Saturday, June 4, 2011

Learning curve

Three and a half years ago I decided to try raising my own chickens and the first, of dozens, were about to hatch.
Since then we've acquired bunnies and a couple of goats. Yesterday I had a controlled mating of our NZ White cross with a Flemish Giant cross. And I'm looking for a Billy goat to get at least one of the girls pregnant, so that in Spring I can start milking them.
Tonight I was sitting on the couch in the dark and wondering why my head feels as if it's going to blow up pretty soon. And I realized the enormous learning curve I have been having in the past years.
On top of parenting!
Since we started with the animals I have learned to raise, grow, kill and butcher chickens and rabbits. And despite everyone telling me that I wouldn't be able to do so, I have!
Also, I have learnt to make my own Quark and Camembert, and will start on a new cheese next week.
Not to mention that I'm preparing myself to get into larger farm animals, the goats. Their needs are quite different, and to a point more substantial, especially regarding housing and containment. And I kid myself, excuse the pun, to be able to handle a goat in kid, and giving birth and then looking after it. Hopefully, if and when it happens, Mama doe will instinctively know what to do.

Not only am I learning about animal husbandry, I'm also trying to improve my gardening hand: so far I've managed for a second season to successfully grow tomatoes. I'd like to expand that, and start growing herbs and veges for family and animal use. To achieve that I'm also improving my building skills, well kind of, I suppose I'm a sloppy builder, but at least so far none of my constructions have fallen over and they're doing their job. Keeping the rabbits and goats in their enclosures! And bracing the roof on the goat barn. Next up are raised beds for next seasons veges and herbs.  And another fenced garden within the goat paddock to grow medicinal herbs for them.

My husband is constantly discussing with people what a beneficial medium the Internet can be. And I'm his prime example: without the Internet, and various lifestyle forums with enthusiasts and specialists lending an ear and advice I would NEVER have dared to go where I've gone. I could have gone to classes, wasting a lot of petrol and time for theoretical knowledge, instead I contacted people through the net, borrowed books from the library and just got my hands dirty.

Not only is my head popping with all the new information, but I'm also dealing with the difference of RL and virtual life, as I'm trying to teach my children the farm ways through plain exposure to everything.  As well as letting them use the computer and discover a totally different world there.

And they are learning, what I don't know precisely, but as long as they are interested to watch, observe and help, I'm happy.

Who knows what will grow out of the knowledge that caused the following remark: "That's pretty hardcore for such a sweet mama".  While observing me skinning and gutting a chicken!

Take heart, and if you don't succeed the first time, keep trying til you do!
And while doing it, whatever IT may be, make sure to wear the right safety gear!!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Life, again!

It all started two weekends ago:
hubby and I finally put the roof on the goat barn. Great, they loved it, and on Monday I had to get it braced as we were expecting strong Northerlies for Wednesday and Thursday.Not a problem?!  Yeah, right. My building expertise is limited, hubby had told me what needed doing, so I JUST had to get out there and do it! Talk about sweating blood and tears! So I did it, and the storm gales turned out to be just normal strong winds.
Next up, baking for school and family, and the usual house cleaning and animal husbandry.
Then Saturday arrived. We had an invitation to our neighbour's house warming party, and I was supposed to be filming a gig in Wellington that night. Hubby wasn't quite comfortable going there by himself with the kids, so we agreed we'd all go, for a little while, and then we'd all go back home together and I'd race off to town.
Well, 5pm came and the party just started going. The kids were racing around outside with other kids and hubby getting into socializing mode. No one wanted to leave, so I left them to it. Not feeling particularly happy, but that was what happened.
Then, race over the hill, meet a lady whose hand made rug we had bought, and into town to the club.Had a lovely chat with the owner's wife and got myself all set up. Raced home, had dinner, "refreshed" myself and put on my face and raced back. I had a couple of minutes to spare before the boys actually went on and had a great chat with the drummer. Then the show, Paper Scissors btw, was pretty good, and their first release single sounded live 1000 times better than on the CD. I hadn't intended on filming the main act, The Checks, but once they were on stage, in their different stage gear ( you'll have to go to my music blog later in the week to catch a glimpse) I just had to grab my camera and do some hand held clips.  Fantastic night, packed up my gear and looked forward to a drink and a chat with the boys afterwards.
Getting to the car I saw though that some drunken idiot had punched in my rear window, the rear rear, you know the door at the back of a station wagon. I was stunned. Speechless, numb. I couldn't even vent my feelings in swearing or anything. Just completely taken aback and stunned.
All throughout the night I kept raking my brain, to find if I might have offended someone. But even if, that wouldn't give him the right to do this.
And I was worried how to tell Ross. He's at the end of the term at Uni and already stressed out enough. And this was not exactly the kind of thing you could go and say, "Gosh, I wonder when that happened. Didn't notice it".  NOT!
Waking early on Sunday I got in the car and went back. And just as me he was stunned, and I could see the pressure of having to sort this one out on top of his regular workload starting to build up in his mind. But we talked through it, and when I got started on cleaning the car up he sat down to sort it out.
I nearly fainted, it was close to a $1000. By that stage I was getting close to losing the plot, but then we rang our insurance company and found out it was actually covered by our policy, and we didn't even have to pay our excess. Of course our premiums will go up now, but compared to the threat of a $1000 bill hanging over our heads this will be nothing.
And then I started to cry. It still makes me want to weep, but at least it is getting sorted and we won't have to live on bread and water for the next six months. Well, more like rabbit stew, and bunny burgers, and chicken mince, which after all doesn't sound too bad.
It makes me soo angry. I was brought up to totally and utterly respect other people's property, and I just expect others to do the same. But more and more people, young unfortunately, seem to think it doesn't apply to them. It worries me to have children, bringing them up with same sentiments, and how they will cope in the world once they're all grown up. Will they cope, and take things like this in their stride, will they become less respectful if surrounded by "bad" people? There is only so much we as parents can do.
And it still utterly FUCKS me off that some prick thought he could do that! And somehow is getting away with it.
And to moderate my bad feeling I keep reminding myself of all the nice things that happened, the nice people I have met and spoken to since then, and that life is as beautiful as I let it be.
And so today, in the hope of a quiet week with just some baking and cheese making planned, I went to Martinborough to meet a lady with a Billy goat, who might have been able to get my girls pregnant. And it was the most beautiful morning I have spent in ages. We talked pretty much for the whole of the 3 hours I was there, and it was congenial and uplifting.
And guess how we met? On the internet! Through a forum for lifestyle blockers, who exchange advice, opinions and news. And offer little services. Whoever said that the internet is a cold, shallow, non-personal and dangerous place just hasn't met anyone nice through it yet!
And then to top it off, as the poor boy was very keen , but just a bit to short in his legs, I called another lady, through a contact from a local shop, and had a wonderful chat with her.
Like minded people make all the difference to how we perceive our lives, so, if you're unhappy, go and find some people or things to do that put a smile on your face. Life is way too short to spend it grizzlying about it.

I know, a huge amount of And's starting the sentences, but frankly speaking, I don't give a rat's a** about style right now. Maybe some day I'll re write and will have a different word starting each sentence. 

That's for today, enough of a rant I suppose, but, as Shrek puts it: "Better out than in"!
Good night, and tomorrow is going to be another  great day.