Archive for December, 2010

More Adventures in Grandparenting!

We picked up Jacob and Dylan this morning for a day with MeeMaw and Papa. Mommy told them sternly to “behave themselves”. I told Mommy that her boys ALWAYS behave at Meemaw’s house. “Right, boys?”

“Yes, I always behave!” said Jacob.

“Not me!” said Dylan cheerfully.

Well, they’re BOTH honest….

We had not even pulled out of the parking lot before Jacob told us how very, very, VERY hungry he was. “So, uh, what is it that you particularly want to eat?”

“Pancakes. And bacon.”

Off to Cracker Barrel then to prevent starvation as Dylan declared he was dying, and then closed his eyes and went into a theatrical spasm to prove it. Mommy didn’t actually SAY that the boys had to come back alive, but I think she is sort of expecting it. I’ll have to check with her later about that.

“What are we going to do today?” asked Jacob. “Can we kill ducks and chickens and I can pull out their guts?”

“Yeah!” echoed Dylan. “I want to pull out their bwadder!”

“Uh, I don’t think chickens HAVE bladders.” Except for gall bladders.

“Why not?” asked Jacob. “Yeah, why not?” echoed Dylan.

Papa came to my rescue. “We’re putting up fence today, that’s why not. We’ll kill roosters Saturday.”


On the way, Dylan started announcing quietly in a monotone voice “I hunting yoooooouuuuuu!”


A little louder, “I hunting youuuuuuuuuu!”


“He’s a vampire, Meemaw!” explained Jacob.

“I’m a vampieyo. I’m going to biiiite your neck!”

This was moaned loudly enough for Papa to hear. “If you’re not careful, I’m going to bite YOUR butt!”

“Papa, that’s NOT right!” declared Jacob sternly. “There’s NO SUCH THING as a vampire that bites butts!”

“Yeah!” said Dylan. “Vampieyos suck fwoats, NOT butts!”

After debating whether or not vampires were limited to biting necks or whether some vampires would bite you in the butt if you weren’t careful, like maybe vampire dogs, we arrived at Cracker Barrel.

“I’m not hungry!” announced Dylan.

“Fine. You’re going to come inside, sit down quietly, and order food that you’re not hungry for, and then you’re going to eat it!”

Dylan ordered a scrambled egg (and chocolate milk). Then he announced that he had to use the bafwoom.

He went into the stall, and slammed and locked the door. After a few minutes, he announced “The poop isn’t coming, Meemaw! Maybe later.”

“Oh, I don’t think so. We have a LONG ride ahead of us, so you better go now. Besides, you said you had to go peepee.”

He thought it over, and announced he’d try it again. By this time, the bathroom had filled up and he now had an admiring audience.

“Meemaw, I POOPED in the potty!”

“Good job! Now clean that bottom!”

“I did, Meemaw! Now I’m going to peepee.”

“Oh, what a sweet child! He sounds like a little ANGEL! They’re just so precious at that age.”

I decided to leave her to her illusions. She looked like a nice lady.

Back at the table, Jacob was coloring industriously and artistically, and writing out his numbers in a lovely cursive script. Dylan was very pleased to find that he had a knife just like everybody else in his silverware packet. This preoccupation with knives and cutting things is getting a little creepy! He alternately colored (scribbled) and brandished his knife. When the food arrived, he enthusiastically proceeded to cut his scrambled egg with his knife and fork. Somehow he managed to poke himself in the eye with his fork during the process. He manned up and didn’t cry, although a few tears leaked out of his poked eye. MeeMaw got a little hostile at that point, made him put his knife DOWN and eat with his fork! Or even better, with his spoon! And we eat eggs, NOT eyes!

YOU are a big poopyhead!” announced Dylan.

I looked down at him sternly. “We do not engage in gratuitous insults at the table.”

One-eyed glare up at Meemaw. “I full!

“Fine. You’re still going to eat.”

Breakfast proceeded with no more incidents save Jacob spilling his chocolate milk on the floor, and deciding that he was full, too, after five bites of the two pancakes he had ordered.

“Nothin’ doin’, Mister. You are going to eat those pancakes because I do not want to hear how hungry you are again once we arrive at the house! You had a choice between one pancake and two, and you BEGGED for two because you were sooooooo hungry! Now EAT!”

He ate.

Papa, long finished, went to pay the bill and waited outside until I decided that the boys really were full. I may have miscalculated.

As soon as we arrived home and walked in the door, Dylan said “Meemaw, I’m hungry! Fix me a sammich!”

*sigh* I better go. The fence posts await!

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Does Puppy Need a Puppy?

“Puppy” is a very energetic dog indeed. He races around the perimeter, taking his guarding responsibilities very enthusiastically. He also takes his loving responsibilities very enthusiastically and, even though he knows it isn’t allowed, occasionally nearly bowls us off our feet!

SwampMan thinks that “Puppy” really needs a friend. Another dog about his age and sex and breed would be perfect, he thinks. I think…..not. Sounds like a bigass dogfight to me. Plus I know who would be taking care of friend, too. Then daughter called tonight and told me that there had been an Australian Shepherd mother and a Border Collie father (or maybe it’s the other way around) turned into the shelter, and the mom had whelped there. The mom and pups are being fostered until pups are old enough to be adopted. Daughter thinks that a Border Collie x Australian Shepherd would be just the thing for me in making my rounds and gathering up sheep. I think it would be just the thing for me too, except…..where am I going to find the time to train and socialize another dog? How am I going to make sure this lil’ puppy is fed and watered and piddled before going to work in the morning? How can I be sure Newpy (new puppy) will be safe throughout the day, unless I keep him in a kennel while I’m gone? (Well, I guess I answered THAT question, didn’t I?) Newpy is of a breed that enthusiastically “herds” vehicles and they often come to grief that way. Puppy is going to want to play with Newpy, and I just don’t think THAT is going to work out very well, since Puppy is about 100 lbs. of uber enthusiastic German Shepherd, and Newpy will be about 5 lbs. of wriggling puppy.

I was REALLY mad at Puppy Sunday. I went out Sunday morning to find a mortally wounded duck in his area. I yelled at him and put him in the kennel, along with his food. He KNOWS that All Poultry is Sacred, and Mom is the Queen of All Poultry. What the HELL was this? Did he get overexcited on Christmas? I gave him his dog food, and he refused to eat for 24 hours. He lay in the corner, curled up, apparently devastated at being yelled at and put in the kennel. He would not move or even look at me. He appeared completely guilt stricken. SwampMan, of course, took up for Puppy. “He was probably just defending his food. Besides, the duck came into HIS area, he didn’t go looking for the duck!” Well, several ducks (and chickens) live happily in Puppy’s area, so I wasn’t buying THAT excuse.

I relented and let Puppy out, only to be awakened at 2:30 a.m. by frenzied barking. He wouldn’t quit, so I ventured out into the freezing air to hear the chickens screaming in alarm, and the ducks that normally stay out back were on the back porch crowded closely around Odie, the old blind deaf arthritic dog who used to be a fantastic livestock guard dog but now is pretty much oblivious to everything except me. I opened the gate. Puppy lept past me and raced into the dark pasture. More frenzied barking at the perimeter indicated that whatever he was chasing had successfully made it over the fence, and he came back sniffing carefully over the pasture, alerting me to two mortally wounded ducks that had been dragged to the fence and the fresh skeleton of a slain rooster, mostly consumed. Apparently mortally wounded duck hadn’t been wounded by Puppy; she had made her way to his area for safety. One of the mortally wounded ducks in the pasture tried to drag herself painfully back to her nest with her wings because her legs weren’t working but couldn’t make it. The other duck died during the night, too.

This evening, I shut off the front yard and put old Odie on the front porch. I keep Puppy away from Odie because he tries to play too roughly with the old boy. Puppy is out enthusiastically patrolling the perimeter. I checked the back porch before turning in for the night, and there were no ducks. I went outside to just double check that Puppy had nothing to do with their disappearance, and found that the ducks were happily settled back where they usually sleep, completely undisturbed by Puppy’s relentless perimeter patrol and, indeed, seemingly reassured by it. If Puppy had indeed been responsible for a duck (or chicken) death, they would not be sleeping peacefully while he made his rounds.

I just heard chickens squawking again and went out to check, only to find that they were alarmed by the sounds of Breeze banging her feed pan hopefully out in the darkness. Puppy was there before me, checking the chicken alarm sounds, then racing off to check the perimeter again to make sure that nothing had sneaky made off with a chicken that he would be blamed for, then back to his bed before I finished petting Breeze’s nose while making soothing chicken noises at the chickens with the frayed nerves.

I think I should be able to sleep through the night tonight without worrying too much about the livestock. I hope. *sigh* I suppose I’ll be sleeping in the La-Z-Boy by the door for the next few nights anyway. Now I need to find my Snuggy, another blanket, and my book about raising all my food on 1/4 acre.

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So Much For Resting Up This Week

Tomorrow the day will be spent with the granddaughter; Thursday with the grandsons. January is daughter’s month for working weekends again, as she will be off on maternity leave part of February, March, and part of April. That means that we’ll be watching grandsons on Saturday while daddy works, and then next weekend while daddy is away on drill. I’m going to have to spend another day with my mom somewhere this week, and we need to see SwampMan’s parents again before reporting to work on Monday. January is going to be a tiring month for Meemaw and Papa!

I ran through the itinerary tomorrow with granddaughter. We could do some decorative painting and wallpapering in a bathroom OR we could go to the beach to pick up some seashells to decorate concrete bowls and planters with. She indicated that she would prefer the seashell expedition and playing in concrete. That means that the painting and wallpapering will be done with the grandsons “helping”. D’OH! Maybe the painting and wallpapering won’t get done this week after all. Maybe they can play in the pastures while I put in fence posts.

Update: Granddaughter came down with the flu last night, along with her brothers and mom. Youngest brother has a temp of 105 degrees. Yikes! Some out of town friends evidently brought it in with them; they’ve all been to the doctor and tested positive with H1N1. *sigh* Poor babies.

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Happy Morning After!

I decided to cook a turkey this year because it has been YEARS since I cooked a turkey. I am supposedly the only person in the family that likes turkey (or so I’ve been told), so we never have it. I decided that if I’m going to spend hours and hours cooking, I wanted to have something that I like for a change. Once every 20 years isn’t too selfish of me, is it? The tea-brined turkey draped in sprigs of rosemary cooked in an oven bag was consumed down to the skeleton. Just little teensy pieces of white meat were left, and one of the grandson was picking the bones for those pieces later. Heh. Maybe I’m NOT the only one that likes turkey after all! There is a pie crust under the table. I wonder where THAT came from? No, I don’t! Littlest grandson was conducting a bombing raid with my bottles of sprinkles, and they are under the table, too. All in all, I think everybody had a good Christmas. At least they ate well!

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Lest I Forget Why We Celebrate

Let the Cooking Begin!

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Whew! Time to Get to WORK!

My house looks like the grocery store exploded in it as I prepare to do a cooking marathon, but I find I’m a few ingredients short of a dinner! Off to the grocery store again this a.m. They’re probably muttering “Oh, NO! I thought she was finished!”

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Merry Christmas, Y’all

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Bah, Humbug!

I just spent several hours wandering through stores hoping inspiration for the perfect gifts for the grandkids will hit me kinda like lightning. Only less painfully. Alas, my muse was apparently out drinking someplace and having a far better time than I was. The stores were pretty much deserted which was both good and bad. Good, in that I could stop right in the middle of the aisle when my brain shut down from toy overload and I could happily scream internally in mental anguish without people interrupting me whining about needing to get past. Bad, in that store employees with nothing else to do were apparently following me around just to wish me “Merry Christmas” over and over again, and I felt obliged to be just as cheerful right back instead of running them down with a shopping cart. This was not easy to do when my feet were so painful that I just wanted to sit down and howl in anguish, but nooooooo. I smiled, wished people a Merry Christmas right back, and declined all offers of assistance, for how in the world can somebody assist me to find what I don’t know that I’m looking for? Somebody up there better be puttin’ in a change order to upgrade that hut in the hereafter that I’ll be inhabiting someday to a single wide. Just sayin’. Or, uh, maybe the celestial builders are all engaged in the upgrades on the retail people’s mansions. That’s okay. I can wait.

My feet were excrutiatingly painful because I went up (and down) a ladder several times today to go up on the roof per SwampMan’s instructions. I declined, because I knew it would put me in a mostly crippled state for days. He insisted. *sigh* Shopping takes a LOT longer when feet do not work properly. I really need my feet tomorrow. I will be following my mother, the world champion shopper of all time, around. It’s going to be embarrassing if somebody with leukemia and rheumatoid arthritis kicks my ass at shopping. Maybe I can hypnotize my feet. Maybe I can find enough pain pills in the cabinet so that I won’t even care if my feet hurt. Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow and be better, but I figure the odds on that are about the same as waking up tomorrow and finding that I have a healthy bank balance.

One of the things I mentioned while SwampMan was telling me that I should absolutely not go out shopping tonight was that I did not know where I was going to find the time and energy to drag the big ol’ artificial tree out of storage, stick every branch on, and light and decorate it. This may have been our first year without a tree. SwampMan suggested that I get a really cheap pre-lit artificial Christmas tree, put it up, then trash it after the holidays. Hunh.

I wandered into Walmart and picked up a box that had a 6 and 1/2 foot pre-lit artificial pine that said $38 on the price tag. It wasn’t a sale price, either. How bad could it be? Well, I am here to tell you that it was really, really easy to put up. Maybe 5 minutes. It’s a bit….sparse, much like the tree in Charlie Brown’s Christmas. It looks kinda like it’s pining for the dry cleaners because all of its relatives are coat hangers. Mental shrug. The tree is up! My decorating is DONE.

Grin. I had an epiphany of sorts today when I was getting a little stressed about everything that still needed to be done. Or was I taking a little psychotic break? I forget. Anyway, I have been comparing myself to my mother, my aunts, and my grandmother, women who all had perfect food and perfect gifts and perfect decorations and perfect holidays. Naturally, I do not come off well in comparison. Nobody is ever going to confuse me with a domestic diva. Today, however, for the first time I realized that none of those people that I’m kicking myself in the ass daily over because I’m not measuring up to their memories had an actual paying job when these perfect holidays were occurring. They did not work outside the home. They did not have a second job raising livestock. They did not put up fences. They did not haul bales of hay. They didn’t mow the grass. So maybe I can forgive myself just this once for not baking enough cookies and seven different kinds of fudge. On the bright side, my kids won’t have high standards to live up to at all! As long as they don’t accidentally set fire to the house with Christmas candles, they’ll be able to count the holiday a success.

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Granddaughter Now Weighs a Little Over 4 lbs.

Daughter called on her way to work after her obstetric appointment and ultrasound. Zoe (or Zoey, haven’t asked daughter how she’s gonna spell it yet) Elizabeth weighs a little over 4 lbs., has chubby cheeks, the familial full lips, and LOTS of hair.

Dylan and Jacob spent the day yesterday. Jacob helped me bake and decorate cookies and dip pretzels into peanut butter and melted chocolate and then decorate them with sugar sprinkles. Grin. He would eat 3, decorate 1, eat 4, decorate 1, etc. I’m surprised I haven’t had a phone call about an upset tummy!

Dylan went with Papa to pick up a motor. Dylan is extremely energetic and creative, the kind of kid that will probably be placed on Ritalin so that he can sit in his chair in school and not lead all the other kids in a rousing game of tag or revolt against the school system. He decided he was Spiderman while Mommy was getting ready for work, so he got into the magic markers and made blue spiderweb designs all over his face. We picked him up in the car from Momma at work in the parking lot.

Both boys asked us if they could please have a Happy Meal from McDonald’s from lunch. “Why?” we asked. Usually they want to start a fire and roast hot dogs and marshmallows, not a nutritionally correct choice, but we’re the grandparents, so the hell with nutrition.

“Because”, said Jacob, “they have Bacagons Bakugans in the Happy Meals. I’ve never had a Bacagon Bakugan before because they’re too spensive, but I’d really like one.”

“I want Bacagon Bakugan too!” exclaimed Dylan.

Hmmmmmm. It would really piss off the food police, so we decided that it was a done deal. McDonald’s for lunch for everybody!

After lunch, Papa took Dylan with him on his errands with the blue spiderweb designs all over his face and a pretty good 3-year-old kid’s representation of a spider just a little off center on his forehead. Along with the Bakugan, of course. I didn’t take a picture, and dearly regret it. It isn’t the dressed up in a suit pictures that tell us what kind of kid he was (not the dressed up in a suit kind!) but the blue veining of spiderwebs that tell us that he was a superhero when he was little.

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Midnight in the Cold…

Went out tonight in the cold to check out why Puppy was barking. The moon was so bright that I could make out the colors in my shirt instead of the usual shades of gray. I wandered out to the sheep barn and could easily see while inside the barn. Nothing there. Hunh. Sheep were lying about chewing their cud and wondering what the hell MY problem was. Back outside. Puppy was raising hell while looking at the house, not the sheep barn or chicken pens, which would seem to rule out coyotes or foxes or raccoons or sheep rustlers.

Puppy was barking at ducks on the roof. They were making noise with the whop whop rustle of their webbed feet in the leaves on the roof as they moved around in increasing agitation trying to find out where the danger was that Puppy was alerting to. He couldn’t be too careful with the noise on the roof. After all, I had been inside, and I am the bringer of the Canned Food. Or maybe he was concerned that they may sneak down the chimney and get into the canned food from the inside. Or maybe he just wanted to roust me out from under a warm blanket to play in the cold weather.

SwampMan thinks we need to get him a pet to keep him occupied. Puppy is really taking this whole “guardian” of the flock and hearth thing waaaaay too seriously.

I’m going to bed now. If a real threat to the house arises that is more serious than duck feet, I’m not sure I’ll be awake enough to deal with it.

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