Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

No one can dub you with dignity. That's yours to claim.- Odetta

Man, oh man, when it rains, it pours. We've finally had a respite from the rain of the natural kind, though I shed a few tears to learn of this sad loss. What can you say about such a woman? There really aren't words to describe the admiration I feel for Ms. Odetta - so strong a woman, with such a beautiful soul. I think this video of her still belting out the soul at 77 just a few months back kinda says it all. Wherever you go, the light is better....

I've been rediscovering how important music is in my own life. Somehow, I forgot along the way that rhythm and beat are such an essential part of keeping tapped into the 'good' places that keep you afloat in the craziness of the 'real' world. In the last few months, I've begun to see how much I'd forgotten music, how little time I spent actually listening to music at all, let alone having it in the background of my work day. Part of this is due to the election. The husbeast is very much into talk radio. I used to be but have grown weary of it over time. I'm more of a news junkie. So, for months on end - it was either total silence, kid chaos, awkward silence, talk radio, or news non-stop. Ick! No wonder I started to wear my frown dress more than my smile gown! The other part is on account of my 'forgetting' that fun is an essential part of living. All work and no play made this farm-witch want to scream fire nails! No worries, I'm back on the 'remember to have a little fun, you' horse again and, wow, I've missed this! And, you know, that 'awkward' silence has gone away, too. It seems that I'm not the only one (really, I knew I wasn't but you know you have to act all surprised and not let on that you see these things or certain peoples can get creeped out by the depth of how well you know them and, naturally, see an opportunity to rebel) who was feeling the weight of not having fun on the funny farm. So, I just dove in and started and all the little ducks quickly followed. The drake sat off to the side for a while refusing to join in but, alas, he could resist no longer and has actually smiled and conversed and generally indicated a return to the person he was prior to the surprise and unkindly personality transplant that occurred a few months back and lingered far too long. Just sayin! At first, when he tried to catch up to the duck and her clutch, they tried to outrun him but, after pecking him sorely and squawking very loudly, they went back to waddling in their previously arranged order.

And, you know where this is going already, don't you? It is time for us to bring back the Great Giveaway. Only, for 2009, I'm going to change it up a little. The new giveaway is thus: Every other month, I'll post some sort of challenge or answer thingummie much like what we've always done. Then, I will package a special 'surprise' of fiber or yarn stuffs based on the person who wins and their tastes. I sure hope Carol is still talking to me because I just realized the other day that I never sent her her Great Giveaway pressies so, Carol, I humbly ask you to forgive me and love me anyway and I threw some handspun yarn in the mail to you today. Mwah! I need to change it to every other month because, obviously, I am a toad and I cannot keep up with too many things on a regular basis so every other month works for me and I'm making it a surprise because, duh, what was I thinking? That's half the fun! For this month, tell me what you're listening to. I know, we've done songs before. Funny songs. But, this time, tell me what you're listening to. Here's my top 5 songs I've played for the last week (with the obvious exception of the song noted of Odetta's above)

Nina Simone - Want a little sugar in my bowl
The Sundays - I kicked a boy (I've loved this song forever - and, yes, I've kicked a boy or two in my time so maybe that's why)
jimmie dale gilmore - just a wave, not the water
blitzen trapper - fur
and Francine Reed - Wild Women
I've put in youtube links where I could but they sound much better as mp3 downloads or, if you're still a generation behind as am I - a good, old fashioned cd. What tunes have you been singing this week?

It hasn't been all fun around the farm this last week, though. Actually, it has been quite sad. This summer, we added 5 ewes to our herd. Three were cotswolds - 1 with a gorgeously lusterous and true black fleece. They are called 'Storm' (guess what, she's the one with a black fleece), 'Cloud' (who has quickly become 2's new 'buddy' and they are getting hard to tell apart. These Cotswolds originated on the same farm that our herd did so we wonder if maybe they're not distant cousins or something with the way they look alike and have become attached to each other) and 'Zora' who was named thus after the crazy, independent ewe in 'Three Bags Full'.
'Zora' let us know right away that her soul belongs to no one and that this means it is perfectly reasonable and beyond need of forgiveness for her to decimate a whole row of green beans in the garden. Needless to say, it took a while for us to 'bond' proper like but she's starting to understand that the madwoman screaming only does so when, guess what, you're in her garden? Not jumping the fence, she has surmised, is a good place to remedy that issue. The other two ewes were targhees. I love targhees and they are some of the sweetest sheep I've ever known. These two girls were a little thin when they came here and one ewe, the one we call 'heather' (can you tell we love the book 'three bags full'?) has done quite well. She's gained weight well, appears to be very healthy, and is fitting in nicely with the herd. The other ewe, whom I named 'Esmaralda' because I'm so smitten with that colorway and wanted to save that name for a very sweet ewe, became very ill and we decided over the weekend to stop her suffering. Yeah, it was hard. But, we've never had a case of toxemia in our 10 plus years of farming sheep and the rate or hope of survival for her was long passed. We just couldn't see letting her continue to suffer a long, painful descent into the land of eternal sweet pastures. In it's own way, that, too, is an act of courageous love. I try to remember that.

So, it would seem the salts of life and the sweet spice continue to struggle for balance and, really, we'd have it no other way. Sometimes, you pull yourself up and muster the courage to go on and, whammo!, a test of your resolve is right at the ready. No matter, you just have to keep on keeping on. Humor, though, and music, and even a good dose of fun can be lifesavers of the sweetest kind.

Kind of like this afternoon, when Thing 1 just seemed to crack for no noticeable reason and yell at her brother. I could tell by her tone that this was serious but, upon entering the room, I was hearing the weirdest bunch of words in sentence together - it just didn't make sense. Something about graham crackers in her new flannel sheets and a bunch of silly notes and being poisoned or something. I recognized it right away because once, over the weekend, I heard a very similar rant but, when they brought it to me, I was in the crux of making the decision about our ewe in trouble and I gave them that scarily calm mom voice and said, "guys, is this really life threatening or can we maybe talk about this problem in a bit?" They agreed and went away muttering promises of revenge and, since it didn't come up again, I assumed they'd settled it. Then, this afternoon, I was instantly reminded of the same. It would appear that we all have interesting ways to deal with the stress that this weekend provided. Thing 1 likes to sit in her room listening to music and reading or sewing or knitting, or writing to friends. A typical, even normal desired stream of activities for a 15 year old girl. Thing 2, however, proving, once again, that the middle child is always the one to watch (I know, I was one!) has delighted himself and relieved his own stress and sorrow about the whole thing by doing gross things to graham crackers and then leaving them on his sister's bed with a note saying, "eat" on them. There may have been some with ketchup smeared on the bottom, or, in his grand moment of suppressed anxiety, Tabasco sauce. There was mention of salt and some 'special secret paste'. Clearly, he thought the entreating, "eat" card would compel her to abandon common sense and dive right in....proving he is also entirely a normal 12 year old younger brother. I proved I am a normal mother by first sympathizing with Thing 1 at the frustration of younger brothers, and empathizing with her for the fact that he'd placed the last cracker temptation on her unmade bed and she'd not seen it, sat on it, and crushed it into her freshly washed, new set of flannel sheets. I then punctuated my normality as a mother by suggesting that, were the bed made, the cracker dust on new sheets would, sadly, not have been a consequence. Eyes rolled at me and we all took in the moment of savoring our normality in spite of ourselves.