Friday, June 27, 2008


For all of you who sent inquiries and well wishes to Secondo, many thanks. He is pretty much the same: feeling just fine despite his appearance.

However, I may be permanently scarred by the experience if he keeps referring to the abscess as a "pus pocket."

Hotpocket, anyone?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

the best laid plans

Today was the day I was really going to crank on the project. I took the kids to the beach yesterday, because I had to drop Primo at his friend's shore house for a few days, and I can't go near a beach and not take the other two to frolic in the ocean.

After driving all the way to the bottom of the state, watching kids gambol in the waves, and then driving all the way back, I was more than a little wiped out.

So I took a night off, and sat like a lump on the couch and worked on my socks, and planned that come the next morn, I would work ALL DARN DAY on the project, DARN IT, even if it killed me.

And then Secondo woke up, looking like this:

Amazingly, it isn't hurting him too much. Thank goodness, too, as he is not a kid who suffers well in silence. (Edited to add: He takes after his mom that way.) Here's another shot with him looking a little sorrier for himself (he worked up to it), in case you missed it in the first shot:

After my LSH had a minor panic attack (along the lines of "mumps!"), a quick exam revealed that it had something to do with his teeth.

And so off to the dentist we went. The pediatric dentist in Philly, that is, who is totally awesome but obviously a bit of a hike. He confirmed that it is, unfortunately for the poor kid, an abscess at the base of his tooth. Luckily, it is a baby tooth and there's no long term issue once it is pulled. Unluckily, it is one that we just paid hundreds of dollars six months ago to have filled and sealed.

(Yes, we have dental insurance. It bites. HA HA HA, I crack myself up.)

I am just now getting back to work, DARN IT. The only saving grace was that I got to knit a little bit in the dentist's waiting room. With days like this, you have to take tiny pleasures where you can.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

mockingbird at midnight

I am still plugging away on the project from hell. The wee hours of the morning particularly lend themselves to the quiet necessary to concentrate on this beast.

It turns out I am not the only living being who feels similarly inspired to work.

At midnight or so, every night, a mockingbird starts up in the evergreen tree outside my office window. He is either wooing a mate or just doing what mockingbirds do. Opinions are varied.

It might explain the abandoned egg I found in the geranium basket hanging on our front porch. (Sorry for the huge pictures in my posts these last couple of days, but my finds have been so tiny that my camera is not coping very well.)


And here he is, right on cue (check the time stamp). I could swear that he has a whippoorwill call in his repertoire, though I haven’t heard that nocturnal bird during these late-night marathons.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


The project plods on. I think this little guy, which I found in our front driveway yesterday morning, makes faster progress.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

it's a start

In the interests of my sanity, which as we know is already stretched to the limit, I took time away from the PFH (project from hell) to watch The Bourne Ultimatum and cast on for my first sock. Because of the action in the movie or the excitement that Summer of Socks '08 generates or maybe just sheer exhaustion from the PFH (?), my hands were shaking something awful.

But still! I have made a start! This is the first patterned sock I have done and I like how the pattern holds my interest and breaks up the endless rounds. I had a bit of trouble (as in: had to rip the row out 4 times) with the cable increase, but now I am solidly on my way.

My sock was jealous to see that Heidi’s sock already went on an adventure. Apparently, watching Matt Damon careen around Tangiers didn’t count. To appease my sock, I took it out this morning. It got to help me:

feed the chickens and the barn cats and

check on a weaning ewe (who is not drying up, ARGHHH)

... and then we were back to work.

Today’s bargain* is: if you do one section, you get to knit one row. At this rate, it is a toss-up whether the PFH or Sock #1 will be finished first. My money is on the sock.

*Why yes, I do have the attention span of a gnat, why do you ask?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

summer of socks, project of despair

Today is the official kick-off of Summer of Socks ’08. I signed up for this before I got the freelance project from hell, which is due on July 1 and consuming me alive right now. I am desperately fighting the urge to log off my computer and cast on for my first pair of socks. I have had the yarn for quite a while now. I just found the perfect pattern last week, thanks to scoping out Jessica’s queue on Ravelry. (I don’t seem to have a talent for finding great patterns, so I have to ride on other’s coattails. Ravelry is awesome for that!)

So I am making bargains with myself. “You can cast on if… if you bill x number of hours today… if you complete this much of the project… if you complete this particular section...” I have even put the ball of sock yarn in an inspiring location on my desk*, to remind me to stay-the-heck focused on this darn project.**

It is Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino ("KPPPM" to those in the know), colorway "I don't know because I have already misplaced the ball band."

See the little tail hanging out so innocently, yet so temptingly?

Resisting… urge… to check progress of others… on Ravelry…

*Yes, I am well aware that my desk will not be included in the flickr group any time soon, even though I did relocate a bit of the clutter for the picture.

**Don't you love all that pseudo-swearing? I am not so pseudo under my breath these days.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

garden salad

We started planting lettuce last year. I don't know what took us so long. It is relatively easy to grow, and so far we have been really lucky in the rabbit and rodent department. (I am knocking wood as I type this.)
The only downside is that lettuce and tomato seasons do not overlap. I am going to experiment this summer with succession planting lettuce in the shade of other plants, and see if I can get some lettuce throughout the season. It is a really simple pleasure, but IMHO there is little that compares to going out to the garden just before dinner, gathering up your ingredients, and eating them a few minutes later. So you get to hear me go on and on about it in the annoying, evangelistic way to which gardeners are susceptible.
I started out with the yellow squash, where I got a pleasant surprise: two ready to be eaten. I sliced them very thin.

A tiny little bell pepper, not ready yet to join its buddies in the bowl.

I thought this banana pepper might be ready to go, but it was still bitter and tough. Note to self: banana peppers are supposed to be yellow.

The boys had told me the peas were in -- I planted them a little late this year but we are getting a decent crop at this point. I left the shells on, as they are so sweet, and just took off the ends and sliced them into quarter-inch pieces.

The green lettuce has bolted, thanks to the heat wave last week...

...but the red lettuce is still doing okay. A whole head joins the bowl.

A volunteer tomato plant, from last year's mega-monster cherry tomato bush (the thing took over the entire garden bed it was planted in). I found at least ten of these as I weeded while I picked. As my mom wisely says: a weed is any plant that is growing where you don't want it. This, and all its siblings, qualified as weeds.

Can you spot the non-weed in that thicket?

There it is: a teeny little baby lettuce plant. I take a few leaves from each plant.

The end haul:
Add some croutons, a little shredded cheddar and vinaigrette dressing: YUM.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


It has become a last-day-of-school tradition for us to take the boys to the boardwalk to reward them for their hard work all year long. We are sometimes joined by their little cousins, who live nearby, but unfortunately this year the older cousin was sick. The weather forecast was gloomy at best, but since time was already blocked out and plans were already made, we took a chance and went anyway.

(Sorry about the cell phone pictures. After taking the camera out to the barn that morning, you would think that I would also take it to a prime picture-taking place like the boardwalk. You would think wrong, but I was happy I didn't have to lug it around along with everyone else's stuff -- the perils of being the only one with a purse.)

Wisely, my LSH suggested we go on the rides first. There was a stiff breeze and grey clouds to our southwest, so the place was empty. The two older boys and I were on the bumper cars by ourselves; all four of the boys went on the Twister alone, too. I could not believe that Terzo was tall enough to ride this ride and I spent the whole time yelling at him to hang onto to the lap bar. Of course, he was in his glory to be on a big kid ride.

But he also wanted to go on the little kid rides...

Another tradition: our last ride is always on the carousel.

After a scandalously-priced pizza, we went to the batting cages, where Primo sent the balls sailing. I should have been bringing him here all baseball season! Even Terzo got in on the action, and firmly refused (in that annoying pre-schooler shriek) all offers of help from LSH. He managed to hit about 1 in 4 softballs, much to his brothers' amazement and pride.

Too early...

Too late...

Just right.

The drops were starting to fall, and we debated whether we could fit in a round of miniature golf. The boys pleaded, and we gave in (tradition!). The course started outside and then went under cover. We got inside just as the heavens opened, but the 16th hole was now a water hazard as the start was outside -- we took turns dashing out into the rain, hitting the ball as quickly as possible, then running back under cover. Terzo was playing a modified game, most closing resembling the sport of curling: after the initial tee-off putt, he would use the putter to usher the ball along until it went into the hole.

Amazingly enough, just as we finished up, the rain stopped. Our finishing places, from 1st to 5th, mirrored our family's birth order. I made a hole in one on the first hole, impressing the heck out of my kids (which is becoming an increasingly rare feat). Despite this amazing, and quite frankly flukey, shot, my LSH beat me by one point. We finished up with funnel cake (tradition again!), and made our way home for the start of summer vacation.

Monday, June 16, 2008

name change and other administrative matters

As we headed out to do chores this morning, my LSH wondered why I was bringing the camera. "For the blog, of course!" I replied, which reminded him to ask me what LSH stood for. When I told him it was Long Suffering Husband, he was disappointed. He thought it stood for Loving Supportive Husband, and he is certainly that, in spades. After all, who else would let his wife sleep in while he handled morning matters (including packing lunches for almost the entire school year), and unquestionably accompany his wife to nurse out a weaning ewe for her, and step in to carry the chicken's full waterer at the same time? A Loving Supportive Husband, that's who. After 15 years and 10 days of marriage to me, he also qualifies as long suffering. But that is no longer his official title.

As for other administrative matters, today is the last day of school for Primo and Secondo. I was up working until 1 am this morning, and when I stumbled down in search of coffee at 7:15 am, my LSH reminded me that we had forgotten gifts for the teachers and bus drivers as is our usual practice to thank them for putting up with our kids (especially the bus drivers, who wait patiently as our kids tear down the driveway). This end-of-school-on-a-Monday thing has really thrown me for a loop, more so than usual.

I managed to get Secondo to write thank you notes to each of his teachers before he caught the bus. My LSH and I decided that, when I ran into town to do my usual errands, I would also pick up some flowers for the bus drivers. But it was a half-day, and I was already running late thanks to the farm chores and answering the bazillion work e-mails from Friday that came in while I was at the mall. I finally took off for town with 25 minutes to go until Primo got off the bus. I tapped my toes at the bank while a new teller fumbled through the transactions. (I know service people think I am a very impatient person. I am not. I am just a person with not a lot of time to spare, which I admit is almost always entirely my fault.) I ran breathlessly into the flower shop to see if she could make up a couple of bouquets for me, but no luck: she was busy with other orders. I flew through the post office and headed over to the hardware store, which once again saved my butt. I grabbed two hanging baskets of flowers, prepared to pay whatever they cost, and was pleasantly surprised when they were only $10 apiece.(This is the third gift-giving occasion this year in which they have rescued me. I love our local hardware store.)

After running like a maniac down Main Street to my car, baskets in hand (won't be the last time), I managed to make it past the school in time to ascertain that the buses hadn't left yet. Whew. I rushed back and parked at the end of the drive to await Primo's bus, because every almost-7th grade boy wants to see his mother waiting at the end of the drive for him to get off the bus, with a hanging basket of flowers in her grasp. My kids clearly also deserve to have some sort of "suffering" adjective added to their names.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

mall? rats!

I had to go to the mall yesterday to pick up a ring that had been resized at the jewelers. In other words: I really had no choice but to go, and that is pretty much the only way I get there. Ask my youngest. Terzo views the mall as a sort of Shangri-La, and gets very excited in a "we're going to disneyworld!" sort of way when he finds out we are on our way.

Case in point: last year, a few weeks before our trip to Disney, we found ourselves with a few hours to kill in very cold weather while our kids were at a distant birthday party, and so dropped by the nearby mall. When we took Terzo to the Disney Store, he was in awe. We realized that in his three years on the planet, he had never seen a Disney Store. We also realized that we wasted a lot of money going to Disney when we could have just dropped by the Disney Store at our mall and gotten much the same reaction.

It's funny, but I find myself getting really annoyed in the mall. I can't stand all the aimless walking and window shopping ("don't you people have a better way to spend your time?"), I get annoyed with all the teenager-aimed stores that have their windows shuttered and lights turned down so you can't see what they are selling ("like your crappy clothes made in a third-world country are that much better than anyone else's"), I can't stand all the useless junk and stuff and clutter ("I have enough of that at my own house").... in short, I just can't take the mall.

I try, I really do. I know that my wardrobe needs a little updating, as I am not the most fashion forward person. I walk into stores with every intention of trying to improve myself. But the stuff is all spread out, and I can't figure out what I want, and oh-my-goodness, are they really charging that much for a T-shirt? And I can't be bothered to try things on, as that takes too much time. So I end up throwing in the towel and shopping for clothes at BJs and the thrift store. Shh, don't tell anybody -- though I suspect they've already guessed.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

i'm just a girl who can't say no

Ten points to the first person who can identify that quote.

It's been on my mind today, ever since I made up my "to do" list, complete with times because it was such a hairpin turn kind of day. It went somewhat like this:

Feed various farm animals and kids
Iron linens for church
Take Terzo to storytime at library
(Sneak out to post office and hardware store while he is in there)
Go to Shoprite (take care of banking at same time)

Go to Staples (LSH's business out of ink for fax, slightly emergent situation)
Drop off drinks for church group lunch; cannot stay because need to...
Pick up kids from half day; Primo's friend coming to our house
(note: last four items are accomplished in 40 minutes time, flat)
Make lunch for kids
Take kids to friend's pool
Pay bills
Make dinner
Drop Primo off at baseball practice
Pick up fellow 4H leaders for fair planning meeting, don't get home until 10 pm

My LSH picks up the list after I have made it, and notes that, with the exception of the feeding, shopping and bills, most of it is completely self-inflicted. It seems I am lacking that gene that allows me to say "No, I am sorry, I cannot take on one more thing right now." Plus, these things tend to seem somewhat reasonable to me when considered in isolation, until they snowball into the sort of day I experienced today.

So probably should have came as no surprise to me that I was named (in absentia) as the chair of the kid's county sheep show. After all, why bother to ask? They already knew my answer.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

heat wave

We went from gentle spring weather -- as of June 6, we still hadn't turned on our AC yet -- to the absolute armpit of hell. Just when I think it can't get any hotter, the next day turns it up a notch. The sheep and chickens seem to be coping OK, just drinking copious amounts of water. It takes extra vigilance to make sure they have a constant supply. The bunny has been in the basement the past few days. We just can't give him enough cold tiles (we keep them in the freezer for him) and frozen water bottles. He seems to like hanging out on the cool concrete.

Speaking of heat waves... I managed to get two barn cats into the vet to be fixed today. One of them, a male called Thing One (because he has a patch of black over one eye) was easy to catch, as he is very friendly. I also managed to get his mom, Mama Cat, who was much harder, but I knew time was of the essence. She had kittens about eight weeks ago and was already making overtures to a stray black tomcat that has been hanging around. I had visions of that chart from the vet's office dancing through my head:

... except it was happening for real, in my barn. (Coincidentally, all the kittens are black and white.) Both of them came through with flying colors and are recuperating in the basement, in separate crates.
Now, catching Thing One's sister, Thing Two (because she has black patches over both eyes), and Mama Cat's litter of two, are going to be much harder as they are very wild. I am going to try and net the little ones if I can get close enough to them. I think I am going to have to use a Havahart trap for Thing Two and the black tomcat, but if anyone has any better suggestions, I am all ears.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

athletic supporter

This has been a tough baseball season for my oldest son. He has played every year since he first qualified for T-ball, but this is the last year for him in Little League due to his age. He used to be a decent player in comparison to the other kids, but as more and more kids dropped out along the way, only the cream of the crop is left. And the cream of the crop tends to train and play year-round, and go to baseball clinics, and otherwise really focus on developing serious baseball skills. Playing stickball in the backyard on the off-season just doesn't cut it these days.

He knew he was in for a hard time when he was picked for a team that had some really good players on it -- kids that are also on the travel and middle school team. Unfortunately, many of those kids tend not to be great team players, and get impatient with the non-star performers. And this year, Primo was in the non-star camp. While he had previously been a fairly consistent hitter, his swing fell apart and he mostly struck out. His arm isn't as strong or fast as most of the others anymore, and that put him in the bottom of the pile too. So when his team was chosen, out of all the teams in the league, to be in some sort of championship tournament against other towns, I started to worry.

His team won the first two games. And today was the final game for this stage of the tournament.

Primo played his usual game. Because it was an "important" game, he was benched for half of it and played the outfield for the other half. He was OK with that, because the pressure on the catcher (where he usually plays) was getting pretty intense with everyone's expectations.

As the game dragged on in the heat, we approached the last inning. Our team was down by three points. "Please, don't let him come up with bases loaded and strike out," I prayed. My LSH thought I wasn't being a great supporter, but in true mom-fashion, I was really looking out for my kid. I didn't want to see him get hurt, because I knew he was trying his best. I didn't care if the team won or lost, but I didn't want him to be the goat.

Sure enough, we worked our way through the batting order to the bottom, where he waited.

His team was down by one run.

Bases were loaded.

And there were two outs.

As he made his way up to bat, my heart made its way into my throat. I was fighting back tears. I could barely watch. All I could do was send up silent pleas, knowing that God has much bigger priorities than my kid at bat in some stupid (there! I said it!) baseball play-off game. I didn't even care if the ball was caught for an out, just as long as he managed to hit the darn thing.

And he did. He made contact for a little grounder that took a funny hop and got past the shortstop. He actually made it safely to first base, with a huge smile on his face that was a mix of relief and disbelief. I yelled and screamed louder and harder and longer than anyone else there, to the point that I got funny looks from the rest of the parents. That's OK, I'm used to those. I was just doing my job as athletic supporter.

Friday, June 6, 2008

memory overload

It's no secret to anyone who has talked to me lately that I am on memory overload. It is the perfect storm of end-of-year activities here: potlucks and baseball playoffs and band practices and travel soccer tryouts and preschool picnics and on and on and on. Add on a new huge project for work, and my head is ready to explode. This has resulted in me walking around in a constant fog of worry and dread, knowing that I am forgetting something, but unsure as to what it might actually be.

Take Thursday, for example, where I managed to remember the start-up of four-year-old library story time and late pick-up for band kid. I even managed to get a baseball uniform clean and related kid to pre-game practice more or less on time (he would say less, but I don't listen to such nit-picking). But when one of my managers showed up to the training session I was running at work that night, I didn't recognize her for a good thirty seconds, which seemed like at least fifteen minutes, as I stared at her blankly with not a clue as to who she might be while she talked away to me. In my defense, I had only met her in person once before. However, I had been told that she was going to attend training that night. These are the things that keep me awake with unspecified, gnawing worry at 3 am.

Take today: I have four separate events that I have to bring food to over the next three days, so I needed to do the shopping for all of them (because, with one exception, there is no overlap in ingredients). I am terrified that I am going to forget one. I made a detailed list of all commitments and necessary pre-work. I stumbled a bit when I went to the preschool gym session an hour late this morning. Mind you, he has been attending this class for six months straight. What made me think it was at 11:15 am instead of 10:15 am, I will never know. But I recovered. I worked, I did a puzzle, I made calls, I made dinner, I got a kid to horseback riding and then pre-game practice, I worked, I shopped for presents needed for tomorrow, I made calls, I cooked and baked....

And then I realized that I had blown off a church commitment, which had taken place sometime around 11:30 am this morning. Of course, recognition dawned at 9:30 pm, too late to call and apologize profusely.

Please don't bother to tell me I obviously have too much on my plate. It's already abundantly clear to me. Where do you think the "crazy" in my title comes from, anyway?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

off to bed

The beds are finally put to bed, all tucked in for their short summer nights with their blankets of belly wool and other unusable bits from our sheep's fleeces. It helps keep the weeds down, and also makes manure tea for the plants every time it rains. We also suspect it might help with the rabbits -- at least, that's our unofficial observation. The marigolds are also there for the varmints who would make mincemeat of our garden.
The grey fleece in this bed, which stretched out four feet wide and six feet long, was the neck wool from our ewe whose fleece is a consistent prizewinner. It made me cry to put it on the garden, but it was so contaminated with miniscule bits of hay that it was unusable for any other purpose. Sob.

The fleece can be a bit of an issue for seeds that we have planted beneath it, as they have just as much trouble as the weeds breaking through. Here a little bean plant was all tangled up in wool and had to be liberated. I think it looks like it is entombed in a foamy pod from some 50s horror flick.

Speaking of horror... while looking for the potato sprouts in another part of the garden, I uncovered this accumulation of weeds under the fleece, trying (so far in vain) to break through.

Terzo, the berry fanatic, has his eye on the first (and possibly only) strawberry of the season. If something else gets it before he does, there's going to be much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, plus possibly some tears and whining.

My step-MIL gave us some extra bean plants this past weekend, but unfortunately the beds are all full up. I cannot just throw little plants away, so they are taking their chances against the fence. It is survival of the fittest bean. (I tried to circle them so you can see them but obviously I will need to upgrade my picture editing service, as "Paint" just doesn't cut it. For you tech geeks out there, hope you didn't spit coffee onto your screen thinking about me using such a dinosaur).

As I was taking the pictures of the raspberry canes, a tiny dragonfly landed on one of the leaves. (Again, helpfully circled for you.) Definitely one of those little wonderful things that keep me going back to the dirt and sweat and weeds.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

showdown at the ok corral

This was not the post I planned but: what a night. The afternoon started off just fine, but Primo is on the threshold of teenager-hood, and sometimes things can quickly get ugly. And get ugly they did, to the point of yelling and tears and privileges revoked and on and on. It has never been so bad, but I know that it will get a whole lot worse before this growing-up thing is over. I called my best friend for courage, and she reminded me to stick to my guns (which were: disrespect is not OK) and commiserated over all the hormonal landmines. As I rubbed the back of my sobbing boy-man later that evening, I thought about how much easier it was when he was little, and wasn't that just yesterday? Then, his needs were simple. Now, they are so much more subtle and complex and, to a large extent, unknown, even to him. This parenthood thing is hard but I have to keep reminding myself that he's got it so much harder.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

a month of sundays

Somehow, we manage to fit a roster of events into one day that most (sane) people would spread out over a more manageable span of time. But that's just how our schedule seems to work. After all, we didn't schedule the annual piano recital and the monthly 4-H meeting on the same day. That's just how it worked out. And of course, we HAD to be at both, right?

So the beginning of our day went something like this: emergency clean house, church, home to prepare brunch for relatives coming to hear piano recital (because we couldn't not feed them, after coming all this way to hear boys play the piano), then back to church for recital (where I realized that I forgot the plate of brownies I had baked the night before for the reception after the recital, even though we were not staying), then rush to 4-H meeting, which had started the same time as the recital.

And that was just the beginning. When we got home at 4:30 pm, I knew I had to take care of farm chores that couldn't be done yesterday thanks to the weather. So into the jeans and boots, and onto the tractor, because it was time for Sheep Twister.

See the sheep, all the way at the back of the pasture? You can't see it, but they are forced to be back there thanks to an electric fence. I am trying an experiment with subdividing the pastures and rotating the sheep weekly to help both keep the pastures in good condition (because sheep tend to eat only what they want to, and leave the rest if allowed) and keep the sheep in better health parasite-wise. So once a week they get moved, and the pasture they are leaving gets mowed down. Hence, Sheep Twister. This week: Pond Pasture, Front Section.

Thanks to all the rain we have been getting, the pasture they are going onto is pretty lush and rich -- I helped them out by mowing a little path from the gate to the shed.

When I turn back around, I realize that they are already gathered, waiting for me to open the fence. Again, who says sheep are stupid? After two weeks of this system, they have figured out that the appearance of the tractor = fresh pasture. There is nothing they like more than fresh pasture, and who can blame them? Who likes to eat where your neighbor pooped two days ago? (Please don't answer that, it was intended as a rhetorical question.)
The view immediately after I open up the fence, as they get to work...

This family group (a mom and her two ewe lambs), which is new to our farm, missed the memo about fresh pasture. They are the only ones left behind and have to be gently persuaded that they want to go with the rest. They don't take too much persuasion once they realize they have been left behind. Sheep really don't like to be left behind.

Despite a week in the back part of the pasture, there is still quite a lot of tall tall grass that has to be mowed so the clover and richer, shorter grasses stand a fighting chance to grow. The sheep could be in there for a month of Sundays and they would still refuse to eat this stemmy grass.


But it turns out we're only getting started. Primo decides that despite the busyness of the day so far, he wants to shear Holly, the second lamb. While he's doing this, Secondo is mowing another pasture that the ram and his wether buddy have just vacated, but I can't get a picture as my camera is on the tractor. Did I mention how much I love helpful boys? Of course, a lot of it has to do with the involvement of power toys tools, like tractors and shears. They just love power tools.

Another thing done! Now Holly and Hattie are a matched set, though Hattie looks distinctly different after just one week without her wool coat.
The kids are still lousy with energy. Primo decides the sheep trailer needs to be cleaned out, so he pulls out all the mats, scrubs them down and hoses out the trailer. Secondo and Terzo plant pumpkins in the manure pile (my new plan to keep them from taking over the garden -- the pumpkins, that is) and then play for another half hour on a pile of dirt. I think the excess energy has something to do with their consumption of the forgotten plate of brownies.