Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday Farm Report, or, If You Give a Goat a Bottle...

I went out this morning to feed the goat kids. They take three bottles a day. They share space in the barn with Mary's horse. I fed them.

I hauled water and hay to the pen, and let Wakiya into it. I went to get my horse, Hope. I let her off her lead a little early, because she always heads right for the pen when she sees Wakiya there. This time, however, she went for a romp up the hill, stopping to make horsey snow angels. Since we got a little over 7" of snow yesterday, my two legs couldn't keep up with her four even half as well as on a dry day. (That's farmer-animal fractions there.)

I went to get help (aka Mary) and, when I turned around, there was Hope, waiting at the gate. She's predictable, anyway.

I cleaned one goat and two horse stalls, hauling poop to the compost piles (see Thursday's post) and adding more bedding.

I checked the hens. They had seven eggs for us. I rewarded them with feed.

Coming inside, I noticed a stink. I hauled Annie's crate outside (my little goat kid is better now, and moved to the barn for good this morning) and then discovered our old cat had left me a, um, present, in the boot tray. She has decided, as it turns out, that this is her own personal litter box. When she's feeling too elderly, that is, to go out to the garage, where her real litter box is.

While scrubbing and replacing the boot tray, I knocked over a spray bottle of insect spray, which dumped onto the tack trunk and soaked a bag of books I'd brought from my dad's the other day. I cleaned that up, figuring I may as well tackle the rest of the room, as well.

In the end, I started chores at 7:30 and finished at 10:30. And I have family who can't figure out why I can't get up and going in the morning. I'm not up and going? Who knew?

Friday, February 24, 2012

An Expression of My Opinions

A friend of mine posted this as her Facebook status today.

Someday it would be really nice if all these snooty holier-than-thou leftist experts on Christianity would understand the difference between "stop telling me what I have to do" and "you have to do what I say." Just because I object to the crap you want to force me into does not mean that I am telling you how to live or expect you to live or think as I do.

And I responded, "Yeah! What she said!"

It sticks in my craw, as in hers, that those who object to my beliefs/lifestyle/way of doing things think that I expect them to believe/live do things the way that I do. I never, never, never expect that of anyone. Except my children, but that is because our home is not a democracy, but a benevolent dictatorship. But that's a matter for another post.

I believe that people should get a solid education before embarking on life. The form of that education will vary with each individual, and the way that I got mine is, perhaps, not a workable manner by which you should get yours. And, maybe, you do not think you need an education. OK, fine. But I did, and I'd appreciate it if you'd let me be about it.

I believe that people, men and women, should wait for a life partner of the opposite sex before exploring their sexuality. I believe that a ceremony marking the founding of this relationship is in order. I do, and I'm not going to apologize for it. Does that mean I look down my nose at those of you who did not follow this plan? That would be really silly of me, so just get past it. Yes, to those children of mine who read this, I did have comments to make about your lifestyle choices. Again, you are my children, and I ask you to read the last sentence of the third paragraph. I also don't appreciate having to pay, financially or socially, for the lifestyle choices of those who disagree with me. Much like you are complaining about me trying to foist my lifestyle choices on you, I don't appreciate you doing the same to me. And you are.

I believe that mommies and daddies should stay together until the end of their lives so that their children can feel safe and secure. I believe daddies should provide for their children, not only financially, but also emotionally. I believe mommies should stay home with their children until their children leave the nest. I realize that this is not a perfect world, and that many cannot do these things. If you are doing your best to scrimp, save and meet your expenses and are genuinely unable to do so, ask me for help. I will give as much as I can. But if you're leaving your babies to someone else to care for so that there can be beer in the frig, shiny cars in the driveway or trips to be taken, quitcher complaining. I won't expect you to stop doing it, but I really don't want to hear how horrible your life is without those things. Your little sweetie pie is living without the people he/she loves the most, and that stinks.

I believe that men should love and support their wives, and women should love and support their husbands. Of course there will be difficulties, disagreements, and "loud discussions." I believe that those should be kept between the two of you, and not shared with the entire world. I especially believe that any children should not have to hear about it, take sides, or worry that their parents hate each other.

I believe that, when your working days are over, you still have much to offer, and should offer it. Kindly, patently, lovingly. Please let us reap the benefits of your years of toil and tears. We need that.

I believe that, when your parents' health begins to fail, you need to care for them as lovingly and sacrificially as they did you. After all, they changed your diapers for 2-3 years. Would it kill you to do the same? Yep, you'll have to give up some things. Didn't they? Get over yourself. Whether you like it or not, that will probably be you someday. Think about it.

I believe that God is all-powerful and omniscient, and, yet, he still allows bad things to happen. Yes, He could enclose you in bubble wrap and keep the bad meanies away, just like He could have sent armies of angels to smite the Romans and Pharisees and take his little boy down off that torture device. But He doesn't. And that's the way it is. Your being mad at Him for not is not going to change things. But you are welcome to continue believing that way and I will not stop you from doing so.

I really won't. And I'm really tired of hearing you say that I will, or that I do. I suspect it's guilt talking. That's your guilt to deal with, not mine. So do so, on your own, and we'll all be a lot happier. Even you. And, despite what you think, I really do want you to be happy.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I thought long and hard about what to call this post. In the end, I figured I'd just go with Honesty.

Poop is a given on a farm of any kind. Critters just don't understand toileting like people do. Horse owners, like us, are often called Pilots. That's because we pile It here, we pile It get the idea! On our little hobby farm, we have quite the collection of poop. And we do collect it. We have no choice!

We have three compost piles next to the barn. We have one in the horse pasture. And we have one above the garden.

The ones next to the barn are actually one pile, divided. In the first section, we have the brand-spankin'-new, just outta the critter poop. When that gets full, we dump it into the second section, turning it as we do so. Turning compost allows air into it, which speeds the decomposition process. (If you want to learn more about composting, here's a reasonable place.) When it's sat there for a few months, we dump it into the third section, where the composting process finishes. We usually then pull that compost out of the third section, dumping it on the garden or flowerbeds and leaving section 3 open again for the stuff from section 2, when it's ready. We move compost to the garden or flowerbeds in the spring and fall.

The compost pile in the horse pasture is turned in "halves," moving it a little bit forward as we do so. Then it, too, goes on the garden or flowerbeds.

The pile above the garden is a stationary thing. I've been tossing weeds, trimmings and prunings back there for a while. Since our garden is at the bottom of a short slope, I'd like to build up the back a bit so I can build some sort of retaining wall. As it is, right now, mowing back there is difficult; the mower ends up slanted. A riding mower can't always handle going up the slope. So I have longer grass and weeds beginning to take up permanent residence there, and, then, encroaching into the garden. I thought if I piled vegetable garbage and poop back there, soil would eventually form. Then I could dig into it a bit, build that retaining wall, and continue putting yard refuse there until it was a level surface for mowing. My evil plot seems to be working. This summer or next I'll be able to put in that wall.

And that, dear reader, is the story of poop at our farm. I hope you enjoyed it!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

And So It Begins...

Although we have no critters scheduled to give birth here this year at Pine Ridge Farm, we haz babies!

We haven't had a goat here for more than a year, and we miss them. Yes, we do, even though goats have, shall we say, an ethnic connotation? And we are not of that ethnicity? But they are fun to watch and, well, they make really good tacos. So this weekend we went on a goat hunt. Please meet Annie, Hoss and Jack.

Hoss is Mary's little buck kid. He will be a 4H project,and will, hopefully, be sold for mucho dinero at the county fair this summer. (See what I did there?)

Annie is my little doeling. I will keep her, and she will be bred so as to provide goat milk for cheese, and kids for the freezer. Yes, I said that. Did you think, when I said, "They make really good tacos," that I meant they actually came into the kitchen and did the cooking? Silly you.

Annie is facing a little challenge right now. Seems she's fighting off a little infection, perhaps from her umbilical cord, or suffering the effects of the stress of moving her here. She's getting treatment, and we expect things to turn out OK.

Jack (Skellington) belongs to Matthew and Keri, who also like goat tacos, and will be raising him for their freezer. (Unless Matthew has his way.) Jack is a rambunctious little pup. It took about 7 tries to get that somewhat blurry photo of him!

Later this spring, we hope to add some chicks, poults, lambs, pigs and a steer to our collection. Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday Farm Report

This was a rare Saturday. With major chores handled before the weekend, we found ourselves with time to actually handle some of those things that get shoved to the backs of our minds. Not that we got to do them...

I realized the bills had been neglected, started to pay them, and had to quit.

I started working on the tax return, and had to quit.

We went and picked up hay, which got loaded and hauled here, but not unloaded. That'll happen tomorrow. It'll be my strength-training workout.

We made pizza for supper. About halfway through, I realized there were some good photographs happening all around me. But my hands were covered with olive oil and dough, so they didn't get taken.

Sometime during the day, however, I noticed that my orchid, which if you remember, had put out a bloom spike, had actually burst into bloom. I feel like I have another grandchild!

How pathetic is that?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

We Have a New "Daughter!"

Minah is from South Korea. She is 16, and attends school with Mary. She is here on a student exchange, and will be here with us until January. You can bet she'll be popping up on this blog from time to time!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Leaving Home

I've been spending this week pretending to be an English/Literature/German teacher. It's a good gig; a small, private school, great kids, great staff. But I still have to leave home each morning. Even though we're not there to mess it up, it's amazing how our house is falling apart, little by little, each and every day.

Obviously, no one is there to leave trash, etc, lying around. But there's also no one there to pick up the clutter and put it away. And, when you're up and at 'em early in the morning, heading out to the great adventure of the day, it's easy to leave a trail of clutter behind you. A spot of toothpaste and water on the bathroom sink, an unmade bed, a rejected outfit. Breakfast dishes, coffee grounds, a dirty knife that was used to make a sandwich. Each of these is an itty bitty mess, but, gathered together, they make a house look tired. And, when the people of the house arrive in the evening, genuinely tired, the itty bitty messes grow. A stack of lunch containers. A receipt from a quick stop at the store. Mud on shoes, dirty travel mug, cooler (for lunch) which needs wiping out. Add in the little bits of bone the dog chewed during the day, and some tufts of cat hair, and, oh, my, we're heading toward a big mess.

It's obvious, in this world, that work needs to be done in order for a living to be made. But then who handles the living? Who is home to clean the home, organize the home, and make the home fit for those who will return to it in the evening?

I guess that's the BIG question.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Sunday, sadly, we faced the return to reality, to our homes and "real" lives. Before that, however, we had a visit to make. We had an appointment with one of our former Presidents.

Monday, February 6, 2012


We shopped. We ate. We shopped some more. We ate some more. We headed back to the hotel, where we ate yet again and watched a movie.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Friday Night

I went to Galena with some friends this weekend. We stayed here, a place I heartily recommend.

This was our collection of yummy beverages.

Is it any wonder that we closed the movie theater? Yeah, we went to see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which we liked. We went to the 10 o'clock showing, and were the last people out. We felt like such partiers!

Well, we are. We also had one of these in our collection, as proof.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Saturday Farm Report


I'm out in Galena with friends. We spent the day wandering through shops and eating wonderful foods. (Thank goodness I'm here with other food lovers. If I were with some high maintenance girls who thought a pea for breakfast could hold them through the day, I'd be sunk.) We took some fun pictures, some of which showed ME to be the Most Likely to Start Dieting Again Next Week!

But I grabbed the wrong camera cable.

So you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see my fun pictures.


Thursday, February 2, 2012


I had a really great post planned, with research done and everything. Then I subbed at Mary's school, and caught some sort of virus. I've been snuffling and sneezing ever since, and my brain is too muddled to do much deep thinking. So you, gentle reader, will have to do that for me. Thank you.