Monday, November 24, 2014

Mr. and Mrs...

   You know you're desperate for a picture when you copy an unedited image from your sister's Facebook page. But yes, I was desperate (Emily, I'm considering withholding your Christmas present if I don't get my pictures soon!). Anyway... I'll fuss at her later. But here's a teeny, tiny teaser picture for y'all! Ze' farm girl done got herself hitched last week!! The wedding was delightfully small, very fast (30 minutes from walking down the aisle, to getting into the getaway truck!), and overall very relaxed and enjoyable. I had no wedding decorations, there was no theme, only a dozen people were invited to come, we had no "custom vows", I had a simple bouquet made entirely up of sunflowers, all the music was done by one guitarist, only my dad and one of my sisters could fly out for the event, my sister took pictures, did my makeup, and my hair, and my husband and I drove away in my blue Ford pickup truck. ;) 

  To me, it was a perfect wedding, and exactly how I wanted it. 

  The honeymoon was amazing and now here we are: Mr. and Mrs.! I am so, so happy with this new stage of life! A few of you have asked what we'll be doing now, where we'll live and all that. I really can't give you a whole lot of information, but suffice to say, I married a military man. He leaves the state in just a few weeks and I won't set eyes on him for 3 months. My hope is that maybe by April we'll finally get to live together again. We both knew this right from the start, and it was one reason why we decided to have a short engagement; at least then we would have a little bit of time together before the first round of his military absence. This is why I'm no longer farming... This is why Gyp had to leave. This is why y'all never had answers before about him, and will probably never be able to know his name, or even see a picture of his face. Because he is a military man, and I am now a military wife. I have agreed to this lifestyle willingly though; while knowing full well that his career may make me a widow sooner than my mom, or possibly even my grandma. But I pray every day that he'll be safe wherever he goes, and we'll have a long, crazy, joyful  marriage together. :) 

 And for the record, having a new last name takes a lot of getting used to. ;) 

Oh, and P.S. I do have a new blog in the works; I'll give the link once it's finished, and then we can all move over there and be all sociable again. :) 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Once Upon A Time: A Redneck Fairytale

   Once upon a time, in a faraway land filled with lush greens, high mountains, and seemingly ever-present liquid sunshine, there lived a girl...

   Looking at her from the outside, there was not too much to see. Twenty-One years in age, she was fairly plain, was very quiet and unassuming, and kept to herself as much as she could; she was almost gangly in proportions, had thick brown hair that never cooperated, and had blue-gray eyes that many people found to be unnerving in their appearance. In this faraway land, the girl lived on a very small farm that she kept going by sheer stubbornness, determination, and because she didn't know what else to do in the large, large world except milk cows and tend chickens. Forever by her side was a young dog that looked more like a fox; rusty red in color, with white fur streaking brilliantly on his face and chest. This duo of girl and canine were inseparable by day and night; working together to keep the animals where they were supposed to be, and together they rambled through the dark and ancient forest that was adjacent to her home. The girl's life was very methodical, and very predictable. Every day she milked her cow and goats, fed her chickens, moved her sheep to new pasture, and took care of whatever other animal was around at the time. The only part of her day that kept her guessing was her journey into the old, old forest. One never knew what might happen in the depths of that silent world, where the moss on stumps grew thick as cushions, or swagged from tree to tree like a Christmas garland; and where the only tracks in the red clay were that of deer, bear, coyote, and bobcat. Hers were the only human steps in this forgotten place... She and her faithful dog came here every day, and as their feet wandered, so did her thoughts... "Was this to be her life forever? Milking cows and trying not to get pecked by mean cornish cross chickens?" She didn't mind so much if it was; she could make it work. But each day, as she mazed through trees that looked like Ents, she had a small, niggling, quiet thought: "What if there's more to life than this? What if... There's one more adventure in store for me?" For as quiet, plain, and unassuming as she was on the outside, her life was a churning turmoil on the inside. She wasn't happy. She felt like she didn't belong anywhere. She could barely even understand herself and what made her tick. She didn't know who she was, or what she liked, or where she fit in. In the end, all she had was her dog to help take her mind off the swirling confusion in her head. And so, she walked the deer trails in that old, old forest each day; forever followed by that thought... "What if there's more to life than this?"

   The thought haunted her. The "what ifs" were like a plague in her mind; stealing her sleep, and distracting her while awake. She had to know. She needed to go to a completely unfamiliar place, and see if her true self came out in the seemingly unstable situation of being surrounded by strangers. It was a big and surprising decision for such a quiet girl who normally hated to go anywhere, and many people scoffed at her. But she couldn't escape the haunting thought, that she was supposed to leave this land of green mountains. She told very few, if any, people why she was really going away. To most she simply said that she was going to "learn more about farming". Which was true in the end, because she figured after this adventure she would settle down somewhere and begin farming again.

  So the girl packed two suitcases, loaded her dog in a kennel, and took that frightening, but very modern, mode of transportation known as an "airplane", and flew over 1,900 miles away from the land of green mountains which she had known for the last 17 years. She landed in a much different place... One of rolling hills, fields of corn, and roads full of lifted pickup trucks. To say that the girl experienced some culture shock would be an understatement. But strangely... She quickly became happy here; and settled into a new routine, with new people.

   Three days after she arrived, something happened that changed the rest of her life. The family she was staying with decided to have a game night, and the wife invited her two neighboring siblings to come over as well. First through the door was the wife's sister; who turned out to be the same age as the girl, and had many of the same interests. Stomping in through the door behind the sister, came her younger brother. A tall, brown haired, blue eyed, smiling 17-year old. The girl was shy and quiet, so she simply smiled briefly at the lad's cheerful greeting, and then retreated into a reserved shell of disposition. Her thoughts that night were of trying to figure a confusing card game out. His thoughts though... Oh his thoughts were different. He was intrigued by this quiet girl, who seemed full of secrets, and could quip movie lines at a moment's notice without batting an eyelash, and could talk about rifles and trucks as easily as she spoke of cows and goats.

  The girl however, was quaintly oblivious to the young lad's immediate interest. Even when he began coming to the house every evening, or took her sledding in the winter snow, or tried to learn more about her personal history, she was oblivious. She saw him as a fun person, and was content to keep him at arm's length. She'd been hurt in the past by others, and felt that she was too confusing and complicated of a case to ever let herself be close to someone again. So while she enjoyed the sledding, the games, the movies, and the talks, she kept her secrets close. She would not allow anyone to hurt her again.

  But he was as patient as he was stubborn, and took his time. Never forcing the girl to share anything, never putting her into a situation that made her feel uncomfortable... He waited. And over a course of weeks, the girl slowly began opening up to this young man. She didn't know why; and she kept waiting for him to suddenly up and leave, scared off by something she said. But he never did leave. Instead he just proved a loyalty that she couldn't understand. Where she was wary and untrusting, he was patient and trustworthy. Where she was insecure and doubting, he was solid, and encouraging. She was prone to panic attacks and nightmares, but he gently helped her through the problems without a trace of disgust that she had such problems. He helped her to find herself, and disentangle all those confusing thoughts. 

Life continued to tiptoe by, with each day falling away with the grace and subtlety of a snowflake. And then one day, the realization dropped on the girl like a bombshell: She liked this person. A LOT. And that realization utterly terrified her. Had she gone too far? Had she let her emotions come out too much? She couldn't handle being hurt again, so she retreated into herself again and tried to shut the young man out of her thoughts, her life. She was unlovable. She knew this. She was a train wreck that couldn't be fixed; she couldn't bring herself to let her new friend wade into the mess and possibly get hurt too. So she went back to who she was: A fearful, insecure, questioning, wandering nobody.

  But the young man refused to let her go and even when she pulled away with her emotions and trust, he just hung on all the harder; still finding her every day and hanging out. It wasn't until late one night, at the end of a party, that her emotional wall of aloofness broke with all the force of a hurricane hitting it. She had tried playing a prank on the young man earlier, and it turned out wrong... The girl felt so horrible and guilty that she discarded all propriety and hugged that  unprepared lad as hard as she could; sniffling back tears and apologizing all the while. And it was all over from there... She let him in; into her thoughts, fears, hopes, and crazy ramblings that no one had ever heard before. She gave him her trust, and just hoped that she wouldn't ever regret that decision.

  Four days after the young man turned eighteen, he asked that farm girl for permission to court her. Stunned, but happy, she wholeheartedly told him, "YES!" 

  They went on their first date the day after that. She drove, since he didn't have his driver's license just yet, and they went to the local theater to watch the first showing of "Frozen". It was in that dark room, watching a Disney movie together, with his arm around her shoulder that they both silently realized the end of their own story: This relationship was going to be forever. Come hell or high water, they wanted to get married some day, and knew they would.

  Months passed, and seasons changed. And as could be predicted, hell and high water did come for this young couple. Hard things happened, arguments came up, stress reared its ugly head more than once. But they made it through each problem, and the relationship became stronger each time. There were more good days than bad though, and this young couple could often be found doing strange activities for fun; such as canoeing in giant puddles, frog hunting, joy riding in their pickup trucks late at night, and watching what could probably be called an "unhealthy" amount of 'Doctor Who' episodes.

   They were both dirt poor, this farm girl and country boy. But they loved each other. Late one night, the boy asked the girl to go on a ride with him down their favorite back road. The girl was confused, since it was indeed very late at night, but agreed anyway after some convincing that she would enjoy this. So they got in his pickup, which she had always adored from the start since it was a big, noisy, diesel Cummins; and away they went... There wasn't another soul out at this hour; only them, and their rumbling truck. After ten or fifteen minutes, the boy pulled over on to what looked like a forgotten dirt road; right next to a bridge, and surrounded by corn fields. He helped her out, and in the dim headlights he knelt down, and asked a question the girl never thought anyone would ask her: "Would she marry him?" The girl didn't even hesitate in her answer as she gave him a resounding "Yes!".  He gave her a beautiful, silver ring, and after awhile they eventually began their way home again...

   They decided on a short engagement, the two of them did... Only six weeks and then they'd be Mr. and Mrs. At the time of writing this story, the farm girl and country boy only have nine days left before their wedding day. And while I am no prophet, I am going to make an educated guess as to how their story ends. It goes like this...

And they lived happily ever after...

Friday, October 10, 2014

From The Abyss... A Forgotten Voice

 This blog is "dead". I, the writer, deemed it that some months ago.

  And yet, out of the black abyss of nothingness comes this little voice today...

  "I think I miss blogging..."

  Thus begins the internal turmoil of a writer who feels she has a forgotten voice. A writer who doesn't even know what to write about right now. But misses it nevertheless. 

  I'm not yet sure what to do about this conundrum. Or even if you'll ever see another post here. I just randomly had a strong hankering to "blog" today.

  I think I miss you guys too. I liked our chatter we had going. 

  We'll see what happens... I may have to break down and start a new blog (which I doubt any of y'all would be interested in reading since I'm no longer farming). Or maybe the mood will pass (doubtful). Or maybe I'll suddenly sprout wings and then I'll be so busy flying around and being awesome, that I won't feel the need to blog (worldwide statistics of this phenomenon happening aren't very encouraging though). 

 P.S. Yes, you read that right. I'm no longer farming. And I'm okay with this. Why am I okay with this? *Ahem* Guess who's getting married in about a month! ;) Oooooh the evil tease. Hehehe...

Monday, July 7, 2014

It's Been Grand

   This post has been a long time in coming... I've been avoiding it, really. Thinking to myself that I'd wait another week, another month, another whatever. But today is the day.

  This blog is retiring. To Sing With Goats is being turned into a dusty archive; still readable, still view-able, but the cobwebs will begin to collect as time goes on, and no one will be here to dust them away.

  I was originally planning on starting a completely new blog, and even had a professional web designer working on it over the last month. But... I wasn't excited about it. So I emailed the designer a couple days ago and cancelled everything. This girl needs a sabbatical from social media. A very, very, very long one. I may someday get back into blogging, but I don't know for sure. And if I do, it will not be about farming. My days of farming are coming to an end, and to be honest, I'm glad. I'm ready for a break even from this. 

 Farewell my friends. Y'all have been wonderful to get to know over the years, and it's been grand, getting to ramble and rant here. Good luck with your ventures! As for me? I'm not entirely sure what adventures lie ahead, but I think they'll be pretty good. :) 

 Toodle pip and cheerio!

Saturday, June 7, 2014


   I've waited a long, long time for today.

   Today, this country girl finally got a truck of her own! It was a gracious gift from my grandparents, and I couldn't be more pleased with it. It's a little, Tardis-blue, '95 Ford F-150. And oh she's a grand little ride; even if she is a gas, and not a diesel. (hehe)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Feeling Old

  I accidentally locked myself out of my own blog. Yep, I am that talented. I did this storm of password changing (like almost everyone else in America seemed to be doing??) and of course did it late at night when I wasn't thinking properly... Come morning, I realized that I had no idea what my new blogger password was. Oy vey. Google wasn't a whole lot of help, but after trying, trying again, and RE-trying, I finally managed to get a NEW password, and was then able to let myself back in. So here I am. In one piece. And almost a month later.

  I'm not even sure what to write, right about now! Life's been a crazy whirlwind of farmer's market, getting the gardens in, milking cows, enduring thunder storms, having my favorite (no favorite's allowed) sister out for a visit, and getting ready to visit my grandparents down in MS again this week. :) Oh yeah, and feeling sick. Blah. I've never been one for migraines, but I've had two in the last few days, and the headaches refuse to leave me alone. Not. Fun. And my naturopath is apparently giving me some sort of herb to take, as a gentle sedative, since my stress levels are too high. Hehehe. That makes me feel old. Not yet 22 years old, and I'm already taking something for stress levels. Oh well; I admit that I do need some sort of help at times, because I. GET. STRESSED. OUT. It's an introvert problem. A lot of times it's not even anything huge that sets me off; I may just be listening to the dinner-time conversation, which usually strays to news of war, natural disasters, deaths, and other such gloomy things... Next thing I know, I'm in "freeze mode"; tense, trembling, quiet, and unable to shake myself out of the funk until the next day. WHY can't we talk about happy things at the table??? Like the fireflies that just came out? Or the healthy baby that someone at church just had, or balloons? Balloons count. Oh well. I'm getting old-lady sedative stuff to help the problem. ;) 

  Soooo... Yeah. I don't know what to write. Just doing that tiny little bit has me tired. I've been uber tired for the past few days (goes with the migraines/headaches), and I've basically been napping in all my spare time. Sorry you don't get more of an update than this, but I have no more words for y'all right now. My body wants another nap... And food. Food sounds good.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I'm A Scary Hermit

  I really shouldn't be left alone for long periods of time. Because I start doing really weird, awesome hermit stuff. Well, I call it "awesome" anyway...

  Today's been a pretty fun day, but I think there's a possibility that I'm either loopy, or suffering from too much caffeine from this morning's coffee. I got a FULL NIGHT'S SLEEP last night and oh glory was it warm. I very muchly did not want to get up, but Lavender (the mama cat who keeps her kittens in the loft) wouldn't let me sleep in. Ah nuts. Oh well. Between the full night's sleep, and a large mug of strong coffee, and getting the ENTIRE morning off of work, well -- I'm feeling quite chipper. Hehehe. I got the morning off because my host family left early for a camping trip; so the wife did the barn chores before I got down for breakfast, and I've got the next few days pretty darn easy.

 So yep, I've been left to my own devices to stay occupied. This could be dangerous. What does a Caity do all by herself on a beautiful spring day? Everything she can think of. From putting vases of daffodils everywhere in the loft (I think I've got 8 or 9 up there right now? And I ain't done!), to cleaning out and filling up her fish tanks that were just given to her so that she can keep all the frogs, toads, snakes, salamanders, lizards, turtles, and fish she wants, to filling out paperwork to foster a parrot from a local avian rescue (c'mon... there's no one else in that loft! Why not keep a rowdy bird for a few weeks!?), to twirling around an empty house in time to rap music. 

 Like I said. I'm either loopy today, or the coffee was a wee bit too strong. Or both. 

  Back on the subject of the fish tanks... I mentioned to my host family that I was wanting some fish tanks to keep critters in and was told that the husband's parents were trying to get rid of a gazillion aquariums (there could be a very slight exaggeration on the number of tanks), and I could have as many as I want!!! I am so STOKED. I got three this morning; just a 5-gallon, 10-gallon, and 20-gallon. They've got a 50-gallon tank that I want next though. Why? Oh just for my bearded dragons. *innocent look* 

 What? Don't give me that look! No one here cares if I get them, and I've been wanting a dragon since I was fourteen years old. And now that I've just been bequeathed a bunch of aquariums, why not get the long-coveted reptile? These lizards are fantastic pets; friendly, active, gentle, and even trainable. I want a male so I can name him 'Toothless'. ;) Hey, it could be worse. Be glad I'm not eyeing a Savannah Monitor, which Petco also sells for a very decent price. Those carnivorous beasts top out at 5 feet in length. I love reptiles, but even that's a bit much for me... I'll stick with a 2' long beastie that looks like it's smiling. 

  I'll admit that the parrot thing is kinda' out-of-the-blue. The idea came to me this morning. A loud, rowdy parrot is another thing I've always wanted but could never have. And while it won't work for me to keep one for very long, there's a local rescue that will let me "foster" (that term sounds so weird and yuppy... I kind of cringe saying it) a bird over the summer and then give it back. Basically, they provide the cage, food, and everything, and it's my job to make the bird friendly and adoptable. No cost for me, and I get a neat loft companion. I think this idea came about because I was trying to come up with a good challenge for myself... I have to have some sort of really good mental challenge to keep me from getting bored. I was originally hoping to get back into horses and do some training and rodeos over the summer, but I have been implored by those around me to not do it because of the danger levels. I have to agree with them there... If I get back into horses, then it will only be a matter of time before I start riding bareback and/or bridleless. Actually, my goal was to do a barrel race in the county fair rodeo this summer, but do it bridless; just use a slim string around my mount's neck. Reckless? Foolish? Uh yeah. Duh. It takes training and trust to do that feat. It's totally doable though. But again, my dare-devil habits with equines makes others nervous, so for their sake I've decided to look at a different challenge. Thus the birds. No, the challenge is nowhere near the same. But it's something at least.

    The whole "twirling to rap music" thing isn't that abnormal for me. If there's no one around, then I have no qualms with jiving to whatever I'm listening to. Don't deny that you do it too. Although, you might not do it to rap. And that's fine. To each their own. I was listening to a bouncy song by Lecrae called 'I Used To Do It Too', and the beat/tune really is quite catchy. In fact, if you're into that style of music, then here's the song itself:

  I used to not like rap simply because you never could tell what on earth the singers were saying. But then I was introduced to Christian rap (namely Lecrae) and I've been enjoying this stuff. I find that with normal contemporary Christian music I tend to just listen to the instruments and melody and not so much the lyrics. With the rap though, the lyrics are what is being showcased. It's not about the beat (although the bass is awesome, and yes I turn it up), it's not about the melody ('cause there usually ain't a really strong one), it's the WORDS that you hear. In a modern form of poetry, the words rhyme, catch your ear, and you're not swamped by all those extra things like too many instruments. I realize that most folks don't like rap, and I'm not trying to convince you otherwise; I'm just explaining why this conservatively-raised country girl is now listening to, and enjoying, such a genre. I like the simplicity of it, and the fact that I can hear the lyrics so strongly. I have gotten more out of one song by Lecrae then by all the songs in a hymnal. I can't even count how many times I've been upset and have listened to 'Far Away', or 'Background', or some other song, and felt better afterwards. The message in those songs is amazing. Today's song 'I Used To Do It Too' is a good one too. It's like getting a mini sermon in lyric form. And I have a gut feeling that Jesus has no qualms with rap music. My conviction concerning music is that if your heart's in the right place, and you're singing to glorify Him, then the style don't matter. Acappella or heavy metal; classical or rap. I think we humans are the ones who do the judging, when in all honesty -- that ain't our job!

 And just because I can, here's Lecrae's song 'Far Away'. Love this one! ^_^  God's not far away! He's always right here for us! I love that this song starts out despairing (usually the way I am when I listen to it), and then it finishes strong. Yussss...

  Now... What shall I do next? Hmm... Methinks I might go finish the lunch dishes real quick, and then maybe go swing outside for awhile. We'll see what happens.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Don't Try This At Home

  Today's adventure: Trying to duck under a strand of electric fence while standing barefoot in knee-deep creek water.

  You see where this is going?


  Now, I've ducked under that wire before. Did just fine. Didn't think it'd be a problem this time; there's no way to get around that wire, so I'm in the habit of just goin' under it. Today however... I didn't duck *quite* low enough, and my spine brushed that thin little wire.

  That fence has a really powerful charge on it. Really, really powerful. And when you're barefoot, in water, that power gets magnified many times over. I got shocked by a different fence yesterday, and the power was enough to make me jump and shout a quick, "OW!" Today was a different story though. All I remember is screaming, and just going down. It was like being momentarily paralyzed; I couldn't move, couldn't think, couldn't do anything! Just boom. Down. Apparently I was grabbed and hauled out, but I honestly don't remember that. My memory starts kicking in again once I was out of the water and on my feet. Oh everything hurt, I was wet, and I wanted to cry. 

  I still hurt, but not quite so much. My back and chest are sore, and methinks it'll be that way for a few days. In the meantime though, I think I'll start hunting for a new route around that fence... I have no desire to ever repeat that experience.

  Folks, don't try this at home.


  Canoeing in a giant puddle during a deluge is more fun than it should be.

  It really is.

  And it makes for an awesome redneck date. ;) 

  Just thought you'd like to know.

  If you ever have a flash flood in your area, and find a ginormous puddle on your property, by all means grab a canoe and another person. And a camera. I'd love to see photo evidence. *cough cough* :) 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Darth Pooh... Wait, Wha?

   If you've ever wondered what Darth Vader would sound like if he had the voice of Winnie The Pooh, well... Here's your chance to find out. I just about died watching this. ;)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Girl vs. Snapping Turtle

   Everyone has their moments. And by moments, I mean when you seem to lose all logic and sense. You know, the most basic logic that every human being possesses? I had that moment today.

  Call me an idiot, folks, but this crazy country girl tried picking up a snapping turtle today.


  It was dumb of me.

  I was originally in the midst of bringing the cows back up to the barn, when right at the pond's edge I saw it: 12 inches in diameter, and looking like some prehistoric monster that should have died during the Great Flood, that turtle glared at me from the other side of the electric fence. 

  I'm a fool when it comes to reptiles and amphibians. In Oregon, I never had to worry about any dangerous or poisonous creatures, so I got in the habit of picking up everything that came my way. That same habit is a bit of a death wish here in Missouri.

  I was originally going to just leave it alone. Honest. Cross my heart. He looked mean, and he was a downright whopper! But the reckless part of me couldn't resist. I hopped the fence, tiptoed over to the ugly beast and cautiously put my hands on each side of his big shell; trying to keep them as far from his head as possible. I got him about two inches off the ground before he erupted in all his snapping fury. HOLY SMOKES!! You wouldn't believe what a long neck those things have! That ornery critter whipped his head around and did his very best to take a finger or three off of me.


  I totally panicked. Like, I dropped that turtle, screamed, scurried over that fence, and didn't stop running until I got back up the hill and reached the cows (I didn't want to find out how fast snapping turtles moved on the ground). I laugh now, thinking about how ridiculous I must have looked (and sounded... Screaming like a little girl, I was!), but at the time I was freaking out enough that a passerby might have thought I had found a skeleton.

  I got home safe and unscathed. I still have all eight fingers (oh wait -- I mean ten. Don't worry, Mom), and the snapping turtle didn't follow me up the path in an angry rampage. But one thing's for sure: I am never, ever, EVER dipping one toe in that pond. That demon might want revenge.

  I got bested by a turtle. This is kind of humiliating...

Sunday, March 30, 2014


   Last night was a much better night than the last two. With the help of my host family, we got both wood stoves roaring by 8pm, and by midnight the entire loft was around 85F. It was so gloriously warm... Along with finally having a plethora of heat, I also had Christmas lights strung up along the ceiling (Thanks Tasha! Great idea!), which made the place delightfully cheery, and lastly I borrowed a radio for the night and kept it playing softly all night. Oh yeah, and there were kittens... Hehe. One of the barn cats likes to hang out in the loft, and she's been due to pop any day. I guess she decided last night was a good time to do it; and in my absence she made a nice little nest right on my bed. *un-amused look* Seriously, pussy cat? I liked that blanket. Oh well, we got her moved into a little box right next to my bed; and now I have 6 fluffy little kittens to keep me company in here. They are so stinkin' cute. ^_^

  I slept all night long, without one single sniffle or tear. It was so nice. I think the radio was a key component here, but gosh those Christmas lights helped too... Dim enough to keep on all night, but still bright enough to act as an "adult nightlight". ;) 

  Hopefully this can become a habit... Eighty-five degrees by bed time, music, and twinkle lights. 

  I think I might be high maintenance... Just a suspicion. 

Friday, March 28, 2014


  I am a ridiculous person.

  Just know this now.

  Actually, you may have already known that fact, but I'm stating it anyway. My reason for this statement? I'm on my second night of crying as I climb into bed, and I foresee myself continuing this habit for probably another week. Folks, I'm four months shy of turning 22, and here I am crying myself to sleep when dusk falls. I'm too old for this. Yet I'm doing it anyway. Why? Because I'm lonely. 

  I moved into the loft two days ago. It's just little ol' me up here. Me, plus the spiders and mice that share this place, anyway... It's dark, unfamiliar, chilly because I can't get the wood stove heated up due to the ash tray having technical difficulties, and frankly... I hate being alone. I just really, really, really hate being alone at night. 

  I'm sure I'll get used to this in time... Things will become familiar, I'll get the wood stove fixed tomorrow, the cat will fix the mouse problem... My hope is that in a week I'll be able to act like a normal adult who doesn't mind being alone at night. But right now? Well, right now I'm propped up in bed with tears streaking my cheeks. I've brought Gyp to bed with me tonight to fight against some of the loneliness, and I will somewhat sheepishly even admit that I'm wearing a sweater, that I pilfered from my boyfriend, to act as a security blanket. 

  I hate nighttime these days... After dinner, I begin to feel a knot forming in the pit of my stomach; it grows and intensifies as the hours fall away. Pretty soon it's time: Time for me to walk up to the loft and spend the next 8 - 9 hours in darkness, silence, and isolation. 

  I really hope I get used to this soon... In the meantime, all I've got is a dog and a red sweater to help me through.

  Any advice on how to get over this little problem? I would really love to hear some wisdom right now.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Your Argument Is Invalid

  I am not a fan of chickens. I must admit this. Sure, I like some of the fighting breeds, but on the whole, I don't care for chickens. However, I could be very easily convinced to keep chickens, if I had a coop that looked like the TARDIS. Observe:

It is a TARDIS chicken coop. Your argument is invalid. 

P.S. The source of this image, plus building directions can be found HERE.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


  The geese are all flying back to their respective warm-weather homes, the frogs are peeping, the thunderstorms are happening, the snow is thawing, the green grass is poking up... Spring is tip toeing her way here in all cautiousness and subdued manner. But hey, I'm not complaining! We've been having some lovely weather in between the dying cold snaps. So I'm happy.

  And with all this changing that's going around, and migrating of beasts, The Caity (notice the capitalization. Yes, I have given myself a title. It's a matter of time before I get my crown...) herself is migrating also. No, I'm not going far. Promise. Just 6.5 minutes walk away from the main house and FINALLY going back to the Loft! Whoohoo! We've been waiting on two things for this little migration of mine: Warm weather and WiFi. Ahem. Yeah, okay, that first one is understandable. Getting a frozen nose again isn't exactly my idea of a fun night. And it's hard to milk cows if you're a icicle and look like you got blasted by Gru's Freeze-Ray (it's possible that I'm being slightly dramatic in this sentence... Not positive, but possible.). So I tucked tail and fled to the warm main house where everything is nicely insulated against winter's grumpiness. The WiFi though was the second big reason. There weren't no internet connection up thar! Shucks, a girl can only live without so much... And the Loft already has no shower, washing machine, or thermostat (I promise I'm still taking showers and doing laundry. I just have to walk down to the main house to do those). Actually, the Loft has had WiFi in the past, but they took it down last winter since no one was living up there. And now that I've hopelessy rabbit-trailed, let me get back to my original point! There is net connection up there as of yesterday!! It works bee-yew-ti-fully. ^_^ 

  I have no idea when I'll attempt The Great Migration and move on up there... Maybe this week, or maybe next. It'll be interesting to see if I manage to stay up there this time. Hehe. 

  And in the mean time, I'm also slooooowly getting ready to get my microgreen business up and running here. I'm having one of those moments where I'm mentally swinging between, "What if this doesn't work!?!?" and "Of course it'll work!" I'm excited to get back into growing those little greens, but there's still that little fear of failure hovering in the back of my mind. Sigh. But, here we go anyway. I'm a little tardy in getting this going though; I ordered my pea and radish seeds like -- 15 minutes ago. *cough, cough* Oh well. If this weather holds, then I should hopefully have the first crop ready just in time for the first day of Farmer's Market. Fingers crossed. And I still have to build a greenhouse of sorts... Phooey. Oh wait, let me rephrase that: I still need to dole out cash to have a greenhouse built, and have the guys here build one since they like that kind of stuff. It's the cash doling-out that doesn't have me smiling. Greenhouses are great. Spending money is not. I think I'm starting to rabbit trail again. *suspicious look*

 Want a sad note of news? Nobody does. But I'll say it anyway since I might as well keep you in the loop. Things are still going really rough with Gyp. *sad, sad, sad face* Folks, I love that dog. But I can't bring myself to watch him be ruined like this. I see him for maybe 20 minutes every day? He doesn't deserve this. He needs a human. Gosh dang, life has changed so much since I first bought him... I'm still praying about what to do in this situation, but in the meantime, one person has asked if I would consider her as a possible new owner, and I said 'yes'. 

  Okay, now I need to cheer myself up. Hmm... Think, think, think. 

 Frog hunting. I'm going frog hunting tomorrow night. ;) That's cheery news. I'm just out to catch and release some peepers and tree frogs. It's been forever since I've gone frog hunting, and I'm just in a weird mood to do it again. 

 Alright, one last bit of uber randomness to amuse you? I found the neatest Tardis backpack. Clicking those highlighted words will show you this fabulous treasure that I have so delightedly found. ^_^ I am really, super, horribly, terribly, tempted to buy this once I have a spare $26 lying around. That's a lie actually. I'm not "tempted to buy it". I'm buying it. One does not simply not buy a Tardis backpack (if you said that in Boromir's voice, then you are on my level of awesomeness). Write it down folks: The Caity is getting a Tardis backpack. The nerds called, and I answered. What can I say? 

  'Kay. I'm gone now. Toodle pip and cheerio y'all! (That was weird... I totally just mixed British with Redneck. Wow.)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

My Team

  Surprise! I have a picture for y'all! Yes, yes, how shocking... I pilfered a teeny, tiny point-and-shoot for this. Thought I would share the awesomeness of the airsoft team that I've found myself in. ;) So folks, here's me (center; only girl, and the only one smiling. Ha!) and my team (with one newbie who came for the day; the kid on the far right is not part of the core group).

   It's a pretty great group, if I may say so. They're all great players, and they don't mind having a girl in their midst. Or the fact that she has painted fingernails and shiny earrings in during the wars. *cough, cough* 

  Yesterday's war went pretty well. I got some kills, kept team members alive, died heroically (more than once. Ahem), got blisters and bruises, and thorns embedded in my skin, played with rifles, and just generally enjoyed myself. 

  I can't wait until the next war. :)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Gonna' Be Awesome

  I'm headed outside in about 30 minutes for another airsoft war with the guys. :) The weather is going to be a perfect 60F and sunny; should be an awesome day to be stalking each other through the forest, and dodging BB pellets. ^_^

 It gets interesting though, because I have to leave the war an hour early so I can get ready for... Wait for it... A dance. LOL. I'm still chuckling at this contrast. I'll spend the first 6 hours of my day in military camo and combat boots, babying "my" (I like to call it mine) AK-47, and shouting strange tactical terms at my other team members... Then at 4pm I'll have to leave it all behind so I can change into a skirt, shiny dance shoes, a gorgeous lace-up bodice I just bought... I'll have makeup, my hair will be done nicely... It's like my own version of Cinderella. 

 But for now, I'm geared up for war. It's gonna' be awesome.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Can I Get an 'Amen'?

On Top Of The World

   Today was a jaw dropping 72 degrees. I couldn't believe it. It. Was. GORGEOUS!! There were oodles of ways I could have spent my afternoon, glorying in the heat, sun, and blue skies... But there was only one way that I wanted to spend it.

  On the road. 

  I had a couple small errands I needed to do in town anyway... Why not do them today!? So off I went; beginning the 20+ minute drive to town through beautiful, curvy, country back roads. I've been waiting years for a day like this, where it would just be me, and the weather would be just right... Ooooh yes. I had a plan for this day.

   And it was a blast. The drive was everything I've ever hoped it would be. Windows rolled down, country music blaring, cruising those roads at 60mph with one hand on the wheel and one hand resting on the stick (manual drive! Woot!), doing the one-finger wave to neighbors and passing cars... Yup. I'm easy to please. All I was lacking was a truck to be driving, instead of a little Ford Focus. That will be an epic day when I get to repeat today's adventure in my very own truck. 

  I don't really know why I've always wanted to try that combination of loud music, country roads, and open windows, but I have. And let me tell ya... It's a great way to feel like you're on top of the world! Hehe. And yes, I promise I stayed within speed limits. Cross my heart and hope ta' die. 

  I hear tomorrow's supposed to be 75F. Hmm... What adventure shall I do then? ;) 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Poor Girl's Mudding

"You even have mud in your hair..."

  Such was the incredulous statement by one of the family members here as she stared at me; her gaze roving from head to toe. I grinned and winked at her before walking to my bedroom to change. I was splattered with mud from top to bottom. Both front side and back side. Mud in my hair, on my face, on my hat, on my Carhartt coat, on my jeans, on my hands... And I was blissfully happy. Mud is something I love. 

  No, I wasn't out rolling in the mud. Or making mud pies. 

  Gyp and I went mudding. Well, "poor girl's mudding" anyway... True mudding is something you do in a truck, or on a ATV. Speeding your way through big mud puddles and enjoying the crazy messiness of it all. Mudding is a BLAST!! Although, I think you have to be a certain level of redneck/country to enjoy it. Or at least not mind the fact that you have mud in your teeth. To continue though! Gyp and I went and did the cheater version of mudding!!

  The temps outside were hovering around 40F, and there was nary a cloud in the sky. Gorgeous weather by anyone's standards! I wanted to be outside and glory in the sunshine, and I knew that Gyp needed to burn some serious energy; but I didn't want to run since the back roads here were muddy, slushy, wet, and not runner friendly. So I grabbed a bicycle and a dog leash. Gyp needs some ground training for this urban mushing, right? Might as well see what happens when he's got a wheeled invention behind him!

  This idea was rather foolish, and I jolly well knew it. My plan was to simply leash him up and hold the leash in my left hand, while biking along with him. Who knows what would happen! But by Jove, I was going biking! And my dog was coming! Never argue with a Caity when her mind is made up! 

  All in all it went pretty well. Gyp had never seen a bike before, but didn't really care since he was suddenly able to run full tilt down the road. We started out slowly, so I could watch his reaction to the bike; once I felt comfortable that he wasn't going to freak out, I psyched him up with a loud "Step up and HIKE!" and he took off like a rocket. I was on gear 6, going downhill, and he was still beating me. He was even pulling me ever so slightly. Together we floored it, like the crazy duo that we are. Over pitted gravel roads, going through every mud puddle there was, alternating between shouting, "Hike!" to encourage Gyp and hollering "Heck YEAH!" when we hit a particularly large mud puddle. We did still have three near mishaps though. One when Gyp stopped suddenly because he caught whiff of a critter; meanwhile I kept going on the bike. We both had a very abrupt jerk on our ends, and I almost flipped off the bike. The second was when Gyp swerved over to the right side, when he was too close to the front wheel. I just about popped a wheelie on that one and almost flipped backwards from trying too hard to swerve out of the way. The last was when he suddenly sped up and I was caught unprepared. But, I stayed on that bike nevertheless! And Gyp learned from each episode!

  I finally made Gyp stop running after almost 3/4's of a mile. He wasn't even breathing heavily, but I didn't want to over do it. We still had to run all the way back home, for goodness sake! By this time we were off the gravel back roads and onto civilized asphalt. I was ready to go back to the back roads though. The mud puddles awaited! On a whim, I've decided to train Gyp to nautical terms instead of the traditional mushing terms. So instead of hollering "haw!" to tell Gyp to turn left as we headed back for home, I shouted "Port!". Hehehe. C'mon, how could I resist? You only live once, so you might as well be amusing, right? My level of awesomeness entails riding on a dog-driven scooter down a landlocked Missouri road, shouting things like "Anchors away!" and "Hard to starboard!". The neighbor's already think I'm a nut; I'm just helping to confirm it. 

  We practically flew home; still aiming to hit every mud puddle, and still trying to go faster than the other. I had just enough time to give the one-finger wave to a neighbor as we zoomed past (his facial expression was priceless), and half wondered if I shouldn't have stopped and explained myself. Oh well. Gyp and I made it home faster than we set out, and he was STILL a hyper ball of energy when I let him off the leash and took him back to the dog pen. Meanwhile, I was plumb tuckered out, and desperately wanted water!

  At this point, I didn't really know what I looked like... I could see the mud covering my jeans and hands, but that was about all. It wasn't until I got home and was confronted by the wide-eyed stares of the others that I thought to go look in a mirror. Wow. Not too shabby for the first try! I looked like I had been in a mud fight!

  Mission accomplished. The dog was exercised, and I was deliciously dirty. 

  I think I just might do it again tomorrow. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What's In A Day?

  It has come to my attention that I really haven't said much about what I do on a daily basis here, or what my days typically look like as an intern on a small farm. Either I'm just forgetful (most probable), or extremely good at procrastinating (still a truth). We're just now creeping into spring, and the work load is slowly shifting, but for now, here's what my winter schedule looks like:

  6:30 - 7a.m. - Time to wake up! Oy vey... Do I *have* to wake up!? I admit that I usually try to sleep until 7am. If I'm lucky/lazy (ha. Take your pick), then I miiiiight sleep until 7:10; but that's not hugely often since that leaves me rushing!

   7:30a.m. - Breakfast! YUSSSS!!! *punches air with fist* I'm still convinced I have Hobbit blood in me somewhere down the line. 'Cuz I like to have breakfast, second breakfast (honest to goodness, I'm living with people who say things like, "We'll save these leftovers for second breakfast..." It's crazy awesome.), elevensies, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, supper, and then of course snack. I really can't believe I'm not fat... For as much as I eat, I really should be weighing more than 125 lbs. Not that I'm complaining though! ;) 

   8a.m. - Wash up jars for the morning milking, fill an insulated container with hot water (to wash udders/teats since the cows don't appreciate cold water!), suit up in my many layers of winter clothing which consists of a sweater, quilt-lined overalls, Carhartt coat, two pairs of gloves, thick wool socks, a huge scarf, thick knit hat, and my insulated Bogs muck boots. Yes, I look like the Pillsbury dough girl by the time I'm completely outfitted. Or rather, it looks like my eating habits have caught up to me. I've gotten used to the fact that I look like a roly poly dork though. 

 8:10 - 9a.m. - Start trudging up the snowy hill to the barn! If the weather is nice, and the roads are clear (we have a rather perilous and steep drive way...) then we'll drive up in the truck; usually with me sitting on the toolbox in the truck bed, since I think it's more fun to ride in the bed than in the cab. It only takes us 3 to 5 minutes to get up to the barn, and then after that, the wife and I split into our routine of barn chores ('tis only the two of us doing barn chores and all the dairy stuff). My side of routine is usually to get water boiling to wash the milking equipment, get the jars and strainer set up, fill the feed bin for Penny (first cow to be milked), and then grab ma'self the pail and some hot wash water, and start milking! Penny is normally a great cow to milk; she's a short, fat little Jersey who is almost black in color with orange points on her poll and nose (eeek! My favorite color on a cow!). Temperament wise, she is *usually* quite calm and placid. But oh heavens does that cow get grumpy sometimes... Most mornings I can milk her out in about 10-15 minutes, but every now and again she'll get ornery and not let her milk down. Thusly I have to admit defeat and let the wife finish her up. And so far I've only been kicked five times. Hehe. Four times by Penny (I had it coming... She had frostbite on a teat, mastitis in that same quarter, and I had to somehow get her milked out.), and once by Ellie, who was in heat and was veeeeeery grumpy that morning. 

  After milking Penny, I get her milk strained and chilling before passing the empty pail off to the wife, who milks Ellie. This is our way of splitting chores; we can each easily milk both cows, but to keep things balanced we each milk one, while the other does other barn chores. Once Ellie is in the stanchion, I work on mucking out the stall that she and Penny had spent the night in. The second stall is already clean (one of the wife's tasks while I milk), so once I'm done mucking I work on throwing a bale of hay to the cows, filling water tanks, sweeping the barn floor clean, and then driving Penny and the calves to whatever pasture it is that they're going to each day (depends on the weather). Somewhere in the midst of all this, I'll run Gyp over to the kennels where he'll stay with the collies until nightfall. At first he would hang around with me for barn chores, but he's gotten into the awful habit of harassing the cows (namely the calves...), so the folks here have asked that he gets taken to the kennels before the cows are let outside.

   9:30a.m. - 12p.m. - This is the most variable part of my day. All of December and January, and then half of February was spent working on the tree piles... 2.5 hours every day of burning cedar branches, and hauling + stacking cord wood. That doesn't sound like a bad gig really; a couple hours each day? Sounds perfectly doable... Until you're on your third month of doing it every stinkin' day. It was a great learning experience, sure; I'll be the first to say that. But I'll let y'all in on a little secret of mine: I hate fire!! Yep, call me a sissy. Or a coward. Or a fraidy cat. I'm afraid of fire. To me, fire is too unpredictable, uncontrollable, and dangerous to be comfortable around. It's right up there with thunderstorms and tornadoes (this is where my host family and everyone here quizzically asks what I'm gonna' do when the spring storms come; to which I reply that I have no clue!). The small bit of a control freak in me hates dealing with things like fire and storms because I have no control over them. Bad things might happen, and all I can do is watch. Anyway... Almost three months of working in close proximity to a huge bonfire was nerve wracking, and to be completely honest, I broke down right at the end. I'm not entirely sure why, but one day I had just had enough of those piles. We were all finishing up our break and as everyone began getting up to go back to work, I busted out in tears. I normally hate it when people see me cry, but right then and there I didn't care that everyone was watching. More than anything, I did NOT want to go work on wood! Everyone was amazingly patient and understanding, and I was given the alternative job of making lunch. 

  We did finally finish up those monstrous piles, and now we're working on hauling all the stacked cord wood up the long driveway and stacking them up there where they'll be picked up by someone who is apparently buying all of it to get it chipped. I don't know details on that... This work I don't mind. No fire involved! And this is fun since I get to ride along on the tractor. Oh and get this: I got to drive the tractor yesterday!! Huge honor there. It felt slightly disloyal, seeing as it's a Kubota, but hey, it's still a tractor. It's still nice and rumbly and fun. ^_^ 

  Other projects we do before lunch are things like putting up fencing (we just fenced a part of the forest for the cows, and soon there will be hogs in there!), pruning fruit trees (did that yesterday!), dairy work (making cheese, butter, yogurt, kefir, etc.), and lately we've been starting on starting the veggie plants. 

12p.m. - the rest of the day - Noon marks lunch time!! I'm usually pretty darn starfished by this time ("starfished": a mix between being "starving" and "famished". Yes it's legit. Don't argue with me). After lunch, and cleaning up all the dishes, I usually have the rest of the day to do whatever I want! On Tuesdays it's my job walk up to the barn at 4pm and do the evening milking/barn chores (takes about 20 minutes), but other than that I'm as free as a bird. What I do with my free time varies from day to day; sometimes it's outside playing in the snow, inside reading a book, doing research on the computer, annoying the grumpy cat here, taking a power nap (Truth: I love taking naps horizontal life pauses), hiding somewhere in the forest and playing my ocarina (sounds like a penny whistle, looks nothing like one), or just hanging out with the folks around here. 

  7 - 9p.m.. - Movie time. Its pretty much become habit now. 9 out of 10 times we watch a Dr. Who episode (fish fingers and custard! My fellow Whovians will get that reference. Hehehe.), but one never really knows... Sometimes it's a Sherlock episode instead, or we'll watch a little kid movie like Sword In The Stone, Veggie Tales, or Winnie The Pooh; or we'll go with my favorite genre, which would be action movies. I will confess that I was watching Star Wars III a couple days ago... I had never seen the whole thing, so I was told to 'sit and stay', and that's what we watched. LOL. 

11p.m. - Bed time! I don't know why I can't seem to get to bed earlier... But that marks the end of my day; it all starts over in eight hours!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Laugh For You

   This Youtube never fails to set me laughing. Comedian John Branyan tells the tale of the 'Three Little Pigs' in a hilarious, Shakespeare fashion. I thought I'd share the humor with y'all; so here you go!

  You're welcome. ;)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

One Sticking Point

  Okay so I really am working on maturing and getting rid of pride issues in my life, but I have to admit that I do have one sticking point that I don't think I will ever come to terms with: Tractor color.

 Yes, it does matter.

 The green tractors are the best.

 Not the blue. Not the red. Not the Orange. 

 Fellow country folk will agree with me that this is most definitely an issue not to be taken lightly in life. The color of your tractor is a very serious subject. Right up there with what kind of truck you drive.

 It's gotta' be a Deere, folks... Go with the green tractors.

(P.S. This post is written 75% tongue-in-cheek. I'm mostly just being ornery. But I do love the green tractors!)

I Am Humbled

  Oh phooey. I just found out that I'm out of milk. My jar in the fridge is empty as empty can be! Guess I'll have to pasteurize some more this afternoon, or tomorrow morning...

  Yes you read that right. I really did say "pasteurize". I've been in the raw milk business for roughly six years, I've shied away from pasteurized milk for pretty much that whole span of time, and if you ever wanted to get into a fist fight with me then just say something negative about raw milk. Seriously. I was also incredibly good at debating my case on why raw milk was superior, and why pasteurized milk was trash not worth even feeding to an animal. I may be horrible at arguing, but I could have floored a politician on this one subject. 

  Looking back now, I hate what I used to be... In my "passion" for what I did, I became such a judgmental wretch. No, more than that; I became elitist and proud. I won't deny the fact at all that I looked down on people who didn't drink raw milk. Shucks, at the time, this was a big deal to me! I was in a challenging business where I was not only dealing with high maintenance dairy animals that required precision in their care, but a business that was and is hated by the government. I had the hotline number for the FTCLDF (farm to consumer legal defense fund) in my coat pocket at all times, just in case a government federal official stopped by one day and told me to cease and desist... I could tell you exactly what the bacteria count multiplies to in a 20 minute span when milk is above 30 degrees Fahrenheit. I knew exactly what year pasteurization started and why. I knew the chemical changes in milk once you heated it past 120F. 

  In a nutshell, you couldn't have paid me to drink pasteurized milk.

 Excuse me a moment while I hide my face in my hands in shame and embarrassment over who I was. Gosh... Passionate? More like hard headed.

  A few weeks after I bought my first milk cow, back in 2012, I began to realize something rather ironic: I seemed to be intolerant of raw cow milk. I wrote a post about it, which you can find HERE. So what did I do? Oh the logical thing of course, and started pasteurizing the milk. NOT. That whole sentence is dripping with sarcasm. Nope, if I couldn't drink it raw then I'd just go without dairy altogether. After all, I wouldn't want to contaminate myself with that awful, ruined, chalk water, now would I!?!?! *Gasp of horror* I might -- DIE or something! Or -- get some awful disease! Or, or -- um... Hold on, I'll think of something... Um, I might -- be tempted to eat Lucky Charms cereal for breakfast since I'd have milk to pour over it!!! Gaah!!! Nooooooo! You'll never take me alive!! Man the cannons, boys! It's my way or the highway! And if we can't drink it raw, then we ain't drinkin' it at all!! Goodbye Lucky Charms! You never had enough marshmallows anyway!! 


 I'll try to come back down to a level of normalcy now. Ahem. 

  With the almost-laughable realization that I couldn't drink the milk from my own cows, I made the seemingly simple decision to just go dairy free. So I did just that. For almost two years. 

  I really craved Lucky Charms cereal... And Honeycombs. Heck, I missed cold cereal in general! And I missed having a glass of milk to go with snacks. Life just isn't the same when you have to drink water with your chocolate chip cookie. Your life feels like a lie. My sister might not agree with me on that, as she is the quirky individual who dips her graham crackers in water before eating them, but I'd like to think that I'm on a slightly higher plane of "normal" than she. Even if I do eat ice cream with a fork, and never a spoon... Your life is still a lie though, trying to consume water and chocolate chip cookies in tandem!! Stick with me folks, stick with me!

  Then I landed in Missouri. Where I hand milk two Jersey cows almost every day (weekends off). When I first came, I tried drinking the milk, in hopes that maybe my system had changed over the years and I could tolerate the lovely dairyness again. Oh just think of the bliss! Milk, whenever I want! But nope. No luck. I. Felt. Horrible. This was borderline ridiculous now. Who ever heard of someone being intolerant to RAW milk!?!? Sheesh. I praised this raw milk stuff to the skies (farther than that, actually) for years. It was supposed to be this magic liquid that came just shy of making you immortal. This was just wrong that I couldn't drink it. 

  A couple weeks ago, my host family offered to flash pasteurize a quart of milk to see if I could handle that. Partly because they felt bad that I was having to be anti-dairy on a dairy farm (oh the irony! It's killing me!), and partly because they were curious if I was truly intolerant to the raw milk, or if it was an intolerance to milk in general. After a couple days to think about it, I caved and agreed to be a guinea pig. One would have thought I had just signed my life away or something... The next day, I tried a small glassful and waited for the usual feelings of being ripped apart on the inside because I had just consumed milk. 


 I felt great. All day.

  And the level of irony has just gone through the roof. I'm intolerant to raw milk, but can have pasteurized milk just fine. 

  You might say I did a bit of maturing that day. This whole "raw vs. pasteurized" debate suddenly seemed pointless and ridiculous. Milk is milk, folks! And the large dairies work killingly hard to make sure that their product that goes on the store shelf is the highest quality that they are capable of producing. I was done being judgmental. Here's how it goes folks: You drink your milk how you like it, and I'll drink it how I like it. No more bashing. No more saying one is better than the other. 

 I am humbled. This has long been a pride issue in my life, and it feels good to finally have come to my senses in this aspect. And now I need to make a note to pasteurize another quart of milk soon... It's been great having dairy back in my life. :)

 And can we please agree that Lucky Charms cereal needs to have less "cereal" and more marshmallows?

Friday, February 28, 2014

Random Thinking

  My blog name really doesn't seem to fit anymore.

  But I think I'm too attached to it to let it go.

  Conundrum, this is.

  Your thoughts?

Ain't Done Yet

  I was born in Virginia. I hail from Oregon. I love Mississippi. Can't stand New Mexico. Right now I'm looking out a window and seeing Missouri countryside. I've changed locations many times in my life. And just like a person can change locations, your life can change, personality can change, opinions can change... Be ready for it folks; you can't stop it, and neither can I. The only thing we can really do is be willing to accept the change in ourselves, and in those around us.

  I've changed since December. Missouri has changed me. Shucks, I'm still changing, and that without remedy. For the most part the change has been good. I'm a different person than who I was back in Oregon, and frankly... I don't want to go back to being who I was. This girl in Missouri... She looks the same, but she's not. She's more confident. More open. More willing to be around people. She feels safer somehow. Her guard is down here; and as she's shed the layers of aloofness, fear, and insecurity, she's turned into a different person. She laughs more. She's happier. 

Some point fingers and say I've become immature; that I've backslid into becoming a worse person than I was before I left... I can see how they would think and say this. Back in Oregon I was so reserved and introverted that people just plain couldn't see what I was really like. I wouldn't let them. Why? I don't really know. Maybe I was too scared... I was scared that they wouldn't like me if they found out what I was like on the inside. Maybe it was the false sense of propriety that I had in my head. There was a set of standards in this noggin' of mine, and I certainly knew that I didn't meet my own standards. Maybe it was peer pressure; thinking I "had" to be like everyone else around me. 

  Coming to Missouri was a breath of fresh air. No one here knew me. No one here said I had to be a certain way. I could let my hidden self out and the folks here could either accept me or reject me. I'm done hiding. The introvert in me still wanted to take the changing slowly, and it's taken the help of some to pull me out of this shell... But by golly am I coming! I can see how people would think and say that I've "backslid". The Caity back in Oregon was dreadfully quiet and serious. When you saw her, anyway... More often than not she was outside, away from people. Or on the computer, ignoring people. She listened to pretty generic music, didn't really have a sense of style, was a picky eater, and to be dead honest -- she was pretty self absorbed. She had one goal in mind and that was to have a successful farm. Saying it was tunnel vision would be putting it lightly. 

  The Caity here in Missouri still has flaws, to be sure. Oh heavens do I still have flaws and problems... But I've at least finally taken that awful mask off and have stopped hiding and trying to be someone I'm not. I am unabashedly myself; take me or leave me. Yes, I've finally learned to love coffee. And I'm becoming such a hardcore fan of Dr. Who and Sherlock that it's almost scary. I'm learning that people are truly enjoyable to  be around. I actually seek out company these days!! And yes, I've rediscovered those chip things called "Doritos". *grin* And Dr. Pepper. I play airsoft with a bunch of guys. My music tastes have changed and grown to where you'll now find an insane amount of Lecrae on my Grooveshark playlist, right along with Toby Mac, Chase Rice, and other contemporary artists. And I will not apologize for those tastes either. The biggest change? The sense of joy I have. I have never had this feeling of contentment and joy in my life. My spiritual life is better than it's ever been, my relationships with people are better than ever... I'm just -- happy! In the end, I think that's it: Some point fingers and say I've become immature, but really what they're seeing is a happiness that they've never seen in me before. I can see how people would think and say that... But there's a difference between immaturity and happiness. In the end, there is. I don't think my maturity level has changed any, but the happiness level is startlingly different. Shucks, I even sing in the car now (this statement will only make sense if you've ever gone anywhere in a vehicle with my family. Multiple people have commented that our silence in the car is creepy/unnerving). 

  I don't want to go back to being who I was in Oregon. Won't go back. I can only hope that y'all can accept my changing self. 'Cause I ain't done yet... 

 And for the record, Lecrae's song, 'Background' is awesome. If you're into that sort of stuff anyway... 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Workers Gotta' Work

   Last Thursday through Saturday were pretty good days, all things considered. If you looked at the entirety of each day, they were pretty darn good days. Awesome weather (sunny and hitting the 50's!), good company, full work days... You know how it goes. But there was one thing that was really throwing a monkey wrench in things and making me miserable. One thing. Want to know what it was?

   Gyp. My dog.

   We hit one of those dark points in life, and we're only juuuuuuuust starting to come out of it. It's been rough.

   To explain a bit more, I've been seeing before my very eyes what happens when you get a high-drive working dog and you deny him any work. You have a mess on your hands. An animal that is one inch away from snapping and going haywire. 

   When I bought Gyp last year, I had a very pointed reason for getting him; I needed a stock dog that was high-drive and brave enough to help me with cows and hogs. A tireless worker who could tramp about all day with me and not be afraid to be working with very large animals that weigh a minimum of 600 lbs and a maximum of 1,500 lbs. 

  Gyp was a super mellow pup... He showed an incredible amount of natural talent in herding, but gosh was he laid back! I can't even count the number of times I wondered if he would really have the steel to be the worker I needed him to be. But what can you do? Gyp and I just went along with life. And then I brought my mellow canine to Missouri. All seemed great... For the first two months. 

   Then the beast erupted. I spent three years searching for an *extremely* particular bloodline of English Shepherd before I bought Gyp. I'd done my homework and knew what bloodlines had the best herding instinct. To be dead honest, I was looking for a dog that would be as similar to a Border Collie as possible, without it actually being a Border Collie. And I found those bloodlines... I got myself a pup that I knew would one day be a dog that could work from sun-up to sun-down and still want to keep going. English Shepherds are a great breed; they really are. But you get what you pay for. Most of these dogs remain mellow and relaxed all their days, but when you specifically seek out a dog that will be a working machine... You get it. 

   I brought Gyp to Missouri, thinking that he'd get to spend his days following me around and helping out. That we'd just keep trucking along like we did in Oregon and we'd be inseparable pals. Plunk down to reality: My host family has a Boxer/Lab cross that hates him, so he stays up with the extended family's two Rough Collies. Sure, he's got a roomy place to run, and he's got two playmates to romp with; but he's denied a job. I take him up there early in the morning, before milking time, and then get him late at night when it's time for bed. I really don't see him at all during the day. But I hear him bark... And bark... And bark. He used to be a very quiet dog. Not any more though. Phooey. He goes bananas being locked up and not being able to socialize with people. So he does the most logical thing he can think of: Bark. 

   By the time I let him out at night, he's a wound-up, hyper little troll; he used to be a well behaved boy during the walks to and from the dog pen but now he ignores all but the harshest voice command as he chases after unsuspecting barn cats and guinea birds (which is a huge no-no around here). He and I eventually get down to the main house, and I used to let him run around in the dark for a few hours each night since I knew he never wandered from sight. Now? He runs off. Like, really runs off. Poof! That dog's gone. I can't blame him too horribly much since I know he's just trying to get energy out, and he's dealing with tracking instincts. But it's still not okay. Not only am I ready for bed, but who knows what trouble he'd get into. Not to mention the fact that his working drive is coming on so strong these days that all he wants to do is herd the cattle that are around here.

  So to keep him from running off, I've done the most logical thing I could think up. I denied him those 2-3 hours of running time and brought him inside immediately, where he stays in my bedroom (dogs really aren't allowed inside the house, but he's allowed in the bedroom at night). Imagine trying to sleep, but all you can hear is what sounds like a hyperventilating dog. He's breathing so hard and fast from pent-up energy that he doesn't know what else to do with himself! After grumbling at him two or three times in a half-asleep state, he finally shifts to the only other thing he knows to do. Pace. Okay, now we're not sleeping to the lullaby of an increased respiration rate of a spastic canine, but instead to clicking claws on hardwood floor. Take your pick. The clicking claws may not seem as bad, but after about four hours of it... You start thinking up really dark thoughts towards the maker of offending noises. 

  The pinnacle of all this is when you realize that your life is changing, and this could very well be your last year of farming. That energetic working dog could be facing a life in town for the next few years... And that is where I'm finding myself right now. I bought a herding dog, and now one year later I'm finding that I don't need one... My time of cows and hogs is possibly coming to an end. I'm okay with this, but my dog is not. 

 All of Saturday and half of Sunday was spent agonizing what to do about this problem. I love that dog, but this current situation isn't fair for him and he's too good of a dog to ruin. I'm only three months into this internship and he's slipping into becoming a rebellious wreck that no one wants around. I thought about it, prayed about it, sought counsel... By that point, I was okay with giving him away to a good home that would give him the work he needed. He means enough to me that I was willing to set aside my selfish wants and see to it that he had an outlet for his energy. But deep down, I still knew I'd be bawling if/when someone came and took him away. 

  Gyp needs a job. ANY job. He just needs to know he has a daily purpose, and has a way to use all that energy in a positive form. I thought about starting up running again, since spring is coming, but I can't keep up with that dog! Shucks, back when he was a pup he could go about 5 - 6 miles before he started to get tired. He can go a heck of a lot farther these days, and I'm no marathon runner.

 Sunday morning dawned and in the midst of church (I promise I really was paying attention. This idea just kinda' came out of nowhere), I had a sudden inspiration. Urban mushing. Duh. Why didn't I think of this sooner!?!? I looked into this a few months ago, but had totally forgotten about it! It was a total light bulb moment. Eureka!! 

  Not familiar with "urban mushing"? Here's what it is:

  Yeah, it's dog sledding on wheels. You use a specially designed scooter, and special racing harnesses, and once your dog is trained, then you're off and running (pun intended)! LOL. Urban mushing is pretty popular in some circles and you'll see all sorts of dogs doing this... Hounds, retrievers, pitbulls, border collies, poodles, spaniels, and of course huskies. This is an awesome sport to do if you've got a dog with too much energy, and you're not a runner. The back country roads that surround this small Missouri farm would be perfect for Gyp and I to cruise on, and hey, if we do end up in town, then we'll have all the roads we could dream of racing on. It's a win-win if you ask me. Gyp will finally have a job and an energy outlet, and I will have the coolest looking rig to ride on.

  The harness for this stuff is only $25, so hopefully that'll get ordered in the next couple of days and the two of us can start ground training and working on voice/whistle commands. It may be that in some later time in life it will become more apparent that Gyp needs a working home, and I will once again have to face the possibility of finding a new owner... But I'm not going down without a fight. I'll exhaust all other options first.

 And so... The bow-hunting, tractor-driving, truck-loving, airsoft-playing, crazy, country girl is now going to take on urban mushing.

Just when you thought I couldn't get any weirder. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Today, One Year Ago

   February 22nd, 2013. Today, one year ago. I usually don't remember what happened on any specific day, a year ago, but the 22nd still sticks out pretty sharply. Today, one year ago? Do you remember? Mattie died. My favorite cow of all time. We went through what seemed like hell for seven long days, and in the end I lost both her, and her calf. The vet still says it was a freak happening... Could have happened to anyone, anywhere, anytime. I still say it was my fault.

 She was a good cow. The best.

P.S. If you're new here, and aren't sure what the story is, you can find all the posts about it by clicking HERE.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Unplanned Sabbatical

  I'm not dead. You probably thought I was though, huh? Maybe I got the plague here in Missouri and passed away? Or maybe the cows turned rabid (come to think of it, can cows turn rabid? All I can think of is Old Yeller in bovine form... It ain't workin'.) and ate me? Or, or - what if a tornado blew through and swirled me off to Oz!?!? Gadzooks! Anything could happen to a girl on her own!!

 Okay, whatever... No I'm not dead. Or fighting off rabid cows. Or following the yellow brick road to Oz because my sparkly shoes broke down and can't spirit me back to Kansas Missouri (the Tardis was broken too). 

  I've been gone from the blog for over a month. That's the longest time in my 6 years of writing that I've ever left. And at least during the other times I at least gave notice of my leave. During this period of time, I've gotten comments from y'all, wondering what happened, I've gotten emails from y'all, imploring me to get back to work, I've gotten Facebook messages, phone calls... I'm sorry guys. I just -- needed a break. It was an unplanned, spur-of-the-moment sabbatical. After 6 years of writing - and each year growing in intensity with the writing load - I had a burn out. Big time. The very thought of looking at my blog was unappealing. In the month that I was gone, I never once even logged in to the blog in an attempt to write. I'm sorry. I blew it big time. I think part of the problem has been that I haven't had a great place to write, and I don't have a camera; I have a hard time writing if I don't have a good spot to type, and don't have pictures to share! But, as of yesterday morning, I've found a good area in my host family's art studio (which is upstairs) to hide and write, and I think I get to buy a camera of my own in a couple weeks! And over this past week, I've begun to miss writing. For the first time in weeks, I really, really missed talking to you guys, and tapping away at this keyboard of mine. So here I am at last. I can make no promises as to how often I'll write over the next couple of weeks, but I don't think I'll be disappearing again at least. 

 So let's see... If there haven't been any plagues, rabid cows, or trips to see the great and powerful wizard of Oz, then what in the world have I been up to!? Folks, it would take too long to tell you all the stories. ;) In a nutshell though? Snow, snow, snow, snow, and more snow. That sums it up. 

Fine. There was more than that. *huff* There's been cheese making, soap making, dealing with frostbite on one of the dairy cows (I'm hoping to do a post about that), cutting and stacking 2 acres worth of wood (SO stinkin' glad we got that finished!!), late nights watching Dr. Who, a quick trip to Oregon and back (left last Saturday, got home late Wednesday night) to see the family, driving these good people crazy, and basically just starting to fall in love with the state of Missouri. Yeah. Alright fine, that's a bit more than just "snow". 

  I apologize again for disappearing off the face of the earth! I really needed that break though. And in the end that's really not bad... A month-long sabbatical every six years? Huh. Somehow I think I'm still getting the short end of the stick here. ;) Alright, toodle-pip and cheerio everyone. I need to finish up making a Parmesan cheese which is half-done and sitting in a pot on the wood stove, and then with luck I'll be outside by afternoon doing some target practice with a rifle. :) 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Pinterest Link Up! Week #9!

Woohoo! We're back to doing Pinterest Link Ups!! Score! :)

Here you go folks; this is what I found this week!

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1. The Great Home Dairy Roundup (20 posts to get you milking). {Courtesy of The Prairie Homestead}

2. 16 Ways To Use Whey. {Courtesy of The Prairie Homestead}

3. Burts Bees Lip Balm Recipe! {Courtesy of Happy Money Saver}

4. How To Dry Herbs. {Courtesy of Happy Money Saver}

5. Educating The Harness Goat (book). {Found via SG Halters} (note: I don't have this book, but I think it looks great! When I get back into goats, I will definitely have to try this one out!)

6. Building a Chicken Nipple Bucket Watering System. {Courtesy of Happy Money Saver}

Friday, January 10, 2014

Ask It!

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  Whew, it's been awhile since I've done the Friday 'Ask It' posts, isn't it??? But hey, this is good... Doing it today means that I'm slowly getting back into my groove. I'm just being insanely slow about it. *cough, cough*

  So... Anyone got a question of any sort that I can answer for ya'?? All questions are welcomed; whether it's farming related, you want to know something about my internship here in Missouri, or any other random question. Throw it at me, and I'll see what I can do!

  I will note though, that I will probably be going back to those boring, written "Q&A Monday" posts to answer you. I haven't quite figured out the logistics of getting video footage here yet. Still working on that. ;)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Florida, Here I Come

  Did I really say that part of me was "looking forward to below zero weather"?? Someone please slap me next time I say something as ridiculous as that. Sunday was cold, with the lowest temps at -12F and a windchill of -30F. Cold, COLD, COLD!! I think I can honestly say I've never experienced anything like that before. Milking the cows was barely tolerable since I got to lean up against a big, warm bovine; but the spray from the milk still froze onto my hands and made instant "milk-cicles" when squirted anywhere but straight into the pail. Oh brrr was it cold. Walking back home through the stinging snowfall was like walking through fire; it was so cold that it burned. Monday was down to sixteen below zero (oy vey!), but that was almost a bit more bearable since there was no wind. Either that or I was too numb to notice it as much, which is really quite likely.

  And then today... It was 31F above zero. See that? Above Zero. Yahooo!!!! Oh gracious me, it was so balmy and warm that I didn't need my Carhartt coat; just a light fleece sweater. Of course, I was also working at a fast pace and near a big burn pile, so that might have helped some. *ahem*

  With luck the weather forecast will hold, and we should be at a glorious 40-45F by Saturday!! ^_^ I'm really hoping this sticks, 'cause guess what I'm doing??? No, I do not have a date. Admit it, it crossed your mind. ;) Sorry, but no. Nope, this girl is signed up for an airsoft war come 10:30am! Now THAT probably didn't cross your mind, did it? Hehehe. Now, I've done airsoft before, but I've only used those teeny, tiny handguns that you get at Walmart for $20 or less, and it was against like -- two other people. This time around though, I've got a fully-automatic rifle (loaned to me for the week), and it's going to be a good sized group of other crazy people all dressed in camo, who have pretty much all had enough military training to make this war feel authentic. I'm so excited for Saturday that it's almost pathetic. And I already don't want to give this rifle back. LOL. I think I'm permanently spoiled on this "fully-automatic" gig. 

 After Saturday, I have no idea what the weather is supposed to do. I really hope we don't have another cold snap though. If we do, then I'm sorely tempted to pack my bags and move to Florida!! Okay, maybe not really... But Florida sounds awesome right about now as I look outside at 12 inches of snow that can't even be made into a decent snowball. 

  What's the weather like in your neck of the woods? Anyone here suffering from colder temperatures than what I've had this week?