Wednesday, June 19, 2013
We basically (independently) signed up for many of the same talks, and he says he'll sit by me, but he doesn't realize that this conference is immense - tens of thousands of people - so I might see him at dinner, basically. Maybe. It doesn't matter, because I know he'll be there, right? It's a great opportunity for both of us. I would feel nervous about sending my kid on a field trip that has layovers, so it's cool he gets to go, and so do I, so I don't worry as much. I am seriously the world's champion worrier. This is a fact which gives my kids' eyeballs plenty of rolling exercise as well as many laughs at my expense.
I am actually not looking forward to it as much as I was last year, although knowing what to avoid and what to look for will help this year. This is an overwhelming conference, although it is chockful of great opportunities. I am also pleased that there is a church very near the hotel - last year that was a problem. I don't feel myself if I miss Mass.
I was saddened to learn that a friend of ours passed away this past Monday, and his funeral is taking place when I am gone. He had just retired from his job not that long ago, and I am just so sad for his wife. They were very active in Marriage Encounter (which is how we met them), and he was an engineer like my husband. Even though they were a bit older than us, we had a lot in common with them and they were a great support to us. Look - I even talk about them as a couple - it is going to be hard for his wife. I can only imagine.
Things around the place are about the same. I haven't done as much outside as I had planned, but I have organized inside quite a lot and there have been a lot of kid-type things. I also got to go riding with my friend. It's a lot more fun to ride with someone than by yourself, unless you are working on showing, which I am not. She says I can use her arena and her horses to teach my youngest a bit this summer. Gibby is just such a mess, it's impossible to give a lesson on him. He wants his head to be right next to my shoulder at all times in the arena - a big drawback when you are trying to get a kid to learn to ride independently. He even does it in the pasture - only about three feet back - just far enough out of reach to avoid being caught. When I go out to deal with sheep, he runs up to me, but stays at arm's length.
Well, wish me luck on this trip (long, unpleasant, interminable flight) and lots of new learning to bring home.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
I forgot to relate my "country living" anecdote of the week yesterday.... I generally try to exercise (beyond the farm and garden) most days of the week. Many days this means attempting to run (ie walking most of it) up the huge hill across the highway. On this six plus mile route you not only have to dodge the drivers who think the one lane rural road is a highway but also the wild pigs and the escape artist livestock....one day it was an adolescent steer. My favorite walk buddies were the three buck kids who ducked through the wire fence and tried to suck my fingers. Must have been bottle babies. I really like goats, but was concerned about them walking around on the road with the speed demon grandmas (really, I have nearly been struck a number of times by speeding older women with depth perception issues).
I am jealous of the people on the other side of the highway because they have great internet options. Our service is so poor here. They also have the possibility of better views - but, then again, the one lane road, steep hill, loose livestock, and hurrying drivers would be frustrating- but not as frustrating as my truly horrible internet service.
On other notes, the nice thing that happened to me this week was finding that the pink shell ginger has sprouted. One day nothing - the next a nice sprout of 4 inches! A not so nice thing was finding almost all the collards in the outside garden infected with what looks like powdery mildew. I am really disappointed in that finding. Also, the hens are either really hiding their eggs or just not laying (possible, some of them are coming on 3 years old and some of them look to be moulting - again).; we're only getting a couple a day from 11 hens.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
The weekend was full of family and friend fun. We had two BBQs - one for family (20 of us and that's only two brothers and their families) and one for friends. Good thing we just filled our freezer with a 1/4 of a cow. I also canned up some beef in red wine sauce. I was disappointed that whole brisket and two chuck steaks (plus apples, carrots, and red wine) only yielded 3 pints - I wish I'd filled the pressure canner with jars of something else just to be efficient. I guess it's a case of live and learn.
I sold a ram lamb. It was Baby, aka Thing 2. These people came over in response to my ad for wethers and rams. They came with a medium sized dog crate which had a Nigerian goat already in it. They were SHOCKED at the size of the sheep - even though they told me they'd bottle fed a ewe lamb in the past. I pointed out the sheep that were for sale, and they kept pointing to my lambs. I told them that the lambs are NOT weaned (they'd told me they'd never bottle another baby) and NOT for sale (yet). Finally, they pointed to Baby, who is pretty runty.
I told them that he's not thriving and would never be large and needs to be cared for carefully. That made them plead for him even more. I think we can safely say they wanted a pet.
I do think I have sold the white ram lamb with the black spots - the woman who called was very interested - but she wanted to take him and bottle him. I am just going to tell her to wait until he's weaned, because I don't want to take the chance he won't do well like Baby.
I am now pau hana for the last day of 2012-2013. I am a little sad and at the same time, quite ready for a break!
Thursday, May 23, 2013
I wish I could say that about myself. These closing weeks of school are so hectic, my garden has gone to pot. Nearly everything in the greenhouse needs to be pulled and replanted. The sweet potatoes are taking over everything. The hens are hiding their eggs, the little cluckers, and I can only find a few at any given time. It's getting to be Easter every day at my house. My house isn't so bad, because I ditched the grading this weekend to clean, but the farm stuff is just neglected.
One victory, though, instead of suffering and starving in silence, my son let me know that although he paid for his emergency dentistry adventure - he is out of food and has no money. His self-proclaimed "nerd herd" has emptied his cupboards and drained his gas tank without producing the money they promised toward food and gas. I hated that he felt like he couldn't ask for help.
My soon to be 9th grader just walked in - they went on a huakaʻi to Punaluʻu. She excitedly told me they saw a dead puffer fish and too sea turtles. My budding marine biologist....
I actually miss my students today - I was ready enough to shut the door behind them, but I feel a little bereft today.
Friday, May 17, 2013
I admit he's been a lawn ornament most of this semester and getting on a spooky lawn ornament is not something undertaken lightly, plus I am committed to exercising 5-6 days a week, but I decided to honor her thought and take the boy for a walk. Literally, like a dog, for a walk.
Along the way, I let him stop and sample the grass. And I acted like an absolute fool - dancing around, running toward him, waving my arms. I can only imagine what people driving by thought. This horse is dangerously spooky, so the point was to make him completely inured to my antics. He's selectively spooky. You can sack him out with a whip, a plastic bag on a stick, any cloth, no matter how flappy and loudly colored - but raise your hand and he's out of there.
The first time I made an abrupt movement, he wheeled around and attempted to bolt - a good hold on the lead rope stopped him. I looked at him with absolute lazy body posture and said, "What's the deal, guy, go eat!" He stood there snorting at me, and then put his head down and ate. I did it again and again. For a good ten minutes, he stood and stared at me with one big round eye, but his head was down and he wasn't breathing hard - it was more like, "You are one crazy mama, you know?"
He started grazing with intensity and didn't even flinch eventually. Success!
Next step is mounting and dismounting and mounting, over and over.
I noticed when I came home yesterday, he was standing at the gate. I think he wanted to play some more. I am looking forward to summer and some horseplay.
Monday, May 13, 2013
It made me reflect, though. Our first few years here, we only had a 2300 gallon tank, and the only time we were really low was the drought in 1998 - four months without a drop. However, we've basically blown through 5000 gallons in just about 2 weeks. This means the 15 year olds looooong baths really do add up!
Living on catchment does indeed make you think about water consumption. We don't think of it as much as some drier areas, I imagine, but you have a very physical assessment of your water use as you feel the water levels dropping. The tanks are sealed, so I check their levels by feeling the sides of the fiberglass tanks.
We filter our water through a number of filters - a few for bathing and washing water, and many for the one spigot of drinking water. I do think our drinking water is the best ever, although I do encourage visitors to bring bottled water. We bleach our water and then filter (7 filters before it hits the drinking spigot), but just in case. The water is caught in gutters off the roof and sent to the tank. It is pumped from the tank through the pump house filters and then to the drinking water filters. Generally, beyond fiddling with the filters and one replaced holding tank, we have enough rain to not have to worry about our water system. When there is an El Nino year, though, we have had to preserve some. I don't know how the households that live in drier areas handle matters. We do have two teens, 17 sheep, and a horse using this water, but we also have 10,000 gallons of storage capacity.
Every so often, a politician will run with the idea of "upgrading" the island so that we all have county water. I always vote against them! County water is just BIG catchment tanks; I'd rather trust my own water management and not be charged for what falls from the sky in a lot of abundance here in the rainforest.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Had a neighbor call & ask for "a dozen to leaves"for lau lau. The jerk cut about 120 & left this pile of rubbish behind. I moved it to the compost pile - he just left it by the plants. Now I don‘t have enough for lei for graduation or for more than a couple of lau lau for myself.
On the other hand, as I was cleaning up I found a hen on a best... I knew someone was hiding eggs. I floated them & they're fine. I guess it was my silver lining.