Friday, August 6, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
First, I decided to go back to school last spring. After thinking very hard about a career in nursing, I decided that what I really want is to counsel other people, especially children. In the state of Kansas, this means I will need a Masters. I have time to decide whether I will obtain my bachelor's in Psychology or Social Work, and then a master's to follow. Imagine the levels needed to fulfill this goal; out of about 100 squares I'm on number 2. Lots of grins, though. I just don't mind.
That "chill pill" I was referring to happened about a month into schooling. I was soooo stressing about writing "perfect" papers, taking "perfect" tests, that I just about imploded! When I stood back and evaluated the priorities in my life, specifically, what I wanted to be my personal best at, I realized that getting a high "A" in every class was not at the top of my list. Do I think I have the ability to get all A's in my classes? Yes. However, is it worth it to grump at my husband and kids, stress out, and lose sleep over it? NO! When I realized it wasn't even within the top 3 on my list of important stuff, well, I just relaxed and enjoyed. Of course, the house duties fell behind, the spring-sheared wool was neglected, and the house dogs got stinky; however, I started smiling more and laughing with my daughters. Although hubby NEVER complained -- God Bless the man! -- I'm sure he was a bit relieved as well. Isn't it funny how a simple shift in focus can make the days brighter and the pack on one's back lighter?
During this summer of evaluating, prioritizing and revelations, Troy and I have decided to homeschool our children. Our oldest is four years, so it will be a gradual process, nothing stressful for either of us. At her young age, I'd be fine if she just wanted to play all of the time, but she seems to be inheriting my love for books -- YAHOO! -- and is anxious to learn to read. Who am I to slow that thirst for knowledge?! Troy and I are very excited about the possibilities and advantages they will gain from homeschooling.
Of course, with homeschooling and my own personal choice to "not stress out", my own schooling will simmer on the back burner. As time allows I will continue to plug away at my own courses, and I'm very happy with that decision. If I'm not able to fully pursue my degree(s) until they are off to college, that will simply serve to help me fill the lonely gap their leaving home will undoubtedly create.
Pscyhology was a blast, but I enjoyed my Composition class more than I suspected I would. I have posted my two favorite class essays onto my "Artsy Stuff" blog; one was about a memorable event, and the other was about a memorable person -- both directly pertaining to my own life.
Now that school is out, I can catch up on the housework, the sheep that need deworming, the chicken coops that need cleaning, and the wool that needs skirting & washing. I can start sewing a new quilt and practice making yarn with my drop spindle, at least for a little while. I can even resume taking pics and blogging about sheep, guineas, and all of the other numerous critters that live here (or just stop by for a visit). :)
I would like to thank my lovely teacher, Ms. Patty McDonald, for all of her help. I wish you could proof everything I write! Your words of encouragement were bolstering to my confidence and very much appreciated.
Thank you Troy, for all of your loving support.
Thank you Ashyln & Scarlett, for loving your Mommy even when she was a tired "grumpy bear."
Thank you Steph, Dani, Mom, Grandma & Grandpa for your listening ears and loving words.
Thank you Dad for discussing Psychology with me; I've enjoyed our talks since I was a little girl.
Thank you to my fellow bloggers for giving me much needed diversions from my schoolwork and stress, especially when I was up late trying to stretch my brain cells for another test.
Thank you God for your ever-patient, loving guidance.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Wednesday was our oldest daughter's fourth birthday. At 8:00 am our dogs started to bark at the patio window. I thought maybe a lamb had squeezed through the fencing, or maybe chicken had found her way over the gate. When I looked out the window, this is who I saw...
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Saturday, June 5, 2010
About three months ago their social structure changed a bit. The male and the pearl hen paired up, and they would take frequent visits across our street into the neighbor's pasture. Our male would charge at cars, even my school bus, when passing by a certain area. I assumed they had started a nest, even though they still returned to the barn at night for some grain and sleep. I searched around the tall prairie grasses, hoping to find a nest full of eggs, but to no avail.
Well, with all of this car-charging behavior I figured it was a matter of time before Mr. Macho bit the dust. But oh no, it was the pretty pearl hen who disappeared first. She was there one day and just gone the next! I had a small hope that she was busy nesting and would show up one day with a little brood following behind her. Really though, that was just a pipe dream, seeing as how the mister was in the barn without his bride. He was so protective of her, even from me, that I just couldn't really imagine him leaving her behind.
So, as the days progressed, no signs of Miss Pearl. Even though the male was hanging out with the remaining hen, it was obvious he was not courting her. He even seemed to be flying to high perches more often than before, searching and calling for his little lost hen. Poor guy.
Well, about a week and a half went by like this. Then I went out to the barn two nights ago, and uh-oh, we're another guinea hen short! No dead bird on the side of the road, no tell-tale feathers from an animal attack. What the heck?! And now, Mr. Macho's no longer so macho. He's even walking around with a mildly injured leg, which from a short distance seems to be healing fine. (They've always been wild, and I've never tried to tame them.)
Here's what I know:
1) These disappearances are happening during the day.
2) The chickens are roaming in the same areas every day and coming home just fine.
3) My guineas are faster on the ground and in the air than the chickens.
4) It's a lot quieter around here without the females calling, "buck-whee, buck-whee" all day long.
5) I haven't seen any stray dogs in the area for a couple months, at least.
1) A predator is picking the guineas off.
2) A car has injured them, and they died far off into the grass where I can't find them, possibly scavenged by other critters.
3) A hunter is picking them off, thinking they're wild turkeys... although I don't believe it's turkey season.
4) A neighbor has had it with their obnoxious noise making... although our neighbors are all farmers with high livestock ethics, AND, all live a quarter mile away or more.
5) A drive by Guinea enthusiast is capturing them and taking them home to their evil lair... even too far-fetched for me to believe, not to mention, to catch a wary Guinea they'd have to use one of those fancy nets that is blown out of a gun-like apparatus - like in the movies.
1) What kind of predator is out during the day that's large enough to nab a full grown guinea?
2) Why is it targeting the guineas and not the chickens, at least not yet?
3) Is it possible the male guinea is actually the culprit?
Anyone out there have any thoughts?
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
After a little bit of cleaning from Brownie, it looks as though we have a moorit ram lamb with a few white hairs on the top of his head. Awe, look at their positions... Walking and looking for that elusive first drink of milk is hard work!
Last picture before my batteries ran out. You can see Pixie and her twins witnessing Brownie's miracle. At some point I noticed Pixie "baahing" a fair bit. I'm not sure if it started before or after the new lambs starting mewling for Brownie. She was either coaching Brownie through it all or just getting maternal and trying to call them over to her. After all, new mothers know everything, don't they?
I waited awhile for Brownie's afterbirth to pass (or at least to be well on it's way) and for her and babies to bond without interference. Cleaned babies umbilical cords with Betadine, gave them two pumps of Nutri-Drench and checked for horn buds. Yep, that's what I thought! Sigh, no ewes this year. Then I gave Brownie warm molasses water and jugged them all up. I removed all soiled hay from pen and loaded fresh stuff in, so as not to attract predators with the blood scent. Off into the house to clean up.
At 11:45 I did a final check. Brownie's afterbirth was out, and she had already eaten it. Good girl! NOTE: For those not familiar with this process... it's a normal animal instinct to hide signs of lambs from predators. Plus it's full of nutrients for the mother. So, always give your animals a chance to clean it up, but if they don't, you should do it for them.
I still hadn't seen a successful nursing, but I was betting that Brownie would settle down and give the boys more time to find what they were looking for once I was out of her wool. With a big "Thank You" to God for helping Brownie safely deliver two healthy lambs, I went to bed for some much needed sleep.
At 2:45am... you didn't think I'd sleep all night, did you?.. I snuck outside to check on the new family. All was well, both lambs were standing up, and Brownie was nice and calm. My common sense says a weak unfed lamb wouldn't be standing, so I felt reassured they'd make it through the night and went back to sleep for another 3 hours before the alarm went off... time to run the school bus route. Yeehaw! Feelin' perky! Ha!
So this morning, here's what everybody looks like in the light of day. This boy looks a bit lighter than Pixie's lambs. Could be a lighter moorit or maybe a fawn down the road?? Only time will tell for sure. What a sweetie! All of Conway's boys have the cutest little heads, don't they?
Alright, check out the Brownie lamb pic from March 2008:
Now, this post should be dedicated all to Brownie and her lambs. However, the camera was in my hands...
"Huh? What? You talkin' to me?"
"Really bro! She's taking my picture. Would you get your nose outta...! How embarrassing."
"Ha! Ha! Ha!"
"Why you eatin' that stuff Ma?"
"Wheeeee! Leap frog's the best!"