Daisy Hill Fiber Farm



Catch Up

Posted on July 8, 2010 at 5:37 PM Comments comments (1)

So we have confirmed the fact that not going to work does not mean more blogging.   Or at least not so far.  What can I say... I've been busy.  I couldn't list off what I've been busy doing, though I could give you a partial list of what I've been busy NOT doing -

Not dusting

Not vaccuming

Not gardening

Not cleaning up the front porch

Not accomplishing much of anything so it seems


But I have been doing a lot of wondering what I've been doing.  No, I'm still sane, or at least I THINK I'm still sane.  Just having some time management issues.


So let me take you on another one of my random photo wanders of the past few weeks.  Keep in mind that I haven't hauled out the camera much in the past few weeks - so there will be some major gaps.  Of course refer to the last paragraph - I'm not sure there was much to photograph anyway.  Stream of consciousness writing... hang in there!



Our fiber guild had a fiber echange.  In February we provided  6oz. of fiber to a randomly selected spinner.  In April that spinner turned over the spun yarn to a randomly selected finisher.  In June the finished projects were turned over to the original donor.  This is my finished project that I did.  It is camel yarn.  Just camel, nothing else.  I made a felted purse (which can also be worn as a belt bag), change purse and glasses case.  The finishing portion of a fiber exchange always is my biggest challenge.  I was literally (as in most things) was working up to the last minute.




The vast majority of the last part of the month was in preparation for the Washington State Rabbit Convention (or recovering from the said convention).  This year I entered 8 rabbits, but took 8 carriers of rabbits.  Three tables and a box of fiber... and barely fit into the car myself.  Thank goodness for bungee cords!


We did good, bad and middlin'...  Satin Angoras did well.  First show on Saturday our boy Logan took best of opposite sex of variety (to the eventual Best of Breed) and our guy Lincoln took Best of Variety and Best of Opposite Sex of the breed.  At the show on Sunday with a different judge the high point was Lincoln coming in at the same spot as he did on Saturday.  And to think he was a last minute addition I made (perhaps I need to listen to that intuition a bit earlier on!).


Champagnes were my middlin' group.  Our man Lentil was a bit too young, and got placed near the bottom because of that.  By Sunday Katrina was one cranky hot lady rabbit.  She has one more show to attend and then she'll be retired to the nursery... which she is in the mood to try.  Kilgore, my shinning star, got a bit of an ego blow (as did I) when he placed mid-class on Saturday.  But he recovered and won his class, and also finished his Grand Championship, on Sunday.  He did lose Best of Breed, but we're happy with the class win.  He'll also go in one more show (this Saturday in Sandpoint ID), though he's starting to molt to a summer coat and will be counted down for that.



But we went, we enjoyed, we survived, and we came back home.  Home to find a surprise.  Chuck (bless his sweet self) had been working while we were away - putting down flooring.  Its been several years since we had flooring in the living room.  As some of my earlier blog photos attested to.  So to have FLOORS again, its heaven. 



This photo lets you see the sub floor vs. the finished floor.  Now which would you choose?  It has since moved across the living room to a point where he just has about five feet to finish on the other side of the room.  And then we will have floors all over the house.  Simple pleasures!


But as is the case in many situations along with the good came the chaos...



This is what the other side of the room looked like.  And, well, much of it still looks like that (refer to first part of this blog post).  But as soon as things are done... or perhaps sooner, I will find a home for all this homeless clutter.  Soon, or at least eventually.  In the meantime I LOVE my new floors.



This is Shadow on the porch amongst the hop vines... on the 4th of July.  Isn't it just one of the most obvious photos depicting summer?  It is to me.  A warm dusty cat in the sunshine.  The 4th also saw us fencing off the front portion of the "yard" and letting the woolies in to beat back the grass and underbrush. 



Good grief, the gate is open!



And the hungry woolies start working on the green food with gusto.



Another photo to suggest to Honda... a CRV holding its own against the woolies.



Or this one of the forest Leicesters Mike and Victor.  Note, Victor needs a larger coat - he shouldn't look like a sausage in a casing.



Woodland Camelids caught in their natural habitat.



Or one small sheep bottom disappearing into the underbrush.  They've done their darndest to get this eaten down, and have accomplished much.  Several items that were not "technically" sheep or camelid food disappeared in the process.  But what has been accomplished to the good outweighs the demise of several decorative plants. 

Meander with Me

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 10:56 PM Comments comments (0)

Well on my new resolution of not apologizing... I wouldn't dare suggest that I'm sorry for having let a few of you visit repeatedly with nothing new in the blog.  Even if I was - though I'm not really saying that I am.  Enough of that.  Its time to play a little catch up.  I have some photos... we're just going to wander through them. 

I'd suggest you'd fasten your seat belt, but really we're pretty tame around here... you can even wear open toed shoes for this meander (your word for the week).  Lets start with a quick puzzler.



What is this mess?  I call it Seasonal 2.  It is the dregs of the frozen water of winter, the sign of a seasonal shift in the rabbitry.  We have a nice week or two between this and the next season which is filled with fans and frozen water bottles (on purpose this time).  And a reminder to myself that I like living in a place with four distinct seasons.  I do.  We opened up the barn and removed the blockades from door ways and the weather promptly dropped 40 degrees.  I love the unpredictability of our springtimes - no, not really. 



Backtrack to mid-May and the IERBA (Inland Empire Rabbit Breeders Association) Show in Davenport.  This is our little corner of the room.  Minus the garbage cans... they were provided by the fairgrounds.  Do you think they were suggesting something?  We took down 6 carriers.  And 2  tables to park them on, and two chairs to sit on, and several bags of "stuff" that always seems necessary when I'm packing to go.  See, we had no room to bring the garbage cans too.



This would be my gratuitous shot of the rest of the room.  The host club was a bit surprised at the turn out.  It was cozy.  But really, I've not been to a rabbit show that didn't seem cozy.  Perhaps rabbits and rabbit folk are just very social.  Could that be why there are so many rabbits?



This is part of the colored Satin Angora competition.  A lovely gathering.  A few of these live here.



This is the other end of the table, where the white SA's were hanging out.  A couple of those live here too.  Some of these rabbits did very well.  Some were learning experiences.  Life... as we meander through it is always a learning experience.



This is Kittitas out on the grooming stand where she's just got a fluff and blow (there's got to be a better way to phrase that).  Doesn't she look like she's learning something?  She came home to have a hair cut and get knocked up (ok, change to the sneakers that protect the toes now!).  Actually several furfolks have the same plan.   Even at least one Champagne d'Argent lady - Lottie,  and Lacy the American Chinchilla, had similar plans - minus the hair cut.  In fact I pointed out to Chuck how guiltless and how much spare time I'd have if all we had were short haired rabbits.  Perhaps like Kilgore - who took BOB in Show B.   Not to be outdone by Kadbury (the SA) who took BOB in Show A.  Course Kadbury came home to get a hair cut too.  A summer crew cut seems in order.


Last weekend we added a few new woolies to the flock.  I can hear a few of you say "didn't you have enough?"  What is the definition of enough?  Food for thought... all relative, let the question just sit there in your mind for a moment or three.  But this is part of my quest for a llama cria.  The initial equation requires at least a mother and a father.  We have several fatherly types.  Running a bit short on the motherly side.



Enter Poppy, the lovely llama lady on the left.  Hopefully she'll become interested in one of our manly woolies and make me the wee llama cria I seek.  Oh sure, there are other female llamas here.  And to be honest - Ellie may be in the family way (hard to tell with her girlish figure).  But both Dusty and Peaches seem to have decided that the motherhood ship has sailed long ago for them. 


The attractive young man on the right is Ollie.  He's a young gelding and came as a companion to Poppy.  We will be looking for a farm needing a guardian for him.  I suspect he'll charm his new owners as much as he has me.  We also got a llama harness as part of this relocation deal.  So in my "spare time" I can train one of our llamas to pull a cart.  A cart that we'll have to start looking and saving for.


Spare time may be approaching sooner than later - as I have been laid off work.  I suspect that the million and one items that already live on my "when I have time" list will flow into that opening and make me wonder how I ever fit it all in before.   I am looking forward to renewing my connectedness to aspects of my deeper self as well. 


And who knows... maybe I'll blog a bit more often.  I suspect you'll see a difference.

A collection, random listing or unrelated thoughts.

Posted on May 4, 2010 at 6:29 AM Comments comments (3)

This is just a quick hodgepodge of photos from the last few weeks.  Hodgepodge - when was the last time you heard that word?  It is one of those words that I can put in print, but can't imagine every speaking.  Ranks right up there with Yikes....


But onto our hodgepodge.



After shearing we load up the fleeces (wrapped in those lovely sheets) and stuff them into our small pickup that spends lots of its time, now late in life, being a storage facility.  At some point soon I need to set up a skirting table and start to skirt and sort the fiber.  Its a lovely job, but one that requires the right day and the right mood.  In the meantime the fiber whispers to me.


A friend who lives a distance away finally asked me the big question... where do we put all those rabbits?  So I thought I'd give a very quick, down and dirty (you'll see what I mean) tour.  Our small barn is approximately 12X 30.  At one time it held hay and sheep, then hay and rabbits, now just rabbits.  The sheep still remember and tend to stand at the doorways and look a little sad.  Of course they are comfortable in their own additions, but they seem to think that the rabbits have the top real estate.



This is one aisle in the barn.  We do the deep bedding method, and of course I took photos the day before a seasonal shovel out.  Really... scouts honor.



This is the large unit in the very front of the barn.  I move litters into this for the few weeks before weaning and seperating into other cages.  This photo has four Satin Angora litters in it.  They have since moved to less populated cages, and the unit has been cleaned, and another four litters moved in. 



A view across the room.



This is the other side of the room... with a wall of stacking cages and condos. 




This is a trio of cages on the side of the barn in an enclosed room that the woolies have access to.  Ladies in waiting and youths often overflow to this location.



This is the Annex next to the shop where we have yet another overflow space.  Many of the "extra" or "backup" bucks hang out here.  Its also the area where the chickens live.  Because of that one set of cages wears a hat, and the other is hanging extra high - to discourage the chickens from trying to get on top of the cages.  Not only does that make for messy rabbits, but can lead to several diseases that chickens carry that can affect rabbits.


But this year we've amped up, and our regular overflow just isn't enough.  Note:  we also have a hanging trio up at the house for angoras waiting for the hair dresser and new rabbits in quarrantine.  No photos of that one though.



So the rabbits have started to take over the garden.  This is what I call the rabbit corridor...  7 cages under a roof extension to the shop on one side with a hutch with two extra large cages on the other. 



A view from the other side of the large hutch... with the cherry tree in bloom.  Its a scenic spot for young buns.  Once the tree leafs out it should help with shade and protection in the months to come.



And on the other side of the same tree is the last group of cages... four under cover that will enjoy the same shade.  And yes, I really, REALLY appreciate my husband and his skills and willingness to bring some of my visions to reality.



So we have a bit of permaculture here.  Rabbits who eat and drop fertilizer to the ground where the chickens till it in.  And our garden has a visitor that comes on a daily basis.  If he wasn't so handsome I'd be less welcoming.  His purpose seems to be to come and preen and stomp on our garlic.



And on that note I'll stop my hodgepodging here.  Your assignment, if you choose to accept it, is to use "hodgepodge" conversationally at least once in the next week.  Yikes!

Shearing - Check!

Posted on April 22, 2010 at 3:07 AM Comments comments (0)

Note to possible WEBS users....  if the blog won't upload your photos check to see if its time to upgrade your website (i.e. PAY) again.  Apparently that is not something that they intend to mention to you -- you just start running into a brick wall where features are concerned.  After spending a good 5 minutes having a tantrum I went back and reviewed my records to find that I really had paid for it the last time over a year ago... my how time flys. 


This past weekend was our annual shearing event.  Its the time when the sheep get to get naked, both from their coats and their fleece.  Here's Igor getting the first layer removed.



This is the rest of the crowd waiting their turn.  Breathless anticipation?  No, probably not. 



Some form of anticipation is in there somewhere.



Neida and her fleece being parted.



This is our great shearer Martin.  A fine, gentle man.  And a darn good shearer besides.  Here Keva, our token goat is having her tummy shaved.  Aren't you glad that your job doesn't include lots of time bent over bracing heavy, combative subjects while juggling well sharpened blades?  I value his experience and willingness to travel to our farm!


After a nice shear the sheep are recoated and turned free. 



Notice the look on Francis' face (the camelid in this photo), he no longer recognizes anyone without their fleece.  Its like having a whole new set of friends - or your first day at a new school all over again.  Also make a mental note of that chain link panel that is right in front of Midge (the dark sheep looking at the camera)...  I'll let you know why in a few moments.


After the sheep we moved onto the folks slated for haircuts in the camelid crowd.  Not everyone needed a new 'do this year...  Only our young llama man Kyrie and the three alpaca boys (is that the name of a weird lounge lizard band?).  Val will give a quick demonstration of the different process for alpacas....  first, they are done on a tilt table. 



In this photo he's getting all hooked up to the restraints.  He looks simply gleeful I think.



He's now getting "strung out" and totally nude (halter coming off). 



The sheet (from a different design era) is there to catch the sheared fiber off his prime section.    The fiber from his legs, neck and belly went into other bags so that the prime fiber stayed free of the "less fine".  No co-mingling!


So the rule with the table is that you start with the lighter colored animals and move towards the darker ones... so that any residule fibers left on the table won't contaminate the new harvest (though isn't that a bit bigotted?  I mean don't the lighter fibers sometimes get into the darker fiber? Food for thought). 


Which left the last guy in the pen as Kyrie our black llama.  He is a young man and had never been sheared before.   He'd also not been worked with much before.  Heaven only knows what he thought we were going to do to him.  Perhaps a few of the geldings had mentioned a particular operation they'd had in the past....  but he was a bit fit to be tied when we went to fetch him from the holding pen.  Hysterical might be a better description.  Chuck and I went in and cornered him.  Chuck had his arms around his neck and I was in the process of putting the halter on his moving target of a head when Kyrie decided that the best solution to the whole situation was to just leave.  He reared up and pushed against me and the chainlink panel (remember that earlier mention!) and suprisingly enough... when enough weight is put against an object it eventually gives way.  Down went the panel with me in quick accompaniment and Chuck right behind me with Kyrie right behind him.  We all went smash to the ground and squash to the Sue.  And Chuck, well he refused to let go of that llama until he had jumped to his feet and drug him an additional 20+ feet.  In retrospect given our fitness level and age it is amazing we didn't need to phone for the rescue vehicle right then and there.  But we went on to catch him a second time.



He roared (only way to truely describe it) with rage through the whole operation,and no we just sheared, no other operation though it was very, VERY tempting.  And after he was nude we discovered that he's not really a black, because he has some lovely rust shading at his points. 



The words coming out of this young man's mouth are not fit to print!  Especially laced with dripping spit...  just waiting to have anyone get close enough to unleash his full opinion of the situation.  We all survived.  Just barely.  And have a few aliens in the corral to prove it.



Kyrie, Val and Hilly across the front - with Ellie trying not to laugh too hard on the side.


Done for another year.



Some of us still have some residual effects... after three days off work, I'm contemplating a visit to the Doctor to see if there is anything magic to help all my bruising.  My dreams of being a professional wrestler meets reality!  (well, not really MY dream)


Posted on April 6, 2010 at 2:58 AM Comments comments (0)

I know that I have totally flunked being a blogger.  The writing has been on the wall since at least 5th grade.  I was one of those people that WANTED to Journal.  I would buy a new "empty book" or spiral bound notebook or diary every fall and come New Years Eve I would open it with great reverence and write my first entry.  It normally included my New Year's Resolutions, one of which was most often.... Keep up on my Journal.  And like most of the rest of my New Year's Resolutions it would go down in flames within the first week or two of the New Year.  But hope would spring eternal and I would try again the following year.  Now, why I always had to start on New Years Eve?  Why not the 4th of July, or any good Monday in May?  I'm just sorta like that.  I think I have at least three of those empty books on a bookshelf in this very home.  I mean why toss it out when it only has five pages filled?  But here, here I've actually been successful at keeping on some sort of schedule.  So rather than flunked.... I think I'll change my view and say that I get an C+ for marked improvement!  And to think, this is a Monday night, not even the 1st of the month... it has no other significance other than sharing a little of whats happening here with you.


So a few things have happened since I last wrote.  One was the Spin In held two weeks (give or take 48 hours or so) ago.  I shared a booth with a few other women.  And so one of my excuses for not being here, writing to you, was that I was somewhere else trying to get some stock pulled together and have some inventory to sell.  I did pretty well, and did clear out alot, if not all of the excess fleece I had in the wool shed.  Since we shear in less than two weeks it was necessary.  I also have carded batts piled up in various places in the house waiting to be finished.... ones that just never quite made it to the end product before the event.  But perhaps, hmm.... I could try doing a few things ahead of time so that the next time I do some vending I'm not doing it on 2 hours sleep.  I might even enjoy the event a bit more.


Another big event, though a sad one, was having to let go of our big scruffy dog Otis.  In the end we had to help him leave.... which is always so very hard.  He had a wonderful life.  Full of things and people he enjoyed and loved.  He lived over 13 years, which is a long time for a dog so large.  And if he couldn't live forever, I'm glad he was able to leave with his people holding him and telling him how loved he was until the very end.   *break for tissues*



We were both much younger once.



Some day when time has passed and the sadness has too, I will write about some of the important lessons I learned from this lovely dog.  Thank You Otis for sharing your time with me.  *second tissue break*


Onto some brighter thoughts.  The Iden and Justus pups turned a year old on Saturday!  While we retained two, so it should seem that much more obvious to us.... it doesn't seem like a year could have passed.  And yet, at the same time it seems like they've always been with us.  So check out the new page to mark the litters Birthday.


This weekend I finally got my ducks in a row, or rather my bunnies.... and did an inventory of what we have in the litters.  Currently we have six litters in boxes, six older litters are out, and another six litters due within the next 72 hours.  And to think that last spring I vowed to never have 5 litters at one time.  Who was that woman?!  Due to the large quantity of rabbits available I am not planning on posting individual photos on the website.  Though all declarations are fluid and open to change.   But go to the rabbits for sale page to see whats up for grabs.  If you're interested in any, drop me a note and I'll take photos for you.  They are an awfully attractive mass quantity of rabbits.


This past week there was a shift in the power structure of the chicken yard.  Geronimo flexed his larger muscles and took over control of the harem from his smaller counterpart Napoleon.  Blood was shed on both sides.  And a much humbler Banty rooster now plays second fiddle.



It's good to be King of the Compost Pile!  We're currently brooding in the bathroom 11 new chickens, all hens (we hope).  Which should give the two roosters plenty of women to care for.  A job for everyone I hope. 


Here's wishing you a blank page to fill with your own dreams and goals....  and the time to enjoy the chance for new beginnings.




Thursday Ramblings

Posted on March 4, 2010 at 9:11 AM Comments comments (0)

For a woman trying to get back to keeping a blog I'm having some issues...  time being one, inspiration being another.  Still tinkering with computer issues as well.  I think our newest goal, which may help with all three is that  we're contemplating a lap top.  Then you that know me a bit better can invision me sitting in my recliner... TV remote control within reach, and lap top on my... well lap (isn't that why those little babies were given that name?!).  I will have then become the ultimate slug.. and can write to you about it.  I know you can't wait!


As this week is well over half over (do a happy weekend is almost here dance) I'll just update some Our Rabbit photos and Rabbit for Sale photos (which is a hint for you to go wander into rabbitland) and leave you with a little tidbit.



This is, of course, the young man Konan.  He's our adventurer... though not often our balance beam walker which is a title that his brother Konrad (Mr. big and yellow and fluffy) holds.  I had my camera in my pocket and he was sitting at the top of the gate post looking so mature that I was trying to get a shot of him pretending to be all grown up.  But he decided it was time to show off some pole walking skills.   This photo also shows off a section of the neighbors front yard (hint, WE do not plant things in precise rows - because nature does not plant things in precsie rows) without a speck of snow.  Our spring has come early this year.  The red winged blackbirds are back and this week we have robins in the yard and front field. Both barn boys feel that the robins are there for them to stalk.  My hopes are high that the robins will stay out of reach... as I like them too.  So some days we are up to our ankles in mud, other days things are crusty with frost, while others are "just right"...  our season progresses.


And in progress we had another new litter yesterday (Satin Angora - good girl Kurtain!), with another 4 due/overdue.  Our chicken setting on eggs plan has developed into two chickens setting on eggs.  Our little devoted banty never did get her nest back.  The large black hen was a whole lot more serious about brooding than I anticipated... and has retained the first nest. The banty now sits right next to her on her own eggs... which leaves the third, and least favorite nest for the other chicken women to lay their daily eggs.  A couple more weeks to baby chicks!


To continue the chatty tone...  this past weekend we were given some wonderful used cages from a fellow rabbit breeder that upgraded to some beautiful new cages.  We hauled them home and then spent much of Sunday night in the rabbitry getting them installed.  Wonderful!  More room for the breeder buns, and some space for growers and waiting to be picked up sellers...  and while I worried (as I'm often known to do) about the impact screw driver that Chuck was using upsetting the new Mom's-to-be, hardly a rabbit acknowledged the noise. In fact they seemed pretty content to have us down there sharing their space.  If the barn was a bit more tidy and warm I might be tempted to get a recliner down there to come and use that LAPtop on.

Chicken(s) on a Friday

Posted on February 26, 2010 at 5:51 AM Comments comments (0)

Let's see how fast I can get the computer and webs to cooperate with some chicken photos...



First day out of the annex chicken home.  The little fence just kept them in line to the garden with the concept that they could hang out in there in relative safety.  Of course they figured out how to get OUT of the garden in about two minutes and it made the fence just a barrier to getting back home.



This shows my plan a bit better.  My plan that became chicken modified.



This is our Big Rooster.  Isn't he a handsome man?  And a nice guy, I'm sure he is favorite amongst the ladies...  He is even pretty amiable to the other rooster who has an enormous Napoleon complex.



Some of our ladies defining the phrase Mud Hen. 



See the neighbors that have come to visit in the background?  The barn boys.  The chickens don't mind the barn boys... the barn boys don't mind the chickens.  Its a nice little barnyard family down there.   Just wait until this summer when llamas and sheep and chickens and cats (oh my!) all get to intermingle.  I'll have to pull up a chair and enjoy the pastorial moment.



And in this photo taken a week later we have progressed to full free range, and a bit less mud.  See that little rooster in the front (the guy with the red neck) thats our guy with a complex.  But he is a magnificent banty.  He is a perfectly scaled down (WAY down) version of the quintessential rooster. 



And this is one of his perfect little banty wives.  For some reason this day she thought I was her savior, or had some sort of treat or something... but she RAN to be with me, and then shadowed me until I left the area.  She (or her twin) is now being allowed to be broody.  Fingers crossed for some baby chicks in our future. The large black hen had taken over the eggs at dinner tonight, so I may let the banty have a second nest - or wait and see if they can share the brooding job.  Whats springtime in a flock of chickens without baby chicks.


BTW... I think we've discovered THE combination.  New computer, WEBS... they like each other.

Kilgore was there...

Posted on February 1, 2010 at 11:23 PM Comments comments (0)

We went to a rabbit show this past weekend.  It was the first show we were able to make it to since last July.  I was OK with that... but now, now I really need to go to another one sooner than later.  They are a bit addicting.  Of course it helps if you're having a good day... and thanks to this little fellow we had a wonderful day.



He's a bit of a rock star at this point. In a rabbit show sort of universe.  His name is Kilgore and he's a sign that I'm starting to understand.  Understand what it is that I'm supposed to be looking for in a young Champagne d'Argent.  He's got some good genes, but I still get a minor

gold star for picking him out of the litter.



He had no problems handily going to the top of his class, and then some.  He was judged as Best of Breed in both shows. In the second show he made it into the top ten in the Best of Show competition.  And he's just a youngster.  Born 9-9-09 (really) he was destined for greatness.  He's a keeper.  Two of our older Champagne does made it to BOS (Best of Opposite Sex) in the two shows.  It would lead one to believe that we were the only Champagnes there, but no - there were more that weren't even related to us.  We won against real competition.  Makes it that much more sweet.


We hung out all day.  Our day started at 4am and ended around 10pm.  But give me a few weeks and I'd be ready to do it again.  Me and Kilgore... and Chuck too.



This was our little spot on the showroom floor.  5 carriers of rabbits.  A total of 11 came with us, a total of 9 came home.  We sold three of our Champagnes, including one of Kilgore's brothers.  And came home with this little lady (clobbering Chuck on the couch - not spoiled one little bit).



This is Diana a Satin Angora doe. She was a trade from about a year ago - amazing how that works.  You trade one rabbit for one that isn't even born or thought of yet.  But it worked out just fine.  She's a sweet thing.


On Sunday after a fair amount of sloth and a good sized nap I went down and spent some time with my rabbits.  And in the process was able to catch this photo of my sweet young barn boys.



Brotherly love.  They are such fine fellows.  Good mousers (our horrid innundation seems to be a thing of the past), sweet, entertaining, bold... and loving.  Cats, Rabbits and Woolies... oh my.  Life is good, and sweet... or couldn't you tell.

Welcome to 2010

Posted on January 7, 2010 at 6:11 AM Comments comments (0)

I hope your new year is well under way in a positive way!  One of the things we've added to our lives very recently is a router for our two computers.  I have my fingers crossed that it will help me be a bit more successful with blogging and WEBS.  I've been shuttling things back and forth between an older Dell that WEBS doesn't like and a newer Lenovo (which has its own issues).  I still haven't solved the problem of why I can't just block and copy the Holiday letter but I'm blaming that on the version of Word that the new computer has.  But the keyboard for this new machine doesn't like capital letters... and the letter is very long, so I haven't been in a rush to just retype the whole (stink'en) thing. 


I realize that I spend a great deal of time recently asking "Where's your Brother?"  This relates primarily to the barn boys.  I see one, and always am asking the question about where the other is lurking about.  I always wonder if the cats don't feel a bit put out about that... like aren't they good enough just in themselves?  Why am I always asking about the guy that's missing?  But the missing bro shows up shortly every time I say that... so its somewhat magic.



Konrad is the Orange Sherbert guy on the bottom.  Konan, aka Mr. Tree Tops, is the guy in the tuxedo on the top.  The hay shed is part of their playground.  And actually these days every nook and cranny within a 1/4 mile of the barn seems to be their playground.



And now that we've got some snow... I've discovered that the world has become their litter box too... 


Here's a photo of Katie and a cat of a similar color.



As you can see Katie isn't sure that this is appropriate, but Konrad makes up for it by being SURE that dogs are his friends.  I keep pointing out to the barn boys that there are bad dogs (coyotes and Otis) that aren't their friends.  I hope they're taking notes.


Just last weekend the weather was great... a little bit of snow (see photo above) and temperatures moderate enough not to freeze the water dishes.  Which cuts my chore time almost in half.  But it is January, and the likelihood of that being the case all month was slim.  We got dumped on by lots of thick, wet snow... the kind that is like snot falling from the sky (sorry for that visual).  But it tends to collect in blobs that way. 






The last photo I call Suess Snow because it looks like something out of Whoville.  And yes, I take snow photos at night... adds something don't you think?  Hopefully something good.


The snow fell, all wet and clumpy, and now the temps are down near the single digits... so we've got lots of crunchy ice.  And that is my weather report for the week.  More website content to come soon.  Including another entry about our special guy Blue.  Someone who I never have to ask "Where's your Brother?" because he's normally no more than two feet away.



Note:  Our flooring is still new, because it still sits in its boxes.  It will say new forever this way...

What I did with my weekend

Posted on December 23, 2009 at 11:09 AM Comments comments (0)

So I headed into last weekend with a real mindswimming list of things to get accomplished.  And for the most part, they are all still waiting.  So much for lists!  So if you're one of the folks on my Christmas list, know that I have your gift... it is still unwrapped and unmailed.  Still!  But perhaps we can all consider them to be New Year's gifts.  Oh, and New Year's cards too....


This past Saturday we went and picked up our new chickens.  6 lovely hens in a variety of breeds, just as I wanted.  I want to be able to tell my chickens apart.  They get to be a bit more than employees.  And we also brought home a little trio of Old English Bantys that are just the most delicate, finest boned little chickens I've ever seen.  And that little rooster gets so hopping mad when the big hens ignore him... and he has the squeakiest crow.





They are all installed in the new chicken/rabbit co-op and have given us a fair number of eggs so far.  We'll probably have to start sharing some with the dogs here soon enough.


The chickens were on my list.  All was well.  Until we discovered this....



This is a photo of a cat up a tree.  He is so far up the tree that he is but a speck in the distance.  This is one of the large pines next to the drive, the one that practically holds hands with the one that got hit by lightening this summer (search back to entries from July to see more photos).  We estimate that Konan (the black & white barn boy) was approximately 40 feet up this tree.  And we left him there hoping he'd come down.


But it rained, and it rained, and going on about 48 hours I agreed with Chuck that it was time to try a rescue mission.  I did point out to him that with his mature Santa Claus figure that it wasn't going to be HIM headed up a ladder.  So we called in our rescue man Alberto... a high school senior and member of the Sherriff's Search and Rescue crew.  We thought it might help to have some training. 



The ladder falls short of the level where Konan is by about 6-10 feet.




Alberto came out and climbed the ladder.  Brave soul that he is...



Up, up the ladder Alberto climbed.



Climb, Alberto, Climb.  Did I mention how brave he was?




But the ladder was a bit too short.  Requiring standing near the top rung, clinging to the tree and using whatever was left to reach for the cat.



Far, far away from the ground was Alberto (and Konan too).



And despite Konan purring loud enough that I could hear him at the bottom of the tree... it didn't work.  Alberto was just not able to get a good enough hold on the cat and come down the ladder in a way that felt safe to him.  Oh, did I mention that it was raining through all this?!  Icing on the cake as far as I was concerned.


So we tried Plan B


We attached a quilt to the top of the ladder thinking that the cat might be drawn down to the ladder that way.  Hey!  It sounded like a good idea at the time.  But apparently cold, wet cats high up in trees are not as attracted to quilts as I thought. 


So we moved onto Plan C.  Which we have no photos of because it was done in the cover of darkness at this point.  Plan C was Alberto calling another friend, also a member of the S & R group, who in his opinion was a bit more fearless on ladders. I actually thought that Alberto had been darn fearless, but I was willing to give anything a shot at this point.


Young man #2 (who's name I never caught) was successful.  Of course, the voice of reason, ME, had left the men to do the rescue work and had gone to take care of things at the barn... figuring that I had been totally unappreciated for shouting things like "don't go any higher, its not safe"... or "don't let go of the limb, its too slippery up there"... I just kept an ear cocked in case my assistance would be needed to dial 911 and say things like "I told you so".  But without me fluttering about they made several attempts at the rescue, and I could hear from off in the Chichen Co-op when they finally snagged hold of Konan and started down the ladder.  Why?  Because Konan stopped purring and started swearing.  He was an ungrateful rescuee, but was so darn happy to be on the ground when he finally made it there.


Konrad, Konan's brother was SOOO happy to have his brother back.  I continued to do some cage cleaning and general putter work at the barn and watched the two of them play, and eat, and clean each other and finally settle down in an empty cage (their choice, not mine) wrapped around each other like a Yin Yang symbol... purring in stereo. 


And for all my time spent outside at the foot of a large pine tree trying to entice a scared, wet kitten out of a tree, in the rain... I have a wonderous cold now.  But the cats are safe and happy once more.