Friday, September 25, 2009

What's Inspiring Me Today

This morning as I cleaned the kitchen, I was listening to an interview with Jane Goodall on CBC which I found really inspiring. She was interviewed on The Current by Jan Wong. You can listen here - go down near the bottom of the page and listen to 'part 3'. This isn't the one I heard but it is nice because you get to see her eyes.

So, why do I find Jane Goodall inspiring? Maybe it isn't the obvious reasons - what her life's work has been. Rather it is her life's work. That she has done it. Not specifically what it is - her work with primates and now as activist but the fact that she has had the great courage to be herself. To follow her dreams and passions. She quietly and certainly has gone about her life being herself, following her own path.

Ah, those trite, too-used phrases. But when you look at the video of her being interviewed and you can see her confidence - real confidence. Not boastfulness or aggrandizement but a quiet certainty. I think it comes from having the courage to do what was right for her regardless (one of my pet peeves: the word irregardless) of approval or recognition. She was originally she was shunned by the scientific community but she continued to do her work in her way.

This is what is inspiring to me. Like Laura I have been having these kinds of thoughts - about being truly myself - having the courage to really be me - to do the work that moves me. And hearing about people who have really done it are my heroes, my models.

And what else is inspiring about Jane Goodall? The fact that she is optimistic in her work as environmental activist, she works on hope and optimism unlike many of her contemporaries. Give her a listen.

Monday, September 21, 2009

3 Bags Full (well, actually 4)

On Friday morning my sheep were relieved of their burdens. 4 feed bags full of it. Draga and Renauld were the most generous givers but Renauld by far had the most wool. Beautiful black wool.
You can see the piles here - Renauld on the right, Brida in the middle and Basil's beautiful, long lambs wool on the left.

It was a huge relief for me to find them all in very good health (fat, the shearer said, like they should be at this time of year). It is hard to tell the weight/health of sheep when they have a full coat of wool. After loosing Freya, I was worried - especially about Basil - that there might be others getting skinny like she did. But the shearer said that Basil looked awesome and that he was a very nice size. So in November or so, he should fit very nicely into the freezer.

The sheep also seemed to be relieved. Even old Brida was running and leaping around like a lamb - she did look funny with her considerable girth but luckily sheep don't let such things stop them.

There's Brida, closest to the camera with Basil on the left and Renauld's black rear end.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Meet Eirina

I will still be looking for Freya's playful, cautious eyes and bright white fleece next spring but in the meantime, I couldn't be without a white sheep. White wool is the most versatile. So, meet Eirina Snowy. She has more of a creamy white wool with a moorit (brown) stripe around her neck. She is Draga's great, great niece (Draga's mother is her great grandmother). She came from Green Croft Gardens last Thursday evening. She is sweet and fitting into our wee herd but still very wary of me but we're working on that.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hazel is a Boy

Just like in Watership Down, as Eryn pointed out. In my defense, I didn't sex Hazel - he was sold to me as a doe. (And don't even go there, Ronni - I didn't sex Rosco [Sophie], or Sampson [Delilah] either!) We bought the rabbits from seasoned rabbit-eers and didn't think to question them. In their defense, like cats, rabbits are notoriously hard to sex before they reach sexual maturity. How did I discover this fact that Hazel is not who we thought she was? Well, I had noticed that the day before, Cypress had started pulling fur out of her dewlap. I thought maybe she was coming into her first heat. However, it turns out that her first heat had actually happened a month before. I glanced out at the rabbit hutch while I was starting to make Dean's lunch. Now I noticed some dark things moving about in the white fluff of her pulled out fur... My first thought? There were mice in the rabbit hutch! How did they get in there?... and then it dawned on me...duh! Hazel is a boy and those are baby rabbits.

We rushed out there to find that indeed, Cypress at not even 5 months old herself had given birth to 10 wee baby rabbits. Ten. And on Rhiannon's birthday no less! And she didn't even have a nest box but had made do with the solid floor part of her cage. We scrambled up a box - the same one that the chicks hatched in, grabbed some straw from the neighbours and gathered all her fur together and put the babes in, hoping that our scent on them would not put her off.

Well, this explains why whenever we put Cypress and Hazel in the chicken tractor for some exersize (rabbit tractor?), Cypress dug 3 foot deep holes... (and I was grumbling about how they were not supposed to be burrowing rabbits!) However, it doesn't explain how the 'book' says that Flemish Giants are not supposed to reach sexual maturity until 8 - 10 months... I have news for them. Apparantly not onlya sexually mature doe, but a sexually mature buck, as well!

Here are pictures of 2 of them taken today - already growing so quickly - fur coming in already. Rhiannon thinks they are definitely more cute than yesterday because yesterday they were ugly, according to her. I think she was expecting a bit older of a rabbit, complete with all fur, open eyes and ears sticking up.

Whenever I stick my hand into our makeshift nest box, they all start jumping blindly around in their white furry nest. So cute! There are 3 white ones, a grey one or two, a black one and three that are black/grey and white. Rhiannon
has named the smallest of these 'Oreo' (hope that's okay, Megan!)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Another Last

9 years ago today under a full moon I became a mom for the last time. Originally I thought I might have another to keep her company at the tail end of our family but as soon as she was born, I knew she was the last one and our family was complete. We were all there for the moment of her arrival at 4am in the hospital. We were the only ones there and it was quiet and perfect.

9 years of Rhiannon. I like to say she is the angel that brought our family together to be her family. She was definitely a presence long before she was born. The first night that Dean moved in with us, he talked about a daughter he wanted to have and that he would name her Rhiannon. I had a sense of her playing violin. She cemented us a family. (I like to call this family picture the Drew as a serial killer series - I didn't have them printed but I bought the disk just for the hilarity factor)

I have loved getting to know her these last 9 years. Made all the more poignant as her older sisters have grown up and left home. Sometimes I feel like Emily in Our Town only I'm not dead, I am here and being reminded how precious this time is. I am so blessed to be more settled during this time of her childhood. She has taken me on a most wonderful journey.

This last year she has grown up so much. It has been fun to watch her confidence grow as she has mastered physical skills like swimming and skiing. She has firmly entered middle childhood and left young childhood behind. She's interesting; she's opinionated and she knows how she likes things.
I am so proud of her and so grateful for the experience of being her mother. She has brought so much joy into my life - my dear, sweet daughter.

So we have been celebrating. Her birthday has stretched over 3 days. She had a sleep over party with 2 close friends on Saturday night. Then her family birthday dinner on Sunday night and then tonight she got to celebrate with another friend whose birthday was yesterday. That's 3 birthday cakes!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

And Now Moving On

Did you realize that this is my 500th post? Yup. 500 posts since July 2005 when I joined my blogging sisters as a way to keep in touch. I love how it has kept us sisters connected in some way to each other's lives even though some of us are so far away. And of course, these days, a few people besides my sisters read my blog. I was planning on having something to give away in a draw to those who leave comments but.... well... I'm still working on Bethany's wedding present and she got married March 7, 2008... So... Maybe by my 555th or something, I might have something to give away.

But anyways, it has about killed me to leave up that tragically sad post. So time to change the subject because I can only handle feeling sad for short periods of time.

And I do have good news. This last weekend Eryn and Tyler took the leap and moved into a wee 4 bedroom house in the BX together. I helped Eryn clean Tyler's old apartment (in return, he moved all the stuff). I got to see their new place which is very nice. Except for no oven. Isn't that weird? a 4 bedroom place with no oven? But they are working on remedying that situation. Eryn can't be without an oven. How else can she make all those great cakes? I guess he could make them at my house....

And I am very happy about it. Tyler has just fit seamlessly into our family - like a missing piece we didn't know we were missing. I knew that on Easter when he and Eryn arrived for the Easter basket/egg hunt and for Easter dinner. Within a short amount of time, he had the bickering sibs laughing uproariously and playing Uno - united at trying to beat him. It went on for hours.

He has a great knack for smoothing waters and creating fun. And he adores my daughter and treats her well. I don't think I have ever seen her quite so happy. I am sure it has something to do with his goofy sense of humour. We joke about how they are both so tattooed that it has become genetic and when they have children, they will be born with tattoos in weird combinations. You never know how they will come out - a Squid riding a bicycle....

Lately he has been into ugly pictures.

Doesn't he look like Kirk Douglas playing Spur in Man from Snowy River?

There was something I liked about Tyler as I got to know him. There is a solid-ness about him - a down-to-earth-ness that balances my mercurial girl - too much like her mother for her own good! And he loves her. You can see that.

And he can take being teased and is a great teaser himself. What more could a mother ask for?

I'll finish off with the ponytailed beard picture.