Tuesday, September 30, 2008


So harvest has begun. You got that, right? What I haven't told you is what's happened to the nuts. Apparently, something snuck into the orchard in the last week to 10 days and got a hold of the nuts and messed 'em up.

Here's what I'm seeing in the orchard right now. I'm shakin' trees, and nuts are fallin' but they are comin' from this...

Funky lookin' shuck, huh? Should be pretty and green... but it's this. Weird-itis is The Great Pecan Man's official diagnosis. The Pecan Doctor, however, thinks it's a fungus. And when you open those nuts in those shucks, you get this...

Thin, wafery, pecans. (Notice the lovely black thumb nail. That's from impatience. If you are too impatient to wait for a knife to cut into shucks, and you use your nail, the oil from the shucks turns your skin, and fingernails, black. Lovely.) Anyway, not all the pecans look like this. I have some of this weirditis on all the trees. But I also have this on all the trees:

Beautiful. Masterful. Perfect. It gives me great joy to see these beauties hangin' up there in those trees. To know that I took such good care of those babies. I did something right. I sprayed at the right time. I watered at the right time. And for my efforts, they reward me with those nice, plump, healthy shucks.

And then there's this. I guess it's God's way of remindin' me, I got a lot to learn!

Friday, September 26, 2008

It works! It works!

Hello? Tap. Tap. Tap. Anyone out there? Oh, there you are! I've missed you! Seems I've been running in ten different directions and just haven't made the time for you. I am so sorry!

It appears harvest has arrived. It'll be a bitter sweet harvest this year. We have some nuts. On some trees. And the quality will be Great to fair. It's always hard to work so hard to grow something only to have some on half. But as I keep telling Grandma, some nuts are better than no nuts!

This year for harvest, we are trying to streamline the process a little. Historically, we shook, swept, harvested, and shoveled. That's right. We shoveled all the pecans in to great big bags to take to the Great Pecan Man to be cleaned. Shoveling is a pain. A pain in the back. A pain in the legs. And a time waster. It takes a long time to shovel. And no one likes doing it.

This year, after many restless nights, dreaming of shoveling... (I have restless sleepless nights thinking about things like shoveling, laundry, the economy, what color I'd like to paint my living room... rest assured, the Nutty Papa doesn't have restless nights)... Anyway, we decided to try something new. This year, instead of hiring someone, we are going to rent a forklift and see if we can harvest the pecans straight into the great big bags, lift them out of one trailer and into another.

We found a neighbor who has a bobcat with forks. He has agreed to rent it to us for a week. We decided to give it a test run to see if it'd work yesterday. And it did. Kinda.

We harvested into the bag. We lifted the bag off the trailer. And put it on the cleaning trailer to go to the Great Pecan Man.

And this process was all carefully supervised by the Future Farmer of Pecans.

This morning, however, we hit a snag in the plan. Seems the bags swell with all those pecans in them and we're having a hard time getting as many bags on the cleaning trailer as we'd like. Oh, boy. Might be back to shoveling.

In the meantime, I'm off to harvest! TTFN!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Being the Farmer for the Day

I want to be a fully self sufficient farm girl. That means I have to know how to drive everything. On Sunday, I tackled the tractor with shredder.

I've never been the one to mow the grass. As a child, that was Mom's job. She enjoyed cutting the grass cuz it gave her an excuse to work on her tan. And quite frankly, cutting the grass made me sneeze. So I avoided it.

Well, now that I'm a big time farmer, I need to know how to cut the grass. It's a big part of orchard operations. And after 4 months of things breaking down on the shredder, I thought I needed to get a handle on what was going on out there.

So on Saturday, I jumped on that shredder and gave it a whirl. The grass was way out of control and we needed to get it whacked down asap. I headed down the driveway and out to the strip of grass by the road so we could make the orchard look nicer.

I'm a pretty good driver. I had one little accident, which I'll tell you about later. But for the most part, I did alright. I drove slow and steady. And over time, I'm sure I'll naturally know where the wide shredder ends without having to stand up and look. And I loved the quiet time mowing.

Hey... maybe that's what Mom was doing out there when I was a kid. Hmmm...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I've Waited Three Long Years For This Day....

I grew up dancing. My Mom put me in dancing when I was three and it was the best thing she ever did for me. I loved it. As an only child, being on stage felt right at home for me. I thrived there. And when my Mom decided to put me on a competition dance team, even though I resisted with every ounce of my being, I quickly found my love. My passion. It gave me a reason to walk proud. Hold my head up. I was good at something. And I loved it!

So when I found out I was pregnant with baby number three, after having two rough and tumbly boys, I secretly hoped for a little girl. A little dancer.

When I went to the hospital to be induced that Wednesday, 3 years 3 months and 28 days ago, I crossed my fingers....

And much to my surprise, I got my wish! My own little 8lb. 8oz. bundle of pink prettiness. I was thrilled!

So was her big brother!

I began whispering to her about ruffles and tutus... smiling and performing... leaping and bopping. And I began the countdown. Once she's three, I'll start her in dance lessons.

In May, with dance lessons looming right around the corner, I hit a bump in the road. Potty training. UGH! She can't go to lessons in a diaper. So we started working on potty training. I never thought she'd get it! As days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, I was sure September would arrive and she'd still be dancing in her diapers.

Ten days ago, she surprised me. She started getting it. Running to the potty. Preferring panties. Ballet lessons, here we come!!

Monday was her first day. She was almost as excited as I was. We got her dressed in her new dance clothes and put her hair up "like a ballerina"...

and she took a look. And I saw it in her eyes. This might just be her thing.

and with her ballet clothes on, she danced for herself in the mirror. A sure sign of approval.

We arrived for dance classes and they got started right away. Point, flex. Point, flex.

Touch your toes.

Stretch! (Look at those pretty ballet arms!)

Her brothers and I stood and watched every minute through the one way window. (He's not as excited about having a sister as he was that day 3 years ago, but he sure was proud of his ballerina sister.)

She squatted like a frog and...

jumped into the air!

She learned her positions...

and how to do plies.

Even in second...

Then she bourree-ed...

and glided across the floor. Ballet was looking pretty good.

Then is was time for tap. And she discovered her shoes made noise!

Tap, tap, tap, goes the teacher. STOMP, STOMP, STOMP goes the Doodlebug.

She walked across the floor going, heel, toe, heel, toe, heel, toe....

And came back again.

And then she was done. It was a GREAT first lesson! And well worth the 3 year wait.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Soccer Time

Chojuk had his first soccer game over the weekend. He had one practice... then a game. Needless to say, I felt a little unprepared. But he was ready. Ready to kick that ball.
When we arrived, I was delayed a moment. I had to fumigate the stroller. It was full of spiders... Blah! So the Nutty Papa ran ahead with Chojuk so they could get started. When I finally caught up, this is what I found.
Chojuk playing goalie! Eh-Gad! My heart started racing and I got all nervous. GOALIE!?!

Time for a confession. I hate sports with a goalie. I'm really not a big team sports fan. I feel sorry for the losing team. They are trying their hardest... why can't everyone be winners?!? But sports with goalies?!? They have that one guy down there all by himself with the pressure of stopping the goal. Sure he has teammates to help. But really... when it all comes down to it... it's the goalie's job. And I HATE when someone scores on a goalie. He's doing his best right? He's kickin' that ball. And then WHAM! The ball goes in and the scorer celebrates! While the goalie is left with his head hung, felling like he disappointed the team. It breaks my heart. Seriously, I'm not meant to be a sports Mom.

But I love my kids and if they want to try their hands at sports, cool. But please don't make me watch while my kids are goalies! UGH!

But Chojuk did pretty well. It helped that the red team, a.k.a. the Dragons, were not the best kickers. But they stayed down at our end of the field for most of the game. And Chojuk stood his ground. He kicked that ball away whenever it was near.


Then it was someone else's turn to play goalie (whew!) and Chojuk got out there to chase the ball with the other kids. Chojuk isn't a runner. He doesn't like running and he doesn't like to get hot. But he surprised me at first. He was up and down that field trying to get his foot on the ball...

But after a few minutes of playing in the field, Chojuk started playing like this. He'd just stand there and wait for the ball to come to him. Too much running. Maybe goalie is a good idea for him...

The red team, I mean, the Dragons, were pretty good. They scored on us a few times. We got one in on a technicality. But when they're 7, who's keeping score, right? The parents! They keep score. Each child on the field had 4 coaches: the two poor pitiful souls who volunteered to lead this pack, and their parents. All those folks were hollerin' and screamin' at their kids. I think the hollerin' was part of the fun... for everyone!

After a while, we really got into it. These two cheerleaders were cheerin' up a storm. All that was missin' were their pom-poms.

We were even teasin' the Doodlebug. Someone heard that she starts ballet classes on Monday and they asked her if she wanted us to bring our chairs and holler at her too: POINT THOSE TOES! SMILE BIGGER! YOU'RE LEAPIN' THE WRONG WAY! Doodlebug politely answered, "I don't think so." I am so thankful that ballet won't be so involved.

We have been really blessed to have a fun soccer team for Chojuk. The parents are all so friendly and the kids are friends already. I love to see the Hand of God at work.