

Hi! Not much new here. It warmed up and our driveway was almost snow-free, but then it started snowing again on Sunday. I put the chains on the van again yesterday just for the fun of it. I didn't need to go anywhere, but I went ahead and chained up just in case I want to go somewhere. I'm getting pretty good at it, maybe I'll start timing myself.

I am ready for spring to come. I've been perusing seed catalogs and (thanks to Ann) hatchery websites. The Man just shook his head and sighed.

The point of this post is that I've been tagged. I don't play tag. I have too many other important things to do like putting chains on the van, or looking at seed catalogs, or....okay...just this once. I'll do it for C, who happens to be one of the most amazing women on the face of the earth. Really.

The Rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).

2. Open the book to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the next three sentences.

5. Tag five people.

1. The nearest book... Neighborhood Animals by the baby einstein company (A little rant: Why do so many companies not capitalize their company names? It may seem cute, but I'm trying to teach my kids to capitalize proper names.)

2. Open to page 123... Oh, wait, that one only has 16 pages. Hmmm....I actually bulldozed cleared off my desk a few weeks ago so there aren't many books within arm's reach. Here is one that has 126 pages. The Man chose a quote from it for this week's church bulletin, which I fully plan on doing today.

3. 5th it.

4. 5 sentences (edited: I just realized that I was only supposed to post 3 sentences. Sorry, but I'm not changing it now):
The Saviour pointed His followers to the birds of the air as they warbled their carols of praise unencumbered with thoughts of care, for "they sow not, neither do they reap." And yet the great Father provides for their needs. The Saviour asks, "Are ye not much better than they?" Matthew 6:26. The great Provider for man and beast opens His hand and supplies all His creatures. The birds of the air are not beneath His notice.
The full text and audio of this book, Steps to Christ, by Ellen G. White, can be found here.

5. Now, five people to tag:
I'm not going to tag anybody, because I don't play tag. If YOU would like to play, go ahead and jump in here. Leave a comment here to let me know and go ahead and post the rules and your selection on your blog.

Time for school! Have a great day!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Gray hairs...Genesis 42:38

The children asked that I blog about a particular subject. I've been trying to ignore it, but it doesn't seem to be going away.

On the morning of January 3 as The Man was heading to the office I noticed that he hadn't shaved.

"Are you trying to grow a beard?"

"No. God makes it grow and I just decided to quit shaving it off every morning."

This is not the first time he has had a beard, and it probably won't be the last (assuming that this one will be shaved eventually). He's probably had a beard about half a dozen times since I've known him.

I'm okay with The Man not shaving for a day or two, or even a week, but I happen to like The Man's face and I don't care for him covering it up completely. The kids say they hope he never shaves again.
What do you think? (Self-Portrait courtesy of The Man)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

All my power...Genesis 31:6

This morning was cold. J said the thermometer said it was 12 degrees when he went to feed the horse this morning. It was 16 when I took this picture...
I couldn't believe it says only 57 in the house. I didn't think it was quite that chilly inside. I went out to take these pictures...
After enjoying the beautiful morning we got ready to go to town. The kids and I got in the van with my list of errands and were ready to head up to the city. After the errands, I was going to stop by the ER, trade vehicles with The Man, fill up the truck, then take the kids to their music lessons.

I'm here.

The van engine would barely turn over. Ugh. The battery. I called The Man and he confirmed that with the cold weather, it was probably the battery.

"Hook it up to the battery charger," he said.
"Where is the battery charger?"
"That's a good question. It may be on the porch or..."
I glanced toward the porch and saw the black box. "Yes, it is on the porch. Where are the extension cords?"
"That's another good question."
"That's why I asked it."
"There's the one coming out of the garage, but it is probably buried."

The Man was right. Our "good" cord was buried. It is under about 2 feet of snow that has been melting and refreezing the past week.

J started to work trying to uncover it while M went to shop to try to find another cord. I headed in the house to see what I could find.

I'm not sure, but the following might be illegal in some places. Don't try this at home!

I plugged this power strip into an outlet in the garage.
I will admit that I didn't plug it straight into an outlet, but into one of those six-outlet things that plug into two outlets.

Then, I plugged this into that power strip...
Another power strip! Then I plugged this thing into that...
A third power strip! Then this orange extension cord...
And then another orange extension cord...
Try not to notice that the plug is pulled away from the wire covering, okay? Then, finally, I plugged in the battery charger...
And that was connected to the van...
As long as I'm here, let's see how old that battery is...
February of 2005. Almost 3 years. I'm sure it is still under a partial warranty.

It is taking its time to charge. Hmmm, with a box, three power strips, and two extensions cords between the outlet and the charger, I can't imagine why.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Cold of snow...Proverbs 25:15

Since we didn't go on our trip this week, I didn't have all that free time to work on the dress for Liesl. We did get some stuff from Freecycle, though! It isn't as great as stuff like Shannon gets, but I thought it was pretty cool. On Monday morning a lady listed 3 Knifty Knitters. I had seen them in the store and I thought the kids might enjoy them, so I asked if I could pick them up. It turned out to be 3 complete kits plus extras, so we now have over a dozen of these things in various sizes. I picked up one that looked to be about the right size for a hat for Sacagawea and carefully followed the directions. When I was done and took it off the loom I was disappointed to see it was way too small for Sacagawea. It wasn't a total loss though since it fits Liesl perfectly!

Maybe next week she will have a scarf to match! Head over to
Shereen's Sew Crafty Friday for more projects.

The kids had a good time this week sledding down our back hill and building an igloo in the front yard with The Man.

The Man and M were inside putting the roof on the igloo while the other kids were shovelling in the snow.

Smoothing the snow...
Almost done...
Ack! Sacagawea is not wearing her hood! She has several, so she really didn't need the one that Liesl ended up getting, but having hats and actually wearing them are two different things! Her hair was soaked from the snow by the time she came inside for a nice, warm bath.

I did notice we had one casuality in our yard from the snow...
One broken branch.

The next day, Wednesday, The Man and J went up to the big city so The Man could look for a new suit. We looked for one on Monday when we went south, but he didn't find anything that... um...suited him. He was planning on stopping by and picking up the rest of the family to go to the mid-week service at church at 6:30 that night, but when I spoke to him on his cell at 6:20, I told him not to stop and get us since I knew he was going to be a few minutes late as it was. I didn't want him to spend the extra 10 or so minutes to travel our driveway. "I'll just take the van," I told him.

The kids all piled in the van while I looked for the snow shovel. I finally decided The Man must have taken it with him. I used a smaller shovel to clear the snow from around the tires. As I was backing the van up, I hesitated. That was it. I was stuck. M thought I should try putting on chains, but I explained that by the time I got them on, the meeting would be over. We all went back inside.

The next day I decided that it would be a good idea to go ahead and chain up the van so I could get out if I needed to.


A close up...
And the other side also...
The Man came out and helped a little bit. He said it was so I could teach him how to put on chains, but I think he just wanted to help! After we got the chains on I drove the van all the way out to the road and back. Then I parked it where it would be easier to drive out if I need to. We'll be driving The Man's 4x4 until the driveway becomes more passable, but now we won't be stranded if The Man is gone.

The Dog's tracks, The Man's truck, and the van with chains...
Stay warm!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

No power...Romans 13:1

We are here, not there! Sunday morning I asked The Man to call the retreat center to check on road conditions. No answer. We continued packing. I had all the kids' clothes packed and was starting to pack my things. The Man was ready to take the Dog over to our regular house sitter's place so he could hang out with her for a few days (she wasn't able to come here to care for the horse and chickens...the neighbors were going to help with them). I asked him to try to call again. Still no answer, but The Man started calling some of the alternate emergency numbers. It turns out that the retreat center had no power and the meetings were canceled. Everybody was supposed to have been notified not to come!

Whew! I'm glad we didn't make the 6+ hour drive there for nothing! I was also sort of glad that I hadn't finished packing my clothes...or the bedding...or the food. We called the house/pet sitters and told them we were staying.

After unpacking our clothes, The Man and kids spent the rest of the day sledding and building an igloo. (Pictures will be posted when we get our power back on and I can use the other computer).

Yesterday we went to the big city down south to trade in an unused 3/4 violin for a full-size for M. I will publicly say here that The Man got a great deal on the violins he bought a few years ago. I wasn't pleased when he left the house to buy 1 and came home with 4, but the retail value that the store owner quoted us yesterday was 5 times what The Man paid for it. It only had a trade-in value of 2 1/2 times what he paid for it, but it made yesterday's purchase much nicer. We'll save the 3/4 that M has been using for J when he is ready for it.

The power has been blinking for a few days. This morning it was off for two hours. It just went off again about 20 minutes ago. We have the woodstove for heat and plenty of candles for light, but I hope the power comes back on soon!

edit--4:32 p.m.: Just so you all don't feel too sorry for us, the power just came back on, but I'm going to wait until the snow stops to turn on the other computer.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Whiter than snow...Psalm 51:7

We were supposed to have a blizzard on Friday. The whole state got socked and we were gearing up for it also. Since The Man was supposed to have the day off of work, we were going up to the city in the morning to run a few errands, hoping to be back home before the weather got too awful. His co-worker couldn't make it over the mountain from the big city due to high winds, so The Man was asked to go to the office and take care of the patients. I decided I didn't want to make the trip by myself, so the kids and I just stayed home and cleaned house, did laundry, and took pictures! I was going to record the blizzard for you folks, inch by inch!

I took this "before" picture from the front porch on Thursday night.
Those are the still-red posts that hopefully will be brown sometime in the next five years. It rained all night Thursday/Friday. I didn't sleep too well with the pitter-patter on the step outside our bedroom.

Friday morning right after The Man was asked to go to the office...
It is snowing, but you can see the water dripping off the porch roof.

A few hours later it was starting to stick...

This is the last picture I took on Friday...
So much for the blizzard! I slept well last night. There was no rain to keep me awake, but we did have quite a bit of quiet snow! I really like this picture. It is so blue and wintry.
We got about 10-12" of the stuff during the night. Some of our church members couldn't get to church this morning because they had 16-20".
We plan on leaving in the morning for some pastors' meetings. However, the place we're headed to is several hours away in the Sierra foothills. We'll call in the morning to make sure the back roads we need to take are actually open. If you don't "see" me around this next week, that's where we'll be! We are planning on taking all our snow gear and sleds since the forecast for that area is predicting about 20" of additional snow accumulation there over the next few days. We're taking the pickup with 4wd and studded snow tires. We'll also try to pick up some chains for the truck. The Man tells me he has never had to put on chains. J and I will show him how it's done!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Coats and garments...Acts 9:39

Since I joined in with Shereen's Sew Crafty Friday last week, I wanted to continue on with it. However, the only project I completed was sewing buttons on a coat. I found a long leather coat at the Goodwill the same day Sacagawea found her rocking chair. It is a nice (and doesn't smell like it came from the Goodwill, if you know what I mean), but it was missing a few buttons. The total cost for the coat and new buttons was under $10, so I was excited, but not very excited about sewing on the buttons.

On New Year's Day, while the rest of the family were off skiing, I stayed home and sewed new buttons on my coat! It took about an hour to sew the four buttons on the coat through the leather. I knew it would be time-intensive, which is why it hadn't been done sooner. That's my completed project for the week, but it is not my featured
Sew Crafty project.

Meet Liesl (von Trapp, of course!) She is 16, going on 17, and one of Sacagawea's new friends. Sacagawea had requested a new doll with long hair, so this doll arrived for Christmas.
Since her wardrobe was rather small, J helped me pick out a few patterns to go along with her. Sacagawea chose the dress in the upper left corner to start.

She chose the blue-flowered fabric from the scrap box and we ironed it and the pattern pieces. That's all we have done thus far. We will be out of town for some meetings most of next week. I'm planning on taking the dress along and hand-sewing it. Actually, I think it is a skirt and blouse. I'm not sure as I haven't taken a good look at the instructions yet. We'll do the pinafore, hat, and pantaloons later.

Sacagawea can practice her hand-sewing by stitching a pillow while I'm working on the dress. Head over to Shereen's to see some of the (more) crafty things other people are doing.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A flood...Isaiah 28:2

While cleaning this morning (2 loads of laundry folded and mostly put away, every dish is the house washed or washing now, and bedroom picked up) I was pondering my previous post about the creek. It isn't always dry. This time of year it usually fills up and by August or September it will be dry again. In fact two years ago it was nearly overflowing. Two years ago today we were widening a ditch The Man started on New Year's Eve. The Man used a pickax and shovel to make a ditch between our fence line and driveway from the big river in our driveway to the creek. He then placed some bales of hay to dam up the river and divert it to the ditch.

What river? After nearly 2 weeks of constant rain, snow, then warming temperatures, the ground was saturated. Almost every property up the creek from us has built up and put rip rap all along the creek to keep the fields from being washed out when the creek rises. Most of ours is also, except the place where we have the cut-out as mentioned in the previous post. This is great when the creek rises.

However, two years ago the fields overflowed. All the water from the acres of fields up the creek from us flowed unto our property, across our driveway, and back into the creek at our cut-out.

There is a lady at church who, if you say, "See you next week!" will respond with, "If the Lord willin' and the crick don't rise." We began to fully appreciate that phrase two years ago.

This is what we had to drive through to get to church on New Year's Eve...
There on the left is the pole I tied the horse to last night, just so you know. We are working on, but we still haven't replaced all the gravel that got washed away.

The official creek was mostly full, but it didn't quite overflow...

It was strange looking out the kitchen window and being able to see water in the creek.

Don't you just love the color of that water? Unfortunately, all the well water was also that color for a few weeks. We drank bottled water and I refrained from washing whites. Laundry? I think I need to put in another load now. This concludes our trip down memory lane.

New things...Isaiah 42:9

Happy New Year! It is time to start practicing writing 2008. It takes me at least a month to get used to writing the new year while writing checks.


I spent most of yesterday afternoon online trying to teach myself XML. Maybe I'll accomplish that before 2009.

Since we are still on dial-up, that means that folks that tried to call us yesterday afternoon got our voice mail.


The Man took M to his music lessons. The rest of the kids stayed home with me since they weren't feeling well.

About 5ish some friends who are moving away stopped by to say goodbye.


After they left I checked our voice mail.

Our neighbor had called about 3 to let us know that someone had called her at work to let her know that there was a horse in their barn.

As J was headed out the door to go retrieve our horse another neighbor rang the doorbell. She was on her way home and saw the neighbor girls trying to lead our old, part-time 1/4 lame, mind-of-her-own horse up to us. J went and took over the job to lead her home while I went to get our own halter and rope. S and Sacagawea agreed to stay in the house and eat supper.


I met up with J and took over for him. The horse didn't want to cross over the creek through the cut-out we have for the farm equipment that is too big for the bridge. She was headed back over to the bridge so I let her. Once we got there, it dawned on me that I didn't want to take a horse that preferred to walk sideways over the bridge. It was getting dark, and I didn't want either myself or the horse to go off the bridge. It is only about 6 or 7 feet down to the dry creek bed, but still...

I tied her to a telephone pole. J brought me my cellphone and I called The Man. I thought he would be home any minute, but I wanted to make sure. Nope. He and M were still 45 minutes away, checking into prices for ski rentals. Urg. J stayed with her while I went and put on warmer clothes and some serious shoes.

By the time I got back the horse was tired of being tied to a pole and she was more than willing to cooperate with me by going down through the cut-out. While parenting strategies were forming in the back of my mind we got her over to the barn. We let her have a drink, but she wasn't interested in any hay (I suspect she had her fill while in the neighbor's barn). I tied her to a pole over in her lean-to and went back was 6:30.


The Man and M returned home soon after and J and I went and returned the neighbor's halter and rope. I also gave them our cell phone numbers so they can get in touch with us if she's ever over there again.

We aren't quite sure how the horse got out, but The Man put up some extra wire last night.


The Man and kids left about an hour ago to go skiing. I'm staying home.

It looks like a coat factory blew up in our entry way. It is always fun trying to sort through all the snow gear to find the proper size for each child.

I had wanted to take the tree down today and reclaim my living room, but I think the kids want to help with that.

I need to re-address a few Christmas letters that were returned.

And maybe some more XML.

Wishing each of you blessings, peace, and joy throughout 2008.