There's no place like home.

There's no place like home.
Home is where my husband and I reside; wherever that may be.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Doing the zoo.

     A few weekends ago the family went to the zoo together.  It was Ian's idea which was an unusual thing indeed.  Being very observant is one of the things that I am very good at.  I tend to pay attention to too much too often and consequently I think a lot about a lot of things.  (I trust I made my self obscure in that last sentence.)
     Ian is the eldest child in this family.  I have always had a lot of sympathy for eldest children along with a great deal of admiration too.  The oldest child in any family is, let's face it, an experiment in parenting.  From sleeping through the night to potty training to driver's education everything that a parent does with the first child is a learning experience.  The fact that Ian survived and is the upright, faithful, well-adjusted man that he is is a testament to the Grace of God and nothing else.  But I digress here.
     When he was younger going anywhere with Ian was a battle.  He didn't want to and that was just plain it.  He went after all trips like picnics, hiking trips, and stuff like that were family activities and he had no choice but getting him to go was a battle.  The funny thing about the battle was that we would fight it starting the night before we were to go until we got to wherever we were going.  Once we parked the car Ian was all over the trip.  He was as happy as any of us to be there.  The problem was always convincing him to go. 
     Another thing about Ian was the fact that the rest of the family tends to have a very strange sense of humor.  We pun, quote movies randomly, and generally make fun of life.  Ian wasn't so much into that kind of silliness.  He was much more serious than the rest of us.  Now though he has grown up, learned that humor helps us all get through life, or found the lighter side, I don't know.  All I know is that he jokes as much as any of the rest of us.
     Maybe the eldest just takes a little longer to recover from his parent's mistakes but it is nice to hear Ian's laugh and to have him plan a trip to the zoo.  Layn is one lucky kid to have such a daddy.

He's the man!

For a couple of weeks there have been some 'coon sightings around the farm.  'Coon sightings that were a bit too close the the buildings for comfort.  I have also been reading in the news about the fact that there have been confirmed reports of rabies in this part of the county.  Then two Sundays ago Doug and I were sitting outside having our morning coffee when he saw something in a tree not too far from where we were sitting. 
On closer examination he discovered that it was indeed a 'coon up in the tree.  A few shots later and here stands Matthew with his prize.  In answer to all of the unasked questions, no we didn't eat it.  No one around here was willing to take that risk.  But the hunter was awfully proud of himself.

Maximum security?

Way back when my kids were little my husband and I decided that this little yard behind our house was the perfect place for them to play.  So we planted trees around it (we actually moved large maple trees with the backhoe) and fenced the yard in so that they would be safe from the farm machinery that was constantly moving about. 

Many years of play have passed and the fence is long gone from that yard.  Now a new generation is in need of safety from the same machinery driven by the very children who were protected by the previous fencing.  So MK decided to recitfy the situation with materials that we had here on the farm, money being tight and all.

She employed the help of Matthew and Alex to help errect the cattle and hog panels that we had leftover from fencing in pigs in years past and surrounded the yard with them.  Then, before the whole yard was fenced in she persuaded Matthew, it didn't take much persuasion, to use the backhoe to move the swingset into the enclosure.


As with any job around this place nothing is just straight forward.  There was a lot of shouting, adjusting, and just plain high jinx involved in the exact placement of the swingset.

Eventually the job was done though and now Layn has a properly fenced in yard complete with swingset, sandbox, and a hole in the ground suitable for crashing his trucks in.  The picnic table is in there so that grandma and auntie can take their schoolwork out and sit with him on fine days.  The yard is ideally situated so that when his daddy is working in the shop Layn has a ringside seat to all that is going on.  Bring on the newest generation they will be safe and sound in the middle of all that is going on.

Little milestones in life.

     I love teaching little children.  I confess that on occasion I have been known to teach them things that parents don't appreciate.  For instance I taught Layn to blow the raspberry when he was just a little mite.  Of course grandma got in trouble not Layn, which is right. 
     In my own defense I also teach useful and virtuous things periodically.  The above video is hard proof that I can be a good grandma.  Layn has been working on learning The Sign of the Cross for a few months now.  His directionals are still a bit off but we are working on those.  In the mean time I bet he has the holiest armpits around.

Monday, May 28, 2012

What's a guy to do?

Well we packed his lunch and stroller and drove up to town to see his daddy march in the parade.  We stood in the rain while they fired the 21 gun salute.  He shivered while it rained and then the thunder and lightning started.  Then the word was passed along the street, the parade was cancelled.  Just like that.  You cannot have a parade with that much electricity in the air.  So we packed up his lunch and his stroller and drove back home.  I guess it wasn't a good day to watch his daddy marching in the parade.  Maybe next year.

The Simple Womans Daybook 28 May 2012

Outside my window...it is sunny, warm and muggy.  The temps are supposed to soar into the 90's today and that is fine with me.  It is perfect weather for drying laundry, going to a parade, and cooking out.
I am thinking...about the reasons and purpose for all of this "day-offness" and the parades and celebrations.
I am thankful for...my father, brothers, and sons and all of the others who have served and are the reason that this day is the day off that it is.
From the kitchen...we will commemorate the day with the traditional picnic fare.
I am wearing...shorts and a teeshirt
I am creating...home, the most blessed place on earth
I am going...to the parade in town and then home to stay for the rest of the day.
I am reading...not a thing right now.
I am hearing....our own brand of Memorial Day music playing on the CD player.  The 82nd Airborne Division All-Army Chorus singing patriotic tunes.
Around the house...all is quiet since everyone is outside doing their chores before we leave for the parade.
One of my favorite things...bagpipes, marching bands, fire engines and little kids with sticky faces.
A few plans for the rest of the week....finish tying up the hops and the grapes, get the rest of the gardens squared away, finish a couple of outstanding sewing projects as well as the usual mother stuff.
HEre is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...

Layn really enjoyed the parade on Friday night.  I think the bagpipes were his favorites.

I don't know how they know it but the memorial day peonies are blooming this morning for all they are worth.  Yesterday their buds were closed up tighter than they could be.  What a beautiful display in front of the house.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A most willing model?

I don't know how he will feel about this when presented with these pictures in his teen years but Layn is a most willing model right now.  This is an outfit that I created for his cousin's birthday gift.  It is too bad that the bloomers wouldn't fit him!  Oh well grandma can't have everything.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Simple Womans Daybook 21 May 2012

Outside my window...(I should amend that) I am sitting outside in Layn's play yard so I am outside the window.  The sun is shining with a nice breeze blowing.  The weatherman is calling for temps in the 80's with high humidity and thunderstorms later in the afternoon.  Right now Layn and I are enjoying the late spring weather.  Since it warmed up we have been eating outside and generally just enjoying all of the sunshine and warmth that we can.
I am thinking...about the future and decisions that are looming on the horizon to be made.  My computer died so I need to make a decision about quitting school for awhile until I can get a new one.  My sewing machine is broken yet I need to find a way to earn money to fix that as well.  I suspect that God is trying to give my arthritic knees a workout. 
I am thankful for...the family that supports and sustains me.  I know that whatever decision that God leads me too my husband and children will support me in them. 
From the kitchen...I think I will default to tacos for tonight's supper.  Since the day is supposed to be warm I can cook the taco meat on the grill and avoid heating up the kitchen.  I asked Matthew for a suggestion and all he could say was "good food" I hope that tacos fill the bill.
I am wearing...blue denim skort and grey tank. Since I am home all day I thought I would go with the scruffy look.
I am creating...a place of safety, peace, and learning for Layn.
I am going...nowhere!!!!  Today I will concentrate on cleaning up little messes hear and there.  The hop vines need to be staked and trained.  The lawns still need to be finished (lawnmower issues!) and the seedlings need to be trimmed around.
I am reading...Plato's Republic
I am hoping...that prayers for patience will be answered.
I am hearing...Layn in the sandbox making tractor noises, some farmer over the hill working ground, MK on the deck hanging out her laundry, and Archie yipping at something in the tall grass behind the shed.
Around the house...all is neat and clean and rather likely to stay that way since everyone tends to dwell outside at this time of year.
One of my favorite things....sitting in the evenings with my husband enjoying the view across the valley.  Matthew set up the fountain last night and it was nice to listen to the water while we chatted about the day that had passed.
A few plans for the rest of the week...Thursday is my last class for the year at church.  I have to remember to bake cupcakes for the kids and wrap gifts.  Friday Layn and I are going to the Memorial Day parade in town.  I need to call out family treasures and see if they would like to spend some time with us this weekend.
Here is a picture thought that I am sharing wtih you....
Last week MK, Alex, Layn and I walked up to the playground.  It took a few times but Layn learned to love going down the slide.  He concentrates very hard before he finally lets go and slides down.

How I am going to miss Uncle Matt's out bursts of silliness.  I am so glad that I have managed to capture a few of them for the time when he is gone from this house.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Simple Womans Daybook 14 May 2012

Outside my window...the sun is finally coming out.  It is warm and muggy out with a chance of showers sometime today.  I hope we get the laundry dry outside before the chance rolls our way. 
I am thinking...very profound thoughts.  Top secret even.  Not really but it sounds really good for me to say that.  Actually I am thinking about gardens that need weeding and whether I have enough benedryl in the house to undertake such a venture today or to wait until I have been to the pharmacy.
I am thankful for...the family that I have. 
From the kitchen...there is a big question mark hanging over that room.  There are some leftovers but the question is are there enough.  Time will tell.
I am wearing....tan capris and a green tee shirt.  Lawn mowing clothes.  I may not be able to get to the weeding but I really need to finish the lawns before there is any more rain.
I am creating....great things.
I am going...nowhere.  I am letting Matthew take the car to work today since I really have no need of it.  Home is where I am and where I wish to stay.
I am reading...Plato's Republic
I am hoping....to get all the mowing and trimming done today before the rain comes and makes the grass grow again.
I am hearing...the washer doing it's job, Layn protesting some unfair decision, Matthew's music playing while he mops the floors, Melissa and MK making plans for the rest of the week. I love the normal sounds of life in this house!
Around the house...it smells of pine sol and laundry soap.  Matthew is mopping all the downstairs floors and the laundry machines are cranking out clean clothes as fast as ever they can.  The windows are open to the cool breeze and the sunshine and all is right with this little corner of the world.
One of my favorite things...the scenes of noise and chaos that play out here when we are all together and everyone is talking.  Family is a wonderful and powerful thing.
A few plans for the rest of the week....I have some orders to ship, a pile of things cut out that have to be sewn together, gardens to weed and family to care for. Thursday is a holy day of obligation which I have to remember to observe along with a class to teach.  A normal busy week in this neighborhood.
Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...
Friday Matthew and Brett made their own version of balistic jell.  They used some of it to make fake "wounds" for a first aid class on Sunday.  Yesterday afternoon Matthew fired the .22 into the last tube of it.  Here he is cutting the slugs out of the jell.  It was stinky but kind of cool

Happy Mother's Day

     A day that was created to sell greeting cards is, ironically a day that there is no greeting card for.  It is a day that rightfully begins with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  The commemoration of the greatest and holiest mother of all, The Blessed Virgin and the Sacrifice of her Son on Calvary.  No day is complete without thanks and praise to Our Lord and his Blessed Mother. 
     My day was spent quietly in the company of my beloved husband without whom I wouldn't be a mother.  We enjoyed a beautiful day sent by God as each of our children checked in in their own individual ways.  Time was spent chatting with Ryan both digitally and verbally.  Everyday I have the pleasure of various reminders of his regard that surround me but nothing compares with the sound of his voice and the echoes of his laughter in my heart.  Adam called and in his own way assured me that he not only loves me but is continuing to grow into the kind of man that will give glory to God and serve in His Kingdom one day.  Jason and Kim arrived during the morning and blessed us all with the pleasure of both their company and that of our sweet Savannah.  Only family can know the true gift that is time spent in the company of more family.  Grandpa and I got to take a long walk with Layn and to revel in the joy that only a two-year-old can bring.  By the time we got back and visited with some friends who stopped by he was one tired little boy.
      Later after my beloved took me to supper Matthew chalenged me to a game of Scrabble and MK came home to be with us for a few days.  What balm to the heart of a mother to have some of her children in the nest for a couple of days.  Ian and Melissa gave me a beautiful pink rose bush which was planted last thing before we retired for the evening. 
     This happy mother went to sleep to the sound of her husband praying over her.  What more can one ask than that much blessing.  No greeting cards necessary for this day just time spent  in the company of family and enjoying the blessings that are showered on us by a good God.

Friday, May 11, 2012

For Sale....Taking a much needed breather!

Creatively I have been chugging along like a train gone out of control.  I thought today I should take a short breather to post some things for sale and also to clean up my work room.  Matthew is having company tonight and I didn't want him to be embarassed by the mess his mother can create when she is creating.

This apron is a child's size 8.  The fabric is seersucker from the tutti frutti collection trimmed in plum ric rac and tied in the back with plum ties.  The cost is $10 with $5 for shipping. 

Baby bonnet size medium.  The shell is made from pink microcheck gingham.  It is trimmed with polkadotted ric rac and the ties and band are in a ladybug print cotten.  Cost is $15 with $5 shipping.

This bonnet is the same size as the above and the mirror image in fabrics.  The shell is a light cotton fabric with a lady bug print in hot pink trimmed with hot pink ric rac. The band and ties are in the pink microcheck gingham.  Cost $15 and $5 shipping.

This bonnet is a size large made in a very soft white flannel that has a light blue print to it.  It is trimmed in white lace with a burgundy printed ties and band.  Cost $15 and $5 shipping.

This bonnet is a size small in the same white flannel as above trimmed in blue ric rac with a blue stripped flannel band and ties.  One side is embellished with a blue striped flower applique.  Cost $15 and $5 shipping.

 This number is a size large made from a different pattern.  The shell is purple dotted seersucker lined in a yellow microcheck gingham.  The trim is a purple dotted ric rac.  The brim has three purple buttons with smiley faces on them.  Cost $15 with $5 shipping.
If more than one item is ordered there is only one shipping cost.  Indicate interest in the comments section or email me at annkraeger@gmail.com.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The heart of a man

Earlier this spring, when there was still frost in the ground and too early to do any planting, MK asked her dad for help making some raised beds.  Being the good father that he is he went up to the barn and selcted timbers the proper length and brought them down to the shop in preparation for building the beds.  There they stood, leaning against the wall in the lean to waiting for the weather to be suitable for planting. 

A couple of weeks ago on a Saturday afternoon Doug went into the lean to for the timbers in order to build the beds for his daughter.  On the top of one he spied this nest and in it was a clutch of robins eggs.  Other men would have simply relocated the nest and gone on with their project but that is not in the heart of my man. 

Off to the barn he went to find other lumber suitable for the job since the first batch was currently occupied providing a home for the soon to be born baby birds.  Momma robin sits regally on her nest protecting her young knowing that the human that saw them as eggs will not allow her babies to be threatened.

That is the heart of my man.

The Simple Womans Daybook 7 April 2012

Outside my window...the sun is shining and it looks like today will shape up to be another beautiful spring day.  The forecast is for temperatures in the 70's with lots of sun.  A good day to hang all the laundry on the lines since the dryer is still broken.  Too bad the dishes couldn't be taken care of in the same way.
I am thinking...that though today is supposed to be a beautiful day, one that should by rights, be enjoyed outside, I will have to discipline myself and stay inside finishing projects and cleaning the house that was sorely neglected over the weekend.
I am thankful...however for the ability to do all that I need to do and for the weekend that I just enjoyed that left my home so much in disarray.
From the kitchen....some cooking must go on as well as the cleaning.  There are not enough leftovers for me to fall back on since cooking was something that was also neglected yesterday.
I am wearing...sweats and a tee shirt.
I am creating...magnificent creations of beauty to be worn by young children.
I am going...to be staying home as much as possible all week.  Lots of sewing, yard work, reading, writing, and general staying at home to be accomplished this week.
I am reading...David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.  I am in a mood to revisit some childhood favorites.
I am hoping...to get some pictures took and those pictures loaded on my Etsy page this week.
I am hearing...Layn and Melissa upstairs doing morning chores, Matthew in the other room doing his usual morning things, and the washer valiantly working on its first load of the day.
Around the house....you really don't want to know.  My sewing room looks like a cross between a disaster area and a storage space.  The kitchen looks like a bomb went off.  The living room looks like there was a sleep over last night and I don't even want to describe the bathrooms.
One of my favorite things....listening to stories with Layn.
A few plans for the rest of the week...get all of the lawns mowed and trimmed before the next time it rains, try to get all the sewing projects in the basket done and posted on my Etsy page, and do a little job searching online.
Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...
Planting corn is serious business so Layn has taken it upon himself to be the foreman of the whole job.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Murphy's law or just the realities of life?

     Some may call it Murphy's law but I happen to know that it is only the realities of life.  Things happen in three's around here.  When you take into account the fact that we live in an old barn of a farmhouse and that everything here is older than dirt (ok, not older than dirt since that is my husband's age but close) you can bet that Murphy and reality are going to be in competition for supremacy.
     The first is my laptop.  It hasn't died completely yet it is being dramatic and making that slow slide into oblivion.  I think high end electronics like a computer prefer to go in a more theatrical way than say a toaster or can opener.  They are much more mundane.
     Next it was the dishwasher.  When that breaks we tend to bury our heads in the proverbial sand and ignore the symptoms until it is unavoidable.  But alas the dishwasher is totally disabled and the kit that was ordered to fix it seems to be the wrong one so it will sit awhile longer until it can be fixed.  That is one broken appliance that cuts me to the heart when it breaks. 
     Last night it was the dryer.  The breakdown of a one of the laundry appliances is tantamount to a tragedy in this house.  That is like a death in the family.  I feel the need to dress in black and wear a veil over my face.  My poor husband has been in the laundry room for a couple of hours now trying to figure out why it won't turn on.  My hand, even now, hovers over the phone ready to call the repairman and have him come to fix it or pronounce it dead.  Matthew has the .22 loaded and ready in case we have to haul it out and put it out of our misery. 
     Aged appliances and an even older house make for one of two possible scenarios.  The inhabitants can either develop a good sense of humor and excellent all around fixing skills or they can go slowly mad.  It is really hard to tell which of those things is happening around here.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Finally, some warm weather!

Yesterday the weather turned warm again.  Our high got to be in the upper 70's with the humidity around 78%.  When Ian got home from work and Melissa got home from shopping it was a good time to go out and finish setting the posts for the horse arena.  Layn, as usual was game to help.
Out came the wagon and he and his mom went out to pick up stones to pound around the posts so that they would be solid in the ground.  Then they came back and the fun began. Layn's job was to drop the stones into the holes around the posts so that Ian could pound them down with the bar.  Then Alex would shovel dirt in. They would repeat this process until the holes were full and the posts were solid in the ground.

As you can see Layn taks his part of the job very seriously.  (The white puddle is where Ian spilled his beer! Never leave a beer on top of a wiggly post)

The only problem with this whole process that Layn could find was waiting around for the others to perform their jobs.  They were far too slow for his liking.
Too slow and that mud puddle was way too compelling.  Finally the call of the mud became too irresistable.  When everyone's backs were turned....

boy and mud were joined!

The rest, as they say is history.

There is however nothing that a long soak and a good scrubbing cannot cure.  Once again our little boy is restored to his sweet smelling cleanness.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My latest creative spurt

Both dresses are size 5 sundresses.  Made from the same pattern Easy Stitch 5370.  The fabric is seersucker from the Tutti Frutti collection. Anyone interested in purchasing one or both should comment here with their email.  Price each: $45.