Monday, April 28, 2008

Meet the newest addition to our family...

This is Skye. She's our new truck. This one runs... fabulous!! And now Larry is motivated to find a new engine for our other truck so we can have 2. Hmmm... But at least there is hope that the green one may some day be more than a bucket of bolts. But for now - we have Skye. Her first real job is going to be bringing home loads of manure from a local horse farm for my big garden. Hooray for Skye!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

To Be or Not to Be...

Lots of things in the works these days... lots of decisions to be made. Some of the things we are mulling over or trying to decide to do (or not).

One of them is pet insurance. Athena cut her leg up pretty badly the other day. The emergency trip to the vet cost us $800. Well, there went most of our stimulus check. It made Larry think - what if the pups DO ever get in a fight with a coyote? Of course we would want to fix up our farm dogs, they are already invaluable to us, besides how much we love them. But $800 on an emergency trip to the vet? Maybe we should get insurance so that sort of thing is covered for them. We're still doing some research on that one. Turns out the AKC and the ASPCA both offer insurance. Since they are already respected organizations, they might be a good bet. So we'll see what we decide. Or maybe we just set aside $60 a month towards a Great Pyrenees fund and use it when we need it?

We are also trying to find a truck. We don't want to spend a ton of money. We already spent over $1000 on the F-100 we bought last year, and now it is just a bucket of bolts sitting in the driveway. It'll cost more to fix it than it's worth. We almost bought a 1990 F-250 today. Thankfully, not only did we take it to a mechanic - but Larry found the Chilton's book and looked up a couple of "simple" repairs we need to make on it... including 45 steps just to get the oil pan OFF.(23 to get it off, 22 to get it back on) Some of those steps included pulling out the radiator and taking off the intake manifold. Ridiculous. I'd hate to get another truck, blow out the engine, and have 2 buckets of bolts in the driveway. All we need now are some hound dogs to live underneath them, and we're really rednecks. So we are still debating some of the trucks we have seen - none are perfect, all must go to a mechanic before we take it home. So we'll see... I really miss my Sport Trac now!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sergeant Likes Water!

So, I was working on my strawberry patch today. I decided to let Sergeant hang out with me while I forked the land. We took some trips to the barn and brought back compost and straw to cover the ground with. Well, once I got the land all prepped, I decided to water it so it'll be ready to go when my strawberries show up. Little did I know what our friend thought of the water hose. He LOVED IT. He kept jumping up into the stream, drinking the water and biting at it. He was soaked from head to toe, but was loving every minute of it. It was great fun on a nice hot day like today.

I finally had to put him into the garden so I could finish my strawberry patch. But I decided to water my tulips for just a second... he wasn't going to miss out, so we continued to play.
I thought maybe he would get tired. But then I forget, he's just a young lad at 6. He didn't get tired, and he didn't seem to care about being wet, either. He just couldn't leave that hose alone!
Yeah, my dogs don't do this. Most of them fear the water hose, as it usually means a bath is coming. This makes me wonder... what's it going to be like to give THIS guy a bath? At least he won't wimper and cry about it (Goliath and Atlas), try to pull away or wander off (Grish and Athena), but he also won't sit quietly, eyeing us like we are evil, but dealing with it anyhow (Hobbes and Ditka). I imagine he's going to make sure we are as wet as he is, soap suds and all.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

April Update

So, this is why we named our farm "Long Shadow Farm" - because our land is in the "shadow" of Long's Peak. Which is seen here. The peak in the front is called "Mount Meeker", and the rockier peak in the back is Long's Peak. It's also where the town of Longmont gets its name. Anyhow, I finally have a camera that can capture images of the Rocky Mountains in the far off distance. So here it is!

This is just a shot of Atlas and Goliath doing their morning fence patrol. They need to check in and make sure there are no critters, no birds, and to say good morning to any available horses along the fence.
These are just the sheep, trying to find a place to graze for breakfast.
Spring is finally springing. I found this lone daffodil in the front yard, There are tulips and muscari popping up, but no good blooms just yet. Lots of lily leaves, but no buds, and my tulip beds are showing real signs of life.
We are getting ready for the spring planting, and there is a lot of work to do. I tilled a patch of lawn for my strawberry and raspberry plants. They haven't arrived yet, but I'll be ready when they do. And we are waiting for the pasture to dry out some, and our neighbor is going to disc the land he turned over with the dozer. Once we disc it, we can till it and rake it, and cover it with compost from the sheep stall, and it will be ready to plant, too. OH, and we have to fence it off to keep the dogs and the sheep out of it so my plants can grow! I can't wait to start eating from the garden again!

Monday, April 14, 2008

For Sergeant's Fans

We have a new friend at the house. My friend and fellow MOI "alumna" has taken ill, and while she focuses on her wellbeing and healing, we are watching her precious boy, Sergeant. To Sergeant's fans - here are some pictures of him with his new friends on the farm. To all of Kristin and Larry's friends - yes, this means there are 7 dogs in our house. Don't call us crazy - we just love dogs. Sergeant is a gorgeous 6 year old German Shepherd, about the same size as Grish (but, you know, half his age!) He's a real sweetheart, and since grumpy Grish didn't object - he'll be staying with us for a while. Here are some pictures of our newest roommate!

What a gorgeous dog, with a sweet face. And look at that tongue!! It has a mind of its own!

Here are Hobbes, Grish and Sergeant watching Larry head to the barn... something exciting is going on, and they all want in on it!

Can we play in the pasture now, please please please please please please please...

Here are our watchful guardians, Goliath and Atlas... hiding in the shade of the chicken house - but still ever vigilant out on the pasture.

Larry is trying to get some work done out in the field, while the dogs all romp and play. Pictured here are Goliath, Grish, Sarge and Hobbes.

Thankfully, Sergeant doesn't seem at all interested in sheep. This makes the sheep very happy. This makes me very happy. This makes Atlas and Goliath very happy. Lots more time can be spent in the pasture going for walks and play time when everyone just lets the sheep be!

All the dogs are still trying to figure each other out. Goliath wants NOTHING more than to play with Sergeant. He tries and tries, but Sarge is not interested. Sergeant wants nothing more than to play with Hobbes... and Hobbes is suddenly acting like he's just too old to play anymore. So there's an unrequited love triangle going on... We'll have to see how it all works its way out.

Of course, Miss Athena might be terribly interested in playing with Sergeant. But at the moment, she's not allowed. This is not a case of the neighbor kids playing doctor with our dog. Athena got a nice cut on her leg, and is all stitched up. She needs to take it easy so her stitches can heal. For now, she is accompanying Larry to work during the day, so she isn't tempted to go play in the back yard. When she's given full clearance, we'll see if she and Sergeant can run around together and have some fun in the yard.

Of course, there still is little Ditka, who isn't pictured here. He's ancient. He never really did play with anyone, and he's just a little guy. Right now, I just have to make sure that Sergeant and Ditka eat out of the right bowls. They both seem to like to wait until all the dog bowls are full, and then try to find the food they find most interesting. Ditka has just been trying to stay out of the way. He's a little old dog in a sea of very big dogs... but he's still doing ok.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


So... It's been about 10 months that we have had our house and our farm. We have done a lot of work in the farming arena - learning to raise chickens and turkeys and sheep. But we haven't had a lot of time for the house. It will probably never be a top priority. But, I seemed to start getting territorial over the winter. I needed a flag to place in the ground - something to do so I could claim this house as OURS. A kitchen remodel would have done the trick, but that's quite expensive. And Larry isn't ready to gut the downstairs bathroom and redo it. Patience, young grasshopper. So I decided to dive in with a cheap, one-person, do-it-while-Larry-is-playing-rugby project. PAINTING! All the rooms in this house are either white, butter yellow, and I think possibly a very pale pink. It's a tri-level, so not every room gets a ton of light and it is surrounded by trees. I think that's why the colors were so light. But I decided to get a little brave and see what a little color might do.

OK, this is just a boring tan hallway. It was yellow. Now it's tan. It's hard to take pictures of hallways.
This is the basement. It is soon to be Larry's office. The furniture is all wacky. It's that whole "do it by myself" thing. Larry had to help me move the furniture to the center of the room, so I could paint. Now I have to get him to help me move it back. Let's not talk of how spiders delayed this project. OH, and this was a failed attempt at a faux finish called "weaving." Didn't work at all. Which is why I had enough paint left over to paint the hall way upstairs.

This is the big spare bedroom. THIS is where I got brave. I decided I wanted to try a red. But not an entire red room. I'm not that brave. So I paired this terra-cotta type red with an olive color. Believe me, it actually goes with the color scheme. You can't see my comforter in these pictures, but both of these colors are in it, in stripes. Interestingly - Margaret left behind shades and curtains in this room that also matched the color scheme! I'm not sure if the pictures do it justice, but I dig it. Just the one wall is red. The other three are olive. I really like it!

This is the Blue Room. It already had blue roman shades in the window. And some how all my blue vases and decorations also ended up in this room. It also happens to be the "dog" room, and full of doggie pictures. If you look close, you'll even see some Ally in here! Anyhow, this was my first room, and the paint came free from a fellow freecycler.

I also tried a new concept this time around - environmentally friendly paint. There is a company that sells only to Home Depot (which is the only part I don't like) Their paint has NO VOCs in the base paint, and no VOCs in the colorant. It has a plastic recyclable pail, which is made from post-consumer recycled plastic, and even the paper label on the pail is from post-consumer recycled paper. SO - it sticks with my theme of trying to do the right thing for the environment. Larry says "heck no, no VOCs is the right thing for US!" It was a lot less stinky to paint. The paint took longer to dry, but that's no big deal. I really like the results... and I have enough paint left over to do the upstairs hallway, the bathroom.... and I am still trying to figure out what colors I can paint the living room.... hmmm - mahogany piano, sage green couch, maple shelves... what to do, what to do...

Until next time!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Quick update

We celebrated Easter in Sterling. We drove out there and cooked dinner for Larry's dad, grandfather and great aunt(?) Betty. It was a really pleasant afternoon in Sterling! Here is a picture of Larry with his grandfather, who is 104 years old!
We've also been trying to work on the truck. This is a picture of Larry and a box of parts. Broken parts. once we got the engine out and Larry started pulling parts out, he discovered at least one broken rod. Uh oh!
Here's the big, dirty engine on a stand in the garage. It might make a nice paperweight or door stop?
This is the illustrious truck. The hood isn't screwed down right at the moment, because there is no engine in it. We need to do something about that, because I really like driving this beasty!
Last night, when I got home from work, Larry says, "Oh good, you are just in time!" For what, I had no idea. But apparently it was bath time. And this time it was for Atlas. He usually doesn't go and get muddy. So I still blame Goliath... probably pinned him in the swamp - for a few hours. It took 3 or 4 soapings, and a final scrub down in the shower to get him CLOSE to clean. Silly Atlas... stay out of the swamp!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Chicago Chicago

OK. It was girls weekend. That means the details are between us girls. But here are a few photos. 2 for the geek in me, and one for my little dog.

NashBash 2008

KB had been contacted by her former teammates in Detroit to see if she wanted to go to NashBash and play rugby on a reunion side. I figured, cool, I'll see if I can weasel my way in as a ref! Decisions were made, plane tickets were bought, wheels were set in motion. Kristin ended up going to Chicago that weekend to hang with best friend from her childhood days and I ended up going to NashBash on my own dime. Normally if you travel to ref, the society (yours local one, or the one where you are going) pays for it. Since I invited myself, I paid. You will have to ask KB why a friend came before rugby..... I don't understand either. (Oh yeah... thats right... pretty much all my friends are people who are involved in rugby!)

So I reffed 6 games, 4 on Saturday and 1 on Sunday. 4 Women College games, 1 Women club(Sun), and 1 Men Club (Sat). Everything but the mens game was 22.5 minute halves, the men got 30 minute halves because they only got 1 game per day as opposed to the women playing multiples per day. NashBash is more of a chick tournament..... why they don't shaft the men by making them play at 8AM eludes me since chicks have ALWAYS had the 8 AM games for as long as I've been playing rugby.

Anyway.... I was evaluated on the mens club match and I think I did a pretty good job. As a ref, you need 3 evaluations at each level to move up. I am C2 right now. There is D1,C3-1,B3-1,A3-1. A1 is the dude that gets the World Cup Final. I guess Patty O'Brien is like A0 since he is in charge of all refs around the world. You also need 1 out of area evaluation at each level to keep the levels equal between areas. Otherwise Podunk Rugby Union might promote its best ref to B1 or A3 and say, "Yeah, this dude is the best we've ever seen, send him to the World Cup" and the rest of USA rugby is thinking that this knucklehead shouldn't even be allowed a girls high school final.

The other refs were really cool. David Haines runs a heck of a tournament and has to ref at the same time. I personally feel he is stuck doing way too much and things would be a easier on him if he delegated some of the work that lands on his shoulders, but that is my opinion. (He'd get more sleep... thats for sure!) I know if I tried to juggle as much as he did, it would be a disaster.... he seems to keep it down to well run chaos. Picking everyone up from the airport is enough work.... let alone all the other stuff he has to track. Two of the refs from MARFU were guys I used to play against. Very cool. The young kids from Minnasota stole one of the other ref's trailer hitch and license plate Friday night. As he was changing his boots on Sat he found his trailer hitch. Hilarity ensued. As he went to his 1st game he found his license plate under the game ball at mid-field. He hadn't noticed it was missing. More hilarity ensued. I got to meet Al Klemp, one of the few Americans who is ranked high enough to get International games. A lot of people don't like Al because he really doesn't give a shit what you think of him. I dunno, I find that easy to deal with.... there is no mystery about what Al think about you. He can take it as well as dish it out, so I don't have any problems with him.

So, I really enjoyed reffing and it would have been an awesome if that was all I did, but there was more.

I got to see two very special people to me. Kelly and Brittney, I coached both these young ladies when they were Seniors in H.S. at Troy United. They are 2/3s of the Trio that caused me to decide to coach for Troy. The other 1/3 seems to have given up rugby for the moment, but I hope she will come back. They lived in my neighborhood and I used to do extra practice or training with them in the neighborhood park. I love both of them like little sisters and hope them all the best in life. Its great to see them and see they are still doing well. Even though I was so busy I only got to give Brittney a hug and then run off, I got a report about her from Kelly so I know she is doing OK. At the time I left Detroit, the only thing that made me sad was leaving behind the girls from Troy. I still have the picture of them at my wedding on my mantleplace. Dresses + Rugby Jerseys and cleats. I said, "Its a wedding, you have to wear a dress" and left it at that. Pretty funny.

I got to see all KB's old teammates. Some of them I was really close to while I was in Detroit and some I just know in passing, but even rushing about it was just good to see them. Crissy, Timmy, Tamar, Carol, I wish I had time to sit around and talk to you more.. I watched one of your games and it was great seeing old friends. I was bummed you guys left the party so early. Thank God one of your teammates from the new women stuck around to mud wrestle. Jess (dreadlocks) ended up giving me a ride back to my hotel when the other refs bailed on me. Maybe that wasn't such a great deal as I ended up pushing their van out of the mud. Oh yeah... did I mention the HUGE rain storm on Saturday? Yeah.. Rain. Lots of it.

The highlight of the entire weekend for me though...... I put on the Black, Gold, and Red again. I wasn't sure if any of the guys from Detroit would want to see me again. I had sent an email when I left to Drummy and Aussie Rob expressing my frustration with trying to organize a 7s team. I had given up on a Detroit area team and was going to drive to Grand Rapids and play 7s for them. Drummy, for reasons I will NEVER understand, decided to forward that to the entire team. Aussie Rob and I had talked long and hard about the frustrations I was having over the 3 summers I spent in Detroit. Aussie understood where I was coming from. I LOVE 7s. I played for Atlantis down in Trinidad (the country not the town). Playing for Emil was probably the highlight (rugby honors and awards anyway) of my playing days. That is a select group and no matter what else happens, I've always got that Atlantis Jersey. So I sort of figured I had pissed a few people off. I knew guys like Wilk understood where I was coming from and why it went down like it did, but not everyone on the Detroit team was the best man at my wedding.

Well Aussie Rob told me he would probably need a fullback and was I available. Luckily my schedule was such both days that I was free to play. I ended up playing the last 20 minutes at 9 in a completely forgettable game on Saturday. Had that been the weekend, well, whatever. On Sunday though, we strapped it on and took on Scioto Valley. This was a former D-I team that had just been relegated to D-II. I started at #9 again. I can't say it was the best game I've ever played. It wasn't. It wasn't even the best game I've played for Detroit. Offensively I was about the worst scrum half you could have and not want to bench him immediately. My passes were ok, but they did tend to float. Defensively, it was probably the best game I've ever had. The only tackle I "missed" the guy cut back inside and got stapled by Chad Nolan. All I can say is that doesn't show a whole lot of intelligence on his part as Chad is about twice my size in every direction. We lost....... but at the same time, Scioto didn't beat us. We just made lots of mistakes, dropped balls, whatever. When we had the ball, we looked pretty damn good. If Barbio had been there to provide some muscle to the backs, I'm inclined to think the game would have looked a lot different. We tried hard. I'm pretty sure we won the 2nd half. I got to watch a guy (Abdula) who was a complete rookie when I left Detroit score a great try, running 3 guys over. He did the same thing later but dropped the ball on the 5m line. I absolutely wrecked their flyhalf on their 5 m line... I couldn't believe he got up from the hit I laid on him, and I am NOT a big hitter.

I'd like to take this time to thank the Detroit Women. I have played in 3 countries now, for 8 different teams now. I have never played in a place where the men's and women support each other like they do at Detroit. I can still recall the feeling down at the Battleship tournament when we were trying to come back. Me to Jake to Me to JK to Me to Jake again had just hooked up to score an 100m try. OK, granted I chased Baby Jake for most of that distance but, hey, I juked the 1st tackler in my own try zone to start the move! I couldn't breath. I wanted to die. My legs were numb and my head was spinning. I could barely kick the conversion and then drag my ass back to receive the kick off.... I seriously wanted to lie down and die. Then the women started a chant from the sidelines. I wasn't tired anymore. I was ready to run 100m sprint and then fight at the end of it! They did it for me again this weekend. Just cheering, "Go Larry! Great hit".... that has an immense effect on not feeling tired. Thanks Ladies.... you are the greatest.

I got knocked senseless in the 1st half. I have an awesome lump on my head and still have a scar on my nose. But there wasn't a single point in that game that I wasn't having a blast. (OK, the minute I spent on the ground trying to stand up wasn't so hot...) Its something that has really been missing from playing rugby here in Colorado. Boulder was D-I, and that was awesome to know I could hack it at that level. But it wasn't much fun.... it was work. When the whistle blew and I ran though the tunnel of Detroit women and our 1 or 2 drunken subs...... I had tears in my eyes. Rugby was FUN again. If I still lived in Detroit I wouldn't be reffing, I would be playing.

I want to thank the Original Crew: Drummy, Chad, Jake, Mike Park. I spent some awesome years with you guys and it was great to play with you again. Then there are the "new Guys"
: Dannonball, Nolan, Abdula, Todd. Its cool seeing you as the "old crew" now. We only played that last season, but man.... the potential was there. I wish I could go back and play that year over. My favorite year at Detroit, without a doubt, was the one playing with you guys. To all the new guys who let some crazy dude in a red scrum cap come play with them, Thank you. Its your team now.