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!