Thursday, April 29, 2010

losing it...

Undoubtedly, I am losing it... :roll: :shock: :wink: :o

This morning, I'm sitting at work, getting on with the morning reports,and two of the three men that I work with come running,,, RUNNING, up onto the porch and into the visitor's center. Where they stop and look at me rather oddly...

"What are you doing?" they say "And where are the cookies?"

"Cookies?" I say.... I think ..." Oh, no... I've forgotten to bring cookies."

"Yes", they say, all but tail-wagging in anticipation... "the cookies , and why are you in uniform?"

It seems that today was my day off ...

and apparently, on my day off, if my car shows up at the state park, it means that I've come to bring cookies...

and apparently, the first one that gets to me, gets the cookies.

Note to self: make cookies more often and divide them onto 3 plates...put names on plates, so that there is no competition for cookies AND check the calendar every day BEFORE getting dressed and heading to work.

For goodness sakes, I'm losing it, right here before the wedding...

so I'm home again, making cookies. :mrgreen:

Notes on a morning...

Every morning, EVERY morning, begins the same.

When feet hit floor, you make some coffee... you drink some coffee, you stay just outside of the circular 'rush', unless you're part of the circular rush.

"Yes, dear... here's your lunch money... did you eat something?... What do you have after school today?"

Yes, the boy is driving himself now... so the circular rush has a new feel to it, shift and adjust, giving space to grow and become independent in ever increasing steps.  Necessitates my getting more input in the morning, so as to remain calm during these preliminary driving days.

Then, he's off and it's time to feed up and then get myself on the move, and headed in the direction of the park.

I grab the bucket containing 'chicken' treats... bits and pieces of last nights meal that are sure-fire chicken pleasers... some left over rice, the carrots ends and peels, some' past it's prime' spinach and three bruised apples.  Hit the porch, which contains the laundry room and the feed room... Strange how at different times in the life of a house and family, different rooms play different roles.  Long before I lived here as a mother and wife, I studied on this warm and sunny porch, during high school and college, it was a place for me to hide away.  It's also a place that periodically shelters the babies of the farm... the incubator, the chicken brooder, the seedlings under lights, currently home to three kittens and their mom...

Anyway, getting sidetracked here... there in the door,,, boxer bulldog face, with outrageously wiggling body... Oh, to have any creature be so delighted to see you each and every moment is such joy.  Just behind him, Nana, sedate and peaceful, but no less happy to see me.  Bet they want food!~

Feed the dogs, feed the three outdoor cats, who come from barns and outbuildings as they hear the dogfood hit the pans.  Grab the chicken feed and the bucket and feed the fluffy birds.

Man, we're in full egg production mode now, and also that time of year when I must check the nests BEFORE sticking my hands in there to avoid the revolting surprise of pulling out a snake.  Last year, they got a jump on me and surprised me TWICE before I got up to speed, but this year, I'm ready...

The garden begins to look like a promise... Tomatoes, not yet staked, but firmly growing... bunches of peppers... Have I said how much I like peppers? ... lots and lots of peppers, of all different kinds, just waiting to add variety to our dinner.  I'll admit to going to the garden yesterday evening, with the desperate hope that some plant had a premature pepper... how we miss the freshness that a pepper tossed into any dish can bring... not long now, the baby peppers are TINY, but there.  Beans are up, Hubby keeps mentioning squash, but for the life of me, I've not noticed them yet.  They, too, add so much to the table at this place.

It's cold this morning, though I'm wearing flannel,,, yes, I broke the flannel back out last night.  My hard plastic garden clogs feel frozen and before I'm done my hands hurt with the cold start of the day.
The chickens are happy with the contents of the bucket... like a chicken rodeo when you toss out their favorites... one fluffy girl picks up a carrot peel and takes off, with everyone else in hot pursuit... the smart ones notice that there are plenty to go around.

Note that the coops need some work, and the composted soil needs removing before an intensive round of deep liter composting starts up again.  Not time enough, right now... but soon... mentally move that up on the list of things to do.

I realize that I need to get in the annual herbs, now... they, too add so much to the table here.  Late season starts are better than none,,, another mental note.

On the little deck, the 'working' deck, sits Nana... patiently waiting, good as gold, waiting for me to head her way and when I do, her left paw will go up in an anticipated greeting... "shake my paw" thank you for my food, slow down enough to scratch her back and get leaned on and licked.

In, quickly to shower and change, grab lunch and the list of things to do after work,,,
mental note to start a bit earlier tomorrow so that there's' more time to take it in.
I love mornings...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pixie dust.... NOT!

So that noone gets the mistaken notion that life here is ALL pixie dust...

this is how the morning began...

* Note:  there will be no photos... they would not be nice at all, if, indeed, I could photograph my own self.

Morning rounds here are routine and must happen.  Somewhere in my childhood, a much loved uncle taught me that I should never sit down, to rest or to a meal, leaving the animals that look to me for their care unattended. 
So, each morning,  when I leave for work, I need to know that things are 'right' in the barnyard.

Workdays means the days starts earlier,,, drink that coffee more quickly, load the dishes from last night (yep, you read that right!) and hit the porch that contains the feed... Hmmm.... there is the pregnant cat.
(yes, I am a proponent for spay and neuter, but I'm also a realistic farm owner, and without  several barn cats we will be overtaken with rodents and snakes)... The pregnant cat is roughly, this morning, the size of a cat that has swallowed a gallon milk jug... my word, she is SO huge... I have vivid memories of being comparably laden, so I stop to rub her and listen to her happy purr, only to realize that, yes... she is in labor as I stand there... oops.. get a box, find some nesting materials (old towel, old pillow) and settle her in.  Mental note to self:  run home from work at lunch to check on progress here.

Head to feed up... no dog food... NO Dog food!!!! panic alert!!!!!  You've all seen the dogs... OH!! NO!!

Look around frantically, realize that we're 'one up' on  bags of catfood... maybe the dogs will not start to meow before the end of the day...  Make a mental note to get dog food before coming home.

Fill chicken feed buckets, take off flip flops (thereby avoiding sprained ankles and wrenched knees), and slip into garden clogs.  ICK... shake large spider out of clog,.. shimmy-shake, put clog back on... realize there is a chicken in the garden... the PLANTED garden.  Grab the large fish net (my chicken catching tool of choice) and head to the coops.  Step in ... uhm... eerrr.... poo... large amount of poo... ugh...  too early in the morning for poo... (No, it's not, poo happens round the clock, just seems like it's too early... not 'poo' proof  yet!).

Arrive in coops, catch stray chicken, who is interested in feed buckets, notice how nice and fat she is,,, sorry, chicken, to have upset your day of happy garden seed eating... pop her back in the pen.... Gather the eggs ... forgot to get them in yesterday, what with all that waterfall sitting and contemplating... beautiful eggs... put them in the feed bucket.  Feed second coop... water leak in the hose has led to a messy situation there... YUCK!   Muck my way in, wishing for all the world that I had an extra hand to hold my nose... correct the leaky water situation... realize that pajama pants are longer than the heels on the clogs... oh... crap...
On the way out of the coop, realize that the dog has his nose over in the bucket with the eggs. (What can you expect, when you run out of dog food? ) 

Stop and admire the garden... such a beautiful thing in the spring... by next week this time, tiny little rows of green shoots will be letting us know they're there,,, if the chicken's don't get out and get at them.  Go back and check the doors to the coops.  Get buckets and return to house... shed clothes and shoes on deck, straight into the washer (Thank you, Lord, for modern laundry equipment!).  Clean clogs... hope noone is on the place to witness this spectacle...

Pixie dust... Not this morning... Not this morning, at all!
Yesterday, when I got home from work, I was greeted by the welcoming committee!

One member of the committee climbed in the car about the time that I realized that there was not gas enough in the vehicle to get back to work again, being mindful that I work VERY close to home.

So, in the interest of training (riding in cars) and in the interest of not biking to work in the pollen laden atmosphere, we went to the local convenience store (an adventure in itself).

We took the scenic route home, through the park... nice place... when you work there and still go back for a restful moment after work...

There was only myself and a little family... a mom and dad, three little boys and a little girl.
Watching the little girl play in the creek, quite unaware of herself being in a dress, brought back memories for me of my own little girl, for whom wearing a dress was like breathing air ...

Finding a roadside waterfall... not caring that the ride home will be all giggly and wet and covered in sand... finding salamanders and chasing small fish in the shallows, childhood laughter flooding historic hills where once a battle raged... what an incredible way to spend a spring evening.

The sound of children, combined with the rush of the water and birdsong certainly has a way of soothing the spirit.

Native Azaleas, one of springs earliest surprises reminding us that beauty abounds .

Some  days, the lesson we need to learn is to sit, quietly and reflect... to soak in all that is around us... to appreciate the fine spray of  a waterfall, on a cool, yet sunny day, light shadows playing on the water.

   He sat, still and quiet, for 45 minutes, never moving, never questioning what he was to do.
Sometimes, to sit along side is all that is necessary... a presence.

I sat still and quiet, not moving, clearing my mind, settling my spirit and centering myself, balancing the days just ahead with the certain knowledge that what is true and solid in life does not change, that in the rush of life the moments spent balancing one's self are worthy and necessary and valuable.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


What a difference three months can make!

This is Nick the last day of January.  He was nearly unable to stand.  He was unable to defend himself.
His rear half did not cooperate.  He was starved, nearly to death.

Now, this is what I wake up to each day!  You can't see that the little tail is frantically a-wag!

Vibrant and full of himself, sturdy and strong... he leaps in circles as high as I am tall when I come home from work.  He waits at the door for us and watches our every move.  He loves us each and every one.

This morning, I made a short video and can't get it to upload... will keep trying... you need to see the energy.

This week, I noticed that his collar was too tight... 4 1/2 inches too tight.  It was two weeks since I last adjusted it.

His body is becoming muscular with the faintest hint of a layer of flesh between the skin and bones.  We no longer see the spinal bones...nor his ribs. 

Food issues are fast becoming a thing of the past.  He no longer must be tied to be fed.  He behaves admirably most days.  He no longer grabs the groceries when you're trying to get them from car to house.
He and Nana can and do sometimes eat from the same bowl.  There is no frantic quality to his needing to be fed.  Food comes regularly and often.  It is a reliable fact.

He's wonderful under the leash.  He responds well to voice command and hand signals.  He loves to ride in the car and go to the park where I work to walk the trails.  He's friendly around others and obedient to command in public.

He has stopped killing and eating the chickens and the cats.  He still will chase a cat on occasion, and his nose often bears the slice marks that indicates that the cats are not wild about this game!  He goes with me to the coops each morning and evening and no longer misbehaves there.

Nick joined 'the boys' for a spring break camping and fishing excursion at the river.  There's a little old pop-up camper that was full of teenagers who were awakened by the sound of boxer snoring as he slept peacefully under the camper.  He's not an overly enthusiastic swimmer, but can manage and isn't certain what to do when some of his people are at the river and the others are at the house.  Ideally, he could 'guard' both places at once. He's unsettled when his humans are in two locations on either side of 100 acres.

We have a happy, easy going vibe among the dogs in the yard... which is saying a lot with the 5!!!!! different personalities that we have here. They're a pack... 

Very enjoyably, he talks... and sings... and vocalizes... loud and long and often. 
You sure know you have him.

Issues remain~  His skin is dry and itchy, still exhibiting signs of the malnourishment. He is a magnet for ticks, though he is being treated against them.  He now frantically bites our tires when we try to leave the yard, making all of us, me especially, frantic that we not run him over (we're working on this).  You see, I ran over and killed a 6 month old pup a couple of years ago and I'm not over it yet. 

In the last week, actually, Nick's superior size and new strength has made him less of a target for the neighbor's male dog, who had been a daily threat and causing all kinds of upset here.  The dog now sits at the edge of the neighbors property, but hasn't been 'visiting' in nearly a week!

A special thanks to those who have encouraged us, by word and email, by gifts and assistance.
Nick has an insatiable appetite and could eat the pet store out of liva-snaps.  He has been gifted help with medication, a collar and treats and other things.  I have waited to purchase a harness and pack for him, as his size is drastically different each week. We're just around the corner from a nice collar and leash, having used the cheapest, fastest to find thing that I could get.  We appreciate all of the attention and help and ask that you continue to keep us in your thoughts in the days and months ahead.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Three minute tour of the back yard on a spring afternoon!

Ah... fresh eggs!

From happy chickens!

I really enjoy watching the chickens.  They all have personalities and a social structure that is amazing.

Here, they're headed to the coop as the shadows grow long.

And Nana smiles as she surveys her kingdom...

Man and Machine making ready the garden.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring... ahh....

I tried to get a shot of the pollen covered boxer nose... but he was sneezing too hard.

Yep... and this car is in under cover.

Just about my favorite flower in all the world is a 'first of spring' apple blossom... delicate and beautiful... with a promise of an autumn apple.

Wild Violets... reminds me of my Aunt Jo... who planted them in teacups, early each spring for me to take to my teachers!

Redbuds and dogwoods, a breathtaking burst of color...

Lenton Roses -  stunning...

Oxalis - the greenest of spring greens...

Tulips... hot pink (as opposed to the soft pink that I thought I planted)

And last, but not least, Nick... still wiggling in the fresh grass... Looking so much better and feeling like a 'real' dog... Update on Nick coming really soon!  I promise!