Monday, October 25, 2010

Can a dog get any more comfy?

It is true. My life is ruled by animals. Last evening Casper, the Deaf boxer, and Sebastian, the world's largest lab, were nestled cozily together on the sofa.
While I sat on the floor.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sprucetown Thespians

Certainly there can't be a better way to start the week than listening to a musical rendition of the Noah's Ark story!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Green-eyed Monster

It all started out innocently enough. She was just going on a ride. But, like kids, one animal getting to do something a little different is enough to throw the entire One Old Goat farm into a complete tizzy!

Dolly snorted in disgust.

Clover galloped up and down the hill like a crazy horse.

Even the World's Ugliest Rooster had to see what was going on!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Small boy, big drum

Our school district band has got it right. Mix the little kids with the big kids.

This last Friday evening, the 5th and 6th grade band students had the chance to march with the high school band at the football game.

It was a big day for him. The kids got to walk across to the senior high building after school and have pizza with the senior high band members.

Now this could have gone either way. My son was incredibly excited to be able to march out onto the field for the PV pre-game show just as his sister did several weeks ago. Being matched up with a cynical senior could have totally destroyed his sparking interest in the marching band. It would be so easy for a senior, a nearly all grown up student, to ignore this little kids he had been assigned to mentor for the afternoon. But this drum player choose instead to take his role seriously. And what an impact he had.

The entire way home from the game, my son recounted his evening with this young man and what this 'senior' told him about playing the drums, about the games they played during dinner, about a million other things. My son was so impressed that this young man -- and a young lady, too--that they took the time to actually hang out with him. He couldn't remember his name but I knew who he was talking about because I had seen during the game when they were sitting in the bleachers how he interacted with my son. I wanted to hug him.

My little guy knows that he will never play football, will never play any type of contact sport aside from possibly continuing soccer. How important it was for him to hear of something that wasn't a sport being a way to excel, to be unique. But his face when I looked in my rearview mirror that evening, said it all:

I'm gonna be a drummer.

Thank you Senior-boy- who-is-the-drummer!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Secret spots on campus

One of the things I love about fall is the heavy carpet of leaves covering things that otherwise would be in plain view. Hidden footpaths, a sunflower field tucked away in the far end of a field, skeletons of houses from long ago, a bit of an old fence still standing and covered with brilliant creeping virginia.

But the chickens are at home.

Unseen Angels on One Old Goat's farm

When I am feeling bad and am endanger of retreating from the human race, I look toward the beauty I find at home. I'm lucky to have my church across the road from me so quite figuratively and literally - my church is my home. Many times when my instinct is to run and hide, I make myself go to church because my daughters love it and want me to be there. We were fortunate to have a couple of special songs sung today as part of the service. One in particular mentioned 'unseen Angels' and was sung by a church member who recently experienced the loss of a son and a brother. I don't know how she was able to get up and sing so beautifully and so strong. I think, perhaps, that this church member would be very surprised to know that today she was my Angel.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Signs of the season

I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.

The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper sunburned woman, the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.

The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes, new beautiful things come in the first spit of snowon the northwest wind and the old things go, not one lasts.

Autumn Movement by Carl Sandberg

I think
this was written for me. It is true that winter blows in on the wind sometime in October and blows out in April. I've noticed that since we first moved here. As much as I hate to see things left behind, I know that there is a new beauty in winter.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

And I do this, why???

After our return from Maine, Dolly Llama suddenly decided that she didn't want to be confined to her pen (and I use the term loosely - she is fenced in on nearly an acre of land). For two years, Dolly was perfectly happy to graze on the hill with the horses. Then she figured out she could jump the fence. So I fixed it and for two months, she has seemed happy.
When I went out back today, this is what I saw:
She wasn't the least big ashamed, in fact - she was quite happy to see me. And my treats. So once again, I fixed the fence. How long will it be this time?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A bit of craziness down on the farm

Not much to say today - last weekend, I took some last summery snapshots of my menagerie in the beautiful sunshine. After all the rain we had, even Dolly Llama was feeling social;

Casper, the deaf boxer, in stealth mode getting ready to spring on-- Sebastian

who steers clear of both horses and the electric fence and the world's ugliest rooster!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Just words

Usually I am pretty distrustful of any new initiative that is passed down from the upper management in our organization. Especially when it is touted as 'good for us'. Especially when it involves the styles of communication. And really, especially when it results in changing the behavior of us lower level lives.

Starting last month--after a kick-off of sorts of this new project--everyone in the organization was to sign up for a two day workshop in learning to communicate authentically. This was after we all found books of this title in our office mailboxes. The enthusiasm of the top dogs was palpable by the rest of us terrified underlings. This could not be good. We couldn't wait to see what the next big trick was to make us all work like a well-oiled instrument.

We were learning to how communicate. With each other. No more would there be hierarchical lines of communication. Everyone was free to talk with anyone else. All employees would be empowered to make decisions on their own.

This was fluff. And we shall see if this is really what transpires. But getting back to the idea of being taught to communicate honestly. We communicate all day long. We communicate ad nauseum and we do it well. Or at least well enough that the receiving parties generally understand what we are trying to say. I thought we knew how to speak effectively anyway.

I hate to say this but on my first day of the workshop, I've learned enough. Enough to possibly change my life. I don't see myself picking up the phone and chatting with the CEO - I don't really see myself using this at all in my work setting. But at home? Wow! I learned today that I am a manipulator. I talk to my family and use guilt and shame to get them to do things for me. Ok - maybe that is too harsh a statement but it does hit close to the truth.

I can hear my defeatist self whining about how tired I am but yet I must do the dishes because they just must be done. I can hear myself trying to invoke guilt by telling my husband of all the work I've done and have yet to do while he sits and watches TV. I actually itemize what I do in hope that he will take pity and fall into action. I use these tactics on my kids. And it works. But do I really want to guilt them into washing the dishes, taking out the dog, cleaning their rooms? Can't I just ask them to do it? Just because it is the right thing to do?

I must say, I'm a bit ashamed of myself. I honestly didn't realize that I blatantly used these methods to coerce my family into doing things. And in less than 2 hours, I learned something new about my old self.

Will the lessons stick? Well it become second nature for me to simply ask for help and not try and force people into doing things for me? I don't know. I hope so.

A torrid love affair

 I've written about the ducks quite a bit. It's a little like Peyton Place around here I think. A couple of months ago, the male d...