Friday, January 27, 2012

A good old fashioned baby pool!

We are holding a contest! Check out our Facebook group Golden Unicorn Farm - Fosterville  and enter our Baby Pool contest! I am posting some pictures and some updated information. As you know from previous blogs, I thought the kids were due last Wed, then I thought they were due tomorrow! However, I took some detailed explicit pictures for some goat whisperer's I know and they gave me some advice... the kids will be born somewhere in the next 3 days to 3 weeks!
So let's have a baby pool! Whoever guesses the date and time (closest guess to the delivery of the first kid wins) will get one free loaf of bread - your choice and one dozen free range eggs - all from our farm! 

Here are the pictures, read past few blogs if you would like more details! You must join the Facebook group and make your answer on the link that has the question. You can see other voters guesses at that time. So, vote away! Feel free to invite your friends. If the winner is not local they will be sent a few freebie gifts of our choice.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tick, tock, tick, tock...

Coldest day this year -30C sunny though!

Math was never my strength and apparently that is still true. Most people can add 150 to a number, but for me... it was something I calculated over and over until I came to the conclusion that Miss Freya was due to have her kids on Wednesday, January 25, 2012. In preparation for that, tonight when I fed her I decided to put her in her stall, sit on some straw and just hang out for awhile so that she would be used to me in the "room". Since this would be her labour room I figured we should both get comfy. Fortunately Len had cleaned out the stalls and chicken coop today and it was about 5C so it was rather pleasant and we hung out for about 45 minutes. Me, Freya, Jessica and Luki on the other side of the stall trying to figure out why we were hanging around. As you can see in the picture above, both Luki and Freya appear to be practicing parenthood on the lovely little Finnegan who adores pampering from any creature! 
Less than a week to kidding

About 2 weeks ago I decided that I should try to pin down Freya's due date for her first kids ever. First I realized I had been thinking she was bred at the end of Sept. 2011. I then looked back at photos and blogs and finally on Len's blog saw that he had a photo of Jack mating Freya on Aug. 31, 2011. So I was a good month off to start with.

I started my calculations again; I added the weeks, then counted the days, then figured the months and kept getting a different answer. When I finally got the same answer twice, I thought it must be correct. We were expecting babies tomorrow, Jan. 25, 2012. Well, after seeing Freya tonight and knowing that the babies had "dropped" and that she was definitely less active... (what mother isn't days before birthing?) I decided to count again and this time did the simple math.

If she was bred Aug. 31, well, Sept is 30 days, Oct 31, Nov 30, Dec 31 and we are now on the 24th... So she is due, likely Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012. Now, we could be a day or two off but the gestation is 150 days and we do know Jack got at her a few times that week... So get ready for the birthing story coming to a blog near you soon! 

The Lion King
Rachel was out on Sunday taking some pictures of the animals. Sunday was the coldest day so far this winter. We went to bed at about -22C and woke up to -30C! OUCH! Frozen pipes and water at the new end of the house but the old plumbing is holding up very nicely!

As you enjoy these photos of our "furry farm family" keep in mind it is about -26C at this point of day. Sunny, clear and FREAKIN' cold! The weather has now improved and was at +7C today which was glorious although the roads were a virtual ice rink! Saturday, birthing day, the weather appears to be good and I am very happy that Miss Freya did not give birth last weekend!
I am ready for my close up
Mr. Spielberg!

Well, time to tuck in munchkins. School was cancelled today - much to their disappointment - seriously, they were disappointed! (Kids, they are just NEVER satisfied!) Back to routine tomorrow and my task at hand is to work on my pantry room since Len has the shelves up. It will be a task, but one well loved! Have a great day!

Friday, January 13, 2012

I'm late, I'm late! For a very important date!

Wednesday started like any other day, but by the end, I wish I could have had a "do over." I went to work, visited with Glenn and Edna, said goodbye to Dan, their visiting son and headed to town to get some fuel and groceries. It sounds pretty basic... but not for me!

Last week when I went to the bank there was an error and after depositing my cheque I had no money. The insurance company had received an unauthorized payment and I was stranded, an hour from home, no fuel or cash. Fortunately the library had a computer and after some confusion and stress I had it all straightened out. If all went well, I should pull into my driveway by about 5:05 pm.

I was sure this week would be smooth sailing! Bank, check, no problem! Now I simply had to get a few groceries and fuel across the border, but first wanted to get a few things in Woodstock. How can I go into a store for an item or two and then lose an hour of time? It always amazes me! As I checked out of the store, getting some amazing deals after Christmas on items that were 75% off! I looked at the time... 3:45pm! OH NO!

Race to the truck! Skip the feed store! Race to the border! The US Border Patrol Officer to me: "Where are you headed ma'am?" Me trying to speak slowly although rushing: "Just home to Fosterville, via the Orient border crossing." Officer: "Are you stopping anywhere or going straight through?" Me: "I am stopping in Houlton quickly for fuel and some groceries, then home." Officer: (looking at his watch which now shows 3:57pm Atlantic time) "Good luck!" Me: "THANKS!"

Off I went! Zoom! To Houlton, first stop, bank machine. Second stop, grocery store! I hurried through the aisles, trying to get a few specials items to bake some artisan bread with flavours such as sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese, sliced olives, red peppers and more. A few items for the girls lunches and voila! I am done!

Now for the grocery line! YAY! Only one person ahead of me! No problem! Except... this lovely lady, of about 80 years of age, was sloooowwwllyyy looking through her purse for change, coupons and her rewards card. HURRY UP!!!! I stood there, tapping my fingers, trying to be discreet, leg rocking, breath going shallow... P U H L E E Z E ... MOVE it lady!!! Ugh! FINALLY done!

Now for me. Yes, I am fine! Yes, nice day! Yes, not into a chit chat with you now thanks! (OK I didn't say that out loud and I really tried not to look impatient, but c'mon already! Just pack the damn food!!!!)

Out the door! Trying not to knock over any shoppers in the parking lot. (I did get a few looks as I pulled out!) Over to the gas station, threw some diesel into Buddy and in to pay! To speed things up I already had USD so I didn't have to worry about the exchange. I asked the woman at the check out the time. 3:30pm (which is 4:30pm to us) and I said, OH! I am rushing, have to get to the border crossing in the next 30 minutes! She wished me luck and off I went.

I will admit, I did break a few speed limits but I was CERTAIN I could make it! The roads were dry, still light out... in fact I was watching the sun go down and thinking how nice it was that the days were getting longer as I viewed the pink sunset. The traffic was light and I moved! I did swerve once on the highway on a corner so I reduced my speed to increase safety. I listened to CBC/Shift on the drive and when they started to tell the 5:00pm news as I made the turn off US Highway 1A to head to the border crossing, I kind of freaked out! My clock said 4:55pm but they were about to start the news, so someone was wrong!

I was only minutes from home! I WOULD make it!!! I was low on fuel (again!) and had no extra cash, I didn't know if I could make it back to the Woodstock crossing. I live pay day to pay day and most of the time it was OK but when things went wrong... it could make me mental! The side road to the border was a bit icy and after another slide I pulled up to the Orient/Fosterville border crossing between the USA and Canada.


Len outside our customs building
Through the border
OH NO!!! The gates were pulled across, the lights flashing and giant STOP signs looking at me. My heart dropped! Well, maybe playing stupid and explaining my predicament would convince the Americans to let me drive the wrong way through THEIR gate! I parked Buddy, motor running, lights on, door open and ran up to the US guards door. He pushed open his window and told me I was out of luck, I couldn't use the phone, it didn't matter that my clock was slow and he really did NOT care what I had to say. I couldn't believe it! No amount of tears, anxiety, the fact that I was about a mile from my house, could convince him. He wouldn't even let me use the phone! 

I was devastated! I had spent the last hour worked up in such a state of angst, hurrying and stress that I completely lost it. I sat in the truck, turned off the motor and lights and proceeded to bawl my eyes out! Yup, heaving, hiccuping and quivering lips! Eventually I started the truck and slowly drove away. I knew that nothing I did would convince them to assist me. I was no one. At the most they maybe saw me as a terrorist. Someone who was going to illegally enter Canada and bake bread to poison the masses! 

Shoe Tree on the way to Houlton
As I drove away I thought I would pull over and borrow a phone at one of the houses along the road. I couldn't. There was no way I could make it up to the door and ask to use a phone without completely heaving and crying again. Instead I drove back to Houlton, slower this time and by the time I passed the shoe tree and reached Hodgon road I had regained control of my emotions. I decided to head BACK to the Irving station and see if I could use a phone. No, I don't have a cell phone. No, there are no pay phones ANYWHERE and YES I needed to call home.

When I got to the gas station the attendant said "Hey! You're back!" I said, sighing heavily, "Yes... I didn't make it. Well, that's not true, I just made it there two minutes late and had to turn back." She said, "No way!" Me, "way". Then, I asked if I could use the store's phone to make a long distance call to Canada to let my family know where I was. I had $2 US and could pay for the call. She was very sweet and said, "No, just use my cell phone." AH!!!! Thank you sweet girl!

I then called home, to my agitated children to explain today's drama from their mama. They were glad to hear from me and I was relieved to find out that Rachel had made it home (she had tutoring and I hadn't been able to phone her ride.) I hung up, my relief showing in my face as the checkout girl smiled and I told her how grateful I was to be able to use her phone. I then confided in her, that over an hour before, when at the station, I had to pee and still hadn't gone! She laughed and I went to the restroom. WOW what a relief!

Ten minutes later, I sat at the Woodstock border crossing, again and had to explain to the border guard why I was there. He went through all my receipts, looked at me like I was a bit of a nut and let me back into my home country. Sometimes, there is nothing like coming home! I had left Canada 2 hours before and was no closer to my farm. 

I had to go back to town, return some items I had purchased so that I could get more fuel to get back to Fosterville and by 7pm was on the road again. The Hwy 540 had NEVER looked so good! I pulled up to my house at about 7:45pm, tired, cold, hungry and in pain. I guess during the last few hours I had tensed up a bit and my old neck injury from the trip across Canada had flared up.

All I wanted was to get into my jammies, have a bowl of mini wheats for supper and go to bed. Wednesday, could have been a do over and do different! What is the moral of this story? You can't bluff your way through a closed border crossing!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Today is the first day of the rest of my life!

Today school reopened in New Brunswick and grudgingly the girls got up, prepared for school and exited on the bus. Although it was New Years Day a week ago, it feels like today to me. We are now back into routine, have a schedule and can plan for the upcoming year.

I haven't set any resolutions but do have some goals. Is that the same? I don't think so. A resolution is broken as soon as I forget or breakdown. Where as a goal is something that I continually work toward and if I forget or break, well I just keep moving forward. It may be semantics, but feels positive and I am going with it!

It is Monday, early afternoon. I was supposed to go to Glenn and Edna's today to clean and had fully planned on it. However, after I got up to start to get ready I just felt so blah, low energy, not up to par, that I called to ask if I could go tomorrow instead. Glenn was very supportive and said yes. No, there is not really anything "wrong" with me, I just feel like I needed a bit of time alone, recuperate after the kids went back to their lives. Time to get a few things in order myself and allow me to get on track for the new year. So, thank you Glenn, I shall be there tomorrow with bells on! (OK not really bells, but I made some split pea and ham soup and will bring some to Edna!)

I am the parent who counts down to school reopening. That always brings up parental comments like "Oh, I love my kids and having them at home." Um, I don't remember saying I don't love my kids? Or the comments like "I wish they could be home everyday!" Sorry, I don't. Now, I never used to understand that from parents when my first was a baby, but I do now. Wanting them at school doesn't mean I don't love them, it doesn't mean I don't want them around. My comments about school reopening, means that we have had some fun, slept in, great heart to hearts with everyone, time to regenerate for the next term and we will enjoy the next break. My comments about returning to school means, I love them, (um, duh?) it means that a schedule and routine are part of a healthy life style, that time apart is positive for growth - for us all, time with friends instead of mom is necessary socially and that they need to start to do stuff for themselves again. It is very easy to revert into the "Mom!" "What?" "I need..." "It's by the... Oh, I'll just do it myself!" pattern. The  kids of course are great manipulators and get me almost every time. So, onto the new year, for them and me! Love you babies! Now, go catch that bus!

My goals for the new year are achievable, positive and measurable. I am almost afraid to write them down because then someone, likely my family, will say "I thought you were going to do ... less, or .... more?" Please refrain from that husband and children! I do need to write them down to compare how I have done and remember what they are. Just note that they are GOALS based on my definition and not RESOLUTIONS!

Do I have to explain this?
  1. Less Facebook - possible, achievable, but do I want to? I realized a few weeks ago that since I don't have many face to face friends where I am, I do look to Facebook for friendship/conversation. I can still do that, but need to set boundaries. IE: when doing work, writing or websites, turn FB OFF!
  2. Write more - deeper content - I recently had the opportunity to work on a book/biography for someone as the writer. I was incredibly inspired and motivated and began my research. Although I want to write something longer and have a novel on the back burner, I thought that this genre may be easier to do since I can use facts, history, interviews, etc. as well as a personal narrative while writing. I was SO psyched for this! Sadly, we have had to put that on the back burner for awhile, but I am still here when the subject is ready to move forward. In the meantime, I need to write... so I will start hacking away at my book. I am thinking a schedule will help for that! 
  3. Publishing: I plan to submit at least one article to a magazine, one poem to a contest and MAYBE a short story as well.  I also plan to self-publish my poetry. I don't expect great sales but will be putting together a little book for under $20 and hope to have some artwork and photography in it. (Please feel free to preorder!)
  4. Although I am a very busy person, I do take personal time. I am not physically active enough and yes my weight has risen (please inform my mom, this is something she always asks me! That is another story though.) I am not as concerned about weight as health. I can be thin. I have been thin. I don't care to starve myself or exercise excessively to be that way. We eat a pretty healthy diet, don't eat out and not much processed food. I do need more energy though. The lack of energy which I am still working on a solution to, has held me back and caused me to become less active. I do know that increasing activity increases energy, so that is on the list. I guess I will pack in the porch full of wood this afternoon!
  5. Get my personal affairs in order. I am notorious for not completing paperwork or financial records. I will work myself up into such a tizzy that I can't even move forward and get so overwhelmed I will walk away. It doesn't seem to matter if this causes me to be short of money or not, I just go BLANK. My goal - get things in order. Get things off my plate that don't need to be there and that will ultimately improve my financial and mental health. 
  6. 4-H - very excited about this! My friend Anita and I have started 4-H in the neighbourhood so that our children have some opportunities without us having to travel. Our little club is growing and the kids seem excited, this is a FUN project!
  7. Improve our farm. I need to have a better garden this year. I am thinking less variety more of what grew well and store it away for winter. I do preserve, but I get behind and that evil anxiety shuts me down ... so, stop it Sarah! Plan, complete, store! I CAN DO IT! We are also hoping to start our bee hives this year and have recently decided to get meat birds. I was concerned about meat birds since they grow so quickly and practically fall over when ready for the freezer but I have found more palatable and responsible growth options. We will pasture our meat birds, let them grow a little slower, instead of 6 weeks, we are going to try 8-10 weeks. Based on my research it is possible! Eggs, Meat Birds and Honey = REVENUE. The bee hives can be put in Luki's pasture so they are protected from bears and predators. It should all work and more market products!
Jessica - 4-H President

You see now why I need to increase my energy - lots of work coming up. The farm market is slow this time of year and we are somewhat in hibernation mode. Len is completing my pantry room - big room, shelves, cooking equipment - almost like a butlers pantry! This will help restore order so that the house feels less chaotic.

So, to 2012, I say, bring it on baby! I can do this and it is going to be a GREAT year! Now, I better get those dishes done, wood packed and maybe the floor scrubbed while I have the house to myself. Have a great day!