Y2K. The end of life as we know it...it seems that the anal compulsiveness hexed us all this time. After de-electrofying the house, gathering a collection of seeds from the open pollinated crops, installing a composting toilet, rigging a hand-pump on the water well and planting thorn bushes under each window as a passive defense to discourage any intruders, I wondered, before we withdrew our retirement funds, if we were taking this "KY thing" (as Dyke puts it...he was never too good with acronyms) too far. With close to 300 gallons of canned goat's milk, the nannies are a rare sight when a human is outside! The canned salmon and frogleg medley doesn't activate the salivary glands quite like it used to, but at times, when it is paired with powdered tomatoes, it seems to "hit the spot"! WHAT A PILE OF MALARCHY!! If you need a good belly laugh, tap Y2K into your favorite search engine and have at it! You won't believe what you're reading!
We are all fine and dandy down here on the Gulf Coast! Jake (8) continues to break through the academic ceiling with the A-honor roll in the 2nd grade. He aces his weekly spelling tests and we seldom study for them...go figure! His grandparents have already started his application process at Williams College! He grew 3.5 inches since last January and is closely resembling his Uncle Matt - tall and slender! He has been sporting a top row of green and blue braces to correct the overbite and gap. Jake is so adaptable to change (being the only one in 2nd grade with braces didn't phase him a bit). It is obvious who's blood courses through his veins! Each day he works on honing his art/writing/lego talents and really has a strong creative flair. He's entered a new self-awareness phase, where he's working hard to stay "cut" as he puts it. Lifting small weights, doing push-ups and sit-ups and working on that perfect 6-pack abdomen. Maybe this idea should be suppressed until he at least starts to shave. Any mention of "girls" sends him into a wild frenzy of wind-ups and punches! He is on his first ever Little League team and really likes it! He has improved drastically over the past couple of months! He has an awesome swing and a great arm! The coach wants to make him a pitching star - he can't believe his natural abilities at his young age!
Zacky (3.5) continues to break through and defy all forms of discipline and structure. He is 40 lbs of raw energy, gross motor skills to the max and shows promise of a lucrative career in football or stunt work. He will eat several servings of a meal, PLUS whatever is left on the plates or floor afterwards. He has no pain threshold what-so-ever and it is obvious who's blood courses through HIS veins. He possesses a strong sense of humor and can walk into a room and set it aglow with his facial expressions and comments! It is rare that he has more clothing on his body than just his underoos! The minute he gets home, he strips down to his skivies and spends the rest of the afternoon and evening donned in that attire. Where Jake savors the taste of a lollypop or other type of candy, Zacky pops it in his mouth and within the time it takes a lamb to shake it's tail twice, he has masticated it like a Cuisenart! Zacky is never far from his pop-gun or legos and big brother's creativity and leadership has really rubbed off on him. They both LOVE to draw and have really proven their fantastic talents! So, all in all, both boys are continuing to etch their own niche in life. Zacky's new claim to fame is being bitten by an alligator that Dyke brought home...his hand got just a bit too close. He is fine and it reminds us of how tough he is!
Dyke's skills and talents in dealing with the dregs of society drive his innerman, as he persues the lawless and unlawful. Whether he's running wide open, full-throttle across the bay at night in search of illegal shrimpers or chasing hog hunters and spotlighters, he is neck-high in his element and wouldn't give it up for a million dollars! I even got him to demonstrate and speak to my students about muzzleloading rifles/muskets as a guest speaker for our Revolutionary War unit in Social Studies. With all of this filling his days, he can even get home and get supper going before the boys and I get home. I guess I will keep him around...He is currently involved witht he intensive training of our new chocolate lab pup, Cash. If he would just break out of his shell and market himself, he could have a VERY profitable side job. It is amazing to watch his skills and patience with the trainee and the slow-but-sure training progress.
My teaching of 5th grade Social Studies/Science/Math couldnt' be better as I help to guide the young minds through passonate discussions of men and women's roles in Colonial America vs. the America that they know today. I try to focus on the extreme importance of education and the reality and freedom of being able to make their lives whatever they want to! We are even able to squeeze in a bit of math theory! Their electrical projects made it into the local newspaper's website as well as their dissection of fresh owl pellets. Having a good time learning is the only way to go! They love the democratic classroom and the power of student decision-making and not always teacher directed.
Working cattle for a local rancher is still and will ALWAYS be a part of my life as I strive to round up enough saddle time to keep me satisfied! My principal at school has been really great to allow me to take off now and then to "do the cattle thing". Ya' just can't beat the feel of running horseflesh across the open prairie or vaccinating and castrating cattle! Nuthin' like it!!!!!
Life on our semi-microlivestock farmette (Y2K politically correct description), is cranking right along. Feeding time is still at 5:30. The ark is full. Each nanny goat had 4 babies - I need to call Guiness Book of Records, as that is quite an uncommon occurence! Instant goat farm! Cash got 2 of them and another one was denied, so it was a blessing in disguise to end up with only 5 of them.
Before they had their quads, the boys and I had to rescue one of the mega-pregnant mamas from the alligator infested creek the other evening. Of course, Dyke was not home....again. She must have slipped in while foraging on its edge and with her immense weight and inflexibility, she couldn't get out on her own. It was low tide - so there was about a 4 foot drop-off from the bank to the water surface. I had to get in the creek and get the lariat around her front legs/chest and then Jake had to pull from the bank while I pushed at the rear. It turned out successful, with nightfall close, she would have never made it when the tide rose in the night. You could clearly see the relief in her big eyes, when she saw me and realized she was going to be ok.
The chickens are laying 4-5 eggs each day, so I sell the surplus at school.
The longhorns are still completely clueless as to how good they have it. The 5 ring-neck pheasants are in full plumage and when the light hits the males, the brilliant purples, blues and greens just shimmer like sequins. They are laying now and with our incubation process, we have hatched 3 pheasants to date. We are down to only 13 turkeys. They all flew to the other side of the creek one afternoon and didn't return that night. The next day all returned, but one. The coyotes howled from that side of the creek that night, so it's pretty clear as to what happened. Turkeys are hatching as we speak. We get about 3 turkey and 3 pheasant eggs each day, so Dyke better get out there and build some more pens! At this rate, we will be overrun with birds... I am going to get my game breeder's license and try to start a mini-hatchery...I am pretty sure the Vietnamese/Spanish people in town will be regular customers...
We continue to board Tinkerbell, Dyke's partner's horse. She is very sweet and I have been giving Jake a few lessons her and there. Don't have a child's saddle, so that makes it tough, but he loves it anyway and is doing very well. Carrying the saddle is the hardest part of the whole thing for him!
We are no longer the only ones in the modern world without an internet capable computer! Life on the internet (especially Ebay) has been an unsatiable journey. To have total access to anything in this world, as we sit comfortably in our home, is far beyond my comprehension! All of you who are technologically ahead of us, let us hear from you over the wires.
Well, it seems as if there isn't enought time in each day to enjoy everything that God has blessed us with. With the retirement of my parents, we are hoping that will allow for more time together; the 3 weeks at Christmas was just the beginning. The Williams College pool will be named for my father during a 3-day celebration blow-out in May!!!
Dyke's mother and brother have both relocated back up to the country where they started out - on the Red River. Luett is a game warden and Connie works for an insurance company. Who knows, maybe one day we will all be back up there.
Well, I will close for now. We hope and pray that everyone is doing well in this new millennium. Let us hear from you. We love you all! I pray that God richly blesses each and every one of your days!