Thursday, February 28

WAR OF THE LAMBS

It's happening.. We are down to the last 4 ewes to lamb and the search is on. Our kids have to find, compile and request their lamb choices for the upcoming 4-H season. We have been suggesting that they look over the available lambs and try to come to some sort of decision about what they want to work with for this year.

The good news is, that out of about 20 available lambs, there are very FEW poor choices. The bad news is, that I recently discovered that each of the girls like the same two damn sheep.

Here is the breakdown... We let the girls each take 4 sheep. They may be 2 of each sex, or 3 girls and one boy, but I would like them each to take 2 males, as they can sell 2 males in the auction - and thats the point of the whole thing, is to sell your animals to make money. My dear husband informed me this year, that he might like to see them only take one male, since we have so many female lambs this year.
The other klinker, is that you have to (or at least we do) show pairs. Now in pairs, the lambs should be somewhat similar in a physical attributes. This may play a role if one child selects half of what we would consider a pair, and the other child wants the other half.

I don't blame you for being confused, we've done this for 6 years and it still gets me.

My youngest daughter, is appalled that she can't have BOTH lambs she wants, even though they are the same ones that her sister wants. Any diplomatic speech is totally lost on her. Good thing my oldest daughter is is a "lets do whatever it takes to make mom and dad happy" mode, and she didn't become insulted, or insulting during the frakas.

I finally made each one of them give me a list of 4 lambs they would choose to show, in order of importance.
My youngest daughter took almost an hour to sort them into order, my oldest had hers done in about 30 seconds.
I really had to feel for my youngest, as she was obviously distraught over the whole thing and wanted to do well this year with her choices.

Thank goodness, they each rated a different lamb as #1.
But the #3 and #4 choices were the same.
It's going to be an exciting draft. I'm not sure how we will handle the rest of it, but trust me it will be interesting.

What that means for us, is that we will have a small handful of some of the best livestock we've ever raised available for sale.
I can go to any of the upcoming sales by bigger more well known breeders and spend $500.00 on the same quality lambs I feel we have in our barn. The down side is that we don't have the customer base yet to have people clamoring over themselves to get their hands on a lamb, so our prices will not be the same.

Cost is such a touchy thing. I can't get a handle on myself and be business like. I am too emotional and rational. I have different prices in my mind for people who help us, or are friends than I have for others who may be shopping for a lamb and willing to pay whatever they can, for what they want. There is even another breeder who can't seem to get a good break to save his life that I would be willing to GIVE him a lamb as a gesture of goodwill. But I know that's not very practical. So I will have to decide soon, as we have lookers coming in a few short weeks who may want to buy.

It will be hard to part with some of them.

Tuesday, February 26

After the last heavy post, I figured I had better come back and see if you are all still here scratching your heads wondering what the hell I was talking about! When I figure it out, I will let you know.
Sometimes I myself have to write it, read it, then think about it to know what I was getting at.
I can be a pretty abstract thinker.

Winter has returned with a revenge here. I knew it couldn't last forever, and it didn't. Our week high temps of 60 something in Indiana in February have gone the way of disco....they are dead.
Good thing, though...
We had a (very little)lamb scooch under a gate and take to running around outside, suddenly sorry she left her mom's cozy side.
Mom was equally worried, but held by the gates.
Now sometimes I'm not too observant, but when you see a little black smudge running frantically back and forth in fromt of the barn as you are heading to the dryer to get your clothes, you take notice.

Either it is a dog, trying to eat your lambs, or it is a lamb, trying to draw some stray dog's attention.
Luckily, no harm was done, and the lamb apologised frantically for causing such a rukus.

I also recently recived another installment payment on the account of "You were such a rotten kid, here's what you get"

I had to assist my oldest daughter in selecting her classes for her Freshman year. I had planned on making it a big deal, and we would talk about it and go through it together, but when she called me from school to tell me that the paper was DUE and could I bring it in NOW - I freaked. I didn't imagine that they would give us a mere weekend to make these decisions.
Granted, your Freshman year is cake - but still.......

I looked through her course book and could have cried. She had intended to slide through next year. BASIC math, BASIC english, BASIC everything. Those were her selections. Now we have gone the whole 9 yards this year, insofaras her complete disregard for homework, and her general attitude of "who cares" and I had presumed it wasn't all bs.

SOOOOOOOO being the evil matron of all hellish saints that I am, I ERASED all the basic classes and hit her right between the eyes.
Advanced English
Algebra1
Biology
you name it. Out of pity, I did see to it that she received a study hall.

She returned home, rather jubillant that day. "Mom!" "My guidance counselor said that he couldn't put me in most of the classes you requested." "My math teacher, and my English teacher don't think it would be wise"
o that, she added a really forced look of "I'm so sad, too"

I took one step away from the situation, and then I did a perfect mental 6.0 triple lutz/triple toe combination and flopped the big mess right back into her lap. Quite unexpectedly, I might add. It was sheer beauty.

My reply was....
Oh, thats too bad.
What? What is too bad mom? she suddenly looked concerned.

I went on to explain that her lazy approach to her grades had falsely labeled her as a "dummy" Now we both know she is able, but not committed. I also told her how they wouldn't want to "embarass" her by placing her in a class that was too hard for her to pass, so they would just give her the easy class so she wouldn't lose face, but they would all know that she didn't belong where all the other kids (her friends) were.

Now I might be celebrating a little prematurely - but I'm elated.

She took the message just how I intended it, and was horribly insulted that anyone could think she was stupid enough to NEED to be in BASIC anything.

Later on, maybe an hour or so, she asked me if there was any way I could go into the school and personally request different classes for her next year. So she was still stewing about it. I simply told her that I couldn't. They had made up their minds.

Later then, I delivered the A-Bomb.
I told her that the only way they might even re-consider her, would be to show them a report card that proved she was worthy.
dang........
I am good.

Very underhandedly sneaky - but good.




Unusual Blog tonight.

Lately I have been pondering loneliness.
What makes us all seek like others to share our lives with, only to wish we had more time for ourselves?
Why do we cringe at the thought of another scheduled event, yet feel fear of not being included?

In my life I have no opportunity for loneliness. There are always 10,000 things going on that I get sucked into. Some willingly, others accidentally, but I can't say that I ever yearn for another soul to share anything with. My teengaers tend to that. They consider anything under the roof community property. If they wouldn't get eeeked out by germs I think they would borrow my toothbrush.

I feel very fortunate to have this kind of forced activity to claim my spare time, as I have recently seen the other side, and I am all but helpless to change anything about it.

When my father died, he was preceeded by his mother, then his father. I only have one relative left from my dad's side that I am in contact with. The others are spaced out (some quite literally) on the east coast, and in Florida. That leaves my Aunt alone also.

I cannot imagine being without family. Right now, there are approximately 50 people on my mom's side that I could call at any given moment if I wanted to. She has no one but me. Occasionally she will lament that she doesn't live close enough to us, or she wished she could see us more, as if that would help to fill the void. I can't tell her if it would or not. I don't know the ache of missing someone who knows where you came from, or knew your family.

She has very good ties with her friends, but she craves roots. I suppose I would too, given the same set of circumstances.

This has set me to thinking. We can't think about what we can't somehow relate to - so this has been a stretch for me.

I think being lonely is a selfish feeling, at least in my experience. What we miss, or wish for is another person to fill the void, and make us feel better. It's the connection of souls. We don't feel lonely to help someone else, it's to help ourselves -which is sometimes very necessary.

I can feel lonely when I am home alone on a day off, only to have the kids or my husband come home and then I yearn for peace.

Somehow like the Grandparents excitedly planning a family get together, and then heaving a huge sigh of releif when everyone gets into their cars and leaves. (this does not describe MY grandparents though)

I think it's all so subjective.

While I wish I could reach out and help her more than I already do, I feel it's a state of mind. It doesn't help that I am a selfish troll who wouldn't really miss the world if it went away - until I had to go to Wal-Mart for something.

Sunday, February 24

Wow
Whatta week. Where did it go?
We lambed three more ewes, only 4 more to go. All the lambs this week were females. We have a record of 20 lambs now, and 15 of them are girls. I'm not looking forward to the end of lambing this year. It has been so nice, I almost forgot to be stressed about it.
Thats not usual.

We spent 12 hours this weekend taking a sightseeing trip to Illinois to look at sheep. Thats where our vacations are headed I'm afraid. We will be this aged couple tracking all over God's green earth to look at sheep. Why would you drive 10 hours straight to look at sheep? I don't really know. We can't be right in the head.
It was fun though, thats whats scary.

I have some photos up on our webpage if you care to take a look.....if you want the address, let me know.

The last week, I also got pretty caught up in the Olympics. I'm not usually a winter sports fan, as freezing your ass off should never be rewarded with a medal, but - I did enjoy watching the Skeleton and the figure skating. Not nearly as interesting as Survivor, or Temptation Island but hey - I'm a reality TV junkie.

Back to this weekend..... With two kids, aged 13 and 14, we figured that they could handle being at home for 10+/- hours during the day by themselves. Still, even though they had other obligations to attend to and were watching the barn for more lambs I still felt odd leaving them to their own devices for the majority of the day. They both poo-poo'ed me and said they would be FINE - what could happen? I finally gave in and agreed. We have close friends nearby who were going to be home, and our families knew that they might be called if the girls ran into something they couldn't handle.

We get 2 hours out on the road and the cell phone rings.

MOM - the power went out!
My first thought was....GET OUT - you got to be kidding me.
So, my oldest daughter got to rifle through our bills, find the electric bill, get our account number, and phone in our outage. I wish I could have been a fly on THAT wall. It was only off an hour or so, but for a while I was ready to turn back. My husband thought I was crazy, as our presence wouldn't help the electric come back, but I still felt at that point like I was being punished for abandoning them!
We came back and the house was clean(er) and the barn chores were done quite nicely.

I'd be shocked to find that I have actually raised almost capeable teenagers.

I tried to scare my husband by suggesting all kinds of things that the girls might be doing while we were gone. The things that he and I might have done to our parents, but he didn't believe that they would throw a wild party, drive the truck into town or call Paraguay just for the hell of it. Turns out he was right.

But wait.....the phone bill isn't due for another two weeks.

Sunday, February 17

Hmmmm It just feels like I haven't been here in forever.
Sorry I have been pretty pathetic in updates lately. The Winter Monster still craves it's lair...
What can I say.

This weekend was pretty unlively. Our youngest daughter was away at a youth group weekend
(and had a really groovy time, I might add)
And her sister, my husband and myself had an only kid weekend.

I hate those. JUST HATE THEM
Everyone gets along and there aren't any arguements, tiffs or whining. It was precious.
BUT
Then the OTHER KID comes home, dosent matter which one it is, and they have to start vying for position again.
My afternoon has been spent refereeing petty picking greivances.
aak.

Had some more lambs this evening...the ones that were out of the ram lamb we kept back last year. These are the first ones we have ever seen from him. At 2 hours old, I'm no judge. They look pleasingly similar to others we have, so thats a good thing I suppose!

I am such a freak about letting the sheep do what God made them for. We were fortunate to "catch" this ewe lamb delivering her first set of twins, and everyone was looking at me, like I should do something to help her out. Well, anyone who has ever had a baby knows that those things don't just spring from your heiny. There is lots of grunting, pushing and general appearances of impending death before the birth is over. Several other breeders I know just dive in at the first sign of water breaking and pull everything out at once.

To my credit, and sometimes dismay, I leave the ewe alone in her work. Especially ewe lambs, their first time up at bat.
So, when I went over to assist, prodded on by popular opinion, all it took was a swipe of my finger around the lambs head, and it was over. I looked like a magician of course, but the ewe didn't exactly know what had happenned. She happily cleaned off her new daughter and doted on it, cooing and chuckling away. Well...... we knew she had twins, so we waited nearby. Usually the second goes much easier and faster than the first, but I wasn't expecting what she did when it was time to push.

Evidently, she saw me as the end to her pain the last time, and she promptly rounded her back end within easy reach for me to pluck out the little critter as it emerged. She was smart enough to know that I had better leverage from the outside pulling, than she did pushing it from the inside.
I moved away from her.......
She followed me, again presenting her rear for me to inspect.

I flatly refused, and within a few minutes she did the rest, and did a spectacular job of it, I might add.
7 more left to go. It's always an exciting and exhausting time when we lamb.

Saturday was a full day too. My husband and I left the house at 9:00am and hit the road, on a sheep hunt. We covered three counties, put over 120 miles on the truck going here and there looking at everyones lambs. We found a few we really liked
and only time and the checkbook will tell if they come to live with us or not. We returned home at 4:30 pm, tired and stinky. We were quoted anywhere from $400.00 to $800.00 for the ones we had our eyes on. Thats a heap big pile of money for livestock at our house. Especially since some like to committ suicide. (read earlier entry) I guess that says we must have pretty good eyes, or the other breeders must know a sucker when they see one.
But now that it's a tax deduction, it doesn't seem to hurt QUITE so bad.

Now all I have left to do tonight is look forward to work tomorrow. (barf)
There HAS to be another reason to live.

Tuesday, February 12

Fortunately, today came and went without a twilight zone twist.
I might be jinxing myself saying that before midnight though...

The only unusual thing was that my usually quiet, peaceful day off was interrupted my a sick 14 year old. She decided she just couldn't go to school today. So we just hung around the house and I did laundry while she slept. Around noon, she felt better, and wanted to go to school, so I make the treck in to drop her off. Boy, if that were me, I wouldn't go back to school if my life depended on it. If I had a free day - there would be no way I would mess it up by going back.

So - I had reclaimed the rest of my afternoon, and was going to spend it looking up music on the internet to download on some CD's..
That was until I got a call from the school nurse at 2:00. She said that I needed to come pick up my daughter (the one I had just dropped off 2 hours ago) because she was in her office with a fever.
AAK.

So the reat of the day was a wash, and instead of doing totally useless things at my leisure, I spent it cleaning house.
BOO......

Now I have to wait till Thursday to be totally useless.

Monday, February 11

Dateline, somewhere in North Central Indiana.
Names and locations have been changed to protect the idiotic.

Children return home from school and make the B-Line to the barn to check
for new lambs, they find none, and report their findings to their parental
unit who is still at work. (me) All is thumbs up in the barn.

Approximately one hour later, they return to begin evening chores. That is
where they find the lifeless body of the murder victim, still upturned in
the water tub. The transcripts 911 call to the parental unit went something
like this....


"MOM!!" "ABBY IS DEAD!!!!!!!!!"
"What?, who, what are you talking about?"
"ABBBY MOM.....SHE DROWNED!"
"Drowned?" "Are you sure?"
MMMMOOOOOOM, she's flipped over in the water tank, and she's not moving!"
"Did you pull her out, dear?"
"EWWW MOM...when is Dad coming home?"
"You are SURE it's Abby?"
"MOM. THERE IS A DEAD EWE IN THE WATER TANK - does it matter really WHICH
ONE it is?
"Ok, I will be home shortly."

I arrive home to find that there is indeed a ewe in the water tank. It's
not April first, so the Fool's day joke would have been a tad early - but I
had hopes. What is totally consternating is that she died in it, all 130
pounds of her tucked neatly inside it with maybe 3 inches of water left from
the night before.
If it weren't so damn disappointing, I would have been fairly impressed with
her attention to detail.
It was a rubber tank, no more than 36 inches across and only 8-10 inches
deep, with only 3 inches of standing water in it. She had herself neatly
folded up inside of it. I myself might not have even noticed her until I
had tried to fill the tank.

I have not ruled out a homicide. She was the unbred 11 month old "playful"
one in my group of ewes. She still liked to hop and bounce around somewhat
annoy the elder ladies with her immature hijinks.
I will have to keep an eye on the group, and hopefully there will be a
squealer in the bunch. By the looks of it, she either fell, or got knocked
into the tub. I didn't see any cement shoes, but then if they were smart
enough to plot a murder, they would have also destroyed any evidence.

File this under weird ways to die...



Sunday, February 10

For once, this felt like a really long weekend.

It might have something to do with the fact that my husband was gone Saturday night to a bowling tournament, and I was home with the kids. I am used to being the busy one, driving, picking up dropping off,and running errands but it somehow felt purposeless without someone to gauge my day with.

The past week has also been very mentally strenuous. I have gone on and on before about my oldest daughter and her grades, but this was mid-term week. My youngest brought home her all A's and one B mid term, and the oldest seemed to have forgotten hers at school. You don't have to ba a parent long to figure out what that means.
She quickly confided that she was ashamed of her D- (yes I said Dee minus) in Math.

So, We were left no other choice but to fall into the parental mode, which means mean ass people to you folks who don't have kids.

She has been ousted from her basketball team for several contests, denied a weekend trip she had been excitedly planning for about a month now and will have an official tutor that her dad and I will have to pay for - but don't worry, she will work it out in sweat.
I just hope this wakes her up.

I won't whine any more about how she is capeable, but doesn't apply herself. That would just be cruel.

Have I mentioned that I really dislike winter? I turn into this totally incapable cave monster and I just want to hibernate until spring.
I don't know if it is Seasonal Affective Disorder or what, but I am just pooped out.

Having my husband gone, I was excitedly looking forward to some serious snoozing. Sleeping in is like a delicacy to me. He is one that is up and ready to go at 5am, and I don't get my full head of steam until about noon. I woke up this morning, looked at the alarm clock and it said 7:00am. I smiled a lazy smile, and turned over and snuggled back in for some more illicit shut-eye...who would tell?
The girls won't get up until you pry them up, so I knew I had at least 3 if not 4 more hours of bliss awaiting me.

THE PHONE RINGS

It's my husband, calling to say good morning, and to tell me about his trip so far.

Crap. Nothing like the shrill ring of a telephone 4 inches away to clear a fuzzy head. Then I couldn't get back to sleep.
So now I am pouting.
I did sneak a nap this afternoon, which is unheard of for me. I usually hate naps. Why fall asleep for a few minutes? I WANT IT ALL BABY!
heh heh heh.

This week should be interesting. We have 4 sheep who are now overdue, and a ballgame that I have to attend, but my daughter can't play in. I am so wicked.

My mom thinks I am too cruel. Yes, this is the same person who didn't even know what the hell I was up to half the time. Maybe I am too controlling....but I won't be considered an idiot either.so
Tennnnnnnnnnnn HUT!
~as you were, soldier.

Tuesday, February 5

Ok- so I owe you a couple of days events.
What do you want me to do? Sit here every S E C O N D and tell you play by play what I am doing?
(grin)

Well, you will be relieved to know that I finally recovered, after almost 7 days of feeling marginally alive. Which doesn't matter in mom/wife/barn goddess days, because you still are expected to perform your duties without a stand-in.My life is not a Broadway production. Understudies are not in the budget, but that will be on my list at the next family meeting.

The most recent agendas I can catch you up to date on is the status of the barn, (fine, no more new lambs yet, still have 11) my brother's wedding, (also fine, although the details are coming together slowly and I can't imagine them being ready in 3 months)

Speaking of weddings............my honeymoon is still on standby. Hell, I figure I've waited 15 years, I can wait another few weeks.
Actually - the status of our house, and things falling apart on it will greatly determine the outcome of said honeymoon with a destination yet to be named.

Our unseasonable winter has given us many beautiful days, and also some rain. Evidentally our poor, decrepit roof finally decided to give up the fight and leak. I happened to discover that it was leaking because I was called out to the kitchen to reprimand our dog who had obviously left a very large puddle in the middle of the floor that my oldest daughter stepped in, to get her breakfast cereal.
(was that a rather large run-on sentance? I'm impressed)

As it was dark, she turned on the light to see the offensive puddle more clearly, and then we saw water dripping out our ceiling fan/light to the floor. Fortunately, no one was electrocuted while we were standing in water, operating a light switch, connected to a 110amp house circuit. (or is it 240...heck, I'm no electrician) But we will now take our re-roofing job at a higher prioritiy than maybe a few weeks ago.

We also had a terrible ice storm last Wed/Thursday that left over 90,000 people here out of power for several days. Most of our friends who lost power realized the seriousness of the entire situation and setteled in for the long haul. During a thunderstorm we are accustomed to losing power for a few hours, but not entire days. We tried to help out with freezer space and some hygiene concerns, but other than that we werent able to alleviate much of the suffering. Don't know what I did right, but ours stayed on.....not even a flicker. Knowing my luck, it must have been a mistake somewhere.

We have also started yet another basketball season. Those of you who have been here awhile will remember my oldest daughter's team won the conference last year, and most of the same team has turned out again this year. They are 2-1 so far, losing only to a much larger school, but we were glad for the competition. Sadly, my daughter has also repeated her record from last year -
which means we start out wonderful, and by the 4th or 5th game she has played herself down from a starting position to a benchwarmer.

How can I help? I have no idea.

What can I do? Scream and yell, and threated to rip her butt off the team if she can't get it together.
Useful? No - but I feel better.
She's my 50% kid.

If she can give 50% to her chores and get by, thats what she will do. She won't avoid doing them, but she won't do them just right, either. If she can give 50% effort at her grades and get C's - thats what she will do. If she can play basketball, and give 50% and still get to play - here we are.

Maybe that's harsh, and I'm just upset, but it's like looking in a mirror. Sorry to say, but I had too much going on to ever just participate in life. Give it my all, then move on. I'd get bored of everything in about 4 seconds flat. So I know where she's coming from, but it's harder to watch because I know the stress in that.

My youngest daughter is a pleaser. She will spend 4 hours sharpening her pencil to do her homework.
I know Dad, paybacks are hell.

Ohhhhhh...........What have I done?
I know,, I know
I have been a pathetic philosopher lately, haven't I?