Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year 2010

Here it is New Year's Eve 2010. I don't have any resolutions to offer. I don't have any reflections on 2009 to offer. I don't have a special menu planned, although the Willow made a request for chicken parmesian that sounded pretty good. Ok, I spelled paremesian wrong but I don't know how to activate spell check on this mactop. When I was a kid I pronounced it parmeeesian cheese. My kids used to call it "good cheese". Willow doesn't like it and the Firebird uses it in VERY liberal quantities on any pasta dish. I will melt mozz on the chicken and red sauce and serve the "good cheese" on the side.

I also have some leftover chevon churizo sausage. Boss gave me a pound as part of my Christmas gift. When I cooked it up the dog freaked out-remember the lamb incident? He sniffed the air, looked alarmed, and hid upstairs. Til the delicious odor permeated the upstairs. Then he returned and looked like a beaten pathetic Mr. pitiful. I gave him a bite. He ate it. Next bite my hand came away wet-he was drooling. yeah, it's good.

We saw Avatar yesterday. My three kids and myself. It was great. A bit of swearing that might be offensive but not the f word. I liked the message they were going for. The special effects were par excellence. I had to pick up a few things at the store afterwards and I felt like I was flying.

Our goats have broken out twice in a week. Poor things, not much adventure to be had around here in the middle of the winter. I have been messing with their grain feeding-if I have to work at the farm they get it in the afternoon with just hay in the am. They really don't like that. Both times they have escaped it was at the grain gate. This am I grained them and went to do laundry and left the Firebird home. I backed the car in and opened the car door and he was standing there..."hello" scared me to death!!

He said, "the goats broke the fence and I can't fix it."

and here comes my cute little herd of goats behind him through the snow-oh, Mom's home.

I grabbed a bag of leftover wreath fir and started spreading it in the goat pen. It was snowing lightly at the time and they all came running back in. Then I gave them their afternoon hay and fixed the fence and tore a hole in my new thinsulate ski gloves-grrr no wonder I prefer the heavy suede work gloves for farm chores!

So that's it-my bum's going numb kicked back on the bed, and chicken-good-cheese awaits.

Happy New year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Once in Blue Moon

Our second full moon of the month is building. It was high in the sky through the snow encrusted trees well before dark tonight.

Yesterday I was practically cavorting in a tee shirt in the warm sunshine-temps have dropped drastically with 12F at afternoon chores, and howling winds out of the NorthWest as I type. A storm of "epic proportions" (according to the young weatherman on the local news channel) is building for this weekend. I hear that and I imagine a blizzard of several feet accumulation, but we have no snowfall amount predictions from the novice at this time.(*ed note: he is now saying storm of the decade)

I received a couple of ounces of fingering weight cashmere yarn from Boss as a Christmas gift, and I want to make a hat. I don't know how to knit, but I learned to crochet years ago from my grandmother. Granny squares. As a young adult I did some free form crochet as Christmas gifts, but I have never made a hat.

I found a pattern and diligently unskeined and balled the cashmere into a teeny tiny ball. I followed the pattern protocol and made a gauge; a number of stitches that are then measured to make sure the size is right. Wrong. Too small. UGH. The difference is that I am using very thin yarn. So I spent several hours trying to find a comparable pattern online. Usually my googling skills have high returns-not this time.

I did find one pattern that might work, so I might just wing it and see what happens. I suppose if it comes out too small I could give it to someone with a smaller head or rip it out and start again.

The hat, not the head.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Been busy! Worked Saturday at the farm with just S, and we got a lot of work done! He went through school with my oldest so I have known him since he was in kindergarten, and despite the age gap I think we make a great work team. He is a communicator like me, and we are very comfortable telling the other what we are doing next and chatting about everything else in the meantime. He even admitted sometimes he even talks aloud to himself about what needs to be done next and I had to chuckle because I am the same way.

Or I am chattering away to the animals.

Yesterday I was called in for R and poor Boss was doing all the cleaning when I arrived. Then it POURED rain and I was soaked through. Even my liners in my boots got wet. Yeah, I was glad to get home into some dry clothes.

I worked again today and was happy to see the sun! It was actually quite a lovely day out and a lot of snow has melted. We are due for more snow tonight.

i had to fix my mailbox this afternoon. As I was leaving this am I noticed it was vertical instead of horizontal. I thought, wow, that was some wind we had last night, LOL. It seemed as though someone had shoved it up and back off the post. Then as I was re-seating it I notice one corner was dented, so I checked things out when I drove to the town office to pay the taxes and license the dog. (yeah, I am a procrastinator). We saw a bunch of mailboxes on the main drag smashed so someone was vandalizing last night. Mailbox smashers really get my goat! So many people need their mail and older folks can't fix it themselves and a lot of folks can't afford to replace them. I was glad mine was repairable but still mad I had to spend 1/2 hour fixing it.

I used to watch CSI until one episode a guy was replacing his mailbox at night with one filled with cement cos he got sick of vandals. Well, the kid broke his arm and caused the driver to crash and they both died and they were going to charge him with manslaughter! And the CSI guys were defending mailbox smashing like it was a cool kid thing to do...I wanted to write the network I was so mad...

Well, that's about it unless you want to hear about all the food we are still trying to eat! :D

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

A few minutes before the turn of Christmas morn. A dusting of white last night gave the day of Christmas Eve a magical start. We finished rolling, cutting, baking and frosting the rest of the sugar cookies-all of my kids taking turns. I frosted a few myself-my method was to frost the whole top of the cookie with chocolate and then outline the details with colored frosting. Yum. We ate cookies all day, gave some away, and still have a pan full.

Due to an illness in the family, the Bosses decided to visit away for the holiday and I agreed last minute to do night chores on Christmas Eve. Willow and I had a chance to wish Merry Christmas to all our faves, and I had a heavy hand with the evening pig and goose grain, extra treats for the dogs, extra hay for the horses, and special words for our favorite goats. Nice and warm-above freezing at least-it was a nice break not to have to crack ice out of buckets with frozen fingers.

I had a huge laugh at the pig. I had been told she makes her own bed, and to see her dragging a flake of hay into the back stall was something out of a scary movie, but still sweet. She stopped making her bed long enough to get a big chunk of bread from Willow and myself as a good night snack.

The presents are finally all wrapped and tucked under the beautiful tree. More practical gifts this year, a few treats, and some old standbys. I stuck a few for myself in there-a waterproof pair of thinsulate gloves and a box of cello dark chocolate covered cherries along with a new mug-I needed one with a handle. I have a few gifts for myself from others that I can't wait to open. Alas, no Bailey's this year (probably a blessing) since that gift giver is suffering lean times, but I picked up a bottle of Sambuca since I like a bit of liquor while wrapping gifts.

The wrapping got a bit sloppy at the end-but I finished with a couple new toys for the dog, and I don't think he minds if there is a lot of tape and crinkles in the paper.

Merry Christmas, blessings, and smiles....:-x

Monday, December 21, 2009

I Hate Dell

I arrived home from work and the work luncheon and hopefully checked the mailbox for my long awaited part. Nothing. Then I checked the answering machine and had another message from Dell. Now the date is the 30th. I did not call to continue with the order. It has been 6 weeks waiting on a part that may or may not fix my computer and I refuse to play their game anymore. I thought about ordering it online, but if it is not the problem, I will be out the cash and still not have a computer. Buying another computer is out of the question.

So, I am really depressed about it. One of my favorite pastimes is taking pics . I don't want to go through the time and energy to deal with that on this state laptop. I feel like it is just time to find other ways to spend my time. I will certainly sign in from time to time and check out how my friends are doing. I just can't hang in limbo anymore.

I wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and Happy New year.

Love, Tree.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


One Word...COLD!!!!

I was skunked at my local laundry yesterday-someone just beat me there and was taking the few big washers, so I decided to try the laundramat in Belfast. That was HUGE! And decorated to the max for Christmas. The laundry lady was very nice and I chatted her up and another customer who is a transplant from Capitol Hill in DC.

I grew up just outside the DC line so the three of us had a nice chat while I was folding mountains of laundry.

I did work the farm this am, although my fingers were screaming frozen-despite a double glove trick P turned me onto this year- after feeding my own goats before work. I was tempted at that point to call in, but I went in and poor R was by himself in the barn half frozen, so I am glad I went in.

Boss was in the house nursing a hurt back; P had called in sick. The wind chill was what killed us-well below zero. I found as long as I stayed moving my hands didn't get too bad since I was keeping the circulation going. R noticed the double gloved trick and said he was going to try that.

The base layer is a thin knit pair of Faded Glory two for a buckers-the top layer is a fleece-lined suede work glove. When working at the farm, the bulky work gloves often get in the way of collaring goats. I use my knees or armpit to pull the outer glove off and still have something covering my hand with the underglove. The knees or armpit help trap the heat in the glove until you can get it back on your hand. Nothing worse than putting a frozen glove on!

I could have used a scarf over my face today, though. I used to go bareheaded, but today I had on a cheap knit orange hunt hat and my hoodie. I was wearing a cotton turtleneck, a thermal long sleeve, a long sleeved henley, two polyester fleece hoodies, and a ski vest. Pants were a many patched pair of Tommy's jean and thermal longjohns (the front of them has worn holes so now I wear them backwards...LOL). Just a regular pair of socks and my new snowboots good for -30.

The only thing that was cold were my hands (always since I had frostbite helping Daphne kid in -20 a few years ago) and my face. I worked outside 1/2 hr at my own place, drove 1/2 in a freezing car to the farm, two and a half hours at the farm, and then another hour on my own night chores.

Is it spring yet?

Still no computer part-can't wait to post some more pics!!! New date: Dec 23.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Yesterday I scraped together as much cash as I could and went Christmas shopping. I found some good stuff for my kids! I even bought myself a couple of things! LOL. One import store I love to visit had a wool blazer made in Tibet half price for $22. It is a bit too big for me but I just had to have it! It doesn't have any pockets in it though, so I may have to put some in. The sleeves are long so I guess they figure that will keep your hands warm!

Then I stopped at a couple of cheap places and picked up a bunch more stuff for stocking stuffers. I was enjoying blowing money so much I even brought home take out from our favorite Chinese food place. When I arrived home there was a big box from Swiss colony in the snowbank from a relative! Then there was a huge styrofoam box by the back door from Omaha steaks from another relative! Both the postman and UPS drivers had been there in my absence! Woo-hoo!

Sacks of presents, food from relatives-if that didn't get me the holiday spirit! I finally got the lights and garland on the tree and the kids and I spent the evening decorating it and it is sooo beautiful!

Today is laundry day-boo! And we have bitter winds out of the Nor'West as well. Tomorrow it is supposed to be highs in the single digits with wind chill below zero. I am so tempted to play hooky from the farm tomorrow! I am extra help on Thursdays and I am not much help if I am frozen! Besides, I have been feeling very disgruntled again about it, underappreciated and overcriticized. Between P and Boss on Monday there are just too many hens in the henhouse, so to speak, and I seem to be at the bottom of the pecking order! I mean, the job is NOT rocket science, how hard is it to feed animals and clean a little poo? But no, one of them always seems to find some little comment to make and it really aggravates me!!!!! If I didn't need the money I would be sooo finished! Oops, what happened to that holiday spirit from a minute ago? LOL.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Still alive and kicking although I feel like I have been through a mangler.

I didn't make it to the farm on Wednesday, opting to close in the little goat house number one before the storm, and then we had a blizzard. I spent the afternoon stressed out about the goats and contemplating calling the guy to come and get them, but decided to sleep on it.

I worked the farm on Thursday, and had a couple accidents. The first I walked into a steel rod and whacked my cheek, but at least I missed the eye. That's what happens when you wear a hood up-you lose peripheral vision. Then at Prescott I went to dump the wheelbarrow and P tried to stop me so she could finish digging a path through the snow to the pile, but I said, "no, I can make it."

Ha. I went full bore with that wheelbarrow and hit the snow and the handles flew up and I went over the top and twisted around and fell to the side so luckily I didn't get any poo on me or go headfirst into the pile, but it hurt non the less.

P was in the barn but I think she might have seen it and ran back in laughing-it must have looked pretty funny.

R and I worked the farm Friday and he wiped out a couple times riding the sled with the bale of hay and just standing on his own feet, but I had the grace not to laugh and he's young and strong so probably fine.

Friday night Willow and I did night chores and it was freezing was Saturday am but I did manage to unthaw my fingers. I had a bad spot when I wondered if I could stay out in the cold. My fingertips are still a little numb and tingly as I type this..

Yesterday afternoon was pretty windy so I decided to strip the rest of the roof on the goat house and pull enough boards to finish little house number two. I was jambing a flatbar under the roll roofing that was covered in ice, and it went in really fast and far and the edge of the roll roofing caught me in the flexed bicep and I was in agony. My wrist hurst, my elbow hurt-I thought I busted a vein, but I kept at it until I was kneeling on three six-inch icy boards and figured that was good enough!

Then my knees were so tender from the ice and asphalt I could barely kneel on them today.

Today the wind finally died down and I went to drop some big standing dead fir in the goat pen that might flatten a house. The first went down fine-I knew the second was going to hang up in some trees, and the Firebird and I spent an hour trying to hook the top with a rope to pull it back to no avail.

We hooked it a couple times and I would start pulling and the rope would slip and I would go flying back on my tush...ha.

We never managed to get the tree down but we got it hung up pretty well so it should be there awhile.

So I moved on to little house number two-assembling it. It came out much better than number one, since I had realized where I went wrong, or where I could do better.

So the goats now have three little houses,(two new) a tarp house only Obiwan sleeps in, and the little dog house. They still have the lean to and side house off the old house; both have overhead shelter but are pretty drafty. It is raining right now so at least not the blowing snow from the middle of the week. Three goats could easily fit in the new little houses, but three of the wethers usually sleep alone so they'll have to figure it out, I guess.

Then we went Christmas tree shopping and cut our own tree.
(for $35 UGH! I'd rather cut a wild one but we didn't have a good one here this year) It is on the back step at the moment waiting for the stand to unthaw. I left the stand out a week or two ago and it has an inch of ice in the bottom, so that is by the stove trying to thaw so we can bring the tree in. Now with the rain the tree will be soaked and I don't know if I dare light and decorate a wet tree, so we might not get that in and started tonight, but we're getting there....

HO ho ho who wouldn't know? :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Had today off and decided to start tearing down the old goat house. It's not actually that old; I built it a few years ago. Trouble is, I built the roof around, and the house right up against, this huge maple tree, because I didn't want to cut it down.

The first spring there was about 6 inches of old goat bedding piled up around the base of the tree, and I cleaned it up. Two days later the tree died. That was two years ago, and now all the small branches have fallen and there are mushrooms growing on the trunk. The thing is leaning over the goat house, and in my worrying state I can see the thing going down at 2 am in the middle of a NOr'easter with blowing snow and zero degree temps, squishing a few goats in the process and at the very least leaving them without shelter.

I guess I should have sold them all to the guy who bought Nic. He went on about how nice my goats are and made me a package offer, but no, I had to say, "NO," just so I could spend my day off and hard earned cash building shelters for them.

The lumber company was a nightmare and tried to rip me off and succeeded in ripping me off on the price of nails, but the lumber was a good deal, although huge for the job. I wanted some milled 2X4's and they were more money than the rough cut hemlock. So I bought the rough cut and it's big enough to build a real house nevermind a little dinky shelter.

I cut the pieces for the frame and partially assembled it and then assembled it in the pen-a little tricky with the uneven ground and snow cover, but then I was set up to start tearing the boards off the roof of the other shelter to use to floor and side the new one. That was the part I was dreading, but the building was good and sturdy after I had to reinforce it last week thanks to Nic, and the boards came off pretty easily even if the asphalt roll roofing was hard to get off.

I felt a little melancholy taking it apart since I hand peeled all the frame out of trees I cut down myself and hand fitted it all. We even did wattle and daub on the back wall but the goats tore all that out. Still, it was learning experience and nothing lasts forever.

I pulled enough rows of boards to cover the floor, and knocked the nails out and sawed them and put them on, and then worked on trying to get enough for the sides but I ran out of daylight. So I have one of two little houses half built and the big one half unroofed, and we are getting a snowstorm tomorrow.

AND Boss called and asked me to work tomorrow for R (it's his birthday) and I left a message I would if I can get there in the storm...The extra money will help pay for that stuff at the lumber yard today. I have already agreed to work Thurs for R ( the day AFTER his birthday) and Fri for P (it's HER birthday) and Fri night chores for Boss (they're going to a show-a sit down one not a goat show lol) and Sat morning in charge for Boss as well. So no day off until Sunday but hey holiday cash! And I can always try and finish this project off some afternoon even though we are due for Arctic air on Friday...hmmm maybe Thursday afternoon then...

LOL mumbling out loud! and of course I have the Willow asking for the other Christmas boxes to unpack and the Christmas tree and oh yes, Christmas cookies...Too bad Christmas didn't come later in the winter so we had more inside time for all this stuff!!!

Next year I am definitely making the wreaths and garland BEFORE Thanksgiving!
Maybe on Halloween.

OH STILL no computer part-had ANOTHER call from Dell the new arrival date is the 15th. Yeah right...this is the fourth time they have delayed the part. I am getting annoyed-patience is not one of my virtues!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday snow

From torrential rain to 6 inches of snow-welcome December! I imagine this snow will be with us until May now...

Still waiting on the computer part-it has been delayed twice now and is due by the 10th. I had to call and reconfirm the order and I was like<"yes I want it and I want it NOW!" LOL.

Worked the farm yesterday with R. We corralled some chickens someone dumped at the red cottage next door. They are really pretty four hens that look like Rhode Islands and a big red rooster with a double (rose?) comb. Last weekend someone dumped a mother cat and three starving kittens there-P took them in and was taking them to the shelter yesterday. Boss decided to take in the birds. Mr. Boss wasn't sure how he felt about a crowing rooster! LOL.

Was going to cut brush for wreaths and garland today but now everything is under 6 inches of snow! So probably some overdue housework and sledding and snowman making this afternoon.

I might try and get some pics up. I miss my own computer and I don't know how to resize on this one so they take a year and a day to upload!

Hope everyone is having a nice weekend!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Nic Sold

Sold Nicholas the weck today. Good timing. Saturday after working at the farm in the pouring rain, I discovered that he had destroyed a partition in the goat house during the day, and as exhausted as I was, I had to figure a way to fix it. I want to tear that house down in the near, so I was pretty frustrated having to patch it up in the meantime.

Yesterday a very good friend showed up on the verge of tears over financial difficulties beyond his control. He has helped me out many times so I gave him a bit of cash and bags of pet food (I keep that stuff stocked up since the big bags are a much better buy) and some food out of the cupboards to see him through to his next paycheck. To me it is a testament to the sour state of the economy, as this friend has always had enough for himself and family and been there several times when I got in a pinch with emergency pet surgeries.

Three of the four of the last shifts I have worked at the farm have been in downpours. Today we had several inches of rain along with gale force winds; then the sun broke out this afternoon and the temps at two banks on the coast read 68 and 61 degrees F. I am letting the fire die out in the woodstove and have a window wide open upstairs. Phew!

Anyhow, I was soooo soaked through today-jeans, long johns, yes, even my socks shirts and underwear-even though I was wearing mudboots and raincoat. The trouble with all the rain, not just with getting wet, is I work short shifts-just doing the basics of hay and grain and extra bedding-so it hurts the paycheck. I was actually much relieved to sell Nic for the amount I gave my friend yesterday, since I wasn't counting on the money from Nic I broke even in the end. Plus I'll save a bit on hay and grain in the meantime-and will feel safer with the saplings in the goat pens since Nic was too aggressive and used to even shove me around.

I do feel badly for him-he was definitely the lord of our little herd-so I wish him well in his new home.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving wrap up

Winding down the long weekend. The turkey is about to make its final appearance as soup for supper. We have been living off awesome turkey sandwiches and now it's time to pick the bones.

The weather finally broke to sunshine today-two days of drizzle led to serious rain on Friday and Saturday, both of which I had to work in the mornings at the farm. Boss hurt her back and was down on Friday-R and I flew through the chores and finished early. T came in on Saturday, much to my delight, since it had been just myself and the Boss the last few Saturdays. Boss made an appearance in the barn to do HOOVES. Yes, flat on her back for two days and then comes in to do hooves. Well, she didn't make it to the bucks-T and I left early and to my surprise the bucks wanted their walk in the rain.

R and I had put in a new gate to allow the bucks access to a huge side field, and I learned that R and Boss had forgotten to secure the gate last week. Well, when those bucks took off Saturday, I stopped to grab my snack-homemade sticky buns. I have a great sweet dough recipe that makes great dinner rolls and it such a huge recipe that I also made two small pans of sticky buns-cinnamon buns with honey and pecans. Anyhow, I start stuffing in the sticky buns and saw the bucks get some wind under their sails, so I raced through the saturated fields to cut them off.

We faced off along the highway. Well, this is Maine, so don't think four lane Beltway-just a two lane with a 45 speed limit, but most folks do 60 and there are a lot of gravel and lumber trucks that drive it as well. Four of the newer bucks spread out and kept pushing that line to the road. casting glances across to a green field. The older boys hung back in a pack waiting to see what would happen. I stomped along in the road racing from one of the leaders to the next, brr-ing and barking and stomping and finally picked up some styrofoam trash to whack Chrissie back from the road. I found out later that the bucks had crossed the road when they freed themselves earlier in the week, and apparently they knew the grass WAS greener on the other side, but I was having none of it.

Finally they gave up and headed back to the wild strawberry runners along the treeline-ripping mouthfuls of runners and behaving themselves. (as much as 15 bucks can behave themselves)

I had today off and had a huge to do list, still racing the snow. I cut up the rest of the recent tree drops in the goat pens into haulable lengths, cut some softwood into lengths for something to stack wood on. That was supposed to be the end of my pen work, but I couldn't resist dropping a couple of trees for the goats, and had a good sized beech fall back instead of forward, and it hung itself up in some trees behind it. The wind wasn't in my favor, either. I raced back to the house and got a length of stout rope and hooked it up in the branches and pulled it down=towards me, with the saplings shouting "it's coming!" and me running like lightning to get out of the way.

"You can run fast," said the Firebird. LOL.

Then lunch break followed by going under the house for winterizing-that is the grossest job and my skin was crawling between the spiders and fiberglass and the smell of something like a snake nest...a boiling hot bath took care of that, now for supper and another rain/snow day at the farm in the am...ugh, my feet are going to rot! and all my workclothes smell like wet goat (buck) so it looks like one of those days off this week will be spent on laundry...sigh..somehow we will find the time to get a Christmas tree and make wreaths and haul out the Christmas stuff!

Happy December!

Still waiting for that computer part....:(

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Willow's Poems

Willow is so creative with her drawings. Her writing is coming along nicely as well. Here are a couple things she wrote the other day. I am fixing the spelling but was tempted to leave the errors since they are so cute.

The Ocean

The Ocean is so beautiful.
The blues greens and grays.
All the fish too little and big
but they're all the same. Fast and
slow. Big and small, pretty and ugly, shiny and dark edible not
edible. They're all they're all the same
except cold blooded and warm blooded.

Willow Trees

Willow trees are so beautiful,
they are brown green. They glisten
in the beautiful meadow, bees bugs
and butterflies, birds and leaves
surround it the leaves swing back
and forth. " I wish I could watch
the willow trees more but I have
to go."

The World

The World is so beautiful
The greens, the blues and browns
all the colors stand
for something. Blue stands for
ocean, green stands for grass
and brown stands for ground
the world is so beautiful.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Goodbye Christmas

Christmas was the name of the youngest goose at the farm, named so by P for her destination as this year's Christmas dinner.

When I quit the farm a few weeks ago it was in part because of the geese flock. Everyone at the farms deals with the geese by picking up sticks and threatening the geese. Granted, the geese, especially two of the ganders, are a bit vicious, and once one of them left a bruise the size of a grapefruit on K's calf.

A little while ago I discovered if I tossed a handful of cracked corn where I would rather the geese be, the geese would run over to the corn cackling and be distracted long enough for me to pass. This was quite convenient when going through a gate, since they have a habit of running from one gate to the other and many times I ran through a gate and across the road to the hill with the flock in hot pursuit. I found the whole situation annoying, and was quite pleased with myself finding the corn solution. No one else used corn, and the geese weren't stupid; many a morning I pulled into the farm to have the flock rush to the car in greeting.

Well, P was going through a bitchy phase, and was frequently making complaints about things that had to do with my work and the way I do things. One day I overheard heard her saying something about not being stupid enough to give the geese corn, and that was the predecessor to a huge fall out. I did agree to continue working at the farm, but one day recently the geese were at the gate, and I thought I would ask Boss if I could use the corn, and she told me to herd them into the garden instead. Well, I was too busy to take the time to herd the geese, so I just worked around them and had to bring the horses in the other gate.

When I arrived on Saturday I learned that Boss was taking Christmas up north for processing, and I agreed to help corral the geese at the end of the shift.

The geese had to be locked out of the gate so they wouldn't get into a place we couldn't catch them, and as I was heading up to the hill, the flock rushed me at the gate with both my hands filled with the containers of goat grain. Normally , I would have thrown them a handful of grain and continued in peace, but I had been banned, so I decided to run for it. Then my coat snagged on the fence and I was trapped like a fish on a hook. All I could see was the giant bruise that was coming, and I let our a huge swear and threw the containers at the geese and tore myself free, The poor geese really didn't know what was going on with their corn lady!

At the end of the shift I helped Mr. Boss ready the box for transporting the goose; putting in some hay and holes in the container, and then we moved in on the flock. Christmas broke from the corner and ran by me-I touched her wing but didn't want to grab it, so we cornered them again, The plan was for Mr. Boss to catch her, but again she broke in my direction, following the meanest gander, and I rushed in and grabbed her neck an scooped her up with my other arm and headed for the box. She had a wing free, and I didn't want to stop- being afraid of the other geese- and she flapped and looked at me with her brown eye and honked, like "what are you doing to me?"

"Sorry," said the corn lady as I put her in the box.

Well, when their Christmas dinner is nice and juicy this year, maybe they will thank me for fattening her up on corn. (sarcasm)

Friday, November 20, 2009

I Broke My Computer

Yesterday morning I happened to look down and see some dust bunnies on my computer power strip, and reached down to brush them off. Then I hit the power switch. Uh Oh.'

My computer has been having issues when I unplug it during electrical storms, and has been refusing to turn back on. It definitely did NOT like being shut off while on, because it would not turn back on. After trying various things, I called tech support and you can imagine how that went Right to India.

-after jumping through some computerized questions- The first person I talked to had something wrong with the setting and my voice kept repeating on a time delay, and I thought it was him and kept saying, what? Then I had to find a service number on the back of the comp, and I couldn't find a flashlight so I put the phone down to strike a match and dropped the phone through the bookcase and couldn't find it while shouting frantically not to disconnect....

Then I was transferred to someone else, and had to repeat the fiasco with the match for the number again , and went through a procedure to reset the comp which didn't work, so I was transferred once again to order a power supply (30-40 he said) and was sent to the wrong guy who again asked for the number (this time I had him read it back so I could write it down and stop lighting matches), but then he told me he couldn't transfer me to the right person and to call back.

So I called back and went through all the computerized questions in order to be transferred and was disconnected.

Then I called back again and was so annoyed the computer could not recognize my answers, "I'm sorry, I didn't get that..." aaaaagh.

Finally I got to a real person who tranfserred me to sales and then I had a woman with a different sort of accent who kept talking rapidly repeatedly calling me "sir" Ok, I have a deep voice but i should have been screeching by then.

After holding twice, the power supply was located, only $56 plus tax and shipping would be $74 and it would come marked "refurbished" Hopefully by Thanksgiving and hopefully with installation instructions and hopefully the actual source of the problem.

I am on my son's mactop from the school program, and for a brand new mac the thing is slower than death. I was chastised by tech support for the age on my desktop, but the thing is like high speed compared to this. I am assuming the filters on this slow it down, and I am not supposed to change stuff around since it is part of the laptop program.

I am not used to the small keyboard, but it does type fast when I don't hit the cap lock every other word when there is an a in the sentence. I really don't know why comp designers put cap lock there. I mean, how many times do you ever use cap lock? If I need a series of cap I usually hold the shift down. I would prefer the delete or backspace button to be there, since I find I prefer that to correct my typos than using the mouse, wah-wah-wah at least I am online!

I just wanted to post an update about breaking my poor comp to explain why I might not be online much until I get it fixed. Keep your fingers crossed!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Death Defying Day

I picked up my chainsaw from the mechanic the other day and discovered the reason I couldn't get the chain back on. He told me that he added a link to the chain so it would be easier. I guess when he put the wide bar on there the chain was so snug I didn't have enough slack to get it back on. So of course I threw the chain again yesterday but managed to get it back on.

I had never thrown the chain before; now that's twice in a week. I have several ideas why-the bar, the chain, or the bar and chain oil I was using. I picked up another gallon of a better brand of oil yesterday and I didn't throw the chain today, and I cut a lot.

I was working in the goat pasture and the goats had just finished their hay. So they chased me from tree to tree trying to get themselves squished. Nothing like getting a tree half cut and having two or three goats stand in front of it.

Goats are sort of funny-if you chase them to catch them or take something away they will run like mad in the other direction. But if you try and chase them away from something they want, they jump away and dart back as quick as lightning.

I finally found a couple of things that would keep them busy- a hemlock and an ash. I wanted to take a pic and title it "goat candy". Well, once they had something to eat, I cut a bunch of maples they had killed by girdling and that I hadn't dropped yet, so they were basically standing dead wood and nothing the goats would want to eat. Of course the occasional goat would hear the tree fall and have to run over and make sure, so I would have to move to a different clump where I could cut without dropping one on a goat. Slow going!

Well, that was a busy morning! I took an hour lunch break and watched the noon news and made a huge steak and cheese sub with fried onions, then I went on the roof.

I bought a 6 mil 10X25 plastic sheet for the Firebird's roof, and had been putting that job off all week. Oh yeah, we had a downpour Saturday and his roof leaked-almost took out his TV and he had to move all his books and video game stuff...lucky the weather has been good since, so this afternoon after using up all the excuses, I went up on the roof.

The roof drops 2 feet over a twelve foot run, so I guess that makes it a 1:6 pitch. I started on the bottom corner, precariously leaning over the edge to nail the wooden lathes on the drip board to hold the plastic on, careful to keep the plastic flipped up so I was on the roof and not the plastic. I scared a flying squirrel out of the eaves and as I watched it soar to a nearby tree, I wondered if I could do that by spreading the sides of my orange safety vest if I slid off the roof?

carefully, carefully, working from one side to the other, I finally reached the top side and figured I was going to have to get on the plastic to finish the job. I had already discovered that the knees of my jeans did not offer any kind of grip on the plastic, so I wondered what to do, and I decided to strip down to my underwear, figuring my bare skin might grip a bit better.

Hoping I had no unexpected visitors and no one would look at the house while driving by, I continued working in my underwear. Then I realized the plastic was still too slippery to be safe, and hoped I didn't fall off the roof and be discovered lying unconscious in my underwear. I figured out how to avoid kneeling on the plastic, but that meant kneeling bare-kneed on the mineral roofing, and that wasn't much fun, either. Finally I finished.

Then I put my pants back on and moved over to the flat portion of the roof and started putting black tar on some weak spots. I could feel the warm air coming up through the hatch and smell steak and fried onions from lunch. I started thinking about those darn flying squirrels, since the roof was littered with empty beech nuts, and hoped they don't gnaw the plastic sheet off the roof.

Well, maybe they'll just use it as a slip and slide...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Home to Roost

One of the white roosters we gave to the neighbor has returned. It has been months but he still knew his way home. Our flock is free ranging, and he has made no attempt to attack our senior rooster, which was one of the reasons I gave them away in the first place.

He is quite wild and remembers me chasing and catching him several times to return him, because he lets me nowhere near him and runs away and sqawks when he sees me. The first night he slept in the coop and that might have been a chance to catch him; last night he roosted in the pine tree, and when I crept out the the crack of dawn to get a pic of him, he jumped on the coop and started running around.

Here's a pic of the bag I received as a gift from Boss after her trip to Turkey.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Haying my Herd with the Dog

My friend Tonia over at , makes taking a good picture of a goat look simple. Ha-it's impossible!

I am never particularly motivated to take photos of my own herd, usually because I have my hands full when I am around them. Hay, grain, water,

This afternoon I decided to try and get pics of the ones whose feet I have trimmed in the last few days-sorry no pictures of hoof rot, of which there were several cases.

I put my camera in my new Turkish shoulder bag ( a gift from Boss after a recent trip to Turkey) and slung the hay under the other arm and headed out.

I took four times as many pics as I am posting. Goats just don't hold still for a camera! And the light was bad, even though it was overcast late afternoon. Still, I came up with a few to share

Here is Moonshadow, or moo, or moonie. He is our only polled goat. His horns had been removed when we bought him, also at auction. I saw him advertised in a local buy and sell it guide and called the woman to find out she had indeed taken him to auction that day, so I know that he is Nigerian dwarf and pygmy cross.

Cricket the Beautiful and her white face. She was bought at auction and was also sick as a weanling. Nic the cashmere weck is to the left, stuffing his face. I made up the name weck since he is what I call a wether with buck characteristics. A pain in the *** is more like it.

Nic had a retained testicle and I banded the down one, rendering him sterile but he is just like a buck. He smells worse than 19 bucks at the farm combined, and coddles his group of does and kicks the crap out of the wethers. I couldn't give him away,(I tried on Craigslist) and don't care to eat him, so he is still with us for the time being.

The small doe in the center is Anna, Cricket's daughter. Cricket is all white, Anna's father, Derek, is brown with black points. Anna is so cute but wild even though she was born here. The herd took her in. Her Grandma, Daphne, our herd queen,the black pygmy yawning in the front, tore down the fence and had Anna sleep with her every night in a little house while her mother slept in the cold outdoors against the house.
The face in the far left is Moonie-no horns.

Anaken, three year old Alpine wether. Look at that nice straight topline! If I was going goat dairy, I would try and get a couple of Alpine does. Anaken was the runt of a pack of around twenty Alpine bucklings at auction, and had coccidiosis rather severely, so he is on the small and scrawny side.

and lastly here is Peko, who loves to race along the fence as I carry the hay out tot he goats. He barks viciously at them to keep them in their places. Here he is in the pet cemetery, next to Louise's grave with his tennis ball...Gandalf's grave is in the background on the right.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

We had a productive day today, with all of us home from school and work.

The day started off rather ominous, with a goat, or should I say, three goat escape. The rest of our little herd was not happy and being quite vocal about it! So I ran out before coffee and grained and hayed the goats after yelling to the Firebird to get his butt up and help. He likes to sleep in- not today, Zurg, LOL.

Then he turned in to Mr. Super-helpful, and lugged a pile of green wood from the back pasture to pile close to the house, and then I fired up the chainsaw and cleaned up more of the seasoned stuff in the upper pasture, and he lugged that too.

Then I went back to the lower pasture to cut up some stuff I dropped a few days ago for the goats. They loved the ash bark and had that pretty much stripped. I cut it into haulable lengths, and the goats moved in and finishing stripping the bark. I rolled the pieces over since they can't get the bark on the underneath. They were butting heads over it!

I was sectioning up a birch and threw the chain off the saw. Grrrr. The saw has not been running right since I picked it up from the mechanic-it wants to stall out if I don't keep a finger on the gas, so that is why I was working the down trees today as I can keep it revved up while working. Well, now I have thrown the chain, and believe it or not, I don't know how to fix it- nor did I want to spend an hour trying to figure it out, so that was it for the saw today.

We spent the afternoon raking the lawn-what a pile!!! What a many piles!!! Those went into the chicken coop and the outside chicken pen that is resting right now as the hens are free-ranging. The leaves are about three feet thick in the chicken pen, but it will settle over winter and the chickens will be happy with that in the spring when they are locked out of the garden!

Willow and the Firebird helped with that-usually that is a huge job that falls on me and I was "some" glad for the help today! I did throw a tarp full to the goats, but they weren't too interested since they have access to plenty of leaves and tree bark and of course their grain and hay!

The best news of the day is that the chicks we bought this spring are laying!!!! YAY! They have been laying way at the top of the coop where we can't see them, and I climbed up and gathered 8 little pullet eggs! The adult white leghorn is the only older hen still laying-she is like the energizer bunny-and her eggs looks like goose eggs compared to those little pullets!

Still, great timing, it means we will have eggs through the winter. The black Australop aren't laying yet-I think their eggs are brown, and these new eggs are white. Anyhow, hard to think eggs can make your day, but there ya go- :D

Monday, November 9, 2009

Retiring A Flag

The Firebird had the honor of playing the Star Spangled Banner solo on trumpet for a flag retirement ceremony.


Friday, November 6, 2009



I haven't had much time to sit down and compose a blog entry. Here is a pic of the saplings on Hallowe'en while trick or treating. We had a lot of fun. Warm and blustery with a full moon, we went to our usual trick or treating haunt and they received loads of candy!!!

The rain held off until we were leaving town.

Lots of very nice folks, some places decorated to the max. Not a lot of trick or treaters about, so folks were giving out handfuls of candy. And the good stuff this year, too!

November is already flying by-have to pick up the chainsaw today from the shop-again-about ready to put off the concrete work off til thaw since the wood needs to get cut up before it's all buried by snow.

And, I need to do some work on the roof but the weather isn't cooperating. I was cleaning the chimney this week and found out the Firebird's roof needs a major overhaul, but it's too cold too tar or roll roof, so a tarp might have to be used until next year .

The kids had flu shots (seasonal) this week and Willow had the same reaction I had last year-fever and aches and all that awful stuff.

I quit the farm and then agreed to do three shifts a week. Had some time off in the meantime.

That's about it!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Thanks for your nudge Tonia, helped give me enough inspiration to post a catch up!

Well, I worked a big stretch at the farm after my day off. I felt like I was coming down with something on my day off. So, as much as I needed to get on with my two outdoor projects, I thought laying on cold ground digging out rotted posts or breathing chainsaw gas were not good options!

So I cleaned up the house a bit and went back into another stretch at the farm right through a downpour on Saturday. I am working Saturdays now and taking a day during the week, so I took Sunday and Monday off.

I was supposed to help get my oldest's car unstuck out of the swamp at the bottom of his Dad's driveway on Sunday afternoon, but I had three truckloads of gravel dumped in my driveway and spent the afternoon raking that out! I still have a pile at the top to wheelbarrow around before I can back around with my next hay load.

Monday I went to Home Depot and bought 10 more 60# sacks of concrete for the post job, and spent the afternoon digging out another post and putting five sacks of mixed crete in. I had to let it set up to put the form up around the post to finish it off, which I was going to do yesterday.

After work I swung by to see if the car was unstuck, and it was still in the swamp, so I talked to my oldest and we went down to check it out. Step by step, putting air in the flat, jacking up the front and backfilling the hole with rock, making a bridge out of a piece of plywood and old tire to get at an old stump the rear end was hung up on, then rigging the jack to jack it up to get the stump out, then building a bridge out of his Dad's firewood to bridge the swamp, two tries and a re-fill of rock, and he drove it out.

Well, by then I was cold and wet and hungry and it was too late to do concrete or firewood back home, but I did a happy dance for him we got the car out without his Dad!

(If you remember the post I did way back about getting stuck in the mud here I had some experience with situations like that!LOL)

Well, today I had to do laundry after work-grr- I hadn't done it since the incident with the older gentleman taking a crash, and I still don't know how he made out...?

I was a bit apprehensive wondering what crisis would strike today, and sure enough after I left the store with my laundry soap, I saw a boar goat stuffing herself along the highway-and I mean highway, with cars and tractor-trailers going well over 60 mph.

I had heard a tale of escaped Boers that ate their way through China (China, Maine, LOL) over the summer after they escaped, so I wondered if this was one, and turned around and parked and she went away from the road and I followed her to a goat pen where another boer, looked like a wether with horns, was quite upset she was out!!! LOL darn goats!

Well, I know better now than to chase a goat, so I offered her some torn up grass which she sniffed and rejected, and then found a nice strawberry leaf which she took with neck outstretched but ducked when I snuck to get her collar...Ugh one good thing about goats with horns!!! handholds! Well, I went up to the house and knocked to no avail, dogs barking, chickens flapping, more goats and horses out back. The goats looked a little worse for the wear no wonder she was stuffing herself!

I left her under an apple tree stuffin on apples hoping she didn't go back to the road and get run over. I couldn't catch her without grain so hopefully she was ok..

Made it home with the laundry just before the kids came home and hayed my own goats and cleaned their goat houses and have to cook dinner and a million other things, but hopefully I can finish the cementing the post I started Monday- after work tomorrow- and maybe chainsaw up some more goat wood!!!

So that's what I have been up to!! LOL

Oh I took a couple pics of the post job in progress a couple weeks ago, one is the original post like those I am digging around down three feet and collaring up over the bad part (hence 10 bags of concrete) and the other is a back up post made out of part of an old utility pole. The crete goes three feet deep and only a couple inches of the new post are in the top of the concrete to help anchor it.

It is much easier digging a plain hole than digging around the original posts!

You can see how much rotted off the original 8-10 inch diameter cedar post, but what is remaining is solid and now encased in an 18 collar of concrete 4-5 feet high, should last awhile!

This concrete is smaller in diameter but the post is about a foot diameter and the concrete is about 3 inches wider on each side, so still 16" diameter and 3 feet deep for a footer!

Monday, October 19, 2009


afternoon chores 3

Yes, the best laid special helper was a no show yesterday am, good thing I was up at the crack of dawn and had Willow with me. I had one weekend boy, and the word was out Boss was cutting their hours so he wanted to leave...I made him stay and then he made me call R in at 9:30. TG I got ahold of R to help with the bucks since it takes two-one to walk and one to clean and Willow might want to but I was not going to ask her to do one or the other.

When we got back to the farm there was shooting again and no sign of the LGD Luke...we searched to no avail and went home for a break.

I could have used a nap by then, but my oldest was paying a surprise visit so that was cool and I speed cleaned the downstairs since that was quite a disaster!

We went back to the farm early and still no sign of the dog, searched the roads on the way to the bucks, tried to call P but went to voicemail...I was spreading fresh bedding in the barn since we were due for rain, and there was the dog sleeping in the small stall! We checked there in the am and called in the afternoon so who knows where he had been?! But at least he was there!

The rest of the chores were fairly routine-I was glad to see the goats come into the barn from the rain! They started coming in as I was putting in clean bedding and it was so cute they were trying to lie on the bags of shavings!

IN the front stall I dumped a big pile and was going to kick it under the benches and decided to leave it for the goats to spread, and in a little while one of the older wethers, poptart Jackson, had made a bed on the top of the pile! I didn't have the heart to kick him off and spread it! I wanted to get a pic it was so sweet with a bunch of goats around him.

The next trouble was the other LGD, Baloo, sprawled out on the floor of the tack room and wouldn't get up! If I left him there I would have to lock him in since the grain is there and they push the door open for the I spent at least 15 minutes wondering what to do and tried to bait him by feeding the cat and with a puppy treat. Finally I locked him in and then went about 1/2 mile and turned around and went back and kicked him out!

He looked so upset about the rain, now mixing with snow and the goats in the barn, but it was a long time to leave him locked in.

I was pretty peeved at P for hiding out in her house through chasing the dog and R for sticking me on Sunday so I put extra bedding down for the goats in the barn knowing it would aggravate P but good for the goats! P hates having the goats even in the barn and hardly puts down any bedding for them. You'd think she was buying the stuff...

I told R about it this am and he said she was like, WTF?!?! When she saw it. HA. Boss already told me I could put down as much as I wanted, and since I was stuck sweeping poo out of the field all weekend-the goats wouldn't come in the barn which I have a feeling P has been chasing them out. She said this am she chased them out before I got there...Aggravates me that people that don't like animals work with them.

Well, barring anything unusual, I am taking tomorrow off!! I have a pile of stuff around here or I might just rest!

I had a busy am at the farm even though it was a short one. I walked the bucks and when we brought them back we were missing a couple. I knew where they were, so I had to go allllll the way back down to bring them in. Normally I wouldn't mind, but I have had a very active weekend and my feet and legs are getting a little tired! I wish we had the horses in with the bucks 'cos I would have hopped on one bareback to save me the walk!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Afternoon Chores 2

Well said, Tonia, things did not go as planned tonight at all.

One of the LGD's is fairly new, and has a habit of taking off. He finds ways out. I was warned to keep the wooden gate chained since he has most recently been using that as an escape. So, amongst all the other chores, we feed and walked the dogs and brought them back in.

But gun shooting had started up on the hill across the road. I had also been warned that both the dogs suffer anxiety when there is shooting and that is when Luke is most liable to take off. No worries, I had the gate secured.

I was raking up the pasture just outside the paddock gate, trying to get that finished before the geese went in, and Willow called from the barn, "Luke is trying to get out the wooden gate,"

Intent on the job at hand, I said, "tell him no!"

I should have dropped the rake and gone immediately, for next thing I know, I hear Willow calling the dog so I ran to see her flying out the gate. I followed. It was like a bad comedy show, or maybe a good one, since I am biased being one of the participants.

There goes the blur of white giant dog down the road, Willow in hot pursuit, and me trailing the long behind. The dog gained on Willow, Willow gained on me (she recently placed second at school in the half mile run and it showed tonight!)

Lucky for her young strong legs, she saw which way the dog went at the intersection, and I hollered for her to come back so we could get the car since I knew there was no way to catch him on foot.

All the way back to the car, the geese honking in astonishment as I left them in the gathering gloom to persue the dog.

Down the road, around the corner and no sight of him down the road, so we drove along and we saw him in someone's front yard. I backed up and pulled in and was much relieved I was able to catch him without a merry dog chase.

Into the car he went and I held my tongue not to scold him since we had managed to catch him afterall.

I made sure I snugged that chain up TIGHT when we got back, and rushed on to the geese.

The two younger ganders are supposed to go in first and get locked in the back of the goose house, but the old one tonight was determined to go in first. Around the goose house they went three times with Willow and I trying to separate them with push brooms.

Finally one younger guy darted in, followed hot on the heels by the old guy, whom I blocked with the broom. No go, the thing was determined, so I pinned him with the broom and let the other one pass in. Then I had to go in to latch the door, and a couple of the geese followed me in and saw that broom and ran back out and around two more times before they went in...all but the youngest, who kept going around in a panic not knowing where the rest of the flock had gone...duh.

Phew, geese done, time to bring in the horses, Yeah, right, they were at the way top of the field and not budging, so we gathered halters and leadlines and hiked up the mountain to get them.

Haltering was a cinch, but the filly was full of it again and I couldn't manage both, so Willow took Maya, her first time leading a horse, down off that steep pasture in the near dark.

Then Maya drank all the water in the tub by the barn on her way by, so when we finally had them down back I had to refill the tub by the barn and lug another few gallons down to them to make sure they had enough...

It was dark by the time we finally finished.

One more night and I think that's of course first thing in the am again. That was another nightmare today with the weekend boys scaring the barn goats so half of them wouldn't come in....sigh.

Well, I have my regular helper coming in special tomorrow per my request, good thing since one of the other boys told me today he wanted tomorrow off...

And...we are due for rain, possibly mixed with snow tomorrow late. Oh boy.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Afternoon Chores

I agreed to do afternoon chores at the farm this weekend, a first for me.

There wasn't much involving goats-the most was hay and water to the bucklings on the hill, and Willow and I spent some time just saying, "hi" to our favorites.

First it was turning out the fat mare, and feeding the vocal Guinea hog, Laverne.

Then feeding and walking the Great Pyranees, and feeding the cats.

The last animals to deal with were the goose flock, which was causing me the most anxiety, but went fairly well. The sky was turning crimson and they were ready for their grain and Willow helped steer them in with the push broom.

Then the horses in for the night-the Filly, Estrella, was FULL of it. I opted to halter and lead Maya and let the filly follow, which she did, charging and retreating until the end. She made it all the way back down to the barn for a drink and charged back into the now-darkening field.

I took Maya's lead and made a makeshift halter around the filly and took her down back, prancing, ears laid back. That trick comes in handy when messing with a halter might be a challenge. Toss the lead behind the ears and loop around the nose. Hold both ends firmly under the chin for control and let go one end to release..

Hope the chores go that easy tomorrow....:)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Willow and the bucks

I worked the farm today, mostly taking care of the bucks with Willow's help.

Here she is with Virginia cashmere buck Champion Chris:

and with Hjalmar:

and a nice view of the munching bucks with my daughter and the fall foliage:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bucks Sweep

I found out today that BLF bucks swept the buck divisions in Virginia. It's a big show and it is considered International because they also have Canadian entries.

BLF bucks took first and second in every buck class, and in one class they took third and fourth as well.

The best part was two of the first place fleeces were combed nearly exclusively by my daughter Willow. Homer and Chris. Willow kept going on about how great Homer's fiber was and I didn't agree, but she also combed him diligently nearly every day we combed, so she got a tremendous amount off of him.

Plus I kept on her about her technique, and I was worried about how her combings came out, so those two first place finishes shows me that she did a great job! Of course the fiber is judged on length, style, and fineness (measured in microns), but also they look for things like matting and contaminants in the fleece.

So, if while combing you let the fleece build up on the rake or slicker, it can damage it by over packing it. Sometimes with the rake we pull the fiber off the rake and hold it in our free hand until we get a handful and then put it in the bag, so if you clench the fiber in a sweaty hand, that will mat it.

I couldn't wait to tell her, I thought that was really great!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Phoenix

Today was another beautfiul fall day just like the day Phoenix was born.

I went into labor late morning, and we went grocery shopping. I didn't want to call the Dr. too soon, since I spent too long in the hospital with my first son, and they don't let you eat while you are there.

So we had lunch, went for a walk on the beach, and I went for a walk along the road. Finally when the contraction got about four minutes apart I called the Dr and lied and said they were five or six minutes apart. He said to wait a while, so I pigged out at dinner and had two hamburgers with cottage cheese about 6 pm.

Then we started watching Liar Liar with Jim Carrey. I was laughing really hard and my water broke. I figured it was time to get motivating, so I took a shower and packed my bag.

On the way to the hospital, a half hour drive, I thought maybe I had waited too long and said the same. Hahaha. Well, we went to the ER to sign in, and then hustled me up to maternity where I had to read every line of the consent form and then had a fit about one of the lines that said I gave the hospital all the fluids, etc, and circled that part and told them I wanted the placenta to take home for burial.

that nurse was having a fit!!! So was the doc! He couldn't examine me until I signed, so they agreed and I signed and an hour later Phoenix was born. Yeah, I cut it close.

I didn't copy any of his newborn pics cos he was a ten pound baby and a natural childbirth. His eyes were swollen shut in his birth pix!!!

So here a couple of newborn pix-he is well under three months.

Here he is with his father.

And with me.

Here is a great pic four years later at the same hospital with his day old sister and myself.

Phoenix was always a big boy; today at twelve years old he is as tall as I am, 5'8", and has bigger feet.

He is polite and well mannered, smart, a great big and little brother, and everyone loves him. He is the big jokester and has been making up his own jokes since he could talk. He is a terrific mimic and loves to repeat lines from shows and movies with great recall.

Today we watched Wolverine X Men Origins-great movie-and he was mimicking one of the characters who is made up to look like 600 pounds in the movie. Here is this stick skinny kid enacting the line and you didn't even need the special makeup effects to see the scene. Phoenix is a riot.

Happy twelfth birthday, sweetheart!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Rainy Saturday

Ok, I won't complain about the rain. The well is getting desperately low, even though we are very conservative with water. All that rain in June and July I thought we would be fine this year...and then heat and drought in August. After all that cold and rain I didn't complain about the heat and drought though!

We did get a bank and dump run in this am. I discovered it was a skunk getting into the trash. I saw it on the deck this week. And it has a penchant for yogurt and the plastic spoons used to eat it-every yogurt container and plastic spoon was strewn out of the ripped open bags. What a mess!

I didn't make my goal of two more post holes this week. I picked up 8 - 60 pound sacks of concrete and put four in one hole on Thursday, and left it for the post and collar and opted to dig around one of the bad posts to use the rest of the cement I had.

Even though I have braced that beam with two whomping posts and a massive foundation of concrete, I was very nervous when I started digging around the bad post. I expected that the rot would be limited to ground level-no, it chased the post down into the ground.

Originally a 10" diameter cedar post, at least an inch all around was gone. The posts have been in 11 years nearly to the day. It was easy to see why that row had deteriorated so much faster-it was backfilled in clay. I swear we had backfilled in sand, but not that post. Plus, the water from that side of the house drains there, and the ground was not graded so there was a trough where the posts go in the ground.

Clay and wet=rot. And tough digging!!!

The other holes have taken me 1 to 1-1/2hours to dig out. This one took 3 hours. I start with a spade and then move on to a garden fork, stabbing it ferociously around the post to loosen the clay. Once it gets more than a foot deep, I start bailing with a coffee can. By the end I am flat on the ground reaching in as far as I can and scooping up handfuls into the can and then backing out of the hole and dumping it. I felt like I was in the Great Escape digging a tunnel.

I thought, what woman in her right mind undertakes a task like this? I should be prettying myself up and seducing some strong guy into the job, or at least offering to cook dinners in exchange for the labor. As far as hiring someone-I don't have the cash flow to part with it.

So I scrabble clay under my broken fingernails, finish the hole, and start mixing concrete in the wheelbarrow. Another four bags and a bunch of rocks. I get concrete dust in my hair and my arms -no-everything- starts to ache with the effort.

I barely crawl away after cleaning the tools and discover I am at least three bags short to finish that hole-and another two for the hole I started on Thursday. I do a quick estimate and figure I need to mix 17 more bags just to finish the North beam, and dig around two more posts.

The center beam needs two more holes and four more posts dug out. The south beam will have to wait until next year. Those posts seem to be in better shape anyhow.

I can't believe those three posts-toothpicks really-were holding up the north beam!

I took a couple photos of the process, but haven't downloaded them yet. I do, however, have a few more foliage shots of my drive to the farm every morning. I love the fiery early maple color!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009


Well I am tired!

Here is a pic of some of the bucklings on the hill this week. There are 13 but not that many in the pic!

I have been going up ahead by myself to grain them and they keep a close eye on me- for when I try to sneak off to put the feeders down.

Only a few of them have names or nicknames from when my daughter, Willow, was helping out. The rest are known by their lineage, generally through the mother. The black in the front is Mary's Boy, who after an intense bout of nursing through a bad patch after weaning was named by P as "Joseph".

I can't tell which grey is in the front in the pic, we have "Alpaca head" (Nive's grey), "Tack Room baby" (Lilymore's grey) "Chubs" (Lois's grey) and lastly, "Sugreca's", who has no nickname yet.

Bonnie's boy, fluffy grey coat, blue eyes and white points, has been named, "Beau", by P.

My favorite is "Badger Boy" the black and white next to the building, out of Ursula.

The two browns, the far one, is Carmella's, the youngest of the bunch, not born until June. The one in the middle of the group is "Uureka's Boy" (I aggravate Boss when I call his Mom "Eureka" like the vaccuum-it is pronounced with the Scandinavian "UU". Well, maybe not Scandinavian, but we used to have a slew of "hj's..." pronounced "Yuh". Back to the buckling, I call him "Monarch Baby", after his sire, not after the dam so I don't have to sweat the "UU". :)

Besides, his father has always been the handsomest buck to me. I remember when I first met him, I thought he was so handsome, but he does not like to be touched. I have been working on him for four years now, soft and slow. We get along pretty well. I don't pet him and he doesn't horn me.

Boss is away right now, and I have taken the job of walking the bucks. Yesterday they hit the third field and the snowmobile trail and kept going and going and going. I couldn't cut them off and had no idea where we would end up. I have heard stories of them ending up the next town over once....and I thought it was to be repeated yesterday.

Desperate, I pulled my Pb&j out of my bag and started waving it. No stopping them. I did have a couple of apples in there, I should have tossed one into the group but didn't think of it.

Finally they stopped and I stopped so not to spook them and rolled a smoke. Then I discovered I didn't have a light and that did it-I snuck by them and chased them back up the trail.

When we finally reached the third field, R was there and I was surprised he had followed us that far, since he had never been back that far. Most of the bucks followed him, but poor old Monarch couldn't keep up so I stayed with him. I had heard coyotes yipping on the way in-and Monarch has a pathetic little cry when he gets left behind so I didn't want to leave him for coyote fodder.

Crossing the first field just the two of us, I imagined him as a little buckling racing and leaping along, now a senior hobbling along way behind. It nearly brought tears to my eyes. I reached into my bag and hauled out one of the wild apples and gave it to him.

Then I discovered he can't walk and eat an apple. So I took a couple of pics.

BLF Rayvon's Monarch

Monday, September 28, 2009

catch up

Racing the weather trying to get stuff before winter. My two major projects right now are concrete and firewood. Last year I cut support posts for the house and drove them under the beams perched on flat rocks-thank goodness I didn't nail them since the rocks settled and the posts were just wobblying there.

So I have pulled out two of my posts so far, and dug a hole about 3 feet deep, centered under where the post would hang. Then I back filled with rumbly rocks and 3 bags of 60 pound concrete. No metal, I may regret that. Then I let that set up a couple days with rocks sticking up, supported the posts, spiked them to the beam, and then made a form out of half an old hot water heater jacket I coated with the bottoms of several old jars of Jif peanut butter so the form wouldn't stick.

Then I mixed two more bags of concrete per post and filled the form in up a couple inches over the bottom of the post.

I think most people would have leveled the concrete and then put the post on that, but I am not competent enough to jack the house up, and I didn't want to drive the post in place on fresh concrete in case I might crack it.

I just have 6 more holes to do and then put concrete collars around the bad posts...which may not get finished by the time the ground freezes, so I will just do as much as I can.

The proper way would be to replace the rotted posts, but I am going to run a concrete collar below and above the bad part at ground level and spike the post so it grabs the concrete. (the posts go four feet into the ground)

Tonia, if your hubby has a better idea, tell me now! LOL.

Firewood is the same old...trying to clean up the stuff in the goat pasture. Racing the snow on that chore...Have about a cord done so far.

I've had visitors a few days this week which has slowed me down, plus working at the farm everyday-I did get a lot done on Saturday but it was regular stuff like yard clean up.

Now if I could get the laundry done and three loads of trash to the dump before the raccoon gets into it AGAIN-I'll be able to get back to firewood and concrete.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lord of the Bucks

Tree archives408

I had a breakthrough today with one of the farm bucks, Zeus. Nearly four years ago I joined in with K and R and chased Zeus in order to collar him for grain. We could only catch him with a bucket of grain and K said enough was enough and the chase was on.

K ended up snagging one of his horns and catching him. Zeus never forgave me, and I have used that story as an example to the young help as to why you never chase a goat. Then you are looked at as a predator.

I have been diligently working on winning Zeus over. I believe in using kind words and soft cheek scratches and have won fans out of most of the farm herd that way. Most everyone else uses grain or treats. In fact the filly has become a nipper because of treats, but that is another blog.

Still I could not win Zeus over. It had to be a bucket of grain at his place and then collaring him was simple. I guess you could say I gave up.

The bucks have been roaming far on their walks with the boss. Yesterday while going to bring them in, I had to go way down past the garden in the far field, and then down the woods road. While on the woods road, I found an apple tree that had tiny apples, so I filled a pocket with apples.

The last two days I have been solo collaring the bucks, and I have decided since they are so rowdy, I would only let a couple in at first, and then one at a time as I collared and chained them. The rest of the bucks have to wait in the parking area. Since there are three bucks including Zuess that can't be caught until the grain appears, I have been making them wait until last.

But, I have discovered Zeus' weak spot. Apples. He watched yesterday as I offered apples while I was letting bucks in, and he pushed to the front and stared at me with his big blue eyes.

"Oh, do you want an apple?"

So I gave him one and collared him and let him in.

Today was the same routine, but he backed off after the first apple. I ignored him and went on letting in the other bucks and giving ones apples that like them. Zeus could not bear it. Again he came to the gate and I gave him an apple and slipped a collar around his neck and led him in. Then I gave him a third tiny apple. (today I had two pockets full since I ran short yesterday)

After graining everyone, and pulling three out separate for hooves and picking up their grain dishes, I started releasing the rest. Zeus was my new best friend. He followed me all around as I untied each buck, and I kept showing him my empty hands to see that I had no apples, and then I would pet him and we would repeat with the next buck.

I called Y's attention. I was still in the pen with Zeus following me like a puppy and letting me scratch his cheeks while he stared up at me.

"I can't believe it!" Y exclaimed.

Sometimes it takes the right apple to win them over. ;)

Friday, September 18, 2009



Been a busy week. Busy busy, my mantra lately. The kids' school had open house this week. The teachers are thrilled to have them back, and Willow's teacher started off with a string of compliments that left me teary-eyed and only able to reply, "I am blessed."

The Firebird's primary objective was to have me go to a meeting with the computer tech to enable him to bring his new mac top home. Finally tonight, permissions signed, meeting attended, and insurance activated, the laptop arrived hoome in his backback,and he and his sister spent hours making videos of silly stuff, using a twist feature.

One of the vids he was playing a bulbous-headed, tiny-chinned alien from some star system. Another one, featured both of them, with Willow howling ,"I am getting squished," whereupon she morphed into Phoenix's face next to her and they finally disappeared into a blur with much hysterical laughter.

File sharing between comps isn't allowed nor emails and you tube and all the good stuff, so I have to figure out how to cop the vids to post a few. They are really funny.

Another cool feature (macs are so good for art stuff) is the garage band, where he selects different instruments and clicks and drags measures full to create his own song.

Speaking of which, his band teacher is raving about how great he is on trumpet ( I keep saying, did you tell him you didn't play all summer or much last year?) Ah, the gifted have it easy. I should make him practice an hour a day and see how good he gets then. His big brother was the same on trombone-natural. The Willow is sulking since she was told by the music teacher she has to wait another year to join band.

She LOVES her art teacher and is producing drawings at a phenomenal rate. Not that she didn't already-it's just tripled. I'm going to need to rent a box trailer to keep it all in.

me-boring slave labor stuff-worked on cementing posts to re-do a gate. Still, I had a late teens boy(man I should say) for help, a different one for each of the last two days, and I find them easy helpers. I had a couple tips for them, such as spiking the posts with 20D nails to help grab the cement, and wetting stones to layer in as filler and for strength and to make the cement go further.

Two of us mixing the cement in a tippy wheelbarrow-and we managed not to dump it. I didn't mind my deoderant quitting, since I could tell my helper today must have forgotten his completely...LOL

I stayed to put in another post, sans cement, and barraged R with instructions for the bucks as he was leaving. R has had the summer off, and the buck population has increased in meantime.

"If you can't catch Cairn, leave him outside the gate til the end, or he will beat on the Lars"

P, who rarely does the bucks, said, "or just tie Lars outside the gate."

I replied with, "well, he'll beat on everybody else then."

And, "Jacolby gets tied with a collar from the hoof bucket."

"All the big guys get 1/4 measure of grain, 1/2 for Lars and Monarch and Jacolby, and here's the little guys' grain who get fed separate." (well, he knew that from the spring anyhow)

and, "don't let them all in at once."

Let me tell you, letting 19 big bucks with horns in rut into a small enclosure to collar and tie them is courting injury. Most of them are trying to mate with the others, who are fighting back, and while they might not come after you, if you get in the middle, you are going to get hurt. Nevermind you have to put your face down low to snap the chain on the hooks near the ground. One of the guys caught a horn in the throat earlier in the week.

The bucks have two large pastures with electric fence, and a smaller enclosure with woven wire and their houses. They still get out for a walk everyday; just to clarify they have fenced pasture and are not relying on walks for browse. They are just spoiled.

I was happy to stay back on fence work and have the filly slobber all over my unattended mug, knock my thermos off the well, and yank my coat off the fence.


Interesting ride to work this am- right before the farm,a pick up truck off the road head first into a tree with the airbag deployed-no sign of the driver, but a state cop with flashers and a garbage bag (must have been beer can evidence) next to the truck. Then as I got to the farm, I thought one of the horses (the filly-Maya's way too fat to fit the profile) was in the road.

A car was stopped way beyond, and then I saw it was a MOOSE! a giant one, as it turned and walked off the road along the farm fence into the woods. So I grabbed my camera and jumped out of the car, and the other car pulled up and I had a nice chat with the couple. It was a BULL moose with ONE antler-ummmm, I decided I was NOT chasing after it for a pic, sorry readers...ever seen the video of the moose attacking and annihilating a car? well, I wasn't going to walk up and say, "SMILE". he-he.

Probably the truck hit the tree avoiding the moose and it was the missing antler in the bag.

After work this afternoon, Peko had his...shuuuushhh, lean close, *whispers* -vet appointment- for his vaccinations. He was a big scaredy cat going in, but didn't flinch at the shots and even whined at the cutest black lab /hound puppy in the waiting room. Peko weighed 74 pounds. Half that of Gandalf (my old male bullmastiff) in his prime. But at least Peko had gained 10 pounds since we adopted him.

The kids both had separate field trips this week. Willow was VERY excited she got to touch a dog shark, and saw a 45 pound lobster, and a blue lobster, and an even rarer yellow lobster (they looked cooked when they are alive)

Busy busy.

Yup, I am going to try and sleep in tomorrow!

*edit* crap I just remembered I forgot to tell R about the yellow jacket nest!Right where we usually tie two of the bucks. :O OOPs

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bucks full of it

The bucks were full of it today. I went ahead to let them out, and they immediately took off towards the back garden. The owner was going to the Post Office, and met me there after a little while.

I went back and set up the grain, poured the fresh water, readied the collars and chains, raked the houses, and put fresh straw down. Then I went to collect the bucks.

The mature buck herd is up to 19, and that makes them tough to handle, especially with rut coming on. They had split into two groups-one with the owner up by the garden, the other group way in the woods. I was directed to head back with the first group and grain them, and Y would go searching for the rest.

Well, that first group did NOT want to go back! They had been out on their walk quite awhile, so I assume they knew that some of their friends were still off. I brrrr'd and clapped and shooshed and swished a frond of goldenrod to no avail. They kept splitting up and turning back.

Finally I decided to act like a border collie and barked and woofed and madly dashed from one side of the group to the other rounding up scragglers and got them on the woods road. Phew.

I collared and grained that group, and decided I better head back and help Boss with the rest. I got into the lower field, and there was the rest of the buck herd pushing right along the garden fence and no sign of Y.

I hooted and hollared and whistled to let her know I had the rest, and then drove them back. I was hoping she wasn't lost in the woods. I figured I would grain the rest and then go look for her, but she reappeared after a bit. What an adventure!

Here are BLF Monarch and Jacolby.

Here are Bibbles and Rue feeling their oats.

Here is a close up of BLF Hippolytus, who was stripping beech bark. Another use for those horns-to strip the bark from young trees.

Here is BLF Prince Edward enjoying some alder leaves. I love his blue eyes! He loves my raisin toast!