Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hams on the Farm

Have you ever noticed that some of the animals on the farm just seem to be natural hams? That some how they have their own sense of humor? Take Miss Averill for instance.

For some reason she thinks she is like a born star......always wanting to get her picture taken, posing as if she is a natural in front of the camera, striking the pose as if to show off her best features like those very distinct gully trademark eye drops, a true ham.

Oh and then of course there is Glover who seems to be saying with a smile, "I do say, where is my red coat? I am feeling so naked out here amongst all the other animals!"

And then there is Jed, a very distinguished gully ram who appears to be mocking and challenging my sign.......I worked very hard for that sign many, many years ago........too long of a story:)
And only a small Dominque chicken would be looking for some leftovers by TJ, my Black Cotswold ram who is quite large.......guess she is not really a "chicken."
Farm animals just have that way of providing a laugh just when you need it most.
So who is your ham on the farm?



Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sounds from the Barn

The swinging of a gate, the creaking of a floor board, the wind whistling through a slit in the wall, the rain of the roof.......sounds of the barn. I have had farm animals for over 9 years now and in the course of those 9 years, the sounds of the barn have become a part of me, part of my soul, part of my heart. I can sit on my back porch listening to the animals and know just by sound who is who. I can be walking up to the barn in the morning before the lights are on and know who is calling my name just by their baas or nays. Oh, sometimes they can get a tad too loud and mouthy but I am sure they say the same about me. I love listening to them, its a comfort, a security, a sense of harmony on the little farm.
This morning I lost a piece of that sound. Harry, my first Shetland wether, passed away in the early hours of the morning. Harry had a very distinguished baa, very loud, very deep. He was the first sheep sound on my little farm. As like most wethers, he was pathetically friendly and loved a good chest rub. Of all my wethers however, I could not put weight on Harry. He was always thin, regardless of how many times I wormed him or how much I fed him. Three years ago he started to roo his fleece in October and by December he looked like he just got sheared. This was the third year of this problem. I kept a fleece coat on him to try and keep him warm but this winter just seemed harder for him to handle.
I did not hear his call tonight when I was starting chores and I will miss it in the days to come. Even amongst all the sheep and goats that call out to me when I go to the barn, there is one less that I will hear.

My animals are a blessing and for that I am truly grateful.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Rambling Post

Today I almost got stuck in my driveway. Totally my fault. I should have known better when the slush turns into ice and the ruts take over. I just overshot my boundaries. I figured I could get myself out of the stuck position knowing I just needed to get down to the base (gravel) as I was spinning my front wheels on ice. The problem is is that I have been ignoring the fact that I really need some serious gravel in the driveway and due to my "other priorities", the foundation is starting to crumble and if I don't start filling in with some gravel.....well I might just have to start over from scratch.
What is my point? Usually I don't go into this "philosophical" deepness but on my way home from a "required" meeting for school that irritated me, I need to vent.
Warning: Rambling may occur after this point.
Today's meeting was one of those meetings to create ways to "inspire" today's student. I know that when I went to school, I learned by drill and practice.....oh, and I read and studied. The drill and practice started like in first grade and continued on up through school. My parents who are in their 60's also learned by drill and practice.....those "old-fashion" ways. But we all learned. We can read and we can write, regardless of the fluency, the basics are there. This is my 16th year of teaching. And more and more, the basics are disappearing. More and more of my students can not read fluently and write in cursive??? Forget that. I gave them a "surprise quiz" in which they had to write the alphabet in cursive, both upper & lower case letters, and out of 55 students, not one could do it......they are 8th graders. Identify the 50 states & capitals? Heck, I had a student teacher who was majoring in Soc. St. and when I asked him to quiz the kids on the capitals, he was concerned because I handed him a blank outline map of the U.S. and wanted to know if I had one already filled out with the answers, really????????
I am not that old. I graduated from high school in 1986. I am no hater of technology. I use my computer everyday, its a great tool; but I don't ask it to read and write for me. I mastered those basics on my own.
Everyone wants to use the cute bells and whistles and this creative stuff but if the foundation has not been laid or if it has and its crumbling because the basics are not being practiced enough, or nor one is there to help it along, what is going to be the end result? I can't hang the cute picture on my wall if I have no walls or nails. I can't teach with air, I need to be able to grab on to something and if what I grab on to won't let me hold on for a bit, is that my fault? Our society is the same way. Too many want all the bells and whistles, heck, what has happened to the basics? Some of the founding principles? Where is that simple reading, writing, and arithmetic?
I know that everyone does not learn the same way and everyone deserves the right to learn but first they have to want to learn. Trying to pull them in with all the bells and whistles is not necessarily doing them justice.
The wheel can only be reinvented so many times.
This is Addison. She was an "opps". Her dam is Martha, a Black Cotswold. Her sire, Jedidiah, a blk. gully Shetland. Both parents were purchased as foundation stock for the 2 breeds of sheep I raise. Credentials: Addison is a basic sheep with wool. Wool that is one of the softest among all of my sheep (38 plus sheep). I am not looking to start a new breed of sheep here but with her strong foundations, basic essentials of wool (softness and a long staple), and her willingness to work with me (she is pathetically friendly and very vocal), well I think its going to be a win-win situation.
So, what is my point again? I guess its my way of saying, that the foundation has to be laid, the basics have to be put into place, and the drive to want something bad enough has to be there.
The writing is on the wall if one is willing to read it and want it. It does not require a bunch of bells and whistles.
So why do I have to keep going to these meetings? I know, its a personal issue. I guess I am just having one of those moments. I'll get over. Its not even that time of the month.
Faculty meeting on Wednesday. Thursday a Dept. Chair meeting. Okay, so maybe I'll get over it by the weekend.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

How do U Spell Motivation?

Today has to go down as one of the ugliest days. Yuck. There was thick, damp, drizzly, cold, disgusting fog all day.

Not to mention all the slushie,ice covered snow that was so pleasant and safe to walk on. There was a breech in the ice that was creating an obstacle for the lambs, it was quite comical watching them make decisions on how they were going to cross it. Miss Averill was most likely thinking I should pick her up and carry her delicate little self over the breech.

Now of course there are many projects I could/should be working on. Like all this roving and foam I bought to make some wool felted hats......

.......or perhaps the red fleece I bought to make the dogs a blanket or the blue demin for new curtains (yes I bought this material at JoAnn Fabrics the day after Thanksgiving). My motivation today and the last few weeks is somewhere, I just don't know where.

Oh, there's my motivation, right next to ReRun on the couch.
Now if I could only find some space on the couch next to him.......maybe if I make that blanket for him then he will move;)