Monday, April 29, 2013

Life of Poo.

Sorry.  Couldn't help myself.  A more apt title would have been, "My Life of Poo".  Yes, this past weekend was all about poo - septic system, manure spraying, barn cleaning, hoop-house digging.  And let's not forget paper-changing.

Friday they came to check out my septic system - there had been 'whiffs' of a problem.  I am so glad I called the local, family-owned service, as they are just great.  One of the sons came out and, after much poking around, discovered that the septic tank is not square with the house, and that the hatch is a mere three feet from the steps to my deck!  I am also lucky that there was NOT a problem and all I had to do was get it pumped out.  Hallelujah!

While that was going on, the farmer who leases the field next to me started sending a steady stream of manure sprayer trucks to cover the cornfield.  Hey - why not?  While there's no denying that it's manure, it isn't that bad (IMHO) and fades away after a few days.  Last year, however, it seemed that they sprayed the bottom of the tank on that field and it was STRONG!  Like eye-watering, nose-running strong.  This time is wasn't as bad.

I managed to get the barn cleaned out, the rest of the fencing done, and had my little patient outside for a while.  This is the white Jersey Giant chick that suffered some sort of neck trauma (we think) - possibly was at the bottom of a chick pile.  While she has made some progress, I'm not sure she will be able to thrive.  She did seem to like being outside, although she peeps like mad as soon as I'm out of sight.

Did you know that Sunday was National Llama Bean Day?  No?  Where have you been?!?!?  Melanie and Marianne knew about it  -- and brought lunch!  We started digging out the old hoop house bed and, one large tub, two feed bags, and over a dozen 5 gallon pails later, we had hardly made a dent.  I am going to try to see if my farmer neighbor and a few strapping young fellows would be able to lift it and move it, so that digging would be less uncomfortable.  It is brown gold, I tell you.  And we didn't even tap the fresh supply of llama beans that Apria so thoughtfully leaves me on a daily basis.  I really enjoy working with the Ms - there is such a wealth of good, creative thinking there.  I toss up all my dilemmas and they find solutions.  Perfecto!

The Little Lucky Farm goat family is due back this weekend.  Just in time for their herdswoman who is missing them something fierce.  I had stopped up this morning on my way to work (prepared, this time, by bringing my work clothes separately...) and did a little kid snoogling.  There is lamb snorgling and kid snoogling, in case you didn't know.  I sat in the hay and Willo trotted over, climbed in my lap and went to sleep.  Apple tried climbing me and squeezing onto my lap, too.  Chickie just got jealous.  Sage let me scratch her back without bolting for the door - progress!  Trouble is, I didn't want to leave.  Will I be able to tear myself away when I have 24/7 access?  Give me strength....

Friday, April 26, 2013

It's not as though I'm naming a bridge...

I have been studiously avoiding naming the doelings.  Every time I started to think about names, some part of my brain (the loud part) rolled in - " LALALALALALA".  Honestly?  I HATE having to name things.  I am of the mind that the perfect name will appear to me in the middle of the night: the room will get cold, I will be surrounded by a light green mist with spooky, but benevolent, music in the background, a deep, booming voice will say, "Go ye and name yer doelings...".  It hasn't happened yet, and I'm feeling the pressure.

Do I name them both in the "A" group, defining their arrival as 'firsts'?
Do I name them after herbs?  (Been there; done that - Sage/Chicory)
Do I name them after trees? (See above - Linden/Hickory/Banyan)
Do I name them after deities? (Ditto - Juno/Freyda)
Do I name them after deli sides (Pickles - hehehe, Carolyn)
Do I go into seclusion for three days and come up with:  Daisy Matilda Freeborn Shepherd?
Do I scar them for life and name them: Piznut and Crumbsnatcher?

I decided to go all, "I am the breeder of goats, sit up and notice my farm-iness".

Runners up:

LLF's Beatrix Queen of Holland
LLF's Kumquat Kuteness to the Light


LLF's Apple of my Eye (Apple) - dark ears


LLF's Will 'o the Wisp (Willo) - white ears

Of course, my balloon was quickly popped when a friend pointed out that Gweneth Paltrow and Will Smith beat me to the punch.  See what happens when you don't watch the Toobe?  Well, all I can say, G and W, is that your versions will have to stumble through life knowing they will never be as cute as mine!

Isn't it a relief that I never had to name actual children?

(and where are all these highly annoying links coming from?  Blogger?)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What did you say? I couldn't hear you...

... the silence is deafening. 

The Pearlies and I parted company on Tuesday.  As much as the noise made me grit my teeth (Kay's hubby said, on Sunday during fencing maneuvers, "what equipment is your neighbor running?"  To which I answered, "Those are the Guineas." - Need I say more?), the final straw came when they decided to gang up on Marie-Claire.  She is my rescued chicken, an older girl with a funny gait due to being raised and confined to a plastic tub in someones living room.  She has worked her way - painfully, at times - up from the very bottom of the pecking order to somewhere closer to the middle.  Somewhere where the rest of the girls ignore her and let her be-bop around unmolested.  Enter the ill-tempered Guineas.  Last week, I caught them cornering her and pecking her head bloody.  That explained why she was loathe to leave the nesting box and was getting pretty skinny.  I had to act as her body guard in the morning and evening, making sure she got food and water, and then delivering her to the safety of the nesting box.  Enough already, as they say on Longuyland. 

A very nice young woman who lives with her husband and daughter on 150 tick-infested acres an hour north of me, came down and we had a Guinea rodeo.  It was ... interesting.  I have the scars to prove it. 

The chickens, who have been clinging to the perimeter of the yard to avoid the dreaded Guineas, raced back and forth and did little feathered versions of the Happy Dance.

I hope the Pearlies enjoy their new home - lots and lots of wide open spaces.  I should have offered their new family my hearing protectors.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My new wallet. And a muse.

If you think I have a hard time deciding on names for my goats, you should have seen me deciding on a new wallet.  It was a painful process.  It was more that I know what I DON'T like than what I do like.

Finally, weeks later, I have a new wallet:

Isn't it nice?  A Friend/Fellow Blogger was exceptionally kind and decided to brighten my day/life with a gift certificate to Etsy!  How fortuitous, this being the year of "I will buy as much handmade as humanly possible..."  I poured over the lovely handmade wallets forEVER, until I saw this one.  It is perfect and I love it!  And it's cute and pretty and extremely well-made.

It's the Holly Wallet by Sarah Schofield (HandsFullDesigns).  You should go check out her great stuff.  I have my eye on a couple of her bags as well.  Perfect summer fare!

Now I will think of my friend every time I look at it.  Which is almost every 10 minutes - just to make sure it's still there!


I do believe you reach an age - whether you're a man or a woman - where the term "flattering shorts", becomes an oxymoron. And I believe I've reached that point.

Monday, April 22, 2013

What was/is going on.

Another whirlwind weekend has zipped on by -- I do swear that Weekend Time is faster than Weekday Time.  I come home Friday, all TGIF - go to sleep, wake up and then lots of things happen, then it's Sunday night and what the heck?!?!

This weekend was all about fencing.  Saturday morning I did a quick trip up to visit the babes (still unnamed, but I am closing in on them...), then some fast errands, then -- my Check Engine light came on.  Again.  So there was an unexpected 'pause' of two hours, as I sat in the waiting room at Midas while they ran even more diagnostics.  And because I am still adjusting to the loss of my wallet and am a complete creature of habit, I was sitting there with my tiny purse with no reading glasses.  Which was fine, since I had nothing to read or knit.  I just twitched.  It turned out to be a cellanoid (sp?) and they cleaned it off, reset the computer and replaced a hanger on my exhaust system.  By the time I pulled in the driveway, I was already behind.  I did manage to pound in all the t-posts before dark, so it wasn't a total loss.  Here are some "fascinating" fence pix...

Every move was supervised.

Reinforced fence line between Sheep/Goat areas.
Sunday was sunny, cold and windy - perfect weather to work outside with big, heavy rolls of metal fencing.  I am dripping sarcasm here.  I got the fence line that divides sheep/goats reinforced, then started on the new fence that bisects the goat area.  Then I ran out of fencing and had to wait for Kay's hubby to show up.  Luckily, they had an extra roll of fencing that I was able to buy - and Nick helped me run the new line along the trees and we finished the bisecting fence.  Then I disassembled a gate to create two new ones, came in and collapsed.  There is still a little nit-picky stuff to do but it is pretty much done.

Bisecting fence with 'housing' area.

New fence line along tree line.

Nifty, thrifty PVC gate.

Good thing, because these two are growing like weeds!  When I asked A about Sage's progress, she said (diplomatically), "Well, we are making progress.  She's a challenge."  Her feeling is that Sage's jumpiness is fear-based, which is easier to overcome than just orneriness.  Let's hope.

Under Uncle Chickie's watchful eye.

"Cute?  You want cute?  Well here I am!"

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Mujere Mojo Lives On!!!

My cell phone rang at 11PM last night - luckily, I had decided to put it on the nightstand, right next to my ear.  Otherwise, I would have missed the crickets (my ringtone).  Sage had her kids!!  Two doelings!!!  The LLF Female Mojo Rules!!!  The midwife - extraordinary herdswoman that she is - had been checking on her every half hour and, of course, when her back was turned and it started to pour, Sage went into gear.  She said that she was inside, with the television on, rain hitting the roof and STILL heard the kids.  Apparently, they inherited their mother's vocal chords.

I present Sage and her Stinkin Cute Kids:

At first glance, they are identical, although on closer inspection, one has black ears and one has white ears.  They are beautiful, with great confirmation and ADORABLE.  Sage let me pick them up - although, after 10 minutes I think she thought I was not going to give them back.  She was very close to being right.  She even let me give her a good back scratch without bolting out the door.  Chickie, although dazed, is being the perfect Uncle.  Everyone is nursing well and Sage is a terrific first-time mother.  I am dazed myself.

Patterns - no directions needed.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Weekend Wap-Up. You Wascally Wabbits.

Sorry.  I am a little punchy this morning.  Well, thank goodness vacation week is over.  If it wasn't for a visit from someone(s) special, I would have wrapped myself up in my duvet (I needed it, gosh darn it - it SLEETED) with a giant, economy-sized bottle of Yellow Tail Sauvignon Blanc and would not have surfaced until June.

Here's the run down (and then I'll quite crabbing) - stolen wallet; non-stop gravel trucks, gravel noise, choking dust on the days it didn't SLEET; one madly wonderful shopping day; one solid day of chicken coop cleaning (worse than ever - I'm blaming it on the Guineas); a half-inch of sleet, followed by some fast cleaning truncated by a three hour power outage just before my visitors arrived.  I may be down, but I'm not out.

On Friday (after living through the power outage), things got downright wonderful.

It's so interesting, this Internet/blogging business.  I have formed some solid, marvelous, soul-enriching friendships with people I've never met.  And may never meet.  Luckily, due to a lovely, determined spirit with an accommodating husband, I actually met one of these special people.

Jane, Ice Man and Sophie (with the ever-
present tennis ball.)
Jane and the Ice Man from Hard Work Homestead! (A much-missed resource, I may add - and, in the spirit of her wish for continued privacy, the 'standard' cropped pic...).  That skirt was amazing - I wish I had gotten a better shot.
It's a good thing we did nothing but gab, as the weather was horrid.  There was some fluffy sheep petting, graham cracker feeding, Guinea whispering, and I believe that both dogs would have snuck onto the RV and gone back with them.  Bernie positively swooned onto Jane's lap and never left.  The Ice Man was thoroughly snorgled by Scrappy, who thought he was just the best thing ever.  Sophie decided that living the single life in the RV was preferable to the Scary Dogs.  What a beautiful girl she is!

We all waved them off with a heavy heart on Saturday night.  Thank you, Jane, Ice Man and Sophie, for making the long trip from spring back to winter - I bet you're glad to be back where it's no longer sleeting.  And thank you for the goodies!  And for your friendship.  My turn!

I made a quick trip up to see my goaties and Sage has gone from Tug Boat Annie to Betty Barge!  According to A, she should kid anytime from Wednesday to the weekend.  I sure hope it's twins, as that would be one big kid.  They were happy to see me and Sage seems to be settling down.  A's got all my numbers - it should be an exciting week.  I will, of course, let you all know. 

Since I needed to finish at least two big things on my list, I decided to tackle the goat fence.  Plus, I had the fear of God put in me, realizing that they will be returning before I know it!  I took down the 'temporary' fencing that's been there for two years, and paced out the t-post spacing.  Some things I've learned since taking up this homesteading venture:  when you live on rocks and plan to set t-posts, take your sledge hammer and a nice piece of rebar out first.  Do NOT start with pounding in the t-posts.  Another thing I apparently didn't learn was to check to see that I got the shorter posts.  I am NOT over 6 feet tall.  With my pre-pounding method, I was able to set three of the six posts fairly deep.  Two of the remaining three will require a ladder, and the last one may have to be set in the next town, as it seems to be solid rock where I need to put it. 

Glad I took some ibuprofen before bed...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

(Three days after) Monday Musings.

I believe the Universe is testing me.  I wonder if I will pass before I pass out.  Since this week was clear at work, I took it off as a vacation week.  So far?  I lost one Guinea for sure, and possibly another - we'll see what this morning brings.  My wallet was stolen on Saturday.  We've had rain and gale force winds.  I must take vacation more often.

Besides being a real pain in the backside, having your wallet stolen is both a test of your memory (what DID I have in it?) and a lesson in scaling back.  I was rather fond of that wallet and I have had it for quite a while.  The thought of actually having to go out and buy another fills me with dread.  Even more so than replacing my drivers license, debit card, credit card, and Starbucks card.  Whoever felt that they needed what was in my wallet more than I did, was welcome to the $22 in it - but I would have appreciated getting the wallet back.

I have gotten a lot done, although not nearly enough, thanks to the weather and having to spend house on the phone, cancelling cards and alerting various people and agencies.  I managed to drag my feet until I was only left with enough time to clean out half the chicken coop.  On the first two days of the week, the weather was perfect.  Unfortunately, the gravel pit next door felt the same way and it was pretty much unbearable to be outside - between the noise and the unending truck traffic in front of the house that sent tsunamis of dust up the yard.  Honestly?  If I had wanted to wear a dust mask and protective goggles around the house, I would have moved to Beijing.

I also got a start on redoing the goat fence (they're doing fine, thanks for kids yet), planted onions (glass half full), and yesterday I spent a totally blissful day with Marianne - she had errands to run, I had to get my shingles vaccination, and then we went to a Barnes and Noble (HEAVEN), had lunch in a RESTAURANT, and hit the new Trader Joe's and the Asian supermarket.  I was a puddle of happiness by the time I got home.  It also was comical (to Marianne), that I was so amazed at the mall, at the restaurant, at the number of people around.  Obviously, I don't get out much.

Now I'm gearing up for visitors this weekend!  I will be posting more pics, once I can get this computer to run longer than 15 minutes between freeze-ups.  I'm going to take advantage of the fact that I can get on the Internet to read up on what y'all have been doing!

(From the racket in the front yard as I type, I am only down one Guinea....damn.)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Express yourself!

Poor bunny.  I didn't leave enough time to finish him for Easter.  Which is fine, since the recipient wasn't there and he did get an awful cute yellow, fluffy chickie from his great-grandmother in his Easter basket.  While I am tempted to place him in the bottomless pit that is my UFO basket, I really should finish at least ONE small project!

But, what expression to give him - my bunny? And, is it a "him"? Here's where y'all come in. I have put four five (I am, apparently, not a math major) possible expressions here. Which one should it be? You're not limited to my imagination - use your own. Carol Channing eyelashes? Kewpie Doll? Pirate? What do you think?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Any Color But White.

ANY color.  But, is white a color?  Is it the lack of color?  Is it the color of your soul when all hope of spring is GONE??  As I groped my way to the sliding glass door this morning to let the dogs out was white.  Completely, utterly, totally, miserably.  White.  Sigh.  It made me feel like (mis)quoting Edgar Allan Poe all day:  When shall Spring cometh?  Quoth the Raven: Nevermore. 

Juno sat outside in stunned silence:

That large, dark blob is Juno in her stunned state.

So I decided to concentrate on any color other than white:

Two Potato Scallop - pure yumminess.
Ribbon salad in Easter Colors.
This year's Easter Eggs
Eggs for my niece and her son.

Unfortunately, my niece and grand-nephew did not make it to Vermont for Easter.  He had a bad cold and we couldn't chance spreading germs to the nonagenarians.  We were all disappointed, but we had fixed up an amazing basket for the little squirt, which his grandmother was dropping off on her way back.  That left four of us with an amazing amount of food.  Which we bravely dealt with.  Although I am not a consumer of Jello as a rule, I had decided to make the ribbon salad for Cyrus because it was pretty and all kids like Jello, right?   The two potato scallop turned out great, having been adult-icized with chopped fresh herbs and garlic-infused cream.  Goodgollymissmolly. My sister brought ham and we had two appetizers.  Since we ate in the middle of the day and I am NOT used to that much food that early (or at any time), I could barely move after dinner/supper.  I convinced my sister that a walk was in order, and that really helped get the blood flowing in other places than our stomachs.  It was a lovely day.

(This morning was also the first time in a long time - years - that I was anxious to get to work.  Because I knew that, once over the mountain, there would be no white.) 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday Musings.

What on Earth possessed the person who thought that creating a water-based drink with aloe pulp was a good idea?  I joined a beta group that tests new products once a month.  Mostly, it's fun.  Think, "Plentils".  Then there are things like:  bacon/cheddar microwave popcorn.  And Watermelon-Peach Aloe Water (with Pulp).  Urk.  I mean, I have a pretty strong stomach, but trying to deal with aloe pulp is just too gross.  It reminds me of the first time I ate an oyster.  The only way I could live through it was to swallow it whole and do it fast, while trying to appear urbane.  Of course, now I love me my oysters.  But aloe pulp?  {{shudder}}  And what, pray tell, is wrong with just drinking a glass of water?  Must we energize it?  Mineralize it?  Fruity-size it?  It peeves me something awful.

For some reason, holidays often have me musing about past encounters with MILs, mothers of boyfriends, other mothers.  My best other mother memory, was the mother of a high school friend.  They were Italian and it was a large, LOUD family.  She was an amazing cook and my friend was her only daughter.  Coming from my pretty regimented, no talking out of turn at the dinner table, elbows-off family meals, dinner at her house was amazing!  There was yelling (no one spoke to each other in a normal voice), there was joking, there was FOOD.  J's mother would come behind me and hug me and tell me I was a stick and needed to eat more.  (Doubt if that would happen today...)  I always left there dazed and happy.

Then there was the mother of the boyfriend I'll call Murphy.  If there was ever a more dysfunctional family, I have yet to experience it.  She had all boys, her husband had died, she was an amazingly bad cook, and her natural state was angry.  She hated ALL of her sons' girlfriends.  Yet we were always invited to holiday dinners.  Which were inedible.  I remember having a 'discussion' with her about gravy.  She prepared hers with about a cup of cornstarch, a bouillon cube and hot water.  And about a 1/4 cup of salt.  Holey moley.

Then there was the MIL in Illinois.  If I had to give a bride-to-be some advice, it would be:  Go meet the future in-laws BEFORE the wedding.  She raced everywhere in a sweaty, fevered state, dropping things, slamming doors, muttering under her breath.  She, also, was a cook of highly inedible cuisine - and LOTS of it.  And you were expected to clean your plate.  I should add that you were also not allowed to help yourself - she dished out what she thought you should eat in way too large amounts.  There was no clever dinner table conversation.  At the start of dinner, the FIL, who had not uttered syllable one the entire time, shoveled a mound of food substance onto his plate and shuffled off to the den, where he ate in front of the ball game on TV.  Shades of future behavior - I should have seen it coming.

Now I mostly get to eat in peace and quiet, what I feel like cooking, under the watchful (and hopeful) big, brown eyes of Scrappy and Bernie.  Heaven.