Friday, November 27

outcome, not surprising

I always told myself I'd never in my life substitute teach.

I've since realized that the phrase, "never in my life", shouldn't escape my lips....ever. I don't know how it happens but, just as soon as I am dead set against something, all of a sudden, through twisted circumstances I am staring that "something" right in the eyes.

And so...of course, I am a substitute teacher.

In case you have never entered a school as a substitute teacher let me share a few things about what I've picked up on in my three weeks of work.
  • It is definitely as bad as it sounds.
  • There are some bright spots, but they are few.
  • Lots of kids hate substitute teachers just because they are substitute teachers.
  • God gets me through the day, not my self-acclaimed wit.
  • It is the closest feeling I've had to being invisible.
  • High schoolers act like middle schoolers.
  • A substitute has almost zero authority walking into someone else's classroom.

I still haven't figured out why semi-retired, 60-something year old ladies are the majority of substitute teachers. This would literally be the last place I'd want to spend a day when I am 60. I come home feeling like I've just been in a psychological battle all day, with a couple of sucker punches thrown in there at some point.

I hope I'm not crushing anyone's spirit who was planning on making a career out of substitute teaching. I'm just saying if that person is you, you might want to develop a back-up plan.

Wednesday, November 11


Like so many of my friends and family have done past and present, I made a big decision this year. I've adopted! Okay, the adoption that I am associated with is largely different from that of which my friends and family have been involved with, but similarly I've taken the responsibility to take care of an orphaned being. That this being happens to be four legged, furry, and will not be able to carry on a conversation in English...ever, are some of the differences that stand out. Here is how it all went down.

This year has been one of many surprises, and by the end of October when I was packing up my belongings to move on to my next place of residence, I quickly realized that I had acquired four houseplants and a pet. Now you have to realize that I've been working my whole adult life to avoid houseplants and pets, not because I hate those things (I actually enjoy both, quite affectionately), but in active knowledge that to take care of these things will affect the pack-up-and-leave lifestyle that I so cherish. So you can imagine the constriction on my heart that took place when I realized the weightiness of the situation!

The houseplants I accepted from others either as gifts or as a favor, but the dog...hmmm. Jasper came to the farm in April, abused, neglected and starving for food as well as attention. Since no one on the farm cared for dogs, I was unanimously put in charge of trying to "make a farm dog" out of him. I'm still not sure what that means. Months later after working with him diligently, and sharing time and space I began to realize that it would be hard to walk away from him. I was in trouble.

I searched and searched for a home for him, everyone I met I asked if they needed a dog. I literally asked every local member of the farm if they wouldn't mind taking Jasper home. Poor bugger didn't have any takers.

Therefore, last week I officially adopted Jasper, and we both left Victory Acres. He's done well adjusting to life in a pen, rather than 'free range'. And I was forced to buy him a dog sweater (which I was so annoyed about) but in his defense, he was constantly shivering.

So although it is a big hiccup in my life having a pet, I'm going to brave it and give it a go. I know he needs me, and truth be told I probably need him a little bit too.

eye catchers

I spent some time outside last week, enjoying the warmth and finally a reprieve from October's deluge. Though most of the fall colors were gone, besides the few bradford pear trees around, there were some tidbits of beauty that caught my eye.

white oak leaves fallen on a bed of brown leaves

wild blackberry leaves stand out from the drab grasses

locust thorns showing off the new growth

Thursday, November 5

packing and unpacking

What is a year of my life if I can't up and move at least twice, eh? It is true, I've become an expert in moving. Not necessarily one of my lifelong goals, but I guess you take any expertise that manifests itself in one's life along the way. And so, moving day has come and gone.

I officially left Victory Acres Farm after a very thoughtful send-off party last Saturday, that included lots of Himelicks, two Chases and myself (Jasper was not invited, hmm...). A casserole dish of lasagna, a cheese ball, garlic bread, salad and a chocolate cake all served on tables in the greenhouse.

With God's help, I've procured a house-sitting gig for the next two months a block from main street Upland. I spent Monday packing, moving and unpacking. And I can say I am all situated and loving the extra space that is at my disposal.

My intention is to substitute teach for the winter while coming up with a plan for the spring/summer. When you run into me and ask what I will be doing in a few months, you may be disappointed with a reply along the lines of, "I'm not sure". So be patient, let time pass and know that I'm not worried about it. Life has always worked out quite nicely whether I spent time worrying or not. Therefore, I will choose not to worry. If you would like to worry in place of me, feel free.

shearing sheep

On my last work day at Victory Acres Farm, the sheep shearer showed up. He came from Wabash county and had already sheared 52 sheep in Hartford City. He was very gracious to come to our farm to sheer the mere four that we had acquired a few weeks back. It couldn't have been worth his time, I'm assuming. But sometimes when you know someone who knows someone, grace befalls.

The wool from the Hartford City 52. The shearer says he can only get 17 cents a pound for their wool.

It really was amazing to watch the wool come off in masses. These particular sheep are Merino Sheep. Their wool has a very high content of lanolin. An oily residue remains on your fingers after touching it. As opposed to the 17 cents per pound that the shearer could get for the Hartford City 52, he can get about 50 cents a pound for the merino wool.

The sheep were very cooperative, though I'm guessing they miss their warm wool about right now. Here is the silly looking outcome of all that shearing. A little before and after shot.