Fair Day #1

Today was check-in day at the fair, which may be the funnest job the Extension Homemakers do throughout the year. At least, I think it is.

Check-in day? Oh, that’s when all the gardeners, quilters, bakers, knitters, photographers, canners, painters, crafters, seamstresses, woodcarvers, etc., bring their wares to the fair to compete against other enthusiasts and artists for ribbons and recognition. The Homemakers manage the Home Economics building, thus, check-in day, the funnest job we do.

Last year, I worked in the handicrafts department, but this year, I got the children. They are so particular about how their work is displayed, and they leave detailed messages for the judges, and they are just so earnest and endearing.

At the appointed time, we closed the doors and posted a guard, and then the out-of-town judges came in and doled out the ribbons. We carefully presented each piece and dutifully delivered each message, and our judge laughed but carefully considered each one.

Afterwards, we arranged them in our display area, ribbons and names prominently displayed for the benefit of the admiring public. Thousands of people will dally in the Home Ec building over the next week. (It’s the only air conditioned building on the fairgrounds!)

Another benefit of volunteering on check-in day is that we find out the winners before the general public. So I happen to know that the Cooper family made a respectable showing, and that one of us won a Grand Champion ribbon. But my lips are sealed. You’ll just have to wait till Wednesday, when the rest of us find out.

For Posterity

Here’s what a sheep looks like after we’re done giving it a haircut, poor guy:
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And here’s what a baby who won’t nap looks like:
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I won’t show you what her mama looks like.

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting…

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Wasting time, waiting for Davey and the children to get home.  Should be just an hour or so away now!

As I’ve been going through and printing out all my old photos, I’ve noticed that sometimes, I’ve photographed lots of things, but very few people, and sometimes, I haven’t taken many photographs at all, especially during these busy summer months.  One good thing about this Project Life project is that I’m much more intentional in making sure I photograph the things I want to remember.

Like my daughters’ first attempt at shearing sheep.  We’re not very good at haircuts around here.  Fortunately, the sheep aren’t self-conscious.  At least, I don’t think they are.

That’s my little bull calf, Stewart, up at the top, there.  Still intact, because he’s such a pretty, perfect little calf that I just can’t muster up the heart to castrate him.  He’s got a sturdy little body, beautiful markings, and a very sweet personality.  I didn’t register him yet, because I don’t usually register the bulls, but he’s eligible.  Still thinking through my options on this guy.

Some links!  Or maybe just one link.  Not an affiliate link, either; just a really good deal, if you happen to be in the market for some stainless steel buckets.  These are a surprisingly nice weight, made in India, and do not come with lids.  That suits me fine for what I wanted them for, which is mostly carrying clabbered milk and table scraps to various kinds of livestock.  I just can’t find anything wrong with them.

I had another link, but I can’t remember what for.  I’m sure it’ll come to me again, but I’m equally sure that I still won’t be near the computer and will still forget by the time I’m ready to tell you about it.

In other news, I have a new mobile device, which is actually a smart phone, with the phone not activated.  It takes nicer pictures than my iPod ever did, and since I seldom used the play music feature of the iPod, the small storage space isn’t bothering me.  I just want it for quick access to email, social media, and the weather forecast, so I’m good.  It cost a lot less, too.  Anyway, just in case you didn’t know or forgot or meant to follow me but never got around to it, you can find me on facebook, twitter, and instagram.

This and That – With Photos!

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Tommy, holding the baby that’s almost as big as he is. Delaney was remarking, as we perused old photos, that my photography skills have greatly increased over the years.  No, said I, I just have better equipment to take bad photos with.  Case in point. :-)

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Naked baby, fresh from her bath.  Do I need a reason?

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New bedsheets, which are making me ridiculously happy.  Our old ones were nearly ten years old, and still good, except for the elastic which holds them onto the bed.  And I can’t stand wrinkles in my bedsheets.  I could have just sewed on new elastic, but I desired a freshening up of the bedroom, so new sheets.  I have a can of paint, too.  There’s no telling how far I’ll go!

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Davey went to New Jersey for his mother’s funeral and took two of the children with him for company, and moral support, I suspect.  With three able-bodied farm workers gone, those of us left behind have a lot more work to do, but we’re making it!  We get up in the morning, sigh, give each other hugs and high-fives and professions of awesomeness, and head out into the world.  Of course, there are certain benefits to having them away, too.  Like we can eat at the small table, because there are so few of us.  And we can have girly food for dinner, which may or may not contain meat.  And we only have to split the bottle of fruit juice five ways, instead of seven.  Aren’t we naughty?

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Today, we took care of our mowing job.  Usually, Davey drives Delaney and Jon over, but Davey and Jon are gone, so I drove Delaney and Brenna over.

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And Thomas, Penelope and Rosie, too, because there is no one back at home to keep an eye on them.

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And let’s not forget Miss Evie!

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I like this shot because it shows off her jowls.  She also has a double chin.  Or, as Brenna points out, “It’s not a chin!  It’s her neck!”  Whatever. :-)

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While Delaney was diligently mowing, we found this in the suddenly-and-inexplicably dead tree:

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There are three of them in this tiny nest.  Can you see the one hidden under the down in the middle?

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And a tired mama pig (I feel your pain, Lollipop…)…

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…and her seven little piglets.

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Because who doesn’t love farm babies?

Prayers, Please.

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David’s mother, Mary Lee Cooper, died yesterday morning, and I wonder if you could offer a prayer for her soul, and for comfort for her grieving family, especially her husband Ed. She was not in good health, but it was sudden and rather unexpected, as death so often is. Thank you.

Just Being Helpful

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Evie has had a hard time sleeping today.  In fact, shortly after these photos were made, she woke again.  So I laid down with her.  You know.  Just to help her sleep a little.  I don’t know where the afternoon has gone, do you?

Sunrise

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It’s cool here this morning, 54°, and the mist is rising off the warm earth, reflecting the rising sun, adorning tiny spider webs in the grass.  Such a beautiful morning!  I love these cows for making sure I never miss the sunrise.

Hope you all have a lovely and safe holiday weekend, my friends!

(We’re all doing just fine, but I wouldn’t mind prayers for Daisy for another week or two. Love you all!)

Saturday Notes

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It’s a rainy day today!  But we don’t care.  Grey skies can’t get us down!  Not when our dearest Delaney has been returned to us!  We managed our public reunion alright, but there were tears on the way home, as we all shared how we’d missed each other.  Happy sigh.

Poor Brenna spent her day yesterday driving Davey and I to doctor appointments.  Davey’s was planned, and I was supposed to take him, as he can’t drive yet since his foot surgery.  However, I’d planned to finish a chicken pen on Thursday.  An unexpected guest derailed that plan, thought, so I needed Friday to finish it, so it was agreed that Brenna would take over chauffeur duty.  At 2AM on Friday morning, however, I woke up to nurse the baby, sat up in bed, the whole world started to tip and spin.  I waited for the dizzy spell to pass, but it didn’t, and I was so unbalanced, I was scared to move the baby from her bassinet into the bed, even though they were right next to each other!  The dizziness had eased up by morning, but not gone away, making it so I had to walk carefully and also not try to focus on anything too close to my face.  So I called for an appointment because, hey, that was weird.  I have a Eustachian tube dysfunction.  Or, in laymen’s terms, my inner ear isn’t draining properly.  So.  A little Flo-nase, a little Sudafed, and I should be good to go.  (I’m not dizzy now, though I can still feel the ear pressure.)  But poor Brenna ended up driving both of us around all day.  She was very tired.  I still got my chicken coop built, though!

Daisy is still doing okay and seems to continue to improve, albeit, very slowly.  She’s still on antibiotics, and I give her a shot of bovine tylenol when she starts to droop and drag her feet.  Seems like she can go about two and half days one one dose of that.  I’m pretty confident that she’s going to survive this.  I don’t worry about finding her in a bad way when I leave the house in the morning.  She’s lost a lot of weight and is very thin, too, but her appetite is really picking up.  I think she’ll be back to her fat and sassy self in no time.  (She’s not really sassy.  She’s very gentle.  In fact, she’s the one the children learn to milk, because she’s so gently.  She is usually fat, though.  Maybelle, on the other hand, is sassy.)

And Miss Evie!  She turned four months old on Thursday!  She can roll over both ways.  She is no longer content to sit quietly while we eat, unless she gets something, too, but the look on her face when she feels food on her tongue is priceless, as if she feels surprised and disgusted and pleased all at once.  She can spend forever watching ceiling fans spin and she recently fell asleep in her stroller watching the leaves in the trees overhead.  She doesn’t reach out to people, but she’ll smile and talk to anyone who looks at her.  We’re learning to sleep apart, because she’s too hot beside me in bed.  I don’t mind being hot with her, but it wakes her up unnecessarily.  So she’s been sleeping in her bassinet and is back to sleeping the whole night through.  She’s ticklish on her sides and her belly, but not under her chin.  And she likes to be startled just a little bit; it makes her laugh.  I think she’s a roller coaster girl. :-)  And don’t even get me started on her beautiful, silvery-blue eyes.

Just to Keep You Updated…

Baby feet

Baby feet

We’re going to keep Daisy on antibiotics for a few more days, even though I think she’s had enough.  My vet wasn’t in today, but left instructions, so I’ll follow them!  I have two doses of the pain medication, too, so if she gets bad again, we can offer her some relief.  But right now, she seems to be holding her own.

We built the frame for our last chicken crate today.  Tomorrow, we’ll put on the wire and the roof, and then the last chickens can move in.  That’s five crates of chickens in the field.  Whew.  I have to design some kind of turkey crate, too, because they’re ready to get out of their brooder, as well.  That’s a job for this afternoon, so I can get the fittings purchased.

Also tomorrow, Rosie and I (with Evie, of course) will be going on a date!  I’ve been taking the children out sporadically for a couple of years now, and it makes them so happy to have this private time with me.  And they tell absolutely everyone, “Mommy and me are on a date!”  It’s so sweet and fun.  And as well as we know each other, I always learn something new about them when we’re away from the hustle and bustle of our large-family life.  It’s good, and I’m so glad that we’re at an age where this is feasible.  I never could have managed this when we were all little, but now that we have so many capable teens, I can leave for a couple of hours, a whole day, or even an overnight (though I haven’t tried it yet. Should work, in theory!)