Has anyone noticed it has been a while since last I blogged? I apologize for having no pictures, and will try to add some when Chuck gets home and I can get some off of his phone. Let me preface my entry today by saying I think I might have made it to the farm once in the past two weeks, and I just got up from a nap forced by absolute exhaustion. The kids are having a nap, too, simply because I insisted they take one and allow me to grab one. Two weeks ago I went back to high school, except this time I'm on the teaching end of the equation. I've been studying for this for years, and had planned to make the switch right after Chip was born but layoffs and whatnot slowed me down. Going in to this, I knew that the initial semester would be the most labor intensive as I am building my courses from scratch... but now that I am in the thick of it I am really thinking how nice it will be when I have all this initial work behind me and I can work on refining rather than building from the ground up. I'm already ready for Christmas vacation!
Annalee has gone back to school, too, as a First Grader and Chip has started JrK. The inequity inherent in our educational system has been driven home to me again after First Grade parents' night, as I sat in Annalee's chair at her little desk and marvelled at the technology built into the classroom, and the richness of resources that pack it wall to wall. I, on the other hand, stand daily in front of a chalkboard. I do have a projector I rely heavily upon for PowerPoints and am using to learn the SmartBoard, but it is one that requires the image be projected on it and I need to master the art of writing on it while not casting a shadow across it so it can't be seen. I've already decided that WHEN I win the lottery (power of positive thinking) I will go back to being a stay at farm mom because I really miss taking the kids to school as I was able to do last year, and the look on Virginia's face as I have to hand her into someone else's arms at day care causes my heart to break daily. I'll move to the farm so I can lay eyes on the goats without having to drive an hour round trip, too! I also will donate the money to my school that they have tried unsuccessfully to raise so they can have a football team. I hear in the voices of many of the kids some resentment tinged with a wistfulness when they talk about what they don't have that other schools in the system do have. Envy is called a sin, but it is tough to look out of the eyes of kid wanting to play football for his school and not having the opportunity, and not succumb to it.
On Friday, one of the kids smiled at me and shook her head and told me I had come to the wrong school (I should mention Friday was a particularly rowdy day with some high emotion and high drama swirling about). She and her friends asked me if I was there just because I like kids. I didn't quite know how to phrase my answer. I don't love kids just because they are kids, really. I am enjoying getting to know and understand them a little bit as individuals, but what I like is when I see them "rise above." There have been plenty of moments when I wonder what the h e double toothpicks I was thinking going into this (okay so maybe more than moments), but then, these little moments when I see someone choose the better path have breathed a bit of life back into me. I love the written word, for sure. I've waxed poetic on several occasions that reading some texts makes me wonder how something so perfect and so beautiful could possibly have been captured and put on the page. I don't expect eveyone to love reading and writing like I do and that's okay. I just hope I can become a teacher who helps students find the confidence to not feel defeated before they start; to not look at a quiz and decide they're going to fail before they even take a deep breath, and pause, and allow the question to wander around in their brain a bit.
On a goat note, we are still building a paddock up next to the road which was supposed to be for Boomer and his does. When Chuck went up to the farm today (did I mention he finally got the job he was hoping to get, which happens to have a variable schedule so we don't know if we're coming or going?) he found that Boomer had busted out of his temporary area, and taken his does to the barn, where they had proceded to break the snap on the fence and let Shaw and his does out, too. Well, well. At this point, the does are almost surely already bred, and Chuck had to get back home to make it to work on time, so he just collected them all up and put them in the larger top field. Boomer and Shaw had come to an understanding when they were in the buck field together, so I am hoping we don't find any broken legs, necks, or horns when we go back up to check them.
We are still getting rain at the farm. We actually never stopped getting rain since my posts about how soggy this summer has been. We have ruts in the road that have stayed full of water all summer long. They have developed ecosystems andt he frog eggs that were laid in them months ago have now become frogs. As we drive past the puddles we see scores of pairs of beady little eyes ducking down under the green algae that skin coats the water. With the West Nile issues around, I am not loving the puddles and the mosquitoes that surely breed in them as well. I hope those little frogs are all really hungry. I also hope (I can't believe I am saying this out loud) we get an extended period of hard freeze this winter. We never had any dry weather to relieve us of even a smidge of parasite load. This summer has been an intestinal worm's paradise up our way. We've had to deworm some, and we've lost a few, but again, we are seeing which individuals are just the toughest of the tough and that knowledge will help us move forward.
I still am thankful I'm not in the position of all the folks who saw their crops wither away to nothing in the drought. My heart goes out to all of them. In English class, we are reading texts that show how man has tried to make sense of the world around him, and in many cases given human attributes to such things as the night, the seasons, and the weather. When we humanize these things, we somehow hope we can speak to them and reason with them, and maybe ask them to be gentle with us and our animals. Mother nature may be unpredictable, but as a Mother, we hope her love for all her creatures tempers her often devastating touch with at least some tiny bit of tenderness.