Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tyler the Storyteller

Tyler has been coming up with some real doozies lately. Yesterday he told me that sharks don't poop or pee, they just have bubbles come out of their mouths. And they get water in their eyes, but they don't worry about it. He has also been telling various versions of the same tale. It always begins with "Once upon a time, Daddy and I went fishing.' Next come the sound effects, something along the lines of 'Thump, Bump, Thump, Bump!' or 'Swish, Bang, Swish, Bang!'.....And then! A bear came out of the woods! At this point in the story, it could go one of two ways. Option A is that Dad shot-ed the bear, and they 'kinned it and 'woasted it' over the fire. And they ate it for their night dinner. And it was really good. In one version of the story, they made bear tacos, which sounds like a pretty nice way to get the job done if you ask me. Option B, the more humane option, involves Tyler catching the bear with his fishing pole and reeling it in. And when the string was almost ready to break, he 'woped it' with his rope and they 'catched' it and kept it for their pet. The bear is named either 'Little Bear' or 'Dino' depending on the night. Judging by the kid's storytelling skills, I think he's going to be stellar at creative writing someday!

And speaking of hilarious, I am not sure I wrote this down here but I must, for posterity. In our house, we love Mexican food. While most people eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, we eat the Mexican version: the bean burrito. We like all manner of Mexican food. About a year ago, it came to my attention that James actually thought we were Mexican, because we ate so much Mexican food. Buzz kill! Sorry to disappoint you, buddy, you're a mostly German mutt. But hey, if they're handing out honorary Mexican certificates, we're in!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


  • I hitherto therefore declare James to be a master of spelling. Over the course of the year, I think he has missed a grand total of ONE word, EVER, in his first grade spelling career. And he takes a test every week. Every week he brings home another 10 out of 10. Yay!
  • I am still working...almost done....I think?..with the dress. It has been one of those one step forward, two steps back type of things. 
  • Katie and Tyler had dentist appointments today. Katie really talked it up, and how fun it was and how you get a prize and a toothbrush!! And then she freaked out mid-appointment which did nothing to console her already freaked out brother. I ended up barely coaxing Katie to finish her cleaning while holding Tyler who was clinging to me for dear life. Then I sat in the chair while Tyler tried to burrow into me with all he had. Guess what happens when that happens? The dentist gets to look at a closed mouth which is really not impressive if you're a dentist. At least the hygienist got him to open up long enough to count his teeth. Hey, he's got all his own teeth and none of them are yellow so we're good for another six months.
  • We officially have a new oil tank in operation, which is probably not all that impressive to any of you. However, here in good old L-town all the oil tanks (underground) are reaching 60 years old and starting to leak. And you know what leaking oil means? Cash money, baby, and lots of it. Something about the EPA and all that fun stuff. Our neighbors recently had theirs replaced because theirs was leaking and a) their oil bill shot up and b) it was causing some serious contamination. So now after approximately 37 trips to Home Depot, 3 to Harbor Freight, and 1 trip to the shore for the oil tank, we have a fancy new above ground oil tank and everything works!
  • The chickens escaped yesterday. Little buggers are digging under the fence and finally made their escape...into my garden! Errrr!! They ate our pumpkin sprouts and some of the corn shoots. I chased them out with multiple threats of dumplings and chicken pot pies. They even dust bathed in my rhubarb. I officially fired them, until I remembered that I sure do like eggs for breakfast.
  • James and I are doing Farmhands again. Not sure who is more excited about it...him or me. He was concerned that I wouldn't want to do it last week because it was my birthday but for me it was the perfect way to spend the afternoon.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Visit From A High School Friend/Daniel Boone Homestead

Last weekend, a friend from high school and her family were out on the East Coast and came for a visit.  I will admit I experienced a bit of a shock when I calculated just how many years it had been since high school and how long we had seen each other. We met them at the Daniel Boone Homestead, and then they stayed with us for three days. Lucky for both parties, no one turned out to be ax murders or chain smokers which is always a possibility when you haven't seen someone for 15 years or so. The Daniel Boone Homestead was pretty nifty. He was born in a log cabin (which is now the basement of the main house) and lived there til he was 16. News Flash! Daniel Boone was not a fan of a coon skin cap, preferring to wear a chapeau made of beaver felt. And! He was not at the Alamo. That was Davy Crockett. Just so you know.

My nature exploring boy found a bird nest in the tall grass as soon as we got there. He also picked up his first case of poison ivy, which was fortunately mild.

The blacksmith shop, which was really, really old school. I am used to the blacksmith shop at the farm which is dated back 100+ years, and this one made it look positively modern!

A conestoga wagon used by pioneers: this sucker is huge! I was not picturing something quite so big. And apparently it was designed by early Pennsylvania Dutch (Amish).

Here was one of the houses on the property. It has something to do with German architecture. There is a small window that they would build on every house so that when someone died, their soul could 'escape'. The roof was made of wood slats.

This is the sight of the Daniel Boone house. The next owner built this house after Squire Boone and his family moved out. It is still something like 300 years old. Check out that picket fence!

Here is the cellar, which was part of Daniel Boone's cabin. 

At the edge of the cellar was the spring, fed up through the ground and into a trough. The docent said that still, they mostly drank beer, wine and something else I can't avoid getting sick from the water. 

Moving along, I took them up to Washington's Crossing, so we could stare at the closed doors of everything in the park. Hello?! Doesn't anyone do touristy things on a Monday? Apparently not. But it was still nice. 

While I think this picture is cute, adorable even, and induces me to want to seek out those squishy little boy cheeks and kiss them, I realize it is a bit of an irony to have your kid pose on an instrument of death and destruction. At least he was at a safe distance from all the goose bombs everywhere. I think everyone took home a little souvenir courtesy of the geese and stuck to the bottoms of our shoes.

And here we are, my friend and a few of our assorted kids.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Yard Sales!

Today was apparently the day to have a yard sale. I took the older two out with me, and we never even made it to the church yard sale I saw in the paper. There were just too many yard sales on the way. I found like-new summer jammie sets for Katie for a buck fifty each. The kids found a few (annoying) trinkets to spend their money on. I say annoying, because I hate toys, junk, and plastic crap cluttering up the house and when they get broken, someone cries. But alas, I suppose that is all part of learning money management...or so I tell myself. And my most exciting find: 4 raspberry bushes for $1.50 each...yay!! Now I must figure out where to plant them. If it weren't for the kids needed a place to run around, I would turn the whole yard into a garden.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Brushes With Fame (Sort Of)

I was talking to my friend Erin this morning and we were discussing our various interactions (or glimpses from afar) with famous (or infamous) people. It all started because I was telling her that I just found out that one lady in my Bible study is closely related to the governor of a state. And another woman there has a husband who produces for a famous political commentator. I was saying how I don't have any sort of 'famous connections' like that and then the conversation turned to people we had some sort of connection or encounter with. Here is a short list of brushes with fame (in case you are interested in totally pointless information):

  • I threw up on Larry Burkett. Apparently he held me when I was a baby and I yarfed on his suit. It was one of my finer moments. 
  • I am pretty sure I spotted Daniel Stern of Home Alone fame in a Walmart when we lived in California. Either that, or I spotted his identical twin. He was filming a movie in the area so I'm going to tell myself it was him. 

  • Chuck Yeager lived nearby in California. I never spotted him but I think my brother did?
  • I saw Coolio in concert. It was a sad, sad day. We were given tickets which happened to have been purchased by a certain relative's now ex-husband, right before she left him. She was, obviously, not going to go with him, and he had only bought them for her, and somehow we ended up being on the receiving end of the unwanted tickets. And we felt obligated to go. You must know something about anyone who plays in Grand Junction, Colorado (at least back in the day): they are either a rising star (not yet famous) or a falling star who is looking for a place to land, no matter how obscure. Coolio happened to be on the downward trajectory when we saw him. So, we showed up looking like a couple of yokels and as it turns out, Jeff got frisked. Because there is a lot of space in a pair of Wranglers for smuggling contraband you know. And the concert? It was horrible. But when you consider that this is what he looks like...well....'nuf said.

  • I think this must have been when he was campaigning for re-election, we went to this pretty old farm near here to see George W. Bush give a speech. It was amazing how they secured what was essentially a huge corn field. They surrounded the perimeter with school buses which we eventually figured out was to block any long-distance sniper shenanigans. There were even Secret Service people in the silo. And the W showed up in a helicopter. Pretty nifty.
  • My grandma was in a wedding (as a flower girl) with Billy Grahm (a groomsman) and there is a picture to prove it.
  • One of my second cousins (or something like's hard to keep track of the plethora of Heppner relatives) has 17 kids and was on a documentary a few years ago. 
  • I heard an astronaut speak (I think it was James Erwin??) at a church in Ridgeway and all I remember was he had a moon rock with him and as a kid I thought that was the coolest thing ever.
Thus concludes today's installation of mindless drivel. Have you had any run-ins with interesting/famous/infamous people?

Saturday, May 11, 2013


For the last month or so, Katie and I have a new bedtime routine. We pray by taking turns telling God what we are thankful for. It may be things like 'my family', 'art supplies', or 'comfy blankets'. Then at the end we say 'thank you God' and 'Amen' together. She loves that ritual. Tonight I said I was thankful for my Mom and she said "Who's your mom?" I told her Grammy was my mom and she said "But she's our Grammy!" I told her yes, but she's my mom too. Then she asked me if I used to live with Grammy. I told her yes, and she replied 'No wonder we know her!' That girl never ceases to be funny.

Morris Arboretum

Yesterday we went to the Morris Arboretum. It was a really pretty place. Here are a few pictures of our adventure:

Thursday, May 09, 2013


  • I sent my first text message this week. Like..first EVER. I sent it to my brother because I figured that he would appreciate it, if he didn't have a heart attack first. Thankfully, he didn't.
  • Today at Hatchery, one of the school kids saw the chicks (which are in their funny dinosaur stage) and asked 'Are those passenger pigeons?' :)
  • James has a poetry reading at school tomorrow. I can't wait to go and see him!
  • I am sewing a costume for the Living History Farm right now. It is coming along well, and providing some technological challenges for me. I also learned in my research that shell buttons were in their heyday during our 'time period' (1890 to 1910). I had no idea that the majority of shell buttons came not from the ocean, but from the Mississippi River!
  • James had a bad day at school today. He came home and was very upset and cranky. After a little bit, he asked to muck out the chicken coop. Why, yes! Who would turn down that offer? He did about 2/3 of it before he stopped, but I think that that type of work is calming to him and it helped him settle himself. Yesterday he made about 20 paper airplanes, which he said was 'soothing'. I am glad he is learning the joy of doing something with his hands, as well as figuring out what things he can do to calm himself down.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Lots of Pictures

Thursday, May 02, 2013


This morning at Hatchery was really beautiful. The sky was clear, the sun was shining and the barn swallows were swooping around. One of the farmers was out plowing with the horse team and they had the oxen out working also. There were four school groups that came through today and I helped with the shelling station. They were learning about corn, and we first took them to see the corn 'crib'. The kids were asked what a 'crib' is and kids in the two groups from the city school said a 'house' (some also said a baby crib). Very interesting the difference in culture. For today, they got to chill in the (corn) crib. Then they got to shell the corn and learn interesting factoids which I am sure they will remember for a while. The best fact of the day? What did people use corn cobs for in 1900? There is the obvious answer: compost. But the other answer? Toilet paper!!! That'll wake you up in the morning. The best part was watching their faces when they learned this. Meanwhile, our Hatchery kids learned about potatoes and of course visited all the animals and did their chores. They always come home happy and worn out.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

You What?!?

Today Tyler asked to hold a chick. I recently moved them into the garage and I told him he could hold one if he kept it in the garage. (Katie and I were outside) Things were going well, I didn't hear any loud peeping, until.....he came in and declared 'I lost it!'

You lost what????

     A chickie!

Please tell me you are joking!!!!

     No, I did! I can't find it.

Are you serious? You LOST a chick??

And thus began a fruitless search of the garage. I was stumped, because seriously, how do you lose a bird. How does Tyler the chicken wrangler not know where the chick was he was just holding? The kid is veritable chicken whisper for crying out loud. We looked behind the dryer, the shelving, and every nook and cranny. I was stymied, because a) a lost chick would typically try to reunite itself with its peeps and b) a lost chick should be peeping like crazy. I checked outside too, and no bird. I asked Tyler again where he saw it last and he pointed to the top of the cage. I picked up the cloth I had over it just to see if it was hiding under the edge. Low and behold, there was a little extra bulk to the cloth and in fact, it somehow contained the chick. It was kind of like pulling a rabbit out of a hat! I have no idea how the chick got wrapped up in the sheet without Tyler seeing it but the poor thing survived and we were able to reunite it with the others.