Sarah Jane Humke

The life of a traveling, reading, writing, spining and knitting shepherdess.

They grow up so fast… January 21, 2012

I was in South Carolina for a week for training for work.  While I was gone, Red got her first ride in a car and trip to the vet.  My mom and dad took her in a pet carrier which I really wish that I had pictures of.  But hey, you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes.  She got a shot and some more meds and took it all totally in stride.  In fact, she didn’t even let out a baa when he gave her a shot in her rump!

So, I was in SC for a week.  Not a whole lot to say about it except that somehow I ended-up mere feet away from Rick Santorum who was at a Fudrucker’s down the hill from my hotel.

Also, since I had a little bit of downtime in a Hilton hotel room to myself with no dogs or cats wanting cuddling nor baby goats to be fed I had a little bit of a girly party and painted my nails with some fun nail polish that I snagged at Target while watching the SyFy channel on cable.  I also took a bath each and every night!

There are 2 polishes going on here.  The darker one is called “Give Me Moor!” and it’s from OPI. The silver crackly coat is part of the Nicole Texture line by OPI in Silver.  It was fun to paint on as it crackled nearly immediately.  It’s lasted quite well considering how hard I usually am on my nails.  Only today have a couple of chips formed on the tips of the nails.  I’m going to have to take it off this weekend as I am going to have some important meetings over the next couple of days and need a more (cough) neutral, professional look for them.

I arrived back in Iowa right before the first real humdinger of a snow storm that we’ve had this season.  I was pleased that my car started right away in the airport parking lot despite an outside temperature of about 0 degrees Fahrenheit (about -18 Celsius).  I got back to the farm around midnight and there was about 4 inches of snow on the ground by the time I got up in the morning to feed Red.

I started-out suffering through snow in my shoes and wet socks but then remembered that I had hiking boots that are a little taller than my regular shoes.  However, if we get much more snow I’m going to have to get actual snow boots.

Red missed me I think.

I think you need to see this shot a little closer-up.

God I love that little goat!


However, she has grown even in just the week that I was gone.  Her lead over the other 4 babies is remarkable.  She is getting big fast!  Red has gotten so big that it’s getting hard to pick her up anymore.  Definitely no putting her in my coat!


Insulin Anyone? July 22, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 8:27 am
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This has been a seriously rough weekend here at The Old Chapel.  Jiji, the cat that my husband had when I first met him, became quite ill on Thursday night.  She stopped eating and was quite lethargic so I stayed up all night with her trying to get her to eat and drink every half hour or so.  On Friday I took her into the vet where they put saline under her skin and gave me some more to take home to keep her hydrated while we awaited the results of the blood tests that they took while we were there.  That evening Tech Support stayed up with her, both of us thinking it was a death vigil as her condition had worsened despite the massive amounts of fluids injected into her.  On Saturday we got the results from the vet and they were really surprising to us.  Jiji seems to be diabetic, which accounted for all of the symptoms, even ones which we didn’t perceive as such like the fact that she had lost a lot of weight over the past year.  We had to take her straight to the local ER vet (I am NEVER bitching about how far the ER vet in Casselberry was every again!) where they put her on a drip IV and started trying to get her blood sugar back down into a safer range.  She spent Saturday night there and we were able to pick her up again Sunday afternoon and bring her home.

She’s getting better slowly.  We know that she has more energy as she’s been bitching about the diet food that they put her on and rambling about the house some more.  This disease means that she will get twice daily shots just under her skin for the rest of her life, which she is dealing with admirably.  

I’m just happy that this isn’t being written with tears streaming down my face…



Things I Miss July 21, 2009

The other night I was asked by someone at the Click and Clack knitting group that I was at what I missed about the US.  The first thing that popped out of my mouth was, “parking lots”.  Yes, parking lots.  I know that that sounds kinda trite but it isn’t like I don’t miss my friends and family, it’s just that parking is a daily issue that is even more of an annoyance since getting the new car.  Anywhere you go you have to plan out a parking strategy in advance, there is no swinging into a mega sized parking lot outside of a mega store where you can get everything that you may or may not need.  The parking spaces are also sized quite differently since space is at such a premium.  Instead of being able to park a Hummer  you could park a hummingbird.  The smallest parking spaces labeled, “Compact Cars Only” in the US are still larger than the normal sized parking space here.  It just makes it more time consuming and frustrating to do, really, anything, that isn’t at home or within walking distance.

Odd things tend to hit me.  I miss JoAnn‘s with a vengeance on a regular basis.  It’s exasperating how difficult it is to find fabrics or buttons or beads that are cool.  There just isn’t any selection like I am used to anywhere and you have to visit multiple shops (see the above parking issue) to get everything that you need for a project.  Admittedly, it helps keep some money in the bank account but it still frustrates me.

Another issue that is seriously looming is the lack of clumping cat litter here.  We just put the final grains of Tidy Cat from the last of the buckets that I stockpiled before moving into the litter box and there is really no reasonably priced clumping cat litter that we have found here to replace it.  The word on the street is to use chicken crumble as it clumps together pretty well and is reasonable inexpensive but it just seems so wrong.  

I miss Target with a vengeance.  Markets are all good and well until you have to schlep 30 pounds of cat and dog food hither and fro while you finish your shopping since the car is a Sherpa’s life away.  Maybe it is a good thing that we can’t find clumping litter here as it would end-up making my arms rip off!

Boring roads that aren’t very twisty-turny are an odd thing to miss but I do.  It’s nice to be more worried about the wildlife that I may hit (including humans on SOBT) than driving off of the road constantly.   I miss store clerks asking if they can help you when you walk into a store, not just look at you like you are annoying them by wanting to buy something.  

I miss our vets, they are awesome. (With 6 animals, you do miss the vet.  Really)

Being able to understand people on the phone is a daily issue.  I know that it is in theory the same language but on the phone it sure as hell doesn’t sound like it.  I miss being able to call people without it being a huge issue.

I really, really, really miss my Hookers.  I think that Thursdays are the hardest day of the week for me as I know that I won’t be seeing them at the end of the day.  The other groups are nice but definitely not the same, not even close.  Sure they may talk about penises, but they are just so damn polite about it even when they are being bawdy.  I miss my rowdy band of Happy Hookers more than I could have imagined.


On the positive side, the weather is great!


Most of the time…


Fully Caffeinated April 28, 2009

I am fully caffeinated for the first time in about 2 months.  Yesterday, I went out and filled big blue (my trusty 52 ounce insulated mug) up with flourecent yellow Mountain Dew goodness and ice and drank deeply.  It was oh so good.  I think that I finally understand serious drug addiction.  So, I was slurping on this as I went, well, shopping and errand running.  First I went here,  then I spent a great deal of time just breathing in the crafty fumes here.   A lot of time and a fair amount of money here, and I finished with meandering around here.  I then went back to the house and worked on a few things and then went over to Cesar and Pam’s house for dinner and to meet the newest member of their family.  His name is Sydney and he is a greyhound that they just adopted a few weeks ago.  He’s such a doll that I totally forgot to take a picture of him even though I had my camera right beside me the entire night.  

Today has been more errand running.  In fact, I think that a LOT of what I am going to be doing here until my graduation is just that, running errands.  Today I took Willma the cat to the vet for her health certificate.  I then went to Mt. Dora to finalize the plans for the graduation party.  Then I just was sort of all over Orlando getting this and checking that out.  Nothing all that exciting to tell you the truth, though it is the first time I’ve actually been hot without walking at least a mile in a while, so that was sort of exciting.  Currently I’m sitting in Infusion Tea waiting for Yarn Therapy night to start.  There is no internet at the house so it was easier for me to come here to do the blog than it was to, well, do it anywhere else.

It’s good to be, but sort of confusing at the same time.  I keep turning on the windshield wipers rather than the turn signal as they are on different sides on the different sides of the Atlantic.  I’m home, but I’m not.  Only Willma is in the house to greet me and she’s sort of manic from 2 months of infrequent visitors.  I am probably going to get some crap for this, but I think that I prefer the weather in the UK to that of Florida.  Yes, you read that right, I like the weather in England better than here in Florida.  It’s just so oppressively hot here.  It makes it difficult to do anything outside besides shuttling from your car to the building and back.  

I promise that I will take some pictures for y’all tonight and tomorrow.  Oh, and hopefully have something more interesting to say than “I went shopping”.


The Vet Visit April 1, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 11:38 am
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Having had more than a few vet visits this past year I felt fairly confident that this one would be pretty straightforward.  Take the 5 animals to the vet, have their chips read and hand in the paperwork to get their pet passports.  I should have known better than that at this point but, I am still at times naively optimistic that things are going to be easy.

For starters, I got a little lost on the way there.  Part of this was confusing google maps instructions and part was confusing hubby instructions.  All of the animals were totally freaked-out by just getting into their crates again and going in the car.  It’s been a little bit since we got here so they were, I think, expecting another plane ride.  They weren’t pooping themselves and drooling freaking-out (thank God), rather vocally telling me about how freaked-out they were.

So we finally find the place and I cannot figure-out how to get into it.  Like many, many businesses here it is in what used to be a house.  So there are lots of smallish rooms that have obviously been reconfigured to be used in this capacity.  It smelled like the vets offices that I knew at home in Iowa, lots of strong cleaner with a heavy overtone of animal drugs.  I even felt like I was stepping back into the 1970’s a bit with the decor and ambiance of the place.  

When we finally got into a room, the vet looked like every farm vet I have ever known.  Stained shirt, hair in need of a trim, heavy hands with some serious calluses and angry looking cuts, kind eyes and I couldn’t understand half of what he said and for once it wasn’t me not being used to the accent, he mumbled.  The dogs needed a shot for something that either we don’t have very commonly in the US or that we just don’t vaccinate for and the cats were totally fine.  There was a lot of writing to make up all of the passports and some pretty fun looking stamps.  I think that he was fairly impressed with how in order my paperwork was, but it is hard to tell.  

I miss our vets at Sheeler Road Animal Hospital.  It never felt like the madhouse that this place did even on it’s most busy of days.  I also miss having female vets as Meara was pretty freaked-out by a man trying to look at her.  I’m just glad that she didn’t bite him.  I don’t think that this new vet is the type of place that they would ever remember us no matter how often we were in with the animals…



I am starting to think that a change is something that I have been needing for a little while.  Since I’ve moved here, I’ve gone quite out of my normal comfort zone, sometimes several times in one day.  For instance, I started a fiber group this past week.  Sure, no one showed-up to the first meeting other than me but I had the balls to announce who I was and why I was there to an entire pub’s worth of folks and then sit there and crochet alone for an hour and a half.  This is surely not me.  Every time I get into a car I do things that are almost unthinkable in the states.  Things like blindly pull-out into the wrong side of a very narrow two-lane road that my side has been fully taken-up by cars parked there.  If you don’t do this here you will never get anywhere yet it is so completely not in my nature to do this sort of thing.  I go faster on much narrower and curvier roads than I would even consider in the US.  

The Chilterns are so lovely that I want to learn how to take better photographs.  I know that even with a good camera, I cannot do the landscape here anything close to justice.  On my (almost) daily walks with the dogs I keep seeing things that make me think, “man, I wish that I could show everybody how cool or beautiful that is!”.  I want to take a class on photography.  I’m sure that y’all would thank me for this too:-)

I also find myself inspired in my crochet.  For some reason the peacefulness here is very conducive to reading patterns.  That being said, I’m still not following them all from start to stop, but I do seem to understand them better.  I’ve also been inspired to branch out a little in my crochet.  The other day I was looking out the window when the group of daffodils across the road caught my eye.  I decided then and there to make one.  So, here it is…


Not bad for a first try I think.  I was running up and down the stairs to the yarn attic trying to match the yellows and the whites by holding them up to the window and comparing to the daffs outside.  I restrained myself from actually going outside as I thought that crazy American woman holding yarn up to daffodils at the side of the road might just edge me over the line from eccentric to full-on woo-woo.

(The pattern is from Crochet Bouquet by Suzann Thompson)

Tomorrow, it looks as though I’ll be taking a day trip to Bath, one of my favorite towns anywhere.  The last time that I was there they had a great exhibit at the art museum that featured quite a few Kaffe Fassett originals.  Hopefully, I’ll have a few pictures and stories to tell!

As for now, I am off for our first vet’s visit!  Wish me luck driving 3 cats and 2 dogs there!


All I’ve got now is 2 lawn chairs and a blow-up mattress February 7, 2009

So, I guess now the reality of the whole move has set in.  I’m sitting in, I guess it’s actually a “camp chair” but it’s what we got when we asked at Wal-Mart for, “cheap, lawn chairs” so I’m not quibbling over it’s title.  Chris’ chair is, in fact a white plastic lawn chair that has been sitting in our yard since we got married…. three and a half years ago.  We found an old pillow that didn’t go into the container that came with, get this, a freecycled dog bed.  We are really styling right now at this castle!  

The vet and a tech came today for the birds health inspection.  We had no place for them to sit so we all ended-up sitting on the floor.  It sort of made the $400 that we are paying for the honor feel a little better.  I mean, they couldn’t even sit on the turd!  But everything went well and the birds are on their way, well, at least to Gainesville!

Otherwise, not a lot going on.  House cleaning, back to work working, the usual.  Except, that we go to sleep each night on a bouncy airmattress.  It’s gonna be a long month…