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Spotted Dog Farm Blog

I Look Like a Tater Tot

If you're wondering how it's going on the farm lately, this quote from Sam probably sums it up rather well.  We're at the batting cage at the barn yesterday (which used to be my trailer shed, but currently is an almost-60-foot batting cage), and I'm freezing my ass off waiting for him to finish warming up, and he looks over at me and starts laughing and says "Hey mom, you sort of look like a tater tot right now."  And I started laughing too, because I totally did.

Here's the thing about growing up on a farm while engaging in many outdoor sports - you get good at figuring out how not to be too hot or too cold.  I'm like Goldilocks - I like my temperature to be jusssst right.  And if you're going to be spending your afternoon in the windy shade on a 45 degree afternoon waiting to feed balls into a pitching machine (and you're from the South), then in order for your temperature be jussst right it requires a lot of clothes.  So there I sat in a lounge chair in the pasture with a goat for company, watching Sam warm up by hitting balls off the tee, and I was fully decked out in fleece boots, ski bibs, a parka, and a hat.  Which I get sounds completely nuts for the temp, but you know what - I wasn't the least bit cold.  Which is good, because the boy likes it when I help him out in the cage, and I like watching him have fun, and that's way more likely to happen when I am, as my mother likes to say, snug as a bug in a rug.

The batting cage running down the side of the barn.

Yes, I wear Sam's old Little League batting helmet with the full face mask.  Turns out balls can ricochet back off of the machine and around the net, and I like my nose intact, thanks.  And also, this helmet looks totally hot.

View from the cage looking down over the lake.  


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Belay On?

Last night was spent not on getting my Black Friday sale together as planned... but at a climbing gym wearing a harness up the crotch and uncomfortably small shoes.  Never a dull moment, right?

Here's the thing - Sam (like his mama) is a Border Collie.  Very much exercise is required to maintain a cheery disposition.  Otherwise... well it's not intentional, but it's not all that pretty either.  And it's getting cold, which limits his usual options.  So off we went to the climbing gym.

It was pretty fun, with the potential for very much future fun.  But here's the thing... I took a rappelling class in college where we rappelled off the side of the ROTC tower, and it was really driven home that when you're the belay person you're literally the only thing stopping the climber from falling to their (possible?  probable?) death.  But I had kind of forgotten that, so when we showed up and they started showing us how to tie in using a figure 8 knot, and then ran us through the belay fundamentals, I kind of thought we should have lingered more on the "check all of the points of the knot, IF YOU WANT TO AVOID CATASTROPHE."  And while the instructor was thorough, I was still surprised that they seemed to think we were in any way qualified to do this on our own next time.  They explained how we were now ready and could take the belay test, and I was all "Come again?" Yeah, no way I'm going to trust my child to the figure 8 knot and belay technique I practiced once for a half hour. So, looks like I know how I'm going to be spending a few future nights.  Remedial belay class, here I come.

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The Happy Accident

School's back in session, and I'm getting my work groove back.  Getting a little more regimented, back on the clock, back to making plans.  And when this time of year hits I always feel a little frustrated with some of the things I didn't do over the summer... didn't keep up with this blog consistently, didn't go to yoga everyday, didn't stock pile a zillion pieces of jewelry for the holiday season.  But the truth is, it's the disruption of my regular stuff that allows some room for the unexpected.  

In knitting I always call this the happy accident.  I may not end up with exactly what I thought I was making, but often it's still very cool.  This summer's happy accident - the skim pool.  

See, last summer Sam discovered skim boarding at the beach, and had fun, and that was all I thought about it.  But this summer Sam seriously rediscovered skim boarding, and when we got home he didn't forget about it.  At all.  Even though we live in the mountains.  So I kind of ignored it for a couple of days, while he was trying to set up a skim board situation in the yard, but finally I realized he's tenacious, and this wasn't going away, and then I looked on YouTube and realized that you really can set up a skim pool in your yard, and then I was all in.  

We studied YouTube, we scoured the outbuildings (and there are 35 years worth of stuff in these outbuildings, so you can almost always find what you're looking for.)  We came up with giant sheets of plastic, and we bought pool noodles by the case to make the sides, we strung 6 hoses together and ran them all the way across the pond to the riding ring - and then we gave up on that and dropped a pump in the pond instead.  And at the end of it, we had a skim pool.  And it was awesome.  And I got a board and learned to ride, and Sam was in heaven.  So yeah - giving up on some of my routines leaves space for the happy accident.  And I'm pretty sure that's what I'm going to remember in the long run.  Of course now I'm back to google calendar, and production lists, and a To-Do that's kind of intimidating. But still - totally worth it.


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Graceful Chaos

I've been enjoying Lara Casey's blogs lately - she, the maker of PowerSheets (excellent for goal setting that acknowledges you might have an actual life, not just a work life), has been very honest about the challenges of running a business and parenting.  You know, at the same time.  Many of my favorite entrepreneurs appear to just run a business - and they do it really well - but I often think their advice ignores some realities for those of us with kids.  Like, your kid does not run on your business schedule.  For a little bit they will - and I think that's healthy, the whole world shouldn't revolve around them - but on the macro level kids are messy.  In the best possible way, but still, not so orderly.

Lately Lara's theme has been surrendering to the chaos of summer with grace.  Giving yourself grace to know that your schedule will not be adhered to, and that while planning is useful, your plans are probably useless (to paraphrase Eisenhower.)

And that's completely on point right now - yesterday was full of swimming and yoga and making jewelry, but also full of orthodontia emergencies and bizarrely fast-moving hives all over the boy child, and antihistamines.  Graceful chaos - that's where it's at for the summer.  I love summer, but sometimes I'm still working on the graceful part of the chaos.

And, because who doesn't love goats, I'll leave you with a picture of yesterday's spectator from the batting cage.  We put a cage in the trailer shed attached to our barn (because the boy child LOVES baseball), and the goats watch from above.  Never fails to me laugh.

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Yoga Down the Third Base Line

Summertime means baseball in this family - which is funny since pre-child neither Clark nor I had anything to do with baseball.  But the boychild loves baseball, and we love the boychild, so by the transitive property we now love baseball.  Well, pretty much - at the very least we attentively watch a lot of baseball.  

But while the boychild loves baseball, I love yoga (and running, and mountain biking, and, and, and... but I digress.)  So today found us at a ballfield in Morganton, NC, and me with no yoga class in sight.  Which is how I found myself down-dogging and taking a vinyasa in the grass behind a maintenance shed and beside a horseshoe court (did you even know those existed? Me neither.) 

There's nothing like trying to find your zen while simultaneously trying to be invisible.  I didn't want Sam to have to break his pre-game concentration to explain why his mother is upside down in the grass while everyone else's mother is sitting on the bleachers.  

So there I was, in my little hidden spot under a giant tree, taking a Cody App yoga class, and it was actually blissful.  And also comical - trying to get your yoga on while hiding at a ballfield is pretty much what parenthood is all about.

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