Sunday, November 18, 2012

Up for Air

I don't dare look at how long it's been since I posted last.  I'm not even sure my faithful readers are still checking in here.... Mom, Dad, are you out there? ;)   Anyways.  I've spent the entire day working on the analysis section of my senior paper that was due yesterday.  And, I'm not done yet.  But I'm going to bed soon anyways. I knew I was getting a little tired when I started assigning my survey participants names of literary characters.  I have Mrs. March, Mrs. Bhaer, Miss Ingalls, Mrs. Wilder, Miss Shirley, and Miss Huddleston.

My roommate was a sweetheart and did my dishes for me tonight.  She even packed up my beets that I cooked, cooled, and forgot while I was immersed in my analysis of my survey results.  I only asked three survey questions but most respondents gave multiple answers so that left me with lots of data to sift through.  And of course, how do I want to arrange it, represent it, or quote it?  So many options.  So out of time!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fair Moments

After working in the County Fair Livestock Office for six years, I never tire of sharing the funny moments in the midst of the frenzy of fair.  Here are some of this year's "fair" moments:

"Ummm, excuse me?" A teenage girl and boy stand peeking in the door to the livestock office trailer.  I look up from the show paperwork I'm sorting and ask how I can help them.  "My pig ate my bill of sale," the girl replies.  I muffle my laughter and ask to see it.  The boy pipes in that they have a copy of it but they were told we need the original.   The paper is mangled and has a large snout shaped chunk taken out of it but all the pertinent details are there.  I grab the tape and a sheet of paper and use the new paper as backing.  The bill of sale salvaged, the teens head out to take their pigs through the weigh in.  I burst out laughing at the thought of what their FFA advisor's face would look like when they told him.  "My pig ate my bill of sale..."  Wonder if that pig got the taste for paper from a steady diet of homework?  Or better yet, who put the pig in charge of the bill of sale?

Every group has "special people."  Fair is no different.  I actually kind of want a shirt that says "NOT a member of the 4-H Drama Project"  But, both sides of the livestock aisle has its share of drama.   Oddly enough, the people who create the drama are the ones who are most passionate (or competitive) about their animals, children, or event.  In the six years I've been in the office, I've heard a lot of drama.  My favorite this year was the rumor being spread about during weigh in that the scale was 70 lbs off.   Each animal has a specific weight range required to be shown.  If the scale was that far off we would have either a lot of underweight or overweight animals.  The idea that the scale was 70 lbs off was laughable. 

Each year, I end up trying something new in the Livestock arena.  Last year, I did some announcing.  This year, I checked tattoos at vet check for the dairy goats.  I like goats.  I was a part of the dairy goat project when my siblings were showing.  I never did tattoos.  Never looked at tattoos.  But, we needed someone with goat experience to go out and check tattoos.  In theory, I knew the tattoos were done in the ears or, in the absence of ears, the tail. I grab a flashlight (for a backlight) and wipes (to clean the area) and head out.  Now, my siblings raised Toggenburgs. Lovely mocha colored goats with white markings.  And light skin.  The first goats through the vet check: Alpines.  With DARK ears.  Goats are tattooed with dark green ink.  Try spotting green ink on black skin...  Even with a flashlight for back light, it was like trying to find a green bead in a box of blue beads that someone is shaking in the dark.   Plus, every tattoo varies in placement in the ear.  Seriously, goats with black ears should be tattooed with black light ink.  It would be so much better. Trying to figure out which way was up or down to determine if it was a letter or number was a challenge.  I was just looking to see if there was a tattoo much less trying to read it.  "What am I looking for?"  "A3"  "Ok... I sort of think I see something that looks like that" All this without slowing down the line of animals cleared by the vet so they could get out of the hot trailers and into the building.  It was a challenge that made me laugh and say "never again!"    

My other favorites were the freshly tattooed goat kids.  You knew where they had been tattooed by the large amount of green ink in their ears.   The ink needed to be wiped off in order to read the tat.  Such lovely green ink which sticks to your fingers and gets into your cuticles.  I didn't mind the ink on my hands.  The green thumb look works for me but I still have a remnant of ink in my cuticles. 
On Saturday, I arrived to find a goldfish in a nice little carrying container sitting on my desk.  There was a note.  The fish and the note had been left outside the door and found by the Livestock Manager.  The note read:

D3AR Livestock Office, 
I can no longer provide 4 my baby gurl.  
please spoil her rotten.  
Her name is Jazzy.   
Thanks I love you,

It took me a day but I found Jazzy a home. In the meantime, the note and the fish became a bit of a local livestock legend. We even thought about auctioning her off to benefit the Ag Boosters.  I also sent a picture of the note to a couple of friends thinking they would enjoy the laugh.  But I forgot to explain that Jazzy was a fish...  :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day, Daddy!

 "I only talk to my dad while I'm waiting for my mom to come to the phone." - Overheard

Whew!  I am so glad that isn't true for me.  I love talking to my dad.  He's funny, kind, insightful, and he keeps secrets.  When I need advice but I don't want mom to freak out, I call my dad.  When I have a funny story or want to talk about church stuff, I call my dad.  Sunday afternoons, we tally burnt out light bulbs in the sanctuary, clogged toilets, and anomalies like marshmallows being ground into the carpet. We joke about playing light bulb catch from back when it took a suction cup on the end of a long rod to unscrew a light bulb.  (The suction would give out once the bulb unscrewed and the goal was to keep the bulb from breaking before throwing it away.)

He coached my t-ball team, was a 4-H leader, driver, and did beekeeping with me (with a severe allergy to bees).  He drove a group of four girls five hours for a meeting and waited for five hours to drive us home.  He helped me coordinate a plant contest.  He built our playground.  He's cleaned barns and was ranch manager for our 4-H club.  He got involved in the local rifle range because his kids were interested in shooting.  He loves Pride and Prejudice (the six hour version) and Chuck Norris films. 

He taught me how to draw house plans, about architecture and painting, to drive a manual transmission, basic home repair, and basic car maintenance, and he tried to teach me geometry.

He's been my walk partner for years.  On Saturdays, we wander pretty neighborhoods, admire and critique the homes, and talk about life.  We rode bikes together for a few years.  He took me to the airport to watch the planes land.  I learned how to ride the bus that day, about friction and heat and why smoke comes from the wheels when the plane lands. 

He taught me how to swim with mom.  He coached me on my strokes since he was on the swim team.. 

He's also the dad that sent me to camp with a flashlight that would go dim and die with fresh batteries.  He sent us off camping without tent poles. TWICE! 

He's a dad that loves his kids!  He's supported us, given us boundaries, helped us grow, and celebrated with us.  We love our dad! 

Dads' don't always have positive connotations.  In the last few years, some dear people have lost their dads.  Others are in a difficult place with their dad.  This makes my time with my dad so much more precious.  I am so incredibly blessed to have a dad like mine.  I love you, Dad!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

 Back in March, I went on a planting spree. 
 Tomato Purse!  
(6 pack with a carrying handle)

 Beware of mint.  It has delusions of grandeur.
 When I finished the planting spree, I had 5 tomatoes planted.

 Front Yard Fungi

 The balcony as of a few weeks ago.  7 tomatoes, 8 strawberries, 11 pole beans, 20 + squash and cucumbers in 4 inch pots, and herbs.
 The herb corner in the community garden.
The whole jungle of a garden.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

When I was in 5th grade,  I was enrolled in a two day a week history and science course that ran from 9:00 to 2:00.  One of our regular homework assignments consisted looking up words in Webster's 1828 monstrosity of a dictionary which we occasionally had to drag to class.  Other uses of the dictionary: flower press and booster seat.   We would look up the definition of the word, write it down, and choose three words from the definition to look up and write down those definitions.  I received horrible grades on the first couple definition assignments. 


Because I was trying to paraphrase the definitions. 

My teacher wanted the exact definitions from that version.  I knew about plagiarism.  I was not going to copy someone's work.  My mom went in and explained the situation.  I'm still not sure why the teacher didn't ask me or why copying definitions from the dictionary was such an important skill to learn.  Then again, this is the class where the teacher lectured and wrote notes on the board that we were supposed to copy word for word.  Looking back on the class as a future teacher, wow...  Anyways, I was told that it was fine to copy word for word out of the dictionary because the teacher knew what the source was.  

Now at the university, I spend a lot of time citing my sources and checking my reference page to make sure everything is in the correct style.  I just got back from some final senior presentations and for some reason this story came to mind and it made me laugh because I've been so grade oriented for most of my life.  I just finished a human development final so I want to make a comparison between dopamine levels in the brain and a possible grade addiction but that makes my head hurt.  That 5th grade class assignment... I was pretty upset about it!  I got a B in history and I totally frustrated because I couldn't figure out what I did wrong. :) This semester, I really had to give up on grades and just do my best.  I worked more than I had in the past.  I had a weird schedule that didn't allow for quality study time.  I just did what I could and I'm ok with that.  It's kind of a nice feeling.  Hopefully, the feeling lasts when grades are posted.

P.S.  I have garden pictures galore so they will be posted soon.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Or Why I Love My Neighbor's Cat

It's been a while since I posted about my garden.  Which may or may not have something to do with the amount of time I've spent on it... A couple weeks ago, I had a little time and tossed some snap pea seeds in a line across back of the plot.  I watered occasionally, but with the sandy soil I didn't have high hopes for them sprouting. 

 I added a garden sign with a "Do Not Disturb" message since someone stole my long poles and pulled out my short ones.  Yet another reason to visit more often! 
 Despite my neglect, I have a row of peas!

 The Herb Corner
 This half of the garden is brought to you by my mother's fabulous seed starting abilities.  In the front: Kale.  In the back: Dinosaur Kale.  And in the middle and not visible: Swiss Chard.  The green ferny stuff: Poison Hemlock.
 The beautiful poisonous plant.
This is the reason I let poison hemlock grow in my garden. 
This is also why I love my neighbor's cat.  I've affectionately nicknamed it Fluffy. Fluffy likes to bring home remnants of his gopher snacks for his human family.  
Go Fluffy! 

 Note the gopher super highway running through the middle of the plot.  The gophers have yet to enter the poison hemlock infested regions of my garden.  This is my non-scientific approach to natural pest control.  So far it seems to be working...

 Everyone's gardens are going to seed but one garden is filled with beautiful white blossoms.  

 I pulled some filaree.  Check out those taproots!  Pulling weeds always makes me think of sin. You have to  catch it small so it's easy to remove.  The longer it stays, the harder it is to remove.  Wait too long and you need special tools to remove it. 
 My new pet: Lotus berthelotii aka "parrot's beak!"
I've wanted one of these for years, and I found it at the farmers' market.  I just love the vibrant colors.
It hangs by my front door and makes me smile every time I come home.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day

I'm kind of failing at this blogging thing.  I want my posts to be regular, insightful, witty, and cohesive.   Instead you get the random ramblings of a college girl who just wants to find time in her day to cook a real meal and sleep for 8 hours.   My life is school and work with a dash of God time.  It seems like ages ago when I could tie work, and God time into the same package.  Don't get me wrong.  God is with me all the time and I'm doing the work that he has set out for me at this time.  It's just different.  Two years ago, the majority of my time was centered around church.  Now, the majority of my time is centered around school and work.  It's just a different perspective.  

My perspective on everything seems to be stretching and growing.  My mind spins with ideas on the best practices for classrooms.  What if I had a classroom with no desks so the kids were moving all the time?  Open classrooms, flipped classrooms, Montessori, Waldorf?   Teaching as social justice?   Experiential learning?  Literacy as a social justice issue?  Music, movement, rhythm, beat... Hope, roses, and concrete.

I type.
I write.
I think.

Wash, rinse, and repeat.