Stubborn Walk and Our Puppy

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My DSLR has been needing some maintenance.  I should send it into a professional to get properly cleaned.  I kept telling myself that I couldn’t be away from it for 6-12 weeks as they said it would be.  So it’s been sitting there, waiting for me to do the cleaning like I did once before.  It’s such delicate work, that I was waiting for a time when I could concentrate, which doesn’t really exist in this home.  It’s been sitting there for probably over a month, and finally I realized that I’m going to want it ready to go when this baby comes, and to just suck it up and fix it.

I forgot how much I love my camera compared to my phone camera.  I did my best, and it’s working much better, but I can tell there’s still a button that sticks a bit, and I might have to bite the bullet and get it tuned up.  But not now.  I need it for the baby.

After it was fixed, the sun was going down outside, and I couldn’t help myself but to take a walk.  I haven’t even wanted to walk out to the mailbox since last Wednesday, it hurts so much to walk.  This baby sits so low.  But I stubbornly walked a little around the yard with the dogs.  It was just so pretty.

I was sick of sitting with my feet up.  My mental health required it.  It’s one of the most gorgeous times of the year in our yard, and I just couldn’t stand looking through the porch window anymore.

The meat chicks got out to pasture today.  Our old dog, Lena, who is a black lab/German Shepherd, and about 7 years old has been playing outside with our new “little” pup, Nanny, who is a Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd mix.  She’s about 7 months old, and already a bit bigger than Lena.  She still has some growing to do.  She lives outside with the sheep, and we got her for the purpose of keeping predators out of our yard, which both of the breeds in her do well.  They guard livestock, and are extremely serious workers.  They are nocturnal for the most part, hunting down predators at night, and snuggling all day.  Our last livestock guardian was 2 years old when we got her, as she was being re-homed by a family who just couldn’t meet the needs that her breed required.

A puppy is so different.  Soooooo different.

Lena tries her hardest to keep on top of Nanny.  They wrestle and play-fight.  Lena comes in at night just wiped out, often too tired to climb up the stairs to her bed in our room.  She naps whenever she’s inside and away from Nanny.  She’s lost most of her fat since Nanny came to the farm. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen Lena so fit.   She no longer lays around depressed like she did for months after our last livestock guardian, Missy died.  She snores from exhaustion, and is cautious of her hips when she does stairs.  Nanny is an energetic pup.

She’s getting into trouble, like most puppies do.  We finally got her to stop jumping on people.  She knows how to sit, and she knows how to come, at least as well as livestock guardians ever learn how to “come.”  (They consider it more of a suggestion.)  She’s killed 2 chickens.  I’ve heard from other breed-owners that it can take up to 2 years to get them to understand not to chase chickens.  She killed 2 kittens, but we believe that was an accident.  The 2 mama cats kept letting their kittens wander in the barn, and it stressed Nanny out.  She kept picking them up in the back of the neck, and bringing them back to each perspective nest.  She never felt it was ok for them to be away from their nest.  We think that she was too clumsy with 2 of them.

Then the other day, I was pulling out of the driveway and I saw Nanny picking up an animal from the rose garden, and heading back to the barn with it.  I stopped and called her over, and sure enough, there was a black kitten that she was holding from the back of the neck, ever so gently with her teeth.  It was so cute I nearly pulled my phone out, but the kitten was so freaked out that I just reached to rescue him from Nanny’s mouth.  Other than being a bit wit from her slobber, the kitten was fine.  I walked him back down to the barn, and lay him with his mama, which seemed to satisfy Nanny.

That’s not what’s going on with the chickens, though.  She eats those.  Knut ran out to chase her away from eating a chicken last night, and it turns out she was just eating a squirrel.  I have no idea how she caught a squirrel.  She’s ridiculously fast.

She’s a snuggle-bug with humans, and the walk was much more work than I meant it to be because I kept telling her to stop pushing and leaning against me for some snuggles when I was trying to take a picture.  Finally, Lena rescued me and enticed Nanny to a wrestling match, and then they went running all over the yard.

The kids are learning that they actually need to pick up their toys outside now too.

Or they’re destroyed. It’s not a bad lesson to learn.

Nanny has a good heart.  I can already tell she’s smart and eager to learn.  I can tell she has some great instincts.  But the fact that she’s an immature puppy is written all over her too.  Fortunately, they grow out of that.

God with Us

Have patience with me.  I’m going through some stuff.  I don’t mean to be melodramatic, but I have no idea how to sugar coat how hard it’s been.

Like always, I’ll just write my way through it.  Many dear friends have been asking how I’ve been doing since David’s new diet that restricts several foods and put my world upside down.  I’m not sure how to respond.  The rhythm of my day looks kind of like this:

numb.

numb.

numb.

freak out on everyone.

guilt.  apologies.

numb…numb…numb…numb.

yell at everyone, over everything.

guilt.  apologies.  numb.

You get the idea.

Last friday, it was chicken butchering day.  A team of butchers came out to our farm and Knut and his cousin were busy helping them outside, and I was busy inside with the kids, and swatting the 186 flies that had come into my kitchen the day before as Knut was working on fixing the rotted front door frame, and let a bunch of flies in.  All day on Friday, as I went around, swatting flies, my chest just hurt.  It was a physical hurt, and one I’m familiar enough to know what it means.  It meant my anxiety was not in control, and a panic attack was looming.  That made me fear, which made the pain worse.  It’s how this whole anxiety cycle works.  Some of you know exactly what I mean.

My go-to in managing this chest pain is some medicinal tea which works the majority of the time.  I have tried several things, and this is what works.  I was drinking cup after cup after cup of this tea and I couldn’t shake it.  Swat!!  Slap!!  Flies were everywhere.

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Dependence

IMG_3249There’s a thought that’s been circling around in my head the last few weeks, perhaps longer, about dependence.  I don’t know for sure, but I’d guess this is an especially big problem in America.  I think it’s rooted in the idea of charity or welfare, and our destain for it.  We don’t mind giving charity as long as it’s temporary, with measurable improvement.  We don’t mind welfare as long as we are certain that the recipients are worthy, and it’s temporary.  (Emphasis on “temporary.”)  We want them to be working to get out of welfare.

And yet, this post isn’t about welfare or charity.  Though I could easily follow this rabbit trail for a few thousand words.  This post is about how we let our view of them effect our view of dependence on a very, very personal level.

I was sitting on my porch the other day, looking out over our yard and watching the kids ride bike and chase the dogs.  I was thinking about how I’ve needed God so much these last few years since my car accident.  I’ve been so very dependent.  I haven’t always been able to get food on the table, and God provided.  I didn’t always have childcare for my doctor appointments.  God provided.  Sometimes I would walk into an appointment, not knowing what my kids would do in the waiting room by themselves but I was literally left with no other choice, and one of my friends would be waiting for me there at the office, saying she just felt I needed her that day.

My work ethic, patience, pain tolerance, teaching ability has essentially been broken and I’ve been left with no other choice to depend on God for very, very practical needs.  As my strength has been improving these last months with some physical therapy, and continued treatment, I finally see light at the end of the tunnel that it won’t always be this way.  I will be myself again.

I won’t need God so much.

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I’m Blessed

Good Morning, Friends.

We had such a good weekend.  Knut and his family finished planting the corn, and they are onto the soy beans.  The weather could not be any more obliging for planting season.  This means we see very little of Knut.  Of course, I didn’t get my garden in last week like I had planned, but the garden prep is going well.  It feels late because of this glorious weather, but in fact I’m still early.  I’m trying hard to not let it mess with my head.  It’s that time of year where there is massive amounts of work all around me that will likely take all summer to mostly complete.  It can either be exciting and inspiring, like a blank slate, or overwhelming like an army of grass invading on every side.

Speaking of armies of grass, the kids and I have named our gardens.  I told David as he was helping me prep the “old garden” that this area was actually the country of “Gardentopia” and it was being invaded in a brutal war from the country of the grasslands.  We were soldiers sent to fight for the territory of Gardentopia.  The kids liked that.

The kids really liked this story, so we had to come up with a name for “the new garden” which are the French style beds that we added near the chicken coop last year.  I named that country “Versailles” after the famous palace just outside of Paris with it’s vast gardens.  Elias really wanted to name a garden “Bloom” so that is the name of our front flower bed.  The country of Bloom is in really bad shape in it’s war against the grasslands.  However, we must fight for Gardentopia first, because we have a vested interest in that country because of it’s export of vegetables which takes priority over Bloom which has an expert of flowers, though I plan on putting all my herbs there this year, so it’s not like it’s just completely frivolous.  Once martial law has a firm hold of Gardentopia and Versailles, we will turn our forces to Bloom.

As you can tell, we’ve been having some fun.  But I’m totally not showing you pictures of the garden yet.  I can’t bear to.  It’s too depressing.  I do not want to record and remember how slow it is going.

I am so relieved to be done with April.  It was far too busy, and I feel so ragged from it.  May promises to be extremely busy, but just a hair less.  At least I hope.  Those are famous last words.

This last weekend we got to grill hot dogs and vegetables.  I had a playdate with one of my best friends who I never get to see because she’s even busier than even me, but she’s one of those people who you feel is just like balm for your soul.  I don’t have to carefully word my conversation around her, or wonder if she is secretly judging me.  And every time I meet with her, I feel like she pushed me more towards Christ.  I feel uplifted, and full of hope.  I know she’s probably not aware that she even does this for me, but she is the definition of a kindred spirit.

Sigh.  I haven’t always had a friend like this, with so many years of feeling completely lonely, it makes me feel the weight of the blessing of having even one friend like this.