Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday Farm Report

Goaties are growing, snarfing up bottles and learning to eat grass. There's not much cuter than a baby goat, and, watching them play King of the Hill with a beat-up Dogloo can beat the heck out of any bad mood.

Tomatoes, cabbages, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and more broccoli starts are up in the breezeway. I had to cover the garden this week, when our glorious weather became more seasonal, and frosts were predicted. I bought some cinder blocks to create another raised bed, where I will plant asparagus. Cedar sides for a raised bed? Roughly $120 per bed. Cinder blocks? $28. That was a no-brainer.

We are planning to de-horse by one. Feeding a Thoroughbred has gotten the better of us, and Hope will likely be going back whence she came. I will miss her, but it just makes sense.

I am entering the world of the working. I'll be joining the staff at Mary's school. If I have to work, this is the place, so it's a genuine answer to prayer.

Now, if the prayer for a new lawn mower would get answered....

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Words to Chew On

GANDALF THE WHITE said...

"Other evils there are that may come... Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule"

In other words, Think Globally, Act Locally. But I think Tolkien a deeper meaning, not confined to "being green." What say you?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Miss Mary

My sweet little pumpkin wrote a sweet little blog post. Enjoy!

Just When You Get Used to One Thing...

along comes another!

It has been crazy busy here lately. My dad is moving from the house where I grew up, about an hour from here, to one about 8 minutes from here. Now, right now, look around your space. Look at all your stuff, your treasures, the things you live with. How long have they been surrounding you? He's been in that house about 53 years! Imagine, if you can, the stuff. I promise, your imagination can't touch the reality. So we've been down at his house, at least once a week, sorting, cleaning, packing, organizing and staging for this house to be sold. And it worked! He sold it at the end of last week. Now we can head down and continue sorting, cleaning, packing, organizing and actually stuff the stuff into a truck to take it to the storage locker where it will wait to be moved into it's new home!

We've also been working on the yard. The weather has been too terrific for March. Those who have read here before have heard me speak of it as the month of Mud, not March, and that's usually true. In fact, this March has still been muddy. It's just been incredibly warm, also, and we're loving it. Rather than sitting, though, and saying, "This good weather is only temporary," we've been doing garden and farm things. I have two beds planted with cool weather crops; lettuces, broccoli, onions and garlic, and various things growing inside, too. The amaryllis that I talked about two weeks ago is already blooming! And the little goats are eating like little pigs, growing in leaps and bounds, and leaping and bounding in their outside pen. Normally, I'd wait till April to put them outside, but they've been out for a week now.

I pulled mulch off of some of the flowerbeds, and more will be unveiled as this week progresses. I added mulch to a line of lilacs I transplanted from Ranchwife's yard in Wyoming. I put them right under our bedroom windows, so I'm looking forward to sweet smelling springtime sleeps in our future.

(You know, we're all busy, but don't you think Ranchwife should update us on what's happening on the ranch? I do!)

It's hard to believe that it's almost April already, and I'm even getting that familiar feeling that, pretty soon, I'll be saying, "It's hard to believe it's Christmas already." But, ah, such is life this side of Heaven. Now the sewing machine is calling me, and I have an Easter dress to finish, so I'll head off to do that. Ciao!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday, Monday #2

Yesterday was drop-dead gorgeous. Except for the fact that I missed church, it was perfect.

I headed out early to feed goaties and horses. I repotted some plants, did laundry and had breakfast. Afterward, I went out and planted in the garden. Like other years, I had covered the bed with a sheet of plastic to warm up the soil. I usually do that around March 1, and take it off on April 1. No need this year! I opened it up yesterday, and the ground was as warm as my flannel-sheeted bed at night. So lettuces (Jung's Sweet Repeat and some Red Romaine) went in, and also some French Breakfast and Cherry Belle radishes. Durn. Just remembered that I meant to plant snow peas. Maybe this afternoon...

I also mulched some lilacs that I dug while at Ranchwife's last summer. I planted them under our bedroom windows, so I am looking forward to fragrant bedrooms for many future spring evenings. Minah started weeding some flowerbeds for me, and, since Matthew was over, I set him to readying our outside pen for the little goats. They got outside for their first real romp, and it was gratifying to see them tuck into eating real green grass for the first time! (Yes, I will watch for bloat!) I should have cleaned Wakiya's stall, but it'll be there after school today.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday Farm Report

This was a long, busy week, with me subbing at Mary's school for three days. It was a good experience, and, hey, I actually got to teach something! Sadly, I had one of those "brain farts" mid-lesson and had my two students staring at me like I was a loon for about 7 minutes. Well, I was a loon. So, I guess I deserved it. But see if you can pull "Quadrature" out of your brain. It's been 38 years since I've had to!

It's getting beautiful here. Spring is coming on early, the grass is greening up, daffodils are blooming today, and we have a nice, loud thunderstorm rolling through. Goaties are growing well, and we need pork in our freezer,so I'm on the hunt for piggies.

Today I'll be heading south to my dad's to help pack up some things and bring them this way, in preparation for his move to town later, when spring is here in earnest. He's been an hour's drive away, and will soon be 8 minutes away, so this is a good thing. I also need to do some weeding and planting. Already! Snow and snap peas should be going in this weekend.

I'll be doing a little more subbing Monday. Tuesday, John has to have a heart procedure done, so we'll be at the hospital for the day. More on that later...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Death and Life of Larry Benson

We actually "had" two kids in the play. Ethan's photos were used for those of Larry scattered around the stage. He even got a place in the program for it!



But Mary was the star of the show. She made people cry, which made her cheer!

"Tell your mother I appreciate the flowers."



"You haven't been working too hard, have you, Frieda?"
"No, Sam, I'm all right."



"Let me talk to him alone, Sam."



"Who is the boy in this picture?"



"Larry is...dead."




"Listen to me, Sam. I have to say this, and I can't say it right."



And the crowd went wild...Well, her mom and dad did. We're so proud of her.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Saturday Farm Report

We have a houseful this weekend. Mary is appearing in the school play, and Peterpeople from far and wide are descending upon us.



Some of us are cooking. Some of us are playing.



And some of us are making sure the chores get done.

But their picture didn't make the cut.

Have a good Saturday.

Monday, March 5, 2012

March 5, 1982

What were you doing?

That question was asked by a radio personality as I drove Mary and Minah to school this morning. Although I had not thought about it in years, it instantly flashed through my brain.

Thirty years ago today, I had a miscarriage.

We'd been married 5 months when we discovered we were unexpectedly pregnant. We were terrified at first, but then we were thrilled.

And, about a week later, we were no longer pregnant. It was scary, and upsetting, and I thought it boded ill for our future family. I was wrong, but, at the time, it was all I could think about. Although we thought we would wait about 5 years to start a family, we were afraid for our chances, and started right away. In fact, our oldest was born one year and one day after our miscarriage.

People can be very cruel about children. "Oh, you had to go and ruin a perfectly good marriage." "He's cute now, but wait until he's a teenager!" You know, those sorts of supportive, loving comments. People are often doubly so about a miscarriage. "You're young. You'll have more." (Can I get that in writing?) "You barely knew you were pregnant. What are you fussing about?" (Hmmm...Maybe...My child DIED) For the record, I was at 11 weeks, had thought long and hard about what I was doing, and was glad for it.

Miscarriages hurt, physically as well as emotionally. As I only ever had one, I didn't know what to expect. I was hurting, scared, and felt very alone. Although my husband was also very upset and disappointed, he was wonderfully supportive. Our doctor, who I met as this experience began, was terrific, and I was very glad to have him care for me through 4 pregnancies. But it's still an experience I am glad to have had only once.

In case you're wondering, 30 years ago today, John Belushi died. The irony was not lost on me. Here was this talented guy, full of promise, and he frittered his life away on drugs. And my little baby, also full of promise, died without even getting the chance to fritter away a life. The irony, the situation, and my memories caused me to tear up in the car. I told the girls what I was thinking. We talked about it a bit, and then they went into school. I drove off into the morning.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Saturday Farm Report

It is really hard to believe it's Saturday again already! Where did the week go?

Goats are growing. They started at 6 ounces of milk, 4 times a day, and are up to a pint of milk, 3 times a day. Since our bottles are standard 8 ounce baby bottles, it's a little tricky, feeding them. Once that first bottle is empty, we have a couple of good seconds to refill before the protesting begins. It's loud and pathetic, so we hurry.

This week the vet was out to dehorn and castrate them. Yes, we remove some body parts. Horns come off for safety, although Jack was allowed to keep his. I don't think that was a good decision, but it's done. If those horns don't come off in the first two weeks, it can be a battle to try later, and they're going on three weeks now. Castration happens for the same reason the steers you eat are castrated; the growing animal puts it's energy into meat rather than full body development. It sounds unfair, even to me, but it's a fact of life on the farm and has been since we domesticated meat animals.

Last night, although I was having too much fun to get any pictures, we had dinner guests. Minah's brother was a foreign exchange student himself about 3 years ago. He is back in the US, visiting his host family, and they brought him to Illinois to show him a little of Chicago and to see his sister. Later today we will meet them at the Field Museum of Natural History, and further brother/sister bonding/baiting will occur.

I'd better go mix some bottles!