April 15, 2012
The boys enjoy building flights of fancy with whatever they can find. Coyote traps which collapse on touch, skateboards, and the latest, which is called a “cat fort.”
Unlike the other building projects which failed to trap or skate, a mama cat chose the fort to give birth. She is raising four kittens with lots of attention from the boys.
December 24, 2011
“Oh no!” I said as I looked outside last Saturday morning. “Oh no!”
We received three inches of unexpected snow. I had cut a large amount of wood in the pasture and left it to split and pick up. Normally I like to pick it up if I cut it, because if it snows, you’re digging through the snow to pick up the wood. I was overreacting though, because the snow melted in a few days and I was able to split and stack the wood on a hay rack to dry.
The boys however, reacted with joy. Each got a shovel and built a private fort. Gameboy’s came up to his knees, but he described it to a friend as a room he could walk in.
Once the snow started to melt and stick together, they built a snowman. Now the snowman is the only remnant of our first snow. Oh well, I’m sure there will be more.
November 15, 2011
Shepherd has been diagnosed with Asperger’s since the age of two. What this means is that he would rather be home alone than out with people. I sympathize, because that’s where I would rather be.
He also has tactile issues, and is not very coordinated. I remember one of his first visits to the farm with his brother and a couple of friends. The other kids played in the mud of the creek, and Shepherd cried on the bank because he didn’t want the mud in the car.
The farm has been great for Shepherd. We haven’t put a lot of pressure on him to change, but we wait for something he really wants to do, then help him make progress. Now he can wash a pig, stick his hand inside a pumpkin, and climb a tree.
July 25, 2011
Shepherd, washing his showpigs. After we washed them, we took them to the fair where they were weighed and ultrasounded for backfat and loin-muscle-area. These three measurements are used in a formula to determine percent lean, which is how the pigs are ranked in the carcass show, pictured below.
The next day was the show. Shepherd practiced walking them everyday, and the practice paid off, as the pigs followed his direction. The judge was less impressed, however, and awarded Shepherd a white and a pink ribbon. Winning showpigs today are extremely wide-made, with bulging muscles. All of this muscle can cause structural problems, though, and the result is pigs which don’t handle stress well.
Shepherd’s pigs were very functional and problem-free, which are traits that are difficult to recognize, as the absence of a problem is more conceptual in nature. Shepherd’s black and white pig was in the top half of the carcass show, though, and received a red ribbon. This helps me know we have the muscle, it’s just in a more functional package.
Shepherd’s black and white pig weighed 242 lbs. and his white one weighed 283 lbs. They gained 371 lbs. in 102 days for a rate of gain of 1.8 lbs. each. They ate 1574 lbs. of feed, for an average of 7.5 lbs. per day for each of them. They ate 4.2 lbs. of feed for every lb. they gained.
It was a very rewarding experience for Shepherd and the whole family. I really appreciate all the people who help make the fair.
July 10, 2011
Shepherd and I found this newly moulted Dragonfly while picking BlackCap Raspberries.
It was nearly invisible and we probably wouldn’t have seen it, if it wasn’t sitting on a ripe raspberry.
You never know what you’ll find if you go outside, but if you don’t go, you won’t find it.
July 4, 2011
This is a traditional 4th of July picture in my family. Shepherd snapped the photo this year. Links to the last two years are here and here.