Monday, March 31, 2008

Down on the Farm this week

After our last chicken murder last Thursday and the subseqeuent slaughter of the mink (YES!!!! she says as she pumps her arm in the air!), life on the farm has been happily uneventful, with no major events to report. We've had no births or auction additions and no further deaths or auction sales.

The sheep are all in the winter pasture up by the house here still and I can't wait to get them out of there. I know I've mentioned mud a few times already, but, IT IS FUCKING MUDDY.

They need out of there before their feet just rot away. Over the next few weeks, we'll be laying out some new fencing and moving them down into the front pastures, where the grass is growing and there is no mud in sight! They'll think they've gone to heaven.

It's so nice having them up here all winter though. This is the first year that I feel like we've really had a system, in terms of sleeping, feeding, and care of the animals. With them so close to the house and their new feeding trough right off our basement door, it's been the busy hub of the farmyard, and it's allowed us to really get to know our sheep. I feel more attached to them right now than I ever have before.
It's no real secret that the whole farming thing is more B.Rube's idea than my own. He does the work out there, mostly. (particularly the dirty work....). I have to help out with feeding and eggs, and, in the past, I've complained about it much of the time.

Lately, though, I find myself really enjoying my time out there.

Here are some images from the farm this week:

EGGS - How can you tell if an egg is fresh?

How can you tell if an egg is fresh?

Fill a deep bowl or pan with enough cold tap water to cover an egg.
Place the egg in the water.
If the egg lies on its side on the bottom, the air cell is small and it's very fresh.
If the egg stands up and bobs on the bottom, the air cell is larger and it isn't quite as fresh.
If the egg floats on the surface, toss it.

And: A very fresh egg out of the shell will have an
overall thick white which doesn't spread much and
the yolk will stand up.

Go Canucks Go!

So, my major reason for not posting 3 different and exciting farm things for you today is that I went into the city last night. In honour of B.Rube's birthday, I headed into Vancouver for a very important game against the Flames. We share season tickets and use the games as a good excuse to get out of the country once in a while. But, last night was even more of a special treat - I had been invited to the game by a special old high school friend, now living in Seattle. Mi-la's seats are amazing ( I've had the good fortune of sitting in them before. ) They are second row seats, right behind the home goal. SECOND FREAKIN' ROW!!! I was up close and personal with my boys and I loved every minute of it.

Here's how the night went down:

We actually arrived in time for the warm-up, unbelievably. ( I love being there early, but rarely ever make it.)
Here's our #1 man, Luongo. Where'd we be without him!?
Our captain, Markus

Here's Trev. He's warming up to score 2 huge goals tonight. Man, this city has a love affair with this dude! There's nothing like a standing 'o' for Linden!

Here's Daniel. He recently became my new favourite Canuck after I met him at the zoo a couple of weeks ago. I was shameless enough to ask him for his autograph that day and he very pleasantly complied.

The first period was soooo exciting, with 2 goals apiece and a number of little pushing matches in our end, with Iginla no less!!

Cassie Campbell was standing next to me, along with Pat Quinn. And, of course, local media man, Shane Foxman. (man, that guy is a total GEEK!)
By the end of the second period, the Canucks were leading 5-2, I think. By the end of the 3rd, it was 6-2.
Hey! Here comes Fin.
It was an awesome night, made better by an incredible win, wonderful company and a few good cold ciders.

My excuses

Let's set Farm Day aside for a moment. There are a few reasons why I've not been with you today. (and thanks for your patience!)

My excuses are:
1) I was in the big city late last night and was too tired to write when I got home.
2) B.Rube is away for a few days at work, so I had to use my only available time this morning doing farm chores.
3) I was out all late morning and early afternoon at Captain Kid's and speech therapy.
4) I was overtaken by an insane and seldomly felt impulse to scrub my kitchen floor while little T.Rube was sleeping just now.
5) I am madly trying to finish up some edits on a brochure job to get back to the printer's tonight.

So, here it is. 5 pm my time. Dinner is started, T.Rube is likely to wake up any time (yep - there she is now.) and I still haven't told you about last night.
I will. I promise. Before I shut my eyes tonight. I'll be back.

Today's Installment

...will happen, just not right now.

I am busy doing farm chores as B.Rube is away for a few days at work.
Check back in later.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday's Secret

Here's my secret for this week.... (don't forget to check out PostSecret today)

Do eyelashes have bad hair days too?

Seriously. I've often wondered this because every so often my eyelashes have a mind-of-their-own-type-of-day.... where they seem to be crossing in every direction and at various angles, where no amount of curling them seems to help, where some go up and some go down and some just stick straight out, where the mascara just seems to either clump right on or slide right off. With eyes as prevalent as my own, it's a devastating day.

( I wonder if it's like getting a perm when you're on your period - sometimes the curl doesn't take.... )

And you can't even throw a baseball hat over them.
(and don't you dare even suggest sunglasses. You need sun for that.)

(besides, I'm on a hunt for new shades. I currently have two pairs. One nice pair of Ray Bans that are RIDICULOUSLY small. and one cheap Vegas pair that are RIDICULOUSLY large. A good friend of mine refers to them as my "windshields" and is impressed at their versatility in both sun and snow (not to mention their Blue Blocker-style coverage; their sheer size)).

So, I went to the mall to find a nice pair somewhere in between mine. I tried on about 35 different shades before the kids started to get antsy about being tied up in the mall buggy and only really loved the $350 Burberry pair ( of course ). Not enough to buy them. yet.)

(It's funny. The woman behind me at the Sunglasses Hut was talking about having bought her last pair of sunglasses in Vegas. Just as I was about to turn around and tell her that I did too, she added that they she'd bought a $1700 pair! Suddenly, the Burberry ones look super affordable.)

Happy Birthday B.Rube!

Dear B.Rube,
It's your birthday. Again!! I can't believe that another whole year has flown by. Before you know it, you're going to be older than me!!
I know it's not your best birthday ever. In fact, it's probably one of your shittiest..... your big new project at work starts today on March 30th. You have to work and are not able to go to the game as we had planned.

I guess it could be worse. I could post this picture for everyone to see:

(remember when it appeared as a huge picture in the newspaper a couple of days after your Amazing Race birthday that I busted my butt to plan for you last year?)
You make a wonderful pole dancer, B.Rube.
Or... even worse, what about this one???

(remember how the race official had to ask you to tuck your scrotum back into your suit because you were scaring small children and adults alike?)

or knowing the world was seeing this picture might make your birthday even worse:

(remember how shocked you were when I caught you that day?? and then to discover that you'd been posting your boob video all over the web?)

So, how's your birthday now?
p.s. You know that I love you like crazy; more now than ever before. It's mostly the blue coveralls and the Dollar Store cowboy hat that do it for me. We've created something amazing in our lives, and you should be sooooo proud of all that you've accomplished. Your determination and commitment and ability to succeed far outshine just about everyone. And you are the second hardest working man I know!!!
You are an incredible daddy to our two little girls and you light up our lives when you walk in the door. Thanks for everything and have a very happy birthday!!! despite work. xoxo

Friday, March 28, 2008

Jon Paul visits the farm

It is mortgage renewal time, so another look at our property and house was necessary. An appraiser named John Paul called to book a time. I returned John Paul's message this morning. (not John, not Paul, not JP. John Paul).
My options for his home visit were a) one hour from now or b) Monday morning.

And, for some crazy fucking reason, I chose a) one hour from now.

My thinking at the time, I think, was simple - if I did it now and got it over with, I wouldn't have to worry about madly cleaning up on Sunday. Which I would do. All day.

About 8 short minutes later, I was kicking myself. I wanted SOOOOOO badly to just stop doing what I was doing (which was running madly from room to room, dropping stuff off and picking more stuff up, making the bed, clearing the laundry into baskets, collecting the bath toys in the steam room into their bath bag, blowing the pubic hair off that awkward-to-reach back of the toilet seat sort of place, rubbing out the dried up toothpaste in the sink with my thumb, and cleaning the dog prints off the parquet flooring with my sock, racing wildly about, vacuuming the entire house and mopping the main floor, cleaning toys from the living room, sunroom, basement and bedrooms, erasing the mascara from under my eyes with a Q-tip doused in soap and throwing on my Canucks baseball hat, even though they've just dropped out of a playoff spot with 4 games remaining, and just barely managing to get a happily naked S.Rube into some clothes as I saw John Paul's car turn into our driveway).

I was cleaning the house in the hopes that the cleaning would make it worth more.

I was sure, at the same time, though, that John Paul could see right through that facade. Right through to the wood finish EVERYWHERE, the pieces of parquet missing from parts of the floor, the original cabinetry and counter tops in the kitchen, the holes in the wall next to the bathtub that those Dora suction cup toys created, the missing ceiling in the basement where the toilet pipes from upstairs are in plain view, with the spider webs at every corner.

But, I still cleaned.

And, it looked pretty damn good.

John Paul's cute little Smart car drove bumpily up our long gravel driveway, coming close to tipping over. He had no problem on the bridge - a car that small passes over it with ease. He got out of the car, stumbled a bit trying to find the gate. His fashionable suede shoes traipsed through the gravel, wet and snow onto the lawn and then into the MUD to get to the house.

Welcome, John Paul. Welcome to the farm.

He looked a little stunned as I invited him in. He was probably upset about his shoes.
(I offered him B.Rube's boots for his outside tour and photo shoot - (you can see them in that mink post below; the one with his blue jumpsuit. John Paul refused my offer.))

He handed me a business card. Ooops, please excuse me!! It's Jon Paul, not John Paul. I've been referring to you as John Paul this whole time. I'll get it right now. I won't make that mistake again.

Jon Paul ( see! I've already smoothly made the transition) stood in the main room and looked up, after I asked him how he liked the snowy weather today.
"Wow! That's a lot of exposed wood! " he exclaimed.
(Of course, he could see through all that cleaning.)

( I hope your shoes never recover, JP)

Some Key Concepts in Parenting

I thought I'd share with you some of the key concepts of my parenting philosophy, and the message that I try to pass on to the foster parents that I've worked with. This is the core of the parenting process.
(EDITED TO ADD: I just want to say that I wasn't alone in developing the points you are about to read. They were developed for the book that I put together with my two colleagues and sit in the very beginning of the book as an introduction. They are what inspire me at home here with my girls every single day and I find meaning in them more as each hour passes. )

· All behaviour has meaning - Separate who the kid is from the behaviours they’re demonstrating. Problem behaviours are the child’s attempt to find solution.

· Kids all have their personal stories and are experts in their own lives. Just ask.

· People learn more from making "mistakes" than from their successes. Behind every crisis is an opportunity for learning.

· Just because kids may step off the path does not mean they’re changing direction.

· We all know our weaknesses. We need input from others to learn our strengths. Help your kids to re-author their personal stories from victim to hero.

· You can take your time. Issues and behaviours WILL come around again.

· Be curious!!!! Ask lots of open-ended questions, and leave your own ego at the door.

· It is helpful if we gain understanding of our kids. It is more helpful if we assist them to understand themselves.

· Curiosity invites communication. Punishment invites anger. Fair consequence invites learning.

· Change your dance! If what you’re doing is not working then try another approach. Do it differently, rather than louder.

· Respect must be modeled to be learned.

· Develop strong communication skills of timing, tone and manner, & recognize the influence of language in your approach. Make an effort to leave every verbal exchange with the other person feeling better about themselves.

· Think & speak POSITIVE thoughts and messages toward your kids - or take a break. Healthy attachment can only occur when people feel acceptance.

· Demonstrate hope & belief in your child’s ability to change. People are not resistant to change - they are resistant to BEING changed.

· Find the strengths in ALL child behaviour. Respect their current choices and they will begin to make choices worthy of your respect.

· Humour can be one of your most effective strategies. It keeps you sane, while allowing the child to learn how to laugh at their own behaviours.

My Turtle

Yesterday was the visit to the fire station with S.Rube and her preschool class.
Strangely enough, S.Rube had been saying that she didn't want to go right from first mention of it about 3 weeks ago. She couldn't ever really give me a reason as to why.

She maintained this stubborn position throughout the morning, going to music class, and during our early lunch, when we dropped T.Rube off at Gramps' place and as we headed to the firehall. I maintained my position that she had failed to give me a good reason why she didn't want to go and that we all have to do things we don't want to do.

We arrived and I had to threaten the loss of the birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese that evening just to get her out of the truck. We got inside the fire station. Her classmates were there. Her teachers were there.

And she totally turtled - popped her head inside, turned inward forming a lovely hard shell and lost her voice completely. She all but turned green.

No amount of coaxing from me, her teachers or the funny British fireman would get that little turtle out. She remained curled up on my lap for the first hour, peeking out at times through her shell, responding to nobody.

She slowly unfolded over the second hour, piece by piece. Desperately shy.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thank God we're bigger than them

So, I need to think back for a moment and try to figure out when celebrating the pitchforked death of a mink became routine; where shouting 'YES!' while pumping my fist in the air and then yelling, "WAIT! Let me grab the camera" (which took a shitty blurry picture) became so commonplace that I don't check my emotions first; where no part of me says (or even thinks) "Blech - Oh my God, that's a dead animal. EWWW - Get out of here with that!! That's fucking gross....UGH".

I seriously was not that grossed out looking closely at the mink. What struck me was his smell. I could smell him from about 4 or 5 feet away. A strong strong musky smell. Similar to a skunk, but not as prevalent or recognizable.

I wasn't part of the mink hunt, because, quite frankly, I am unable to smash a shovel down with all my might onto the head of a mink. I would definitely be even more unable to stab it with a rusted pitchfork. I might be more able to be the one with the pellet gun and actually get a shot or two in the right direction. But, I was just better off inside with the kids. B.Rube and his dad went on the hunt.

Now, we don't have a gun. That would have made this mink hunt easier. I actually went into a hunting store when I was in town today and had I been able to just buy a rifle off their wall, I would have. Doesn't this strike you as fucking WEIRD??? Cuz it strikes me as weird. I never thought I'd want a gun. I never thought I'd buy a gun. I seriously was going to buy one for B.Rube for his birthday this weekend. But, apparently, the government has all sorts of controls on that. controlling busybodies.

(and, apparently, B.Rube tells me now that he doesn't want a gun. Which makes this whole little scene even weirder.... that I want a gun and he doesn't? Bizarre. In fact, I bet he's only saying he doesn't want a gun because I want a gun. And maybe I don't really want a gun, except that I know that by wanting a gun, B.Rube wouldn't want one. So, subconsciously, I have created the outcome that I desire, which is that I won't live in a house with kids and a gun. whew. I'm glad I settled that.)

We could use a gun, though. For mink. For coyotes. There's a family of coyotes that lives in the field and trees behind us. I see them regularly. Just this morning, a big healthy coyote stood in our neighbour's field, not 30 feet from where I was standing, just staring at me in the kitchen window, as my dogs were going mental around me. That same coyote, I believe, killed a big ram at the little farm across the street yesterday. I believe that he was heading back there, when my dogs stopped him today. I fear for my sheep.

It's a dog-eat-dog world out here, isn't it? I do get a bit hardened to it. I admit that I prepare myself for something everytime I go out to do the chores or see the animals. (Kinda like how I prepare myself everytime I walk into T.Rube's room when she's in her crib, even though she'll be two in a few months! You don't ever get over that fear of SIDS, do you???!)

I don't flinch half as bad when I see a dead chicken pulled halfway under the henhouse, decapitated. In fact, today I took a couple of pictures of it with my new camera, just to try out a new setting. (I deleted them tonight, finding myself a bit too morose for my own liking.)

(I did take a good picture of Sid's balls for you though, although B.Rube claims that I have to get a shot where his back legs are spread a bit further apart in order to understand the gravity of this stud's problem! (and I DO mean.. 'gravity!").)

It makes me look at and appreciate nature, though. It really is just the natural order of things. Preys and predators. Thank God we're bigger than them.

(and remember: those fucking minks should never have been out here to begin with!!)

When a picture says a thousand words....

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dear Juicy Rube,

You mentioned lube last week and I really want to find something that works for me. I'm highly susceptible to bacterial or urinary tract infection, and have been affected by lubes in the past when I've tried them on a couple of occasions. What do you recommend for someone like me?

If you're a chick who is prone to those nasty UTIs or other bacterial infections, I know how incredibly sensitive the topic of sex is for you, in general. And how super important it is for you to be viligantly careful about what you put inside you. I get asked all the time to recommend a safe lube for this very situation. I definitely suggest that you avoid sugars and other heavily flavoured lubes. You want to stick with a water-based lube and probably one that is not flavoured at all. (If you want to try a flavour, try the O!My one because it is all natural and might be okay for you). Otherwise, I'd suggest ID Glide, which is a hospital-grade lube, and has no extra additives.

I've had lots of girls who have been successful with this one. But, keep in mind, there's always a number of other factors to consider, including the soap that your guy is using on his penis.

Have a juicy day!! (literally)

Juicy Rube

Sorry to interrupt your sexy day

...with this alarming NEWS BULLETIN!
But, that fucking mink is back. (no, we didn't get it last time!)

It's killed another chicken. (some no-name...looks & acts like all the others..., not Uniqua.. but still...fucker.)

We're going to get him this time. So, help me God.

A Lesson on Lube

I briefly mentioned lube last week and I want to talk about it a little further this week.

Lubrication in your sex life is crucial to having enjoyable and comfortable sex. For most young women, the last thing we needed was lube from a tube. Just being in the same room with our boyfriends would produce a slippery walk and wet panties. Self-lubricating was not a problem.

However, times change. We age. We have children. We breastfeed. We age some more. We aren't as naturally turned on. We continue to age. And what happens?? We dry up. I mean, we still have our moister days. (most of us are familiar with these days because we wait all month to see a little cervical mucous and jump our guy's bones when he gets in the door. Yes, we produce natural lube around the time of ovulation.) But, we get a bit dryer and bit dryer every year.

And having children and breastfeeding only speeds this process up!

But, fear not! Using a bit of lube is easy, safe, inexpensive and worth it!

Historically, lube was made of petroleum. When K-Y jelly first came out and, for many many years to follow, this petroleum was basically eating away at our insides. Thankfully, someone who should be important figured this out and put a stop to it. The industry moved to water-based lubes, which are sure to be a safe bet. Most of the lubes you are familiar with or have used are likely water-based. You can get all sorts of funky flavours and ones with natural ingredients.

My biggest seller, by far, is O!My lube. It's an all-natural, water-based lube that contains hemp seed oil. It has no sugars or asparthame in it and its flavours taste great!! Pina Colada and Melon are my favourite. But everyone is always thrilled with whatever flavour they stock up on.

You can get it in 'natural' too, as the non-edible version.

More recently, silicone has exploded forth into our world. Not just in kitchen oven mitts and cupcake holders, but also in hair varnish and hand creams for those suffering from excema. And BIG TIME in our "adult accessories" world. The best toys are made of silicone. and the best lube is made of silicone. Silicone lube wins the lube competiton hands down. The other lubes retreat shamefully to their corners when Silicone Lube shows up. They know they can't compete.

Granted, it's a bit more expensive, but it is waaaay more concentrated and you'll need waaaaay less. Trust me. There'll be no re-application process here. It is always silky. Never sticky.

(and p.s. If you are interested in letting your guy explore the back door at all, it's GOTTA BE WITH SILICONE. cuz there isn't anything better!)

So, are there any downsides to this miracle lube? Perhaps.

Some people believe it's a bit early in the game to know exactly what silicone might do to us. Certainly, it stays in us/on us longer than water does; doesn't just wash away as easily.
Most people believe it to be completely safe.

Another little hitch is that silicone eats silicone. So, if you have silicone toys, you should use water-based lubes when playing with them.

Here's my most popular selling silicone lube : ID Millenium.

HUMP DAY! Your Position of the Week is: CRAZY CRISS CROSS

Here's what you've been waiting for. You know you have.

Our position for the week is:
The Crazy Criss Cross!

Pretty unconventional, eh? I'm taking you guys a little out of your element this week. It's not one of those natural positions that you're going to just flow into - that's for sure. You'll have to stop what you're doing and actually plan to get into place. I suggest that the girl lay down on your back or side and spread those legs! And then let your guy slide into place, accommodating himself as he needs to, in order to keep you both comfortable. (If you're trying to figure out who the guy is and which one is the girl in the picture here, don't waste your time. You could be in the fucking position already! It doesn't matter!)

And you're definitely going to want to wash your feet because they could easily end up closer to your nose than you normally prefer.

You'll note, in this position, that your guy's rod (teeheeeheee) has to be pulled down farther than he (or it) is accustomed to. Many of our most common and popular (and regularly overused!!) positions involve that the penis be directed at a 90 degree right angle, or less. (think standard missionary; think doggie...) Now, imagine pulling the penis downward, so that a man standing up would have his penis attempting to point at the floor. Some of the positions that I will offer you over upcoming weeks may require the penis to attempt angles that appear to be unlikely, painful, even impossible. But, they're not. ..unlikely, painful or impossible. It does appear that the penis could easily snap off, but apparently it doesn't. ( I am sure there are times where we have all wished to try.) I have had some people tell me that their guy's penis doesn't bend down enough to find a position like this comfortable. But, the penis is a muscle and is made up of muscles that can be worked, and stretched and developed. It's worth exploring, in my opinion.

The good thing about this position is that you can alter it enough to make it comfortable, though, even if it doesn't end up looking exactly like this. (God help you if you DO look like this actually. Blockhead. Pinebrain. Woody.)

After reading the reviews below, you might be less likely to give this one a shot. But, I recommend that you give it a try anyway. For a couple of reasons.
1) It really will make your relationship better. Even if the position itself fails you, you'll have talked about it and laughed about it and tried something a bit different for a change.
2) Just by committing to this weekly process with the rest of us, you'll be better for it. And committing means trying it out. Like diet, like exercise, like housecleaning..sometimes we all need a little organization and structure and suggestion and motivation in order to kickstart it again. Let this weekly position do that for you. Let your guy in on the game, too.

Here's what some of the Chaws are saying about it:

Mama Bear says: This position can be tricky to get into. It can be physically straining (by that I mean on your legs, hips, back, etc) if you don't do it just right. Once you do get yourself situated, it leaves lots of opportunity for self play, which is a plus. It doesn't give very deep penetration though. It is a good "once in awhile" position if you want to mix things up and take it slower, but as for a day to day thing, it's not a "favorite" of ours.

Squeaky VanDusit: We didn't think too much of this one. My guy, who has incredible penis flexibility couldn't really get comfortable because he was being yanked down. We kind of readjusted things a bit and then he just stayed still, while I was able to diddle myself and kind of ride him. I liked the feeling of being in between his legs. It was definitely a decent position for me to be in and I had a wicked orgasm.
Then, we had to switch positions for him to finish.
So, some benefits (for me!!) and some downfalls (for him!!).

Lady and the Tramp Stamp says: We tried this last night, but had a hard time getting it to work so we just ended up going at it like we normally do. Honestly, we didnt give it much of a chance. We were kind of, um, in the moment so to speak and just gave up so we could get on with the fun part. I have tried this position before, though and it is great, especially when pregnant.

KittyKat says: It was awkward. We spent a lot of time trying to get into position, which killed the mood. I found that it was better for him to lay flat on his back and I was tilted sideways riding him. It was better when I was in control. We also switched to a different position after a few minutes.
I'm not crossing this position off the list - it may get better after some practice. But I'm not putting it into my favorites.
TomKat wants to know what is next.

Well, you just tell TomKat that he'll have to wait for a few days for that one.

Okay, so not a big hit. I agree with MamaBear - this is not a position of depth. Unlike last week's doggie. It could be a very nice way to start out though, as it seemed to please the girls a bit now, didn't it?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My New Camera...

.... is here. My new camera is here. Well, it's over the border at my US address, but that's close enough!! It's not in Minnesota somewhere, not still at the store unordered and certainly not on its way to Nigeria.

Over a month ago, S.Rube dropped the camera from the counter and it broke. B.Rube wasn't disappointed because he wasn't happy with the quality of the pictures anyway and figured it was time for a new one. I researched it over a couple of weeks and found the cheapest price I could find for the camera that I wanted. Except that the online site in Maine wouldn't sell it to me because my US postal box address was different than my Canadian Visa mailing address.

No matter.

I found a wonderful Nigerian friend in Minnesota to accommodate my dilemma and I paypal'ed the money for the camera. At no point, did I worry about getting it. At no point, was I concerned about a scam or the dishonesty of this friend. All of my other friends were skeptical of this potential money scam situation. They were certain that the Minnesotan would 1) be pocketing the money for her own use or 2) using a nice new, FREE camera that was intended for this nice Canadian girl. B.Rube was worried - Who was this Nigerian? How could I know to trust sending her all of this money?? It didn't matter that we'd met her in Vegas last year. He was scared.

But, I remained confident.

And, she has come through.

Shannon, my dear!! I love you. Thanks for your honesty and your expedience and going out of your way for me. Have I told you lately that you're my favoUrite Chaw???


I can't say it, mom

S.Rube stutters. It started just before her 3rd birthday and has gone on for almost a year now. There's lots of jokes I could make about it, but, quite frankly, it isn't funny at all. It's heartbreaking. There are times when she is unable to say what she needs to say. and it breaks her. I can see it break her.

Our friends and family aren't sure what to do about it sometimes. I see this. It is an awkward moment for everyone when she is stuck on a word. And, persistent as she is, she doesn't give up the fight easily. She throws her whole body and soul into getting that sound out. If only she could get past that first syllable, you know the rest of the sentence is just sitting there waiting to stumble out overtop of everything else. I just wait, patiently, while maintaining eye contact. Sometimes I tell her that I'm listening and okay with waiting. Sometimes I comment on how "difficult", "bumpy", "rough" or "stuck" something was. But, mostly, we are working on positive reinforcement and commenting on how "smooth" or"easy" that sentence came out.

We have to model slow talking to her, and even add in the occasional "bump" of our own, so she doesn't feel too alienated by her issue. We have to lower our fluency expectation, so hopefully she'll lower the expectations she has for herself.

"They" don't know a lot about stuttering really. It's still a bit of a mystery. Some people believe that kids/people who stutter utilize a different part or process in the brain to form language than others. There is a fairly high percentage of stutterers who had parents or other family members with the same problem - so there is a genetic link for some. Stuttering also occurs alongside other developmental issues (none of which we see in S.Rube).

I remember stuttering, but my parents insist I didn't. I remember not being able to say my "w"'s if it was at a start of a sentence - like What, Who, Where, Why, When...... I remember being in class and having to come up with a different way to ask a question because I knew I wouldn't be able to get the "w" word out. I guess I passed it on to S.Rube.

There are some positive signs for me, though, that I see. One is that if you ask her a question, she will NOT stutter when she answers you 100% of the time. Another is that when she is playing on her own and pretending/role playing, she does NOT stutter at all. She rarely ever stutters when talking to T.Rube. It is when she is preparing something, more complex, to say to B.Rube or I. It is in her planning and thinking about it that the stutter happens. In spontaneous speech that doesn't require much/any thought, she is able to just let it out. This is a hopeful sign for me, because it fits into the theory that kids of this age just can't process their thoughts quick enough to get them out; that her mind and her words are ahead of her mouth's ability to speak them.

Something she'll outgrow then. The prognosis for stuttering is quite good. There aren't a lot of adult stutterers out there. 1% of the population stutters within the adult world. 5% of children stutter - 4% of them outgrow it.

If you want more information on stuttering, check this parent's manual out. Or you can contact me directly to ask more about the treatment that we're doing for it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Do you need to refrigerate your eggs?

I hope I'm not too late. I've been wanting to post all day to tell you that it is "up in the air" as to whether it is really safe to eat those beautiful hard-boiled Easter Eggs that your gang so lovingly dyed sometime this past week. Erring on the side of caution, I guess if they were out of the fridge (which I'm assuming most Easter eggs were) for any longer than a few hours, you should probably just toss them. If they have any little cracks, definitely rid yourself of them (and the salmonella they've likely bred...) I'm going to just throw mine out. They've been out for almost a week now. But, in all probability, they'd still be fine to eat!

Which leads me nicely into an interesting egg debate:
Do you need to refrigerate eggs?

The answer isn't as easy as most North Americans think. We are super hypervigilant about putting eggs in the fridge. At the stores, they are sold from a fridge section. All of our official government health or drug/food agencies will tell you that eggs must be refrigerated, in order to prevent bacteria (salmonella). Ask any North American and they will tell you enthusiastically "YES!!".

Ask any farmer, European or Asian, and they'll tell you that's hogwash.
Europeans leave their fresh eggs in a bowl on the counter . Eggs sold in stores in Asia and Europe are sold off the shelves, not from the fridge.
I often leave eggs out after collection, or before and after washing them. Eventually they'll end up in the fridge, but only because they stay fresher longer.
Eggs last a long time! Like months. Even long after most expiration dates on a carton have past, the eggs will be fine. You'll smell a rotten egg. You'll know if it's bad. (think Hallowe'en night or Frosh week.....). An egg sitting out on the counter just won't last as long as one in the fridge.
Unless you're living in a super hot climate (in which case, I now might just officially hate you), your eggs are fine on the counter or out of the fridge for a while.
It isn't that easy for an egg to get a bacteria. The shell and membrane of an egg are built to protect that little chick from just about everything, so although the shell is porous, it is protective. and the egg naturally has an invisible coating that protects it even further from bacterias. In North America, egg producers are made to clean the eggs before they go to market for the general public. This cleaning process strips the eggs of this protective membrane. So, the egg's longevity and ability to protect itself is slightly compromised. In other countries around the world, eggs are not cleaned prior to selling. Perhaps this is why they are okay with keeping them at room temperature. Also, tiny little ice coolers or bar-sized fridges are the norm in many parts of England and Europe, so finding room for eggs just isn't a priority.

So, because we have room in our oversized fridges, we might as well refrigerate them.
But, don't panic if they're out of the fridge for a while. Everyone'll be fine. They really don't need to be kept cold - and are fluffier and nicer to cook with when they're at room temperature, too.

Baa Baa Black Sheep (and White Sheep)

The Chronicles of Sheep Breeding & Lambing - Volume I

Lambs were made for Spring. It's just the way that nature intended it. The ewes come into heat in the fall, just in time to have babies in the Spring. They have a 5 month gestation period
( a bit longer than both the goat and my friend, Janet.)

We have our own horny ram here at the Rube Farm and his balls seriously are the size of your head. His name is Sidney. He's a porn star. And he plays his role well. We just let him live alongside all the ewes and their babies and he's generally a pretty happy studmuffin. He has a sore back foot right now- in his sebaceous gland. The sore foot, along with the foot and a half of mud out there, is slowing him down a bit. And, I guess he's getting pretty old. I actually don't have a fucking clue what the shelf life of a ram is, or what the average length of a sheep's lifespan is.

We haven't got to that point yet. But, I guess if it's anything remotely close to a human's, he could be 70 and still rocking the van. or rocking the ewe, I guess, in this case.

Here's Sid here.... admittedly, this pic was taken 2 years ago and he was looking pretty damn good. (Once my new camera arrives this week, I'll take an updated picture of him (and his balls) for you.)

Okay, so Sid knocks 'em up. (and, let me tell you, the process isn't a pretty one. There is not one part of the lewd act that could be considered even mildly enjoyable for the poor girl. All animal sex is like this, you know. It's interesting that we female humans have accepted the challenge of making sex a good and desireable experience for us, when clearly nature intended otherwise.)
We have 8 ewes that are all of breeding age that got pregnant this year. Because Sid lives with them, we're not sure exactly when he planted his seed, so we have to closely watch for the signs and symptoms of their pregnancies.

You can start seeing the ewe get bigger and, depending how many she's carrying in there, she might get comically large, and quite uncomfortable in the final month. In the few weeks before she lambs, she will "bag up", which means that her udders will start to fill in a bit, particularly if she's done this before. In the day or two prior to birth, her udders will be bigger than you ever imagined they could be - like, 'HOLY FREAKIN' CRAP' big. THAT is an udder!

Her vulva also starts to swell in the days leading up to the birth and becomes a dark/bright reddy purply colour. It's still a strange thing to me when B.Rube comes in from outside and announces that a ewe's vulva is getting bigger, but that it still isn't getting darker, or when I call B.Rube at work solely to inform him that a ewe's vulva is pretty swollen and that there's some cervical discharge coming out. In any case... we watch them closely for the signs. Just before their labour starts, they tend to stock up a bit on grain or hay, and then stop eating. A disinterest in food is usually a good indicator that she's going to 'go', especially after eating so much for so long. She'll also go off on her own, looking for a good spot to have the babies.

Depending on the situation, we may try to get the ewe in the barn at this point, so she'll have them there. You can tell when a contraction goes through the ewe, cuz she lifts her head into the air, looking to the skies and stretching out. Sometimes they'll bbbaaaaaa, but they're usually very quiet and calm during labour. ( we could take a lesson or two.)

It is pretty necessary that we be around during labour. Most of our births here happen unassisted, but we have had to intervene to deliver babies before, so we are always ready.

We also have to participate immediately after birth, by helping to dry off the babies, to clear any mucous (in some instances) and to cleanly cut the umbilical cord and dip it into iodine to prevent navel ill. It is SUPER important for lambs to get their mama's colostrum (that initial milk in there, for those of who haven't experienced pregnancy and birth yourself). It is thick and creamy and FULL of crucial antibodies that the babies need to survive. So, an important job of ours is to make sure that the baby is attached and drinking within the first 30 minutes of life. and as the next days unfold.

This season was our 3rd. We have 10 babies - 3 boys and 7 girls. We have one single, 3 sets of twins and one set of triplets. We lost 5 - 2 sets of twins and one of a twin. I hate the losses. I celebrate the successes.

I'm bottle feeding two of the triplets - I'll tell you more about that later......

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sunday's Secret

(In honour of Postsecret, each Sunday I'm going to share a personal secret with you in the form of a postcard that I've made. After posting it here, I'll print it off and mail it to Frank at 13345 Copper Ridge Rd. Germantown, MD 20874-3454 the next time I cross the border.)

In order to relieve some of the weight that you carry on your heavy shoulders, please feel free to add your own little secret to my comments section here.
( seriously. Please add a comment here SOMEWHERE! I need to know that someone is reading this and it's not all in vain!!! Thank you, Peg, for being my biggest fan.)

Here's my secret: (shhhhhh)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Keester!


Don't put all of your eggs in one basket.

Walk softly and carry a big carrot.

Everyone needs a friend who is all ears.

There's no such thing as too much candy.

A cute little tail attracts a lot of attention.

Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day.

Some body parts should be floppy.

Keep your paws off other people's jellybeans.

Fucking like bunnies can only result in too many kids.

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