Archive for July, 2013

What We Did Last Week

In the past week, we’ve loaded/taken to the scrap metal buyers approximately 13,000 lbs. of steel. I dropped a beam on my foot, have a broken finger so I won’t be flipping anybody off for awhile, and am covered in cuts and bruises. SwampMan was practically injury free until he sliced his arm open very nicely this morning, about a 6″ gash. We both suffered heat exhaustion toward the end of last week and had to take a day off because we were too sick to continue the next morning.

I have to say that it is looking much nicer around SwampMan’s barn. Our neighbor groused to me that she wished that HER husband would get rid of some of his metal stuff lying about, but he feels like he might need it someday. SwampMan pointed out, correctly, to the woman that it wasn’t HIM that had dragged his feet on getting rid of pieces of buildings and such, it was ME. I admitted my fault, but in my defense said that I keep thinking that the economy will turn around, and we could go back into business again. SwampMan and the neighbor woman both scoffed loudly because, let’s face it, if the economy were a dog, it would have been put to sleep by now. “Besides”, they both agreed “nobody in their right minds would have employees now”.

It’s now 11 p.m. The temperature inside the house has cooled off to 81 degrees. I went to Winn Dixie earlier in the evening for dog and cat food. I started feeling really hungry in the air conditioning. I came out of the store with salmon, peanuts, potato chips, various cream cheese flavors, celery, etc. When I got home in the heat and started unpacking the groceries, I was not feeling well. Just the THOUGHT of salmon makes me want to hurl now. I sat down with a small bowl of salty chips and, when the bowl was finished, I was feeling a little better. I just needed to replenish my salt.

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Zoe’s Babies (Rat Babies, That Is!)

Zoe and baby ratsI think maybe Zoe might just possibly take after her Mommy and her MeeMaw in the urge to mother little helpless things of whatever race or species.

Daughter said the little ratlets’ eyes opened today. They should be able to start nibbling solid food now. Did I remember to tell daughter that she’s going to need to separate the sexes next week because rats can get pregnant @ three and a half weeks old? Well, no matter, she probably looked it up. I hope.

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Short Hiatus

My lack of posts lately is not indicative of a lack of interest, health problems, summer doldrums or anything angst ridden. Nope. It is completely financially related.

We knew there was going to be a shortfall in our finances during the summer months. I wasn’t working this summer for family reasons, and there were several unexpected expenses to be met solely with SwampMan’s check. “No problem”, we said. “We’ll produce something to sell”, we said. But there were so many things to be done, and so many repairs to be made, not to mention grandkids to play with, that we didn’t get around to actually producing anything. I will not even mention that SwampMan is a perfectionist that is still tweaking the CNC router for even more excellent results. *sigh*

“No problem!” I said. “I’ll sell some sheep!” But it rained. And rained. And rained. And we cannot actually get a trailer back to load up sheep for sale. It will take about two weeks of dry weather before that can be attempted (and maybe longer). Meanwhile, I need to buy feed because a lot of pasture is underwater, and my sheep (and chickens) ain’t got no snorkeling equipment for underwater grazing. Did I mention that feed prices are at an all-time high? And our bank account is somewhere in the zero range?

“No problem!” SwampMan said. “We’ll load up some of this scrap metal we have lying about from our previous business, and sell THAT.” But the tractor isn’t working very well. It is old, worn out, and the parts are really expensive. Much like us! And we can’t load very much on a trailer at a time by hand (see the old worn out decrepit part about us again) because, well, it is WET out there. AND the trailer and truck will get stuck. SwampMan had to pull the trailer out of a wet spot it was stuck in yesterday, and accidentally popped two tires on it when he hit a piece of dropped metal he didn’t see. Ouch. A whole day’s work went to buy new tires!

We won’t even get into the arguments about what should stay and what should go. “NO! That piece of metal will make a beautiful table base!” (That would be me.) “Do you want to eat next week?” (That would be SwampMan.) “What about these stupid engines?” (me) “We might need them someday!” (him) “How about this rebar?” (him) “That’s for my concrete stuff! TOUCH IT AND DIE!” (me) “How about your old van?” (him) “NOOOOOOOOOOO!” (me) “How about your old Blazer?” (me) “Maybe.” (him)

So, we have another couple days before SwampMan goes back to work (and the grandkids come back for the weekend) to get a couple thousand dollars’ worth of funds acquired. He won’t actually get paid again until mid-August, and he (along with every other teacher) will put in at least a week’s worth of unpaid labor getting lesson plans, etc., ready for the upcoming school year. The morning’s rain might be done for now, and I need to get to work before the afternoon rain arrives. Later, y’all.

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I Dunno If I Was Ever Successful at Hidin’ My Crazy

Now I have to say that I agree with her Momma’s advice on hidin’ your crazy and keepin’ it together and never lettin’ ’em see you cry. If you are planning on perhaps committing a felony someday (and who isn’t), you want the jury to be shocked, surprised, and secretly believing that there has been some mistake and that they have the wrong person. You don’t want the jury to say “Pffffft. Who didn’t see THAT one coming?”

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Daughter’s Rat Family

rat babies

Those are some lucky rat babies. If the grandkids wouldn’t have been there, SwampMan would have called the dog for a little meat treat (but the ducks might have eaten them first).

My brother was astounded the first time he saw my muscovy ducks. “Holy CRAP those are big! What do you feed them?”

“Well, mostly they feed themselves. I throw out a little corn, and they wander around eating bugs, weeds, weed seeds, mosquito larvae, small snakes, lizards, frogs, roaches, baby mice, baby rats….”

“No shit? Ducks eat snakes? And mice?”

“Well, I dunno about other ducks, but these do.”

My brother didn’t quite believe me and said so, then asked “What the heck is that one eating?”

A big drake walked by attempting to swallow something pretty sizeable. “I dunno. Maybe a mouse?”

“I think it’s a mole! That sumbitch duck is eating a MOLE.”

I shrugged. I didn’t care enough to extract it from the duck’s beak and examine its little feet and face. “Good. They’re all OVER the yard.”

“I would not have believed it if I didn’t see it. I didn’t know ducks were carnivores!” he said.

“More opportunists, I think. They’ll eat whatever protein source is small enough for them to swallow.” And baby mice and rats are definitely a protein source small enough to swallow.

I have a mother duck in a small pen with seven ducklings, five of which are hers. They’re in a pen because I’ve lost 50 to 75 ducklings and chicks to hawks this year and I decided I needed a few more ducklings to grow to release here since I’m about to sell about 25 ducks. I set out 5-gallon buckets with about a gallon of water in them, and wait a few days for mosquito larva (wrigglers) to appear. When the water is nice and black with wrigglers, I go to my duck nursery and dump that gallon of water into their two gallon feed pan/swimming pool. The ducklings jump in the water in a flurry of activity and splashing and within about five minutes, there are no mosquito larva left.

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Thug Notes-Wish We Had This When I Was in School

I read and enormously enjoyed Pride and Prejudice.

I really hated Lord of the Flies, though.

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Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

The grandchildren went home with Mommy a few minutes ago along with four rat pups that the kids wanted. (There were five but one expired.)

After they left, I fought the almost irresistible urge for a large glass of something alcoholic and the easy chair and went into the kitchen to load the dishwasher (again) and get started on dinner. I picked up a jar of pickle relish to open it for the potato salad. Something didn’t feel quite right so I sat it down and actually looked at it. A large spider that I had been rolling around with my fingers glared back at me, not at all amused. Somehow I found after that that I really didn’t want to make potato salad after all. I didn’t want to do any cooking. Or cleaning up. Ever again.

I went to the fridge to get a glass of sweet tea, but SwampMan had finished it off when I went with Mommy and the kids to the store to get some formula to feed the baby rats. The only beverage left in the house is the cooking wine at room temperature.

It has definitely been one of those kind of days, the kind of day where I’ve developed a tic that would do Chief Inspector Dreyfus proud waaay before noon. I reached for the wine I kept for cooking purposes in the recesses of the pantry, a bottle from Chile and, as soon as I touched it, red and blue flashes of light lit up the pantry.

Dylan had done it to me again. He had completely destroyed one of those balls that flashes light from somewhere inside when it is tossed because he wanted to see what made it do that. The little ball of flashing lights that was contained inside the toy had somehow, SOMEHOW, made it into the pantry.

I could feel my eye twitch coming back.

SwampMan walked inside and asked “Are you still mad at me?”

“Still mad? You could have killed two of the grandkids today!”

“Well, let me know when you get over it.”

It all started this morning at breakfast. Dylan woke bright and early, waking everybody else, including those of us that hadn’t gotten to sleep until, oh, between 2 and 3 a.m., such as Miss Zoe and myself.

“MeeMaw, I’m HUNGRY! I want oatmeal!” he declared as soon as the blare of the television woke me. Jacob didn’t want oatmeal, he wanted tater tots. Fine. I put tater tots into the oven, and I microwaved a bowl of oatmeal for Dylan. As soon as Dylan started eating, Jacob changed his mind and wanted oatmeal and tater tots. But not a whole bowl. Part of a bowl. *sigh* Fine. When the tater tots were suitably cripsy, I took them out of the oven and microwaved a bowl of oatmeal and split it between Zoe and Jacob. Since Zoe usually ends up wearing a lot of her oatmeal, I took her clean dress off for her meal. While Zoe has no problem whatsoever spilling lots of oatmeal down the front of whatever clean clothing she is wearing, she doesn’t care too much for spilling hot oatmeal on her body, so she ate neatly for a change. Hunh. Zoe and I made a bathroom run and then put on her clean pants and (still) clean dress. We washed her hands. We brushed her hair. We washed hands again. I grabbed up a load of wet towels from the night before that were left on the bathroom floor and dumped ’em in the washing machine, and returned to the kitchen.

I started attempting to load the dishwasher and wash some pots and pans that hadn’t gotten cleaned the night before. “When’s Mommy going to get here? Can I call her?” asked Jacob.

“I want talk Mommy. I want talk my Mommy. I want talk my Mommy…..” added Zoe.

“Honey, I’m not sure Mommy is even awake yet. Let me check her Facebook page and see if she updated anything this morning….” I sat down at the computer, and SwampMan, who’d leisurely wandered in sometime during the kids’ breakfasts and sat down in the Lazy Chair, snapped “Oh, I guess you’re not going to offer ME anything like oatmeal to eat for breakfast.”

Twitch twitch twitch.

“And I thought”, I said between clenched teeth “that if you wanted anything, you would mention it.”

“I shouldn’t HAVE to. You should ask ME.”

twitch twitch twitch twitch twitch

“Meemaw, I want dink. Meemaw, I want dink. Meemaw, I want dink. Meemaw, I want dink. Meemaw, I want dink….”

Clenched teeth. “FINE. WHAT do you want for breakfast?” I may or may not have been visualizing ice picks and eyeballs.

“Well, now that you mention it, I’d like tater tots and some sausage patties.”

“Well, now that you mention it, I am going to have to clean a pan before I can fry your, er, sausage patties.”

“…..Meemaw, I want dink. Meemaw, I want dink. Meemaw, I want dink. Meemaw, I want dink. Meemaw, I want dink. Meemaw, I want dink. Meemaw, I want dink…..”

“Yes, sweetie, yes, Meemaw will get your drink.” As I was mixing up the chocolate milk in the sippy cup, Dylan got an orange soda out of the other refrigerator.

“DYLAN! You have two sodas open in the bottom of the fridge already!”

“Yeah, but those are root beer, not orange.” He took a drink, and put the orange soda in the bottom of the kitchen fridge. Jacob came in holding a newly opened can of root beer.

“JACOB! You have FOUR root beers open in the bottom of the fridge!”

“Oh.” He opened the fridge to put his fifth opened root beer in the fridge. Dylan’s orange soda fell over and spilled all over the bottom of the fridge and ran out the door onto the floor.

Twitchtwitchtwitchtwitchtwitchtwitch.

“DYLAN! GET IN HERE AND CLEAN UP THIS MESS!”

“Oh. Sorry!”

He dabbed rather ineffectually at the mess as I was viciously power squishing sausage patties with the spatula in the frying pan.

Dylan tackled Zoe and she started wailing.

“Oh, I accidentally fell down and knocked Zoe over….” began Dylan.

twitchtwitchtwitch

“I SAW YOU KNOCK HER DOWN ON PURPOSE! GET OUTSIDE! BOTH OF YOU! GO OUTSIDE. PLAY OUTSIDE. STAY OUTSIDE!” I ordered Jacob and Dylan so that I wouldn’t give Dylan the ass beating that he so richly deserved.

I had just delivered SwampMan’s breakfast to his Lazy Chair when Jacob stuck his head in the door. “Dylan is pooping under a tree outside.”

“What?”

“Dylan is pooping under a tree.”

“WHAT? WHY?”

“He said that you told him to stay outside and he had to poop, so he pooped under a tree.”

My eye twitching was now accompanied with noises like what would emanate from a steam locomotive as it slowly leaves the station.

SwampMan said “Tell him to come in NOW.” He looked at me. “Uh, maybe I better handle this.” Maybe he better if Dylan was going to survive long enough to enter first grade. After issuing the proper corrective actions to be taken, SwampMan shook his head sadly. “That boy doesn’t ever consider the consequences of his actions. Something enters his head that he thinks is a good idea at the time, and he acts on it. I better go outside and keep an eye on them!” said the man who had blown himself up with black powder.

I tried to return to household chores but Zoe started crying. “I want my Jakey and Dilly and Papa. Peeease, MeeMaw, I want my Jakey and Dilly and Papa. I want my Jakey and Dilly and Papa. I want my Jakey and Dilly and Papa. I want my Jakey and Dilly. I want my Jakey and Dilly. Meemaw, I want my Jakey and Dilly….”

“OKAY! Okay, stop crying. We’ll go outside and see Jakey and Dilly and Papa.”

She ran outside and was happily reunited with them after a whole ten-minute separation.

“Look, could you just keep an eye on her for a few minutes while I feed YOUR rabbits and let the sheep out to graze?” I begged.

“Yeah, no problem”, grunted SwampMan.

I fed his rabbits. I let the sheep out to graze, and went to the other sheep. A lamb was *very* ill. He’d probably been ill for a couple of days but with the kids there, I hadn’t had much opportunity for observation. I put him into confinement so that I could try and ascertain what was wrong. As soon as he was caught, however, I heard a blood-curdling scream from Zoe as the tractor started up. What the HELL?

I looked over the barn fence and saw Zoe, screaming and chasing the tractor in her little pink dress. My heart froze. I started screaming at SwampMan. I jumped the fence. I ran around a building, through a couple more gates, screaming very naughty words at SwampMan until there was silence which was even scarier.

“What the HELL is your problem?” demanded SwampMan.

“I thought you were going to squash Zoe! She was screaming and chasing the tractor!” I was shaking and feeling all faint.

“Oh, she was just mad because Jacob left her to go open the gate for me. I knew she was back there.”

“The HELL you did! You can’t hear for shit and the tractor was making a racket. She thought you were going to run over her brother!” I yelled. “She was chasing the tractor! She could have run right up under one of those big tires and you would have never known!”

SwampMan told me I was being all crazy and paranoid and shit. Zoe sniffled “Pease, Meemaw, we go in now. Pease, Meemaw, go in pease Meemaw!”

“Yes! All you children come inside right this instant!” I ordered.

“The boys are helping me!” said SwampMan.

Shortly afterwards, the boys came inside with five rat pups in a bucket. Their eyes were closed, but they were gray so perhaps they were about a week old. I noted that there was about a 1/4 inch of water in the bottom, and some of the rat pups were in the water. One of the rat pups was having trouble breathing. It had probably inhaled that water. I hurriedly got some soft rags for them to lie on and got them out of the water. “Look what we found, MeeMaw! We want to take them home!”

I informed them that Mommy would not want baby rats that she would have to feed every three hours. “Where is their nest and their Mommy Rat?”

“Papa was moving stuff with the tractor, and their nest isn’t there anymore. The Mommy Rat ran that way.”

“Can we call our Mom? She would let us have rats.”

“Sure, go ahead.” Heh. Daughter cannot blame this on me. After their mom said they could have the rats, the boys ran back outside to help SwampMan. Dylan came back inside shortly. Jacob was gone longer and when he came back in, he asked for an ice pack. It looked like there was a tear on his cheek.

“What happened? Were you crying?”

“Yeah, it hurt really bad.”

“What hurt really bad?”

“Papa dropped the bucket of the tractor on my head. It was an accident but it hurt.”

twitchtwitchtwitchtwitch steam locomotive sounds

I ran my fingers over his skull. There were no lumps or skin breaks but he winced.

SwampMan came back into the house. “HOW in the HELL did you drop the bucket of the tractor onto Jakey’s HEAD?”

“I didn’t DROP it. I was lowering it and he stood underneath it. I could not see him underneath it. He should have stepped back.”

“YOU COULD HAVE KILLED HIM!”

“Well, I didn’t.”

twitchtwitchtwitchtwitchtwitch breathebreathebreathebreathe

“Okay, boys. This is how it’s gonna be. If Papa tells you to do ANYTHING for him while he’s on the tractor, I want you to run into the house and TELL MEEMAW first.”

“No way. I know when things are safe!”

“You burned off your facial skin, hair, beard, and eyebrows with black powder.”

“Crazy woman!”

And that is how I developed an eye twitch and an urge to murder SwampMan before noon today.

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