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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Dog Ate My Homework, and other unlikely excuses.

I was supposed to go with some others from my church to the NMI (Nazarene Missions International) District Assembly opening service tonight to sing in the mass choir. Looking at the clock, I decided it was time to start getting ready. Before getting in the shower, I decided to let SeeBoo 'go out', as there was rumbling in the distance, so he might not 'go out' later.

I had just let him out the side door when I spied the rooster in the yard. My eyes are no better than the dog's--he spied it, too. And, just like the last time this happened, SeeBoo took off like a rocket after the twice-his-size bird. The rooster raced toward his pen, but unlike last time, he couldn't fly high enough to get back over the fence. So off he went running down the driveway toward the creek, with a little white streak hot on his heels. (Do roosters have heels?)

Ever see a three-year-old on a sugar high in one of those net pits full of colorful plastic balls? Do you think they can hear you when you call? Well, neither can my Wee-Chon. If you ever saw the look in his eyes when he's chasing something, you would realize that he has to run. It's the only way he can keep his eyeballs from popping out of his face!

The rooster dove into the woods at the creek. To the one side of the driveway, where the goats live, the woods are thin and walkable like a city park. But on the other side, where the running duo was last seen, the woods are impassible, as they are a thick mass of underbrush containing wild roses, honeysuckle, grapevine, saplings and weeds.

Have I ever mentioned that I don't run? I don't run. I especially don't run as fast as a happy little doggy trying to bag his first rooster. They were gone.

Every few seconds, I would hear a ruckus from the rooster, a bark from the dog or the rumble of thunder--each time sounding farther away, except for the thunder. It was starting to rain. The last sound I heard was SeeBoo barking. He sounded like he was more than 1000 feet away upstream. I called the neighbor that lives just past there, and told them to be on the lookout for a little white dog chasing a huge rooster, and then I got in the car and drove down there. Parking back by their barn, I headed for the tree-lined creek. I called and called my puppy's name to no avail. Standing at the edge of the woods in an approaching thunderstorm, I decided to give up my search.

The storm was moving in. I told the neighbors that if they saw him, to let him in, but not to bend over to pet him or he'd pee on their floor. (A story for another time and place.) Then I headed home. Coming up the lane, I blew the car horn several times...a sound SeeBoo is quite familiar with, as he tends to run in front of my car if I arrive home while he's outside. It was raining harder. Poor guy is scared of storms.

SeeBoo, with half a haircut cuddling up to my soft slippers.
I opened the garage overhead door and blasted the rain with an air horn, followed by my voice trying to drown-out the sound of the approaching storm. I traded my hard shoes for my slippers, fetched my cell phone, and pulled up a chair, ready to start calling the shelters, police, etc to give them the heads-up on the missing dog. Time was of the essence. In the evening, the coyotes come out to search for food. SeeBoo would never survive a night in the woods.

Did I mention that this whole time I'm praying? I've prayed a lot for my critters. I pray for their safety in the storms, and for their health when they're sick. I prayed for my little dog...

I sat down in the chair in the garage, facing the open door and the pouring rain. Just as I started to look up the first number, it started letting up, and I spied something white in the next field that butts up to the chicken run. The grass there has not been cut this year, and is up to the top of my thighs. I squinted. Sure enough, I recognized that adorable little face sticking through the fence! SeeBoo had made it back! Almost...

The rooster had escape him the first time by going through the tall grass. SeeBoo would go in a few inches, and then back out. He didn't like the tall grass. As he stood there, looking so scared, he had no idea how to get through the fence to get home. He was only about thirty feet from the north corner of the fence, but he couldn't see it for the tall grass. I took off running on my sore feet, in my soft slippers, over the rocky gravel lane. Okay, you're right...I didn't run. I don't run. But I did walk fast!

Even though I stood at the end of the chicken's area where the grass is shorter and called to him, he wouldn't budge. I finally gave up, and soft-slippered my way into the tall wet grass until I got close enough that he could see me. He exploded towards me! Yesterday's bath was just a memory. His white coat was streaked with mud, but no blood. No sign of the rooster either. (I think if he had poked his little head out, I might have shot him!)

SeeBoo was so happy to be home, he didn't even protest when I sat him in the kitchen sink and turned on the faucet.

After washing the mud from SeeBoo's coat, I rolled him up in a towel, and then grabbed my phone to let people know I wouldn't make it tonight. My text read, "Not gonna make it. Toe is on fire from chasing the dog and the rooster through the woods in a T-storm..."

Yeah. And the dog ate my homework. Go ahead and rain...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Revisiting 9/11

Thought I'd put up this link to last year's post on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.
May we never forget.

Friday, July 20, 2012

You Can Never Have Too Many Goats!

Well, I suppose one could have too many goats, but we certainly didn't. After losing half our herd over a few short years, we didn't have enough goats to keep up with the work load.  The woods were becoming overgrown, beginning to look like... well... woods.  

In July of last year, a friend called Mr J about a pygmy goat needing a new home.  Her mother had the goat as a pet along with a sheep, but her mother's health wasn't good, and the sheep had died. The goat seemed very lonely. Knowing goats don't do well alone, we were happy to give the little pygmy a home.  Little did we know we were getting another horse! (And that pygmies aren't that little.)

 Introducing Stitch! We quickly discovered that Stitch's coat was so dense, he could not feel the electric fence.  YIKES!  That means we have no way to contain him.  We tried introducing him to the other goats, but he was as scared of them as they were of him!  Every time we took him into their pasture, he would just run out through the fence!  But guess where he ran?

Maggie Mae is beautiful, I agree. It seems other critters think so, too.  Stitch immediately took up with her, and would follow her wherever she went.  Separate them and Stitch would cry and go running back to her. 

Since the fence won't contain him, he pretty much goes wherever he wants. So that means every time I go for a ride on Maggie, Stitch goes with us.  At first, he clung so closely that my feet would kick his horns!  Now he will let us get several yards away at times. The neighbors get a kick out of seeing me coming on the horse, accompanied by the goat and the dog.

Since Stitch isn't cooperating about joined the clearing crew, I told Mr J we should buy some more goats.  We started looking and fell in love with many, but decided on two young wethers about a mile from our house.  Webrought them home in August of last year and named them D.J. for Derby Jr and Brownie for Mr J's NFL team. (No mean comments, please. ;)

Newly weened, they were much to small to put in with the big boys, so we made them a home in Nekoda's stall. (Nekoda did not think much of the idea.)

It didn't take them long to learn to walk on a leash.  Mr J would take them to the small pasture surrounding the chicken house every morning.

Once the babies were big enough, we gently introduced them to the herd. It took a little time before we could finally leave them there all day, and then eventually all night. Now they are one big happy family.
Left to right: Nanny, DJ, Brownie, Derby, Elvis

Look for future posts about other changes to our fur family!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Well, things sure have changed!

Hello, everyone!  It seems so strange here.  Blogger has changed so many things since I last posted, I hardly recognized the place. Speaking of changes...

Would anyone purposefully hit this button?  I suppose I would, if things were really bad.  But things haven't been really bad.  My life is good.  I don't want it to change!

If only I could control my world...

If only I could stop the good stuff from changing...

But I don't control anything. So, tons of things have changed on the farm since we last talked.  I glanced through the pages on my blog, noting the animals and other things that were my life when I last was here. I'll need to do much updating.

The major change being my in-laws moved out a month ago.  They decided to move back to the little house they lived in when we built this home.  Mr J and I both worry about them, but they seem to be doing OK.  

We moved in here in December of 2003, and moved them in a month later.  Since we spent the first few weeks unpacking and arranging, this really feels like the first time we've been alone here.  It is SO QUIET! It felt really weird at first.  But now that we're used to it, we love the peace and time alone. Eight-and-a-half years out of our eleven year marriage, we have had them with us.

Of course, this means a change in priorities.  We have spent almost a decade taking care of his folks and my mom.  Mom is still in her apartment, just a few minutes away.  She is doing well on her own, so I'm only needed to fill her medicine dispenser, handle business matters, and provide transportation. And so, being caretakers is no longer the big priority in our lives.  So what is?

Well, for starters, US!  Yes, being together.  Alone. Doing things together. Alone.  Also, our social life took the backseat while they were here.  Now we're inviting friends for dinner and going places with them.  It feels so strange.  Did we live this way before?

 That, friends, is just one of the areas of change that has taken place here on the farm.  You are going to read about more...
But for now, I'm off to live my life.  I can't wait to see what else is in store for us!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bigger than Senility

I'm a very forgetful person. I don't remember names and faces. It gets worse as I get older. Yet, I can still remember lyrics to old songs that weren't even my favorites. I remember jingles from 70's commercials. But half the time, I can't keep my grandkids' names straight! Memory is funny that way.  

Why do we remember stuff from commercials and not our loved one's birthdays? I had to stop and think back... How many grandkids did I have ten years ago? Which house was I living in? But I remember very well... where my chair was at work... where the radio sat when we all gathered around, trying to figure out what had happened to the world we knew.

The lab I worked in was inside a factory. We had no idea if it was sunny or snowing.  Everyday in there was the same. The outside world didn't exist while we were clocked in--until that day.

It was business as usual when the clerk yelled across the room that my daughter was on the phone. She called to tell me that a jetliner had crashed into the World Trade Center tower. Bizarre. Horrible! It seemed a bit weird that it should happen there.  

I shared the news with my co-workers. "Wow." "How sad." A few moments later, it was business as usual, once again. Then the second call came.

Suddenly it wasn't just a news item--it was bigger than we could imagine. The guy closest to me pulled out a portable radio and placed it up on the file cabinet. A few gathered around, but some stayed at their benches keeping an ear turned to us. Then, another plane hit the Pentagon. Nobody was working! We didn't know what to do. I remember feeling isolated--trapped in this prison of four walls that didn't let me see the outside world.

Hubby worked in another department at the other end of the building. I headed that way. Along the aisle, at every break area, there was a crowd gathered at the monitors that hung there. They usually had slide shows of company news, but that day--THAT day--the monitors were tuned to a news station. We couldn't hear what was being said over the sound of the machinery running, but the images were burned into our memories forever.

I finally made it to Ray, but I didn't know how to explain what I had seen. I didn't know what was going on. Terrorist? From where? How did they do this? And lastly, what did it mean? My step-son was in the Army.  Suddenly, we were fearful.  We knew this wasn't just a bad day in history. This was big. This wasn't over. More lives would be lost...

We didn't go to work the next day. Ray was so worried about his son that he just wanted to go up to the farm and cut wood. We had this property, but hadn't built on it yet. We had cleared some trees from where our driveway would be. Peace was to be found out here in the solitude. We loaded some tools and headed out.

It was a beautiful day. The sky was bluer than I had ever seen. There were no jet trails to cloud it. Even though it was clear and bright, it was eery. Every time I looked to the sky, I thought about the reason for the blueness.

Watching other countries react to the latest acts of terrorism had never hit home before. We were safe! We were the United States! That stuff didn't happen here!  But it did happen here. 

Something else happened here that day. Heroes were born of common folk. Everybody had something in common. For once in a very long time, the people had common ground--a reason to pull together. Everyone focused on the same outcome. We were one. One nation, under God, indivisible.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

And the WINNER is...

First, let me thank everyone that entered my giveaway.  Those that opted for two prizes - one for each blog - far outnumbered those that wanted one 'winner take all'.  So, I have two winners to announce!

The winning entry from this blog came from Rhonda over at Shellbelle's Tiki HutWhen she replied with her snail-mail address, she told me there is a Bath and Body Works just down the street from her home!  How nice... especially since her prize is a $25M gift card from there!  

Oops...  TYPO!  $25 is the limit on her card.  Sorry, Rhonda.

 I sure learned something from the survey on this one!   

I learned that I have two kinds of readers... one type hates making decisions, and the others want it all!  Yes,  when asked what you want to see more of, most of you either said, 'whatever you like' or checked every box on the list!  So, I guess I will continue with a similar mix to what I've been posting on here.


Susan, over at Christian Writer/Reader Connection, was the winner from my writer's blog.  She will receive a $25,000 gift card... whoops!  Another TYPO... a $25.00 gift card from Borders / Waldenbooks.  (Sorry, I couldn't resist having a little more fun.)  She can finally buy that much wanted book that didn't show up under the Christmas tree!

 The survey results from this contest told me you mostly enjoy reading about my journey and random essays, along with book excerpts from my WIP.  But everything on the list was checked at least once, so I'll try to include all those things in this year's posts.  I will keep my focus, however, on those topics you said you enjoy most.

I love giving gifts!  
Perhaps I'll make this an annual event. 

Thanks again to all that participated.