Saturday, August 27, 2005

Another sucky day on the farm

Gah! What a day I had last Saturday. Some good, but mostly bloody bad (literally!).

First I went to a stock sale at 10 a.m. Well, at 10:09 ...

I got horribly lost and had to ring Evil Genius Husband and get him to get on Mapquest and find out where in the hell I was. Then I finally got to the microscopic little town and had to canvass the whole place to find the sale. Fortuantely that took about a minute.

Now I normally go to my 'regular' sale which is in Springfield SC twice a month. I love this sale but, since moving over here on the posh side of the lake, I've found it just a wee bit far away. With petrol prices over the roof, it doesn't behoove me to go anywhere in my big, ugly, gas-guzzling Ford pick-up without careful consideration.

Since I wasn't selling and I hadn't been to this new sale (oh, and the Ford suddenly seems to be missing on one cylinder *big frowny face*), I chose to forgo Springfield and check out this new one.

It was a bust. It sucked actually, no offense to the folks putting on the sale.

I arrived late (it started at 10 o' clock, I got there about 10 minutes after), and they'd all but finished selling the meagre number of chickens. They weren't even holding it in a barn - we were in a regular building in 'downtown' Buffalo SC. They trotted out one goat (a small pygmy cross tame enough to wear a collar) and a miniature horse stud. I was on the long road back home by 10:30, cursing under my breath and listening to the Ford's engine miss.

When I got home I was so frustrated at having accomplished nothing (except burning up some of my $2.50 a gallon petrol) that I optimistically decided that I'd shear my two woolly ewes. I'd just purchased a set of hand shears (I don't intend to do more than make them comfy as the weather gets hot) and was dying to try them out.

I snagged ewe #1, my Finnsheep cross, Brunswick, and clipped her. Man, if you want to get some exercise, hand shear a sheep!

After she was done, I tossed out some feed to lure the flock back and got a chance to put my hand on a little doe who'd liberated herself from the kid pen. I grabbed her, hefted her up (Oh, my back! Man, if you want to hurt your back, hand shear a sheep!) and she writhed and snapped her head back. Well, she clocked me right on the side of my fool head and I saw stars.

I staggered with her over to the kid pen, tossed her in, retrieved my shears and the next ewe: my Jacob, Iris. She had NO intention of being handled and grunted and struggled the whole time I was trying to clip her. It was bloody hot, too so I was sweating up a storm.

Now, being multi-coloured, Iris has mottled skin. Since she was throwing herself about, the shears were giving her little nicks and so as I worked tiny specks of blood would show up on her skin - hard to see since her skin is different colours. Finally I paused. Geez that's a lot of little cuts ... maybe I should stop. Then another appeared. And another. I was quite still at the time.

What the hell?

I wiped the sweat off of my chin and my hand came away bright red. DUH! It was me. The blood was dripping off of me. Apparently the little kid's equally small and sharp horns had impaled me when she head-butted me.

When I finally got done and back in the house I discovered that the errant doeling 's horn had actually pierced my left earlobe. The little creep. My left ear already had 6 holes in it (yes, I am a Punk Farmer.)

A lovely end to a lovely day.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 11:35 pm   1 comments

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Bann'd!!

I have been BANNED from Fertility Friend!

"Oh, hell, Blue", I hear you saying under your breath, "What heinous thing did you do? Did you curse at an administrator, Blue? Post dirty pictures? Threaten someone??"

Uh ... no. I tried to help a group of moms - who'd met on the site - stay in touch.

Get out your torches and your pitchforks, people! I'm eeeeeeeeeeevil!

I have been on FF for years. The features are ok. In case you're unfamiliar: they provide online charting, a slightly frustrating fertility database (every entry basically says "everyone's different, this may or may not be accurate for you"), and a series of bulletin boards.

It's these bulletin boards that kept me coming back. Having suffered infertility then gone on to have several children, I felt that I could help a lot of the other members by relating my experiences. I enjoyed being able to talk to a wide variety of people at different stages of TTC.

I tried very hard to be a good member of the community. Seriously. I read the charter (not well enough apparently, by golly!), I was nice to everyone (despite a few twinkies who were not mature enough to keep their pregnancy-hormone-fueled-self-indulgent-whineyness in check) and I tried to follow the rules. If I messed up, I quickly changed my errant ways. Example: I posted a URL once (to a site that I thought would help a fellow breastfeeder - services not offered by FF) and got spanked for it. FF is hyper paranoid about URLs. They prohibit posting links as they may be to for-profit sites and they are an advertising free site. At least this is the supposed reasoning.

Fast forward to about 6 weeks ago.

I was a member of the June board. Well, they only have ONE June board. We ladies who had our babies in June 2005 would have to share the board here soon with the ladies who are getting preggers and expecting 2006 June babes.

FF does not provide mommy boards. "FertilityFriend.com is devoted to charting and pregnancy tracking" as they archly told me in the You Are Outta Here email they sent me.

Fair enough. So a member of our June board made us an EZboard so that we could all stay together as our babies grew. I'm a member of a community exactly like this - on BabyCenter - that I joined when I was preggers with my first. I can tell you how beneficial it is, how comforting to know this group of people who've been with you through the whole journey of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.

But then that Mom made the mistake of posting the link to the new board.

They banned her ... then terminated her account.

So, when the topic came up again (other June board members requesting the URL to the new board), I was very leery about breaking any anal FF rules. I decided to just ask people to email me. What harm would that do? It's not like we were trying to make money or steal business from FF. We just wanted to stay together. I carefully never posted any links or even mentioned any other site. Just: "Email me" and a smiley.

So they banned* me ... then terminated my account.

Apparently "soliciting emails" is also against their charter. (and sounds kinda dirty)

Here's my thing: if you want to keep your knickers up your arsecrack over possible links to for-profit sites then police your boards. You're obviously doing this now. What's the harm in links to sites that are potentially HELPFUL to your members? Get your little snitches who report any and everything or your forum moderators who do bugger-all to whisper back to you. Clearly this 'service' is already in place. Just prohibit links to certain types of sites.

Let me make myself perfectly clear. It's Fertility Friend's own site. They have their rules and can do whatever they want, whenever they want, to anyone (and they do). Their perogative. No problem. But, if it was MY site, I'd definitely think twice about abusing and alienating women who are essentially good community members. And for what? They clearly spent much time and effort sniffing out us wicked wrongdoers. Wouldn't it be easier to use that (wo)manpower to enforce sensible policies and encourage people TO STAY?

Just, ya know, a thought.

And so, Fertility Friend: Qapla! I'm off to find another charting site as I'm about to TTC again. Too bad for you that my membership money is going elsewhere - but most of all - too bad my experience will no longer benefit members of your community.

*oh, excuse me: "suspended - not banned" as I was snottily informed in a subsequent misspelled email when I asked what I'd done wrong. Please explain the difference to me.

UPDATE: apparently I am not the only one burnt by FF! Check it out.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 11:55 am   12 comments

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Shameless picture post!

Thank you all for the replies regarding my farm stuff. I heart you people!

In my OCD way I have already actually created a new blog. I've decided to reserve it for any long-winded farm stuff and for posting pictures (farm pics). I mean, even you ladies would get bored of 62 shots of my new gate, LOL! I'll just link everything here if I think you might be interested in a particular post.

It's odd, really. It's not that I was so afraid that you wouldn't like the farm stuff but that the farm crowd wouldn't like the mommy stuff. This is why I originally split this blog off from my personal blog (that and I wanted to be able to curse like a sailor somewhere. On ... the other blog, not here. Oh, and post racey pics. Do you have any idea how many nude pics of Ewan Mcgregor there are out there?). Drooooooool.

Where was I?

Oh, I worried that anyone who wasn't TTC or adopting (or planning to one day) or already had kids would nod off if I mentioned tantrums, nappies, or mashed baby fingers too often or posted too many adorable-kiddie pics.

Hmmm. Perhaps I spend to much time tip-toeing around.

Anyway, on with the adorable kiddie-pics!

This is Banner at 2 months 2 weeks and according to yesterday's check-up - weighing a petite 13lbs 12oz and 25 1/2 inches tall (95th percentile for both) .

The oldest two: Zora and Darwin.


Zora and Banner - I think they look so much alike!

And lastly, the obligatory artsy-fartsy pic: Serious Sona with Zora and Banner.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 1:14 pm   6 comments

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Well, crudnuggets!

Now I'm caught up in the grip of indecision!

I quizzed the readers of my Mommy Blog on whether or not I should start this new blog - I didn't tell them that I had already, in my OCD way, started the new blog (I feel like I'm cheating!). A few reasonable ladies have indicated that I should keep the farm stuff on that blog.

So this one might be disappearing into the ether.

Bleh. What to do? What to do?

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 12:15 pm   0 comments

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

OK, I've been giving some thought to separating out my farm stuff into it's own blog.

Since I'm no longer preggers (for now!) and not tired and pukey or huge and awkward, I have been able to work out in my barnyard more and return to being more hands-on with the farm. Subsequently, all that farm stuff has crept into this blog. It's a big part of my life and a key to my thriftiness since we produce not only extra income but our own eggs, milk, cheese, and meat.

I also want to, when money and time permit, begin serious restoration on my house (a victorian farm house built in 1886), and will certainly blog excitedly about it, lol.

But while I find all of this thrilling (who wouldn't get pumped at building and mounting a drive-through gate for goodness' sake?!) I don't want to bore the average mommy / reader who might be totally uninterested.

What do you think?

----

So, on to some baby stuff!

Is it incredibly telling that my Bitty Girl's first 'words' were "Oww" and "Uh-oh"? I'm not kidding. There is nothing in this world more chilling than having your three-and-a-half-year-old, your two-and-a-half-year-old, and your 18-month-old playing in another room and hear a CRASH, a cry (Tall Girl), garbled words (Boy), then a sinister silence followed by Bitty girl singing out happily:"UH-oh!".

It's these sorts of scenarios that cause your brain to whisper: Run! Just run! Out the back door and far, far away. Go! Save yourself for pity's sake!

And howcome this always happens just when you've gotten comfortable with your 2-month-old on your lap and latched on to the boobie? Jeez.

My youngest daughter, Bitty Girl, has only 3 speeds: Grinningly Happy, Briefly Outraged, and Asleep. This is the happiest baby I know. Hell, she's the happiest baby I've ever heard of.

She does, however, have a stunning Sibling Proximity Alert in the form of an excruciatingly ear-splitting scream. Now I'm not talking some common, loud, girly scream. I mean a shrill, glass-shattering screech that sounds like a special effect sound out of some Sci-Fi film at the point where the good guys break into the room where the evil computer's mainframe is housed.

This is a new thing with her (the proximity alert, not the scream - she's been practicing that one for awhile) and falls under the above Breifly Outraged category. You can tell that she's a Third Child. As far as she's concerned her sibs only approach her to 1) steal her lovey, 2) shove her down, or 3) eat her brain. OK, that last one's not likely, but don't try to tell her that.

----

Speaking of thrift, I wanted to (finally) share some cool email lists that I get. I will try to put them up as links on my sidebar soon. I only subscribe to free ones (Natch!) and you can really glean some good tips, recipes, and ideas from them.

I'm on quite a few - probably 4 or 5 but I have two faves: The Dollar Stretcher and Everyday Cheapskate.

The last one I just adore. It's written by Mary Hunt of Cheapskate Monthly and it's easy to follow, well written, and full of humour. I really recommend it for any of you tightwads out there!

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 2:31 pm   5 comments

I'd forgotten how this feels!

I'm contemplating starting a blog just for my farmstead, but in the meantime I'm just using this space to test template changes.

Apologies ... but do check out my other blogs!

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 9:50 am   0 comments

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Sharp dressed (wo)man

When I trudged out yesterday to my post box by the road to check my post, a lady stopped and asked directions. She was very genteel and well-groomed in her Beemer that probably cost as much each month as my house. During our brief chat she quickly aquired and maintained a kind of nervous please-stop-talking-so-that-I-can-drive-away look.

Now, as a SAH mother of 4 under 3 1/2 I do adopt a sort of ... erm, relaxed appearance. My long hair is caught up in an untidy bun, I'm in sweatpants and a shapeless t-shirt that may or may not have all manner of nameless baby-induced stains on it. When I step outside I do so in my barnyard footwear, which is admittedly cracked and worn and maybe just a tiny bit aromatic. I do bathe myself once a day and brush my teeth, but still ... The look's a bit bohemian.

Anyway, when I got back in the house I happened to glance in the mirror (something I ordinarily avoid) and just had to laugh. If *I* had stopped and been speaking to me I would have been able to casually say: "Breastfeeding and cloth diapering, eh? Good on ya." before pulling away in my sleek silver car. The most amazing detective prodigy since Sherlock Holmes? Nope.

You see, I had pins stuck all over my shirt! One small safety pin over my left breast to mark which boob I'd last fed out of and two big diaper pins from where I'd taken Bitty Girl's nappy off in the bathroom prior to putting her in the tub, plus a straight pin that I'd used to divest Boy of a splinter. I guess this is my way of making certain these dangerous items don't end up on the floor where baby fingers can find them until my addled brain can remember to replace them in their proper places.

That or I'm subconciously re-living my punk days.

Whatever ... I'm obviously a mommy fashion diva! (the sick stains on my shoulder were very artistically placed!)

----

Farm news: I have a predator. I don't mean that I own one, I mean that it owns me. Farming small stock presents it's own unique challenges and one of them is that predation risks are higher. Face it, your average small dog can kill a chicken, or a slew of chickens if it can corner them in a tight space. a marauding cat will kill and eat as many dibs (my own word for a baby chicken - this comes from my Mum's rural kentucky youth: a transposing of the letters in 'biddy' most likely.) as it can catch. Goats and sheep are prime targets for larger dogs.

These casual killers are just that: killers. Dogs can run cattle or horses but rarely are able to kill one. Poultry especially practically have big bulls-eyes painted on them. If your chickens start dying it could be any number of things: owls, foxes, 'possums, racoons, weasles, even rats. Some are easier to get rid of than others. Skunks, for example, will get chickens in much the same manner as raccons or 'possums, but are so stupid you can almost walk up to them. In contrast, if you have a 'coon you're in for a lengthy battle of wits.

So I'm lying in wait, as it were. I've shut doors, put up chicken wire, and am just waiting ... and I'm looking good doing it and all! Why yes, that IS baby poo on my sleeve, thank you for noticing!

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 1:15 am   1 comments

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Great expectations

Tell me what you think of this article.

It's about adding a second child to the family and while this particular article is pretty straightforward and calm, I'm having a bit of trouble grasping this concept. Why is it that there are so many articles and discussion board threads on the idea of having a second child? Since when has this become cause for dramatic psychological upheaval? What happened to make us think that having another child created a need for tense mental preparation?

A few generations ago no one broke out into a cold sweat at the addition of another child to a family. It was just a matter of course. I'm especially baffled at the hand-wringing angst that supposedly overcomes modern moms.

How will I find time for the older child? Time for what? Are you your child's primary playmate? Does she require your devoted attention every waking second? If so then there's a problem. A child should be her own person at least part of the day, able to entertain herself for short streches (depending on her age). A newborn spends the majority of the day sleeping. what's the problem? How does a coach find time for his team members? How does a teacher find time for her students? Answer: they simply do. Being right on top of a child 24/7 is NOT a requirement for raising sane and sensible kids.

How will I prepare the older child for a new sibling? Does he need to be prepared any more than the standard answering of his questions and matter-of-fact explainations of what's going to happen? It's not an impending natural disaster or alien invasion. It's just a sibling. I've
already blogged on the idea of feverishly handing out gifts. That smacks of guilty conscience to me as I've already said. Sort of a: "please, please don't be mad at mommy for having another baby!" Why can't the event be treated as just something that happens? "Brysin, you're going to be a big brother! I know you'll do a great job of sharing and co-operating!"

I think that parents who whip themselves into a frenzy over every little thing are doing a disservice to their children. Ever seen the mom in the pediatrician's office sitting there rigidly, fighting back tears, in anticipation of her baby getting a shot? She's devistated that her baby will have to suffer pain and she starts up the instant the needle comes out: "Oh baby it'll be ok, mommy's right here, just close your eyes and don't look at the nasty needle, waaaaaahhh!" She's frightening her child and possibly causing a life-long irrational fear of needles. Do you think all these grown people who are 'deathly afraid of shots' were born that way? NO! They sat on their mother's laps and watched mom tense up and wring her hands and cry when they got a shot.

I feel like these people who are making a huge drama out of adding another child to their family are doing the same thing.

A lot of life is a matter of expectation. If Billy really thinks he won't make the football team then he's shooting himself in the foot. He probably won't make it. If you really don't think that your boss is going to give you that pay rise then he probably won't. He'll read the resignation in your attitude and voice ... even in your posture.

Folks very often ask me why my Brood is so well behaved in stores and restaurants (and waiting rooms and doctor's offices). I reply because I expect them to be. I don't expect my kids to (or allow them to) run or scream in stores or drag things off shelves any more than I expect them to have a panic attack in the doctor's office. I certainly don't enjoy seeing my babies get those 3 or 4 big needles jabbed into their little legs any more than any mother when shot time comes. It makes me curl up inside. But I act calm and matter-of-fact and my children have no fear of the doctor's office and they recover with minimum fuss. I've seen mother child pairs weep dramatically all the way out the door after a single vaccination - not to mention the miniature hoodlums I've seen in stores.

I know some pretty cool, sane, and sensible moms from off of my various baby boards (and other blogs) and I'm not so sure all of this hysterical panic is as prevelant as some folks - and the media - make it out to be. I think us moms are capapable of making this transition with aplomb. Give us some credit!

(Edited to add: The second link has now been fixed. Sorry about that, ladies, and thank you Linda for giving me the head's up!)

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 12:03 pm   6 comments

Monday, August 01, 2005

Plain and simple

I often read stuff in the paper that's not news - like Dear Abby, John Rosemond, Carolyn Hax - and I always promise myself that I'll not blog about it. I try to keep from blogging on the subjects I read there because there's usually at least one thing in there every Sunday that makes me crazy. If I were to blog about it all I'd be flying off the handle each week, lol.

But I read one yesterday that ties in with another peeve of mine from my baby boards, so here goes. It was in Dear Abby. A daughter complained that her 50 year old mom and dad had gotten the Harley bug and that her mum had changed her appearence. She (the mom) now dresses like a biker chick (blond hair, crop top with Harley Davidson on it, leather, etc). The daughter tells Abby how embarrassed she is and asks Abby how to ask her mom to dress like 'more appropriately'.

Uhm ... excuse me?

This woman has lived to 50+, she and her hubby are in good enough health and can afford to ride a Harley, they're having fun, they're not hurting anyone, and this little snot is whining?? Oh it's clearly all about HER. SHE'S embarrassed at mom's unseemly appearence. The poor daughter is clearly SUFFERING here.

She can get stuffed as far as I'm concerned.

Her mum's a grown woman (and one who wiped her daughter's behind, cooked her meals, bought her clothes, taught her to read and eat with a spoon ...) Unless mom is going out naked or joining a suicide cult, her daughter has NO right whatsoever to bitch.

Now here's my problem (and the part that ties in to my other peeve): Mom has every right to do what she wishes and dress how she wishes. If her appearence embarresses you when the two of you are together ('cause it's all about you) then say to her: "Mum, when you wear your black studded leather HD tank to weddings it makes me feel uncomfortable. Would you mind dressing more conservatively when we're together at formal functions?"

How hard is that? It's a legitimate request. You're both adults with the power of speech.

I have a similar issues with these folks on my baby boards who complain about their mothers-in-law. Oh, I can understand and empathize with the complaints. I think that becoming a mother-in-law brings out the worst qualities in some women. The problem I have is with this standard attitude (often offered as advice by other readers): "Your hubby should talk to her / get your husband to tell her how you feel / her son should talk to her."

No, no, no. You and this person are grown women. If you have a difficulty with her then pull on your big girl knickers and deal with it like an adult. Talk to her. True, your husband is her son and he should back you up in everything, but if you and she are the one's with the problem then you and she should hash it out.

What makes some women so timid that they can't have a civil discussion if there's a problem. Are we raised this way? I dispise this awful quality in some women: let stuff slide then bitch, backbite, and complain behind the person's back. Can you tell I've had some gems of female co-workers with these qualities? It sucks.

My inlaws manifest this slightly differently: they're masters of passive agressiveness. They can drop hints and throw out little off-hand comments that slice like razorblades but they'd never say anything to your face. Ohhhhh, no.

I'm sure many people think I'm a bitch, most agree that I'm outspoken, but no one can deny that you know exactly where I stand. I won't lie to you and you never have to wonder what I think about you or anything else. If that makes me a bitch then so be it. Now, let me ask you, do these leather chaps make my arse look fat?

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 11:31 pm   4 comments