Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I guess this is living in Maine

It is the day after Memorial Day and not only did we have to wear coats to Mass on Sunday, sweatshirts outside on Monday (luckily it finally stopped raining), we woke up to see frost coating the grass this morning. The corn and tomatoes still have to be planted so I didn't lose anything, but it is disconcerting, knowing how short the summer season is here. 

Our chicks are doing well, their little wing feathers are growing and they all seem to be happy and content little birds. We have tried to give them a few little things to supplement their crumble feed and to entertain them, but so far the only thing they really enjoy are worms. Since it was raining for 3 days straight, it was easy to walk along the driveway with a bucket and scoop up worms who attempted to escape the soggy soil. They were dropped one at a time into the brooder, where one chick would pick it up and run around and around with the worm dangling from her beak. Other chicks would join in the chase, tugging and stretching the helpless worm in an attempt to snatch it for herself. Finally, the creature would be pulled into smaller chunks and swallowed. Out of all the children, Timmy thought this the most hysterical and could have sat there for an hour watching the chick's antics. I hope this experience does not transform my most gentle child into a bloodthirsty maniac, but I doubt it. It wasn't as if he fed them worm after worm after worm, I think 8 was the limit for the entire day after I warned him that too many would make the baby birds sick to their tummies.      

Saturday, May 25, 2013

we're real farmers now

Yesterday, while a friend brought the big kids home from school and Charlie was at his piano lesson, the two little kids and I drove up to Holden. The feed store had called an hour before to say, "The chicks are here! Do you want 5 extras?" Our 17 new baby Golden Buffs were put in little boxes for their transport home, each child carrying one carefully by the handle and base as we walked across the wet field. We had the chicken coop placed on the far side of the garden because that was the most level spot and wouldn't be upwind from the house, but it is a long trek, as I'm finding out. We lined the box with paper towels and shavings, filled their waterer and feeder and gently placed each bird in their new brooder under the warm light. 

Today's weather is a repeat of Friday: cold, windy, and rainy- more reminiscent of late March than the cusp of June. However, the children didn't seem to mind as they pulled on rubber boots again and again to run out and see the chicks every hour. So far Julia Ellen has been good, but a little demanding that she get to hold the baby birds. I will hold the door key to their coop in reserve if she disobeys and goes out to "visit" without me. As I told the little ones, the chicks are only 1, and now 2 days old and are very delicate. 

I too, am very excited about our new acquisitions and was worried last night if they were too warm or too cold and what I would find this morning when I went to change the bedding and water. But my fears were relieved, when at 5:15am, they were all cheeping and busy eating and drinking. Who knows what we are going to do with the eggs from 17 laying hens, but since I won't have to deal with that for months and months, I won't fret about it now. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

school auction night

Last night I sprayed on more hairspray than a Georgia beauty pageant contestant to hold my curls in the humidity, donned my only fancy dress and pearls, and attended the older children’s Catholic school auction.

There are several fundraising events throughout the year, but the big one is the 3 part auction with raffle ticket items, silent big items, and the live auction big prizes. Every family donates something and all the classes make a project in addition to the dozens of baskets of merchandise donated by local businesses. A few months ago I made a queen size quilt and was surprised to find that it was part of the live auction.  Not very intelligently, I realized last night that I didn't take a picture of the completed quilt, just the top.

While our trusty babysitter played games and fed the children at home, Tim and I chatted with friends, put down bids, and dropped raffle tickets in various bags. The auction was still going at 9:30pm and I asked a friend to bid on the quilt and I would buy it from her if it didn’t go above my minimum, as I didn’t want it to sell for less than I paid for materials. But right before we were to leave the quilt came up for bids and I was pleasantly surprised to see a bidding war ensue, with a final price of $400. So, even though we didn’t go home with anything since Tim’s bid of $50 for a John Deere toy tractor was trumped at the last minute and our raffle numbers were never called, we did our part to ensure a quality Catholic education for the students for another year.      

Thursday, May 09, 2013

lost and found

Now that we live in one house and are not bouncing from one state to another several times a year I don't misplace half the things I used to. "I guess we left the piano books behind in Maine, I'll have to get the neighbor to pick them up and mail them back to Virginia." I jettisoned many duplicate items that we didn't need, giving them to the thrift store. But we still live in a big house (my guess is about 3200 square feet) and there are 8 people living in it, most of whom tend to lose items on a daily basis. Apparently as Mommy, I am required to keep a mental inventory of every item within these 4 walls, no matter how small. I am asked, sometimes every hour, where a pair of earrings could be, where Geraldine the giraffe has been left behind, where a certain camping item would be found. The other trick I am supposed to have down pat is a running mental list of everyone's consumables, such as shampoo and soap and replenish them without any notification. I really hate being accused of running out of something the evening after I hit the commissary for my weekly shop. 

Most of the time I can easily find whatever a person is looking for as I keep the house pretty tidy, but this morning turned into complete chaos, not for the first time, when a child couldn't find a certain essential bit of their school uniform. Usually the children wear their fancier attire on Wednesday when they walk over to the church for Mass, but since today is a Holy Day of Obligation it was switched. At 6:30am Mary started screeching that her oxford cloth shirt was missing. We searched everywhere, including through the four closets, under the beds, and in pretty much every room of the house. No shirt and since we didn't have a duplicate, she wore Will's uniform dress shirt to school. (By the way, this level of freaking out NEVER happened during our years of homeschooling, in fact Mary often did her schoolwork in her pajamas) After the boys finished their studies this morning, I again started looking for the missing shirt, finally finding it stuffed in Charlie's dresser drawer. 

This must be the week for finding lost items, so far I have found a missing digital camera, a pair of $60 Felco pruners I thought had been lost in the woods for 2 years, and some pictures of the girls from last year's ballet recital. Now the only thing I have to worry about finding is my sanity if I am asked one more time today to hunt for something.        

Monday, May 06, 2013

relaxing prep means fast race?

On Friday I got the big kids up and to school while Tim took the day off to watch the little ones and work around the farm. After a visit to our parish's new adoration chapel ( I figured it would be better to spend that half hour praying than spending it at McDonalds), I headed over to participate in an all day quilt class with Bonnie Hunter, a scrap quilting teacher from North Carolina. We worked on piecing string blocks and half square triangles that in a very long time will be put together to form this quilt, Jamestown Landing.  

The reason it will take so long? 168 string pieced blocks, and 840 half square triangles, and that doesn't even include the string pieced border made of 16 sheets of copy paper string pieced, then cut down the center. In the 6 hours we were there, I made 25 cream blocks and about 50 triangles. But I also socialized with old friends and learned some new tricks for making triangles.  Here is Bonnie demonstrating how to cover the 4.5" newsprint with diagonal strips of neutral scraps for the background blocks. 

Tonight at quilt guild, I'll bring my tote bag full of scraps and keep plugging away. I've mentally designated this quilt as a Christmas gift for my sister-in-law so there is a self imposed deadline.

But all that time away from the children must have relaxed me enough run really fast on Saturday morning. Charlie, Timmy, and I headed out early to Orrington for a 1 mile fun run and 10K. Charlie ran 7:08, Timmy 8:27, and while they were gorging on post-race granola bars and fruit, I ran my best 10K ever with a 44:58 (7:15/mile pace). So three good races in a row have taught me to slow down that first mile and stay on a consistent pace rather than bolt out ahead and wear myself out far before the finish. My next quilting class is in July at the state quilt show in Augusta,the day before the Bucksport Bay festival 5K. I've never done very well in it for some reason, maybe another relaxing day quilting will change that statistic.