Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Dog Gone New Year's Eve Party

I planned a huge, hopping New Year's Eve Party today......
you know, the kind with all the festive hats, noise makers, fun treats like busy bones for the dogs,
catnip for the cats, chips and Ginger Ale for me........
Yeah, well after the busy bones were long gone.....this was what I have been left with.......
In the senior beagle category, ReRun and Squirt are passed out and snoring.........

Dixie is crashed out on the other end of the couch..........

and Meesha is sleeping and protecting her rawhide at the same time.
Wow, some party planner I am.  I can't even get my dogs excited. 
I wonder what kind of party is going on in the barn tonight?
I didn't even get an invite to that........pathetic.
That's all right.......I'll show them.
I got Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve Party & watching the Ball drop at midnight.
Of course, this means I have to stay awake till midnight..............
In case I don't make it till midnight,
Happy New Year!!!!!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

So How Did I Get 3 More Alpacas?

So exactly how did these 3 alpacas get to my little homestead?
I asked my parents for buy them for me for Christmas.
Ok. That's a huge lie cuz I usually lie to them on how I "acquire" animals and I am a responsible 46 year old adult and I don't lie to my parents....anymore....well at least since last month.
So, honestly they fell out of Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve & I was at my parents on Christmas Eve & didn't notice them until Christmas morning.
Ok. That's a lie too cuz Santa would never let any animal just fall out of his sleigh.  He would make sure they landed safely at a good home....like mine.
So, seriously I was driving past Magical Farms and these 3 crias just jumped into the bed of the truck and refused to get out and attacked me till I said I would take them home.
Ok. That's a lie cuz I really was at Magical Farms buying grain for the 2 alpacas that I already have and the 3 crias followed me to my truck and held me a grain point. 

Alright, the honest truth is I might have "mentioned" to the super nice lady at Magical Farms that I "might" be interested in one or two white or tannish colored fiber males.....and how I ended up with 3......well seriously, they were all bottle babies and the super nice lady at Magical Farms had all 3 of them in the stall when I went to look at only "2" and the one pictured above walked right up to me and stuck his face in mine.......really? It was a hard decision to make....take 1 or 2 or 3......it took me at least a minute to decide on all 3.......it was a very stressful situation......NO LIE!!

I mean look at those eyelashes.........
........look at the way the eyes just suck you in..... 

Everyone just bonded right away..........

....there was no bullying and isolating the new kids on the block.  A factor that I pointed out to all the sheep and goats who are notorious for bullying any new addition!

Now in all seriousness........
I can not have more than 5 alpacas because I can't count higher than 5 in Spanish. 
Uno.  Dos.  Tres.  Cuatro.  Cinco.
Ok, honestly I could count higher.....I mean I just have to look it up on my smart phone......

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Photo bombing Goat

On Wednesday the day before Thanksgiving the first real good snow fall came to the homestead.  After feeding everyone I grabbed my camera to take some photos.  Mr. Rooster had settled down on the gate to take watch over his domain so I decided to use him as my morning subject.
As I was clicking away I had not noticed nosey Nelly coming our way ( actually I realized I had a photo of her when I was looking back on the photos I took).

Mr. Rooster noticed however, that nosey Nelly was intruding on his photo shoot.......

.........and in addition, was intruding in all the wrong places. 
Nothing like good goat humor on the farm;) 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Those Stupid, Stupid Green Things

Autumn is my favorite time of the year for many reasons..........
...........except when it comes to these stupid, stupid green things that call out to all the young sheep who don't know any better than what they want to nibble on requires walking through all these stupid, stupid green things to get to all the good things to eat.

As one can see, Milton walked right into a whole bush of those stupid, stupid green things......he even has them on his you know whats.  What he doesn't know is his you know whats are coming off in 2 weeks.   Milton is just a train wreck right now.......poor guy.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Balancing the Insanity

The last 5 weeks can be summed up in one word: insanity.
This year started my 20th year of teaching and it was the first time I truly felt that the educational system was failing my students and myself and that perhaps it was time to walk away.  Last year I decided to change grade levels after having taught 8th grade social studies for 18 years.  I went to 9th grade World History and honestly, there is not a whole lot of difference between an 8th grader and 9th grader until about March.  Now I will be honest and tell you that history is not high on the priority list in school systems.  Math, Science, and English are all that matters....I mean history is totally literacy based and if you don't know your history, your doomed to repeat the past, right?  So, I definitely see why the powers in the educational system would rate history as low subject on the totem pole.....losers.

Perfect example is all the core subjects in 9th grade at my school had 2 teachers.....except history.  That meant I was teaching history to the whole 9th grade expect the self-contained special ed. students.  So just a quick break down...... I teach six, 40 minute classes of Modern World History and each of those classes was averaging between 40 to 50 kids and 2 of the classes contained special ed inclusion students. The new "contract" said no more than 30 students in a classroom. Sure glad math is one of those priority classes.  Quick math....low end I had 240 students and it fluctuated as students transferred in and out the first weeks of class.  I am in a large urban school district so there is a lot movement those first weeks of school.

I was coming home everyday exhausted. I was not teaching, I was controlling a crowd because by fire code regulations, my classroom should only have 35 students max at any given time. The paper work was just a tragedy, I barely knew 30 kids by name by the third week, and getting another history teacher seemed to be falling on deaf ears but my principal and union were pushing hard for it.....I was reminding them daily how many kids I had......ok, I was annoying, relentless, and a total B for 5 weeks.   

To say that I my sanity was slipping away from me is an understatement.  In 5 weeks I felt like I had been teaching for  months already.  Then the light came and last Friday my principal came to my room and introduced me to the new social studies teacher.  I didn't know who to hug first so I hugged them both at the same time and then I told them I would be back in time for Christmas Break.  This past Monday my class sizes were cut in half and I started to be a teacher again.  When I come home from school now the animals don't run from me .....I was kinda like a crazy woman for the past five weeks and I noticed my head stopped spinning like I was in some horror movie.  And now when I see my pretty Fall mums I don't look at them like I want to pop their heads off and stomp on them.

I do still hear voices in my head.....but they have been there for awhile and know me so we are cool.
After all...... my favorite time of the year is right around the corner and I am kinda batty at times;)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Blue Ribbon Goes to the Cotswold & Shetland Fleeces!

Each year I enter my favorite fleeces in the county fair.  For the past 2 years Essex, my white Cotswold has won the white spinners AOB category........
.......and she won again!!!!  And yes there are other fleece entries in the category!!  Hers just happens to be the best!

Essex is very modest about her blue ribbons.... she never wants to smile for the camera:)

In all honesty I have not had much luck with Shetland fleece entries at the fair.  Usually getting 3rd and 4th in the natural color category.  BUT this year I really felt Colechester's wool was blue ribbon worthy and his took a blue ribbon!!!!  Oh yeah!  Take that, you other natural colored sheep breeds!! 

Colechester could not be pictured in a previous post because he is usually in a time out for being a shithead about something but due to his blue ribbon win I figured he should get picture credit. 
I have not told him about the blue ribbon because I know he will just become a bigger shithead, demanding more green grass, special treats etc. so I am keeping it on the download.  You can tell by that belly he already gets enough to eat;)
The grand champion fleece at the fair went to a Merino.....again.  Maybe I might have to slid a Merino somewhere in the flock cuz if my merino won at the fair it would be a different story...........

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dare I Say the "F" Word?

Right now the "F" word is right there, on the tip of my tongue.
I am done....loosing my patience.
Its getting on my last nerves....its getting all over my skin.
Its frying my existence to be productive.
Its straight up driving me to do irrational things and think irrationally.
I. Can't. Deal. With. The. Humidity.
Therefore, I am thinking of the "F" word already.........
"Whoa! Did you say the "F" word? I almost choked on the grass I was chewing!" Chelsea exclaimed.  "I don't know if my wool is long enough for that yet!" 

"But Chelsea, the sunflowers are blooming in the garden......"

"And the pumpkins on a stick are starting to grow......surly all signs of the "F" word," I stated.
"It will be so much better when I say and feel the "F" word Chelsea!  You will love it too!"

"Say it. Say the "F" word or I will say it for you," Abby stated without blinking an eye.
"Heck, you can say the "W" word for all I care cuz this humidity is pissing me off and reeking havoc on my wool!"

"Gee Abby, a little testy? I thought I was having issues."


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Picking a Favorite Fleece

This year 27 sheep got sheared.  Not all 27 fleeces were "awesome". 
Piled in this cart are what I personally felt were the best fleeces.
Fleeces to be stored in the house, in the spare bathtub because I have nowhere else to store them include: 2 white Romney fleeces, one white Cotswold,  6 Shetland fleeces, and one Shetland x Cotswold fleece. 

Meesha picked this fleece as her favorite fleece.....perhaps its the resemblance to her blue merle color.

This fleece belongs to Colechester,  a Shetland yearling grey kat wether who could not be pictured today because he was in a time-out for going in the neighbor's yard and eating the neighbor's grass.

Even in a black & white photo the resemblance I told Meesha is just crazy! 

I do have to agree with Meesha that this was one of my favorite fleeces also....though the owner of the fleece is still on my sh*# list.  Regardless, I think I am going to enter it in the fair this year along with a Cotswold & Romney fleece.
Meesha is now 9 months old and is becoming quite the sheep herder......that's good cuz some butts need to start rolling out there in the barn starting with Colechester;)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

On Day 16 it Rained Again

Today the weatherman said it would be the 16th day of rain in Northeast Ohio.
There hasn't been that many days of rain in a row since the 1920's.......wtf???
The word "rain" is like hearing little voices in my head driving me crazy.
Last summer I was doing rain dances for weeks trying to squeeze one, itty, bitty drop of rain out of the sky.  This summer the faucet hasn't turned off.
After the severe storms went through today ( in addition to a tornado warning during which I was trying to patiently shove   put 4 dogs and 7 cats down in the basement )  I went outside to see the results of the rain.  Above is a "river" that cut across my property, NOT!!  There is a natural swale that runs there but very rarely has it ever gotten to be a river 

And look another new "river" that is running down the south property line!!   The small creek couldn't handle all the rain and this was the result.  It took about 3 hours for the "river" to subside.

In honor of all of the rain this bird seed has started to grow as grass......I told the birds its a special treat for them.

At least I have the daisies in the garden that are still smiling regardless of all the rain.
Tonight the weatherman said there is suppose to be 6 days of "NO RAIN".
He better be telling the truth cuz I am packing some pretty serious piles of wet manure
 ......just sayin'  of course.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Seriously, a goat tanner?

First and foremost, my animals are not a reflection of me.  Period.
So, why I keep getting animals with "special" personalities I have no idea. 
Perhaps its God's way of testing me.
Let's look at Nelly here for example.
Nelly is a 3 month old LaMancha who at birth was almost buried by her mom because her mom for some reason only known to her, decided she only wanted the first doe born.  So, within an hour of being born, and much swearing by me at the mother,  Nelly became a bottle baby and lived in the house with me and the dogs.  I believe Nelly thinks she is a dog and she firmly believes I am her mother.  Period.
I admit that Nelly is a tad more spoiled than the other kids born this year, however, she does take her spoiledness to the next level.  Above is where I found Nelly the other day.......sunbathing on MY lounge chair on MY deck.

It is apparent she is very comfortable on HER lounge chair on HER deck.

She even comes back to take naps when the shade sets in during the late afternoon.

Nelly is not ashamed to spread out and get more comfortable and she does not like to share her personal space with anyone.

She does not like to be disturbed during nap time...........her humor is of her own making.

"Did you say bottle time?  Its bottle time already? Where has the day gone!?!
 Let me get right on that!"
My life would be so boring without a little goat humor on a hot summer day.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Lamb that Fell from the Sky

 On Saturday, May 25th this little black ram lamb fell from the sky and landed in my yard.
I know he fell from the sky because NO SHEEP WERE BRED this year.  I made that firm decision and told all the sheep that no form of fornication was going to take place in the Fall & Winter.  NONE. ZERO.

So I was standing in line for the bathroom at the Great Lakes Fiber Festival and my friend Shari called me but I ignored it because nature was calling first.  However, she called again 3 times in a row so I knew something was up.
"Hey, I am at your house and I walked back to see your animals and you have a newborn lamb and the other sheep are pushing him around," Shari tells me.
"Come again????" I said.  "Are you sure you are at my house?"
"Yes I am at your house, seriously, he is cleaned up but the others won't let the mom near him. Where do you want me to put him?" she asks
Of course my head is reeling because NO SHEEP WERE BRED!!!  WTF?!?!?!
"Ok, there is an empty stall in the barn, the open with the gate and lock. Put him in there and hopefully his mom will follow you," I replied.  "What color is the mom and are you sure you are at my house?"  Because I have no flipping clue because NO SHEEP WERE BRED!
"She is all black like her lamb and yes I am at your damn house........." was the reply.
So that morning I had noticed that Bristol, my only solid black ewe was very withdrawn and didn't want to eat.  After I had fed everyone I took her temperature and found it to be very low......I stuck a thermometer in her butt....of course, why would I have not noticed a milk bag?  Oh, that is because NO SHEEP WERE BRED so why would I think that a low temp would correlate to going into labor?!?!  Plus, the sheep were getting sheared the following week so all the sheep were looking fat and insanely woolly so again why would I have noticed a milk bag?  My 30 minute drive back home I kept wondering how I missed that one and just had to laugh at myself and thank heaven that my friend had just happened to stop by my house that day.
Well, his name is Milton and he is a chunky little ram lamb.  Completely smooth polled and he is enjoying his little self.  He will be a fiber wether because like I keep telling him, I don't know who your daddy is because you fell from the sky and your mom just happened to be standing were you landed and claimed you as her own........the craziest things happen on the farm;)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

CSI: Skunk Sprays My Dog

Date of the crime: Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
Weather Conditions: 20 mph winds. Blowing snow.  Windchill at about 10 degrees
Time of the crime:  6:20 am
Location of the crime scene: 5 foot radius around the chicken coop.
Events leading to crime:  I entered the chicken coop to feed the worthless laying chickens and within seconds I smelled pungent, fresh smell of a skunk.  The smell hit my nose like a fist to my face and I ran out of the coop as I did not know if that foul smelling, disgusting, good for nothing, son of a b*t#h was in the coop. As I was heading for the house to get a flashlight to see where that good for nothing omnivorous rodent was I saw Alvin my black cat heading to the house.  I grabbed him as Alvin tends to get himself into unnecessary trouble. By the time I got to the front porch, the smell was even worse............
.........and pacing on the front porch was a smelly, foaming at the mouth Dixie.
Direct Victim of the Skunk Spray:  Dixie, Cardigan Welsh Corgis
My exact thoughts at that moment:  "You have got to be Fing kidding me?"
She was a mess.  Foaming at the mouth. Panic in her eyes. Trying to rub the smell from her face.
I left her on the front porch. Grabbed a bucket.  Made a mixture of Dawn soap, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide, and some water.  Ripped of my clothes and put on an old t-shirt and shorts. Put on some old boots...not my good muck boots of course, and grabbed a pair of latex gloves.....and outside I went. 
So, there I was, at 6:30 am in the blowing snow, freezing my a*s off, scrubbing my skunk sprayed dog.  She got hit square in the face so I didn't fully bath her as I didn't want to transfer any skunk oils to the rest of her body.  I washed and rinsed her 4 times.  Dried her off and put her in the screened-in-porch and went inside to take a second shower. 
Going to school was not an option at this point. First, I wanted to make sure Dixie was okay and secondly, I just wasn't sure I "smelled right" and I know how compassionate 9th graders are, of course, I would probably smell better than some of them but thats another blog post.  My principal found humor in my situation when I called her.....go figure, but she did thank me for not coming in to school;)
So, where was the skunk?  How did Dixie find it? 
I think she intercepted it somewhere by the chicken coop. 
 Nasty little cuss. 
Again, why did Noah let skunks on the boat?
The skunk better have moved on.
He is messing around on the wrong farm.
I got the house in the divorce & I don't share.
I got friends in low places.
I have friends that are a bit left of center too.
PS.....Dixie is doing fine. Muzzle & ears still smell a bit and she is not getting any kisses from me tonight.