Enjoying the Work More Than the Break

Saturday night, my husband and I went out for a nice dinner, just the two of us. It had been quite a while since we had done so. It felt like a much deserved break from all of the work we had been doing on Friday and Saturday, cutting and grinding meat from the elk he got hunting in September and the hog he butchered a few weeks ago, to get it ready for packaging into sausage.

Heading into the weekend, I had really been looking forward to an evening out with my husband. And I had really been dreading all the work of helping him process the meat. It was a given that I would help him, but I was not looking forward to it, and I figured it would just be something to offer up.

The funny thing is, as much as I had been looking forward to dinner as a break from all the work we were doing (and we did have a nice time), I actually had more fun with my husband when we were working together. I enjoyed the work more than the break!

On Friday we spent a lot of time out on our screened porch cutting meat into pieces small enough to be fed through the meat grinder. It doesn’t sound like a terribly enjoyable task, but it was actually a lot of fun. We had music playing, and we laughed and talked as we worked.

Saturday, he ground the meat and we got the whole family involved with packaging it. We had around 60 pounds of elk meat to grind and package, along with pork that had been made into about 60 pounds of brats, 40 pounds of chorizo, and 30 pounds of Italian sausage. I feel like I spent the whole day repeatedly washing the grinder and the stuffer and the huge plastic meat bins.


But the family was working together to get it done, and it was so much fun. The girls marked all the bags, kept the tape ready to seal the bags, and stacked the filled packages neatly into the bins for taking to the freezer (in fancy dress up, even).


The girls worked with us on the brats yesterday too, and I just loved seeing how proud they were to be able to help.



Sometimes the things that bring me joy and help me to feel fulfilled aren’t the things I expect. The best part of my weekend wasn’t the fancy dinner with my husband on Saturday night. It was the companionship that came from working hard with him on something worthwhile. It was the feeling of being a team and being happy to support him. It was the joy of watching my girls get so excited about being able to contribute. These are the real stuff of marriage and family.


After all the work was done, my husband fired our pizza oven for the first time, and we had a pizza party and family movie night.




It was an extremely exhausting, and thoroughly enjoyable, weekend.

Rat Poison and a Trip to See Santa (7QT)

If you are a pet owner and are ever so unfortunate as to see chewed open, and empty, mouse poison bait boxes at the opening to your garage right when you have just gotten your children into the car for a promised and eagerly anticipated trip to see Santa, have no fear. Here is your step-by-step guide for how to handle such a situation:


These dogs are awesome, but they chew everything.

  1. Go ahead and let your kids get in their car seats. Put Christmas movies on their car DVD players. Don’t tell them about the possible deadly poisoning of their beloved pets yet. This will keep them contained and un-hysterical while you proceed to dealing with potential poisoning.
  2. Call your vet. Get a little freaked out when they tell you that knowing the type of poison and its active ingredient is essential for correct treatment of your dogs (because of course you don’t know this information). Get a little more freaked out when they tell you that you have to induce vomiting in your dogs, as you imagine the horror of sticking your finger down poor dogs’ throats… Get relieved a little bit when they tell you that you just have to give them peroxide.
  3. Get bottle of peroxide. Thank God that you have peroxide. Wander around for a few minutes trying to find something that will work well for administering peroxide to dogs. Thank God again when one of the men at your house working on your kitchen backsplash (who overheard your conversation with the vet) mentions that he had to do the same thing with his dog and that it worked well to put the peroxide in ice cream.
  4. Put leashes on your dogs and take them outside with bottle of peroxide and a spoon. Realize you need bowls and ice cream. Start to take the dogs back inside to mix up a concoction for them. Answer questions of your now-starting-to-get-a-little-impatient children with a (mostly) cheerful, “Please be patient girls. Mom just has to take care of something with the puppies before we can go.” Get bowls and ice cream and mix the prescribed amount of peroxide into each. Take dogs outside on leashes again with bowls of peroxide-laced ice cream. Feel a little guilty as the dogs eagerly lap up the ice cream. Walk around with them until the desired result starts happening. Smile and nod at the roofing guys working on your house when they look at you like you’re nuts as you’re holding your retching dogs on leashes.
  5. When the purging is completed, go inside again and put dogs into their kennel (just in case they aren’t quite done vomiting). Go back out to put in a new movie for youngest daughter who has informed you that she needs a new DVD (Christmas movies are so short!). Realize that her DVD player has stopped working. Bite the inside of your cheek to keep from swearing. Try to fix DVD player and fail. Continue to resist the urge to swear. Again plead with children to be patient as you go back inside and call exterminator who placed the bait boxes in your garage many months ago. Thank God again that he answers his phone and provides the information you need.
  6. Call vet’s office with the active ingredient of the poison. Wait for receptionist to speak to vet. When she says the vet is with a patient and will have to call you back, use the time to Google the probable course of action and go out and address the DVD situation. Explain to children that you might have to postpone the visit to Santa because the dogs ate some mouse poison and you will probably have to take them to the vet. Deal (mostly) calmly with the wails and protests and cries of “Are the dogs going to be okay???”
  7. When the vet’s office calls back and tells you you will have to bring the dogs in to be weighed so they can get some medication, put them back on leashes, load them in the car, drive 25 minutes to the vet’s office, get said medication, drive 25 minutes home, leave kids in car, take dogs inside, give them medication, and go back out to car to take kids to see Santa, even though it is now over two hours after your intended time for leaving to do so. Offer up the fact that your kids (and you) will again be skipping nap/quiet time (for the fourth time that week). Take a snack out for kids since it’s now lunch time and you have a 30 minute drive to the mall. Relish the cheers that come from your back seat when you tell the kids they’ll be going to see Santa after all. Thank God that your dogs will be okay. Then enjoy the heck out of the rest of your day.


I’m linking up with Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes Friday. Even though it’s Saturday.


Country Living

I’ve mentioned before that I was raised a definite city girl. My Dad is kinda country, and so I grew up knowing a little about camping and fishing, and had a dead animal hung in my garage for a few days each fall (which I think gives me some major country cred, if there is such a thing). But overall, growing up in a suburb of Detroit left me pretty citified.

My husband, on the other hand, is a born and bred country boy. I think he has been longing to live in the country forever, and now that we’re out here, he’s like a pig in slop. Me? Let’s just say, it’s growing on me.

Country living is pretty different. We have satellite internet out here and no more TV (which has actually worked out just fine). My husband went out back a few weeks ago and chopped up an old tree so we would have some fire wood. Now we have mornings like this:


We’ve even been doing our morning homeschool reading in front of the fire.

It’s so quiet and peaceful here. And dark. Man at night it gets dark here!!

This is my view out my bedroom window every morning (though usually not so gloomy):


The girls and I have watched eight turkeys walking across in front of those trees back there, and I’ve seen a coyote heading into those same trees.

Today a stray dog wandered into our yard and just hung out on my back patio for the better part of four hours while I tried to track down someone to come and get him (and while my own dogs howled from their kennel, because I wouldn’t let them out while the stray was here).


Country government moves a bit slowly, for sure. I had to call the town chairman at his house and he wasn’t home. His wife said she’d have him call me, and when he finally did he gave me the home phone number of the town dog catcher. I was surprised, and pleased, that the “dog catcher” was a little old lady who has her own set up for taking in lost and/or stray dogs.


It’s kind of nice having no visible neighbors, but a bit isolating too. I mentioned in an earlier post that we really aren’t that much farther away from most of the places we frequent, but somehow I feel like I’m so much farther from everything and everyone.

I suppose I’m just getting used to this new normal.

It really is so amazing here. I feel like I need to start canning and chasing chickens around or something. I guess that will come soon enough once we plant our garden and get chickens in the spring. Before you know it I’ll end up just like Ma Ingalls.

Country living indeed.