Thursday, December 29, 2011

Riding donkeys

We've now saddled 2 of the donkeys and ridden them.  Well, one of us led them while the other sat on her.  We didn't actually put a bridle on them and steer them.  Still, very exciting for us.  We haven't sat on the boy yet.  Maybe tomorrow.  He's a sweetie too but maybe a little more nervous.  I really feel like we can work with these guys and teach them (or they'll teach us) to pull, ride and plow.  I'm not sure I've ever met such accomodating and sweet animals.  I belong to a Yahoo mammoth group (internet) and today someone posted this sweet video I thought I'd share.  It's about a working donkey and his owner.  If you have 5 or 6 minutes give it a watch.

Someone else on this Yahoo group mentioned how a person took their donkey to the farmer's market with an ice chest on a cart and sold ice cream.  They were a huge hit because everyone loved the donkey.  I know I would buy something from a cart at a farmer's market pulled by a donkey.

Off topic:  Awhile back I talked about strange responses I got to Craigslist ads.  I also get lots of interesting spam commments on my blog and thought I'd share one with you.

"Hi, I liked your hark work in this web page, you are contributing with great things! This site is much enlightening!

I´m Sara, I Live on London, and I will be a follower of this web site, my hobbies may be boring but I say them anyway I like online poker as well as sports in general, and I also listen a lot Metallica on my bedroom, I´m single at the moment so boys watch out for me....just kidding :)! I once tried online dating It did not work out very well....

I wrote this comment because as I already mentioned I really enjoy your page I also have a forum just as you, but mine is vey different from this, it is about playing poker without having to make a deposit....:)

I will also apologize for my writting it was the only way I get to communicate with you....Bye to all of you, Bye bye, by the way Happy New Year "

Almost always entertaining, if not relevant to the topic I blogged about.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

More space for the pigs

The pig's pen was a total mud hole and I hated seeing them wade through it every day.  Also, I couldn't get to their bowls to feed them without sinking ankle deep in mud.  Their only dry place was inside their house.  Today I decided to extend their electric fence into more of James' abandoned garden so they could dry their feet and have more to root for.  Instead of using 5 levels of ribbon for their electric fence I put only one strand up in the new area, hoping it will contain them.  If it doesn't then they still won't be able to escape the 10 acres of woven wire fencing their pen is in.  There's now a 10 foot wide "doorway" they can go through to get to the new area.  I thought they'd be thrilled with the notion of seeing grass again.  I left them alone to discover the area on their own.  At least 2 hours later they still hadn't left their sloppy home.  I stepped into the new area and coaxed them.  They both came very close but wouldn't step over the mud-line into the grass-line.  It was so funny.  They talked and talked to me and wanted to so badly but were afraid they'd get zapped by this invisible fence.  Finally Velma did it.  It was just too much for her.  She was thrilled!  She ran about and tore things up.  Roxie watched on but still wouldn't do it.
Again I coaxed her.  The most she did was move her 2 front feet over the line and then stepped back.

Still no go.  I looked out about 2 hours after this video was taken and Roxie had finally ventured out.  Yay Roxie.  I wonder where they'll be in the morning.  I hope this one ribbon keeps them in.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I'm the proud owner of 3 mammoth donkeys!!!!!!

My Christmas gift arrived at 4:30 yesterday afternoon, just an hour and a half after we returned home from PA.  We had a great time visiting with family and friends for Christmas and this was a perfect way to end the holiday. 

They're beautiful!!!  I wanted to hug and pet them when they unloaded from the trailer but they were too busy checking their surroundings out to be concerned with me.  After awhile the mom, Jaz, let me scratch her and give her a good rub down.  The others were still nervous.  Earl and Willo are the offspring of Jaz. 

This morning it was pouring rain and they were standing in it getting soaked.  I built that run in shed so they wouldn't have to do that.  When I went down to see them this morning they met me at the gate.
Still no braying.  I'll know they're happy here when I hear them bray.  It took Chy a good while before she brayed but I think it will be sooner with these guys.  By the way, Chy is extremely affectionate today.  I don't know if she just missed me or if she's seen the mammoth donkeys across the way.  Also, she's in heat so that might be part of it. 

I put their hay in the shed and stood in there.  They eventually came in and ate.  Jaz must have decided it was nicer to be out of the rain because she stayed in there most of the morning while it poured.  The other 2 took turns going in and out.  I think they've claimed it as theirs now.

Donkeys have beautiful eyes.  There's something very serene about the expression on their faces.
The sun finally came out around 3:00 when my friend came to see them.  He's owned several mules.    James, Tommy and I went down to see them and each of them claimed one of us.  The shyness has disappeared and they all want our attention.  One of the first things Tommy said was, "they're pets".  Of course that was clear by their begging for attention.  Jaz velcroes herself to me and isn't always happy when the others want my attention.  Because she seemed so comfortable with me we decided we'd put her halter on and let Tommy lead her with me on her back.  For all you horse and donkey people, I won't ride her bareback often.  I will saddle her.  It was just one of those moments where we just wanted to see how she'd do.  She was great!  The funny thing was how the others followed us everywhere we went.  I wonder if they were jealous or just wanted to be nearby. 

Elk Cliff farm has changed so much in the past 5 or 6 years.  I can't wait to tell you about more of our adventures.  You may get tired of donkey stories. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A thing of beauty - firewood in the woodshed and my men hard at work

It's a good day when I can watch James and Adam working together gathering wood to fill our woodshed.  This is just some of it.  Much splitting has to be done yet.
James bought himself an early Christmas gift - a new chainsaw.  He must really like it because he cut up 3 large trees today.  Adam was his wing man.

Thank you James and Adam.  The house feels warmer just looking at the wood.

Just thought I'd add this picture because she's cute.  This is my friend's 3 year old granddaughter posing just before going to sit on Santa's lap.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

New sheds, clean sheds

Many of the things I did today had to do with moving poop from one place to another.  To those of you who don't have gardens or farm animals this may sound horrible but those who do have them understand how good it feels to have clean chicken coops, rabbit sheds, goat barns and to have added to the compost bin.  James spent much of his day trying to get his greenhouse in order.   This is where most of our compost goes now in hopes it will heat it.  I put a few rabbits in there today too.  Maybe they'll add just a little heat.  I'm sure they're happy for the warmth also.

A note about my rabbits.  I'm the only person in the world who can't get rabbits to make babies.  Someone told me my doe is too fat and maybe too old.  I bought two more rabbits from him in hopes that they'll give me some babies.  I'm getting a few more from him too.  Surely one of them will reproduce. 

The rest of my afternoon was spent putting the finishing touches on our run-in shed.  I'm really pleased with it.   Right now it's storing tools and lumber. 

On December 26th three mammoth donkeys will arrive and I can't wait to show them their new digs and introduce them to you.  Their names are Willo, Earl and Jaz.  I've met them twice and already know we're going to be the best of friends.  I have big plans for the 4 of us.  Stay tuned.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lots more helping hands

More company, more help.  My niece and her boyfriend came to visit for a few days.  They probably thought we'd show them a good time or they could just sit back, relax and drink some homemade wine.  HA!  Relaxing was probably not the word they used to describe their visit.  As you know we're building a barn.  We enlisted them to help build rafters.  Not only were they were real troopers but they were great help.  Things moved along very quickly with 4 of us working.
Adam, Melissa and Susan helped us yesterday and we were able to get the purlins up and roof on.
I'm thinking we need to plan a family reunion right about the time we want to build our big barn.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

In need of a helping hand

I'm building another barn in our field.  Actually it's just a 3 sided run in shelter.  It's very much like our goat and donkey barns so I'm getting pretty good at throwing one up in a hurry.  We've had heavy rains for the past 2 days and I've been itching to get to building.  I got up early this morning because I was lying awake planning what had to be done and not getting any sleep.  We already had the 4X4 posts in the ground so the fun part was still to come.  Unfortunately James had to teach today so I was on my own.  The shelter is 16'X16' and it's hard to navigate 16' boards all by yourself when they're 9 feet off the ground.  To make things easier I made 2 of these.
It doesn't look like much, just a block of wood with 2 angle brackets, but I couldn't have gotten done what I did today without them.  I'm sure a builder would tell me there's an easier way but I was pretty pleased by how well this worked.
The new residents of this barn arrive December 26th.  I better get a move on.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Internet friends up close and personal

It's funny how many friends, really good friends, I've made because of the internet.    Some I met through freecycle, goat groups, milk groups, facebook, blogs, craigslist, etc. 

Today one of my goat kids went to a new home in WV.  Her new owners came on Thursday and spent two nights with us before taking her home.  We met because of an online goat group I'm a member of and later met in person for a few hours at a goat jamboree earlier this year.  As you can imagine none of us knew what to expect of our few days together but I don't think any of us were the least bit worried that we wouldn't get along (at least James and I weren't).  For all they knew we could have been some crazies who would lock them up and torture them.

We had a great few days together.  It's funny how strangers can click like this.  We were busy most of the time and we had much in common, as you can probably tell by this picture.  Note the coveralls, shoes and hands in pockets. 

 They helped us dig post holes for a run in shelter in our field.  How many guests can you ask to do this?  I believe Shelley loves to build as much as I. 
We drug them to hear James practice music and then play Scrabble with us.   They never blinked an eye.  I wonder what they said on their way back home. 

An hour after they left someone else showed up to buy 2 more goats.  She had answered a Craigslist ad of mine.  She brought a friend with her.  Again, we had much in common.  I think they stayed for an hour - a very enjoyable hour.  I received an email from one of the women this morning inviting us to their home for dinner sometime.  They're only about an hour from here. 

Today more friends we've made because of goat sales on Craigslist will be coming for lunch before borrowing one of our bucks for breeding.  They live an hour and a half away but we've had dinner at each other's homes a few times since first meeting and would see each other more often if we lived closer. 

My last blog post painted a picture of weirdos I encounter via the internet.  That happens much less than the experiences I've mentioned above. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Advertising on Craigslist

A large majority of the goats I've sold has been through ads I've placed on Craigslist.  It's a great way to reach lots of people.  For those of you who aren't familiar with it, you choose a city (or cities) to advertise in and list them under a specific topic.  I list the goats under Farm and Garden.  I'm one of the many who check Craigslist every day (farm and garden in at least 4 different cities) just to see what people are selling. 

Two days ago I listed 2 ads for some goats.  It's time to slim down before more babies are born.  I've received responses from 2 different people, both of whom I won't reply to.  One of them says, "call me about your goat".  Well, that's not the kind of person I'd sell to.  I want someone who asks questions and shows a real interest and also has some manners.  The next one was a real doozy.  I have to copy and paste it so I get it right. 


l really appreciate your response to my email. I want you to
consider it sold, please do withdraw the advert from CL to avoid
disturbance,anyways I don't have time to come over to take a look
because of my Business but you don't need to bother yourself with the
shipment, I'll take care of that by engaging the services of a mover,
hence I'll be sending a Certified check and it will be delivered to
you via United Parcel Service (UPS), so I'll need you to provide me
with the following information to facilitate the mailing of the check.
First Name.........Last Name.......
Street Address ...........................
City, State, Zip Code ......................
Cell Phone Number ...........................
Actual Amount of the Good ......................
Note that the payment will be shipped to your address via UPS NEXT DAY
AIR SERVICE and I will like you to know that you will not be
responsible for shipping i will have my mover to come over as soon as
you have cashed the check..........Best Regards.

I don't even know what to say about that.  Talk about impersonal, not to mention suspicious.  I like the remark, "you don't need to bother yourself with the shipment".   And also, "I don't have time to take a look because of my Business".  

I've also bought things through Craigslist.  My responses probably give too much information instead of not enough.  They might sound like this.  "I'm interested in the goat you have for sale.  Is it still available?  Can you tell me more about it?"  It usually gets into how I spoil my animals and on and on as the emails continue.  I'd like the person to know I'm really interested in giving their animal a good home. 

It's hard to tell what's a scam and what's not but I'll continue to advertise this way because I've met many nice people who are just using it like I do, like reading the classifieds. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Golden raisins soaked in gin for joint pain

I know, I know, first I post about shrinking and then I write about joint pain.   I'll admit it, I'm getting old, or at least old enough to talk about my ailments.  Bear with me or don't.  You can click on the X any time you like.  One of the reasons I went to my doctor and found out I was turning into the amazing shrinking woman was because my joints have been hurting so badly and I was hoping she was going to give me an explanation  I could live with.  I was convinced I have lyme disease because I hurt so badly and felt fatigued.  This all came on in the past 2 months.  I tested negative for lyme which told me nothing. 

Some of you may remember I treated my goat buck with teasel root awhile back because he struggled to get up off the ground.  We had incredible results.  He seems to be just fine now.  So teasel root it was for me.  I have a few friends who keep tinctures available for all kinds of ailments so I've been taking teasel root along with some other things with pretty good results.  I'm not near as tired as I was and my joints are a little better but not as pain free as I'd like them to be. 

I had lunch with a friend a few weeks ago and she reminded me of a home remedy that I'd heard about in the past but forgot about.  Gin and golden raisins for arthritis and joint pain.  Ah yes.  Why not?  So I'm trying it.  I just Googled it and here's a website with some reviews, mostly favorable.
Has anyone else tried this with success?

Next I'll tell you about my colonoscopy.  No I won't.  I'm saving that for when I'm just a little bit older. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving in VA

After a busy 4 days in New York City it was nice to return to the slower pace of Rockbridge County for Thanksgiving. 

While eating at a cafe in the financial district James and I eavesdropped on a conversation between two young ladies who it appeared worked nearby.  One of them said her parents grew up raising all their own meat and vegetables and even made their own soap.  I wanted to tell her there are lots of people doing that again these days.  I imagine it's hard to imagine that kind of thing when you're surrounded by concrete.  We did see a few delivery vans that advertised "local fresh produce".  These two women probably wondered why James and I weren't talking.  Eavesdropping can be so interesting.

We still had turkeys in our freezer from raising them last year so we had our farm sitter take one out to thaw before we got home.  It was a big one and I'm guessing it was one of the last ones we butchered because we must have gotten lazy and didn't do a good job plucking it.  I'm going to blame it on Dan because he probably won't see this.  Dan and Amy helped us butcher many of them.  Many people raise white turkeys because you can't see the pin feathers you missed and it's not as unattractive as this one.
 It still tasted good.  It must have smelled really good too because Rosie spent most of the day lying in front of the oven right under my feet.  I don't know if she wanted to be near me, the turkey or it was the only sunny spot in the house. 
It was such a lovely day we ate outdoors.  I don't think I've ever eaten Thanksgiving dinner outside.  It's been a great week.   I hope it has been for you all too.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bad news from the doctor's office

I haven't been feeling great lately but I won't go into detail because I'm trying not to act like an old person talking about my aches and pains.  I'll save that for my immediate family because I know they love to hear me whine, I mean, share with them how I'm feeling.  I decided it was time for me to go to the doctor. 

Well, the news wasn't good and I thought I'd tell all my dear friends who follow my blog what I found out from my doctor's visit.  Unfortunately your prayers and concern will not change things but I know you will all sympathize with me. 

Deep breath....... ok, here it is.  I've gained "a few" pounds and, and, and I've shrunk 3/4 of an inch.  I keep asking, why me and then I think of all the people who haven't lived the full life I had lived at 5' 5 1/2". 

I won't go on because I don't want you to feel sorry for me.  I'm going to do my best to hold my head up and stand tall - maybe not as tall as before - and go on. 

And now for some uplifting news.  I'm including a link to a blog I follow because I know many of you are dog lovers and will appreciate this story.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Apple Butter Gang

When I was a kid my family went to the drive-in and saw The Apple Dumpling Gang.  I remember I loved the movie but I don't really remember what it was about.  Here's today's Apple BUTTER Gang. 
There was no Don Knotts or Tim Conway but I feel certain this cast is just as interesting as the apple dumpling gang troupe.  I played such a small part in the apple butter making because I had other things I needed to do this weekend but I did get a chance to do some stirring.
Every apple butter making gathering should have a bearded man in camouflage pants stirring, bluegrass playing and kids hollerin' in the background.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Child's Play

What do you give a 1 year old to play with when you have no children's toys in your house?
How 'bout packing peanuts?  I wish this was a better picture of Layla because she really was so cute playing with and trying to eat them.  Now I can't blame all this mess on Layla because Emily crumbled many of these pieces of styrofoam into little magnetic bits that clung to her hair and everything else too.  No, Emily is not Layla's sister or playmate.  It's her mom.  Next time maybe I'll have a large cardboard box for Emily to sit in also. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Outside dog

The other night when I posted that picture of Rosie and Lex all curled up under blankets I got a message from my neice saying, "and poor Keri is outside.  How do you do it?"  In the beginning it took willpower, I can tell you that.  I was raised with inside dogs and couldn't imagine how anyone could let a dog stay outside at night.  Well, now I understand it.  Some dogs truly love the outdoors and Keri is one of them.  She takes her job of protecting us very seriously I think.  She's very alert and barks at any sound she thinks needs barking at.  She barks a little more than I'd like.  She can be quiet for many hours at a time but when she's on a roll, watch out. 

Anyone who feels sorry for her should watch her out our window and they'd feel differently.  She's a busy girl.  She entertains herself like no other dog we've had.  She's forever bouncing on a green tomato, chewing a stick, carrying a frisbee, chasing a chicken, opening the gate to the garden to see what's going on, stealing chicken food, checking to see if there's more rabbit poop she should nibble on, helping us do chores, sunbathing, watching the goats, playing in a bucket of water or just plain making the rounds.  She always looks happy.  One night it was raining and she and I were in the basement doing something.  I decided to let her stay down there when we went to bed.  At midnight she barked to go out.  I think she was afraid she was missing something.  Most nights she sleeps on a small rug on our patio.  If it's raining she'll sleep in our garage in some hay, I think.  She has a beautiful, thick white coat so I don't think she ever gets cold.  Great pyrenees have been outdoor dogs for years and years.  I sleep very comfortably knowing she's out there watching over us.  There's only one thing that would make her happier and that is if we'd stay outside and play with her all day.  She loves when Rosie and Lex stay outdoors, which they seem to be doing more and more of since she came here to live.  They're all so good for each other.  At 6 months old Keri is now taller than both of them. 

Of course I love having inside dogs too.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Apple cider

Today was my first experience making apple cider.  It was very much what I thought it would be but more relaxing.  Our friend, TE, does this every year and asked if we'd like to help.  Of course.  If you want to know how to butcher a hog, make cider, take apart a car, fix and engine, raise chickens, train a mule, or find whatever it is you need, he's your guy.  If he doesn't have something or know how to do something he knows the person who does. 

There were about 10 of us making the cider.  Some were washing the apples.
From there they moved to cutting them in quarters.  James was very good at this.
Next they were fed into the chopper-upper.  I know the machine is called a cider press but they weren't being pressed at this point.  The press used to be hand cranked but someone had added a motor so things moved pretty quickly.

The chopped up apples slid forward to be pressed.
The chickens, pigs and ducks will enjoy the apple remains.
What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon with great people making great cider.  We brought home 5 gallons.  As I type this James is canning some so it will keep. 
Next Saturday and Sunday we'll be making apple butter.  Another first for me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lost Screech Owl

I was feeling lazy tonight and almost didn't go out to say goodnight to the goats and donkeys.  If I don't go out at night 4 of my chickens sleep in the goat barn and make a real mess of one of the stalls.   I decided it was worth getting up off my lazy butt and putting the filthy feathered, non-egg laying, spoiled birds in their coop where they belong.  I carry a little flashlight with me because my path isn't lighted.  I shined the light on the step of the barn and there was a clean feathered animal.  I quickly rushed back to the house to get a camera, just knowing he'd be gone before I got back.  I thought he was but he had just moved over from the step to a container I store animal stuff in.  It seems like there must be something wrong with a screech owl if it is this close to the ground at nighttime.  I was afraid Keri would get it but I'm not sure if she saw it or not.  She barked and looked that direction but didn't go after it, thank goodness.  I wonder how long he'll stay out there.  I hope nothing gets it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The results

I really thought Wilson or Lex would win "the best hippy" award.  I lost count but it was a pretty close tie between Lex, James and Foggy the rooster.  I think they each got at least 10 votes.  I hadn't thought taking James' picture growing green stuff in the green house would have anything to do with growing up in the 60's and 70's but some of you have minds that think that way, so, ok, that adds to the whole hippy persona.  I doubt you'll ever read in his blog about that kind of weed growing in his green house but  he has changed a lot since I met him so you never know.

Something very exciting happened to me in the past 2 days.  Chy, my oldest donkey, let me ride her.  Now we didn't go far but she did let me sit on her for 15 to 20 minutes two days in a row.  I really think she likes it, though I wonder why she keeps trying to bite me.  I'm sure they're love bites.  When I get off her she comes back for more. 
Today I was enjoying sitting on her back and reveling in how far she and I have come when Benny, an 8 month old goat kid, jumped up and put his front hooves on Chy's ass.  I'll give you one guess where I ended up....yup, on my ass and shoulder on the ground.  Chy came quickly to me with her ears back and it was clear she felt bad.  She nosed me and wouldn't back off till I got up.  I assured her it was ok.  I'm sure I'll be sore tomorrow.  Tonight I rode her again for a good while.  We proably took 10 steps in 15 minutes.  I guess we have to start somewhere.

I have high hopes for me and Chy.  Today we took 10 steps, tomorrow............maybe 11.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hippy Halloween

I'm not one to decorate my house for holidays, not even Christmas, but especially not Halloween.  I do, however, love to decorate my family.  I posted their pictures on Facebook and asked for people to vote on who made the best hippy.  I won't tell you who's winning but you're welcome to pipe in.

I realized this afternoon I didn't try dressing up the pigs.  That probably wouldn't have gone so well and they would have eaten the hair.

Note:  No animals were hurt while filming for this blog entry.   Well, maybe the rooster was hurt a little when I caught him but he seems to have forgiven me. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

A new blend of wine - Turnip and Beet

James grows turnips even though we don't eat many of them.  It's not that we hate them but there are so many other vegetables we'd rather eat so we neglect them.  We give some away but it doesn't put a dent in what he grows.  I decided I didn't want to see them go to waste.  I Googled turnip wine and found several recipes, many very different, so I decided to use what I read and make up my own.  We had enough turnips to make 2 or 3 gallons but I figured I might as well make 5  since I have no 2 or 3 gallon carboys so I added beets. 
Here's the recipe I'm using.
15 lbs of turnips and beets, washed and sliced very thin.
15 lbs of sugar
1 can of orange juice concentrate
5 tsp. yeast nutrient
5 campden tablets, crushed
5 tsp acid blend
1 pkg wine yeast
enough water to make 5 gallons

Put the turnip and beet slices in a large jelly bag.  Cover with water and boil till tender.
Place sugar in the fermenting bucket and pour the hot liquid over the sugar.  Put the jelly bag in the bucket too.  Add enough water to fill the bucket.  Add all other ingredients except yeast.  A day later stir everything up and add the yeast.  Follow instructions like you would for any other wine.  In my case it means let it sit for 4 days, remove the turnips and beets (I rarely measure the specific gravity).  Syphon liquid into carboy and attach airlock.  Now wait.

Most of my strawberry and blackberry wines are gone but I still have lots of wineberry, pawpaw and beet wines left so it's cool that I have something else to follow.  It would be fun to find something else to make so I never buy a bottle of wine.  I'm thinking pumpkin is next.  I need more carboys or I at least better start bottling some of the more aged wines. 

It's raining today with snow predicted for tonight.  It was a perfect day to stay indoors and make wine.  I'm not ready for snow. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Love my donkeys

Wilson is such a good sport.  When he sees me with the halter and lead he comes running.  He's eager to please and now it's not just because of the treats I give him, though he likes them too.  Chy loves the treats and affection but doesn't love the halter or being led anywhere.  She'll follow me and Wilson around while he's being led. 
Adam came home for the weekend so I asked him to video me and Wilson. 

I should mention that Wilson will turn left, right and back up even when he's not on a lead and without me touching him.  We turned the camera off before he did these things.  I can't wait till he's old enough to pull a cart. 

I'd like to dress him up for Halloween.  Does anyone have any ideas for costumes?  I know he'll let me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

No Regrets


This is my son's back.  He got this tattoo when he turned 18 because you don't need your parent's consent once you've become "of tattoo age".  I remember feeling disappointed when I saw it.  I thought he could have come up with something better.  I have no idea whether he feels he has no regrets or not but I feel like it's a tattoo I could have gotten.  I think it's more of a statement a 48 year old could make than a now-21-year-old could embrace. 

It's no secret I'm an Oprah fan.  I should go back through my blog and see how many times I've mentioned her.  I just discovered we get the Oprah Winfrey Network in our limited satellite choices.  One of the network's programs is Oprah's Life Class.  A recent show of hers talks about one of her favorite quotes of Maya Angelou - "When you know better you do better".   I like this statement, A LOT.  It says to me that you can make mistakes in your life and you don't have to hold onto them.  It doesn't make you a screw-up.  It makes you who you are.  You learn from these mistakes and from that you discover you can do better.  No regrets, right?

It's really hard for me to come up with any regrets I have in my life.  Maybe that's because I have such a good life.  I feel like it took all I've learned in 48 years to get to this place so how can I regret the choices I've made? 

Ok, maybe I regret eating 2 fudge graham cookies followed by 2 Oreo double stuff cookies for dessert today.   Nahh, it makes me who I am, or at least what my thighs reflect, right?  Yes, I know better but I don't always do better.  Tomorrow is a new day.  I'm going to call Oprah and tell her that's another good motto ---

Tomorrow is a new day. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011



That's what Keri has to say about being spayed.  I dropped her off at the vet yesterday morning and hated seeing her with her tail between her legs.  She's usually such a happy puppy but she looked so timid.  The vet told me she'd have to spend the night and I could pick her up this morning. 

All went well and as I type this Keri is standing in the pouring rain watching the silly chickens run here and there looking for cover.  Earlier I saw her carrying a piece of foam she found in the garage.  She seems no worse for wear and I worried about her for nothing.  I love this little dog.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

End of season pesto

Doesn't your mouth taste like garlic just looking at this picture?  It's loaded with it, I can tell you that.  James usually grows quite a bit of basil and I'm pretty enthusiastic about using it earlier in the summer and then I often lose interest as the summer wears on.  Today I decided it was time to go out and pick all the big leaves before we get a frost.  There was quite a bit.
We're having some on our roasted vegetables tonight and hopefully I put enough in the freezer to get us through the winter.  Our house smells really good.  There's no better room deodorizer than basil and parsley.  We still have lots of parsley in the garden.  I may have to make a parsley pesto.  We also have more garlic than 50 families could possibly use in one year so if anyone needs any we've got it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tour of Elk Cliff Farm

Today a friend from WV sent me some pictures of her 62 acre farm.  I told her I'd send her some pictures of mine (which is half the size of hers).  She doesn't have broadband and it takes a long time to upload pictures so I thought I'd post them in my blog and she could see them here. 
 House, wood shed, rabbit pen and garage
 Until one night ago one of our way-too-many-roosters thought he should sleep on the front porch railing.  He's still alive.  I think he just found another place to sleep.
 Patio with pizza oven and open fired grill.
Some of James' gardens.
This is the swimming hole just below the small cliff that our farm got it's name from.
This is the view of our orchard and field from our front porch.  I guess the rooster liked this view.
Wilson and his long ears.

Chy and Wilson aren't camera shy.

Girls resting in their barn.

Donkey's and goat's pasture.
View of the James River from the field campsite.
Velma and Roxie probably weigh 125 lbs now.  They sure eat a lot.
They fight over the food.

James River Rd. divides our property in two. You can see campers driving past because Yogi Bear Jellystone Campground is just one mile down the road from us. 
These guys were waiting for me when I came back from the river.  Keri, the one with the tail, is only 5 1/2 months old but she's so big she hardly looks like a puppy anymore.  She still acts like one though.

She doesn't give Lex a moment's rest but he likes her.  She's walking under him in this picture and biting his legs.  When he gets tired of her he comes in the house.

I guess that's about it.