Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Real Talk Tuesday...

   Today I want to talk about phone calls. I'm not even sure where to start but I think its something that a lot of people don't understand about me. I really don't like making or receiving phone calls, if its an unknown number or if I don't know the person I'm calling. For a couple of very personal reasons the phone ringing, and me not expecting it, sets off one of my anxiety triggers. It has taken me a while to realize this but it takes me back quite a few years ago to a time when I was really struggling financially and almost every time the phone rang there was a bill collector on the other end. In that same time frame I had taken a second job to try and recover from my financial troubles and wouldn't you know that second job ended up being a receptionist at an animal shelter. Well, I'm not sure how many of you know this but probably 90 percent of people who call or come into a shelter, are not inquiring about an animals to adopt. In fact its quite the opposite!  They either have a box of kittens they say were left at their house (which I rarely ever believed), or they were calling because they had a dog who they couldn't (or should I say they didn't want to take the time to train properly, or they hadn't done their research on the breeds characteristics), or they were moving, or having a baby or whatever the excuse of the hour was. The job also required me to return phone calls that were left on the answering machine during hours that the shelter was not open. So majority of my time there at that job was spent just dreading that door opening, or the phone ringing, or even having to make a phone call because I never knew what craziness I was going to be facing at any given moment. Because of the policies at that shelter it wasn't like I could just accept every animal that was being brought in. There was quite a protocol that had to be followed and if it wasn't followed then I'd get into a lot of trouble. So that was very stressful for me.
   My main, full time, job I was working in retail. So, I was dealing with customers (and answering the phone on occasion) for at least 6 of the 8 hours that I was there. So, for the few hours I was home at night I REALLY didn't want to see or hear another human being. When the phone would ring I knew it was most likely a bill collector anyhow so I'd let the answering machine get it. If it was a friend I'd sometimes call them back right away and other times I'd just put it off, because I just wanted my alone time. Needless to say, this became a very bad habit. When I was home that my down time, away from humans. I did not want bothered. I lived alone with the exception of my animals, of course, and down here on this dead end road there was little traffic so t was the perfect escape.
   So that was like 11 or 12 years ago, so what is my problem with phone calls now?? Well, lest see. It could be the fact that I have small children and every time I am on the phone one or both of them think they need to be in my face asking or telling me something in the loudest voice possible. Or, maybe its that if the kids aren't making a fuss, I'm trying to get dinner ready, or its chore time, or maybe by this time its homework time, or possibly its bath, story time and bed time....
  Are any of you noticing that phone calls are just not normally fun for me? If you call me and leave a message and I respond back by sending you an email or private message on Facebook, instead of of an actual phone call - PLEASE DON'T TAKE IT PERSONAL. It has NOTHING to do with you, honest! Email and messaging are just easier for me most of the time. I might not always have a chance to call someone at the moment I think of it, but I may have a few seconds to send out a quick post and you can respond when it is convenient for you.
   Recently I had someone ridicule me and say that I was hiding behind messaging instead of calling and dealing with an issue over the phone. That wasn't the case at all. I really did want to address the issue with him but my daily schedule doesn't always work out so I have a spare half hour or so that it would have taken to resolve what he was confronting me on and quite frankly I felt the 'issue' he wanted to talk to me about wasn't my problem to begin with, so no I was not going to take time out of my day to make a phone call about something that I didn't want involved in.
   So, please, if you call someone and they don't return your call immediately or they send you a message in another form, try to be a little understanding. Its probably nothing personal against you.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Just plain tired...

Yesterday I was just so tired. At first I couldn't think of a reason why. I had been up until about 1:30 am but that really isn't anything out of the ordinary, for me.
   Since it was Saturday I was able to sleep in later than normal, so I hadn't even gotten out of bed until after 8 a.m. I didn't have time for my tea before going out to do barn chores, like I normally would, because there was a scheduled power outage that was to start at 8:30 and I needed to get the animals watered before we lost power.
   After chores we left to check on a friend who has  recently had surgery. When we got home I went to my room to read. With no electric there wan't much else I could do, right? I know, I know, there are lots of other things that I could have been doing, even with no electric. I have no idea how long I read before falling asleep but I woke up around 1:30 p.m. The electric had come back on at some point between 11:30 and 1:30. The rest of the house sounded pretty content (I could here the boys talking to their dad and the tv was on downstairs) so I just rolled over and went back to sleep. The next time I woke up it was 3 p.m. WOW!! "I have slept most of the day" is what I thought to myself. But a wise women once told me not to feel guilty about taking a nap because if you are able to sleep, your body must have needed it.
   Once I finally did get up I felt so drained. I had no energy at all, my mouth hurt, I just felt icky.
I was hungry but didn't feel like eating because my mouth hurt - I think I forgot to mention that I had six broken teeth extracted a week ago. There were supposed to be 7 pulled but somehow the dentist missed one, so I have to go back in tomorrow and have that one taken out - My gums really hadn't been bothering me, until yesterday, not even the first few days after the extractions.
   I'm wondering if everything was just finally catching up to me. I had been under a bit of emotional stress (over the chicken incident - refer to previous post) in the last few days. I hadn't really been eating much of anything, for a week, because really what can you eat when you have open holes on both sides of you top jaw.
   I hadn't felt that tired in nearly a year, since before my gallbladder surgery when I was so sick. Oh. and I hadn't had any tea or coffee at all yesterday either.... I didn't have any tea in the house and quite honestly I was too lazy to brew a pot of coffee.... yes I was that tired! Hahaha ...
   I did feel a little bit guilty because it was 64° outside and I had promised my bunnies that I'd clean their trays the next warm day we got. At least they are trays underneath they cages so the bunnies are not sitting in the poo, but the trays are getting full and need cleaned. But with the pee and poo frozen solid it isn't easy to do. Thankfully today I feel better and could clean the cages, but everything froze up again last night. I guess that is that will have to wait til another day. Spring has to be coming soon, right?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

My rant for the day...

  When are people going to learn that animals are not a convenience item? They are a long term commitment. Some people seem to think they can acquire animals and keep them until its no longer fun for them, or the weather isn't warm enough, and they don't want to go out in the cold to feed them, or all of the sudden they realize that they can't afford to the feed it takes to properly care for the animals. Do they think maybe they should have done some research BEFORE getting those animals, and made sure they have the means and resources to care for them throughout the year? No, they didn't, because they just figure that when its no longer 'fun' for them, they can just get someone else to take care those animals..... and in the spring they'll either decide to go get the animal from that person who has been taking care of them all winter or buy new animals.... and the cycle starts all over again! 

I warned you that this was going to be a rant. And its something I should probably keep to myself. But wheres the fun in that? [laughing to myself] I guess I just need to get this out there, because I can't be the only one who has experienced this. Or maybe I am the only gullible one who gets myself into these situations, I don't know. 

Here is a bit of a background story to help you understand why I'm upset today...... A few years back I had someone ask me take their animals because they were in a bad situation at that moment and needed someone to care for the animals "for a while". Even after agreeing that they would give me a set dollar amount (and a very low cost at that) to pay for feed costs, I had seen nothing. The animals were here for months and I contacted the owners, stating that if they couldn't pay for the feed I had into them or at least come get the animals at that point, or find other accommodations for them, I needed to sell the animals. It was agreed that I would sell them and keep the money I got from the sale as payment for feed and care over the months that I had the animals. 
Fast forward to a week ago.... I got a Facebook message from the father of the person I had dealt with before. The message stated that some of the chickens I acquired in December were his.
He wanted to know what the plan was before he had a bill that he couldn't pay. Again, WHAT?? Why do you think any of these chickens are your's?
He said that 14 of the chickens I got (in December) were "on lone" to the guy I got them from and he was supposed to get them back in the spring. And from what I'm getting, he thinks I need to return his chickens or replace them with pullets in the spring.
Really? I have fed, watered, and housed these things for over two months and I did not know anything about your involvement, until now. So let me ask you, if you had gotten animals from someone and two months later another person shows up stating that those animals belong to them. HOW WOULD YOU FEEL??? In my mind I've paid for them. If nothing else because I have money into their feed and care.... not once in those two months have I seen any help from anyone else. No money, no feed, nothing. And that doesn't even include the time and money that the guy who I got them from had into them. How long can you expect someone to take care of "your" animals with no help and you still consider those animals yours to do with what you want?

And may I add that its always the nastiest coldest part of the year when there is no natural food for these animals, and feed costs are at their highest, when people think they can "lone" their animals out. Do you think I like freezing my hands, face, and feet, etc. to take care of animals that aren't even producing anything for me at the moment... NO... I don't .... but I also know it is part of owning animals. You have to weather the bad days as well as the good days. Why should I be expected to put in the hardest part of the work so someone else can come claim them for the summer, when it takes a lot less feed and labor to keep an animal. In the summer there is tons of food growing in nature and the chickens could pretty much fend for themselves and do quite well. Furthermore when I got these chickens I knew nothing about the deal you had with the other guy, so if you feel you are owed chickens - then take that up with him, not me.
I'd like to offer him a solution to his (and his son's) problem of acquiring animals they can not take care of for the winter. How about come fall put those animals in your freezer and let them feed you for the winter.

If I'm being a cold hearted wench then be that as it may, I don't feel I owe him anything.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Who is thinking about the County Fair in February???

That would be me. Not only does it help pass the time on a cold winter day, it helps me know what our plan is come spring time. For example: My boys like to enter the doe with litter and meat pen classes. We have to plan the breedings for those litters to be no more than 70 days old at the time of the fair. Same goes for the meat pens, but depending how your bunnies grow out, you don't want them too big because the meat pen bunnies have to be at least 3 pounds but no more than 5 pounds at the of the show. Roasters have to be under six months old but at least five and a half pounds but no more than eight pounds. Stew rabbits are required to be at least 6 months old and at least 8 pounds. Oh, and on top of all that, the entries need to be sent in by July 1st - 4 weeks before the start of the Fair. So as you can see it does take some planning. You can't just wait until the week of the fair to decide what you are going to enter.
This is my son *Z*'s Doe and litter

The meat pen that *Z* entered.

We took 24 rabbits to the fair last year. Here are both boys in front of some of the rabbits.

The boys were thrilled (contrary to the look on *K*'s face) that every rabbit they entered got something. All but one got at least 3rd place or higher. The one that didn't got fifth and still got an honorary which happened to be rainbow colored and my 4 year old (at the time) was into everything rainbows at that time so he thought he'd won the big prize -  and wouldn't you know that is the ribbon that got eaten by the rabbit. *K* was so bummed!
So, hopefully, with a little planning now we will have more bunnies to enter this year. The boys love showing their bunnies and goats at the fair. Planning for showing goats will have to wait for another post... oye.

We have a new arrival and some heartache here at the farm...

   Molly, the miniature Mediterranean Donkey, came to live with us two Saturdays ago. I have wanted to get a donkey for several years. Last week I was talking to a friend of mine who mentioned that he is trying to cut down on the number of animals he has, and also mentioned he had a mini donkey for sale. I had to have her!

   She has been here for a little over a week and seems to be settling in nicely. I'm hoping she will bond with the goats (especially the babies once they start arriving) this winter and stay with them once I put them out to pasture again in the spring. Some of my older does are pretty set in their ways so its probably going to take more than a couple of months for Molly to win those girls over. Any babies born this year and after should bond with Molly from the start win no problem.
   I'm hoping Molly will fill the void we have right now in the 'protection' department. We had our old Chesapeake bay retriever, Whiskey, who thought he was a Great Pyrenees. He was raised on a farm with a Great Pyrenees for a few years before we got him. He loved people but did not like strange dogs or other critters in the pasture with "his" animals. This past year he has been slowing down a lot and not quite been up to par in the protection department. I'm not really sure how old he was but we've had him for almost four years and the lady we got him from said she thought he might be at least 5 or maybe 6 years old then. Sadly, Whiskey passed away yesterday. He will be greatly missed.

R.I.P. Whiskey. You will be greatly missed by our family.

Four years ago today.

Six years ago today.


Monday, February 01, 2016

Beef Barley Soup

   I love soup. I love leftovers. During the winter months I think I could live on soup and nothing else, and be very happy. The only problem is that I am the only one in my house who loves soup that much. That being said, I can almost hear my family cringe every time they hear my soup pot hit the stove top!
   My stock pot holds 8 quarts so they all think we are drowning in soup by the time I get the pot full. I love it because I don't have to cook for a few days, and will still have enough to put some in the freezer for another day.

Beef Barley Soup

2 quarts water or beef broth
3 Tblsp. beef soup base (L.B. Jamison's) - optional if using beef broth instead of water
1 pounds for ground beef, browned and drained
1 onion, chopped
1 cup pearled barley
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 cup corn (I used frozen)
1 cup frozen mixed peas and carrots
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes

Bring water and soup base (or beef broth) to a boil. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for two hours or until the barley is tender.

My blog post from 6 years ago today is posted here if you are interested.

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