Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thoughts on a Spring Night

Thoughts on a Spring Night (a poem by Mary Duce - my mom!)

It's 9 PM in Texas.
The June bugs have arrived.
They're crashing on our windows
And some of them survived.

They're beating out a rhythm
Of triumph over glass
They simply cannot fathom
They're better off in grass.

Their bodies litter sidewalks
They interrupt my peace
I wish there were a posse
Of June-bug death-police.

Oh why do June bugs come here
In April and in May???
If only they would disappear
Forever go away.

My night-time peace is bothered
By smashing sounds on glass
Don't let these ugly insects
Take kamikazi class.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Now that's a lotta cats!

One day recently, while our little girl and boy cats, er, I mean two boy cats, were at the mobile clinic having their manhood removed, I had the Princess take a slight detour from her normal math curriculum, after she asked why we were having them "fixed".

I set her up with this problem: If a cat gave birth to 5 cats each year, and each of those cats gave birth to five cats each year (and so on), how many cats would there be in 10 years?

Remember, each of the cats has 5 babies each year, so in year 1 there is 1 parent, in year 2 there are 6 parents, in year 3 there are 36, etc. This of course assumes that they are not mating with each other.

And the answer...

110,854,656 cats

110 million cats is a lot of cats. Princess still wishes we could have kittens, but now she understands.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Drought solutions!

Stephen and I are very pleased with ourselves.

This week we have come up with three, yes THREE, ways to cause the skies to rain, even in the most severe drought conditions. If you are not local to us, you may not know that we are in one of the worst droughts in 50 years in our area. Our drought level is rated at "exceptional", the highest (or worst) level.

But, folks, we can help! Each of the following techniques has been independently tested. Yes, that means that we, the Brown family, have caused it to rain THREE times this week!

And here are our scientifically proven methods:

1) Wash the mud room floor. Merely sweeping will not do. It must be washed and gleaming.

2) Transfer the chickens from their cozy, heavy wooden brooder to the lightweight portable hoop house so that they can graze. This one will bring heavy winds as well.

3) Organize an outdoor music event utilizing most of your expensive electrical music equipment. Best to transport the equipment in the open bed of your pickup truck.

I am looking out the window at rain as I write. Thanks, of course, to Stephen's brilliant implementation of #3. Well done, my dear!

Do you think we could get a grant to study this? We could use a few bucks, and with all the economic stimulation going on, well...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Things I have learned this week

1) My husband really likes "bringing home the bacon" the old-fashioned way - starting with a live pig.

2) Homemade sausage is way tastier than store-bought

3) Electric meat grinders are much easier to use than manual. And appallingly more expensive

4) A sharpened Henckels knife from 1993 works better, and is easier to clean, than a meat slicer from 1968.

5) In the time it takes me to google "green slime electric plug" Stephen can rewire the plug on an old meat slicer

6) I like facebook

7) Our cats are both male

8) It is cheaper to neuter male cats than spay female cats

9) It is a nice surprise to save $10 when you go to pay for your cats' surgery

10) I feel like planting when the weather is balmy

11) Six hours later when the temperature has dropped 40 degrees, all I want to do is sit in front of the fireplace.

12) A 2 year old does not intuitively grasp that he should not stick his butter knife in his sock at dinner

13) Coyotes eat their breakfast when we are finishing up ours, at 7:30am. Right outside our window. They prefer chicken for breakfast. Maybe they eat eggs for dinner.

14) A coyote with a chicken in its mouth runs faster than Stephen can walk from his seat to the gun safe

15) Our cats can take down a rabbit that is almost their size.

16) Our cats are very proud of this.

17) Out of respect, our cats may leave us an offering of a rabbit head on the front door mat. If we do not eat it, they will take it away to a suitable location for "burial"

18) Living here can be gross. Oh, I learned that years ago.

Thank goodness for ag science

Happy cows produce more milk.

Imagine. {rolling eyes}

Do you think happy mothers make better cookies? I wonder how much grant money I could get to study that. It would, of course, require cookie testing. Any volunteers?

Friday, January 16, 2009

It Couldn’t Be Done

by Edgar Albert Guest

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes

We have a new batch of baby chicks. On the day they arrived I took Little Guy out to see them, after he woke up from his nap. He seemed to have mixed feelings... they were "so cute!" but he wasn't too interested in holding them. Not that I'm complaining; he killed one last time (seriously).

Later that night as I was telling him "The Story of Little Guy's Day", which is part of his bedtime routine, I got to the part about going out to see the chicks.

"So Mama picked up a chick and gave it to Little Guy, who had to be very careful. It was soft and, well, what DID it feel like?"

He looked at me solemnly with those big 2 year old eyes and said "Chicken nuggets."

Saturday, January 03, 2009


In late October we added two new residents.

The children named them Genesis and Exodus.

This past Sunday, for a Christmas gift, I surprised The Princess with tickets to the musical Cats. We had another happy girls-only outing, this time all the way to San Antonio.

Imagine our surprise when we discovered that the leader of the Jellicle Cats is named Old Deuteronomy! Thus we learned that The Princess (for it was her idea) is a natural at dignified cat naming!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Another new year

The years are flying by faster and faster. How can 2008 be gone already?

Last night, in a happy change of tradition, both Stephen and I were awake past 10:00 on New Year's Eve. We stayed up and watched the ball drop an hour late (the networks delayed the broadcast by an hour for the deprived Central Time Zone folk). We talked about how when we were kids, 2009 seemed like a year that was only possible in the movies. We agreed that the concept of 2000 was so unsettling that we had never really thought past it.

And now here we are nine years past it! On reflection we also agreed that we could never have predicted that our lives would be the way they are, or that we would be the people that we are, when we were teenagers in the 80's.

It was also a moment to reminisce 19 years back, to our first this-is-not-an-actual-date-we-are-just-friends outing to a New Year's Eve party in Newport, RI. I had a terrible crush on Stephen then, but could not tell how he felt about me. I was so nervous I was ready 30 minutes before he came to pick me up! Anyone who knows me knows that this is, well, practically defying the laws of physics.

Alas, another year and a half would pass before we declared our feelings for one another. But you know the story ends happily, and here we are in Texas (surprise #1), married for 15 1/2 years (surprise #2), on our farm (surprise #3), with our 3 beautiful children (surprise #4), whom we homeschool (surprise #5), I am an omnivore (surprise #6), we own guns (surprise #7), and are conservative evangelical Christians (surprise #8). There are more, but I think that's a good start.

Yes, it is a long journey home, but it is never boring, especially with Stephen Brown holding my hand. I do love that man, and pray we will be journeying together for many years to come.