Friday, April 30, 2010

Oh Well!

The little rabbit didn't make it. It was doing so well, and just all of a sudden it started getting weak and it was lying on its side in a strange way. Then its breathing got shallow, and it died. Eler Beth is doing okay. She's a tough young lady, and she knew it is usually hard to save one that young. But she gave it a try, and I wouldn't want her to ever miss an opportunity to work with a hurt, abandoned, or orphaned animal, because I absolutely know that that's what she's going to be doing in some form or another when she's grown.

Oh well, I have kitten formula and all kinds of cages and tanks and other supplies ready for whatever she's called on to take care of next.

And Samantha, the leopard gecko is doing very well.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Light is a Rabbit Light

To be, in the grass, in the peacefullest time,
Without that monument of cat,
The cat forgotten in the moon;

And to feel that the light is a rabbit-light,
In which everything is meant for you
And nothing need be explained;

From "A Rabbit As King of the Ghosts" by Wallace Stevens

Now, guess what Eler Beth is taking care of. Go on, guess!

A friend of ours who has a lawn care business, accidentally ran over a family of rabbits today, in one of those big zero-turn mowers. Only one of the babies made it out alive, but he thought it had been hurt. He's a very soft-hearted guy, and this really tore him up. So he called Thomas to see if Eler Beth would like to try to save it. Well, of course, she would!

It's a tiny little thing, probably hasn't had its eyes open very long. We have it in a big plastic tote with a nest of freshly mowed grass and some clover. I ran out to get some kitten formula (Note to self: You really *should* keep that stuff on hand!). She fed it with a medicine dropper, and it seemed to like it. They start eating on their own at about 14 days, so it may actually start nibbling on some clover at any time; but I figured it would be best to feed it the formula for a few days to make sure it's getting enough hydration and nutrients. We can put a little piece of apple and some pellets in there with it and see what happens. When our friend first picked it up and then brought it over, it was acting like its back legs were hurt, but now it is moving around and using them just fine.

Eler Beth took a flashlight and checked its fur all over to make sure it didn't have any ticks on it. Then after she fed it, she put it on her lap and very gently used her two index fingers to trace all its bones and muscles to see if she felt any breaks or if it acted like it had any really sore spots. It didn't.

She put it up on her chest, and it started burrowing under the neckline of her shirt. It stayed in one spot for a while, then started burrowing around and trying to crawl up on her neck. Now it's on one of her shoulders, sleeping. It is very aware, moving around, and willing to drink from a dropper, so I think that's a good sign that it might make it. Of course, it might not. You just never know with baby wild animals.

For those of you on Facebook, you will know that about a week ago someone gave Eler Beth a leopard gecko. This was a rescue, as well, though of a different kind. The grandfather of a couple of kids down the street is caretaker of a property nearby, and someone had moved away and left behind two geckos in a tank. We found out about it because the little girl came down to get Eler Beth to go see what kind of lizards they were. Eler Beth knew at once they were leopard geckos, of course, and proceeded to tell them what they needed to do to take care of them. The little boy told her that if he couldn't keep them, he'd give them to her. About two days later he came down to say that he could only keep one, and he let her have the other.

It is a female, and she has named it Samantha. Samantha now has a nice, snug little home in a tank, with reptile carpeting, two hide-aways, food and water dishes, and a heating lamp. She loves her "magic" crickets that just suddenly appear in her tank once a day, and she has already shed her skin once, which was really cool to see!
Let's see, the count is: 5 dogs, 1 cat, 4 cockatiels (2 that were rescues), 2 parakeets, 1 rehabilitated opossum that now lives in the wild, but comes home once in a while to eat, 1 rescued flying squirrel, 1 rescued white rabbit, 1 rescued leopard gecko, and now 1 rescued wild rabbit.

When Thomas and I retire, we will have to buy a big place in the country so Eler Beth can have a rehab center and petting zoo. Wouldn't that be cool??

Pictures coming soon!

Friday, April 23, 2010

April 23, 1564 to April 23, 1611 -- William Shakespeare

"And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe,

And then from hour to hour, we rot and rot
And thereby hangs a tale."
As You Like It, Act II, Scene 7

Yes, we are studying poetry this month in our home school. It seemed like the perfect month to do so. After all, April is National Poetry Month. Want a quick lesson in Iambic Pentameter? Here is is: Living Iambic Pentameter

Shakespeare wasn't the only well-known poet to have been born in the month of April. Others include:

William Wordsworth
"For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils." from "The Daffodils"

Seamus Heaney
"...But I've no spade to follow men like them.
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I'll dig with it." from "Digging"

Vladimir Nabokov
"Dark pictures, thrones, the stones that pilgrims kiss,
poems that take a thousand years to die
but ape the immortality of this
red label on a little butterfly." from "On Discovering A Butterfly"

Gabriela Mistral
"I scatter bits of earth and rose dust,
and in the moon's airy and blue powder
what is left of you is a prisoner." from "Death Sonnet I"

Maya Angelou
"Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise." from "Still I Rise"

Robert Browning
"Where the apple reddens
Never pry --
Lest we lose our Edens,
Eve and I." from "A Woman's Last Word"

Robert Penn Warren
"...The hawk comes.
His wing
Scythes down another day, his motion
Is that of the honed steel-edge, we hear
The crashless fall of stalks of Time." from "Evening Hawk"

And there are many others.

Wouldn't you have loved to have been in Washington for this?

And I guess that's enough about poetry for today!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Somebody's Mother

Somebody's Mother

by Mary Dow Brine

The woman was old and ragged and gray
And bent with the chill of the winter's day.
The street was wet with the recent snow,
And the woman's feet were aged and slow.

She stood at the crossing and waited long
Alone, uncared for, amid the throng
Of human beings who passed her by,
Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eye.

Down the street with laughter and shout.
Glad in the freedom of "school let out,"
Came the boys like a flock of sheep,
Hailing the snow piled white and deep.

Past the woman so old and gray
Hastened the children on their way,
Nor offered a helping hand to her,
So meek, so timid, afraid to stir,
Lest the carriage wheels or the horses' feet
Should crowd her down in the slippery street.

At last came one of the merry troop,
The gayest laddie of all the group;
He paused beside her and whispered low,
"I'll help you across if you wish to go."

Her aged hand on his strong young arm
She placed, and so, without hurt or harm,
He guided her trembling feet along,
Proud that his own were firm and strong.

Then back again to his friends he went,
His young heart happy and well content.
"She's somebody's mother, boys, you know,
For all she's aged and poor and slow;

"And I hope some fellow will lend a hand
To help my mother, you understand,
If ever she's poor and old and gray,
When her own dear boy is far away."

And "somebody's mother" bowed low her head
In her home that night, and the prayer she said
Was, "God be kind to the noble boy
Who is somebody's son and pride and joy."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hell just froze over, Pigs are flying everywhere, and Elvis is alive and well and singing Blue Suede Shoes in my backyard!!

My husband just joined Facebook!!

First he said, "I guess you'd better teach me how to use this thing," one day about three years ago, eyeing the desktop doubtfully.

Then I introduced him to Youtube. Next came Craigslist. Or was it the other way around? I can't remember.

He's been denying for several months now that he'd ever have a Facebook account. The kids and I just smiled at one another knowingly.

Last week one of his oldest friends in the world asked him if he had a Facebook account, and he visibly weakened. "It's just a matter of time," I whispered to Eler Beth.

A few days ago a co-worker (who, like Thomas, has some free time on his hands for a while {!!!} ) asked him the same question.

Today he was on the phone with another co-worker who has been going fishing with him and Eler Beth. They had a trip planned for today, as a matter of fact. And I heard him say, in this order of progression: "No, I'm not on Facebook." "Yeah, I guess I'll probably get on there one day." "I'll have to have Lori set me up an account." "Okay, I'll probably have her do that today."

So I got him set up, did his profile the way he wanted it, set his privacy settings, showed him how to "hide" applications without hiding the person, found him some "friends", and showed him some basic navigation around his home page. I very helpfully put a shortcut on the toolbar of his browser. He even let me put a picture of him in his profile!

I'm so proud of him!

Monday, April 12, 2010

On A Day Like Today

I've had such a nice morning!

The weather simply couldn't be better. It is 70° at the moment and very sunny with a slight breeze. I've already done a few loads of laundry and have bedclothes out on the line. I've run a few errands, spent some time with my dogs, and even visited with my new neighbor for a few minutes. (She had come out to play with her dogs, so we got to chatting.)

We are one week into the strike. I expect it to last at least two or three weeks before they even begin to talk again, and I won't be surprised if it isn't resolved. We knew this was a possibility, so we made sure we had some savings just for this situation. Of course, we had to dip into that savings a bit earlier in the year when the weather was bad and Thomas was off work because of that. But if we're careful we'll be fine for a while. They do have strike pay -- they'd better after all these years of paying union dues!

The biggest problem I'm having with the strike right now is trying to work Eler Beth's classes around fishing! Hah! They went fishing three days last week, they went yesterday (caught 19 bass), and today they're taking canoes to Scottsburg Reservoir to give it a try. They have a planned fishing trip on Thursday, but you never know when they might just up and decide to go on the spur of the moment (or "spare the moment" as Eler Beth once said) any day this week.

Mondays are always light on lessons anyway, simply because, you know, it's Monday! So we'll do something today, I just don't know when.

In the meantime it is such a gorgeous day that I can't really complain about anything. I have a couple cabinets in my kitchen that I'm planning on getting cleaned and rearranged, some grass to mow in the back yard, and some brush to cut up for Eler Beth's fire pit.

I have been keeping up with blogs so well these past two weeks. I'm very proud of myself. I've also culled out a few that I really hadn't gotten attached to. I'm so caught up, as a matter of fact, that I find myself feeling a bit at a loss once I've read all the new posts on my RSS feed.

So, I guess I'll close this post. I need to go eat something and get a little more work done. I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


As of Sunday Thomas is on strike. The vote on Sunday was 18 for the contract and 530 against it, so it wasn't even a little bit close. The news is reporting that the strike is over the healthcare benefits portion of the contract, but that isn't entirely true. It is, at least for the union members I know, more a matter of some of the wording in the contract which would seem to allow the company to discontinue or make changes to the healthcare benefits at its own discretion at any time during the contract term. This was a bit of sneaky wording that we had never seen in the contracts before, and because of some of the other sneaky things the company has pulled over the past year, this is a matter of great concern.

Thomas was really torn on this contract. He told me on Friday that for the first time ever (and he's been with this company for 14 years -- 11 straight, and then for the past three after a five year period where he was working for another company) he was actually considering not voting at all. He said that as far as he could see at that time, voting either for the contract or against it would be possibly jeopardizing his family. That is the way Thomas thinks, and I have, over the years, learned to trust his judgment when it comes to things like this.

He went to the meeting on Sunday to hear everything, and he came home with the conviction that the rank and file could not in good conscience vote for this contract. The company says it is their "best and final" and that the ball is in the union's court. Well, we'll see. I've heard that before. It also irritated workers and their families that the company sent a letter of propaganda to everyone's home, mailing it so that we got it on the Friday before the vote.

I was a bit amused to see on the news that the company's response to the healthcare benefits question is that all of their other non-union employees, which would include management, office, foremen, etc., have the very same benefits that we are being offered in the contract.

Well, so?

That isn't even a reasonable argument. Those non-union employees didn't have any choice, did they, other than to not accept any benefits at all? That's why there is a union, so that things like that can be negotiated for the benefit of all.

Make no mistake -- we don't trust the company OR the union any further than we can throw them. As far as I'm concerned, there are crooks on both sides. But sometimes you have to make a decision for your family, based on whether or not you are going to let someone (company) get away with something, and it has nothing to do with any perceived loyalties to either the company or the union. As Thomas says, he doesn't owe either of them any loyalty, only his family.

Thomas is a hard worker, and an honest one, and he has always managed to care for his family if times get hard. And I'm not exactly unable to work, myself! So we'll see how long this strike lasts and then go from there. We do have options.

Several years ago there was a strike, and when they went back to the tables to re-negotiate we thought they came out with a pretty good compromise. The rank and file voted against it again, and even though Thomas was irritated and in disagreement with the majority, he did not, of course, cross the picket line. There would be no question of that at this time, either, even he hadn't agreed with the vote.

But, hey, it's Spring, and Eler Beth is getting to go fishing just about every day with her dad! We have several pounds of bass and catfish in our freezer, thanks to those trips. I've prayed about the situation, and we've made practical plans. Now it's a matter of throwing our burdens on God, doing our own part, and playing the waiting game.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Annual April 1 Post


by Richard Le Galliene

So, April, here thou art again,

Thou pretty, pretty lady!

With broidered skirts of sunkissed rain --

A grown-up girl, already!

Thy sister May

Is on her way,

And June, with tresses shady;

But, of the three,

I love best thee --

Thou pretty, pretty lady!

Thou hauntest all the sobering year,

With echos of thy laughter;

And life is nought till thou appear,

And but remembrance after.

Though Autumn's yield

From garth and field

Run o'er from floor to rafter,

Thy wild-rose breast

Haunts all the rest,

And makes it poor with laughter.

I have posted this for four years now. It is one of the very few poems that I committed to memory when I was a child that I can still recite. And I hope you don't mind that I am posting it again. Today is absolutely gorgeous, and it seems a fitting verse for this day. It is 76° as I type, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and happily building their nests. My lilac is completely leafed out with velvety green adornment, and my flowering almond has blooms. Happy April everyone!