Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.


Posted on | December 13, 2013 | 3 Comments

I know some of you went for the “one and done” philosophy of parenting.  Which is smart, if somewhat obsessive.  After all, what is the point of worrying endlessly over 1 child when you could be trying to ignore 4 children equally instead?

Since we have 4 children that had to pass through the same rituals of walking, speaking, potty training, first day of school, etc, we never felt very finished when Big accomplished one of these things.  It just didn’t seem that celebratory to say, as we were putting away the potty seat:
“Sweet!  Only 3 more kids and 9 more years of diapers to go!”

Just like it doesn’t feel that encouraging now that he’s close to getting his braces out to think:

“Awesome!  Only 3 more kids and $10,000,000 in teeth extractions and orthodontia to pay for!”

But with Little, the passage of events often does seem like a real milestone.  An actual marker that we have passed and will not have to go back to.  A step forward that isn’t just walking in circles.  Crossing the finish line.  Walking into the light at the end of a tunnel.

Albeit, a long tunnel.  A long, long dark tunnel.  Very dark.  That you just crawled through on your hands and knees.  Naked.  In 20 degrees (which, for us Southerners feels like -20 degrees).  With kids yelling, “Mom!  Mom?  Mommy? Mom!  Mommy!” in your face the entire time.

I’m just sayin.’

So when Little performed in the 3rd grade play, “Tall Tales” this week, it was really enjoyable.  Because we would never have to sit, crammed onto the school bleachers in the gym, shoulder to shoulder and kneecap to kneecap, through “Tall Tales” again.  We would never have to argue with a child about what he was supposed to wear for a costume or rush off to Goodwill the night before, searching for the right kind of shirt or hat or prop.  We would never have to smile and nod pleasantly at the children speaking into the microphone when we could really only hear or understand every third word that they said.  We would not have to flinch when the speakers squealed or feel our heart pounding in commiseration as a child stumbled over forgotten lines.  We could grin at the other parents as we all climbed over one another to get down after the performance, clapping each other on the back, and say along with them, “Whew.  Well, that was fun.  And now it’s over with.”  And actually mean it.

Finished.  After 4 performances of “Tall Tales.”  After 1 lumberjack, 1 Paula Prunepit, 1 deck swab, and 1 Pecos Bill, we were finally done.

Yeah, yeah, I know.  When I’m older I’ll wish I got to sit in the gym, listening to my kids sing about a blue ox craving pancakes.  But judging by the fact that my parents were crammed onto the bleachers next to me, I probably will.  At least I’ll be spared the last minute trip to Goodwill.  And the 2,ooo explanatory and friendly reminder emails sent to me by the teacher, leading up to the performance.  Plus, I’m bringing one of those portable padded bleacher seat things.  Because I already climbed through a tunnel on my knees.  I should be allowed to sit on bleachers in comfort.

In any case, congratulations to Pecos Bill.  And congratulations to us.  For sitting through our last “Tall Tales” performance and finishing many years of horrible picture-taking in the gym.

But that’s not all we’re celebrating around here.

After 6 years I finally finished walk-through gates for the barn yard and buck pasture.  I have been waiting for years for someone to build me walk-through gates.  The main holdup was that it  involved post hole digging.  I have mentioned before that I do not dig post holes.  But with the completion of the new buck barn, I was inspired to relocate some fencing so that I could install the gates where some poor sap had already dug posts holes and installed nice 4X4 posts (in concrete!).  It’s the starling method of construction.  Someone else does the hard work of building something nice and solid and I take over and attach my friend’s used hand-me-down gates, hinges from Southern States, a couple of found chain link fork branches, and leftover aluminum tent poles. Voila!  Finished!

An easy, peasy main entrance to the barn yard:

And a simply effortless entrance to the buck barn and chicken pen:

No more squeezing through cattle panels, getting scratched on chicken wire,  and dealing with chains and carabiner clips.

In addition, I finally finished the Christmas decorating.  Just under the wire.  Because once we’re more than halfway to Christmas, we tend to settle for candy cans in a glass on the counter as our main form of decorating.  But the stockings are now hung, the Christmas greenery is in place, and the wreaths are on the doors.  And my latest DIY decor explains exactly how I feel about that:

Ah.  Finished.

I’m not the only one, though.  The younger kids just finished their last day of school before Christmas break.  Now they’re off for 3 weeks.

Peace out, people.  It might be a while before you hear from me……


3 Responses to “Finished.”

  1. Ali Turner
    December 14th, 2013 @ 5:08 am

    Cutest Pecos Bill ever! He did an AWESOME job!!!

  2. Andrew
    December 14th, 2013 @ 7:51 am

    “One and done” … That sounds awfully familiar. Hmmm…

  3. Jill
    December 14th, 2013 @ 8:28 am

    great! Congrats! I love the comment about bad picture taking in the gym. Never a good one. never.

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