Tuesday, March 30, 2010

We Might Be Home This Evening!

Things are looking up! Ayla is off the i.v's for now if we can keep her hydrated and those nasty ketones away. She is actually able to cough up some of that junk, as gross as it sounds its a good thing! Her attitude is better, she is getting feisty and called me a monkey butt. Typical Ayla.
Ida May still sounds pretty wheezy, her lungs aren't as clear but she isn't on oxygen anymore and is just receiving breathing treatments periodically. I can tell she is feeling better too because she is starting to get into EVERYTHING!
How could this have happened? We generally have pretty healthy kids and I just cannot believe any of this was happening. Last night was SOOOOOOOOO hard. I didn't sleep at all the last 2 nights at the hospital and last night was even worse than the first because I had 2 kids in 2 seperate beds who both needed me, and lots of monitoring and checks and alarms going off. All day yesterday was insane because Ayla was in ICU and Ida May was in the ER and we just ran ourselves ragged trying to go back and forth between them.
We were still trying to keep in contact with our other 3 kids and make arrangements for the cows and milking, and our wood furnace was out and the house was cold and did I mention we were gettting TORRENTIAL rain and wind. My first worry was of course our sick kids but I was also concerned for the cows especially our 3 day old heifer Margo.
I just came home, milked the cows, filled the water troughs and cleaned the barn and took my first shower in 3 days. God knows what kind of germs I picked up at the hospital, it felt nice to have a hot shower! I'm heading back now, keep your fingers and hooves crossed that we'll be home tonight sometime!

Monday, March 29, 2010


hello people,
This Morning we took IDA to the hospital, she took a turn for the worst last nite, and we brought her in this am. Same diagnosis as Ayla, pneumonia and SVR, and her oxygen levels would not come up so she as well was admitted and is on oxygen, they both share a room in the ICU, and Jessika and her mother are both there. Im home with Zoie Jude, and Veda(8pm, e.s.t.) If Any of you want to call to wish the best to Jessika, the phone number is 1-207-255-0456(direct line to her room). So far so good. Keep our children in you prayers and thank you so much for the support. Dante(the father).

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ayla Update: Pneumonia and KetoAcidosis

Ayla is admitted to the hospital. She's in intensive care. She has probably got pneumonia and is on I.V.'s, and we are really battling acidosis trying to keep it back. When you have type 1 diabetes EVERYTHING not only looks worse but it IS worse. This morning her ketones tested at 3.2 and the little scale we have says if you get a reading of 1.5 they are at risk of ketoacidosis, so this sent us into full panic mode. Adrenaline was not my friend this time, I was shaking so bad I just couldn't function couldn't hardly breathe.
Getting an I.V. in took over an hour of jabbing and Ayla and I were both crying, Dante had to leave. I hate needing to rely on the hospital to save her and yet needing to advocate on her behalf as well, when they kinda forget she isn't just a patient but a little sick 3 year old girl.
It is a very delicate balance, with so many variables and if anyone of these things starts to decline then we are transferred to a bigger hospital. Dante and I are working just as hard as they are checking her blood and ketones hourly while they draw blood for potassium and acid levels. All this amounts to Ayla being sick and tired of being messed with and now just getting really terrified whene anyone walks in the room.
I only ran home to milk the cows and now I'm going back to spend the night with her. It looks like she is in there for at least 48 hours on I.Vs anyway. Please continue the prayers, we need them. I'll update when I can.

We need Your Prayers!!!!!!!!!!

Heading to the hospital with Ayla now, I am terrified! Please pray for her!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

MORE New Babies !

It has been a busy week with all the joy, but also work that new babies bring. Our cat, "Gooseberry" had 4 kittens. She is a sweet but rather bizarre cat. I had no idea how this motherhood thing was going to go with her. I reluctantly had to break the news of the impending births to Dante by saying, "I have bad news and good news. Gooseberry is pregnant but I'm NOT!" He still wasn't happy, but what are you going to do? The cats are barncats because of Dante and Jude's allergies. We couldn't get Gooseberry spayed in the winter because she lives outside. The cat daddy is feral. We've tried to live trap him to get him neutered but he was too smart. So we have 4 tiny, adorable kittens that are longhaired, and living snugly in a box in our cellar if anyone local is interested. Three are dilute calico females and one grey tiger male. They'll be looking for good homes in about 8 weeks.

Gooseberry is actually doing pretty good and LOVES her kitties. She does keep trying to move them though, and if you run up the cellar stairs after visiting, she immediately assumes you are running because you've stolen a kitten and will give chase and cling to your leg. I told you, she's strange but harmless.

We also have ANOTHER new calf as of this morning! I was completely shocked that Maddy had her calf. She has a tiny little udder and I should have known, but have been a bit exhausted after the crap that Jules put me through, so may have not quite realized the signs.
Don't hate me but, IT'S A HEIFER! I cannot believe it... I now have 4 gorgeous heifers. 3 born since February! I'm am so NOT excited to milk Maddy after having had an absolutely rotten experience with Jules which is actually still unresolved and all my bruises and cuts haven't even healed yet.
Maddy is much smaller, and much more tame. I'm hopeful.....but I may need a glass of wine to boost my morale. Pics of more kitties and the baby calf, "Margot" coming soon.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Another Satisfied Customer

I sincerely hope all of you that buy cheese from me regularly are just as enthusiatic as Miss Ida May. Of course, as Zoie says, " Mom--Ida May eats cat food. She's hardly an expert on good cheese." I still love the thought of you at home just eating it with your hands, cheese smeared on your faces. Who needs a cracker?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Life IS Good

You're probably sick of all my doom and gloom, so I thought I'd report that I'm feeling good!Things are peaceful and all is well right now. I am trying very hard to have compassion, even though Jules has reverted back to trying to kill me and I'm not set up to handle her properly. I realize that animals have individual personalities just as much as people do. I may try to make a few phone calls tommorrow and see about getting some help with her, or I might just try to see if maybe she is better suited, this time around, to be a nurse cow. ALL of my other cows are an absolute joy to milk. They actually line up at the gate and try to all squeeze through at once to be the first milked! If she would raise 2-3 of our calves, she would pay her way and there's a chance I can still bring her around in a couple months when it is less hectic. One thing is for sure--I just can't face milking her again right now. I'm peaceful about it.
I've recieved so many compliments and can't thank you all enough. It is so wonderful to hear good things. Many thanks to all my faithful customers! It helps me keep going even after a week like Jules just put me through!
The kids were just wonderful today. I always love them, and am very proud of this family of ours but I won't lie--sometimes when you have 5 kids and a farm, and a business and deadlines, and basketball games, speech therapy, medical issues---screaming and fighting kids ( and don't kid yourself ALL siblings fight ) just quickly escalates the situation. Today, it was like time slowed down a bit and I felt like I was watching our lives from a distance.
Ida May ( 1) was toddling around in my pink heels and I thought, "Man, she really looks like a little me. I wonder if she'll grow up to feel as connected to growing food as her Momma does."
Ayla (3) and Veda (5) were in the backseat of the van. We stopped and bought some grain for the cows and every time the man brought out another bag, one of them would say, " Hi ! " and he'd say Hi back to them and they'd just burst into peels of laughter. It was so infectious, we were all laughing even the poor man carrying the grain bags! There is nothing so sweet as joyful children.
Jude (8) is such a gentleman, and likes to surprise me by making my bed. I can't tell you how much it means, when I'm exhausted--finishing up whatever cheese I'm currently making-- to go in and see my bed made and ready for me to just crawl in. Heavenly, it is.
Zoie (11) is growing like a weed. I see bits and pieces of Dante and I, but mostly she is herself. It is endlessly fascinating. Watching and being a part of her life. Of all their lives.
The greatest story unfolding, and I switch between just muddling through the day to day, surviving the really heavy stuff we've been going through, and then seeing it all almost outside of my body, good and bad. It's real, and I LOVE it all. I wouldn't change anything. Not even the bad.
I milked at 8:30p.m. A couple hours late, but sometimes this is the sweetest time. I know that the little kids will be sleeping when I come in, and the cows are very restful at this time. Their bellies are full, they exude contentment and it helps me unwind. The night is dark and misty. Gentle rain was falling and felt good on my face. I went about my routine, and the cows watched me fill their mangers and then ambled over to their own spots. Gale watched me, and nodded as I left. I said, " Night, Girl."
Now I'm gonna go collapse into bed and dream sweet dreams.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New Tie Stalls

I should have at least groomed the cows first! Oh well, I was excited! It is nice to know they have a clean dry place. Silly girls will lay in the mud and muck around the hay feeder if the weather is nice. They just want to be outside all the time now. C'mon green grass GROW! I have a feeling since it seems spring came a month early, that I just might be able to move them out to pasture a whole month earlier as well. If they were back to grazing by April 15th, that would make it only 5 months that they were eating stored feed this year. We managed to stockpile some pasture last Fall and they were grazing exclusively right up to November 15th.
A major plus for me, NO MORE MANURE cleaning as soon as they move out. I spend a lot of time right now just cleaning up poop......I'm sure I could find something else to do! Oh, 2 of my crocus bloomed today and I saw a whole flock of robins! Spring has sprung, yahoo!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sweet, Sweet Success

Let the pics tell you the story. I finally got that machine on her and milked out 3 gallons and she only kicked once! I don't know if she just finally gave in, or if it was a combination of desperate tactics I employed this morning. I remembered this trick from the veterinary hospital I worked at in Idaho. When we would be giving a dog or cat their shots, we would tap them on their head. Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap. This usually distracted them from getting the shot because they were just trying to figure out why we were tapping their head!
So, picture this if you will:

I got Jules locked in the stanchion. I face her head instead of her rear, in order to protect my head, and stand backed into her just like a farrier would with a horse, only facing the wrong direction I guess. But her near hind leg is between both of mine. She really can't get any leverage to kick hard this way because I'm leaning right into her. Then I wash her udder and squirt a few jets of milk out of each quarter. She waves her foot around and kicks once without connecting with anything. Then I hugged my right arm around her barrel and thumped her side steadily while squeezing each inflation with the thunb and forefinger of my left hand and very gently attaching it to each teat. I couldn't believe it.

We got it done.

I was able to go on and take some cute pics of Juliette. She's so shiny and sweet! It's a gorgeous day, and things are looking up!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Update on Jules....

It is still frustrating. Things are not going well and I am getting a little desperate. Her udder looks beautiful, I just can't tell what her major objection is. I have yet to get her fully milked out. Not even close. I have to stand backwards to put the milker on, so the kicks get the back of me. This is by far the worst cow I've had freshen EVER. All I can do is take a deep breath and get in there. I still think persistence will pay off and we'll get there.
I was scanning the crowd at the basketball game tonight and thinking which random guy can I convince to come over and help me get her fully milked out for a couple nights in a row.
I'm not joking, I'm bruised and battered.
I've definitely earned every dime I made this week!
Hopefully I can get a pic of Juliette up tommorrow. I am happy to announce she is doing wonderful now.
I'm making lots of fromage blanc for the pesto &walnut cheese spread this week. It is so good, the kids almost staged a riot when I said that batch was all sold! I'm making more right now.
I am using the tie stalls now, ready or not. The ground is quite thawed out and I need to keep the cows clean and comfortable. They get out for 3 or 4 hours twice a day and stretch their legs, eat at the round bale, nurse their babies and hang out. It was a disaster at first, but they have pretty much learned their exact spot and I can let them in and they just about go to the right spot each time. I keep forgetting to get 2 more wingnuts so Maddy and Brie can join them.
I think, if I get a moment--I'll start some no knead bread tommorrow. I haven't made that in a while. Homemade bread and cheese, it doesn't get much better than that!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Jules Calved---I need your Help!

Yesterday afternoon, Jules had little Juliette. Another heifer, I can't believe it! It was a classic calving everything seemed fine. I was frozen and exhausted though, so I went in for a hot shower before going back out to milk and to make sure Juliette had gotten colostrum. This is when the fun began. It has been SO MUCH FUN, that I haven't even gotten a good pic of baby Juliette yet. I am being sarcastic, and can you read the grouchy undertones?
When I go out, I notice first off that Juliette hasn't stood yet, and even worse--her legs are
"frogged" out behind her. Hmmm, that doesn't look good. When I try to help her stand, Jules is getting pretty defensive. Let's not forget she has one horn left, and brandishes it very well.
So, I coax Jules out and put her in the milk stanchion. I figured I'd milk out some colostrum and just feed it to the calf, so I can be assured she has gotten it. First off, she poops, and swishes her long tail in it, repeatedly. I'm thinking ,where are my scissors. Let's give that tail a haircut.
Then, I got my nice warm wash rag in hand and reached out to wash each teat. WHAMMM! First kick. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but in times like this you have got to move in even closer. I snugged right into her side, and just started blindly washing in the direction of her udder! I was washing legs and a belly, udder, teats, my jeans, whatever I could reach while be buffeting by a constant barage of kicks ! I was NOT gonna stop because that was what she wanted, and this isn't a cow spa. Yes, I adore my cows--but I still have a business to run and part of the agreement is that I need the milk! Now, I am a softy, I always let the cows raise their own calf, and I share with them for 3-4 months sometimes longer if they are generous!
I'm thinking Jules, being a heifer, is a bit confused with all her hormones raging and thinks I'm stealing milk from her own calf.
Somehow, I deflected her kicks and actually got the milk machine on and off her last night and the calf fed. I thought that would be the worst of it......Boy was I wrong.
This morning I go out to milk. The kids are all sleeping, Dante's off to work. It's a busy day, and I was looking forward to seeing the new baby. I peak into the stall, and there's Juliette at the opposite end of where I left her, but still with her legs splayed out. This time I immediately got Jules out, lifted the calf, and she took some rocky steps. Well, at least she can walk a little. That's better. I'm gonna put her on the deep bedding pack where she can get better traction.
Then, I call Jules out, and get ready to milk. It's the same old poopy attitude as last night. Maybe worse. So I reach down and start handmilking a teat, I lean right into her. She keeps kicking me off and I keep grabbing that teat and squirting milk all over my pants. I know that she has to learn, that nothing is gonna shake me off--- and then we'll be fine.
I have no idea how, but after about 6 attempts that she kicked off, I get the machine on and she is seemingly settled down, munching grain and getting milked. Then I don't even really know what happened.
I walked over, squatted next to her, and I think I was either gonna check to see if milk was still flowing or release the vacuum, but without even shifting her weight, she cocked her leg up and kicked HARD, missing my face by maybe an inch. Somehow I got my arm in front of my face and she kicked me in the wrist. Oh, that hurt so bad. That's the most painful kick I've ever gotten. It rendered my left arm and hand completely useless. I really thought she broke it. The machine is hanging under her, and she's stepping on it. It's an expensive and crucial piece of my equipment. I fished it out from under with my one good hand, and then let her go. What else could I do?
I couldn't even use my hand for an hour. Bad thing is, she won that round.
I thought I might have to drive myself to the hospital, but the feeling came back. I still have some shooting pains, and it's hard to make a fist but otherwise it's still usable.
I am use to fresh cows and heifers, I'm not afraid of getting kicked. This is nothing new. But she has me kinda shook up. I'm actually nervous to try again tonight. I won't say scared, because I don't want to admit that. But I need a new game plan before tonight.
I also have a cut and large bruise on my thigh from last night, and I got kicked in the knee this morning too. What if I had gotten kicked in the face?The kids were all sleeping in the house, and no one else was home. I work primarily alone with the cows and usually don't give it much thought, until I almost got really hurt. It was really close, I tell you. Too close.
So, I need a little encouragement to get back in there tonight.
Dante would try to help me, but he is seriously allergic. The kind that triggers asthma, so I feel bad about asking him to come help me wrestle with her tonight. Even if he did, he'd need to probably repeat that twice a day for a couple days anyway.
I'm gonna try the old, " glove on a stick " trick, and maybe Dante can screw an eyebolt into a stud in the milk parlor wall, and I can try to tie off one leg. I don't own a kickstop because usually, I can just move slowly and hang on, and when they can't shake me off they just quit it.
Plus, the hormones settle down after a few days.
You know, she was born in the summer and ran with her mother and was just a very skittish but sweet cow. I do think she'll come around, but for now I need to feel safe enough to milk her again.
It might be a rough few days........

Friday, March 12, 2010

Jules is on Deck.....

She will be the next to calve. Within 2 weeks, probably sooner. Wanna take a guess? She gets all " swishy -tailed " whenever I try to touch her udder. Not a direct windmill-action kick aimed at my head, but she's dancing around and thwapping me with her tail nonetheless. Speaking of which , I got groped by a 3 yr old boy at Ayla's gym class. That was new. I should have guessed what was coming when he sidled up next to me, patted my arm, laid his head on my shoulder and then went for the gold. Frankly, I have 5 kids--6 if you count Dante--( I can write that because he RARELY ever reads the blog! ) so I am pretty used to it. You Moms know what I mean. Your body kinda becomes public property. Newly weaned Ida May has taken to blowing " raspberries " on my chest. Whatever floats your boat, right?

Back to Jules, if she has a heifer she will be named Julia or Juliette. A play on the book/movie " Julie & Julia ". Only this pair will probably be " Jules & Juliette ". I can use the milk. Ellie's bull calf is officially for sale. He is taking ALL her milk. He will be excellent meat for the freezer for someone. We are gonna butcher our bigger bull, Wolfie, after he breeds the cows and is on grass for a bit. He is becoming a jerk, gets all snorty and grouchy if you even look at him these days. Teeny was in heat yesterday, or maybe it was Happy, all I know is it was a DANGEROUS proposition to get in between her an any immovable object! I tried to take some pics of Jules but was scared to turn my back on her! I had to keep my escape route in mind. She just had this love-crazed look in her eyes.....The ram we borrowed for tupping ( remember that is sheep-speak for breeding ) is also a bother now. He uses his horns to dart under the fence and is coating the bottom wire with wool. This is very annoying for Dante, and thus slightly entertaining for me!

Amazingly my business is growing concurrent with the cows freshening. It seems, just as I seem to be short on milk--BOOM! Another calf hits the ground. I couldn't have planned it better, and believe me it wasn't planned! This years calving schedule was all left up to the cows, bulls, and romance under the stars somewhere on the back forty. I would have LOVED to have at least gotten a heads up, but NO---the cows want me to spend weeks scrutinizing their nether regions and discussing it in great detail with anyone who will listen. Zoie lives in fear of what I will let fly, in front of her friends. Of course I use this to my advantage. She had a friend visiting, and we were watering the cows. One of the calves mounted another. This is normal calf behavior, they do it as a dominance thing and just practicing being cows. The little girl looks at me and I can see it coming. " What are they doing? "
" Oh, just playing..." I say. " It looks like they're HUMPING." she says. So I say, " Fine, they're humping." And that was that. When you treat these things as normal everyday facts of life, that's EXACTLY how kids grow up viewing them.

That's one of the great things about being a lady dairy farmer . Not only have I learned every swear imaginable from other farmers, ( when you are dealing with a steaming 20 lb mound of excrement that just came out of the south end of your cow named " Happy ", to call it " poop " or " manure " just doesn't do it justice. It's sh*t. Pure and simple. Call me uncouth, or not lady-like, but I am very feminine, in a not so feminine profession. ) You also get to say things like:
" udder "
" teats "
" vulva"
" springing "
" sliming "
" mucous "
" engorged "
" she's holding out on me! "
" I almost got mounted by a cow today! "
and nobody looks at you weirdly! Okay, they still look at you strange, but you don't give a hoot! I love my job!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Does Muscle Weigh More Than Fat?

Only I could manage to take up running for an hour, every other day, in hopes of jump starting my weight loss---and GAIN 2 lbs.! Let's hope it's true--muscle weighs more than fat.

The power went out last night. Apparently a scheduled outage but I knew nothing about it. What really stinks, is that I had a bunch of yogurt incubating. The power goes out, shuts off the incubators, the space heater, AND the alarm set for 2 a.m., for me to get up and cap and refrigerate the yogurt. It's ruined. I apologize, in advance, to those who won't get their orders. I started another batch, but I don't think it will be done in time.
Ayla and Ida May were panicking because the night light was out. How do you notice the light is out when you are asleep with your eyes closed? I had to keep find my way to the bathroom by the light of my cell phone!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Kids and Cheese

I'm happy to report that we had a GREAT time last night. I laughed so hard and really enjoyed myself. Despite a huge setback in the morning, my Mom got sick and couldn't watch our 5 kids, after much brainstorming and many phonecalls we actually came up with some FABULOUS babysitters. They were perfect, the kids had a wonderful time and Ayla was safe and Ida May content. I'm still in a state of shock. I can't believe that they were fine. These lovely ladies were brave enough to take on watching Ayla, and readily learned what was necessary. No one has done that, I didn't think it was possible. Anything is possible, I guess.
It's a beautiful day, the cows are waiting for me. Jules looks REALLY close. She has been hanging around this dead tree that fell in their paddock during our last storm. I'm almost willing to bet, that's where she plans to drop that calf. She stands behind the small fallen tree and thinks I can't see her. It's like an elephant standing behind a telephone pole. She has one horn, and has been using it. The humane dehorning I started last March, was so humane in fact, that it only took off one horn! If she doesn't calve soon, I'm gonna have to take it off anyway. Either she has to be tied up, or her favorite victim does. Gale is the same story, one horn. I hate it.
I think I'm gonna make a Caerphilly cheese today, it'll culture while we are at church.
You can read about Caerphilly here:

The cream cheese is already started. It is a 2 day process, but I love that recipe best.

I'm gonna start some seeds too! We hung our towels out on the line yesterday, I stood, mesmerized, just looking at those towels waving on the line with the woods in the backdrop, I could hear Ellie softly mooing to her calf, Angus, --who is getting braver than she likes-- and slipping under the fence. Life is good.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A REALLY Big Beaver

I'm gonna " flashback " to one of our family memories. These are the things that you say you'll never forget, but you always do. This way it will be preserved forever! You can thank me for that later, Mom. This is a pic of Zoie taken on the day in question.

I must warn you, it isn't deep---probably nothing you could learn from, but is a typical outing for my mother and I.

We took all 5 kids for a walk on the trails. We had Ida May and Ayla in the double jogging stroller, and actually did a little jogging. We stopped along the way and ate a few fat juicy rose hips. Enough to stain our teeth orange. Upon walking for about 30 minutes we turned around and started to make our way back. That's when I spotted--THE BEAVER TRACKS.

" Look, you guys! There are beaver tracks! " Wow, that must be a REALLY big beaver! " " Or maybe a whole HERD of beavers! "

By this point we were all scooched down, pointing and gesturing loudly. We even showed another family the tracks we had found. Only Zoie questioned the authenticity of the beaver tracks.

That was when it happened............ My Mom took a step ahead of me, and there--in that exact spot where her athletic shoe had been, split seconds before---- was a perfect impersonation of a beaver track.

There were no herds of REALLY BIG beavers. Just one 5 ft 9in Grandma, wearing size 9 sneakers, that happened to leave a print that looked like a beaver track.

I still laugh thinking about that giant Beaver, because ironically we had been eating rose hips, and our teeth were all orange too. Just like a bunch of beavers.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Blah, Blah, Blah

I just somehow, mostly pulled off finishing the Thursday orders. It was close. I barely survived and had to meet the truck in my pajamas with my hair looking like Tina Turners's.
It is at times like this, that I really get amused by the strangest things.
I was just pondering some of my favorite words and I think I see a theme developing.
Oddly enough I use these words on a daily basis. Go figure.
Then Zoie, poor thing, is wiped out by basketball and some cruddy cold that Ida May has given us all twice. She just tried to make herself some cinnamon toast but accidentally put CHILLI POWDER on her toast. I'm still chuckling over that one! I fear the kids may be doomed to inherit some of my dementia.
The janitor at the school asked how we got the dent in the van, and all I could say was, " Which one. " Let's see first I was in a hurry, Happy was calving out in the field and I backed into the lawnmower cart. Then I somehow managed to back up at a fairly good pace right into a 10 ft by 20 ft stack of cement pillars. I was preoccupied, the sheep had just been moved into a new pasture and what can I say, I was excited to see them in that idyllic pasture. Took out the passenger side view mirror and the door with that one. Can I borrow your car? Or better yet, your nice 4-wheel drive truck. THAT would be really fun.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I need your cracker recipes....

So,I've recovered from my mini breakdown. I hope I don't come across as having multiple personalities! We ( ME, MYSELF, and I,...and Dante ) are having a party this weekend. Only this time it is for adults only. Yes, for the first time ever, all 5 of our children will be babysat overnight and I hope to enjoy some good ole adult company. Sometimes I'll even admit I've been spending too much time with the kids and the cows. When you spend your days cleaning up poop from multiple species, herding children and cows by waving your arms, clapping and yelling, " Move along, little doggie !!! " and just bursting into gales of laughter when someone farts----I think you need a little more adult converstaion!
Upon receiving an invite, one of the other pee-wee basketball parents said, " What's gonna be the entertainment? " I said, " Hopefully not me! " I'm gonna need a few drinks to cope with Ayla being babysat, and I do LOVE to sing and dance. I wouldn't recommend getting frisky while washing your milk machine with dairy detergent and vinegar. I managed to splash this concoction past my new glasses and right in my eye a couple nights ago. This was followed by even more frantic movements and hollering. Honestly, Dante didn't even bat an eye. I think he thought I was just enjoying the music with a little interpretive dance.
Seriously, this is long overdue, and she and I both need this experience. I have to let go a little, and she needs to have that fun sleepover experience. All I can say about Ida May's night away is---Have fun, Mom! You remember what having 1 1/2 yr olds was like right? I would say I'm gonna unplug the phone after 8:00 p.m., but I won't. You might want to! I'm sure I'll be making more than a few obsessive phone calls. Just joking, don't unplug it or you'll get an impropmptu visit as well!
All this chatter, to say--I need your homemade cracker recipes! I'm gonna make a cheese plate with some of my cheeses and want to do homemade crackers to go with it.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Superwoman Syndrome

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Do you ever feel the need to do and be everything for everyone even at the expense of yourself? A couple of weeks ago, there were two comments made in the same day that kinda made me pause. The first was one I've heard many times, " I don't know how you do it all---the kids, the farm. " I gave my usual response. " Does that seem like a lot?" To me it is simply what I do. Then a couple hours later someone else said, " Jessika is a strong woman." I thought, " Really?" I sure don't feel that way. I feel a bit like I'm always secretly on the verge of " cracking up " or failing, or falling apart, or letting everyone else down.
I really have this sense that if I let my guard down for one minute, it's gonna all spiral out of control and our lives are gonna fall apart.
Just so you know, I'm not talking about daily " good " stress either. I wish all I had to worry about was getting the kids to basketball practice, dinner on the table, the cows milked, the house cleaned.
I'm talking about really " heavy " things like serious financial strain, marital " issues " that make me feel like I'm the one with the responsibility for which way our family continues on, and one child with an incurable disease, and another with a rare speech disability that requires intense therapy. I'm also self-employed and a farmer. My house is also a mess and I haven't been doing very good getting nutritious meals on the table.
I am tired. Tired in a way that a few extra hours of sleep at night or a nap here or there aren't going to help. Tired in a way that makes it hard to get up in the morning but yet, nearly impossible to unwind at night and sleep. I feel like my body just won't move fast enough anymore, and sometimes I can barely think.
My poor cows. It is usually out in the barn that I finally let down my guard and have a good cry. I mean the really ugly ones that come from deep down inside your soul. They are loud and painful, and I wouldn't want anyone but the cows to have to witness emotion like that. The word " raw " is what comes to mind. I'm not writing this to scare off my customers, or get sympathy or attention. I've figured out that I have to spill out some of this " stuff " that builds inside me, every once and again, or it'll be toxic.
I really do feel better already. I just thought maybe someone could relate. Maybe someone has come through times like this and has some sage advice. For now I just has to BELIEVE and have FAITH that it really is gonna be okay someday. That is what I cling to.