Sometimes by bib overall wearing buddy just makes me shake my head in wonderment. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes well, not so much. I can honestly say, my husband is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. His intelligence is one of the things that I find most attractive about him. He is able to look at the world and break everything down into numbers. He is very logical and often has the temperance to wait to respond in a logical manner, not fraught with emotion or impulse. Things are always very black and white with him, I admire that.

You see, of the pair, I am the one who is impulsive, fraught with emotional responses, often suffering illogical logic, and my world is more gray than black and white. Really, I’m not sure how we work so well together. A few years into our marriage, we moved from my little cottage by the library to a massive Victorian home with 22 rooms, 12-foot ceilings, original plaster molding, 4 fireplaces and loads of charm. I adore that house…but I digress. Once we had done some major restoration and settled in, I told The Bibbed Wonder I thought we should get a dog. He gave me a quizzical look and asked why? He pointed out we were hardly ever home, I was still teaching and coaching, he was often out of town for a week at a time. My response was, “We have four fireplaces…duh.” It made perfect sense to me. We needed a dog because we needed a dog to sleep in front of our fireplaces. In my mind it was the finishing touch to a perfect domestic scene. The Bibbed Wonder wrinkled his brow, asked me to explain, continued to wrinkle his brow, and told me I was cute. Also, he informed me there wouldn’t be a dog anytime soon but it was a nice idea. That is just one example of my illogical logic. By the way, he surprised me with a red pit bull rescue a few weeks later…you see, it did make perfect sense.

However, there are times when I am the logical one of the pair. This is not often the case but there are times when even a blind squirrel gets the nut. This week, I am that proverbial blind squirrel. I have sworn off all things soap for the week. I am spending the week catching up on all the domestic tasks I have allowed to slip to the wayside during market season. The Bibbed Wonder is in charge this week. Yesterday, he had himself worked into a tizzy. As always with farm life, the unexpected arises and we never get done everything we think needs to be done. He lost two days of productivity in the studio because of such unexpected arisings. Yesterday, he went into panic mode. I reserve panic mode for myself…mostly. However, there are the rare occasions The Bibbed Wonder decides to try out these roles for himself. It is never pretty when he is in panic mode. Not only did he decide to take it upon himself to clean the studio…insert annoyance and eye rolling. He also decided he would host a farm pick up on Saturday. When asked what I thought, I stubbornly declared I would be cleaning and not of any help. He needs to think this through and plan. Has he given any thought to the release of the Christmas products? Has he checked the weather? Does he think next weekend would be a better time? I was answered with the stink eye, asked to read the post he had already created, and not given any real answers to my logically logical questions. My reaction was okay Mr. Big Balls, go ahead. The Bibbed Wonder will always rise to a challenge. So, he arose and panic ensued.

For once, I was the one talking him down. He was in a twist because he had unloaded the soap and lotion from the market. He was lamenting on his lack of thought and the extra work he had created. He was prancing…he prances when he is anxious…really, it’s kind of cute. He makes his fingers go in a nervously repetitive motion and kind of does an I have to pee dance. I responded with the logic that he will be merely feet from the studio, it is not a big deal, and to focus on the social media posts, the set up, and let the cleaning go until Monday when I will return to my soap duties and he can’t throw anything away that I don’t want thrown away. He then began lamenting about all that needs done and he won’t have time to complete. I then pointed out that barn tours are off the table for a number of reasons. First and foremost, we have a sow in heat and that is just ugly. Our boar, Boris, is now with the goats because it is not time for any porcine romance. Boris is gentle but there is a sow in heat and love makes all creatures act in crazy ways. Also, the barn is indoors. With Covid numbers rising, people coming from various places, and the verdict still being out on the spread to animals and the effects, I choose to err on the side of caution. We rely very heavily on our girls for several important purposes. Their safety and well-being are of the utmost importance. We cannot afford to have a barn full of sick ladies for many reasons, but mostly I love my girls and want to keep them safe. It is best for all to remain outdoors. Check mate for logical Tina. The Bean will be helping her dad with the farm pick up and let us be honest, she merely needs us for heavy lifting. My girl could take over and run this with her eyes closed aside from the fact that she isn’t legal to drive and can only lift her own body weight. I understand completely that my days of usefulness are limited…I’m okay with that. Again, check mate for logical Tina. Lastly, we are real, we are not picture perfect. The grass may not be perfectly manicured, the mums may not be in place, the feed room may need to be swept, and the garden still needs to be put to bed. It is not about perfection, it is about hospitality, kindness, quality products, and customer care. We are real, no where near being perfect. Again, check mate for logical Tina. This is usually my area of panic expertise but all will be well.

With the panic now down to controllable levels, we can all get back to doing what needs done. The Bibbed Wonder is now concentrating on what really matters and has ceased prancing. I am taking care of all things domestic and can’t wait to get back to the studio. The Bean is as cool as a cucumber and planning the layout of the soap since she is in charge…just the way she likes it. All is right with the world and we are looking forward to welcoming our soap family to the farm on Saturday from 10-2. I talk a big talk, but I will happily blow off cleaning and organizing to visit with all who appreciate good soap and wonderful goats. Unless of course, upper management demands I go back to the house. She is small but she is fierce.

As always dear reader, stay safe, stay smart, we hope to see you at the farm on Saturday, and of course keep washing your hands.

  • Tina

I have written in the past about perspective. Perspective is subjective to your experience, attitudes, atmosphere, and education. Life is all about perspective. I have observed how perspective can be different even in close knit families. What one sibling finds hurtful and damaging, another sibling may view as educational, enriching, and supportive. It is all about perspective. I am not political. I have opinions, I have ideas, I have my own perspective. Do I believe my opinions, ideas and perspective to be accurate? I believe they are accurate for me. However, they are not accurate for all and I understand and respect that.

While celebrating my birthday on Monday night, we gathered with my mother-in-law and my very dear friend. This interaction made the concept of perspective very clear to me. My dear friend is of a completely different belief of political values and ideology. As we talked and discussed the events occurring in our country and around the world, it became very obvious to me how very different our mindset is concerning these events. As I sat listening to her discuss what she feels is best for our country, I found myself thinking, how polar opposite we are in our views. I found merit in her opinions, validity in her some of her points, and most of all a passion for what she believes.

I also found I do not agree with her at any level. I could have sat and argued with her. I could have chosen to be offended by her attitude. I could have taken the opportunity to try to sway her to my way of thinking. Did I do any of this? The answer is no. As I sat listening to her and her ideas, beliefs and ideology, instead I felt honored she shared her impassioned beliefs with me. I asked respectful questions, I gave respectful responses and she did the same. We had a discussion, a respectful discussion. We listened to one another. Did she sway my opinion and I hers, no. However, we understand each other a bit better and left that discussion to move on to lighter more entertaining topics.

My beloved friend does not share any of my political views but we are able to discuss politics and maintain our respect for each other. That is what I feel is missing in this country…mutual respect. We don’t have to agree. We can concede to respectfully disagree. We should concede to respectfully disagree. Political views do not change who that person is. When I became friends with Jane, I had no idea what her political views were. It didn’t matter to me. I saw a kindred spirit, a kind soul, a heart of gold, and a wicked sense of humor. All qualities I appreciate and value. As I got to know her better, I still did not know where she stood on her political views. Instead, I found a steadfast ally, a confidant, a loyal supporter, and a respected intellectual. It was almost two years into our friendship when we discussed politics for the first time. After quietly listening to my opinions after she had shared hers, she stated, “Tina, I’m afraid if I had known your political views earlier in our friendship, we couldn’t be friends.” I remember being cut deeply by that comment. However, we both understood we had found in one another a rarity in this world, a true friend. Something that political views could not change.

I hope others are able to come to this understanding. I know families who do not speak because of different political views. I know of friendships that are broken because of different political views. If one were to put aside their politics and simply view the world through the eyes of humanity, perhaps all this upheaval and unrest would dissipate. It matters not what party you affiliate with or for that matter the color of your skin, where you live, or where you go to church. The reality is, we all bleed red. We all put our pants on one leg at a time and we all face a variety of challenges on a daily basis. We are human beings and that is the affiliation we should make.

Perhaps if we felt grateful and appreciative to live in a country where we are free to openly discuss and share our differences, we would end this divisiveness. Perhaps, just perhaps, if one were able to put aside one’s opinions and actually listen to others who do not agree with one’s attitudes and opinions, one could come to a mutual understanding and acceptance would be found. Perhaps…

As always dear reader, stay safe, stay smart, one must remember to keep one’s head during these tumultuous times, and of course keep washing your hands.

  • Tina

If I had a running list of all the good days, I have had in my now 48 years on this earth, Saturday would rank in the top ten. We spent all of last week preparing for our Christmas Market, which was held on Saturday. We were both excited for the market and greatly looking forward to seeing our friends and soap family one last time for the season. As always, Ligonier Country Market did not disappoint.

The Christmas market did not begin until noon. We had plenty of time to complete our necessary tasks and get ready for the day. We arrived to set up at ten o’clock, were completely set up by 11:15 and had a few minutes to visit with friends and shop. We then experienced the best day at market we have had to date. Not only did we exceed our sales goal, we were able to meet and connect with so many new, kind and supportive people. It was a wonderful day and we went home feeling elated and fulfilled. I will truly miss the interaction with people that we experience every week at market.

When we arrived home, we unloaded the necessary items from the truck and The Bibbed Wonder went to the barn to check his expecting pig, Charlotte. Wonder upon wonder, Miss Charlotte was in labor and had already delivered eight little piglets on her own. The babies were dry, up eating, and playing with one another. Charlotte was obviously still in labor and the ever-attentive Bibbed Wonder decided if all the babies were dry, she has had perhaps too long between deliveries. There was no sign of afterbirth and when Eric pushed on her flank, he could feel a baby ready to be delivered. Requesting the aide of Jordan, who has the smallest hands and is absolutely fearless, they made a plan to check the birth canal for issues or aide.

I’m sure, many have had similar experiences with their children but as we watched our fearless little bean wash her hands, donned rubber gloves, lubricate her hand and arm like a little surgeon and proceed to gently check an easily 500 lb. sow’s birth canal for babies or issues, we could not have been more proud. Jordan has just come home from a full day at market where she worked so hard for our business helping customers, restocking inventory, doing math, and sharing her knowledge of our products. She then just changes hats and jumps right in to aiding in the delivery of little piglets. This child genuinely amazes both of us and makes us so proud. I admire her fearlessness, her fire, and her pure heart. She truly is a wonder.

Miss Charlotte delivered two more babies, with the help of Jordan, for a total of ten little pigs. I am pleased to report that mama and all the little ones are doing great. They are happy, healthy and active. Charlotte has returned to her comical, humorous self and has settled in to being a good mom. Eric goes out to check on her and the babies several times a day. Charlotte enjoys her time outside, her back scratches, and treats but it is only for fifteen minutes or so. She just needs a breather and then requests to go back to her stall with her babies. She has taken to sneaking up behind The Bibbed Wonder, hitting him in the back of the knee, nearly knocking his feet out from under him, barking, and running away. How a 500 lb. pig can sneak up behind one is a mystery but she is able to achieve this feat on an almost daily basis. I love this pig.

Saturday was indeed a good day and one to log into the record books for a few positives in 2020. There are days when it is abundantly clear that we are showered with blessings and goodness reigns supreme. Saturday was indeed one of those days. It is one I will continue to revisit for a pick me up when the days feel long and bleak.

Dear reader, please continue to stay safe, stay smart, enjoy the small blessings, and keep washing your hands.

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