Tuesday, February 22, 2011

washing all the oil off . . .

So we were on the road, a tiny bit late for the Ohio Music Education Association's District 1 High School Solo and Ensemble Event and we ended up with a flat.  After slowing down considerably, Nolan yells from the back that it is coming from the rear passenger wheel well.  I pull over, get out of the van, and indeed . . .a flat.  Mind you that Nolan is supposed to be playing his piece in front of a judge at 10:30 and it is currently 10:15 with about 8 miles to get to the competition.  So he and I get out to change a tire.  It was a good thing that Nolan had previously wanted to learn how to change a tire on the vehicles.  He already had practice changing tires on the Gator, but felt like he needed to change one on the van or car since he drives quite a bit by himself now.

Since we had never used the spare in the 11 years we have owned that vehicle, I was not sure how to get it out from under the van.  After laying on my back on the freezing cold country road, and not having brought my gloves (because we were going to be inside all day) Nolan came up with the idea to get the manual out.  I was glad!  My stomach and neck muscles were tired from holding my head up from the rocks and the ice on the road.

Skip forward to our arrival at the competition.  Back on the road a fellow stopped to see if we needed help.  It was a great help because he let us use his cell phone to call the children's piano teacher who was a little concerned where we were.  So we arrive, Nolan and I get into the bathroom to wash all the oil and grime off our hands and arms, and we all proceed to find room 123.  When we get there, a note advises us that the piano solos have been moved to a different building.  Scurrying as fast as we could for eight of us, we make it to the auditorium where we are to be, and walk in as quietly as possible.  And it was really quiet in there!  Altogether, there were about 20 people, a judge and his helper, and a big, black Baldwin grand piano on the sparse stage.  After a little conversation, Nolan was given the chance to "make-up" his missed time slot.  And he was given the chance to do it right then!  And he still had his coat on.  :)

After taking off his coat, he squeaked across the lonesome stage and sat for his performance.  After a couple of scales, the judge told him to play his piece when he was ready.  He took a breath, and then played L'Orage (The Storm) by Friedrich Burgmuller. Here is his home, candid version of the piece.

Monday, February 21, 2011

another birthday celebration . . .

Today is Ildi's birthday.  Today is the BIG  . . . no it is not the big . . . it's just another year added to all the rest. :)

Birthdays, as you get older, change. They usually don't carry the same excitement they once did.  In fact, some people dread them!  The older you get, the more they are a reminder of our finite life here on earth.  The fact that we are all slowly dying.  In some ways, the can actually be depressing.

The older you get, and however uneventful and depressing a birthday celebration can be, it is still a day to celebrate the birth of a wife, a mother, a friend, and a child of God.  It is time to reflect on the purpose of our existence.  A time to "count" our blessings.  And not one by one.  But by thousands!  Celebrating a birthday should include the understanding that we were formed with His pleasure in mind.  That we were fashioned to His liking, and He is pleased with us.  That we were born for a reason.  Our prayer, and yours I hope, is for Ildi to find peace in His kindness for her, love in her heart for His people, and contentment with His plan for her life.  With love and God's grace, Happy Birthday to you!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

a cord of wood . . .

This morning it is dark outside, and dark in the house.  It was a little warmer than usual for chores, and Asher went back up to bed not feeling well.  I lit a couple of candles liking the glow and the mood that it sets for the morning.  Quite, calm, pondering.
Macy made it up early this morning.  She's cuddled up in the rocker reading a book.  Nolan is just finished eating breakfast and is on his way out the door to do horse chores at "the barn."  Each day he has a part time job feeding and training horses in the morning at a local horse boarding farm.  He's starting the endless road most of us started years ago with work.  It is good for him.
I put another few pieces of wood in the stove already.  Now I am just waiting for them to catch.  I'm behind on wood being cut, and we still have a few weeks of cold weather ahead of us, so I bought some wood.  Today a fellow is going to be bringing over a cord of wood.  It's funny how years ago I had no idea about "cords" of wood.  No idea about how much wood that actually was.  Now, I am VERY familiar with it, and actually depend on knowing that kind of information when purchasing it.  I bought it because it's a whole lot cheaper to buy and burn than propane.  And even though we heat mostly with wood, I still had to buy propane this year.
Today is going to be a slow day.  A restful day.  I can feel it already. (besides the cord I will have to unload and stack later on this afternoon)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

a new set . . .

Today I start another 4 day weekend off from school.  In the month of February, the school systems always celebrate President's Day and we get a Monday off around the third week of the month.  In addition to the Monday off, since we had parent conferences this week and stayed late a couple of nights, we get today off as well.  Times like this gives me additional working time to get caught up on all the pending chalkboard orders that I have.  That's what I'll be doing today . . . making hundreds of mini chalkboards. Literally, hundreds!

The majority of the "getting this farm into working order" is over.  Last year, being our first year here at FoUTFoLK FARM, we had tons of cleanup to do since the house and farm sat empty for a long time.  All of the big jobs are done, and now I can focus on some of the details in and around the house.  Since I have a few days home, I am planning on installing the new curtain rods I purchased at the ReStore.  The ReStore is a used furniture/clothes/everything store that sells used and new items.  For the past couple of weeks I have been purchasing new, unfinished curtain rods for the family room, and have gotten some that are stained already for the bedrooms and living room.  Originally, a new set of unfinished 4' rods would be $49.00 including buying all the parts separately.   And I needed two sets of those, and two sets of 8' ones, which are even more, to dress the larger windows in the family room.  Not counting the other rooms in the house.  Fortunately, I was able to find the ones I needed for $14.00 a piece for the 8' ones as an entire set.  Altogether, instead of spending about $232.00 to finish the family room, I was able to get all of what I needed for $44.00.  I love deals like that.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

some history together . . .

The other morning while Nolan and I were milking, we somehow got on the conversation about my alarm clock.  He said that it sounded like an "old man" while it buzzed to wake me up.  He said it was a "tired, grumpy sounding noise" like it had spent years telling me to get up and start my day.  It is like the droning voice of my mother saying "boys, get up" for the time that I went to school. :)

And he is right.  It is an old man, like me.  It has been waking me up now for more than 28 years!

I got the alarm when I was back in high school.  I am using my graduation date as the time frame to calculate how long I have had it, but I am sure that I got it before then.  It was probably a Christmas gift even way before then.  And it is hard to believe that it is STILL beckoning me to get up and do what I must do for the day.  More recently, it wakes me up two times now.  Once at 3:00am to put more wood in the cook stove, and then again at 6:00am for milking before I go off to work.

That clock and I have some history together.  It has seen me for years.  It watched me disregard it's message so many time.  In fact, I remember in my unscheduled college days, after staying up most of the night, there were plenty of times I would hit the snooze button every nine minutes till most of the day was past.  WHAT ON EARTH was I thinking?

It has seen me go through the "new" plan for waking up again so many times as well.  Setting my alarm to "wake up early" to spend time reading, praying, or to exercise.  All to no avail.  :(

On more than several occasions I have thought about updating my wake-up call trading it in for a newer model, an alarm clock that looks like it was made in the last ten years!  A cool, functional accessory that sits regally on my night stand that wakes me up to a new day with a new song. 

I think I am going to stick with my trusted companion.  I think we might be able to tough it out for several more years together.  In fact, I have grown quite accustomed to it's grumpy, old voice.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

snow was coming down . . .

What a whirlwind of snow and fun here at the farm.  Last week I was off three days due to the weather, and then today the old lady upstairs was shaking her fleece out again!  (that is what Macy told me this morning when we were talking about how much snow was coming down.)  It was absolutely beautiful outside today with about a foot of new snow on the ground.  Since we got a fresh blanket covering today, the girls made some chocolate snow ice cream after dinner:)


Here is a glimpse of some new art I am making.  These pieces I made for a local art show and themed them around the idea of "interpreting."  I am influenced by the art and the attitudes of the early 1900's and decided to make some work that incorporated messages like the Turn of the Century Posters had.  It was a great period in art. They are wonderfully over sized, and the messages are inspiring.  I took some tips from Rodney White and ran some of the texts off the sides of the canvases.  Each of the canvases were hand built and are gallery wrapped.  (museum wrapped you can see the staples on the side, when the painting goes on the sides as well it is called gallery wrapped).  Instead of purchasing pre-made canvases, and them being expensive, I used lumber to built the frames, and canvas drop cloth to paint on.  What would have cost around $243. for the canvases at an art store, I made all three of them for less than $18.00.  And instead of using acrylic paint for them, I used the latex paint I had left over from painting the rooms in my home. 

And I also have been moving in the direction of functional art as well.  This is my sculptural gun rack that I made for the Ruger 10/22 that I purchased for myself over Christmas break.  I included design elements of joinery on this piece similar to those in 1900's.  I wanted something vertical, close to the wall, and not able to be accidentally bumped out of it's spot.  And most of all . . . it needed to be beautiful.  I used some old barn wood, cut and routed out some sections, and then assembled and stained it.  It is exactly what I envisioned for the gun that is in my room.  Functional, and aesthetic!