Saturday, April 23, 2016

Mrs. Butterworth and Hungry Jack

My goats have been so cooperative this year having their babies on their due date.  I love knowing when to watch.

Mrs. Butterworth gave birth to a big boy this afternoon.  We're calling him Hungry Jack, which is an appropriate name because he caught on to nursing very quickly and is partaking every chance he gets.  I think he'll soon be called Fat Jack.  He looks very much like his mama.

Today was one of those days where there was a photo op everywhere I looked.

Only one more goat to kid and I don't have a due date for her.  I think Macy has another week to go.  She was Mrs. Butterworth's kid from last year.  She's my only first-timer this year and a real sweetie.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Lassie and Laddie

Lily gave us our first boy of the season.  He's a big boy and his sister, Lassie, is a tiny little thing.  That makes 8 girls and 1 boy so far with 2 girls yet to kid.
They had some visitors this afternoon and Lassie took an hour long nap in Robin's lap.  Both of them seemed pretty content.

Monday, April 18, 2016

A gift from my friend

My friend Ruth died last weekend.  It's really hard to believe she's gone.  When she called me last October and told me she had pancreatic cancer I thought, shit, she's going to die.  I cried off and on for several days.  It would hit me at the oddest times.  Two months later she hosted our dinner group's Christmas celebration.  She's done this every year and we told her she didn't have to do it; she could do it next year.  I wondered if she'd be around for our next Christmas dinner but she had told us her doctors said they caught it early and she was one of the lucky ones.  She had surgery, chemo and radiation.  The doctors told her she no longer had cancer.  We had hope.  Still I worried.

I went back to visit in January.  We lived 3 1/2 hours apart.  She seemed to be doing pretty well though she was not convinced she was cured.  She told me she thought she had at least 6 to 9 months left to live.  I still held out hope.  She kept saying, "it is what it is".  I've never really liked that expression.  She also said she never thought this would happen to her and that before her diagnosis she thought she had at least 10 more years of life.  We had a great visit.  We did all kinds of things like we always did even though it totally wore her out.  When I left she said, "are you coming back next month?"  This seemed very uncharacteristic of her.  I said I'd try to get back by March and I told her I loved her.  By March the news had turned bad.  The doctors were wrong.  Her cancer was very aggressive and it had spread.

I felt like I needed to visit with her one more time.  I hadn't said all the things I needed to say to her when I was there last.  Needing to see her was more selfish than anything.  I needed it more for me than it could possibly mean to her at this point.  She called me and said, "can you come tomorrow?"  You bet I was there as early as I could get there the next day, and this is why I say she gave me a gift. In that time together she shared with me what no one has ever done.  We talked about dying and what we expected it to be like.  She told me she was at peace with it and that she was ready to die.  I told her I was going to miss her.  She said she'd miss me too and then said, "well, maybe I won't, I have no idea".  We both laughed at the thought of it.  She told me she didn't worry about it being painful and that she wasn't afraid.  I told her I couldn't believe this was the last time I'd get to see her and how much our friendship meant to me.  I cried but she didn't.  I never saw her cry through any of her suffering.  Ruth was tough.

She was so tough that she lived another 5 or 6 weeks without food.  Hospice had told her family a body can only live 2 weeks without food.  I wonder if there was some reason she was hanging on that long.  Were there other people she had to give this gift to also?  Ruth had many friends.  She was always giving us things whether you asked for it or not.  Maybe sharing her thoughts on dying was her final way of giving us a gift.  I was able to leave her house in March feeling at peace after having shared that time with her.

If there's a way for Ruth to see my blog in heaven (my heaven will have blogs for me to read) I hope you read this, Ruth.  I hope you know how much that last visit meant to me.  I used to say when I'm dying I don't want anyone to visit me except my family.  Because of Ruth I now know how important it is to friends to be able to say goodbye and share their feelings.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Oh my gosh, the dust!!

The addition to our house began in late December.  That seems like a long time ago, in some ways.  We're adding a room for James' piano, along with a bedroom, bath, laundry, breakfast area and screened in porch.  I'm so looking forward to being serenaded again while I cook dinner.  Right now
James' Baldwin is at our cabin 4 miles up the road.  He doesn't play it nearly enough.  When he does play it I'm not there to hear.

This week some big things happened.  The builders began tearing out the brick wall between the addition and our existing house.  This is huge.  I might even be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The only thing blocking that light is ALL THE DUST!  Cutting brick is dirty work.  As you can see in the next 2 pictures they're removing the wall in layers.  They've got the addition side all cut and repaired and next they'll cut the brick and plaster on the dining room side.
 We love the cool beam over the doorway.  It matches some other cool reclaimed beams in this room which I thought I had pictures of but I don't.
There's plastic hung between the holes they're cutting but that doesn't stop dust from seeping all through the rest of the house.  The kitchen and dining room are the worst since that's where the doorways are being cut but even the living room and upstairs have a film on every surface.
 This is our dining room with the flooring stacked in it.  I rarely open the door to this space because I can't bear to see all the dust.
We had to remove artwork from the dining room so it wouldn't get ruined.  It's now hanging in our bedroom so our walls are pretty much covered.  It's giving us the opportunity to really look at one of my favorite pieces because it's hung just over our bathtub.  I may hate to return it to the dining room when all the dust settles.
The basement and den have boxes of light fixtures, faucets, sinks, fans, water heaters, etc. stacked in them.  Also, some of the contents of the kitchen and dining rooms have been moved to other rooms so everything feels cluttered and tight.
Our back patio always has saw horses, lumber, scaffolding and sawdust on it.
Last week our walls were plastered.  That was cool to watch.  They piled a giant mound of frosting on a table in the middle of the bedroom.  This was one process that didn't create as much dust as having joint compound sanded.  Of course there was dust from when they poured the plaster out of the bag but no sanding was involved.
Next time I blog about the addition it will be complete.  It may not be completely furnished but there will most likely be a piano in one of the photos :)  We're very ready for it all to be done.  

Monday, April 11, 2016

Black triplets for Pessa (and Cato)

It's pretty obvious who the dad of Pessa's kids is.  Pessa had triplet doelings yesterday.  That makes 7 girls and 0 boys born here so far this year.  All 3 of the girls are black and look very much like our buck, Cato.  They seem to be doing very well, as does Pessa.  She looks so much thinner.

For those of you who don't get to see babies be born very often you might get a kick out of this next picture.  Kids are supposed to come out in a diving position; front feet first, followed by the nose.  Pessa's first kid came out head first with her feet tucked back toward her tummy.   She walked around for a while with this head sticking out.  The baby would cough and Pessa would try to turn around to see what was behind her.  I gave just a little assistance and she came out pretty easily.  The other 2 were born in proper position and followed quickly.  Pessa has never had problems delivering kids.  She's built for the job.
I love this picture of 5 week old Lucy standing beside the black baby.  I need to come up with names soon.
I think our next kids are from Lily, who is due the 19th.  I wonder if she'll give me girls too.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


People post videos on Facebook all the time of different species of adorable animals doing adorable things together.  These are probably my favorite videos.  They're right up there with Jimmy Fallon lip syncing.  Yesterday I saw a kitten and a piglet wearing a dress cuddling and taking a nap together.  It was about as cute as it gets.  I wish I could get videos of all the cute things my animals do together but I'd have to have my camera ready all the time and usually they stop doing such cuteness by the time I click record.

I did get a few shots of livestock doing things together yesterday.  They aren't as adorable as kitten-and-piglet-snuggling but they show how animals of different species are happy living side-by-side.  You can't get much closer than this.
Do you see Luti squeezed up to Raisa's right side?  I accidentally let Raisa in the milk stall before letting Luti out.  They both seemed nonplussed by the arrangement and shared food the whole time I was milking Raisa.  I thought Luti would want to get out (not that there was any space for her to squeeze out), or Raisa would get annoyed that Luti had her face in her food.  They didn't even fight over the food; just nibbled away happily.  I was so proud of them and told them so.
As I mentioned in my last post, Keri and Rex are now Rudy's constant companions.  Wherever they go he goes.  When I give Rudy his bottle Rex is nearby to lick the milk that runs down Rudy's face.
I've seen Rudy playing with goat kids a few times but not a lot.  He prefers to hang with the dogs.
If the dogs run off barking at what they think is an intruder Rudy follows, often maaa-ing as they bark.  Sometimes it seems he even mimics their head motions like he knows what they're looking at.  This video doesn't show it but I haven't been able to film that yet.  Adam got a really good video of Rudy keeping pace with Rex but I don't have a copy.

At the end of the video the bulls and pigs are coming to see if I have food for them.  It's a rare occasion to see them apart.  They sleep together, they browse together and they share the food I give them without shoving each other.

Today is Pessa's due date but I just looked out in the pasture and she's grazing so I may have to wait another day for babies.  We'll see.  Cuteness to come.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Three bull road trip

We had an appointment to take our bull, Papa, to the butcher a month ago.  Unfortunately he was too smart, or at least wary, to walk into the trailer.  Three pigs and the 2 little bulls happily entered to get the food we were bribing Papa with.  We rescheduled for today, April 7th.  This gave us a month to prepare Papa for loading.  I began feeding the bulls in the trailer.  It only took Papa 2 or 3 days to become brave enough to walk all the way in.  Last night I had some anxiety, as I always do the day before butcher day.  What if we couldn't get him loaded?  How was this going to go?  James stayed out of sight this time just in case Papa was smart enough to recognize that it wasn't the normal routine.  We didn't have the truck hooked up to the trailer so as not to change things too much.

Fortunately he walked right up the ramp.  Unfortunately so did the 2 young bulls.  We didn't know any way to get the little guys out and keep Papa in.  We decided to take all three for a ride and deal with it when we got there.  Butcher Joe shook his head when we told him we had 2 other bulls in the trailer and we wanted them to stay.  Luckily for us it went just as we hoped.  Papa exited and Franklin and Lennon stayed while I bribed them with food.

After discussing cuts we turned around and headed home; about a 40 minute drive.  We let the boys back out at home and they did't seem to be bothered a bit by the ride.  They will walk right back in the trailer next time I ask them.  Little do they know they're making it too easy for us when their time comes.
Rudy's now living in the pasture with the goats, cows, donkey and dogs.  He's latched on to Keri and Rex now that he no longer has Baxter to  hang out with.  Surprisingly, this was a smooth transition.
We have more goat kids due this weekend.  Poor Pessa struggles to get around she's so heavy.  I hope she has them tomorrow so she can take a load off.
Today was a good day.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A flavor-filled night

My tastebuds had some new experiences tonight.  The combinations of food and drink were probably never listed together on any menu but now I think maybe they should be.

                                                               Our Specials

                                    Slow roasted breast of swan (yes, you read that right)

                                                   Drink Specials

                                                   Chocolate Mead
                                                    Banana Wine
                                                    Strawberry Wine

                                                    Dessert Specials

                         Everything-in-the-kitchen-cabinet dipped in Peter's dark chocolate

 A big thank you to Manley, Sarah, Dan, Amy and James.  Everything was delicious.