Archive for the ‘Musings’ category

Some More Things I’ve Learned

June 29, 2010

(And some things I already knew, but thought I should share.)

  1. Bugs apparently come in very defined cycles. Early spring brought mosquito hawks, followed by many varieties of bees, and now we’re into horseflies and grasshoppers.  Spiders have yet to subside.
  2. I left a patch of milkweed alone on the side of the house in case we had monarch butterflies in the area. (I hear they’re nearing extinction levels and I don’t want to be part of that). DH spotted a cocoon on the deck railing yesterday and was able to confirm it’s a monarch.  I now feel reassured in keeping this weed.
  3. We originally thought our farm was used for dairy cows which explained the thick, lush grass. I now think it was used as a military testing ground for methods of genetically manipulating and using radioactive technologies to expedite the growth of unknown weeds. So much for organic farming?
  4. Our property is 10 acres and just under 1/5th of an acre of it has been designated as a fruit/vegetable garden. You’d think it would be easy to keep the weeds in check in this “small” area. You’d be wrong.
  5. Weeds should not be taller than my head when mowing. Many are.
  6. It’s easier to weed garden beds AFTER it’s rained.
  7. Colorado Potato Beetles are gorgeous. And their guts are deep orange. (Don’t get sappy on me, they eat the potato plants!)
  8. Parasitic wasps are cool. Even the lost one marching determinedly in wide circles in the garden while carrying a caterpillar 3 times its size. Since it refused to stop to ask for directions, I’m assuming it was male
  9. While I know that the big, fat, terrified mouse was desperate for the cover of the tall grass I was trying to mow, his life will be greatly extended if he learns to run FROM the sound of the mower instead of TOWARD it. (Note to the squeamish – I saw no guts and think he made it to safety. This time.)
  10. Professionals shower in the morning – before their day begins. Farmers shower at the end of the day and pray the mud and bugs don’t clog the drain. When I do both, the farmer side trumps. I also find myself scrubbing red dirt off my hands, arms, legs, shoes, walls, light switches, counter tops, and any other visible or invisible surface non-stop. I actually contemplated vacuuming outside the other day. Think the Dyson can handle it?
  11. DH picked the first “harvest” of green beans Sunday. This was a full meal worth of beans that were bright, fully grown, and quite tasty. The scary news is that this was just barely the tip of the harvest yet to come. It’s a good thing because, so far with the mortgage and bills, these are proving to be the most expensive green beans I’ve ever bought.
  12. Aside from being literally covered in grasshoppers, sweat, and red clay dust while mowing the tallest of weeds, I’m still loving this adventure. (Really, it’s just the part where I’m covered in grasshoppers that bothers me. It’s “horror movie creepy” feeling.)

Filmed in Front of a Live Studio Audience

June 21, 2010

I’ve occasionally walked through my house investigating some noise or other lone task and thought to myself “If this were a horror movie, what would I be yelling at the TV?” I have also been known to then proceeded to follow my own advice. I like to think it’s saved me more times than I’ll ever know.

Now if only the rest of the world would listen to my shouts of invaluable advice, maybe life would be just a little easier for some people. Other people just need to succumb to natural selection for the good of the gene pool.

That Picture’s Not Even Worth 250 Words

June 4, 2010

Dear Elementary School & the Inept School Photographer,

I purchased your obligatory, over-priced school pictures of my child in the fall when you sent home the order form. When you sent me another order form in the spring, I laughed at you and said I wasn’t going to buy another set.

You may have noticed that I didn’t return that form, nor did I send my child to school decked out for pictures on that second picture day. If you look at the giant stack of pictures you took it upon yourself to print and send me automatically, you’ll see that they are atrocious and no parent would buy them. (I should note that my daughter photographs well, so how you got a picture that horrific raises some concerns.)

I have heard your requests for me to either return or purchase the hideous pictures and I politely say “No, thank you.” Just because you chose to take my child’s picture contrary to my request and print the most expensive package you offer does not mean you get unfettered access to my checkbook. I suggest reconsidering your practices for next year. While you insist that I am the first parent to have this issue, I find that hard to believe and will continue to stand up for those parents who didn’t opt for this battle. They were probably far too tired from fending off never-ending requests to purchase some other over-priced, lame memento of elementary school.

Chilly Regards,
The Kid’s Mom

Moving Mountains. Of Dirt And Bug Corpses.

May 4, 2010

We finally finished moving and have fully engaged in transforming this new house into our home and becoming a functional farm. Sleep is lacking, muscles are sore, sunburns – well – burn, and dirt & bugs proliferate.  I love the new house. I love living more than 10 feet from my nearest neighbors. I love seeing the neighbor’s horses come running back to the barn when he rings the bell at dusk. I love watching the long grass blow in the breeze while I eat my breakfast on weekend mornings before the rest of the house stirs. THIS is the life.

My only issue so far has been the overwhelming variety and volume of bugs. And the dirt. Technically, dry red clay. I tried planting some bulbs our first weekend in the house and was driven away by Harley, the motorcycle riding carpenter bee. I kid you not, you can hear him coming from across the driveway. I gave him a fair shot that weekend and was willing to declare a truce and set the boundaries. He was free to hang near the only flowering bushes in the garden while I planted the new roses and bulbs nearby. He mostly hovered watching me and regularly stopped to attack any other bug that wandered into His Territory. Frequently, he’d forget I was harmless and dive bomb me into retreat across the front yard. I tried discouraging him with a bottle of highly-diluted Windex which worked amazingly, except it’s virtually impossible to plant anything while holding and aiming a spray bottle. Trust me on this one. (I thank God no one was video tapping this scene.)

Intellectually, I know he’s not likely to sting me, but instinctively, well, he sounds like he’s riding a freaking motorcycle and he’s gunning it right at me! I gave up and let him have his turf for that weekend. I have PLENTY of other things to do so it wasn’t a stretch to put that one task on the back burner. When we finally tired of Harley’s ever-expanding turf (he quickly claimed the driveway and any cars parked in it as well as the front porch and started to tackle the garage), DH introduced the real bug spray and his little Napoleon act was quickly cut short. Who knew his throne would be quickly reseated by yet another carpenter bee. We named the new king Harley as well. Apparently, the motorcycle conveys.

The good news is that the current version of Harley is much more tame. This one plays more of a supervisory role with occasional surprise visits. Otherwise, he’s harmless. So far. The bad news is that we are apparently THE breeding ground for every “mosquito hawk” (crane fly) in the state. We’re also the hot new spot for wasps who are scoping out their next site for hive construction. I’m not having that. There is NO room for wasps in my world. In fact, while house-shopping, a wasp in or near the prospect house immediately raised red flags. I don’t care what wondrous thing they may do for nature. I’ve been stung by far too many to have any tolerance for them.

And then there are the ticks. We’d seen several of them traveling while working in the yard. (ALWAYS wear jeans in the long grass even if it is 90+ degrees outside!) I was fine just using caution and concluding all activities with a full-body TSA-quality inspection until the morning I had to remove one of the nasty bloodsuckers from The Kid’s hairline. She’s 9 now so it was imperative that I remain calm to ensure she would do the same. This isn’t easy to do when my entire being wants nothing more than to do the “heebee-jeebee dance” while signing the adoption paperwork for her new family. Alas, she’s grown on me over the years and my first-ever extraction of a tick was the right thing to do. It took me about 15 minutes from discovery of the parasite to its frantic jamming into a tiny tupperware container (just in case she exploded into unknown disease and bug autopsy was necessary). Note to self – get the container ready BEFORE you’re left standing in the kitchen with a live tick held gently, but securely in your good eyebrow tweezers!

Later that day, DH and I finished up the fence around the garden. You know – the one out front with the deer tracks next to the spinach plants. (I’m not sure what they’re eating because very little has sprouted besides The Grass That Won’t Die. I have seriously never had such lush grass in all my life. Rush order for a riding lawn mower is in queue.) The fence-building adventure reminded me that it’s been well over 10 years since my last tetanus shot. I was attacked multiple times by rolls of galvanized steel fencing and am now carefully watching the gashes on my elbow and back. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think that fence was out to kill me. DH will concur.

All in all, everyone is settling in nicely and we look forward to easier weekends after all the “farm setup” and “moving in setup” are done. I’m hopeful that once the workmen finish with their list of touch-ups and final construction projects are completed, the amount of dirt will subside. I knew living in the country would come with dirt. It’s just part of the package, but between the drywall dust, new carpet fuzz, and the dry red clay, it’s a never-ending task to try to keep surfaces clean. (The dust bunnies that form in this place are astounding – complete with fangs and semi-automatic weapons. And the fact that they breed faster than rabbits isn’t helping either.)

Like I said, THIS IS THE LIFE! I can’t wait for all the fruits of our labor to pay off – literally. Now, if only I could convince the bugs that the neighbor’s place is a better hangout. . .

What’s Worse Than Waterboarding?

November 13, 2009

A head-cold. And I have one. It involves extreme sinus congestion, a runny nose, copious amounts of snot, and unexpected periodic sneezing fits. Unfortunately, one of my sneezing fits earlier today rendered me (temporarily) deaf in my left ear.

I am now painfully aware of what it must be like to be a 90 year old woman. I can’t hear anyone talking to me, I’m constantly shouting “WHAT? I DIDN’T HEAR YOU!”, followed by me turning my head to the left and shouting “TALK INTO MY GOOD EAR!”

Have I mentioned yet how I feel about old people? Can I tell you how annoyed I am with this stupid cold?!