Little Lamb

So I have this poem in my head: “The Lamb” by William Blake

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed,
By the stream and o’er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Because my son and I went to Borders this afternoon and on the way we saw a strawberry flag flying from the local U-Pick farm sign, we stopped in to check out a local apples etc. farm.  Yippee!  They’re open at last after a long winter.  “Let’s go!” my son shouted and I swerved onto the side road.   Turns out we missed the strawberry picking for the day, which ended at noon, but we were able to buy a quart in the farm store.  Of course, while there we had to say howdy to the animals, and there were several beautiful lambs there.  Gosh, their cute!!

This one was pure white and hanging out with its mom frolicking about, but he ran into the barn before I could get a picture of the pair.  I guess he wanted to say hello to his sleeping pal… (sorry it’s fuzzy — camera phone!)

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Then I noticed two other sleeping babies right by the fence next to my feet.  They were so close that I didn’t see them, but man, were they sacked out!  Their little heads are intertwined — I’m thinkin’ twins…?

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Anyway, we’re having strawberry shortcake and deviled eggs for dinner.  (My son’s choice!)  I figured, who cares, honestly — good enough.  Eggs are a fine protein, and strawberries are excellent anti-oxidant rich fruit.  Too bad we’re out of lamb chops in the freezer, though.  For some reason I have a hankerin’ for some grilled lamb kabobs…🙂

Saved $60 but the dog hates me…

These days I’m always looking for ways to save money.  (Duh.  Who ISN’T, you say!)  Well, our dog hasn’t been to the groomers in … hmm.  When was that she last went?  All I remember from that visit was the groomer saying, “Maggie was a real brat!”  Haven’t gone back to them since.  I mean, I recognize that she is willful and does not like to be groomed, especially to have her nails cut, but honestly. to call her a “brat”?

Have you ever heard that phrase, “No bad dogs only bad owners”?  Or something like that.  Well, it is OUR fault that Maggie doesn’t like getting groomed.  She’s not used to it and it scares her and is uncomfortable.  Ah, but there are always reasons (er, excuses) for everything, right?  Like in our case, we are always wanting to save money and not get her groomed except when absolutely necessary.  We bathe her ourselves and all of that (otherwise, pee-euw!)  But when it comes to hair cuts,we figure she can go six months easy.

Only for some reason the last several months Maggie has decided to go the way of the Rastas and grow some wicked dreadlocks.  We’re talking mega-matting!  And once you go down that road, it’s really hard to go back to smooth and silky.  We try to brush her, but there is some sort of tipping point with brushing — after a certain amount of mats develop, you’re doomed. One of my former students had big, beautiful dreads but had to get rid of them when she joined the peace corps.  She said changing her hair was one of the most unpleasant things she had ever had to do, much worse than anything she faced in Africa for the two years she served there.

Anyway, so today was the day to “fix” Maggie’s fur.  She was not amused.  But I figured the best way to solve the issue was just to cut off every bit of matted fur.  I figured I’d give her what I believe they call a “puppy cut” (short all over rather than the typical Westie cut).  That way if there were spots that were REALLY short, it wouldn’t be as obvious.

Here’s what a Westie is supposed to look like…

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Well, that’s pretty cute, right?  One of the ways in which those dogs are able to look like that, though, is through the development of a stiffish, wirey overcoat that helps them keep this shape and not get matted.  For some reason our Magster has still — at three years old — not developed that tough outer coat.  She is still as soft as an alpacha.

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Which is nice for us when we pet her and all but leads to no end to the matting problems. (Our last Westie had the same problem, by the way — never got the wire coat.  Weird coincidence?  Our vet has no idea why Maggie is still so soft and fluffy.  We met her parents and they have wire coats.  Hmmm.)  Anyway, today I decided to implement my great money-saving plan and give Magga-muffin a new do.

She hates me.

Who doesn’t hate her hair dresser when she gives you a crappy cut?  Who doesn’t blame the one with the shears when we come away with a four week bad hair fiasco?

Honestly, I tried my best, but I REALLY underestimated how much matting there was. Every time I thought I had a leg looking okay and I’d run the brush through it, yank, it caught on yet another mat.  Maggie was none too pleased and took to biting the brush after a while.  “I understand, Maggums.  This sucks.”  I didn’t call her a brat.  She’s our soft little sweetheart of a Rastafarian.

I know you must wonder what she looks like now. Not sure this picture gives you the full effect of her humiliation….

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At least she was willing to go out in public!  Our good, brave Maggie-May!

Oh, yeh… I have a blog!

Hey, there!  Anybody ever come to this site anymore…? 🙂

I turned in the last of my grades this morning and am just finishing up preparations for my new on-line summer class that starts on Tuesday.  Ah, but then… then I’ll have time at last to write!  And to catch up with all of my blogger friends whom I have not visited for ages.  I hope you are all well.

Stay tuned…

SPRING is here at last

Finally!  We had a record-breaking high today of 93 degrees, and the leaves are definitely STARTING to unfold.  Still a ton of bare branches, but plenty of pollen and more and more bright spots of green and patches of flowers.  Spring is here at last.  Felt like an interminably long winter this year.

My son and I planted seeds in old cardboard egg cartons we’d been saving for a couple of months.  Hubbie and Boo and I made two beautiful raised bed planters to replace part of our ugly lawn.  We’ve now got those done, chicken wire stapled below to keep out critters, good organic soil inside each 3 x 3 x 1 foot wooden box, and a plan to sow some seeds directly outside and others to be transplanted in another month when they’re ready.  Carrots, tomatoes, green beans, zuchini, yellow crookneck squash, pumpkins, rhubarb, and we’re thinking of trying to grow potatoes, too.  I have some cucumber seeds, but that may be beyond me.  I’m not sure about buying and instaling a frame for them to climb on at a 30 degree angle.  Bad enough to have to stake tomatoes and tie beans!  Whew — so much to learn!

Honestly, I’m no gardener.  I’m expecting this not to work out very well.  I guess that’s why we belong to a local CSA farm.  So we won’t starve….  But I thought we could learn a bit of gardening, too.  So today, when my son and I were working on the garden out front, three neighbor kids we hardly know came over and asked if they could help.  Of course, we said yes, and thus ensued about an hour of teaching the kids how to ge the bed ready and plant carrot seeds.  About a week or so and we should start seeing sprouts.  I told them to check back then.  And then 70 days to maturity.  I said they could have some of the carrots.  Cute kids.  Made me feel really neighborly, teaching the  children about where food comes from!

I’ll try to take some pictures and post next time.  For  now, just wanted to let y’all know that we’ve got winter on the run at last in New England.  Even though there’s a danger of hard frost for another six weeks, heck, when we start getting LEAVES, winter’s through!  I’ll just hold back those tomatoes for a bit….

Rollin, rollin, rollin, keep them doggies rollin

Just keep working.  Keep reading.  Keep grading.  Keep getting up and putting on work clothes and driving to school.  Keep standing in front of those students.  Keep going to meetings.  Keep on keepin on.

Sometimes in a person’s life it’s 95% about JUST KEEP MOVING…

Isn’t March SPRING…?

Yeh, well, so I think Spring is coming….  March is supposed to be Spring, right?  Only not so much today.  This weekend was in the low 60s and today five inches of snow.  Hmmm.  Well, at least my son enjoyed it…

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He created a bow out of some branch that came down int he last storm plus some string he found.  Thena  neighbor kid gave him one of his arrows (my son had created one of those, too, but it was pretty wobbly).  Teh thing is that with snow on the ground, archery is a lot more fun.  (1) You can see the arrow better against the white snow, and (2) It sticks into the snow much more firmly thatn th ground, so one can easily see how much one “rocks.”

So, I’ve been hunkering down lately and doing a lot of grading.  I just checked tonight and saw that I have already surpassed the total number of posts to my on-line students from all of last semester by about 30% and it is only midterm.  I decided they needed more attention this term, and it is paying off.  But 362 posts in six weeks is a bit much!  LOL

Other than teaching and snow, I have nothing at all to report.  I am an empty-headed writer who has no time to write right now.  Oh, wait, I almost forgot.  I’m a liar fo sure!!   An essay collection that I’ve been editing and trying to find a publisher for, let’s seee, it has been a few years…well, anyway, I secured a contract at last.  Yay!  So I guuess I have been writing.  Just not Grandma’s book.  Sigh.  But I’m happy to get our collection published at least.

And now on to that stack of Freshmen essays….

“writing assignments for bad kids…”

Hmmm.  Well, that’s what showed up on my wordpress dashboard yesterday as the search terms that led someone to my site: “writing assignments for bad kids.”  Nothing like promoting the idea that English is torture. :-)  Give ’em some grammar exercises, too, why don’t ya?!

I have a student this semester who is so far beyond being a bad student that he is a caricature, a cartoon.  Yet, I’m not sure for all that I’d call him a bad kid.  Compulsive liar?  Sure.  Morally repugnant?  That’s a given.  Passive aggressive?  Duh, of course.

But I hadn’t stopped to think maybe he’s just bad to the bone.  I was more thinking that his lack of any sense of personal responsibility for his own learning has led him to get absolutely nothing out of college.  And his lack of work, any writing really of note, is what led to the F on his midterm that I just passed back.

I tend to find that the worst students are the ones who are NOT writing, not doing their work.  So my answer to the person who queried about “writing assignments for bad kids” is to say the problem is not in the assignment but in the student’s work ethic or attitude or study skills, etc.  “Bad kids” or “good” — they all need to write.  Motivating a kid to write, well, if you figure out the answer to that, I’d like to know!  I already discovered long ago that grades rarely motivate struggling students.