Thursday, December 27, 2012

What is a Mesha?

If animals on my farm talk, this is what the current conversation might be today......
"So Rutland, have you seen that ridiculous looking thing running around the farm lately?" Danby, the big white Romney wether asked.
"Oh, you must mean that pathetic looking thing in the red coat," replied Rutland,
"Oh my! This white stuff is pretty awesome!" exclaimed little Mesha.
"Those big mean things are saying mean things about me!" cried Mesha.
"What the crap is a "Mesha"? inquired Danby
"A "Mesha" is me you big white bully and it means "sheep" in Hindu but I don't know what that is but Mom says it also means "salvation" in Hebrew but I don't know what that it is either!"
"Oh, we got a smart one on our hooves now.....and they say sheep aren't smart," remarked Maya, "and this is coming from one who is wearing a sweater in the winter!  Hello?!?!? Who wears a stupid sweater with a snowman on it when you got wool......oh, my bag you just got that cheap fur!"
"Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me!  And anyways, everyone says I am cute & one day I am going to chase your wool butts all over this farm!"

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Rescue Puppy for Christmas!!

Where shall I start?  Shall I blame it on the Hallmark Channel & all those stupid sappy Christmas movies that I have been watching that makes me wonder if I will ever experience that magical, small town Christmas or even meet the real Santa Claus one day?  Whatever it is, my heart has been feeling empty, probably that 45th birthday that I just had, but whatever it is, I have been wanting to find some real Christmas spirit, something to make me feel like I made a difference to someone or something during the holiday season.
It all began last Sunday I happened to be on the internet looking at Petfinder for no good reason and there she was..........
..........a litter of 7 rescue puppies, Corgi/Aussie mix puppies, the father was a purebred blue merel Australian Shepard & mom was a Pembroke Welsh Corgi.  She was the spittin' image of my Dixie when she was a puppy.  I fell in love instantly and my fingers just started typing away.  They had just been posted that day by a rescue organization in Toledo, Ohio.  Both of my references were checked by Tuesday & by Wednesday I was having anxiety issues wanting to know if I was approved for adoption.  I had wrote I was interested in the smallest puppy in the litter, a blue merle female but when I finally was able to talk to one of the rescue coordinators on Thursday, she said they only had 2 males left in the litter and I had been approved for adoption.  My heart sank but I still wanted to bring a puppy home for the holidays.  So on Friday, my Dad and I drove up to pick out one of the males.

And, there she was, attempting to beat up her 2 bigger brothers and just barking her little head off.  The one my heart was set on.  Her original adoption fell through.  I could take her home if I still wanted her.  My heart filled  with joy!!  A little Christmas miracle had taken place!  And the 2 boys left would probably be adopted by the end of the weekend as the rescue had gotten flooded with applications for this rescue litter.

So what was her rescue story?  She was rescued from an Amish puppy mill about 40 minutes from my house.  As much as I enjoy going to Amish Country, I know that lurking around in that beautiful countryside, are notorious puppy mills. Her striking blue merle color is an eye catcher for puppy mill breeders.   The rescue organization coordinator said they are constantly battling with Amish puppy mills.  My sister at just did an informative post about buying from petstores & puppy mills.   
But this little girl not only has a home for the holidays but a home forever!  She is making new friends....Dixie is still giving her the once over ........

.......Alvin the cat is giving her cat greetings. 

There are a lot of friends to make here, sheep to meet, goats to tease, chickens to chase but thats okay, she is at her forever home and a little Christmas magic came into both of our lives. 
But now the hard part, we have to decide on a name.............

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Spooky Greenhouse.....kinda

Occasionally, I come up with "ideas".
Sometimes I seek the advice of my companions and sometimes my companions, like Dixie, think I am a tad left of center.  Dixie prefers to just sit back and watch my ideas unfold.
So, I have way too many Halloween decorations and I decided since the greenhouse wasn't getting much action right now, I should bring some life to it.  Its a "Spooky" little place now.......I know, too many ideas...........sigh.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sheep Fabric 4 Me!

Last Friday was "Charm Days" in Charm, Ohio which is a very quaint & cute little Amish Town.  It is a requirement for me to take a sick day on that day so that I can go down there and have fun.  First of all, I should never be left alone in my mini-van; on a pay day, by myself in Amish Country.....its just bad news.  But everyone I asked to go was busy, what was I to do? 
So there is this great little sewing store there that always has the most unique fabrics and I found sheep in the store!!    I am so in love with the print above.....bought 2 yards of it!

Then this print was way too fun to pass up and the bolt was almost gone so I bought 2 yds of it also....

Everything in the store was 20% off so I figured that I might as well get a yard of the print above because it was pretty neat also.  Please don't ask what I am going to do with all this fabric because I have not gotten that far.  I am an impulse buyer as my dad says.....remember I was left alone in Amish Country on a pay day.   What till I show you the new boots I bought.........
Of course, there is nothing like having the really thing.........there is just something about having sheep that brings a sense of simplicity to one's life.
And when they smile at you because they trust you........yeah, its a good feeling.
Sheep are just printed all over me!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tis' My Favorite Time of Year!

Well, since my last post was when school started and the first marking period is over next week, I figured perhaps I should update my blog............
Seriously, Autumn is my favorite time of year and I have just been nonstop busy and every time I open my laptop to start a post I end up falling asleep. 

For example, I took this picture a few weeks ago as evident by the lack of color on the maple trees which are now starting to show beautiful autumn colors.

This is one of my favorite mums that is still blooming!
I took a few days off from school to make a trip up to Vermont to see the beautiful Fall colors......however, it rained everyday I was there..........

My parents tagged along on the trip.....seriously, these senior citizens have nothing better to do than hang around with their kids:)  We spent an afternoon in Woodstock Vermont enjoying the beautiful surrounding........

I finally got to go to the Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival.....of course I was hoping to enjoy the atmosphere of Tunbridge and the Green Mountains that surround the fairgrounds.  Yep, it was raining and I got to enjoy the clouds hiding all the Fall Foliage......there is always next year!!
I did get a moment to watch the border collie herding the sheep.  Since I was going up to the wool festival, I packed up almost 35 pounds of white Cotswold and Romney wool to have processed into roving from Zeilingers. I should be getting that back in about 7 weeks.  My parents and I also went over to Norwich Vermont to see the new King Arthur Bakery......would have taken a picture but it was POURING RAIN!  But we both got lots of awesome baking flour and mixes.  Definitely, a must stop when one goes to Vermont!

Overall, the trip to Vermont was relaxing and my parents and I had a great time.......the state of Vermont is by far my favorite place to visit!  Oh, how I think of just packing it all up and heading up there to live!

The sunflowers are long gone but I thought I would share this picture of them in all of their Autumn glory!
I couldn't resist buying this flag, it just puts a smile on my face everytime I look at it
It simply sums up all the fun and beauty that Autumn brings to everyone!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My First Day of High School

Tomorrow is my first day of high school.
I will be a 9th grade teacher.
After 18 years of teaching 8th grade Social Studies, with an occasional 7th grade Social Studies class and English class, I am going to high school.
I have spent 18 years in the same building & changed my classroom only once, it was traumatic.
I brought 16 big plastic totes of "stuff" home at the end of school last year.
I took one tote to my new building.
I have taught American History, Colonies to Reconstruction for 18 years.
I am teaching Modern World History this year, one prep, five times a day.
If I would have stayed in 8th grade this year I would have had to teach 6th, 7th, & 8th Social Studies.
I don't really love World History like I love American History.
But change is good.
But I think my students will be taller than me.
I was the shortest one in the 8th grade for years, I stopped growing when I was 13,
ok well my height stopped, my butt got bigger.
I bought I new pair of shoes for school, canvas Polo shoes.
I colored my hair too.....its a bit blonder and it hides the "other" color.
I got a new lunch bag from LLBean too....I even had it monogrammed with my name on it.
I hope I can pronounce the kids names & know all 135 names in one week.
If they roll their eyes & smack their lips at me I can do it just as good cuz I was an 8th grader for 18 years!

click to biggify & read!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Verdict: All Guilty as Charged

Today was my first day back to school.  My plan was to work on setting up my classroom.  The students come back next Thursday.  I always feel sad when I have to go back because I will miss the animals and everyone doesn't get as much play time.  I always give the dogs a treat before I leave in the morning, kiss them on the nose, and tell them to be good and I will be back soon.  They are my kids.....I love them........

Yep, this is what I came home to today.   Guess they didn't miss me.  Perhaps they were pissed off that I left them.  They obviously weren't being good dogs.  But at least they ate well while I was off at work.  The empty trash can was a 1/4 filled with dry cat food....I am assuming they didn't share with the cats.  Every treat was gone from the bin which is turned on its side.  Not sure why they didn't at least use the plates sitting in the center of the floor.  Though they did not rip open the bag of Eukanuba dog food, guess they figured I would feed them anyways when I got home.

So let's look at the list of suspects:

12 year old beagle.  Fast is not in his vocabulary.  A total sappy dog.  Never strays away from the house.  Has been known to eat a fresh loaf of Amish bread if left out in his reach.  Barks at unknown things in the yard.  Was caught last week trying to tip over the trash can with the dry cat food in it.  Is always totally insulted if I accuse him of any wrong doing.

11 year old beagle.  Biggest baby.  Whines about everything. Tried to call the animal protective league on me for cutting his toe nails.   Known for sneaking off while I am not watching.  Will chase a rabbit scent for hours only to run in the same circle over and over. Has been caught standing on the kitchen table if the chairs are not pushed in.   Chases the sheep away from the grain bowls so he can have it all to himself.  Recently caught with his head in a bag of cheddar & sour cream potato chips.   

6 year old Cardigan Welsh Corgi.  Biggest suck-up, ass kisser extraordinaire.  Plays the "I am so cute" card to everyone.  Pillow stealer at night.  Has been known to hide fresh chicken eggs in the barns only to be found later by the rotting smell.  Never admits to guilt.  Has Grandpa wrapped around her paw.  Hates to be brushed.  Hides all bones in the manure pile to protect them from who knows.  Was caught tonight at 8:45pm in the house transferring a half eaten bag of dog biscuits from an undisclosed location to the bedroom. 

I believe they are all guilty as charged.  No dog was innocent in this crime. 
What do you think?
Guess I can't go back to work cuz the kids can't be trusted to be home alone...........

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Little Wool Show

This past week was our county fair.  I entered two categories this year:  photography and wool.  I will not be discussing the results of the first category as it was a "learning" experience for me and my sister, who should have clearly won on one of her entries but I am not the "expert judge".  So, I will move on to the second category I entered, the wool show. 

Last year I entered Essex's wool in the White Spinners AOB category and she took a blue ribbon. This year, she got another blue ribbon in the same category!  Yippee!  I am pretty excited about this because the person who took second in AOB actually got the Grand Champion Fleece overall for another fleece and he is a pretty big sheep breeder in the area.

Essex was quite modest when I told her about the big win.....okay, I will be honest, I don't think she likes me much.  She never wants to talk with me unless I have grain.  But that will change because I am going to breed her for the first time to TJ, my black Cotswold ram.  Little baby Cotswolds in the spring would be great!

Above is Danby, my white Romney wether from Vermont.  Danby likes me now, I think he was mad that I took him from the beautiful green mountains of Vermont.  Honestly, I would have been mad at me too but Vermont and I are still hoping for the winning lotto ticket to move the farm up there.

Danby took a third place ribbon in the White Spinners AOB category!  Yippee! We got some representation at the fair!  I have both Essex's and Danby's wool from last year.  I am thinking of blending them and have having them processed into yarn.  Any suggestions for the wool? Doing just roving was the other idea.  I hang my head in shame as I admit I do not know how to spin yet:( 

This is baby Colechester.  Actually, he is a big, chunky baby and a total goof.  He is the only grey kat Shetland that I have.  He is not single coated and has a longer staple but boy is it soft to the my opinion of course.

Its looking pretty nice in there! 

So that is my little wool show for now!  I. Have. So. Much. Flipping. Wool.
I need to get it sold, make things with it, learn to spin it, market it.........oh, heck, I just need to quite my job and live my dreams!!!  
Sometimes, I just get so delusional......must be that lack of rain and too much sun this summer...........

Thursday, August 2, 2012

New Scoops in the Coop!

Three years ago I purchased the chicken coop and it quickly became my pride and joy on the homestead.  I love the red metal roof and the sound of the rain as it hits it.  Its like its own little house in the garden area.

When I purchased the greenhouse in June, I just so happened to notice a few new features that Mr. Troyer, the Amish man I have been buying my barns from, had added to the chicken coop design.

The first was this very nice 8x8 enclosed pen................ much nicer than the ghetto chicken wire set up I put up.  It has a nice walk in door and it looks so much nicer!  Of course, I ordered my self......I  mean I ordered one for the girls!

The next addition was a new wall inside the coop.
Before when I walked into the chicken coop the chickens were right there but now when I walk into the coop there is a wall too divide their space and my space....... the girls now have a nice 4 hole nesting box that I can just open up and gather the eggs! I can keep all of their feed right in the coop now and I don't have to worry about escapees when I open the door! 
Good grief,  I have invested a good amount of money in this chicken coop but its just so fun to have on the farm.

Of course, the girls think they are well worth the money which I wouldn't argue if they layed eggs all year round instead of cutting me off in December!!

On a side note these beautiful sunflowers opened up the other day in the garden; a nice addition to the welcoming of August and hopefully some cool weather!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Of Houses in Early America......

So I survived an intellectual week at Yale University, bought an official Yale sweatshirt, and am filled with admiration for those living in Early Colonial America.  My 8.5 hour drive home from the Berkshires of Massachusetts on Friday night was filled with hundreds of memories and ideas to do on my own little farm.  However, I would like to share some great places that I got to see as part of my Yale experience.

The close of the seminar was spent at the Professor's house in the Berkshires.  It is a Colonial home dating back to 1787.

To say the house is amazing is an understatement!  He and his wife are antique collectors and the inside of the home is to step back in time to Colonial was by far better than some museums I have been to.  I took many pictures of the inside but did not ask permission to publish them so I will respect his privacy.

Over dinner that evening the Professor asked me lots of questions on raising livestock as he wants to buy a couple of alpacas.  I firmly insisted that this beautiful view would look much better with some heritage breed sheep;)

One of our fieldtrips was to New London, Connecticut to visit the Hempstead House.  It was built in 1678 and is the oldest surviving house in New London.  While touring the house one could hear the blasting of urban rap music as it is on the corner of a busy intersection in a not so great area of New London.  Gotta love that atmosphere!

The house was filled with many clues of the importance of spinning and fiber in the late 1600's and early 1700's.

One day I would love to have one of these spinning wheels in my home...........

.......and though I am not a weaver, the loom was just a fascinating piece to see and is still used for demonstration in the home.

And wouldn't one love to have a fireplace like this in one's house?

So, do you know what this interesting loom is?  The Professor even had one in his house!
Do you see the orbs in the picture?  Bet there were ghosts among us at the house! 

Sigh........ I know it seems like such a simpler time, but it was truly a hard time for many.  Its a fascinating time period to study and emerge one's self in.  Glad I had the opportunity to partake in it for a week!