Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Tumbleweeds, Voles, & Saints

How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine.

I’ll bet you don’t have these.

Check out these mammoth tumbleweeds.

While I’ve been busy unpacking the house, the children have been busy chasing tumbleweeds.  Then they like to stack them along the trees rows to provide further protection from the wind and enemies, who might be seeking to destroy their forts.

The wall of tumbleweeds extends down the lilac row to the left.

While our new home does not have the quantity of trees that the old place offered, the children are still satisfied with its meager three rows of lilac, ash, and ponderosa pine.  We’ll plant more in the spring.

Some of you may be wondering how Strider is adjusting to his new home?  Well, this morning, he caught and ate three voles.

Here he is with Vole #2.

He likes to drag them up to the back deck and wait at the patio door for us to see.  Then he eats them.  The children love this.  And I call it Biology Class.

Yesterday was All Saints Day.  My children dressed up for it.

I’m not really sure what saints they are.  I think there’s a couple Benedictine monks.  Maybe a discalced hermit?  And a knight-saint – Saint Louis King of France?

And lastly, I offer an article that David Clayton wrote earlier this week.  I appreciate his points about Satan and Halloween.  (I suppose because we have chosen to keep our eye on All Saint’s Day and not Halloween too.)  There is an especially poignant quotation from a Russian Orthodox Bishop that I encourage you to read.  Here’s part of it:

Can you honestly think—you who gaze at and touch the holy icons in your home and in our temples, and know that the saints are present with you, and that you are drawn into their holy lives—that to be willingly surrounded by images of the demons (however childish and infantile their representation) will not also affect your heart, and your children’s hearts, and draw them closer to powers that none would call holy?

Click HERE for the whole article.

Finally, remember to pray for the dead today on All Souls Day.  And listen to Mozart’s Requiem.  It’s a Mass for the dead, which would originally have been composed for the Extraordinary Form.  It’s beautiful.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756-1791
Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Biology 101, Firemen, and Donuts

How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine:

  1. Yesterday we caught Strider as he was finishing up his breakfast.  So we don’t know what he actually killed.
Here he is.  Just a blood spot and a tail left.

I guess he doesn’t like eating tails.  So we had a little Biology 101.  What rodent has a white tail?  It looks a little thicker than a mouse or vole, but what?  A rat?  Doesn’t that tail look a little short for a rat?  We don’t know.

2.  Then there’s this, which we almost missed.

I am sorry the quality is poor.  It’s the upper teeth and snout of whatever poor creature fell into Strider’s path.  Yuck.  Just yuck.

3.  Remember that Ditch Fire we had a week or so ago?  Well, the Fire Chief invited the boys out to the station for a private tour.  So I asked my father-in-law to take them, and he did.  They all loved it.

These firemen are awesome.  They put all their gear on just for the boys.

They even let the boys get in their trucks and spray their hoses.


Grandpa was secretly jealous of this part.  He wanted to spray the hose too.

4.  Someone drove by and knocked our mailbox over.  Bummer.

5.  It was the Feast of the Assumption last Wednesday.  So after Mass, we went to the local donut shop and ate donuts.  Besides the normal kinds of donuts, they had oreo cookie donuts with chunks of oreos on the frosting and donuts made to taste like snickers candy bars.  The animal cracker donuts with pink frosting were a hit among my girls.


Life is Worth Living

Caught in the Act!

Strider’s on the loose again.  This time I caught him in the act.  Really, it takes a lot of talent to catch these flying beauties.

It’s like watching Planet Earth, with the big, mean predator sneaking up on its helpless and defenseless prey.

Ever watch Planet Earth?  My kids love it.  I do too, I guess.  Even though I mostly save these short episodes for the ten other colder months of the year.

The world is truly a beautiful, awesome place.  There’s some propaganda in Planet Earth though.  You know, like human beings are all terrible destroyers and polar bears are all dying out etc., etc.  But it’s worth it.  There are two seasons out now.

No birds are safe around here.
Life is Worth Living

Strider’s in the Dog House

Now really.  Enough is enough.

Got ya.

What is with this cat catching and eating birds?  I suppose I should be happy this one isn’t a robin?  And that he didn’t drag it into the garage.  But why can’t he be satisfied with field mice or voles or gophers or something else rodent-like?

Nope.  Lately it’s all birds.

This little bird is a brown thrasher.  I’m kind of sad about that.  And he brought it into the garage as proud as a peacock!  Naughty Cat.
Life is Worth Living

Strider Does the Unthinkable

Now he’s done it.  Look what the cat drug in.

Strider.  The Killer.

Yes, it’s a robin, and it’s dead.

I’m all about cats killing animals, especially of the rodent variety.  And I don’t mind at all if they proudly drag those dead carcasses into my garage.  And it’s really not so bad that those dead things sit there until I notice them, whereupon the cat proudly rubs against my leg and then eats it.

But robins?  No, this is where I draw the line.  These lovely birds are a sign of spring!  They’re a sign of life!  And beauty!  They’re one of the first birds to return to the cold, cold North after ten months of winter!

You know what my Grandma Martha used to say about shooting robins, right?  (Click HERE for her murderous threats to guns and little boys even thinking of such things.)  I wonder what she’d do to this cat?

I’ll tell you what she’d do.  She’d have Grandpa run it over with the 806.

You bet Strider ate this robin too.  But no, not the feathers.  They were strewn all over the place.  I had to have my son vacuum up his mess.  At least with mice and gophers, the whole thing disappears – snouts, tails, guts, and all.

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday – Swallowing Pennies & Ponytails

How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine:

1. Is it Earth Day yet?  I don’t even know when Earth Day is, but my children picked up trash along the ditches the other day.  They said that they were bored.  So I gave them something to do.  (You’d think that they’d learn not to vocalize such things as boredom.)

Here they are with their trash.

2. My son swallowed a penny.  This was exciting for a minute or two, as I contemplated rushing to the Emergency Room.  But as he was not choking, and only mildly uncomfortable, I decided to call a dear friend, who’s daughter a year or so ago swallowed a nickel.  And as her daughter didn’t have any problems, and the nickel eventually passed through her system, I decided to wait and see how things would turn out for my son.

About 4 minutes after the initial hysteria, he was running around and eating Cheerios and torturing his sisters.  So I concluded that he’d be fine.  By the way, this is the same son who decided it was a good idea to jump off the roof of the car to the garage landing and missed.  (If you’re wondering, he’s the guy in the green short-sleeved shirt in the photo above.)

3.  There was a great Barn Razing in South Dakota, as my family tore down the old barn.  This is the same barn in which my dad had egg fights with his brother.  And shot pigeons and rats in too.

There she goes.

And gone.

IMG_7056 2.jpg

4.  Ever wonder about ponytails?  I was thinking about this the other day, while putting a ponytail in my daughter’s hair.  What a funny name.  I mean, we named a hair style after the rear end of a horse?  I’ve never done the research, but this is interesting stuff.  It’s like when your hair is really, really messy, and we say, “Your hair looks like a rat’s nest.”  Now that makes sense.  Or, “Your room is like a pig sty.”  Ok.  But a ponytail?  Why not a Cascading Waterfall?  That’s sounds more elegant.

And then there are pigtails…I don’t even know what to think about that.

5.  Some of you may be wondering how Strider’s doing?  He’s well, as you can see from the photo.

Strider.  King of Cats.
Life is Worth Living

Strider is Kicked Out

We have a cat named Strider.  Yes, he is named after the noble and manly “Strider,” also known as Aragorn, from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, which is one of the best books ever written.

Strider.  King of Cats.  Feline Man of the Estate.

Strider’s official territory consists of our 3.5 acres, but he does not heed these human boundaries.  He reigns where he rambles.

His humble abode used to be our heated garage, where he had free access to come and go through a swinging pet door.  But this is where he got himself into trouble.  Lately he’s been entertaining too many neighborhood friends, who do not know the rules of the place.  Now it’s not that these friends were too loud and raucous.  No, it’s that they began to relieve themselves on our garage steps, thus violating Rule Number 1.

And Rule Number 1 is, use the litter box!  Or find a suitable place outside to do your business.

It was my husband who discovered this gross violation of rules, for he leaves the house first in the morning, and of course he got stuck with cleaning it up.  Now a man can only handle this effrontery for so long (two times) before something happens.  After all, we already have to clean up the bowel movements of 7 children.  We are not about to clean up other people’s cats’ feces.

So last weekend, my husband kicked that cat and all his friends out.  The swinging pet door was bolted shut.  No more heated garage for Strider.  Now, he gets to live in this:

Strider’s New Hut.  Serves him right.

Lest you think we’re being too hard on the cat, do take notice of the cord coming out of the back of his hut.  We put a heated pad in there.  And we took care to place his hut out of the north and west winds.  His friends may come visit him all they want now.

If he knows what’s good for him, he’ll heed Rule Number 1 and keep his friends in check, however.