Sunday, August 21, 2016

::update on the funny farm::

It has been eight months since I last posted.  Life has been really trucking along at the Funny Farm.  I just started my last year of grad school.  I have loved my clinical experiences.  I can’t wait to do the actual job.  Caring for patients of all ages and having long term connects. 

Our public school system has the option of an all day preschool, which we decided to send Quinn to.  He gets on and off the bus every day with his siblings.  Lily started seventh grade and is in the junior high.  She tried out for the school play and got a little part, which is great since it’s a high school play.  Mr. Max continues to be the most pleasant child alive and is starting the fourth grade.  Emma just moved in to her dorm and college.  It blows my mind to see her so grown up but I miss her proximity. 
Yet – with all four kids in school I find myself with a little bit more time.  Just a little, since I’m still working mostly full time and going to grad school.  Still that little bit of time is burning a hole in my pocket.  I’ve decided that I really want to get back into horses.  I grew up showing dressage and 4H till I was about 13 then did A circuit hunters and jumpers.  I have no urge to leave my family to go to horse shows by myself.  It’s also out of my tax bracket to do that kind of horses anymore.  I’ve been researching and researching and what I really want is two trail horses.  One for me and one for Josh.  He is game for that idea.  Which is one more example of him being the greatest husband ever.  I’ve fallen in love with a breed of horses called Gypsy Vanner, which looks like the kind of horse you would draw pictures of if you where an eleven year old girl that dreamed about horses all day.  I’m going to take some lessons and learn how to drive horses, and try to get to a few Gypsy Vanner farms so I can figure out if they are the right breed for us.  I’ll look into some other draft horse breeds to but really I just envision these horses as something I pet and groom every day and ride every few.  Maybe they do some light dressage, occasional driving, and go on a day long trail ride at least a few times a month.  Enough about horses. 
Our farm is lovely this year.  We got rid of lots of clutter.  My garden is out of control in a pretty way, not a jungle way.  Tomatoes and cantaloupes are all over the place.  We have sold off all our livestock except for three goats and one old wether sheep.  Donkey is staying with a friend.  Its made the maintenance around here a breeze.    We got a four foot deep pool for the kids that they spend tons of time in every day.  Q is the biggest water baby of all time.  He spends a good chunk of his day swimming or sleeping. 
     Gus Gus has proven himself time and time again to be the best dog that every walked the earth.  I adore him.  He loves the kids and he walks on a leash like a saint.  His only issue is he can sometimes get aggressive with other dogs when he is on a leash.  I just keep him out of situations where he would come nose to nose with other dogs.  We give him lots of brushing and baths and take him to parks as often as we can.  He lives outside and guards his livestock and then cleans up nice, jumps in the van, and heads to the park.  We have so much fun with him.
     We had some sad news on the farm.  Teddy, our old quarter horse that had lived her for 13 years and was owned by my dear friend, died of old age.  We got the chance to bury him in our back field.  Poor old guy.  He didn't suffer.  He just woke up one day and was struggling to breathe.  The vet came out and said that the old man was dying.  I lead him out to our wedding tree and we put him down.  He went down peacefully.  I miss the old man, but he had such a great life.
   Josh and I went for a little Disney sneak out trip.  It was just us but Emma was sown there on a senior trip.  We got to spend lots of time with her, which was so wonderful.  We also knocked off our Disney Bucket list one item: go to all four parks in one day.  
     





Wednesday, January 13, 2016

::small town::

So school has been trucking along and I've been getting my ass kicked pretty regularly there. It's been one of the more difficult experiences of my life I got to say I know it's going to be worth it and I know I'm really going to like being a practitioner at the end of it all right now it just feels like a humongous burden. It is deathly taking up as much time as a Nother job I have clinical today is a week from eight in the morning till 4 o'clock which really means till 6 o'clock. Then every other week I have class on Tuesdays from 9 AM till 4 PM. Let's not forget that I still have to try to get in 36 hours a week of work. If you do the math that does not equal a very nice schedule after the first five weeks my clinical does lighten up a little bit and I only have it once a week.  I am may be overdoing it a little bit in school because my GPA right now is a 3.9 when I'd be happier and healthier person if I had a 3.5 and was not trying so hard?  Maybe.  

But the good part about all this is my clinical is in my hometown of Lafayette Indiana which is about an hour from my farm.  Man do I love me some Lafayette.   It just really reminds me of home I feel like it is my hometown.   I've lived in the town that I live in now almost as long as I lived in Lafayette.  But when I'm driving in Lafayette I just instinctively know where to turn I know where stuff is I know how to maneuver that town and it all just feels like really comfortable sweatpants.  I daydream sometimes about how I could move my family back to Lafayette and we could live there.  I know that is not realistic we are actually moving in the opposite direction eventually but there is just something about Lafayette that feel so home to me. I get a little jealous of my friends on Facebook that I see that are still living in Lafayette I feel like they did it right.  That town is just the right size it's not too big and it's not too small.  I'm sure it's one of those things like St. Vincent Hospital was to me where it seems like it would be so great to go back to this magical place but when you actually get there and are stuck there you realize that it isn't. My brain love to remember things with the happiest sparkly light around it. That's a nice way to be but it's not very realistic when you're trying to make life choices based off it. There will be no going back to my small town I grew up in but I am enjoying my clinical time there I even drove by the house I lived in in college and it looks cute as could be. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

::teddy::

Teddy is a 28-year-old horse that I keep at my house I do not technically own him but he has lived with me since I bought this property.  One of my best friends from college is his actual owner but he has retired here with me.   I love the fat old man.   He is a super low maintenance horse.  He hangs out with donkey he's very easy to handle and he's very friendly.  A few days ago I went out in the barn to do some cleaning and noticed that he had injured his eye severely.    It was swollen shut and when he could open it the entire eye was white on the inside.   I called the vet out and we tried to treat it at home for a few days but it was not getting any better so we ended up taking him to Purdue yesterday to have it removed.   He seems so much more comfortable with that eye gone.   But it was pretty scary to see such a big injury on the old guy.   For the record I had to work the day Josh took him to Purdue and a day Josh had to go pick him up from Purdue so Josh really had to play the horseman the whole time.   Teddies real owner lives in Nashville Tennessee so she is not close enough to drive up.   So far he has a good diagnosis.  Of course with only one eye he will need to be careful but he is a pretty careful old man anyway.  


::a dull tree::


I try really hard to make Sundays not just a catch up on house work day but a fun day for the kids.  I have to confess that in the past year Quinn and his toddler like fits and short fuses has challenge me greatly to find something that the older kids love but that he can still survive through.  This last Sunday I wanted to make getting a tree a priority.  The older kids where 100% on board and the weather was wonderful (50's for December is a miracle) so we packed up lots of snack and crossed our fingers that Q would survive the days events.  For our first time we went to a self cut tree farm.  There is a very large and well run place near us called Dull Tree Farm. 



The place was a total mad house!  The great weather had the whole world out and about, but the level of organization was so high.  Any line we waited in was constantly moving forward.  I was very impressed with the place. 



The kids had a total blast.  It was dog days on the farm and the Newfoundland club was out with dogs pulling carts with trees loaded up.  We originally thought we would buy a precut tree, but they had saws you could borrow so we headed out with our cart to cut down our own tree.  This is a first for our family.  Q fell in love with every tree we saw and would hug it and say he wasn't leaving till we got that tree.  Then he would walk three trees further and hug that tree till I talked him into walking three trees further.  



We finally settled on the fattest tree that we thought might fit in our house.  Q named him Quinn Joshua Schaefer, since we name our trees every year.  This guy is by far the fattest tree we have ever had.  I love him!  I managed to cut down the tree with the "help" of the boys, and no one lost a finger.  The boys pulled the cart to the line and while I waited the kids played at the various slides and climbing areas.  They had such a wonderful time. 



I found the cutest handmade reindeer picture that I fell so in love with that I had to buy it.  



By the time we where walking out to the car Q was totally done but the middles where so good and fun to spend the day with.  Next year we will make sure that we wait for Josh to be able to go with us. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

::The elf gets an assistant::

Years ago, I started strong with our elf on the shelf.  He was bad and he was funny.  He did crazy things every night.  I LOVED helping the elf come up with crazy things for my Lily to see.  But time has passed and I have to confess that I have grown to dislike the elf.  He is one more thing on my list - Husband, kids, work full time, school full time, farm, house, and then the stupid elf.  He was burning me out.  One night Lily was walking around hinting strongly that she really hoped that the elf did something crazy that night.  I calmly turned to her and said - "I have been the one moving the elf the whole time.  I am out of ideas.  I need your help.  Will you take the lead on the elf this year?"  She acted a little sad.  She said she knew I was the elf but she likes all the cool things I cam up with for him.  It took her about one hour to get interested - then by that night she was beyond excited.  She started writing me lists about items she needed for the elf to do his magic.  She was inspired and ready.  She is 12 years old and I such an amazing future mama in that girl.  She has always been so maternal.  She has taken to being in charge of the elf with gusto and it is getting me excited about the elf again.  I'm so glad that we get to do this together.   

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

::summer 2015::

We had such a wonderful summer this year.

 
 We started a pumpkin patch.
 
 We took out goat back and forth to a vet school in Illinois and she got her cast off with no residual issues.

 

We ate lots of wild berries.

Max and Josh made a rocket and fired it off.  Then picked it out of a tree.
 
We got three new kittens that have been hours of entertainment for the kids.  They are names Broccoli, Scrubs, and Jack Sparrow.  A few weeks latter the little grey and white one found its way here and got named Peter Pan.   
 
 Lily did an art camp and made the best teapot.  Its amazing.

 
 County fair was amazing!  All the animals did well.
Emma won Grand Champion pygmy wether with Bo.
Lily won reserve Grand Champion do with Marshmallow – a home grown baby girl

 
Lily won Champion All Other Breeds with her little Babydoll Southdown Ewe, Bernadette.

 

We learned that Q has three front teeth on top instead of two.  This should lead to some pretty fun dentist bills in the future but just adds to his serious cuteness. 

 

I took five chickens to the butcher and the three turkeys are going soon. 
 
The garden didn’t have its best year.  It started VERY strong, but late blight killed off most of my tomatoes.  I have a plan on how to deal with them next year, so I learned from it.

 

We got to sneak out on a Schaefer family cabin trip to Kentucky.  The whole crew had a good time. 

 Lily had too much fun decorating her locker for sixth grade.  
Disco ball included. 

 Max started second grade and Lily sixth.  

For her birthday this year Lily wanted to take her girl friend to get nails painted and then watch shows at our house.  I was the trusty driver.  









Monday, July 20, 2015

::I tolerate goats::

"I tolerate goats" - a shirt one of the dads at fair was wearing


I love fair so much - SO MUCH.  Seriously, if my husband had one tenth the interest that I do, we would have about four kinds of goats, ducks, sheep, and cattle.  But he doesn't - at all.  As a matter of fact I think it would be fair to say that he is the Grinch of fair.  He hates the time it takes.  He hates the money it takes.  He hates the year round care of the animals.  He hates the last minute rush to finish projects.  I would say we are very blessed to have a marriage that is so compatible in so many ways, but when it comes to fair we have a real divide.  When we have conflict in other parts of our relationship we both give a little to find a compromise.  When it comes to raising animals I think we can safely say that Josh gives a lot.  He allows all these time wasting creatures because...  Well - I don't know exactly why he does it besides to humor me.  Every year when fair roles around he is grumpy and feels neglected.  In all fairness (pun not intended), he is neglected.  But it is FAIR, and fair is magical.  I just can't explain it to someone that didn't grow up doing fair.  There is something fundamentally pure and youthful about 4H.  I have so many great memories about fair as a kid and I want my kids to have the same kind of experiences.  

If I am being totally honest I think we can say that my girls primarily do 4H because they where not really given an option.  Emma was different because she kind of had a two-mom's experience.  Her mother did 4H and did the indoor projects (sewing, foods, etc.), I knew I wanted the girls to do animal projects and encouraged Emma to explore that.  between her mother and myself we always agreed with each other that we wanted Emma to do 4H.  She started with rabbits and did very well, but we knew we wanted something larger.  She moved to goats, where we sucked for several years before we figured it out.  Her mother and I have happily shared the work of Emma's 4H experience and I think it has gone really well.  Emma has one more year and I hope she feels like she doesn't have any regrets.  I have tried to always buy her the best animals that I could afford.  Looking back I made some mistakes with her, I was learning right along with her and I didn't let her have enough control.  I picked her animals for her, I pick their feed and how much, I figure medical care, and I used to do almost all the grooming.  I should have made her learn it all along with me to help her understand her animals better.

When Lily started 4H a few years ago we knew a great deal about Pygmy goats and a little bit about Dairy goats.  I loved watching all the great little sheep and I encouraged her to take on that project as well.  Lily knows more about her animals at her age than Emma did, but in all fairness Lily gets stuck taking care of them more than Emma because Lily lives her all the time.  Lily does like her animals and will go out to do her chores when she is told, but you would never find her training her goats to show with out being reminded.  She just sees them as fun toys, which they are - but she doesn't have a ton of drive to learn animal management or husbandry.  Lily, like her older sister, has a ton of talents and interests, livestock just is not one of them.  

Let me clarify, it's ok with me that the girls don't live and die for this stuff.  All I did from the age of 10-24 was show horses.  Nothing else, and I don't feel like that left me very well rounded.  I want the girls to explore a variety of activities to find out what they love on their own.  I feel like the small herd of goats and 1-2 sheep that I keep gives us the the chance to have some fun together with out things getting to crazy.  Josh's lack of interest really keeps me pretty inline which in turn leads to me not pushing the girls so far that they want to quit.  Its all a symbiotic relationship that somehow equals a really good balance. (I think - Josh may disagree with that.)  If you asked the girls what they like about summer I think both of them would have fair on their list.  They both love to compete and they both understand the joyful magic of fair.      

With all that said, whats on the agenda for next year?
Emma - this will be her last year.  She has discussed doing a new indoor project, which I hope she does.  She will have her two pygmy wethers to show and her Nubian doe.  I wish I could afford to buy her something really special for her last year but the expense would be extreme and may be more than I can ask of her father.
Lily - She will have her babydoll lamb to show as a yearling then I hope to trade it back to its breeder for another lamb for the next season.  Eventually I would like to breed these little guys as a hobby but through much debate Josh has made me promise to put that on the back burner till I graduate and get established in my new job.  Lily will have her pygmy doe that we all love and then her Nubian doe.  

Loose agenda for 2017
Max's first year and the first year we will have bred the Nubian does.  
Max - Emma's old Nubian and any babies that Nubian has, one of Emma's old pygmy wethers, and one babydoll lamb (maybe, I might make him wait a year on sheep)
Lillian - Her Nubian and it's babies, the other one of Emma's old pygmy wethers, Lily's pygmy doe, and one babydoll lamb

ps- I would rather that Josh embrace the magic of Disney than the magic of fair.  Just for the record.   

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