August 27, 2015

Just Another Manic Farmday

August 27, 2015
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Tuesday.  It was a manic Monday a day late.  I actually wished for it to be Monday.  Tuesday was suffering a bad case of the "Mondays" and the farm was yet again the victim.  There is aways a lot going on out here.  Aside from the normal, we have a garage/pool house under construction and our pool was Witch Brew Green.   I had a morning full of appointments for my 12 year old and I was actually looking forward to leaving the farm life behind for a few hours.  I mean, what could go wrong while sitting in doctor's offices?  

There I sat, in the cozy waiting room of our dentist office while Parker was getting his teeth rearranged.  Flipping through Better Homes and Gardens magazine, I was lost in the latest paint colors, decorating trends and recipes that I could smell and taste right from the pages.  And then my phone vibrated me back to reality with this...  

Not exactly the text you want to receive from your pool guy.
My pool guy was trying to cast a spell on our pool to take it from green to clear but he was interrupted by a bloody scene straight out of National Geographic.  Sheep vs. House Dog.  You know it's bad when someone asks for a rifle.  There was a rifle but the bullets were nowhere to be seen (That's standard gun safety.  Gun and bullets in separate places). I insisted on going back to where Parker was so I could quiz him as to where the bullets were.  I found him with his mouth gaping wide open, unable to speak.  

Me: " Parker, raise your hand if the answer is yes.  Are the bullets in the barn?"
Parker: "Uh huh" and raises his hand
Me: "In the cabinet?"
Parker: "Uh Uh."
Me: "In the drawers of the workbench?"
Parker: "Uh."
Me:  "In the gun safe?"
Parker: "Uh..."

Okay, enough of that.  I wasn't getting anywhere and the looks I was getting from the dental assistant were beginning to make me feel like a criminal.  Meanwhile my pool guy, turned animal euthanizer, had no choice but to take matters into his own hands.  And I'm all like, "Excuse me nice dentist lady, can we hurry up, tighten these brackets, slap the rubber bands on and go?  I have a farm emergency and my pool guy is having to deal!"

How did I go from reading Better Homes and Gardens to this?
While the dental assistant was very sorry about the situation, getting blue and orange bands on the teeth seemed to take precedence over a sheep bleeding out.  I get it.  Rotating the requested color pattern was more important.  Obviously.  

Maggots.  Did he have to include that part?
Yes.  One sheep because my other sheep had fallen prey just the week before.  I was sick to my stomach and mad.  Mad at my darn dog.  BUT ever so thankful that my pool guy stepped outside his job description and handled a vicious situation.  Above and beyond.  I'm thankful for people that fall under that category.  Above and beyond are people that every farm needs.  Thank you pool guy.  Thank you for taking care of it and then getting right back to your day job of getting our pool back to "normal".  Normal.  There is nothing normal out here.  We live on a farm after all.  

PS: While typing this post I had to stop and break up house dog vs. chicken.  I declared "Done with Dog" and took him to my mother in laws.  I've had enough predator vs. prey for a few days.   

August 18, 2015

Grief and Fulfillment: PART B

August 18, 2015
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Once upon a time there was a little girl who dreamed of getting married and starting a family.  She smiled and blushed at the thought of meeting her Knight and Shining Armor and kept a record of all the names she wanted to give her babies.  It was a wonderful dream.  And one day it came true!  But soon the mother of five became exhausted, couldn't think straight, couldn't sleep, and suddenly forgot her very own name.  There was no time to be a wife and go on dates with her husband.  She could barely keep her eyes open to watch her darling children play.  Her hair started to turn gray and was messy and sticky.  Dark circles caved her eyes.  The poor woman was lost and desperate.  

The destined bride at the age of 5 on Halloween
Just four weeks after the twins were born the lady became delusional.  She forgot where she was going upon setting out to run errands.  She would go to the grocery store not remembering why she came.  The world seemed to be spinning out of control but she was standing still, unable to move.  She couldn't make sense of the simplest of thoughts, actions, demands, requests, instructions, or tasks.  Motherhood. It had completely eaten her alive like a ravaged boar.  

Like a hand coming out of the grave to scare a movie audience, the lady reached out.  She needed help.  She needed support, encouragement and assurance.  The weary mother put the word out as if a beloved dog went missing.  Not before long, while she was sifting through a rack of clothes at a consignment shop (she refused to pay full price for new clothing until she was back at her pre-pregnancy weight....which never happened), her phone rang.  On the other end of the telly was a young and vibrant college girl offering her life, I mean help.  The young, naive, but brave girl accepted the mission.  In just a few days all seemed right with the world.  There was hope.  The woman crawled out of her hole and navigated the map of motherhood. She spread her wings and flew with her co-pilot by her side.  
The End. 
(insert sunset here)

Bethanie.  Her name is Bethanie.  Or "Befamie". Or "B", as we like to call her.  She showed up wearing an invisible cape with an invisible wand.  She came armored with patience, peace, and kindness.  Picture Nanny McPhee but beautiful.  She showed up and I ran.  I ran out the door with my husband and Mason.  We were dashing off to the zoo for a "Special Day With Mom and Dad" (AKA: we feel guilty that our kids don't get us one on one so we spoil the ever livin' daylights out of them with us, time and candy). Off to the zoo.  It was freedom with the exception that we had one kid in tow.  It was magical.  It was glorious.  It was like nothing I had ever experienced as a mother.  All fears aside, everyone was alive when we returned, the house hadn't burned down and the BEST thing of all is that she agreed to come back!    She came back for more!

More moments. B fit right in with our river rat family
More trouble.  We even managed to sink our jeep together
More laughter.  She loves them they love her
It seemed that B became part of our family over night.  After all, she had seen it all.  Exploding diapers, projectile spit-up, tantrums spewing from a three and five year old, a spousal spat, family drama, and me naked in the shower as she handed me my baby covered in diarrhea.  Yeah,  she saw it all.  By this time I had lost all sense of modesty and worried more that she was covered in a bio-hazard substance over seeing me in my birthday suit.  She became part of our family and we became part of hers.  If not by blood than by affection, nicknames, sleepovers and celebrations, we were family.  

B traveled all the way to Bolivia with me so I could be there for my God Son's baptism.  This is a whole other story for another time and a few good cervezas.  Lets just say we were both lucky to make it back.  Alive. 
She's one heck of a gal.  B took Henry to a Monster Truck show!
B provided me with mental support during Susie Grace's one and only year of dance.  
From Halloween to birthday parties, shots at the pediatrician's office to Family Vacation Travel Officer of Support,  serving as Family Christmas Card Picture Children Briber/Mother of Family Christmas Card Picture Children Voice of Reason to the Queen of Nanny 911, B was there and not a moment went by that I wasn't thankful. 
B.  She was there.  Like really there.  There in a way that was more than showing up to referee my tribe, take some cash and leave.  B fell in love with our family and we fell in love with her.  She would come over for dinner, never miss a birthday party or celebration, and went above and beyond even after she clocked out.  Talk about a serious relationship in the fast lane.  We were hooked and knew it was meant to B.  Get it?  Ha ha!  

After taking my children to the zoo by myself and having one too many potential "caught on camera" incidents, I vowed never to leave my house with ALL my children without B.  
Meant to be.  So many things that we have experienced are #meanttobe.  Like the time B and her boyfriend broke up and I schemed a plan to get them back together because I believed it was destiny.  Okay, so maybe I invited her to her favorite concert under one condition...that she bring the ex.  She fell for it and cupid checked one off his list in a matter of days.  Mitch and B.  Eventually, he got on one knee and popped the question!  She said yes.  Obviously. 
First comes love
I took to the wedding planning as if my best friend AND sister were getting married.  And you know what?  Apparently, you can never be too old and haggard to be a bridesmaid.  I slathered on the wrinkle cream, bought a girdle, dyed my grays, logged a jog on the treadmill and was honored to walk down the aisle to the beat of the sweetest ceremony I've ever witnessed.  Our whole family played a role.  It was magical.

Then comes marriage
Today, B still has our family wrapped around her finger.  We hardly do anything without her.  Well, sort of.  Along with getting married she got a real job and moved to Egypt a house too far away for daily visits.  But distance is the only thing that has changed.  Our kids adore her and we adore her and her man.  They are our "Framily".  I look back on the last seven years and there is hardly a memory that she isn't a part of.  We have a treasure chest of "rememberies".  

Big Dog and I like to go to concerts with B and her man.  It's like we are 20 something but we aren't.  Oh well.  They keep us young and we try to keep them wise and we have fun doing it.  
It's hard to know how or where to end this.  I guess it's because there isn't any ending.  Our families have grown and experienced life and there is so much more.  Like a lot more.  Like double the trouble more.  As in dos mas.  You see, I believe in the divine plan, destiny, things written in the stars, the impossible possible, and endless #meanttobe moments.  For example,  that one time B called to tell me she was having....
Then comes babies in the double stroller/car seats/bouncers/high chairs/cribs.
 I know!!!!  The possibility of this happening is cray!  She had been prepared in the most realistic way possible.  I've seen the way this couple loves on others.  It's unconditional without limits.  I mean if she could handle ME and my tribe she's got this double trouble thing down.  And come on, her man signed up knowing that B comes with a package containing a family of seven that holds her high.  Her man.  He loves my kids almost as much as she does.  

The proof is in the picture.
Yeah.  They will do just fine with two at a time.

So there you have it.  The Story of B.  She's pretty legendary.  Just ask my kids!

August 4, 2015

Sheep. And All That Baah.

August 4, 2015
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Oops.  I did it again.  I had a thought.  I thought about getting some sheep.  I thought about getting sheep so I could shear them and have lanolin.  How easy would that be?  So, after searching far and wide a friend notified me of a sheep man that would sell me two of his sheep.  Before I knew it I was the proud owner of two sheep, Memphis and Mavis.   At just eight weeks old, I trailered home two sweet baby girls.  They were exceptionally adorable. 
Bah Bah Brown Sheep Have You Any Wool???

Just as these two new fluffy babies were getting settled in their new home, Big Dog had a trip.  If you have followed my blog you will know that if anything baa-aad is going to happen it's going to happen when he's out of town.  I was once again left as a damsel in distress on a farm that I can't manage by own girly self.  So as luck would have it, tragedy struck.  One of our sweet, fluffy girls was attacked!  A vicious wound left her to die.  But not on my watch by golly.  There was a life to save so I bucked up and... and... and cried.  I cried out on Facebook and two of my friends showed up.  They had no experience with such matters but thought a big hug and hand holding would help. Still, Facebook didn't disappoint.  My distress call was answered by another friend.  Enter a number guys by day, cattle man by choice and you have a guy who felt the need to do what he could.  The Sheep Surgeon (his new title) came to my rescue with full determination to save the 'lil girl.  My two hand holding, huggin' friends helped wrangle the sheep and hold her down so The Sheep Surgeon could go to work.  And work they did.  And I'm so thankful they did because before they showed up I called Big Dog and asked where he kept the pistol.  I couldn't stand to see her in such pain and just knew I had to "handle it".  Big Dog didn't want me to be the one to pull the trigger so he called a few friends who would come do it for me.  Just as I was about to add another badge of courage to my farmer's wife resume I surrendered and begged for her life to be spared.  

*The following photos are graphic and not intended for those with weak stomachs*


The odor stench.  Oh the stench.  The smell was h-o-r-r-i-f-i-c. It was the kind of smell that sticks to your nostril hairs and hangs around for a while.  The sight was...was...unsightly.  And just when I didn't think it could get worse...IT DID.  MAGGOTS!  Maggots.  Maggots.  Maggots.  And more maggots.  Have you seen the movie Poltergeist?  Well I did at a very young and impressionable age and the maggot part came back in full real life reality.  I'll fast forward to the after part of the hour spent flushing out the maggots to the silver part.  Silver is so cool! (Dear reader, I don't care that maggots are actually good for wounds.  I don't care that in the Civil War maggots were a life saving agent for the wounded.  I don't care that they eat the dead flesh away.  I DON'T CARE!  Maggots are absolutely, positively, 110% disgusting in every slimy, icky, nasty, deathly way.  That is all.)

Just a typical Barn operating stall. Nothing to see here.

You see, The Sheep Surgeon didn't come unprepared.  He brought with him the magic bullet.  A bullet of a spray can containing silver nitrate.  Seeing as how there was actually and gruesomely nothing to sew together he concluded it best to spray silver over it in hopes of covering the gaping would.  Poor little girl.  She had been surgeon handled no doubt.  But The Sheep Surgeon and my friends didn't stop there.  No sir!  They came up with the genius idea to fashion a Tupperware container around her head to keep her from agitating the... the... the area.  

The Terminator Sheep
Now for a little back story.  My oldest daughter was preparing to leave for Army boot camp the very next day.  She had bravely decided to join the Army and become a medic.  What a gal!  (Yes, I'm in shock. Yes, I'm anxious for her.  No, we didn't see it coming. Yes, she is amazing.)  As we locked up the barn, said adios to our friends and The Sheep Surgeon, Lauren and I headed to the house to put the horrific day to rest.  On the way back to the house she said quietly, "Mom, I don't think I'm want to be a medic anymore".  Shocked, (just kidding) I turned to her and said, "Gee honey, why not?".  Gagging through her response she said, "I don't think I will ever get past what we just saw and smelled".  Right on daughter.  Know blood, guts, stench, and maggots when you see it and go the other way!

What a superb evening!  And just before I hung my hat on what we call, "just another day on the farm", The Sheep Surgeon's wife sent me the image above.   Pretty much!  Yep.  Thank you Sheep Surgeon's wife.  Oh how I love a good visual.  

Anyhoo, since then the sheep has recovered.  So much that we were able to shear both  of them.   I'm cautiously hopeful I'll get lanolin and felt to sell at Farm Girl Fair!  I'm sure that will be an interesting, no thrills process to tell you about.  Until then...

Following careful instructions from a "How To" site we begin the lanolin process.
I'm super excited the dying process is going as smooth as silk.  NOT!  I should have known it would take more than a
You Tube video to be a pro.
Screech!!!  I'll put the blog breaks on the "Until then" right here and now. That pending post about boiling, combing, cleaning, and dying to create pure lanolin and bright felt balls will NOT be coming soon.  The process was an EPIC fail and had me wishing I was back living the life of a neighborhood wife and mom.  I think I'll stick to growing tomatoes and cucumbers.