Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A bull in a china shop

Breeding time can be fun but it can also be a pain in the neck.  Mostly it's the logistics of it all.  Move one animal here and it disrupts the day-to-day flow and routine.  Move another there and someone is unhappy or someone is bred that shouldn't be.  It might not be so bad if I had many paddocks, shelters and waterers, but my field is only divided in two so I have to be creative.

Many of my girl goats got bred early this year because I was trying to coax Raisa in to be milked  and couldn't just hold the barn door open and bribe her.  If I did that all the other animals would have come in and raided the food, etc.  Instead I moved the girls to the "boys' side" where my buck, Cato, lives.  Cato was very happy with this arrangement.  Eventually Raisa decided it was ok to come in on her own and I didn't have to keep moving girls back and forth.  Fortunately my goats follow me when I call so it's not that hard to move them.

This week Raisa was bellowing for Franklin.  Even though she just had a baby a month ago I thought maybe she was in heat so I moved her to the bulls' side for the day.  It didn't appear she was ready.  I was a little worried about leaving her over there in case her son from last year, Lennon, was mature enough to breed her.  He's only just a year old so hopefully he isn't ready for that.  Yesterday I decided to move Franklin over to the girls' side; Cato too.   This disrupted morning milking.  Franklin truly is a bull in a china shop.  First thing he did was hop into the tiny shed that's built on the chassis of a pop-up camper.  It's only about 6 feet by 11 feet, with a plywood floor and on 2 wheels.  When he stepped in the trailer tipped toward the bumper side.  It leveled itself back out when he walked to the middle.  He ate all the goat minerals and seemed to like being in there. All I heard was clump, clump, clump.  I was hoping he didn't go through the floor.  I didn't know how I'd get him out if that happened.
He knocked things over and emptied all but one water bucket.  I don't know how he drank all that water.  One of the waterers is a small paddle boat that holds several gallons.  The goats, dogs and Raisa rarely drink more than 5 to 7 gallons of water from these buckets.  I don't know how he held it all.  There's Cato in the background.  He's a pain too but not as strong and destructive and Franklin.
The whole time I was milking Franklin was pushing his head through the window to steal the girls' food.  I had to move their feed bucket to the floor so he couldn't reach it.
He's as cute as can be and very sweet but he's always right there.  As I was filling the water buckets he was drinking from the hose or licking my hand.  I decided he needed to move back to the other side of the fence and I'd wait till I was sure Raisa was in heat to bring him back or move her over there.  Luckily moving him back was easy.  Most of my animals are tame and follow me.  All I had to do this morning is ask Raisa to come with me and Franklin would follow her.  In the background of this video you can hear Lennon carrying on because he was lonely without Franklin.
   Mo also followed along.

As you can probably tell I'm excited about breeding Raisa to Franklin this year.  Next year I'm hoping for an adorable little red Jersey/Dexter heifer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

So what is patriotism?

For those of you on social media, maybe you understand how easy it is to get angry over what people post and think is important in the news.  Today I'm feeling just that - angry.  I'm angry about how angry folks are about football player, Colin Kaepernick, and how he didn't stand for the national anthem in protest of how America oppresses people of color.  He was trying to make a point.  

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game.  "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.   There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

If I were someone in the limelight and wanted to make a point, why wouldn't I take a stand about something I feel very strongly about?  I've seen video after video of black men being beaten or killed because they were mistaken for a suspect of interest or for putting their hands in their pockets or reaching for their license in their jacket.  Have you not read about the innocent man kicked in the head by a policeman when he was mistaken for someone else?  The policeman was paid $230,000.00 to resign but the injured man only got a settlement of $15,000.00, along with a broken jaw.  THIS DOESN'T MAKE YOU ANGRY?  This kind of thing happens all the time.  Where is your patriotism if standing up for the national anthem is more important than standing up for your fellow man?

Somehow Kaepernick's actions have turned into something more than taking a stand for social injustice.  I've read things like, he's disrespecting our veterans and soldiers.  People are putting a spin on what he did to fit what they want to justify their anger.  Many people who say these things are the same people who would vote for a presidential candidate who says, "He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."  I guess it's easy to ignore that and pretend it didn't happen.  He must not have really meant that.

I wish there was some way I could put this in perspective for you.  What if your brother, sister or child was beaten, raped or murdered for being gay, black, handicapped or different in some way?  Would you want to take a stand and make a difference for others like him or her?  Most of us aren't in the spotlight and don't have a platform to make a difference, but what if you could?  Why wouldn't you?

I think we all agree (at least I hope so) that bullying is wrong, right?  Or do you only think bullying is wrong when it touches your life or happens to people who look like you?  I almost didn't write this blog because it will make some people angry and negative comments on it will cause me discomfort and who wants to be uncomfortable?  I thought more of it as I was milking this morning and realized how important it is to speak up for what you believe whether it makes you uncomfortable or not.  It's a lot easier to jump on a bandwagon and go along with the crowd than it is to make waves.  Speaking of waves:

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
For the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Be brave.  Take a stand for what you believe in.  Make a difference.  You're free to do that in America.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Most satisfying

I've seen some videos on Facebook recently that keep me watching even when there's not a lot happening.  Just clay being formed or paint splattering or time lapsed clouds moving, etc.  Here's one I found relaxing.  Watch out, 10 minutes of your life will pass you by if you click on this video.  I think these videos appeal to people who are a little OCD

Why do we (I?) watch these?  They're mesmerizing, I guess.  Just Google "the most satisfying video" and time will disappear before you know it.

A few days ago I was sitting on our deck and saw a leaf that appeared to be dancing.  It was hanging from a very small thread of spider web.  The wind gently carried it up and down.  I sat and watched,

This next video is satisfying to me in a different way than the one of the leaf dancing.  This too could have been a ten minute video if only I could stand the rough sand papery tongue of Franklin.

In my last blog post I had a video of copper changing colors by heating it.  That was another one of these types of satisfying (to me) videos.

I could watch a goat chewing her cud for a long time but don't ask me to watch a human chewing gum for even 2 seconds.  I took this next video 4 years ago and I still find it relaxing (yet hilarious) to watch even now.

How much time did you just waste reading/watching my blog?  Are you feeling satisfied?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The unwanted piece of furniture

We've owned this corner china cabinet for 20+ years.   About 14 years ago the side panel of glass got cracked when Adam threw a ball and our dog, Lex, chased it and hit his head on the cabinet.  That's the story we were told anyway.
We put tape on it and that's the way it stayed until now.  We decided we no longer wanted it.  It had served it's purpose and we were ready to be rid of it.  Apparently no one else wanted it either.  It's been sitting in our chicken/goat barn for 4 months now.  We offered it to someone for free and he said he'd like it.  He never picked it up.  I put it on a local yard sale page for $60.00.  No one wanted it.  Well, one woman said she'd give me $20.00 for it because the glass would be too expensive to replace.  She's probably right but I decided not to sell it for $20.00.  I know, I was going to GIVE it away earlier but we knew that guy.  I guess I just wasn't in the mood to sell it to a stranger for $20.00.

I had an idea.  What if I took the glass out of the side panels and replaced it with copper?  I had to break the perfectly good glass in the right hand side of the cabinet to get it out.  It felt wrong but I did it anyway.  I cut some leftover roofing copper to fit and went to work.  First I annealed the copper with a propane torch.  This makes it softer and easier to work with.  It's very relaxing and satisfying to watch the metal turn colors as I heat it, at least I think so.

I removed the fire scale (the grey stuff) with vinegar, salt water and a rough sponge.  At first I tried coloring the copper with the torch again to color it.  I wasn't happy with the look once I sprayed it with lacquer and the color became dull.
I showed James what I was doing and the 2 of us agreed it would look good if I did the door too.  So I removed the bowed glass very carefully this time, just in case I had to put it back.

Next I began experimenting with chemicals on copper for a different look.  I've done very little of this in the past so it was really a lot of trial and error.  I had the best luck with ammonia, vinegar and salt water and PH decreaser I found in our closet from when we had a hot tub.  I didn't mix these all together.  I just tried a little bit of this and that, also laying leaves, flowers, rope, etc on the metal to see how things behaved together. I could never repeat what I did because I layered color over color, removed color, added more, etc.  I never knew exactly what would happen until the chemicals were washed off and then the copper oxidized.  As it dried it was like magic and different colors slowly appeared.  I can't even describe how much fun this was.

The finished product is now in our bedroom and I wouldn't even consider selling it, I love it so much.

You really need to see it in person to see some of the detail.  Here are a few leaves imprinted on it.

I think my next attempt with copper is going to be building a garden gate for James since the old one I built out of wood needs some TLC.  Any copper outdoors will weather so it won't be as colorful as this cabinet.