Saturday, November 13, 2010

Has Fallen

I'd intended to have a nice, plucky end-of-October post about things our family is up to, probably with some kind of slightly corny title like “Fall-in'” or “Fall Falls on the Sterups,” but the truth is that we've been just busy enough doing things that I've not had time to write about them. So here is the slightly late update for all the far-away friends and family about all the goings-on around here.

Where's the Beef?
As part of our continued effort to know where our food comes from, we decided to buy some locally-raised beef from our friends the Nelsons. They have a little farm and a small herd of cattle that live happy, grass-fed lives before eventually ending up as a nice roast or hamburgers or something in the Nelsons' kitchen. We lucked out by asking just in time to get the last half-beef share they had available for sale this fall, and our friends Madeline and John agreed to split the meat with us.

Mid-September the kids and I went out to Middle Earth Farm to meet the herd and select which of two cows we'd like to be ours. The kids were very excited to meet our cow, and since they all look pretty much the same to me Daniel was given the honor of choosing which would be ours. All the cows in the Nelsons' herd are named for characters in Lord of the Rings, and it turns out Daniel chose Boromir (good, because I'm not sure I could bear eating a cow named Eowyn or Galdalf or something).

Just before Halloween we received a call that our cow was finished being processed, and we drove down to Macon to pick up our half beef. As they loaded it all into our car I realized exactly how much meat half a cow really is. When we got back to town we stood out on Madeline's driveway divvying up all frozen bricks of steak, roast, and ground beef like bank robbers after a score. At home I found I barely had room for it all, but managed to cram it in there, tongue (?!) and all.

So the answer to “Where's the beef?” is “IN MY FREEZER, FOOL!” (okay, and Madeline's as well).

We had a nice Halloween weekend. On Saturday we carved pumpkins with the kids and, while we had the camera out, goofed around and took some pictures we could use to update our facebook profile pictures.

On Sunday we met up with our friends the Walstons to go trick-or-treating at the University. This, by the way, is another cool perk of living in a college town: warm, well-lit, indoor dormatory trick-or-treating for small kids. We went to the dorm I once lived in (and handed out candy in) as a student.

In under 45 minutes we'd been through 5 floors of college students squealing over what cute little kids we all had, and Eva had so much candy she had to drag her bag on the ground instead of carrying it on her shoulder.

We took a quick trip around our very small neighborhood when we got home, and for the second time that week surveyed our loot. I think it's safe to say that if beef and candy were a well-balanced diet we would not have to shop at all until spring.

Physical Feats
The kids love having a swingset in our backyard, and one of their favorite things is the monkey bars. Which is well and good, except that Eva is clearly too small to make it across on her own, and Daniel refuses to believe that he can make it without help. So I spend much of our playtime in the backyard walking back and forth under the monkey bars, alternating between holding Eva's entire torso and keeping a totally useless hand on one of Daniel's legs so that he can psychologically make it across. We have praised and encouraged, begged and bribed Daniel to try going across by himself, and last week he finally did it.

Immediately after that, I came to the front yard just in time to see Eva pedaling herself across the driveway on her tricicle with no help. This was the first time she'd been able to move around with the pedals instead of by pushing off the ground with her feet or having someone push her, and it was just such a coincidence that she accomplished it the same afternoon that Daniel first conquered the monkey bars. Kyle already had the video camera out, so he just went around taping everyone.

Without all the tricicle-pushing and leg holding I should have a lot more freedom during playtime. Maybe now I can finish the August issue of Parents magazine.

Happy Birthdays
Since our dogs Barney and Bailey came from the Humane Society, we have no real record of when their birthday is. Because we adopted them the first week of March and were told they were four months old upon adoption, we officially deemed November first their birthday. They are eight years old now, which (in dog years) makes them pretty close to being grumpy old men. While they are much lazier now than they were as puppies, they can still catch a rabbit, so we're hoping they have many more years ahead of them. I think they are hoping to live to see the kids old enough to leave them alone already.

To celebrate their special day, we got them each a nice bone, and the kids sang "Happy Birthday" as I unwrapped and handed out the treats. They chewed themselves silly in the backyard all afternoon, coming in only when they were too tired to hold their heads up any longer.

We also celebrated Kyle's birthday last week, but he got a cake and a Kurt Vonnegut t-shirt instead of a bone. Kirksville recently got a Mongolian grill, so we gave it a try and decided that the ability to choose our own vegetable, meat, carb, and sauce combination may be addicting.

So that's our update. Considering how long it took me to write and upload the photos for this mega-post, I may have to consider being a more responsible, frequent blogger.

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