Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Environmentally Friendly Lawn Mowers and other cuteness

The lawn needed mowed so we engaged our environmentally friendly lawnmowers.
Atarah is checking out the inside of the shop. Her buddy Duchess would not cooperate for the camera.
This is what happens when you are late for dinner. It was Mommy's idea.  For real.  (except maybe the booger)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Happy News-es

This post is all full of happy news-es.  No sad news-es allowed.  Okay? go!
30 days without seizures is great.  This is a good sign that the meds are working.
  • Classis exams are done.  I passed all of the exams I took today.

It's coming!!!!
  • It's almost baby season!
  • I got to have conversations about Celiac Disease and disability awareness/accessibility in churches today.
  • My sister made rhubarb crisp from fresh rhubarb and gave me a piece for bedtime snack while it was still warm.
  • Sunday is tomorrow!
  • It's bedtime!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Shearing Days

Once a year we shear the alpacas.  It's kinda sorta a really big deal.  Lots of work, lots of people, lots of food.  Usually my job is in the kitchen, but the first two times we shore this year (Tuesday night and Friday) we were super short handed so I was out on the shearing floor.  Due to an unfortunate event on Friday I spent most of Saturday on the shearing floor too.  But everyone still got to eat.  The food wasn't amazing this year, but no one starved.  Since I was on the shearing floor all three times, I got to take "pre-shear" or "full-fleece" pictures of all our animals.  (they were supposed to be done the week before, but due to non-stop rain, they hadn't been)
Here's some pictures from our shearing days:
Duchess doesn't quite understand the concept of holding still for her picture.  Actually, Duchess doesn't quite understand the concept of holding still for anything.
Caasi stands nice for her picture.  She's a bit older and knows the drill.  Caasi was the very first alpaca born on our farm.
Isaac snuck into the shearing line up.
If it's in the lineup, it goes on the table and gets shorn...that's just how it works.
Idaho is a little frisky.  She's another one that doesn't like to stand still.
Annie got herself stuck under the hay feeder while waiting her turn to be shorn.
This one gets cuddles and chin scratches
While they are on the table they get a pedicure and a smile job as well.
In the first three days of shearing (all on our farm) we did approximately 43 animals. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Walt the Pocket Kangaroo goes to the Fibre Festival

After Walt the Pocket Kangaroo got home from seminary, he went to a fibre festival at the Ancaster Fairgrounds to help out there.  It was the first  year for this fibre festival, so business was a little slow, but that gave Walt a little more time to walk around and see people, and even learn some new tricks.  The fibre festival will still be happening Sunday, so if you missed Friday and today, you can still check it out Sunday.  Anacster Fairgrounds, on Trinity Road (not on the road they used to be on back in 2003. There's houses there now).  And, if you want yarn goodies (or goodles, as some might say) and can't make it to the festival, talk to me and I can point you in the right direction. I know people who know people and all that good stuff.
Walt the Pocket Kangaroo spent most of his time at the Abstract Alpaca Consortium booth (since that was where he was supposed to be helping).  You can click on the picture to enlarge it.  From left to right, top to bottom: Walt snuggled with an alpaca teddy, investigate the yarn, looked at socks (and was sad because there were none his size), looked at pretty rovings for hand spinning, admired the felted banner, played in a swing made out of yarn, enjoyed standing on the luxurious crocheted alpaca rug made from rovings, and enjoyed the feel of raw alpaca fleece.
When Walt the Pocket Kangaroo wasn't at the Abstract Alpaca Consortium (AAC) booth he was hanging out with the awesome guys from the Crochet Crowd at their booth, right next door.  Mikey and Dave were super awesome and super helpful.  They let people try out their knitting looms and showed us how to make socks on a sock loom.  On the top left, Walt the Pocket Kangaroo is posing with the baby socks made on the sock loom.  They are still a bit too big for him.  On the right, Walt picked out some sock yarn from the AAC and then bought a sock loom to take home.  He is working on a pair of socks for his human.  On the lower left, Walt is checking out a new infinity loom from DA looms.  It's an amazing knitting loom that lets you make a 5 foot wide afghan, quite easily.  He is sitting on the very first afghan made with the new loom. He wanted to take one home with him, but his human couldn't afford it, especially not after getting the sock loom. Click on the picture to enlarge

Walt the Pocket Kangaroo got to try his hand at spinning with a drop spindle.  They even had a Walt sized spindle for him to use.  Thank you for being there and letting Walt try things out Gemini Fibres!

All this Fibre Festival stuff is hungry work! Walt the Pocket Kangaroo got to have his favorite snack: Watermelon!

Walt the Pocket Kangaroo voted for his favorite entries in three categories: Fashion, Art and Utility.  It was really neat to see what people had done with natural fibres!
Walt the Pocket Kangaroo went out to the barn to see a camel.

He also saw a 3 week old llama baby.  Walt isn't particularly fond of llamas, but this baby was kinda cute.  The baby was a preemie, otherwise he would have been bigger.  He also seemed to have some brain damage, but that might have been just because he was a llama.

Saffron the house alpaca came in to the vendor fair and met Walt the Pocket Kangaroo close up.  She even gave him kisses, but his human didn't catch any on camera.  Saffron won first place in the full fleece show.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Walt the Pocket Kangaroo Rides a Train

When Walt the Pocket Kangaroo was done at seminary for the semester and ready to head back up to Canada, he decided to take the Amtrack train.  He was very excited, but also a little nervous about it.  He  had never been on a train before.  First, he caught the train in Holland.  It was a very nice train, called a Superliner.  He got to sit upstairs, in a very comfy seat with lots of foot room and watch out the window.
Walt the Pocket Kangaroo thought the seats were very big and comfy.

Walt the Pocket Kangaroo had a long layover in Chicago.  He was very sleepy because he had been too excited to sleep the night before (His human was also very sleepy).  So they made a cave to nap in.  Just after they fell asleep, the mean policewomen came and woke them up and told them they weren't allowed to sleep in the train station.  That made them a little grumpy.

Their train from Chicago to Port Huron left at 4:10.  They wanted to make sure they didn't miss it, so they set an alarm to remind them to pay attention.  
The second train wasn't as nice as the first, but they had a seat to themselves so they curled up and slept part of the way, because, you are allowed to sleep on the train.  When they got to Port Huron they were very very tired and ready for bed. A very nice uncle and cousin to Walt's human picked them up and brought them a nice warm bed.  They slept very well.
All in all, Walt the Pocket Kangaroo enjoyed his train trip and wants to travel by train again sometime. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Train Ride!

I am going on a train really soon.  I'm excited about the train.  I should probably change out of my pajamas and into real clothes first, and maybe eat some breakfast, but those are minor details.
The train will bring me almost to Canada.  Then someone else will bring me to Canada.  If you want to pray for safe travels, that would be splendarific.
Have an awesome Wednesday!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

An Ode to Mothers

I don't actually know what an "ode" is, but it's a fun word.  This goes out to all the mothers.
Whether you birthed us and bathed us,
Whether you fed us and clothed us,
Whether you were there all our life or just for a season,
Whether we called you Mom, Mommy, Momma, or Mum,
Whether you are young or old or just "well practiced",
Whether you live close by or far away,
Whether you comforted us when we had broken arms or broken hearts,
Whether you taught us arithmetic or how to make chocolate chip cookies or the meaning of the word "Commitment",
Whether we screamed in anger that we never wanted to see you again or whispered our forever love,
Whether you live on this earth or have gone on to a better place,
Whether you bore us or adopted us (formally or informally),
Whether you've laughed at us or cried because of us,
Whether we colored on your walls or left footprints on your clean floor,
Whether you read this or not,
Happy Mother's Day!  Thank you for all you do!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

O Canada!

Before I get to the meat of this post, let me be the first to acknowledge that I have no authority to write this post. I have not earned the right to write it. It speaks more to me than anyone else, and if anyone feels judged by it, know that I am judging myself more harshly than I would ever judge anyone else.

There is a story told about an African village that experienced two extreme seasons, like many African villages, a rainy season and a dry season. During the rainy season there was more than enough water to go around.  Everyone had plenty and there was still some to spare.  During the dry season though, there was no water.  Every dry season many children and old people died because there was not enough water
One year, they had a new leader, a very wise leader.  He had a very large reservoir tank constructed and instructed all the men of the village that everyday during the rainy season they were each to bring a bucket of water and pour it into the tank.  Then, in the dry season, he would ration the water in the tank out and no one would die from lack of water.
The rainy season came and went.  Throughout the rainy season there was plenty of water for everyone.  Then the dry season came.  The riverbeds dried up.  The lakes dried up.  The people dried up.  Soon everyone was thirsty.  They came to their leader and asked him to start rationing out the water in the reservoir tank.  He agreed and all the men came with their water buckets.  The first stood at the spigot as the leader turned the spigot to let the water flow into his bucket.  Everyone waited in suspense.  Nothing happened.  The leader checked the spigot.  It seemed fine.  Finally he climbed up to look in the tank.
There was nothing there.  The tank was completely empty.
He climbed back down and looked at the men of his village.  They all stared at the ground.  One by one he asked them why they hadn't put water in the tank throughout the rainy season.  One by one they answered:
"It was too far away"
"I didn't have time"
"I didn't think my bucket would make a difference"
That dry season many children and old people died of thirst.  There was a system in place to prevent it, but it failed because people thought that their bucket wouldn't matter.

Yesterday, the US and other parts of the world celebrated the death of a dictator of sorts, Obama bin Laden.  Whether celebrating was the right idea or not is currently irrelevant.  If you want to know my thoughts on it, check this out.
Yesterday, Canada had a democratic election to try and elect a new government.
The preliminary results are in. I'm not going to make a statement about how I feel on who won, or how seats were divided, because I have absolutely no right to comment on that.  I have even less right to comment on what I'm going to comment on, but I'm going to do it anyways.  Remember, this is more for me than for anyone else.
According to preliminary results, voter turnout was only 61.4%. (80 polls out of 71,513 still have to report and it doesn't include electors who registered on election day, so that will rise a little yet (when I started writing this section over 110 polls still had to report. The percentage has only changed by 0.1%)) That means close to 40% of the eligible population did not vote. I'll admit that I was one of them. I dropped the ball and failed to get an absentee ballot in time to vote. So I'm part of that close to 40%. I'm not proud of it.  It saddens me.  I wouldn't be proud of it if that number was 2 or 3 percent, or even 10%, but it wouldn't sadden me as much.
As a Canadian, I am privileged to live in a democratic nation.  If you are Canadian or American (or a number of other things), you are too.  But a democracy only works if people get out and vote.  Maybe you think your vote won't make a difference, but if everyone thinks that, the reservoir tank stays empty.  I'm grateful for the 61.4 percent of people who got out and rocked the vote yesterday.  I'm ashamed to be part of the 38.6% that didn't. Worse, I'm ashamed to belong to the age demographic that historically has the lowest voter turnout ever and to be part of the 38.6% that didn't vote.  If you are age 18-34 and got out and rocked the vote yesterday, you are amazing and are helping to change history.  I'm sorry I let you down.

Every vote, every voice, every bucket of water makes a difference.

PS: just in case you are curious, the US voter turnout in their last federal election was 56.8%.  I was one of them. (yes I can vote in both countries.  The joys of dual-citizenship)

PPS: yes Mom, I did write and post this at quarter after three in the morning.  I couldn't sleep.

Monday, May 02, 2011

What then shall we say in response to this?

I got home from a worship service last night to discover my Facebook newsfeed absolutely exploding. For those of you not familiar with Facebook, the newsfeed is the place where all your friends' statuses and activity appears, all in one convenient location.  It's the prime location for stalking your friends and seeing who is engaged, who had babies, and what is going on in the world.  Last night, as you can imagine, it was all about Osama.  When I logged on this morning, there was more of the same, combined with some of my Canadian friends urging people to get out and vote.  Just in case you somehow missed it, Osama bin Laden is dead.  At least, that's what the news is saying.
Which leaves me with this question: What then shall we say in response to this?  Yes, Osama did a lot of bad things.  Some might even call him a bad person.  Now he's dead.  I still haven't completely wrapped my mind around this fact.  He's dead.  What does this mean?  What does this mean for the people he ruled with sheer terror?  What does this mean for the US?  the world?  I'm sure many of these questions will be answered in the days, weeks, months, years that follow, but they aren't the ones that weight heaviest on me.
What then shall we say in response to this?  A man is dead.  Regardless of who he was and what he did, a man is dead.  A human being was killed.  Did he deserve it? Is the world a better place now that he's dead?  I don't know.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  It doesn't change the fact that human being was killed.
Whoever he was, whatever he did, he was someone's family, someone's son, someone's friend.  What's more, he was a child of G-d.   G-d loves all his children...good, bad, and inbetween.  In fact, all of us, in G-d's eyes, deserve death.  "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of G-d" and "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of G-d is eternal life".   Are we any better than Osama?  Are there degrees of sinfulness? Is one sin worse than another?  I would respond "no", but that's just me.  You have to decide for yourself what stance you want to take.
What then shall we say in response to this? Will there be retaliation against the US?  Will Canada get caught in the crossfire?  Will this mean more of our soldiers getting killed?  Will more parents lose sons and daughters?  Will more parents lose their children?  I don't know.  I wish I could say that this means war is ending, but I can't believe that.  I don't know how to.  I don't know what is coming.
What then shall we say in response to this?  I don't know. I know what we shouldn't say.  We should not rejoice that a human is dead.  We can rejoice that a reign of terror is coming closer to an end.  We should not live in fear of retaliation.  We serve a big G-d, a G-d who is bigger than any form of retaliation.   We should go before our G-d in prayer and pray for peace.  I'm listening to Angler's Chat sing "The Peace of G-d" right now.  The part I just heard I was a take on Philippians 4:

 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

That's what I pray.  That the peace of G-d will be with us all.