Embracing Technology

Technology has grown in the past years of my life. I was a student in high school when computers first were developed. The computer was so very large, required a special room that had controlled temperature setting and data was inputted by means of a card with holes punched through in a select series of spaces. Today, our cellphones, an item we carry in our hand does most if not all the functions of a computer.

Last Saturday I had my first Zoom meeting with a person in South Africa. I used my cellphone as my computer does not have a camera. The experience was awesome. I had looked forward to this meeting for a week and was not disappointed in meeting and talking with this person. Only, our meeting was cut short due to technical issues, I think on my side of the meeting. I am searching as to why my phone would not let the meeting continue. I am also learning how to operate the functions of a Zoom meeting and more about such meetings.

This last year, I learned how and did a lot of shopping online. I have found I can get shoes and clothing of better quality than what is available to me in the area I live. The one big advantage in shopping for clothing online is finding my size. The local stores are always out of my size for clothing. Along with the size not be available the styles and color choices are limited. I have learned a shopper needs to read the print on the materials used to create the garment or item.

I have realized the generations younger than myself is all about technology and various ways of staying in touch with each other. A few months back, my grandson invited me to snapchat. I am still searching out snapchat and will probably join just to have the opportunity to communicate and share daily life with my grandson. I have had some young people at work invite me to Instagram.

I have seen on several websites of other sheep farmers they use Instagram in marketing their breeding stock for sale. I am probably going to join Instagram for the marketing of my sheep as well as communication with others. Considering the audience I am wanting to sell sheep to, I have to meet the buyer where they are looking.

In order to do well with my sheep farming and other adventures, I will need to learn to embrace technology and learn how to have a presence on the web. Starting and writing my blogs was a start, but there is so much more out there to discover.



Valentine’s Day

February 14 – Valentine’s Day.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Historically and commercially it is a day for romantic couples to celebrate their love. Leaving out those who do not have a romantic partner to share the holiday celebration with. Love is so much bigger. Everyone has and receives love from someone. To me these relationships are just as important.

When I was much younger and in school we celebrated Valentine’s Day. We would make some creative object to contain the valentines we received on the day of celebration. Each student was expected to bring a valentine for everyone in the class. There were students I did not want to give a valentine card to, so I would select what I considered the “ugliest” valentine to give to them. If the cards I was handing out that year had candy, those I did not like would get the broken candy. I am sure I was not the only child to do distribute valentines in this manner. The celebration was not true of the representation of the holiday. As I advanced in school, Valentine’s Day was celebrated by those who had a romantic partner, and I was left out.

Love is so much bigger. I celebrate Valentine’s Day with a special effort of sending a card to those I love and care about. This started when my children were small. During one of the times they were getting ready for their Valentine Day’s celebration at school and writing names on valentine cards for each student in the class, I decided to make cards for each of my children. I hid them in their pile of cards to hand out. A surprise as they placed cards for others, there would be a card with their name on it just for them. Through time this has evolved to sending cards to my children, and eventually grandchildren.

A few years back, I started sending cards expressing how important a friendship was to me. I feel that others should know they are appreciated and important to someone else. A way of letting my friends know I value their friendship, the times they were there to support me or encourage me when I needed it. Also, to let them know I am there when they need support or encouragement. These are not romantic cards at all, but ‘thank you for being my friend’. Valentine’s Day history and celebration has been to celebrate romantic love, love is so much bigger.

Today, I celebrate Love. Love of family, friends and my husband. I celebrate the fact I am loved. I celebrate that I love myself. I have spent most of my life not loving the person I was created to be. Three years ago, I started the journey to love myself.

This Valentine’s Day celebrate love. Love of a partner if you have one. Love of family and friends. Love from the Creator. Mostly celebrate the love for yourself.


From Days Gone Bye

There are many items I grew up with that are no longer used today. It is not all bad that items have gone to be replaced by technical digital items. Dial telephones that hung on the wall, and the distance you could move to talk was the length of the cord. The only thing a person could do was call someone, provided you knew their number. If you did not know their phone number, but knew the town or city and state, you could call ‘information’ (that is really what the service was called and listed as in the telephone book) and they would look up their number, at a charge to your phone bill. There was privacy then as well. If the person had a private unlisted number, ‘information’ would not give you their phone number. Not everything has gone away for good, somethings are making a comeback.

Today’s cell phones are little computers. A person can call people or be called. People can search the internet for a place, the address and if they have a website be able to look at their website. One app that cellphones have that I am most thankful for is the camera. The camera can take pictures anytime, anywhere and not cost money for the film or to have the film developed. Film had a limited number of photos a person could take. Today’s cellphone the pictures are unlimited, digitalized and able to be sent to others as a text or some other communication avenue. I am able to receive pictures and short videos of my grandchildren at what ever activity they are doing, snow sledding, playing softball, or singing in a Christmas program. I am able to watch them grow up and accomplish things as a child.

Recently, while my husband and I were at Wal-Mart looking for a sound system for our television we found an interesting “old item” returning to the shelf – Polaroid cameras. The instant developed picture of the Polaroid is available to today’s youth.

I remember when my mother received a Polaroid camera for Christmas. We were all excited to watch the picture develop in front of your eyes. The camera and film really did work like the commercials showed and said. The film was expensive with only eight photos per box. The first box of film was used quickly, afterwards the camera was still only used for very special, staged photos.

The film is still expensive, and there are few photos. But the Polaroid is back and young people love the camera. I wonder will the 35 mm camera return or what about the 125 mm camera and flash bar?

For me, I am going to stay with my camera on the phone. I have spent thousands of dollars on film and developing to pictures in my lifetime. I will let the younger generation have fun with the “old” cameras.


Getting Days Confussed

It is known by family and friends I do not keep track of time very well. I do not even wear a watch. There are a lot of days, I work and do not know what time it is and miss lunch. When my grandson visits, he is the time keeper for when to eat lunch and get dinner ready. Not only to I lose track of hours, but days. There was one year I thought Christmas was a week earlier than it actually was. I learned my folly when I called my daughter to wonder where they were at as they were “late” in arriving at my house for Christmas festivities.

Since I started working a job, I have been very good about being to work on time, by setting alarms on my phone. I am never late. My schedule is for the most part always the same, but I work different departments depending on the day I am working. Sundays and Thursdays I work the meat department starting at 7 AM sharp. Tuesdays and Fridays I work the restocking the freezer section when the delivery truck for the store arrives. The arrival time of the delivery truck varies, so the team that works the truck delivery is notified when the truck arrives by text message. There is one other day I work, which varies, as a cashier.

Yesterday, my confusion with time spilled into my job. I arrived sharply at 7 AM on “Thursday” to work the meat department. I was looking at the meat section, ready to take notes with pen and paper with the department manager. After a few minutes of discussion, the manager realized I thought I was working the meat department. “Today you work the truck.” he stated.

“No, today is Thursday. I work the meat department.” I responded.

He chuckles, “Today is Tuesday. You work the truck.”

Now there was another employee draw to us by this curious conversation. “Yes, today is Tuesday, the day the truck arrives.”

I had confused the days, at least I was not late. Only, I had to clock out and wait for the text message the truck had arrived and to arrive at work. Today, I would be the first to arrive.

When the truck arrived two hours later, I was sitting in the parking lot when the manager of the store arrived.

“What are you doing here so early, I have not sent the text yet?” the manager asked.

“I am waiting for your text. I thought it was Thursday.” I replied with a smile.

Before the end of the day, every employee knew of my confusion of which day it was. We enjoyed the laughing about it being “Thursday”. As I was leaving one employee who has known for a few years, “I will see you on the real Thursday.” as she went out the door towards home.

Yes, I get lost in my days and hours. I know I am imperfect and will make mistakes. I am not afraid to laugh at my own mistakes and laugh with those around me. With the stress of the economy, world events and other things in people’s lives that we do not know about, for one day everyone had something to smile and laugh about. And I am sure those I work with will still be laughing some when I show up for work on the real Thursday.


February Garden Prep

For those of us who live in Texas and some southern states it is time to start thinking about the spring garden. In Texas I grow two gardens – a spring garden and fall garden. I start planting the spring garden the last week of February thru the first week of April.

The first planting in the ground is of peas, brussels sprouts, radishes, green beans and plants that like cooler temperatures to grow and produce. Before I can plant seeds I need to get the planting area ready. I used a raised bed system of gardening due to the coastal grass that will take over a garden planted in the ground. Those who plant at ground level, now is the time to start tilling and raking to remove the coastal grass that invaded the garden last year.

As I begin to prep my garden area, I am deciding where I am going to plant each plant. I rotate the places where I planted squash and cucumbers to keep the squash beetles at a minimum. Planting squash and cucumbers in the same place every year increases these pesky insects that can kill the squash plant and shorten your harvest. The beds need additional nutrient rich material added, either compost or in my situation sheep manure. I usually add the sheep manure after I have pulled the plants from the fall garden. Adding the manure in the fall allows the natural elements to break down the manure releasing the nutrients for the plants.

The time has arrived to start the tomato plants inside. I use a two “solo” cup method of starting tomato plants inside. One cup has a rock in the bottom and is used for letting the water drain from the cup holding the soil and seed that will eventually be a tomato plant. The cup that I will put the soil in and plant the seeds has small holes in the bottom allowing for drainage. Seeds and plants will die if there is too much water. I fill the cup 1/2 full of soil for tomatoes, peppers and eggplant seeds. I use potting soil or seed starter as soil when I am starting seeds inside. I do not reuse the starting soil as the nutrients are mostly gone. Using fresh potting soil or seed starter helps my seedlings get a good start before placing them in the garden.

A picture showing the two cups I use for starting seeds.

After the seeds sprout, I will gently add more soil to the cup. Doing this creates a good root system for the seedling to grow into a plant once placed in the soil outside. When the time comes to plant outside, the cup has been filled to 1/2 inch below the rim with soil.

Cups with various stages of tomatoes starting to grow.

Punxsutawney Phil may have forecasted six more weeks of winter, but spring will arrive and I want to be ready for a summer and fall harvest of fresh vegetables for my table.


Brandy and Ace

Fictional story, a part of the novel I am currently writing.

The loft room was actually a very small studio type apartment above the horse stalls in the barn. There was a small couch, a bed, small table and cooking area with a separate room containing the bathroom. All the comforts of home. Brandy unrolled her bedroll on the bed, and prepared for bed and sleep.

“Ace, you are sleeping on the floor tonight buddy. I did not get your blanket out of the horse trailer.” Ace circled three times and plopped down on a rug beside the bed. Ace was Brandy’s constant companion, her border collie dog. Brandy turned off the light and both were sound asleep.

Brandy awoke seeing two large brown eyes staring and a black nose breathing in her face. Ace was awake and ready for the day. Brandy had purchased Ace as a twelve week old puppy. When he grew big enough to jump on the bed, he started starring at Brandy to get her up every morning sharply at 5:00, which was ok as Brandy gets up that time each morning, unless she is sick. Who needs an alarm clock when they have an Ace? Unlike an alarm clock there is no snooze button on Ace, if Brandy was not awake from his warm breath, his jumping on the bed and licking her nose and face would wake her up. When morning arrived for Ace, it arrived for Brandy. Healthy or sick, when Ace woke up, Brandy woke up and had to get out of bed.

Ace danced in circles as Brandy dressed for the day. He acted like such a puppy at times. Eager to start the day and work, Ace would run ahead and back to Brandy as they went down to the stalls to feed the horses before heading to the ranch house for breakfast. Since Brandy could not take Ace to the ranch house, she put him in an empty stall with food and water. Ace’s eyes showed he was hurt by having to obey his master and enter the tall.

“It is only for breakfast. I promise I will return and we will go for a ride.” Brandy reassured Ace. Ace laid down in the stall, and placed his chin on his crossed front legs, looking upward at her with his sad looking eyes. Brandy turned to go to the ranch house. Not everyone appreciated the bond of a border collie with their person. Ace was housebroke, but shadows Brandy’s every step. He thinks if the furniture is for Brandy, it is also for him and will sit or lay on the couches and chairs. During meals Ace sits watching Brandy put every bite in her mouth. Perhaps Brandy had taught Ace to watch her eat, as they shared meals most of the time. Ace never offered to eat off a plate or get food from a table or counter, but Brandy would hand him food from her plate as she ate. Brandy understood that Ace could not be with her when she went into other’s homes. When Ace was not shadowing her, Brandy felt there was a part of her missing.

Author’s Note: I have spent years raising and training Border Collies to herd. Border Collies are very intelligent and affectionate. I train using praise as their only reward for doing well. A Border Collie knows when they do well, and expect the praise. Border Collies are also very high energy dogs. They require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation each and everyday. A Border Collie is not for everyone. When considering a dog for a companion, please consider your established lifestyle and pick a companion that will match your lifestyle.

The post photo is of my partner, MHT Hank, the best hand I have on the sheep farm.


New Ambitions for 2023

While participating in Bloganuary 2023, I made time each day to write a post. I am proud that I wrote a blog based on the daily prompt everyday. I realized that I should do the same with the books I am writing. I need to set aside so much time to write the books I have started. Not edit at this time, just write. Editing comes after writing. So, for February and March I am going to be writing my books.

I want to continue to write my blogs as well. I may not be writing everyday. But I will be writing posts a few times a week. Spring time is coming and I need to start my gardening plants and spring centered projects so they are ready. I want to share this with those who follow my blog. So, I will be taking pictures and writing posts concerning gardening.

We are also getting our home ready to sell. There are a few projects that would be good blogs. Information that others may want to do with their home. I will show some before and after photos as well, to show the progress of some of my home makeover. Since I only have a few rooms left to update, it will not be a total home makeover.

Some big ambitions, but I think I can get them accomplished this year. I will not be sewing as much, or painting pictures. I will make sure I fit in some time to go fishing and a horse ride once a month.

Of course I will still be caring for my sheep. I have several that are due soon to lamb. Plus, one of my livestock guardian dogs is going to have puppies soon. I have the two show rams and two show ewes to get ready for an April show. I have high hopes for the show.


January Summation

January was a good month for me. To start the month, I was able to become employed. It is not a high paying job, but I need this job for more than money. I have not worked outside the home for thirteen almost fourteen years. When I applied, it was to provide some income into the home finances, since my husband was not working at the time. Now he is employed, and the small income I earn is not needed. Yet, inside I feel I need this job.

I know I am growing personally. Overcoming some of my fears concerning being around people. I also enjoy being away from the farm, engaging with other people. My job is interesting as I am learning how to become a meat cutter. Currently, I grind meat and I wrap meat. But there are other skills to be added once I master the ones I am learning. Perhaps it is learning. I get pleasure from learning new things.

I have a schedule to keep. No more are there days I do not know or even care about which day of the week it is. I have to know which day and the date of the week, as I do not work everyday. I plan more for dinner meals and household chores. One things I am proud of is the household and farm have not suffered with me going back to work. I am managing my time to be able to get done the things I did before I had a job. I had wondered if I would be able to keep up with the household chores and work a job. I would always make sure I took care of the sheep, as they are an labor of love and income.

The month of January I participated in Bloganuary 2023, a challenge hosted by word press. Thirty one days of posting blogs referring to a daily prompt. I am proud of myself as this year I posted on the day of the prompt without missing or being late. I was able to get some writing done on my books as well.

January was a good month for myself. I have faced some challenges and new adventures with a smile.


February’s Beginnings

The second month of the year has arrived, February. I have lambs starting to arrive once more. A lamb was born yesterday, at the end of the freezing ice storm. The ewe is taking very good care of the lamb, and they are in a small area with a heat lamp. I do not look forward to February, as per my records of the last thirteen years, we always have freezing rain storms during this month.

The past three days has been mostly freezing rain with some snow and very cold temperatures. This morning as I was waking up with my cup of coffee, I saw the full moon. Relieved that this storm was over. When I went outside to do my morning chores, frost greeted me, crunching under my footsteps. I checked on the lamb, then proceeded with the feeding of the sheep and horses.

Today, was also a day I went to my other job, working in a grocery store. It was truck day, and a large order. During the storm, the store saw record sales. Monday the sales were twice the average daily sale. People buying food due to staying home for the next three to five days. Today, the store received a large order. I worked 7 hours putting food in the freezers and on the shelves. It has been a long time since I stood on my feet for seven hours.

I am tired, sore feet and aching back. I also received an award today for work done in January. I received a gift card for $1.00. When an employee works at the cash register and has no money over or under, or a zero off in the drawer. That employee receives a dollar for each time for being accurate. I worked the registered twice in January, and was zero off once. I was awarded the gift card.

I work various areas. Twice a week I am there to put food first in the freezers, then help where needed in the grocery area on the shelves. Today, I put away over 100 boxes in the freezer area alone. My manager told me she was very pleased with the speed and that I stayed with the freezer until it was completed before taking a break.

Today’s order received at the store was very big, since we had record sales on Monday through Wednesday due to the storm and people being told to stay home. Schools have been closed all week, meaning parents had to buy food for their children to eat, since the children were not eating at school. It is amazing how many people come to the little grocery store to shop, when the governor and everyone else is telling them to stay home and off the roads due to bad road conditions. Majority of the people came as they had nothing else to do but eat and drink at home.

I have six ewes that are ready to deliver their lambs at anytime. In a couple of weeks one of our livestock guardian dogs will give birth. I have my job and taking care of the sheep and household. There is a lot going on the month of February.


Spring’s Arrival

For centuries people have tried to predict when Spring would arrive. In the 1600’s people gathered to have candles blessed at the church in a ceremony call Candlemas held February 1. Considering the only light people had was candles and light symbolized hope and life. In 1678 a poem was written by John Ray capturing the belief and hope of the era on when spring would arrive.

If Candlemas day be fair and bright

Winter will have another fight

If on Candlemas day it be shower and rain

Winter is gone and will not come again.”

Today, February 2 we await the prediction of Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog who if he sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter. If Punxsutawney Phil does not see his shadow, spring is on its way. This tradition was brought to America by the Dutch Germans who immigrated to Pennsylvania. The tradition began in the 1800’s and they used a groundhog instead of a badger to predict the arrival of spring. In Europe a badger was used at the predictor of spring on the second day of February. Today, the second day of February is an American holiday named Groundhog Day.

These myths or folklore were started when agriculture was the main industry everywhere. The importance of getting seed into the ground and starting towards a harvest were key to survival. Not only did agriculture provide income for the farmer, but was the food for the community. There were no grocery stores, therefore the survival of an area depended on the farmers and their ability to grow and harvest the food for winter.

Today, we enjoy the traditions of long ago. Our society has changed, but farmers are still needed to plant the seed and provide the harvest that eventually is set on our dinning room tables to eat. A farmer still would like to know when spring will arrive in order to get the seed in the ground.

According to CNN, Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow. We will have six more weeks of winter. According to the Candlemas poem, my area will have spring soon, as we have received snow and freezing rain with no sign of the sun.