Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Fun

Courtesy of our classroom board
following art class:

Ever feel like this?

© 2010
All images property of Jodie L Hemersbach
Do not copy, capture, print or steal.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

How Cupcakes Saved the Day.

The next Adventure of Bluebird and Ducky has just been posted!
You can read it here.

If you haven't met "the boys",
you may want to start at the beginning.

© 2010
All images property of Jodie L Hemersbach
Do not copy, capture, print or steal.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday's Work

Remember paper dolls?

© 2010
All images property of Jodie L Hemersbach
Do not copy, capture, print or steal.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

True Colors

We had some errands to take care of in town today.
I pulled into a parking space at our local Rural King
and noticed a truck nearby.
I was amazed at the MUD on this truck.
It was caked on the sides, the tires, the mirrors,
the windows, and even the roof.

We noticed people walking by and taking second glances.
People were pulling out their cell phones and taking pictures of it.
One gentleman put his purchases in the trunk of his car and then walked across the parking lot to look at the truck closer.

Of course, I also had the urge to capture the image of this truck.
I think it correctly represents Toyota's true colors.

That would be... D I R T Y!!!

© 2010
All images property of Jodie L Hemersbach
Do not copy, capture, print or steal.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Almost Over!

It's the LAST week of February!

Winter is nearing its end!

© 2010
All images property of Jodie L Hemersbach
Do not copy, capture, print or steal.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Backwards Glance: February 2007

(The following is a journal entry I wrote in February 2007)

There are many things in life not worth remembering.
The things that are worth the effort are often forgotten.

These last days have been some of the most stressful days of our twelve and a half years of marriage. To begin with, I have been on "mare watch"- more fondly called "mare stare". My beloved mare and dressage partner, Pholly, is expecting a foal sometime between late February and mid-March. This means that I no longer sleep in my bed. Instead, I take up residence in the recliner. Sleep involves several forms of alarm clocks to wake me at various intervals depending on Pholly's comfort level. To my right are two monitors giving me a live visual view into the barn. To my left is a baby monitor giving me constant audio feed from the barn. Sleep deprivation becomes the main characteristic of any person taking on "the mare stare". Naps are a necessity.

Add to my own state of sleep deprivation, my husband's own state of exhaustion. Recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism and heart palpitations, Steady-man schedule has been unusually tight between work and doctor's appointments. Throw lots of extra hours at work into the equation and fatigue is the result.

It is into this state of being that life hit hard. I woke up around 4:30, the morning of February 6th [2007], to do a quick roll-over check on Pholly. In my very, sleepy state, I remember thinking, "Gee, I'm cold". Then I blew into the air to see if I could see my breath. The very fact that I thought I might actually see it should have alarmed me. Instead, I snuggled deeper into my blankets and returned to the sleep I desperately wanted.

I was suddenly awakened at 5:30 am, by Steady-man's voice. "Jodie! It's ONLY 49 degrees in here!" Now, did I neglect to mention that our region of the world had just begun the first days of single digit high temperatures for the 2007 year? That's right! We were in the deep freeze and now our furnace wasn't running! All at once, the whole house was up. I told Steady-Man that I was thinking that I was awfully cold. Industrious One and Hair-tied-in-knots were both immediately awake and also cold. Tender-Heart emerged from her bed wrapped in a comforter- also wondering why it was so cold.

We began trying to get the furnace to run. After a few minutes, the furnace did start and we breathed a sigh of relief. Steady-man left for work, promising to check on us in a little while. The temperature rose but not very fast. By noon, the temperature was still only in the 50's and the furnace was running constantly.

The girls and I picked up a load of hay for the horses, unloaded it and stacked it in the barn. When we went to fill water buckets, we discovered the spigot (a freeze-less hydrant) was FROZEN! From frozen water spigot to cold house.

Steady-Man returned home from work and called our heating and furnace company. The technician told him that the house should have heated up by then. An appointment was scheduled for the next afternoon. At 6:00 pm, the furnace shut off and would NOT come back on. Steady-Man called for a technician. We were left with no choice but to have someone come out on an after-hours call. Fortunately, the tech was a very, nice, professional guy. The air flow to the furnace was dirty with spider webs. Apparently, the system is very sensitive. Instead of running on a blue flame, we were running a small, orange, candle flame. The blower fan is a little tight and might need to be replaced but for now, we have heat!

Steady-Man tried to thaw the spigot but believed it to be frozen down in the ground. Therefore, no water to the barn. Our only option was to carry water buckets from the house for our 7 horses, 2 outside dogs and barn cats. Thankfully, my father gave us a 35 gallon water tank several years ago. We could put the tank on the back of the truck, run a hose from the laundry room and then drive water down to the barn. It was a little work but far less back breaking than carrying buckets by hand.

In additon, the manure spreader broke and was parked in the garage for repair. Upon going to use the wheel barrow, we found it had a flat tire. The wheel was removed, fixed and wheel barrow reassembled.

Saturday, Industrious One's friend came over to spend the night. On Sunday, Steady-Man drove her friend home. When he returned, we filled the water tank and I drove the truck down to the barn. While I was backing up, I noticed someone's hair had been closed in the back window and was still there. Rolling the window down didn't free the hair so, I walked around, opened the door and window, removed the hair and closed the door. That's when I noticed the back tire- flat! REALLY FLAT!! Too flat to even risk driving back up to the garage and possible damaging the rim. Steady-Man put the air compressor on a sled and dragged it down to the barn. He filled the tire enough to get the truck up to the garage. Then he went to work changing the tire.

A frustrated man came into the house sometime later. No, the tire hadn't been changed. The switch on his air compressor had broken (remember: FRIGID temps!) and he had to fix that first. Then his heavy-duty, professional grade jack would not work. And now, he could not get two of the five lug nuts off the tire. Not only could he not get the lugs to move, but they were now quite munged up!

Panic began to set in pretty fast now. Both of our parents were out of state. Steady-Man's brother was able to offer some words of advice. Working together, we were able to remove the lugs. A plan was formulated. The spare was put on and Steady-Man went out to buy replacement lugs. You would think in a "Dodge" town, finding replacement lug nuts for our '06 truck would be easy. Not to be! They were not to be found. He bought much needed groceries instead.

The next day, (Monday 2/12/07) Sidekick drove the Neon to work with our Big Horn truck tire in his back seat. On his lunch break, a friend drove him to the tire place to drop off the tire and then to the dealership to buy lug nuts. After work, he picked up the repaired tire (punctured) and returned home. The spare tire was removed and the repaired tire replaced. It took a little extra effort to get the spare tire put back in place under the bed but we eventually discovered our mistake and got the job done.

We drove water down to the barn and gave all of the animals fresh, hot water. A huge snow storm- possible blizzard- was forecasted to move in late that night. After dinner, we settled in to relax and enjoy the evening. Sometime around the middle of the evening, I used the rest room. The toilet plugged up- unusual in itself- and no amount of plunging was working. I soon discovered that all 3 toilets in the house, would not drain. This was the eve of a blizzard too!

This becomes a story in and of itself. After several phone calls, a local company's employee returned our call. Feeling we had no choice based on the amount of snow we were supposed to receive, we asked him to come out that night. It would be an hour or so, but he agreed to come.
The fellow hadn't been here long when Steady-Man came into the kitchen with a worried look. "I don't know that this guy knows what he's doing. He thinks our septic tank is probably full and they don't do pumping. Right now, he's trying to get the lid off the tank". What a desperate feeling! They were predicting 12 to 16 inches of snow for our area which would paralyze this area. We might not be able to get anyone out ot us for several days! The snow was now falling!

In hind sight, this fellow lacked a lot of skill. He could not get the lid open. Steady-Man tried to help him and even provided some of our own tools for his use. At one point, the guy was blow torching the septic lid. This didn't seem too wise considering the contents of the tank below. The fellow even suggested breaking the lid but could not tell us where we would get a replacement. We decided against that option. When asked about snaking the system, the guy was pretty negative about it and said he really thought the problem was a full tank. In the end, he left, having charged us $185- $112 of that for labor. The ticket said he "determined" the tank was full. (Huh?) Our toilets were still backed up! This is a time when you actually wish you did have an outhouse. It was now 2:00 am. It was enough stress to give ME heart palpitations!

At 4:30 am, I woke up to check on Pholly. Steady-Man was also up and when we looked outside, we knew we had to bring at least two more of the horses into the barn. The wind was awful, temps at zero and lots of snow- LOTS!

We worked quickly to prepare stalls and brought the two horses in. MaGee promptly laid down to roll in the fresh stall and immediately became cast! He tried a few times to get up but was not successful. Then he just laid there, as if waiting, wither for a hero or for death.
It took some doing, but Sidekick and I were able to roll him over. Of course, now he was stuck worse! The position he was in now put him with his rump against the short, front wall with his hooves in the air. We rolled him back and Steady-Man pulled his chest away from the wall enough for MaGee to get up. MaGee then shook off the straw and wanted to know where his hay was. Silly Haflinger!!

Early in the morning, Steady-Man called Roto-Rooter. They were still working and would put us on the list. We were number 23 in line. Thirty minutes later, they called back. "This must be your lucky day", the guy on the line said. "Not a single person answered the phone. We'll dispatch someone to you now". THAT is The LORD! Our driveway was getting bad, so I drove the truck up and down it to help open it up some. A field supervisor and a sidekick came. Within 20 minutes, not only had they opened the lid but they had also cleared the CLOG! The charge was $73. God is awesome and so full of grace! [post-script: we were refunded $112 from the first company.]

It was still snowing and the wind chills were expected to be -20 (that's MINUS 20) by the next morning. Steady-Man, Industrious One and I bundled up and went out to drag down round pen panels from the back acreage to the barn. The snow was very deep and the drifted places even deeper. It was slow going and hard work. Using two regular panels plus the gated panel, we rigged a make-shift stall in the aisle, enabling us to bring all of the horses inside.

By Wednesday, we had over 14 inches of blowing, drifting snow. Surrounding areas had 17 inches. Steady-Man missed two days of work. We paid a farmer down the road to come dig and clear out our driveway. Times like these remind us to be thankful every day for even the seemingly small things God takes care of. We still had a frozen spigot but all other issues were resolved.

[The story should end here, but...]
Wednesday morning, I ate an english muffin with peanut butter on it. By 11:00- 11:30 am, I had intestinal cramps and accompanying symptoms. I didn't feel well at all and feared I was coming down with a stomach virus. Steady-Man and Industrious One kept watch over Pholly and I went to bed. Hair-tied-in-knots had been having stomach aches for a few days also. I advised them to disinfect and be sure to practice good hand-washing.

Thursday, the news reported a recall on Peter Pan Peanut butter with #2111 product coding. There was a problem with salmonella in some! I'd had food poisoning one other time and immediately suspected what caused my problems. Sure enough!! Our jar had the #2111 code! Perfect ending! Thank The LORD! He protected us from serious illness. We eat a LOT of peanut butter [or did!] and this jar was almost empty. We pray daily for His Protection and are so thankful that He hears our prayers!

(Ten crazy days! It was so crazy, it demanded to be written down. I am thankful for the journal reminder of God's Everlasting Faithfulness to us.)

© 2010
All images property of Jodie L Hemersbach
Do not copy, capture, print or steal.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Evidence of Humanity


We all have it.
It's almost universal... at least, for all of us cloth bearing individuals it is.
It has to be done.
If it isn't done... well, that could be bad- very, very bad. (not to mention, smelly)

This basket is a basket full of CLEAN laundry.

Here we have DIRTY laundry on the floor, CLEAN laundry in the dryer,
and laundry in limbo inside the washer.

Oh no!
There's more!
That is CLEAN laundry on top of the washer & dryer.

You've got. to. be. kidding. me!!
That is also more CLEAN laundry.

I see another lump of laundry!
That's it!
I must put the camera down.
I can't show you any more!
I have laundry to do!


© 2010
All images property of Jodie L Hemersbach
Do not copy, capture, print or steal.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday Without Words

© 2010
All images property of Jodie L Hemersbach
Do not copy, capture, print or steal.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

By the Light of a Laptop

Milton, you need a haircut.
Too bad your mom is so far behind.

© 2010
All images property of Jodie L Hemersbach
Do not copy, capture, print or steal.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Because Learning Should Not Be...

...memorizing dates and facts
to be tested
in order to obtain a grade

so that one can move on
to the next set of dates and facts to be memorized
to be tested
in order to obtain a grade

Because learning should encompass
understanding the struggles and experiences
of people in history.
It should involve braving the depths of human emotions
and soul-wrenching trials.
It should include opportunities to view another culture
from the other side of our observation point.
And maybe even going beyond viewing to actually touching
the experiences of history through the fingers of imagination.
Because THAT is where true learning is found.

That is why we have chosen this road.

© 2010
All images property of Jodie L Hemersbach
Do not copy, capture, print or steal.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


© 2010
All images property of Jodie L Hemersbach
Do not copy, capture, print or steal.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Frosted Friday

We woke up to a ...

frosted world.

Hooray for FRIDAY!!!!

© 2010
All images property of Jodie L Hemersbach
Do not copy, capture, print or steal.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Let's Go For a Walk

© 2010
All images property of Jodie L Hemersbach
Do not copy, capture, print or steal.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Little Consideration Goes a Long Way

Industrious One is taking a cake decorating class.
She's very excited about it.
Class #2 was scheduled today.
Winter Storm #2-10-2010 was also today.

Before she started baking we called the organization that holds the class
to confirm whether the class would still be held or not.
They did not know.
Bake the cake.
Call the instructor.
No answer.
Sent to voice mail.
I leave my message & phone number.
Keep my cell phone at my side all day long.
No call.

So Industrious One works hard all afternoon to prepare her icing and cake.
She iced the cake beautifully.
Then she turned around and the cake plate fell over!!
We salvaged the cake- now a little lopsided & definitely crumb-y- and transferred it to a different cake plate.
Rushed around to pack up all the supplies needed.
Grabbed a quick-- very quick-- bite to eat and ran out the door to brave the snowy & drifting roads.

Arrived on time.
Filled our arms with basket, box & bags and dragged everything inside to the classroom...
a dark classroom... very empty classroom...
::bad feeling::
Management approached and informed us that the instructor was there earlier in the day and canceled the class.
::sigh:: ::grumble:: ::growl:: ::bite my tongue::

I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, to extend a little grace to others (after all I've received MUCH grace myself).
But I'm human.
I'm a mom ... a tired mom.. a stressed mom...
a mom with other stuff going on...
A mom with a cell phone ON all day long that was NEVER called.
A frustrated mom.
A mom who is tired of being walked on by others.
A mom who would like just a little would go a long way.
A mom who should end this post.
A mom who is getting whine-y.

Dig deep.
Use this as a chance to learn a little and practice a lot.
Share the skills already in possession.

A little rainbow to brighten the end of a frustrating day.

Good job Industrious One!

© 2010
All images property of Jodie L Hemersbach
Do not copy, capture, print or steal.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


For some time now, we as a family have discussed capturing in writing
The Adventures of Bluebird and Ducky

Bluebird and Ducky are such a regular, imaginative, part of our lives that they almost seem to be real members of our family.
"The boys", as I sometimes call them, are constantly curious, always adventurous, maybe mischievous, and heartily humorous.
We love them and I hope you will too!

© 2010
All images property of Jodie L Hemersbach
Do not copy, capture, print or steal.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Love to Learn

Since I love to learn new things,
I have been working on learning a new method
for black and white image conversion.

I was going to vent about the widespread unwillingness to lend a hand to others, but ... well, I just won't.
That attitude is everywhere, in every circle and my venting won't change the way it is.
It's sad and experiencing it on the receiving end motivates me to
try that much harder to be willing to share with others.
How to be open and sharing with people WITHOUT also
being used & abused... something else I still struggle to learn.

But... I said I wouldn't vent.

Too bad learning this thing we call LIFE
isn't black and white!!

© 2010
All images property of Jodie L Hemersbach
Do not copy, capture, print or steal.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Overheard today:

"You don't OWN the snow!", says one child to another.

© 2010
All images property of Jodie L Hemersbach
Do not copy, capture, print or steal.

Dog Tired

© 2010
All images property of Jodie L Hemersbach
Do not copy, capture, print or steal.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Snow Storm Anyone??

These two were SO HAPPY to go in the barn this evening.
I don't blame them!
Stay warm tonight!
© 2010
All images property of Jodie L Hemersbach
Do not copy, capture, print or steal.