October 1, Tuesday. School went well today, and it was a beautiful, sunny warm day! I enjoyed working in the garden for over an hour this afternoon. I finally finished planting the new strawberry bed. Now we need to get it mulched. There is quite a bit of weeding that needs done, now, and more garden work–spring is here! I went out to the garden this afternoon to check the rows I planted a few weeks ago, and things are coming up–peas, radishes, carrots, beets, parsnips. I love this time of year!
Gayle didn’t get home from work till 7:15 tonight. He says it will continue being like this, or worse, for the next few weeks, as people are taking a lot of time off. Not fun. Jeff and Josiah, and Pete and Dianne came tonight for Bible Study, but they left in good time.
October 2, Wednesday. Gayle did have to work late again today–it was 6:30 when he got home, after working over 12 hours. Besides people taking time off, the spring rush is starting. Doesn’t leave much time for family. We had worship together while Gayle ate supper, and then he and two boys rushed off to the Bible Study after he slept for 15 minutes.
The weather was gorgeous today again. So warm! I did have to laugh a little; we’ve really acclimated to the temperatures here. We were all sweating a little, and feeling quite warm, so I had Esther check the temperature outside. It was about 70°F! I got to work in the garden again, and got a lot of onion plants set out. We should have oodles of onions this year. I planted two packets of seeds, and have gotten most of one planted out so far. It filled up one and a half big beds!
October 3, Thursday. Another warm day! It’s lovely to be able to go barefoot again (the boys have been all winter, but I’m chicken!). School went very well this morning; we were done in good time. This afternoon I got to work in the garden again. All the onions are now planted, and then I weeded for awhile.
Gayle was very late again tonight. Several of the boys walked to the ford, hoping to meet him, and they played there for awhile, waiting for him. They love riding home with Daddy! Since they had no carseat, Nathan got to ride on Daddy’s lap for a mile or so. He did not want to come to me when they got home! He wanted to stay on Daddy’s lap. He sure is a Daddy’s boy.
October 4, Friday. Big day today! We had ordered chicks from a hatchery in Fairlie, a couple of hours south of Christchurch on the way to Mount Cook. They made a delivery to Christchurch today, so we made plans to meet them there. It was Elijah’s birthday today, so we decided to make a family day of it and go to Orana Wildlife Park, a zoo just behind the airport. Gayle had asked last week for half of the day off today, and even though he’s been working so many hours Brian still let him off! We picked him up just before 11:00. We made a quick stop in Amberley on the way; we needed to drop sausages off for Deb Wilson and she had a toaster oven to give us. While I was doing that, Gayle bought a couple of chick waterers. Then, we went on to town and got our chicks. After a quick stop for fruit at a shop, we went to the zoo. It’s not a big zoo; not really heaps of animals, but the exhibits are quite well done. The best part is their well-laid-out feeding schedule. They feed various animals through the day, and tell you where the next feeding will be so you can get there in time. We got to watch them feed the spider monkeys, and then the lions. That was a production! For $35, you can buy a ticket for the Lion Encounter and ride in an open truck with a strong cage all around it, right in the lion’s enclosure! The keepers ride in the cage, too, and feed the lions from it. The lions jump on top of the truck, and climb the sides, and as they get more and more excited about being fed they roar and growl. That was fascinating to watch! After that, the giraffes were fed, and anyone who wanted to could help with that. The keepers handed out small branches, and you were to hold them up for the giraffes to bite the leaves off. That was fun! Normally, you are also able to get up close to the rhinos when they are fed, too, but not today–the male was charging anyone who came anywhere near. We had to stand back this time. After that,
the trout were fed, and once again anyone who wanted to could help. Then, we saw the cheetahs fed–a couple of horse ribs each, since this was one of their “starve” days. That was followed by the African wild dogs. There were three in the pen, and they were given half a sheep. Last of all, the meerkats, otters, and African porcupines were fed–chicken livers and dead day-old chicks (roosters) for the meerkats and otters and vegetables and fruit for the porcupines. What an interesting day!
After we left the zoo, we did a little shopping. My food processor quit working, so I bought a new one (they were on sale!), and we did just a bit of shopping at the mall. I needed things from three stores, and challenged the children to help me get in and out very fast. We got done in half an hour. After that, our last stop was to drop some things off at a friend’s house, and pick up a rabbit they were giving Dianne. We got home about 8:00.
October 5, Saturday. Gayle had to work this morning, so I let the children sleep in. I think they were all up by the time he got home, but some still needed to eat breakfast. They got a bit distracted with the 100 chicks! We managed to get the cleaning done by the time I finally got lunch on the table at 2:00. Rather slow getting around today!
We had plans to get a lot done this afternoon–but apparently God had other plans. Right after lunch, a family showed up. The husband is Stephen, a man who has been working at Harris Meats since about December; they moved here from Invercargill. They have six children–if I have it right, the younger four are theirs; the older two are hers and she has one more older one somewhere. She talked nearly nonstop the entire 5 hours they stayed here! We all felt a bit sorry for him by the time they left. She put him down almost constantly. It was a bit difficult to maintain a right attitude and stay friendly and cheerful while listening to her. The children enjoyed playing with their children, though, I think.
October 6, Sunday. We had a very good service today. Gayle shared after Barry and Peter; he talked about “believeth”–whoso believeth, present tense, shall be saved. This afternoon, we listened to a message about anger. That was very good. We left Kaikoura earlier than usual, and on the way home stopped in Spotswood to pick up eggs from an older lady who has extra. It’s so nice to be able to get free-range eggs from her! We tried to pay her, but she would only take half the money we gave her. Most are pullet eggs, but with six dozen altogether I can just use two in place of one.
We were home by 4:00, so had a leisurely evening, for once. Gayle did a Bible Study with several of the children; Seth went to water Checkers, the steer, and I wrote a couple of blog posts. So nice to have that time!
October 7, Monday. School went very well this morning. The boys were motivated and worked with a will; we were finished by 12:30 with all the morning work! A neighbor man stopped in halfway through the morning to ask for a couple of boys to help him with some work at his place. He figured that since it was school holidays they would be bouncing around needing something to do! It always seems to take people by surprise when they find out that we do school right through the holidays (two weeks right now). It just works better for us that way; when we do take time off, it takes a month to get back in the groove, so we like to just work through and then get done earlier for the year.
I was glad this afternoon, when it started raining, that I started the day’s laundry last evening–it all got dry! I got to spend an hour or so weeding before the rain, too. Esther and I worked in the kitchen for awhile this afternoon, too. Esther made some coconut candy, and some carob candy, and I made a batch of sunflower seed butter, just for fun. I gave Gayle a sample when he came home and he thought it was peanut butter! He didn’t get home till after 6:00 again. It looks like this is the new normal–not nice.
October 8, Tuesday. Rain, rain, all day! It’s good duck weather. We were happy this morning to be able to put a chick back outside. It got caught under the pen it lives in with a hen and 11 other chicks, yesterday, when the boys were moving them. At first, it seemed like it was dying, but we wrapped it up in a cloth and kept it warm and quiet. By bedtime last night it was standing and eating, and this morning looked really good. James was very glad to see that! He has taken over responsibility for that group of chicks. (They are covered so not getting wet!)
We didn’t end up having Bible Study tonight. With all the rain, the creek that flows across Pete and Dianne’s driveway when it’s wet was rising steadily and they didn’t think they’d be able to get out. Gayle didn’t get home till 7:00, so it was just as well. We had supper as soon as he got home, then worship, and then he went to bed. The older two boys and I went out to move the cow to the barnyard for the night, so she can shelter in the haybarn. Her first year or two here, she refused to go in a building, but now she wants to when it’s cold and wet. She was standing as far under the hedge as she could when I went out to get her!
Nathan got some toothpicks out of the toothpick holder tonight, and then carefully put them back in through the holes. That kept him busy a long time!
October 9, Wednesday. We had another rainy day today! The older boys spent a lot of time in their bedroom, up in the top part of the closet, listening to Elijah reading aloud. That kept them quiet and good. Poor Nathan wasn’t real happy, though; he wanted pretty badly to go outside and I wouldn’t let him.
Pete and Dianne, and Josiah and Jeff came this evening. We studied II Corinthians 1, and had a really good discussion–till the subject of speaking in tongues came up! There were two very strong opinions in the living room at that point, and one party ended up walking out.
October 10, Thursday. We had enough sunshine and warmth today to dry the laundry, and then it started raining again. I’m so thankful for children who are happy to run out and bring the laundry in when I’m holding a sleeping toddler. I held him for two hours this afternoon while he napped. I don’t often do that, but he fell asleep while I was reading to the older ones this afternoon, and by the time I finished I knew if I laid him down he would wake up and be grouchy. So, I indulged in an hour or so of holding him and reading to myself! After that, we went to Cheviot to get chicken and chick feed.
Gayle brought our beef home this evening. There were nine boxes, mostly banana-box size. All the freezers are level full again! I had one nearly empty. Lots of food here!
October 11, Friday. We had a good day today! It was my birthday. We didn’t do anything special, but the children remembered to say happy birthday this morning and Gayle remembered when he got home! That felt good. Lennie, Jasmin and James, and Tiffany, came this afternoon for a visit. Lennie worked on unraveling a knitted blanket and rolling up the yarn into balls at one table, while I worked at the other kitchen table, picking meat off beef bones and chopping leeks for the freezer while we chatted. That was lovely; my favorite way to visit. The boys enjoyed playing with James, while the girls played a game.
Gayle got home a little earlier today–six minutes before 6:00, the earliest in two weeks! I sure hope this comes to an end.
October 12, Saturday. This morning was sunny and warm–what a treat! This afternoon, clouds came over, and this evening it poured for awhile (during milking time, of course!). The laundry dried today, though.
Gayle gave me a birthday present today–he took me out to eat! We hadn’t eaten out for nearly two years. We went to Domett, to the Mainline Cafe. It’s a little bitty restaurant in a relocated railway station. When we got there, and saw about 8 vehicles, I figured it might be pretty crowded, but then we got in and saw that they also have tables in the garden outside. We sat outside, where we had a quiet spot to ourselves. The garden was gorgeous. They had a small lawn, with perennial flowers all around. In the middle of the lawn is a small tree, covered with beautiful pink flowers, and pink coneflowers all around the base. Along the edges of the eating area, they have roses, trellised up over arches. The trunks of the rosebushes are about 4 inches in diameter–those are old bushes. The food was very good, too. I’m usually not too impressed with restaurant food, but this was good. I had crepes with a savory meat filling, and Gayle had beef ragout with rice. Yum! After a leisurely lunch, ending with tea, we stopped in Cheviot to buy a few plants, then came home to the children. Nathan hadn’t seemed to notice that we were gone, but he laughed and laughed when he saw us!
October 13, Sunday. We had a beautiful day for going to Kaikoura today! The sun shone on a newly-washed world (it rained overnight). Barry shared thoughts today about Cain and Abel and how we cannot please God by our good works, and salvation is only through Him. Ken followed that with thoughts from Job, and other places in the Old Testament showing Jesus. Very good! We had a lively discussion, also, about tongues. On our way home from church, late this afternoon, we stopped along the sea to investigate some rock pools. We had never stopped at this particular place, but recently I noticed a fairly high rock, with a large pool in the top, and thought it would be interesting to check out. The waves were very high today. We were standing 6-10 feet above the level of tide at that point, and the waves were still splashing up into the pool! We stood on the side farthest from the sea and enjoyed the spectacle. Then, suddenly, an extra-big wave caught us off guard and most of us got quite wet! I was leaning over Nathan, rolling up his pants, so he didn’t get too wet. He got splashed just enough to be quite offended, though!
Often, when I order things, I have them sent to Kathleen because it costs several dollars less than having them shipped here (we are rural, she is in town). Today, we picked up several orders, and the children enjoyed putting things into use when we got home. The tailgate handle on Gayle’s truck was broken, so that is now fixed, and we have a new screen for this computer. Two weeks ago, the screen started looking funny, and when the computer shut off it flashed one color after another. The problem just kept getting worse, so we decided we’d better replace it. Sure looks good now!
October 14, Monday. When I woke up this morning, there was a howling nor-wester blowing, so I decided to hang out the two loads of laundry that were ready (I started one at bedtime last night, and Gayle put another in when he got up–that’s how we keep up with it!). I was glad later that I did; enough was dry when the next load was ready to get it hung, and then most of that was dry when it started sprinkling late in the morning. It cleared again by the time the last load of the day was ready to hang out, and then that was pretty well dry by the time it started pouring mid-afternoon! What a blessing. We had hung a few things on the lines on the front porch, and at 5:00 I went out to bring them in–and saw Gayle walking to the house! He hasn’t been home that early for a few weeks! What a treat.
School went well today. The older three boys all had tests for math; their 2nd-to-last for the year! So nice to be getting within sight of the end.
October 15, Tuesday. Seth and Simon worked for Ben today, tailing lambs. His brother Tom picked them up at 7:30, and brought them home around 4:30-5:00. They enjoyed the day, as they always do a day of farming. Because I didn’t have to do school with them, I was able to get things done in the kitchen this morning–making a big batch of tortillas, boning a couple of cooked chickens, and working with beef tallow and broth. Then, when I was done helping Elijah and James with school, I made a trip to the dump and to Cheviot to run a few errands. This afternoon, I worked in a raised bed garden for awhile, weeding, then started supper.
About the time I started supper, Jo walked in to tell me that Checkers, our yearling steer that has been at their place for nearly a month, was missing! He had figured out that there was no electric on the fence, and went wandering. I quickly got Elijah and James into the van, and we went to look for him. It took over an hour of driving around and talking to people, but Jo finally found someone who knew where he was–in a paddock along the road between us and them. He was apparently on his way home. We got him out of there and brought him here; we have enough grass now, and better fences. They have fences being built, but not finished yet. Elijah and James ran about a mile, chasing him home! Just after we got here, and I finished starting supper, Gayle finally arrived home–he had another long day. I must admit, I wasn’t sorry when Pete called to say they couldn’t come tonight!
October 16, Wednesday. Seth and Simon had work again today. This time, I needed to take them, and we left here a few minutes after 7:00. We got to Cheviot and Simon remembered that he had forgotten two of his coats! They are working high on the hills over Cheviot, and the wind blows fiercely there, so I turned around, came home, and let him get his coats. Ben was waiting when we got there, but didn’t seem to be unhappy. He had said, last night, that 7:30 would be all right. It was 5:15 this evening when he texted me to come get them–they had a long day and were exhausted! They were ready to go to bed as soon as possible! Neither Simon nor Elijah went with Gayle to the Bible Study tonight.
On the home front, we did school, I made a batch of cheese, and worked in the garden a little. Gayle got home at 5:30. A new man has been hired in the abattoir, so Gayle didn’t have to go in there today. Hope that continues!
October 17, Thursday. The boys worked again today. I took them, but someone else brought them home; they surprised us when they walked in at 3:30! Simon went and took a nap, but Seth went out to mow lawn. He was quite excited when the reverse started working on their riding mower!
I got a lot of dry beans canned today. Yesterday, I started about 3 pounds each of four kinds of beans soaking, then realized there were going to be way more than I really wanted to put in the freezer, so decided to can them instead. We ended up with 19 jars (quart and 3/4 quart), so I thawed some chuck steak, cut it into chunks, and filled the canner with two jars of that. Two jars of beans didn’t seal, and Nathan knocked one more on the floor and shattered it, but we have 16 jars of beans and two of beef to put away for quick meals!
October 18, Friday. Our 16th anniversary today! It sure doesn’t seem possible that we’ve been married that long, at least till I think about having a 15-year-old!
Seth and Simon worked again today. They had a hard time getting around this morning! They went to bed early tonight, though; they are supposed to work again tomorrow. Simon is excited, because he asked Ben for a ewe lamb and Ben said he can have one when they are weaned in December. He picked out the one he wants, today. She has a large black spot on her back. Ben sends all the ones with spots on them off for meat, because colored wool is not worth much of anything. Therefore, Simon will be saving a life and getting a distinctive sheep. He has been wanting a ewe lamb for a long time. He’s also excited because his duck is laying eggs in a nest!
Vince came by this evening. They went to Europe for a month, and just got home yesterday or the day before. Sounds like they had an interesting trip.
Nathan’s talking is really starting to take off. He came to me this afternoon, saying, “O-en, bee!” I understood the last word, please, but couldn’t get the first one, so I said to show me. He went to the door–he wanted it opened! Later, he saw a picture of the sea on the computer, and, very excitedly, said, “Wa-wa!” When I was working in the garden, he came to me and started repeatedly putting a finger in his mouth and sucking air in–his signal that he wants to eat. After supper, he started rinsing dishes. Someone must have said “Good boy!” because he started saying, “Good boy! Bad boy! Good Boy! Bad boy!” He said it so enthusiastically that we knew he meant that he was being a good boy, no matter what the words were!” Now, he just asked to have an apple cut up, by pretending to eat it. He also carried on a conversation with the lamb (Ken and Margaret gave us one Sunday) this afternoon. The lamb would baa, and Nathan would say Ma-at; the lamb would baa and Nathan would say Ma-at. He did it over and over–so cute!
October 19, Saturday. The boys worked this morning again. They are done now, though, for a week or 10 days. Gayle took them this morning, and stayed to watch them tail a small mob of merinos. He had never been up the Camel’s Hump before, and had never seen tailing done, so it was quite a new experience for him. The rest of us saw it last year. I was glad he could connect with his boys that way. It was kind of funny, though. I wanted to go to a garage sale in Cheviot, and before he left, when I pulled the van out for him, I thought, “I must remember to pull my keys out of the ignition and keep them.” I had just searched my purse for a couple of minutes to find them, then discovered them still in the ignition from yesterday. As I turned off the van, I thought, “I must take my keys.” A couple of hours later, when I wanted to go to the sale, I looked in my purse, which I had remembered to take to the house–no keys. I left them in the van! So, I sent Gayle a text to ask when he would be home. When I didn’t get an answer within half an hour, I texted Dianne to ask if she was going to the sale. She soon called back to say that she was not, but they were going to drop their truck off here for me to take. They dropped it off, and I started out the driveway–to see Gayle arriving home! So, I took our van after all. He had never gotten the text; we experimented later, and his phone is not receiving texts, although it can send them and receive calls. Time for a new phone! Anyway, several of the children went with me to the sale. We got some real bargains; the lady is moving to Australia and has to get rid of everything. There was a big barrel of electric fence equipment, and an office chair, which was an answer to prayer for Esther. We also got a couple of small bookcases, two coolers, and a lot of jars. When I was cleaning the laundry room later, I found a place I could put another small bookcase which I had seen, so when I went to get the boys I got that, too.
This afternoon, Gayle and the boys went to help Jenni mow and till her garden. Joe and Nate had to stay home, which was not their idea of fun. Joe asked for lemon ice cream, so I made some in the blender with cream, ricotta cheese, and ice, including frozen lemon juice. Yum! A little later, I was working in the kitchen when someone knocked on the door. It was a man from around the corner, whom we had never met, and he said that someone told him that my husband would take care of his extra roosters. I said sure, we could take them, but Gayle wouldn’t be able to go get them till tomorrow evening. I got his name and phone number, and realized that he is the man someone told me about last week who has extra land that we could maybe graze our steers on! He decided that it might be best if he caught the two roosters and brought them over today yet, so that’s what he did. We may be able to graze the steers there if we end up needing a place for them.
When Gayle and the boys came home, they had several shopping bags full of celery plants that self-seeded in Jenni’s garden! What a God-send. I had tried starting celery, but something ate all of it. Now we have plenty! The boys love eating it for snacks as ants-on-a-log–stuffed with peanut butter, with raisins on top. That’s a good, healthy snack they can make themselves, and if we can grow the celery, and make the peanut butter, it’s pretty cheap. I’ll be happy to grow lots of celery for that. The plants live in the garden all year here, and I can just keep harvesting the outer stalks.
October 20, Sunday. What a beautiful, sunny Sunday! It was warm, too, so warm that we didn’t have to take coats. We had a very good service. Gayle talked on John 10, about the Good Shepherd and the sheep, and then Pete talked for awhile on speaking in tongues and what the Bible really has to say about it. On our way home, we stopped in Spotswood and got 7 dozen eggs from Tui, the older lady we’ve gotten a lot of chickens from before. She has way more eggs than she can use, so we’ve been stopping on our way home from church lately and getting her extras. She takes a little money for them, but won’t take much. That is a good deal for us! We can use a lot of eggs.
October 21, Monday. School was rough this morning. Elijah and James did fine, but with Seth and Simon having had five days off, working for Ben last week, it was tough getting back into the groove. I thought Seth would work diligently, because Vince told him he could drive tractor this afternoon as soon as he was done with school, but the work was hard. We made it, though, and Seth got to work the paddock next to the house this afternoon! After making a quick trip to town for chick feed, I got to work in the garden for awhile. I’m trying to get the quack grass out of a large raised bed so I can plant tomatoes there in a week or two.
October 22, Tuesday. We went to Dead Boring today. The weather was threatening all day, but it didn’t really rain while we were there. That’s always a blessing!
Dianne came by this evening to drop off Esther’s old computer, which they picked up for her in Rangiora this afternoon. She stayed a long time to chat. That was good. I’m tired and not feeling the best, though, so this isn’t very inspired, I’m afraid.
October 23, Wednesday. Seth got his math done fast this morning! He was anticipating getting to drive tractor for Vince, and he was not disappointed. He finished his school for the day about noon, so he grabbed a couple of pieces of cold pizza and raced out to the tractor, then spent about three hours driving till the entire paddock was tilled. The other boys took turns riding with him. After I got Nathan down for his nap, I headed out to the garden, which Simon had tilled for me until the tiller’s belt broke, and did some planting. I got the cabbages set out (all 80 of them!), and transplanted the leeks, as well as planting peas, carrots, and beets. All told, I spent about 2 1/2 hours out there–what fun! Simon set up an electric wire around the part we don’t want the cow in, so she can eat around the edges; there is enough grass there for a couple of days.
Pete and Di were planning to come tonight, so we got around in good time. Gayle got home at 6:30, so we ate supper right away and sent him off to bed, then I milked and the children did dishes. Then, Pete called to say they can’t come after all, so we finished up, read a couple of chapters of stories, and then woke Gayle up for worship. After that, we still had a little time, so we watched a video about India and did a lot of activities that go along with it. I like this schedule! I think I should figure out how to get supper ready by the time Gayle gets home, so we can do this more.
October 24, Thursday. Well, I tried the new routine again, but it didn’t work quite so well tonight. Gayle didn’t get home till 7:00, and then we had more work after supper than last night. It’s past 9:30 now. Oh, well.
The weather was really changeable today. This morning was still and on the cool side, though not cold. Then, about 11:00 it started raining, so I brought the laundry in real quickly, and then the wind started blowing fiercely. The next thing we knew, it was sunny, and then got very warm! Esther was glad for a nice afternoon, as she had work at the vineyard with Pete and Di. She’s glad of a little income.
I got some cheese made this afternoon, but was rather dismayed when I drained it to put it in the press and found a spoon in it that had been used to stir sourdough starter. Yeast ruins cheese. It was still good today, and likely will be tomorrow, so I let the boys eat all the curds they want and put the rest in the press; we’ll eat it tomorrow.
Esther mixed some sourdough Artisan bread dough yesterday and put it in the fridge. It had outgrown its container this morning, so she shaped a small loaf and baked it in the toaster oven for lunch. Yum! We made another for supper. That toaster oven is great for small batches like that! That size loaf is just right for a meal. We’re excited about this recipe.
October 25, Friday. More unsettled weather! I hung out the same load of laundry three times today–finally, the third day, it got dry on the front porch. The wind has been howling most of the day. Thankfully, the power stayed on! We don’t normally have a problem, but yesterday Harris Meats lost power for half an hour. They are at the end of the line.
We had the vet out today. We got good news–the cow is pregnant! I felt like she was, but every so often she bawls for a few hours. We decided it would be best to know for sure, so if she wasn’t we could get her bred soon, rather than waiting till June and losing an entire year more. That cow is extremely valuable to our family.
The boys moved every single chicken on the place to a new home today! We moved two roosters to the fridge (Monday or Tuesday’s supper menu), put the 28 chicks we hatched here in the pen they were in, and put two hens who need to be separate from the rest of the hens in a small pen that a dozen chicks were in. The rest of the hens went in the pen Simon made for his ducks, which he’s not using right now, and the 100 chicks we bought are all in the big pen outside. Simon and James and I put a tarp over it tonight to give them some protection from the howling wind. We used step-in posts to hold it down around the edges.
October 26, Saturday. We had a howling wind again most of the day today. I tried to plant garden this afternoon, but only got a row of cucumbers seeded. The wind was actually making me lose my balance, so I gave up and came in the house where it was more peaceful. I got the boys going on an online reading course that we got a free trial of. They’re having fun with that. I also got the butter made for the week, but it was hard to shift gears and do inside work after I had my plans all made for doing outside work!
We did haircuts tonight. There have been people making noises for a long time about Nathan’s hair and how long and messy it was getting, so I gave him a haircut finally (James measured with a ruler, and Nathan’s hair was actually four inches long on top!). I have rarely seen such a look of abject terror. Poor baby. He survived, though, but sure looks different. The biggest head I had for the clipper was 1/2 inch, so he nearly looks shaved. I don’t like it, but we’ll get used to it.
All the chicks survived last night. We were a bit concerned about suffocation, since they were crowding into the nest boxes in the pen we put them in, but they were fine when I checked them early this morning. Praise God!
October 27, Sunday. I spoke too soon about the chicks. Gayle went out at bedtime and found 42 of the 100 dead, smothered. Expensive lesson. We’re not happy about it, but nothing to do for it now. At least we can’t blame it all on the boys.
It was so windy this morning that I was concerned about driving our van to church. Gayle took it slow, though–we left home early–and we made it there safely. I was especially glad we went when Kevin and Helen showed up! What a treat to see them again. One of Ken and Margaret’s boys was there, too; we had a fairly full house, which is nice for a change.
After leaving church we went to South Bay, and climbed the track to the top of the Peninsula. We ended up walking all the way across. Gayle and Nathan went back soon, and drove around to the other end to pick us up. The views are so gorgeous from up there! It’s an amazing walk.
We stopped to pick up eggs from Tui again. Half of her dozen dogs were out for their evening run when we arrived, and it was interesting to see her call them, by name, and they came and jumped obediently into their kennels. These are working dogs, used to herd sheep.
I was very thankful that the wind died down today. I got a lot of garden planted. We put in 14 long rows of corn, and Joe planted pumpkin seeds in several of them. I also got melons and beans planted, and worked up a bed to put tomatoes in when it warms up enough. Gayle tried to fix the tiller, and did a bit of tilling, but then the belt broke again. I forgot to get one last Friday–oops!
Nathan got a finger smashed today when Joe was playing with a hammer. He’s been favoring it all afternoon, and fussing when anything touches it. It’s very swollen and bruised, but he has moved it some, and we don’t think it’s broken.
When I was working in the garden this afternoon, I heard something funny. There was a long series of baas–a deep baa from a ewe, then a frantic, high-pitched lamb’s baa–over and over! I was able to see the lamb through the hawthorn hedge across the road. It had slipped through a temporary fence across the paddock, and was frantic to get back to mama. It ran to the corner by the road, then was able to get through. What a blissful reunion!
We saw a lot of dust devils today. Vince planted the paddock by our house yesterday and this morning. When the boys and I were in the garden late this morning, Simon saw a large dust devil whirling across the paddock. It was a perfect cone shape, a few feet in diameter at the ground and quickly widening as it went up. It was gathering strength and picking up more and more dust as it went. James asked if it could pick him up! I figured it wouldn’t, so I told him to go catch up with it and see. He ran almost all the way across the paddock, then caught up with it just as it dissolved! We saw smaller ones all day, and finally in the afternoon he caught one and got in it just before it fell apart. He said there was a lot of dust swirling around him!
October 29, Tuesday. School went well, for the first day back after a weekend. It helped that the two oldest boys had quizzes for Math. It was such a lovely morning that most of the boys went out to the trampoline to work. I told them they could work there as long as they were quiet.
Gayle didn’t get home till 7:15 tonight. I had supper ready, so he ate and then went to take a nap till Pete and Di arrived about 40 minutes later. We skipped the Bible Study tonight, and just sang and prayed.
October 30, Wednesday. Esther had work at the vineyard this afternoon, so we got around in good time with school and lunch. She’s glad to have the chance to earn a little something extra. I was a bit challenged to keep Seth busy this afternoon. I finally got him to go out to work on the tiller, but it wasn’t working right, so he gave up. I spent some time working up that bed for tomatoes that I’ve been working on. Nathan came along and joined me. He liked to sit with his feet in the hole I had dug out at the edge where I was working, and laugh and “talk”. He’s good company! He can really communicate when he wants to. This afternoon I was doing a job at the computer when he came to me, obviously needing something. I asked if he wanted to nurse–no. He kept repeating a word, which I wasn’t understanding. I asked him to show me what he was talking about, so he led me to the bathroom–the hot water was running in the sink! He had been saying “hot”, but it sounded like “ot-u”. He got the point across, though; he needed the hot water turned off.
Gayle got home at 5:45 this evening! We had worship right away, while he ate supper, so he could get a nap before going to the Bible Study. That was an answer to prayer, for him to get home early enough for a rest.
October 31, Thursday. What a beautiful day! The sun shone all day, and it was quite warm. The wind did come up this evening, but otherwise it was a perfect day. I harvested the last of the Swiss Chard from the planting I made about a year ago, and finished working up that raised bed garden. Then, James and Joe helped me transplant tomatoes into it. We also put some in the big garden. It was a bit warmer and windier than I like for a job like that, but the plants were getting desperate to get out of the greenhouse. We watered them well and prayed for them. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, so hopefully they’ll be all right.