Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Typical Evening These Days...

The grands had been by today. After dinner, I pick up their toys before the puppy mistakes them for her own. Usually, I find that I have missed one or two because Rosie has found them and is putting teeth marks on them.

I set them aside to wash.

Rosie and I head outdoors where the goats are feeling particularly needy because they were not fed every 3 hours in the usual fashion. They are not hungry; they feel neglected.

While I enter the barn to throw them hay and get clean water, Rosie escapes to the field around it, no longer interested in the mysteries of The Barn or the goat poops she used to find so wondrous. She has bigger dreams to follow. I wonder how far she will get before I catch up to her.

It ends up being out of sight, because Clemmie, the slippery sneak, wends her way between me and the gate and escapes to the great outdoors. High excitement! She runs to the fence to show off that she is on the outside. Imogene, Barnaby and Bo are fit to be tied that they are on the inside even though they are all touching noses through the fence. They consider it a crisis situation.

I carefully try to get close to Clemmie without making her run. My fear is that she will take flight and I will be floundering behind with heavy feet, watching her fleetly fly to the road and certain death. I try to project calm in spite of what my heart is feeling. Meanwhile, the trio inside the fence are blubbering and baaing and running forth and back.

My stealth moves are not unpredictable, still she heads back to the barn as I wish, but will not go in the pen. So I bribe her and the rest with sunflower seeds, a favorite treat…And manage to lose Barnaby to the outside while getting Clemmie in.

Barnaby encounters the returning Rosie, and they engage in some feint and spar. More high excitement. Because he is practically morbidly obese, Barnaby is not fast, and I catch his collar, only to have him give a mighty leap away from Rosie…and his critical mass yanks me forward. This results in an unwanted adjustment of my spine, and the kind of running you do to keep yourself upright…all while holding on to his collar.

Thankfully, his abrupt move was toward the barn, and my momentum further propelled us that way. I clung to his collar knowing that this rodeo would not end if I did not HOLD ON. Once in the barn, I let him go and jumped to slam the door shut. Only a few minor feints and spars between us were needed to get him back in the pen.

I return outside to find the pup triumphant in the acquisition of a decomposing mole. She is trotting about, head high, promenading her prize…but fleeing if I get within 3 feet. I wheedle; I threaten; I display a handful of treats, which are as good as cardboard compared to the stinking mole she is swinging around. I am getting nowhere fast. And Rosie is getting everywhere.

I enlist the aid of The Farmer, who cajoles and commands, scolds and chases. After a couple of circles around the building, I lay in wait for him to flush her toward me. The surprise causes her to drop the mole and I grab her! Caught! And as I carry her to the house, I find that not only has she carried a decomposing mole around, she made sure to roll on it too. Putrid.

And so it is bath time for the puppy who has lost her most prized possession and now suffers the great indignity of being wet. Of course, she tries to slip through my hands out of the laundry sink, and then cries pathetically at such suffering. But I am disgusted enough to be determined to complete the task.

I towel her off and leave her to dry while I go out to water the plants. The goats are loudly protesting, with mouths full of hay, that I did not cut any fresh grass for them. So I get the hand scythe and cut some for them. Finally, they are silent and content.

In the house, the moping puppy decides she will forgive and will sit next to me on the couch where I am trying to wind down. Soon, we are both asleep, too tired to go to bed.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

So we had a little incident yesterday


So we had an incident yesterday. The kind of incident that makes one into a farm girl.

Little Miss Emma was hanging out with us, and she loves nothing more than to be outside, whatever the weather, wandering around the yard. She loves the goats, and the rocks, and the dirt, and now that she has a lawnmower, she feels she has a purpose too.

Just like her daddy, she likes doing ‘real’ things more than playing.

So she was mowing a long as I was fussing with my garden boxes. She decided to take the mower into the barn (bawn, as she says it 😊). I watched from behind as she went through the open doors. She squatted down to pick up something off the floor, saying “Kitty!”, which got my attention as we have no kitties on our farm.

With shock, I watched her little hand go down to pick up what I realized was a naked, little baby bird that had fallen out of the nest! (I think she called it kitty as it was about the size of the Little People kitty that she carries around the house.) When her hand landed on the naked, slightly feathered body, she jerked it back, held it to her chest and high-tailed it out of the barn! “Gama! Gama!”

I was close behind and grabbed her, making sure her hands stayed away from her mouth! She wasn’t upset, just surprised. Of course, I had exclaimed that it was a baby bird. I assured her that we would go tell Gapa, and he would take it away…but FIRST, we were going to wash her hands!

She was hot to get to Gapa, and tell him about the “baby bood”. Gapa came with us to take it away. Sadly, we found that a gust of wind had knocked a nest out of the rafters and four healthy little birds had met their end on the hard cement floor. I expressed my sadness, which was not lost on Emma.

For the rest of the day, she told me over and over, “Baby bood…saaad.” Which was completely adorable and sweet…Oh my! Every so often she thought of it again, and had to express her regret.
Of course, when I tried to get video of her saying it, I had to prompt, but it’s still worth hearing…so cute!
video

So Emma had a farm girl experience about the ugly things that happen and the gross things you can encounter on the farm. And she’s none the worse for wear…her rural education begins.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Rosie is Red...


I’ve never done this before, and I keep feeling I must justify my actions. It just happened so quickly!

One week and one day after our dear Daisie was gone, we brought home her successor. Fewer days than that passed before I was looking for our next dog. And it seemed like people might misunderstand the depth of my feelings over the loss of Daisie.

But the fact is, it is because of the depth of my feelings for my dog that I already have another. I love having a dog companion with me. There is a big hole in the fabric of my life when I have none.

So, I am justifying to you something, I really don’t need to justify to anyone, even Daisie. She would know why we now have Rosie, a little red Boston Terrier.

Honestly, I probably would not have moved so quickly had it been a different time of year, but I knew I wanted another dog, a puppy, and right now is the best time to do the house-training. Didn’t want to do that in the fall. Didn’t want to miss the spring puppies. Didn’t want to be looking for a dog when the days are getting shorter, the weather worse, and Randy is on the road a lot. Didn’t want to be alone in the house then. Besides, for the next few months, we are mostly here on the farm…not going anywhere. It is the time of year that I have always raised our puppies. So, it seemed urgent to pursue.

Because of the way Randy loves Caitlin’s Frenchtons, I had wondered if maybe our next dog would be a little one. In fact, I considered adding a small dog to our family this year anyway. I wondered if Daisie would appreciate a cozy companion now that she spent so much time in the house, and I knew her days with us were not long. Perhaps we could have an “overlap” dog.

Then, when Daisie was gone, I realized it would be good to have a different kind of dog...A successor, not a replacement. Another boxer would be too much comparison to Daisie, who was an exceptionally nice, calm, sweet girl.

So I started looking for Bostons and found that they are not plentiful around here. I had found only 2 local breeders, both of whom had all their puppies reserved, even the ones not yet arrived! When I was beginning to think I would have to ship a puppy from far away, an ad popped up in the Herald. I called immediately, left a message, and didn’t hear anything. I was thinking these must be gone as well…

Fortunately, I was wrong. I got a call back. We arranged a meeting at the owners’ home. We met Rosie’s mom and dad…Really nice dogs, and immaculately clean, friendly but well-behaved. The two little girl pups were red like their dad, and it was hard to choose between them. We took Rosie, who was a little smaller, and a bit more docile.


The owners were an older couple, who love their dogs, and sell the puppies to families who want pets. We had a nice long visit with them about the dogs they have had over the years. They had experience, like we have, with old faithfuls who lived a good long life, then had to be put to rest when their days were more pain than happiness. We told them about our Daisie, and they understood. They said they could see that their puppy would have a good life with us.

And so, Rosie came to live with us. She was nameless at that time, and we had to stop to get food, a bed, toys and a smaller crate as we had nothing that would work. Within a couple hours, she considered us her people.

The kids came in the evening, and we discussed the name. It was Tiffany who said, “What about another flower name, like Daisie?” Hmmm. “What about Rosie? Rosie is red!” And that was it! Tiff had just the right name for our girl.

Emma was awestruck to look in the little crate and see a living, breathing little animal. She immediately started saying, “Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi!...” and waving to her. Later, we let Rosie run around and Emma was thrilled to be chased by her. Little Kit was unflappable about the excited little Boston running right up to her. She’s going to be an animal person for sure. Both of them will!

So we are having fun with Rosie and her antics, and are reminded that puppies are a lot of work, especially when they object to being away from you during the night. We are in the investment stage of making her into a good dog. Hard work, but worth it.


Despite the entertaining, happy distraction Rosie is, I still miss Daisie. As I said before, Rosie is a successor, not a replacement, but we are blessed to have good memories of Daisie, and to be making new ones with Rosie.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What day is it?

With the big upset in the normal flow of my world, I'm a little bit at sea as to time and days and what I should be doing.

I was in the midst of some urgent and important projects, and was completely derailed by sorrow.

Please understand that I am in no way equating my sorrow over the loss of my pet with the kind of sorrow so many others are suffering. I can get another pet, not another Daisie, but another pet and pursue the happiness that comes with that. I know, I know, I know that others can't get back a dad, a son, a husband, a mom, a daughter, a wife. Oh, how my heart hurts for you!

I'm just trying to keep it real for what my life is, and I confess, I have not the strength I see in others.

So I've been floundering this week. Kind friends have encouraged me that it's okay to back off on my expectations of myself for a few days, so I have. But I realized that I had moved the essentials of my desk to the dining room table because it was too hard to be in the room where Daisie had her crate. She would doze and snore while I worked (and wasted time) on the computer.

It's too quiet, and empty -- and kind of sad to move that crate out and admit we are a family without need of one.

But life is going on, so today I took myself by the lapels and propelled me out into the garage to organize and make room for the things that need to get out of the house...all those dishes and treats and food and medicines and beds.

The harder part is not getting derailed by the holes in my routine: the first-thing-in-the-morning duty run, and breakfast. The walk and treat after. Remembering the meds at the proper time (my phone kept reminding me). The urge to holler an alert for Daisie to join me when I was going outside. Keeping track of her dinner time; that was her most demanding point of the day -- if you could call her demanding.Checking to see if she was on her bed, in her chair, or in her crate.

In the first days of her painful absence, I was aware of every thing I didn't have to do...but now, as I start to pick up with everyday life, I forget and start to act in the habit of the past. And then it hurts again.

As the days pass, it is easier to remember the happy memories and forget the heart-wrenching last moments, and that is a mercy.

Also, I have found myself pondering why I don't express how much I appreciate people more readily, and why do I wait to do things I want to do, finding reasons and excuses that seem like obstacles. Life is short, and full of imperfections. The best thing we can do is love, even if imperfectly. Waiting around for it to all be just right is a waste of time.

Because someday you'll wake up and find that the opportunity to love someone is finite, and there's little you can regret more than that.

Monday, April 24, 2017

This wasn't what I was thinking was going to happen...

So I had all these plans to write about my trip after sharing my anticipation.

Then my laptop died while we were gone, and I couldn't blog on the go.

And then it took a couple of weeks to get it replaced and the files moved over.

And then I was going to finally write, and catch up, and get blogging again.

Then -- our Daisie died this weekend, and I'm a big weepy mess. My heart is bruised, and I am full of anxiety that I will never be as happy again as I was when she was here. I'm tortured by "if only" thoughts, and regrets. I bounce between distraction, denial and back to despair.

Then last night, I heard that two iconic leaders of our community passed...and this after weeks where we have lost others too soon and too young. And more are suffering with dire illnesses.

It's too much. Today, I am feeling like one big open wound, bleeding at every touch...Sorrows overwhelm. So much pain for so many.

It's hard to look forward and think that we will one day be so naively happy again. Life is full of hurts.

But in the midst of the sorrow, I realize that my gratitude for all the good that has gone before is heightened. Weighed in the balance, there was more joy than there is now pain. I want my joy to have no cost, but that is not reality. To continue in this sorrowful world, I can only go forward in faith that God will give us courage, and strengthen us, to pay the price of loving deeply in a world that waits to be redeemed, a world where we will suffer separations, and physical pain, and broken hearts. I will choose faith that loving deeply is worth the pain, and that not loving, is not living. I will open my heart to joy, without reservation.

And for a few days (only, I hope), I'll probably cry while I'm doing that...but He knows I am but dust.

Someday soon, I will write a tribute to our wonderful Daisie. She was the best dog in the world, and after loving and serving us for nearly 12 years, she deserves to be remembered well. Right now, it's just too hard... I remain amazed and thankful that God made these creatures to love us.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

An-tiss-i-pay-ay-shun...

I'm going to visit here!

So – I’m going on a trip later this month. Yep – I am actually going to leave my home, fly on a jet plane, and spend a week far from my comfort zone.

I was the kid who mostly had to call my mom to pick me up from the slumber parties. I made it all night a couple of times. But mostly, not – and mostly, I avoided accepting such invitations. I was so attached to my family that I would torture myself thinking of my empty place at the table and how much they must miss me. (Ha! I’m pretty sure I was the only one suffering over that image!) I did not learn how to be secure away from my safe zone.

And I still struggle with that. But I have made great strides, and even have found myself enjoying my forays into the wider world.

Lately, though, I’ve noticed that it’s been easier and easier to abandon any plans for travel. It was time, once again, to push myself out of my comfort zone.

The Farmer has meetings in Knoxville, TN – a place I have been once before, and wanted to return to. We had contemplated extending his trip so I could join and we could explore. However, since the meetings were late in March, it was uncertain whether The Farmer could take the time away from the work of the growing season. His doubt caused me to quickly demur and encourage him to go for a short trip without me.

Secretly, I felt relief along with my disappointment.

The Farmer, graciously and wisely, decided we should make the most of the opportunity, growing season or not. And so, we are going.

Despite my previous reluctance to plan to travel, I am finding myself quite delighted to go!

And I am currently obsessed with finding the perfect luggage and travel accessories for the trip. I realize that my obsession with this is likely an outgrowth of desiring to create a traveling safe zone that has everything I need with me at all times…But I am having so much fun with it!


I can only hope that the trip is as much fun as the anticipation!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Farming Friday...

What a difference warmth, wind and lots of rain can make in the volume of snow piled around the place!
A week ago, most of my backyard had about a foot of snow over most of it…Today, it’s mainly gone!





And it’s a good thing. Behind our berry field is an open field that will have potatoes planted in it this spring. The NE wind carried the snow right over that open field, and it spiraled out in the first 16 rows of our berry field. The drift was long and deep, encasing the canes in snow up 3-4 feet.


These pictures were taken a few days after the end of the storm as I couldn't easily get out there until then. If you look down the row, you can see how high up the canes the snow still is.


Not good for those little buds that are sleeping on the canes. It just might have killed them. Only time will tell on that…or on any of the other weather injury opportunities we have enjoyed.

In my estimation, which is not nearly as valuable as The Farmer’s, we have had 3 hazards this year:
1.   It was warm too long into November. When the frosty weather came, it was too big a change in temperature and too abrupt. This tends to kill the buds at the tops of the canes.
2.    We had quite a few days of very cold wind, which eventually desiccates the canes, and frozen ground, which keeps water from being available for them to take up. Usually, whole canes die with this kind of injury.
3.    Some of the canes were encased in snow for some days, or ice for a day, which breaks the canes, and freezes the buds.




Broken posts from the snow load.


So much less snow...but you can see below all the canes that are broken.


The dairy farmers have much greater work challenges than we do in the midst of winter storms, and their cows usually give less milk, or may get sick more easily when they are under weather stress. Barns have collapsed, and costs for feed and energy are definitely higher in those circumstances. I would say that all farmers take a financial hit in a storm as strong and long-lived as we had.


Some farmers know already the cost of their damages, but some of us will have to wait until the buds come out in Spring.

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life (leslieisverbose.blogspot.com) and one where I can vent. (leslievents.blogspot.com)