Saturday, July 26, 2014

Grief for Today

Grief is the sad-love we wear like
His jacket.
Left behind, still warm, on that
Stark summer day.

Grief is the new-love
Never known, never held
Hope back to Heaven
Love flown away.

Grief is the long-love
Years spent together, now whittled to minutes--
Cancer ward lips,
Don't know what to say.

Grief is the strong-love
Crossing the ocean
Not expecting - news from a stranger,
While children at play.

Grief is the sorrow for what's lost or won't happen:
Hopes stacked as high mountains,
Cast down, tumbled like towers--
Dreams lost on the way.

Grief hangs like clouds,
Envelopes, surrounds us
Sharp in our hearts,
Like glass in the bay.

Hand reaches down
Through the fog, through the rubble.
Hand reaches out,
Will lift us some day.

Joy in the sorrow.
Hope in the hurting.
Hope for tomorrow.
Grief for today.

I have been reflecting lately on grief.  There is so much pain in the world today, and it seems we hear of new atrocities or disasters hourly rather than daily, even.  Pain worlds-apart seems just that--distant and unrelatable, but there is still the everyday and close sorrow of those around us to consider.  This close pain can perhaps give us some perspective on terrors we cannot comprehend. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Just $5, please!

Y'all.  I need a favor.  May I borrow 5 bucks?  I am RUNNING in a LEGIT race IN MAINE.  Legit, as in, there are roads closed, and buses taking people around, and only small, clear bags allowed at the runner-bag-check-thing, a-la-TSA.  And I need $5. 

It's the BEACH to BEACON 10K people.  It's kind of a big deal. An Olypmic gold-medalist (from Maine!) founded the race, and tons of money gets raised for local charities, mostly related to children. I am lucky enough to be running for the Camp Sunshine team.  Camp Sunshine is a retreat campus in Casco, Maine that is dedicated to provided a place for rest for children facing terminal illness, *and* their families.  Get this:

"Camp Sunshine is currently the only full-time facility in the nation whose sole purpose is to provide respite for the whole family."

Only one in the nation! Pretty neat, yes?

Camp Sunshine kids

So, I have been "training" out here in Ohio (ramping it up this last week...) to be ready for the run.  I wish I were more ready, actually, but the time-space-life-happens-continuum being what it we are.  I am glad, though, that I get to promote this special place for kids, and try to help them out by telling YOU about them.  Because those kids are way cuter than I am:

sweaty post-run selfie
they are probs also less sweaty

May I pretty please have $5?

The goal for each team member is to raise $1,000 for the Camp.  My doting sister made a donation immediately, and then...nadda.  I promise that it is *super* easy to chip in.  Click the fancy "DONATE NOW" button to your right>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

And select $1000...::ahem:: I mean, $5, and proceed. ;)

Or, you can click this spiffy link here, and go from there.

I will pay you back someday when you have a thing...just let me know, and my $5 is there for you too :D

 You all are the best, greatest, and prettiest. xoxo

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

5 Basic Yet Fancy Add-ons for Your Blog @TwoOs+More Today!

So, you have a blog, but there's a little something missing? Jealous of all the cool kids and their buttons and add-ons? You've come to the right place!

Sarah @TwoOs+More just had her third sweet little boy, so to give her a *little* extra time to welcome him to the O family, she's having me over today to talk about some basic/fancy upgrades for your blogs!  Head on over to check it out!

We're also linked up w/ Hallie @Moxie Wife for Five Favorites today!

Monday, May 26, 2014

{WIWS} Full of Grace (Necklace!) Edition

Just a little outfit fun for Sunday, mostly so I can show you my new gorgeous necklace from Full of Grace, Divine Designs jewelry.  Susan @ Sole Searching Mama (she has 5 boys! she runs! they have a farm!) had a giveaway the other day...and I won! I won! I found out about my prize, the gorgeous "Addy" necklace (on sale now--$20 off!!) on the day that my best friend had her baby, and it was a Marian feast day to boot. So, it's basically an heirloom for my future children/grandchildren already ;).

Here's what I wore:

Leo was the photographer for the full-length shot, and the others were selfies with the great photos for y'all here...;)

Shirt: Target* (but I got it for $2.99 at an overstock store!)
Skirt: Blue corduroy hand-me-down
Flip-flops: Okabashi from Wal-Mart (Made in Amercia and seen also here)
Necklace: "Addy" from Full of Grace, Divine Designs
*Apparently this shirt is *actually* wonder it was so comfy! hahahaha!

The necklace is two strands of ruby and tourmaline beads on 24k gold link chain, with a vintage-inspired Marian holy medal. It is delicate, feminine, colorful, and I really love it! So, go check out Melissa's stuff over at Full of Grace. :0)

Thanks for joining in today...tune in next time for more wackiness from your favorite black sheep hater rescuer. 
Linking up with the lovely ladies at Fine Linen and Purple for:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

{FF} Top 5 Tips for Moms of Newborns

Three very dear friends (Sarah + *two* others!) are very close to meeting brand new babies this month, and I couldn't be more excited for them!  In honor of the new babes on the way, I consulted my Mom Guru, my friend Ellie, and we came up with some tips. Now, these are more for the new mom of a newborn, but you veterans out there should glean something! So, since I'm obviously an expert (ha.ha.), here's the tips...

1. Be prepared, (but know that there's only so much you can prepare).
Get stocked up on the practical, basic things you'll need for the first little time after you get home from the hospital.  Get some witch hazel and some mega-huge pads.  Find a comfortable nursing tank top, and maybe an item or two that makes you feel pretty, like a nail polish or a lip balm, because you are going to look for a while, as Grace puts it, like you've been hit by a truck.  Know, however, that there is only so much you can do to get ready for this new life. At some point, she's going to arrive, and send your expectations flying, and you will be the mom. 

2. Remember that the days are short but the years fly by. 
You are going to get tired of hearing "enjoy it now, it flies by" or "they grow up so fast!". When you are sleep-strained and wishing that they would just know one thing to do on their own, you don't want to hear that you're supposed to enjoy something!  So, as Ellie puts it, "tuck away as many memories of your sweet baby as he smells and smiles and giggles, his fat rolls and soft skin. These memories will serve you well when he turns into a rowdy, unruly toddler who draws on your new couch in black permanent marker".

3. Rest.
While it's not really realistic to "sleep when the baby sleeps" (that's often the only time for showering, dishes, vacuuming, calling a friend or painting your nails as well...), the sentiment is true for sure, especially if you're using up a bunch of calories by breastfeeding.  Your sleep is going to be disrupted, so snatch it where you can.  If a friend offers help, ask them to hold the baby while you take a nap!  Otherwise try to keep a restful attitude for the first few weeks so that your body can recover.  Don't try to have tons of company over to go to all the events there are.  Lay low, start slow. 

4. This too shall pass
I think the most helpful piece of advice I received as a first-time-hassled mom was also from Ellie.  She told me that the super-fussy day/night flipped schedule Leo was keeping was just a phase that he'd grow out of by about 6/7 weeks old.  I was so relieved!  6-7 weeks may sound like an eternity, but just knowing that there was an end in sight made it all easier.  I have continued to remind myself of this advice as the boys have gotten older.  With each new weird sleeping pattern or frustrating behavior that requires constant re-direction, I think "it's just a phase", and it's true!  Moreover, we need them to have these phases, because they are forming us too.  As mothers we are constantly called to rebirth.  As our little one's babyhood passes away, toddler-hood is born and on and on.  So in each stage we face a newness and an overwhelming that molds us into better mothers.  Don't fight this pruning.  It's OK, and it definitely doesn't mean you are a bad mom.

5. It's OK to feel like you have no idea what you're doing
It's completely normal to feel overwhelmed and shocked and unprepared for motherhood.  It's healthy to have these feelings because they are the beginning of learning.  They are, as Ellie puts it, "the birth pains of your path of motherhood".  You're learning as you go, but you are that baby's mom.  You are the one whom God chose from all time and eternity to be the mother to this baby at this particular time in your life, and in history.  Your particular gifts, talents, strengths, weaknesses, personality, experiences, doubts, and knowledge are what your child needs.

My Momma rocking it with her cutest child ;)

*Bonus Links*
Toddler Tips
Momma Said
Best Baby Shower Gift
Just Enjoy
The Myth of Motherhood

Joining Hallie over @Moxie Wife for Five Favorites!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dirt with Seeds In

After procrastinating the seed planting for 3-4 weeks, I've finally got some seeds into the dirt!  It is very fortunate that Steven and I are forgetful in different areas.  I remember people's names, and he remembers that I bought bags of planting soil on sale last fall to have this spring.  (Right, *I* bought them, and didn't remember!)  

Not much to see here, but the tote is full of dirt, the seed packets are from Johnny's...and now they're best  friends in the seed trays.

I planted a lot of tomatoes (mostly of the paste variety, so we can make tomato sauce at the end of the summer) and peppers (so we can make pepper mustard at the end of the summer).  Also some broccoli and Brussels sprouts, because: green.  Also also some tomatillos, because: I like to say tomatillo.

The garden isn't tilled up yet, because it's too cold to plant (unless you are daring/have more energy to cover things when it gets cold) and too wet also...and because: no plants yet ;).  We'll keep you posted for sure as the little dears start to grow!

This post is dedicated to Laura and Cate, who always take a kindly interest in the goings-on at Black Sheep Farm (and garden) :D.  Hi Laura and Cate!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Things I've Learned from NPR Lately

Ok, by "lately" I mean...two months ago...but, that's how we roll.  I have mentioned before that I listen to NPR a lot in the car.  This is why I'm notoriously behind the times with knowing what songs are "hip" now.  I do, however, get to learn a lot from the folks over at public radio.  (Who, by the way, have such ecclectic names! I am always wondering if having an interesting name is part of the hiring requirements over there, or if people change their name when they become NPR reporters.)  An-e-ways.

Two separate stories struck me. Firstly was an interview with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist.

One of the things Mr. Tyson spoke about was his dislike with people calling him, and other very intelligent people, "gifted".  He said, no, he had to work very hard to get to where he is now.  I think that this is very important to remember.  We do have God-given talents and propensities, but there is still actual work involved in our success.  All too often we look at others' achievements and discount them because "that's their gift".  Similarly, we decide that we "can't" do something or another because we just aren't gifted in that area, or we don't have the personality for it.  While it is true that certain tasks are more difficult for some people than others, it does not give us a free pass on life.  Whether we are strong or weak in a particular area of our lives, there is work required.

The second piece that got me thinking was some remarks from correspondent Miles O'Brien, who recently had a partial arm amputation due to acute compartment syndrome after an incident with a heavy case falling on his arm.

O'Brien was actually on NPR to report his story on the Fukushima nuclear disaster, but he stayed on at the end of the piece to speak with the NPR host about his injury.  O'Brien was marvelously upbeat about his life moving forward, and said something to the effect of  "Life is a series of challenges, some that we chose, and some that are sent to us..." 

What hit me most about his words at the time was the fact that there are challenges that we chose.  Think about it.  There is so much in life that we don't chose--shouldn't we be more choosy about what we do chose?

This ties in with something I learned from watching the first episode of Call the Midwife ('s on PBS, it can go w/ stuff from NPR!) with Steven the other day. (Yeah, he bought it for me, and watched it with me.  I like him.).  One of the midwives says something like, "Sometimes we just have to deal with what the Lord sends."

A friend of mine says that I am like Nurse Lee. I'll take it! ;)

Sometimes the situations we are handed are less than (our) ideal.  A lot of times, actually.  So, we work to make our strengths stronger and our weaknesses smaller, we pick our battles, and we roll with the punches.  Why? 

Because life. Life is work.  Life is joy.  Life is beautiful. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Myth of Motherhood

Wow. There is a whole lot out there written about moms, isn't there?  Mom's are crazy,  mom's are mean, mom's are the best, mom's have it the hardest, being a mom is so rewarding, being a mom is beautiful, being a mom is dumb, working moms neglect their kids, stay-at-home moms are lazy. The range of things written about mom is absolutely no surprise,  because everyone in the world has a mom, and everyone in the world has an opinion.

And so do I!  Time to dust off the old soapbox again, methinks...

This video about how motherhood is the toughest job in the world has gone viral over the past week or so. Matt Walsh beat me to the punch and pointed out some of the flaws with the thoughts behind it.  He pointed out that being a dad is tough as well, that neither job is as tough as that ad for employment made it out to be, and that beyond these things, there is actual damage to portraying motherhood in this way (or, parenthood in general if we're being honest):
I’m all for being real with people, but all we accomplish is making otherwise fine young men and women utterly petrified of starting a family. They constantly hear that you’ll never sleep, your life is over, and you’ll never have fun again, unless you learn to define ‘fun’ as ‘poopy diapers and bankruptcy.’ And then we wonder why birthrates are plummeting? (--Matt Walsh)
So, what's the deal?

There are two extremes of the concept of "mother" being played out in today's society. On the one hand, being a mom is the super-hardest-toughest-most-overlooked position in society; mothers are trampled on, neglected, un-showered and lonely.

Exhibit A

On the other end of the spectrum is SuperMom.  A woman so perfect, it's hard to look at her. She has 2.3 to 3.7 children, works part-time, or has a small home business, her house is immaculate, her children are well-behaved, her clothes are fashionable, and she never has a bad hair day. Ever.

Exhibit B.

The problem with the two extremes is that nobody wants either one!  Who would vote to be a frumpy frazzled lady for life?  And who wants to try to meet Everest-ian expectations for everything? Nope. 

Not nobody. Not nohow.
Now, nobody's kidding anyone here. Being a mom (a parent in general, of course!), is hard.  It is simply not a breeze all of the time. It is actual work. Motherhood is one of the most important jobs on the planet (despite what they say over there @The Guardian--srsly?! Srsly? :P), because you have the immense responsibility of introducing other persons to everything. It's your job to make sure they know how to react and interact and put on pants. All of that.

But motherhood is normal. Let's all say that again. Being a mom is normal. "Mom" is the job description for more people on the planet than anything else.  Seriously.

I once had a friend* ask me how I knew what to do with the boys, like, did I read books or something?  I had to stop and think about it.  I absorbed a lot of mothering information and style by growing up around a bunch of kids. My family isn't humongous by reality TV show standards, but there were always some cousins to babysit.  So, changing diapers, making lunches, and playing made-up games for hours were all, well, normal.  My family gave me the background to assume a lot of the responsibilities of mothering, and, most importantly, the attitude that I could be a mom: normal people are moms, I can do that.

Some of my former charges ;)

Now, I don't think you had to have been an all-star babysitter to be a mom, or even a great mom, but the situation has definitely been made more difficult by the attitude of many people today that I've illustrated above.  When people perceive motherhood (and fatherhood) as either slave-work or heroic, they are repelled from it, because most people are neither slavish nor think themselves heroes.  Add to this is the perception that children are a burden, and that multiple children is an undertaking bordering on insanity, and all of the sudden motherhood is a mystical enigma of epic proportions.

{side bar soapbox: why is it OK to judge other people's family size? Really?}

So, if you didn't grow up in a large family, or weren't babysitting cousins often, it's ok, really.  There are books to read, and blogs, and websites, and medical people, and Google--not to mention that your own mom and friends are a wealth of information.  And if you're ever really starving for advice, just show up at the grocery store with at least one child in tow. There are always experts in the grocery store line. ;)


Folks, listen. There are several billion ways in this world to be a mom. Most of them are just fine. You can be employed a lot, or a little, or not at all.  You can breastfeed or bottlefeed, cloth diaper or use disposables.  You can obsess about the ingredients in the Kool Aid, or make your kids boxed Kraft mac n' cheese until they turn orange.  Go for it.

Being a mom is everything they say it is, and you can do it. The trials of toddlers and laundry, budgets and babies, the wondrous monotony of motherhood is normal, and it is good. Somewhere between the Frumpy-Frazz and the Super-Queen lies the truth of motherhood: you.  And lady, you've got this one.

Leo & Mama c. April 2011

*Special thanks to my dear friend for getting me to think about this stuff :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Liebster? I don't even know 'er!

Alternate title: I won! I won! I won!

SO, while I was shamelessly plugging away for someone to award me a Lobster the other day, Julia already had! Thank you, Julia, I am humbled and honored, truly, truly. (and. let's face it, this girl needs more humility!)

I've been seeing several Liebster/Lobster winners over the past week or so, but I had to clarify the rules for myself. So, I Googled it. This post makes it seem pretty complicated, but this one says all you have to do is accept it and pass it on, you make up the rest. Sounds like my kind of prize!

SO...without further ado (too late!)...drum-roll please...

Julia answered and then asked the following questions:

Where do you live and why do you live there now?
I live on Black Sheep Farm, in northeast Ohio. I live here now because this is where we are building up our family. We live in a 100+ year old farmhouse on land that's been in Steven's family for...8 generations now, or, at least since 1832. Kind of a big deal. 

What are you currently watching or reading?
Hmmm....does pining after the next season of Sherlock count?  We also blitzed through all four seasons of Downton Abbey this spring. I haven't been much of a reader lately, which is sad to me, but I am crawling through The Fellowship of the Ring again. The last really meaningful read I had was The Glass Castle, but I already told you about that. Oh! I just remembered! Steven got Unbroken on our Audible account. He says I will really like it. I don't know, because it's sure to have some horrific war drama that I'm not positive my wired mom/nurse-self can handle, but I'm willing to try it out. Maybe.

How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Own vs. wear is a distinction that Sarah highlighted, and I will go with. I have 7-8 pairs of footwear that I wear. I like to have footwear for specific activities. Leo always asks if I'm going to work when I put on my clonky-Dansko clogs. I suppose I own the boyos shoes too. They have 3 pairs each in whatever is their current size (sneakers/church shoes/boots). 

Are you a good dancer?
I can rock the amateur-type-in-home-dance-party, and I was a ballerina once. As in, for one season, at age..5 (?). I played a guppy in a production of The Little Mermaid. My sister got to be an oyster. Her job was way more glamorous, believe me.  

Who usually drives, you or your husband?
Steven, because he is the best driver, and I am the best co-pilot. I was trained in this prestigious vocation by riding shotgun for my brand-new-driver sister at the tender age of 15. I can call lane changes and feed a hungry charioteer french fries like nobody's business. 

What is your favorite holiday, and how do you celebrate it?
I really really love Easter. The Easter Vigil is one of my favorite services to go to.

Which is correct, left or right?

Left. Always left. Although, not that it matters around here. I give you Exhibit A:

Do you have any scars?
At first I was going to say no, or maybe tell you about the (pretty much faded) minuscule scar on my right index finger from shutting a pocket knife on it while carving a stick at the age of...old enough to know not to do that. And then I was like...OH yeah....there was that one other, *lee-tle* scar...AKA C-section delivery of my firstborn son. So, yes, scar, check. (I'm tellin' you, don't have kids! *wink*). 

What's the most famous thing you've ever done?
Ummm....nothing. Seriously, nothing yet. You'll have to wait for my children to grow up to be amazing inventors of something really awesome, or everyday saints, or champion of all-the-things, and then everyone can say, "she's his mother!", and the crowd will cheer. That will be my fame. 

And, because I can, I nominate Marie (who should always get a prize!), Jamie (who will have fun answers!) and Christina (whose answers I can't even guess!) for the prestigious Liebster award! 

Questions to answer:
-Who is your favorite saint and why?
-What is your least favorite food, and the last time you ate it?
-Who is your alter literary/film ego?
-If you had to make a living teaching something, what would you teach?
-What is one thing you have learned recently that surprised you?
-What is one name you would never give a child, and why? AND top three names you would consider
-What is the most inspiring book you have read?
-What did you want to be when you "grew up" (as asked to your 2nd grade self)?

*AND* if you wished you would have won a special award, let me know. It's just about my favorite thing to give things to people, and I take bribes easily. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

{7QT: Tweets to My Sister and Other Exciting Things}

1.    I have decided that if I had Twitter, it would pretty much be exactly like reading my texts to my sister. SO...either incredibly boring for everyone else, or WAY over-share, I'm thinking. Like so:

-"I've decided I don't have the energy to write a post about Frozen"
-"Leo almost had a stomach at dinner"
-"you could be like Har-ry Pot-tah"
-"came outside smelling like he had been hitting the mouthwash"
-"maybe your tummy wants to watch a show"

On second thought, maybe @TheHopefulStarfish would be a fun Twitter read? Meh. I still say "pound" instead of "hashtag"; I'm too old for Twitter.

2.    We did watch Frozen with the boyos on Wednesday night. I thought about blessing you (ha!) with my thoughts on it in a post, but lucky you (srsly, folks), it was too much work. It was a fun movie, with fun songs and characters, and the main couple (::gasp!::) didn't even get married during the movie. One kiss only. Redemptive, even, I'd say (which, as you know, is one of my main criteria for winning as a story). 



He is pretty much awesome. I think he is growing up to be a really cool little brother. He is funny, fun, very very mischievous, curious, smart, and daring. Just the other day he told me "I so clever", which I do tell him quite often...because it's true. Two. That kid is two. Not even lying. 

4.    I am very excited about Black Sheep Farm (and garden)'s upcoming SPRING and SUMMER. This excitement will surely fade in approximately...however many days/weeks it takes to become over-run by weeds and sweat and bugs and tangled-up goats, but for now, from my 3 days of Spring seat, things are looking grand. Also in the works is another post for Real Housekeeping on Starting Out w/ Chickens. (It will look kind of like this, but maybe *slightly* more helpful. Slightly.) Because I am an expert, that's why. An expert who has sold 8 dozen eggs total, and who has lost 6 (at least) fowl to wild creatures thus far this year. 
I've already said I don't want any of these this year.
I probably lied.

5.    Speaking of Black Sheep Farm, it's been a completely epic few weeks, wherein we (Steven) caught and dispatched two (o?)possums and two raccoons (one of which I happened upon IN THE FLIPPING CHICKEN COOP whilst gathering eggs), the sheep has gotten off his rope TWICE, a stray little black lab mix puppy has appeared (anyone want a dog!?) and I have been charting non-stop from a deluge of nurse visits since about the time that my Mom showed up three weeks ago (just got caught up *yesterday*!). Seriously, folks, Nana has saved the day around here. She plays with the boyos, washes dishes, is patient with my cah-ray-zi-ness AND let's me win at Scrabble. Be jealous, be very jealous. 

Rockstar Nana...and...Leo. 

6.    April 10th is National Sibling Day.
It's a made-up internet holiday, so it doesn't count, but I have the best siblings, and I love making you look at pictures of us, so we buy in for it anyways. 

Siblings are one of life's greatest gifts. You can choose the relationships you have with almost any other person, but you don't get to choose family. Your brothers and sisters are laid out for you from time immemorial. Your husband or wife is your closest companion in this life, but even he/she does not share the same bond that you have with a brother or sister. Who else has your exact same context for life? The same degree of craziness in all the right categories? They drive us crazy, but siblings are truly special. xoxo

7.    Good Grief Third Grade
There is honestly too much out there to comment on lately. And, as you recall, I am way way behind the learning curve on being up to date. Apparently there's a Heartbleed bug to be scared of? And Kirsten Dunst is joining the war on women? I give up. Maybe I *will* write that post about Frozen...unless someone gives me a lobster!

Linking it up with Jen @Conversion Diary for the 7QT fun.
Head back over there for more from the rest of the gang...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Update from Black Sheep Farm

It's been a while since I've said anything about this little place we call home. So I figured I'd do some introductions. Plus, my friend Cate (hello, Cate!) asked me ages ago to put up some more farm pictures. Also, as a disclaimer, please remember that I am merely a farmer-ette-in-training, with barely enough motivation, and nearly no expertise on farming. I do have some aspirations to have a little vegetable stand one day, and eventually enough goats to sell (yes, that means for their not the cute ones!). we go!

This is about my daily level of excitement over farm chores. I'm holding a bag of hay for the goats. The hay bag is a very good invention, if you keep it full. If it gets empty, it gets eaten (the bag, that is). There's a metaphor for life in there somewhere. 

This is Leo's usual attitude about farm chores as well: let's find a stick.  He does like to dig in the dirt (what 3 year-old boy doesn't?) and to drive a tractor (again...3 year-old boy...). I will be far too delighted when he is old enough to feed the goats on his own. 

Can't get enough of that smile.
Daniel is pretty content to pal around with Mom and Leo, so long as he can jump in all the mud puddles.

These are the goaties. 
Bramble (R) and Raspberry (L) were our first official farm animals (if you don't count cats and dogs). They are so named, b/c goats are supposedly about as easy to care for as raspberry brambles.  Supposedly.  Houdini raspberry brambles, we'll say. 

Those two are supposed to become matriarchs, but so far our efforts at raising a buck to older age have been...a learning experience?


This little goat is our Prince Reagent, the Patriarch-Elect of the Goat herd. He is a Boer-Kiko cross (75-25), so he's supposed to get really big and be wonderful. We'll see. He is just called "the little goat" right now, because if we really named him officially, it would jinx everything. Some times I'll say his name is Izzy, or Israel, and his name in his previous life was Klondike (because he is brown-white-brown), which I refused to endorse. I've learned not to get my hopes up too high in farm life. The unexpected is right around the corner...

This is the sheep. Most of the time we just call him "the sheep" or "mean sheep", b/c he's pretty ornery. There was a time when Leo said that his name was "Red"...

Don't let that look fool you...he's a toughie.  And he *will* ram you. Srsly. I used to be more mad about the sheep's existence on our farm, which is understandable, considering he's knocked me off my feet more than once, but I've since decided that since he is a rescue animal, I'm getting points in Heaven from St. Francis and St. Isiadore (patron of farmers) by being nice to him. Nice from a distance, that is.

This is the chicken coop/yard that Steven built. He's handy like that :). The orange bucket things are water-ers that self-fill via gravity tubing from the outer white bucket (in the summer, when water doesn't freeze), and they are lovely lovely. Yes, I just called a chicken water-er lovely. Judge away.

Some of our flock. The chickens are very good layers when we're not in a polar vortex, and we haven't had to buy eggs since they started laying (well, except for 2 doz. during said polar vortex). We also *had* four ducks, which were quite funny-looking, and a delight to watch when swimming in  their little kiddie pool (not pictured, b/c it's yucky looking). Unfortunately, an opossum (possum?) killed them all last week. Remember what I said about the unexpected in farming?  Perhaps there's another post in this thought, but I think that it's rather healthy for us to experience death up close like this. Circle-of-life, ashes-to-ashes, and life isn't always a bed of roses on a silver platter and all that jazz.

And so, we truck along here on the "farm", where time passes slowly and the children grow too quickly.