Thursday, October 26, 2006

The art of making plans

I'm a planner. I like to know what I'm doing and when I'm doing it. I don't limit myself to a certain time, but I like knowing what's going on when. For example, I have supper planned; we're going to have leftover stew tonight. Tomorrow, we'll have something else, I'll plan that tonight. Today, after work, I plan on swimming. I plan on swimming 3 days a week. That's been my plan since school started. I average 2 times a week. Why? Because the cosmic forces are against planning.

Case in point:

We planned two weeks ago for me to take this Friday off, deliver Kev's car to the dealer in Colo Springs for repair, and come home Saturday. The kids were out of school, and I have some days at work that I could take off. Perfect--but every one else at work planned on being gone. And, their plans were probably more important than mine. I guess an angioplasty and a tonsilectomy are more important than me taking a car to get worked on. I think so, but I had it all planned, and now I had to adjust my plans.

So we went to plan B. We planned to make a flying trip out Thursday night. I'd drive the car to work. Kev would be working in Burlington, when I got off work, I'd drive out with Miss Kat, we'd meet up with him, we'd then drive on to Limon to meet the family who would then take the car to the dealer for us, pick it up, and then we'd either meet them again over the weekend in Limon, or we'd just drive on and pick it up ourselves. Nice plan B. Not as simple, but do-able. That plan lasted until Wednesday morning.

The weather forecast for Colo Springs called for a blizzard on Thursday. Oops. So, Plan C came into effect. I had the car, I would leave at 4, meet Kev at Goodland, we'd go on from there. O, but wait--what about Kat? She was so looking forward to seeing her cousins. Do we want to live with her temper and disappointment? Quick decision, we'll just pull her out of school for one day. So, I call the school, get her packed, picked up, and we're off into the sunset. We get the car and the girl delivered in good time. We can see the storm clouds building. All made it home safely.

Our plan C part 2 is that on Saturday, we'll go hunting in the morning, then drive to Colo Springs that afternoon. We'll stop at Lowe's and Home Depot, do a little shopping there, price big screen TV's (maybe buy one), then head home on Sunday.


This morning Andy informed me that the beef sale he wants to go to to buy a 4-H steer is Saturday. And, his youth bowling team bowls Saturday. So, we have to decide if we are amending plan C part 2 and make it plan C parts 2 and 3. Do we leave Andy at home alone? Do we make him cancel his bowling plans? If he goes to the sale, he'll have to cancel bowling anyway. Do I trust him not to spend too much money on a steer? Heck, do I trust him to get it home ok--alone? Do I let him miss an opportunity to see his family? Do I trust a teenager at home--alone--on a weekend? Could I enjoy myself in Colo Springs, knowing my teenager is home--alone--on a weekend, with his checkbook--alone?

Maybe I should send Kev out alone. That could be plan D--Kev go alone. I'll stay with the teenager. That will work. Or maybe Plan E--the teenager will just have to go with us.

Or plan F... I give more planning... really.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Andy's day to shine

For the past few years, I've had one prayer for my son, "Lord, please let him find something where he can shine."

The final results aren't posted yet, but Saturday was Andy's day to shine.

He competed with 4 other 4-H friends at the State Trap Shoot competition in Newton. Andy broke 93 out of 100 rock. He missed 7 rock. That's phenomonal!

We got there around 10, got our team signed in, got our shells from the officials and waited until 12, when it was our kid's turn to shoot. 50 rock from the 16 yard line, 50 from the 20 yard line. That's a lot of rock without any kind of break.

B, our token girl only broke a total of 12 rock for the day, wwwwaaaaayyyy worse than she's ever done. Our hearts broke for her. She was so upset with herself, felt she let the team down, but she didn't. We were all proud of her for trying, for sticking it out, and just flat out being there. She had a few tears when all was over, which is to be expected. She did her best shooting on station 1, when she and Andy had both rotated over. They'd visit and she'd relax, but when the next person rotated around, she'd tense up. The person following B was another girl, from another county who was an excellent shot, but she wasn't shooting well either and was rather angry. She bothered B, and she bothered J, our 17 year old shooter, who didn't like having a super-competitive-girl who shot better than he did next to him. But, it was a great learning experience. And, after the match was over, Andy took time out of being proud of himself to make time for B and comfort her. They are such good friends, and it made me proud to see Andy take time to make his friend feel better.

AFter the kids finished shooting, we had to hang out 3 more hours, until all teams were done, to see if Andy was in the shoot-off. He missed it by one rock. There were some super shooters at this match. And there were also some kids with really expensive guns. But we didn't care. It was Andy's day to shine, and shine he did.

My heart just wanted to bust.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Equal time for the cats and chickens...

Last night, I did the chores. I got home at a decent time, Andy was at a volleyball game, Kat at a birthday party. My dream was for some quiet time, but that didn't happen.

The cat's had dumped 10 lbs of cat food all over the kitchen, so after cleaning that, I decided I might as well do chores.

I like feeding, but sometimes it feels like running that gauntlet. I stepped outside the back door, with catfood bucket in hand for the outside cats. All 17 of them were weaving between my feet while I navigated the course to the shed. Seeing that the cats were getting fed, 20 or so chickens joined the parade. Cats were trying to trip me, chickens were headed in from all directions for the kill. If I went down, all would be lost. I'd be eaten alive by hungry cats and chickens. My family would find my bones laying there in the grass...

I fed the cats successfully, and decided to gather the eggs, check the chicken feeders and waterers. Before entering the chicken pen, I picked up the baseball bat. The alumnium baseball bat. It's for protection from the rooster. He has been known to attack--without warning. He's left me alone since early summer when I booted his little hiney across the pen, but I don't trust the little bugger. Spurs hurt. And, to be honest, I don't think he's as threatened by my now that his harem has increased, and he has the young whippersnapper roosters to be more concerned about.

Chickens weaving around your feet is just about as bad as having cats weave around your feet. They know that I'm going to toss out some scratch grains, so they stick close to me. Walking in the pen is an adventure; watching where I step to avoid poop, to avoid stepping on a hen, while keeping one eye on the rooster.

They flood into the henhouse behind me, eager for their treat. Then, they rush back outside as I fling cups of scratch grain around the pen. Four cupfuls, and I'm guarenteed enough time to gather eggs, fill feeders, check the water and make sure all is well inside.

I've got two hens who never go outside. They are my lonely two Americana hens, my hope for blue and green eggs. Being "different," they remain inside to avoid the attentions of the randy roosters and the pecking of the hens. These two girls get special attention, a little grain set up on the nesting boxes where they can eat in peace. They coo at me, and let me fill the feeders and then gather the eggs.

Since the days are getting shorter, I've been getting fewer eggs. Where early in the fall, I would get 22-25 daily, now I'm getting 15-20 daily. Yesterday, I counted 12. Twelve is unacceptable. So, as I leave the henhouse, I stop and lecture my 30 hens. "Now girls, there are 12 eggs here. 12. That's unacceptable. There are 30 of you, this means less than half of you are doing your job. I know the days are shorter, but I want more eggs. I expect to see more tomorrow. If you can't fulfill your quota, there's always the stewpot." They don't listen. They all cluck contentedly as they munch on their evening grain.

I carried my eggs into the house to put them away. Got out a carton and told Andy about there only being 12 eggs. He came to watch, as I filled up the carton...and found 5 extra eggs in my basket. We both laughed, because instead of 12, there were 18. I obviously can't count. I spent 5 minutes lecturing my hens, and I can't count. We'll see if my lecture did any good.

When it got dark, I ran out to shut the chickens up for the night. All now roost inside, as it's warmer there. I take a quick peek inside, hearing the coos and clucks as they jockey for spots on the roosts. I tell them good night, and that I'm sorry I lied about there only being 12 eggs. With that, I shut the door. "Goodnight girls. I still want 20 eggs tomorrow."


Just to let everyone know, I love my goats. I love having animals. I especially love having a son to do the daily chores so I don't have to. And, not doing the daily chores means I can love the goats more, concentrate on the positive more. O yeah, that's not my job, my job is to do the messy stuff that Andy doesn't feel confident enough to do. O well. I still love my goats.

I love having them greet me when I pull in at night. And, their greeting is hard to miss! Nubian's are some of the noisiest goats around. And, at this time of year, my does are in heat. They need a man. And they remind me of this constantly. By this time, I thought we'd have a man, but we don't yet. But, we've got to get one before the moaning and groaning wears me out!

I like goats when I walk out to the pen. I love the not so subtle demands for food. Heads shoving around me, trying to make me drop the feed bucket. Heads that magically get into the feed bucket that I'm trying to dump. Bodies swirling around me, frantic to be the first to get the feed.

I bought some black oil sunflower seeds the other day. For the goats and the chickens. I've got to be careful feeding them to the goats, because they'll eat so many so quickly that they can get stuck in their throats and choke. But I love feeding them a handful at a time. Winter gets the first handful, becasue she is our Queen. She's pretty patient too, she'll eat and nuzzle, and let me nuzzle her. Seeing what a good momma she's become makes it hard for me to remember how much trouble she used to cause when she was a kid. She was the one who figured out how to get on top of the chicken house. Yep, looked out the window one day and she was up on the roof, just happy as can be. I didn't know if I should laugh or make her get down! It became her favorite place to lay. I was so afraid that she'd be stupid and jump down from the peak--10 feet or more up. She never did, but we removed the goats from that pen. And, like all onery little girls, Winter grew to be a good momma.

I looked at my lilac bushes and my roses last night. My poor lilacs may never get big, and my roses have looked pitiful all summer. Why? because certain goats learned the electric fence was out, so they walked right through the fence and made a beeline to their favorite foods, lilacs and roses. I'm not sure my roses will ever recover. I think the lilacs will. My cherry tree is bare 1/2 way up, cherry leaves are tasty, as are raspberry bushes, blueberry bushes and grape vines. Goats are the hardest animals to keep fenced in, and it's extremely annoying when they get out, but, you've got to laugh--cause they just look so innocent while pulling that last bit of rosebush into their mouths. I swear, they'll lick their lips while doing it too.

I even like the doctoring parts, becasue it's all new to me. I never had to take care of any livestock growing up, and cattle really don't have the personality that goats do. I like knowing how to keep my herd healthy and well. So, even though it's always a challenge, and things do go wrong, I still like doing it. Of course, sometimes, hair being eaten by a goat is painful, sometimes horns can hurt, sometimes hooves on toes hurt, shots are never fun, but we're learning. The girls are patient with me and I with them.

Yep, I love my goats and can't wait to get my girls a man, one to take care of their needs. Then, in 5 months, we'll have babies again. Little babies running around, jumping, climbing the walls, hiding in the wire spools, playing king of the mountain, eating my hair...

Yep, gotta get more goats.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Books and the deserted island

I've been challenged to list 3 books that I'd want on a deserted island. But there is a problem.

Which 3 books? Why only 3? I can list 3 books, but which 3 should I list? Should I list the 3 that are stacked up, waiting for me to read them? Should I list 3 favorites? Can I list 3 series, and not just 3 individual titles? 3 favorite authors? Should I list 3 of those on my growing I-need-to-read-this list? Should I list 3 classics that I've never taken time to read. I'm just going to play it safe and list them all.

3 books I've got stacked up, waiting to be read.

1. Queen of Swords by Sara Donati.
2. Meeting at Corvallis by S.M. Stirling.
3. Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick.

3 favorite books.

1. Oklahoma Run. Can't remember the author, but it's an old novel written in the '50's. I loved it, and still re-read it every once in a while.
2. Valley of the Horses by Jean Auel.
3. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon.

3 series of books

1. Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.
2. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
3. Earth's Children series by Jean Auel
4. Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. (Yeah, I know it says 3, I'm not good at rules...)

3 favorite authors

1. Diana Gabaldon
2. Anne McCaffrey
3. Nora Roberts

3 Classics I've never read

1. Catcher in the Rye.
2. Of Mice and Men.
3. War and Peace.

3 titles in my need-to-read-soon list (From lists and book reviews I've got clipped and laying all over my desk.)

1. The scroll of Seduction by Belli Gioconda
2. The Stand by Stephen King
3. The Testerone Files by Max Wolf Valerio

Now, IF I were on a deserted island, what books would I really want to have? I'd want a survival manual. Cause, I'm a person who buys how-to books about my animals, so I'd need a survival manual. I'd want some book that I could read over and over and over, and being a voracious reader, I'd need a thick one, so would probably take ALL of Diana Gabaldon's books. And, I guess I'd want another how-to book--how to build a boat, so I could leave. After I re-read all of Diana's books.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Who's tired?

I didn't sleep well last night. My bed was rather full, and I had some wild dreams. My bed was full of people and animals, but my hubby wasn't one of them.

You see, we've been trying to get to my folks' house, we've got a whole beef to pick up, and Andy found some Boar goats he wanted to buy. So yesterday, my boys took off for Englewood. Kev had been slow all week, in fact, he stayed home Tuesday because he didn't have any patients to see. The kids got out of school at 1:30 yesterday because of Parent-Teacher Conferences, and don't have school today. Perfect, Kev's slow, the kids are out of school. We planned.

Guess what, Wednesday night, Kev picked up 6 patients. S.I.X. In one day. But, he thought he could squeeze them in yesterday. Nope. He still has to see six people today, but we had planned this trip, we'd called, we committed ourselves. So this trip is a flying trip. The boys left town last night at 6. That put them at Mom and Dad's at 9:30. The newly revised plan is to get up early there, load up the 2 or 3 goats, get to Minneola early, get the beef and get their hineys home. Then Kev will rush around and go see his six people.

Last night, I called my Dad, gave him the revised plans. He then had to rush around, catch the goat owner, and figure out how to get the goats loaded early.

So what does all this have to do with my sleeping?

Well, since Kev was gone, Miss Kat took the opportunity to sleep with me. Fine, not a problem. But since Andy was gone, that meant that Emily, the Labrador, had to sleep with me. And since Kat was sleeping with me, that meant her Labrador, Midnight, had to sleep with me. The cats, Cutie and Chubs also chose to sleep with me. So, in our King sized bed, there was 1. Me. 2. Kat. 3. Emily. 4. Midnight. 5. Cutie. 6. Chubs.

Who did everyone have to touch? Me.

Who couldn't move, not even roll over? Me.

Who woke up 50 million times last night? Me.

Who got up at 5:30 when Cutie hissed and jumped Chubs, and woke up the dogs who then decided it was time to go outside? Me.

Who's tired? Probably everybody except Kat.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

It's going to be a lovely day...

I can already tell.

You see, everything was going well until I got to work. Went to get my keys out--my keys to the library. They weren't in my purse. Great. Called Kev, hoping he'd still be at the house. Called the house, no answer, called his cell, no answer, called the house, no answer, called the cell, no answer.

I went to the main office and called maintenance to come let me in. I've worked here 19 years, this has happened twice in 19 years. Humiliating, especially knowing they will N.E.V.E.R. let me live this down.

Kev called, his phone battery was already dead, at 8 a.m., after being plugged in all night. Guess what, his car beeped at him, said "NO COOLANT, SHUT OFF MOTOR." He did. He's driving the diesel today.

Yep, looks like a good day already.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Why do I have goats?

Can someone please tell me why I have goats?

Last night, I got vaccine and penicillin for Winter. She was due for a vaccination, and since she tried to rip off her ear, I thought a dose of penicillin would probably be best. I had visited with the vet, who is NOT a goat person, but she KNOWS a goat vet, so we are doing the best we can.

I ran by the vet clinic for 3 doses of vaccine, one for each of the 3 goats. Then I ran to Orschlen's for some Koppertox and syringes and wormer, then home. I wrangled my assistants, because I knew I'd need them. Andy and Kev were both wrangled to help.

The vaccination went well. We caught Winter, Kev and Andy held her against the fence. I gave the shot. Sub cue. No problem. I didn't go in and out the skin this time, the med's got where they needed to be, and she didn't fight too much. Next on the list, penicillin. I had loaded the syringe, warned my assistants that she'd jump because penicillin burns. (Just ask anyone who's had a shot of penicillin in the hiney...)

She jumped. Bent my needle. She threw a fit, reared up on hind legs and all. We wrestled her down, I tried again. She jumped and knocked the needle from my hand. Third try, same result. Ok, we'll, move on. I'll get someone more comfortable giving shots to help me with this one. (Kim...)

The Koppertox (I'm misspelling it, cause I didn't read the label that closely), is for her hooves. You see, I trimmed her hoof to short and she's been walking on her knees. Splayed toe is the condition, if the inside of the hoof is too short, the goat will spread her toes when walking putting stress on the upper foot and the "crack" between the toes. The vet recommended the Koppertox to toughen up the hoof and hopefully help her get over this a little quicker. Worth a try. Koppertox is a liquid. It's blue/green--the blue/green of copper, and it stinks, a definate metallic scent. Once spilled, it can only be removed with paint thinner. Great. Needless to say, I had a blue/green hand, no paint thinner, and my hand stunk all night. But I did get it squirted on Winter's hoof--the correct hoof, first try.

Round 4 was for the wormer. The wormer I got is really for horses, but it's ok for goats, you just give a lot less. Yeah right. Insert nozzle into goats mouth, not too bad, except when said goat is really tired of you messing with her. But, I got a dose in her, she actually came sniffing for more, but this is a one shot deal, I'm DONE.

Now for the kid-goats, they just got vaccine and wormer. They were much easier to hold and they also wanted more wormer. And their hooves need a trim. But I'd had enough. Someone, please remind me that I don't have to do everything at once. I can space things out next time.

And the sad thought? Well, we're getting 2 or 3 new goats this weekend. I'll have to vaccinate and worm them too. Since they will be new to us, I have no idea what to expect. And since 1, maybe 2 of them will be bucks--in rut, it will probably be a joyful experience. I'll probably smell like something other than Koppertox...

Now, why do I have goats?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Wanted: a three day weekend

There are 48 hours in a weekend. If you count Friday night, there are 55 hours. Kev and I packed about 100 hours worth of work and activity into those 55 hours.

We've got to have another day in our weekend.

Friday night, I had "my ladies" over for a scrapbooking night." They were at the house from 7 until 11. Not bad, but I rushed home at 4 to get ready for their arrival at 7. So, early Friday evening was spent in a frenzy of picking up the basement, sweeping the stairs, the basement floor, cleaning Andy's bathroom, setting up for the ladies, and eat supper. I can't tell you what we had for supper, but I can tell you that Andy vacuumed the basement with a bag that was past full. Kat was busy herself, she had a friend sleep over.

While I was doing this, my much-loved husband was preparing to make venison jerkey. We borrowed a dehydrator--commercial sized, and he'd gotten out 20 to 30 lbs of venison, both burger and steak. Another friend, C, was bringing over his dehydrator and some venison and they were going to mix this up together. So, I had my project, and Kev had his. My ladies left between 10 and 11. C didn't leave until 11:30. The girls didn't go to bed until Midnight. We followed shortly thereafter.

Saturday, we were all up by 8. The girls had to be taken to town to a bake sale, Kev started forming his jerkey strips and getting them into the dehydrators. Andy needed to come to town with me to get some leaves for a biology project. (Hey, we don't have any trees other than cedar trees at our house!) Off to town we go. I drop the girls and the baked goods off, Andy and I run to the college to get leaves, and then to Sonic. There we ordered a Large Dr Pepper, a Large Poweraid Slush and a job application.

Kev calls, "Kim's here ready to make pickles."

"Ok, we'll be right there."

I'd been given 2 bushels of cucumbers. We decided--Kim and I that we'd make pickles. She's never done it, I have, so she wanted to help. We spent the day in the kitchen making Bread and Butter pickles, Sweet Relish, Dill pickles, Hot relish, and we even pickled some eggs for our menfolk. I ran out of quart jars and we ran out of pickles while we were making the dill pickles. But we had the canner going from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

While we were in the kitchen canning, Kev was also in the kitchen making jerkey. My kitchen is nice sized, but not big enough for 4-sometimes 5 people to all be working on different projects. Kim and I and B and Andy on the pickle project, and Kev and sometimes Andy and sometimes Bob working on the jerkey. We were in each other's way all day. It was 85 degrees outside, my kitchen was close to 100 degrees.

Did our work end at 7, when the pickles were done? No. We still had to get all our hunting gear together. Sunday was opening day for the archery deer season. We had to go, it was opening day! The temperature forecast was 80 degrees. Sunday morning, the alarm went off at 5. I wasn't ready to get up, but, since it's allergy season, I was awake, sniffling. Up we got, three of us. Kat spent the night at Kim's. Into the pickup, off to town to get Lynn, gas, then on to our hunting spots. As we're tooling down the highway, Kevin tells Lynn not to shoot a deer today. We can't let it hang and would have to process it. Ugh. After smelling raw venison straight for two days, the thought of smelling it again was nauseating. Lynn agreed, because he's helping with corn harvest and would be in the field in the afternoon. My thought, while this was being decided, was "Why the heck are we going hunting if we can't shoot anything?"

We sit in our trees until 9:30. Fine, no big deal. Except my allergies kicked in. I'm in this tree, sneezing. No-deer-gonna-come-my-way, no sir-ree. Kev could have shot a nice buck, Andy shot at a doe (turkey, this is his first day! EVER!) and Lynn could have shot a doe. Me, all I saw was birds and leaves and my Kleenex.

Back to town to drop Lynn off, then off to the store for more ingredients for the summer sausage that still was waiting at home. We picked up Kat, mixed the summer sausage up, I started laundry, Kev got shotguns ready for 4-H that afternoon. Grabbed lunch, sent the "men-folk" off to shoot, did more laundry, cleaned a little, used about 40 Kleenex, baked the summer sausage and jerkey sticks, and then it was time for supper.

We ate out.

After supper, Andy and I went to work on goat hooves. Discovered Winter had tried to rip off her ear and I trimmed a hoof to short. Blood everywhere. I'm holding a wiggly goat--one with horns. Trying to keep my finger on her hoof to stop the blood, yelling at my kids to hurry and get the book, get some water, bring the flour out and to help me hold this goat. After stopping the blood, peroxiding the ear wound and getting the pigs back into their pen (They just wanted to see what was going on!) and washing, Kev and I then had to package his 40 lbs of jerkey and C's 50 lbs of jerkey. We finished around 9.

We were in bed by 9:30, exhausted. We need at least another 24 hours in a weekend.