Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Waiting for Spring Break

I must need Spring Break.  I am dreaming of work - I wake up and astonished that I didn't teach the class already.  Well, last night's dream was a nightmare - I wasn't astonished this morning, I was relieved. 

It's been so rainy for the last couple of weeks, I almost forget what blue sky looks like.  It is often like this in February-March, so I am not surprised.  I think the nutrients are washing out of the topsoil; we've had to supplement the sheep a bit more with bought food.  The grazing gets like water, I think, when it rains this much. 

The orphan sheep are doing surprisingly well, growing and holding their own.  Audrey, Minnie's mom, is due soon.  I was thinking another 2-3 weeks, but she is just HUGE.  I was palpating her abdomen yesterday and I could feel what felt like quite a large hoof sliding by - I hope I am off on my dates and she delivers sooner, rather than later.  She is certainly bagging up, but she's had so many deliveries, that isn't as reliable.  It looks like my young ewe, Niele, has also caught, since it would be about the time someone would be chasing her around.  I keep my ram with my flock during the day, and these hair sheep have three births in two years, so sometimes it is not easy to know exact dates.  I keep an eye on behavior to get a clue on who's caught and count from there.  Thankfully, they do have fairly easy births.  The only one who had a uterine torsion and needed a C-section was a different breed. 

Audrey is an awesome mom, so I am hoping for a good easy birth and that she will do her usual excellent job at caring for the babies.  I am fairly sure there are two, because her girth is quite expansive.  I hope everything goes as well as I expect, because the worry over Buddy and then the loss of Minnie was fairly stressful. 

I am kind of blathering on here, so I guess I will stop.  

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Weekend Was a Doozy

Saturday was pretty much all kids activities.  My younger daughter volunteered to work on the Makali'i, a Hawaiian voyaging canoe - she had to be at school at 7 am and was meant to be back at 9 pm, but the real arrival was closer to 10 pm.

I was very tired because my son had both a track meet and a wrestling meet.  Fortunately, they were both at the same place, so he was able to do his high jump, run over to wrestling and wrestle three rounds, then run back and do his 400 m run, and his 4 x200 m relay.  This is after he was gone all week working hard on various fish ponds and lo'i on Moloka'i with his class.  (He lost his expensive shoes and his expensive jacket along the way...).  I have no right to say I am tired - if anyone should be tired, it should be him.  But I am - track meets wear me out.  It was his 7th and final season in Age Group Track, which is amazing, actually.  If I were crafty and motivated, I could do some kind of display with his medals and what not - but I am not, so there you go.  I will have to go with the memories.  Some of the kids I coached when they were in 4th grade will be coming up to high school next year - it's just crazy how time flies. 

Running the 4 x 200 m relay in (school) record time was a pretty good way for the boys to end their Age Group career.   It's the laaaaassst race of a very long day, so most coaches pack it in before then - there were two teams running - a girl team and a boy team - so they were running against the clock rather than another team. 

Depending on my daughter, I may have an 8th season next year, but who knows - this year she had to make some choices between track, honor band, and the Makali'i.  She ended up doing a little bit of all of them. 

On Sunday, I decided to make stuffed rolls.  I cooked up several pounds of chicken thighs in the crock pot with carrots, cooked a kabocha pumpkin and several Okinawan sweet potatoes and started a double batch of whole wheat dough.  I divided the chicken mixture in two and seasoned some with curry and the rest with teriyaki sauce.  I froze a bit of the kabocha pumpkin and used the rest for the stuffed rolls.  I flattened disks of dough and placed the fillings in the middle and sealed them up.  So I could tell which was which I shaped them differently - the pumpkin ones were made into crescents, the purple sweet potato version was a ball.  The chicken version was also formed into a ball, but I sprinkled it with paprika so I could tell which was which.  I guess they were a little like manapua, but whole wheat and baked.  It took pretty  much all day and for some reason I had a grand-daddy of a headache.

It was worth it, though - I had two for lunch and they were delicious.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Remember You Are Dust....

It's Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten Season. 

Lent made a lot of sense in northern climates which lived (and ate) by a agricultural calendar.  By the middle of February-beginning of March, people probably started to run out of things that they'd put up at the end of summer and the beginning of fall.  It was a good time to use the natural rhythms of the year, to fast and make positive changes in your life with reflection. 

When I was growing up, fasting meant "giving up something for Lent."  As a kid, that often meant giving up candy or your favorite TV show.  I never had the guts to give up reading novels, like one of my nieces did one year... As an adult, I am more likely to try to do something positive rather than giving up something.  I suppose I am giving up time. 

Lenten Promises are a bit like New Year's Resolutions, because you are gearing up for Easter, a different kind of New. 

I find that Lent kind of sneaked up on me this year - I haven't given much thought to either what I could give up or what I could do that would be beneficial to my community or myself this year.  In a lot of ways, I feel like I have been living in Lent for the last seven months, since my husband separated from his job (except that he's home and lots of things are easier - like feeding the animals and getting kids to appointments that happen during work).  There aren't any new books, or clothes, or anything like that.  I even have to think twice about that second gallon of milk for the week. 

It's really okay, though.  Only one kid kind of whines about it every so often, but mostly because he lived on cereal before I stopped buying it.  Otherwise, I point out (and they agree), you have clothes, you have a house, you are not starving (I make lots of muffins and waffles and yummy snacks), you have been able to save up and buy the extra things you want by your own work - you are not lacking. 

It does make it hard to "give up" or "add" something for Lent though.  I work at work, then I come home and work at home, I say my prayers at night, and sleep, dreaming of more work and wake up feeling like I put in a full day. 

I am just going to have to get more creative with this Lent stuff.  Maybe making an extra effort to finish that rosary instead of falling asleep in the middle :).  Or maybe I can say a rosary in the car on the drive home, instead of thinking about what I should cook for dinner.  Or maybe I can go out of my way to be nice to that person who makes me feel so uncomfortable at work.  Hmm....that last one is particularly uncomfortable - I prefer to avoid her as much as possible.  I guess I found my Lent thing.  Arrgggh. 

I have to admit, I am really not fond of Lent.  The minute Ash Wednesday rolls around, I start feeling somber, and it deepens as the six weeks go on - but I tell you, Easter is always glorious!  (I do take a small break for my birthday, which is ALWAYS smack dab in the middle of purple, somber Lent). 

Looking forward to Easter, already.  Easter and spring - new life in all kinds of ways.  New seeds, new garden beds, newly fresh growing things, new chicks, new lambs.....

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It's Raining, It's Pouring...

Apparently, there is quite a bit of snow on the mountains (Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa), but I can't see it because it is pouring rain - the clouds obscure the view.  Too bad.  It's so pretty when there is a lot of snow.

There was a terrific thunderstorm on Saturday night.  It was so loud and so close, it was quite hard to sleep.  Apparently, it also caused issues with our internet provider, because we were without the internet for most of Sunday and Monday.  (So Mom and older daughter, I am not quite done with the FAFSA, but I will be able to finish tonight, assuming the internet is still functional). 

Because of the rain and because I really needed to catch up on rest - I didn't do much this weekend.  I was blessed to see two good friends:  on Sunday, one of my best friends from high school was in town for a baby luau so I was able to see her for an hour or two, and on Monday, my dear friend from my old job took me to lunch.  I honestly needed that, even though the tomato seedlings didn't get transplanted...and the animal stalls only got a cursory doing.  (I did do the baking, but not the laundry). 

It's an odd thing to take time off.  I was inclined to feel a bit guilty about what was not getting done, but I consciously decided to discount that tendency and just enjoy that I got to see my friends.  I so rarely do anything but work, home chores, and church.  It was interesting to walk around in Hilo and see all those people shopping and just buying food for fun.  If I could avoid shopping of any kind for the rest of my life, I really wouldn't mind.  I have always sort of hated clothes shopping - I like new clothes, but hate shopping - and when I think back over the last 15 years or so, what I remember most is shopping, mostly for groceries - not so long ago, dragging for little ones with me. I know a lot of other things happened during those years, especially since living 20 miles away from the store meant I would go about once a week, but, right now, in my recollection, I am walking around the grocery store or standing in line at the feed store (actually, the feed store is the highlight of my social life these days).  It's a rather sad realization.  

Friday, February 17, 2012

Is this week over????

I literally have felt like it was Friday every day this week since Tuesday.  You can appreciate that this would make the week quite long. 

Last night, my 8th grader played Macbeth in "I Hate Shakespeare" (Actually, he was "MacBuh" since it is bad luck to name the "Scottish Play" on stage - a little joke).  I got to sit with my college classmate, which was pretty fun.  Even though we've both moved to Hilo and our kids are friends at school, we so rarely get to see each other. It was very enjoyable, but the combination of being out until 8:30 and then having to stay awake until my son got home from a special dinner with his girlfriend's family....well, I am extra tired this morning. 

I am sleeping in to at least 7:00 am tomorrow.  I know there are a lot of things around the farm that need to be done, but there are no track meets, band practices, or other school/church/community activities - I am going to sleep.  In spite of my own inner conscience and the unspoken, mild disapproval of my early-waking spouse, I am going to be lazy.  I will probably curse myself later in the day when I don't accomplish as much as I have planned, but I fully intend to recharge my sleep batteries. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Moʻolelo are stories - especially stories that make you who you are.  What I like about this word versus the English word "stories" is that it contains the word ʻōlelo, defined in one dictionary as: speech, word, quotation, statement, utterance, term, tidings; to speak, say, state, talk, mention, quote, converse, tell; oral, verbatim, verbal, motion (in early House of Nobles regulations).  I like the emphasis on words and conversation.

Think of the stories you have for yourself - the stories about your family, about your place, about your own personal history.  Aren't they like a conversation with the past, with your own past?

Sort of ludicrously, I have been asked to talk about my experience of the Hawaiian Renaissance in music.  I was only in middle school/high school.  I am not a musician, not really - even after 7 years in various band programs as a kid and various experiences on church choirs.  To prepare to face the ninth graders with my "thoughts", manaʻo, I have been looking at YouTube videos, thinking about the major themes of love of place, protest, identity - thinking about what songs to share and what to say.

I guess, even though I am not a musician and my only claim to any kind of anything on this topic is having grown up with and loved the music, I did hold this music very dear to me.  I went away to college to the mainland.  I was, in retrospect, ridiculously homesick - a lot of us were, those from Hawaii.  We used to gather in my dorm room and sing for hours - that music was an anthem for us.  Our Hawaii Club t-shirt one year had a high school-ish line drawing of a breaking wave, a girl with a tear in her eye, and the slogan "Far Too Wide For Me", which was a song back-in-the-day about having to leave home, missing Hawaii.  I think the girl had the silhouette of a palm tree in her eye.  I could be mistaken.  It was maudlin, yup.

I know I am not the only 18 year old who boarded a plane and cried as "Honolulu City Lights" by Keola Beamer played in our Walkman.  There seemed to be a whole slew of songs about home - about leaving home, about appreciating home, about how home was the best and most beautiful place.

This old music has become the background of my life - it gets played less and less on the radio as new trends come up, so really searching out resources and remembering has been pretty eye-opening. I am feeling distinctly sentimental this afternoon, but I am also seeing the themes and ideas through English teacher's eyes and it is pretty interesting.  Off to finish my presentation!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Murphy's Law

I really hate February.  I used to not like it because it is probably the worst month in schools for both teacher and student burn-out.  There isn't any reason for the burn out - the month is short, you just finished a nice long break and Spring Break is around the corner - but the month seems to be a nadir. 

Now I hate it because it means financial aid applications.  Last night, I particularly hated it because my computer with my half done taxes crashed, which meant I didn't have the information easily available that I needed for the TWO different applications for MIT.  After trying to repair the software issue on my nine year old computer, I finally kicked my son off his computer (which he needed to do his programming job) because, after all, those were his applications. 

On top of that, our internet provider is not terribly reliable between 7:30- 9:00 pm, so the connection kept going down, which meant I had to redo several sections repeatedly.  

I am very sad that I spent the whole of Superbowl Sunday doing my taxes and not I have to re-install the software on a different computer and do them OVER.  I was very close to getting done - I didn't finish because I needed information from my husband, and he was - well, watching the Superbowl.  Not only do I have to do them over, but I have to re-do the FAFSA.  I have to do it for my daughter, as well as the College Board CSS thing, which, believe it or not, is worse than the FAFSA.  Plus, it costs money, but since it has the "extra information" place, it might save me from the dance with the financial aid office - the one where you explain, last year's taxes notwithstanding, our income is less than half of what it was last year, job loss yada, yada, yada....

I didn't have time to exercise, but going up and down two flights of stairs repeatedly looking for old tax documents (which I would normally find all neatly organized on the computer - grrrr) substituted for that. 

I did get them done, though - even though, since I didn't actually finish my taxes, I have to "update" (re-do) the FAFSA,  and do the whole IDOC thing for the College Board application.  I have years more of this, because number two child is heading to college, and right when he graduates, number 3 hits college age - if he chooses college. 

In the middle of that, I forgot I had to bring a breakfast food to our morning meeting (I was going to make a sweet bread braid), got to bed at about midnight, heard the alarm at 5 am and had to get up and make muffins in a hurry.  They aren't as good as the breaded bread recipe from my grandma, but they will work.  Maybe the fact that they came out okay means that Murphy's Law will let go of the day and let it all sail smoothly. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

All in the Timing.

Yesterday was rather limited because my youngest had the county band practice - it's not the real county band, but rather a middle school version.  She was late because of me - I was trying to get something done so I could feel productive.  I was not brought up to be late, believe me, but somehow my husband's side of the family has rubbed off on me.  It has somehow become okay to be a little bit late if you are working on something and need to finish it up. 

The way we were brought up, my sister and I, was you were 15 minutes early for everything, and when you were at the airport with Dad, and they called the first call for seats, you were on the plane - even though you weren't traveling with children under the age of 5 or anywhere needing assistance with boarding. 

My poor children must be so confused, because I still pretty much raised them up the way I was raised (minus the boarding the airplane thing - I figure your seat isn't going anywhere and sitting for an extra bunch of time in a plane where everyone is bumping you with their bags isn't productive), but their dad seems to almost invariably take a shower right when it's time to leave.  My kids need to pick their model - if you are the 14 year old and it's a school day, you pick the dad model - only it isn't a shower you are doing at the last minute, it's getting out of bed.  I wake him up at 5:30, his alarm rings at 6:00, and his feet hit the floor at 6:15 and not a minute before.  We're out the door between 5 and 7 minutes later.  Fortunately, he can eat breakfast at school. 

I have been telling him for a couple of weeks that today he needed to get up earlier, because I had to be at work earlier today.  He did get up earlier - but we still didn't get out the door until the regular time.   Sometimes I wonder if I reset his clock so it was running ahead if it would help him get up at a more reasonable hour. 

Yesterdays lateness was because I wanted to both dig up part of my garden in preparation for new planting and I wanted to clean the animal housing.  This made me so dirty I needed a bath.  My daughter just rolled her eyes at me and said, "What?  Are you dad now?" 

I just pointed out that my bath was like 3 minutes long, whereas Dad will take take his time while I am fuming out in the car - channeling my inner own father at his most timely.  The practice was 3 hours long so I cruised to town, bought some flour and butter (wishing I could make my own) and then sat in the car for two restful hours reading a book.  I know I am not the only mom who takes advantage to rest while waiting for kids to get done with activities. 

The band directors didn't let the kids out until they were well over 15 minutes past schedule, so I felt much less guilty when my daughter said, "Mr. H said I shouldn't be late again."  Since we had yet to go to Mass and the last one of the day is at 6 pm, I foresaw the problem as the band practice went late.  I started calling home (I know, I am annoying), "Make sure the boys are ready - we're going to be late...."  That was code for, "Get the boys ready, and get yourself ready - stop your project on time, take your darned bath....." 

Of course,  the boys were ready, but my husband was still working outside.  He still needed his bath.  We were five minutes late for Mass. Everyone is on Hilo time, though, so we easily found a seat - the church doesn't fill up until about 10 minutes after Mass starts.  But my upbringing still makes me cringe as we slide into our seats, late, in front of all those eyes. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Track Meet and Cooking

On Friday, a gaggle of young men came over.  Cranky me (tired me) texted my son several times about their plans for dinner.  Finally, after the third, "We're not sure,"  I just told my son if you don't tell me by 5:30, we're having leftovers and you boys will have to bring something to add, because there isn't enough. 

Well, they showed up with 3 lbs of the gnarliest bacon, won ton wrappers and various other ingredients and made very professional looking won ton.  They fried them up, cleaned the kitchen completely, and had enough bacon leftover for fried rice in the morning.  The four of them ate about 10 cups of fried rice! 

I am absolutely biased, but I think kids who take part in individual sports, like running and swimming, tend to be really nice kids.  This is not to diss the kids who are in team sports, or no sports, but I have to say that through years of age group track and high school Cross Country and Track, my kids have made some really nice friends. 

Which leads me to yesterday's marathon Age Group Track meet.  Beyond getting poured on while using my umbrella to shield the 12 year old girls discus competitors from the rain and having to really argue to convince the security guard that, yes, there really is parking in the teacher's parking lot, and yes, I really am going to work in my classroom as well as attend the track meet (I wouldn't have argued so much if I didn't want have to bring a big heavy box of newspapers one teacher saved for me for mulch - I would have ended up parking a good mile away from my classroom otherwise), the meet was great.  My son placed second in high jump and his relay team broke the school record for the 4 X 200 - they were pretty amazing.  I was laughing ruefully with one of the other mothers, because we were both pretty annoyed when we found out our sons dropped their individual events to run this event - the last race in a really long day.  My daughter did well in her first attempt at shot put and discus (for a not very big girl, she did well), and she showed her real strength of character by taking my place in the concession stand and working with her aunty so I could watch her brother in his events and do some last work in preparation for the week ahead at school.  She is only 12, but she is a huge help to me in so many ways. 

She is going through the identity issues - her brother told me (gossip city) she started crying in Hawaiian class because all her siblings had something they were good at - programming, sports, etc. but she had nothing.  I told her, you are good at so many things - I don't know how I could do without you!  I remember feeling that way - like I wasn't beyond "medium" in anything.  She'll have to find her own strength, but in the meantime, I will just keep telling her how much I appreciate her. If I have to deal with a sick or hurt animal, she cooks dinner, for example.  And it isn't just mac-n-cheese.  She made pizza the other day (dough from scratch) because she wanted to take some on her field trip.  I was no where near as capable as she is when I was 12, and that's a fact. 

Today, I want to dig up the outside garden, make a bunch of pizzas for my rotation to feed the drama club (I was going to make musubi, but my son wants pizza - and it is easier, so I am glad), take my daughter to the County Band practice thing, and go to church.  I have to also hang laundry, do some general cleaning, and do the week's baking.  I really shouldn't be blogging....

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sleeping....How I Miss It

You'd think after nearly year of sleeping next to each other, my husband and I would be used it again.  When he was commuting to Oahu, I got used to sleeping really well several days a week, and not so well when he was home. 

Now, it seems that when one of us is sleeping, the other is tossing and turning - and that wakes up the other one, just in time for the first insomniac to fall into a fitful slumber.  I doubt we're are getting quality sleep at any given moment on any given night - maybe at 4:30 am, when the alarm is just about to ring....

I have to admit I get a little cranky when I get subtly blamed (although I am sure I am doing my own level of subtle blaming - and in the middle I can harbor some very anti-social thoughts) for keeping him awake and making his day miserable.  After all, I am the one who has to get up and go to work - and there is no auto-pilot work when you are in a classroom.  Well, maybe for a teacher who has a lot of worksheets and desk work for kids, but even then, I doubt it. 

I am embarrassed to be yawning in the Study Hall, yawning in my classroom, yawning on the walkways.  I am frustrated by my desire to lay my head down on my desk during my prep period. I am so tired I want to cry.  The only other time I have felt this tired while teaching was when I was pregnant with my second child. I would lock my classroom door and sleep during lunch - and be thoroughly embarrassed when the room cleaner caught me at it.  I had a nearly two year old at home at the time and I was just exhausted.  This isn't that bad, but almost. 

This level of tiredness makes facing Age Group Track and a spell in a very busy concession stand to support the High School Cross Country Team tomorrow sound like and insurmountable obstacle.  I want to sleep in and have time to do my laundry and my baking and try to clean my house.  My younger son told me he is running in the relay, which makes me want to scream.  (Not that I will ever tell him that).  Relays are the last races - and sometimes the lights have gone on by the time they run those races.  When you have been at the track since 8:00 am, this is really quite a long day.  At least I am not coaching this year, thanks be to God. 

Can you tell that I like Cross Country a lot more than Track and Field?  Yup - at the most you have four races in XC, the terrain is varied and interesting and there are no horrible metal bleachers. Track meets are these 12 hour affairs and if you have a son doing high jump in the very early morning and running the 4 x 100 at the very end....12 exhausting hours you go home and you still have to face the baking and the cleaning and the washing....

Actually, I love Age Group Track.  We've been doing it for years and it's a blast to see all the kids from the various schools growing up.  I loved coaching, although I really am glad I am not doing it this year.  I am a little daunted with the prospect of doing the concession stand during the lunch shift because Age Group Track pulls several hundred kids in for competition and their several hundred parents are there to watch them - and they all want chili bowl or braddah pops and the lines go on forever.  My feet hurt already. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Agriculture Land and Taxes

I just got an email from a friend on Oahu about a proposal to take horse facilities out of the list of those eligible for agriculture breaks.  If this passes, this will put a lot of equestrian facilities out of business - land values for acres and acres on that island are insane without the agriculture discount.

A few months back, I saw that there was a measure about taking "hobby farms" off the list of those who get agriculture tax breaks, too.  The designation, "hobby farm", includes people who farm for their own consumption, as well as farmers who don't make a minimum amount of money on sales.  If that passed, it would have put a lot of legitimate, but small, farmers out of business.  A farmer that sold one alpaca might make it, but a farmer who consistently went to farmer's markets and made a few hundred every week might not. 

A similar story was a raid on the Kailua Farmer's market (on Oahu) where tax collectors descended on the farmer's market and fined people for not charging GE tax and for not keeping customer by customer records of sales - these farmers could tell you how much bulk they sold, but didn't have receipts.  If you've been to a farmer's market, you can see the problem - who gets a receipt? 

I know our state is hurting for revenue, but with our food security being so precarious as it is, these sorts of things seem counter-productive.  Why can't GE taxes be based on total sales and the records of pounds harvested and pounds sold be enough?  Even though the horse stables are only a side issue in food security (they do provide a lot of manure for farmers), what seems to be a concerted attack on agriculture activities is alarming to me. 

It just troubles me - and it is on my mind, because it's tax time.  When you have to do the FAFSA, taxes are no longer a matter of driving by the Post Office at midnight to catch the special long have to get them done early! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Homemade Food

To one of my sons, "homemade food" is an epithet.  I made refried beans, using my pressure cooker, and homemade tortilla the other night.  He came up for dinner and said, "Oh, homemade food," and he promptly went to the refrigerator to heat up something else to go into the homemade tortillas.

I haven't made tortillas in probably a decade - the first ones came out continent shaped.  By the end of the batch, they came out a bit rounder.  I didn't like the recipe I tried this time, so I will try a different one next time.  With a package of 10 tortillas running over $5, I will be making my own more often than not these days.

It was the first time I cooked beans in my big pressure cooker.  I couldn't believe  how well they came out.  I am definitely doing that again.  I have a big 25 lb bag of pintos in the pantry. 

My older son got his first paycheck from his new programming job.  He was so proud of it, he posted a picture of himself holding it.  Since I rarely check my Facebook, I heard about it from one of my students. He had a job with the USDA this summer, but the school found that for him as an internship - this job he found, interviewed and got himself. 

He told his younger brother he would buy cereal for the family once he cashed his check (Once the bags got smaller and the price went up - I refused to buy it anymore).  We were in Wal-Mart for dog food yesterday, so we stopped in the cereal aisle.  He took one look at the price of a bag of generic cereal (nearly $9) and said, "I guess you should make waffles for the freezer, because I am not going to buy that either." So after dinner was done, last night, I made waffles.

The night before, my son reminded me that he needed German food for his social studies.  They were studying immigration, and he picked German immigration.  They wrote a "diary" from the point of view of an immigrant, and then he had to bring in food.  I love project based education, but when the project consists of ME buying or making food, you have to wonder....  Anyway, I wanted to make something elaborate in memory of my Grandma and my MomMom, who were fabulous bakers, I ended up just making an egg braid - I didn't even stuff it with cheese or walnut and cinnamon paste.  I looked so yummy in the morning that I decided I was only sending half to the class and keeping half for home.  I figured with 24 kids bringing food, there would be way too much. 

The sad thing is, my ewe Minnie died.  She was still nursing the two - the floppy one who gets stronger every day and the ewe lamb.  The ewe lamb cried all night, but Buddy, the floppy one, knows that as much as he is scared of me, I bring food.  I can't get the ewe lamb to take the formula at all.  I tried making a kind of mash of it with COB, but she ran over to the grown up feeders.  I will just have to keep an eye on her.  Buddy will eat out of my hand or my daughter's - so we can monitor how much he is getting.  It just feels like it is always something - and remember my growing superstition of white sheep = bad luck?  This is another case - Minnie was a white ewe with the Barbados markings.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Things I Love About My Home

I guess I have two homes - one is my "hometown" which is on Oahu, and the other, of course, is here.  I have lived on this property for nearly 16 years.  This is the longest stretch of time I have ever lived in the same location, ever.  My childhood and young adulthood was fairly peripatetic. 

When I first drafted this post, I started to compare Kailua and the Big Island.  In a lot of ways, Kailua has to win hands down.  However, the median house price there is $800,000, if I kept a horse it would be at a stable at $500/month, and the lots are the size of postage stamps.  You don't care, because there is the beach and all these other things to do, but growing food would be difficult. 

Even after 16 years here, in a lot of ways I have more of a support system on Oahu.  My parents are on Oahu.  People I grew up with are there.  Here people are either shy or unfriendly - most of my friends are from work.  I know a lot of teens and young adults because I taught them or their siblings, but that's a different thing altogether.  When I left my last school to come here, I left my social support network behind.  It was hard. 

But because I can have a house here, and enough land to make Oahu friends freak out (only 7.5 acres, but that's a lot there) and can have sheep and chickens and horses, it does make it worth it.  When I first got here, I didn't understand the weather (Kailua is very easy to predict), the perpetual clouds were depressing.  Now I find them beautiful and even comforting (when they aren't pissing down torrential rain for three months straight).  It's cooler and greener here, the traffic is still minimal, and there is space.  I can't hear my neighbors.  My neighbors are nuts (I have some early posts about how they shot my dog and, even after a decade and a half, still won't wave at me), but their business is theirs and mine is mine. 

I miss my parents and the beaches and seeing people I have known nearly my whole life.  Even though I wouldn't want to pay the stable fees, I miss riding with other people.  I even miss restaurants (there are some here, but it's sad) and social activities, although I am too busy to really do them.  But I am so grateful for my land and my animals and my garden, even if it is a little defunct right now.  I appreciate the soft clouds and humid but comfortable air on my mountain.  I am even grateful for the Volcano - even though the vog is horrible when it comes our way and I tend to take the eruption for granted and rarely go see it.  I love my new job and I love the friends I left at my old one.  (I wish I could see them more often). 

Sometimes, making steps to homestead, even a little, means losing other things.  I think it is worth it.  Particularly since my parents get to visit sometimes, and my daughter who moved away.  My dad and stepmom, in fact, are on the island now and I get to see them tomorrow!  Something to look forward to!