Monday, March 27, 2017

Even Farmers Read


Today I sat on the couch reading a professional book and as I glanced over my book at my husband sitting in his big overstuffed chair.  He was intently reading his thick manual for his new planter that he just purchased for the farm.  On the footstool sat his pesticide/herbicide applicator manual he was also reading as he preps for the test that he will be taking in order to purchase and apply restricted sprays which are necessary to control the bugs and weeds that try to eat our profit every year.  I said, "Hey, I should take a picture of this so that when someone gets the idea that farmers just drive tractors and don't need to read I can prove otherwise."

Then I began to reflect to a time long ago to when my son was growing up and he hated to read.  He balked at doing his required reading at home. In first grade our reading specialist, God bless her soul, would drag him down to her office every morning before school started to work with him one on one.  She used what I called "tough love" telling him that his fits weren't going to work so you might as well get up and get it over with.  Sharon made some gains with Trent but it was agonizing.
As he got grew older his love for reading did not grow.  His teachers tried every angle: coercion, enthusiasm,  you name it.  None of it worked.  I bought every book that even remotely connected to farming, construction, equipment, and trucks.  He liked them but it wasn't enough to light the passion and it certainly didn't address the problem of chapter book requirements.  I tried taking him to the book store to engage his interest in a chapter book series but to no avail.
In middle school he was assigned chapter books.  He thought he was clever when he would read the beginning chapter, a middle chapter and the end chapter to do the required writing assignment.  Then he discovered a miracle to his dilemma, Cliff Notes. He read those and was able to get by in class.
Meanwhile he read.  He read video game cheat code books, mechanic magazines, farming magazines, ATV manuals, hunter safety test manual, equipment diagrams, etc.  Everything that didn't count but that counted for a lot as far as he was concerned.
My husband figuring out what the new planter can do!  With the new technology it takes a little programing to get it set up for planting


 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Can't we get along!

Why can't we all just get along!
Every day we work through many different kinds of conflicts with our children in the classroom, working hard to get to the bottom of the issue searching for the truth so that both sides can walk away and feel satisfied that it was solved.  Then we reiterate to both, that once it's been hashed out to move on and don't dwell.  Let bygones be bygones.  In addition I find myself telling students  to not tattle tell,"blood, guts and tears".  As students feel compelled to rush in to hang their friends out to dry with out really knowing the facts first. 
Every day I continue to wonder why I have to reiterate the same issues with my students seemingly getting worse each year that I teach.  Some days it even seems that I can't move through the lesson contents because I have to deal with conflict resolutions instead. 
Suddenly it hits me like a baseball bat.  We are teaching our youth by example.  All you have to do is watch the news and it's crystal clear why our youth can't resolve conflicts and feel compelled to rush to tell on each other without the full facts.   The news is completely full of Americans unable to resolve conflicts, picking to share parts of a full story so that we remain unsure of what is the whole truth is.  Regardless of what "side" you stand on doesn't matter because with out any give or take a resolution can never happen.  Without getting to the bottom to reveal who is telling the truth it remains a precarious walk on a tight rope of untrustworthiness. 
A game of tug-of-war.  Back and forth.  No give and take.  Petty tattle tales never getting to the core of truth.
Regardless of my position or anyone else's stance, our children are observing and learning by example.
If adults can't get to the bottom of real issues, compromise, talk the full truth and nothing but the truth then how can we progress.  We expect our youth of the future to learn how to resolve daily conflicts and be honest.  So, why can't we!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hoss



My dog is kind of an asshole full of character.
Hoss is a heeler that is supposed to be a working dog with the purpose of herding our livestock.  He tries but when we are working the sheep in the barnyard he gets way too excited.  He runs at the gate sliding easily between two bars on the gate barking all the way.  Hoss rushes at the herd that I have grouped up moving all in one direction breaking them up with ewes leaping and running in every which way.  When I yell at him to come he goes low to the ground creeping towards me, with ears bent back and squinting as if I will beat him to a bloody pulp.  So, I can't yell even though he has made the job of herding the sheep more difficult.   Because his feelings are fragile when I get after him, even when he has ticked me off, I have to grit my teeth and be firm but encouraging so he doesn't run off to pout.
Hoss also loves to get a rise out of certain people.  He knows that some people will react when he runs up behind them barking and pokes them with his nose on the back of their leg.  They will yell and he trots off with literally a smile on his face.  Sometimes he will dart through the shop on hot summer days sticking his cold wet nose up your shorts.  Wagging his tail he just smiles. 
Hoss is a barker.  Visitors are greeted when he leaps at the screen door, whipping it open and diving straight out the door barking as if he is going to rip their face off but just stands there wagging his tail.   Some are barked at every time they stop by, time and time again.  One of our friends gets the obnoxious barking treatment even when he steps out for a smoke and comes back in. 
Hoss is always in the way.  He is like one of those kids that move so slow in front of you and you just want to put a boot in their butt. 
Regardless of how naughty of a dog Hoss is, he loves his family especially the grand kids.  He greets us with a smile and wagging tail.  Hoss will lay at your feet waiting for any kind of loving gesture.  He allows the children to put stickers on his face, lay on top of him and he retaliates with stealing a bite of their snacks. 
Hoss is quirky and a bit of an arse.  But no matter how much everyone yells his name they always reach down when his tail is wagging side to side to give him a loving pat.  Love comes in all shapes and sizes, obnoxious or not.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Chore Time

"Heee Kitty Kitty!  Whea.. a you? Whea a you?"  My two year old granddaughter yells as she digs in the bag of cat food with a large scoop.  Pulling out the scoop she scans the barn still  yelling for her kitty spilling half of it on the ground and Hoss our heeler dog frantically trying to follow Clair around as she dribbles a trail of kibbles.  She spots Mufassa the cat high up on the stack of straw bales.  "Thea you a!  Come on!"  She shouts tapping her hand on her thigh trying to coax him down.  But Mufassa is not dumb, he knows when the dogs are around he is safe to just stay put.  So, he just squints down at Clair. 
Clair gives up and dumps the few kernels that are left in her scoop in the kitty dish and then works on feeding the lambs.  Even at such a young age she knows which bag of food is for the lambs.  Climbing the woven wire gate and hanging over the top of the gate she dumps the mixture in the feeder.  The mischievous goat reaches up and nips her fingers.  "Owww.... goat bite me!"  She tattles on the naughty goat.
"All done."  she says " I hold you gramma"
I lift her up in my arms. 
"You ready to go home?"  I ask
"Yea, I go home!"  Clair cheers as we walk out the barn door. 


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Patience

Patience

I've been struggling this week.  Each day I promise myself I will get back to the Slice Challenge to write it out but then I just can't.  I stare at the blank screen.  I type one liners and erase...

----Have you ever wonder what your purpose in life is?

----I am searching for a sign that you are still here.

----Why?

Then I read a title of an NBC post from Mandy Moore about the disappointment of the season finale of "This is Us".  By the way I love the show and was left hanging!
She said, "Sometimes we don't get the answers we want. Patience."
I know she was only talking about the fictional family on TV but what she said grabbed my attention and spoke to some of my internal struggles. 
Up until nine years ago I was pretty sure of the direction in life I was taking and thought I knew many of the answers to life's questions but that rug was ripped out from under me.  Now it's like rips and tides on the beach.  Ebbing and flowing.  Confidence and uncertainty.  Understanding and confusion.  Fulfillment  and emptiness.  Happiness and sadness.  Sometimes I can go weeks and months where I am fine.  Then all it takes is something bad  happens in life, a comment,  conversation, or just what doesn't happen. 
This is why I hesitated to post because I sound like a crazy person but if you see me everyday you wouldn't know this is going on inside.  I stand tall because I am tough and will keep on keeping on. 
I know I'll be ok again because I can be patient.  It will subside and I won't know all the answers but I can be happy.  I have accepted that events happen in my life that I may not know the answers to why but with patience someday I will. 
Thanks Mandy Moore for your message that mysteriously came to me when I needed an answer. 
Patience.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Not Me

Distracted
Millions of thoughts rolling through my mind
Dreams invaded my sleep
Awake too early
Laying in bed
Thinking but trying not to
Giving in and getting up
Sip on coffee until
I feel like I should get something done
Not really wanting to
Can't stay focused
Wanting company
not sure who
would even want my company
Today
Because I am
Not Me

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Another joins the club

What is the worst moment in your life?
Loosing your son and those moments when it is all starts to become reality.
Today, another young man lost his life way too young.
Today, I stood in their house and hugged another mom that has joined an unwanted... undesired... horrific club... the club of parents who have lost a child. 
It was like stepping back in time to that day.... the worst day of my life!
The horrific irony of this moment, when I am hugging this mom, was that nine years ago she was hugging me when I was in the grips of the most unbearable pain of loss.  But that is not the most ironic.  Her second husband a very close friend of ours, also lost a child.  One of a triplet about eight years before our son and the other two children were the same age as my son growing up together as friends. 
Why? 
When is it enough?
Death lingers.
So many questions that are unanswered and never will be.
It brings back so much.  Flashbacks.  Feelings.

Closing the casket
Saying goodbye
Uncontrollable sobs
who is screaming
it's me
Inconsolable grief
Strangles my chest
I can't breath
Choking
Physically sick
My heart is broken
a gaping hole
Unrepairable