Green Smoothie Popsicles

green smoothie popsicle

Oldest grandbaby, Dread Pirate Grasshopper, age 4

When I have leftover green smoothy, I put it in our home-made popsicle molds. When grandbabies come over, I offer popsicles, it makes me very popular, with the grandbabies, at least.
The Striderling recently had extensive work done on his teeth, poor thing (so much work he had to be put under to do it, thanks to his genetic mutation going misdiagnosed for a full year. Yes, I am still bitter). He was over at my house at the end of that surgery day, and he got to eat one of my popsicles because everything else hurt his mouth. The following day, he informed his mother that everything still hurt his mouth, but if she would take him back to Grandma’s house, I had popsicles, which I could share with His Royal Cuteness and that would not hurt His Highness’s mouth.

He didn’t get to come and have popsicles.=(

The Shasta/Equuschick grandbabies, living just under a mile up the road, get to have Grandma’s popsicles almost anytime, and they like them.  Little do they know, bwahahahahaha.

green smoothie popsicle and babyIngredients:

A few drops of berry stevia

lemon juice

raw spinach

raw kale

plain whole milk yogurt

mixed frozen berries (mostly raspberries, blueberries, strawberries)

a cup of green tea (sometimes Earl Grey tea instead).

Blend until smooth.

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Government and Prohibition

Pouring out illegal alcohol into a SewerYou may or may not know the story of how our government poisoned the liquor supply during the 20s in an attempt to get people to stop drinking. Thousands died. The whole story of prohibition is an excellent illustration of the problems with using government as a blunt instrument against social behaviors with which you disagree (abortion is not in this category as murder is not merely a ‘social behavior’, and defending human beings against murder is a proper function of government).

You can read all about it here. And the really delicious thing about that article is that while it’s a morality tale about the evils of big government, it’s posted at Vox, where everybody is generally in favor of all the Big Government we can get.

One of the photos at the site reminds me of gov’t actions to destroy perfectly safe and healthy raw milk and eggs.

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The Human Equation

Party animal and rocker Andrew WK (I don’t recall ever hearing of him before) ahs some surprisingly excellent advice for a young leftist who is furious with his rightwinger dad for being a rightwinger. Mary Katharine Ham has this to say about it (well, more than this, this is just an excerpt, you should read the whole thing):

Let me also quote Sonny Bunch’s favorite part of this piece. Bunch is fellow detester of the politicized life:

We must protect and respect each other, no matter how hard it feels. No matter how wrong someone else may seem to us, they are still human. No matter how bad someone may appear, they are truly no worse than us. Our beliefs and behavior don’t make us fundamentally better than others, no matter how satisfying it is to believe otherwise. We must be tireless in our efforts to see things from the point of view we most disagree with. We must make endless efforts to try and understand the people we least relate to. And we must at all times force ourselves to love the people we dislike the most.Not because it’s nice or because they deserve it, but because our own sanity and survival depends on it.

The tagline for my personal website is, “I’m Mary Katharine Ham. I talk about politics, but I like other things, too. I try not to be a blowhard.” Thanks, Andrew WK, for saying it better. Apparently, he talks about partying, but likes other things, too.

There’s some interesting background on Andrew WK’s career at Ace.

And I’ll just add here that the very fact that I found his advice so surprisingly good is evidence that I needed to read it and haven’t been following it. I used to try harder.
Andrew WK said this in his reply:

When we allow our emotions to be hypnotized by the excitement of petty bickering about seemingly important topics, we drift further and further away from the fragile and crucial human bond holding everything together. When we anticipate with ferocious glee the next chance we have to prove someone “wrong” and ourselves “right,” all the while disregarding the vast complexity of almost every subject — not to mention the universe as a whole — we are reducing the beauty and magic of life to a “side” or a “type,” or worst of all, an “answer.”

Of late, I feel that I have been succumbing to the easy, sometimes even fun, and almost always lazy position of labeling and pigeonholing those who disagree with me on a lot of political ideas that are not nearly as important in the vast scheme of things as not dismissively pigeonholing people.

I regret that. I’ll try harder. I’ll probably fail at it. But my intention is to try to do better again.

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Charlotte Mason: The Discipline of Habits

EDUCATION is a disciplineMiss Mason believed that developing good habits was an important part of her educational method. The first step in that process is to “deliberately propose [those habits] to ourselves.” She believed that once we proposed those habits to ourselves and put them into regular practice, our very bodies would respond to that regular effort and help us. We see something of this notion in practice when, for instance, we do as our family recently did, and rotate a door so that it opens to the right instead of the left. Accustomed to flipping on a light switch on the same side as the door opening, we are forever groping empty wall space.

But Miss Mason said this wasn’t enough- there was something required before the physical practice, before the ‘deliberate’ proposal to oneself. We need inspiration.

“We entertain the idea which gives birth to the act and the act repeated again and again becomes the habit; ‘Sow an act,’ we are told, ‘reap a habit.’ ‘Sow a habit, reap a character.’ But we must go a step further back, we must sow the idea or notion which makes the act worth while.”

Emphasis added. How might we as parents participate in this act of inspiring our children?

The lazy boy who hears of the Great Duke’s narrow camp bed, preferred by him because when he wanted to turn over it was time to get up, receives the idea of prompt rising. But his nurse or his mother knows how often and how ingeniously the tale must be brought to his mind before the habit of prompt rising is formed; she knows too how the idea of self-conquest must be made at home in the boy’s mind until it become a chivalric impulse which he cannot resist.

But it is not enough to present the children with great ideas. There must be subtlety:

It is possible to sow a great idea lightly and casually and perhaps this sort of sowing should be rare and casual because if a child detect a definite purpose in his mentor he is apt to stiffen himself against it.

We must also be clear on who we are and the ultimate source of what authority we have and not confuse habit with obedience (we want both used in the service of good).

Charlotte wrote that “When parent or teacher supposes that a good habit is a matter of obedience to his authority, he relaxes a little. A boy is late who has been making evident efforts to be punctual; the teacher good-naturedly foregoes rebuke or penalty, and the boy says to himself,––”It doesn’t matter,” and begins to form the unpunctual habit. The mistake the teacher makes is to suppose that to be punctual is troublesome to the boy, so he will let him off; whereas the office of the habits of an ordered life is to make such life easy and spontaneous; the effort is confined to the first half dozen or score of occasions for doing the thing.”

Another problem with this ‘letting off’ is that it undoes all the hard work you and your child did to work on that habit in the first place.  If you have agreed ahead of time to work on habit A, and that every time the child neglects A, he will have to accept the consequences, you are not being kind and merciful and loving to him by letting him off just because you have decided his hard work should be rewarded.  You see, by letting him off, you didn’t ‘reward’ his hard work at all, you sabotaged it!  If you want to reward his hard work, acknowledge it.  Praise him. Write him a note.  Give him extra time at some activity he loves. Next time it’s his turn to do a chore you do it for him, and tell him it’s because you are so proud of how hard he’s working on A. These are rewards.  Letting him out of the consequences out of a mistaken and silly idea about ‘mercy’  is, in the long run, undermining him. (Mercy is about forgiveness of sins, of doing wrong. Forgetting to make the bed or brush his hair is not a sin. It’s just a bad habit.  He doesn’t need your ‘mercy’ for these minor infractions, he needs your help with the tools of good habit he will take with him to adulthood).

About those consequences- the consequences should not be draconian or tortuous- they needn’t bring tears (some children simply have that temperament, and that’s different).  They are just tools to help him remember better, not punishments.  They might be such things as take an extra turn at the dishes, or sweep the bathroom, or run up and down the stairs twice, or do five push-ups, or skip dessert, or hop on one foot ten times while repeating “I will remember to make my bed” each time- whatever.

Charlotte Mason writes:

“Consider how laborious life would be were its wheels not greased by habits of cleanliness, neatness, order, courtesy; had we to make the effort of decision about every detail of dressing and eating, coming and going, life would not be worth living. Every cottage mother knows that she must train her child in habits of decency, and a whole code of habits of propriety get themselves formed just because a breach in any such habit causes a shock to others which few children have courage to face. Physical fitness, morals and manners, are very largely the outcome of habit…”

I chose make the bed on purpose. I’m 52 and I still almost never make mine and am not convinced it’s a virtue. It’s just a thing.  But there many things that are ‘just a thing’ that nevertheless, for all their triviality, go towards greasing the wheels of life and making certain things easier for oneself and one’s family members.

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Combination of First and Third World Problems

It’s another one of those days where everybody is gone except the Cherub and I.  The boy spent the night last night with his old Sunday School teacher because her grandson from out of state is visiting and these two boys really enjoy each other’s company when they have the chance to visit.  The FYG and my husband are at work, and nobody is planning to be home until much later.

So, I got up, got dressed , put biscuits in the oven, set the timer, let the dog out, went outside, came because I remembered I wanted my camera and went back  outside to let the boy’s chickens out for him and take a few pictures.
Took about two pictures and the camera stopped working.

IMG_0877 IMG_0878 IMG_0879


Okay, it was 3 pictures.

Then I got to the pasture and realized we’d never put the hens in the night before.

I thought something was strange about the way the hens were acting when I got outside- they weren’t all inside the fence, they were running around the weeds outside the pasture. I shoved my way past a very pushy horse and went into the coop. There was a dead pullet on the floor. It looked like it had been stepped on by the horse, presumably outside, but had made its way home to die. The hens in the coop were also acting odd, running around as if threatened, huddled far away, fleeing if I came near- they hadn’t been like that the day before.

I went to look for a shovel to take care of the dead hen. I didn’t find one. The horse followed closely, nibbling on my hair. I walked around the stable to see if I could spot anything out of order. NOthing. I started to leave and at the gate turned back to look at the chicken feeder (it’s a giant feeder, left over from my uncle’s commercial operation decades ago). The lid was off, the chain holding it down was broken. The horse looked annoyed that I’d noticed. I think he’d been trying to hasten my departure. I went to look at it- the feed was considerably depleted. The chain was broken so I could put the lid back on but it was kind of pointless.  I did it anyway.

I came inside to burned biscuits. I had forgotten the final step to setting the timer.  Oops. I couldn’t find the horse owner’s phone number. I couldn’t get online- the internet, naturally, was down. I don’t have a cell phone. I called Granny Tea and asked her to have the EC call me. She said her kids were stll in bed, so to give her fifteen minutes. I reset the router. Nothing. I decided to let cherub sleep longer as she was best out of trouble asleep in her Cherub proofed room.
I called the internet company and was put on hold for an interminable amount of time. When they finally came back to the phone we talked at cross purposes for fifteen minutes while they tried to tell me I had a piece of equipment I do not have, and I got grouchy.

Granny Tea ended up fetching the EC, who left the three kids with me while she went out to see what she could do, if anything about the chicken feed issue (nothing at the moment), and to take care of the dead hen.

The internet is now back up (as you can see), the grandbabies are eating burnt biscuits and dates, and I am pondering how frustrated the Boy is going to be when he finds out the horse ate almost two bags of chicken feed the boy had purchased with the plan of nobody having to feed the hens while he is gone to New York for the next two weeks.


I kind of hate the simple life.

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Mellowing Out To These Tunes

One in English, one Korean.

First, the Korean:

His voice is like melted chocolate gently wrapping my bones. Ordinarily 크러쉬 (Crush, the young man singing) is a hip hop rapper. I am not averse to K-pop rap and hip-hop at all (hello, TOP and Taeyang), but I went and looked for more of his stuff, and mostly, it’s just not my thing.
I first heard this about three weeks ago- it’s part of the BGM and OST (background music, original soundtrack) to one of the K-dramas I’m watching. It’s Okay, That’s Love is probably not one most of you would show your kids- there’s more frank discussion of intimate relations and adult topics than usual for a K-Drama. But for me it’s been a very timely drama as it’s about head doctors and all kinds of mental illness and disorders. We haven’t seen any labeled PTSD yet, but we’ve seen depression, schizophrenia, trauma resulting from child abuse, Tourette’s syndrome, and others, and, unusually in a K-drama, handled with sensitivity and grace- and a fabulous soundtrack.

Here’s one of the English songs from the drama’s BGM:

I love the harmonies and gentle tune here on its own merits.  Family of the Year (the band) are an indie band that have been pretty wildly successful, and not just in the USA.

This tune is particularly poignant in the drama as it’s generally used as the BGM for a character who has been in jail for years, since he was just barely 21, for the killing of an abusive stepfather who regularly beat the younger brother.
“So, let me go.
I don’t wanta be your hero.’

Meanwhile, his younger brother has gone on to have a successful life (to all outside appearances). Nearing the end of his prison term, the older brother starts having nightmares of the stepfather’s death, and he claims he didn’t kill their stepfather, it was the little brother all along, and it’s the little brother who is the bad guy who fools everybody else into thinking he’s the good guy.

‘….Your masquerade
I don’t want to be part of your parade…’

Did he or didn’t he? Who’s right? We drama fans don’t know, that’s why we keep watching.

Well, that, and the rich soundtrack.

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Things Not To Say to Somebody with PTSD

PTSD things not to sayThese are random, in  no particular order (duh, that’s what random means, I’m stalling).

Some of them are personal, some are only things I’ve read from somebody else, some I’m just guessing.

It’s by no means a comprehensive list, nor is it an inclusive list- that is, not everything on this list will apply to every other person with PTSD.

It’s not meant to be bitter. My intention is first to be helpful and second, at least occasionally, possibly entertaining.  I’m still rough drafting in my head as I type these words, so I have no idea how my loose plans about this are going to work out when I get to the list part.

ptsd snark

You don’t look like anything’s wrong.  This one might be okay if it’s immediately followed by ‘you must be working really hard to hold it in,’ or something of that nature that acknowledges that yes, something is wrong, and honors the work somebody with PTSD is putting in for you to think things look okay, because, frankly, it’s utterly exhausting.

PTSD exhausted

Other people have it worse.  Yep.  Other people have it better, too.  If I can’t be broken because worse things have happened to other people, you can’t be happy because better things happened to others as well.  You do get points for smug, though.

My cousin had that and he killed his wife.   (Thanks.  That’s encouraging. I don’t know anybody like that, but I might know somebody with PTSD who punched their big mouth friend)

I always think stuff like that is just a matter of mind over matter/it’s all in your head.

PTSD brain changes

If you really wanted to be well, you’d just try harder. A variation of this is  ”You’re just not trying hard enough.”

ptsd trying

It’s time to move on.  You are not my secretary, not my clockwatcher, my time keeper, my alarm clock.  It’s not your call.

Why don’t you just get over it?

You need to let go of the past.  You have no idea how much I would love to let go of the past. I am literally dying to let go of that past.  I’d let it go a million times over, gladly, joyfully, gleefully.  The problem with PTSD isn’t that I am holding onto the past, it’s that the past has a relentless, monster of the deep with many suckered tentacles grasp on me.

PTSD get over it

God told me to tell you….. I don’t know about anybody else, but I have never in my life had anybody start a sentence like this with me where the rest of the sentence was remotely helpful, useful, or even applicable to my circumstances.  The results have never been beneficial.

You just need to remember that everything happens for a reason.  Yes. The reason people have PTSD is because of something very, very bad that happened to them and it changed the way their brains function in a measurable, visible via MRI, way.  Why did something bad happen to them?  I don’t know, and you don’t know either, Job’s Comforter.   But quite often, people with PTSD blame themselves for whatever it is that happened, so when you say ‘everything happens for a reason’ an almost kneejerk, reflexive response in their head is, “Yes, because I am a horrible person.”  

 I don’t know why bad things happen, and nobody else does either, and platitudes like this one don’t help.

Just remember God never gives us more than we can handle, so He must think you’re really strong.  People with PTSD struggle with blaming God and they often lose their faith.  Comments like this are a quick ticket on the rocket train to outer darkness. They aren’t helpful.  

PTSD please, share your ignorance some more

Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  That’s a catchy song, and it’s a cute platitude of some use for, oh, bad days, broken appliances, jerks at the office, bronchitis.  But it’s not a universal truth.  Sometimes, what doesn’t kill you makes you a shattered pile of shards with no resemblance to your former self. 

You should try these essential oils (which, coincidentally, I’m selling) My pain is not your marketing opportunity and if you can’t see this, you’re brainwashed by your company and if you are lucky, some day you will probably be embarrassed by this moment.  And also, you are not a doctor.  Right now, you are more like a pusher.

You should try this special herbal formula (which, coincidentally, I’m selling)  See above.

ptsd imaginary medical

I am sure you’d feel better if you’d just start ________ (insert activity that the person is avoiding because it’s a trigger and they know perfectly well they will not only NOT feel better, they will feel much, much worse and will probably have a panic attack or some other melt down in the midst of said activity and if it’s a light episode, they will only have go to bed for two days afterward just to recover)

ptsd panic attack

I think you’ll feel better if you just would _______________  (avoidance of certain activities is actually a symptom of PTSD, so basically you’re telling somebody with cancer ‘you’d feel better if you would just stop having tumours,’ or telling somebody with a cold they would feel better if they stopped sneezing.  We would if we could. We do not do these things for our own amusement)

ptsd treated like other illnesses

Updated to add this from a FB comment: “I thought you were over that.” Because, you know, brain injuries are totally and completely curable with no such thing as additional triggering incidents, recurrence, etc.  and, honestly, sometimes what you thought looked like ‘over that’ was somebody faking it really, really hard in an attempt to fake it ’til you make it and make things easier for everybody, and they finally crashed and burned from the effort.

Things that are probably safe to say, but only if you mean them and are willing to back them with meaningful action:

I love you.

I am so sorry.

I love you.

If there is anything I can do, could you let me know?

I love you.

Can I hug you?

I love you.

Can I hug you anyway?

You are not a bad person.

I love you.

Want some chocolate?

I love you.

The world is a fallen place and I am so glad there are no tears in heaven.

I love you.

I’ve heard that sometimes people with PTSD struggle with faith issues, and I don’t know if that includes you or not, but I will be praying for you, seriously, sincerely, regularly.  Let me know if there’s something specific I should pray for, or if there is something else I can do.

I love you.

I’m so sorry.  Do you want to talk about it?

I love you.


ptsd for loved ones

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Blueberry Peach Sour Cream Pie

vintage children mom breakfast yellow and blueI don’t have a picture of this pie because I haven’t made it, it just sounds yummy to me. Back in the early days of our marriage, I had a recipe for an apple pie that had sour cream in it, and it was To Die For. Slurp. It was so unbelievably good. Unfortunately, I lost the recipe in a move- I wrote about that here.

So this sounds delicious to me (I found it in a late 70s/early 80s cookbook/magazine called For Cooks on the Go)

1 9 inch unbaked pie shell
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 large eggs
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 cups of peaches, peeled and sliced
2 1/2 cups of blueberries
1 tsp lemon juice

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup walnut pieces

In large bowl, combine sour cream, eggs, flour, sugar, vanilaa, cinnamon, peaches, blueberries and lemon juice. Pour into pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

In medium bowl, mix together brown sugar, four, cinnamon, walnut pieces and butter. Remove pie from oven and place topping on the pie. Bake 10 minutes longer.

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Farming Fun

This is a parody of “I’m Sexy and I Know It.”

IT cracks me up for a number of reasons. We aren’t farmers, but my younger two kids have grown up squarely in farm country. Even if you don’t farm around here, you know a few dozen farmers, you dress like a farmer, you talk like a farmer. Many of the kids around here, their first summer job was tasseling corn. Later they get summer jobs picking blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries at some of the area berry patches.

When they get a more regular job, chances are very, very high that it will have some connection with the farming industry. Our neighbor up the road is in construction, for instance, but most of the construction is farm buildings. Our youngest daughter has a job at the very cool family owned deli and bakery shop in a nearby town. Among the things they sell are bulk grains, honey, molasses, and cheeses and lunchmeats processed at a farm an hour or two away, and the farmer there grew up Amish. The family that owns the bakery are a local farm family (two sisters and their husbands).

Our daughter who works at the airport reupholstering planes- some of the planes are crop dusters, many of the recreational planes are owned by large family farms that incorporated. If you teach in the local schools are you’re married, you’re probably married to a farmer and a lot of your students are farm kids.

We don’t farm directly, but we do have about five acres rented out to a farmer.

My youngest kids dress like the farm kids. They talk like the farm kids. They spent the last couple of weeks making the rounds of some of the county fairs with their farmer type friends, and I’m pretty sure they made it out to the livestock barns at least once.

My youngest two have ridden in most of the farm equipment you see in that video, and they have played hop the round bales just like the boys here. The clothes those boys are wearing? That’s basically how my son dresses every day that he’s at home (he does clean up and wear sleeves most of the time for town trips).

He’s got a local job working for a farmer up the road, although it’s not the usual crop. The farmer up the road grows grape vines for his winery, which is also up the road (right next door to Shasta and the Equuschick).

My son shovels, weeds, trims, prunes, and helps with the landscaping. He has another part time job helping out a retired farmer as he cleans up his house and property- he’s gotten a lot of joy operating the backhoe last month.

He works out at home with some equipment we have for him, but he also works out like most farm boys- moving heavy stuff- bags of feed for his chickens, for the horse, bags of gravel for our driveway, bricks and stone for the two farmers he works for, wheelbarrows full of soil, barn shovelings, and compost for me and for Granny Tea.

Fenceposts, firewood- he’s done quite a bit of that, too.

If you ate today, thank a farmer.

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Update on my husband’s job (and the boy’s)

On the job front, my husband got a full time teaching position!! I know he’s relieved, but I was never worried. Oddly enough, in my long litany of faults worrying about our income and whether or not my husband will find a job has never been one of my issues.

He still has at least one more year of school, so to teach full time requires an emergency teaching certificate. The ‘at least’ part is because he still hasn’t decided on whether it’s worth it to get his Master’s or not at his age. Because of his other bachelor’s degree and various other things, he only needs one more year of school to get the Master’s, we think. It’s complicated because different people at the university and at the VA office that oversees his schooling keep telling him slightly different things.

The job he has is not the one he was assuming he’d get- here in town at the school where he has been a part-time aid for the last two years and the full time teacher retired.
The principle hired somebody else who had been in the system longer and who didn’t need an emergency teaching certificate to be hired for the position. She has been working in the same district, just at a different school.

It’s in a new program for special ed kids in a town an hour away. Everybody in the program is new- this excites him. The kids are ‘higher functioning’ than the ones he’s been working with. One of his specific charges, for example, is a teenage boy who is in regular classrooms, but he has behavioural issues, so my husband’s responsibility is to follow along with him to a couple of those classes, assist the teachers, keep an eye on the boy, mentor him, offer personalized help and support.

I was worried about the drive, but then I remembered that when he was the regional manager for the grocery store chain, he did a similar drive all the time, sometimes longer.

He can also combine his job with his student teaching requirement for this coming school year, and that is really exciting. It will save a lot of stress and bother for him to be able to be paid for that.

For those curious about it, the pay is about 12 thousand less than he made as regional grocery store manager, but combined with his military retirement, disability, and the blogging money, it’s more than adequate to live on, and considerably more than we’ve been making with all the part-time jobs my husband has taken while going to school. We’re also selling the 12 passenger van and getting a smaller vehicle that will have better gas mileage, and we’re finally at a place where we can put the Colorado house on the market. I’m excited about that.

For the last two years, the blogging money, while not huge, kept the youngest two kids in clothes, no small thing when the boy would not stop growing. It kept us in coffee beans, coconut milk, and seaweed as well. We all have our priorities.=)

Another nice perk of the teaching job is that a good friend of my husband’s from church also works there.

Speaking of work, the Boy will be finishing up a job of pruning 612 grape vines this week, and then he and Jenny are taking the train to New York to help friends out. The boy is helping the young husband to tear down a living room wall and perhaps do some construction labor, and Jenny is helping the young wife, who is expecting their second baby) to can their large garden produce. Fun times. We’ve known the husband since he was a young teenager. In a family crisis of our own, he and his family came and stayed here to keep the kids at home company while we were in a hospital in another state, and they cleaned and organized our garage as well. This is embarrassing, because everytime the young man has come back to visit (he works in an industry which has an annual convention nearby), the garage is a mess all over again.
I’m glad to be able to lend him the boy, and the boy will probably learn some things as well.

Oh, and the Boy will also have the opportunity to meet the head of the agriculture department and 12 other ag professors from our nearby university, which has a not at all inconsiderable agriculture department. They are coming down to tour the winery and talk to the owner about it, hence all the extra hours the Boy has been putting in recently.


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