Friday, August 31, 2012

The Freezer Wars

The setting:  A 95 degree day in Northeast Wisconsin.  The house was at a comfortable 73 degrees with the air conditioning.

The people involved: K, the neighbor girl, and me (the "littles" were outside - and that was a good place for them)

The situation: It was snack time.  A normal time in this quiet, rural Wisconsin home.  Something that happens at least twice a day during the summer, while this mom tries to keep the ravaging hordes settled.

K headed to the upright freezer to get the last five popsicles, which I considered almost perfect timing - only one day left of all five kids being here for summer vacation.

This is when we went from having a normal day to having the intensity ramp up A LOT!

"Mom, the popsicles are melted!" 

She showed me this popsicle that was liquid. I raced to the freezer (yes, this fat lady can move when she needs to.)  Extension cord still turned on. Freezer lights come on, but things definitely starting to thaw and melt.

Oh, Crap!  We just bought a pig and ALL that meat (to the tune of 200+ lbs) was in this freezer!

Thus started the frantic afternoon. 

I rushed to the phone to call Dad to see if he could run over his big coolers (and maybe take some meat home to his house).  While we were waiting for Dad, it was the mad dash to put as much into the chest freezer as could possibly fit.  Then, race to the refrigerator's freezer and clear out as much stuff from in there as possible.  All the cheese and hotdogs in the house are now in the fridge.  All the buns from the freezer are on the counter. The myster containers of frozen soup and extra sloppy joe meat came flying out of the freezer, so as much meat as possible could go in that freezer. 

There was still a bunch of stuff left in upright freezer.

Brain goes into overdrive.  If Dad can't come over, I need to call the neighbors to get in to there house and hope they have room in their freezer.  If they don't have room, I'm going to have to fire up the grill and the smoker and cook this meat, because there IS NO WAY that I'm losing any of this meat.

Luckily, it didn't come to that.  Dad came over with a truck full of coolers.  We loaded the meat into the big one.  The rest of the veggies and oddball stuff went into another cooler, along with the ice packs from the fridge's freezer.

It was our fault that this happened.  The frost had really built up, but when you have 200 lbs of meat coming home from the butcher, you need a place to put it.  The thermostat wire was completely coated in ice and didn't register that it wasn't cooling.

Lessons learned:  If you have meat coming home, YOU have the time to defrost the freezer.  YOU have the responsibility to defrost the freezer.  Plus, Dads are still there when you call them, even when you are an adult, even in 95 degree weather when he gets heat exhaustion very easily.

Freezer thoroughly defrosted. Ice cubes froze overnight. Put cooler of veggies and oddball stuff back in there this morning and heading over to make sure those are solidly frozen again.

Before I have Dad bring anything back over to put in the freezer, I think I'm going to rearrange things from the chest freezer and work on defrosting that one, too. Plus, as a bonus, I might find things at the bottom of the pit of despair that I forgot we had.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Crafting Geek Speak

I'm going to join over at Ginny's Yarn Along ... not because I've been doing anything crafty or been doing any reading, but because everyone needs some humor and when it comes in the form of crafting humor, everyone here should enjoy...

I'm not sure if I should be proud or scared that I've helped create such a crafting geek.

To set the stage, my 9-year-old, K, LOVES crafts, especially fiber crafts.  For the past 3 years, for every birthday and Christmas, all she requests is CRAFTS!!!!

This morning, my husband and I were talking about how his request for time off in December started a chain at work of people requesting the same days off.

Out of the blue, K says, "So, Daddy was a slip stitch."

I sat there and stared at her, shook my head to clear it, and asked her, "What?"

I'm ashamed to say that my husband got the obscure reference before I did.  I had to have him explain it to me.

"Slip stitch?"

"Yep, you know a slip stitch starts a chain in crochet, so Daddy was the slip stitch in the chain at work."

Gaahhhh - I've created a monster, but at least she's a crafting monster - I like that one, it's the 9-year-old pain in the butt monster that I don't like.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Musing August 20, 2012

Right now... it is 6:50 a.m. and I just got done wrapping my ankle in an Ace bandage.  I did too much this weekend and I can't find my structured ankle wrap.  SOmeone helped me take it off late last week, and it's been missing ever since.  It would be really sore if I hadn't been wearing a pair of Bob's military boots.  They are about 1 size too big for me, but really work around the ankles.  K is being helpful and making Fixit some breakfast.  Bug and Bob are still sleeping.  Bob has the day off, so I'll let him enjoy it.

This weekend... was busy!  Saturday, Bob and I put in another 100 feet of fence and built the gate for the new pen.  This was a first, building a pen before we had a critter to occupy it. (smile) My Dad has a twist-style post hole digger that I can actually help use, after the hole is started.  It's a heavy son-of-a-gun, but it really works much better than the pinch kind. 

Saturday afternoon, we headed over to Mom and Dad's to pick up the trailer for use on Sunday.  Saturday evening, Bob and I enjoyed a date night.  It was the first time in a LONG time for us to go out with just us.  We started our evening at Fleet Farm and picked up the rest of the stuff we needed for the gate.  Then we headed to Barnes & Noble to look around and picked up a few books.  Our next stop was to Margarita's for dinner - it was so good, but we were so full.  Finally, we didn't want the evening to end, and we were too full to go out to a coffee shop, so we parked in the local Woodman's grocery store parking lot and read our books for 1/2 hour. 

Sunday, we were going to go to church, but I had found fence panels for sale on Craigslist and the lady was going to be gone after 10, so we had to go get them.  Loaded up the kids and drove with Bob and the trailer to a town about 40 minutes away to pick up 9 fence panels.  They are going to work great to build the sides of our animal shelters.  We're not putting in the fence posts for those, yet. For the tops of the shelters, we bought some heavy duty tarps - they used to be billboards, so should last for a long time.  Still working out the exact logistics of it, but it'll work.

Sunday afternoon, we went to pick up our new buckling from a neighbor.  They also let us buy a little doeling.  We built the new pen with 4' sides for the buckling.  They weren't high enough.  When we went back outside to check on them, he was in with all the girls.  Yes, we're going to have to put him in there eventually, but we really didn't want December babies, so we're hoping nothing happened and that we can initiate goat date night more for March or April babies.  I don't think anything happened, because Bell, our milking doe kept slamming into him, showing him who is boss.  Trying to catch him was a whole 'nother rodeo.  We didn't have a collar on him, yet, and that bugger can jump. (Obviously, since he jumped a 4' fence). 

So, now, the buck is back in his pen, with a lot less opportunity to join the girls.  We put Carmel's collar on him, after we finally cornered and caught him, and used the dog tie out to tie him in the far corner of his pen away from the girls.

This episode helped provide the names for the new goats.  The buckling is Knuckles, as in Knucklehead, which was a much nicer name than we were tempted to call him.  The new doeling we got is just a little thing - she was never aggressive enough to shove in to get feed.  I'm hoping only have two other goats to deal with, that she'll grow.  We're going to call her Bitty, as in Itty Bitty.

They are both "used" to humans, but are also used to being in with several hundred other goats, so no petting or snuggling.  Don't think we're going to get "snuggly" with the buckling, since I've had a few choice words for him, but K said she got Bitty to actually come up to her this morning and could pet her.

Some plans for this week...  Today, we're taking a family trip into Green Bay to go to Sam's to stock up. We might take the kids to McDonald's for lunch.  I need to get a batch of refrigerator pickles going with some cucumbers that Dad gave me.  I need to dehydrate some more zucchini and shred more for the freezer.  We also need to help K finish her fair projects and pick up the tags for the fair.  I have a Catechist meeting tonight at church to get ready for teaching 7th grade religion again this fall. 

I have to call on the rest of my appointments for work and try and get them all scheduled this week.  I also have to go in to the Tech College center to pick up my student ID and download the assignments onto my flash drive.

Wednesday evening, at least one of us needs to go school for the Kindergarten meeting.  There is a different teacher this year for Bug, otherwise, we probably wouldn't go. 

We're probably going to try and put in some fence panels for a shelter this week, if I can convince Bob to help me after work.

Saturday, Bob and K have to go to pre-fair judging for her Visual Arts and Woodworking projects. 

If I find some time for myself, I would like to... straighten out the crafting room and uncover some completed projects that I need to list on Etsy.  I would also like to stop at the library and pick up the books that I have on hold.

I am grateful for... my super husband and his indulging me and getting more animals and building more fence.  I am grateful that K's fair projects are almost done and that we've started on the fair book - ugh.  For super-hero-loving girls with great imaginations.

Some prayer intentions for this week... That my Aunt Fran continues to improve from serious pneumonia that was caused by MERSA bacteria. She's been in the hospital for 2 weeks, and will be there for at least another week.  She is finally out of the ICU, the drainage tube has been removed, and they got her up and walking again.  I also need to do some praying to get excited about teaching Catechism again.

Something that makes me smile...  Fixit wearing a superhero shirt from her Aunt Vikki, a sweater from Grandma, the toolbelt from her cousin, and holding a superhero figurine and dinosaurs.

Friday, August 10, 2012




"I'm going to kill you, roar!"

My interjected, "WHAT did you say?"

"I didn't mean kill.  We're playing a monster game.  I meant DESTROY you!"

Without the appropriate context, hmm, oh well, they are playing nicely together... Let's just leave it at that.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Canning, Fencing, and Sunburn

It was a very busy weekend around here.

I knew it was going to be a busy weekend when I bought two 5-gallon pails of cucumbers.  This was probably a bushel and a quarter of cucumbers. 

So, 52 quarts of garlic dill pickles later - the cucumbers are finally gone.  We only had one jar not seal and one jar cracked after going through the canner.  The unsealed jar is in the fridge pickling and the broken jar and contents have been thrown away for safety's sake.

I also canned 6 pints of pickled garlic.  You'd think the 4 cloves of garlic that I have to put into each jar of pickles would be enough for my family when they are going after it.  Nope.  Have to make pickled garlic, too.  Then, went to work on the bucket of beets that Dad gave me and that yielded another 5 pints of beets.  I didn't even have to make the brine for that one - Mom had extra after doing her beets and gave me the brine.

We blanched some beans and added another 3 quarts of green beans to the freezer.  Dehydrated 9 racks of sliced zucchini and need to do some more.  That is so good in soup.  It adds a taste of summer during winter.

I had been (kind of) joking with my "little" 6'2" 300-lb brother on Facebook the other day. He was going to be at my parents' house and he wanted to do some strongman workout.  I asked if strongman workout included building fence.  Luckily for me, he decided that it did.  He dug at least 11 fence post holes, 3 1/2 feet deep each.  Then, he helped us put the posts in and put up the fence.  Not only did we put up about 250' of new fence, we undid some of the existing fence and spread that out further.  The goat pen is at least 6 times the size it was.  Even though my ankle is killing me today and Bob's wrist is spasming on him.

The goats didn't know what to do with all that space.  Carmel zoomed back and forth and then panted.  She did this several times.  What a goofball!

Which leads us to the sunburn.  We built fence for about 4 hours yesterday, and my shoulders and the back of my neck are burned.  The back of Bob's neck is RED!  Luckily, I've seen lots of sun doing stuff outside this summer, so the sunburn just needed some aloe.

Ugh, my body is sore, especially down the entire right side of my body.  That is the side with the sore ankle.  So, walking over all that uneven ground yesterday messed me up.  Woke up with a charlie horse in my calf. My hip hurts. The right side of my back has already been iced this morning. My shoulder is tight and it hurts down into my upper arm and elbow.  I think I have a pinched nerve in my shoulder, because I can trace the nerve path into my arm.  I'm hoping to get to the chiropractor tomorrow morning.

Ok, back to real life and trying to get work appointments for Tuesday and Wednesday.