Monday, January 31, 2011

Get out your snow boots!

If you're ready ~
If you think you are physically and mentally fit enough ~
If you dare to step into the exciting life of a shepherdess living in
the rugged, Bluff Country of Southeastern Minnesota,
bundle up and join me on
 the trek to the

Pretty awesome, huh?

DREAM says...

"Do you SEE what I have to put up with???"


Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Visit...

Now girls, we're going to have some visitors this afternoon.
I'd like you to be on your BEST behavior.

They better bring cookies!

I'm not sharing my hay!

Did someone say COOKIES???

Oh, this is NOT going to be pretty!

I love the visual reference of the pigs with the sheep. You can see how tiny the Guinea Hogs are. Holly (the larger of the two, weighs 36 pounds and Ivy (yellow ear tag) weighs 30 pounds. They may be short, but they are plenty solid!

The sheep weren't actually 'chasing' the piglets, they were more curious. Of course, the piglets didn't know that and were afraid of the sheep. But the biggest scaredy cat of all was..

If the piglets so much as looked in his direction, he'd hightail it for the barn!

Which of course led to...

Now piglets, let's not traumatize poor Duke.

Come on girls...

Back in the pig barn for an afternoon snack!

DREAM says...

"WHAT is this world coming to???"

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Buying Time...

This was a week from Hell.  I won't go into details as, in the end, I'm still standing.  I do want to give a huge Thank You to my Baby Sister who spent two days helping me crawl out of the quicksand.  Penny,  I know that you know what a huge difference you made in my life in just those two days.   Without going into detail, suffice it to say that I was pretty sure that my world had caved in last Tuesday.  No way to fix it this time.  Time to sell the place and cut my losses.  My dear sister, Penny, on the other hand, had other ideas.  My GOODNESS it is amazing what a well organized, focused woman can do when she sets her mind to it!  I have no idea how she did it, but Penny managed to get my life back on track and buy me some time to figure out what I want/need to do in the future.  I've got some options to look into and I've not given up yet.  I do know that something HAS to change.  I can't continue to live under this kind of stress.  Existing month to month, crisis to crisis ~ never knowing when "the other shoe" will drop, is no way to live.  Even if it does allow me to share my life with my beloved animals. 

Apparently, all the stress of the past week has taken a toll on me physically.  Yesterday, the dogs woke me up (needing to go outside) sometime before dawn.  I got up and put them out then went back to bed and slept until four fifteen in the afternoon!  The phone woke me up several times but I was so deeply asleep that I could barely pull myself to consciousness from the vivid dreams that I was having.  When I did briefly awaken, I was startled to find the room slowly spinning in circles!  The second I hung up the phone, I fell back asleep and returned to more strange, vivid dreams.  Hours later:  another phone call.  The room spinning.  Back to sleep.

When I finally awoke at four fifteen, I got out of bed.  None of my poor animals had been fed!  I ate a little yogurt, thinking perhaps the light-headedness that I was still feeling might be caused by low blood sugar, since I hadn't eaten anything all day.  I managed to get all of the animals fed and watered and only had to take one break.  Once back in the house, I had a bite to eat then spent the evening on the couch.  At some point during the evening, I had an allergy attack.  Out of the blue.  I have no idea what triggered it, but couldn't find my damn allergy medicine!  I could feel my throat swelling and was coughing so hard it felt like my throat was ripping.  I finally found an old bottle of OTC allergy liquid medicine.  Expired in 2009.  I took double the dose and sucked on a cough drop and fortunately, the attack subsided.   Not a particularly productive day ~ though I did get almost finished with the cuffs on my second pair of homespun, handknit socks!  Yes, I did complete my first pair and wore them for two days!  I'm very proud of them.
  Especially the toes.  I did the 'kitchner stitch'  close that the pattern called for and it is virtually invisible!   I made lots of mistakes knitting my first pair and ended up taking the two sets of circular needles apart and completing them separately.

So far, the second pair is going MUCH  better.   I've actually discovered a pattern to the pattern that makes it much easier to know where I am and what I'm supposed to be doing.  I hope it continues into the heel flap and turning the heel.   As I knit this second pair, I can see what I did wrong on the first pair.  I'm glad that I started the second pair as soon as I finished the first ~ while everything was still fresh in my mind.

Time to go feed the critters.  I'll try to get out with the camera today.  I'm still feeling a little bit 'off'.  My tummy's a little queasy and I feel a little light-headed.  At least the room's not spinning!

I hope you all have a nice weekend!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

LISTEN to these piglets!

OOOOOOOOoooooo!  I think I've got this figured out!  If I do, you are about to meet "Holly" and "Ivy", my American Guinea Hog piglets, in person!  I tried making a video with my camera.  As you may remember me commenting on a number of occasions, I can't see the buttons on my camera to know what to do with them ~ but I saw this little red dot and thought maybe that meant 'record'...

I hope you have your speakers on.   ;-)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A letter to my daughter...

I had no idea what I was going to post today.  Or even if I WOULD post.  But then, I started writing an email to my Beautiful Baby Girl.  Katie (my BBG) is in Florida this weekend, with her handsome fiance.  I'm happy when I know that she is happy. 

Anyway,  I started writing to Katie about the song  that I chose for us to share, before she was even born.  I have a special song with each of my kids.  Each has a story behind it.  If you're interested, I've copied part of the email to Katie (I decided to send it to all three of my kids since  I have a special song ~ and special memories with each of them.  Here's what I wrote:

This started out as an email to Katie. As I kept writing, I decided that each of you should have a copy of it. As I'm writing, I am smiling and I am crying. It brings back SO many memories. Good and bad. Most of all, it reminds me of how very blessed I am to have three, incredible, wonderful children who make me so very proud and fill my life with JOY...

Have I ever told you what "our" song is?  I'm sure that I have, but perhaps you've forgotten. (click on the colored links to see and hear the video!)

When each of my babies were born, while I was still in the hospital, I chose a song that I sang over & over again to my precious newborn baby. My song with Pam Is: "Sunshine on My Shoulders" by John Denver. Pam was born in June and I had the bed by the window, during our hospital stay. Back then, new moms stayed for days! I'd stand by the window, holding my precious baby girl in my arms, watching the sun come up and sing "Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy".

And the tears would flow. I think the day that Pam was born was the happiest day in my life.  In the absolute euphoria that followed her birth, I remember thinking that this feeling ~ this "high", had to be the feeling that people who used drugs were trying to get!   The phrase, from the song,: "if I had a day that I could give you, I'd give to you a day just like today. If I had a song that I could sing for you, I'd sing a song that makes you feel this way."  summed up exactly what I wished for my precious little Princess.

When Ben was born I was so afraid. There were 'complications' with his delivery and I was afraid that I was going to lose him. That he would die.  Shortly before Ben was born, I saw a movie on television ~ I can't remember the name ~   and there was a song (again by John Denver) called "My Sweet Lady". It was beautiful. Sad. Hopeful. Beautiful. The lyrics lodged in my mind and deep in my heart. When I stood in the hospital newborn intensive care unit and stared at my son, hooked up to wires and monitors, so helpless and seemingly alone. All I had to do was change one word ~ "Lady" became "Baby" and the song became real:  
"Baby, are you crying? Do the tears belong to me? Do you think our time together is all gone? Baby, my sweet baby, I'm as close as I can be. And I swear to you our time has just begun...."

I sat in that intensive care unit, holding Ben and singing those words, until they'd MAKE me leave .  And the tears flowed. It still gives me goose bumps, thirty-some years later and brings tears to my eyes. I am so grateful that God chose to let Ben stay with us. What a gift he has been!

I never imagined that I would be thirty years old and pregnant!  Back in 'those days',  thirty was considered pretty old to be having a baby.  Pam and Ben were both finally in school full-time and I was free for the first time in years!  Yet, I knew ~ long before any doctor confirmed it ~ that you were going to be a part of my life. I knew that I was pregnant within days of conceiving you! And I was thrilled!  I was SO excited and happy to be having another baby. I wanted another little girl so badly that I would have felt terribly guilty if you had been a boy!  I was sure that people thought I was crazy for wanting to be pregnant again. I didn't care. There was nothing that I wanted more than to bring my baby into this world so that I could hold her and love her. "Our" song was a natural. When I heard Elvis Presley sing "Can't Help Falling in Love Again", there was no doubt in my mind. We had our song. I sang it throughout my pregnancy and our brief stay in the hospital. I sang it to you when sitting up with you in the middle of the night, when you had your days and nights mixed up and I sang it when you were a rebellious teenager. I still sing it when I think of you...
"Wise men say, only fools rush in
but I can't help falling in love with you.
Shall I stay?  Would it be a sin?
If I can't help falling in love with you.

Like a river flows, surely to the sea,
darling so it goes,
somethings are meant to be.

Take my hand.  Take my whole life too.
For I can't help falling in love with you..."

It may seem like a song that is talking about adults and certainly seems like a perfect wedding song, but it was also perfect for us. It may have seemed silly (fool-ish?) that I wanted to have another child ~ with Ben needing so much extra care. But I couldn't help how much I loved you. Even before you were born. I think my very favorite verse  is "take my hand, take my whole life too..." I would picture your tiny, little baby hand, wrapping it's little fingers around one of mine and holding on ~ as if for dear life. I would have laid down my life in an instant  for you.

And I still would.
I love you very much,


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fresh from the FROZEN TUNDRA that is the Bluff Country!

While the bitter, cold winds have been howling outside, blowing the snow into huge drifts, I've been nestled inside my cozy home....

...knitting socks!

You may remember, this is my first real attempt at knitting socks and I was using the two socks on two circular needles  method, guided by the book:  "Knitting  circles around Socks" by Antje Gillingham. 

*Before I tell you about my adventure with the book and my knitting, let me just say that as I was searching for a link for Antje's book, I found Cat Bordhi's video tutorials for knitting socks on two circs and it looks MUCH easier to understand!  I may try my next pair using Cat's method.*
Anyway, as I was saying, I was following the instructions in the book, until my yarn, socks and needles became so entangled that I couldn't tell which ball of yarn went with which needle went with which sock!  Now, I'm willing to concede that it is possible that I may have made an error or two, but I thought that I was following the instructions. 

That is, until I realized that not only did I have rows of purl stitches where there should NOT have been rows of purl stitches, but I actually had one sock facing one way (toward me) and one facing the other way (away from me).  Both socks are supposed to face the same direction!

It was at that point that I separated the two circulars (with the aid of a third circ) and began knitting the socks separately.  I found this to be much easier and I simply knit a few rows on one sock and then knit the same rows on the other.  I'll STILL have two socks but without the tangled up mess..

I've made a ton of mistakes, but decided to leave them and continue knitting.  These are, after all, my very first pair of socks and it is perfectly natural that they would have some errors.

I have no idea how I started out knitting and ended up purling ~
Actually, I'm NOT purling!  I'm still doing knit stitches, it's just that the way that I'm doing them makes purl stitches on the sock.  ????
(I don't know!  Don't ask me.  This is my first pair of socks!)

I am almost ready to begin the toe decreases.  Of course, I need to get the second sock to this point before I do that.  Just think, in no time at all, I'll be wearing my very first pair of home-spun, hand-knit socks,
 from ALICE! 

As you can see,
Sable can barely contain her excitement!

Actually, she's watching over the brooder with two, new, baby chicks in it!  Making sure the cats don't get overly enthusiastic as they sit and watch those chicks...  You can see a post about the new babies on my Chicken Blog

I'm sure that I'll start another pair of socks soon and see if Cat Bordhi's method works a little better for me.  If not ~ I may just stick to one sock at a time but have two of them going (separately) at the same time so that I don't fall victim to "Second Sock Syndrome"...

Is it just me or did none of that make any sense?

Friday, January 21, 2011

What's on the Menu...?



peanut butter cookies?
Kemps' 'Under the Stars' ice cream?






nap time!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What EVER shall we DO?

Mom's sick!

It's just a bad cold, not the end of the world.

I bet that's why she gave us so much hay, yesterday.

Mom always takes good care of us.

Sable says...

"Stay in and stay warm ~ I'll keep an eye on things out here."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In a Pig's Eye...  defines "in a pigs eye" as: 
very unlikely.

I suppose it is fair to say that the odds of a certain shepherdess driving a metal rod into her eye, while chasing a chicken, would be 'very unlikely'.

Yet, I managed to do it.

Please trust me when I tell you that a metal rod, through the eyelid and scraping the eye ball is excruciatingly painful!  I think I stood there, holding my head and screaming, for about five minutes, before I could even move.

The pain was so intense that I was nauseous.

I (selfishly) did not want to call an ambulance so I called my oldest daughter, Pam.
I knew that Pam ~ being a full-time working mother of three extremely active boys, with lessons here, there and everywhere on any given night ~ would have nothing better to do than leave work early and drive 45 miles out in the middle of nowhere to take her mutilated mother to the doctor.

Of course Pam, being my "Princess" insisted that it was "no trouble at all".  That she was sorry I was hurt but glad for the excuse to spend time with me! 

Do I have great kids or what:?

(I love you Princess)

The eye doctor 'numbed' the area and then proceeded to clean up the eye and lid.  I swear, it felt like he was poking glass INTO my eye!

Luckily for me, the iron rod had pierced my eye lid, just below the socket, but only scratched the surface of the eye ball itself.  Although, I'll never understand how the hole in my eye lid is above the eye but the scratches on the eye ball are on the bottom...?

A thorough cleaning, antibiotics and a tetanus shot later and Pam & I were free to leave!

We stopped at a local restaurant for a quick bite to eat and then hurried home, just in time to watch "The Bachelor".

As you can see, Holly and Ivy are growing rapidly.  I am VERY much enjoying having pigs and think that they will be ready to move out into the barn soon.  It will be fun to see them interacting with the sheep.

DREAM says...

"In a Pig's Eye!!! "

Monday, January 17, 2011

I have a Confession to make...

I am SO bad.
There's this evil, little part of me,
deep down inside, that just can't resist the temptation
of pulling something over on someone.  At least once in a while!


Several people commented, on yesterday's post, that they heard a bell tinkling but couldn't find the source.  After looking all over the rooms that they were in, a few decided that it must be the 'comment sheep' in my side bar.  She wears a bell on her collar and perhaps that is the culprit making the noise.

Not the sheep. 
Good guess though.

The truth is, I did unto you, what was done unto me.
While blog browsing, the other day, I too heard a gentle bell chiming.  I heard it several times before I began to wonder where the sound was coming from.  I looked around my office.  Then I looked around my office again.  Still couldn't determine the source of the ringing. 

Not that it was an unpleasant sound.  In fact, it was a soft, gentle sound.  Like wind chimes, barely stirring in the summer breeze.  One of my cats wears a collar with a bell on it and she was sitting on my computer desk.  (I suspect that she was rather amused by my frantic searching, every time I heard that bell ringing.)  I wiggled the bell on her collar, several times, to see if it was making the noise.  A completely different sound. 

After several minutes (that seemed like MUCH longer) of looking all over my office, I finally found the source of the 'tinkling'.  It was located on the sidebar of the blog I was reading (sorry ~ I can't remember which one it was!) and was a wind chime!   

As I've already stated, I love wind chimes.  In fact, I have several in my house and a big one out by the sheep barn.  When ever I hear the gentle music of the one in my dining room, I think of "fairy dust" being magically sprinkled about my home.  I know ~ it sounds silly ~ but that's what I think!

I had to laugh at myself and my frantic searching for the source of the delicate sound so decided that I would add a wind chime to my blog as well.  And hide it, WAY down on my sidebar.  I know.  I'm bad.  I'm apparently one of those wicked people who take pleasure in eliciting reactions from people ~ even when I won't be there to see the reaction. 

But, it was such fun when you started to leave comments about hearing a bell ringing...


Have a wonderful day!

DREAM says...

"...You get used to it and don't even hear it, after a while..."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The list just keeps on growing!

MORE things that make me happy...

*  Animals getting along

*  Black & White photography

*  my warm, fuzzy robe and lumberjack hat!
(Hey!  YOU try living in a house with the thermostat set at 50 degrees!)

*  Frosty Mornings

*  Cinnamon vanilla nut CAPPUCCINO
(LOTS of cinnamon vanilla nut cappuccino!)

*  my tree

*  Pumpkins for the sheep

*  Daisy on the lookout

*  Windchimes

*  Making Hay

*  Autum leaves

*  my electronic spinner

*  Home-grown herbs

Lest we forget...
*  Baby Dreamer!

Have you started YOUR happy list yet?
I'm not done yet but I don't want to bore you so perhaps I'll do something else tomorrow...


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