Monday, January 05, 2009

Christmas, pearls, swine, and news

This is really a conglomeration of posts pressed by time into one. Sorry about that.


From December 2008

I thought the camera was fixed, but when I tried to use it for real it is still broken. Thus, all of my pictures of Christmas were taken with my cell phone camera, which works OK as long as everyone, including the photographer, holds very still. I was able to take passable pictures of inanimate objects if I held my breath and braced my camera hand. Anything that breathes looks like it is in fast forward.

From December 2008

The girls spend most of their free time dressing up and pretending so for christmas they both got dress up cloths. If you squint at the following picture you can see Emily is a pirate and Aleah is a witch - now we are set for Halloween too. We had a lovely day. The Cooks came over for dinner and we all played on the frozen ice in the corn field. Even falling down and getting a concussion couldn't take away from glory of the day.

From December 2008


I got Leila pearls from Carol Simmons, our friend that lives in China. I will post pictures as soon as I fix our camera because they really look good and the blurry pictures I have don't do them justice. She loves them and tells me I need to get her invited to the Inaugural Ball.

Leila gave me books! The Abhorsen series by Garth Nix, which are fun zombie adventure stories. Yeah, I know, it sounds dark and horrorish, but they aren't and are well written with good characters and mythology that stands on their own.

She also formatted and bound the first couple years of this blog into a book by me. Which isn't a novel, but its got pictures and I know all about the characters and I like being able to hold what I have written here in my hands.


I also took Emily to the Hoover's to slaughter a pig. They sold me my pigs and were going to start slaughtering their own since they decided not to register their farm with the state. The law as I understand it is the first part in a national plan to keep a database of livestock, meat, and food so that if there were a disease issue the government could track it and take care of it. They worry that the government will take care of problems like England did with Hoof and mouth disease. That and its the sign of the beast.

Anyway, they invited us to help. I wish I had taken pictures, but my camera was broken and I felt a little uncomfortable taking pictures. They are kind of like Amish. When we got there they had this huge pig penned in a horse trailer. One of his many sons got his gun and he shot it in the head with a .22. Then another son cut the back hocks and slipped a chain around the back leg while another son lifted it all up with the front end loader on a tractor. Another son appeared with knives and we skinned the pig, saving the back fat for lard. The oldest son gutted it and then after we pulled all of the skin off cut with a handsaw down the backbone.

While the sides were cooling outside we ate dinner and I tried to learn all of the boy's names. They live very simply, but with technological compromises: telephone, but no TV; electricity, but apparantly only for lights and tools; running water, but no hot water except that heated over the large pioneer stove, hardly any books, except the bible, animal and plant identification guides, school books, and a stack of seed catalogues and Ranger Rick animal magazines for the kids, no decoration on the walls, but a chalkboard for homeschooling the kids; homemade clothes except gloves and mittens; a car and a tractor, but most work done by hand. Emily then left with the younger boys to climb around the hayloft and try to catch all 14 cats and innumerable chickens. We cut the meet into roasts, hams, bacon, meat for sausage, pork loin, and more fat for lard. Esther, the three year old girl, put diapers on her stuffed cow and chatted with us while we worked.

I am not sure that I will slaughter my own animals. I think I will register my farm and go to the butcher, but it wasn't as bad as I feared. It was an education.

And finally, news.

Some know and some do not, but Leila is expecting this June. We are a bit stunned as usual, but excited. I have forgotten who I have told and who I haven't. So there it is.

Aleah thinks we should name her "Diamond Pearl Ann Gardunia" Any thoughts?


Princess Consuela Bananahammock said...

Hi Brian, I doubt you'll remember me but I sure remember you! Actually, I remember when you and Leila were dating and got engaged. (*sniffle* it was sooo cute!) Anyway, My name is Carrie Gunn and I was hoping you could give a big hello to Leila for me? I was directed to this blogsite by her little sister, Anna, via Facebook.

Oh, and the Abhorsen series? BRILLIANT! That's one that I bought on CD after reading the books because they *never* get old. Can you tell that I adore that series? ;) And congrats on expecting! I, myself, have a bun in the oven.

What a crazy and exciting time your family has been having, eh? I hope all goes well with the pigs and dogs. :) Take care!

Becca said...

Yay! Congratulations, Brian and Leila! I guess Aleah assumes this is another girl? :)

I also love the Abhorsen series, and own them in hardback.

Sorry about your animal troubles. Farming is tons of hard, hard work.

Erin said...

I love your posts & news. Congrats on the baby news. Diamond Gardunia does have a nice ring to it.
All joking aside, I think Pearl is a pretty name for a girl: Pearl Ann Gardunia would be very nice indeed.

Sharon said...

I love the name and think you should totally go for it - plus, it's so classy - diamonds and pearls with an Ann thrown in?!