Thursday, December 29, 2011

Putting my money where my mind is.

Happy Birthday to Me!  Happy Birthday to Me!  Every year I buy myself a birthday present.  What this actually means is that I purchase something that I cannot justify spending money on under ordinary circumstances under the guise of a birthday present.  It is usually something modest - like pre-owned DVDs of a Murder She Wrote season that I don't yet have.  This year was a little different.  I received some birthday money and decided not to spend all of it on hay.  Yes, I know - e-i-e-i-OMG she's such a narcissist!

I have been contemplating what to get for a couple of months.  And I have finally chosen it.  And I know you are all waiting with bated breath to know what it is.

It is the Pioneer Clothes Drying Rack, handmade by the folks at Forgotten Way Farms!  This is a family for whom I have nothing but admiration.  They have chosen to live completely off-grid, are raising a lovely, hardworking family, and are making their living by their own hands.  I have been lusting mightily after these drying racks ever since I ran across their website here.  I have been wrestling with my cheap, flimsy rack for years, and have never been able to quite afford the Amish made models I've come across.  But these racks are amazing AND affordable - plus I happened to buy one when they were on sale!  How fortuitous!  I can hardly wait until it arrives -- no more wet laundry draped over pillar and post!

I am so happy to be able to spend my money on a useful, American-made product, handmade by people who are living a sustainable life, and hand-crafted with a great deal of care, talent and forethought.  For what more could I ask?  Happy birthday to me!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday Musings.

Happy Boxing Day!  When I first heard of this day, I thought it was a day where all the British servant class would get the Peers in a ring and give them what-for.  Serving class revenge!  I was rather disappointed to find that it had more to do with giving the servants the day off, since they had to work on the holiday.  I like my idea better.

Boxes.  I've moved around quite a bit in my life.  I think, at one point, my mother said that she had to start a new address book just for me, as she already had sixteen different addresses under my name.  I mostly moved myself - being the starving artist that I was for several years, I didn't have a lot of possessions.  Everything was boxed up in boxes gleaned from the back of stores and groceries.  I would pack things willy-nilly and label boxes in a cryptic way:  "Stuff - Old LR".  I inevitably lost a box during transition.  I came to think of it as one does about socks in the laundry - a veritable Box Black Hole.  When I moved to the Netherlands, one of my boxes never made it back into the shipping crate at Customs.  Unfortunately, it contained all my dinner-sized plates.  The first Dutch word I learned was inappropriate for family viewing.

When I was a kid, I had a cigar box in which I kept all my "important" stuff.  There were rocks, little Robin's eggs, some sea glass, a snake skin.  I was constantly spotting something amazing and pocketing it until I could safely stash it in my box.  Which was then hidden through an elaborate series of coverings, veilings, and subterfuge.  Heaven forbid someone would find my treasure!  I still pick up odds and ends.  Sort of like a magpie - shiny objects are always catching my eye. 

One of my (countless) New Year's Resolutions is to sort through some of these boxes that have been toted around from pillar to post.  They are still unpacked and still unused.  So, I am assuming, they are unneeded.  I have found that the best motivation for giving all these "collections" the heave-ho is imagining the conversation that will take place between my unfortunate family members burdened with the task of cleaning out my house after I'm gone. 

"Um, didn't we just open a box of string bits and hour ago?"
"I'm afraid to open this box - YOU open it."
"Did you realize she had a 'problem'?"

Pardon me while I pull out my sorting bins (thank you Sylvie) and toss some flotsam!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

'Twas the day of Christmas and all through the farm
the furred and the feathered were keeping quite warm.
The run-in was topped with a nice vinyl cap
While tiny, sweet goaties climbed up in my lap.

The nesting boxes were filled with nice shavings
to welcome eggs that the hens had been saving
The ducks took turns in their nice soaking bath
While chickens kept hunting for bugs in their path

Scrappy was bouncing by the closed pantry door
If one treat came out of there, there must be much more.
Bernie was curled up on her freshly washed bed
With visions of pigs ears dancing around in her head

The Boyz dash about over tables and chairs
Giving their 'mother' a zillion new gray hairs
This mother of many both feathered and furred
(while her posting of late has been quite deferred)

wishes all of you a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

An Ode to Tattlers

I wax poetic about my wished-for lids - and you can all blame dr momi!

I dream of Tattlers with their endless seal
I dream of them with every apple peel.
I long to end the flats I'm tossing
(and the money I am lossing)

So, Santa, hear my request
As a Good Girl, I am the best...
My Stocking (a large one) will be hung by the fire
Please fill it with Tattlers, the lids I desire.

(Blatant, but effective?  Time will tell...)

Move over Bob the Builder!

There's a new game (dame?) in town -- Sue the (con)Structor!  Yet another surprise met me at the door last week.  (All these surprises being delivered to my door is wreaking havoc on the interior of my house - the dog alarms take umbrage with anyone approaching the door!)  I was calm enough, letting the dogs out, changing into barn clothes - all the while keeping the box just inside my range of sight.  After everyone was fed, watered and locked up tight for the night, I rushed inside and opened it.

Meet Sue the (con)Structor's sidekick, Drillie:

OMG!  Yes, I am not ashamed to say that I managed to drop the hint that I would really like an 18V Makita driver/drill about a million times.  It really works, when you add a lot of sighing and draping tragically across each page of your posts regarding building.  You know, if I hadn't gone into amateur homesteading, I could have been a silent film star.  It is difficult not to put an exclamation point (!) after every mention of this amazing driver/drill (!)  It weighs only a little bit over 3 lbs.  It fits my hand like a glove.  It came with two batteries.  The charger charged the battery that was totally drained in under 15 minutes.  (!!!!!)  If it hadn't been raining the morning after I got it, I would have been out there driving home all the 4" screws that my wimpy driver/drill couldn't manage.  Poor thing, old drillie.  I have had ample opportunity over the weekend to put new Drillie to the test - it's almost scary how fast the screws go in!

Maybe I should start to wax poetic about Tattler canning lids?

(My apologies to anyone who wants to leave a comment.  Thanks to a great deal of nasty spamming, I will have to moderate comments before I post them.  Bear with me.....xoxo)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Musings.

One of my favorite things about winter is that I get the opportunity (between rounds with my Snow Wolf) to dig into the large stack of books I have been putting aside.  I love to read.  I have always loved to read.  My mother would take us to our little local library every week, where we each could pick out a book of our own, and my mother would pick out one to read to all of us.  I can remember very clearly the children's section of that library.  I remember how it smelled.  I would stand and look at all those shelves of books and get giddy.  BH (Before Homestead), I read an average of a book a week.  Now, I am lucky if I can keep up with the few periodicals I get.  But winter.  Winter forces me inside and, since I can avoid dusting with the best of them, I am given the gift of time.

My favorite book of all time is Alice in Wonderland.  I can quote the Jabberwocky verbatim.  Not that I have had much occasion to pull it out.  But I could, if the occasion arose.  I have read that book, cover to cover, at least 20 times.  The volume we had at home had wonderful pen and ink illustrations.  As I read, I could just see everything playing out in my mind.  I wanted to go through that looking glass, down that rabbit hole.  Of course, there were a few times in my wayward youth where I probably did do those things.  Sort of, in a way.  But that's a whole nuther can of wax, to mix metaphors.

I had a very vivid imagination as a child.  I still do, but it lacks that brilliance of innocence. When we were children, our family would spend two weeks every summer on a small lake in northern Ontario.  My mother came from a long line of hearty, headstrong pioneering people.  They used to throw a picnic and the babies in an old crank car and head off to the unknown at the drop of a hat.  My great-great grandfather bought a piece of property on this lake and, in the winter, they would snowshoe across the ice to where they had cut logs and pull them over to the homesite.  They built a log cabin, chinked it and put in a woodstove.  There was no plumbing (we used the "Mansion" up a path in the woods) and no electricity.  It was absolute heaven.  Many hours were spent along the shoreline playing house, pretending we were wood fairies.  Watching the loons and making up scary stories about Ghost Island.

I feel pretty wistful for the kids today.  If they were plunked on our shoreline with nothing more than what was at hand, would they be able to come up with the fantastic adventures that we conjured out of nothing but our over-active imaginations?  Doubtful.  They would be looking for the nearest electrical outlet.  I assume that I will fixate on that period when I am in my dotage and repeat the sames stories to whatever unfortunate audience I have held captive.  It is a very pleasant place to revisit.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas came a-knockin'!

It must be the season.  I am sooo slow in the morning getting to my chores; deaf to the penetrating bleats of Acacia; refusing to make eye contact with Scrappy.  I am *gasp * dawdling.  Yesterday morning I was wandering about after going more than a few rounds with my crossword puzzle - heading in the vague direction of the barn, when the dog alarm went off.  Someone was driving up my driveway.  Was it Santa in his sleigh?

No!  Even better - it was my favorite Christmas Elf, Kay, in her Honda!  She had decided that what I needed for Christmas was a practical gift.  Oh, how right she was/is!  Here is what she bestowed upon me yesterday morning:

A gluten-free girl's dream come true!
I happily abandoned the sheep pre-breakfast (with loud protests from Acacia and gang, and worried noises from Hoosier), to invite her in for a cup of coffee.  We managed a nice, but short, visit before I had to race around and make up for lost time before heading off to work.

Christmas also arrived at my door via the postman in a mysterious, flat, rectangular package:

I call it my "Christmas Snowman Hearth Shovel" decoration!

Is this not the cutest thing ever?
Tom - the very talented vermiculturist (aka Worm Farmer) over at worms-a-crawling farm had made it and sent it as a thank-you for some books on rabbits that I had mailed.  He did the woodworking and his neighbor did the painting.  It is adorable!

I am still feeling all warm and fuzzy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Learning. Ouch.

If I had a nickel for every time I didn't listen to that little whiny nagging voice in my head, I could retire.  Or at least I could have afforded my car repair bill on Saturday.

A very hectic work week ended with a much-too-exciting trip down my mountain with my brakes feeling like twin Twinkies.  Spongy.  I was very relieved to pull into my driveway in one piece.  Figuring it was just an adjustment needed from my front brake replacement job of last weekend, I did my rounds and had a glass of wine and a tin of kippers for dinner.  (I tell you, there are upsides of singlehood.  No pans, no one expecting more than a dish of kibble.  No one to say, "What in the world??!!  Kippers?" - no, wait, YOU are saying it, aren't you?  Well, I can't hear you - lalalalalalala.)

Saturday's errand list was two pages, so I figured I would stop at the garage first, then zip around and check things off the list and be home in time to zip over to the feed store, shower and go out to dinner with my neighbor.  There tends to be a lot of "zippiness" in my thoughts on weekends.  This is what actually happened:  I spent five hours and mucho dinero at the Bennington Midas.  Having my rear brakes replaced.  I did NOT get to the feed store.  I did NOT go out to dinner.  I did NOT drop off my Goodwill stuff.  Luckily, my dear sister was at our parents' this weekend and was able to come and rescue me once they informed me it would be hours longer.  I was able to shop for our office adopt-a-family (which I love, because it's the only time I get to shop for little ones!) and I did manage to do a Tractor Supply run for scratch feed and bird seed after the brakes were replaced.  And before I was all spongy-braked again.  Back to Midas where they bled the air out of the brake lines.  And, worst of all, I DID NOT BRING MY KNITTING.  That was the cruelest blow.  I had left the house at 9a thinking, "I should bring my knitting - nah, I won't be waiting long enough to make any headway."  Cha-CHING!  Another nickel!  I got home at 3:45p.  I was unhappy.

Sunday wasn't much better, as cheating on my non-gluten diet during the week finally caught up with me - oh, fickle, delusional me.  But I did manage to piece together some board siding on the run-in and put the two upright boards on my cover-my-fuel-oil-tank project.  The rest of the day was low-key, fiddling around with my rearranging projects and doing laundry.  If all goes well (hahahahahahahahaha) I hope to have the run-in shed in finished-enough shape to hold us through winter and have the framework finished on the tank enclosure. 

On an upside note, I think that I have found a great home for Acacia and Coco.  That will leave me with five sheep, which is much less of a feeding expense and will give everyone more pasture next year.  It will also mean that A and C will be getting a lot of individual attention - something that A craves and C needs.  Fingers and hooves are crossed.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Musings

When they (there they are again) say, "boy, she really packed on the weight" - how come mine is in jiggly plastic carry-ons, and not in hard-sided American Tourister luggage?  Do they even make hard-sided American Tourister luggage anymore?  Is it even cool to be seen with an actual suitcase?  Do the airlines charge you triple for actual suitcases?  You can tell it's been a while since I've traveled.

I used to love to travel by air.  It was an event - E.V.E.N.T.  Everyone spiffed up, all spit-shined clean and coiffed for a trip on an airplane.  No jeans, no pants-down-to-your-knees...

Segue - how on God's Green Earth can those homeboys keep their pants from pooling around their giant sneakers with every other step?  What if they have to hurry along?  And, do we want to see their undies?  I think, generally, NOT.

I'm back.  You could sit comfortably in your seat in those days.  Your knees were not up to your chin.  There were no yowling babies - it was too expensive to bring the whole family.  Plus, I do believe that people weren't in the habit of hauling mere infants all over the place just days after birth.  You got a free:  blanket, pillow, meal, beverage.  It was just lovely.  The last time I flew, I flew overseas to attend the wedding of a very dear friend to the love of her life.  Given that the last time I flew was after the world was turned on its ear, the security was amazing.  Bags were thoroughly searched, as was I.  We were shuffled through long lines, herded onto a plane that had been reduced to a narrow aisle lined on both sides with hundreds of tiny seats.  I half expected to see Temple Grandin waiting for us as we boarded.  We were "served" by an overworked, unhappy, cranky bunch of flight attendants, and my headphones didn't work.  Ack.  The best part was landing in Amsterdam and getting on the train to Eindhoven and seeing Els when I alit.  The return was just as grim, plus there was the added bonus of a drooling, snoring drunken seat-mate to contend with.

Enough of that.  Let's do a little tip-toeing through my childhood memories, okeydokey?  We did not fly anywhere.  We drove.  My parents were of the thought that all car trips should begin before daylight.  This added to the excitement - the car had been packed the night before.  We were awakened in the dark and bundled off into the car in our pajamas.  The car was almost always a Dodge.  With spectacular tail fins.  It was BIG.  We slept through the first hours of our trips - and that was probably the only peace and quiet my parents got on the trip.  The rest of the time was non-stop jabbering (by yourstruly), punctuated with pleas to stop (we learned to hold our water - my father didn't believe in stopping for anything but gas), and rousing games of License Plates, I Spy, and 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall (which we thought was a daring, wicked song because it was

I still sing in the car.  An while vacuuming.  And to the dogs, cats, chickens, sheep, and goats.  The dogs and goats are particularly moved by my vocalizing, although it worries Bernie if I get too wound up in a rendition of an Aretha Franklin song.  Are you a closet singer?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Snow Wolf. A Review.

First, let me say that I am pretty adept at putting things together.  When I first saw the box containing my Snow Wolf, I thought, "Gee, this seems like a pretty small box."  That was because the Snow Wolf was in about a thousand pieces.  Holy Crap, as Kay would say.  Last night I took everything out, laid it out and looked at the directions.  Or, what I will refer to as the so-called directions.  Vague would be an understatement.  Luckily, I had all the recommended tools - and a DVD.  Saved!  Not.  Even the DVD was vague.  I started at 7:30p and finally had the wheel together, with tread firmly (I hope) installed by 9p.  By 10:30 I had the main pieces put together but not attached to the wheel.  I opted for bed.  After rising at 3:30a and beholding the overnight efforts of Mother Nature, I made some high octane coffee and finished the job.  Ease of assembly:  D- (With a degree in Mechanical Engineering?  A+)

The Snow Wolf - In all its Glory at 5:00 AM

This was a perfect day to road test the S-W.  Here is what I beheld as the sun rose (somewhere):

Line of trees between front yard and barn.

Back fenced area with hoophouses and hay feeder (after SnowWolfing)

As with anything new, it takes some getting used to.  This system is so different and "engineered" that it does take a while for us mere mortals to get the hang of it.  Also, to be fair, not once in the riveting DVD action did one of the nicely dressed, perky S-W operators shovel anything but a nice, flat driveway.  It was way easier to use than a regular shovel, but you can really only do large, wide swaths.  I still had to hand shovel the decks and steps.  This thing is BIG!  It also seems to put some strain on one's arms, but that could be because this "one" hasn't learned how to use it correctly yet.  Ease of Use:  B+

Here are some more snowy pics for your entertainment - all of you sitting nice and snug by your wood stoves.

See stark contrast from previous post.

Yes, those dark blobs are sheep!

Chickie and Sage don't seem to mind the snow

Winter camo.

The Evidence

Boy, nothing like pictures to show you everything that wasn't done, still has to be done, ought to be done.  But we have a good start and I am now inspired to simplify my space to where I feel blissful.

Looking across LR - the bookcase had been to far left, with long table (holding TV/DVD) to right.
Front door is to the right.  You will notice a cat on every piece of furniture

Table now behind sofa (upon which I need to do some adjusting of covers...)
This pic was taken from the hallway.

LR "area", complete with two cats.  Still needs work (as in de-cluttering)
but I am making progress!

Half-wall in dining area leading to kitchen on right.  Sans Pie Safe.
I will take more once I get more natural light. I was up until 11p trying to put the goldarn Snow Wolf together. That experience deserves a separate post.

Since I was running around with my camera - here's more evidence...

The New and Improved Goat Gate (with triple bungee closing, thanks
to Chickie's discovery that he can push it open with one bungee)
Run In Shed - partially sided.  The facing boards need to be trimmed.

So there you are.  The evidence.  I now have to pull on my Carharts and muster the courage to tackle the 6 plus inches of snow that was predicted as a "light covering".  It's Woman and Snow Wolf against the elements! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Glory Be! Halleluiah! Woot!

What a surprise that I did NOT take a "before" picture, nor do I have an "after" photo with this blog post.  It sort of takes the wind out of one's bag as far as comparisons go.  After successfully luring Sylvia to my house for dinner with the bait of having her rearrange my living room (no, I will not give you her phone number), she stood in the cluttered space and looked around.  I stood helplessly by and offered amazingly helpful comments like, "Oh, I don't know" and "I don't know, what do YOU think?"  I also offered her a  glass of wine, so I wasn't, like, totally, like, lame.

With tape measure in hand and a gleam in her eye, in less than 15 minutes she had completely transformed my living room space.  It really was amazing.  And, contrary to all my fears, only one slightly dessicated mouse was uncovered while moving furniture.  And a pen.  And a raccoon-sized fur ball.

There is still work to be done.  Artwork has to be hung.  A lamp must be purchased.  My crock collection must be artfully displayed.  The mantle needs to be de-cluttered.  Have I mentioned that I L.O.V.E. it?  I will have to see if I have prior pics to show the difference.  Basically, she pulled things out from the wall, which opened the room up tremendously.  I realized that I had everything clinging to the walls for dear life!  What am I afraid of???  Within all this opening-up, she also created a snug, cozy area in the living room, where - gasp - I can actually see movies played on the DVD!  I am embarrassed to say that, for four years, I have had my tiny TV screen about 40 feet from my chair.  And left it that way.  For four years.  Sigh.  I did a little more decorating this morning (along with putting up two more siding boards on the front of the run-in) and will hang a few things on the wall tonight.  I'll post pictures tomorrow so you can at least see the "after".

I also started on the dining area by moving my pie safe around the corner and into the kitchen.  I removed the wooden record album cabinet that I used as a wine cellar (how grand, non?).  The top of the pie safe is large enough that I was able to fit my Berkey water filter and a small wine rack on top.  I removed the chandelier from the ceiling in the dining room -- here's a question for you:  Why, pray tell, would they have hung the chandelier in a place that would force you to put your dining room table slam/bam against the sliding glass doors in order to have it hanging over your eating space?  Hmmm? -- Once I find a cap that fits, I will cover the old opening.  All that's left is to hang my lovely wrought-iron candelabra that was an early birthday present from a certain someone.  While I doubt very much that it will be as lovely as hers, it will be lovely enough in its humble surroundings.

p.s.  I just found out that Sylvia is doing an amazing giveaway on her blog!  Go!  Comment!  Everyone is a winner!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Mewsings

I have, over the years, been 'host' to a variety of cats and kittens.  They were the allowed (or not) pet in most of the apartments in which I've lived.  When I first moved to the country, in my previous life, I brought my two cats with me -- Tippet and Woody.  Both were Brooklyn City Cats.  Of course, they were glued to the windows and doors and wanted OUT.  I resisted.  Then, under duress, I let Tippet out one day.  She immediately headed down the driveway and took a right turn into the middle of the road!  Luckily for us both, the next car that came around the bend was driven by a kind-hearted person - who slowed to a crawl behind Miss Puffy Pants.  I shouted at the driver to honk her horn, and Tippet shot up the hill (thankfully, in the right direction) where I soon corralled her.  We tried one more time with a figure-8 harness and leash.  I put her on the deck and she took one step...and dropped to her side like she'd been shot.  She wouldn't budge.  It was obvious to her that these leather objects were objects of torture.  Tippet chafed at any of my efforts to control her.

People often dropped off stray cats there.  Apparently, they thought they'd be releasing them into the wild - as if that was a good, natural thing to do.  Oh, don't get me started!  Over the years, I have had more than 18 cats spayed and neutered! 

We never had cats growing up.  My mother didn't and doesn't like them.  I was desperate for a pet.  She allowed fish, so I had a tank of guppies that I loved - until the females had babies and they were eaten by their parents.  I didn't sleep for days from the trauma of it and still carry the psychological scars.  I also had a field mouse in a shoe box under my bed for a while.  This would be the period where I kept my room spotless, so that my mother wouldn't feel inclined to clean it for me and discover the contraband pet.  I was so delighted when I opened the box one day and found a whole row of tiny pink babies!  Some days later, I was not so delighted when I pulled it out from under the bed and found...nothing.  I was on edge for weeks - seeing mice out of the corner of my eye at every turn!  Then I had Peeper, my chick.  But she had to go live on a farm after she acquired pin feathers.

When I was around 8 I rescued a wild bunny  - I had found it lying in the snow with a big gash on it's hind leg.  After running into the house and grabbing one of the good guest towels, I ran out and wrapped it up and brought it inside.  I wore my parents down with my weeping and moaning, so my uncle (the Vet) was called.  He came with his black bag, cleaned around the wound and then put iodine on it.  The last we saw of that rabbit was his little white cottontail madly zigzagging around the house, with adults and children in flat-out pursuit.  My dad finally opened the door and out it went.  I was inconsolable.  Falling to the floor, weeping copious tears.  Appealing to whatever forces there were out there to help a poor, pet-less little girl, to just end my misery.  Have I mentioned that I was very melodramatic as a child?

A dachshund puppy entered soon afterward.  We were so thrilled!  Dachshunds are infamous for being difficult, but this particular wienie dog met her match with my mother.  (Probably because they were both from German backgrounds.)  However, she had the rest of us wrapped around her little paw for years.

My mother always told me (in her most exasperated tone - using ALL of my proper name) that some day I would have a child just like me and it would serve me right.  What a scary thought!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Weekend Doings.

Another fun-packed weekend is in store!  There are new front brakes for the trusty (and rusty) Ford Focus Wagon  -- which just passed a milestone:  187,000 miles!  You go, girl! (please, please, please)  I will continue siding the run-in shed; the water heater for the poultry needs to be scrubbed up and installed; firewood has to be shuttled; and, if it's warm enough, I will tackle washing the front of the house.  I also need to build a frame to enclose my fuel oil tank and move manure to raised beds and rhubarb bed.

On the fun side, there is a holiday party at the local library on Saturday, to which I've procured an invitation.  On Sunday, I have invited Sylvie to dinner -- luring her with the prospect of re-working my living room!  It needs help.  I am clueless.  She has talent in abundance and she is so good at it!  I will try to take before/after pictures.  I am also going to rearrange my dining area -- this is what I do in the wee hours of the morning when I'm trying to go back to sleep.  It's better than counting sheep.  When I count sheep, I end up worrying if they need to be wormed again, if their hooves need trimming, if they're fat, if I'm a good sheep mother.

I also have to find my cell phone.  It has gone missing.  This is very out-of-the-ordinary for me, as I don't lose things.  I think it might be in my car someplace, as I dialed it up to no avail in the house.  Of course, I have a ridiculous ringtone -- guilty of detesting most ringtones (and cellphones in general), I chose the little tweety bird ring tone.  Unfortunately, it is so unlike a ringtone, that I miss most of my calls - I am standing with my head cocked, wondering what bird it is that I hear faintly in the distance.  Yes, it's the Dodo.

I hope everyone has a marvelous weekend!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Creature Comforts

As part of my nurturing nature, I make sure that every being in my care is as comfortable as is humanly possible.  This means that the chickens and ducks have heated water in the winter, shelter from wind and rain, fresh shavings in their nesting boxes (hint, hint, hint), popcorn for special occasions, and, if I am really feeling motherly, I will cook their scratch grains in the slow cooker overnight until it's like hot breakfast cereal.  The goats have their Dogloo house in the barn, with a nice thick layer of straw for cuddling up.  They have a light on a timer, fresh water in a heated bucket, minerals, baking soda, a portion of grain twice a day and hay.  The sheep will soon have a nice, big run-in shed with a thick layer of straw for bedding and, budget-willing, an inside hay rack and an outside hay rack.  They also have a large heated water bucket.

Inside - well, let's just say that some of us are more comfortable than others.  Kramer is the Poster Boy of Comfort.  He knows a warm place when he finds it. 

He only enjoys classical music for its soothing warmth.
 Scrappy has his blankie, which he loves in the evening.  I wrap him up like an enchilada and he is snoring softly in minutes.  As soon as his gentle snorts are wafting about the room, Kramer moves in.

The cats have their own room, complete with a padded comfy chair and scratching posts, two large litter pans (cleaned daily) and cat-sized furniture.  They also have the rest of the house which they use liberally.

I am still trying to find the comfort zone for Bernie.  She has been so deeply scarred from whatever hell her previous life put her through, that I don't think she will ever be truly comfortable.  So we have to just take advantage of the moments she NOT on guard and poised to flee.  She does like the new couch and, in the morning when I'm in my rocker knitting my cabled things, she will tentatively inch toward the couch next to me.  Looking worried all the way.  Once she is absolutely sure it is allowed, she will hop up and curl into a ball with her head on the pillow and gets all squinty.

Every morning, the dogs get their kibble with warm broth.  (Don't tell the cats!  They'll think I love the dogs more.  Which I don't.  Mostly.)  There are bright orange fleecy vests to wear during hunting season and lots of crunchy treats for any reason.

If it were possible, I would love to be one of my dogs.  But I would have to figure out how to be in two bodies at one time, and that would involve time travel and Buddhism or something very complicated - like quantum physics squared by pi.  Not likely.