Month: February 2003

An update on the children’s progress

Asa is really growing! His face has filled out considerably of late, he’s looking more “boy” than baby, actually baby is nearly gone. He’s 2 years, 5 months old.

He can answer the first three children’s catechism questions:

1. God

2. All things

3. For His own glory

Those are the answers. Mix the questions up and he still 98% of the time gets them right.

Currently, as I type this, he’s playing “Reader Rabbit Toddler” on the other computer. He’s in Bubble Castle, letting all those animals out of the bubbles, and then when the right amount are release he gets a song played. He’s singing right along with them, and in particular doing quite a good job with the Alphabet song.

We sing songs in the van or just anywhere in the house, and he’s really picking them up all of a sudden. He used to watch the other two on the computer on occassion, but not do well without help, now he doesn’t need help. He’s got many mouse-moves down.

Now, it’s Victoria’s turn: She’s 4 years, 3 months old.

She’s a young lady. She is learning her letters. She can name most of them. She can spell out signs when we are out, for instance. That’s one utilization of our surroundings I use to show them learning abilities.

She loves to write on paper. She copies things I write, or things out of books. She’s memorized her name, how to write it, and sometimes she doesn’t get it totally correct, but it’s close. Usually it’s just one-letter-wrong. Something flip-flopped or left out.

She “reads” “This little Piggy Went to Market”. Russell read it to her one day,and she memorized it instantly and follows the words on the page of the book, as if she’s reading. She’s mimicing Russell and everyone else who actually reads.

She’s raring to go! It won’t be long now.

She can click with the mouse with the best of them, very “professional” 🙂 She play Toddler and Pre-School versions of Reader Rabbit, and they are just fun, not a real challenge. We have BUZZY the Knowledge Bug CD’s too, and the JUNGLE one Russell has been playing, and now Victoria is playing it too. They both are constantly chattering about this and that thing in this or that jungle, etc. when they play with that CD. It’s full of great activities, and it’s neat to see Victoria starting to do things that Russell is already doing on the computer.

Russell is reading everything. He can read outl oud very well, but usually doesn’t do a good job, his attitude needs work. He’s very intelligent, and of course, rather bossy, being the eldest. He’s losing his front top teeth slowly, they are looser now, but still there. He lost two bottom ones, but is still frightened about losing the top ones. He’ll be a typical 6-7 year old soon, with that big gap. Just not so typical in other ways …! Russell will be 7 the end of April.

He’s a very sweet boy, energetic, and very much more full of energy than that!

I’m going to get Russell to type some information for his web page soon. And that will introduce him to web design and HTML coding eventually. We’ll start with a list of books he’s read/reading.

Forecast via the big “V” In the Sky

I haven’t been out and about a lot lately, so I’m not saying this is the first sighting, just MY first sighting:

Two separate V-formations of geese heading NORTH! Yesterday, Monday, February 24 right before sunset.

That’s a good sign of Spring.

The sightings were in Gwinnett County, GA, which is just NE of Atlanta.

Another change in things, of note, is that American Goldfinches are coming to the feeders in larger numbers now. The males are beginning to turn more yellow, which just means they are “beginning” to think about breeding season. The Eastern Bluebirds are thinking heavily about breeding season, guarding their box in our backyard, fluttering their wings a lot, darting at other birds — particularly European Starlings and House Sparrows — chasing them away. They are singing in the AM too, very loudly most days. What a lovely sound the Bluebirds voice is. Very much a Spring, and Summer staple in the South.

Warmer temperatures, and laying, right around the corner

The weather [] is forecasting warmer temperatures for the next few nights than they were last week. That means that we won’t be below freezing at all, if it turns out that way. That’s good news for hens and plants.

The Weeping Willow tree is putting out it’s greenery, and a few other trees are also starting to leaf out, minimal at the moment, the W.Willow is the furthest along. The flowering trees are close to doing their Spring Thing.

I was outside for awhile late this morning. I did some more with the hen-pen, it’s getting close to being done. The openable top is not functional yet, we need some hinges and to figure out a light frame to use for the lid. Then the boxes for laying still need constructed. And a more permanent roosting rail. Right now we have a 2×4 hiked up on a plastic box on one end, and a pile of fire wood on the other end. It’s functional for now. Just needs re-arranged when we move the pen each time.

photo of hen-pen

I’ll rig up a watering dish to hang on the side of the pen, and a feed dish eventually that does something similar. The thing about it is, all you need to get started is something with sides and a top, and open to fresh grass on the bottom, and dishes for water and feed, and something for the hens to roost on, and if they are laying, or when they start laying, you’ll need a dark box for them to do their thing in. We’ve read different things for sizing the box to so many hens, and we’ll start out with two of a certain size and see what happens. Our hens are 20 to 21 weeks old now. White Leghorns, so they are due any time. With warmer temperatures now, that’ll help them get going. We keep the backyard light on from sundown to when we go to bed, to give them more light. One thing we read says they need 14 hours of light a day for good laying to happen. So, if that’s so, a porch light on, or a light near them, is not a problem.

I’m pleased to announce …

I am now hosting Howard King’s “A Christian Agrarian Critique of Technological Society”. It’s a fantastic look at modern society through the Christian Agrarian lense, which is a Biblical look at the whole enchilada.

Click here for “A Christian Agrarian Critique of Technological Society”.

It’s worth reading. If you are interested in agrarian things or not. I challenge you to read it with an open heart. It’s not meant to turn everyone into farmers, but to see the world around you in a different light. What’s good right now, may not seem as good at another point in your life. Why? We change inside. We should be transforming inside, to what God wants us to be. This series of articles is one that can shed much light on something that was dull and hard to see. It may transform something into a totally different thing. It may be validation for what you were thinking already. It may be so new and horrible that you can’t stand it. Read it anyway, and let me know what you are thinking.

Pussy Willows ready to burst forth!

I’ve been watching the Pussy Willow bush the last couple of weeks, and finally today, it’s ready. Several small covers have split and are showing the velvety gray beneath … it won’t be long now before the whole bush is a lovely wash of gray velvet! Spring is building, the great cachophony isn’t here yet, but the timberels are starting their song. They are important. Oh glorious Spring!

There’s nothing like Spring in the South. While the North lies dormant and cold, the South Springs into vibrant color. To the South of the South, Winter isn’t an issue, so the beauty of the idea of being born, maturing, growing old, and dying is lost. I like the picture that The South in the United States brings … a very long growing seasons, the life of a [true] Christian should be as that.

Here’s a nice picture with added graphics

This was taken, as stated on the picture, somewhere around April 2002. Strider and Dixie are brother and sister, adopted in December 2001 when they were about 7 months old. Strider is the only male cat in the house, and definitely the King. He’s my big old lover too. A big ol’ hunk o’ cat.

Dixie is actually “Dixie Blossom” and she’s nice, but rarely purrs. She’s happy, just purrs rarely. That’s weird to me. I’m used to cats purring whenever I touch them. She loves to chase the broom when I’m sweeping, so she’s my kitchen mate. She hangs around waiting for me to sweep oft times.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I created a desktop for Frank, and have it on my computer for the “holiday” too. I decided to share it with whomever else would like it as well.

Here it is:

Pick the one right for your monitor resolution:

800 x 600 56kb

1024 x 768 82kb

1280 x 1024 101kb

1600 x 1200 184kb

Right-click and “save target as …”

or if you plain old click, you can right-click on the image that loads and “save picture as …”

In any case, save the .gif file on your computer, where you can find it when browsing. Right click your desktop and choose “Properties”. On the Display Properties box find the “desktop” tab and click “browse” to find the picture you just downloaded, choose it. You can then choose APPLY or OK. Apply will save the changes and leave the screen open so that you can make other changes. OK will save the changes and close that screen.

You can change the desktop color to match the picture, if your settings have a color under the icon labels. When you have the above screen open, go to the “Appearance” tab and find the place to change colors and fonts for different window settings. Input these color values, if you know how to do it:
[WIN XP choose the “advanced” button, I seem to recall older Win systems have the info on the “appearance” tab, or on another named tab, something findable for sure]
247 88 88

If you have THEMES on your computer, you can save these settings, the desktop color and the desktop picture, as a THEME, go to the THEMES area for your system and save the current settings with a name. For instance I call this one on my computers: Valentinesday

So in the future, I can use this theme again easily, just going to THEMES and choosing it. I can make other color choices as well, to correspond with my THEME, if I want. It’s all there in the Display Properties box.

One fun thing to change to go with themes is the screen saver. It doesn’t change with a theme, you must manually change it. Go to the Screen Saver tab on Display Properties and utilize something called 3-D Text if your system has it. Choose “settings” and then enter a short phrase or name, something with meaning, and then choose the properties to display it, the font, the size, then how it moves, and then how it looks via colors or choosing a bitmap picture to base what the graphical words will look like.

I like “reflections”. Here’s a small [59kb]bitmap version of the Valentines Day desktop, that you can use as either a “texture” or “reflection” with 3-D Text screen saver. Save it the same way as above.

I like to save my special pictures such as these in MY Pictures in a folder I create called “Desktops”. It’s easy to find the files then, and keep them organized.

Let me know your comments about this! If the 1600 x 1200 resolution .gif isn’t clear, let me know and I’ll do a new one for you. I didn’t test that one. I use 1280 x 1024 personally. I can make a better one for the largest version if it’s requested! 🙂

A big boy

News I forgot to put down is: Asa is potty-learned! He’s been there for over a week now, and is just now a month shy of being 2 1/2 years old. Way to go Asa! Now there are no more diapers to be changed. I’ll put them away until they are needed, hopefully, again.

They are here!

We got the hens tonight. They are sweet looking. Leghorns, ten of them.

They are in the pen, with the traveling dog kennel in the pen with them, the kennel is what they came home with us in. We gave them water and mash, and opened the door. One brave soul ventured forth rather quickly, but no one else for several minutes. Finally a few came out, then seven were out, then the last one, two, three, and they were crowding round the bowl of food, peck, peck, peck they went.

Later we went back out to check on them, and they were all smooshed under the dog chainlink fence [the temporary roof] on top of the dog kennel, just a few inches of space available. One hen was left to perch on the swinging door of the kennel. Poor dear. Well, they looked comfy, all in all. They are accustomed to having higher places to perch on, where they came from, so we’ll have to get a shelf built for them. Next to the laying boxes, and under a solid roof.

Well, there was plenty of noise outside. The neighbor was drumming in his basement. That goes on for hours at nightime. And two dogs behind us were yapping up a storm, with other dogs pitching in around the place on occasion. Just our yard was quiet. Hens are not that noisy. Not like drums or dogs! 🙂

A First for us — chickens

Last evening Frank and I banged out three and a half sides for our new chicken pen. The night before that we did the first half of one, and figured out what we were going to build, the design of it, that is. This is our first farming structure!

We used lumber from our house, that we took out of a closet in the half-finished basement, and we needed some more, and our neighbor had old lumber lying outside, he was doing some kind of renovation in his house, so he said take as much as we want. Mighty neighborly.

I’ll be stapling the chicken wire on the frames today, and starting to put the corners together … and Frank will help me finish that. We’ll contrive some kind of roof and a box for the layers to do their thing in.

We’ll have 7 to 10 layers in there tonight! Yippee!

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