Friday, October 31, 2008

Guest Friday - Nathaniel Wise

Yesterday I went to my second political rally; my first since registering to vote. It was a Sarah Palin rally, at Bowman field in Williamsport, PA. G, N (<-- Myself) and SP (<-- a friend from Camp Susque) got there at about 4:20, and found an enormously long line. It moved very fast, however, so it only took about 20 or 30 minutes to get into the stadium. While in line, we met up with other friends from Camp/homeschool groups. In as much as it was somewhat boring in line, despite three mounted police officers, I and my homeschool buddy decided to amuse ourselves in the following way: first, we tried to trade my campaign pin (a boring blue McCain pin) for one of the vastly more awesome pins being foisted off at exorbitantly high prices by wandering vendors. We approached three such vendors with the following proposition - Me: "Can I trade my pin for one on your display board?" Vendor: "No, I don't have that pin, so you can't." J and I tried three different vendors, but they all turned us down. So, for the next one we decided to up the ante: in addition to the McCain campaign pin, we would also offer the sum of $1.00 (US) for one of their snazzier pins. And, lo and behold, the fourth vendor was all like, "Sure, why not?" So I picked out a giant yellow pin, with a smiley face (wearing an Uncle Sam top hat and carrying a cane), and gave him his promised reward. We walked away; I happened to look back, and noticed that he was busying himself in attaching his newly begotten, slightly-used-but-still-in-good-condition-campaign-pin to his vendor board. YES! Score one for outgoing, non-introverted homeschoolers. Later, the same homeschoolers tried to start up a game of "Bigger and Better", but it didn't catch. We were ignored by four people, and only managed one round: a Tootsie-Roll to a one dollar bill. Oh well...
Anyway, here're some pictures of the rally.

^ This is the crowd that was standing in the infield of Bowman field. According to the mayor of Williamsport in his address before Governor Palin, there were 13,000 people in attendance, making us the largest group that the GOP vice-presidential candidate had ever spoken to! Woohoo!

This is Sarah and Todd Palin, during her address. If this picture were about two inches wider on the right, you would be able to see myself and most of the people mentioned above.
An interesting anecdote to fill up the white space: one of my homeschool friends had brought in a custom made sign she had produced at her graphics design company (Moonlight Graphics). It said, "Gun slingin' Bible clingin' redneck". As Gov. Palin was walking to the podium and doing her obligatory "wave to the entire crowd" routine, she noticed SW's sign, and apparently liked it, as she went so far as to call it to Mr. Palin's attention! Needless to say, SW and Co. were thrilled to be so noticed! But our story gets better. At the end of the rally, Gov. Palin was signing placards and tickets, and shaking hands. SW managed to get her placard up to the exit ramp, whereupon her entire (almost) reason for existence was promptly fulfilled: Gov. Palin took the sign, autographed it with a flourish, and held it up for the whole crowd to see! SW and friends could barely see straight, they were so ecstatic!

This incredibly large and high-resolution snapshot is of me and all the people who were in attendance with me. I have taken the liberty of pointing myself out with a bold red circle. (The photo was taken from the upper bleachers behind home plate, hence the mesh. I am sitting almost in the outfield, so that's why it is so small.)

(Unabashed plug: you can find my blog here.)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

my kitchen, it's coming!

*edited to add new info at end*

yesterday was a pretty momentous day- dave ordered our new kitchen cabinets! whoopie-doo! I've written about my kitchen before, but now we are actually starting to move forward. sort-0f. here is the design that i updated at Lowe's last week. it's pretty much the same as what we originally planned on, we are just moving the wall out a little bit to accommodate those 2 extra cabinets. i even colored the picture, so you could see what the kitchen will look like when it's done! so now all that we have to do before the cabinets come in and we can install them is to: put heat in the back rooms, drywall the utility room ceiling, finish the butler's pantry, finish the roof on the back half of the addition, drywall the MB so it's not so honking windy in there, close up all the BIG windy leaks in the back rooms, move out the kitchen wall 36", drywall the kitchen, and paint the kitchen.

that's it.

no biggie!

here's a picture of my kitchen sink. Dave picked it out. (I'm seeing a trend going here- he picked out my stove, dishwasher, and now sink!) but that's OK. maybe you can see the tiny little price tag up in the right hand corner? this sink was $299, but reduced to $248. but wait- they were re-doing the sink display, and were going to throw all the sinks away, but decided to sell them instead. for $25. yes. no decimal typo there. $25. so maybe I'll let Dave pick out a few more appliances. as long as next time he brings home one of those front loading washers for $99!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

moving right along, one day at a time

it's been a very difficult several weeks at our house, and while things have calmed down for now, there is the emotional fallout and many relationship issues that are still here for us to deal with. even though D has angrily rejected us, we are still family, and what he does affects all of us still here at home. we have to deal with the negative impacts of his foolish choices, in ways that he, nor i, could ever have imagined. but enough of that already- I've spent so much time talking, thinking and crying about D, that i want to talk about something different- something that brings me happiness:


not that i get to do much sewing, mind you, but i do like to buy fabric, and arrange the colors, and think about what i could make with it, if i had the time! well, here is my latest project (sort-of) and my next wanna be project: split 9 patch. i can't take credit for the quilt block design. it's what we did at our last friendship quilter's exchange, and i had so much fun that i made 4 of the blocks, not just one, and bought fabric to make another quilt.

this is so easy, and even if you're not a sewer, you can do this! promise! if you can cut a straight line, and sew relatively straight and even, you're gonna love this, too!
i chose 9 fall colors, with brown being the middle square. that will keep the blocks consistent with each other, and create the pattern in each of the blocks. you'll see.

i cut 4 1/2 inch squares from all 9 fabrics, but you can cut any size square that you want. it will just make your finished block a little bigger. sew the 9 squares of fabric together in any way you want, making sure that the center square is always the same. (brown in this block.) then press, alternating seams so they will all lay flat.

here comes the really cool part- cut the 9 patch square into 4 equal pieces (units)- just like you see here. it's been a while since i did this, so i don't remember the exact measurements. but i know you can figure it out!

now, rotate the top left unit counter clockwise, and the bottom right unit clockwise.

then sew them back together. this particular block turned out a little too much color blocked for me, meaning that all the colors kind of migrated together. it's ok for one block, but i wouldn't want all my blocks to turn out like that.

i had so much fun with the first block, that i decided to make 3 more, even though the exchange only required one.

here they are in progress.

and now the completed 4 split 9 patch blocks. you can see how in some of the blocks the colors are more evenly dispersed, and i like that much better.

now, here's the really exciting part- see all those really COOL fabrics above? the teal, purple, lime green and aqua? I've always wanted to make a quilt out of those colors, and never got around to it. after i made those autumn colored split 9's, i had the epiphany that this would be a perfect application for those bright fabrics that have been calling to me for years. so off i went to joann's, and bought a bunch of their flat quarters. they had a really nice selection, and i chose several different blacks for the centers. the big piece of fabric at the top was an impulse buy- see how the colors PERFECTLY co-ordinate with all the other pieces of fabric? i thought that it would make a nice border, or maybe as the backing.

so, maybe when my life slows down a bit, or I'm not so busy, or they have occupational therapy day at the nursing home that M chose for me, I'll get around to making this REALLY AWESOME quilt. until then, they are sitting on my schoolroom table, and I'll just satisfy myself with drooling on the pile, and fondly caressing the fabric as i walk by.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

it just goes on and on!

remember a few weeks ago i wrote a list about teenagers? (sort of?) and then yesterday i updated it? well, here's the latest update:

#5- apparently we've graduated, and are now throwing TWO rolls of toilet paper in the bowl!

Monday, October 20, 2008

those little rascals!

a few weeks ago, i made a list of positive things that i appreciated about my teenagers. here's another one to add:

#12- they don't pull all tissues out of the box the minute you turn your back!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

current project #2, or i never thought that i'd be raising pigs!

the pigs are coming along nicely, and I've been busy managing them, with lots of help from N and advice from dave. we got a solar powered electric fence, and one afternoon last week, while the girls were sleeping, i installed it in their temporary cage, just to train them about what it was. i was even able to install it all myself! with no help from dave! and considering that i know just about nothing about electricity, i was very proud! i wasn't sure if it worked, until one of the little piggies came out of her house, nosing around to see what it was that i had been doing! and wouldn't you know, she touched the fence with her nose, squealed to high heaven, and dashed back into her house, shuddering, and refused to come out until i left! after leaving them there for 24 hours, i got busy, with N's help again, and made a new spot for them down in the bottom field. that was pretty painless, too, and the pigs are very happy. they can root, grunt and lie about in the sun to their hearts content. and get fat, and make sweet ham.
here N is helping me run the tape around the fence. their pasture is about 25' square. their little house is in one corner, so they can sleep inside at night. during the day they like to hide in the high weeds.

now the pigs are in the pasture, and happily rooting.

here they are digging into the table scraps that we save for them. they really like those scraps! they'll fight and shove each other to make sure to get what they want. i put the pigs down there for several reasons. first, they will have lots of room, and plenty to eat. we just give them corn and pig grower in the morning, and scraps in the evening. also, this wonderful bottom land is where i plan on having a huge garden next year. I'll only be able to plant root crops, as the deer and coons would eat whatever else i planted. but I'll put in potatoes, onions, carrots (I'll cover the tops with chicken wire), pumpkins, garlic and winter squash. the pigs will root up all the weeds and stuff, and help prepare and fertilize the soil for next spring. and i named the pigs, too. spot and pig. see the one with the spot on her back? that's pig. the other is spot.

and here's me, the happy pig farmer. you can tell that i a real farmer, because of the boots i'm wearing. so- if you're anywhere near northern pa, and want to buy a pasture raised pig, just let me know. I'll be raising lots more pigs next year, and happy pigs make the best pork!

current project #1

this week,dave got all fired up about replacing the roof. eventually, we will do the whole house, but since there were a few days of nice weather, he decided to tackle the back half of the addition- with the help of N and G.

first they ripped off the bottom 4 feet of the shingles, and replaced the sheeting, as well as trimmed and straightened up the over hang, replacing that face board. the air nailer sure makes that job easier, but they will have to nail all the shingles by hand. bummer!

here they've started bright and early ripping off the old roofing. dave discovered that the original roofing from 120 years ago was still on- along with another 3 layers of roofing that had been placed right over that! so there was alot of old roofing to remove, but they just threw it right onto the trailer, ready to go to the dump sometime next week.

all the old roofing is off, and now they are preparing to lay down the tar paper. they also took off some of the old clapboard siding, and replaced that with new sheeting as well. since the whole house will be re-sided in the spring, it wont' matter that it doesn't match right now.

N and G laying down the tar paper. this is the view walking up from the field, where the pigs are. that whole hillside is naturalized day lilies. it looks really nice about July when they are all in bloom.

unfortunately, the whole job came to a grinding halt, due to darkness, and rain. but next week they'll all be back up there, helping to make our home a little warmer, and much nicer to look at!

Monday, October 13, 2008

the butler's pantry, revisited

I've mentioned before about the butler's pantry, and the happy compromise between Dave and i. since i know that you are all drooling on the edge of your seat, and can't wait to see the latest progress, here are a slew of pictures- blow by blow. more than you ever all that you wanted to know. around here there is no such thing as a simple project that is completed quickly, or anywhere near budget. it's only taken us about 9 months to figure that out. we're quick on the uptake that way. so even though this post is about the butler's pantry, there were about 9 1/2 things that had to be done before we could even think about moving it over to the other side of the room. here the boys (all three of them, since N has no more doctor's excuse for lounging about) are taking the plaster and lath off of the ceiling. notice how careful they are being, and putting it directly into a big tub, to be immediately hauled outside. this is to avoid having plaster dust all over the house. again. even after 10 months of ripping out plaster and lath, i am still under the delusion that there is some possible way to avoid plaster dust all over the house. again. I'm quick on the uptake that way. see above.

here we have emptied out all the junk important stuff and moved it somewhere else to be in the way. Dave is cutting through the 2X2 that the base is fastened to.

i included this picture of me so that you could see that i was actually involved in this project, and did not just boss my sons around, and force them to do all the dirty work. i am taking out the plaster from behind the shelves, and carefully placing it in the laundry basket, in order to prevent plaster dust from going all over the house. again. see above.

N is helping me get out all the plaster. see his happy smile? he loves this job!

this is totally random- not sure how it slipped in. but isn't little B cute? she loves to read this book- just like A did! and they both even have the same favorite page!

here you can see that all the plaster and lath is removed from the ceiling, and the ceiling has also been insulated. Dave has totally detached the top cabinets from the bottom cupboard, and the boys are helping him to lift it off. now that we have that done, Dave can install the light that he got for this room. but first we had to do all those other things. see above.

this is the other side of the room, and before they can move the butler's pantry over here, Dave needed to build a new wall. acutally, before they could build this wall, G and N had to fix the gigantic holes in the floor with new 3/4" subfloor. so here they're about done with the wall, and N is helping him. the laundry room is to N's left, and there will be a door between the laundry room and utility room. very handy for taking out the baskets of wet clothes.

and while we're at it, might as well put in those 2 new windows. N took out the old ones, as Dave took the measurements, and fiddled around to make the windows fit.

now that the wall is built, N and G helped me hang the bead board. since the butler's pantry has no back, i needed to do something and we thought that bead board would look nice. that was not too hard to do, as there were no outlets to cut around. just slap it up there, and nail it on.

now that it's up, it needs to be painted. first with a primer coat, and then with a coat of white super gloss interior/exterior latex enamel. the primer coat is the hardest, as the bead board really soaks up the paint, and it can be tedious to get the paint in all the cracks. but i really enjoy painting, and didn't mind. it's all progress! it seems as if it's been so long since there has been a project that i can do- most of the stuff lately has been something that only Dave can do. so i went at it like a "house a'fire!"

here is the butler's pantry with its new coat of historically accurate paint. very close to the original color- milk green. i will say, though, that i was not impressed with Lowe's computer matched paint. it turned out a very yucky minty green. like a baby nursery. so i picked something else instead that was very close, and I'm happy with my choice. a dear friend came over to help me paint, and N did take some pictures of us working together. but i thought that the pictures weren't very flattering i looked awful, so i didn't include the work in progress. sorry, heather!

so now, the butler's pantry is ready to be installed in its final resting place. but first, we have to hang some more bead board, as it's only covering 8 feet of the wall, and the pantry is 10 feet long. but before we can do that, we have to put in the door from the laundry room, which we are getting from a friend who has an old house, and an extra door that we can have. and then we have to hang the drywall on the ceiling. then hang the bead board on the other walls. but we can't do that until Dave wires the room.

and just between you and me- i think that the butler's pantry is growing on Dave. he still thinks that it's a big piece of junk, but i did hear him comment on the fact that it's pretty neat that the counter top of the base is one solid piece of wood- 24" wide! they just don't make trees like that anymore! even though Dave has tons of things to do, he's willing, without too much grumbling, to take the time to move and save this old piece of history. just for me. just because i like it so much. and just because he's a great husband like that.

so around and around we go, slowly making progress. very slowly. and actually, this whole thing started because Dave wanted to use that outside wall to install the hot water baseboard heat. so before he could do that, we had to do all these other things. see above!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

in the blink of an eye!

exactly one year ago yesterday, little B J joined our family, making it an even 3 boys and 3 girls. what a blessing this pleasant, blue eyed baby has been, and we are so thankful for the joy and laughter that she has brought into our lives. every day she is growing up, and while i enjoy watching her, i am sad that each little baby milestone will be our last. so i resolve to treasure the little moments, and take time to rock this precious little girl to sleep, and play patty cake, and read piles of board books, and take her outside to see all the animals. but most of all, i will hug her tight, and tell her how much i love her, and cover her sweet little baby face with kisses from mama.

here B has her own little birthday cake. she did very well with the candle, and even blew it out all by herself! I've never known a little one to do that before! it was so cute that i re-lit the candle several times, just so she could blow it out! and she loved that we sang to her over and over!

she was very timid about eating her cake. daddy helped her, and she really liked the strawberry with cream cheese icing!

now she's starting to really dig in!

Dave and i gave her a little cabbage patch doll named Donna. B really seems to like it, and held it close, and was patting the dolly on the back!

A gave her sister a ball. I'm not sure who liked it more- A or B!

N and G gave B a little rolly chime thing. B liked that as well, although she's still not walking.

M had left a very cute puzzle for B- a wooden farm animals. B really liked that, too, and tried to put the puzzle back together.

and here we have the icing on the cake- just what every mother wants her one year old baby to have- a BB gun! this is Dave's special present to B. (just like the one he got for A when she turned one!)

here is my happy hunting crew! A already talks about shooting things, and eating them. her daddy is training her well!

B is playing with her puzzle.

it's hard to be the little kid with no birthday presents to open! A did really well, but she likes B's puzzle and dolly, and has walked around for the last day holding and nursing Donna. never mind that she has her own dolly, Charlotte! now the girls can play house together- 2 best friends!


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