I have been waiting for an occasion to use that word - "olio" - one of my favorite crossword puzzle words that seem to be archaic. O-li-o (noun); another term for olla podrida; a miscellaneous collection of things; a variety act or show. That describes the last four days to a 't'.
Besides the fact that everything now squishes - six straight days of rain (although we have a break as I type), with at least six more coming up - my life has taken on the neon colors of barely-controlled chaos. I'd like to say that I've grown so accustomed to this that I just roll with the currents. But that would not be the truth. As always, I face my life as a salmon - always fighting to go upstream. Gah.
I had taken Friday off so that I could whip the house into shape and get ready for my youngest sister's birthday bash. Well, bashette - none of us stays up past 9:30. The three sisters were going to merge at the LLF and feast on lobster, carrot rice, roasted asparagus, excellent champagne, and flourless chocolate cake (aka a slab of fudge). Connie came over early and we got into gear. In the rain. Of course. Cynthia had to drive up from The City through floods and pestilence and arrived around 7:30.
|Chocolate cake by the light of|
the strange birthday candle/music
box that eventually needed to be
Things were going swimmingly until the clock struck 9. Then the power went out. And stayed out. Thankfully, the champagne carried us through until bed time. I was not able to sleep, however, because I could get no information about when the power would be restored and I had three brooders of chicks in the dark with no heat. I paced and heaved and sighed all night. Around midnight, aided by my headlamp, I divided the chicks into two groups for warmth and then swaddled the brooders with a down comforter. It was a good thing that they were mostly feathered (except their fuzzy heads) and were able to maintain enough warmth to keep themselves comfortable.
By the time daylight arrived (with more rain and wind), there was still no word on power restoration. I pulled on my waders and slogged out to the generator and got it going. I am so glad I have it - but it is a small one and not able to power more than one thing at a time. That meant a rotating schedule of Freezer #1, Brooders, Freezer #2. The fridge was on its own, not to mention the total lack of running water. That sent both sisters off early in the morning - you do NOT want three women in the house with no flushing toilets. Trust me on this. Saturday was spent with my phone alarm going off every two hours, so that I could unplug one thing and plug in the next thing. Finally, by late afternoon, the utility company put an estimated restoration time of 11PM on their web site. I doubted I would be upright by 11PM, so I opted to stay up as along as I could, then cut off the generator and flip the main switch back on. I tossed and turned until 3A, when the power finally came back on.
Sunday was spent cleaning up Friday's dishes and lots of inside work. Because...it was raining. I almost forgot that Monday was Shearing Day and had to dash out in the drizzle to set up the barn so that the sheep would be dry. I slept very well Sunday night.
Monday morning dawned overcast, windy and raw, but not raining! After rushing through the basics, I jumped in the car and drove north to Melanie's, where we rassled small, woolly, horned eel bodies from her sheep cote downhill, alllllll the way up to her front porch, where the power lay. I was staggering and gasping by the time we got them all in the pen she set up. Man, oh, man. Shetlands are small but wiry! Most of them had horns, so they provided good handles - but they also provided a series of bruises up and down both legs. The shearer was an hour late, so we got some visit time in, which was a bonus.
|Joe working on an itty-bitty|
Shetland. I love my shearer.
|Some beautiful fleece!|
Then down the road to stop number two - one sheep with his giant ox friend. Since this is already a windy post, I will add a little background on this wild sheep. He was an escapee from a meat sheep herd, at least 15 miles to the northeast, outside of our town. He spent months being spotted but never caught. How he managed to travel up the mountain, through coyote, bear and bobcat country and survive, speaks of his innate wildness. He ended up sauntering into a friend's barn and planting himself between his pair of giant, gentle oxen. And there he stayed. Unfortunately, one of the oxen died in the fall of bone cancer. The remaining boy seemed very lonely and stuck to his sheepie companion. An odd couple.
|Joe is close to 6' tall. Just sayin'.|
|The odd couple|
Down the mountain we went to tackled my two fat eels, then down the road to another neighbor for three sheep, an angora goat and two alpacas. While the neighbor stood, listing and re-listing all his ailments (real or imagined, or both), Joe and I did all the labor. Honestly. But it gave me some time to assess this guy's LGDs - who are in sorry shape. As my shearer noted, love is great but not enough when it comes to animals. You need to provide care. At least we make sure whomever needs it gets shorn each year (although the angora goat needs shearing 2x a year - Joe must have sheared off over 20 lbs of matted, filthy fiber). And don't get me started on hooves. While the neighbor nattered on, I got a curry comb and started on one of the Maremmas. The female is friendly - the male is extremely wary. It was all I could do, not to load both of them in my car and take them home.
By the time I got home, all I wanted was a soft chair and a cup of tea (did I mention that the wind howled through the barn and it spitted snow on us for two hours?) Instead, I find blood running down Linden's face and Norman sporting red polka dots all over. Apparently, spring is in the air and, once the fleece is off, feelings run high. Or they turn into idiots - take your choice. I managed to slap some blood-stop on Linden's broken scur, then I left them to it. They eventually calmed down and there was - of course - the rain to clean things up. Double gah.
On a more mundane (thank goodness) note, I have found my new Favorite Thing. I ended up making the breakfast I had planned for my sisters, for myself on Sunday. Baked eggs in crispy prosciutto cups. OMG. That led to finding MORE prosciutto in the fridge for another round for the freezer, and then little spinach quiches in muffin cups, too I am on a roll! Pepperoni got his summer buzz cut and looks much less fat than I thought he would. Losing all that hair really put some zing in his step, and he's been orking around like a looney tune since Sunday. Best of all? Yesterday evening, just when I was going to slip batch number 2 of my muffin madness into the oven, my handyman arrived with the wood for my pagoda! Woohoo! Building starts this week! If it ever stops raining, that is. Maybe I should save it for an ark.
|Beady little eyes|
|Stream-lined for summer. If it|
|Wake us up when the sun comes out.|