Friday, February 24, 2012

Guess Who?

Guess who got her boots stuck in the mud and stepped into a muddy creek in her socks yesterday...5 minutes before leaving for work?

You guessed it: this girl.

Guess which dog ran away across aforementioned muddy creek and then sat on the muddy hillside pretending he was stuck and couldn't move?

You guessed it: Jip.

Guess who went to work without knowing there was mud splattered all over the back of her jeans?

Me again.

We need a fence.

P.S. Guess who also watched a magic show for preschoolers in the elementary school cafeteria and then was asked to make a presentation about the summer reading program at the public library (in which I had to say that we weren't having the magician, in front of the magician) and they made me talk on a microphone.  And I thought I was just asked to be there to sit at a table and sign kids up for library cards and hand out bookmarks.  Has anyone else ever had to talk to a crowd on a microphone with absolutely no preparation?  Those preschoolers were terrifying.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Lawn Buddy

Look what Joey got for my birthday!  When we got home from dinner last night this was wrapped in Christmas paper on my dining room table!

I can't wait to break out my pleated khaki shorts and my loafers and fill this bad boy up with all my gardening tools.  Not many wives would be excited about a birthday present bought at the hardware store.  But I'm actually pretty excited about this little cart.  So excited that I actually cruised around on our wood floors last in pushed off the wall and threw my whole body on it as it careened across the room.  The dogs didn't like it.

So yeah, I spent my 25th birthday crashing into the couch pretending this thing was a skateboard.  At least I didn't crash into Daisy's water bowl and flood the dining room like some people I know...24 year-olds, yeesh.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Bring on the chocolate cake!  It's my birthday!

enjoying the wonders of chocolate frosting at an early age 

Actually, since I figured it was lame to bake my own birthday cake this morning (all right, I didn't bake one because I didn't have a can of frosting), I bought some M&M cookies last night from the bakery.

And since it's a Wednesday night and I live in the middle of nowhere, all we're doing to celebrate tonight is going to a Mexican restaurant.  Enchiladas...drooling at my desk.

The real celebration will be with family this weekend at home.  We're going home to celebrate Joey's dad's retirement and eat at a delicious Greek restaurant.  Then we'll celebrate my grandpa's, my dad's, and my birthday on Sunday (yay February babies!) with brunch.  The best part will be my mom's cheesecake. (Can you tell it's 20 minutes until I eat lunch?)

Every year, my mom makes my sister, my dad, and me whatever kind of cake we want for our birthdays.  My sister had pineapple-upside-down cake this year.  Every year I ask for chocolate-chip cheesecake with oreo crust...drooling again.

Both Joey and I are aching to go home and be with family after the rough couple of days we've been having.  There's something about hugging your mom and dad that always makes things better...even when you're 25.

P.S. I am older than Joey for the next 8 days 

Monday, February 20, 2012

The hardest thing

I had to dig my first grave yesterday.  Joey and I borrowed an extra shovel and together we dug a hole in the back of our pasture to bury our dear Phyllis in.

We tried everything we could think of to make her better, but both veterinarians we talked to told us that once sheep are down like that, they usually don't get back up.

There were a few times over the past few days when her eyes seemed brighter, her ears perked up, she licked the molasses block, and we held onto to a tiny amount of hope that she would get up.  But after five days, we had to put her out of her misery.

And so together we dug a hole.  And we talked about the hamsters we buried as kids.  And how our suburban upbringing did not prepare us for what we had to do.  And how this was the life we chose for ourselves, how we have to have a certain understanding of what goes into raising livestock.  We talked about how some people may think we are a couple of city kids playing pretend farmer, but what we were doing certainly wasn't a game.  We didn't want to stop digging.

What happened after we finished digging was the hardest thing we've ever done, together or alone.  We both cried as we shoveled the earth back into the hole.

I'm glad we did it together.  Neither one of us would have had the strength to do it alone.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Watching, waiting, hoping

We thought Phyllis was going to die last night.

Phyllis is our 9 year-old Border Leicester sheep.  And she wouldn't stand up.

Joey was in the barn with the sheep last night around 5:30 pm when he saw Phyllis' knees buckle and she collapsed.  And she wouldn't move.  Joey built a pen around her, gave her fresh water and some hay and called me on my way home from work to tell me the bad news.  He gave her a shot of sheep medicine and checked her hooves to make sure that wasn't the problem.

When we went to check on her around 10 pm last night, she hadn't moved.  Under the glow of our flashlights we rubbed her long nose and her drooping ears and told her she was a good girl.  We thanked her for Patrick, the lamb she gave birth to last year, the first lamb on this farm.

Phyllis with Patrick, hours after his birth

She rested her head on Joey's knee and closed her eyes.

We talked about the life we gave her after buying her last January with Christmas money.  We bought her from a farmer who raises sheep for competing in livestock shows and writes a magazine for sheep breeders.  We were looking for a bred (pregnant) ewe that was about 3 or 4 years old.  He offered us Phyllis (just a number then) who had traveled to fairs and livestock competitions around the country and was quite a "Fair Queen."  Unlike some sheep that can be skittish, flighty, or nervous, Phyllis was used to being on a lead, used to people.  He told us she was about 5 or 6 years old and that she had been preg-checked by a vet.  We brought her home a month before we got married.

We thought she was a rather dignified old girl, completely indifferent to the flighty young ewes that became her new flock-mates.  And we joked about her retirement on the farm.  When we finally got her paperwork, we found out she was closer to 8 years old.

Last night, we decided she was comfortable, gave her a few more rubs behind the ears, and said good-night.  We decided if she made it through the night that we would call the vet in the morning.

She made it through the night.  But she doesn't seem to have moved.  But she does seem a lot more alert than last night, her ears aren't drooping and her eyes are brighter.  I even heard a few "baaaas!" out of her.

Joey called the vet a few times this morning and finally caught her coming out of surgery.  He told her Phyllis' symptoms and the name of the medicine he administered last night.  The vet asked Joey if Phyllis is pregnant.  He told her that she might be and the vet said that if she is that old, she may just be tired from being pregnant. She told us to call again tomorrow if she hasn't improved.

We're worried about her.  We hope we haven't done anything wrong as her shepherds and caretakers.  Some shepherds de-worm and vaccinate their sheep every couple weeks and we don't.  For the most part, our sheep can take pretty good care of themselves.  We give them hay and corn and pasture to graze, fresh water, and shelter.  We trim their hooves and shear their wool and watch for sickness or lameness.  But otherwise, we let them be.

At this point, I don't think there's much else we can do for Phyllis expect watch and see if she regains some strength.  If she doesn't make it, we'll know she had a good year at our farm, and passed in peace on a warm bed of straw.

Patrick and Phyllis this winter


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Country Valentine

Some men spent their day yesterday making dinner reservations and buying flowers.  Joey spent most of his Valentine's day trying to get a tractor out of a ditch.  A tractor that was rear-ended by a semi-truck hauling hogs to market.  The tractor belongs to Joey's boss and was being driven down the road by one of Joey's co-workers.  After the accident, they spent the rest of the day trying to get it out of the ditch.  Luckily no one was injured.

After work, Joey ran up to the little grocery store and called me to ask how many boxes of pasta he needed to make a lasagna.  Turns out he wanted to make me dinner for my Valentine's day gift.  Unfortunately, his cooking repertoire is limited to macaroni and cheese and frozen pizza.  And his grocery shopping skills are even more limited.  And he had no idea what we already had in the pantry at home.  (Even if our fridge and pantry are full of ingredients for meals, if we don't have a few boxes of macaroni in the cupboard or a pizza in the freezer, Joey thinks "we don't have anything to eat.")  So he bought two boxes of lasagna noodles and $9.00 worth of macaroni salad.  And a package of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups because I asked for chocolates.

And when we got home from work, Joey learned how to make lasagna.  Somewhere in between sloshing marinara sauce and flinging shredded mozzarella, he said, "I like cooking, because you get to make a mess."

Half an hour later, we sat down to a home-cooked Valentine's dinner of lasagna and potato salad.  Made with love by my valentine, with a little instruction...  And even though I didn't technically get to put my feet up and relax while my sweetheart slaved away in the kitchen, I did get satisfaction out of our role-reversal and hoped that the experience would give Joey a better appreciation of the hours I spend buying groceries and cooking dinner.

Yeah right.  I still had to do the dishes.

At least I got to pick the movie.  And I'll probably be eating most of the candy bars that I gave to Joey, myself.

And even though I didn't get a dozen roses or a heart-shaped box of chocolates, I'd much rather have a clueless farmboy valentine than one who works long hours in an office and has a secretary to send me flowers.  At least my valentine can say 'lasagna' in a phony Italian accent...and always make me laugh.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

One year later

Sunday was our one-year wedding anniversary.  We couldn't believe that a whole year had already passed since we stood up in front of our friends and family and vowed to cook macaroni and cheese, let the dog up on the bed occasionally, and stop hiding dirty dishes under the sink (me) and to not put our dirty socks on the table and wash the dishes more often (Joey).

In the last year we haven't improved much when it comes to doing the dishes, but we do eat a lot of macaroni and cheese, there have been significantly fewer dirty socks on the table, and the dog gets on our bed for some snuggle/face clawing time before bed every night.

Since I didn't eat too much of my dinner at our wedding last year (advice for brides: sit down in your dress when trying it on), I tried to recreate the meal last night.  We had baked salmon with a cucumber dill sauce, green beans and twice baked potatoes. 

We also had the top layer of our wedding cake.  (Another thing, besides my dinner, that barely got eaten that night.  We each ate a forkful out of the two layer cake and the rest of it spent the last year in Joey's mom's freezer.)

Luckily, our marriage is looking a little better than the cake did after a year.  So I had to turn it around and dress it up a still didn't improve the taste.

One of my bridesmaids gave me this bottle of champagne at my bachelorette party and it had been sitting in our cabinet ever since.  This seemed like the perfect opportunity to pop open some bubbly.

It was a little quieter than the party we threw (or should I say my parents threw) last year (dinner for 130 people) but it was a good day all the same.  We had our dogs, sheep, and chickens, we had our house, we had a dusty old cake, and oh yeah, we had each other.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My new addiction

Anyone else addicted?

Because of this amazing pinboard site I'm inspired to build a bookcase at the top of my stairs...

look this stylish while feeding the chickens...

find words to live by...

learn how to make homemade deodorant/anything else I could possible think of DIYing...

find delicious new recipes to try...

dream of new ways of embarrassing my dogs...

and say "awww" over things like this...

Plus 258 other things I've pinned.  I'm telling ya, it gets addicting.

check me out at if you also wanna be completely non-productive but extremely inspired

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I didn't know you could spell

This is what I found one evening last week when I came home from work:

Signed with a muddy paw print (which was what got him into trouble in the first place.)  But I had to forgive him after such a thoughtful written apology.  Even if he had to ask his papa for help. 

And yes, that is a box of Reese's Puffs on top of the fridge.