Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween 2007

The gang looks ready to begin trick-or-treating, but Linebacker Dude looks back to see where is his foster sister/playmate, Mau Mau.

Here she comes, still eating her delicious hamburger! (You don't hurry this girl when she is enjoying a meal)!

Mom shepherds the littlest ones.

And, when all of the candy is eaten...


The older kids have dug a hole in the far corner of the property. They are building a jump for the dirt bike course. Mau and Linebacker Dude decided to explore it. When they were done, Mau could not figure out how to get out. Linebacker Dude shows some empathy for her: a very good sign, indeed!

Dude has been with us exactly one year tonight. It has been a wild ride!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Values, Bonds, and Teamwork

One of my favorite commenters on this blog is daddio from the My Three Sons blog. Recently he asked me to write about teamwork, and what do we do to achieve it in our large family. The following are some of my thoughts on the subject.

Before teamwork comes values. Colleen and I model certain values by our actions, and the kids also have their own values. If we model the value of unselfishness, then some of the kids will pick up on that, and incorporate it into their own value system. If there is a bond between parent and child, neither wants to break that bond by violating the value system being promulagated by the parents.

Without ever asking six-year-old Greg to help with the dishwasher chores, he just figured out on his own that that is a way he can contribute. An added benefit to him is that he gets to climb up on the counter to put things away. Soon the three younger kids were all helping take things out of the dishwasher and handing them to me.

When the kids play together, there are some values that are given great importance. No lying, no selfishness, no stealing, and no self-pity. One of the really wonderful thing about large families, is that there simply cannot be any selfishness. Your peers simply will not tolerate it. You will also be excluded if you are always whining and self-pitying. There is an amazing sense of justice. If you lie or steal, you better share the goods (Halloween candy) with the others, or you will be outed in a flash!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


An absolutely gorgeous day here today. A day for horseback riding, planting bulbs, and taking long walks. Seventy degrees, no wind, blue skies. It just doesn't get any better.

The Colorado Rockies will start their next win streak tonight, lasting four games. We have the Red Sox right where we want them!

Update: Wait 'Til Next Year!

Monday, October 22, 2007

"God Only Made One Species Capable Of Vindictiveness, and It Is Not The Horse"

Notice how fast the snow melted?

Colleen and I and our two youngest sons had a most interesting experience today. Most of you have probably read, seen or heard of The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Milan. Well, today we met with his equivalent in terms of someone who works with horses. The man in the photo with Colleen is Tom Mowery. He has not seen Cesar's show, but he teaches many of the same concepts, and has a wonderful sense of humor. Of course, we believe both Tom and Cesar teach concepts that are very important to parents to learn, too!

What are the concepts? Number one is leadership. Horses (and dogs, and kids) need us to lead! Tom says, I am offering the horse a great deal. The deal is: food, shelter, protection from predators, a chance to relax and have all his needs met. Herd animals want to know who is in charge. That is where we come in. We are his leader! I am not going to make him take the deal. If he chooses not to take it, there will be consequence. When he looks down that rope, he needs to be looking at the most important person in his world. Just as the horse must respect you, likewise, you have to have respect for the horse, whom you are entrusting with your safety (or your child's safety).

What happened before what is going to happen, happens, and that is more important to the horse than what happens! Translation: there needs to be a history of consequences. If the horse chooses to be rude, the leader must be sure to be equally rude and give the horse something to remember the choice he made. There has to be a pattern that the horse understands.

Make his hind legs move. That is where he is most powerful. You want him to give up his power to you. Fluxation is getting the horse to bend at the pole (top of the neck). Eventually the horse will bow down low enough so that kids can put on the bridal!

Humans are predators, horses are prey. They need to be convinced that they can trust us to lead them in a way that is in their best interest. Tom was very nurturing, often rubbing our horse and patting him. However, there was never any doubt that Tom was the leader. Within just a few minutes he had that young horse being totally obedient. Can you see in the picture how the horse is relaxed, but alertly waiting for his next instruction from his leader? The title of this post is just one of many unique pithy quotes Mr. Mowery shared with us.

All Right Red Sox Fans, Let's Get On With It!

World Series tickets sales go on-line today at 10 a.m. for games 3, 4, and 5. Want some advice? Don't buy tickets for game five. Those tickets won't be needed. The Rockies have won 21 of their last 22 games. What are the odds that game five tickets will be needed? That is the math question of the day for all you homeschoolers out there.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Look Out, Kansas!

As the day ended, we got back our blue sky, but Kansas is going to get our snowstorm!

Jon's First Time To Try Snowboarding

Stepping Quickly!

This was the first day in a new pasture for our horses. They frolicked and had a ball!

I Guess This Is Why They Are Called "Hardy" Mums

Ponderosa Pine, Which Grows At The Top Of The Four-tiered Garden

The Sun Is Coming Out, and So Are The Sledders!

A Perfect Hiding Place?

If you are afraid Dad is going to ask you to help shovel, just hide behind the partially built snowman! Actually, I was just going to tell him the cookies were ready, so come on inside and take a break! And, while you're at it, you can change out of your pajamas now!

Hey Guys, Let's Make a Snowman!

Bringing the Color Inside.

I am glad I cut some cosmos, delphiniums, and veronica for vases, because I don't think those plants will survive today's snow and cold. The geraniums will now line the hall way leading to the bedrooms.

What Will Survive?

The four-tiered garden: boo hoo! Actually, the snow is stopping, and I think the marigolds and mums will survive. We shall see.

The Despicable Hugo Chavez

The Cato Istitute posts this article about what Hugo Chavez is doing in Venezuela. Will freedom lovers be able to oppose him without getting killed by his thugs? They better act fast.

The "Only" Child

Yep, we got "dusted" with two or three inches of snow overnight. Come back later for photos! The kids are all outside. There is going to be a run on hot bath and shower water, so I am going to get my shower right after I finish this post.

As I was getting Mau's jacket on her, Sara shouted,"That's my jacket!" I said, "Sara, we have plenty of jackets for everyone, there is no need to be selfish." She replied, "Yes, I know I am selfish, but I am not the only one! There are lots of other only ones!"

This just proves my theory that we have eight children, each one of whom is convinced that they are our only child!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Here Comes the Snow!

I took this picture of the front range of the Rockies at the same spot as I took the photo of last night's sunset. Lo and behold, the mountains are suddenly covered with a blanket of snow. Six to twelve more inches are expected in the mountains tonight, and we are going to get dusted, too. The Snowbirds will soon be arriving in Florida and Alabama!

A Gorgeous Fall Day In Denver

There is excitement in the air in downtown Denver, where the Colorado Rockies will play in their first World Series next week.

Reaching for The Sky!

The pampas grass is reaching up toward the brilliant blue October sky.

Even the Cactus is Turning Gold!

I was surprised when I opened up the front gate this morning to see the cactus getting gold blossoms!

"Intolerant In The Name of Tolerance"

Here is a story that shows what we get when we elect liberals to be in charge of government.

Friday, October 19, 2007

And I Suppose This Is "Progressive?"

What Are Our Alternatives?

Tonight's sunsets

Tonight I was driving along with my eyes on the sky. I realized that I rarely post photos of the mountains. Yes, those are the Rocky Mountains just to the west of Denver. I pulled over on the shoulder three different times to get these shots. Do we really need the sign to get our eyes to look upward?

In Durango, You Cannot Have More Than Nine Inches!

For thirteen years I owned a store in Durango, Colorado. We called it The Greenery, because when it began, the houseplant boom got started in the U.S., but we also carried many gift items. After a while we moved the store to a great location in the heart of downtown Durango. We expanded big time into greeting cards, just at the time when alternatives to Hallmark began to appear on the market. Tourists flocked to the store in the summer, and we added two more stores, a candy store next to the movie theater (yummy Jelly Bellies), and a tourist shop next to the famous narrow gauge train.

We decide to try bedding plants. Colorado has lots of high quality greenhouses that ship plants everywhere. Every other week I would get a U-Haul and pull it across the mountains to hand-pick the highest possible quality plants. When I returned to the store, I would lay the trays of plants along the outside of our store. It would create pandamonium!

Well, it so happened that the mayor of the town owned a hardware store that for years had had a total monopoly on bedding plants. He would put up a greenhouse in his huge parking lot, and had the market all to himself...until we came along. Though I cannot prove it, I suspected that he used his powers as mayor to have the police arrest me. I think I was arrested three times that summer. The crime? There was an old statute they found that said that merchandise cannot be displayed more than 9 inches from the building. Each time I was arrested I went to court and pointed out to the judge that the merchants on Main Street, where my store was located, regularly conducted sidewalk sales in the middle of the sidewalk. The harassment continued, though.

Across the street JC Penny had a large arcade in front of its store. Walmart came to town, and Pennys relocated to the Walmart mall outside of town. We moved our store into the spot vacated by JC Penny, and received a letter from the mayor congratulating us on the move! If I would have saved that letter, maybe I could have sold it on Ebay like Rush!


The Captain has a harrowing story of an auto accident, and pictures to prove it. It reminds me of an accident that I was in.

For thirteen years I owned a store in Durango, Colorado called The Greenery. We were a florist, but also sold cards, gifts, and books in 12,000 feet of space. Every Spring I would go every week or two to greenhouses around Colorado to pick up bedding plants. The rest of the year I would travel about once a month to get house plants.

On one such trip there was snow covering the gound all the way to my destination. The road was straight and narrow, with no shoulder. Like a dummy, I had no sunglasses, and began to get sleepy. I kept looking for a place to pull over, but finally fell asleep at the wheel. The van crossed the road, went down into a ditch, through a fence, turned over and over, flattening like a pancake. However, before that, I was thrown out of the front windshield, because I was not wearing a seat belt, and landed flat on my back in the wet snow.

The state trooper gave me a ticket for negligent driving. Negligent? How could I have been negligent, when I was looking for a place to turn off the road, but there was no shoulder? I decided to hop on a bus and go to court and protest the ticket. The judge told me that I was as guilty as anyone who had ever come before his majesty! I paid the fine, which was high enough to pay the rancher for the torn fence, and then I gloomily returned home.

I wish I had a photo to show you of that flattened van!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tonight's Fire In The Sky (Sunset)

Friends in the Media

Big headline in today's Denver Post: "Clinton strikes paydirt in Colorado fundraising." Then, the facts: Romney has raised $719,226 in Colorado. Hillary has raised $555,937 in Colorado, and Obama has raised $1.1 million in Colorado! In the "interior west" (Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah) Romney has raised $8.1 million, Clinton $1.9 million, and Obama $2 million. Anybody think the headline writer might be a Clinton supporter?

A Heart Of Ice

Are you following the horrendous case of Ramos and Campion? Campion has been in a cell the size of a broom closet for 23 hours a day for the last ten months. We treat the jihadists monumentally better than we are treating him! His crime? As I understand it, he was an armed border patrol agent, who shot at a Mexican drug smuggler, when he saw the sun reflecting on what he thought was the smuggler's gun. While the men were being held for trial, the smuggler brought more drugs across the border, but that fact was withheld from the jury. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California, a former speech writer for President Ronald Reagan, is leading the fight to free these two border agents. He is strongly supported by presidential candidates Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter. There is a court hearing to review the case set for December 3, 2007 in New Orleans Circuit Court. What is the response of the man I voted for twice, President Bush? A heart of ice! Why would anyone want to apply for a job with the border patrol?

It's Only Wednesday!

Our three oldest children, who are still at home, attend a small charter school with very high standards. They were uniforms, and there is a strong emphasis on character development. But, what goes on in the homes from whence these children come to school?

Monday, a teen showed up at our door at 7 a.m., and asked if he could have a ride to school, claiming that his parents dropped him off at our house. When he got to school, he was arrested and charged with theft of a credit card and car theft! He had been on the run all night!

Yesterday, another teen was arrested for writing a hate note to another student! It is only Wednesday!

Today's Sunrise

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Protecting Flowers From The Frost

It is a very cold, rainy day here. Time to bring the plants inside. But, where to put them? How about here, next to the kitchen sink? Maybe they will give me some encouragement, while I perform the thrice a day rituals of cleaning up after the kids!

Where Once Was A Creek, Now Is A Forest

This is what you see on the high prairie. Vast expanses of dry land meet up with a forest of trees, where once a thriving creek existed.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Did You Know This About Fred Thompson?

"He had a Clinton in his sights, and ended up shooting himself in the foot." Mike's America has the story, written by Ann Coulter.

The Seven Wonders Of The World

What would you say if someone asked you to list the seven wonders of the world? That is the question asked today at Chip's Church Chat.


John Edwards is denying the National Enquirer story that he has had an affair with a staffer. The AP wire story, though, just confuses things, when it quotes hims as saying he has loved the same women for thirty years! Is the word women just a typo? Is the story a Clinton plant? A former Clinton cabinet member now owns the Enquirer. A commenter on Ann Althouse's blog, Enigmaticore, wonders if any reporter is going to look into all of the questions raised by this report.

Criticize, Criticize, Criticize!

What is it with mothers and mothers-in-law that seems to cause them to lose their ability to nurture, when their child becomes an adult? It seems all they can do is criticize. "You are not doing this right. You are not doing that right. You are making the wrong decison here, and the wrong decision there."

Why can't they just relax and say I love you, and I know you will do the right thing, and I am so proud of you.?

Are dads just as bad? Is it that we just don't expect much nurturing from them?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Nobel Peace Prize

Humble Al Gore joins anti-Semitic Jimmah Cahtar as recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. Nothing hypocritical about Al, is there? Nothing self righteous about either of these guys. Jimmah brought us peace in the Middle East and Hugo Chavez. Both gentlemen are doing their best to save the world from the influence of evil America.

Three Great New Finds

I love finding blogs that write about subjects I am interested in. Two that I have recently found are Conservatism With Heart and Mike's America. Conservatism With Heart is written by a woman named Dee in Kansas City, one of my old stomping grounds. She is a homeschooling mom and has a passion for political news. I agree with her take on things. Mike did a great job breaking down the Republican debate last week. Since we don't watch t.v. any more, it is great to be able to go to the internet to see what the candidates did and said.

Donetta at A Life Restored has an incredible life story. The next time you are tempted to engage in self pity, go read the blog of this courageous woman of faith.

Update: Here are two more rightous blogs I just discovered and really liked. Our World As We See It pulls no punches as it irreverently takes a look at the political landscape. Chip, over at Chip's Church Chat is one pastor who does not mind taking an eloquent stand on political matters affecting this country. Read them both and enjoy!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Memories, Lessons

Sailing is a subject I know nothing about. One of the commenters on Skywriter's blog is a single parent named The Captain. The Captain was blogging about a wonderful sailing trip he took with his two children.

It reminded me of a trip I took with my dad when I was a young boy. My dad's sister had a friend who was a doctor. The doctor had a yacht. We were on the yacht on the Pugent Sound near Seattle. People kept offering my dad drinks. Each time they served him a drink, he would nudge me and smile, then, when no one but I was looking, he would dump the contents of the glass over his shoulder into the Pugent Sound. It made a big impression on me. The lesson I learned was that you could avoid alcohol, and still have a great time! I had a wonderful father.

Astonishing Success!

Don't miss the reports from Iraq by Victor Davis Hansen. Our incredible success there has surprised even our military! Now we can deal with the creepy little bugger and his Mullahs in Iran! (It would be nice if the Europeans would quit investing in Iran).

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bringing In The Sheaves

We had a light frost a couple nights ago, so I potted up the geraniums, begonias, coleus, asparagus fern, and impatiens. However, temperatures have returned to the seventies during the day and forties at night, so I brought many of the plants back outside on the deck to enjoy the sunshine. This weather is just wonderful.

Meanwhile, the marigolds, petunias, mums, delphiniums, calendula, and cosmos in the garden are enjoying this weather as much as I am.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

We Believe In Evolution, When It Comes To Baseball!

Outside Coors Field, where the Colorado Rockies play winning, team baseball, there is a monument to the evolution of the ball. I found it humorous. At the very top of the monument is today's baseball, the highest form of evolution, when it comes to balls. At least that is true this month, in Colorado, Phoenix, Boston, and Cleveland.

Where Colorado's Attention Will Be Focussed This Weekend

After the sun set, I walked over to Coors Field, where the Colorado Rockies will be playing the Arizona Diamondbacks for the National League Pennant this weekend. There is a statue of "The Player" in front of the front entrance.

Sunset in Downtown Denver

Tonight I was in downtown Denver as the sun was setting. Sure enough, the same beautiful sky exists down there as out here in the country! The difference is, there are many distractions, such as buildings, traffic, and people, that keep one's focus away from where it ought to be. This photo was taken near Union Station, looking west toward the mountains.

What Is Wrong With The Right In This Country?

James Dobson can't support McCain, Giuliani, or Thompson? He is willing to let Hillary Clinton move back in to the White House? He is willing to allow our country's defenses to be weakened again, as they were in the 1990s with Hillary's unfaithful husband?

All of the top political commentators on the right are jumping all over Rudy Giuliani because he took a cell phone call from his wife during a speech!

What is wrong with the right in this country? Have they never sinned? Do they not remember that God used a sinner, King David, to protect His people? Do they not remember how Giuliani cleaned up New York? How he kicked Arafat out of Lincoln Center? How he rebuffed the Saudi Prince who wanted to give New York millions of dollars? How he attended over eight hundred funerals after 9-11, while Hillary attended almost none? How he encouraged adoptions and discouraged welfare handouts? How he is close friends with Sam Alito, Anton Scalia, John Roberts, and Clarence Thomas, and would appoint strict constructionists like them to the Supreme Court?

Do they not realize that the very future of our country is at stake? The evil Islamists would destroy this country just like they enslave women and behead non-Islamists in their own countries. Who are more self-righteous, the jihadists, or the "social conservatives" in our own country?

Monday, October 08, 2007

A Story About Birth

Tonight six-year-old Greg decided to tell me about his birth. First, someone laid down a big blanket. Then, someone poured gasoline on the blanket. Then someone poured water on the gasoline. Then, sll the bones of the dead people were scattered on the blanket.Some of these bones had special powers, which breathed life into Greg, and he arose from the blanket of bones.

Is there any hope for this kid?

Well, Stuff My Socks and Hide It Under A Trailer!

Have you heard? Sandy Burglar is an advisor to Hillary Clinton's campaign! Anybody surprised?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

I Would Take The Time To Read These

If you're like me, you don't take the time to read many books any more. Jeffro, over at The Poor Farm, is helping us out. He has compiled a list of the shortest books ever (or never) written.

Sports: A Way To Build Community

Colorado's sports scene has undergone a seismic shift. Long a place fanatical about football, we are now crazy about baseball, too. The Colorado Rockies have come up from under the radar to win seventeen of their last eighteen games, and are playing the Arizona Diamondbacks, beginning Thursday, best of seven games for the National League Championship.

The Rockies made a decison to build their team with young guys through the draft, as opposed to making trades for veteran players. They were quiet about it, because in the sports world people want to win now, this year, and not delay gratification for a few years. Sure enough, there was a lot of criticism of the management team by the local media.

The plan worked! The so-called experts who write and talk about baseball barely know the Rockies personnel. The national media feature stories about the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, or Cubs on a daily basis, but rarely write about the Rockies. The Rockies are okay with that. They like sneaking up on people. They won their division by defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in three straight games.

They play excellent defense. I believe I read that their fielding percentage is the best in the history of baseball! They have excellent pitching. They lost three of their starting pitchers to injuries late in the summer. Instead of frantically trying to make a trade or two, they gave the ball to the young guys who had been playing for their minor league teams, and they have come through handsomely. Their bullpen has been marvelously effective. The bullpen are the pitchers who come in in the late innings, and often just work one inning each. The manager of the Rockies is a very likeable fellow named Clint Hurdle. A former catcher, he has been very supportive of his young players, and shows them that he has great confidence in them.

Colorado fans are some of the best sports fans in the nation. The Broncos are not doing well, so the fans will just let Coach Mike Shanahan try to figure out what he needs to do to right the ship. Meanwhile, over at Coors field, there are a bunch of young guys who really know how to play the game of baseball, and we are all enjoying watching or listening to the games.

Me? I listen on the radio as I sweep and mop the floors, do the laundry, and do the dishes. One never knows when the Social Services gestapo will swoop down to make another unannounced visit to check on the well-being of our foster children. We'll be ready for them next time.

I grew up listening to sports and other programs on the radio. I don't think my parents bought their first t.v. set until I was about ten years old, and Howdy Doody was no match for the imagination-stretching programs on the radio. The Shadow Knows! The Lone Ranger Rides Again! Now I am listening to the Rockies make their push to get to the world series. It won't be easy, because the Diamondbacks are a very good team.

When we moved out here to the high plains last July, we made the decison not to subscribe to any cable or satellite t.v. We do have a nice library of children's videos, but we have learned that we can live without the televison programs. Listening to excellent sports announcers on the radio is a great way to learn some of the more subtle details of the sport. And the sports play a big role in bringing people of the community together around a common connection.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Code of the West Versus The Code of the Left

Instapundit links to this comparison of the Code of the West with The Code of the Left at American Digest. The Code of the Left follows each facet of the Code of the West. Here is one of my favorites:
* Be hospitable to strangers. Anyone who wanders in, including an enemy, is welcome at the dinner table. The same was true for riders who joined Cowboys on the range.

* Be hospitable to those who "wander" into your country illegally. Anyone who "wanders" into the United States, including an enemy, is welcome at the welfare table. This is especially true for those who will do the voting sane Americans won't - voting for you.