Saturday, April 30, 2011

Egg Hunt and Easter

We took the boys to a local egg hunt last weekend and they had a fine time.

The twins were a little slow in the gathering, but they liked it. 

I used to be very anti-child leash.  Then I had twins. 

Pierce had a good run! 

My attempt for a pic of all 3: 

And here's our family Easter pic: 
We do this every year, but typically in front of the house.  Since we currently haven't mowed the lawn and there's a car (needing repair) in front of our house, we changed location.  I guess you might be a redneck if you have to change your Easter picture location due to a broken down car and unmowed yard...

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Orphanage, Memory Lane Friday

Memory Lane Friday is a weekly blog carnival, where you can blog about your memories and link up.  All are welcome.  This week has no theme.

This week, the memories I'll be blogging about are not my own.  They are verbatim from my grandfather's memoirs and from the records I received recently from when he went into a Baptist orphanage, following the deaths of his parents to the Spanish influenza.  The best stories in his memoirs are his stories from the farm, but for today's purposes I'm focusing on his time at the orphanage.  Henry Taylor Leonard was a tender 12 years old at the time, 1923, and he brought with him 1 suit, 1 cup, 1 union suit, 1 under shirt, 4 shirts, 1 pair of hose, and 1 pair of shoes.  This is his admittance picture from the orphanage, a time that must have been so terrifying for him:

I was only 12 years old, when we as a family of seven departed our separate ways, and from our much loved home in Elk Garden, Virginia, and moved out into another part of the world, which seemed so sad and oh, so lonesome.  Five of us, Myrtle, Alex, Kathleen, Kent, and myself were sent to the Baptist Home in Salem, Virginia.  The other two, Drucilla and Jimmy, were destined to live with relatives. 

I did not see either Drucilla or Jimmy until many years later, but I did see my brothers and sisters at the home on special occasions while at Salem.  Alex and I became very close, although we were all in separate cottages or dorms.  He and I would meet down on the athletic field, or we both attended chapel services.  Yet we could not sit together, because children from various cottages had a special section in which they were seated. 

Jimmy and I had raised several ducks during our last year on the farm.  They were still there when I departed for Salem.  Later, Jimmy sold the ducks and sent me half of the money.  I cried and cried, Jimmy was so thoughtful.

I have many regrets that our youngest brother Kent was not older when we were on the farm.  He is indeed a wonderful person.  So full of life, and does not seem to have a care in the world.  It would have been lots of fun having him travel, with us from day to day.  Yet we have been separated through most of our life span.  However, these things are to be expected, not only in our family, but in others as well.

Can you imagine losing your parents, and then being sent to an orphanage - where - you catch a glimpse now and then of your siblings but rarely say a passing word?  So tragic.  My grandfather had many adventures in his life, and prospered in spite of his trials.  Perhaps I will include some of his humorous farm stories at a future date.  He and his brother had a nose for trouble!

Want to participate in Memory Lane Friday?  Simply link your website below.  Please take the time to go visit others' blogs and leave a comment.
Come back next week, the topic is 4th Grade.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Oh Hard Times Come Again No More

Here's where Granny Rose and Sarah last left off:  Gathering Morels

Sarah had worked up a fine sweat by the time she and Granny Rose climbed the Thompson cabin steps. The past quarter mile they’d heard Amelia’s screams intermittently, shrieking across the air and up through the trees, setting the leaves to trembling on their stems throughout the mountainous woods. Sarah longed to stop, to rest on the porch steps with the four bedraggled Thompson kids, to not walk through the thick wooden door. But Granny Rose plowed right past the four children on the stoop, not even giving them a glance, and Sarah was obliged to follow her inside.

The small cabin was shrouded in darkness and stuffy. Quilts were stuffed across the two small windows, blocking the light. Sarah felt like she would suffocate if she stayed in here for long, but she couldn’t dwell on this, as Granny Rose gestured to the fireplace and said, “Get t’ water boilin’”.

“How long you been ‘is way?” Granny Rose asked, as she lifted the threadbare shirt from Amelia’s belly, and laid her weathered hands across the bulging belly.

“Since day ‘fore yesterday,” Amelia managed to get out, mouth parched and dry.

“And t’ waters?”

“Broke last night,” Amelia gasped with a moan, and then another scream twisted the ends of her words, and rose forcefully from her body, riding through log slats and out into the country. Her back curled then fell.

“He’s fighting me. He won’t come out. He’s NEVER COMING OUT.” Amelia sobbed, fear flowing down her head in rivulets of sweat.

“E’s breech. Gonna have to turn him,” Granny Rose said. “Sarah, bring a dry log over.”

Sarah didn’t want to get close. She willed her feet to move, her arms to bend and scoop a log from the floor. She handed it to Granny Rose, who wrapped it tightly in a blanket and positioned it on the corner of the swollen belly. Suddenly, the door flung open, and Harley walked in. He took one horrified look, tossed Granny Rose’s medicine bag on the bed, and walked straight back out, the door slamming in his wake. Soon, the warbling words of song came drifting in from the porch “Tis the song, the sigh of the weary, Hard times, hard times, come again no more”

Amelia’s scream, piercing, raping the air.

Many days you have lingered around my cabin door; Oh hard times come again no more”

“Sarah, hold it here. Pressure. All your weight cross’t this log.” Sarah forced her body down on the log as Granny Rose maneuvered the belly with pressure. Amelia screamed and tried to twist away, her eyes glossy and feverish. Sarah backed off in alarm, and the log tumbled to the floor.

There are frail forms fainting at the door; though their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say Oh hard times come again no more”

Granny Rose frowned. She repositioned the log and spat, “Don’t let up ‘til I tell you”. Sarah, trembled, but put her weight back on the log. Once again Granny Rose’s hands moved quickly, ferociously across the belly, and a great wave of shifting was visible across the belly. “Now, Sarah, now let go!”

Sarah stared in alarm at the red and purple streaks that splayed across the Amelia’s sobbing stomach, marks that would turn black, blue, then green with bruising in the days to come.

“Push, Amelia, now push!”

"There’s a drooping maiden who toils her life away, with a worn heart, whose better days are o’er"

Sarah grabbed Amelia's foot and supported it, as shown by Granny Rose. Blood streaked down both legs, the angry painting of birth. Amelia curled her body, tucked her head, and pushed with a groan.

"Though her voice would be merry, ‘tis sighing all the day"

Again. Curled, tucked, groaning. A head, bloody and hairless, emerging. Sarah’s body spun, and she tried to take deep breaths, to stay upright.

"Oh hard times come again no more"

A body, slithering into the hands of Granny Rose. And as the furious cry of puckered lips erupted from the infant’s open mouth, Sarah stared in alarm. The baby, this newborn Thompson boy, was blacker than the blackest coal from the mines.

The prompt this week from The Red Dress Club:  This week, we want fightin' words.
Write a piece about a fight. What happened? Why? Who "won"? What were the repercussions?
Show us. Use emotion. Description. If it's a fist fight, what did it feel like to hit someone - or be hit? What does it feel like to be screamed at - or get the silent treatment?

Also, special thanks to Tipper from The Blind Pig and the Acorn, a wonderful blog about Appalachia.  She helped me find the right song for my piece (and I was even able to listen to the song on her blog, through the music player she has on her side bar.  If you're interested, it's song #74 I believe).

Critique is welcomed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Earth Day Festival

This past Saturday we went to an Earth Day Festival.  It was so much fun!

Lots of great samples.  Paul and I got to try mead, which tastes like honey, and we both really liked it (although we each preferred a different type). 
I think the highlight of the samples was this: 

Pierce planted a flower. 

This will go in our garden: 

Home Depot was there with various building projects, so Pierce grabbed a boat kit: 

There was a bounce house.  I would've liked to have let the twins have a go, but there were a bunch of really big kids in there (Pierce was actually the smallest kid jumping). 

The Pout-Pout fish strikes again!  We made a spinning top.
The lady glued the Pout-Pout fish picture to the top of the cd, then glued a soda cap on top to spin it, and a marble on the bottom.  It makes a wonderful spinning top! 

After all the excitement, we headed to a local park to let the boys stretch their legs. 

The twins had fun running through this little playhouse. 

Pierce handled the driving: 

And Reid rocked out this fish thing. 

Earth Day really should be every day!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Chilly Pier Walk

This is the last of our pictures from our beach trip - promise!  On the last day we were at Ocean Isle, NC, a cold front passed through.  After enjoying a morning at the Museum of Coastal Carolina we decided to take one last beach walk before dinner.

Our walk took us down to the pier.

The gaps in the pier weren't very baby-friendly, so we were watching the twins like hawks the whole time.  Actually, I only put Cort down to take this picture! 

Paul carried Reid the whole time.  It was really windy on the pier!
But the views were very pretty.  And it's about as close as you can be to the ocean without being in it! 

The seagulls were fancied up with their formal black heads.   No plain white for these gulls!

And so, we said our goodbyes to the ocean, until next time. 

And now my readers, I'm done with beach pictures for a while!  Pretty sure you got your fill.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Doesn't That Beet All?! Muffin Tin Monday

Have I ever told you all how much I love roasted beets?  Seriously.  LOVE THEM!
Pierce had roasted beets, beef fried rice, popcorn shrimp, and a fruit face, all in his chicken-feet muffin cups.

Click to see more Muffin Tin Lunches HERE.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spring Flower Cookies and Rescue Vehicle Easter Eggs

Happy Easter!

Last year to celebrate we made a really fun spring cookie puzzle (click HERE to view).  I couldn't compete with that (indeed, we might make another) but we did make some cute flower m+m cookies.  They were quite tasty too. 

Just start by making sugar cookies (we made ours from scratch but you could also use a mix).  Once they've cooled you will make a glaze for them.
To make the glaze, place 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar in a bowl.  Whisk in 2 tbsp. milk, 2 1/2 tsp. light corn syrup, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract until smooth.  Spread a thin layer of frosting over each cookie.  Press m+ms into frosting before it hardens (this was Pierce's job).  This cookie idea comes from Mom's Big Book of Cookies.

We also dyed eggs this year.

The eggs are from our chickens. 

Pierce turned them into fire engines, police cars, ambulances, and school buses.
As of the writing of this post, he's already broken two.
Being a rescue egg is dangerous work my friends. 

Thanks to all who entered my 300 followers giveaway.  The winner is Esther from Laugh With Us Blog.  Congrats!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Peeps Pyromania and a Little Camping Adventure

At the tippy-top of Two Bears Farm is a little hidden gem - our campsite.
It's a mile and a quarter up, steep old logging roads, into a solitary hidden world.

Cort and I did the hike together. 

And Reid rode on Daddy's shoulders.
Would you look at how happy Pierce is?  This is a kid that LOVES the woods.  And I'm so proud of him for being able to make the hike all on his own - it truly is a strenous hike, albeit short.  And yes, he's wearing pajamas.  He insisted.

At the top, there are plenty of rocks to climb. 

Benches for sitting.   

Pine cones for examining: 

Can you smell the fresh air yet? 

We brought supplies for s'mores!  I'm always on the lookout for unusual marshmallows like caramel or coconut.  This year I found MONSTER marshmallows!  The hugeness! 

I wasn't quite sure how to go about eating this monstrocity of a s'more.
No worries, though, I managed. 

And I shared, too! 

So I had a brainstorm in the store that we could try to make s'mores from Peeps. 

Oh dear.  That's just wrong. 

Say it ain't so! 

Mutated peep! 
I have to say...peeps, when roasted, develop a hard caramelized shell of sugar on the outside.
Oh boy is it good! If you didn't have a campfire handy, I'm sure you could try this under a broiler.

We may be forever s'more spoiled now.
Can you get Peeps year-round? 
Pierce stayed up to camp for the night with his dad, and I carried BOTH twins simultaneously down the steep mountain in the dusk.  My hips will be paying for this for days.

Do you have any special tips for making s'mores?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day - Memory Lane Friday

Memory Lane Friday is a weekly blog carnival where you can link up with your memories.  All are welcome.  This week's theme is Earth Day.  While that might seem like a challenging topic, it really isn't.  You could blog about a nature hike you took, a craft you made using recycled items, a pet frog - anything that celebrates the earth!  Earth Day just happens to be one of my favorite holidays.  I love that it embraces the earth and doesn't involve candy or presents.

My sophomore year of high school I was tormented by a little subject called CHEMISTRY.  Oh how I suffered through that class.  In the spring, when Ms. Bohince gave us an optional extra credit project, I was all over it. I needed all the help I could get.  The challenge was to create a costume out of recycled items for Earth Day. 

I raided old milk cartons, newspapers, cardboard boxes, rope, construction paper, string, an old wooden dowel, and a can of silver spray paint.  Here's what I created:

A knight costume!  Not so bad, eh?  I did get my full extra credit, and I think I managed to pull a B in the class when it was all said and done.

To link up, just add your website to the linky:
Be sure to visit other blogs and leave a comment.
Next week is a 'no theme' week.

Have you entered my GIVEAWAY yet?  It ends tomorrow!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

How to Wash a Chicken's Butt, Morel Gathering, and other Randomness

Lots of goings-on here at Two Bears Farm, now that it's spring.  One of our chickens, Buddha Hen, developed some assues.  It was BAD.  So after much discussion we knew we were going to need to bathe her.  Our biggest discussion was how to get her away from our rooster without him coming after the 'abductor'.  He can be kind of possessive.  I penned Buddha Hen and Crockett (the rooster) in the chicken tractor and then Paul did the hen-napping.  We brought her into the utility sink for the bath.
She actually did just fine for the scrub down.  We did not use soap, as it could have irritated her, but several times I wished we'd had soap because it certainly would've helped the situation.  I tried to be very gentle, and let the warm water spray for a bit to try to soften things up (ick).  I got her as clean as I could and hopefully she's feeling better now.

While doing chores on Saturday, I found the most perfect four leaf clover.  Usually when I find them the fourth leaf is smaller, but this one was all symmetrical.  I left it where it was.  Maybe it'll bring our garden luck, if we ever get the seeds planted. 

Another spring chore is getting the horses dewormed and vaccinated.
The bribe: 

Victim #1: 
Her hair is longer than the needles!
Here are all the supplies for 3 horses:  Quest dewormer, 3 4-way vaccines, and 3 West Nile virus vaccines. 
I've already blogged previously on how to deworm a horse/give a vaccine, so I won't bore you with that again.  It all went smoothly. 

A sign of spring: 

And, finally, the morel mushrooms are in season! 

Oh boy oh boy!  We wait for this two week window all year! Turns out this year is a bumper crop too (after several years that were pretty lame).
Not only is it a bumper crop year, but the morels are much larger than usual: 
Mmmmm, can't wait to saute these in some garlic and butter and toss with angel hair!
Do you forage anything?

This post is linked up with Farm Friend Friday
Have you entered my giveaway yet for a Creativity Journal and Card Set?