Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Birthday 101

I think we are already doing better on the birthday thing this year. I took the advise of someone who commented on this journal last year. She told me, look, you have to tell him who-what-where-when-why. This is my birthday, I am your wife, I am the center of your universe, the one who washes your clothes, yada, yada, yada, and on my birthday I would like 1.a cake 2.a chochka of some sort 3.a mushy card and 4. some kind of special activity. It's called being "transparent" and proactive - fending off disaster and heartbreak ahead of time instead of waiting for him to let you down. There is a box in the refrigerator (cake?) and we discussed possible gifts - sexy nightgown (a lot to hope for), jewelry (I've lost so much in the barn and field he will never go for that) or a floater for the stock tank so it doesn't overflow, maybe a new head light to wear during chores at night. We'll see. Matt has Jan and Dave out tonight (I have to do all the chores but I'm used to that) buying plumbing fixtures. He wanted to work on their place tomorrow night but I said no way. It's the transparent thing again - letting my true feelings be known. In the past I would have said alright then stewed about it, with an argument coming later. I said it's my birthday and I would like to go to Barnes and Noble after work, buy a cappucino, and page through all my favorite magazines. It won't be easy for him, unless there is a new issue of Fine Homebuilding for him to look at, but I will be satisfied. A hand drawn card from Hannah and Luke would be nice, but with them having just moved I don't think that's in the cards. I will go to town and check the post box anyway. In the meantime, I have my kitties, doggies, chickens, sheep, goats and llama. With them in my life every day is a birthday.

Baby Thunder

Here he is - First Sheep - the Master of All He Surveys (with his sidekick, Lincoln).

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mother Hen

This Banty hen has 12 little chicks to worry about. She started out with 14, but only 12 remain. Who knows what happened to them. I have a feeling they became chicken nuggets for the hungry cats. The chicks squeeze out the cracks of the Little Lamb Fine Dineing creep feeder, out of Mom's protective reach. I come home from work and have a heck of a time chasing them. You won't believe how fast they can run when chased, and how slow and clumsy I am when chasing them bending over. They are growing fast with the chick starter feed I bought them.

Jan's New Digs

Jan's apartment is coming along nicely. Izzy and I went for a visit yesterday to check it out. He thought the place was fantastic. I was worried he would "mark" the new studs with his special scent, but he restrained himself. Matt is going out with Dave tomorrow night to get plumbing supplies. They don't expect to move in permanently until after Halloween. In the meantime, Jan is enjoying her stay at Endless Trails B&B, where the horsey people bring their mounts to board while they ride the famous Brookfield Trails.

Bags Are Us

The bag factory is chugging away, every spare minute I can find. I have a fourth bag started but I need a dark wine thread. I use thread like water and it's hard to keep all the right colors on hand. Tonight I cut up the anise soap I made Saturday. It set up perfectly and smells divine. I came home with a bag of cracked corn and there they were - Barack Obama and his little black girlfriend, the one whose teeth were caught in her fleece the other day, munching away on the crunchy goodness. I snagged them both and stored them in the work room adjacent to the apartment until Matt got home. I was determined to get their kid mohair before it's ruined. Poor Matt - it was the last thing he wanted to do tonight - hold little goat horns while I clip away. It was a good opportunity to find out what's going on with the weatherization folks. It took an hour or more to do them both, and Matt went straight for the can of tobacco and papers. I was relieved to get the tags off the kids and give them their vaccinations and worm meds...and have that great kid mohair to play with.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Where Did the Day Go?

Wanted to get much more done, but will have to settle for two handbags, two goat kids sheared (including my adorable little Manny), visit to Jan's to see progress on barn apartment, laundry, kittens, cooking, chores, and about a dozen Mother Fiber Needle/Nuno Fiber Felting Kits. They look real cute. I called Eric and Hannah answered the phone! They were on their way to the beach near San Jose. Luke says it's cold there - new for them coming from Las Vegas. He and Hannah like their new school and tell me the kids and teachers are OK. Annie remained in Vegas to work and will fly out to Ca. to visit them next weekend. AJ called to say things are going well at seminary. He read the epistle in church today and carried the cross around - a big deal for him. He's very happy there, and has had visitors every weekend since joining St. Vladimir's, even some Army people came from Nevada. He'll be coming home to the farm in November for a week. Oh, do I have plans for him! AJ is a terrific goat catcher from way back. I hope he will help me pick up loads of hay from down the road and get them stacked in the mow. The leaves are flying and the skies are gray. Hurrican Kyle is keeping the air quite warm and muggy, but not for long.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sorting Things Out

Rainy, misty and yucky this morning in our little valley. I got my truck back yesterday and, low and behold, I broke down BECAUSE...Matt put a gas saving device in the engine - somewhere - and when I punched it to pass the putt-putt the thingy gave way and went into the carburetor. Only $200 to fish it out. Just think how much fiber I could have shipped to the mill with that money, or get two cats fixed, or buy flea collars, on and on. Easy day at work fortunately. The two kids I "teach" in my 11th grade "support" class were very cooperative while reviewing an old Regents exam. I think giving them Cokes helps - and they were 5 six packs for $11 at Price Chopper. Well worth it!! I'll spring for it!! There was a nice little party for a teacher who turned 60. They had her sit in a wheel chair in the nursing department and draped her with signs like "60 - older and wiser." I kind of had a seizure thinking how close I am... Better get a grip...Matt has been so sweet the last couple of days, having been away for the week and living in motels. I did all the morning chores, with water pouring in from a hole in the roof, and a little doe kid running around with her teeth caught in her mohair. She can't eat and I can't catch her until he comes back to help me corral her. The mother chick escaped from the creep feeder with her chicks. I shooed them back in for fear of cats getting the babies. There are 12 where there were 14 a few days ago. Who knows what happened while I was at work. I am going to put them all in a rabbit cage, which I hate to do, but it does protect the babies. I have to cut out plastic and nail it over the broken windows - clean rabbit cages, muck out the chicken room, on and on. Matt is taking my things to Garden State Sheep Breeders Festival next weekend and I do appreciate that. He's wonderful about chatting up the women and talking construction and politics with the guys. I can take care of my animals and make product for Rhinebeck. Let me go and try to catch that little doe. I'm finishing a bag I started last night but got too sleepy to finish, and making a batch of Anise soap. I have the cutest fabric for it already cut in squares. Any spare time is spent wrapping soap. I don't mind it, it's just very time consuming, and time is what I don't have enough of lately. Have to learn to manage it better.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Almost Friday

Rosanna brought me home at 5:00. She is the new science teacher and a vegetable farmer/logger in Brookfield. She's picking me up at 7:15 tomorrow morning. The tow truck guy went to get my F150 and he was able to drive it to the shop in Norwich. Who knows, maybe if I waited with the truck it would have started, but I had to get to work. Hope they can fix whatever it is, as I hate this kind of vehicle drama...and I NEVER want to hitchhike again! The nice lady who picked me up scolded me for hitchhiking - but I hardly had my thumb up at all before she stopped. Matt came home tonight - very happy to be here. It's nice to have a second pair of hands to do chores. He says he was getting tired of relaxing in a motel room at night. The training went well. He attended a conference with Dept. of Energy people and several agencies who provide heat for the poor. There is only so much money to be distributed and it won't cover what is needed. It will be a cold winter for many New Yorkers. Matt has a couple of dead trees picked out, but I don't think there will be time to cut them down before the snow comes. I bought him a Husqvarna chain saw for Christmas and it's hardly been used. Sewing for a while tonight then crashing into bed. I'm exhausted. Have to make creme and soap this weekend for next weekend, and keep sewing. Pray the truck gets fixed to get to the Garden State Sheep Breeders Festival next weekend.

Broke Down Teacher

Okay, so I am here at my desk safe and sound (well, not really sound) and that's the important thing. I was rushing to work, as always, trying not to be late. They gave me the very visible early morning cafeteria duty to make sure I am here on time, and not slinking around back doors, sneaking in late. I put on the gas and suddenly the truck lost power. I coasted to the side of the road in front of a farm. Cell phone didn't work and the farmer didn't answer the door. Great big Harley by the back door, and truck in the driveway, but no answer. What to do, what to do. Still no cell phone. I had to get to work. I did something I never thought I would EVER do - I stuck out my thumb!!! Now I've hit bottom!! Within seconds a lady pulled over. WELL, this lady, who comes from Long Island and lived in Parsippany, New Jersey, 10 miles from where I lived for 20 years, was SOOOO nice to me and took me to the front door of my school. She asked if I was alright, turned the heat on for me, and made me feel better. The new science teacher lives in Brookfield so I have a ride home. Matt is still in Albany and is not answering his phone...probably teaching already. With two shows coming up within three weeks I need my truck to pull the trailer. Pray it's nothing serious, but with 90,000 miles on it I bet it's something bad. Not now, please not now!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nancy Morey of Oxford

Nancy Morey of Shadeyside Farm in Oxford came to Fingerlakes for the first time this year. Nancy is an enthusiastic shepherd/fiber artist who organizes many spinning events in her area. Too bad Oxford is an hour away from me, or I would participate in her guild and their functions. I was glad to have a chance to meet and get to know her. Oxford is also the home of Norm Hall, a famous spinning wheel craftsman whose wheels sell for $5,000 and up. Lisa Merian is in that neighborhood, too. We have quite a few quilters up here in the Brookfield area. I would like to get involved with them this winter, in my spare time.

Autumn Rose Lester

Autumn Rose Lester came to my booth with her mother at Fingerlakes last year. She was just learning how to spin and wanted some roving. I donated a pound to encourage her to keep at it. Autumn (on the right) and her friend returned this year to entertain the vendors and patrons, and earn money for a drum carder. I put a dollar in the violin case, but now wish I put another pound of roving in it. That would have been cool. The music was just lovely.

Oh, No!

It's so hard to be unhappy about healthy little kittens coming out of their den in the hay bales for the first time. Cold weather is coming and these kittens will struggle to keep warm. I fill boxes with angora, the warmest fiber I have. I'm already making a big pot of oatmeal with butter and eggs for them every morning (I take a little bowl for myself, ofcourse). The barn is dry and out of the weather, but cold, cold, cold in the winter.

Lincoln - My Helper

I tote hay bales out to the sheep with a little cart. Lincoln nibbles on the hay as I pull it along, and sometimes stands in front so I can't move at all. Good thing he is soooo adorable.

Sleepy Chickens

I never get tired of watching my chickens and their curious habits. The summer chicks are growing up and will start laying by Christmas, I hope. Have to get a shot of the new mom and her 14 chicks - amazing. I bought them some chick starter feed. I haven't had a chance to see them, as they are under mom for warmth when I leave for work and are back in the "oven" when I get home. Chickens are the greatest mothers. I see little beaks sticking out from under her - too cute.


A spinner bought this bag for her Majacraft Gem spinning wheel at the Fingerlakes show. I had another one cut out ready to be sewn, and got it finished last night. If someone buys a bag I try to make another one of them, thinking it must be a good fabric or size. The lining is a lovely orange brocade. I'm trying to get something done every night after chores. The Hamilton market will probably be rained out this weekend - too bad. I wanted to see some friends and buy some of Suzanne Farrington's hand thrown cups to pour shaving soap in. Someone asked for them at Fingerlakes. Have to get some brushes in from Georgia. A woman bought four shaving blocks for male family members. Want to make sure I have plenty for upcoming shows.

Rain Coming

Leaves are changing and the annual colorscape is on. My school is surrounded by hills splashed with fall colors. It's hard to stay inside. No wonder we had two fire drills today. I caught Chris posing in front of the ridge, which will be ablaze with color in about a week. I love, love, love it (and him). Rain will start tomorrow night and continue for days. I hope the weather doesn't drown the leaves.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No Beastie Boy

Matt is gone teaching in Albany this week. It feels refreshingly liberating not to have a snarly, moody male to wait on. I ate ice cream, melon and beets for dinner, in that order. I have to get up earlier to put out bales, which he usually does for me, but that's okay. It's beautiful out there in the morning. When I'm alone here I lapse into an zen state where I'm much closer to my animals. I play with the dogs and cats much more and spend more time with the sheep. They are so beautiful, with those big pools for eyes. I found some of the luscious but few second cut bales in the hay mow and fed some to the bunnies. A few sheep came running in - they must have smelled it. Second cut has all the nutrition in it and the sheep love it. I lingered with them while they munched on it. When I'm with my sheep I am completely satisfied and happy. I experience a sense of well-being no pill could give me. They are so uncomplicated, unlike humans who I have a terrible time understanding and relating to. The Rambos and Merinos are very thin. They are not as hardy as my BFL's and require better hay and some grain in their diet. Dr. Rachel tells me I should be worming more aggressively because of the increased parasite load the rainy summer caused. I am trying to work that out with Beastie Boy, who is increasingly interested in other things. I went to visit Farmer Spooner down the road and caught him coming into the barn yard on his tractor. He says he will not be coming to do a second cut on Jan's field, as he has too much corn to get in for his cows. All that grass and this beautiful weather, and it won't be cut and baled. So depressing...and this was going to be the catch-up year when buying hay wouldn't put me under. I'm not going to nag Jan about it anymore. I pleaded with her the other day and I don't think she gets it. I turned my truck around and went down the road to Farmer Simmonds. We shook hands on a deal for two thousand bales of second cut and alfafa mix. When I told Matt on the phone in Albany he pitched a fit. He wants to put the sheep on the truck to nowhere. He doesn't get it either. How could I tell Frodo and Bilbo, Patrick and Lilly, Minerva and Baby Thunder, Blue Tag and Ole Crip, Aragon and Malcolm, Lincoln and Monkey, and all the others, that they are going to a very scary place where all will fade to black? I don't think so. I need my sheep.

Did This Come from my Sheep?

Ahhhh, how sublime, how lovely, how delightful. I can't wait to knit something out of these lovely tresses. Wouldn't a winter coat-sweater be nice? I love,love,love Candace's spinning. She is grateful to have something productive to do while she watches TV. Thank you, Candace, thank you!


I befriended Candace Cain at the Hamilton Whole Foods restaurant. When I first came to Brookfield I accidentally found Hamilton while riding around the countryside. She was one of my first acquaintances in Central New York. Candace makes lovely earrings, bracelets and necklaces and sells them at the farmer's market. She told me about her job spinning for Kristin Thomas, a local woman who had a thriving business selling sweater kits made from single strand bulky yarn. The business stalled and Candace was left with an Ashford wheel but no fiber to spin. She wanted to buy a bag and fiber from me, so we struck up a deal where she could spin some of my wool for me. Candace came to Fingerlakes to help me in the booth on Sunday and brought some yarn for me to display. I absolutely adore what she's done. I can't spin bulky at all. Candace's yarn is thick, lustrous coils that show off the colors in the roving so well. She had never been to a sheep festival before and was overwhelmed with the talent and crafty goods wherever she turned. It was great to have some help so I could browse around, and wonderful to have a hand taking down and loading up. We had a bite to eat at the little bar restaurant in Hemlock and went out seperate ways. I sent her home with some llama, angora and wool roving and can't wait to see the yarn she comes up with.

My Date with Gilbert

Gilbert Gonsalves, crafter of the famous Robin Spinning Wheel, came to Fingerlakes for the first time this year. He was given a primo spot to set up his wheels and Lilly Spindles. We had a nice chat about this and that before the show opened. I invited him out to dinner Saturday night and he gratefully accepted. I was hoping to get him all likkered up and convince him to put me higher up on the list for a wheel. I sold my three Robins - a sore subject - to pay for hay last winter and miss them dearly. Parting with them was like cutting off three appendages. What price sheep? Let's not go there. Unfortunately for me, Gilbert is very ethical and just couldn't put me higher on the list, which is 60 wheels long. We had a nice time and I listened to how much he misses Robin and wishes she could have come with him. Nobody - not a single soul - sat down to try a wheel that day and Gilbert was devastated. People were not familiar with the Robin wheel in the wilds of Western New York. He was sure that sweet, lovely Robin would have drawn them in the booth. I suggested we go to the Spin-In and hob-nob with the Genessee Valley Handspinners, the guild that sponsored the show. We wandered in with our wheels (I brought my trusty Louet) and sat down. It wasn't long before Gilbert was answering questions about the Robin wheels and letting people try his out. His spirits were much improved. Carol, one of the fleece judges, took me through the show fleeces one by one. What fun to examine the Cotswold, Cormo, Corriedale and Romney, among others, that were presented for judging. I hope to get coats on my sheep someday so I can enter my fleeces. The guild brought in pizza and wings and I left having a few more fiber friends. I made my bed in the truck, washed up, and went to bed around midnight. Fell fast asleep but the moon was up to her old tricks. 4 AM and I was sitting up wide awake. No wonder I am constantly sleep deprived. Walked the fairgrounds under the stars again but came back to the truck to try and get some rest, even if it was just lying down. Woke up with a start and it was almost 9 o'clock! The show opens at 10! People walking past my truck but I managed to pull my clothes on lying down. Ran to the rest room to get washed up and start day two at the show. The ladies from the spin-in brought their friends to try Gilbert's wheels and he was a very happy camper.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Great Show

Rolled into Hemlock around 5 PM after an uneventful trip. Weather was perfect. I got a good parking spot next to my building where I had easy access to the trailer and kept it there the whole weekend. Started to unload and set up - which always takes longer than taking down. The Village Yarn Shop from Rochester, just across from me, had sons and husbands running around with electric drills and staple guns, bringing in trunks, benchs and tables. I confess I felt a pang of envy, as I was a one-woman-show, but I got over it. Just took me into the night to get it done. I found my friend, Lisa Merian of Spinner's Hill, judging the fleece show in the exhibition building. It was late and she still had not started setting up. Lisa is an inspiration to me. She raises her own fiber, shears, processes and sells it herself. We had a nice chat while I helped her empty her van. She told me about two Franciscan nuns who are homesteading down the road from her in Bainbridge. They built a barn for their animals but have no house to live in. Winter is coming and the hay they grew for their horses got rained on before they got it inside. Lisa said she told them about me and my first winter in the RV. She reminded me about waking up on the cot with my hair frozen to the wall. In some ways it seems like yesterday, but sometimes it seems like it never happened - just a bad dream. The going really got rough when they took away my port-o-potty in December! Sometimes when I clean my toilet I remember how simple it was to jump out of the trailer and go on the ground, like the doggies. Maybe I should offer those Sisters my trailer! I will call Lisa! Anyway....I digress. I left Lisa and went to pick up my fiber from the Fingerlakes booth, but found it uncarded. It was shredding in his machine and he left it alone. Good thing I had sent some out to Frankenmuth. Very disappointed - I though I might have a processor I could drive fiber to instead of shipping. I left the six giant bags in his booth as I didn't want to take it until I spoke to him. Went back to my truck and got my ski underwear and night time necessities, got washed up and crawled into the backseat of the cab. I sipped on my Harvey's Bristol Creme from Mia and Andrew, and ruminated on the day. I fit so snug and perfectly across the seat of the F150, and was toasty warm. The moon was bright and shined in my window enough to make me think it was daybreak...woke up with a start at 4 AM. Couldn't get back to sleep so I walked the fairgrounds under the stars and waited for someone to come and unlock my building so I could work on the booth some more. So much work to take an empty space and turn it into a shop for the weekend. It takes me forever to get it all right, but when it's done I can sit down and wait for the patrons. And they came....I sold five Bundaflicka totes, lots of soap, three notecards (to the same guy from last year who loves rooster pictures) and lots of roving. Everything I brought was justified in some way. The Village Yarn Shop ladies even bought yarn - a huge compliment - and some roving. Carol from Crayon Box bought wool roving, and was thrilled to find another ball of yellow mohair from two years ago. It was gratifying to see that my old fiber is worth storing from year to year for people who want/need more. Sales were steady all day. There were gorgeous fibers and talented craftspeople galore, but I held my own. Blog readers came to visit and we embraced like old friends. So many compliments like "I've lusted after your bags for years..." That's one that will get me back on the sewing machine.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I Feel Better Now!

Okay, I've got in under control! I feel better now! Sorry everybody! I'm going to walk the doggies and hit the road! Wish me luck!

Take A Deep Breath

I combed Norwich and surrounding areas for 4 ounce canning jars, finally found some yesterday. Got all set up to make soap this morning and where are my jars? In the back of the Jeep that Matt took to Syracuse to work today. I couldn't believe it. I had so much to carry into the barn, out of the tractor shed and into the trailer, etc. that I left them in there hoping he would help me when he got home. He took out the cat and dog food and left the jars. Okay, I become my own therapist and say to myself that he didn't mean to take the jars to work with him. Why would he deliberately deprive us of all that income when we need it so badly? His mind was preoccupied with getting Dave Strack all the tools he needed for framing his barn apt., and was across the road for a while last night, and isn't that nice he's trying to be so helpful to our friends? I sure do miss my jars...

I am making trip after trip out to the truck, going through four doors to get there, tripping over cats and kicking dogs back inside so they don't run away. The dogs are panicked, knowing that Mommy is going somewhere different and can't they come to? Poor babies, all they know is body language and today mine is crazy. I have a mother hen with 12 little chicks in the Little Lamb Fine Dineing (I know it's misspelled, but that makes it even more charming) creep feeder. I need to put a top on it to keep cats out but I can't cut plywood myself and Matt, well, he's busy. I will obsess about it all weekend but I have GOT to get out of here.

Jay Argyle (great name!) from Fingerlakes Woolen Mill called to say my purple wool is noiling in his machine. Oh, Joy, what next. BFL is so soft it sometimes does that. John from Frankenmuth would just run it anyway, blending it into the other fiber and the noils would look like tweed, but I didn't know how to tell Jay that. He's bringing the uncarded wool to me at the festival, speaking of which I have to get my butt on the road. Sitting down to type a post was just too great a temptation and has a way of clearing my head. Weather is beautiful, tank is full. My truck has been recalled because the brakes can on fire but I can't do without it this weekend. What else!!!

Get it in Gear

Up way too late every night this week. By the time I get home, get chores done, get dinner made, I start work at 8 or 9 PM. Got enough of the Clove Bud wrapped to put on the table, along with Lavender, Unscented (?!) and Almond. I don't mind wrapping and enjoy it if I have time. It's like playing with lego blocks and the tactile aspect with the pretty fabric and labels is very pleasing. I saw the farmer on the corner of Beaver Creek and Academy Road putting hay away in his barn and stopped to chat. He has a couple of thousand bales for sale. I had hoped to get away without having to buy hay but it doesn't look like that will be the case. Rotten piece of luck. Mr. Spooner's tractor is broken and the days are getting shorter and cooler. Have to deal with it. I had a nice talk with Eric and Annie this week. Eric likes his new Boy Scout Council and, fortunately, the BSA are still solvent despite drops in donations across the board. If anyone can make money for a council it is Eric, which is why they hired him, I'm sure. He is a mover and a shaker, and very creative. He is going back to LV to get their belongings on the moving truck, then bringing Hannah and Luke back to San Jose with him. Annie will stay with a friend and continue to work at Bechtel until she can find a job in San Jose. Eric rented a cottage behind a Victorian house for them until their house purchase comes through. He went on and on about how lovely San Jose is, with flowers everywhere, cute shops and boutiques - even a LYS (Local Yarn Shop in fiber lingo) for Annie. The kids will have a neighborhood pool a block away, and walk to school. He found a Spanish lady with an after school program in her home for H and L to go to after school. The logistics of moving kids, belongings and animals is horrendous. Yes, M-O-V-E is a four letter word. I have to make cream, print booth signs, load all kinds of stuff, do morning chores, pack for myself for two days, and find some coverlets that are not too doggie scented for sleeping in the truck at night. Better get it in gear.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

So Thirsty

When I get home I water the rams and bucks in the seperate pen behind the barn. They were very, very thirsty today. Tommy Boy, with the big rack, usually throws his head around and knocks everyone else out of the way to get his drink first. I always have to throw down more than one bale out of the hay mow - one for Tommy Boy and one for the others.

New Roving

Two big boxes were waiting for me when I got home from work today. John and Kim at Frankenmuth rushed my order and got my fiber back to me in one pound balls. The photo doesn't show how pretty the colors are. Can't wait to see what the Fingerlakes Woolen Mill brings to me at the festival this weekend. I am finally beginning to think I have enough product. This nervous drive takes a lot out of me but that's how I get it done. My sheep are depending on me.

Pretty Flowers

There are beautiful fall wildflowers everywhere now. Colors starting to appear on the ridge. The first week of October is absolutely stunning here on the farm. I am busy to die right now but never too busy to stop and take in the beauty of the landscape. Finished chores about 8, Jan stopped in to visit. After I gave Matt dinner I cut up the Clove Bud soap I made last night. I finally have some soap labels and will try to get them cut up so I can put them on the bars tomorrow night...but then, tomorrow night is make the cream night. Not enough time to do what I need to do, but what else is new?

Monday, September 15, 2008


I decided to take the doggies out last night right before I went to bed - hoping to avoid any accidents. Tanner and Pip have to be on leashes - Holly, Izzy, Bodie and Jackie tootle along with me, and follow me back to the house. They know when we do this late night walk that it's bedtime and they better come back in before getting locked out. The moon and sky was unbelievably beautiful last night. The wind was blowing black and blue wispy clouds zipped past the moon in a brightly lit celestial landscape. I couldn't help but gasp in awe. I was pretty tired, so I brought the doggies in and laid myself down. Jack sometimes lingers outside, he is old, fat and arthritic and takes his time. He barks, then I go let him in. It's always worked fine for the both of us. But...I fell asleep and didn't wake up until the White Boys told me something was wrong. It was four am and the power was out. With the full moon up, I thought the Boys were barking at coyotes, whatever. I realized I had not let Jack in and thought he was just bedding down in the barn on the hay...but Jack never does that. Having just four hours of sleep, I knew I should try to get some more shut-eye. I had a workshop today, and sitting in a brightly lit conference room around a table is no place to fall asleep sitting up. Matt told me to get up at six. Oh, Joy, only enough hot water to fill the tub a few inches. I pulled a fast one on Matt and jumped in first, got dressed and took the dogs out. I heard Jack barking down by the road and went to look for him. Walking Tanner on a leash is a lot like pulling a stubborn donkey along, so it took them a few minutes for them to do their business, then I took them back in the house. I went down to the road to find Jack...no dog, no barking. What was going on? I went back in and got Holly, telling her to go find Jack. She did just that. I couldn't believe my eyes when I ran down the field to look where Holly was pointing. Jack had fallen in the six foot septic tank test ditch. There was a foot of water in it, along with a dead lamb. It was a horrible sight - those terror stricken cataract covered eyes looking up frantically. I guess he was ambling along in the dark and fell in. Same with the poor little lamb. I ran back in the house and told Matt, who had to change into farm clothes and get Jack out of the ditch. He went down in the wretched hole and got Jack out. I gave him an aspirin and a hunk of his favorite cheddar cheese, wrapped him in a blanket and went off to work...still with no power on. Power is back on, but Jack doesn't look so good. I gave him another aspirin, some molasses and water, and more cheddar cheese. That's my Jack - he can't lift his head but he can chow down on the cheese. I think he'll be alright. Have to do something about that hole...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Visit With Sean

Sean Redmond, Matt's only biological child, came East to visit with cousins on the Byrne side. Father and son spent the day in Manhattan together. Sean loved taking in the sights, but did not enjoy the hot, humid weather. San Francisco doesn't get quite this sticky. Matt took him on the Staten Island Ferry and to McSorley's - a famous Irish pub. They wandered around the Metropolitan Museum of Art, then Matt headed back to the farm. He wishes he could spend more time with Sean. Somebody was not a happy camper today.

Visit With AJ

On the way to Newark, NJ, Matt stopped to visit AJ at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Christian seminary. He has a nice double dorm room, quite a collection of icons, and an enormous pile of books to read. I grew up in a church where there were no pictures at all, no saints, and Mary only came out at Christmas.