Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Laughed Today Because...

I live in a funny family. And I have proof.

Coincidentally enough, I'm the member of the family that was nicknamed 'Giggles.' (Also known as mild-mannered Annie ;o).) I love to laugh. But that's to be expected, being that I'm not gifted with as quick a tongue or as funny a mind as some of my talented siblings. So God made me to appreciate their wittiness. It's my job to laugh at all the jokes, funny or lame. And I'm good at it. After all, what's a joke if there's no one to laugh at it?

I decided a while back to start writing down the funny things that happened or the wise-crack remarks that fly so easily from my brothers' tongues and keep a smile on my face. These are the incidents that keep life interesting and fun. These are what I look forward to every day, and I'm rarely disappointed. I've gone through the scribbled on pages of this special book and collected a months' worth of funnies that I still remember with a grin or a chuckle. Allow me to introduce you to: Dad, the pro-funny; Stephen, the quick n' dry-funny; Mike, who doubles as Steve's sidekick

(they're a perfect Abbot and Costello!) and being a spur-of-the-moment-funny; Mary, the random-funny; and Andrew, the refined, sophisticated-funny. And, of course, the rest of us are fairly-funnies ;o). The following are taken from the book 'I Laughed Today Because...' and are dated anywhere from June 2010 to Feb. 2011. Take a peek into the every-day funnies we so frequently enjoy!! (Consider yourself lucky—it took us around 9 months to collect all these laughs!)

6-12...I Laughed Today Because...while playing Michael in badminton, he says, "This is how you tell which way the wind is blowing," and he throws the birdie up in the air. After a moment, he looks at me and says, "Down!"

7-23...I Laughed Today Because...while we were plastering cement on the barn shed, Andrew, who was spraying the walls to moisten them, says, "Hey Steve, want me to spray you? Maybe you'll grow," and Steve says, "Nah, I'm tall enough." After a moment of hesitation, Steve adds, "Why don't you spray Mike?"

8-2...I Laughed Today Because...we drove past Steve (who chose to bike to the lake), and I, always the compassionate one, said, "Aw, why don't we stick a swimming noodle out the back window and have him hold on?"

8-9...I Laughed Today Because...Mom said, "I can't believe the size of the cucumber Steve ate earlier!" to which Mary and I corrected, "He didn't eat the whole thing; he gave part of it to us," and Mom says, "Oh. Probably because I told him it was the size of his colon."

8-9...I Laughed Today Because...Theresa and I were talking about fish and how long their pregnancies are, and Theresa said, "They're not really pregnancies.... more like 'egg'-nancies!"

8-16...I Laughed Today Because...when we were picking berries, Theresa hears something in the woods and says, "Hey, come out of there; you're scaring Michael!" and Mike says, "Uh, I think I'd be more scared if it came out."

8-19...I Laughed Today Because...Mike says, "Donnie, when I say 'bang', you say 'ow', ok? Ready—bang!!" and Donnie just stares, and then (from upstairs) Dad says, "Ow." Mike frowns and says, "Hm, I missed."

8-20...I Laughed Today Because...we were out berry picking and singing our lungs out, and Stephen dryly says, "Guys, stop, my plastic bucket is cracking."

8-30...I Laughed Today Because...Johnny hurled his apple core into the woods and says, "Hm, imprecious!" (Translated - 'impressive')

8-31...I Laughed Today Because...when we were berry picking, Mike says, "You know, I'm related to all these mosquitoes because most of them have my blood in 'em!"

9-6...I Laughed Today Because...we were on a bike-ride along with Theresa and Stephen on horses, and at one point Missy (Steve's mount) stopped to poop, and Steve says, "There, she'll go faster now!"

9-8...I Laughed Today Because...we were talking about how opposites attract, and Mike says, "Uh oh, that means my girl will be really ugly!"

9-17...I Laughed Today Because...I asked Mike for his screwdriver, and he says, "Oh, you'd probably use the wrong end of it," and I said, "Ok, Mike, you might've beaten me in chess, but I'm really not dull," and he looks at me a second, then says, "Uh, we played checkers."

10-13...I Laughed Today Because...Dad was talking about the difference of being an old parent versus a young one, and he said, "Back then, it was 'Stop crying!', and now it's 'Please, PLEASE stop crying!"

10-16...I Laughed Today Because...I was playing cards with Theresa, and she was losing so she said, "What, do you think your intelligence exceels mine??" (def. -the result of indecision between excel and exceeds ;o)

10-18...I Laughed Today Because...while we were out cobbing, Mike, who was stomping the cob, was singing (at the top of his lungs), "Yes, Jesus loves me! Yeeees, Je-sus loves me!!" and Andrew mutters, "He must be feeling insecure again."

(A particular favorite of mine) 10-20...I Laughed Today Because...the boys accidentally locked themselves in their room (because the lock is broken), and Stephen sighs and says, "Well, Mike, I guess we start tying sheets!"

10-30...I Laughed Today Because...Mike said, "I'm gonna be 14 soon? Wow! I gotta shave!!"

11-4...I Laughed Today Because...when we were going through the winter stuff, Mike put on Stephen's red coat and Spider-Man hat, and Steve looked up from his school and said, "Hey, what happened to the good-looking Steve?"

11-9...I Laughed Today Because...Michael said to Steve, "What do you call a half a fish?" and Stephen easily replies, "A dead one."

11-30...I Laughed Today Because...Dad said, "Oh, this is why I've had a spring in my step. I've got a rubber-band in my shoe."

12-14...I Laughed Today Because...when we were piecing together our Christmas medley, I mentioned to Dad that Mike's 'Oh Christmas Tree' had a lot of mic noise that we couldn't do anything about, and Andrew chimed in, "Yeah, we worked and worked with him and it's as good as it's gonna get!"

12-19...I Laughed Today Because...Donnie licked her hands and wiped them all over her face, and Theresa, aghast, says, "Donna! What are you doing?!" and she innocently says, "Baff!"

12-30...I Laughed Today Because...Johnny and Michael were playing 'Guess Who?' (a game where both pick a face and then ask 'yes' or 'no' questions  to identify the other's person), and Johnny says, "Is your guy clean-fashen?" and Mike lifts an eyebrow and says, "Clean-fashen, huh?" and Johnny shrugs and says, "Clean-face. Clean-facial. You know, no hair on his face??"

1-11...I Laughed Today Because...I was playing chess with Theresa and I trapped her rook with my bishop, so I said, "Here's my bishop, comin' to give the Last Rites!"

1-14 I Laughed Today Because...Mary told Johnny to finish his school, then clean up his room, then card some wool with Theresa after he got back in from playing outside, and he says, "Mary, what are we, your slavents?" Later that day, Mike said, "Agh, my foot's asleep!" and Dad says, "Dontcha hate that? Now it'll be up all night."

1-23...I Laughed Today Because...when we were on our walk and Theresa said, "You know, you should really make a snow angel by falling forward. You'd capture the expression better that way."

1-26...I Laughed Today Because...Theresa was asking about giving Donnie a bath in the sink, and she said, "I think she's too heavy for the sink," and Andrew said, "Well then stick her in a stock pot," and Mar said, "Yeah, that way you can flip the flame on if the water gets cold. And stir consistently so she doesn't get stuck to the bottom."

1-27...I Laughed Today Because...we were coming home in the truck and Mike asked why there was a remote control on the dashboard, and Dad said, "That's so I can drive from the pickup-bed if I need to."

1-31...I Laughed Today Because...Michael said (while playing chess with Lizzy), "Lack of eating always makes me hungry." After a pause and then a round of laughter, he said, "Stupid! I mean stupid. Lack of eating makes me stupid."     ...draw your own conclusions on that one ;o)

2-11...I Laughed Today Because...Donnie played Andrew in chess and said, "I von!" and Andrew says, "Aw, shoot," and Donnie giggles and says, "I sheated."

Which was your favorite? Be sure to comment and give your opinion as to the funniest funny ;o)!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

10 Unspoken Commandments of a Big Family

There are certain things that are just 'a given' when you live in a big family. Nobody discuses or argues them, they just are. I guess we're taught them in Heaven before we agree to coming and living in a big family, because everyone knows about them. Generally, they are what you'd call unwritten rules, but on this special occasion for you special readers, they're going to be written, probably for the first time ever! Here we go, and you'd best remember them, as there will be a pop quiz later (just kidding!).

1- There is such a thing as a peeling-privilege; when oranges or grapefruit are limited to 1 half a day, the peeler is always allotted the larger half.

2- Your 'spot' (seat) is still your spot even after you've let the dog out, gone to the bathroom and drank a glass of milk, and anyone attempting to steal is has a 76.9% chance of being sat on and about a .06% chance of maintaining ownership of the spot in the end.

3- Boys are capable of building houses, chopping heads off chickens, and milking cows even when they're disgustingly poopy, but they absolutely can NOT assist the baby calling, "I done!" from the bathroom. ...I'm still not sure why.

4- When you hear your name being called: good news is your nickname in a sweet sing-song voice and bad news is your full name spelled out slowly including middle and last.

5- Seats in the fifteen passenger van are claimed by birthright, carsickness and friends wanting to sit next to each other (and in that order). Seat stealing in the van is a big offense, and one you're not likely to get away with.

(Yes, there is only eight. I took the picture.)

6- You are allowed only one piece of the heart section of a diced up watermelon.  After that, you're supposed to take from the area touching the rind, that way everyone gets a taste of the heart.

7- There is such a thing as Chess vs. the two year old in which she is allowed to do whatever she wants with any of the pieces on the board, but try and take one of her pieces on a legitimate kill and she'll point a finger and cry "ah cheating!" and then heartily laugh.

8- The last one to pour a glass of milk has to put the jar back in the cold room/fridge.

9- 'Finders keepers' does not apply or nobody would own anything.

10- If you show up late for dinner, you can't complain about scraping the pot--but you usually do anyway.

There you have them folks. The ten unspoken big family Commandments. Now don't drop them on your way down the mountainside or I'll have to type them up all over again.

Oh, and there is an 11th commandment: 11- You are supposed to clean up after yourself, sweep up the snow you tracked in,  put your dishes in the sink and put your hat and gloves away in the shelves, but you usually don't because you know big sister will just end up doing it for you... Although I guess that one doesn't really count because it is spoken about... lots. *wink* lol! I suppose I accepted that lot in life when I accepted the big sister position after looking over all my options in heaven: "Hmm, those siblings look awfully cute God, but will they clean up after themselves?" "They'll try, but more than likely you'll just end up doing it for them." "Well then, I suppose I'll give big-sisterhood a try, as long as they try."

And they do try, as well as seven year olds are capable of trying, I'm sure. ;)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Why I had Bees in my Sink...

I was startled, but not surprised, (if that makes sense) to find bees in the trap of the drain as I finished up my dishes the other day. Yes, they were dead, and rather undefinable, but perhaps that's why I was startled when I recognized their dead identities.

Now I could just leave you with that bit of info for one heck of an interestin' and annoyin' post... but don't worry, I won't. Notice the title is why I had bees in my sink, not merely that I had them. No, I'll be nice and back up and explain:

Through the warm up, Andrew opened up his beehives and discovered, to his disappointment, but not surprise, that all his little bugs had perished in the cold. Dem bein' Californiee bees, I think day jes don't know bout U.P. win'ers.

The ordinary operation of a beehive in the cold of winter, is to seal every crack and cranny of their hive with beeswax and then cluster for warmth around the queen in the bottom of the hive. They continually and politely rotate so that no'bee'dy gets too hot or cold. When they eat everything in the bottom box they slowly migrate upwards, eating as they go. The condensation that grows from their warmth on the hive box walls is their drink.

Anyway, that's how it's supposed to BEE done. Apparently, nobody instructed our bees. They were all spread out throughout the hive... dead. Sad as it was, it left us with a lot of honey because they hadn't eaten hardly any. Andrew says he's going to try again. As long as the bees are still paying themselves off with the honey and Andrew's time is still being payed off with experience learned, he's going to keep trying!

Andrew processing honeycomb on the porch. Brushing dead bees off the frames:

The bees got a little creative with these frames. Anyone for round interior walls?

Breaking them apart, picking out dead bees and harvesting the honey-laden comb:

Lots of finger-licking, snitching and lip smacking going on in this process! Yu-um!

He got the extractor out, (see the big round metal thing?) but I don't think he ever used it.
He's been extracting the honey out slowly, warming the honeycombs on the stove and running the honey out through a strainer.

This year, we're going to try and get local bees who know about winters. See, it's all in the accent. We've learned our lesson. From now on, we're not going to lay down cash for any bee that doesn't greet us with an, "oh, how's it goin' eh?" greeting. That's right! Yooper bees wouldn't freeze and starve at the first snow. You'd see them snapping their little earflap hats under their chins and buzzing out into the woods with a 22'  to shoot a buck for their colony's dinner.

Back to the topic at hand--apparently Andrew was processing some honey comb in the kitchen, which left a pile of dead bees on the table, which after cleanup, left a few in the sink. So that's the long and short of why I had bees in my sink.

BTW, If any of you locals know of any bees with yooper accents, or more likely, apiaries owned by beekeepers with yooper accents, we're in the market! We need to get our spring hives ordered now.

...Oh, and I'm just waiting for Christmas this year, when I'll get commissioned to knit some twenty thousand tiny yooper hats for Santa to drop down the bees' little chimney! ;)

Anyway, that's the buzz!

--Oh, and for the record, the cows want everybody to know that they were right--winter's back... much to the little thermometer's chagrin.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

75 Read the Little Thermometer...

75 read the sweating little thermometer squinting into the blazing overhead sun. He heaved a little sigh as he wiped away the perspiration gathering on his plastic face. "By golly, if only this miserable war would end and give room for a little consistency around here!" he muttered to himself.

His reading declaring the sun's victory, was almost unnecessary, however, as the sound of dripping water, the chirping of birds and the squeals of t-shirt clad children filling the air were all quite accurate assessments as to who held the upper hand of the battle.

"For now," mumble the pessimistic cows...

--Yes, we're all as surprised as the rest of the scurrying wildlife world, I'm sure, at the warmth of the air for the middle of February in the U.P.  I'll bet plenty of the vegetation and hibernating animals will be duped by this mid winter thaw... but not me. I refuse to allow myself to become intoxicated with the jitters of spring this early into winter's breath. Call me a pessimistic cow...
... but I simply will not allow myself anywhere near my neatly packed away flower seeds, and the fact that I was basking in the sun on the porch and running my fingers over dead flower steams poking above the diminishing snowbanks means nothing... absolutely nothing.

We did manage to have a lot of fun with the temporary warm up! The kids went on a bike and horse back ride while the roads are clear. They saw tracks in the wet snow: first coyote (little dog prints in a pack) then further down the road, wolf, (single tracks, and much bigger dog) and then finally... cougar! (Eee!! They were very big, and a different shape and they founds lots of them, around his commonly spotted places. Looked like he'd passed through the night before maybe, though we're no trackers.)
We're not worried though. All of our animals are well trained in various forms of marshal arts and are well equippped to fend for themselves. Trust me. Any cougar coming around here would quickly regret it, being immediately attacked as he would be, by one of these monsters: 
 I'm pretty sure these things are living proof that dinosaurs once roamed the earth. Heck, they're more than likely reincarnated dinosaurs themselves!
Do not be deceived by such a tiny head with a smaller then pea brain--the noise they put out could account for a whole barnyard of animals! Their insistence that they eat ticks is the only verdict keeping them around. Though the other chickens will testify against them whenever they get the chance, so... I don't know, who are you gonna believe?

While Donna and I were out, we stopped in to see Baby, the bull, in the barn, (say that ten times fast!) and after a visit, we kinda, sorta, felt bad for him, you know, sitting alone in the dark and all, so we went and found the boys and asked them to take him out for a little walk in the sunshine.

What started out as Stephen taking Baby for a walk, quickly transpired into Baby taking Stephen for a run around the barnyard! 
That little baby is getting fat fast on all his Momma's milk! 
He will be shortly requiring a name change from Baby to Babe, methinks... 
The other animals dropped jaws full of half eaten hay as Stephen and Baby raced past their pens.
They all raced over to the fence lines to inspect this, queer, smallish looking cow with great curiosity written on their faces.
Look at all the sheep gathered at their fence line with great big boogy eyes! (Have I ever mentioned that I just love boogy eyed sheep?! :))
As you can see, Micheal was a great help, standing in the background laughing and snapping all these pictures. Donna, who was all brave and friendly toward the calf when he was in his pen with the fence between them, suddenly leaped into my arms crying, "I 'cared, I 'cared!" as he and Stephen raced by. :)

She's adorable though, and you simply can't tell her 'no' when she has her sunglasses on...

After Baby was safely back in the comfort of his pen, Stephen went and got his camera and the boys enjoyed snapping lots of pretty pictures of the bright warm day...

 Sun's winning!
 Birds are singing!
Branches are swinging!
And if I'm limited to only rhyming!
...this is just gonna get weirder and weirder, so I had better stop. ...Or this post will be a flop.
"I have no idea what she's talking about, but I don't think it's good," sighs the little pessimistic cow.

Anyway, whaddya say we tromp on over to the horse pen for a little sanity?
Aww, Tryggur! Come here boy! (*whistles*)

"Yeah, whaddya want?"
Good grief! Manners boy--where are your manners?!

Missy, where does he learn that kind of thing from? 
"Why, I'm sure I don't know!"
 I'm sure...

Anyway, the ponies are all so cute when they're sun basking.
 ...Makes a body want to go out and snuggle warmly under the sun's rays with them!
Frysta here, unlike Tryggur, is very photogenic. Mostly because she follows any and everybody around  if she is able, and in so doing gives the photographers lots of opportunities... snap pictures at any time of day...
...and at any angle of her pretty head that they please.

We had a visitor to our farm one day, who witnessed one of the horses or mules rolling out in the pasture and I remember our company was so surprised, saying, "I just never imagined such a large creature rolling--with their long legs flailing in the air and everything!" 
I had never thought of it before, but when I was looking through the kids pictures, and saw a rolling pony, I remembered our visitor's comments and thought maybe there are other people out there, like our visitor, who would get a kick out of seeing a large beast roll like a puppy in the snow. 
So here, for your curiosity and enjoyment, are the steps of rolling:

Step 1. Pony laying in snow.

Step 2. An itch, like melting snow trickling down the spine, starts to irritate...
Before you know it, heels and hooves are in the air...

Step 3. Hooves gather toward the center of the belly as the arched back is rubbed deeper in the snow.

Step 4. Pony gets up quickly, embarrassed that she's been caught rolling on camera.

Step 5. Pony stretches out the kinks from her nap, arching back and gathering neck.

Step 6. Pony shakes off the snow from her roll.

Step. 7 Cat looks really lame trying to imitate pony.

All right, enough silly. I need to get outside and soak in the sun. Pace the porch...
...tapping my toe on the boards with impatience as I wait for spring.

...Or maybe I'll go look through my flower seeds... just real quick, mind you.
Ack, I think I need to go spend more time with those pessimist cows!