Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.


Posted on | January 4, 2012 | 16 Comments

Apparently I am supposed to be making some resolutions.  I think this entails a list of things that I will accomplish in 2012.  But I am not sure exactly how resolutions work.  Because unless the list can rise up and slap me when I stray, I’m not sure how resolutions are enforced.  And if there’s no enforcement, what is the point?  It’s like a speed limit sign without the existence of the Highway Patrol.  Since we all know how effective speed limits are, even with the HP looking over our shoulders, a New Year’s resolution doesn’t seem to stand a chance.

I have heard some people post pictures of themselves in an unflattering outfit on their fridge to keep them eating healthy for the year.  But if I had to see a pic of my thighs in skirtless swimsuit everytime I approached the kitchen, the depression would just drive me to eat more.  In secret.  In my bedroom.  Far away from that awful picture.  And hiding your eating problem seems to be moving the wrong way on the Fitness and Health spectrum.

I could post a list of my goals in some conspicuous place as a reminder.  But around here we already have 2 chalkboards in charge of that.  One is a list for Groceries, where by threat of death or uncontrollable shrieking by me, you must put the name of any item when you open the last roll/bottle/box/can, etc.

Because it’s too late to tell me you used the last of the sour cream after I already cooked the egg noodles and had a roast in the crock pot for 8 hours with a plan to make beef stroganoff.  Hence, the uncontrollable shrieking.  Please note that you know you live on a farm when “zip ties” are included on the grocery list.

The second list is a To Do list which contains both immediate concerns and things that can be put off for so long that it will take an extra strength cleaner to get the chalk writing off when (if) I ever get around to them.

“Computer” has been on the list for 18 months, ever since the large box that apparently held the brain of our computer gave up in an alarming grinding noise and a puff of smoke.  It won’t come off the list until we save up $500 to replace it.  Not gonna happen, friends.  “Hem pants” may be last on the list but I really do need to do that since my new work pants arrived and the legs end in a shockingly ragged strip of material that is a full 6 inches more than the length that I ordered.  I mean it looks like someone had to use their teeth to tear it off which, considering they were made in China, I hope was not the case.  Regardless, they can’t be worn without some major hemming.  And once again, the fact that “Bubba” is on the list illustrates that we are a working farm.  Bubba is the farrier and CC is long overdue for a trim.  I mean, what do you expect the farrier to be named?  Vaughan?  Montgomery?

Adding another list doesn’t really seem necessary or particularly effective.  Which makes me ponder what really does motivate me.  There’s always that satisfying sense of a job well done.  Or if not well done, at least done.  Until it needs doing again.

It was awesome to get all the Christmas decorations down and the Rubbermaid Christmas tubs back in the rafters of the shed.  Well done!  Until we realized we forgot this large ribbon that had been hanging over the picture window.

Now someone will have to use the step ladder to climb up there, clamber over the stack of tubs, figure out which tub has any space left, squeeze it carefully under the lid, and then climb carefully back down.  Or else throw it in the trash.  Wanna place bets on where that ribbon ends up?

The kids and I also felt pretty good after replacing all the frozen water in the barn with fresh, clean, warm buckets of water hauled in from the house.  See how everyone is enjoying their morning drink:

Too bad we’ll have to do it all over again tonight as temps won’t increase enough for the hoses to thaw.  And then we’ll get to do it again tomorrow morning.  And while we’re considering things that have to be done over and over, let’s not forget the floor will need to be swept and mopped after each round of tracking muck and mud from the barn, as well as sloshing buckets of water, in and out of the house.

So satisfaction of a job well done might not be the bar I want to set for 2012.   Because doing something “well” may be a matter of opinion. (Hey, we don’t have to look at Christmas decorations anymore.  At least we won’t after I get that bow off the counter and throw it in the trash. If that’s not well done, it’s at least medium rare.)  And the jobs around here seem to be endlessly repetitive in nature.  So figuring out when a job is ever really done seems like an impossible task.  Or a pipe dream.  Or a thesis statement for a philosophy major.

In 2011 I managed to get by with a cyclical sense of motivation that was both practical and efficient.  When the household chores became so overwhelming that I couldn’t face the mountains of laundry or grime in the tubs then I went out to the barn and got some farm chores completed.  When the broken fences, diminishing hay supply, and leaky waterers in the barnyard threatened to crush my delicate spirit, I headed home and got some cleaning done.  When the pantry was empty, I sat down with my cook books and made delicious monthly meal plans using ingredients for which I clipped coupons and shopped for endlessly.  When I couldn’t spend one more minute pushing a grocery cart and convincing cranky cashiers that, yes, they can accept a coupon which results in an overage, I actually stayed at home and made the meals.

I’m not sure exactly what this style of life management is called. (No, not “chaotic,” but thank you for your kind suggestions.)  But it got us through last year and has worked out fine for the first 4 days of 2012.  After all, the garden got covered before the nighttime temperatures dropped into the 20’s.  Well, actually it got covered the day after nighttime temperatures dropped into the 20’s, but luckily, a stiff wind on the first night kept any frost from settling on the plants.  Which meant another job well done medium rare.

Papa Noel got moved to larger quarters and a fresh pile of straw for snuggling.  Not due to any particular planning on my part, but because Magenta was showing signs of impending labor and Papa was taking up space in the kidding barn.  But apparently we moved him just in time because he is now too big for the under-the-arm-carry and required both arms plus an assistant to open gates for me.  If we had waited any longer I would have needed to read the chapter about moving pigs in my book on raising pigs.  Hah!  Did you really think I had a book on raising pigs?  And if I did, that I’d be reading it as opposed to skimming it frantically while a loose pig roamed up and down the driveway?  Please.

With the pig gone, the kidding barn was cleaned out, and water buckets, feeding troughs, and an extra heat lamp was added.  All ready for birthing.  After which, Magenta promptly stopped laying around, grunting, and spewing mucous, and went off to play in the woods with the other goats.  Apparently, unlike a lot of people, “finishing what you started” is not one of her New Year’s resolutions.

But that’s OK.  Because by the time all those chores were done, our noses were nippy and our fingers were freezing.  Or maybe only my nose and fingers were cold.  The kids were hot and sweaty from playing King of the Hill on the last bit of compost in the garden.  Which goes to show that if you take kids out of school long enough, they really will fight over anything—-even an 18 inch pile of poop.

In any case, we went inside, folded and put away the laundry piled on the hearth so we could fire up the wood stove, and baked a cake for the Other Half’s birthday.  Please remember, this is a farm blog.  Not a cooking blog.

See how that works?  A little of this and a little of that.

Farm stuff.  Check.

Kid stuff.  Check.

House stuff.  Check.

No resolutions needed.  Take that, 2012!


16 Responses to “Resolutions.”

  1. melanie
    January 4th, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

    Hey-if you haven’t tossed the bow yet…tie it to the front grill of the farm vehicle. After all, holidays last until you (cry uncle or) say so. It looks snazzy, is non-denominational, and if lucky, it will fray in the wind or get blown off. Not a “green” solution, I realize, but not another task, either.

  2. Kim Gadow
    January 4th, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

    I think you rock Stevie Taylor!! Happy New Year. Love the gadows

  3. Kim
    January 4th, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

    I’m with you on the no resolutions. We have to save that resolve for all the stuff that has to be done on a farm. Thanks for visiting the red farmhouse!

  4. Amber
    January 4th, 2012 @ 5:21 pm

    I don’t really make resolutions either.

    Mmm, cake…

    I forgot some Christmas stuff too. Oops.

  5. lin
    January 4th, 2012 @ 6:54 pm

    I just read on a favorite blog that an idea for the New Year is to find a word and work on that. For example: I’m choosing “thoughtful”. I’m going to try to be thoughtful in my words, my actions, and towards others. I think it is a simple, yet practical approach to resolutions.

    And whether or not I succeed every single day, my swimsuit will still fit.

  6. Morning Bray Farm
    January 4th, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

    Cute post! I’m with you… I think putting an unflattering photo of myself on the fridge would drive me to eat even more – or worse yet, drink! 😉

    Love the name Bubba. Our farrier’s name is Shorty. 😀

    Stay warm and Happy New Year!

  7. Tina T-P
    January 4th, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

    Hi – thanks for stopping by & checking out what was happening on the farm last week – Dogs & sheep? Well, I don’t think the sheep have to be trained – the Shetlands are pretty smart, and got the idea after about the 5 or 6th times the dog ran them around the pasture – then they see that open gate (where they were supposed to go to transfer into the other pasture) and as highly trained as they dogs and their trainer are, they just kind of walk them into the open gate. It was really cool to watch.

    Take care and happy new year! T.

  8. Sherry Herry
    January 5th, 2012 @ 5:58 am

    You were talking about the frozen animal water. I use a heat lamp over my chicken water, a submersible heater in my horse and goat water, and a plug in heater bucket for my dog water. Just some suggestions. I love reading your blog. It just goes to show that I
    I’m not the only one with a crazy life.

  9. Lynda
    January 5th, 2012 @ 5:55 pm

    Got tired of carrying 3 gallon bucketfuls of water out the house and down the icy stairs. So, I had the plumber install a new water spigot on the sunny side of the house. I figured we were spending so much money at this point that he could just shinny himself right on over and put one in, because after all’ I had the spigot already. So now I only have to carry 3 gal. bucketfuls of water HALF so far as I used to. 😉
    LOL, Oh yes, and we have a dog named Buddy, but since moving to Alabama it has morphed into Bubba. He doesn’t seem to notice the difference.
    ~ Lynda

  10. Lisa D
    January 6th, 2012 @ 10:27 am

    OMG! I must be a redneck after all because I knew EXACTLY what Bubba meant on your TO DO list before I read on. He actually made our Christmas letter this year since we finance all his vacations these days! We too have a pile of decorations that were forgotten to be packed. I figure if they blended into their surroundings so well once, we’ll learn to live with them again. Maybe our kids’ classmates will find us eccentric? Thanks for entertaining us….

  11. Linda
    January 6th, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

    Ahhh, you are so much like us it was fun reading. Brought me back to when our kids were little. Keep up the good life..when you get my age you KNOW that is what it really was/is THE GOOD LIFE!!


  12. buttons
    January 6th, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

    Wow I am with you girl. Life is to busy to worry about resolutions. I am happy if my pants still fit after Christmas goodies, and none of my calves get eaten by the coyotes. Busy Busy
    You are very wise. B

  13. Manuela@A Cultivated Nest
    January 6th, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

    I stopped making resolutions years ago but I do like a chose a word to focus on for the year.

    Happy New Year!

  14. MountainWoman
    January 7th, 2012 @ 5:42 am

    I do the same as you with regards to water. Haul it from the house in the winter so the birds have warm water in below zero weather. It’s great exercise too. Anyway, I haven’t made resolutions in years but this year I did. Wrote them down and keep them on a daily journal. Will it work? Who knows? You are already doing a great job.

  15. Tracey of These Nine Acres
    January 7th, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

    I hate resolutions! It just sets people up for failure! BTW, the video you posted on my blog is stinkin’ hilarious! So glad you shared it. I giggled the whole way through.

  16. Paula
    January 8th, 2012 @ 9:01 pm

    Great post… I don’t do the resolution thing either for two reasons~ 1. I am the world’s worst procrastinator and my list gets longer every day… (which then becomes that “overwhelming” thing you talked about… *sigh*) and 2. The best laid plans are futile around here because nothing ever goes as I plan. In other words, every day a new…. um, disaster? 🙂

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