Saturday, March 23, 2013

My favorite place (one of them)

 As much as I have been complaining about the never-ending snow, I do have to admit that there isn't a place much prettier than University Park in the snow. Or, for that matter, the sunshine.  Yesterday I took a walk downtown and am so glad that I did.  Campus was gorgeous!  The ducks near the Hintz Alumni Center and pond were out and about.  I am sure they find it hard to believe that only a few days ago, they were swimming.

I took a picture of one of the buildings on the west side of campus.  Whenever I walk back to my office, I always walk through this area.  With the old brick and iron work, this really makes me feel the age of the University.  When I walk in this area or when I walk up the sidewalk near Old Main, I can really feel the ghosts of students past.

There is so much history here.  It is comforting to think of all the people who have gone to school here.  I feel so close to my dad when I am walking around campus because I know that he has walked this same walk 50 years ago.  And so has my mom. And so have both of my brothers, my son and my daughter.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring. is the second day of Spring. I'm not going to complain. Not going to say a word. About the snow.  The snow on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, flurries today, snow tomorrow and a storm over the weekend.  I'm not going to say a thing.

The goats are pretending that it is spring. Finally.....the white stuff has melted off the babies' toys.  Wire spoils that friends brought for them last weekend have been setting snow-covered in the goat pasture since last Friday.  Today Bella and Cookie Dough were finally able to play on them.

Yesterday our daffodils that we ordered back in the depth of winter arrived.  And they, along with the carnation from musical, shout 'Spring' from my kitchen table.  Tulips are coming up, the lilies are poking through.  All signs point toward spring.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring please.

 Imagine my surprise Saturday morning to wake up to a coating of snow. Yuk.  It was the day I was going to move the mamas and babies in with Fergundus and Hansel. It was the day I was going to move my garden frames and fill them with a very nice concoction of llama, goat, chicken and pony poop.  It was the day I was going to get so much done.

Yuk. But I knew that with the high school musical happening and a church dinner which is a all-day affair that I didn't want to miss......I would only have a few hours to get any of this stuff done.  So I did.  I moved Bella, Cookie Dough, Cinderella, and Leslie into the goat yard.  I moved the garden frames up to my old garden area, put down the weed fabric, and put in a layer of poop cocktail.  I really have to get new tires for my wheelbarrow.  It is really tiring to drag a wheelbarrow full of manure and straw up a hill on flat-as-pancake tires.

It turned out to be a really great
weekend!  The goats all got along.  I left the door to the goathouse open a bit in case the boys got a little crazy and it worked out well.  I've even quit going out two and three times a night to check on everyone.  The boxes are full of compost but I'll have to wait a few days to put in the soil so that I can plant my peas.  But that's ok.  It won't be the first year that I've been late planting peas.  I am so looking forward to being able to check my asparagus.  Of course, I have to wait until the snow melts.

But tomorrow is the first day of spring.  It will be 70 degrees and sunny, I'm sure.

Friday, March 15, 2013


St. Patricks Day = planting of the greens!  Yep, the peas go in on Sunday.  Unless it is snowing which is a good possibility.  The past few weeks have been a tease - hovering in true spring weather only to be nailed by Mother Nature yet again.  Oh well, it is nearly spring and before long I'll be complaining about the heat.  That's how I roll.

This weekend is the musical Annie - performed by girls and boys in our local junior and senior high school.  I've written about the music department at our high school before and truly I am not biased when I say they are the best.  Sometimes I complain about having to make yet another trip to the school to pick up my daughter or get frustrated trying to figure out how to get a salad to school for the evening meals that are provided the last week of practice.  I complain just a little bit because I know that the music teachers and several of the parents have been at school all day and all evening.  I can't imagine trying to coordinate and choreograph a bunch of high school students - as fun as it must be, it just has to be like herding cats!

But yet year after year after year, they put on a tremendous show! Complete with song, dance and a real orchestra! Here, in our little valley!  It is wonderful.  I really think that if people who vote to save a few bucks by cutting the arts were to actually listen to some of the performances at their own local high school, or visit the art room and look at the works in progress, they would be a little less willing to sacrifice these programs that give so much. To the students, to the parents, to the community.  It makes me think that if there were a little more opportunity for kids of a certain age to engage that part of their brain, there would be a little less violence in this world.  Happy teenagers turn into happy adults who then produce happy children. And the cycle continues.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A little free time.

I usually run or walk on my lunch hour.  Partly because that is the only consecutive 60 minutes in a day that I have to do as I want without feeling as if I'm missing out on time with my family or animals and also partly because I don't do well with nothing to do.  For example.  Today I went for a short walk- it was raining out, I didn't bring my running clothes so I had an extra 20 minutes in which to read or think or nap.  So I started thinking.  About how bored I was.  And then I started thinking about the little rabbit that used to hang out with my chickens which made me think of my baby goats which then made me think about all the squirrels on campus.  And then I started thinking again on how bored I was.  How much I dislike working in an office. How much happier I would be if I could talk to students NOT in my office.  Then I started think about how hilarious it would be to tell my coworkers that I was talking to the squirrels at lunch.  I would go into great detail about the conversation I supposedly had with the squirrels.  But my coworkers are pretty serious.  I think they would believe me.  Or at least believe that I  believed that I had talked to the squirrel. 

I don't know which is more disturbing, that I was thinking of telling them I talked to squirrels or that they would believe me.

By the way, I didn't talk to the squirrels and tomorrow I will have something constructive to do at lunch.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Another good day.  In my mind anyway.  It is hard to believe that this is the first spring without my dad.  In years past, a huge topic of conversation with my dad and mom has been how many days until spring.  It is still a conversation with my mom, but my dad was a little more optimistic (sorry mom!).  Over the past few months I've thought about how one person touches a life in ways that can't even be imagined.  Obviously my dad had a huge impact on my life.  Not just because he was my dad.  I've a lot in common with my mom - our temperaments are the same but I think in my heart of hearts, I am my dad's girl.  I remember how during family gatherings, my dad would slink away under the guise of work to do, contracts to write.  I understood him in way that no one else could.  How do you explain being an introvert to a group of extroverts? How do you explain social anxiety to someone who has never experienced it?  When your world starts spinning from all the conversations and sounds and there is nothing you can do to stop it, it has hard to seem to others, as if you are being an ass.  I love my family.  Very, very much.  But my brain simply is not equipped to handle a myriad of noise from all directions.  I avoid malls, parades, crowds of all kinds....simply because the noise causes my brain to seize up and I feel as if I will pass out.  And the words don't come out.  It is crazy.  I would love nothing better than to be able to sit back and enjoy people conversing around me even if I don't participate.  But it is hard because I can't turn off my mind when there is so much stimulation.  It is like being in the center of a pinball game.  I think this is why I love animals so much.  Their expectations are only to be fed, petted,ear scratches and treats.  They don't take my silence for anything but what it is.

And I'm a counselor.  Go figure.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Sebastian was helping me - if only he had opposable thumbs.
I got a lot done today: went into town for new running shoes for my daughter, ingredients for lasagna, a stop at the thrift shop for a skirt to be worn at musical this week in addition to cleaning out the goat mamas and their babies' stalls, making two frames for my squarefoot gardens, whipping up a batch of lavender/basil soap,  sauce for the lasagna, making a pineapple upside-down cake for church dinner and practicing the piano for church tomorrow morning.  I'm tired but I feel so good from keeping a few promises to myself.  Tomorrow I will finish the goat door which is soooooo close to being totally knocked of its hinges.
Squarefoot garden frames.

I've been thinking a lot about this blog and have been wondering if there will ever be a time that I will be able to ever teach anyone anything!  I've started this whole farm business without knowing a thing at all about livestock.  And not only that, but I was born without a lick of common sense.  Everything I do has been learned by either reading a book or watching someone else.  So I want to share what I learned this morning.....this earth-shattering tidbit of knowledge that I gleaned this morning while cleaning goat stalls.  I am proud of what I learned but yet I am nervous about sharing it - I'm afraid that people will automatically think that I am not worthy of being a farmer and that if I didn't know this in what other areas am I lacking farm-wise??
Max was no help.

But maybe there is someone else, someone who is starting for the bare minimum for whom this knowledge would make or break their continue pursuit of the farm life........I guess I'll take the risk.  I'll share what I've learned and what I am so proud goes.......

Casper slept all afternoon.
Tucker and Tipper fought over a strip of sunshine shining through the crack in the shutters.  
A pitchfork's large teeth make it so you can kind of rake the straw, sifting goat berries down to the wet straw.  That way, you only have to scoop out the poop and wet stuff.  You don't have to replace the straw every. single. day.  This knowledge will save me a lot of money.

I know, earth-shattering.  I should write a manual :)


Apparently chickens are not the most patient creatures.  Yesterday morning, I slept in 15 minutes! This past week the chickens were used to me being up and awake before they were.  They got used to having their breakfast waiting for them when they woke up. Or jumped down from the goat fence. Or whatever.

Not only were they waiting for me on the deck, one of my roosters was standing outside the sliding glass doors crowing which set off a chain-dog-reaction and within seconds, the house was thrown into utter dog-barking chaos.  I was up, had my boots on and was out the door running for the feedbucket before I was even awake!

You can bet I was up before the chickens this morning.  Fed them.  Went back to bed.

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...