Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mind Over Matter

"So, Emma, do you really think that staring at that gate latch is really going to make it open?"

"Of course it will, it's just a matter of willpower is all.  I just know that if I stand here and stare at this gate long enough, eventually you'll get the hint and take us for a walk.  Its mind-over-matter Ma, you'll see."

"Oh? And just how do you know it will work?  Is this some new magic trick you've developed?"

"Don't be silly Ma, there's nothing magic about it.  It's just a very simple training exercise.  All I have to do is stand here, gazing longingly at the gate latch, paw the ground once in a while and occasionally bray piteously.  Eventually, you won't be able to hold out a moment longer and you'll give in, the gate will open and we'll go for a walk.  You humans are really quite easy to train.  I just have to be clear, consistent and patient."

"See what I mean? Basic obedience training, it works every time."


Monday, August 31, 2015

Unicorns with Muddy Feet

I gave Connor a marrow bone to chew on this evening.  Lately, he has decided that he doesn't want to chew on them though, he'll just leave it lying there while he plays with something else.  That doesn't mean that he isn't aware of it though or that he want's to let anyone else have it.  Heaven forbid!

He likes to wait for just the right moment when he can steal the bone away and hide it, sometimes under my pillow.  Since I am not terribly fond of finding icky bones under my pillow and since he was ignoring it and I don't have any more, I had intended to put it back in the freezer for anther time.  Connor was sleeping on the couch (or so I thought) and I got distracted and didn't put it right away.  I thought I had time. 

The rotten little sneak-thief tiptoed up, made off with that bone, took it downstairs and out through the dog door without me ever noticing.  I didn't notice right up until the moment that he reappeared next to me covered in filth and mud from having just dug a large hole somewhere in the manure pile to hide his treasure.

I started trying to clean him off, but quickly gave it up as a bad job and decided to just take him out for a walk in the tall, wet grass to get him clean again.  I was annoyed at the mud on my just-cleaned floor and having to go out again at midnight after a long, hot, humid day.  We'd just had a short, soft rain and I wasn't looking forward to getting my feet wet.  I stepped outside and headed for the back pasture, still grumbling.  After a short walk, I figured we'd done enough to get the muck off his feet and turned for home. 

That is when the last of the clouds moved off and the still nearly full moon came out to turn the world into magic.  I stood in a bank of heavy, ground-hugging fog with a clear, star filled sky blazing above.  The moonlight shone down through the trees, illuminating the mist in a thousand moonlit rainbows and sparking silver off of every tiny water droplet. 

I kept turning this way and that, expecting the unicorn to be standing in a pool of those moonlight rainbows.  There just had to be one.  Instead, I found my crazy puppy pressing a glow-in-the-dark Frisbee into the back of my leg. 

We walked and played for an hour under the gauzy, shimmery light until the mist cleared and the brief, elusive magic dimmed.  Finally, tired, content and mostly clean, we returned home.

This is what animals do for us.  They pull us out of our selves and into worlds we'd never see without them.  They take us into things we never expect and can't dream of.  They show us beauty that we would otherwise miss.  They break down our boundaries and our preconceptions and, in doing so, they share their own joy-in-life with us.  They take us places we might never get to on our own.  What's a few muddy paw-prints on a clean floor compared to that?







Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hot Saturday Night

Can you figure out what I'll be doing for the foreseeable future?

Do I know how to have fun or what?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Random Bits

Pie Chart:

Every day is Dog Day:


I've been finding quite a few of these tiny, tiny tree frogs out in the woods.  The biggest is the size of a fingernail.

I don't know what they are, but they're kinda cute aren't they?


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Insurance

I bought hay a few weeks ago in the form of these giant square bales.  They should be an equivalent amount of hay to what I bought last year based on weight.  However, all the weights involved were estimates and there seemed to still be an awful lot of empty space in the hay sheds....

I could easily have fit three more big bales in here.  

I wasn't really concerned because the bales are highly compressed and I was going to get several more of the big bales of straw to fill in these gaps.  The farmer had also promised to hold a few more bales for me just in case.  Then....I got a phone call last week from his daughter.  The farmer has been badly injured by one of his cows when she got pissed off, charged him and did her best to kill him.  He will (hopefully!!!) be OK eventually, but he has several broken ribs and vertebra.  I very much hope that he heals up quickly and without any complications, and not just because I want more hay.  He's a really nice guy and I hope he will be alright.  He sure won't be delivering any more hay though.

This all left me a bit uneasy.  I thought I had enough hay, but then again, if we have yet another winter-from-hell (please God, no!), well, I wasn't sure and that is not a good feeling.  It is also going to be a terrible year for finding hay in this region because we had so much rain right up until the third week of July.  I am already seeing many signs of panic, inflated prices and growers hoarding hay in the hopes of even higher prices come winter.  Farm Buddy had also intended to buy some of those Big Bales and that, obviously, wasn't going to happen.

So, when a friend sent Riding Buddy the name of a guy they had just bought hay from and we found out that the guy still had some left at a good price that included delivery, we both jumped on the opportunity before it was gone and bought a hundred bales each.  That was yesterday and today and he has already sold out.

They are nice, big, 60lb bales of very nice looking hay.

My sheds are filled to the brim now and I am breathing a bit easier.  There is nothing worse than running short of feed in the middle of winter and you can never have too much hay.  Or firewood.

The cats are very happy too as they now have numerous little hay dens to hole up in.  Those Big Bales aren't nearly as comfy.  Oliver would tell you all about except that that would require pulling his head out of the feed trough.

I hope everyone has their feed lined up for the year.  With all these horrific fires, drought, excess rain.....it could be a very tough year to get feed no matter where you are.  There are already portents of doom on the horizon, it's time to stock up.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Biggest Bug

"Yo Ma!"

"Yes Emma, what can I do for you?"

"Wow Ma, that's a really long list!"

"Umm, yeah, how about we just stick to one thing at a time, OK?"

*sigh* "Alright, but I reserve the right make new requests whenever I want to."

"But of course.  What can I do for you at this moment?"

"Well, see Ma, this fly mask thingy works pretty good most of the time, but there's this one really huge, super persistent, brown fly that I just can't get away from...."

"It's like having an extra shadow that keeps trying to attack me."

"No matter how I turn, this darn bug just stays latched onto the flymask.  He's like a big, brown leech."

"Don't you have some spray or powder for this?"

"The least you could do is get me a really big flyswatter!"

"Sorry Em, I think you're on your own with that particular pest.  Maybe you should try biting him."

"Well, I would if I could just get him to let go of the mask!  Sheesh, you're no help at all Ma.  What I have to put up with......."












Monday, August 24, 2015

2nd Cutting

First cutting was all made into baleage because it was so wet this year.  There was no cahnce at all to make dry hay early this year.  Those are the big "marshmallows" in the background -The Great Wall of Baleage.

About half the field was cut for 2nd cutting, the other half (on the right) will be grazed by the cows.

Beautiful, high-quality feed for the sheep this winter.


Too bad we can't harness some of this energy to help with the job, we sure could use it!