Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Went to court today....

Today was the Reluctant Farmer's birthday!  And, what did we do on this fine day might you ask?!  Well, the Reluctant Farmer had to take me to court.  Yes, that is right.  Court...

I got a speeding ticket two Fridays ago and because it was in a school zone I was required by state law to appear in court.  I was determined to fight my ticket because I swear the school zone light was not flashing when I got pulled over, thus I was actually traveling 2 mph under the speed limit.  I got up bright and early for my 8 am appointment, dressed in my best business suit, and set off to plead my case.  The Reluctant Farmer was a useless support system, as the poor girl was more nervous than I was!  She dropped me off outside the court house, and promised to wait outside for me.  This is where is gets exciting!

I go into the court house and follow the signs up to the 3rd floor.  When I get off the elevator, I realize right away my worries about being under dressed should not have EVER been worries.  I stepped off the elevator to the tune of Deliverance in my head, and felt much like Dorothy had to feel when she realized she wasn't in Kansas anymore.  There were 100 people in that lobby, literally.  As I stood there next to people that looked like they were straight off the "People of Walmart" website, I was amused.  

There were people there with halter tops on, that should have performed a public service and covered more of their body.  There were parents there with children that kept repeating things like: "I hate when we have to go to court!  It is so boring...."  (My sentiments too, little buddy....)  There were people that didn't pay their child support, had been caught driving with no license, were not in our country legally, and some people that the bailiff knew by first name.  This was like a foreign world to me, and not a place I ever wanted to visit again!

Then the bailiff came out and exclaimed to us: "Everyone here this morning will have to go through the metal detector.  Please rid yourselves of any and all potential weapons, including pockets knives, needles, and change!"  (Well, I thought he said change....)  He looks at me and says: "You first ma'am!"  And I quickly unloaded my purse of $1.52 in change, threw it in the bucket and handed him my purse.  Perplexed the man looks at me and says: "Ma'am, I said rid yourself of chains, not change."  I quickly realize the errors of my ways, explain that I have never done this before, apologize and dump my money back into my purse.  I think that this will be the worst of it.  Wrong!

After all 100 of us make it through the metal detector and into the courtroom, the bailiff comes back in and says: "Okay folks, this is how this is going to go.  If I call your name you are here for a serious offense and you are subject to 6 months in jail and up to a $1000.00 fine.  You might also want to have your lawyer present with you today."  In my head I think, thank God I am not one of those people!  And, until he got to my name, things were going okay.  He loudly yells: "Emily Browning?!"  And I state: "Here!"  And then I promptly want to pee down my leg or vomit, I am not sure which....  He dismisses all of us "serious offenders" to outside the courtroom where we are all standing in a herd, like cattle going off to slaughter, and I happen to notice a nicely dressed woman next to me that is pale white.  I said, "Excuse me, did he just say we were serious offenders?"  She replied, "Yes, and I was just here for a speeding ticket!"  We compared notes, and determine that certainly there has been some sort of mix up, and we wait for our names to be called by the public defender guy.  (Remember, I did not pack a lawyer, because I was only going for a speeding violation, and did not think I needed to retain council for such event!)  Finally, after he goes through 95% of the people in the lobby he calls my name.  I go up and explain that I was there for a speeding ticket and that I was going 33 mph, but because the school zone light was not flashing I did not know I was in a school zone therefore I was not guilty.  The gentleman tells me to plead not guilty, and to come back in several weeks for a trial or to plead no contest, explain myself, ask if anything can be reduced and settle it today.  I decide that I would do the latter, in hopes that the judge would be kind to me and I could settle it before I left.  (I did NOT want to come back!)

We were ushered back into the courtroom, and as I sat there I hear every excuse under the sun as to why people were there.  (I tell you, this was the most interesting part of the entire event!)  Finally it was my turn.  I explain that I didn't think I was in a school zone, but yet I wanted to plead no contest because I did not want to come back and even though I had never had a speeding ticket in my life, I just wanted to finish it today.  The judge took my no contest plea, lessened my court costs, and just had me pay a minor speeding violation.  He then asked me if there was anything else I would like to say, and this is what comes falling out of me mouth:  "Sir, I just want to say thank you for being so understanding today, and I am sure you can see by my otherwise flawless record that I am not used to being here under these circumstances, and after seeing the clientele that is here in this courtroom, I am hoping that you never have to see me again!  Have a nice day."  (Or something completely stupid like this...)  I can feel the guy behind me, with the tear drop tattoo, staring a hole through the back of my head, but not to worry I have my change to protect me as I skip out of the courtroom as a free woman!  

I am not sure what the Reluctant Farmer and I will do next year for her birthday, but I sure hope it doesn't involve judges and me!


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Progress was made!

Two weeks ago I took off work for a week to get some much needed revamping done on the urban farm.  We made 13 new raised beds total, 11 for us and 2 for our neighbors, and we worked until our hands bled. (This is the time of the year that my day job is a break from the back breaking labor that goes on at home...) We have made some serious progress around here and continue to make it better and better this year.  I am so excited!

Friday we had 5 yards of mulch and 3 yards of dirt delivered, and we were itching to get some work done, however we had a birthday party and another party to attend Saturday.  Sunday brought us rain in the morning, however we decided to make full use of the cloudy day and work out in the garden when the rain quit for a bit.  (We did manage to get rained on after lunch, and I mean it was rain like no other!   I was soaked to my underwear just sprinting back to the house.)  It was all worth it though. 

The Reluctant Farmer built a retaining wall, we added and leveled bed #6, and then laid weed mat and mulched a section of the yard that was 12 x 16, planted a bunch of onions, and weeded the strawberry patch.  We worked until dark tonight, so I will get better pictures soon. 

No gardening is complete with out these two under my feet.  Blue is really starting to like being a farm dog, and we are working on his pray drive towards the chickens.  I think if he was younger, I would have to worry about him, but he is easily managed with a small correction since he is a senior...

 Herding dogs are so funny.  Chai and Blue wanted to stay out with me so bad, even though it was raining.  Chai totally looks like he is saying: "You know being this wet really proves how much I love you, right?!"  

Blue is surveying the rain from the front porch, just waiting to go back outdoors so he can survey the chickens.  I love this dog, he is so noble and wise!  And he is really starting to earn his keep around here as a chicken wrangler!

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

The ugly cowgirl....

There are several cowgirls running around this farm, however this is the ugliest cowgirl you will find wandering around here!

Meet Annie....

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pupdate: Marty!

Marty the maltese sent me an update this evening and I am happy to see he is doing well.  (He had a set back a few weeks ago after scaring himself....)  Good work Marty and Hubbard family!  I love you too!

"Hi Emily, mommy wanted me to tell you that I have been a good boy lately. I have been coming in the backdoor again with my brother and sister! Optimus is my new best bud, we play all day. Thank you for saving me so I would find my forever home!!! We love you ♥"

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Community Garden 2013

Last evening we went out to the community garden to look at our plots and to pick up seed.  We were looking at our plots, when the Reluctant Farmer in her sly ways, sidled up to a man that was down 4 plots.  I was amazed how she had the nerve to con him out of tilling her plot, and for a minute thought that she had no shame, but quickly realized I had better have no shame either otherwise I was going to have to prep my plot with a hoe and a shovel!  

The gentleman quickly came over and tilled both of our plots, and he got done in 15 minutes what would have taken me 6 hours.  We were so appreciative that he tilled for us!  We learned his name was Tim, and that he was a first year at the garden.  We talked veggies and gardening for a bit and then Tim lent his services to another couple that was there working on their plot as well.  

This is one of my favorite things about the community gardening, the sense of togetherness and friendship that it brings.  The people that you meet when you are there, are people of all walks of life: old, young, new at gardening, old hats at gardening, business people, retired people, etc...  It brings everyone together and gives them a common denominator: growing fresh food.  It is amazing how a little sun, seed, and love can do such a thing....

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Eyes of wonder

The week we got a visit from the Hampshire boys and their mom.  They came to pick up some tomato and cucumber seedlings, and of course were smitten with Andy the bunny and Maggie the chicken.  (I should have kept those kiddos around a little longer to help me in the dirt!)  To see the world through the eyes of a child is a magical thing!

Andy the bunny enjoying the sunshine and carrots from the boys.

Hyacinth, so heavy that it is collapsing on itself, but still gorgeous...

The Reluctant Farmer got me this garden stone last year for my birthday.  It is a reminder that not everything has to be perfect all the time.  (I struggle with this sometimes...)  We will have another day tomorrow, and we can pick up our messy house then, but today is for gardening and playing outdoors!  Photo bomb from my muck boot...

 Grown from seed, indoors!  Flawless!

Love those daffodils!

I hope you are taking the time to stop and noticed all of the new life and wonder going on around your homestead this week.  It is an amazing sight to be seen, and the spring show that mother nature puts on for us, is nothing short of a miracle.  Stop and look at it thorough the eyes of a child.  You will be amazed at the wonder!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Barn Security

In lieu of recent activity at the horse barn, there has been an increase in security.  This should take care of any and all problems....

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I just want a pet...

Hiya guys!

My name is Blue!  I am new to this whole blogging thing, so be patient with me please.  It is hard for me to type, as I don't have thumbs, but I will do my best.  (If Lassie can do it, then I can do it too....)  Actually, I am new to this whole house/farm, but I think I am going to like it here just fine.  So, I got here today and my mom took me to the doctor because she didn't like that I was skinny and my hair was brittle and dry.  And that is when they caught me.  I have to confess... I was secretly keeping pets...  My foster mom said that no distinguished boy keeps those kinds of pets, so she forced me to drink this banana flavored medicine (yuck!), and my pets should be gone by morning.  So sad, maybe she will buy me a hamster?!

Speaking of pets, when I got out of the car tonight I was shocked to see that my foster mom had pets too!  No, not the kind of pets that you have to drink the banana medicine for or else you rub your butt on the floor, the kind of pets that you can eat!  Err... Well, I could eat if it wasn't against the rules.  My foster mommy said to me: "Blue, those chickens are not food.  They are our friends, and I love them."  In my mind I was thinking that I loved them too, but I think our love is a different kind of love....

Next, I got a bath.  That pretty much sucked, and I hated it.  I kept trying to climb out of the bathtub to escape, and when that didn't work I shook myself silly so my foster mom got wet too.  Gosh, I love messing with the humans...  Seeing them with water dripping off their face, just never gets old I tell ya!

After bath time I ate my dinner (without chicken...) and then I tested out my new bed.  It is perfect!  And actually that is where I am writing this blog post from.  Well, I better get moving.  I was just Google searching how Lassie managed to push Timmy into that well, because I am hoping to catch a chicken that same way tomorrow.  (Come on folks, you didn't ACTUALLY believe Timmy fell in that well, did you?!)  We collies are smarter then that!

Hugs and kisses,
Blue the Collie

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Girl on fire, literally...

It seems as of late I have been going to bed stressed and because of that I have not been sleeping well.  It amazes me how much that changes if you are physically tired though.  This week I find myself looking for an excuse to go to bed as soon as it's dark.  There is no time for reading, or blogging.  As soon as the sun sets, my self is ready for bed!  I have been physically and emotionally challenged this week and I can't keep my eyes open much past 9 pm.

For the last few days I have sawed, hammered, lifted, beat, drilled, and dug my way through life here on the farm.  I have gotten up early and as long as there has been no rain, I have been outdoors working my tail off.  We are taking the raised beds that we put in last year out and replacing them with new beds.  Of course that entails me making new beds to put down and then removing all of the dirt from the old bed, replacing the old bed with a new bed, and refilling it with dirt.  We have done this over and over, and will continue to do it another 7 times before this project is complete.

Today's projects included finishing the construction of our 11 new raised beds as well as our neighbors 2 beds, and the demolition of a very large rabbit cage.  (The cage is so large, that we had to use a Bobcat to move it into place....)  After swinging a 12 lb. sledge hammer over my head several million times, I can tell you that the song "Girl On Fire" has a whole new meaning!  I flat out hurt.

We did this 3 times total....
Along with the absolute physical beating that I have been giving myself for the last 3 days, I have paid off 3 1/2 credit cards and cleaned the car today.  I will go to bed tonight beat to hell, blistered, bruised, and happier than I have been in months.  Tomorrow is a new day, and I will be out there with my sledge hammer and shovel to greet it head on!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Maybe Baby?! Indeed!

Several times I have been invited down to Millennium Quarter Horses for a "Maybe Baby" party.   What is a  "Maybe Baby" party you ask?!  Well, a "Maybe Baby" party is where you gather with several of your friends at an expectant horse owner's house and stay up all night waiting/watching for a mare to deliver a baby.  (It's done so you can assist in the birth, because foals don't just fall out I learned...)  In the past I have been to several of these parties, but there has been no "baby action", and it appears that Tammy's horses know exactly when I am on call at the hospital, because they only foal when I am NOT available.  Last night was slightly different.  I was on call when Tammy asked me if I would like to come visit, however there was babies this time and lots of them!

We originally went for the labor and delivery of Tammy's American Bulldog, Penny.  She had 6 puppies (#7 was born after we left...), and it was exciting to see her have puppies and to assist in the delivery of them.  They were so cute, and I was excited and amazed that I got to see that.  And then, as soon as we got Penny tucked in with her new brood, I heard the Reluctant Farmer say: "You better hurry or you are going to miss the foal being born!"  Seriously?!  Puppies and a pony?!

We quickly went out to the barn, and Tammy and Jeffrey (owner of said pregnant horse...) were just starting to help deliver the foal.  I honestly thought that a mare was like a giraffe, and expected that she would just squeeze a few times and out a baby would fall.  Wrong!  The mare didn't really want to push to help deliver the baby, so Tammy and Jeffrey had to stick their hands inside, pull on it's legs, and guide it's head out.  Holy vagina, did it look painful!  The little bugger's tongue was hanging out, and I thought he was dead at first as I stood there holding my breath. Jeffery and I  were pulling like a mad on this slippery rubber-esque leg, until suddenly the baby slid out and started breathing just fine.  It was the single most amazing thing I have ever seen!  The mare was so proud of her new baby, and I was so excited that I got to see such a miracle!

I was so excited about this miracle that I even had to tell the police officer about it when he pulled me over at 3:30 am on my way home.  (I had a head light out....)  He wanted to know what we were doing out so late, and I had to explain that I had just witnessed the birth of puppies and a horse!  He seemed perplexed as to what was so exciting about that, and let us go on about our merry way with a warning.  He did ask us why we were out delivering puppies and foals, and wanted to know if we were traveling veterinarians, to which the Reluctant Farmer chuckled and replied "In this car?!  Please...."

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Wonderful Weekend...

This weekend was one of the most amazing weekends I have had in a long time.  It was full of friends, nature, gardening and animals.  It was perfect!

After Lora started her trek back to Texas on Saturday morning, we had a cat adoption.  One very lucky 6 year old girl got the kitty that she had been wanting for quite some time, and I tell you there was nothing sweeter than this little girl.  She was so excited, and again we were reminded that there are reasons that we do rescue.  This little girl's excitement was the cutest reminder of why we do what we do...  After the cat adoption, and to give the kitty a chance to get comfortable in his new surroundings quietly, our families headed to the woods for a little nature therapy.  It was a beautiful day, and we all had a great time laughing and playing in the creek.
The little girl in this picture is the new adoptive cat owner.  Cute, huh?!

Then Katzya had a friend spend the night, because they were going to go see War Horse today with their school drama club.  Just by a chance the Reluctant Farmer and I checked into tickets expecting the show to be sold out, however we were quite surprised to find out the theater still had several tickets available for today's show.  So, we ended up purchasing front row, box tickets to War Horse for 50% off, and it was so worth it!  (Please promise me, if you ever get the chance to see War Horse performed, you will go!)  This performance was like no other that I had ever been seen, and it was brilliant!  

We came home tonight and transplanted the tomato plants, which was long over due!  (Thankfully, the tomato plants have now been moved outdoors.  I was starting to feel like I lived in a tropical rain forest....)  Some of them literally are knee high!  We also managed to plant another 144 seedlings tonight.  (Cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, tomatillos, and cantalope....)  It was busy around here this weekend!  

Sitting on the front porch tonight, barefoot, with a Woodchuck, a bucket of dirt, and Jimmy Buffett singing in the background, was the perfect end to the perfect weekend.  I hope your weekend was just as wonderful.....  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

An Adoption Tale of Epic Proportion!

 Once upon a time there was a little girl named Charity.  She lived with her mother and a bunch of other siblings in a home in Springfield, Ohio.  Charity was a sweet girl, but independent and had a "take no crap attitude" that seemed to get her into a great deal of trouble.  In order to curb her daughter's naughty behaviour, Charity's mom locked her in a small cage from morning to night, only allowing her out to use the bathroom. (Think of Charity as Rapunzel, but with a lot less hair...)  Sadly, one day Charity's mother died.

Luckily for Charity, her mom had left her to a nice woman who promised to take good care of her for the rest of her life.  Charity was excited!  She was going to go live a new life, and where she would miss her mom, she would not miss that cage.  When Charity got to her new home she realized that this place was not all it was cracked up to be either.  The woman was really nice to her, however the chaos of the house was to much for Charity to handle!  At this house Charity had a lot of other foster siblings.  Where Charity's new mom meant the best, and had a heart of gold, she just couldn't say no to another kid in need.  Well, Charity hated this and began to act out like most teenage kids do.  Instead of dealing with Charity's feelings or needs though, Charity went back to living in a small cage from morning to night.  This lasted for nearly 4 years, until her adoptive mom got sick and could not take care of her or her siblings any longer.  Charity didn't know it yet, but her life was about to change for the better!

Charity was scared and in despair as she looked at all the people who came into her house one night.  They were there to take her to an orphanage.  She was depressed and unhappy but found the ability to hope once more.  There was this one woman who, kept telling her: "Don't worry, we are here to help you.  You will have food and water soon, and the noise of this place will soon be a distant memory."  Charity didn't honestly believe her, however she found that hope was the only thing that she had.  So with every bit of her heart, Charity prayed and asked God to please help her find a home where she would be loved and would not have to be locked up in a cage again.

Charity was driven to an orphanage where there were a lot of other kids.  It was cold there, but she had a blanket and a bed for the first time in her 8 years of life, and Charity loved her new bedroom!  It was much bigger than the cage and it even had a door that lead to an outdoor balcony!  How exciting to be able to sit out on the balcony and listen to the birds sing.  The chaos of that place was a bit too much for Charity also, but what's a girl to do?

Later that day 4 women came by her room, and stood there looking at her.  They discussed if they thought Charity was deserving of a home, and agreed right away that indeed she was.  Charity got excited. There was something familiar about one of the woman, and suddenly Charity remembered her!  That woman was the same woman who came in to her house and brought her to the orphanage!  The lady said, "I will take this little girl home with me and give her a foster home until her forever home can be found."  Charity was so excited, that she couldn't contain herself!  (But, she would because she was very stoic and didn't know if she truly believed in happy endings....)

Later that night, just as the woman promised, she came back for Charity.   She asked Charity, "What is your name little girl?"  Charity was so shy and nervous that she just couldn't speak.  Try as she might, Charity could not muster the words to tell the woman that her name was Charity.  The woman said, "We need to give you a name.  A name as beautiful and as wonderful as you are.  Do you like the name Stella?"  Charity shook her head yes, because she was crying so hard that she couldn't form the words to tell the woman just how lovely she thought that name was.  Finally, for the first time in her life Charity was going to go to a home where she would be free.  She was going to be loved, cherished, and above all understood.  As Charity walked out of that orphanage, she put her head up in the air, faced the sunshine and left the past behind her.  She shed the name Charity, because she was a charity case no longer, and she would now be known to the world as Stella!

Stella loved her new life.  She was finally free to be the kid that she always dreamed of being, with the family that she always wanted.   She figured out how to socialize with other kids, how to deal with her emotions, and how to be part of a family.  She learned where the best nap spots were in the house, and that if she was quiet her foster mom wouldn't realize she was eating the best morsels of food from the trash can.  (Her foster mom told her this was very unbecoming of a lady, to which Stella just rolled her eyes and ignored her....)  Perhaps the thing Stella loved the most, was all the kisses and hugs she got in her new home.  She had always dreamed of being loved!

One day, Stella's foster mommy came to her with tears running down her face and said: "Stella, it has finally happened.  The adoption agency called and they think they found you a forever family.  The new family would like for you to come live with them and they would like to make you a permanent member of their family.  What do you think?"

Stella was confused.  She loved her home now, and she loved her foster mom so much, but the more she thought about it she realized that this was a good thing.  She would gain a brother in this merger and as much as she hated to admit it, it was kind of fun having a little brother to push around and pick on.  Plus, this would free up her foster mom's home for one more little girl or boy who needed to be loved.  Stella told her foster mom that she was ready and a week later Stella was floored to meet her new mom.

Her new mom was everything she had ever hoped for in a mom!  She was kind, and pretty.  She was patient and understanding, and the best part?  She loved Stella.  (And she loved her pesky little brother too....)  So, Stella hopped in the car with her new mommy and brother, ready to take on the excitement of the world and started her journey to her new home 1,100 miles away.  And the rest of Stella's story?  It remains unwritten, but what we know for sure is that where there is hope and love anything is possible....

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Dahlias, Dogs and Departure....

After what has seemed like forever, I am proud to say that my chicks have graduated from the bathroom to the barn tonight.  When I purchased chicks this time, I never dreamed that I would have to keep them indoors as long as I have had to this year.  I purchased the chicks with the intent to keep them indoors for 10 days-ish and then the weather would turn around and out they would go.  Wrong! That was 21 days ago, and finally the temperatures are not going to be terrible this week so out they went today.  It is so nice to have my bathroom back to myself!

I needed this little bit of a victory against chaos today.  This week has been a whirlwind of craziness with walking dogs, vet visits, rescue chores, and I know the weekend will be here before I can blink my eyes.  My days with Stella are coming to an end, and tonight I must say I am okay with this.  When I say this house is crazy currently, that is no exaggeration!  There are tomato plants knee high in my dining room, dahlias blooming under 30,000 lumens of grow lights, more tomatoes coming up, and cucumbers and watermelon germinating as I speak.  All of this is going on as I wait for spring to show her beautiful face, and like a typical woman she is taking her time!  With all of the gardening happenings taking over my living space, the fact that I have one additional large dog is noticeable  however 2 additional large dogs is enough to have me committed!  I will be happy to have my rescue-life slow down a bit as I approach the busiest time of the year here, because I know that as crazy as my life feels this week, nothing compares to what is coming up in the next few weeks.  Let that gardening begin!