Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Last Week

Have you ever heard of  You can send your future self an email.  I just got one that I sent to myself because this is my number three childʻs last week in high school.  I told myself to be patient and mindful, because I knew that the now-me would be a bundle of emotions and feeling quite nearly overwhelmed with all the teacher-y year-end stuff.  When you get your email from your past self, you have the option to email a future you.  So, of course, I sent an email for next year - for the Friday before my last childʻs high school graduation.

Now that is going to be a killer.  It might be even more killer the first day of the school year here without any of my kids.  When I first came to this school, my oldest son was a senior.  The year after he graduated, I found myself looking for him in the morning protocol bunch and feeling sad that he wasnʻt there.  He wasnʻt far, but he had moved out into an apartment, was attending college, had started his adult life (with a few bumps on the way).  I suspect that my youngest may be the only one that gets enough scholarship money to go to the continent for college... and that will be hard.  I wonʻt be able to drop off food, or just generally check in (not that I did enough of that, frankly).

I feel like this graduation (which is my last official work day of the year) is this big hurdle that I just have to get over, but the truth is, itʻs just one.  As a teacher, I count my years from August to July, and this year has been a doozy.  Iʻd like to think that once those lei get placed around the graduatesʻ necks (my fingers are sore from making lei), the year will be over and all itʻs challenges behind us.  But, the truth is, my second son may need another lung surgery, we have to continue to be vigilant about the possibility of recurrent cancer for my husband, and next year is another senior year hell of applications for colleges, scholarships, AP tests and SAT tests and all the rest of it.

That sounds really gloomy.  I donʻt actually feel that gloomy - hence the email to myself to be a little more patient and mindful.  Although helping kids with college scholarship applications is pretty darned stressful for me, itʻs also a pretty joyful process.  All that guiding and encouraging, cheering on and nagging unmercifully, is paying off.  Applying for scholarships, reading the essays they write for them, itʻs a celebration as much as it is a prayer (or begging, I donʻt know) that they get the means to follow their dreams is a way that wonʻt bankrupt their future.

Chicken Coop ...after a hiatus

When my husband makes animal shelters, he makes them like Fort Knox. He says itʻs because he learned from our early efforts (some of which fell down in bad weather) and wants them done forever.  In any case, this chicken coop is made of hollow tile and the bottom half of it, at least, could be a bomb shelter. 

At the moment, all those chickens are free range.  We used to lock them up at night, but weʻve given up, and they just roost on the pipe rails of the horse and sheep stall.  Heʻs luring them in daily with food, but some of them would rather snatch a few morsels of sheep feed than to get their full ration of layer pellet.  Weʻd like them to come in at night where there are lovely egg boxes, so that they will be tempted to lay their eggs where we can find them.  As it is, they lay more often than not in the forest (we think), where we canʻt find the eggs. 

Itʻs frustrating to feed 20+ chickens and not be able to find the eggs. 

At the beginning of the summer, we had plenty of eggs, but once they figure out we "found" the nest (sorry, ladies, but the corner of the horse stall is not very hidden), they move.  Itʻs also possible that mongoose are getting some of the eggs, and, honestly, my dog Mellie could also be a culprit, but I never catch her at it anymore.... Wherever they are, whatever is happening to them, the eggs are not in my fridge, so that means weʻre feeding hens for nothing. 

I keep threatening them with freezer camp, and amusingly, it seems that every time we have a school break, and I have the time to actually make good on my threat, the eggs magically appear.  Letʻs hope it happens next week, when summer school is over, because I donʻt want to buy terrible store bought eggs. 

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 ( 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.