Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Motley Crew

Matt's Weatherization Boot Camp just graduated it's first class of skilled energy efficient construction workers. Every member was sponsored by their local agencies who paid $1,000 for them to attend the 5 day training course. Matt was very pleased with the way the week went and is preparing to run another week long course next week. They are full up already. Gee, is that a Maryland Sheep and Wool shirt I see on Matt??? I stood in line a half hour for that shirt!

Yes, the Rumors Are True!

Now I've done it. I'm a worm farmer. I've wanted to do it for years. Worm farming is a natural partner to rabbit raising. The manure drops down into containers of worms that live on the poop and hay. There is a market for worms, not only as bait (which I prefer not to think of) but as a composting aid. Allan, the technical school science teacher I work with, offered them to me. How did he know???? There is harmony in the universe! They are red wigglers, a worm species especially prized by organic gardeners. Allan illuminated me as to worm habits and what to feed them. They love coffee grounds, and, yes, we have plenty of French Roast in this barn. Allan says the coffee grounds make the worms taste better to the fish. Okay, whatever! I can give them leftover food along with my manure. Allan started them in a giant pile of horse poop. Works for me! I'll let you know how I make out. Chris, my custodian/dairy farmer friend from work tells me earthworms go for $4 a dozen. They are a little too snake-like for me, but the red wigglers are tiny and have no teeth. I can sell them at my farmer's market booth, if it ever stops raining on weekends. Hannah and Luke are particularly fascinated with Omi's new venture. I have to turn the worm farm into a bigger container, with holes in the bottom and lined with newspaper, according to Allan. I better follow directions if I want to make it in the worm farming business!

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Lovely Surprise

As we were climbing the hill with our kite on the way to the pond, we spotted a doe alone in a low spot. Low and behold, she had a pair of newborn twins with her. Apparently she had not come in the night before and stayed in the field with her babies. Hannah and Luke were thrilled. I took them back to the barn and stashed them in a safe place and returned to the pond for swimming and kite flying.

Let's Go Fly a Kite

I bought this kite almost 30 years ago in Provincetown, Cape Cod, at a kite shop that I like to think is still there. I had it tacked to AJ's ceiling in his baby nursery, flying across his room in great big loops. He would stand on the rail of his crib, leap into the air and grab the kite, making all the tacks pop out of the ceiling bringing the whole thing down. What a daredevil. He's much more careful these days. I've wanted to fly it here on my perfect kite flying hill for some time and today I finally did it. The wind would come in fits and starts, but we got it high enough to oooh and aaahhh and have a lovely time. I wanted to lie on the daisy dotted field and watch the kite dance but Luke has a hard time staying in one place for very long.

A Ride in the Forest

Jean Krause took us on a lovely trail ride yesterday. She runs Heavenly Hilltop Stables, and heavenly it is up on top of the hill opposite my farm. I rode a mare, Shoshanna, who has a three month foal by her side at all times. I've never sat atop a horse while it was being nursed before. Luke rode a three year old Palomino gelding, who was a bit feisty at first. Jean stayed with him for the ride to make sure Luke was okay. Hannah, the natural rider, is right at home on a horse. I'm going to take her back to Jean so the two of them can ride through forest and fields unemcumbered by little brother and grandmother.

Soapmaking Runs in the Family

Hannah and I made Rosemary soap yesterday. It was great having an assistant to help empty out all those containers of vegetable shortening and stir while I poured in the lye. The soap set up perfectly and should cut like a block of cheese - which is what we always hope for. Luke loves to help wrap soap. He cuts the labels and wraps them around the fabric covers so I can tape them. We make a good team, the three of us.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Very Sweet Barter Deal

There is a new rug hooking vendor at the Hamilton Market. You can luck at her rugs on www.adriannasthoughtsinwool.blogspot.com. I adore primitive rug hooking and have been lusting after her rugs. Pamme Swan, daughter of the hooker, and I have been talking now and then. She's been wanting a Bundaflicka Bag but said now is not the time. I thought, why not approach her about a barter? I'm always shy about bartering. What if they don't want what I have to offer? I sent her an email asking if her mom would consider a barter for the gorgeous Country Girl rug I've been admiring. "Bundaflicka" means country girl in Swedish - how perfect. She contacted mom, who is on a rug hooking tour of New England, and it looks like our barter is on! When mom gets back they will go shopping in my booth and I will get my rug! I'm SOO thrilled, as I could never pay money for something I think I could make myself...but it would take me YEARS to make a rug like this.

A Storm to Remember

Mia brought the precious cargo safely to the farm last night where hugs and kisses and more hugs and kisses were exchanged. A fierce summer storm had hampered their progress from Buffalo and followed them all the way to the farm. We had scarcely brought the luggage inside when the sky turned black. I realized we had better get the flock in, as Mia had warned of thunder and lightning on the way. We stashed Hannah and Luke in the apt. and ran up the hill with the Finn and Knut who I had let off their lines. I hate for them to be tied under a big tree during a lightning storm - and they hate it too. It was every dog for himself. The sheep split when they saw us coming with one group taking off for the top of the hill and the other running down the gully past the apple orchard and the back field. Captain Mia (field hockey champ) ran up the hill and I took the lower group. Hard rain came in sheets. Got my group back up the gully with Knut staying close to my side, and around the pen and into the barnyard. The sheep take me much more seriously when I have the White Boys with me. Chris the llama and my aged Baby Thunder ran for the big barn doors, which are held shut all winter by a long thick wooden brace on the inside. Luke and Hannah came running out to watch the excitement and I shooed us all back inside. But where was Mia??? Here she comes, running down the hill soaking wet, surrounded by dogs with panicked sheep in front of her. You don't want to be in the middle of a wide open field with giant white streaks of lightning slicing across the sky. Whole flocks have been electrocuted by standing in the open, or even hiding under a tree in a field. I called to her to come help us get the big doors open. We climbed up into the hay mow and together lifted the brace from the brackets. It took some doing but we pulled the doors open to expose the view of the hill. Baby Thunder and Chris came inside and joined us to watch the show. We sat on the pile of hay bales and took it all in, the driving rain, the black sky with streaks of lighting and a thunderous accompaniment. So dramatic, and so lovely to be soaking wet and safe inside the big old barn. Mia and I squeezed the little ones on our laps and watched Baby Thunder munch on the hay. Knut was still sticking close but Finn had run off somewhere. Chris stood in the doorway, wondering if he should go back out, then decided not to. Smart llama! Some silly goats preferred to stand in the rain rather than join us inside, but with the lightning coming down I was not about to run out pull them inside. I offered them safe refuge and it was up to them to take it. We said hello to the hen who is nesting deep in the pile of bales. Hannah and Luke are fascinated with all the chickens nesting on eggs around the barn. Some are in the chicken room and some are very creative about finding places around the barn. I even have a hen nesting on top of the rabbit cage! I can see the eggs underneath her through the rabbit wire! We watched the storm journey past our little valley in Brookfield, then went inside to make Hannah's favorite meal, spaghetti and meatballs! Every once in a while I felt little arms around my waist giving me a squeeze - what heaven!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Almost Here

Mia collected Hannah and Luke in Buffalo last night and took them to a hotel for a good night's rest. They should be at the farm when I get home today. I gave up cleaning around midnight and Matt had to shake me awake at seven this morning. There is only so much you can do with a barn apartment with no closets. My "alternative agricultural" lifestyle is fine for me, but when company comes, even if it's two fun-loving grandkids, I get a bit uneasy about the clutter. And then there's wading through the sheep to get in and out the door...and the squawking chickens underfoot, and the kittens climbing up your jeans leg...and the dogs barking all night long, and now the flies are out. But they were excited to get on the plane as they left their weeping parents behind to go to Omi's Farm. Yes, the Omi thing. People ask me where that came from. Let me explain. Omi is a derivation of the German Oma/Opa. My parents were stationed in Germany post WWII and had my two brothers there. They came home speaking German and started the Oma tradition. In Swedish (my father was 100% Swedish speaking in the home, etc.) my name would be Farmoor (father's mother - mother's mother is Mormor). I didn't want to be Farmoor as I can't get used to the sound of that. So I became Omi, kind of a combination of Oma and Maggie. The other grandmother is grandma so it kind of worked. Anyhow...the weather is hot today. I won't be surprised if we are swimming in the pond tonight. I am always a bit concerned about how to compete with their fabulous California lifestyle, with ocean beaches, dirt biking in the mountains, tennis courts behind the house, etc., but I have something they don't have there - horses! Brookfield is loaded with horses! And bonfires! The bonfire is piled as high as I am, but I think it's a tad too dry now. We might have to wait for a drizzle for this fire. Last year's sofa is ready to go. What a blaze that will make! Have to stop and pick up marshmallows on the way home. So excited...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Stitch in Time...

I am proud to announce I am one of the lucky recipients of Henya's Hand-Made Stitch Markers! You can view my beautiful prize on www.chickenstitches.blogspot.com. My name was drawn out of a hat last night. I need stitch markers to continue working on my gansey sweater. I knit the plain body but the yoke has lots of fancy gansey stitches in sections. The markers will be placed between the sections to tell me where to change stitches. The pattern is marked "easy" but that's not the case for me. No time for knitting right now. Off to school today then come home and continue getting things in shape for my company, who are flying in to Buffalo tonight at 11 PM!!! You might ask why so far away? Eric's free credit card tickets would not send them to Albany, only two hours away, and would not send them after the 25th. Sooo, here they come and my sainted daughter, Mia, traded work days with another nurse to go pick them up. She will keep them overnight in Buffalo, then bring them to the farm tomorrow night. OH, what a daughter I have!! And OH, what fun we will have on the farm. No news from Roz Savage, the environmental activist ocean rower I am following across the Pacific...hope she hasn't been toppled by a wave. Her rowboat is called "Brocade," so cool!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hit the Hay or Eat the Hay?

At night I like to visit the sheep in the barn, where we all live, and watch them eat hay. I give them a night-night bale to remind them that the barn is where they live so they want to come in from the field, and to make them feel full and happy before they bed down. I have my light vanilla ice cream with mandarin oranges on top (I mash them in, hmmmmm, good) to make me feel full and happy before I go to bed. The sheep come in at night with bellies bulging from green grass. We've had plenty of rain and I haven't run out of grazing yet. But I still put the bale out. When I climbed up to the dark mow to pick out a bale, my headlight fell on a hen deep in the pile, sitting on eggs. Glad I saw her. I'll be buying hay sometime soon and she's right under the spot where the bales fall off the elevator. Ouch, that wouldn't be fun for her, or her unborn chicks. I'm about to hit the hay. I didn't learn what hay for bed really means until Eric went to VMI. The cadets sleep on a thin bed roll they call their "hay." There is no longer hay inside, but the synthetic stuff might as well be hay. What a life. But he's proud of being a VMI graduate. At West Point they sleep on cushy mattresses and have air conditioning in their rooms and eat four course breakfasts. Not at VMI. No AC and the food is barely edible. Toughens up the cadets for life ahead. Eric is doing great, blazing all kinds of Boy Scout trails, and having lots of fun.

Heavenly Hilltop

After the 100 mile round trip to the BOCES staff development meeting I stopped at Heavenly Hilltop Stables to check it out. Jean Krause has some beautiful, bombproof horses and will take us on a trail ride. That works out great because Jean is just across the creek on the opposite hillside. We can bounce over there to ride then take lessons from Barb Taylor on the other side of B'field. Jean has Morgans and a cute little foal just three months old who needs handling and petting. Hannah and Luke will be in heaven! They'll be here before we know it and I have so much to do. Hannah's room is next...

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Right Spot

I put my First Place Best in Show photo Princess of the Flowers up in the apartment. It's so beautiful and I can't believe I won. Don't know how I will top it next year. I sent in my Plowshare Craft Show application today. The Syracuse Peace Council runs the show in December at Nottingham High School. Hope they like my stuff. I asked myself would I want this stuff in my show? I had to say yes. I hope they agree. Candace turned me on to this show and I've heard a lot of good things. By December I will be buying hay again and the money will come in very handy.

Gimme Shelter

I am wasted. Three more days. 62 miles after a vet stop on the way home. Wish I was smart enough to figure out a way to stay home. I don't know if I'll make it three more days and don't know if I'll be able to force myself to go back in September. I figured out if I add a few more shows and work really hard I could make my salary, but what about health care? I just don't think Obama has the stuff to get it done. He's comfortable sitting on the fence. And I don't know how I could work much harder. I wonder if Jan is lying on her tufted leather sofa, watching big screen TV, stuffing her mouth with bon-bons while balancing a book on her belly and watching me chase the goats that ran over my property line at the top of the hill? Must be nice. It's hot and muggy now. Matt wants all the rest of my stuff put away and there is no where to put it. Have to buy more tubs. I'm supposed to go to the Historical Society of Brookfield to tell them about my "farm business" tomorrow night. That would be after a day of "staff development" 50 miles away from here at the sister campus in Masonville. I don't think so.


I just found a blog kept by a British woman named Roz Savage. She is rowing across the Pacific alone. I am in awe of her, and also very envious. Roz held an office job in London for 11 years and finally said I'm outta here. You go, girl! Her blog is so much fun to read and is so honest and human. So I became one of the hundreds of followers to subscribe to her daily posts coming from the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Please, oh Please, let me do something so free and exciting and challenging with my life before the body goes completely out from under me!! Roz is pelted by flying fish, waves, and relentless sunshine but doesn't really seem to mind the solitude, sharks that are surely lurking around, or giant ships that might run her over. She talks about strange noises she hears while lying in her bunk at night. To me that would be the noise of Jaws himself trying to pop a hole in the boat so he could have me for dinner. Anyway, Roz is very inspiring and I plan on reading all her blog posts and checking out her You Tube videos so I can hear her voice. And guess what? With rowing all day she can eat whatever she wants and never gain weight!! She's had terrible problems with her butt rubbing raw so I offered to send some Shepherd's Friend Hand Creme to her next port if she'll give me her address.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mia's Papasan Chair

When Mia was in high school I covered her pink papasan chair cushion in a plaid fabric similar to her field hockey kilt tartan. Over the years the cushion became a doggie bed. Now it is being enjoyed by Monkey and her baby in the barn. I bought a new cushion tonight for Hannah and Luke to enjoy. They like to put the round basket on the floor and spin it around with an unfortunate dog or cat inside. Those papasan chairs from Pier 1 must be very well constructed as it has lasted almost 20 years.

Tidy Up

Not exactly the way I would like to spend the longest day of the year but I like the results. Nice to see the tops of tables and dressers again. Now to keep it this way...I did get out to the hillside to take in the glorious midsummer sunshine. There is intense green wherever I turn. Flowers are blooming all over the pasture. Nice of the sheep to leave a few for me to enjoy.

Izzy the Sheep Dog

Izzy is a big help when I need to get the sheep and goats in the barn. He LOVES his job and takes it very seriously. All I have to say is "Get 'Em Up, Izzy!" and he takes off like a shot. Sometimes he bites their heels if they don't move fast enough. Izzy only has one speed - full tilt. A good sheep dog will move the sheep slowly and gently, but Izzy never got that memo.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Merino

I just found a bag of washed black Merino from my rescued ram Othello. Oh, it's wonderfully luscious. I need more for a run of roving. The last two times Big Jim Baldwin came he refused to shear my Merinos because the fleece was not long enough. Merino grows v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. Jim raises Merinos himself, and says it takes a year and a half to grow a 3 inch staple. Any shorter and it could fall between the rollers at the carding mill. Jim sheared around their eyes and tails to prevent wool blindness and fly strike. Guess I'll just have to wait for fall shearing to get my Merino, then bring it to Rhinebeck to drop off, then wait for Maryland in the spring to get my Merino roving. Seems like so long...


I woke up at 5, stumbled around a bit, then forced myself to lie back down and close my eyes. It worked - I woke up again at 8. Still have this nagging headache. Must be this muggy weather. The first thing I do after pushing the Magic Button on the coffeepot is get the doggies out. They are jumping up and down and now that I'm wearing a short summertime nightie I get caught with some doggie claws now and then. Not pleasant. We got outside the south door, which is easier now that Thor is tied a little farther away. He jumps and strains at the rope pretending he wants to KILL Pip so I have to rush them out and away quickly. Still groggy, I urged them to pee quickly so I could get back inside and drink some coffee. They did their business and we started back to the door. When I opened it a little kitten got in the way. Not wanting to close the door on her I stooped to pick her up and stumbled and dropped the leashes. Now Tanner and Pip wait for this sort of opportunity. Suddenly there's no tension on their chains!! Freedom!! I lunged for Tanner and got one slipper on the end of her leash. She yanked and took off. Pip was right behind her with Holly and Izzie in hot pursuit. I don't have to tell you how furious I was. If I had a gun...but I don't own one and it's a good thing! My neighbors have one hand on the phone all the time waiting to call the dog warden. As of one hour later Tanner came sculking home but no Pip. Last time his leash was wrapped around a log and some locals found him two days later. I'm going to put up a doggie yard outside the door where I can pop them in it and go back inside. Let me take some more ibuprofen to get rid of this headache...Big cleaning today. Maybe I'll sneak a walk up the hill to admire the beautiful flowers growing around here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Good Work Matt

Matt's training center will open on Monday. What a relief. He's been driving everybody crazy putting together this 6,000 ft. facility. The first class of 28 will spend a week learning how to weatherize all kinds of houses. I roll my eyes about it and wish he would relax until I think of the polar bears drowning for lack of ice floes to live on. Yes, saving energy is a very cool thing. Since the inception of the Weatherization Assistance Program began in 1978 the program (otherwise known as WAP, has saved over 58,000,000 barrels of oil. That's a lot less carbon dioxide going up in the air. Last year in the state of New York they weatherized 12,500 low income homes. Due to the Obama stimulus package they are on course to do somewhere in the range of 45,000 to 55,000 residences in NY. With this new facility they can train upwards to about 2,000 to 2,500 new entry level weatherization workers. It's a dynamic facility and I can't help but wish I had a space as big to use as a sewing room!

Hannah Loves her Presents

I called and spoke to Annie while up at the pond. Hannah loves the cowgirl boots Jan gave me to give to her. Jan bought them 20 years ago to attend an ATT convention out West and never wore them. They've been in the box these 20 years waiting for a pretty girl to take them over. They even fit with a pair of socks. Mia sent Hannah a couple of new outfits, one of which she'll wear out to her birthday dinner at Appleby's tonight. The pond was lovely, with lots of little colorful wild flowers dotting the fields around the pond. I felt woozie and weird all day today. I proctored my student with his Regents test all morning, then helped grade tests in the afternoon. I thought I would take the long way home and see my friend, Candace, at Hamilton Whole Foods. She had yarn she spun for me waiting to be picked up. We had a nice visit and I got my fabulous bulky thick 'n thin yarn. Why do people who have the least give the most and rich people are so stingy? I guess that's why they are rich and generous people are so poor. I'm so fortunate to have such good friends like Candace here in CNY. She has such an upbeat and optimistic outlook on life that's just contagious and makes me feel like what I am doing might not be so insane after all. Got home and climbed the hill with the doggies and decided I don't feel so bad after all. Hannah and Luke coming in ONE WEEK and there's lots to do to get ready for them.

Happy Birthday Hannah

Today is Hannah's 11th birthday. I sent her a pair of cowgirl boots and a cute little handbag to match. I wonder if she received the package? I remember when she was born like it was yesterday. I did not see her right away. Hannah was born in Louisville,Kentucky, when I was living in New Jersey. Now she is living even farther away, in San Jose, California. I hope people who have their grandchildren living close to them appreciate how lucky they are. I see Hannah and her brother, Luke, twice a year if I'm lucky and feel like I have missed her childhood. I will have a whole month to be a real grandmother starting the end of next week. What heaven. Happy Birthday, Hannah!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Henya's Contest

My friend, Henya, is having a contest to celebrate her 100 blog post. You can read all about it at www.chickenstitches.blogspot.com. Clever, huh? I confess I didn't get it at first - HENya? Chicken? Henya always has interesting and entertaining posts, along with a bit of "true life" which I so enjoy. She is asking for nominees for the person who we think is deserving of a gift of Henya's lovely stitch markers. The person we nominate has to be someone who demonstrates kindness to others and promotes the fiber arts. I have nominated - TAH DAH - Kimmie Cornerstone! She is really Kim Parkinson of www.cornerstonefibres.blogspot.com. You can read all about her. Kim is a super-baseball-mom who raises two terrific kids and babysits a niece all day so her brother and sister-in-law can go to work. Kim runs a fiber arts business out of her upstairs bedroom in Kingston, Ontario. Kim always has time to go to a school or meeting to demonstrate and teach spinning and all about natural fibers. She's energetic, kind, and very generous with her time. Kim has a real nice husband, Darryl, who is very supportive of her fiber doings. Kim would give you the shirt off her back. Once she calls you her friend, you have a friend for life. I'm so lucky to have found her. She found me, actually, through my bunnies. Long story! Thanks, Henya, for the contest. I'm not a competitive person and don't often enter contests - but for YOU and for KIM, why not?

Tiny Tina

Tiny Tina is a little runt calico kitten who doesn't seem to be growing at all. She is frozen in kittenhood. I just love her. She tries to ride around on top of my foot all the time. When I come home from work she is so excited to see me...not just for cat food, but because she likes me. Tiny Tina will sit on my shoulder as I sew and manage not to fall off (those nails are good for holding on - ouch!) I took the Sherburne way home to stop at the discount furniture store. The two sofas I bought last June are shredded. Okay, so they were on the way out the door to Catholic Charities for battered women when I bought them from a used furniture store. They lasted a year and that was all I expected. We live on our sofas, humans and canines. I found a couple of "cheap" sofas I liked at this place, but they are a fortune compared to last year's sofas...but oh, so pretty. One is an off-white fabric with a crewel-work design. The other is red and white plaid. I can get a guaranteed protective coating for $50. I don't have any choice on that one. If I get a sofa like that, and I need two, I would make a slipcover for it. I love slipcovers. There are lovely untailored slipcovers in the movie "Pride and Prejudice" complete with fancy trims. We'll see. Every sofa equals a hay delivery, and I have to start buying hay for next winter soon. Can you believe it? It's raining now and the sheep don't want to come out. Chris came out fine, poor thing, with his crippled back leg. It can't be good for his spine to be twisted around with that leg. He seems to be doing fine but I worry...School was okay today. I tested a spunky funny kid in the morning and afternoon. He was fried at the end and I was cross-eyed myself (I was the reader and scribe). More testing into next week then it's over. I'm going to do some chores then sew a little then wrap some soap then make dinner. It flies by. I'm already looking forward to bed time.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mid Week Musings

Holden's Hauler's emptied my dumpster. Life is good. I make a LOT of garbage. Don't ask me how, but I do. I buy a lot of pet food, I cook almost every night, and I make soap. I haven't reached the point where I buy soapmaking supplies in barrels so I have a lot of containers to throw away. I am a recycling nightmare. I remember not using paper towels or tin foil for at least ten years. I bought milk in glass bottles. I used cloth napkins, the whole deal. What happened?
I tested my student in the morning and the rest of the day was basically my own. I kept waiting to be called to grade tests but the call never came. While playing with the computer I found that I had almost 4,000 emails in my in-box on Yahoo. Whoah! I went to the back of the list, 2003, and found out what I had been up to way back then. AJ was deployed in Cuba and I had my sheep pastured in Oldwick, 25 miles from where I lived. My goats were in Bucks County, Pa., about 25 miles in the other direction. I visited both every night after work. Long woefull story - it was insane. No wonder I chucked my tenure and fled to the wilds of Central New York. I come home from work and there they are. At night they are just outside the door of my barn apartment. Perfect. I took the doggies up to the pond as the weather is cool and cloudy. When it gets hot, forget about it! I don't regret the heat, as I remember how bitterly cold we are over the winter here, and the heat makes the green grass grow to feed the flock now and for hay over the winter. Even if I could buy hay making equipment, I don't see Matt taking a week from work to cut and bale hay. I don't see Jan buying hay making equipment either. She says she is out of money and neither of them work. Her husband spent it all on a custom kitchen with granite countertops and Pergo floors and a home theatre and a custom bathroom with fancy tiles and a mile long meandering driveway. I don't see him baling hay, either. Matt is very excited about presenting two topics to the Dept. of Energy conference in Indianapolis in July. He's really found his niche. I'm happy for him - but there isn't too much left over for the farm. That's okay - the farm was always my thing. He has three trainers to supervise in his agency. I told him I bet he is driving them crazy. They call him the "Hurricane." He wants them to work as hard as he does. Next week Matt is opening his baby - a big new training center where people will come from all corners of the country to be trained in green building and weatherization stuff. He's had two job offers, one in Illinois (no way) and one in Pa. near the Univ. of Pa. After moving three times in 8 years, I'm staying put...unless it's Maine or Vermont. He says don't worry, he likes where he is right now and has no plans to move. I'm going to wrap some soap, wash dishes, and cut up the new batch of Lemongrass. There's a Special Ed. secretary who LOVES it and I want to have some ready to give to her when school is out next week. Ta-ta for now.


Woke up at 4 and had a heck of a time getting back to sleep. My body tells me okay, that's all you're going to get - time to get up. My mind says, uh-oh, you are going to be in trouble today with only 4 hours of sleep. I'm proctoring an exam with a student who has everything read to him - questions, possible answers, then I scribe his essay...and I think they will have me grading tests again today. Oh, Lord, I better bring pins to stick myself with. So I lie back down and try to hypnotize myself back to sleep. Worked after a while. I guess I'm supposed to be a dairy farmer and get up to milk the cows at 4 am. I can't imagine such a hard life, but there are plenty of dairy farmers around here. No wonder Chris, the old farmer next door, is so happy at Wal-Mart after all those years of running this farm. I was up at all hours when I had a lot of lambs coming. This year, the few lambs I had came at convenient times. The most tired I've ever been in my life was when I was taking care of my own premature twins. What a zombie. I hardly remember the first year they were alive. Speaking of twins, Twin B is having a wonderful time in Europe. Wish I could jump on a plane and join him in Italy...but have to jump in the bathtub and get ready for work instead.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pink Pregnant Tote

Mia posted some more pix of her nurse friend's baby shower and one of her wearing the bag. Yep, it's perfect. I'm tickled. Oh, to be young and pregnant...and, in my case, the ultimate miracle, one of each! Stayed at work late to help grade Regents Tests with my supervisor and some other teachers. My boss heard that I "might not be in school on Friday" due to the trip to NJ I was planning on taking. Guess who was not amused and guess who is staying home. I could never get to the show and set up on time Saturday morning. Maybe next year.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fat and Happy

I let the sheep out as soon as I got home today. The glorious weather of the weekend held over. I sunk down into the folding chair I keep out on the hill, dogs on leashes raring to go, and closed my eyes. They had to wait for me to take a 5 minute snooze. Not that I had all that trying a day. We watched movies, played with a Wii game that Gretchen brought in, had an ice cream party, played basketball, and one of my favorite bros beat me one more time at Scrabble. (Oh, the worlds they can come up with - very creative). I think I was tired from the weekend. The blisters popped out on my hands from the nail clippers. Memo- buy a sanding stone and use it before Big Jim the Shearer comes again. I had stopped at the post office to mail Hannah's birthday present (it's the 19th) on the way home, but wouldn't you know it, I didn't have her address with me. I rode around New Berlin to find just the right spot where I could get reception and called her mom and dad. No answer at either place. Gave up and went home, but found the address before I got out of the car. Took off again for the Brookfield PO and got it mailed with $14 worth of quarters!! I forgot how expensive it is to mail packages to California!! Finally got home at 5 and closed my eyes for 5 minutes before going inside to rescue the dogs from the apartment. Back to our walk...I got up and took the doggies up to the pond. The inhabitants are wary of us now, after months of isolation. We hear the frogs jumping in the water as we climb the steep incline just before the water's edge. Pip is still determined to get one. Wonder what he would do with it? The sheep are not up to the pond yet. There is still grass enough lower on the hill and there are a couple of bubbling springs for them to drink from. Pretty, colorful wild flowers are blooming here and there, including a delicate white flower that looks like edelweiss. I have to start fencing off areas and rotating or I will be in trouble later on when the hill is grazed off. We made our way back down and I was able to admire the big fleshy sheep, getting fat on green grass. Lilly is as big as a barrel. I remember last January 1, when she was skinny and gaunt after giving birth to those ram twins. No longer. She's as big and beautiful as ever. When she catches my eyes she runs over to me for affection. I'll be so sad when she passes. She's got to be around 8 or 9. Her boy, Denzel, is just as affectionate, along with her lamb Lester. Levi and Larry and a tad standoffish. I went back in the apartment to lie down on the sofa. How deliciously naughty it feels to take a nap when I should be doing so many other things...but it just had to happen.

So Long Kiddies

Last day of school for many of the kids I work with. Many are taking Regents testing this week, but the bulk of the student population is gone. I like the cycle of teaching, you are thrown together in September and by June, when you can't take another day, you are released for nice vacation. In the fall it starts all over again. If a farmer has to work, it's a good gig. Matt spent last week teaching weatherization building to kids in a correctional facility. Even with the complete lack of discipline problems (they called him "sir" and were very eager to learn) he came home exhausted and drained. "I have a lot more respect for teachers!" he told me. Yep, teaching can take a lot out of you. Speaking of kids, I heard from two of mine yesterday. AJ is in Italy having a fabulous time. He found an internet cafe to get in touch by email. Mia went to a baby shower for a nurse she works with. She gave the mom-to-be the Caribbean Cruise Knitting Snap Frame Tote for a diaper bag. The bag was very well-received, with the crowd oohhhing and aahhing Mia reported. The mom said she wouldn't use it for a diaper bag, but keep it for a handbag for herself. No problem with me, I'm just happy she liked it and glad that Mia liked my work enough to give it to her friends. I don't know when I'll see AJ again, as he is going to Ft Jackson upon returning from Europe to complete US Army Chaplain training. Mia is picking up Hannah and Luke in Buffalo next week to bring them to the farm. That's when our summer party begins!