Saturday, October 31, 2009

Why I Hate Halloween

I hate to be scared. Sometimes, at night, when my husband comes home and I didn't hear him and I see him out of the corner of my eye when I'm doing dishes or something. I freak out. By this I mean that I gasp, I scram, and then I actually cry real tears because I'm so startled and scared, and throw myself into my husband's arms feeling happy that he's not a bad guy while he apologizes for startling me. My stepmother always said it's because I have a guilty conscience that I get startled so easily, but really, I'm just a scaredy cat. I hate scary movies, I hate haunted houses, I hate it when people talk about ghosts or paranormal activity, and I absolutely, positively abhor anything that celebrates witches, ghosts, goblins, murders, blood, ghouls, demons, or pretty much scary anything. Which sort of rules out Halloween. Which is sad, because I love to celebrate. I celebrate obscure Saint's Days, just because. Also, I love to wear, make, plan, and look at costumes. To top it off I really adore the idea of visiting one's neighbors to say hello and share a little treat. I'm happy to celebrate things that promote goodness, generosity, bravery, selflessness, new life, thankfulness for a good harvest, love, rest, friendship, or joy, but I will not celebrate fear, evil, darkness and debauchery. Bah Humbug!

I do have and alternate idea for the fall, that incorporates treats, visiting, partying, and all fall wonderfulness, such as apple dunking, pumpkin treats, and also, bonus, dancing!!! I think I'll have a Hoe Down in the fall. It could be a family event to which everyone brings treats, sort of like a dress up dance, only it's all Cowboys and Prairie Princesses. I could incorporate a talent show, or a one-act play, or even a comedy act.

People who think like me usually hunker down on Halloween, hoping no one too scary comes to their door asking for candy, but this would be much more fun. I've been wanting to have an annual "event" to which I invite my friends for a big blowout. Perhaps I'll throw a great big Harvest Dance in a barn somewhere in October to sort of replace Halloween for me and my kids. I don't mean a normal Hallelujah party with costume competition and trunk or treating with a "salvation message" thrown in... I mean an old fashioned Hoe Down, that celebrates that all the hard work of summer is over and the harvest is in and we have time to throw a party (put your "hoes down" ladies and gentlemen!). I wonder if anyone else would come if I specified that it was "Not a Halloween Party", or "Western Dress Only"? The menu could include:

Corn dogs: they're portable and kids love them
Candy apples: ditto
Apple butter and pumpkin spice donuts
Cheese and Crackers
All the finger foods and desserts people care to bring to share
Hot apple cider, Iced tea, lemonade, and a cooler of cool water to cool down after gettin' down!

To solve the whole costume envy thing, we could move the costume party to New Year's Eve... then the whole scary undertone wouldn't be there and people could get as creative as they like, without offending my delicate sense of all being well with the world. Why not just completely remake cultural norms because I want to! Get on board people!

Friday, October 30, 2009

A New Farmhouse?

So... I haven't posted in MONTHS! I know you're all busy and hardly noticed, but I missed blogging. I always wondered why people decided to take three months off in the summer instead of having year round school... and now that I have a little mini-farmlike lifestyle, I KNOW WHY! Summer is hard work. The freezer needs to be filled with veggies and fruits and chickens, and the pantry needs to be filled with jellies and jams and canned tomatoes. If we had a cow, we'd need to make cheese and get all that surplus milk dealt with. Not to mention the laundry. Yeah, it was a busy one!!!

It is fun, though, to open a jar of your own tomatoes, from your own garden when a recipe calls for 28oz canned tomatoes. It's fun to work with your kids around the kitchen table putting those tomatoes into jars, too. The knitting and sewing suffered over the summer, too, and now that cool weather has returned and I'm indoors more the urge to clothe people is compelling me to make stuff. So far I've made a shrug and bonnet for a friend's baby, a sweater vest for my baby, I finished the knee socks, started a pair of socks for hubby, cast on a stranded sweater vest, and have knit the back and left front of a cardigan for hubs. No sewing. Guess why....

We've been house shopping! We toured and compared, we walked lots and explored pastures, we debated gas vs wood fireplaces, and we finally signed a contract to buy a house. Of course, it's a short sale, and so many things could fall through before we close on the house. As a matter of fact, I'm trying to reconcile myself to it falling through now. I mean, if I don't get this house I'll know that God wants to remind me that Heaven is for the afterlife and not the here and now, because that house is perfect, OK, it's darn close to perfect.

It's yellow. My very favorite house color (I'm so ordinary). It has five bedrooms, a living room, a dining room, a family room, and a great room attached to a kitchen with granite counter tops and an island and a double oven with a gas range. It has beautiful distressed oak floors (exactly the kind that my husband daydreams about when we talk about our dream home) and gorgeous light fixtures that are the perfect mix of traditional and simple. It has a front porch with a tin roof, a fenced yard, a creek, a pasture, lots of trees, and a view. I wouldn't even need to paint... and I like the carpet, and the windows are big, and it's only 3 years old... Should I go on? I mean, I could, if you want me to. I could mention the great big storage room.

I really have appreciated the farmhouse here, and the farm itself is glorious, but we are a bit shoehorned in.... not that the bedrooms aren't adequate, they are, but there's just one living area and we do EVERYTHING in there. It's a foyer, and a schoolroom, and an office, and a playroom, and a living room, all at once. So it gets messy, and really downright dirty rather quickly. Living in a house built in the 20's is rather romantic.... but the windows are really old and one can feel the wind in the winter, and the floor isn't insulated, and the furnace burns heating oil, which is stinkin' expensive. The stinkbugs and ladybugs just wiggle right into the house through the windows in the fall and try to hibernate in the bedrooms by the hundreds. Not to mention the constant battle with paint chips and lead in the pipes that would make any mom rather worried. So we're ready to go. In the spring.

What have we learned here on the farm? We learned that we can grow a whole lot of our own food. We learned that we love chickens and the eggs that pastured hens lay. We learned that we are NOT city people. We love the country life, and we love the outdoors, and we love to be able to LIVE in our house and not just sleep in it. We learned that we love Jersey milk from Josephine, the cow who provides it...and we like knowing our milkmaid's names too. We learned that it's waaaaaaay harder work than we thought it would be, but it's fun, too. We learned that my husband wants to be able to go on vacation, so we'll probably never have our own cow! Oh, also... that largish yellow labs sometimes like to steal eggs from chicken coops and can squeeze themselves through remarkably small chicken doors to do so. AAAAAAAaaaaaaand that I hate raccoons and love MaryJane Butters.