Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hot and Cold

Tressa's Picture of Her Dad's Hat

 The Hot And Cold

We survived getting all the right presents to the right grandchildren for the January birthdays. I was blessed to have won a giveaway from a blog. Yes, they really happen and I won from and this wasn't the first time. I've won about three times, but this one was very large and I didn't even know why I entered because it was furniture for a child.

 I've never kept my prizes and have always passed-them-on to my family. Our Jane received a big chair/desk from the "give-away" and our grandson, a baseball card book. We were referred to the book by a long-time family member and if you know baseball cards, ya' probably have it.

Brown Tulle Looks Like My Pantyhose-Ewww!

J/K I Didn't Use My Pantyhose
How To Recycle Pantyhose URL On The Bottom of Card
Jake's Already In His Book
 It's been like everyone else in the country with the barometer going up and down constantly.

Super Old From My Grandfather-Broken!
We haven't had a real "East Wind" event. Maybe two dry winds so far in January. It's just been so cold. I never think in the warm Spring, that we've had some real frosty days and I'm tempted lately to buy  trees or flowers that won't make it like they used to, through our winter. It has rained just a little and there's been snow on the mountains, but I think we're heading for a drought again this year if the rain doesn't come. We just receive sprinkles and it's just enough to keep our mountains and fields full of green weeds.

I'm anxiously awaiting the birthing of our lambs. Our fluffy Anne Baby, is having a bunch this year and it's a bit scary. Our ewe is huge. I suppose it's because she isn't as tall as our White and she also has about three each year, but I wouldn't be surprised at five with this older ewe. We have a yearling and one lamb from her would be great. I could actually teach our youngest ewe how to accept her baby and allow the lamb to nurse. Honestly, tying the lamb to the fence with a rope around the girth and another around her rump and flank, works!

I always put vanilla or peanut butter or Vicks of the noses of the mothers and their lambs. I think it's habit because at least one of our dogs gets to the lambs and licks or nudges the babies. Dog/Wolf smell is sure to cause the new mother to give me another "bummer" lamb. I'd love that, but this year my goats are not due for another three months and there's no milk yet. Otherwise, it's great to have a chance to feed the baby lambs myself. Easier on me for the rest of their life. I'm their momma.

 It's almost lambing time and all it takes is a drastic barometer change in the weather and from there it starts one of the ewes to go in labor, if they're close to their date. I know it's a "wives tale" ... trust me -- I've had these sheep since 1989 and have kept track. Goats do the same and I can't even remember all the times I've had to rescue newborns from a fast moving rainstorm. I just knew and no wonder every farm had a barometer. Great prediction for weather change, wish our old one worked, so I wouldn't have to check on-line.

My Welding Gloves & I Was So Hot In The Cold-Hat Came-off
Nice Copper Ring! Yes!
This disbudding iron REALLY TURNS RED and the burn of the hair and flesh upset me a lot! It has to be done. This is the gross goat chore that has already ruined my desire for hotdogs for the rest of the year. I disbudded some Boer Goats over on the 4-H farm. It went really well. I didn't try to take off the big boy's horns, but I think we did about seven kids. The larger horns have these clippers that chop them off like cattle nippers and even our old-fashioned vet refused to try and do that procedure. He used a saw to take the horns off with a long, thin blade. But, he always did it after putting the goats to sleep and mean: really out! What a hard job to take care of the gaping hole left ater removing the horn. The horn is hollow and the sinus was opened-up. Yucky!

My 4-H (really mine) children and I would get really chewed-out for letting the horns get too big. Finally! All of this has sunk-in and no matter what's going on nothing will keep me from taking care of the horn treatment the first or second week, just babies. I have lots of grandchildren to remind me. They hold the new kids and rub their fingers across the top of their heads for emerging horns. The bucklings get horns a little earlier. Disbudding has been my all-time worse procrastination farm chore. Why do I do it? Punctured udders aren't fun to milk, broken horns caught in a fence let the goats die, and we've only had a couple that didn't want to kill us by using them as weapons, even bucks won't try and ram us if their horns are gone.

January was the beginning of my retraining for CERT. Easy to go because my Steve expects me to go even when I'm not actually enrolled in the class. I'm enrolled. There's no test at the end, but I do need to remember how to be safe and put out a fire with an extinguisher. I've been so enthusiastic this time because my daughter and grand daughter are enrolled and families from Church are participating. Steve makes it a fun time. I'm still learning and glad I have great gloves. It's only been more than a half a century for me to know gloves are important. I'm grateful I don't have to hit the fires with an extinguisher too often, I'm so afraid of fire. The drill included real fire and not the computer-controlled one. I think it's fake, yeah, it's fake. This fire at our station, for sure was not. A whole crew of firefighters watched as we took turns putting the fire out.

Steve Teaching and I'm Writing In A Big Book
What everyone doesn't know, is that my husband was injured after responding to a brush fire out at Balcom Canyon. He was neck-high in the brush and I actually told him I'd have to check him for ticks. January has been a chilly month so I'm grateful he didn't get any, but he fell quite a few feet when the bluff gave-way.

My Steve Waving At His Friend Taking Pics

Don't Really Know How Steep Until At The Top & Below Road Cars At The Bottom

January 18th was another Strike Team, but this time the fire was put-out. It's like Steve to hide his injuries, even from his first hernia from pulling hose back in the 80's. He's been off on light duty for this and will be for a few weeks, I wouldn't be surprised if this didn't involve his back somehow. He's not healing very fast. There's been lots of calls lately and some are very long. I think the "standing" in the street watching his sand-dam with the sewer flowing over, made him realize that he wasn't just sore from the previous days fire, he was really hurt.

Sewer Watch
Fires in the middle of January! It takes a couple a dry, windy days and a fire starts. This Balcom Canyon Fire could've taken the whole South Mountain if the wind had continued and because no one knows the weather pattern anymore the county fire department calls-out everyone and everyone presumes it will get worse. I've been looking on NOAA and the "Forecast Discussions" included the words "goofy" and "freaky." for our area this month.

Freezing In My House
One way or the other, we are hot and cold. The red-hot disbudding iron I use on the goats heads had me using welding gloves and I'm out there on the farm in my Canadian ear-flap, wool hat for the cold. A couple days later my husband's fighting a fire up the mountain. I'm freezing in my own house and I'm beginning to think I NEED to get forced-air heating with our propane. Of course, a whole-house fan for the summer. Oh my! Do I dare contemplate air-conditioning? Our unplanned escapes in the car seems the only way to be comfortable if it's hot or cold. It's comfortable if Steve and I don't fight over the temperature controls. Never mind about me, I take a blanket.

Just after Steve's fire we were coming home with a sick little grand daughter. My son's a firefighter, too. She saw the sky and startled she said, "Look Grandpa there's another fire!" I know it scared her, but it was our beautiful sunset. Grandpa said, "Sweetie, it just a pretty sunset like at the beach." Our mountains are always burning, but most times they're burning with a beautiful sundown.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

So Good!

What else is going to happen? So much good, so many blessings my heart seems that it can only take so much. I've been hesitant to write in my blog not knowing if I wrote about it this ...would my blessings go away? My thinking is, I know Satan has no control over my thoughts. Satan can send arrows of dark thoughts or images in, but I can send them on their way out threw the other-side and out of my head, but if I say my prayers out-loud, can Satan, hear my weaknesses, doubts, and worries and prey upon them?

If I say we've received great blessings, automatically would my blessing become upside down? Honestly, if I was someone else, whomever, that reads in my blog my thoughts would be: Great Blessings, hmmmm. --  my judgement would be that this blogger (me) is getting some really great temporal blessings like money, gifts, her knees are mending and she's up and out the door, her husband feels better (he has the flu) or this family's blessings are making life so much easier.

Nope, we didn't receive any of those kind of blessings, not at all and we're still praying for help in all those needs-even if it's just new hose for church, or jeans, or a blouse without holes. I would be so grateful. Yes, we could use those kind of blessings, but we have been blessed with better.

I think I understand that the Lord has a time to send blessings and teach us to be humble and have patience, only the Lord knows the time to set forth his purposes on earth. Our trials are for learning and we need to continue in prayer, faith and hope.

Last Sunday I was asked to give a talk on Elder David A Bednar's talk that he gave in General Conference, October 2012 and it was on being converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I remember hearing it and really liking his talk, but when it came down to understanding it completely, I was in trouble. Elder Bednar's vocabulary and analogy's were difficult for me. Not only did I have to really, really study but for the first time I had to look-up words, ask my family, and seek online for answers to fully understand, so I could deliver this talk the way it deserved to be given.  I wanted it to be effective and teach his message, which was inspiration sent to him by Heavenly Father. It was so necessary, important, and I became unsure I could do it.

I would be thinking about the terms he used like, "Weapons of Rebellion" and I started calling and asking  my family members about this "weapon" thing. I have a machete in the barn for cutting hay strings off the big bales of hay, was that my weapon. I received a simple answer that I should have known if I wasn't so anxious. "Mom, it's your favorite sins." I remember saying, "So what's my favorite sin?" and my answer was "You tell me." Okay, I knew what that meant, if I was truly converted to the Truth, I would give up SMOKING. Well, I don't smoke at all, but it could be someone's favorite sin and their obstacle of being completely converted could definitely hold a person back, even to keeping them away from Church worrying about it.

One other word was "undergirding" and Elder Bednar used the word to explain that our conversion should be built on the "undergirding" of a strong testimony. Steve and I were riding in the car and as we passed under the freeway bridges above us in Santa Barbara, going south to Montecito. I looked up at the bridges and I know why, that I did that. I needed to recognize myself the undergirding of the bridges. The south-bound lane and bridge we just passed-under was the old highway and there were square rocks placed under the bridge and their only reinforcement was the gravity of the highway upon the stacked, well-placed, rocks. There wasn't one bit of concrete or steel rebar holding them together. On the other hand, the new highway bridge north was a lot different. It had large iron pillars or tresses, lots of rebar all throughout the "undergirding" of the bridge. It also had strong arches that connected the two sides of the bridge and I know there was reinforcing all the way through the large arch. I'm thinking even a small earthquake is going to be able to destroy the southbound bridge, right there and the northbound bridge will hold tight. I understand. It's so similar to the Primary song of the "House Built Upon the Rock" and the "House Built Upon the Sand" one will fall.

I did give my talk. It was a little longer than I had hoped, but I received my Young Woman's Award. I think it's been four years since I finished the requirements. I was interviewed by the bishop, but couldn't receive my award because I couldn't get my book out of our sea-land container. The container had developed some holes in the ceiling and the rain soaked all my books, furniture, all of my Steve's pictures and things from his mission, clothes that I loved, and so many of our files in there ... and also my brand new bicycle. Everything's black with mold and mildew. It's toxic and because all the containers that held the books, etc. became filled with water, some of the boxes and containers had fallen down. Manuvering through there was impossible for me and told the bishop what had happened.

He told me sadly that I couldn't receive the award without the paperwork. He needed to see the signatures, my testimony, and the 40 hours of service that I had done. I promised I had done them all, every value and everything that had been asked of me. My daughter and I had worked together on our books while I served in the Young Women's calling. I was thrilled when she received her award, because I really knew what all she had done. She had set goals and then finished them. My daughter did it right.

After my bishop's interview I went home and started reading the Book of Mormon again and again. I read the Book of Mormon 6 times in a row. Beginning to end and I didn't count chapters..I just read. It still helps me so much. And .... as I read, I remember that each time I grab the stair-rail to my front door and climb the 10 steps ... I think of the "iron rod" the "Word of God" and how it's like the stair-rail at home that makes me stronger and able to reach the top to my porch and front door as the "iron rod" or Scriptures help me be strong spiritually.

The Iron Rod is The Scriptures I Want To Stay Strong
These were the days I needed to help my mother with her stroke, also with my mother, sister, and brothers and their confusion over money that my family thought I had taken from my mom. I so wish they had looked at the bank paper a little closer and had seen that the money went from my mother's savings account to her checking account. I just signed the paper-work for her with the bank's approval. The $10,000 was for her "Pat Boone" old-person-walk-in-bathtub. I was yelled at, my brother pounded his fist on my table demanding accountability. I had no idea what anyone of them were talking about. I didn't feel guilt or worry because I knew, it wasn't me. I hadn't stepped in my bank's door since 2001 when I deposited my daughter's county fair, auction check for her steer in her account.  Sheesh! I cried for days that my family thought that I had done such a thing.

I Really Hate To Cry, Headache, Me Too!

I was never mad. I'm not sure if it was from reading the Book of Mormon or figuring they would come around eventually. I was asked to not invite them to our family gatherings, we wouldn't celebrate Christmas together or exchange gifts at that time, or even Birthdays. My gifts to them that I had given previously, because they were deemed as showing-off and were returned to my porch with a terse note. I still think they just don't know how simple an 8 stitch scarf is to make. Me showing off? Not at all. Oh well, I gave it to another friend that asked me for a scarf, and happily was sent-off to friend. My crying didn't stop though, because I was told to not visit them. That I had caused hard feelings. I apologized, my family wouldn't listen and asked they all needed time away from me. They were very angry.

The Young Woman's award is a perfect example of accepting and knowing I did what was I was required to do and then did more. The more part was to strengthen me for a trial ahead, that I had no idea was coming to me. Our bishop was inspired to wait. He could've given me a necklace easily, but went by the rules and I understood and thought maybe someday when the container is cleaned-out, there would be my book and in "moldy form" I could show him, then. I don't know what happened or why now ... but before I gave my talk this last Sunday, he presented me with my award.

Now, Again there's more great blessings. Years of struggle and praying, the greatest of blessings is due to come our way and that will add another member to our family. There just can't be greater joy than to know another baby is on it's way. We see a couple other and different blessings on the horizon and have great hope that these too, will come to our family.

We've had additional blessings with all our grandchildren and as they have grown older and more mature and they are blessing us. My family comes to my rescue as recently as this evening. My FJ became stuck in the deep soggy clay. It's been raining and our pasture was just plowed and how did I think I could maneuver a 4X through that? I did it because our stallion was sick with colic and needed me. The dogs kept him moving in his corral (I couldn't take him out in the sticky mud, he would have fallen down a lot and probably hurting me in the process) I dumped out his mud-filled water that he had knocked into his trough. I cleaned it and filled it again to overflowing. He was grinding his teeth and eyes almost shut. I spent my last few dollars on a huge block of salt that he adores and the FJ was my only hope to get that huge salt block out to his pen and across the arena. There was no way I could carry it. I used a dolly out at the pens to roll the big salt block inside the fence and under his shelter.

I got stuck just at the far edge out by the gate. There must be a low spot of deep clay soil and I sank. I could feel the ridge but the tires were covered with thick mud and no tread was showing at all. Without the tread my tires were as slick as the mud. I just spun the tires and tried to move reverse and forward repeatedly. My daughter saw I was in trouble. I think my grandson saw me first, but she pulled the hugest chain out. Huge, in that it was too heavy to lift in her car. She tied it with big hooks to my FJ and then to her trailer hitch on her Mormon Van. I put it my FJ neutral and it didn't move nor did she! So I tried to use the 4X and she pulled me right-out, no problem, except she had to drag that huge chain back to her garage. I'm thankful. I did look back and our "Sonny Horse" had his head in the clean water and he walked over to start eating the alfalfa in his feeder. At dusk, as I was walking up the stairs to my door I yelled-out to my daughter and grandson how Sonny was doing and they both said fine, he still eating.

I'm so thankful that I have a family that cares for me and watches out for me. They all call, they message me, and send me so many pictures and I'm so grateful and thankful for all that they do for me. I know my husband spoils me and he has no idea how my love and appreciation grows for him.

I guess this is my thankful post to my blog for me to remember that blessings come when the time is right and even great blessings come to us while we're waiting for all those earnest prayers to be answered. I need to remember patience, time, overcoming trials is a learning process, and I need to remember that I have great blessings all around me that I need to recognize. This is my gratitude post and I should have been writing many of these posts all along.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fairy Tales or When World Collide

I used to think after seeing my favorite musical movie "South Pacific" that when I was first in love with my husband that "happy-talk" was really something true and we were both filled with hope and we were setting-up self-fulling conversations of dreams and planning our future together.

  Happy talk, keep talkin' happy talk,
Talk about things you'd like to do.
You got to have a dream,
If you don't have a dream,
How you gonna have a dream come true?

Talk about the moon floatin' in the sky
Lookin' at a lily on the lake;
Talk about a bird learnin' how to fly.
Makin' all the music he can make.

Happy talk, keep talkin' happy talk,
Talk about things you'd like to do.
You got to have a dream,
If you don't have a dream,
How you gonna have a dream come true?

Talk about a star lookin' like a toy
Peekin' through the branches of a tree;
Talk about the girl, talk about the boy
Countin' all the ripples on the sea.

Happy talk, keep talkin' happy talk,
Talk about things you'd like to do.
You got to have a dream,
If you don't have a dream
How you gonna have a dream come true?

Talk about the boy sayin' to the girl:
"Golly, baby, I'm a lucky cuss"
Talk about the girl sayin' to the boy:
"You an' me is lucky to be us!"

Happy talk, keep talkin' happy talk,
Talk about things you'd like to do.
You got to have a dream,
If you don't have a dream
How you gonna have a dream come true?

If you don't talk happy,
And you never have dream,
Then you'll never have a dream come true!

 Finally, at age 62 reality has set-in and I'm surprised that it's taken this long.

Fairy tales equal "happy talk."  When Steve and I were imaging what our future was going to bring, I should've counted on exactly the opposite of what was actually going to come to pass. I'm not saying that about our love for each other. Our love hasn't diminished at all. Actually, it's very much the opposite. Of course, we love each other more. I can see I love him more in very bit of time-span. I just have to think about it just a little and my heart knows, I love him more than I did the day before. More and more I miss him the days he's on "fire-duty" and I worry about him more than I have in the past, even though I know he's more wise and makes decisions based on lots of experience and training. Steve's choices seem to me that they're never wrong. I quit arguing points with him a long time ago on anything and everything. I think that's called trust. Steve just left to go visit his very best friend that was taken by ambulance to the big hospital in Ventura, just a few minutes ago. I know his heart is racing just like mine. We're about the same age and we've only known him only three years, but he is such a kind wonderful man and really a part of our family. I want to draw a sad face on my blog.

My life and Steve's has not panned-out nearly in the pattern that we had set-out for in life. I guess things have changed so much in this world. We've had so many unexpected events blossom into a bush full of crisis'. I'm not exactly worrying about disaster. Both of us have had enough disaster training through my husband's CERT instructions and has had training meeting for many years and  I never thought my illusions and "happy talk" of my life would be filled daily with "all happiness and wonderful events."  I knew there would be challenges and trials, that's just part of life. I just saw me in a gingham dress, out in the yard and meeting him at the flowered, white picket fence gate each evening as he came home from work. Duhr, he's a fire-fighter and Steve hates gingham anything. Must've been that huge, pink gingham dress I made when I was first pregnant. I wore it completely-out.

 The reality is that trends in my life alone, have not changed since I was a teenager. I get notions (crazy ideas) and each changes somewhat with season of the year ( I do hang-on to them) and the whole plan or event can be put into Act I, Act II, scene 2. Sometimes they all have the same title just different players, or the opposite. The headings under each act even have real names. The whole focus each time is my family, our home and ranch, and on me and how I maneuver all of the storyline.

Honestly, I'm a one-track person, I can't juggle a lot of problems or even a lot of chores at the same time. Sometimes I try and change everything around including activities, conversations, and reactions from others, maybe to make a challenge easier? I'm not at all a controlling person or I don't think I am, because nothing ever, EVER turns-out like I had it figured. It's like a giant knot of string in a whole bunch of colors that are so tight that cutting it away seems the only answer. I could fill journal page after journal page with events that run this very course over and over like a old worn, meandering, cow-path down a hillside.

"In a Nutshell" the scoop: Life is not like chocolate in a box because I've already memorized all the pieces and there's reference information already on each box. I can count on that everyday has complications. Honest, this place or where ever we are, there's something that happens. I really do try and make fixes and put Bandaids on them all. Whoa, that explains a lot--really we do use way too many of those, "for reals" and have since I was a little kid. My dad always said a Bandaid would make it all better. I need a big Bandaid all the time. Oh, my gosh, I hate using metaphors and that seems to be my M.O.

So, even now when I'm my writing a post as a way to try to clarify my feelings, the more I write words about it, the point somehow gets smothered my effort to explain it. IT! Another is "Beating around the Bush" I'm so totally there. Even the online dictionary has an explanation for that particular saying that is to avoid coming to the point; delay in approaching a subject directly. The only clear point in this post so far is that when you have lots of money and means, a person or corporation can have a huge problem(s) that I can't even fathom. We have the same headaches, but were not running IBM, but the result and enormity of the problem(s) seems to us as serious and the headaches are the same.

My Favorite Bush (Tree) A Manzanita

Honest, I'm not really in trouble. I know it sounds like I am, but I'm just trying to put some light on how when we were a lot younger we perceived our life to go a whole different direction and it's absolutely nothing like we had imagined. I can't think exactly of specific problems that needs solving. Well... I can, that's not hard. But you know how ya' hear people say,  "I don't know how to get there from here" or even, "You can't get there from here?" Simply all our problems seem to fit in  that category of, "I can't do that, until this is done." Right? Have you ever been there? We can't paint the kitchen until the broken refrigerator is moved-out. It's too heavy for Steve or I to take down the stairs and the porch probably won't hold it anyway. If we do move it, I have to sand, then put new whatever that plaster is called where it leaked through the roof and cracked, but we can't do that, until we re-roof the house. I do have the color chip that I want to paint the kitchen though.The one easy step that makes all the others insurmountable. This is not a metaphor, this is real life!

If I think about all that we've gone through in our lives. Holy cow! Truly, it even involves real Mafia people. Crazy things happen and there's sometimes we have zero control over all of it.

Story Time and it's downfall:

 The Ventura County Fair

I can give a simple example. I wanted to paint a barn cut-out and some animal cut-outs, make a fence and paint every single tool we take with us to the fair, including and I know I'm missing something-- the broom, scoopers, rakes, little brushes, chairs, buckets, a small wheelbarrow, and stanchions to decorate for Fair. I wanted to really upgrade the look of our livestock area to be super cute and a little girly for Kiely. I had made a long pendant banner of yellow flags to hang across our pen areas. I sewed the whole time we were at the beach house. I had a long bunch of sections of short picket fence painted and antiqued, two goat cut-outs and a little hen sitting, bigger than life-sized on a nest. It would be there when the barn window was opened, a chicken would be sitting on a nest tucked inside and fastened with tie-wraps. The door even had an old barn door handle. I'm always tired at the fair and I had a new bench painted and decorated with the FFA logo, for people visiting the livestock section of the fair. So many people were desperate to sit somewhere and need a rest from walking so far. The first place they would sit on was on our straw bales (the bales by the end of fair turn to mush, even if they're covered.) The bench seemed to be a great idea. I had hay baskets in yellow, water buckets in yellow, coats to cover the clean goats in yellow with even matching socks for show day. Oh, and name cut-outs to hang on the fence painted to match each dairy goat. I really over did it. But my daughter did too. All her posters were framed and she bought some easels if we didn't have room to hang on the fences with her money from working after school. Steve bought five live hanging ferns to put down the center isle. We were moving in.

Our Farm Sign High in The Top Left Corner
I painted and painted and decorated the little red barn with white cross-hatches. My two goats were perfectly painted with shading and matched our best goats in our barn that were going to be shown in fair. They looked so much like the goats, you could tell who they matched. They were almost life-sized. I drilled holes in the barn and decorations so that we would never have to nail anything. I didn't want the wood to split. We decided to use tie-wraps to hold everything in place, even the feed baskets. The big newly painted tack boxes, if placed just right, are used as a bed and my grand kids can rest between shows or just take a nap. Kiely especially needed a place to sleep because she was Junior Fair Board President and worked almost all the shows they put on, clear into the night.

Those events that Kiely participated in were though-out the fair 
and included stuff like: "mutton-busting" "hog-calling"
 "pie-eating" "karaoke" and the rest of fun stuff. 

Our Grandson Jake Won! 
 Aunt Kiely wasn't able to vote so she was the announcer. Very fun!

Of course for her rest area, I had matching pillow cases and blankets. If you think I'm way over the top-I'm not the only family that did all those things. All of us did it and in every color, even purple. (I think that was Piru's color) We weren't looking for a stall award, just wanted to have everything just right, especially her last time at Fair as an FFAer. The next year I knew Kiely will show 4-H again, but everything's still going to get repainted yellow. I hoped the other things I made stayed nice and ready for the next year.

I worked all summer at getting these ready while my Kiely worked on her shaving and washing her steer and doing all the shaving of the dairy goats. And trust me, all of this is not easy in humid 90+ weather. She also made all the posters that were required for teaching the younger 4-Hers and public about the animals. I'm thinking that we could use all of these decorations from year to year and when Kiely was done showing the goats my grandchildren could use them. The decorations looked professional and I even put lots of clear protective seal on everything even the posters were laminated, so it all would last with little touch-up and we even made a farm banner from a canvas painter's dropcloth. I hand painted and then Kiely stenciled yellow checkers in the background and oak leaves around the letters. The farm name was in a cute and readable font.

 We were done a week before fair and everything had completely dried without any tacky places anywhere. Only the two little doe kids needed shaving and that had to be done the day before we had to leave.

Here's the end result. We were finally were assigned the first five stalls. Kiely and I knew it was our turn. But unexpectedly (my middle name) we had to move away from the end of the barn because it was too close to the vet testing area and a new place for Dr. Mike. We had worked years to get up to that area in the barn. All exhibitors start at the end of the long narrow barns and work their way to closer to the show arena. We had to MOVE after Kiely and I had set and decorated everything. So, with that move it crowded the goat stalls. The barn was put against the wall in the back in someone else's livestock area with not one place to put any of our decorations. Our picket fencing was used by Kiely's employer, Dr. Mike who did all the animal testing for the fair.

 Dr Mike G.

 He needed a pathway and thought the fencing was cute. There was just one little section that he threw to the side. How could Kiely say no to him, she was working for him during the next school year? Kiely was able to use the extra small picket fence for her steer and it did look good over on the steer-side.

All our goats were put in only two stalls and I had to beg for that. It was the open and windy, cold side. The goats went from 90+ degree weather to well under 70 degrees because the fair's right on the beach.

Right-off  our goats were bunched together from four pens and a milking and feed storage area, to two pens in the front, so cold and damp. The baby goats were sick by morning. The complete layout all changed, the little hen was stolen out of the barn and vandals broke the legs off the goat cut-outs. I had so carefully sawed each one out of quarter inch plywood. I didn't want it to be too heavy. Our farm sign was perfectly set-out in the top of our pens, but had to be put on the fence closest to the public. We had graffiti artists visit our site during the night and ruined my sign after only two days. A run-away steer caught the edge and ripped the top half when the kids tied him to our fence. Ripped, dirty, and painted ugly, our sign went into the trash.

Grand Daughters Adree and Hannah
The sick baby goat kids were treated by Dr. Mike, but the day of judging and showmanship was so upsetting because the goat show wouldn't wait for the steer show to be done. Kiely couldn't show in two rings. Why couldn't the show wait? My little grand daughters jumped-in and tried to show our goats. All they knew is that the feet needed to be straight under them. I just watched and figured all of this is just what the fair is always--not fair. The baby kids had been shaved just the day before fair and during judging they seemed a bit hunched-up, but not completely sick. Our judge knew that they were so cold but she placed both really high and gave the goats great reviews. I could see that the judge was really bothered by kids showing the goats without knowing how to do it. She rolled her eyes and would slap her head like my grandchildren were toddlers. I think they did wonderful. Kiely gave them all the ribbons, even the Champion and Reserve. She would've paid them if she had the money for it.


Champion judging ribbons. Honestly, the little girls were darling!

Back Pocket Full of Ribbons

 I wish Kiely could have done the showmanship class she would've done beautiful, even though the steer judging was over Kiely's clothes were a mess.

My bench was in a different place in the livestock area everyday that I arrived in the morning. It was like parents and kids thought it belonged to the fairgrounds. Ugh. My barn cut-out fared pretty well, but inside of another goat pen pen the wood was chewed all around the edges. I suppose it was out of sheer boredom of goats being in small pens. The parents of the children that had those other goats in the "other" club didn't care about my painted barn. I just squinted. I'm sure it tasted nasty, but the goats chewed on it anyway. It was never, ever meant to go inside of anyone's pen.

I still have the banner my Tressa gave
 to me as a present for fair and I hung
 at the end of the long isle of the barn and loved it.

 The garden flag is still in our barn after we brought all the yellow junk home. It was the only thing that made it without damage. It's a flag banner of  honey bees and a hive, it was brought to the fair, brand new and it said,  "Bee Happy!" I was so grateful for the garden flag back then to remind me to be happy. My "Bee Banner" is a private treasure. I'm so grateful for the sign, dear Tressa!

The Garden Flag Stayed There The Whole Fair!

At the end of fair the missing chicken was never found. I still have the picket fencing although the pickets are a little loose. The barn still looks okay and could just use sanding on the edges and a bit of repainting. The one goats should've been completely trashed but I brought them home for a patterns. (like I'd do this all again?) My bench came home and is in need of another paint job but  it's still strong and we use it all the time.

Those Brown Bat-looking Things Are Sycamore Leaves In Our Shavings

My thoughts were always that my grand kids will love this when they go to fair, having all decorations already made. The whole fair area has now been remodeled and there's no walls, just pens and no where to put decorations, a farm sign, nor livestock poster information, or interactive learning designs that have always been required by the fair pen judges and livestock superintendent.

If anyone ever has a play or needs farm props for a parade ... I have them! Even a palm tree that goes with it all. This stuff I made was only used one year and made to be used for years. Kiely didn't want to do dairy goats her last year and I didn't force the issue. I understood.

Being Happy!
As I walk down the isle of our barn I always look at Tressa's banner, shades of yellow and black with cute bees working around a hive with sunflowers in the background and the words, "Bee Happy". I can honestly say I gained a lot from that experience. Hang high your farm sign. Never put a removable chicken inside your barn -- tie wraps come off with scissors. My fence looked great over by Dr. Mike, in the vet's area next to our stalls. If the barn never, ever is used again just seeing it in my barn reminds me that I tried to do my best to help my child. The "Bee Happy" is the greatest. It still looks new, but has lots of cobwebs and dust. It's never been outside the barn and hasn't moved since we brought it home from fair in 2008.

My blog post wasn't going to be about my decorations or about the Fair. It was about me working on something that didn't work-out exactly like I planned. I know life isn't perfect or fair and I wouldn't want it to be. We wouldn't learn anything, but just a few times can't there be successes? A job well done? We worked so hard. So all of this is "par for the course" it's how we roll. I never thought all this would be so hard and I'm not writing of the decorations, there's worse, a lot worse ... but the experience at The Fair that year went like the bad stuff was all planned. Okay, I know the goats, kids, and grandchildren did wonderful and I was smiley amused by the judge impatience, actually and I'm glad I took pictures of the children showing the goats and also the first day when we had the pens all up, decorated, clean and it looked so good. I have proof.

 So, I'm just trying to look in the barn and "Bee Happy" whatever happens, even when it's a flop, skip, break, fizzle or no pay, very sick, or even a pet or someone leaves us to go to Heaven. I need to visit the barn and look at Tressa's garden banner. Like a couple weeks ago: "Oh no, my bread maker jumped-off the counter, busted" Great, I need to relearn to mix and knead dough the old-fashioned way, again. Ta da! I'm taking a walk to the barn.