Saturday, December 29, 2012

A shared blog

James and I began a new blog tonight. I'll say no more about it but here's the link.

Roxie at work

Today I videoed Roxie working on her nest.  This is what pigs do when they're getting ready to have babies also.  She's not pregnant.  She's just making her house comfortable for the winter.  My friend, Susan, blogged about animals' senses recently.  I'm wondering if Roxie sensed that snow was coming and that's why she made this nest a few days ago before the snow came.  She's still working on it.  I love watching her at work.

Our donkeys have great senses too.  We've taken Mac on trail rides and he can always find his way back even if the trails are hidden and we don't tell him to turn.  There was a time we didn't see where the turn was but he did.

My friend, Mollie and her family, rescued a baby squirrel over a year ago.  Her name is Lottie.  Mollie's last two blog posts were about Lottie and I think you'll enjoy seeing how smart this squirrel is and how she's become part of their family.  Last year she slept with the Mollie's daughters and if you read through past posts you'll find some other really cute stories about her.

Since this is kind of a random post about animals I might as well add this too.  One of our friends lost his dog yesterday.  Her name was Zoe and she was 19 years old.  Isn't that amazing?  I've never heard of a dog living that long.  That's like 133 years old in humans.
Photo: My sweet southern belle, Zoe,  gave me so much joy and love.  After 19 years, she has moved on to chase squirrels in heaven.
Sweet Zoe


Friday, December 28, 2012


I haven't blogged about my goats lately, have I?  All the girls are dried up so I'm not milking now.  I hate that I had to buy milk last week.  I am, though, enjoying the break for the moment.   We have enough cheese to get us through the winter so that's nice.  I also put some milk in the freezer for soap and lotion.

Yesterday a friend came to visit.  She brought me a gift she "knew" I'd like.  She was very right.  You will see why she was so sure I'd like it.
Today James told me I got some mail from someone in Tennessee.  I couldn't think of who in TN would be sending me something.  Remember the Halloween dress-up contest my Mid-Atlantic Minis Yahoo group had?  Well, Cooper won the funniest goat costume award (even though I don't think this was even a category.  I think the list moderator made it up for his and my sake).  He also won 3rd place overall.  The piece of mail I received was this certificate.
I think I'm going to frame this and hang it in their barn. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

My pigs don't need me

Our 3 pigs live on about 10 acres of pasture.  There's a lot of grass for them to root up and eat so they don't need the pellet food and slop I give them every day to survive.  They might grow slower but they'd survive.  They also have a self-filling trough so they don't need me to fill water buckets for them either.  There are two 8X8 structures in their field which they use for shelter.  Now that it's turned colder they seem to prefer the one that gets the sun longest.  This used to be a goat house but they've taken it over since the goats moved out.  They would probably be fine without a structure since there's still a lot of tall grass out there but these houses make things much more comfortable for them, especially on cold, windy and wet days. 

Tonight when I went down to visit them I saw how homey Roxie had made things in their house.  Instead of waiting for me to put hay in there for them to sleep in, (which I wasn't planning to do anytime soon since I'm so stingy with hay), she decided to do it herself.  She built a berm of dirt to block the doorway somewhat and then picked lots of grass and made a big nest behind the berm.  It looks very cozy now.  I wonder how long it took her to pull up all this grass to fill at least half the house.   I should have taken a picture but it was so cold and windy and Calvin and Hobbes were pestering me for food and I wanted to get back to our house.  I'm sure they didn't help with the housekeeping.  They're busy little guys but I think their busy-ness is focused on feeding their piggy little faces, not helping their mom.   They're still really cute. 

Smart animals, pigs.  I want to get a video of one of the pigs I sold to a neighbor to show you how a pig can be trained to do tricks.  I won't give it away now.  I'll wait to post the video of her. 


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The boat project

Remember this?
We got this boat "free" off Craiglist.  It cost us $200.00 to move it to our property where it would sit for another 2 years before we did anything to it.  Last year on my birthday we gutted it.  Again, it sat.  Until today. We've begun constructruction.  "The boat project" is in full swing.  Haha.  We dug 2 holes today and then laid down in the field and watched the birds soar overhead, watching how they flew and wondering if they knew each other.  We didn't want to overdo it.  Our plans are to jack the boat up, build a deck around it with storage underneath to store our kayaks etc.  When the deck is done we plan to finish the inside of the boat to sleep in.

Two holes today and maybe two more next week.  At this rate we'll be sleeping in the boat by the year 2020, that is, if the world doesn't end this Friday.  As we were digging holes James asked me if I'd still be doing this if I knew the world was really going to end this week.   I answered, yes.  Spending time with him working on a project in our field with the river running by and chatting about nothing and everything?  What else would I want to do? 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ghost in the house

Our house was built in the early 1870s by Colonel Anderson for his daughter as a wedding gift.  She bore a son who became a senator of the state of Washington then in his later life came back to Elk Cliff Farm for his final years.  He died in one of the bedrooms and we're told the door was locked so they had to get to him through the window (this bedroom is upstairs).  There are locks on many of our doors so he had a thing about locks, it appears.  Another family lived here between him and us so it could have been them who put the locks on the doors but I think it was the senator. 

Our house was in pretty rough condition when we bought it so we didn't live in it for 2 years while we got it back in shape.  While I was working here there were several instances where doors were locked when I was sure I didn't lock them.   Once our house was completed and we moved in the locking of doors stopped.  We had been told by the grandson of the woman who owned the house before us that he had seen a ghost here and how the ghost sat at the bottom of one of the beds.  We found all of this amusing and it has never bothered us. 

I had forgotten about the ghost because we haven't had any strange happenings in years.  This past weekend we had some friends stay here and in the morning our friend told us she slept well but a ghost kept closing her door when she left it ajar.  She told us this as if it was no concern to her.  She was sleeping in the room the senator died in.  She said any time she got up during the night she'd leave the door cracked a bit but then later it would be shut tight.   I would understand if it happened the other way - door shut but then got opened - because our dog sometimes pushes doors open during the night.  I found it interesting that this friend didn't find it at all disturbing.  She said he didn't bother her.

No one else who has slept in this room has experienced a ghost since we've owned it.  I wonder what made the senator choose this friend to pay a visit to.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Time away from the farm

I drove to Salisbury, NC Tuesday to have dinner with a group of friends and to deliver 2 goats to their new owner.  The goat move went really well and I had a great time celebrating the holidays with longtime girlfriends.  We've been getting together for at least 15 years, I think.   They get together every month for dinner but this was the first time I joined them this year.   There are 10 of us in the group but 2 couldn't make it Tuesday night.
On my way home I stopped to see my donkey, Willo, at Paco Cavallo Farm.  Alice is Willo's trainer.  She usually trains miniature horses.  I think this is her first mammoth donkey she's trained.  Willo has been there 5 weeks now and is doing really well.  Alice says Willo's smart, and while I was already pretty sure of that, it was good to hear.  Willo has become very attached to Alice and follows her everywhere.  I have to admit I was a bit jealous.  Alice also calls herself Mama to Willo.  Hmmm, I hope she returns her.  Here's one of her exercises.  Alice says Willo likes to show off and sometimes goes and touches the obstacles like she wants to practice.  Her husband, Tom, also said she's really smart and does whatever they ask her to do.  I was proud.  I tried to embed this video but couldn't for some reason.  Here's a link to it.

She's working with her in the saddle, has taught her some ground manners, to lower her head to accept a halter or bridle and this week will work on trailer loading.  I'm hoping she will be able to teach her to pull the cart in the next month so she can return home.  It was good seeing them.  It also gave me ideas for how to train Wilson, my young standard donkey.

Monday, December 10, 2012

I've lost that blogging feeling

I can't seem to get excited about blogging or Christmas.  Something really good needs to happen to snap me out of it.  Yawwwnnn.  It's not going to happen tonight.