Thursday, April 28, 2011

It's that time of year...


I don't know if they are worse for students or teachers. Wait. I do know this. Teachers.

See you in a week. I don't know if you should pray for me or my students... *giggle*

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Just a little something...

Last night my colleague (work-husband 'cause we spend so much time together -- his wife and I call each other "sister-wife") and I received an "Improvement of Instruction" award for the class we created for this year. It is a combination History / Literature class. Students use literature (mostly primary sources and some fiction and poetry) to learn American history. We couple this with four site visits over the semester -- including a three or four day to a significant site. This past fall we went to Williamsburg for four days; this spring it was Washington, DC.

The class has rocked my world. I minored in history, so it is all good to me. And, frankly, I have been thinking of leaving the teaching game for a while. I don't have the patience with the politics any longer.  But, that being said, we have both been re-energized and excited about the class and so have our students.

The best moment all year?? When a very very very shy young man stood up before the same class he couldn't tell his name to three months earlier and told them that his life and his children's lives (when he marries and has 'em) will be different from the class. That is why I teach. No politics can take away those crystal moments when you know without a doubt something you did mattered. Not in finding a cure for cancer matter. But, matters in a more remarkable way. It will ripple. And, it will keep on rippling for all time.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Go Back To Bed

You know it is going to be a lousy day when:
  1. The cat puking on the bed is what wakes you.
  2. It is 3:30 a.m. when the cat decides to toss a hair ball on the bed.
  3. It is 3:31 a.m. when the Mister jumps up screaming that the cat has left a little present on HIS side of the bed.
  4. It is 3:32 a.m. when you are stripping the bed, cleaning up what could be the cat's twin that he ate and is now giving back, which is now on the Mister's side of the bed.
  5. It is 3:33 when the bed is changed, the Mister is back in bed, the cat is dosed with Laxatone, and sheets are in the washer and you are wide awake because of the stupidness that started three minutes ago.
  6. It is 3:34 when your Airman messages you that he is "going to Hawaii" for a week while you have to stay home with a cat, the Mister, and no sleep.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday, Tuesday

One of the hardest things I am adjusting to is the fact that the Airman is now 14 hours ahead of me in time zones. One of the neatest things I am adjusting to is the fact that the Airman can tell me if tomorrow is a good day.....

Have you seen this:

I adore Christopher Walken and Fat Boy Slim. So fun! Makes me want to dance! You??

Saturday, April 23, 2011

First Day Musings --- He's Alive

I adore this song. Enjoy and Happy Easter

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cooking Goat

If I have to wrestle another naughty goat and end up with my back out, I will be needing some goat cookin' receipts.

Today I let the girls into the portable fence so they could graze on some fresh grass. Someone (Anabelle) lead the way to push the fence down.  And Someone (Anabelle) convinced the Other Goats that the Lady didn't care if they went out. Then, Someone (Anabelle) talked everyone into making a run for it when the Lady and the Mister came to get them in.

Ironically, Anabelle was the easiest to get in. She lives by her stomach and the though that we had a Special Feed Bucket Just For Her was enough to lead (read: drag her by the horns) to the barn. Not the other girls. After enticing them with feed for 30 minutes, we finally got Clara, Lucy, and a few of the babies in. Even Mary and Mia went in fairly easily, but they are dominated by their stomachs (like me).

The back injury came when I gathered up Lila, who had gone into the open milking parlor door to go back to the goat yard. Stupid Me. I bent wrong. And fell to my knees where I stayed until the Mister came to rescue me as I struggled with a wiggling goat wrapped in my arms.

Did the other goats have pity for the Lady? Not Charlie and Layla. No. Not them. They ran up and down the mountain for another 45 minutes before they were worn to a bone and "decided" to go to the milking parlor door to go in.

At one point the Mister asked me: "What do you want me to do?" I can only surmise that my crawling on the ground and crying made him think Something could be done for me...

"Get the gun," I replied.

"For who??"

"Me or the goats. Murder. Suicide. It is all the same right now. It will stop the pain..."

He shook his head and started up the hill again. What a guy...

So, we are now in agreement that the next escapee will be dinner. Plain and simple. Only problem is: I don't eat meat.... but I think maybe I could start...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Who Built the Ark??

The rain in Washington on Saturday was of Biblical propotions! In fact, it was so bad that not one photo of it was usable! Suffice it to say that it flooded the Mall to over my hiking boots, which are now quite nasty looking, and soaked my socks until I could actually wring them out. The wind was so fierce that my umbrella, puny as it was, provided no cover. And, my Air Force hoodie was just a huge towel. Never have I seen such lightening and heard such thunder! All I could think of was how my little farm was surviving. After all, the rain came from that direction!

After wringing myself out at the hotel, which had NO hot water for two of the three nights we were there, I called home. The little creek in front of the house was overflowing, filling the bottom pasture, and over the bridges on both ends of the property. Our little grey runner duck, Helen, hasn't been seen since. We are fearful that she was washed away, but hopeful that she on a nest, safe and dry.

The garden, thankfully, wasn't planted, so we didn't lose anything there. However, we experienced a tremendous wash out of the blind ditch next to the house, to the point it has collapsed and we now have to install a new one. In the meantime, we are jumping it to get to and from the barn. Thankfully, the girls and all the little ones are fairing just fine!

Otherwise, mercifully, all was well here. Sadly, however, many of our fellow North Carolinians have suffered great loss. I heard one farmer on NPR talking about how he had planted his corn on Friday and by Saturday evening he had lost the field and it was so filled with debris he didn't think he could use it this year. And, we hear that perhaps some of the pig lots suffered huge washouts which will cause pollution in the rivers and, ultimately, to the fishing grounds just off the coast.

Does the weather in your part of the world seem odd these days??

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cutting Up...

The trip to DC was stellar! I drove the bus. Yeppers. Me. The old gal up front... It was such fun to drive past the huge trucks on the interstate and wave to the drivers! I loved it! When we stopped for lunch, some of the folks went to Burger King and I got a crown to wear -- Bus Queen!

The first night, Thursday, we saw:

Which was hysterical! We had such fun at the Kennedy Center and enjoyed the play. Everything was so lovely around the Center. Flowers were in full bloom and the trees were just starting to sprout! The highlight of the evening was riding back to the Metro on a shuttle and talking with some folks who worked on Capital Hill.

Me: So, where you folks from?
GuyInBlackSuit (GIBS): New Jersy.
Me: Oh no.
GIBS: Why oh no?
Me: I hate New Jersey. Every bit of it.
GIBS: Turnpike, right?
Me: Nope. Roy Rogers.
GIBS: Roy Rogers? He isn't from there!
Me: I know that. But his restaurant is. The chick at the counter was so busy flirting with a bus driver that she let our food get stone cold. I left. And was hungry. And then a truck ran me off the road on the Turnpike. I vowed never to go back to NJ or spend one red Lincoln there. We drove four hours to PA.
GIBS: What happened then?
Me: My husband prayed: "Dear Baby Jesus. Please don't let anyone make my wife angry here. It is late. I am hongry. And I have to use the bathroom. And we are nearly out of gas and I am too weak from hunger to push. Amen."
GIBS: So? Then what happened?
Me: We ate donuts at Sheetz at 2 a.m. and stopped in Paradise.
GIBS: Yeah?
Me: Yeah. It was, too! They had a bathroom, no busses and no Roy Rogers restaurant.

By this time everyone was howling, especially me and the GIBS. What a fun sense of humor and what a great sport! Thanks, GIBS, for a great ride to the Metro!

Coming soon: The Mall, Rain, and Me....

Sunday, April 17, 2011

First Day Musings: Safe and Sound

We are safe and sound here in the mountains, other than a little flooding, but our fellow North Carolinians didn't fair as well. Please be thinking of them.

Great stories to tell -- tomorrow --- when I am able to sit up. I ain't as young as I used to be...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Road Trips and Bail Money

Taking a class to this place this week. If you hear of a certain farm gal being arrested for mooning the Capitol Building, please send bail money. I am almost positive it is the only thing that she believes our great leaders will understand. After all, you know, you have to play to the lowest common denominator... And, somehow, I think her students will approve....

I'll write when I get home or get work. Have a great week!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Truth Will Out...

The Airman showed me what he really does. BTW.. the suit weighs about 80 lbs.... Enjoy!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

First Day Musings -- Immortal Spring

Flowering quince, covered in bees, by the back door...

Spring – An experience in immortality.

       ~ Henry D. Thoreau

What is it about the brilliant sunshine, gentle breeze, and singing birds that makes one feel as though they are coming alive for the first time? This is how it feels this weekend at Lazy Bee Farm. It is as though I have been asleep for years, as Rip Van Winkle, and am waking to discover the life around me.

It is delicious.

Just last week there was snow on the ground and I was in wool. Today, I am barefoot and the windows are fllung open to allow winter out and spring in. While they are not speaking to each other, I feel that each is ready to take up residence in their new home and is making their exchange willingly. And, as for me, I am happy to see the relocation.

I am a spring baby and it is this time of year that I feel it most. Summer is too hot for me and winter, while I can wear wool, wears thin after a few weeks. Spring is my time. It is a time of possibilities and opportunities. We are certain that this will be the year that our tomatoes will not blight and just as certain that this year we will get the shed cleared out once and for all. For me, spring is the time of hope and ambition. I have not yet suffered the disillusionment of dreams unfulfilled. All is pregnant with new energy -- ready to burst forth and flourish.

Today, I am giddy happy. Flower boxes that the Mister and I built this morning and I have painted a soft lavendar are drying on the porch. The round planters with dwarf spruce pines are overflowing with a ring of purple pansies who cheerily dance in the breeze by the front door. Dark, dusky earth has been turned up and is nearly ready for seeds to nestle down for a  little sleep before erupting into lettuce, radishes, greens, and onions. Stones we gathered yesterday tumble on each other as they wait to be placed as the outside of one garden bed, raised slightly, to accommodate more lettuces. Baby bee bottles glisten in the wings to replace the ones on the feeders that we use to help the girls with a head start on honey.

Isn't it beautiful?? What is your spring day like? Are you feeling immortal??

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Little Construction

THE New Greenhouse is going up and we are so excited! This is where the old barn was many years ago before I bought Lazy Bee Farm. The little building on the left was the old chicken coop that the Mister and I built four years ago, but we outgrew it and built another on the hill that is much larger. This one will come down and a hay building is going up along the side of the greenhouse for protection of the greenhouse and the hay.

Many, many years ago, when my parents, siblings and I all lived in Florida (for about ten years), Daddy had two orchid greenhouse. He loved them! He had everything from cymbediums to oncydiums -- about 5000 total. Then, we all decided to move back to God's country, but keep the greenhouses. This worked well, fall and winter there with spring and summer here, until Hurricane Frederick came ashore. Both greenhouses were nearly destroyed along with all the orchids.

We salvaged what we could of the two greenhouses and brought them here where they have been stored in the edge of the woods until two years ago when Daddy decided he wanted to put up a small one from the remnants. His is about 20 x20, but he has only hardy plants -- no more orchids for him! The Mister and I brought home the rest of the legs and sorted out what could be used and replaced what couldn't with chain link fence posts. We ended up with 20 x40 greenhouse which is Perfect!

We are so excited about having the greenhouse up and plan on using it in the fall and winter for greens and starting seeds. It is my hope to have a CSA in another year and the greenhouse is a big part of how we will keep our members supplied in the late fall and winter months.

And, the best part is that it is nearly all recycled material!

Don't forget Amy's Farm Friend Friday!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Let Me Go!

We have had lots of rain lately which results in the runway between the chickens and the goats not only being flooded, but slippery as well. Rubber soled boots and leather gloves are always worn in the pastures so there is little to fear from the electric fences that run around the top of each paddock. However, today, even those did little good for a certain farm gal.

The Mister is at band rehearsal tonight so the feeding duties fell to me. Between the snow (yes, snow), rain, and sunshine, I dressed and scurried to the barns to feed. The boys' paddock is a total wreck, so I had to gingerly walk into the slush and mud to retrieve their bowls for feeding. To do so, I reached up and held to the top of the fence.

But, then, the fence wouldn't let go of me! I had hold of the electric fence line while standing in water. And, to add insult to injury, the Mister had just upped the power on it last week when the bucks realized the does were in heat and were trying to get out.

Let me just say here: ANY buck who can go over that kind of charge should be able to date all the does.

Needless to say, once the fence let me go, I had to crawl back to the house, flop on my back like a flounder and cough until my heart rate settled down.

Thank goodness only the goats saw that....

Sunday, April 3, 2011

First Day Musings -- Indulge Me

from Bing images

We have been clearing out the Mister's brother's belongings these past two Saturdays. We have learned many wonderful things about him: he kept thank you notes from the elementary schools where he spoke on the court system (he was a lawyer); he was an avid Civil War buff (a major Confederate General is in the direct family line); and, he felt emotions very deeply. We have also learned that he was a collector and saved nearly everything he touched. This means we have made two huge loads of just magazines to the dump.

As another piece of what I have been pondering is the class trip on Friday. We saw the base poverty of the coal miners and yet how the women tried to make home pleasant with flower beds and handmade items such as doileys and quilt as well as hand embroidered towels. And, I listened to a colleague explain to the class how "having a good credit score is great! You need to have all the credit you can get!" I begged to differ and actually got to say one sentence: "The borrower is slave to the lender." Personally, I would rather do without than lose my freedom by owing money.

All this has me thinking about choices and how I will be remembered. There is a lot of clutter in my life: stuff, projects, people, negative thoughts, bad habits, and, sometimes, an overwhelming annoyance with other's negativity. A few weeks ago Brenda at Coffee, Tea, Books and Me had a great post about how we never know when someone is inspired or touched by us. It might be something as simple as keeping flowers on the porch, but someone will see it and be inspired. I want to be that inspiration.

Thus, I have decided the following:

I will not use the word SHOULD any longer.
I will surround myself with positive people.
I will sit down when I tired or sleep when I need it.
I will avoid activities that I have no passion for.
I will be responsible for my choices only.
I will eat dessert.
I will use treasures such as decorative candles, note cards, or my good dishes instead of saving them.
I will return to singing "The Doxology" every morning when I open the blinds.

Will you join me??

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Fatted Calf

The Airman will be home tomorrow for a two week visit before he ships out for a long while... a long way away...

And so, we are getting the fatted calf ready for him. I have cleaned, shopped, and planned meals galore for him. Then he tells me, "Mum, don't bake for me. I have to keep in shape while I am home. When I get to my new duty station I have some hardcore Physical Training to complete and I need to keep my weight down." Now, what do I do with a pound cake AND cookies?? Chickens or goats??? I think both will enjoy them!

In the meantime, here is something fun for you to watch:

Friday, April 1, 2011

Working in a coal mine...

Today we took a class to the Beckley Coal Mine Museum in Beckley, West Virigina. Of course, it was snowing. Lots. This is a photo from their webpage that gives a deceptive look at the weather... but, anyhow...

It was a fascinating trip. We toured the mine in coal cars! The exhibits included a well restored coal school (for the miners' children), the church, the superindentent's house, a single man's house, and a married family man's house. Coal was king in this part of the world and miners worked hard for very little. It is true that they "owed their soul to the company store." They were paid in script, which was company money, and it was only good in the company store. Why they couldn't even tithe with it as the church would not accept it!

If a man were killed in the mine, his family would have two weeks to leave their home, which was owned by the company, unless there was another male family member to take the dead man's place. As in every other part of the U.S., women had no rights at all in the mining community. Everything centered around the man and his relationship with the company. Women had to make do with very little for their families as every item in the company store was marked up. Usually workers ended up owing money at the end of the week or brought home less than a dollar.

The Union came into this region in the 1920s and organized the workers so they would earn a better wage and to break the company structure -- home ownership and script. And, provide for much safer mines for the workers. Workers were typically paid 20-cents per ton. Most miners earned $2 a day in 1920. Do the math. Isn't that tragic??

Although we live less than 100 miles from the mines, most of our students had no idea about the extreme hardships these people faced. It is a powerful thing to connect with one's culture. Trust me, I think a bus load of students returned home feeling pretty doggone blessed! I did!

Enjoy Tennesse Ernie Ford singing "16 Tons" with some great photos of actual miners!