Saturday, January 31, 2009

If I Could Put Time in a Bottle...

Baby Q is just developing so quickly. It is amazing to watch her go from stage to stage. I barely remember T going through all those stages. Time goes so fast that you never really get a chance just to absorb what is happening to them developmentally. It makes me think of the old Jim Croce song called Time in a Bottle. How nice would it be to just bottle up these moments so later, when they are all grown up, we could just go back and relive those moments that flew past us so fast we barely were able to save a memory of it. 

Q is now at full on crawl. She was in the ninja roll stage for the past few weeks or so. It was so funny to watch how quickly she could position her body and then just roll until she got to where she wanted to be. This week she went into a nice full arm and leg crawl and is no longer controllable. It is like trying to hold back the hands of a clock. Put her in one place, wait one minute, pick her up from the computer before she hits the power button. Place her back on the other side of the room again, and repeat. That blue power button light really draws her like a moth to the front porch light. At one point I taped up a protective cardboard cover to stop her, but she just found that interesting and pulled on it until it came down. I guess I like the fact she doesn't let little things like that get in her way. Once she sets her mind on something she is going to have it. She is a very determined little baby. 

The only problem with crawling is that it has a vertical limitation. You can't get things on top of small tables and ottomans. That was great for us, as we would put things we didn't want her to have up higher and she wouldn't even know they were there. Well, I guess seeing us put things up high just annoyed her. She decided the other day that she wanted to play with these things. She climbed over to T's little plastic table, and pulled herself up on the seat, and stood up so she could reach the top of the table. She then proceeded to pull everything on the table down to the floor. I was so shocked to see her standing there that I was running around like a madman searching for the camera to photograph this historic moment. My wife was at work, and I wanted to be able to prove that I saw what I saw. Of course by the time I got the camera in hand she had dropped down to her knees and the moment was gone forever. She is only 8 months old. I wasn't expecting this for a while yet. It shouldn't be too surprising though. On her first day of life she could practically stand. The nurses at the hospital were all talking about how big her leg muscles were and how funny it was that she could hold herself up on her legs and bounce on those unstable legs. We will have to wait and see how long it takes before she is actually walking, but I don't think it will be all that far away. Nobody puts Baby in a corner...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tagged Twice!

I was tagged twice. I feel bad that they were both a while ago, but I have been so busy with the farm I haven't been able to do much else. Now I have almost caught up, so I thought I'd take a shot at it now. One of the memes was for 8 Random things about me. Tagged by Lydia @ On the Verge.  The other was 7 Random things about me, tagged BY frogmama @ Frogs in My formula . Now I figure I could either do 7 things, 8 things, or all out and do 15 things. 7 + 8 = 15 I learned that playing cribbage. I chose the middle ground and decided on 8. 

1. I gained 13 pounds when I was out of chickens for five weeks, and now after having chickens for less than three weeks, I have returned to my normal weight already. Chicken farming is a good workout plan. I hate to think what will happen to me if I give up chicken farming. 

2. I am currently obsessed with those darn pecans. I picked over 14 pounds of them (almost 4 lbs after removing the shells) already and had them cracked by a machine. I know there are many more still outside just waiting for me to pick them, but I don't have time. I wonder if the below freezing temps we have had made them useless... Oh that would really make me mad to think I lost all those pecans because I wasted my time working instead of gathering nuts. 

3. When I was 39 and L and I were about to have our first baby I was told I was adopted at birth. So, everything I knew about my family medical history was slightly inaccurate. Within a month I located my biological family and now have two families I can annoy with stories of my childhood. He he he... 

4. Every July I am captivated by the Tour De France. I TIVO the races each day and schedule my days to include enough time to watch them. I know there is a lot of bad talk about the doping that has occurred in the past, and probably is still occurring to this day, but seriously, even on every drug known to man I could not train hard enough to survive one day on a bicycle in those mountains. Add the fact that Lance Armstrong is going to come back this year, and BLAM! I am peeing my pants with excitement already, and it is still six months away. 

5. I think most of the toys and games we get for T are things I like to play. Seriously, I'm 43 and show no signs of maturing into a fully functioning adult any time soon. 

6. I love to learn new things, but have no capacity what so ever to retain the information long term.

-When living in Germany I spoke German fairly well, and could hold my own in conversations with German people, and now, I could at most order some schnitzel and a bier and probably say hello. 

-I minored in Spanish in college and spent several months living and studying Spanish in Guatemala, and now, I may have trouble following along with Dora the Explorer. 

- After deciding not to be a teacher anymore I earned an associates degree in computer science so I could be a computer programmer. Before I finished my degree I found an awesome job in tech support with one of the best companies ever. So I decided not to leave that job when I graduated. Now, I could barely write a "Hello World" program in any programming language. (Hello World is simply writing code to make the computer output the words "hello world" to the screen. It is very simple, and therefore typically the first thing you learn to do.)

- I could come up with many more examples of things I've forgotten, but most of them I can't remember... 

7. Thanks to the Army I can eat almost anything. No, not Fear Factor Anything, but there are very few foods I will say no to. Beets, broccoli, liver, brussel sprouts, all veggies raw or cooked, no problem. Scrambled eggs still runny and dripping off my fork? No problem. Add some Louisiana hot sauce and I am all over it. Once I got the flu right after eating ribs, and had some trouble eating ribs for a long time, but I kept working at it until I could eat them again. You just can't let the flu take away any items from the meat group. It just ain't right.

8. I have had two motorcycles in the past. One was a a Vulcan 750, and the other was a Katana 750. The Katana was my favorite since it was more of a sport bike, and could get up to around 130 mph on a straight away. You know, in case you needed to avoid a car whose driver is reading the news on his laptop with one hand, while eating his egg mcmuffin with the other and driving with his knees. It has nothing to do with a need for speed. Currently I have no time for a bike, and no money to buy one. Sometime in the future though I can see me finally riding slowly down the old back roads of Georgia on a Harley.

OK that's a little about me. Now for the people lucky enough the be tagged, probably for their umpteenth time. So, as always if you have had this one plenty of times and prefer to pass, that is up to you. I only hold a grudge for a short time anyway. Remember? no memory. I'll have forgotten all about it fairly soon, so don;t worry about it. If you do go for it, just leave me a comment so we can all go check your random facts out.

Lola @ Lola's Diner 

Outnumbered Two to One

Farrah @ Wife and Mom of 3

Jodi's Journey 

Signe Says

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Disney Pixar Cars for Wii

[caption id="attachment_546" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Lightning McQueen "]Lightning McQueen [/caption]

Have I mentioned that we too love our Wii game system. I read so many blogs where people talk about their Wii games and how much they love them. It seems to be all the rage lately. This past Christmas T received the Disney Pixar Cars video game. He loved the movie Cars. It was one of those that a toddler has to watch over and over ad nauseam until the parents can't take it any more. By that time though the whole family can quote all the lines in the movie, mostly to be able to understand all the stories that their toddler is telling them.

Once T gets into a movie or a game, that becomes a part of our lives. Even a trip to school becomes part of the movie, or video game. "That is Sally's cozy cone, and that building is where Filmore lives. Don't speed, or Sheriff will chase you. We could do a donut on the road here." Mostly it is a nonstop dialogue related to the movie and the game for the entire 20 minute drive. Oh, and no, he didn't learn "donut" from me driving him to school. That is one of those words he just used, and I don't know where he learned it. Oe day he yells to me that oh so familiar command," Daddy watch this!" I look right away, because if I don't I have to listen to "Daddy, watch this!" repeatedly until I do watch it. I know. I have a degree in elementary education, you think I could have taken a few minutes to change that behavior, but no. So far it has just been easier to just look. Anyway, I look at the TV. T says, "Watch, I am doing donuts." Sure enough he had lightning McQueen spinning around in circles in a parking lot doing donuts. 

No one we know has this game, and he can't read so I'm ruling out the internet. I guess he just figured out how to do it by playing with the controller long enough. It took him about 5 minutes of "Not like that, push this button and this button, and turn the wiimote like this!" for him to teach me how to do it. I'm not exactly as quick as he is at learning new things. Eventually I got it. 

All I know is there is NO WAY I'm letting this kid near a car when he is 16. Can you imagine???  "Dad, Watch This!!!" Ohh no, I'm not liking the thought of that.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Photo Contest

[caption id="attachment_823" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Photo is copyright of Stylized Portraiture"]Photo is copyright of Stylized Portraiture[/caption]

Stylized Portraiture did our baby's newborn pictures and the photographers chose their favorite picture from each session they did in 2008 to be in a contest. They are giving the grand prize winner free digital files from the photo session.

If you have a moment and would like to vote, you can do so by:

1) Visiting the Gallery page to see the pictures (She is #56)

2) Then please VOTE HERE (#56)

Many thanks!

P.S. You are only allowed to vote once.

P.S.S It would really, really, really be appreciated if you could take that extra minute to vote for Q's picture. Is that enough reallys?

Final results: Well, it was a valiant effort. Q's picture received a total of 70 votes!!! That in itself is very impressive. While it does not earn us a place on the wall of Stylized Portraiture it does represent a wonderful sense of community, with so many of you coming together to help us. We really do appreciate all of you who took the extra time to go and vote for Q's image. Thank you so much. 

Friday, January 9, 2009

Are You Kidding Me???

The bronchitis came back and my nose is stuffed up again. How am I supposed to run a farm if I am feeling deathly ill and can't breathe. (Yup, still overly dramatic.) Seriously though, this is the same thing I just got over. We send T back to school for two days and BLAM! he is sick, I am sick, the baby is sick and L is once again being our angel in our time of need. Honestly, I don't know how she puts up with me sometimes. Maybe I just look too pathetic as I hack up a lung with my nose running out of control. She surely must be reviewing those for better or worse, in sickness and in health clauses from our wedding to see of there is some sort of loophole. Luckily for me I think they are iron clad.

So, with all the sickness going around the kids again, I thought I would pass along this public service announcement. Someone was nice enough to send it to me after my last post on being sick, so I suppose it still is relevant.  Stay healthy! 

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

If Life Gives You Lemons...

I was awarded the Lemonade Stand Award by Nicole at Juicy Alligator. She has an incredible blog and a marvelous sense of humor. I was blown away when I saw that she passed this award on to me, and only me. Now I must say that sure makes a guy feel special. After such a long December, filled with illnesses, and long days of hard work, it felt good to have some praise. Thank you Nicole!


[caption id="attachment_523" align="aligncenter" width="292" caption="Look who's making lemonade"]Look who's making lemonade![/caption]

The rules state that I bestow it on blogs that display great attitude or gratitude! I also am supposed to pass it on to TEN other blogs. Ten is really a stretch for me, plus I really liked how being the only one to get it made me feel more special. So, with that logic being used to cover my laziness lack of available free time, I am going to pass it on to one person also. 

Thanks to EntreCard, I read a lot of blogs each week. I do what I can to try to read each persons most recent post as I am dropping my card on their site. So far I am very grateful for all of the wonderful blogs that it has helped me find. I could easily list off a bunch of them that I follow very closely, but that would cause problems because I would undoubtedly forget some of them and feel bad for not having listed them. So, I will just get right to the point and announce the WINNER of the LEMONADE STAND AWARD. And the winner is: Frogs in my Formula

This is one blog you should check out if you are not already reading it. Her family is incredible and seems to give her a never ending stream of entertaining things to write about. I can totally relate to her stories, and I think that is what makes her site so enjoyable. I am always laughing with her as she describes the craziness in her world in her own intoxicating, irrepressible, always entertaining voice. Congratulations Frogs in my formula, and thank you for having such a great attitude.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Those Darn Beechnut Trees

[caption id="attachment_520" align="alignleft" width="277" caption="Definitely Not Beechnuts"]Definitely Not Beechnuts[/caption]

I really need to read a book about trees. We have lived on this farm for several years now. It is lined with trees on three sides. Since the day we moved in we really haven't given the trees a second thought. This past year however someone pointed out to me that along the front of the property there are some plum trees. At first I didn't believe them when they told me, until I went over one day and looked at the trees. Sure enough there were fruit on a few trees up there. As I was walking back I also found a section of raspberries. Seems to me that some one would have pointed that out to me when we bought the place, and not let us find out after we had lived here a few years. 

The side of the property has these tall trees that grow some strange looking nut on them. They start out green, and later turn black and fall off the tree. Not having read a book about trees, I thought these were beechnut trees. Someone had to have told me that since not having ever read that book, I couldn't tell you what a beechnut looked like. Each fall the darn trees would drop all these nuts to the ground, and I would drive over them with the lawn mower, cursing them under my breath for littering my lawn, and because they were little missiles when shot from the lawn mower. Those darn beechnut trees. 

The other day, I was outside and saw those darn nuts on the ground again, and it made me wonder if there were any use for beechnuts. Are they edible? There must be something I can do with them besides risk peoples lives when I run them over with the mower. So, I went online and was searching for them. Not too much was coming up, but eventually I found a picture of one. Ummm, that's not the same as what I have in my yard. Outside I go, dodging raindrops as I run to the trees, pick up a nut, and run back in. More searches. I searched for nut trees in the state of Georgia, and started going through the images until I found one that looked exactly like what I held in my hand. Can you believe it? I was holding a pecan. I LOVE PECANS! For over three years I have been driving over pecans with my truck, mulching them down with the mower and cussing them out without having a clue that they were pecans. It is so sad. I mean the row of nine very large pecan trees is only about 15 feet from my house and I didn't know it. 

I immediately went out and picked up a handful of them and brought them in to test. I got out the nut cracker and busted them up and ate them. They were delicious. Later I went out and got about 10 of them. I ate them and shared a little with L and T. Today, I went out with a bucket, and picked up about 300 of them. I am currently obsessed with pecans. I cleaned them, dried them in the oven, and started cracking them and extracting the meat. After about an hour I managed to crack about 25. Woo hoo! Talk about a slow process, but it is totally worth it. Anyone know any good recipes I can use pecans in? 

I am going to have to head over to the back side of the property and take a look at the trees over there. Who knows what trees I might find.

A Week in Review

Being it is the New Year, and people usually do the Year in Review, and being that my memory isn't very good, I decided to only write about the last week. And What a week it was. 

Monday: After so many sick days, and then Christmas I was finally able to get out to the chicken houses over the week end and blow out all the dust and spider webs. I assumed I had at least a week before the chickens come so I made a nice plan for the week. Monday I wanted to get a good start on cleaning the fans. They get covered with dust and it makes them less efficient. To clean them I have to take an old broom and brush all the dirt off of each one. It takes forever, and is not my favorite job, but it they really need it. So, I spent all day cleaning them and only got through a couple of houses. (Each house has 5 smaller side fans and 8 giant fans at the back.) Late in the afternoon I decided to call my service man to see what he wanted me to do with my litter. When I finally got a hold of him he tells me they just found out that someone was not able to take their chickens on Friday and wanted to know if I could be ready for delivery Friday to take those chicks. Let's see. I'm broke, and the only money I can get is from selling chickens, and I have no chickens. Do I want some chickens as soon as possible? YES I DO! Can I get the houses ready in three days? Probably not, but there is always the chance that I could get super powers and get it done in time. I figured it was worth the effort. 

Tuesday: I need a lot of supplies in order to be ready, so I spent the morning calling people to set up deliveries. I spent the afternoon starting to set up the houses. So far so good. I got one and a half houses partially ready. 

Wednesday: Two days left to get the houses ready. Part of the process needs the houses to be heated up to 90 degrees, and that part has to be done the day before the chicks come, which means by the end of the day I need to have all the houses set up to the point where I can turn the heat on. Which means I have to set up all the remaining houses before I can quit for the day. I went out early, and worked until 7 PM. Carrying in bins, boards,setting things up, turning hundreds of little feed drop tubes on the feed lines down, flushing out drinker lines until my poor little getting older by the second body was exhausted. I was so glad to be done with that before T went to bed. One Long day down one to go. At home, I got online and read some blogs where I found I had been given the Lemonade Stand Award. Now there is a nice boost to my morale. Just when I was feeling beaten down and wondering if I was going to get everything done someone tells me I have a positive atitude. I guess then I should have a more positive attitude about this and just get it done. 

Thursday: Chicks come tomorrow morning early. That means I can't finish the day until everything is completely ready. I sure wish I had a friend or money to rent one. Alas, I don't, so alone I go into the challenge ahead of me. This was the day I was dreading because it is the most physically demanding, and I was already sore. (2 Excedrine Back and Body tablets and I was ready to go.) All I had to do was place 1500 paper trays underneath the drop spouts of the feed lines without having my back give out, and then load up 120 50 lb bags of litter treatment into the spreader on the tractor and spread that out in the houses, then make any final checks, and I would be done. How hard can that be? Be Positive! So, again I started early, and worked until around 7 PM. I was done. I seriously didn't think I could do it all in those few days, especially working by myself, but I did it! Way to go me. 

Friday: Early in the morning again I was out double checking the temperatures in the houses, running the feed out into the houses, repairing the feed bowls that were broken by the catch crews and making minor adjustments. Finally, after all that work the chicks arrived. My dad came out to help drive the tractor while I helped the delivery guys throw chickens into the houses. By late afternoon I had chickens in the houses, and more chickens than they had ever given me before. That's a good sign, because more chickens in means more chickens to sell at the end and a bigger check. That is definitely helpful at this point when things are so tight. It seems that when things get bad there is always something that happens to let you know everything will work out OK in the end. See, that's why I got the Lemonade Stand Award. =-) 

And that my friends was my crazy week on the chicken farm. I'll post my award very soon and do my best to pass it on to several other sites that inspire me with their positive attitude.