Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

“Winner, winner, chicken dinner.”

Posted on | September 15, 2012 | 7 Comments

When Little was back in kindergarten his teacher had a funny saying.  Whenever the kids got an answer right or were being recognized for good behavior, Mr. K. would shout, “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!!”

It was an odd turn of phrase.  There are a lot of odd southern sayings but none of us were familiar with this one.  We discussed this over dinner on many occasions and finally googled it.  According to the internet, many people believe this phrase started in Las Vegas years ago when you could get a nice chicken dinner for less than $2.00.  Because winning an average bet meant you generally won over $2.00, you could buy a chicken dinner.  Hence, “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!!”

So I’m guessing Mr K. was a gambler before he was a kindergarten teacher.  Which actually seems like a bit more reliable, less stressful profession than teaching 5-6 year olds.

Now a few years have passed, Mr. K moved on to get his Master’s degree so that in return for thousands of dollars in student loans he gets paid $.50 more per hour to teach those same kindergartners (yep, that’s the spirit of a gambler!), and I am beginning to think his catch phrase applies in other situations, too.

Take this week on the farm, for example.

After several weeks of pure chaos and unbearable noise during after school, homework, and dinner time, I had a meltdown, a smackdown, and, subsequently, a crackdown.  Which is the order that these incidents generally occur in. The following signs were posted downstairs:

Now you might think my kids don’t appreciate this kind of thing.  But, actually, they are pretty used to it.  I am a rule making Nazi and list making maniac at heart and they realize there’s no fighting it.  Besides, homework is getting done faster now that it is done in the bedrooms without distractions.  Dinner prep is peacefully quiet or done along to tunes on the radio instead of the blaring of PBS cartoons.  This evening they even decided to choose helping with dinner as an activity instead of a chore.  Since it involved knives.  Oh, the beauty of men making dinner!

Plus, the kids have rediscovered the joy of their toys and the outdoors.  They have been happily scootering until bedtime the last few nights.

When they are all out scootering together they play some game they call “scooter pooter.”  I don’t know why and I don’t want to know why.  Some questions are better left unasked.

As if that wasn’t enough, the other day Middle checked the new activities list and decided he would bake a cake.  Since there was no yellow cake, he and The Other Half decided on brownies and made some together.  Which means when I came home from work in the morning there was a pan of brownies on the stove.  Brownies for breakfast, people!!!  Ah the just rewards for a mother who believes in order and discipline!

In another sign of exemplary childhood behavior, Big has decided against the expensive birthday party he originally wanted that involved rock climbing.  He was aware that the money spent on the party would be his actual present and he was happily planning it all.  Until he came home from school, announced he had more friends to invite than this funds would allow for the expensive party, and decided on a home party instead.  So we’ll be taking him and his friends to the cheap outdoor movie theater for the night and then letting them sleep over at the farm and have a bonfire.  I think the bonfire was the real deciding factor.  This is the stump we’ve saved and charred up a bit in preparation for the festivities:

Hmmm, rock climbing or massive fire.  It is a hard choice for 12 year old boys.

As another treat, this week the hot weather finally broke and we were rewarded with warm sunny days and cool fall nights.  The windows have been open for days, the air conditioning is off, and the house is filled with fresh breezes, roosters crowing, and the pings of acorns hitting the tin barn roof.  So despite the fact that the solstice isn’t here yet, we have been rewarded with fall weather.  And those dependable fall perennials have sprung into action.

But they’re not the only ones.  While I was examining the garden to estimate how much longer I could procrastinate before digging the beds in preparation for potatoes, onions, and carrots, I discovered something.  The tiny potatoes I had left behind during harvest had already sprouted new plants.
Which means when I finally get around to planting more potatoes at the end of the month I will have successfully staggered my potato crop.  Staggering crops is one of my weak spots.  I mean to do it but once I am down there I end up putting all the seeds in at the same time.  Because, well,….I don’t know why.  I just can’t stop myself.  Sowing a batch of seeds every 3 weeks instead of all at one time is kind of like keeping a bag of miniSnickers in the freezer and only eating a couple at a time so that the bag lasts for weeks.  I mean, who does that??
Even the greenhouse appears to be on my side this week.  After all, I saw this baby snake just before I touched him while reaching for a tomato.  What, you don’t see him?
Oh, yeah.  There he is!

Things are running smoothly in the barn, too.  The Other Half finished the electric which means we have lights.  Real lights!  Not Death Lights AKA shop lights plugged into extension cords that run from the house through the back yard through the fence into another extension cord through mud holes and underneath dripping gutters and into the barn.  I do not even have to be wearing my rubber boots to keep from being electrocuted or my safety goggles in case the light bubs explodes into 1,000 shards when I turn the new lights on.

This will the first kidding season where we aren’t sitting in the dark shining flashlights on a goat to see how she’s progressing and hanging lanterns from the rafters while we milk.  Little House on the Prairie was an awesome show but as a farming style, it stinks.

The last of the year’s ducklings were sold through just one ad on craigslist.  Oh, aren’t they cute?!

Eh.  They are not as cute to me as they are hungry.  Like eating-through-a-bag-of-crumbles-a-week hungry.  Also, they are not really cute when they are swimming in the automatic waterer making it filthy for everyone else.  So long, farewell, don’t let the barn door hit ya on the way out.

And in addition to the ducklings leaving, the abandoned dog found himself a new home with an ex-neighbor of ours.  He left to be the only dog to a great guy whose last dog passed a year or so ago.  He had been looking at puppies but once he met our visitor he was smitten.  Just like we had been.  So we said our goodbyes and they left together, driving off into the sunset.  Happily ever after.  Which was a close call because the kids had given the dog a name.  And moved a blanket into the greenhouse for him.  And “accidentally” let him in the house a few times.  Whew!  Was almost the owner of 4 dogs but made it out right under the wire.

Special thanks to Christina, Rich, and Andrew for all the suggestions, tips, and contacts for finding our visitor a new home.  I know he’s in a great place and we even get to pet sit him next month for a weekend while his new owner’s out of town.  Bonus!

So when Friday finally rolled around, the kids and I went to play a few games of pool at the local pool hall to celebrate all this week’s accomplishments.  Since one game only costs $1 and it takes them 45 minutes to get all those little balls in the pockets, $3 gives 4 kids almost 3 hours of fun.  You can’t beat that with a stick.  Or a pool cue.

And we came home to roasted vegetables in the oven and honey garlic chicken in the crockpot.  All ready for dinner.

Oh, now I get it.  A whole bunch of good things done and something yummy at the end.

“Winner, winner chicken dinner!”



7 Responses to ““Winner, winner, chicken dinner.””

  1. Carolynn
    September 15th, 2012 @ 8:34 am

    Congratulations to the cute pooch on finding a new home with someone who will love him as he deserves to be loved. Well done on the parenting, too…I don’t have kids, but I think you should consider offering a course at the local school for parents. Seriously.

  2. Jill
    September 16th, 2012 @ 5:54 am

    How! How do you monitor Big and Pretty with their school laptops? Ours is used every day for homework! The teachers are monitoring their use remotely — is that not too much pressure on an aunt, albeit an awesome one?!?!?! So glad you found the visitor a home. I wasn’t even tempted this time… 🙂 Love the scootering and the cake baking. AND the barn lights. Life is good.

  3. admin
    September 16th, 2012 @ 6:12 am

    I really don’t monitor them. If they are upstairs for a long time, I go up to check on them. So far, always doing homework. I believe the laptops block off a lot of sites. I asked Big to check something on craigslist for me the other day when he was on and it wouldn’t come up b/c it was blocked. Although I do wonder who is monitoring the comments on Schoology….?

  4. Lisa D
    September 16th, 2012 @ 7:16 am

    I LOVE your activities list! I’m going to make one for this house. My go-to is always “weed the mulch in the backyard.” They disappear every time 🙂

  5. treatlisa
    September 16th, 2012 @ 7:55 am

    Congrats on things going well! We’ve got to enjoy the times when it all seems to flow smoothly – Lord knows, it’s not always like that!

    Had to laugh at your lists… it reminds me when we were growing up, my Mom would not listen to us talking about being bored. It was just not allowed. She would always have a list of chores to choose from if we couldn’t entertain ourselves. It wasn’t that work was punishment, we just learned to find something productive that we enjoyed rather than risk being assigned something that was not much fun. Good for you!

  6. lin
    September 16th, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

    Hooray! I love that the dog story ended up happy. 🙂 Whew!

    I had a rule when the kids were younger–no saying “I’m bored.” If someone said it, I would find something for them to do. That only happened a few times before they got smart and found things to do themselves.

  7. I Have A Dream. : Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk
    February 2nd, 2013 @ 11:26 am

    […] I had the card stock out,  I put Pretty and Big to work mounting the signs I made last year reminding the kids to keep on their homework and off the computer and away from the TV.  We even […]

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