The Summer in the Garden

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Great Pig Caper

Yes, I have dedicated this particular blog to pigs- again. I said in a different blog that I have debated about changing the name of this blog to The Summer in the Pigpen. It has been interesting to me the amount of times I have 'changed' the name of this blog since it started.

Yesterday we decided that it would be a good move to take our pigs to a pig show locally and give them exposure. Wow, what a major undertaking and to top it off, it was over ninety degrees. We were dripping. Yuck. The show did not go as planned. We have been working them in the yard so I was under the idea that they would at least cooperate. Nope. They were horrible. They did not walk when we 'asked' them to. They fought us every step of the way. The boys were tremendously tired, hot and cranky. Another day spent together~

I am not certain what the pig issue is... Everyone at the show kept trying to tell us how to fix our pigs. It was everything that we have been trying. The good news- one of the guys clipped our pigs on Friday night for us. What a horrific process. I think that I am damaged for life. Pigs do not like to be clipped. Enough said?

I have to say though that there were funny times too. One time I sent Jared down the barn with his pig and went the other way to meet him and help him get the stubborn pig into the chute. I waited and waited. Nothing. Finally, I heard in the wind that there was a boy who had a loose pig. By loose, I mean outside of the barn. A little kid had left the gate open. Suffice it to say that by the time I got out there, he was headed back in. He was not happy- I laughed.

Jacie rode a pig for the first time. It wasn't a planned riding but...

I saw a huge pig coming at her and did not have the time to warn her. The pig came up under her and thank heavens her daddy was standing there because he plucked her off of the pig's back and lifted her over his head. She laughed. I cringed. Pigs can be kinda pushy and mean. I think it is because they are big and muscular. She also showed a pig. You can read about that in her blog @

Loren got second place in goat showmanship. I forgot to mention that there was a goat show on the grounds as well. He was in a class of twelve and almost won. He made several major errors and came out and reported them to me in detail. He cracks me up with how detailed he is. He was proud of his goat showmanship but left the day feeling low about his pigs. He has decided to get up at 5 and walk them every morning. We'll see.

Unfortunately, our pigs were the only ones that tried to jump out of the holding pens. They squealed like they were being killed and ran over everything in sight. In one class, they were so bad we were sent out of the arena- talk about embarrassing.

Yet, the time spent with the kids was worth it. I would do it again today in a heartbeat if it was what they desired. They are truly my best friends.

Last night Bart and I went out with some friends. The kids stayed home and Loren cooked for them. He then did the dishes. At thirteen- that's pretty good. Suffice it to say, this summer has not worked out as planned but I couldn't have planned how good it has been. Make sense?

Hope all is well for you.

~Camo Pants

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Will Blog For Food

Again, I find myself outside in the evening blogging. Part of the reason is that it is so much cooler outside than in- the other part? The children are in.

What kind of mother do those poor children have? You may question. I have a very easy, heartfelt answer for you. A terrible one. No really. I am a loner at heart. I find it difficult to think when my children are in the room, much less in the house with me. Oh and there is no kitchen table in the old house. I have taken it out to the garage in order to refinish it for the new house. Another project waiting for me.

I have placed the table and chair that I am writing on at an odd angle in order to not see the garden. It is such a mess and taunts me when I pull into the drive. Yesterday, I gave in and mowed part of it down. Some of the weeds were well over my head and an embarrassment. So that chapter is closing. I did leave up what was left of the onions (after Jared 'weeded' them.) Today when I got home I noticed that the excavator drove over the remaining ones while he was filling the hole that was made to run the electrical wire to the new house. Perhaps I am meant to buy my onions from others? Ya think...?

Last week it was too hot to blog- this week is cooler and so it is all I want to do. I wish I could make real money for my thoughts but I am afraid many people would only pay me to cease doing them. Doesn't seem right. I am debating about putting a sign in the front yard that reads, "Will Blog For Food" and see if I get any takers.

Speaking of food... I am not particularly a 'foodie' but I have to admit that tonight's supper was one for the books. The amazing thing is that it was very simple. We had fresh corn on the cob (obviously not from my garden) and hamburgers on the grill. I then added cucumbers, tomatoes and all of the goodies that others have given me to my burger. Yum. I wish you could have been there. I know for certain that the way to my children's hearts is through their stomachs. Definitely. They were quite happy with their fare.

The boys rode their horses today. It was bittersweet to see Loren on a different horse. He was having so much trouble that we had to get a new horse. We have had the horse he was on since the horse was six months old. They become like family to us. Yet, Loren is enjoying the new ride. He is learning about himself and his riding ability instead of trying to fix a horse every ride. It is good. Jared continues on Paulie. He (Paulie) is my baby. His coloring is Palomino. He is truly beautiful. At this point, he and Jared are a good match. Jacie wants a mini horse. She saw one at the horse workout a couple of weeks ago and has been after me since. I know that she would love it but the thought of going from two horses to four is enough to make this mama's heart skip a beat.

Though we are not working in the garden, the kids and I are working. There is so much that needs to be done on the farm. I think that I could have them working around the clock. After we move into the new house, we are going to tackle cleaning the big barn and the lean-to. They are in dire need. That will wait until after fair because we are booked solid until then. I would also like to try to go to Chicago in October for a day because I promised Jacie that I would take her in when she was walking. She has an itch to see the Lego Store and I would like to hit the Rock n' Roll McDonald's and the Shedd Aquarium. I know that she would love it. Perhaps I will make it a reward for a summer of hard work. That will probably come up in my other blog, The Camo Pants Professor: A Rebel With Class. That blog is dedicated to our homeschooling experience.

I suppose I had better get at the dishes. It seems a waste but my duties call.

~Camo Pants

You can follow Jacie's adoption journey @

Friday, July 15, 2011

Life on the [Funny] Farm

I have been thinking of this blog all day. Yeah, I am a little obsessive sometimes...

Today was hot. It was hard. Yet, it definitely 'qualifies' for this blog. I spent the day with my children- all of it. I then, with great enthusiasm, encouraged them to go to bed. As I sit in the dusk of the day, I have to say, "I love the farm."

It is a busy life. It is hard work. But it is together and I like that. This morning, Jacie and I went to Physical Therapy for her. Unfortunately, she just got home camp last night and was completely exhausted, cranky and out of sorts- I should have just cancelled like I wanted to. So much for good intentions.

If we would have stayed home though, I would have missed the next stop and that would have been a shame. She and I went to the library to work on her summer reading program. I know many of you have not seen the list of To complete this summer reading, one has to dedicate a lot of time and effort. The one being, of course, the mother. She enjoyed the arts and crafts that they had going- though I did not know about it and it pushed our arrival home back by an hour.

Then came the pig washing. No, you didn't read this wrong- pig washing. We have been told that you can train a pig. That has been our goal this year. I think that the people who told us that did so just so they could stand back and watch- laughing. I set about washing with the oldest boys. They were incredibly tired and grouchy but I knew that the time to do it had to be grabbed so onward we tread. I wish that you could have seen us. What a joke. Suffice it to say... we did not wash any pigs today. The good news? We lived through the experience. I really think there is a plot among pig people...

We have to clip the pigs soon. Wanna watch?

I wish I could say I was able to spend the rest of the day lounging in the weed patch. And I did in a different way, we spent the rest of the day working together mowing the lawn we do for hire. It was a weed patch of its own. That is exactly how our lives look. Busy, busy, busy. I washed loads of laundry and hung them out, folded other laundry, did dishes and made dinner.

Whew! I am exhausted just reading what I did today. But the evening found me sitting outside, blogging and enjoying the cooler air. The light of the sunset filtered through the trees, the dusk settled on the farm and I began to relax. There is nothing not to love about life on the farm. Nothing.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Summer of the Weeds

I didn't even stop to look when I last posted on this blog. It has been a terribly long time and I am embarrassed. It has also been that long since I pulled weeds in the garden that was the 'theme' for this particular blog. Man...

I wrote in my other blog that I was renaming this blog, "The Summer of the Weeds" because soon after I started it I drove a lawn tractor off of a four foot wall and broke my finger on my left hand and sprained my wrist on my right. I also bruised my ribs terribly and my legs. Really, It's pathetic. Yet, it is true. So.. I have not been able to pull weeds.

I have re-thought the name though and do not think that it is fair. Yes, the garden has gone to pot but my life continues. The children's lives continue. I am blessed. I wrote about my oldest son on my other blog. It really should have been on this blog but I started it there and left it. You can check it out at "The Crown of His Daddy" in I forget sometimes that he is only thirteen. He looks so much older and often acts older too. Yet, he is thirteen so I shouldn't be surprised when randomly, out of the blue- he acts it.

We have devoted a lot of time to finishing the new house. We are about 5-6 weeks out from moving and I am excited. I have enjoyed picking lights, counters and colors but am extremely ready to occupy, if you know what I mean! When we are not 'housing it,' we are doing animal things. The boys and I have decided that we are going to work their pigs this year. This is a new leaf for us. We always have fed them and cared for them but never walked them, clipped them- well, let me be straight here- never anything that took major effort. This has changed. Now you can drive by three times a week and witness the boys walking their pigs around the yard. Truth? I think that the pigs walk the boys but don't tell them. When my friend told me that you should let the pigs loose in the yard and walk them I thought, "You are crazy. We will never get them back in."

I was wrong. They will go back in. They run like nutcases, then slow down and eventually you can guide them in. Remember that pigs don't wear collars...

I am the one yelling, "Keep them out of the road."

The boys are the ones yelling back, "We're trying..."

It is really quite comical. I definitely try to leave myself a lot of time to help before I have to be anywhere because sometimes it takes a lot of patience and prodding to get them to walk. My luck? They will probably be our worst pigs yet. That would so make me laugh.

At times I think that our family struggles because of the stress that it is under. Bart's work schedule is intense, the boys are well into the throes of puberty and Jacie is fairly new to the family but I really don't think that is it. As I listen to other parents around us, they are in the same place with their similar aged children. I think that children have to walk through the murky waters (that's what I like to call them) in order to figure out the right direction to go. do the stresses make a difference? Of course. Yet, there is something bigger going on in the lives of my children. God is calling their hearts and that is a difficult place to be. I know how badly I fought. I expect nothing less from them. Especially Loren since he is a drop straight from the mom tree- except his nose...

Jared is reading behind me. He has begun to learn that he is not Loren. This statement may seem a little crazy to you but it makes perfect sense to me. Jared has patterned his likes and dislikes after Loren. He was his hero. If Jared wanted something and Loren said no- Jared didn't get it. As they have moved apart, Jared is learning that he can like things that are different than Loren's tastes. Jared is developing his own desires. I love that for him. Jared is an amazing person who continues to grow emotionally and physically. It is an interesting process.

Hopefully I will be a little more diligent about blogging on this blog. Hope that all is well for you.