Sunday, June 03, 2012

A Bird in the Hand

In February I acquired a rooster. Although I didn't ask for him, and really could have lived without him, he was quite handsome and the hens seemed to generally appreciate his presence. He only had one small issue:

His clock was broken.

The dumb bird sang beautifully, but he sang any time the mood struck: three in the afternoon, two in the morning, it didn't really matter when.

We finally tired of his incessant crowing and found a replacement. His name is Thor. Cock fighting is a popular sport here (NO, we do not condone fighting roosters or gambling on the games), and Thor is a champion fighter. That really means nothing to me. The important thing to me is that in the 2 weeks we've had him, I've heard him crow exactly once.

It's a problem having two roosters, though, especially if both are bred to be fighters. Thor stayed in the pen with Mama Hen and her babies and Old Rooster roamed around the property with the other two hens. All was well until one day when the gate got left open and suddenly both roosters were in the pen.

That was the end of happiness on the chicken farm. The decision was made to catch Old Rooster and deliver him to his new home with our friend Ramon.

Have you ever tried to catch a wild rooster? It wasn't easy, but it certainly was funny!!! I only wish I'd had a video camera!

The boys started by hunting for the rooster. After about 15 minutes, they located him roosting in a tree behind our house. They shooed him out of the tree...and the chase was on. Caleb nearly caught him in the open stretch as the two flew (almost literally) across the front patio, over the garden box and around the pool. Rooster had his eye on another stand of mesquite trees and made it into the underbrush just as Caleb was about to grab him. With the rest of the brothers beating the bushes, they drove Rooster back into the open and across the road...into another stand of mesquite. At this point Mindy, our retired herd dog, caught on to the fact that we were trying to catch something (duh) and decided to get in on the fun.

Mindy dove into the mesquite briars and turned Old Rooster around -- straight toward Doug and I.

At this point, I made a grave error: I put down my camera to try to catch the bird. I should have known, from my years of experience with country life, that I had no chance of catching that terrified rooster. I could have, however, caught two amazing photos. One of Doug as he grasped at Old Red who streaked between his legs and one of Hunter as he dove, without thought of his own safety, on top of the bird. Neither attempt was successful, but both were so hilarious that everyone was shrieking with laughter. I'm sure the neighbors thought we were nuts.

I'm sure they already think we're nuts.

Anyway, the chase ended when Mindy cornered the rooster behind the cactus hedge and Hunter grabbed him.

Mindy was quite proud of herself and everyone else was still hooting with laughter at the craziness which is our family.

After we calmed him down a bit, I deposited Old Rooster into a cardboard box, and we delivered him to Ramon's house.

No more roosters singing at midnight. Yeah!!!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Elephants and Mayhem

So, today I was reading a couple of news articles regarding the violence in Sinaloa. Very little was said in the article about what really happened in the village. Only the villagers know the whole story, and we all know how stories grow and change in the telling, depending on the bias of the storyteller. The facts reported in the news were in agreement with the rumors circulating.  It's interesting to read internationally published news articles about events which happen in your own "backyard", so to speak.  Sometimes a bit disconcerting, but interesting.   

Links to other newsy tidbits from around the world were attached to the articles I was reading.  Some intriguing, some not so much.

A music video was banned from YouTube. I'm not going to waste my bandwidth to watch it. I'm sure the world won't miss hearing my opinion on it.  I know I won't suffer for not having seen it.

There was a riot in Seattle. Having visited Seattle and seen some of the protest marches which seem to make Seattle what it is, I was curious to see what the riot was about. The media even gave it a catchy title: May Day Mayhem.  (To be honest, I was trying to figure out how a bunch of little girls in white dresses and daisy-chain necklaces started a riot.  I decided I must be missing something, so I had to read the article.  I mean, really?  What do you think of when you hear the phrase "May Day Mayhem"?  Uh-huh.)

So I clicked over and read the Fox news report.  My somewhat cynical and slightly conspiracy-theory-warped brain began to ponder the irony of the violence in Guasave, Sinaloa, compared to the violence in Seattle, Washington.  Interesting comparisons, actually.

As nearly as I can tell, riots broke out during a protest march and things began to get out of hand.  Basically everyone involved picked up whatever weapon they could get their hands on and started to defend what they thought was the correct side of the conflict.  Then police arrived and began trying to restore order.  People were hurt.  People were jailed.  Lots of windows were broken.  That's over-simplified, I know. 

My thought was that the Seattle incident stands in sharp contrast to the Bamoa conflict.  In Bamoa, two warring drug factions began shooting at each other.  The police showed up and tried to stop the violence.  Seeing that they were outnumbered, they called for reinforcements.  No one came.  Five hundred villagers with access to machetes, shovels, metal bars and et cetera, and the municipal police headquarters only 10 minutes away but no one was willing to stand up against a bunch of thugs with guns.  Back-up did arrive, but not before two soldiers were killed.

I'm really not fiercely political.

But I wonder what would have happened if the residents of the village of Bamoa had had the passion of the protestors in Seattle.  Obviously the protestors were willing to sacrifice their freedom and maybe their lives for what they thought was a just cause.  I imagine that they thought they could affect change through their blatant disregard for propriety, otherwise why would they get involved in such a violent display?  The villagers in Bamoa were afraid to get involved because even though they outnumbered the bad guys 10 to 1, they felt powerless.

The mayor of Seattle has apparently issued a decree which gives police the authority to confiscate any item "which could be used as a weapon."  Hmm.

I once heard a story about the training of an elephant.  An adult elephant can be tethered using a small rope with little to no risk of escape.  Why?  Because as a baby, the elephant is tethered with a huge, heavy chain which he can't possibly break.  By the time the animal is large enough and strong enough to actually break the chain, he has already resigned himself to the fact that there is no way he can possibly break the tether -- no matter how strong the tether.  He never even tries.

I find the comparisons and contrasts interesting.

This is just me on my philosophical soapbox.  I don't do this very often, so bear with me.  I'll be back to normal tomorrow -- with happy posts about homemade laundry detergent or lizards in my garden or newly-hatched baby chicks.

It's a crazy world in which we're living.  I'm quite glad that it's not my final destination!


Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Details, Details

So the painting is done and all that's left are the "last details". Anyone who's ever done a remodel knows that those two little words usually mean "you still won't be in your kitchen for a week".


Finally. We had a lot of help and were able to crank out the second coat in less time than the first.

Kitchen counter frame...built.

In this photo, Doug is still smiling because I hadn't pointed out that the wooden mold for the cement counter top was actually...backwards.

Alfredo...sick of me saying, "ummmmm", because it usually meant he had to change or redo something. ;^)

Counter top...poured.

Counter top...smooth and level (this is where I did most of my "umm-ing" at Alfredo. He really was patient!).

Counter top...finished.

At this point, the guys said I'd have to wait a week to take the wooden frame off. I glared at them and they reduced it to 4 days.

Anyone else in the middle of a remodel?  I feel your pain!!! :^)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Optomist and the Realist

When we left home in March to spend a month in the States, we arranged for some friends to stay in the upstairs of our house while another friend did some construction work on the downstairs. It was a bit impulsive on our part, and we knew that Alfredo would need to work hard to finish everything which needed to be done in the time available. A month is just not a lot of time when you're working alone on a kitchen remodel! Alfredo was confident, though, so we charged ahead.

What's that expression? Something about angels and fools and rushing???

I was very optimistic, but not ridiculously so.   After all, I was not imagining this...
The Perfect-World Kitchen
I was simply looking forward to having paintable walls, a downstairs bathroom with a door, a sink which drained. Simple things.

Sarah, always the one with her feet firmly planted on tierra firma, told me to picture something more like this...
 The Worst-Case Scenario 

I told her to stop being a pessimist.

I firmly looked forward to having the interior walls of the downstairs "stuccoed" when we came home. We even brought paint and flooring which was gifted by a friend in Tucson. I was very ready.

Doug called Alfredo a couple of days before we were scheduled to head home. It turns out, Sarah's estimation was closer to reality. We waited a couple of days to return, giving Alfredo time to finish. Prolonging the agony, really.
Two days just weren't going to make that much difference. Sigh.
So, for the past month we've been half-camping in the conference center. It is definitely a multipurpose facility!!!
Seth and Sarah goofing around in our "upstairs kitchen". 

Of course, we don't have water in the center, so we've been utilizing our lavadero a LOT!!!
But now, the end is in sight! Hurrah!!!
Everyone has been pitching in to help finish this project. It was just a huge undertaking for one guy working alone. Once we got home and could put in our hands, the work went faster and by last week, Alfredo was putting up the bathroom wall and Doug was wiring in electrical fixtures. Yay!!!

Anxious to finish, we didn't waste any time getting ready to paint. Doug dumped the various cans of paint we were given into a big tub and Andrew started stirring.

To be honest, at this point I didn't much care what the final color would be, but I must say I'm extremely happy with the color and with the paint! I just love American paint!!!

Even the neighbors got involved!  Becca came over asking if we needed help and then Cruz, from our home fellowship group, stopped in. 

Many hands make light work!!!
This would be Evie. As the smallest member of the painting crew, she was nominated to paint under the stairs. She didn't mind too much!
Proof that I actually did something besides take pictures! hehehe 

Pictures of the finished product? Not yet! Tomorrow we plan to give the kitchen a final coat and then the painting will be done. Lord willing, we will pull the wooden frames off the cement counter on Wednesday and then put the downstairs back in order...just in time for a men's fellowship on Saturday! Never a dull moment around here, eh?

 Well, at least now you have an idea of why I haven't posted during the past month. We haven't let the construction slow us down much. It's just life, afterall, and life does go on! I'm so blessed that we are able to set up our "kitchen and dining room" in the conference center. A friend here is in the middle of a similar kitchen face-lift. Half of her belongings are in the front yard. No more complaining on my part!

I'm off to write a post about something more interesting now. Check back in for photos of our new kitchen in a couple of days!


Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Travelers...again

This is what happens when one fails to post for a couple of months: I log on to write a post, and Blogger has changed EVERYthing, so I have to spend half-an-hour trying to figure out how to post all over again.

Not cool, guys. Just sayin'.

Anyway, I'm still alive. We're home from furlough. God is faithful! :^)
Following are 10 pics from our time in the US in March. You might say it's a "Top Ten List" of sorts, but I wouldn't say that their the 10 best photos I took. How can I choose 10 out of the...ahem...several hundred that I have?
Sorry if the literary value isn't very high on this post, but the pictures should be entertaining at least! Provecho!
See! You're entertained already!

We drive over 5000 miles every furlough. That's over 80 hours in the car. You've gotta do something to pass the time!
Had a great time in Kansas with Grandma and Grandpa Jack, Uncle Terry and Aunt Tammy and all the cousins -- including this little preciosa, Ada Leigh. We decided that it wasn't long enough and we need to plan more frequent family get-togethers. (At the rate we've been getting together in the past, our next would be Ada-Leigh's high school graduation. Unacceptable.
Grilling with Grandpa -- always a success! You can see by the look of ecstasy on Caleb's face that the way to his heart is truly his stomach!
I love American rest stops. I was so excited to see actual grass at this rest area in Texas that I laid down in it. I exclaimed, "Grass without huachapotis! Hurray!!!" (that's an evil Mexican cockleburr) When I stood up, the kids all laughed at me: my whole backside was covered with tiny, green sticktights. Sigh. Can't win.
Made it to Tucson -- here are the kiddos with the youth group at Saguaro Canyon EFC, one of our supporting churches. We always have a wonderful time with our adopted family in Tucson, AZ. They spoil us!
God even sent us a special present while we were in Arizona -- Snow!!! It was short-lived (a good thing, since none of us even owns a heavy coat any more!), but it was beautiful and FUN!!!
Driving to Riverside to visit Grandma Freschauf and Magnolia Presbyterian Church. Ah, the benefits of the car-pool lane!
Thanks to an amazing miracle, we were able to take a little side-trip to Rancho Tres Cruces, which is the home of Master's Bible School. Doug and the director, Nate, spent time chatting about the school and about all the other things that missionaries chat about when you get them together.
Great time -- great families -- too short a visit!!!
Evie and Taiah pose with their favorite rockstar. Like they need extra caffeine! HA!
And then we headed home. But it wouldn't be a trip if we didn't have any car issues!!!
All right. Enough of that. We had a wonderful trip to the States. There's never enough time to visit with everyone we want to visit with and at the same time we're always so ready to be home.

I have now posted!!! YAY!!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Feasts and Floods

The past two weeks have been...intense.


I can honestly say, though, that during the course of Master's Bible School, I only had two mini-meltdowns, one temper tantrum and one crying fit. I think I did very well, all things considered.

To be honest, the event was not more intense than I expected. I even got to bed before midnight most nights, which is different from most youth events we host! Ten days, though, is a long time. My flesh and I had a few disagreements (most of them happened around 4:30 a.m.).

One thousand, eight hundred plates of food.

Praise God that I didn't have to do it all alone.

One night we served re-fried beans with flour tortillas. (A regional favorite and a personal favorite, too.) Joaquin and Luz prepared 8 kilos (about 20 pounds) of flour. That's a lot of tortillas.
Here are Joaquin, Oneida, Brisa and I. We were the outside team cooking on a disc. Luz had another team inside the house cooking on the stovetop.

Me and my tortilla. I'm at the point now in my tortilla-making that they generally turn out round. Luz still says they're too thick, but...que será, será.

On Wednesday (which happened to be another day when the power was out), classes came to an end. The morning dawned gray and overcast with a sharp, cool breeze off the ocean. It reminded me of Oregon.

It rained intermittently all day -- never very hard, but enough to keep the day rather dark and dreary-looking. The mood in the conference center, though, was anything but dreary!
As teams made their final presentations for the Oral Bible class, the rest of the students listened, encouraged, and critiqued (and in some cases, heckled).

The mood stayed pretty light, though, as everyone was excited to be so close to finishing the course.

After the final class, Tito prepared a fritanga (fish fry) for all the students.

And then...

...everyone left.


And I cried.

Yes, I cried. The house was absolutely silent without even the hum of the refrigerator to keep me company. (Remember, the power was out.) Doug and a couple of kids had run to Boca to return tables and chairs. Other kids were upstairs finishing their Inductive Bible Study final.

Everyone else was...gone.

It was just too quiet.

So I cried.

Then I made a cup of coffee, curled up with Tozer, and I was better.

Andrew came in, then Luis came over, then Doug came home and the noise in the house got back to an acceptable level.

And then, God sent this...

Gen 9:12-16 And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth."

Thanks for reminding me, God, that You're there in the flood of noise and in the flood of silence, too. Don't ever let me forget that!!!