If March is Madness, What is April?

Years back, in a Bible study, Father Kevin told an illustration: The community and world is like a pond quiet and still. So still the water reflects the surrounding area. When a person commits a sin, the effect to the community is like dropping a pebble in the pond. Ripples form and move outward toward the edges. The farther away from the pebble, the less noticeable that the pebble was dropped, but the whole pond was affected by the action of dropping a pebble.

So much in so little time passing. March was a very busy month lambing, working a job, helping Hank recover and prepping five sheep for a sheep show and sale on April 14 and 15. I had things going well, busy as a bee I was, but getting things done.

At work, I was offered the opportunity to become a meat cutter. I was looking into schoolings excited about the opportunity to learn a new trade. The district meat manager wanted to have me trained to be a meat cutter, then become a meat department manager in another store close by. I thought this was a good opportunity and excited for the opportunity.

Then Easter arrived. The day of celebration the risen Savior – and my world drastically changed. The one ewe I planned on showing lambed, a big relief, but the afternoon was not one to celebrate.

Easter Sunday afternoon, I received a phone call from my son. I thought the call was to wish a Happy Easter, only it was not a happy call. His voice portrayed an emotionally upset person. When asked what was wrong, I learned he and his wife had an argument. She left with the children, only to call him to have him meet her there so they could discuss the root of the argument. When she was not happy with his answer, she locked herself in the car with the children and proceeded to slice her wrists. Police, ambulance and admittance to a hospital took place. Now, he has no one to look after the three small children, and he needs to keep working. “Mom, can you come get the children and care for them?”

I left the next morning at 5 am to head towards Indiana. My son was heading towards me, and when we met in the same town, I would get the children and he would head back to Indiana and go to work.

The children, ages 3 years, 2 years and 10 months. They have not had the best of care during their short lives. I learned the two oldest boys, would eat from snack foods in a basket all day. The 10 month old drank mostly bottles. None are potty trained and all are non-verbal. They have been with a mother who does not talk, but yells at them a lot.

When I reached the town he was located in, I found the Wal-Mart. While driving, my mind was thinking of how was I going to use a restroom, with three babies. At the Wal-Mart, I found a folding stroller/wagon that would hold the baby and 2 year old. I also purchased some baby food, baby spoons, snacks and drinks for the 2 and 3 year old. Then I went to the hotel to meet my son.

When I walked in all the children were sleeping. While I was learning about how the children had been living the past then months, the 2 year old started crying and yelling in his sleep. My son picked him up and assured him he was safe. I was informed both the 2 and 3 year old have night mares. I decided to leave in two hours, letting the children sleep for a bit. It would be easier on me to travel at night with three small children as they would sleep most of the way.

In two hours we woke the children up. Moved three car seats to my dual cab truck in the back seat. I gave the 2 and 3 year old, drinks in the new cups I purchased and some granola bars. Hugged my son and we started traveling. The drive was long, we arrived at 3 AM on Tuesday. Since I had not had time to make the beds and crib, they slept with me in our bed, my husband moved to the living room. He had to work in a few hours.

I had contacted a person Mr. CH to feed for us while we were at the sheep show and sale that Friday, Saturday and Sunday. He was scheduled to be there at 9 AM to learn the routine of doing chores. Thankfully his wife came along with him. I informed the of the situation. Gave Mr. CH the feeding instructions, and Mrs. CH watched the three children while I went to the store to buy some groceries, a high chair and child fence to make a play area and child proof materials.

Two days before we are to leave for a sheep show and sale, and I am caring for three very small children, still needing to get three of the five sheep clipped. I called my manager on Monday while I was driving to let them know the situation and I was going to have to quit immediately. It was long days of working with children and sheep. Getting beds made, clothes sorted, changing diapers – 1,2,3 and getting the children on a feeding schedule instead of eating whenever all day. We got the last sheep clipped on Thursday, loaded the children, eight livestock guard dog puppies were going to try and sale at the sheep show, and headed to Duncan, OK. We arrived late, but were not the last ones to check in. Got the sheep in their pens, all marked then went to find the hotel.

The hotel, did not have an elevator, and we were on the second floor. The moving of children and equipment up the stairs and to our room was laborious. The stroller/wagon I purchased, was the 10 months old bed. The 2 and 3 year old slept on one bed, us on the other and sometimes all of us.

The morning of the show, after I do not even know how many angry meltdowns the 2 year old had, I told my husband he was going to have to show my ram, Big John. I had been planning and working on showing him for almost a year. Now the day was here and I would not be the one in the show pen. My husband, a very loving man, but I knew he would be so frustrated in having to deal with the 2 year old, the best decision for both was I would take care of the children, he would show the sheep. A friend was there watching, he jumped in and helped my husband with the sheep and selling the puppies.

A very sweet Godly woman I was drawn to at the first Dorper show my husband and I attended, was there. She had met my husband at the sheep pens, wanting to have a look at my ram I was proud of. She heard the story, and came to find me. Her hug was sent from heaven. Donna said she would pray for me. I am not sure of her religion, Quaker or Mennonite, but I am sure of her faith.

Our sheep did not win Grand Champions, or even win a class. But there were many others who did not. Saturday was the true reason we came, sale day. I wrote the description for each sheep, and set the reserve price. I listened to the bidding on the Champions and Reserve Champions, the prices were much lower than last year. I was not able to see my ram sale, but it was above the reserve. I was there present when the ewe and lamb sold. Donna had seen me, and was standing next to me as we watched and listened. The ewe and lamb sold for $1,900.00 USD. A very good price for the sale, and an excellent price considering the ewe and lamb were Pureblood and not Fullblood Dorpers, as there is a big price difference. Donna looked at me, and said, “That is God.” I replied, “I know that is God, as they are Purebloods.” Donna’s pointed upward, “That is definitely God!” All our sheep sold for more than the reserves.

We spoke of how the children were calmer, and listening better. The 2 year old did not have one angry meltdown that day. They were coming around. I told Donna how it is love that is helping the children. There are many gifts we can have, but the greatest is LOVE. Donna replied that none of the other gifts work unless there is LOVE. So true.

Now I am a Granny caring for three small grandchildren. All do not speak words. All use diapers. They are always hungry. The 2 year old is angry and frustrated, the 3 year old is withdrawn, and the 10 month old is happy. All need love, need structure and God’s healing touch.



March Madness 2023

My plate over flows. Often at holiday gatherings with family, I fill my plate with more than I will eat. The food looks delicious and I am hungry. There are times when I over fill my plate of duties with more than I can handle or think I can handle. Such is my March Madness 2023.

In January I started working a job other than what I do at home. I enjoy this job and the majority of people who I work with. My primary duties are working in the “meat room” or meat department preparing and stocking items of various meats to be sold. The other duty is stocking the freezer section and then shelves when the truck arrives with supplies of product to sell. Everyone needs to eat, and a grocery store sells things to eat. It has been a little of a struggle emotionally to be working outside the home. But overall I have enjoyed the challenges and the work. I have grown as a person, getting out of my comfort zone of home, and learning I can cope with the outside world and being a part of that world.

Being a part of a working environment also brings the challenges of unwanted attention from others. One coworker would at time say things inappropriate or touch. I filled a report of several incidents with the HR department in February. One coworker thought I had some vendetta against the person and wanted them fired. I did not want anyone fired, only a behavioral change at work. This is an aged worker who should know what sexual harassment is and not to do so. I do not want to work in an environment where I have to constantly be watching my backside to keep from being touched, and no other worker should have to do the same. Fortunately the manager and HR department was supportive. One complaint from me or any other employee and this coworker will be fired.

Then on Saturday, March 25, while doing morning chores, my top hand Hank hurt himself. We are not sure what he did to cause his injury. We were moving the sheep and was going to another pen of sheep, and he was not there. Looking back to see where he was located, we were met with a sickening sight. Hank had lost the total use of his hind legs, and was dragging them tangled with each other behind him. I spent hours on the telephone trying to get into a vet without any results. He was not in any pain, he did not make a sound when he injured himself, but he was unable to move or stand on his hind legs.

After a very long weekend, I was able to make an appointment for Monday. At the vet’s office, if we placed picked up Hank’s hind quarters and placed the legs under him, he could stand on one leg. The vet thought Hank had twisted and strained his back causing one of the disc’s to herniate. The condition required some attentive care, and waiting six weeks to see what use of his legs he would regain. There were three possible scenarios after the six week wait: one he would not gain use of his legs and I would have to make a hard decision; two he would gain the use of the one leg, but not the other with a different decision of possible amputation of the no functioning leg or three he would regain enough use of his legs to live a life, but would not be a working herding dog. Hank has given me six years of good faithful work everyday. I had to do what is required to give him the best possible outlook for life.

With three medications and instructions to give them twice a day, keep him quiet and still, some physical therapy and massage, and help him to go outside and to potty, we were sent home. Hank had no control in urinating or bowel movements. I was constantly cleaning up where he laid resting. And taking him outside, he required assistance in performing the outside duties. I also needed to massage his back muscles and move his legs to help keep them working and stimulated as the swelling in the injured area went down.

I went to work and had my hours cut back. The only days I work is for the meat department on Thursdays and Sundays. I needed to be home to help Hank get better. I purchased a pet massage/vibrator and used it on Hank’s back and legs four times a day. I would carry him outside to potty. Clean up his messes. After a week, Hank began standing and moving using only one hind leg, the other hung limp. He started gaining the ability to control his bladder and bowels. Hank would still make a mess when he would get up, but at least he was going on his own, not me having to put pressure in certain areas for things to release and expel.

Almost three weeks into the treatments, Hank is starting to use both hind legs. His balance is not good, and he falls when he turns too fast. He is able to control his bladder and bowels. I still continue the medication, massage treatments and moving his legs in the motion of walking and running. The outlook is not so dim, although he is fully retired from herding work.

March was also the last month for lambing, and we had lambs arrive. We had five sets of twins and a lot of singles arrive in March. Fifteen ewes lambed in March.

I had selected two rams and a ewe to show and sale at a yearly show in April. In February I entered the sheep in the show, I learned the rules had changed. In order to show and sale two rams, I had to have three ewes. I selected two more ewes and started feeding them to be ready for the show and sale in April. I also had to seriously work at training the ewes to lead with a halter. I had worked with the rams, but not the ewe and now had two more ewes to train. I also had to get blood work done on the rams, and health papers for each sheep. Fortunately I had made the appointment weeks in advance, but still had to get them to the vet on my own. The sheep also have to be clipped for the show. As of this post I have two clipped, and three needing to be clipped. The weather has not cooperated with the time schedule for getting the task done. Cold temperature and severe storms have kept me from clipping the sheep. The task will be completed this weekend as the weather is warm and sunshine.

All of this on my plate along with the regular duties I do each day of feeding and caring for the sheep, housework and getting a garden planted for this year. My plate overflowed. I am still going, still doing and hoping everything turns out well.

Life throws us curve balls, it is up to us on how we handle those situations. Will we give up and quit or will we push forward, take each day one step at a time and work towards the hoped for goal? The choice is ours to make, the steps are our to take.


Repost: The Power of Lipstick by GroundedAfrican.com

I am not a person who takes time to put on makeup everyday. My often response to why I do not wear makeup was, “Sheep do not care what I look like.” But the truth is I should care how I look for my own self. I realized this more when I read a post by a person I follow. This post helped open my eyes, that making myself look nicer was also myself loving me. Hope you enjoy.



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.


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.


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.