Friday, August 31, 2007

And thirteen innings later we one.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


We feel him here;
We feel him there;
We feel that seedtick everywhere.

Will he bite?
Or will he not?
That cursed, illusive, crawling spot.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Snippets from The Spreading Flame by F.F. Bruce.
(Which is a history of the rise and progress of
Christianity from its beginnings through to the
conversion of the English.)

P. 294
Nor can any Christian or group of Christians contract
out of some share of responsibility for these scandals;
un-Christian behaviour on the part of any Christian
is a disgrace to all Christians. (Ouch)

P. 296
Doctrinal controversies which should have been confined
to the calm consideration of synod and lecture-room
were bandied about in the market-place and became the
playthings of popular turbulence. (Perhaps the market-
place has been replaced by blogville.)

P. 304
For Arianism reflected a temporary phase of thought,
and by conceiving of Christ as neither God nor man,
but something in between, it deprived Him of any real
mediatorship or saving power. (It always comes back
to who Christ is and what His relationship to the
Father is.)

P. 309
Athanasius stood for principle at any price; Constantine
for concord at any price. (Time to examine myself, I fear
I am weak.)

P. 311
On the one side and on the other attempts were made to
accommodate the Christian faith to current modes of
thought, but these accommodations usually proved, on
scrutiny, to be basically inconsistent with the substance
of the faith itself. And this was just as well, for the
current modes of thought to which people tried to accommodate
the faith sooner or later went the way of most modes of
thought;...(This sounds like a commentary on post-modernism
and the attempt to align Christianity with it.)

P. 314
The various heresies that sprang up in the earliest Christian
centuries are by no means out of date. They reappear
regularly in one form or another from generation to generation;
as Miss Dorothy Sayers has emphasized, they are "largely the
expression of opinion of the untutored average man, trying
to grapple with the problems of the universe at the point
where they begin to interfere with his daily life and thought."
(Not only do I agree with this, but, I had to include the
quote from one of the greatest mystery writes of all time.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Last night the full moon was beckoning me.

Wanted to sit on the steps and just enjoy her.
Wanted to let the cares of the day drain away
in her moonshine.
Wanted to dream the hours by right through 'till

Instead, went sensibly in and to bed.

Regretted it last night. Glad this morning.

Monday, August 27, 2007

'Twas a copperhead kind of weekend.

Kent and the boys moved the cows to the Old Homeplace. That
is Dad's 40 acres that corners up to the northwest of our
40 acres. They were cow sitting for a bit and they saw a
grand-daddy copperhead in the cistern. They done away with
the old boy (of course they collected him and he was so big
they had to show him off.) When they went to Uncle Jim's to
show him off they found that Jim had just gotten one in his
and G'ma Opal's yard. A bit later Kent killed a third one in
the cistern. This hot dry weather has them on the move and
angry. (My Dad asked how I know they are angry this time
of year.) I replied, "I just know it!"

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The view of the front yard of Fernnook Farm these days.

The reason my front yard is decorated with cows these days is
because of the following.

1 69.5 96.8 0.05
2 70.3 98.3 0.4
3 71.0 98.3 0
4 71.2 98.7 0
5 72.9 95.8 0
6 72.7 99.5 0
7 74.4 98.7 0
8 73.0 101.5 0
9 73.0 103.5 0
10 72.6 104.5 0
11 72.0 103.6 0
12 71.5 106.0 0
13 74.9 107.5 0
14 72.0 105.8 0
15 72.9 106.7 0
16 72.4 104.1 0
17 72.7 99.6 0
18 73.6 100.5 0
19 71.3 97.8 0
20 77.4 86.7 0
21 72.3 100.3 0
22 73.4 102.2 0
23 71.5 102.3 0

There is nothing to eat in the fields. We tried to lead
this set of cows to my Dad's property, and finally one day
this week Kent did get them to follow him there, but when
we looked out the front door 20 minutes later they were
turning back into our yard from the gravel. I guess they
felt out of their element back on the old homeplace.

Kent is feeding hay and grain, but they are still finding
bits to nibble here and there in our yard.

By the way, we've not mowed since the beginning of July.

OH, and a big Thank You to Uncle Jim for the weather updates!
He tells me the average high for August is 100.8 and the average
low is 72.5. Mighty hot for SE MO weather.
From Little House in the Ozarks: The Rediscovered
Writings, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

"Why should we need extra time in which to enjoy
ourselves? If we expect to enjoy our life, we
will have to learn to be joyful in all of it, not
just at stated intervals when we can get time or
when we have nothing else to do.

It may well be that it is not our work that is so
hard for us as the dread of it and our often expressed
hatred of it. Perhaps it is our spirit and attitude
toward life, and its conditions that are giving us
trouble instead of a shortage of time. Surely the
days and nights are as long as they ever were.

A feeling of pleasure in a task seems to shorten it
wonderfully, and it makes a great difference with
the day's work if we get enjoyment from it instead
of looking for all our pleasure altogether apart
from it, as seems to be the habit of mind we are
more and more growing into."

She wrote this after having a discussion with Almanzo
that began with grumbling because there was too much
to do and ended in seeing that their parents had
worked harder and longer than they did and yet their
parents had still had time to enjoy life and people.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Yesterday we were out and about in Mayberry. We hit
a Mayberry grocery store, a Mayberry hardware store,
the Mayberry High Baseball game and finally alighted
for a few moments at the one attraction of which
Mayberrry can actually boast (at least she can boast
of it in my dear Mom-in-law's mind.) She, my Mom-in
law, is a concrete and Big City sort of girl. The
big family joke is that after my in-laws get Alzheimer's
disease we'll pour a big slab of concrete in the field
behind us and move them here so we can care for them.
They shudder in disgust and despair every time I remind
them of our plans.

But, my MIL does like Snappy Tomato. That is our local
pizza joint. And yesterday evening, after the baseball
game, which we won by the way, we ended up at Snappy Tomato.

After we got home, Hattie came to me just quivering with
indignation. "Mom," she said, "you know that one boy that
was on my ball team this year." Then she described him
to me; I didn't know him from Adam. "Well, when we were
at Snappy Tomato he winked at me. I am so mad!"

Now I have to admit that if I happened to be in a public
place and saw a similar slip of humanity just quivering
with personality I might also wink at them. Yet I understand
the offense. We do not encourage our children in boy-
girl relationships at all. They know that these are mysteries
for adults to deal with. Friendship and fun are the stage
the Princess is in now.

So I gave her some solid motherly advice. "Next time a boy,
strange or not," (though of course, she and I both know that
he was a boy ergo he was strange...Paul Michael, look at that,
twice I've used that word in two weeks, you should be proud)
but back to the advice, "next time, honey, there is only one
thing to be done. Give him back a right wink, and then a
left, then shoot him with a double blink. That ought to take
care of him. He'll never have the guts to try such shenanigans
on you again!"

She is processing that piece of wisdom and I think will load
it into her "How to deal with difficult situations" gun soon.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What I really want to do is to write a post on intentional
living, and I want to post the video I made of the gazillion
hummingbirds that have a feeding frenzy every morning and
evening at our feeders.

I also have some neat links I'd like to direct you to...

But, due to extreme lack of posting time I will just mention
that in 10 minute increments I read Murder Must Advertise by
Dorothy Sayers. It was nice to find a new Dorothy Sayers (well
not new, just newly acquired) at the Mayberry Library.

And now I just want to tell you that if you have never read
the Miss Read books then you are living in an arid land. Read
this quote and then go beg or borrow or buy all the Miss Read
books you can find.

"'I always speaks fair of folks when I can,'" continued Mrs. Pringle
self-righteously, putting down her dustpan and settling herself
on the front desk for a good gossip. The desk groaned under her
thirteen stone but knew better than to let the lady down. 'There's
mighty few these days as can be spoke fair of in Fairacre-a proper
lazy, shiftless, godless, money-grubbing lot as they be. As I
said to Mr. Pringle only last night: "If this is the age of
flatulence," I says, "then there's something in being poor but

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Yesterday I smelled like a goat all day long. We
went out in the morning to look at a wierd growth
on Hattie's mama goat and I put some antibiotic
cream on it. Then we decided to work on Zac's (the
billy) hoof because he was hobbling. Billy and
Kent tipped him and Billy held him down, with my
help (well I did help a little), and Kent trimmed
and cleaned out the gunk from the hoof.

There is no smell quite like a billy (especially a
big billy) in July and August. His odor permeates the
entire 40 acres, and when you touch him it sticks
with you all day long. You cannot wash it off.

So I shopped in Mayberry smelling like a goat. I cooked
dinner, with Hattie's help, smelling like a goat. I
played cards last night smelling like a goat.

But what matter, Kent and Billy smelled like one too.

Friday, August 17, 2007

In the Mayberry Times this past week a question was
asked of parents, "What do you think is the best way
for parents to be involved in their child's school?"

The answers given were of the typical, "Get to know the
teachers...get your kids involved in sports," type answers.

Admittedly, Mayberrians consider our family as rather
radical for bucking the system and homeschooling. Nobody,
that I can remember, has ever asked why we have chosen to
do so. Perhaps they aren't wanting to be subjected to
a LONG lecture on politics, religion, social issues and
learning abilities.

As a gal with an extremely non-confrontist personality I
have never tried to initiate such conversations. I figured
I'd just leave well enough alone.

But I had to respond to this particular "Street Talk" in the
Mayberry Times. Even approached from the direction of one
who went to government schools her whole "educational" life I
can offer some far better advice than that.

I offer a personal story.

My own Mother was a baby when she married and had her first
baby 10 months later. Baby number two came 12 months after
the first. Mom then went on to have two more of us. She
had not been around children much but she knew one thing. She
wanted to give us a gift. That gift was to be able to read.
It really doesn't matter what system she used, but that woman
taught all four of her children, even my handicapped sister,
to read before they entered kindergarten.

I knew, from this, that by teaching my own children to read I
was offering them the world on a silver platter. Once they
could read nothing need hold them back.

My Father wanted us to learn math. Car trips, when other families
would play games or sing, saw us having math drills. I remember
being astonished in 7th grade math that my fellow students just
couldn't understand the concept of a square number. It was a
part of the fabric of my life. Dad would bring home a math book
from the drugstore and I'd think the candyman had arrived. Granted
getting a thrill from doing seatwork in the summer is a very "girl"
thing. My boys would rather have participated in sword fighting
until they actually drew blood, but the girl in the family is known
for saying, "Where's my math book?" even in mid-July.

And so, my answer to the question of how parents can be involved in
their children's school is simple. Teach them. Whether they go
to government, private or homeschool, it is your responsibility,
not someone else's to see that they learn.

Billy, middle son in the family, wants to be able to speak Spanish
on a pretty high level the next time we go to Mexico. So he is
studying Spanish. I mentioned this to someone the other day and
they said to me, "Oh, is he taking a class?"

"No," I said, "He is not taking a class; he is learning Spanish."
Those do not need to be mutually exclusive, but they often are.

He know how to read ergo he knows how to learn. The whole world
is before him on a silver platter. All he needs is the "want to".
From Little House in the Ozarks: The Rediscovered Writings,
by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

We heap up around us things that we do not need as the
crow makes piles of glittering pebbles. We gabble words
like parrots until we lose the sense of their meaning;
we chase after this new idea and that: we take an old
thought and dress it out in so many words that the thought
itself is lost in its clothing, like a slim woman in a
barrel skirt, and then we exclaim, "Lo, the wonderful
new thought I have found!"

"There is nothing new under the sun," says the proverb.
I think the meaning is that there are just so many truths
or laws of life, and no matter how far we may think we
have advanced, we cannot get beyond those laws. However
complex a structure we build of living, we must come back
to those truths, and so we find we have traveled in a circle.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007 do you like the birthday present that
Billy gave me. It's a whole new look.

It's from an actual letter that Uncle Jim found
in the old barn. And, by the way, I asked Uncle
Jim when the barn was coming down and he said,

Monday, August 13, 2007

This weekend we had friends from Ohio visiting. We took
them four-wheeling on Saturday, had a fish fry Saturday
night, and went floating on Sunday.

Sunday night we were in the house playing cards when Jenn
called to let us know that the Perseids Meteor Shower was
on. We all ran outside and ended up laying down on the
concrete of the driveway to watch it. The heat from the
concrete was soaking into us and we watched the great
heavens that God has created. It was incredible. We
turned off the lights of the house and there were shouts,
every few minutes, of, "I saw one," or, "There goes a
big one."

Our big country sky is rather incredible. If you were to
lie under it and watch the stars for the night you would
appreciate even more Psalm 148:1-6

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
He also established them forever and ever;
He made a decree which shall not pass away.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make
you fishers of men." Mark 4;19

Saturday, August 11, 2007

If you live where the temps are in the high nineties
and low hundreds, the best advice I can give is to go
jump in the river. A nice cold spring-fed river is
best. Today we can't, but tomorrow we'll be there!

Second on my list of cooling off options is to make
Tropical Splash. I created this drink years ago to
accompany High Five games, but it fell by the wayside.
However, yesterday, after walking to get Max (Joel's
dog), I was so hot that I dug out the recipe and mixed
up a batch. It is great!

Tropical Splash

1 (6 oz) can frozen lemonade
1 (6 oz) can frozen limeade
1 (6 oz) can frozen orange juice
10 frozen juice cans of water
1 (or more) banana/s
vanilla ice cream

Combine the 3 juices and 10 cans of water in a blender.
(It won't all fit in the blender at one time, so really,
combine them in a huge container and then pour into
the blender as needed.) Put one banana into blender for
every blender-full of juice. Blend on high until frothy.
Put 1 scoop (or two) of ice cream in desired number of
glasses and fill to the top with the juice.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Let's be cheerful! We have no more right to steal the
brightness out of the day for our own family than we have
to steal the purse of a stranger. Let us be as careful
that our homes are furnished with pleasant and happy
thoughts as we are that the rugs are the right color and
texture and the furniture comfortable and beautiful!

This is from Little House in the Ozarks: The Rediscovered
Writings by Laura Ingalls Wilder and edited by Stephen W.

I found this book several years ago and Becky and I gave
it to G'ma Opal as a gift. She regifted it back to us and
I have read it several times through the years. It is
mostly comprised of newspaper articles that Wilder wrote
while living as a farm wife in Mansfield, MO. It is strewn
throughout with jewels such as that above.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

This morning Tyler had to be at work by 5:00am. I roused
him from his rest and he got dressed and headed out the door.
I had turned the outside light on for him but didn't want
to leave it on, so I stepped out to watch him drive away.
To turn out an outside light on someone before they are
out of sight seems rude and cold.

After he was gone, I went back in and turned out all the
inside lights and then turned off the porch light and
stepped back onto the porch. The old moon, looking sleepy,
was in the eastern sky. The warm 80 something air clung like
a blanket. The crickets were chirping madly to keep up with
the temperature. What a delicious moment in time.

Then I gladly stepped back into the AC, climbed into my little
nest of a bed, and fell asleep until the alarm went off at
5:30am. 'Twas a lovely morning.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The problem with digital cameras is that one so seldom
actually gets around to printing out the pictures. At
least that is the case with this one, but I wanted to leave
the camera clean before the Mexico Mission trip and I ran
off a huge pile of pics. I had this picture printed and
took a copy down to G'ma Opal. She said, "I look nice in
that dress, don't I?"

Hattie, as usual, talked the group into a game of High Five.
It was G'ma Opal and Mama (my mom) versus Kent and Hattie.
It was a good, close game. The grandmas won it in the ninth
inning by setting Kent and Hattie.

On the way home (which takes all of about 3 1/2 minutes), Kent
was advising Hattie on the finer points of bidding. He was
hitting especially hard on when to and when not to bid on a
hand that has really nothing to bid on. I think she got it.

Some family traditions come and go. High Five, I am afraid, is
here to stay.

Monday, August 06, 2007

From The Spreading Flame by F.F. Bruce in his discussion
of the early Roman Christians:

The Christians were regarded as incurably perverse
for their insane refusal to conform to Roman
requirements in this simple manner. Outward
conformity was so simple, and (in other people's
eyes) it meant very little. The majority of
pagans who took part in such ceremonies did so
quite unthinkingly. It was the keen religious
awareness of the Christians that made them recognize
the ceremony as essentially idolatrous, and therefore
forbidden to those who worshipped none but God
in Christ.

It gives one pause for question. With what areas of
modern society am I going along unquestioningly that
I should recognize, if I had a keen enough awareness
of Christ, as outside of true Christian behaviour?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Up and Down the Gravel

1. It's beginning to sound like a broken record 'round
here. Everyone, and that includes absolutely everyone,
says the same thing when they pull into our driveway
and hop out of their cars. It doesn't matter if they
are friends, neighbors, relatives, the merest of
acquaintances, the UPS man, the mailman, the gasman,
or a salesman, he first words they say are ALWAYS the
same. "You've got cows in your yard."

Of course we've got cows in our yard! It's in the high
90's, and we've not had but an inch of rain in weeks and
weeks. We're graining and haying them, but the yard grass
still has some nutrition in it, so everyday either we
purposely let some out or they escape over or through the
fence. They pretty much stay by the house, but a few
times we've had to chase them out of the road.

2. Last night, after coming in from putting up the lone cow
that was in the yard, I looked down and saw some cow
manure on the floor. "Kent, you just tracked manure in
the house," I helpfully informed the man of the house.

He checked his shoes...clean.

"Hattie, you just dragged in some manure."


"Oops!" My pretty little sandals are sitting on the porch
until I'm in the mood to clean them. That may be sometime
next spring.

3. Dad was bush hogging on The Home Place (his property that
corners up to ours and is where both he and G'ma Opal were
born) when the tractor broke down---again. He had to walk
to our place and hitch a ride with Billy to get his truck
to pull the tractor back to his place to be worked on.

4. Uncle Jim has been holed up in his house nursing a sore thumb.
He got his grand injury in a fight with briars and stickers
around the old pond on his and G'ma's acreage. He says he
won the battle, but lost the war.

5. The 4 young'uns have been spending time on the river. When it
is 97 in August there really is no other place to be. They
borrow Dad's boat and go a'boating and swimming. Hattie loves
being old enough to be included.

6. We have lots of donated garden tomatoes. Oh my, I think we
could be buried in tomatoes and be happy. We have zucchini
from G'ma Opal and other neighbors, AND this year G'ma is
giving us butternut squash. Oh my! Good eating.

Friday, August 03, 2007

You've seen the work; here is a picture from the
fiesta that Torre Fuerte threw for us. They
surprised us with a mariachi band and Billy, funny-
man that he is, snuck his way into it.
There wasn't a lot of time for reading while I was
in Mexico, but I did manage to reread Agatha Christie's
Thirteen at Dinner.

Reading anything by Dame Agatha is like coming home to
a meal of chicken and dumplings. It is satisfying. I
actually prefer Miss Marple to Hercule Poirot, but I'll
take either.

Since Thirteen at Dinner is a mystery, I can't divulge the
plot it its entirety or the punch will be taken away from
your reading. The book includes Hastings, humor, the lovely
English society and Poirot's grey matter, and so, what else
does a book need to be good? Nothing.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy is an incredible book.
The translation I read, translated by Constance Garnett
is 870 pages long. It does not seem 870 pages long.
The compelling story line pushes one along as surely as
a tug boat pushes a barge. The only difficulty comes at
the beginning in sorting through all the Russian names,
surnames, middle names and nicknames. They are used so
interchangeably that it takes a bit of a mental effort
to master them.

This book, though, should have been named Levin. He, and
his wife Kitty, are the characters that shine as gold
through the whole sordid love affair of Anna and Vronsky.
Surely Anna is beautiful, charming, and delightful, but she
is also cold, calculating, selfish and extremely needy.
Vronsky is rich, handsome and devil-may-care, but he is also
self-centered and in love with himself.

Levin is tortured by his own failings as a man and a husband
and a member of society, and it is this very torturedness that
makes him so real and likable. His coming to grips at the
end with his Maker brings the entire novel to a satisfying end.

I am not clever enough to understand all the societal ramifications
of the book as far as Russian culture and politics are concerned.
I do know though, that I am glad to have this book on my bookshelf.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Turkeys sauntering through the back field, Snake Doctors
flitting through the air, a full moon on Monday night,
Hattie whooping as she flies down Joel's gravel lane on
her bike, the grandmothers (G'ma Opal and Mom) beating
the grandchildren (Tyler and Hattie) at High Five (and
it was a good thing too, G'ma Opal has been on a tich of
a losing streak the last few months, winning always makes
her sleep better), a fish fry from fish caught when Dad and
my kids went fishing last week, falling asleep in the
rocker on Dad and Mom's front porch while watching the
kids play with Joel's puppy has been rather
distracting lately.