Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Merry Month of May?

This is one momma who will be very glad to turn the calendar page to June.

We knew May was going to be a humdinger – and it was.

Why? Just take a look at the numbers:

Fifteen days away from home.

Three different states – on eight different trips.

Over 2500 miles driven.

Don’t even ask how much we spent on gas.

Four days with Matt home. (Too short!)

One wedding.

One graduation.

One family reunion.

Two nieces and two nephews in a play.

Numerous hugs.

Many laughs.

A few tears.

Two home school conferences.

Two snowstorms.

Too many thunderstorms.

50 some broilers.

One huge bull calf that needed to be pulled and then – after we heroically saved his life – he died anyway.

Two huge gardens planted, including 40 some tomato plants.

Four broken lawnmowers and one really overgrown lawn.

Whew.

We made it.

We started the month in winter and ended it in summer. I guess spring happened at some point, but I think I missed it.

I’d say we filled this month with just about as much as we could! And it was all good.

Now it’s time to move on.

But first – a very long nap.

Meeting of the Clan

It was a “meeting of the clan” this weekend for my husband’s family. We met up with his siblings and their families at his parents house for a weekend of  fun and sweet fellowship.

cousinsAll the cousins were there – except for my Matt – which made for 7 teenage boys, 4 almost teenage boys and 2 pint-sized fellas who ate like teenage boys!  You should have seen the food they inhaled!

And we can’t forget the 6 girl cousins (including my three special nieces with the extra chromosome!) While definitely outnumbered – they added a much needed feminine touch!

It rained all weekend which ruined many of our outside plans and left us with 2 soggy tents and a basement full of boys that smelled strongly of locker room. But that didn’t stop us!

Family Fun Run

The rain slowed down enough on Saturday morning to hold our first ever Shervheim Family 5K and Fun Run.

It was wet – but boy did we make some memories! Especially when some of the 5K runners got lost on the course. Thankfully they were found before they made it to the next town.  They got a bit of teasing all week-end and Poppa and Nana awarded them all ribbons for running the half marathon!

rock climbing

Then – to get them good and tired – Poppa and Nana took the whole crew to do some indoor rock climbing. Since I tend to hyperventilate when I see my kids strapped on ropes and hanging on the sides of really high walls while holding on to little plastic supports – I volunteered to stay home with my three special nieces who needed a bath and some Aunt Melinda cuddles.

So while my husband calmly watched our babies hang in mid-air, I got to bubble 3 girls and play hair dresser. Well – actually – the girls did the hair styling and I was the “stylee”. When they were finally done,  my hair was teased out to almost horizontal with two “clicks clicks” (barrettes) in odd angles and at least one comb stuck somewhere in the back. Oh it was fun!

fish pond

Poppa and Nana had a fish pond for the littles, letting them take turns fishing for gifts.  The teens were on the other side of the curtain hooking their gifts to the poles and sometimes adding a special surprise – like a stuffed skunk or a smelly shoe!

We had a birthday party for sweet Annie-kins, a Mancala tournament (I actually made it through two rounds – but lost to Buddy in the quarter finals), lots of carpet ball, swimming and a real old-fashioned slide show!

The kids even got in one game of Ultimate Frisbee in the rain. (And to answer the question as to when kids are old enough to know not to put wet clothes in their duffle bags – it would be sometime older then ours!)

But the best part of the weekend – and of any weekend when we get together – is the time spent just hanging out.

cousins

Just being together. Laughing. Talking. Wrestling. Burping loudly. (Well – all right – not all of us did the wrestling and the burping!)

But we all enjoyed the weekend!

Sweet times.

Crepes

DSC_0004The work load increases on the farm as the weather warms up.

The hours of daylight in the evening after school and work are the busiest, making it hard for the family to sit down for a meal.

One of my favorite meals for nights like these are crepes.

What’s a crepe? It’s a fancy word for a thin pancake that acts like a tortilla shell.

The batter can be mixed up in advance.  Then I stand at the stove and fry up fresh crepes to serve the troops as they file in from gardening, mowing, fixing fence, or bringing in the laundry.

For fillings I’ll set out whatever I can find in the fridge – left-over meat, cheese, rice, beans, lettuce, veggies. You can be creative with this and use up those bits of left-overs.  It’s always first come – first served on crepe night.

When they’ve had their fill of savory crepes – they can move on the sweet ones. I use the same batter but we fill it with fruit or pudding.

Combinations like strawberries, sour cream and brown sugar are favorites here.  Chocolate pudding and whipped cream is yummy, too! No pudding? Just throw some chocolate chips on your whipped cream and wrap it up!

Crepes

2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons melted butter

Combine all the ingredients in the blender. Place the batter in the fridge for 1 hour. (You can skip this step – but the batter may tear some when you try to flip the crepes.  If I’m in a hurry – I just cook them since my crew doesn’t really care how they look!)

Heat a small non- stick pan. Add some butter and pour a spoonful of batter in the middle of the pan. Swirl it around to coat the pan. Cook for about 30 seconds and flip carefully with a spatula. Cook another 30 seconds and serve hot to hungry family members!

If you have batter left when the troops are fed, it can either be refrigerated for a few days to use later, or you can fry up the extra crepes and keep them in the fridge up to a week or the freezer up to a month.

Enjoy!

Chicken Rodeo

We knew that we had the potential for severe weather when we left for my niece’s graduation party yesterday. But we went anyway. Because that’s what you do when you have an amazing niece who does an awesome job and graduates and has a party and invites you. 🙂

We drove the four hours to the party in overcast skies and light rain. All afternoon at the party it was overcast and rainy.  It wasn’t until we were almost half-way home that the clouds started to look a little more ominous.

As we drove through some pretty heavy rain, Jan had me try to find some weather information on the radio.

Oh dear. There was a line of strong storms stretching across the state at an angle. Strong winds. Heavy rain. Hail. Even tornadoes.

We drove a little faster, ahead of the storm momentarily, but we could see it – massive clouds churning and moving.

An hour from home we start worrying about the chickens – 50 some broilers and a few layers that were in an outside pen. They had protection from the rain – but strong winds would destroy their pen in a matter of seconds.

We  drove even faster, watching the clouds darken, all the while formulating our plan to get those birds into safety before the storm hit.

As soon as we pulled into the yard – everyone would exit the van running. We would then all grab our boots and gloves and head to the chicken pen.

Buddy would grab the chicken tubs, Pedro and Jan the portable pens. Then Angel Girl and I would catch chickens, put them in the tubs and the guys would carry them to the pens in coop.

Great plan! We can do this!

As we drove down the gravel road I suddenly remembered that I was wearing my “Sunday best” clothes and would soon be wrangling chickens in a pen full of wet chicken droppings. This is not a good thing.

I removed all my jewelry and revised my plan to include a stop in the basement for a pair of coveralls.

Jan pulled in the driveway – with the clouds hanging overhead. He and the kids race towards the house. I  race, too, but a little slower as I realize that I’ve been in the car for 4 hours and really need to save my bladder before I can save even one chicken.

I’m just leaving the bathroom as the kids are already heading outside. Then – in a massive dash to catch up – I run to the basement and grab the first pair of coveralls I can find – a bright blue pair of my dad’s that say Jim on the pocket.

As I squeeze into them – I notice that one knee is out and material is a little thin. But there’s no time to change. I grab the only pair of boots I can find – and of course they haven’t been worn for some time and are covered with dust and spider webs. I can only imagine what’s inside each one.

It’s then that I remember that I’m barefoot – having worn sandals all day. But there is no time to be squeamish, I turn the boots upside down and shake them out – just praying that any spiders that may be inside are dead. Then push my bare feet into the boots, shuddering as I hear crunching.

I grab a pair of gloves – mismatched of course – and rush out to save the day.

To their credit, none of my children laughed (much) as I showed up in the chicken pen, bent over to grab a chicken and promptly ripped out the entire backside of the coveralls.

But I kept working – everybody did – and we saved all fifty some broilers and the handful of skittish layers as it started to drizzle.

There went my hair. So I’m wearing bright blue coveralls with a ripped out backside and Jim on the pocket,  rubber chore boots full of dead bug parts and a pair of mismatched gloves and now I have Bozo the clown hair.

But at least we saved the chickens.

And I got a blog post.

I hope you at least got a chuckle out of it. 🙂

Garden

Some of you have noticed that I haven’t done any garden posts this spring

It’s just too depressing.

And humbling.

You see – my seedlings are rather pathetic.

DSC_0160

They were planted a little late, then it was so cold in the basement that we brought them up to Angel Girl’s room and put them in her windows.

Which was a good idea – except that it was so cloudy and overcast that they didn’t get the sun they needed.

I still thought they were doing okay – until I stopped at the Amish greenhouse for a few things and saw their plants.

DSC_0157

Amish cauliflower on the left of the screen. My cauliflower on the right.

Yeah.

They also gave us a tomato plant.

DSC_0155Theirs is the one with actual tomatoes on it. Mine are the pathetic little ones with three tiny leaves and the spindly stem.

Sigh.

At least the tomatoes have a few more days to get bigger and harden off before they get planted.

The poor cauliflower and broccoli got planted directly in the garden. Poor things. I felt like I threw them right off the high board into the deep end.

Grow little plants! Grow!

Meanwhile the rest of the garden spot is looking more and more like a part of the lawn. Maybe when things settle down again we’ll get it tilled.

And planted.

And the rains will come.

And the plants will grow.

And I will bask in all the luscious veggies.

Well…maybe.