Monday, February 5, 2018

The Year of the Farm Pants

Happy New Year Friends! I know it's already February, but I am consistently running behind. Every year I try to post my holiday letter on the blog, and I didn't get that out until a couple weeks ago. In fact, our family pictures were taken after Christmas this year, so I just went ahead and ordered  New Years cards instead of Christmas cards. Whatever works, right?

The annual letter is below, although this year I took the liberty of using the names you know, like Peanut Head, instead of referring to my husband as Clark. That's just so weird. I'm also sprinkling in the photos we had taken for the cards, and then some, because I can . . .

We’ve been settling into the farmhouse and making it our own for more than a year now, and we’re starting to see some satisfying progress. There is still so much to be done, but it no longer feels like those things have to happen yesterday. I’m in a groove now where I go from room to room, cleaning, painting, and organizing. With each room I finish, the house feels a little more like home.

Also a little less like a fire hazard, if we’re being honest. We’ve run into quite a few electrical nightmares that Peanut Head has had to address along the way. I’m learning more than I want to about electrical myself, because apparently there is only one of Peanut Head and he can’t do everything. He’s not buying into my version of the marriage contract wherein he has to do the yucky stuff and I get to do the fun stuff.

In fact, I spent the months of March through October digging a drainage ditch. We’re actually calling it a dry creek bed, because we’re fancy like that. I’ve been digging and cleaning dirt, if you can imagine that. I used to make fun of Peanut Head for doing that sort of thing, but it’s strangely satisfying.

Here’s how it works. I throw a shovel of dirt on my wheelbarrow, which Peanut Head has fit with a screen for sifting the rocks and other treasures out. The rocks are thrown into buckets, depending on their size, and later washed [yes I said washed] and then used in my dry creek bed. Never did I ever see myself cleaning dirt and washing rocks, but here I am, living the dream.

Not only am I digging a ditch, but I am also sloping the ground away from the house and the shop so that water flows away from the structures and into the ditch. A very long level and getting down on the ground on all fours is involved. It’s crazy town. I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard, and for so long, on anything before in my life. But again, it’s strangely satisfying.

Peanut Head has turned into a farmer. He’s always buying various potions and seeds for his field. He has a sprayer attachment, a seeder attachment, and a rack for his shovel on the ATV.

He has farm pants.

Funny story about his farm pants . . . he ripped them right below the buttocks when he was fixing fence one day, so he patched them up with iron on patches which just so happen to form an “L.” Now we call them his  “Loser Pants.” He is not amused. He also has a walking tractor. He’s living the dream too, except really this was his dream and now we don’t call it that. This is a family letter, so I’m going to keep it clean. 

Zoe Bug and Stinkerbell love living on the farm despite the fact that their chore chart has morphed into a multi-page spreadsheet. Two of the four horses we were boarding now belong to them, and they have continued to take very good care of all the horses, without having to be reminded by us. They have had to tend to horse wounds and do gross things in the care and keeping of animals, and it hasn’t hurt them a bit. In truth, it has made them better people.

Annika (Stinkerbell) and Zoe Bug

The girls moved to another high school in the district where I work, but on the side of town closest to us, so it’s a lot more convenient. I also moved my office to the north side of town, so we’ve cut our commute in half. The girls ran Cross Country this year, and they grew a lot as runners.

Zoe is a junior and starting to freak out about college. She has started filling out scholarship applications, and we get all sorts of junk mail from colleges wanting our money. Obviously they don’t know yet that we don’t have any. At this point she still wants to be a veterinarian. She spent another summer volunteering at the zoo, and also at a local veterinary office. She’s basically Snow White. She goes outside and starts singing “Aaaaaaah-ha-ha!” and birds land on her arms, and rabbits and deer frolic at her feet. Okay, not really, but almost. She’s crazy good with animals. Annie and I just scare them because we lumber up to them and try to control them. Zoe is nice. 

Annika is a freshman and enjoying high school. As usual she is overextended, and by extension, so are we. We’re very bitter about it too. She started the year with Marching Band, which started during the summer, and then required attendance at school during zero period for the first trimester. Zero period is from the Devil, as you can imagine because it isn’t even a proper number, and it starts at 7:00 a.m. It’s stupid. Because that’s not enough, she is also doing Pep Band, which requires attendance at games that we don’t, as a rule, ever attend. And I might add that the word “pep” and Annika don’t belong in the same sentence. She is non-emotive, just like her father.

She also joined Civil Air Patrol, which has been sort of fascinating. She has uniforms, which require meticulous upkeep, and there are stringent rules in the wearing of them. We were told early on that “Cadet Scott’s hair can only be dyed a natural color,” and that was the end of the Elmo bangs.

Cadet Scott

It has been fascinating, because Stinky takes no interest in cultivating her appearance. She gets up, puts on shorts or sweats and a t-shirt, maybe runs a comb through her hair, and that’s it. I watch her dress and arrange her hair for Civil Air Patrol and I’m all “Who are you, and what have you done with my child?”

Gunny regains the top for a few seconds
Gunny is still with us and very happy to be on the farm. He’s still very pampered, and spends most of the winter napping. He and the goats share the paddock, and he is the low man on the totem pole. If he decides to jump on top of his dog house to bask in the sun, one of the goats will promptly knock him off and keep him off. He then walks away like that was his plan all along.

Lucinda Gooseberry, aka Lucy, tossed out of the house in order to expand her horizons.

Lucinda Gooseberry doesn’t seem to know that we’ve moved because she never leaves the house. All she does is eat, sleep, meow, and poop.

Cecilia, Warrior Princess
Cecilia, on the other hand, is the best farm cat we ever could have asked for. She kills mice and other rodents by the dozen. Not only does she kill them, she eats them too. It can be horrifying to watch if it’s not from the comfort of the house with a pane of glass separating you from the sound effects of crunching bones. It gives me the willies, but it’s always good to have one less mouse that can get in the house.

The horses are amazing. We have thoroughly enjoyed having them, and they’ve become part of the family.  

 Sweets is exactly what his name implies, a sweetheart.

Mr. Bo Jangles
Bo is a grumpy old man, but also Mr. Dependable.


Rey is a Mustang and has been known to chase coyotes off the property. She brings a lot of sass to our little herd.

PJ aka Mr. Pajama Pants, Pajama-Rama, Peej

PJ is obsessed with eating and usually looks like he’s about to deliver multiple litters of kittens. PJ is probably the biggest character of the bunch. He and Zoe have a special bond that melts my heart. Zoe has been working with him because he’s a big scaredy-cat over every little thing that’s new. One day she had returned from a training walk with him in which she was exposing him to new sights and sounds, and being the big lug that he is, he stepped on her foot when he spooked over a noise. She was very upset with him and gave him a tongue lashing when they returned. She was all red-faced and yelly, and he wasn’t the least bit repentant. He was snorting and pulling his lips up over his teeth, smiling and nuzzling her. I just want to kiss him on a regular basis. Which I shouldn’t because I’m allergic to horse lips, and I get instant hives when I kiss them.

I should also add that PJ is a Delicate Flower and he sunburns easily. Last summer Zoe was out in the field applying sunblock for babies to his Arabian snout twice a day. He’s a lucky guy.

In conclusion, we have a happy herd, and they have been so fun to have in our family.

Other than the continuous hemorrhaging of money since moving out to the country, life is good on the farm. We are all happy and healthy, and so fortunate for all that we have. We hope this letter finds you and yours happy and in good health as well. Take care of yourselves, and have a fantastic 2018!

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