Monday, February 28, 2011


Yesterday, I was feeling decidedly lazy.  In fact, I went upstairs after a trip to town to change into farm clothes, stopped to check my email, and promptly fell asleep.  I woke up fuzzy from my nap and realized I had forgotten to put the chicken in the crock I went down, fully intending to come up and finish my nap!

My husband followed me upstairs and asked me if I wanted to work with Gib.  It was so hot and voggy and I was so tired...I almost said no.  Me turning down a chance to ride is fairly insane, so it is a measure of  the effect last week had on me.  I knew if I got up and got active, I would feel better, so out we went.

Gib has had such an extreme reaction to mounting, that I really took the time to recreate a bridle, extra pads under the saddle, etc.  I took apart two bridles and cobbled together a new one just for him.  I still want to use the snaffle on him for a bit before moving back to a western curb bit, so it was a weird amalgam of English and western tack for him.

While my husband was holding him, we worked on flexion and desensitizing to the saddle moving and people jumping around him.  He really almost needs to be re-started, at least for the mounting bit.  Finally, he stood quietly, if a bit tensely, and I mounted and dismounted several times.

Once I was in the saddle, I found out that he has a bit more in the way of aids than I thought.   He has a tendency to want to run forward and lean on the bit, so the first order of business will be increasing his reliance on seat aids and decreasing the hands.  It's going to be fun!

Everyone else is fine: chickens are laying a dozen eggs or so a day (15 hens, 10 of them just starting).  The lambs are growing huge.  My oldest daughter claims her co-worker is "making" her take a kitten; I did remind her that at 18, she isn't taking the kitten, I am.  My dogs are rather rotten to any cat they feel is a "stray", so taking new cats is problematic.  This cat is part-Siamese, and I am fond of Siamese cats, but still.  The parakeet is looking lonely; I just need to talk to him more.

Always so  many creatures to think about.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Too tired to Farm....too bad!

It was a track meet day.  A hot, sunny, muggy track day.  If it weren't so exciting a day, I would be crankier than I am.  My son came from back in 6th place to win the race, pretty exciting stuff, and his big brother was there to see him and congratulate him - which I could tell made my younger son's day.

Anyway, I am home now, headachy, and way too tired, but I know I should be doing something besides sitting here.  Baking, cleaning, mucking out, planting seeds, anything!

I also have to make a call to the previous owner of the mare I sold.  She emailed me rather irately that I "still" hadn't contacted her - but I didn't even know she was trying to contact me!  I told her I really was too sad to talk about it, but she could email the new owner (something I haven't even done out of courtesy) for updates.  But I see a note here from a child asking me to call this person.  So, like so many things in life, I need to suck back the 'I don't wannas' and pull out the 'you gottas' to be courteous.  I hope I don't do something like cry....I am really grateful this horse has a person who has the time to really work with her.  I am grateful that Gib has a new home that is more like what he needs - lots of love, but not a lot of work until he settles in and feels less scared.  I just still feel a bit mournful that things worked out other than the original plan, if you know what I mean.

I am going to rest for 15 minutes more than then pick one chore to accomplish today.  That will make me feel better, and will probably wake me up a bit.  Once I am awake, maybe I will pull off TWO chores!

Friday, February 25, 2011


Due to the unexpected cancellation of our trainer today, we had a work day at work: only one meeting, not tutoring, no classes.  That means I was plowing out end of the trimester reports and trying to figure out what would happen with my new classes starting on Monday!  (I am not so ready, and this weekend isn't going to get me any readier: track meet tomorrow and Confirmation on Sunday).

But, all the paperwork-cranking was lightened by two nice things today.  One was my son getting a spot in the Driver's Ed program at the local high school.  The other had to do with Gib.  I am not sure if I have emphasized how very spooky this horse is...but anytime I walk near him in the stall, he is almost instantly on the other side of it.  I have to make a rather big production of telling him to, "Whoa, easy there, buddy," if I want to say hello.  Yet, this morning, I was making a big deal of the sheep, scratching Elvis, Dodie, and Minnie under their chins, when I felt a horse breathing down my neck.  I was certain it was Ohia, but when I turned around, it was Gib!  He stood there quietly to accept a pat on his neck.  It was as if he wanted his share of the affection that the sheep were hogging up.  What an excellent way to start the day.

Of course, the shiny new morning feeling was worn off when we got to the middle school and my 13 year old could find one sock - fortunately, (sigh) he had a sock puppet in the car that he brutally defaced (literally) to have another sock.  I am sure walking around all day with half a red puff ball nose under the tongue of your shoe isn't any fun.

I felt bad for my 11 year old.  It was Pa'ina day at school: which means water slides and fun stuff in the afternoon to celebrate the end of the marking period.  Since she has an infected scrape, she had to avoid the water slide.  Very much a bummer.

It's the big young adult/teen night at our house, once again.  I am going to make a huge batch of nachos, because I am feeling lazy about pizza dough.  I am longing for bed and the sun isn't even down.

Hope all of you had a blessed day.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Just a Minute...

Came home to feed, so I had better get hopping.  My 13 year old is in his play tonight!  This is the first one in three years his Dad will be able to attend, as he was home sick this week.

I took my 11 year old to the Urgent Care last night - staph infection (ewwh) from falling in the tack room.  Very yuck.

Most survived this rather stressful week: there were just so many different things going on that I was responsible for - more than usual, I mean.  Nearly had a tearful moment at 3:00 pm yesterday, but rallied and fixed the problem with the pizza delivery to the drama crew, made a start on fixing (ie resecheduling) the snowed in trainer who was supposed to show up on Friday to finish our training on Socratic Seminars, and got through the two days of student led conferences (in spite of ALL the mistakes I made in scheduling panels for the kids)....phew.

Haven't seen my animals except in the dark for the last three days - until now!  Better get out there and feed and pet and check every living thing.

Off to tell my son, "Break a Leg!"

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What an exasperating day...

Work was....rather unfortunately horrible.  I am in charge of a couple of big things this week and next, and there are so many little details and so many personalities.  It was just not fun to have to deal with these things (after working on some of it for several hours yesterday, a holiday, a sunny, beautiful holiday that had horse ride or garden written all over it) and teach the last day of the courses for the trimester.

On top of that, my identity has been stolen - or at least my debit cards (from two accounts), so I had to visit the police and the banks.  The police were ALL out on calls, so I had to go home and wait for an officer, since they were ALL up in my area.

I was hurrying up to feed all the animals as it was getting dark and waiting for the officer - he showed up JUST when I got the chicken waterer out of their run.  If I don't hurry to get the waterer filled and back in, Elvis finishes eating and has been known to trap me in the run.  I was inwardly grumbling that the officer came at the exact wrong time....and I started toward the driveway to direct him.  I tripped in a hole, dropped all the eggs I had just collected (and embarrassed myself, but hey, that's normal).

I know am a bit sore from my tumble, my head is hurting from the irritation of the fraudulent charges on my account, and I forgot something I needed to work on tonight on my desk (30 minutes away).

And, possibly the worst news, the sheep have lost respect for the electric fence....they were out, nibbling on my roses yesterday afternoon.... No one is dead or has a tummy ache, so I assume roses are okay for sheep.

Monday, February 21, 2011


It's amazing how much weeding you can do when stuck on the (cell) phone waiting for customer service to get their brains in gear.  Also pulled the last two daikon - not much root, must be too much nitrogen in the compost.  

I turn off my work brain when I am at home.  It's a good thing I checked my email and was reminded that I still didn't finish things for conferences this week.  Yikes.  I have a lot more work ahead of me today than I thought - so it's a good thing I spent an hour in the garden resolving my cell phone bill with the poor man (who finally put me through to his supervisor) named "Rex".  I seriously doubt that was his real name, but asking him to consider if this problem was happening to his poor mother....well, that got the trick done and I did all my weeding, too!  I have a laundry sink filled with the most giant daikon plant and a baby garlic I accidentally pulled up with the grass.

My vegetarian daughter is with friends - so we're having beef stew tonight.  And apparently, stir fry daikon root and leaves for a side dish.  I could pull some taro, too and make taro patties.... I guess it will depend on how much grading and conference planning I get done today.

I would rather be outside!  I am making so much progress with Gib.  He is really getting the idea that he is safe here: with his fear decreasing, his willing attitude is coming to the fore.  Today, I cleaned the stall without him completely panicking; in fact, he just kept on eating after an initial tensing up at the sight of the pitchfork and the wheelbarrow.  Big change, believe me.

But, sadly, I am inside for the duration until an inch thick stack of papers are graded and the conference schedules are made.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Building Trust

After seeing how frightened Gib got yesterday, I decided it was time to go back to basics.  Today we worked on responding to pressure: lowering the head (relax signal) with light pressure on the lead rope, and moving the shoulder away from tapping with the whip.  He is definitely resistant on the left, and has trust issues with his head - but after maybe 30-40 minutes of me being repetitively annoying, he was readily lowering his head and moving his shoulder over.

Then I had my 11 year old step up into the stirrup and then down, over and over until it became pretty blase for the horse.  Then she laid on his back and hopped down a few times, and then finally mounted several times.  He doesn't like to move when she is on him - turns into a statue - which is not the reaction when I get on or her brother.  I think he has a soft spot for kids, and even though number 3 child is only a year older than number 4 child - somehow for the horse it makes a difference.  When he finally calmed down enough to take a couple of steps and release his head - I stopped the day on a good note.  I felt like that was productive.  He is definitely coming toward me more in the stall, rather than automatically running for the corner.

My youngest and her friend tacked up the paint and gave each other pony rides.  They also gave their brothers pony rides, which was nice.  I am glad one of my four is interested in horses and willing to do the work of learning.

I also have had a number of my children's friends here all day - I think at the moment there are 9 people under the age of 20 (some quite a bit younger than 20) under my roof.  I need to go down and make a whole lot of pizza.  I wish I'd started the dough earlier.

I transplanted a bunch of tomato plants that were getting too big for their pots.  My huge pile of compost is coming in handy.  It is a really big pile thanks to the sheep and horses.  Quite a lot of it is ready to use, which is wonderful.  I was selling it, but have decided I need it more than I need the feed money it provides.  Tomorrow, I would like to plant some cukes, peas, and some kai choy, bok choy, and collards, as well as radish. Somethings are going to start in the green house, and some will be out in the garden - most the radishes and the cabbages will go directly out.  Cabbages do great here, and collards are practically perennial in Hawaii.

My husband has an opportunity for a semi-career change which would allow him to come home.    Please pray that things work out!

Friday, February 18, 2011

First ride at home

Poor Gib is still very frightened, which prompted an explosive situation when I mounted.  He doesn't buck or rear - he just tries to spin and run away - far away, as fast as he can.  Poor guy.  Bending his neck to one side and holding him with the outside leg works, but then he stands there and trembles.  Once you get going, he's tentative, but okay.  Today, most of what we did was get on and off , on and walk in a tight circle, get off and on....and hand walk all around the property.

It's going to take a lot of trust building until he doesn't panic when a rider mounts, the poor boy.  Probably have to back up a few steps and do a lot of ground work - they seemed to have skipped a lot when he was young.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ram vs Gelding

Sometimes I wish I just had a video camera strapped to my head, or perhaps just an iPhone in my pocket.

My husband came home early and let the sheep out into the bigger pasture.  I came home a few hours later and Audrey and the streaky lamb were out on the front lawn.  Apparently, now that Scarlett has moved, they feel that the horse stall is not off-limits, and once in the horse stall, the ewes can just squeeze through the galvanized pipe panels.

Elvis was trying to assert his ram-ness but the horses weren't having it.  Well, patient paint was just standing there looking at him - Elvis didn't know what to do, because he couldn't reach anything to butt satisfactorily and Ohia wasn't impressed.  So Elvis turned to Gib - who promptly bit him on the head.  Not hard, just a warning.

Elvis obviously felt that Ohia was better company, because he went and stood nose to nose to him.

I really wanted a camera.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Another Peaceful Afternoon

I am sure it was because I was mentally gearing myself up to do my normal marathon Wednesday, where kids have back to back activities - then the sudden absence of all of those driving commitments meant even though I got home 12 hours after leaving the contrast was so much better, it felt peaceful.  I guess that's like the phenomena of hitting your head against the wall because it feels good when you stop.

First, my college-aged child called and said she was at her alma mater with her brother, so there was no 15 mile side-trip to the university.  Then, my 3rd child said he had too much homework to go to his Wednesday evening activity.  That saved me an extra 60 miles of driving.  I actually got a nap in the car while waiting for athletics and play practice to finish....

When we got home, my youngest and I visited Gib.  I had used a few of those extra minutes saved to look up swayback on Google.  I found out how to measure to see if a horse was swaybacked, or just looked like it because of tall withers.  Gib's apparent dip is not swayback - it's the same ratio as the other horse, but his back is quite long.  He is also taller than I thought. He turns out to be 15.2!  I guess I am just used to my monster mare, so he looked small - and his head carriage is so high because he is so nervous, and because of his breeding, a bit, I suppose, so it makes his back look lower.  That long back and relatively long neck make his legs look short, too - especially since his head is so far up in the air.   However, his walk and trot are pretty lofty, considering.  In fact, I was thinking, "Nah, don't need this horse," until I saw him trot.

I played with him a bit - working on giving his head, lowering at the poll when asked, flexing bending.  He is quite a willing guy. He will readily give his head when asked, but it pops back up when you release pressure.  I think working on collection and impulsion will help - but that long back will make it harder for him to collect, that's for sure.  Mostly, I want him to move off the leg and seat aids and lighten him up in the mouth.  People have just been yanking on him.

Now for sheep news:  Audrey is starting to snot up again: really having trouble with her nasal bots.  I switched wormers and that helped, but she needs it again I suppose.  None of the other sheep are having the same issue.  All the lambs are getting big - it's a blast to see them racing around in a big circle and jumping on each other.  Hulu is especially tricky: he will sit there grazing peacefully, and then suddenly jump on any sheep that wanders close, fooled by his apparent absorption.  Even Elvis is not immune from the tricks of the lambs.

Yesterday I got a bunch of eggs, but today, only 4 from the mature hens.  One hen is just not laying.  I wish I knew which one it was - she'd be stew.  It's fun to see the difference between the pullet eggs and the mature eggs. They are so cute and small.  I hope to use the long weekend (Saturday's full) to get some seeds in the ground and to bake a lot of bread.  Probably, I should use part of Monday to get some cleaning done!  Also, next week is the end of a grading term, so it is time to grade a stack of papers... not too long 'til Spring Break - I can get a lot done around here during those two weeks.  I am looking forward to it.

Maybe I should name Gib "Peace" - he seems to be strewing it everywhere.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Eggs, beautiful eggs...

I got 8 eggs from my hens today. Several of them were pullet eggs - those little ones hens lay when they are just starting out.  They are adorable, but not so much food.  I have buyers lined up when I want to sell them, so it works out to be getting this many - expecting more as they get older.

Decided to come home between one round of pick ups and the second round of pick ups.  I love it that Gib comes in when the paint does - he is a lot calmer and less afraid today.  He is also very gentle with the sheep.  Scarlett sure wasn't - she was always chasing them.  Today the sheep decided to make a visit to the horse stall. Ohia doesn't even turn a hair, and all Gib did was give a small ears back of displeasure.

I was missing Scarlett today, but Gib is already stealing my heart.

I can't really be driving home in between picking up kids - it's too far, too up the mountain, and my car is getting old, but it was nice today.

I have a lot of ripe guavas, my tangerine tree is really starting to put out fruit, and the lemon tree is abundant....and there're more and more lovely eggs everyday.

Monday, February 14, 2011

'Kay, this is going to sound nuts...

Yup, as I was upstairs dealing with my frustration at having to sell my mare....and my poor gelding was weaving and calling until he was hoarse... I followed my usual habit of cruising craigslist for sheep and looking at horses just 'cuz.  My husband was looking over my shoulder and we saw a gelding for not much.

We looked at the picture; he was a gray 8 year old, nothing special.  Looked a bit smallish, but solid.  So my husband called.  The people answered, explained they were selling the horse for a friend and they weren't home, and there tons of people calling because the horse was so cheap, etc.  My husband decided he's pray about it a bit, and I sort of put it out of my mind.

Well, they called back.  We drove over (not far) and took a look at the horse.  He was pretty spooky.  Someone's hit this horse somewhere along the line: dogs didn't bother him, wheeled objects didn't bother him, even unexpected noises (he'd been out in pasture the last 8 months) were a breeze.  But a person coming toward him was scary.  He carries his head way up high and his ears pricked; he's nervous.

I rode him a bit.  He was jumpy but not naughty.  He has a go and a whoa, but no neck reining, doesn't move off the leg aids.  He's been banged up some out in pasture - had what looked like a nasty wire cut healed over, but it didn't get his tendons.

My daughter fell in love with him - honestly, slap a horn on the guy and he's a 11 year old girl's fantasy unicorn.  She walked right up to him and gave him a big hug around his neck.  He stood as still as a statue, except for licking and chewing (means he's ready to listen in horse speak).

We brought him home (no three week hemming and hawing for us (:  ).  My gelding was thrilled - poor pitiful guy was standing at the gate he last saw the mare, weaving (HATE that habit) and too hoarse to call anymore.  He'd worn himself out grieving.  He took one look at the gray and visibly relaxed.  They aren't close, yet, but they're comfortable.  I figure if the child falls out of love with him, if I put some trust into him and get him light and moving off aids, he'll be easy to sell. I got him for such a good price, it was worth the try.  And I have someone to ride while the paint convalesces!

So even though I have a big mare sized hole in my heart - I have a small gelding to fill part of it.

What do you think?  I had a struggling reader who loved a book called Gib and the Gray Ghost so much she read it several times in one year.  I was thinking Gibson might be a good name - but I draw the line at calling him Mel.  My little girl wanted to call him Fantasy, but I had a hard time imagining myself trying to call him in from the pasture.....

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bye, Bye, Baby Girl.

It would have been nice if they told me a time besides "afternoon".  Oh well.  I don't know whether to start the week's baking or go out and do some work in the greenhouse or the garden or just twiddle my thumbs with the horses....and there is always laundry, always, always, laundry. Sigh.

I hope my gelding handles this okay.  I hope I handle this okay!  

Oh, well, whatever I decide to do, I had better be out and about doing it. I stopped at Home Depot to get some pots and bought a few seeds.  I need to be better at not impulse buying tiny little packages of seeds.  The other day, I bought some aluminum tape at Home Depot and walked out with four packages of seeds.  Today I went in for some 5 gallon planting pots and walked out with four more packages of seeds.  I could have bought a pound of seeds at a wholesaler for what I spent on a few ounces!  I guess you shouldn't go into a hardware store thinking of a garden, just as you shouldn't go grocery shopping while hungry.

The aluminum tape wasn't for a project.  My daughter (in college) is going to the Prom at her alma mater.  Her brother invited her - which is not as weird as it sounds. Apparently, the kids who are still juniors and seniors are inviting their recently graduated friends so the whole big gang can go together.  So my daughter is going with her brother, someone else is inviting her boyfriend and her best friend, etc.  However, my daughter thinks that going to a high school prom as a college student deserves an ironic statement rather than a real party dress - so the plan is to make a prom dress out of a shower curtain with a tree frog on it, and aluminum flashing tape.  We'll see.  If it is a failing ironic statement, there is always a $14 dress from Ross.....or Grandma visiting the thrift stores in Kahala on Oahu - where you can get some insanely nice things for a few bucks.  One of my mom's friends bought a $400 blouse (tags still on) for $4!  You don't find things like that on the Big Island.  I think most of the people here are more of my persuasion: wear things till they fall off.

Send good thoughts for me today.  Selling my horse is one of the hardest things I have had to do in what's amounted to three or four very hard years in a row here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Track Meet!

The first Age Group track meet of the year is tomorrow.  It will be a long, long, looooong day.  I hope that Coach doesn't put my 13 year old on a relay team, because that just makes a long, hot day wear out into the evening.  If it is hot and voggy tomorrow, like it it today, we'll have kids passing out left and right.

Fortunately, this is my first year not coaching, so I can just be the bystander parent....unless coach needs help out on the field.

My mare will be heading out to her new home on Sunday.  Feeling sad, but I'll deal with it.  I hope my gelding manages being a single horse again - hope he learns to love the sheep!  They were out in the yard last night (Baby Girl is quite clever with gates) and he looked great - walking out without pain.

Little Niele (Ellie) is starting to call out at feeding time.  I hope she is not as loud as her half sister, Minnie, when she grows up - that ewe can belt it out - but she does have a cute little, "Maaaa" right now.  The three ram lambs are much quieter.

Wish my kids luck - we have the 100, 200, and running triple jump for the 11 year old, and the 800 and 1600 and the high jump for the 13 year old.  There are about a million heats for the sprints, but the long distance runs are much more sparsely populated.  In fact, they usually run the girls and boys together for the mile at least.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Walk sneaky and carry a piece of plywood.

I have discovered the secret to sneaking into the sheep pen to get to the chicken run....carry plywood.  Elvis thinks its a fence, apparently. He comes right up and asks for pets and doesn't even think about butting.  Kind of awkward to carry a flashlight, a piece of plywood big enough to mimic a fence, and the heavy filled chicken waterer and a coffee can of feed, but hey, needs must.

Good thing I am good at the whole holding your life in your hands - sometimes I think I have 12 hands.

When we were building the greenhouse, my habit of holding on to everything I pick up, developed when I had all those toddlers and babies, became a problem.  My husband would say, "Nancy, put DOWN the level before you try to hold that piece up."  Oh yeah.....but then five minutes later there I am with the hammer under my arm, the level under the other, and two pieces of pvc, trying to stand there holding things in place.  "Nancy, put it DOWN." Oh, yeah...

When we used to live in the city, when my big kids were very small, we lived up two flights of stairs in an apartment complex.  I would walk with the kids in the stroller to do the marketing and then walk home and then have to figure out how to get two babies and loads of groceries and a stroller up those stairs.  I got creative and very good at carting awkward, heavy, and precious things with a death grip lest I drop anything.  I guess the habit stuck with me.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I miss laughing.  You know that deep belly ache laugh that causes snot to come out of your nose and your stomach muscles a good work out?  I miss that.  I haven’t had a laugh like that in such a very long time.  
I miss not feeling worried deep down at the bottom of my stomach all the time.  Even when I am busy and involved and happy in my work, there is still that deep gnawing worry about what is going to happen next, what could go wrong.  As if there were two parts of me co-existing rather uneasily.  
I miss the feeling that all your work is done, there is nothing to do but something frivolous: reading for hours and then talking about the book...baking fussy cookies for the intricacy of it, rather than bread because “we gotta eat”.... working on a Hawaiian quilt, even though I am very bad at it and have to rip out half the stitches anyway.  It’s kind of like the growing flowers instead of food, just because they’re pretty.  There isn’t any room for metaphorical flowers in my life right now.  
I miss that feeling that you are done with your work.  That first day of summer vacation when you are a small kid (when you don’t have to rush out and find a summer job) and the whole long glorious stretch of warm sunny days and games of capture the flag stretches out in front of you.  Heck, I would settle for going to bed at night with the day’s list all done and no big list facing me the next morning!  
This is not to say that I don’t have things that I am grateful for now.  I am grateful beyond words for my family and for the opportunity to work together toward homesteading.  My job stretches my mind and allows me to work with some pretty amazing kids and teachers.  I am healthy, strong, and learning new things every day.  I am so grateful for friends, near and far (and the internet to keep in touch with them).  I am a fortunate woman, all told.  
There are still things to miss, though.  

Monday, February 7, 2011

Yay! The Younger hens started laying!

I went out and found a tiny pullet egg out there in the pile today!  That means the others won't be far behind.

One of my older hens isn't laying very well.  I know it is the one that is laying the fragile, very pointed eggs, but beats me which hen that is!

Now that the younger hens (of which I have ten) are starting to lay, I will have more eggs than I know what to do with - except that lots of people at work want to buy them.

The people who have been thinking about the horse have decided on buying her.  This has been such a long process, and a painful one, to be honest.  I just want her to have a good life, and the sooner that she gets started on it, the easier it will be on me - seeing her out there and knowing she's leaving just seems more painful than having her gone.  It feels like a dream is dying, never a fun feeling, but I need to live my life - and right now, my life is driving kids around, and feeding sheep, and teaching.  My life doesn't include teaching a young mare to behave, or training her to saddle, not right now anyway.

Yesterday, for inside chores I made 24 sandwich buns, a pot of potato and leek soup, a loaf of sandwich bread and finished the FAFSA.  Outside, I trimmed 6 out of 8 sheep's hooves and wormed 4 out of the eight (babies seemed too young? Maybe someone can advise?) and did a quick run through the garden to get the most obvious weeds, and a quick run through the stalls.  Tonight, I do need to work on taxes and folding laundry (the chore that never ends).  Fortunately, there is enough soup and sandwich rolls for dinner tonight, too.  I also have quite a lot of grading, but since most of them are late assignments, I don't feel the absolute need to get them back right away - you miss the deadline, you are lucky I will even grade it....

Off to finish the second (or third, depending how you count it) part of my day!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sheep day!

I really need to do a lot of sheep chores (feet trims, worming, mucking out) today.  Since Confirmation classes are right after church, most of Sunday is already gone.  My husband is gone, since this was the cheap day to fly (and it is fun to watch the Superbowl with your childhood friends), so I need to take my football-y son to my brother-in-law's to watch with the guys.  I could sit here and watch (and fold laundry), but it just wouldn't be the same for him.  

Before we head out, I need help catching and holding sheep for all the shenanigans that are going to happen. And before that, I need to start some banana bread to take over, so he isn't just showing up hungry and without a contribution.   I guess I need to get off this computer and get hopping.  The plan is to have the two boys hold the 4 x 8 plywood up to herd the sheep in the corner, and then for me and the youngest to go in and dose them up.  I probably need the 16 year old to push the ram up against the wall so I can lift his feet to trim.  Then I need to chase them out to pasture so I can clean in the pen.

All of this is on top of a stack of grading, the taxes/Financial Aid things, and the weekly baking - and the ubiquitous laundry folding.  I would lay a bet that I won't get everything I need done today done at all.  Oh, well, one can only try.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Life is Good.

Thanks, Chai Chai for the "Life is Good" award!

I am going to pass this award along to Beyond My Kitchen Window, because she makes things look beautiful and passes along such yummy recipes and also to Kelly at Mainelyewes because of her inspiring winter projects.

There are some tasks that go along with this award beyond passing it along, so here goes....

1. If you blog anonymously, are you happy doing this? If you are not anonymous, do you wish that you had started out anonymously, so that you could be anonymous now?

I guess I blog semi-anonymously.  So far, the people I have met on the blog have been inspiring and so kind, so so far so good!  

2. Describe an incident that shows your inner stubborn side.

 Even though it might have made a lot of sense to move back to Oahu three years ago, I just knew deep down that holding on to this land was important.  I am still not sure that I was right to be that stubborn - usually I try to be very compliant - but that's the path we're on, so we'll play out the hand. 

3. What do you see when you really look at yourself in the mirror?

A person with more to do!  
4. What is your favorite summer cold drink?

I love lemonade made from the lemons on our tree and iced tea.   

5. When you take time for yourself, what do you do?

  Reading, hands down - but if I had a ridable horse, that would be my very first choice: a long ride.   

6. Is there something that you still want to accomplish in your life? What is it?

  I would love to get my PhD.  

 7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever, the shy person, or always ditching?

Overachiever - and that is saying something in light of the pressure cooker school I attended in Honolulu.  

8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment in your life, what would you see?

  If I say one thing, I will short at least five people in my I will just wrap it all up with the birth of ALL of my kids. 

9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events?

 I try to make my life more amusing than it sometimes feels.  It helps :).  I like writing about the sheep and the horses.  

10. If you had the choice to sit down and read a book or talk on the phone, which would you do and why?

Read, on most days - although I do enjoy talking to friends.  It is just that, if I am on the phone talking, I feel like I also have to be cleaning.  It is just a weird habit.  Reading is the most persistent habit of my life, and the one habit in which I find the most comfort, besides being on a horse.  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Another Hapless moment....

As extra protection from chicken stealing dogs, the chicken run gate is inside the sheep run.  Good idea - to keep the chickens several fence layers away from hungry dog jaws.

When I get trapped in the chicken run by a protective ram, though - not such a good idea.

The chicken run roof by the gate is lower than I am, so I crouched there, exhorting the ram to move away from the gate, yelling for my daughter (left cell phone in the house) to come and rattle the magic feed can, and trying to figure out how to distract him in the likely event she couldn't hear me.  Meanwhile, my rooster was considering my bottom as target practice.  Trapped between two protective males.

My daughter didn't, in fact, hear me, which is understandable considering the chicken run is behind the barn and a good 100 feet away from the house.  Finally, I just grabbed the chicken waterer and put it in front of me.  The ram doesn't like the sound of water in the hand of a human, so I locked the chicken gate behind me - literally behind me - with one hand, backed toward the sheep run gate and as he came charging out, slammed the gate in his face.

All that was left was to figure out how to get the chicken water back into the chickens.  I ended up dropping it through a hole in the chicken run roof.  Which meant I had to reach over fence where the sheep were running around like it was a race course and drop it (heavy and full) and hope no hens ran under it at the last minute.

Never a dull moment in the mud, I guess.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Delinquent me

I have been absent from the blog (and keeping up with other's blogs) for five or six days here.  I have been having a bit of internet trouble at home and it's that season again: track and field/tax/scholarship search time.

On top of that, February is a rather brutal month in education.  Apparently aware of the post-holiday blahs in the classroom, people plan lots and lots of Professional Development opportunities.  Between track meets (much, much longer than cross country meets and involving uncomfortable and frequently long and rainy intervals on hard bleachers) and Professional Development opportunities, my Saturdays are shot through April.  And somewhere in there, I need to do the taxes, the FAFSA, and other scholarship.  paperwork.  The farm is going to have to fit into the rest of my life, which we all know is a ludicrous statement.  Farms don't "fit in", they take precedence, often in the form of small (and large) unexpected happenings.

If I think about everything I would like to be able to do, and need to do, I would start feeling a little overwhelmed.  I just need to think how I am going to work through my first period class.  The copier quit on me 2 copies into a 10 copy run (of an 88 page public domain Shakespeare play).  Working for a school with no textbooks and no money for textbooks makes for some interesting dilemmas when the copier gets a glitch.  Time to get creative....

On the farm front, the lambs are growing so fast!  I need to take new pictures.  I am still back and forthing with the woman who is considering buying my mare.  I am still of two minds about it, but considering that all my Saturdays through April are already spoken for, and half of Sundays through May (Confirmation classes - not only is my son being Confirmed, but one of my students asked me to be her Sponsor, as well), it is obvious I do not have time for this horse.  I am just so sad about it, having it prolonged like this is really painful.  I think once she is gone, I will just "cowgirl up" and get over it, but seeing her everyday is a fresh reminder.