Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Cleaning Up the Fence Line

Life HAS been crazy - and the craziness is not stopping - but my husband pulled out the tractor and cleared the east (very overgrown) fence line.  The whole line needs to be replaced there, and weʻd like to do some interior fencing so the goats can help tame the jungle up toward the front of our rather long, narrow lot. 

My old dog, Cinnamon, and I checked out the work: 

You canʻt see her well - a little bit like playing "Whereʻs Waldo" (and now I AM dating myself!) minus the stripes and glasses.  Sheʻs quite old for a shepherd mix and is slowing down, so it was nice that she felt like exploring.

I planted those trees a long time ago - the pines.  Itʻs nice to be able to see them.  The ferns in the picture are uluhe, and they grow up and smother everything. 

I am teaching summer school, so no time for projects.  I will have a week off before my sonʻs surgery, a week to help him recover, and then itʻs back to work for me.  Good thing I truly love teaching! 



Thursday, June 16, 2016

Starting Summer School

I basically did nothing much useful in the two weeks I had off.  First I had some very unfortunate upper respiratory thing over the week that my son graduated, and then my youngest had Driverʻs Ed every day (every...single...day...even Sundays and the one local holiday) and, theoretically, sports practice, although she also got some very nasty bug and has missed quite a lot of those. 

My second son will be having another surgery next month.  He had a pneumothorax (full collapse) of one lung in September, and a partial collapse on the other in April. To prevent another, bigger collapse of the second lung, the pulmonologist is recommending a corrective surgery.  I am a small bit freaked out, although we were able to schedule it between summer school and regular school. 

Well, anyway, all my lofty plans of cleaning and organizing came to almost naught - I did slog through cleaning my filing system (I didnʻt finish).  I am happy to report, though, that I am delighted with my two writing classes this summer: my students have lovely, can-do attitudes - the few who are a little sour that they their parents have chosen summer school for them over lolling around the house were relatively easy to jolly out of their I-miss-my-bed funk: mostly because theyʻve been in my class before and I reminded them, "Ah, I am not so bad; weʻll have fun.  You KNOW I am going to do something ridiculous at some point that will make you laugh...." 

The perks of being a total goof and being a teacher.... watching for the goofy moments is totally engaging for a 16 year old, so I can be my goofy self and itʻs a useful tool instead of just an embarrassment. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Shamelss Promotion of My Animal Family

Hereʻs my Gibby boy: 


 I think heʻs very distinguished in his middle age, even if he does need a good brushing. 



And here are the goat boys:
Poor camera quality, but they are so cute.  They love to give kisses (or maybe they just think my hair is food). 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Treating Abscesses

The pasture horse, Gibby Crazy Horse (who is getting less crazy the more he does lawn ornament duty), has an abscess in his front left hoof.  I am very familiar with abscesses and hooves, to my sadness, because of my late, beloved Ohia, who was laminitic. 

Of course, the lingering craziness of Gibbyʻs mind makes treating the issue a little more difficult than Iʻd want.  I find trapping him in his stall, stalking him until I can put the halter on (a matter of two minutes now - rather than 15) and firmly pretending heʻs not scared at all works just fine.  Horses are very amenable to suggestion: projecting that theyʻre panicking tricks them into thinking they arenʻt panicking.  Itʻs pretty fun to watch.  The nice thing about horses that are scared of people is they reliable run away from you, not over you.  Donʻt take that a safety advice - it works for Gibby, but not for every horse! 

I slapped a poultice of bran, epsom salt, and iodine on his hoof. Heʻs still a little sore this morning, but much, much more comfortable. 

Nice to know I still got it - although I hope I donʻt need it that often! 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Two Down, One to Go

At least this year.... graduations, that is.

My oldest two graduated yesterday.  My daughter decided not to walk, which saved us logistics of trying to figure out how to attend two ceremonies on two different islands.  She flew in just in time to see her brotherʻs ceremony. 

It was really, really long, and really, really uncomfortable.  It was held in the Edith Kanakaole Tennis stadium - stadium seats are not my favorite), and there were 900 graduates.  I am fairly sure my own college graduation was about the same size - and half the length.  My younger son said, definitively, "I am not walking in four years; that was awful!"  Oh well, I still had time to tear up when older son marched in to Pomp and Circumstance and turned around to wave at us (well, probably, really, his girlfriend). Also, by fortunate chance, happened to sit in the row below my best friend.  We donʻt teach together any more, so it was super great to see her.  She even brought a maile lei for my son.  I am a terrible friend and didnʻt remember her daughter was graduating, too!  Sonya is someone ver special! 

I got a great picture of all the kids together (rare), and my son gave his sister the mortarboard cap to wear so they both looked like graduates! 

On the farm front, Gibby Crazy Horse has an abscess brewing - I spent part of the morning soaking him up and giving him horse aspirin.  Poor guy.  I havenʻt had to deal with one of these for years, since I put Ohia down. 

The bucklings are making no progress at all at cleaning that obnoxious new weed that is taking over the pasture, although they are valiantly trying.  I think I need to think about more goats - or at least a doe, so I can raise my own goats.  They are quite a bit more expensive than sheep here.

Two more weeks of school.  Really only a week and a half - although the graduation is in 13 days.  I would get a LOT more excited about this if I werenʻt teaching two summer school classes - writing intensive (with the emphasis on intense).  I am excited, because I love to teach these classes and I am a little apprehensive, because I think I may just be flat out exhausted at the end of the 5 weeks.  On the home front, this year has been - well, itʻs been terribly stressful.  On the school front, itʻs been great - I have a new partner teacher whom I love working with.  Weʻre even sharing a room this year, and itʻs been pretty cool.  For one thing, I get to not have to totally float (weʻre short rooms, so one person in each department floats), and for another, we got to the point where we co-plan and so we get to see each other teach the lessons we planned together. The class that happens at the end of the day gets the best version of the lesson because we change right there.  Fortunately, classes rotate around, so itʻs not the same class every day. 

I think I need to get into blogging again - this is all over the place!  Thanks for bearing with my ramblings. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Returning Oddly Late to the Game

Well, if anyone is still around, I apologize.  Itʻs been a wild year and a half for our family. 

The end of 2014 was full of the angst of the hurricane and a few other large storms, one of which took out our greenhouse, and the lava flow which took part of a cemetery and exactly one house in a nearby town.  Thankfully, it slowed and eventually stopped at the lower end of the flow.  Itʻs still flowing merrily at the top, but not, at the moment, threatening any human habitations.  Sometimes, I look at the vent - itʻs about ten miles away and sometimes I can see it smoking - and ponder Mauna Loa, which periodically inflates -  and wonder in a way I never have the entire 20 years weʻve lived here whether someday weʻll face what Pāhoa faced. 

2015  was filled with finishing my National Board for Professional Teaching Standards work, waiting semi-agonizingly for the results (I passed, Thank God, great kids, and a wonderful mentor), and dealing with surgeries: cancer (husbandʻs), pneumothorax (son, 100% collapse of left lung), a bout of pneumonia (mine)  - or maybe the flu: I was too busy handling the surgeries to figure out why I had a 103 fever for six days and a yucky junky cough for much longer - and yay! baby bucklings. 

Rufus and Biscuit joined the family in December of 2015.  We bottle fed them from a bucket fitted with nipples for three months and they are quite merrily a part of the family now. 

Since then, weʻve had one more (much smaller) pneumothorax - same son - much angst over college and scholarship applications and a few more family medical emergencies.  Folks, I am a complete emotional mess and waiting for the school year to end - joyfully and semi-emotionally, as three of my four kids graduate from one school or another (two from college and one from high school).  I look at my kids and see these beautiful, wonderful young adults, and I also see the enthusiastic, loving little folks they used to be, and itʻs killing me.  I am so proud of the now-people and I miss so much the then-people.  And if I think this is bad...I suspect the baby graduating next year will well and truly put me more firmly into emotional basketcase-ness. 

I have to explain graduations at the high school where I teach and where my kids attend.  Itʻs one big emotional, beautiful, crazy wonderful ceremony - hula, chanting, singing, Hawaiian names that take half a page to write and which tell a whole story in the one name (my kids arenʻt that lucky - their Hawaiian names consist of one Hawaiian noun each - well actually, my second child has two middle names, but thatʻs another story).  The song that they each sing breaks my heart every single year.  Itʻs called "The Prayer" and they sing in four-part harmony in both English and Hawaiian. If you are a parent, it is guaranteed to kill you.  I have been to years of these graduations; itʻs the same song every time and it kills me every, every time, but especially in the years my personal kids, my biological kids, graduate.

Soon, I know it will be too soon, my oldest son will get that job that heʻs been working so hard for (cʻmon Google, hire the kid - heʻs awesome) and leave the islands.  My oldest child will find her place and I can only hope itʻs still here in Hawai'i, and my younger son will be off to college.  I have one more year with one child in the nest, and then itʻs a new phase of life.  

I wonder what it will be like, and I mourn the life I am leaving, all at the same time. 


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Here We Go Again (Maybe)

Apparently, there is another possible hurricane on the way.  The kids are excited, because it is meant to hit us on PSAT day - which means not having to come to school on a Saturday to take a big test. 

I am not so excited about it, because storms are a lot of work.  I'd rather read the PSAT script and do the mind-numbingly boring work of watching kids bubble in answers with a number 2 pencil.  I'd even more so like to stay home and continue the productive work I did during our Fall Break (I canned and froze 20 lbs of pumpkin, deep cleaned the kitchen, and painted 10 interior doors). 

I suppose if it is blowing 80 mile an hour winds on Saturday, I could still paint door jambs and organize closets, but I probably won't want to.  I'll probably just be looking out the windows hoping more trees won't come down - or if they do, that they don't hit things like the house, the water tanks, or the barn.  My husband really trimmed a lot of the heavy stuff off the bigger Mexican cypress that didn't fall down, hoping to encourage the trees to snap off at the top rather than pulling out at the roots like the other trees should there be another storm - that way, they'll probably just block the driveway, rather than smashing anything vital. 

Hopefully, the storm will just scoot around us and be just a scare, because Puna district really doesn't need anymore of this.  The lava is slowly, inchingly, heading for Pahoa town and if (when, they say) it crosses the highway, three communities will be cut off from the rest of the island - including several teachers from our school.  There are alternate routes being worked on, but they will be dirt roads, very slow - and eventually, these routes will possibly cut off as the lava heads for the ocean.  That will mean a 30 minute drive to town will turn into a 90 minute drive and there will be several thousand more cars on my highway (two-lane, not really built to handle that much traffic).  They suffered a lot during Iselle (power, water, etc, out for weeks), and the lava is hanging over everyone's heads, and now, possibly another storm. 

The last one was pretty scary - and I've been through a couple before.  I think it was because it was largely at night.  I kept hearing things outside, and we could see the trees whipping wildly by flashlight, and at 8 or 9, we could see the car port had come down - and there just wasn't a lot of information coming through.  I thought, "If this is just the beginning, we're in real trouble." 

This new storm might have higher winds than the last ones, but - then again - the uncertainty is there - it might just divert and go around.  The vast majority of hurricanes in the Pacific over the years have done just that, actually, and if we hadn't just gone through one, I wouldn't even be worried. 

I guess worrying doesn't do anything, anyway.  No point.  Maybe, I'll just admit to speculating.  And I'll pick up some extra animal feed and fill the large water bottles in case our generator poops out again (it started AFTER the power came back on in August).  We do have a little 12 volt pump that can charge on solar, so we can have some water from our tanks for toilets and (cold) baths, but the drinking water is a different matter.  I am not looking forward to no cell, no land line, no internet, no lights, and minimal running water, but it's not really that big of a deal.  The only thing that bothered me was not being able to tell my family on Oahu that we were fine. 

Probably, it will be nothing.