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What's going to be in my garden.

I’m going to have: Zinnias, bachelor’s buttons, water melons, and maybe something else that’s left-over (but I might not have room) . I had Zinnias and bachelor’s buttons last year, and got seeds from them to plant this year!

Rundy the Northeast Cowboy

Once again, Rundy is gaining exposure through the quilt of the same name created by our neighbor Marilyn Belford. This time he shows up on the website of a Syracuse tv station. Their video section currently features a news short on the Quilts=Art=Quilts exhibit at the Shweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY, where "Rundy" is currently showing. I don’t know how long the video clip will be available at their website, but if you do get to see it, be patient; it’s the last quilt featured on the segment. Oh, yeah–my tech-savvy children say you need to view it in IE.

Deirdre at Night

Last night when I came to bed, instead of the soft even sound of Deirdre’s sleep breathing, I was greeted by a tiny muffled voice: "Who’s dat?"

Lots of times I be silly and make her figure it out for herself: "Hmm, who is it? I’m probably Titi, right?" to which she says "No, you’re Cadie." But this time I just said,

"It’s me, Cadie. I’m coming to bed."

The muffled quality of her voice was due to the fact that Deirdre always pulls the blankets up over her face when she goes to bed. I asked her once why she always did that, and she said, "To keep the bad dreams away." (I told her it wouldn’t do that, but that didn’t stop her.) She occasionally has bad dreams–but not only that, she is a girl with a very active imagination, so every dark shadow and shape becomes something potentially sinister. Titi and I wish she wouldn’t try to mummify herself, but at least it hopefully helps her be less scared. When Mom puts her to bed, it is standard protocol for Deirdre to tell say, "Tell, Titi, and Cadie, to come up very soon!" However, she’s normally asleep within 5 minutes, so it doesn’t make much difference.
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Food Christmas

As many of you know, we haven’t exchanged gifts for Christmas for many years. Instead we have a family party on Christmas Day, which has come to be known among the youngest in Purdyville as "Food Christmas," much to my chagrin. I have to admit, we do have a lot of food, and we try to include everyone’s favorites. The original idea was to have all the food made ahead so that we all (including Mom) could relax and enjoy each other’s company, and in the earlier years of our family I strove to make sure there was at least as much nutritious edibles as junk food. Well, somehow over the years the amount of raw vegetables has decreased and the number of desserts has increased, though I try to make sure that if one had the desire and the discipline to eat healthily, one could–just in case I was that someone. (Let’s just say in past years the spirit was willing but the flesh proved itself weak.) So here is our Christmas menu, with recipes (in bold) to follow:

 English Muffins * Bagels

Cream cheese * Homemade Jam

Dried figs * Dried Apricots * Dates * Oranges

Hot Chocolate * Soda pop * Cider

Caramel Nut Popcorn * Cheese popcorn 

Tex-Mex Dip * Cheese Ball * Onion Dip

Various cheeses, crackers, & chips

Pepperoni, marinated artichokes, roasted red peppers, olives, dill pickles

Blueberry pudding  * Mocha Chocolate Trifle

Oatmeal cookies  * Ice cream

Black-bottom Cheesecake Cups   

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In Search of a Better Toaster

Our toaster is ailing. The button won’t stay down, though if you stand right there and hold it down, it will still toast the bread. I don’t remember going through toasters so fast when I was a kid. Seems to me we had the same toaster forever back then. Maybe it was only ten years, but that seems like forever when you’re a child. Somewhere along the line, toasters got fancier, but less reliable. Or maybe it’s just that for a toaster, serving our family is akin to running a daily marathon, and they just age before their time.

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Progress Report 2

Not necessarily in order: all the trim is on in the bedrooms. Rundy made himself a corner desk for his work area in the hallway. He also made all the bunk beds that needed to be made–three sets in all. (We kept the bunk bed that DH made many years ago now.) DH is pretty much all moved back in, clothes and books. Our bedroom is his office. My office is the dining room, and all my gardening books are now there. But the books I displaced are still in the living room in boxes, awaiting relocation. All three couches are back in the living room, as well as the living room computer (aka the little kids’ computer). Left to do: bookcases and linen closet for the hallway, clothing storage for all the children, disposal or new function for several dilapidated dressers, and major clean-up of enclosed porch, basement, and crawlspace above the den, when we re-discover all the things we have been living without since August, and decide if we want to keep the things we haven’t missed. Also: disposal of huge pile of rubble outside, just waiting to get snowed on and disappear until spring. Two trips to the dump have already been made, and one fire for non-salvageable wood.

The case of the talking pig, cow, horse and the hen

Ah, yes the case of the talking pig, cow, horse and the hen….. No animals were hurt playing this.

I (Farmer Justin) was doing school on the porch and Owen ( A Farmer ) told me that he had made a good pen, and wanted me to be a animal in it. I said “No, I have to do school,” and went in just as Evan ( A Hen ) and Caleb (A ” baby cow”) decided to be animals . I put my school book down and decided to go be an animal. I got there and Evan asked where Owen would milk a cow. Owen made up a place that Evan though was silly so Owen said, “Fine, you be the trainer.” Evan said no, he didn’t want to be the trainer, just like me, so Owen started to walk away saying, “All that hard work making a pen”. Me and Evan laughed, and Evan said making a good game is hard. I said “All right, I guess I will.” Owen whipped around and clapped his hands and grinned.

Later on, I asked Caleb what animal he was; Deirdre interrupted, “I am a baby pig!!!” and then Caleb answered me, “A baby cow”. Then I asked Owen, who said “I’m a horse”. Next I asked Evan, who replied, “What do you want?” (meaning “What do you want me to be?”) I said a hen, so hen it was. I was planning on training them to be in the fair; Deirdre to be really fat, Evan to have a really good egg, Caleb to run really fast, and Owen to be really obedient.I didn’t think Deirdre was playing before, but a pig was good! Just then Lachlan yelled, “OWEN YOU NEED TO CLEAR!!” (Meaning, his job of clearing after lunch.) “Awwww” came from Owen but he went in.

I got hay for my hen–that is, Evan–to make a nest, and then got food for my hen (sand from the sand box, with big round rocks, which I told my hen to lay after she ate them and–WOW! She understood!) Then I got fresh grass for my calf or “baby cow”. After that I got food for the pig (I think I gave her pig-weed from near the barn). Seeing Collin, Evan, and mine’s teepee, I snatched it up and said, “This is a place to sleep or get shade. Deir–pig, eat more so we can make you fat, Deirdre, all you heard is eat, ok?” (Because I didn’t want her to hear that I was fattening her up.) WOW!! My pig said “OK!” And WWWOOOOWWW!! She also said, “Justy, I borndid (gave birth to) a daddy and a boy!!” Man, for a baby pig that’s good! My hen (Evan) said,” Deirrrrddddrrrreeeeee, you’re still a baby!” I think I fainted because of all these unusual things. (In case you were wondering, I didn’t really).
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The Bed

Our new master bed handmade with loveimage of chevron design of storage platform bottomDH and I have been sleeping upstairs for the past two nights–in our new bed that I was telling you about. Isn’t it beautiful? It’s made of pine and cedar. You can see the storage platform in this picture. And the second photo shows you the underside of the storage platform, which I mentioned in my previous post. It gives you an idea of the view we have when we lay down every night.

A Bit of Childhood Re-Visited

Today was a very discombobulating day. I started out today full of resolute to get going on my daily activities with all vigor; none of this dilly-dallying of late. That meant getting back onto an orderly schedule. But just as I was about to go upstairs and get started, a thought occurred to me. I had been wanting to print some things out on the computer, and I’d better use my chance while I had it…just some quick things you know…the next thing I knew, I was spending all morning making things for a pretend store!

What I had wanted to print out was pretend food, for a pretend store of Owen and Caleb’s. They have been saving all manners of boxes and tubs that would normally get recycled for several weeks to this end. They’ve been quite excited about it, anticipating the moment when they’d get to finally "have" their store! It awaked in my mind the remembrance of an old infatuation of mine.

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Progress Report

In contrast to the dramatic changes every day during the first few weeks, now a little bit happens each day, and it seems like it’s taking forever. When we last visited our heroes, they were finishing the floors. DH wound up putting three coats of paint and three coats of water-based sealer on our bedroom floor. Of course, each coat had to be dry before the next coat was applied, so for a couple of days he was getting up an hour early to put a coat of whatever on, and then coming home and putting on the next coat. By this point the boys had moved back into the house, mattresses on the floor and no door to the room. Since they were right next door to our bedroom, they didn’t appreciate DH’s routine anymore than I did, but we all knew it wouldn’t last forever, so we just grinned–uh, not really–and bore with it.
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