Saturday, December 29, 2012

You Might be on the Ag Staff...

"Is this new salt lick for me?"

"Sniff, sniff, slurp..."

"Uh, guys, this doesn't taste like salt it tastes like goat turds."

You might be on the ag staff if you make a snowman out of goat turds and hay.

Happy Holidays everyone. Hope you are taking time out for some winter fun.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mom's Gym

It is that time of year again. Open enrollment. Our health insurance plan has an annoying health survey they require us to take in order to save money on premiums. At the end of the 657 questions it offers suggestions on how you can improve your health. I tried not agreeing to any of them, but the stupid computer program simply will not allow it.  As if it is saying, "Seriously, we know you're a lazy sloth, push the button." I chose the join a gym option.

I chose that one because it did not specify what type of gym. I have to admit paying ridiculous fees to watch other sweaty people walk a treadmill indoors while I wait my turn does not appeal to me. So today, I signed up to join Mother Nature's Gym.

Just three blocks from my house is the entrance to a beautiful walking park. The path runs between an open field...

 and the White River...

and follows the river through the woods. 

I find this view much more appealing than a regular gym. 

I did a fast walk for 25 minutes before taking advantage of one of the many river-view benches for a quick break before walking back.

I will need to remember to bring a slice of bread for the ducks next time. 

As well as my big girl camera. These phone shots just did not do Mom's Gym and her furry membership justice. This place may save my sanity.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I Would Like to Thank the Following…

Thomas Parker, for his current service in the United States Navy

James Parker, for his service in the United States Air Force

Jim Davis, for his service in the United States Air Force

Rick Skoog, for his service in the United States Army

Kurt Skoog, for his service in the United States Army

Robert Skoog, for his service in the United States Army

Norman Skoog, for his service in the United States Army

John Skoog, for his service in the United States Army

Robert Hinton, for his service in the United States Army during Vietnam

William Hinton, for his service in the United States Army during Vietnam

Sonny Hinton, for his service in the United States Army during Vietnam

Donald Davis, for his service in the United States Air Force

Basil Parker, for his service in the United States Navy

William Lowman, for his service in the United States Marines during the Korean Conflict

David Hinton, for his service in the United States Navy during WWII

John Skoog, for his service in the Swedish Army during WWI

Daniel Brooks for his service in the Union Army during the Civil War

Daniel D. Brooks

Theodore Hinton for his service in the Union Army during the Civil War

John Morris for his service in the Union Army during the Civil War

Benjamin T. Butler for his service in the Confederate Army during the Civil War

Justus Brooks for his service during the War of 1812.

James Allison for his service in the New York militia during the American Revolution

James Lowe for his service it the 13th Virginia Regiment at Valley Forge.

It is an honor, gentleman, to share a branch on our family tree with such courageous men.

Monday, November 5, 2012

New In Town

Since moving I have become quite the social butterfly. Just this weekend, I spent Friday with old friends I had not seen in ages, Saturday with new friends I have only recently met, and Sunday with old friends I have never met before. Yes, you read that last part correctly. Sunday, I visited with Kim from I'm Gonna Tell Mom, who I have been friends with online for years, yet have never met in person. We met at Tabby Tree Weaver for the afternoon spin-in. We laughed until our cheeks hurt, a good sign we had a good time.

I think Mildred, my trusty wheel, was happy to get out and meet new people as well. Since I have spent the summer spinning on the great wheel at work, I think she has been feeling a little neglected.

Mildred and I have been working on spinning this 500 pounds of gray roving for what seems like years, so we agreed to make a wee little purchase of Blue Face Leicester to brighten our spirits back in New Sheville.

Kim pointed out that I had not yet properly given a tour of New Sheville on the blog. (Did you notice the name change to New Sheville? A nod to towns such as New Palestine, New Winchester, New Salem that signal the difference from the old.)  I have to say, New Sheville is working out nicely. It sits on the main floor adjacent to the dining room and leads to the back deck where I let the dogs in and out multiple times a day.

It took some doing to pare down enough to fit everything in.

Nevertheless I somehow managed to fit all of my spinning, knitting, weaving, quilting, embroidery and sewing paraphernalia into one room instead of three.

Well, except for the fleeces. There was no room for the fleeces. 

They ended up down the hall and to the right--inside the shower. Hey, it works! Nobody ever uses that shower anyway.

The small door on the left of this little hallway leads to the kitchen so I can keep my eye on what ever is cooking.

And the laundry room is also right here. No more running up and down stairs to change loads. There is even an extra fridge in there--a giant wine cooler and place to store chocolate.

So really, everything I need to survive is at my fingertips. I could easily set up a cot and live back here. I just can't shower. Doh!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

This Also Never Happened

It is a good thing nobody was dressed up in the barn on Halloween, otherwise some of the kids might have enjoyed their costumes a little too much.

"I feel pretty."

"Oh so pretty."

"I feel pretty and witty and bright."

"And I pity."

"Any girl who isn't me tonight."

"Dude," said the sheep. "You're not a girl either and you aren't pretty. Cut that out!"

"She said I wasn't pretty."

"Well Skippy, don't you worry about that. You wear a pink tutu better than any other buck I know."

Friday, November 2, 2012

None of This Ever Happened

We are all business in the barn at work. Our jobs are to educate the guests about serious issues like where our food comes from. Very serious stuff. 

The super responsible livestock manager would have 
no part in any shenanigans going on in the barn. Not even
if it were Halloween and the last day of the season.

And, of course, none of us would dare do anything silly 
like dress a baby goat up with a bucking bull rider the minute he left the building.

Nor would we dress them in a pig costume. 

Our guests wouldn't enjoy a calf/moose one bit.

The volunteers would think the idea stinks. 

Not even a John Deere hat would be appropriate in this barn. 

Good thing none of this ever happened.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Book and a Blog

I can still remember Mrs. McNeal, my high school english teacher, telling me I needed to drop all other life plans and pursue writing as a career. I thought she was crazy. College professors echoed her advice. "You really must," they said. I never could understand how they thought I was going to afford to eat by doing that. There are very few jobs that pay a person for creative writing and I sure as heck did not want to pursue technical writing -- I would rather eat worms.

They would argue with me, telling me I was wasting my talent. I would argue in return explaining that I really liked pizza and it was expensive. Besides, what would I write about? I was young, unexperienced and, frankly, quite stupid. I felt I needed to be inspired to write. I thought real writers already had all that inspiration inside of them, oozing out their pores. I did not understand that it was something you could work at -- develop over time. I guess I never considered that real writers did research, which in turn sparked the inspiration. I chose a different career.

Fast-forward a number of years, we won't say exactly how many, and here I am thinking maybe they knew what they were talking about. I attended a writer's conference yesterday. A historical fiction conference specifically. I walked out afterward thinking, "Sure, I can do that. No problem."

(insert sound of brakes screeching here)

Let me say that again, because I doubt you caught the significance. I walked out thinking, "Sure, I can do that. No problem." Note the confidence. I walked out thinking I could write a novel. A whole novel. Like as in, wa-ha-hay more words than blog post.  For me, that is huge. Just like most other writers, I have always lacked the confidence to feel I could actually do it. Until yesterday. For whatever reason something clicked. I felt totally in my element. I even knew what my story was.

I have assigned days on my calendar to write and do research. I am going to do this. It won't be done by the end of next month. Maybe not even next year. But I am going to do this. I have joined a writers workshop, a group of writers who share critiques and editing -- peer pressure is always a good motivator. I'm going to do this.

In the mean time, there is a new blog in town. It is called White River Farmhouse. You can find it if you click on my profile. It is empty right now and may stay that way for awhile. I make no promises. I intend to use it for tracking the details for the second novel. Yes, two. There will be no pictures of cute animals. No mention of what is going on in my world. Just fiction and research. The discarded scene that doesn't make it into the book might get rewritten for this blog. It probably won't be in chronological order and may or may not make any sense at all, but you are welcome to follow along and provide feedback if you so choose.

I am going to do this.

Friday, October 19, 2012


How am I doing without my farm animals? I know you all want to ask, but are afraid. The answer? I'm okay.

Just okay. 

It helps that I have been so busy; plenty of new things going on in my life. It also helps that I work with animals and have, more or less, claimed one of them as my own. 

I'd like you to meet Mine. Yes, I've claimed her so much that it's actually become her name. Not Christine's lamb. Just Mine.

Mine greets me at the gate when I enter to clean the pens. 

She stands for me to monkey groom the wood shavings off her, turns for me to groom the other side, then turns again for me to clean her rear end. Once clean she'll finally leave me to lie down. 

She has the same super sweet temperament as my Sophia and I love her dearly for that. Well, that and the fact that she laughs at my jokes.

The season for the outdoor areas at Conner Prairie is almost over, but I've been told I can still visit her for therapeutic monkey grooming sessions over the winter. For her sake, of course. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Mississinewa 1812

So what does a reenactor do when they can't take the time off work to participate in their own reenactment? They go to the closest one they can find which happens to be on their day off. We attended the Mississinewa 1812 event today. It was nice to go as a spectator for a change. 

We noted that the battles are a little less intense when the guns aren't pointed directly at you. 

But at this event you could get your thrills by taking in a peep show instead. 

It is fun to go a see the camps of other reenactors and the setting at Mississinewa couldn't be better. 

The living history camps were highly varied in their accessories. My personal favorite had to be the chickens. I couldn't stop thinking to myself, "a tisket, a tasket, a chicken in a basket."

It is always fun to talk to the craftspeople about their craft. 

The textile industry was well represented with everything from natural dyes,

to inkle weaving,

To a very impressive display on processing flax into linen.

A reenactor can't help but be inspired going to an event like this and perhaps a little green with envy. I'd love to have a little tape loom like this one. I hear they can be found by contacting a Mr. Google. He must be a merchant of some sort. Perhaps someone will contact Mr. Google and acquire one of these for me as a Christmas gift someday?