March 31, 2010


Joe and I dropped by Banjo and Yoda's new place of employment and residence yesterday evening when we were running errands around town. There is a grocery store just across the road from them, so we picked up a bag of carrots to bring as treats. Both goats seemed very content but were happy to see us. Banjo cried when we got out of the car but not when we drove away, thank goodness as that would have made me really sad. Banjo ate the whole bag of carrots by himself, but Yoda was happy to eat the wrappers from the ice cream sandwiches we got as treats for ourselves.

The chickens are mostly learning to stay off the porch and out of the front yard, but Reynaldo is proving to be the toughest case. He is determined to push the boundaries, and he definitely knows where they are. I have spied him through the window sneaking up and standing right at the edge of the new no-fly zone and staring for several moments before quickly tip-toeing across. He has gotten very quick at flying away the second the front door is opened, though, so we rarely get the satisfaction of a well-aimed squirt. In fact, the other morning Joe went sliding off the frost-slick porch, hitting his head and landing in a flower bed, in an attempt to nail the roguish rooster. He came limping back inside a moment later with the proclamation that "Reynaldo got me good this time."

This past Monday was the grand launching of the website for my dad's new business venture - I'm very excited that after years of people asking my dad where he got his hat (uniquely designed and made by himself, of course), he's finally making them for sale. Definitely the coolest hat I've ever seen, and not just because I have a family bias. :)

On a final note, I will leave you with this food for the eyes - the delicious results of our weekly baking day. Don't slobber on your keyboard, it makes the keys stick.

March 26, 2010

Chickens Beware!

There's a new sheriff in town…and he's out to enforce some law and order in the local, renegade poultry population. For weeks now the chickens have been boldly, and frequently, trying to annex (and fertilize) our front porch as part of their territory. We thought at first it was a passing phase, due in part to the scarcity of dry, bare ground during the deep snows, but the snow is long gone and the habit has continued. In fact, it seems that porch walking has become a favorite game among the chickens, one they dare each other to play. When all barnyard banter ceases or drops to a whisper level, it is a sure sign there are chickens on the porch. After weeks of a frustrating and fruitless battle of wills, Joe decided to bring in the big guns, literally. The chickens may have dogged determination on their side, but we now have "Chicken Bane", a water gun capable of shooting a steady blast of water up to 70 feet with a reload time of mere seconds.

Who knew chicken training could be so fun! After only one day, some very surprised chickens are already showing more respect. Now that we have the power, the whole front yard is off limits. No more dust bathing under the porch unless you wanna get a REAL bath. There have been civilian casualties as well, however. Joe got a little trigger happy this morning and didn't bother to take very close aim, the result of which was a soaking blast of ice water right to my gut. He reassured me that he didn't mean it and I was still allowed on the porch, but I have my suspicions. Only time will tell if this new strategy proves to be successful, but win or lose, we'll have a lot of fun trying.

March 21, 2010

Goatless :(

The world is slowly and steadily turning green again. The broccoli, lettuce, peas and kale I started in the greenhouse a week or so ago are all sprouted and putting out their first leaves. We put 200 strawberry plants in the ground this week and I planted another 25 at my boss' farm. Our local pair of barred owls have begun renewing their vows, and I heard the first spring peepers last night. Despite all of this wonder, I'm in a melancholy mood at the moment. Today we put Banjo and Yoda in the back of a virtual stranger's truck and watched them drive away. What started as a flippant, half-hearted remark online ended up in our goats getting a job as groundskeeper at a local mechanical shop.

Banjo has been with us close to four years, and Yoda (Yoda Lee, to be precise) joined the ranks almost exactly two years ago. As much as we loved them and enjoyed their company and the amusement they provided, we were always aware that our setup was not really ideal for goats. We have no fenced in pasture and barn and were making due with tie-outs and free ranging. Our young fruit trees, flower beds and patience have often suffered because of this. It was during one of those moments of tried patience, right after Yoda had eaten my crocuses and the irises I had planted not 30-minutes before, that I jokingly advertised a cute goat free to a good home on Facebook. The next day a friend of mine called to ask if I was serious about the desire to find another home for Banjo and Yoda because he knew someone in need of a goat to keep the fenced in area around his shop eaten down. The old billy goat that had filled the position for many years had died and now the guy was looking for a replacement. Out of curiosity, I went by to check out the place and interview the prospective "employer". It turned out to be the guy we buy our propane from, and not only does he love goats and promised he would never dream of eating them (a definite deal breaker), the goats would get to spend their winters at his sister's farm with a pony and some other livestock. It was hard to argue that it did seem like the best thing for everyone involved.

So, as I write this tonight, I'm grateful for the rain that seems to echo my mood and allows me to forget all about nibbled flowers and mutilated branches (there's always the deer to carry on the tradition) and remember instead Banjo's heartsick wails when he was left behind or his death defying leap out of a second story barn window. I'll remember all of the long walks in the woods and how Yoda, who grew up to be a midget, would saucily test her head butting skills on unsuspecting hound dogs (a game which Lily loved and Wilson will surely not miss). And I'll look forward to the next time our propane tanks need to be filled and I get the chance to say hello to a couple of old friends.

March 15, 2010

Logan Samuel

A sleepy baby and a happy mom.

Cutest little jailbird ever.

Marmie and her new grandson.

It was this big!

March 12, 2010

Special Delivery

This has been a week of deliveries - UPS FINALLY brought us our new computer (!!!) and the Stork (aka Social Services) brought my big sister and brother-in-law a tiny little baby! Whereas you have nine months to get used to the idea of a baby via the pregnancy route, this whole foster care situation happened so fast everyone's heads are spinning. Lauralee and D. met little Logan Samuel on Sunday afternoon; fell immediately, madly in love (of course!); and were welcoming him into their home mid-morning on Monday. He was born a month premature, so even though he's 19 days old now, technically he's still -1 week. My mom and I drove up yesterday to meet the wee bairn and spend a couple of days playing pass the baby and enjoying short, fitful nights of sleep. Pictures to come soon. :)

March 02, 2010

Wanted - Watch Dog, references required

It doesn't happen often, but occasionally I am left to spend a night alone at the Shanty. I have never been the least bit perturbed to be alone in the wilderness, but somehow I still find it comforting when I'm alone to fall asleep to the sound of two snoring dogs and one snoring cat. It is hard to feel alone when surrounded by a cacophony of snoring. Of course, the reverie is usually shattered several times a night when the dogs break their slumber (and mine) to go tearing through the dog door barking at shadows. How do I know they are barking at shadows and not protecting me from potential invaders? Because the other night we got firsthand proof that Lily and Wilson will sleep right through a full-fledged robbery. Joe and I were awakened at 3 a.m. by a raccoon breaking into the birdseed bucket on our front porch (the very same bucket that I need a vise grip to open). Lily was sleeping in the doghouse not 20 yards away (she wasn't being punished; she chose the doghouse of her own accord, despite the cold and snow), and Wilson was tucked away under the dresser...and nary a peep from either "watch dog". To top it all off, Foxy (who easily matched that raccoon pound for pound) was blithely sitting on the welcome mat observing the scene, a mere 4-5 feet from the thief. Maybe they aren't aware that these are tough economic times, and there are plenty of dogs and cats out there who would love to have their job.