Monday, August 27, 2012

Someone else wants to ride my donkeys

My phone rang this morning.  "Karen, grab the camera if you want a picture...."   I just knew the photo opportunity would be gone by the time I got outside.  I should play the lottery today because I was lucky.  Look what I captured.  Is this sweet or what?

She did it several times.

James said she stayed on much longer before I got out there.  I think Chy likes it because it feels good on her back.  Or maybe she just likes giving Respa rides.

Friday, August 24, 2012

New vehicle in the garage

It's not really new.  Most of you who know me and James know we don't buy new vehicles.  You might also know we don't keep our cars/truck in a garage.  Who would use precious garage space on a station wagon with 300,000+ miles on it?  Or a 1987 rusted out Dodge Ram that we haul manure in?  Our latest model is a 2002 Toyota.  Even it doesn't rate garage space.  This "new" vehicle is an antique.  Really it's in the garage only until we build a covered space for it in our field with the mammoth donkeys or make a cover for it. 

Last night James and I had a very romantic date.  We drove 2 hours one way to purchase this.  Sweet, huh?
Even the thought of this "donkey" cart is romantic to me.  James and I took turns pulling each other around the driveway today.  It pulls like a dream. 

I'd called about this horse cart a few days ago (Craigslist) and James said he wanted to go with me to look at it.  It was a relaxing and scenic drive.  James read to me, Goat Song, by Brad Kessler, as I drove.  I knew I wanted it the moment I saw it.   It also came with a complete harness which I think will fit Willo (my driving-donkey-to-be).  I need to learn how to harness a donkey first.  On the way home we stopped for dinner in downtown Staunton.  For those of you who live in the area you really should have dinner at Zynodoa.  They serve delicious local cuisine and wine.  It has a nice atmosphere and it's close to Blackfriars Playhouse, in case you want to catch some Shakespeare in a gorgeous timberframe theatre. 
It almost felt like we were on vacation.  It was dark when we arrived home so the cart spent the night in the bed of the Dodge.  Today I cleaned it up, along with the harness and James made room for it in one of the garage bays. 
I can't wait to ride around our field with Willo leading the way.  I've been ground driving her lately and she's doing great.  It won't be long till she pulls us in our spiffy chariot.  Now that will be a romantic date.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pigs, goats, snapping turtles, turkeys, donkeys, dogs....................

It took a few days to get back in the swing of things but I think we have things under control (well almost).  We returned from the beach very relaxed.  That lasted a few hours.  We found we had a toilet leak at the house we're selling.  Our goat barn was infested with chicken mites and when you walked in there you were covered with them in seconds.  Very gross.  The first morning back my 3 month old kid, Respa, had weak legs and could hardly stand up.  One of my mammoth donkeys has been struggling with laminitis and has sores on her sides from lying down so much.  Our grass was shin-high and needed desperately to be cut.  A few days ago we got a call that Keri had been visiting neighbors regularly and had also been seen in the road.  Piglets needed to be castrated.  It was a pretty long to-do list.

All these things have been taken care of except for the mammoth donkey's painful feet but I'm doing my best to make her comfortable again.  James and I castrated the piglets and that went well.  Five boys now have little lines on their backsides but you'd never know they had surgery because they ran around like nothing happened almost immediately. 
I'm now letting them explore the big pasture for a few hours a day and they love that.  The donkeys and goats didn't know what to make of these busy little creatures.
When it's time to get them back to their fence for the night all I have to do is call them.

Keri is now living fulltime with the girl goats and standard donkeys.  We can't have her leaving the property so right now that's our only choice.  She didn't look very happy about it at first but now she seems to have settled in and everyone is getting along fine.  There's lots in that pasture she finds appetizing and I don't mean grass. 
I took her and Lex to the river yesterday so they could play and run.  I was gong to follow Keri across the creek but didn't want to get my feet wet so I looked for the perfect stepping stone.  As I got closer to a rock which would make an easy hop across I discovered it had lines in it.
I changed my mind.
The boy goats are getting more active now that we've had some cooler days and I think they're anticipating breeding season, which won't be for 2 more months here.
The turkeys are annoying but what can you do?  I think I'll stick with the Bourbon Reds from now on.  They're way more polite than the giant breeds.  I don't know why that is.  Here's a giant white carrying lots of food in its crop.  Some of them always have doggy bags swinging back and forth from their neck.
The first few days back I was thinking about when we could take our next trip.  Now I'm having fun again.   The past two days have been just as relaxing as vacation.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

More Vacation

We've decided not to go least not till Wednesday.  The B&B owners invited us to stay another day.  We couldn't think of a reason not to and our farm sitter said it was ok so we're staying put today.   I feel really lucky we're able to do things like this.  We can't stay much longer, though, because I'll weigh 200 lbs.  To say we've been eating well would be an understatement.

Last night's sunset was beautiful.  This picture was taken on the pier at Adam and Melissa's. 
Adam took this panoramic picture with his phone.
The 4 of us climbed Jockey's Ridge - the largest natural sand dune on the east coast.

Our B&B has kayaks available for the guests so James and I checked out the coastline.
They also have bicycles which we plan to ride through the nearby preserve today.  If you're looking for a quiet place to stay in the Outer Banks we highly recommend Cypress Moon B&B in Kitty Hawk.  Linda and Greg own two houses side by side, with 3 bedrooms in each.  We got a tour of the house nextdoor and it's beatiful.  It's a relaxing place to be.

I guess my next blog entry will be written from Elk Cliff Farm, which seems to be doing just fine without me.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What I'm doing on vacation

It's just after Noon, James is out running and I'm all alone in our room at Cypress Moon B&B in Kitty Hawk.  The air conditioning is so cold I'm wearing long sleaves with a down comforter over my lap as I sit on my Tempurpedic bed with  2 pillows behind my back.  On the night stand next to me is a piece of crusty bread, some Nordic Grumpy Goat cheese and a glass of wine.  Divine!  Edit:  James informed me later there was a sign saying "no eating in bed".  Oops.  I'm glad I didn't spill anything.  Sorry, Linda and Greg.  I usually behave better (not).
Maybe I should be out doing something, at least sitting on the beach reading a book, but right now this is all I want to do.  We haven't been able to sleep late yet so I figured sitting in bed in the afternoon is the next best thing, maybe even better.  This morning we got up at 6:30 to take a Wild Horse Adventure Tour.  The tour guide was quite the entertainer and didn't seem to ever get tired of talking.  We gave him a tip even though I bit all my nails off on the jeep ride back on the beach.  It was a good way to spend the morning, see the sights and learn about the island.  Adam seems very comfortable in his role as a guide and it was fun seeing him in an environment that's all his own and I know nothing about. 

If I get really energetic I may roll out of bed and walk a whole 30 yards down to the pier and watch the sailboats go by. This is the view out my bedroom window.
The B&B has bikes and kayaks we can use but a nap sounds best right now.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I won't be blogging for at least 5 days.  I know, you're just devastated, aren't you?  We're going to the Outer Banks for some R&R.  This is the first time in 5 years I've really been ready to leave the farm.  I used to be so worried my animals couldn't survive without me, but really I didn't think I could handle being away without worrying.  I no longer feel that way.  Our farm sitter is perfectly capable of doing just as good a job as I do.  I can't believe I just said that.  I've become somewhat of a control freak and I recognize that.  That is the first step, isn't it?  Admitting it?  I used to think I was such an easy-going kick-back kinda gal but I'm learning this isn't as true as I thought.  Gasp!  I'm learning that I have a hard time letting go of things because I think I can do them better. 

We had friends visit last week and the wife is very into recognizing who fits into what personality type.  For those of you who know about the Meyers Briggs test, that's what I'm talking about.  James and I took something like this years ago when we worked for Citicorp.  I'm an extrovert/intuitive/feeler/perceiver.  You'll have to look this up to see what I'm talking about.  Maybe I should tell you what it says because I'd be able to make it clearer;)

Peace, outta here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I've won the gold

I haven't watched the olympics but I've read some of the news on the internet.  There are always many heroic stories about folks who beat the odds or had challenges we couldn't even imagine facing.  Many of the athletes leave their families for months or years to train just to find their dreams.  Most of us can't even grasp what a gymnast or sprinter or whatever..... experiences when they stand on that pedastal as someone places a medal around their neck. 

Let me tell you a story of a simple girl who didn't face any unusual challenges any other average girl didn't face.  She grew up in a normal household with a loving family, never ventured too far until she met a man.   A man who gave her all she could ask for.

He invites her to move to St. Louis.  What else can she say but yes, as this handsome man hypnotizes her with his gentleness and captivating way.  She's already lost.

Could he be just as captivated?  "Let's quit our jobs and move to NC....and later, VA", the girl says.

"Sure", this unusual man says.

"I want to learn to play guitar", she says. 

"Go 'head, you'll be great", he says.

"May I raise goats?", she asks the generous man who didn't grow up with animals. 

"Sure, the milk will be great", says he.  "You want more goats?  Chickens? Donkeys?, Okay, we'll have a farm we never knew we could dream of".

James and I met 25 years ago today, 8/7/87.  I may not have faced the challenges the olympic hopefuls have or have trained like they did, but I'm just as thrilled as if I've had a gold medal draped around my neck. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

OooooooOuija Board

Some old friends from NC came to visit this weekend.  We hadn't seen them in several years but it felt like no time had passed since we hung out last.  The sign of true friendship. 

After a long, tiring kayak trip yesterday we all somehow got a second wind and played the game Catch Phrase.  We divided ourselves into teams - the introverts against the extroverts.  The introverts won but I'm sure they cheated.  They pretend to be all quiet and unassuming but they're sneakier than they let on.  We definitely need a rematch.

I don't remember why we decided to drag the Ouija Board out next.  Adam had given me this as a Christmas gift a few years ago because I told him I played with one as a kid.  I remember our church youth group leaders getting upset about us using one.  I didn't really get that because to us it was all fun and games.  We saw nothing evil about it.  Looks innocent enough, right?

This one even glows in the dark so we lit candles and turned off the lights.
Today I read that we were supposed to put it on our knees between two people.  We had it on the table so maybe that's why we didn't get the full experience.  We did get some interesting responses though.  We started simple with a yes or no question.  We got the answer we expected and wanted.  Next we asked a question only James and I could know the answer to and had our friends be the ones with their hands on the planchette.
 The above photo is blurred to protect the innocent.  We don't want any demons following them back to NC.

We asked who had lived in this house besides senator Miles Poindexter, whose framed photo we had perched on the table.  The planchette pointed to I and then R.  It stopped there.   One of the women who lived in this house (now deceased) was named Iris.  Hmmm.

We asked what year the senator died in this house.  It pointed to 1964.  Actually he died in 1946 but maybe this spirit was dyslexic.  We asked another question and didn't get an answer at all.

Even after mixed results I think everyone was a little impressed.  No one walked away possessed (not that I know of) and it left us wondering if maybe it really works. 

Today I read some Ouija Board stories warning us not to use this but I'm not scared away just yet.  I also read some tips for how to use it.

1. Play sober.  You'll get better results if you haven't been drinking or smoking.   Good to know.
2. Maintain control. If the board starts giving rude, vulgar, obscene or otherwise disagreeable responses, break off the session immediately by closing the board.  We never felt out of control but that may have been pretty exciting.
3. Don't believe everything the board tells you. Just as with any other source of information, don't accept whatever the board says to be the truth or accurate.  We were prepared to believe anything even though we were sober.
4.  Move it. Purposely move the planchette around in a circle on the board for a moment or two to get it 'warmed upI'm thinking we might have gotten better results had we done this.

5.  Close the board. This is an important step. When you're done with your session, slide the planchette to 'GOODBYE' and remove your hands.  We didn't do this but from what I've read we might be in big trouble.  I think I'll still sleep ok tonight.

Now I want to try it again.  Does that mean I'm obsessed or possessed?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I might be losing it

My friend, Jerry, commented on my organic spa entry, saying he thinks I need to get off the farm for awhile.  At first I thought he was probably just jealous because we didn't have pigs and mud for him to play with when he visited.  Another friend said she may have to "unfriend" me on facebook after reading it.  I'm thinking they both may be telling me what I need to hear.

Today I have to admit I probably need to get out more and I might even need a break from the farm.  My aquaponics system isn't working quite like it should because it's root-bound and not draining properly.  It's getting frustrating.  We've also been getting rain so it overflows occasionally.  This morning I had to drain a little because of last night's storm.  I put the hose in to syphon it and said, "I hope I don't forget and drain the whole thing".  Of course I forgot but at least it didn't drain completely before I noticed - maybe a foot more than it should have though.  To make matters worse, I put the hose back in to add water.  This is where I ask you to guess what happened next............

Did you guess that I forgot and overfilled it till it was running over?  I drained it again but set the timer this time and didn't wander too far.  Unfortunately, one of the garden beds was sagging and lost a bunch of water that drained onto the patio so I should have topped it off but I couldn't bring myself to go through that again.  Now it's threatening rain so hopefully it will fill it another 3 inches so I don't have to go through another Groundhog Day.  I'm not even going to explain this.

Yesterday I had bread dough rising on the dining room table.  This morning I finally remembered it was there so it is now a very heavy and dense bread that rose and fell too many times. 

As I type this I have tomatoes on the stovetop, cooking down to make sauce.  In the past I've burned the tomatoes but I'm sitting only 15 feet from them so I hope I'll remember them before I smell something burning.

Today I made reservations (at a B&B, not an asylum) in the Outer Banks for 4 nights.  I think I need it.