Saturday, July 3, 2010

Stand In the Place Where You Live*

So here I am, mentioning over and over that Cubby can stand up, and yet not posting any photographic evidence. I could be lying!

Or I could just be too damn lazy to get up and get the camera when he's standing around.

When my sister was here, she was kind enough to take some family photos, so we can show him someday that yes, we were actually around during his first few months of life. He wasn't just raised by the dogs. Although that would be fitting for the man-cub, no?


In addition to the family photo, she also captured the standing. So I can show you. Because she's not too lazy to take pictures. Or do anything else for that matter.


Photo. Yes.

Cubby gets vertical.

Bear in mind that this was taken several weeks ago. Which means that child could hold up his own weight before he was four months old. His not insubstantial weight, as you may remember.

We're so proud of our little strongman.

* I like to sing this R.E.M. song to Cubby when he's standing on my lap. And when I sing the line "Now face north," I sometimes turn him so he's facing north. The fun we have around here. You have no idea.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Physical Impossibilities

Okay, attention all you people with children: Please tell me how in the hell you managed to get through the few months when your child was too heavy to carry but wasn't walking yet. Because I'm having some serious difficulties here, and I really don't see how I'm going to make it to mobility.

Cubby seems to have broken some sort of weight barrier in the past few days that has made it seem almost literally impossible for me to carry him around anymore. I suspect it's the 18-pound marker. And he's not even five months old yet. Even assuming he's walking by nine months (which I am assuming, because the child can already stand up by himself), I still have more than four months before he can locomote on his own. And, of course, he will continue to get heavier as those months progress.

So now what? Back brace? Pony and cart? Steroids?


P.S. Do you like how Blogger has apparently decided to make it look as if I posted THREE times on Wednesday and not at all yesterday? And do you like how Blogger still won't allow me to fix this problem and re-post with the correct date and time? Yeah, me neither. Stupid Blogger.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chore Time

I figure it's never too early for Cubby to learn that the work around here is never done, and he's going to do his fair share of it, by God. To that end, I have already assigned him some chores to complete every day. Of course, at the moment he mostly fills a supervisory capacity. In that he watches me doing the chores, since he can't, you know, WALK yet.

But he can learn by example! And so every morning I load him up in his chariot and we wheel up to the chicken coop to let the chickens out. Lately, we've also been stopping to pick the black caps (also called wild raspberries or black raspberries) that grow in the forsythia hedge near the coop. Then we wheel down to the mailbox to get the newspaper. Sometimes we also continue on to the lake shore to pick yet more black caps that grow in the brushy areas there.

When we get back up to the house, it's time to get the laundry out of the machine to hang outside. He watches me to make sure I hang his diapers correctly so they bleach properly in the sun. Cubby takes his duties very seriously.

Then we go inside for a little snack and a nap. Except Cubby is the only one who gets to nap.

In the afternoon, it's back up to the chicken coop to gather the eggs from the nesting box, and then back down to the mailbox to pick up the mail. Then we deliver A.'s mail to his office upstairs. Sometimes we do a little picking up outside, sometimes we wheel out to the garden for a few quick chores or some harvesting.

Then another snack and another nap.

He usually monitors dinner preparations from his chariot as well. After all of this exhausting supervising, he's tired out and ready for bed by 6:30 p.m.

I know it seems harsh of me to require so much labor from a small infant, but I'm training him up. Someday--like as soon as he can walk unassisted-- he's going to have to go up to the chicken coop by himself, and I want him to be prepared for that happy day.

I am nothing if not a responsible parent.


Because sometimes, one post a day just isn't enough to keep you up to date on all the excitement in my life.

So there I was this morning, squeezing the mulberry juicing bag with my hands to wring out the last drops of precious juice, when I heard frantic barking from the dogs. I have learned, over the years, the many barks of the dogs. This was not a "cyclist on the road" or a "squirrel up a tree" bark. This was the "MUST KILL" bark.

At least, Otty was in the gully barking the MUST KILL bark. The other two dogs were barking frenzied, frustrated barks because they were stuck in the garden. Otty is the only one who will jump the high fence separating the garden from the gully. So she was in the brush in the gully all by herself, growling and barking and generally making lots of scary hunting noises. And I could hear . . . something else. Growling. Not good. In fact, very bad. Because those noises were not coming from a chipmunk or a woodchuck. They were coming from a raccoon. And a full-grown raccoon can inflict some serious damage on a dog.

I couldn't get to Otty myself, because of the fencing. And there was no way she'd back away from her prey, even when I called her to come back. I was just about to run along the edge of the fence (in, I might add, my pajamas) to see if there was a way to open it and at least let the other dogs out so they could help her, when A. came out and saw the raccoon. It had gone up a tree. This was good, as it meant that at least it wasn't ripping Otty's face off. A. ran inside as fast as he could on his crippled foot to get his gun, but by the time he got back outside, the coon was gone.

I hope Otty was enough to scare it off, so it doesn't start hanging around and eying the chickens. But if it does come around again, I have no doubt the dogs will tree it again and A. will have a chance to shoot it. It wouldn't be the first time the dogs have saved the chickens from a raccoon. And I'm sure it won't be the last.

Good dogs.

Sheep On the Move

A. is still hobbling around on his thankfully-not-broken-but-still-very-painful foot, meaning he still can't carry water to the sheep. In an effort to save my back and arms from permanent damage inflicted by giant-infant and heavy-water hauling, he determined that the sheep should be moved from the pasture into the paddock nearer the house, where a hose can reach to fill their water bucket. But the paddock fence was broken where the sheep had busted it down several weeks ago in pursuit of some apparently delicious day lilies.

So I fixed it last night by patching the broken spot with a bit of old fence and some tie wire, cussing silently (and sometimes audibly) the whole time because tie wire is very poky and I do not like fencing.


Then I went up to the pasture with a bucket of corn, also known as The Secret Sheep Weapon. Because they will follow corn, you see. Actually, they'll follow A. whether he has corn or not, because he, of course, is their shepherd. But I am not their shepherd(ess), and, stupid as they are, they know this. Therefore, the corn bribe. A. stayed by the paddock gate, but he hupped to the sheep from where he stood, and they immediately started running down to the pasture gate. Hupping is just what it sounds like: He yells, "Hup!" The sheep recognize this as a precursor to corn and come a'runnin'. It's very funny.

Even funnier? Me running ahead of them with a bucket of corn. Which I did, all down the lane and across the driveway, waving along the way to the neighbors' lawn mowing guy, who watched me gallop by with 13 sheep swirling around me.

I should imagine he will be telling that story for a long time to come.

The sheep actually bypassed me before I got to the paddock, which would be embarrassing, except I was going slowly because of my frequent backward glances to make sure Donnie the Ram wasn't preparing to stage an attack from the rear in pursuit of the corn. I don't trust him ever since the one time a couple of years ago when he rammed me while I was picking apples in his pasture. Granted, that was the ONLY time he's ever rammed me, but still. I'll never forget, and I'll never forgive.


I was not attacked, all the sheep are now safely ensconced in the paddock happily mowing down the fresh grass, and A. can gaze with loving eyes upon his flock from the comfort of the house. And I no longer have to haul water buckets up to the pasture.

I just love a happy ending.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lesson Learned

Last year when I was sorting out the shallots to save for planting in the spring, A. said we should try planting some in the fall. He had read about fall planting somewhere, and thought we might get better results that way, rather than waiting until spring. We plant garlic in the fall, so why not shallots?

So, in a very carefully controlled scientific experiment (not really), we planted some in the fall and some in the spring. Now the shallots have been harvested, and the results are conclusive.

Well then.

Yup. Fall planting from now on.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Waving the White Flag

I am officially ceding defeat to the weeds in the garden. I was just out there picking peas and cutting some more lettuce before it bolts entirely, and I quite literally had to wade through a forest of pigweed to get to everything.

In a normal year, I'm a little more on top of the weeding situation at this time of year. Mid-July is usually the time it all goes to hell and I give up. This year, thanks to a certain little weed I'm growing on purpose, there has been much less time for weed control in the garden. I'm lucky I even got everything planted. But even though I kind of have an excuse for being somewhat lax, it still depresses me to look out there and see all those wretched weeds. To say nothing of having to fight my way through them to harvest anything.

Oh well. Pretty soon the tomatoes will start ripening, and then I won't have time to be depressed about weeds. I'll be too frantic about the tomatoes piling up on my counters and waiting for me to can them.

I'll take frantic about too many tomatoes over depressed about too many weeds any day.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Whatever Will It Be?

Don't you just love it when I randomly select a photo from my unlabeled folders? Isn't it just the most exciting thing ever to see what we may dredge up from the photographic vaults of time? Or have you caught onto the fact that I do this when I have nothing particularly interesting to say*?

Whatever. I did it again. WHEEE!!

So! This photo is from June 23 of last year.

Hello, old garden.

It seems I was taking pictures of the tomatoes. Surprise, surprise! Now, if I wasn't a lazy bum, I would take a photo of my tomatoes right now, so we could compare and I could show you that my tomatoes are already way bigger than the ones in this photo. But alas, I AM a lazy bum, and not having to do any work is kind of the point of these lame mystery photo posts. So you'll just have to take my word for it that my tomatoes are apparently ahead of schedule this year. YAY!

* This is not entirely true, as it appears that A. might have cracked a bone in his foot yesterday, leaving him hobbling around with a cane and me hauling (REALLY HEAVY) buckets of water up to the sheep. But I prefer to focus on my prematurely large tomatoes. Because that's much less depressing.