And then there was Snow Day (number 1)!
I wrote this post a few days ago, but didn’t have time to finish it. Since then we’ve had two more snow days. I’m becoming a snow day pro!
A few minutes before six A.M the phone range. I stumbled clumsily to the phone hoping against hope to hear those two magical words: SNOW DAY. The Lexington area schools had been closed since Monday, we had noticeable accumulations of snow the day before at school, and the weather was only getting colder.
“Hello,” I said my voice tinged with hope and half-wake confusion.
“Lindsey,” was that the voice of an angel? Better. It was my colleague Kelly Milburn.
“Yes,” I dream mumbled.
“School has been cancelled for today. It’s a snow day! Get back in bed.”
At some point I screamed Whoo hooo, and at some point I hung up the phone, but I am not sure in what order.
I crawled back into bed with visions of a day spent in pajamas and re-runs of Oprah dancing in my head.
The only thing is, Farmers don’t get snow days. Chores must be done, goats must be moved. Life at the farm goes on even if it is 17 degrees when you wake up. That can be a rough pill to swallow. I am lucky because five days a week Geoff does the morning chores all by himself, and honestly he usually does them alone on Saturday and Sunday mornings as well. Also, most of the time Geoff moves the goats by himself because he does it when I am at school. I guess I am just getting used to the mental adjustment of being a full-time teacher and a part-time farmer. As a teacher I have always budgeted my time in such a way that I give my all each day of the school week and rely heavily on the weekends and school breaks for some valuable recharge time, both physically and emotionally. As a full time teacher and part time farmer, I have to now find ways to reserve energy for both. I need to give my all at school and give my all at home, but I don’t know if I can sustain that forever.
Since last Thursday I have had a dream. That dream was to take a nap. I got very close on Sunday, but then the Great Goat Escape of 2010 happened and my nap time was lost (Geoff does a great job of describing the GGE in his blog). On the bright side, today was still a Snow Day. The most special of all school days–an unexpected day off. Because Geoff’s truck recently ran into some bad luck we had to have it towed into C’ville. As luck would have it, it was ready this morning, when I was free and available to help Geoff go pick it up. You might be asking yourself, if it was a snow day, how were you able to leave the house? Well, from about 5:00 AM to 10:00 AM it was a snow day, the rest of the day was a melt day. Because we had to go get the truck we decided to make it an errand running kind of day. We got chicken feed, dog food, straw, and we set out to interview a puppy for our open position of apprentice livestock guardian dog on the farm.
Geoff found someone on the internet who was selling four Great Pyrenees puppies in Taylor County. We arrived at their farm about 1:30 and were immediately taken to meet the little pups. By little I mean 12-15 pounds at 9 weeks old. So basically giant pups. We took some handwriting samples, gave the Rorschach tests, asked some rudimentary math questions, and eventually decided on the best, cutest, most alert and able-bodied pup of the crew.
It was my job to carry the as-yet-unnamed pup from the field where he was living with his family and a herd of goats, to the home of the seller where the pup would receive a few prophylactic vaccinations before we took him home. Now for some physics: The longer and farther you carry a cute, giant, 12 pound puppy, the heavier he gets. First your arms start to quiver; then the pain radiates up into your shoulders. Then, your husband casually and loudly comments, “Oh is he getting to heavy? You sure you can make it the whole way? You don’t need help do you?” Obviously, at this point, I had no choice but to carry the puppy until my arms fell off. Fortunately, just before my arms fell off, I was able to set the puppy down in the kitchen of the family who was selling us the puppy. Everything worked out fine.
We loaded up our little pup into the truck and headed back to the farm. For his first time in the car the little guy did pretty well, he only puked once, and it was pretty easy to clean up. From our Amish neighbors we bought a very cute wooden dog house so that the pup could have a safe shelter if he got to cold guarding the goats.
Then came the task of naming the pup. Geoff wanted to go with a broad theme that all of the future pups could be named according to. Geoff is very organized, we have color-coded laying hens, we have license plates on all of our chicken and rabbit tractors, and our livestock guardian dogs shall have themed names :). The puppy’s dad is named Hercules. We almost went with a Greek/Roman god and goddess theme, but in the end we decided to go with a Beatles theme. And since I am a fan of military style names for livestock guardian dogs, we picked Sergeant Pepper as our first name. I think the military title gives the little guy a much needed sense of authority among the goats.
It has been a reasonably successful transition. Sergeant Pepper got head butted twice by the lead goat, but he took it in stride. Each day he grows significantly bigger, and soon he shall be doing the head butting. The Serg has been an excellent addition to our farm family. He is incredibly sweet, loves people, and thinks Geoff is his mommy (awesome!). Maggie has gotten used to the idea of having a protege and she has begun to train him well. It will take a while though, because he is basically a rolly, polly ball of cute, who as of yet cannot strike fear into the heart of anything, let alone a coyote.
Witness the cute for yourself: