Friday, December 05, 2008

Not Enough Time on My Hands

Why is there no expression for that? I can't believe the entire month of November got away from me without a post. That is the first time since starting the blog that I did not post even once during the month. I hope that you had a very blessed and reflective Thanksgiving. We certainly did.

It's blowing outside, making the just-above-freezing temperature feel like sub-zero. The animals are tucked in the barn, and snuggled into deep beds of fresh straw. Some of them don't even get up when I come in the barn, they just want to keep cozy. The kitties' paws are freezing cold, and nobody minds a good warm carry to the barn these days.

For us, it's no fun. Back to the frozen water buckets, beating them twice a day until the big bucket-shaped hunks of ice come sliding out. First hauling the 50-ish pound buckets outside, and dumping them, and then back inside again, taking care not to spill it on yourself.

We are coming up on the fun time, though-- kidding season. Today I should be finding out the results of the pregnancy tests of the 11 does that should be bred for winter/spring kids. Tango looks as though she will kid soon, her udder is big and her sides are bulging out. Velvet is also obviously bred. I don't have a breeding date on Tango, though, so I will just have to watch her like a hawk. I do that anyway...

Christmas is just around the corner-- seems like it was just last Christmas. While I don't generally like time to fly, at least the faster Christmas gets here, the faster it will be spring. :)

Stay warm, snuggle with your best friend. :)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Help Grow Your Soup

Click the link below to help support FFA-- one day my boy (or girl) might want to be a farmer! Maybe yours might, too.

Help Grow Your Soup

You can visit once a day-- they are not very far along in their goal, so help them out, it's just a mouse click!



Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This makes me sick

AP Exclusive: Video shows workers abusing pigs - Yahoo! News

What is wrong with people?  I just blogged about people being cruel to pets and how farmers have a different attitude, and that while they are perceived to be cruel because they slaughter their animals, that is not the case (in the vast majority of cases).

I can in no way find any good in the article referenced above.  However, let me just point out that those people on those farms are not small farmers, or the farm owners.  Those are workers, hired to come to the farm for the day, work with the animals and go home.  It is likely that they do not see any rewards or incentive for weight gain or animals that thrive.  I don't know that for certain, but my guess is that they are paid the same regardless of outcome.  Their paycheck is not affected by their cruelty.

For farms like mine, the opposite is true.  Not only do we name our animals and treat them with care and respect, but if they are treated cruelly and do not thrive, it hits us in the pocketbook.  We are not cruel people, but if we were, we would have incentive not to be cruel to our animals.

I don't know what the answer to this horrible situation is.  Factory farms are hotbeds of this kind of thing, although I am reluctant to paint them all with the same broad brush.  There are bad people and good people everywhere.  However, as I said before, if you have people that have no direct stake in whether the animals live or die, thrive or fall behind, then it's as if cruelty is tolerated.

I was happy to read Temple Grandin quoted in this article.  Temple is an amazing woman.  B saw her speak a few years ago. Temple has autism, just like M.  It is encouraging to see her be so passionate about her craft, respected for her knowledge and sought out as an expert.  Gives me hope.

I will go hug my goats now.  :(

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Happy Anniversaries

It is the 4th year anniversary of my blog.  September 13th, 2004 I decided to chronicle my transformation from suburban housewife to country woman.  As I sit and write this now, I don't think I could have painted a more fitting picture:  It's about 75 degrees, with a light wind.  I am watching a glorious sunset, and as it has been gloomy, damp and cool for the past few days, now that the windows are open, the cats are enjoying the weather too, and I am watching them silhouetted in the sun's rays.  The beans are just about ready to harvest, and the corn is not too far behind.  I can hear the crickets, and the cats meowing outside.  Except for the snip of my kids' scissors (homework), I can't hear another human being at all.  No cars, no whirring, humming, nothing.  Oh, I do hear the occassional wind chimes from the front porch.


I don't think I have to say that I was meant to be here and wouldn't trade it for the world.  So, while it's not the anniversary of when we bought this farm, I will take this occassion to breathe in the beauty that surrounds me and be thankful.   Happiness!

It is yet another special day-- even more special than my blog-o-versary.  It is the 21st anniversary of the day I met my best friend.  He and I met at a party, though that story has been retold countless times.  Not really a first date, is what I meant to say.

A few days later, he told me that he loved me.  It was hard to believe-- we had known each other for such a short time, and I was afraid it was just infatuation.  No need to fear.  I have asked him, and he says with absolute conviction, that he did love me that day-- he just loves me more now.  I can live with that.

I can live very happily with that.

We celebrate this day every year, marking it in some way or another.  It's not necessarily a big blowout-- sometimes just a homemade dinner for two, a movie after the kids go to bed, or a drink on the front porch.  But, in 21 years, it has never slipped by unnoticed or un-celebrated.

Happy September 13th.  Go kiss your boyfriend (or girlfriend).

%$#*^@! people

I take after my dad.  He is a truck driver, and when he is feeling passionately about something, the first thing out of his mouth is usually profane.  Being a mom, I tend to watch myself, but the instinct is still there.

So, in order to find words foul enough without being foul, I had to use google.  I googled low-life.  Scum, scab, filth, worm, villain, scoundrel, wretch, brute, derelict, snake...

Those are the only words I can come up with-- other than cussing-- to describe the emotionally devoid character that dumped a kitten recently.  What kind of barbarian would not think through this sort of action?

The kitten is a beauty-- she is white, with sparse tortoise markings and big blue eyes.  She has been named Jewel my my children.  

Jewel appeared this morning, looking about 3 months old, emaciated, scared, and wounded.  She had apparently had some sort of altercation with a predator, who had gone for her jugular, leaving a silver-dollar sized gaping wound on her smallish throat.  The wound has healed some, and after soaking the infected, purulent scab in peroxide, I pulled it off to reveal several puncture wounds that extend into her neck and throat.  Basically, she has holes in her neck, where her oxygen and food leak out.  She's probably wormy, and has an infected eye and snotty nose. 

Sorry to be graphic, but hey, you know what? I didn't want to see that either.  But some asshole decided that it was better that my kids and family find and see that and take care of his/her cat, than it would be for him to step up, do the right thing and try to rehome his cat the upstanding way: by finding and vetting a good home for her or taking her to an animal shelter.  No, s/he has no balls, morals, class or conscience. 

What is it?  Is it the perception that farm/country kids (or adults, for that matter) deal with life and death all the time, so to see an animal hurt and suffering is no big deal?  That is just asinine.  And it couldn't be farther from the truth.

We hate it when animals suffer.  First and foremost, it is cruel.  Animals that eventually become meat feel no less pain than animals that are kept as pets.  They just have a shorter life, in some cases.  Secondly, an animal in pain is less efficient than a happy, healthy creature, and will be smaller and provide less of a return.  So, even those harder people out there that raise animals are still looking at the bottom line and taking care of their animals to increase the bottom line.

So, for now, Jewel is on "cage rest and neglect."  She has a lovely little kennel in the mud room, with her own private litterbox, good meals all to herself, and a lovely warm bed.  And nobody will cast her out to fend for herself, and no predators will stalk her.  Not even her "owners."

And, when the time comes, since we already have too many cats in the house (including another cat that was cruelly treated and cast off by his former owner), and plenty outside, we will rehome her.  To a willing home.

Just so you know, barn cats are born, not made.  They have instincts and abilities that inside cats do not have.  She is not a barn cat and will not be-- she is tame and loves people and has no ability to fend for herself.  Barn cats don't necessarily have to be truly feral-- they can love people and be tame-- but they NEVER let their guard down, and they are always aware.  That is something that is instinctive and born into the particular cat (or not), not learned at several months old.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

My New Toy

Toyota, that is.  :)  My wonderful best friend bought me a new truck.  He went to the dealership (knowing my intense phobia of car dealers-- and that is not an exaggeration), and he made all of the arrangements, picked it out, test drove it, signed on the line and everything.  All I had to do was come and learn about the cool features and drive it home!  I knew he would pick an excellent vehicle (he always does) and he outdid himself.  This is the third time he has picked out a car without my being there, and he always does well.

My previous car died on the side of I-80 three weeks ago and had a myriad of things wrong with it.  It would have been expensive to get it fixed, and even after that, it was likely to break again.  Our fabulous mechanic (the best in the universe, next to my dear old dad) said that Honda made a lemon that year.  He told me that the car needed not to be mine.  Great guy-- most mechanics would have been happy to continue to take my money!

Anyway, it's an incredible truck.  It is a Tundra, named Motor Trend's 2008 Truck of the Year.  And rightly so!  There are only two complaints that I have:  1) I don't like the cruise control button, and 2) the stereo could be better.  It is not a bad stereo, but it is not kick-ass, either.  However, I did not buy the truck for the stereo, nor the cruise control.  And I would (make B) buy it all over again 100 times even with those flaws!

Did I mention that I like my truck?  :)

It pulls 10,300 pounds-- plenty of power for the new (used) stock trailer we bought last month.  It has a roomy back seat for the kids, and a ton of storage space.  It's so huge, everybody takes me seriously.

I know so, because I took it to the feed store yesterday. And it WAY passed the test.  The guys were ooh-ing and aaah-ing all over it.

Keep an eye out for me.  With my 380 horsepower, I'm likely to be passing you sometime soon. (Hopefully you won't be passing me as I am pulled over by a state trooper on the side of the road!)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

what am i, chopped liver?

So my farm site has my contact info on it. For me. The girl. The farmer. B's info is on there, but it's clear that I am the certified goat producer, the person writing the content, and my cell phone is listed, with my name by it.

Saturday I had a call from a man who insisted that he was leaving this message for B, regarding B's wethers, and would B please call him back to discuss. Discuss WHAT? Because B doesn't know the first thing about wethers. I take that back, he is marketing them at work for folks to eat, but he doesn't know much about feeding, etc. And that's okay, because he is the partner that doesn't do that, but does a lot of other things.

The voice on the voicemail was MINE, and I say that I am with XYZ farm (well, at least MY farm name), and the cell # on the page is MINE, and the info on the page is about ME. But because I am a woman, I could not possibly answer his questions about the goats I have for sale.

Well, screw it. I am not calling him back. Even if I lost the sale of a lifetime, I am just going to have to cut off my nose to spite my face. I don't do business with people who don't want to do business with a woman.

Okay, I'm returning to the kitchen to don my apron and make more biscuits and pie for Farmer B. Just call me the "Little Woman." Arrgh...