Baa Ram Ewe

Yesterday we got up early, headed out for some Saturday morning garage sales, and then went to Townsend for the Fiber Festival. Since I am unable to do anything with wool (knitting, spinning, etc), I was really just interested in seeing the sheep herding and shearing demos.

DSCN1408 hello Sheepie and little lamb

A lovely couple from Kentucky brought their black-face sheep (seems a non-PC name, doesn’t it??) and 3 champion Border Collies down to demo sheep herding.

Their dogs are trained to respond to their whistles, noting the difference between pitch, length and frequency. We were very impressed. Especially, considering the fact that Rick, their 8 year old nationally-ranked boy, is legally blind!!

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He explained that he rarely works 2 dogs at once, as it almost becomes more work than help.

In the sheepdog trials in which these dogs participate, each round lasts between 8-15 minutes, during which the dogs are responding to 200 – 400 commands! Amazing.

A well-trained herding BC can cost in the range of $10,000 – $15,000, but is noted to do the work of 2-3 humans on the farm.

These guys can also run up to 2 miles away from their handler to round up sheep. Not bad!!

Reminds me of Miss Bess, my first foster who was a Border Collie / Cattle Dog cross. She would’ve been great at this!

DSCN0149 She’s now living the life with her retired rodeo cowboy owner, who takes her on frequent fishing trips and calls her ‘his princess’

And then there was the sheep shearing…

I couldn’t believe how calm the sheep was to be held in such weird positions while blades are buzzing around them. I suppose they get accustomed to this ritual, and probably enjoy having them heavy winter coat taken off!

DSCN1415 just getting started

DSCN1416 there we go. good sheep

DSCN1417 might need some sunscreen on that white skin!

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I’ll try to post later today about our findings at the garage sales and flea market!

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1 year Farm-versary

And look – another anniversary up on the blog today!

This time, today marks my one-year move from Nashville to Del Boca Vista, my mother’s 40 acre farm outside the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee.

I never intended this to be any type of permanent move nor long-term living situation. In my mind, I viewed the move as a temporary hide-out if you will, until I could land a job back in Nashville and find a place to live. In fact, I had given myself the deadline of Labor Day to come up with a plan.

Of course, for those of you who have followed along with my adventures, you will recollect that I never did find that Nashville job, but instead took a job here at a psychiatric hospital, and have stayed at Del Boca Vista ever since.

I may not have done many “real” country-type activities – I try to maintain as much of an urban-like existence on the farm as possible and just enjoy the mountain view. haha. 

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I spent much of the winter (which was the coldest in decades!) indoors, much too frightened of the 3 inches of snow that accumulated around me.

But then spring came and, with the help of my mother, we planted and prepared a lovely vegetable garden, which so far has brought me over 70 tomatoes and numerous zucchini, squash, and inbred gourds (don’t ask).

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Now, all the “city girl in the country” moments I’ve had are far too numerous to count, and I know I’ve entertained my family, friends and coworkers. I’ve learned many a  thing, including:

  • How to drive a riding lawn mower (although it still scares me and I rarely choose to use it)
  • How to trap, kill and dispose of mice
  • How to replace vacuum cleaner belts
  • How to drive on slushy ice/snow (sort-of)
  • How to replace a gate battery
  • How to check sparkplugs on a lawn mower (and that mowers even have sparkplugs)
  • How many functioning computers it takes to crash your satellite internet service
  • How vegetables actually grow
  • The benefits/dangers of certain garden bugs including, but not limited to, hornworms and spined soldier bugs
  • The joy/frustration/humor in fostering a border collie mix
  • How to use a sprinkler
  • How to use a sewing machine
  • The joy of tubing, both on snow and water
  • How to bake my own bread from scratch
  • That homegrown tomatoes taste like a completely different vegetable from store bought varieties

As for my next year at the farm? I have nothing planned up my sleeve, so you’ll just have to stay along for the ride. With The Boy’s upcoming job search and my supposed grad school search, who knows how much longer I’ll be here and what adventures lie in my path….

Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there!

My mom had a quiet day working outside until I returned from Asheville.

We celebrated with some cookie cake that was hand delivered from a cookie shop in Knoxville, thanks to my sister! It was sugary and lovely with a glass of milk:

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I loved how the icing was done to look almost embroidered!

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(oh by the way, we got a sewing machine late last week.. and I am super pumped about learning to use it! I have some projects in mind already :) )

I got my mom some stakes and decorative metal signs to identify all our ‘crops’. It will replace the homemade identifiers we were using (seed packets stuffed inside protective soda bottles, haha).

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And look what else happened while I was away this weekend?

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Greetings from the Farm!

Sorry for the lack of posts. I left Nashville a week ago and headed east, to my mom’s childhood farm just outisde of Maryville, TN. We finally got internet put in the house, but it’s dial-up so blogging is a little more difficult than usual. I’ll try to give a basic recap on what’s been going on:

I am starting to feel like a real RD now. I received my welcome information from our professional/credentialing organizations, and have even begun my journey of continuing education. As RDs, you must earn 75 credits every 5 hours. Well, in my first month of RDness, I will already have 29. Can we say nerd?? haha. I listened to a webinar earlier this week on translating nutritional epidemiological studies (I know, I’m sure you’re fascinated too!). Had to drive into town to go use the county’s library’s free wireless. But it was quite informative. I’ve also signed up for ADA’s Certificate program in Adult Weight Management, which is in a month back in Nashville so I’m excited about the opportunity to go back, see The Boy and my favorite places.

I’m also equally excited, if not more, about a potential job that I interviewed for yesterday. It’s back in Nashville (phone interview, that is) and would honestly be my dream first job. So we’ll see how it goes! Keep your fingers crossed for me.

If things go well with that job, I’m rewarding myself with a trip into Knoxville to one of their cupcake bakeries. How strange that the first thing I do now in a new city is research local cupcakeries?! I think it’s become a new obsession. Could be worse things, right?

Speaking of new cities… I’ll be spending next weekend in Cincinnati with The Boy. He’s dragging me to the Blink 182 concert (not exactly Coldplay… but this is the give and take in the relationship) and a trip to Kings Island (he obviously hasn’t figured out I’m not a thrill ride seeker… maybe my refusal/fear of go-karts wasn’t clear enough!). Of course, I’m also going to look into the things I want to do. Which could include fun local restaurants, bakeries, parks, attractions. You know, Elizabeth stuff :)

So it’s been nice being here, having my R&R as my internship director tells me. Not having to study, or pack boxes of my junk. In fact, I don’t even know what I do all day. We put up a hammock in the back, so I have taken to daily naps out on the hammock, listening to the sounds of nearby cows. It’s also been a good time to catch up on my readings and sudoku, and I have plans in the next few weeks to make a scrapbook of my internship/Nashville year, as well as complete a few paint by numbers. Should be fun!