Thursday, April 15, 2010

The trees came yesterday. It took about 3 hours to get 13 of them planted, and we still have a lot more to do. We planted the two Forsythia on the sunny side of the house, in front of the grass that will become the soft fruit patch very soon. All of the sugar maples went on the sunny side of the bigger barn. A few other trees went into the ground where we thought they would throw some useful shade. All we have left to plant is the orchard and the evergreens. The fruit trees are all going on a little hill between the barn and the pond site, right next to where the bees will be situated. The evergreens are all going to be planted along the Northern border of the property, where hopefully in time they will provide a little windbreak.

So today the boys and I will probably spend most of the day digging. Once that is all finished, I think I might go out and search for a few logs that I can use as fence posts. Then I’ll have more digging to do to get those in. I think I finally convinced my husband as to my need for a fenced-in area for the boys. While I was getting the trees in, the boys decided to follow me instead of playing near the trailer where my hubby was working on the axle. Our three year old is such a good boy – he always does what we ask him to do and is very helpful. On the other hand, our soon-to-be two year old is the antithesis to his brother. I know he can hear me when I tell him “no” or “come here” because he stops and cocks his head, then he runs off giggling like a madman without a purpose. Invariably, whenever we go outside, he takes off toward the road or around one of the barns where I can’t see him. His attention span is so short that even if I give him some dirt to play in (which he has been known to play in for 20 minutes at a time) he usually loses interest in two minutes and runs off to find something else to play with.

Ok, to make this story short, he found this old, concrete watering trough that is half-filled with scummy water, chickweed, pine needles, dead bugs, and plan ol’ nastiness. Water! Hey, let’s jump in! He tried climbing into that thing so many times I lost count, and no number of spankings nor any level of yelling was going to deter him. I finally lost my patience, half scared that he would fall into that water, and half angry with myself for not knowing how to control my own child. My husband took a break from his trailer work to come help me with the kids, and eventually he took over planting the last half of the trees while I took the boys in for a bath. I’m really going to miss all the help he gives me with the boys and around the house. But, since missing him isn’t going to help, I’ll have to find something that will. A fenced-in area. I’m thinking the first place I’ll look for posts is back by the pond site. There are still a few downed trees back there, but I can’t remember how thick they are. If I can’t find anything back there, I might ask one of my farmer neighbors if I can rummage through their burn piles to find suitable posts.

I’m going to try to make this fence without spending a lot of money, but I’ll probably have to buy some things. I already have a latch and hinges for the gate, and we have a surplus of screws in the workshop. There’s a lot of short pieces of wood in the big barn that I could possibly use as slats, and a few longer pieces that might work as rails, but there’s not nearly enough of either to make 100’ of fence. We priced out wire fencing for small livestock at TSC, and it would be around $100 for a long enough roll. I think that sounds quite practical, so I’ll probably go with that. Maybe then I could use the wood to build the boys a little playhouse or something to give them a bit of shade on hot days. I have some duck-weight cloth that would work well as a canopy. Ok, now I’m getting ahead of myself. Fence first.

Besides all the digging today, we also have something else exciting happening. The bees are coming today! We’re getting them from a man by the name of Mike Risk up in Lainsburg. He was the one who taught the beekeepers class we went to, and he has been beekeeping for 26 years or so. He recently started raising his own Italian queens, and we’re getting two of them. I’ve seen a few bees hitting the violets and creeping Charlie in the yard already, so at least we know there’s some pollen to be had for our newest additions. Oh, my mouth is watering just thinking about all of the honey they’ll be making. I’m hoping they’ll also be great for the garden. Ooh! I just thought about something! I still need to go fill the prescriptions for the Epi-pens. See… blogging is helpful. J

I also wanted to add that I am thankful for the advice and kind words I receive in the comments. It really brightens my day to see that there are people who are actually interested enough in what I am doing to leave me a little input. Thank you!

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Monday, April 19, 2010

It has been a busy week with my husband’s flight coming up so fast. I will officially be alone tomorrow around 10am. He’ll be going down to Utah for a month of training, then he’ll come back for a week of off-time. After that, we won’t see him for another 6 months or so because he’ll go right from CRC to Kuwait, where he will then await the first available transit to the base in Iraq. He’ll get two full weeks with us around the 6 month mark, then he’ll take back off again to the same place he was before.

I don’t really know where I am at emotionally. I guess it still hasn’t really hit me that he’ll be gone. I mean, yeah we’ve been running around like crazy getting all of the big things taken care of in the past couple weeks, and yeah we’ve been talking about this for a while. But he’s still here. I don’t know how I’m going to react when he’s gone. I’m sure I’ll be a little morose and reclusive the first few days, but I haven’t really considered what I’m going to do at 5:00pm every day, which is when he usually got home from work to help me with the kids or some task that I needed help with. Now it will be just me. Solo mio. It’s kind of scary. So I’m trying not to think of it. I’m trying to push down the depressing thoughts because I want to look strong for my boys and for the man who is sacrificing so much to make a better life for his family.

That’s all I can think about. I know there are other things I could probably write about, but for now the other things don’t really matter. Wish me luck on this. And hope… I’m going to need a lot of hope.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Today started out bad, and then it just got worse. We dropped my husband off at the airport this morning, and I was so proud of myself for not losing it in front of our boys. I told myself, “Self, you can do this. This won’t be so bad. This is your time to shine, self.” My mother-in-law volunteered to watch the boys after lunch so I could go get new brake pads put on the van. I blasted my music at first, because I am one of those rude, annoying people who like loud music when they are alone in their vehicle, but then I started hearing odd sounds from the van. Thinking it was just the brakes grinding a bit, I decided to simply take it easy on them and let the van naturally slow to a stop as much as possible instead of using the brakes heavily.

This was where the crazy juice started trickling in my mind. After an hour of waiting for some kind of news in the waiting room of the shop, I was told that I needed to see something. Uh oh. That didn’t sound good. So I followed him out to the van that was up in the air, expecting to hear that we needed new rotors. Big deal, right? Yeah, well, that wasn’t all we needed. Apparently it wasn’t just the rear tires that needed new pads, but new rotors as well. Then he brought me up to the front wheel well and showed me the pads and rotors there. And the fun just didn’t stop. On he went to show me just how loose the wheels are because the lower control arm bushings are totally loose and need to be replaced. At this point I felt like the work my van was going to need was the subject of a crazy, shouting-man, infomercial. But wait, there’s more! Not only do you need new pads, rotors, bushings, and an alignment after the bushings are done… you will also need new stabilizer links because that oh so cheap place you found to get your oil changed neglected to grease these and they’ve worn right down! And if you sign your name now, you will get this one time deal for one easy payment of $1624.86!

Ugh. I was in way over my head, and I couldn’t get my husband on the phone because his plane hadn’t landed yet. I had been close to tears already up until this point, but it was hard not to let a few slip through my defenses once this news finally sunk in. The man said that it probably wouldn’t be safe to drive the van any more in this condition, and I totally agreed once I saw how loose the front end was. So my mother-in-law, who has enough on her plate as it is, drove over and picked me up to bring me home. On the way back I had her stop to pick up prescriptions we needed and drop off a book at the library. It was when I was getting ready to go into the library that I thought of my library card on my keychain. Where’s my key chain? Oh, it’s at the shop that’s almost a half hour away in the city with all of my other keys. The sinking feeling just sunk even lower.

It’s been a pretty crappy day so far. My husband is gone. Our van sucks, and as a result our money situation is going to suck for quite some time to come. But… silver linings are always there. Somewhere. At least I have my boys and we are all healthy. Ok, that’s all the optimism I can manage right now. Oh, I hope this slump passes quickly.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Okay, so today went A LOT better than yesterday. Actually, I had a lot of fun today. First thing this morning I made someone laugh. Yep. The sleep hadn’t even quite left my eyes and here I was making someone laugh until they cried. Of course, on the other end I was so embarrassed I couldn’t look them in the eyes for a full quarter of an hour. Here I was thinking I was alone in the house, getting the boys something to eat for breakfast, and I hear a knock at the kitchen door, which has a giant window in it that allows full view of the entire kitchen. I turned automatically and saw a brown coat shrugging back. Ok, so that’s not so funny in itself, but let me finish. I was wearing a tee shirt. That’s it. And in the process of getting my kids something to eat I had to reach up to the top cupboard to grab a bowl. That’s when my mother-in-law decided to look in the window. Let’s just say the moon was full this morning. Gah. When I saw the brown coat I immediately bolted into the bathroom to yank on a pair of pants, thinking that the UPS delivery guy who comes out here nearly once a week with a package had just seen my… ahem… stuff.

Thank goodness it was just her. I mean, geez. That had the potential for disastrous humiliation. Anyway, the day went on. She drove me and the boys out to pick up the van from the first shop and take it to another one because the first shop had quoted us over a thousand and the second shop quoted $330. Hard choice, huh? The van is being repaired now, and should be done sometime tomorrow. I’m not sure when, but gosh that was a huge boulder released from my back. I didn’t know how we were going to pay for over a thousand dollars worth of repairs.

Later in the day, as we are just finishing up lunch and getting ready for naptime, we hear cars honking as they drive by. Curious, I looked out the window. There’s Henry, our super-friendly rooster, standing right on the side of the road like he is some kind of greeter. As each car passes he kind of nods his head. This isn’t the first time he has done this. Actually, it’s becoming somewhat of a routine. He goes around the front of the house and straight to the road, while all of the smarter, less friendly hens stay behind the house to eat grass and bugs. What makes it even more funny (I’m sure the neighbors get a good laugh when they see this) is that when I go outside I say, “Henry! Come here, you!” and he comes flapping and running to the exact spot of turf I point to and looks up at me like some playful puppy. The fun doesn’t stop there, because he expects to be carried. If I turn away and call him, he just stands there cocking his head to the side like he doesn’t understand. Silly, stupid, suicidal, spoiled rotten bird. I’ve never actually thought much about chickens until he came along. I suppose he is sort of a pet now, and seeing as he is the only one of the birds we have named, he’ll probably be the one to get creamed on the road. Figures.

My boys have been really good for me so far. I suppose it helps that we have already had experience going long stretches of time without Daddy around. They are behaving really well, and my three year old has been trying to take on more responsibilities already. He helps out whenever he can, and I just feel so lucky to have him. We took a drive to the library to drop off my books. I parked right out front and told the boys I was just going to drop the books in the drop box and come right back. My two year old is a total Mama’s boy and, as usual, started screaming the moment I shut my door. I ran to the building and back as fast as I could, and when I got back my two year old was sitting there all calm, twiddling his fingers in his lap. My three year old proudly states, “Mommy, I singed a song about patience to him.” Then he sings his song about being patient to me, which turns out to be three words over and over: {name} be patient… {name} be patient. How adorable is that?

Today was better, much better. I’m sure I’ll have lots of up and down days, just the same as if I wasn’t in this wonky situation, but I’m glad to know that at least I still have two funny little boys to distract me if I’m feeling down. And a rooster that has a future at WalMart.

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