Monday, December 31, 2007

Crossing the Threshold

There are only a few hours left before the year 2007 will pass into history.

And here I sit, the rumination of the the past 11+ months trying to mill around my brain.

What have I done? What can I look back on and say "Ah, yes"?

And the truth is I don't know.

And the even truer truth is I don't even care.

Because, really, why? To what end?

No, I would so much rather look into the New Year, blank page that it is. Or hopefully more appropriately, an untrodden path.

What will I do instead of what have I done.

I have so many exciting things to look forward to this coming year - another child heading off to college, baby goats (hopefully!), shifting the career to focus more on our farm ... so many things.

I have always loved New Year's Eve. As a child I remember parties long into the night with many families and friends. As an adult, hubby and I had the great fortune to rekindle those festivities in our own home. However, the past two years, and again this year, hubby ended up working through New Year's Eve and we had to forego the parties.

I miss being with my family and friends, kicking the old year in the pants and ringing in the new. I miss the hugs and kisses, the conversation, the smiles and laughter, the food, the music into the wee hours of the morning...

But, even though I won't get to spend "the moment" with my family and friends (or even my hubby!), it still doesn't lose its magic for me. I still feel like I am stepping off the ledge of a rock cliff and falling into the crystal blue waters of the New Year.

So much potential! So much promise!

There is nothing like the feeling of a fresh start.

So, dear blogger friends, here is my New Year's Toast to you.

... raise your glasses ...

May the new year bring peace for your mind, love for your heart, health for your body and happiness for your spirit...
May you feel fulfilled in your work, joyous in your play, and content in your home...
May you always have shelter for your head and enough food for your belly...
and may you drink up every last drop of the crystal blue New Year with an unquenchable thirst for life.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Holiday Greetings

Hello everyone.

I hope your holidays - whatever they may be - are happy.

We celebrate Christmas and the Solstice - although the Solstice is kind of our own mish-mosh of whatever we have the time, energy and desire to do. I ususally like to at least have some kind of fire, whether it is outside or in the living room fireplace. Other than that, we completely wing it. One year it might be a quiet fire and watching a movie, another year it might be a big bonfire and naked dancing in the woods. Who knows?

Our Christmas was very nice despite being pretty hectic in the last days leading up to it. I swear to myself every year that "Next year is going to be different!" And, indeed, next year will be different. I have resolved to take Christmas by the horns in 2008. I will OWN that holiday! No more last minute anything! My cookies will flatten out like they are supposed to! Christmas 2008, YOU ARE MINE!

Can you tell I'm still winding down a bit?

So, anyway, I did make it through the holiday relatively unscathed. I say relatively because there was actually some scathing.

You see, we apparently chose one of those rare blue spruce Christmas trees that exhibit that agressive nature that the Christmas Tree Growers Association have worked to hard to breed out. There's always a throwback.

This particular tree outright attacked me while I was stringing the lights. I'm talking it JUMPED me! I was merrily decking halls and coming a wassailing and all that and, when I briefly turned my back to untangle a string of lights, it leaped on me.

And it's a big tree.

It flattened me.

But I'm pretty scrappy for my size and I managed to subdue it and make it behave. After I established my dominance with the tree, it settled down and behaved like a good Christmas tree should.

The only other Christmas related accident I had was falling off of a floor speaker that I was standing on while decorating the tree. And, no, the tree had nothing to do with it because I was watching it very carefully. At any rate, during the fall, I manage to plant my shin bone squarely and quite hardly on the corner of the speaker. And now I have a rather larger purple-black mark on my lower leg.

Which nicely matches the two large pruple-black marks on the back of my upper leg, those being courtesy of one of the goats.

Is 2007 over yet? Because I don't know if I can make it much longer.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Project Goat Watch: Temporarily Suspended

Thaaat's right.

Project goat watch is on hold due to lack of progress. And continued uncertainty as to the "with bun" status of said goat.

Plus the Livestock HMO called and said all her days are used up.

So back with the peasants she goes until we see some real progress.


On the shoe thing, we were sitting at the office before heading out to the Office Co-worker Dinner (NOT an office party - that would infer sponsorship by actual employer), and I noticed M had her shoes on.

Me: How do you like your shoes?
M: Oh, they're wonderful. So comfortable...
Me: Even with two different sizes?
M: Ha, ha. You're very funny. I knew right away something was up but I though it was T messing with me.
Me: It probably was.
T: Oh you are so full of ----!
Me: What?

So, anyway, they say they knew that day that it was me. I suppose. It's not like it would exactly be out of character. They were going to try to play a trick back but said they couldn't think of anything.

Now that's sad. What a commentary about America today.


Ok, I have to actually cut this short.

Today! Yes today! Is my 18th wedding anniversary!

Yay me & hubby!

So, dear hubby is downstairs right now cooking a kick-butt anniversary dinner for me.

He is da bomb!

I would write a big sappy post all about what a wonderful guy he is but I think I'll say goodnight to you all and go tell him in person.

Good Night!

Happy Winter Solstice Eve!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Project Goat Watch: Day ... Um... Whatever

If you are just joining Project Goat Watch, you might want to begin
here and continue forward.

Sorry about leaving you all hanging, desperately waiting for new.

So, still no baby goats.

I don't know. I'm back to wondering if she's even pregnant at all. Maybe what I thought was a baby goat rolling around in her belly when I felt it was actually just food getting digested through the various processes.

At any rate, Gyra seems happy enough to be in solitry, not having to deal with the other goats at feeding time. And, I have to say, the Birthing Room is probably the sweetest set up yet as far as the animal shelters go. We had wind last night that would blow the hair right off your head but she was snug as bug.

So, that's the new. No news.

Now, on the shoe thing...

I was at the office on Saturday and one of the ladies - I will call her M - that ordered shoes was there briefly. I was talking to someone on the phone at the time so I didn't even get to talk to her. But I did notice that one of the shoe boxes had returned to the room in the back. The co-worker that was there the day of the switcheroo happened to be there too. I asked her if she heard anything. She said M came in with her shoebox and said "Everthing is all screwed up with these shoes. I have a two different sizes. I checked with T and she does too. I don't know what we're going to do with these."

Oh we laughed...

Then we started to wonder if they might return them. I figured nothing would happen over the weekend since m left her box of shoes at the office. She is probably waiting for T to come in and then maybe send them all back together.

But, the more I thought about it, the more I started to worry that they would end up sending them back. So I called T under the guise of asking about Christmas presents for the secretary and the bookkeeper. She said that one of the pairs of shoes that were ordered are part of the bookkeeper's Christmas present. Ah! An open door! So I said, "What's up with the shoes anyway? M was in the office and said there was a problem." All innocent like.

Then she said "Oh, yeah. It's the craziest thing. Every box had two different sizes."

"Wow. That's pretty crazy." said I.

"Yeah. But the real funny thing is that we have three full sets of shoes - the sizes we were supposed to get - but they were all mixed up."

"Hmmm. How odd."

"I know. Thank God M called me and I checked before I wrapped the pair for the present."

"Yeah, thank God for that."

So. All's well that ends well. I still didn't fess up. Maybe at the Christmas party.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Project Goat Watch: Day 4

If you are just joining Project Goat Watch, you might want to begin
here and continue forward.

No goat babies again.

I was up until 4 o'clock this morning checking her every hour on the hour until I just couldn't stay away any longer. I really thought she might be in labor because she was breathing a little oddly. Finally I just figured it was from trying to get some rest with a bunch of baby goats rolling around inside.

So, nothing yet.

And the shoe thing...

Two of my co-workers came in and opened their boxes to look at their shoes and didn't even notice! Granted, they didn't try them on but I at least though they would have noticed that one shoe isn't as long as the other.

So the secretary, the other co-worker and I all managed to keep our mouths shut and we'll see what transpires over the weekend.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Project Goat Watch: Day 3, Part 2

If you are just joining Project Goat Watch, you might want to begin
here and continue forward.

So, no baby goats yet.

Apparently she wasn't as far along as hubby thought.

And since I'm sure you are already wondering to yourself by now, the spine sqeeze test is still at the same spot.

And so we come to the end of day 3 with still no goat babies. Although, there is still 2 and half hours to go before the technical end to the day so, you never know.

Since I don't have all kinds of exciting goat news, I figured I'd give you a little story.

But first I have to point out that Professor J nailed the identity of My Hat from yestereday's post - she knew it was an LL Bean hat. I never even looked at the label until I read her comment and, sure enough, it's LL Bean. So, I thought that was kind of interesting. She has quite the keen eye! And quite a good blog too so you should go check it out.

Now, on with my story.

As you are all aware (if you read Part 1 of today's post) I was at work during the snow/sleet storm. There wasn't a whole lot going on business-wise so I was grasping at straws for things to occupy my time.

As luck would have it, the UPS dude stopped by with a big-ish box from Land's End. As I was carrying it to the back room, I realized that it must be the shoes that my co-workers were ording a few days prior. I remember them talking about these cute slip-on Moc shoes and they asked if I wanted to order a pair too. Since I cannot fathom the idea of buying shoes that I haven't tried on, I declined the offer. I placed the box in the back room and didn't really give it a second thought.

Until I got really bored.

I went and got the box and brought it back out to the office area. The only other person there was our secretary.

"Now what are you doing?"

Me: I don't know. But I can't just let this box of shoes here and do nothing.
Secretary: You are such a troublemaker.
Me: This is why you have to keep me occupied.

I sliced open the box and found three shoeboxes inside. I took the three boxes out and examined them. They all bought the same style of shoe in the same color but three different sizes.

At this point the secretary wandered over. "So...what are you going to do with their shoes?"

I got her to help me peel the tape off the shoeboxes, trying to be as careful as possible not to mar the boxes. There were some small spots where the paper pulled off but I was able to color it back in with a pen and you would have to look very closely to notice anything.

At this point, another one of my co-workers stopped in.

Co-worker: What are you doing?
Me: Nothing. Did you order shoes?
Co-worker: No, I was going to but I didn't. Are those the shoes they ordered?
Me: Yes.
Co-worker: Did you order any?
Me: No.
Co-worker: You're just looking at the shoes they ordered?
Me: No.
Co-worker: ...
Me: ...
Co-worker: What are you up to?

Like I have a reputation or something.

So I took the right shoe out of each box and I put the size 9 right shoe in the size 8 box, the size 8 right shoe in the size 6 box, and the size 6 right shoe in the size 9 box. Then I sealed the boxes back up perfectly, put them back into the big box and resealed that with shipping tape. It is impossible to tell the box was ever opened.

My only regret is that I won't be there first thing in the morning when my co-workers come in and are all "Oh! Our shoes are here! Let's try them on!" Because they will. Immediately. Because we have our priorities in line.

I gave the secretary strict orders that she isn't even allowed to so much as look at them when they try the shoes on because she cannot keep a straight face. She is terrible at this stuff. So she promised she won't even look away from her computer. She is only allowed to intervene if they don't catch on right away and think they need to call the company to send the shoes back.

So, I'll let you know how it all pans out.

Click here to continue reading Project Goat Watch.

Project Goat Watch: Day 3

If you are just joining Project Goat Watch, you might want to begin
here and continue forward.

I know this is a little early in the day but I have some news and some time so I thought I'd give you a quickie update.

I came out of the house to leave for work this morning and hubby was fiddling with the Birthing Room. He just finished working 3rd shift so he usually takes care of the morning feeding of the animals. Normally he is done with the chores and heading off to bed by the time I am leaving for work but sometimes he gets distracted by other jobs.

Although, I kind of thought he might stay up a little later today anyway since we are supposed to get a slight battering by Mother Nature. This would be the pre-battering to the big whallop that is supposed to come Sunday. And we don't have a plow. Or working snowblower. We have a snowblower but, when you put that "working" quialifier on it, well...

So he is going to bastardize a plow onto a walk behind Gravely tractor.

I could really delve into the whole Gravely Syndrom but that would take up a whole other blog. Seriously. It's a sickness and it seems to be genetic.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh, so I saw dear hubby at the Brithing House and I started to walk over. I didn't even get to say "Hello" or "How was your night?" or anything before he said (in the tone of an obstratrician about to yank a baby) "It looks like she's ready to go."

Me: What? Now?! RIGHT NOW??!!
Hubby: Well, soon. I think. I don't know.
Me: Well, how do you know?
Hubby: She's getting all, you know, swollen in her back end. And a little mucusy.
Me: Did you squeeze her spine?

Because this, as far as I am concerned and in my vast experience, is THE way to tell. Plus it is the only skill in my bag of tools. So, yeah, spine squeezing.

He said he did and it feels closer than it had but maybe not completely where it should be.

So I looked at her. And she looked at me. And I tried to telepathize when the baby goats would come. But nothing happened. Something must have been blocking my goat sense.

"Well" said I, "I have to go to work."

Hubby: What? What if the babies come?
Me: Well then, good luck, Doctor.
Hubby: WHAT?
Me: I'm sorry. I have work. I have an appointment to show a house. I really have to go.
Hubby: They're going to cancel. No one is going to go out in this to look at a house.

For, indeed, the snow/sleet had already begun.

Me: Look, let me go in and take care of this appointment. As soon as someone else shows up at the office, I will leave and come home. If something happens and there is an emergency, call me. But I still have a job and I still have to go there.

He seemed satisfied with this.

So, here I am. At the real estate office. In the middle of a snow/sleet storm. Because, as long as there's a dollar to be made, the office stays open.

Go back and read that sentence again with a little more bitterness and resentment.

No, go ahead, I'll wait.

dum, dee, dum ...

Oh, come on. You can do better than that. MORE BITTERNESS! MORE RESENTMENT! Try again.

That's better.

Well, I did manage to bump my appointment up and show the house before the roads got too bad. Now I am just sitting here, not selling houses, because no one is thinging about looking at houses, they are thinking about shoveling their walks and plowing their driveways and birthing their goats. Er, ok maybe that's just me, but still.

Click here to continue on with Project Goat Watch.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Project Goat Watch: Day 2. And My Hat


If you are just joining Project Goat Watch, you might want to begin
here and continue forward.

So, not a whole lot of news on the Goat Watch front.

I checked in on mother-to-be this morning before I left for work and then again when I came home.

And then again a few hours later.

And then again when I fed the animals for the evening.

And again after I painted a roof for a goat shelter.

And then once more before I came to post on the blog.

Which brings us to 10:57pm EST and no goat babies yet.

So. Not a whole lot there.

I did the spine squeeze again but it doesn't seem much different from the last time I squoze it. By the way, on this whole squeezing of the spine thing, what I am doing (I think) is checking to see if the ligaments at her hip joints are beginning to loosen. "They" say that when you can reach your fingers right around and touch them with nothing but the skin in between, the goat should have her babies within 12 hours. So that's what is up with all of that business. Hooray for narrowing the window!

Other than that, she seems content enough. She hasn't really tested the fence around the Birthing Room which is a good thing because it was a real quickie job on my part. Partly because of time crunch but mainly because the post pounder is so darn heavy and I think I might have done a little something called "not good" to my back on the second to last post. I don't think I really killed it or anything. It's just ... very stiff. I probably need a good, long stretching session and a hot bath. Maybe around May I'll get to that.

So, since there isn't much happening goatbaby-wise, I have decided I am going to finally add a picture to my profile. I think I have milked the mystery factor just about as much as I can. And, when you consider that just about every bad photo of me that was ever taken has now been posted on the internet, what harm will one more do, right?

So here is the photo that is going to be my new profile thing. Avitar? Symbol? Likeness?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

It's a picture of me. And My Hat. I mention it that way because My Hat has a personality of its own, as you can tell.

I found My Hat in a house that I was selling. The home was part of an estate and all of the contents were getting tossed out. So, I picked through them and found My Hat. I love My Hat. We have become almost inseparable. Much to the chagrin of my family.

I know we look a little ... odd ... but, I have to tell you, My Hat is one of the warmest hats I've ever come across. And I think it is just damn stylin'!

And, if you look closely, you'll be able to see two pieces of hay above my right eye. Garnish.

Ok, so I think I've done enough damage for today. I'll see you soon with the next installment of Project Goat Watch.

Click here to continue on with Project Goat Watch.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Project Goat Watch

Hi everybody.

I know, I know. I fell into a bit of a slump after NaBloPoMo ended. What can I say? I needed a break.

Anyway, I'm back with some pretty exciting news.

One of our goats is getting ready to have her kid(s?). The goat would be Gyra - the original goat that was purchased in order for me not to have to deal with the weed wacker.

See how easily it all goes down hill?

We have her in the Birthing Room which, thankfully, is NOT in the house. It is an old chicken coop that we converted into the delivery area. She seems to be comfortable enough. I think she's just happy not to have to deal with the other goats at feeding time.

So, with this being our first livestock birth, we really have no clue what we're doing. We're mostly hoping the goat will know. But, I do have some books and a few excellent web sites. I also have the number for the vet just in case.

In anticipation of the blessed event, I've been reading and reading and reading up on every possible birth scenario I can find. And, yes, I did purchase some extra long latex gloves. Hopefully they can just stay in the bag.

We're not really sure on the exact date she is due, which is really only a hint anyway, but we think she's pretty close. At least most of the signs I've been reading up on seem to be there.

Although, I have to admit that until I actually finally felt one of the little goatlings rolling around inside her today, I was still a bit suspicious that she was not in fact pregnant and just tubby. But! All doubts have been erased and I am devoting all my time to squeezing her spine just above the tail to see if the ligaments have loosened. Which annoys the crap out of Gyra. To the point where she was doing this little I'm-gonna-keep-my-butt-as-far-away-from-you-as-possible dance every time I would go into the Birthing Room but we have now reached an understanding that involves me bribing her with baby carrots. All is well.

So, this - along with fixing fences, holiday cleaning, holiday shopping, work, Project Insulate The Back Part Of The Attic, ETC. - is what has been occupying my time lately and why I haven't been in a big hurry to sit down and blog.

However, I have decided that since I have this very exciting thing going on, I can kind of do Project Goat Watch as a mini-series and keep you all posted on the progress. Sound good? Good.

Now don't get all bent out of shape if I don't have any big news right away. These things take time.

Also, I am hoping, hoping, hoping that I will be able to include some photos of the goings on. I promise to warn you before I post any pictures of mucus plugs and stuff.

Oh. Did I just say mucus plug? Sorry.

Be back soon!

Click here for Project Goat Watch: Day 2.