Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Little Peach

A little peach in the orchard grew,

A little peach of emerald hue;

Warmed by the sun and wet by the dew,

It grew.

__Eugene Field

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Must Love Dogs

You probably don't know this about me but here goes......I'm dog crazy. Ever since I was a kid I've been dog crazy. I remember my dad saying to me that once I had a baby I'd put my animals into perspective. Wrong. I gave birth to a boy that said, "Dogs are my life."

And one has never been enough. We currently have four dogs and I'm trying hard to stick to that. When I was showing and breeding Shelties we have had up to 12. Yikes, that was too much but most were puppies that went on to fantastic homes. People have asked how I give all those dogs attention. Dogs are pack animals. They don't care if they are in a pack.

I have been involved in the sport of dogs all my life. I started showing dogs when I was a kid and have shown in obedience, conformation, hunt tests and 4H. I have taught clicker training and do private lessons now and then. The older I get though the less I like the training and grooming it takes to compete in dog shows so I am content to just sit around and pet my dogs, preferably with a good book. I can't imagine a walk without a dog and even like to travel with my portable dog, Solomon. Occasionally I still judge at the county fair even though I tell them I don't want to anymore. It's the crying child thing. No matter how nice I am I still succeed in making at least one child cry. And one parent question my decision.

So with that, let me introduce my dogs.

Miles is a 10 year old Shetland Sheepdog. Bought for my son's 4H dog, I took over his training when my son got older and didn't have time. Miles is the most fun to train. Show him something three times and he's got it. He has a few obedience titles and entertains guests with his bag of tricks. Miles is a gentleman.

Grace is a 6 year old Shetland Sheepdog in the Blue Merle coloring. She is the sweetest dog that ever lived. People always say, "Grace really likes me." I always agree even though she treats everyone the same. Before you know what happened she is up licking your neck. I have a list of people that want her if anything happens to me.

Stormy is a 5 year old field-bred Black Lab. My dad bought her and asked me to raise her and start her training. She was then professionally trained as a hunting dog and competed in hunt tests. The trainer called her a once in a lifetime dog. That may be but we pulled her from training when it got too intense for her, or us, I'm not sure which. She came home with me and my dad gave Hubby a shotgun. Hubby has never been a hunter but he took her out and Stormy taught him how to hunt pheasants. Now he's hooked. There is something about walking the fields with your best friend and bringing home dinner. Frankly I don't get it. I'd rather walk the field with my best friend and not bring home dinner but they love it. Grouse season starts in a couple of days. Wonder what that tastes like?

Solomon is a 2 year old Chihuahua. I have wanted a Chihuahua for years but it had to be the right one. I found this one on Craiglist. His family had just had a baby and they wanted to find him a home. We lucked out with this one. Impeccably housebroken! He is a black Lab in a tiny body. I have never had such an athletic dog. He loves everyone and everyone loves him. I don't know how many times I've heard that he has changed people's minds about Chihuahuas. What a little ambassador.
Then there is Faith. When my son went off to college I wouldn't let him take one of the dogs. I mean what college kid needs a dog? So what does he do? Goes out and gets another one. Faith is a Blue Merle Shetland Sheepdog, bought at a pet store, straight from the puppy mill, and one of the best dogs I've ever been around. She has more frequent flyer miles than most people. Small enough to fit under the seat she goes everywhere with him.

And what about Chloe? Chloe is the lucky little girl that was bought by a young man and given to his lovely girl because he knew she would love her. Lucky Chloe.

We were walking one day when my, then, four year old son asked me about who he should marry and I talked to him about finding someone that was moral and had a good sense of humor. I described all the traits that would make a good wife.
He said, "Yeah, but she HAS to love dogs."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Would You Like To See My Pictures?

Here's a few chicken shots.....

A few goat pictures........there's that chicken on Filbert's side again. Or an albino bat. I see a Saanen goat with one leg out.

What about the llamas?

And a random flower shot..........

I can't forget the cat and the pigs.

As you can see I am enjoying my camera. I still have trouble getting shots in focus but I have come to the conclusion that with that and my bad eye sight I must be meant to live my life slightly out of focus.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Something Foolish, Something Gay

When my sisters and I were teenagers we read a book called Something Foolish, Something Gay. Now this was the 70's and gay still meant happy. It was a funny story about awkward teenage first love. We practically memorized the book and would (and still do) recall funny passages from the story. Just the mention of "she wore a watermelon pink, scooped-neck, sheath dress" sends my sisters into a fit of laughter. In the beginning of the story, Sammy surprises Laurie at her door with a Cocker Spaniel puppy. That was always my favorite part. Well naturally she falls in love with him. She says that the gift is "something foolish, something gay." She names the puppy Banjo because it keeps everyone awake at night with its howling.
So when a then 17 year old Hubby showed up at my door, and having never read the book, with a beautiful wicker bird cage and a blue parakeet inside I was thrilled to be having my own "something foolish, something gay" moment. I named him Banjo. He followed me into adulthood and lived a long happy life. Over the years I've had a few something foolish, something gay moments. One day after we were first married he came home from work and said he got me something. We went outside and he opened the trunk and tucked inside were two Muscovy ducks. I was thrilled. This man knows my heart.

Yesterday I get a call from my son. He told me he surprised his lovely girlfriend with her first puppy. He put a big bow around the puppy's neck and surprised her. She screamed. She has wanted a puppy since she was a child but with allergies in the family it was impossible.
I told her, " have a romantic boyfriend."

Yes, it was foolish, but oh so gay!

Field Trip

Auntie has arrived in town from Hyde Park, New York and the whole family gathered at The Farm for a little reunion. The Farm is my Hubby's brother and sister-in-law's farm near Mt. Rainer. They have lived on the farm for about 30 years where they have raised all sorts of two legged and four legged animals. It is a proper farm...and you know how much I want a proper farm.
In fact, Mt. Rainer looms large in the distant from their big backyard. Most days that is. Yesterday it was raining and this is all we got....

They even have a proper barn. This is a horse barn that just happens to have a gorgeous apartment that the cousins take turns living in. They too have a gorgeous view of the mountain.

But yesterday it looked like this......

I was able to take pictures with my new camera. It was able to take shots like this....

And this.......

And this.........

But I took this with a disposable...........

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Local Eating

We are well into the eating of the Bea's they have peaches, green beans, zucchini, tomatoes & potatoes, and bunnies. Now I was able to resist the usual cute bunnies but when I went to get my weekly produce, down the street, at Bea's
I saw this.........

For $5.00

So I brought him home and named him Jack Rabbit.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The County Fair in the Morning

This morning I got up bright and early to go judge dog obedience at the county fair. You haven't truly experienced the county fair until you go bright and early in the morning. It is when it is the most calm. Sleepy faced kids are cleaning out stalls and feeding animals. Moms and dads are walking around with cups of coffee and the smell......oh the smell. Scones! Hay! Sawdust! Animals! I happen to love the smell of animals.
After I got done judging and really only made one child cry, I stood in line to get a scone and I pondered.....Why are all the scone ladies old? Can only seniors work there? I just don't know but I swear they are the same old ladies from when I was a kid and showed my goats and my dogs at the fair.
I got three scones. One for now and two for when Hubby gets home and we can have one with a cup of coffee.
I walked around and looked at all the animals. I watched sheep judging, while I ate my scone. I looked at chickens and turkeys and ducks. I looked at rabbits and cavies and took a trip through the petting farm. But by then my scone is gone because there is NO eating around the animals anymore.
I wonder how I ever survived before that rule.
I saw llamas and some fabulous felted creations. I spent a lot of time looking at the goats. Some had small kids with them. Extra cute when they come in the Nigerian variety.
The fair in the morning is the essence of the fair. When it is pure. Before the loud rides and hoards of people.
And that's when they have the best scones.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cave In

O.K. so I caved. Cora Belle and Filbert are back in the nursery pen. My two wethers Rowdy and Riot are not very nice to them and I was surprised to see Filbert acting a bit cowardly when I went down tonight. Filbert is usually a little bad ass. Excuse my language but it is my blog. Filbert is always ready to butt (oh my gosh, two bad words in one post) anyone that gets in his way. The rest of the goats are scared of the pigs. Not Fil, he aims right for the tender snout and delivers a blow that sends the girls squealing. He doesn't even have to be near them and they start squealing at the sight of him. I have seen him stand up to the bully wethers at other times but when I went down tonight the babes were afraid to come in out of the rain. Yes, it is raining in Washington, a very rare occurrence. So out went Ruckus and Moly and in went Fil and Cora Belle. I'm a mush when it comes to those two. I'm their mother. Sort of. I bottled fed them....for about a week. They love me and I them so I couldn't stand to see them being "just goats".

Here's your Rorschach test....what do you see on Filbert's side. A chicken or a goat? I saw a Saanen goat but others have said chicken.

The results will remain confidential.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to Normal...Whatever That Means

Things are getting back to normal around here. The hens are presenting me with about 8 eggs a day. Enough for me, a few customers and the random neighbor that happens to walk by when I'm feeling generous. My goal is to sell enough so that they pay for their own feed and maybe they could carry the pigs for a while. The pigs eat some fancy pot bellied pig food that is a little on the pricey side but is formulated for their pot bellied piggish figures. Speaking of the pig girls, they are starting to get their hair back and are in the kiwi stage. Tiny little hair is sprouting up all over. What a relief. I am getting tired of telling people why they had no hair. It really has only been in the last few months that the pigs have truly excepted me and trust that I have their back. They are now letting me pet and scratch them all over. I'm sure a lot of it is that I am more comfortable around them too. Although I do need to trim hooves again and that's another story altogether. They don't like me one bit when I'm trying to trim feet. Which reminds me the goats need it too. Yikes, my aching back.
When I got back from my trip I noticed how much Cora Belle and Filbert have grown and decided to move them into the big goat pen to be with their own kind. That's where they wanted to be.....until I actually did it. They stood at the gate and hollered, "Hey, we didn't mean it. We aren't really goats! We are bottle babies! Get us out of here!" But I left them in and they seem to be adjusting. And in the long run it will be where I want them to be anyway. In order to move them in I had to move Ruckus and Moly out so that Cora Belle won't get bred too early by Ruckus, if he ever decides to become a buck. Let's just say he's a late bloomer. Ruckus and Moly are now in the nursery pen until Hubby gets over the shock of losing his beloved truck and even more beloved motorcycle trailer and is capable of building me another pen. Who knows when that will be but I will just bide my time until that cloudy look leaves his face.

It is good to be back to normal, but I won't truly be back to normal until I get a new camera. Until then I will be posting old pictures. That darn disposable is still sitting on the counter until I can remember to get it to Target to be developed.
Man, I love digital!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

I believe everything happens for a reason and time will tell why this vacation was filled with so many disappointments. But I'm not going to dwell on them. I am going to see the positives. We got to spend lots of time with my son and lots of time with his girl's family. They were the kind of people you feel like you have known for years. From the 4 hours we spent in the security room at the Luxor filling out paperwork and taking fake mugshots with the brothers to the fabulous dinners we shared in Boulder, it was a laugh a minute. And you know me, I love funny. I got to see how this wonderful young lady handled disasters and was so impressed with her level head and thoughtful ways with my son. They will have a good life in Boulder. Colorado is a friendly, healthy state. The people are welcoming and the lifestyle is a little more slower paced. We ate every night at a different restaurant on Pearl Street. The Walnut Street Brewery being my favorite. If you are ever in town try the Pub die for! There are street performers, great shops and I have never seen so many dreadlocks and bicycles in my life. I wonder how I'd look with dreads? I loved the atmosphere.
We got home last night and I was so happy to see all my animals in good health because I told my friends, that were taking care of them, if anything happened don't tell me because I didn't want any more bad news while I was trying to vacation. The hens are laying like crazy and my friend sold about 6 dozen eggs while I was gone. The pigs had to tell me all about their horrible time being confined to their pen while I was gone and Penne got to come out of the goat pasture. Today was a day of returning the rental car, laundry, regrouping, cleaning out stalls and gathering eggs. I love my animals. They ground me.
On our trip we traveled through 10 different states. I had every intention of scouring the countryside to find a place for my "proper farm" but I was never so glad to get back to my mini farm and my "Life Beyond the Sidewalks."

As we drove home Hubby said to me, "If you'd have told me I would be pumping gas in Casper, Wyoming into a red Chevy HHR with New York license plates, in my wife's jean jacket, I'd have said you were crazy!"
The cowboy next to him sure thought he was.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sin City

Last week Hubby and I got in our truck and headed to California to pick up our son and all his worldly possessions and make our way to Colorado for graduate school at the University of Colorado in Boulder. I have been looking forward to this trip for a long time. It would be around 10 days that we could spend as a family together, something we haven't had in a long time. I love a good road trip. So laden down with our cargo trailer and our dog, Solomon, we headed down I5 for California. We arrived at his apt. the next day and proceeded to dismantle it. I cleaned everything before it went into the trailer and we packed it neatly for the ride. It was a lot of work but I was glad to have the chance to be a mom again. Now my son has a lot of nice stuff. He has been on his own for 5 years and had furnished his apartment very nicely. I am proud of how he has kept things and his taste in furnishings. I was anxious to help him set up his new place in Colorado.
We headed out Friday morning and since we were going right through Las Vegas my Hubby was hell bent on showing me Vegas. Does this man even know me? I have never wanted to go to Vegas. It is everything I hate. Gambling, drinking, shallow trappings all around but stop we did. We decided to stay at the Luxor. They had a nice secure parking lot and we felt good about parking the truck and trailer there. But I hated Vegas. When I went to bed that night I about had a panic attack. I kept thinking, "Get me out of here!" I couldn't wait to leave the next morning. The next day we had a very nice buffet breakfast with my son's girlfriend's family, as they were taking her to grad school too. We checked out of the hotel, went out to the parking lot and discovered that during the night someone stole our truck, trailer and ALL of my son's stuff. Everything he owns. And I mean everything. His whole apartment furnishings, sports equipment, electronics, passport and all his paperwork,, the diploma I just had framed, a framed picture of his lovely girlfriend and all the cards and notes she wrote to him, all his other pictures, all his clothes and shoes, you name it and it was in there. He arrived in Boulder with two shorts, two T shirts some underwear and a pair of flip flops. And his lap top, thank goodness that was in our room.
We are sick and trying to save our vacation by saying things like, "It could be worst, at least no one was hurt." But it has been hard.

Apparently what happens in Vegas.....stays in Vegas. Including all our stuff.

note: I would have taken pictures but they stole my camera too.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I Smell Horse

As we drove down the white-railed country drive, I stopped, stuck my head out the window and said to my neighbor, "I smell horse."

I love that smell.

A pony was the first thing my dad bought us when we moved to the country in 1966 and I have been with a horse more than without one my whole life. I lived on the back of a horse as a child. It has only been in the last couple of years we have been without some sort of equine.

I am lucky enough though to be surrounded by horsey friends. My neighbor, who also grew up on a horse, and I were going to a drill team performance at a nearby farm to watch our friend. She has been involved in The Irish Glen Drill Team for a couple of years now. Made up of about 10 women, they meet once a week at an idyllic farm with a kick ass arena. Did I sat that?

Here is a picture of my friend and her horse "Ren"........

Now Ren......let's just say he has been a challenge and made my friend earn this day. I remember saying to her at some point, "Why don't you find another horse?"

She got this sweet, sappy look on her face and said, "But he's my baby."

Here is her baby.......Isn't he handsome?

Let this be a lesson. Never listen to my advice. I don't know what I'm talking about.

I didn't get any pictures of the drill team because I couldn't use a flash and couldn't figure out how to turn it off. Don't ever make me the official photographer of anything.
So I'll have to tell you about it.
As the first two horses came out to the music, carrying the American flag, I got a tear in my eye. Put music to anything and I will cry. But I quickly composed myself because I didn't want my neighbor to think me deranged.
We enjoyed a wonderful display of women in tune with their horses. My friend's Ren was a perfect gentleman. He was calm and relaxed, listening for the next cue. He effortlessly moved in to the smoothest lope and seemed to really be enjoying himself.
When I saw her after to tell her how much we enjoyed it she said,

"Did you see when he didn't go into the canter?"
"Yes," I said. "He was pooing."
Behind her back.

She said,"Oh was that what he was doing? I guess he did good then because usually he stops when that happens."
You try pooing as you are transitioning from trot to canter, smoothly, with a lot of people watching. I'd say he was sensational. I was so proud of all my friend's hard work and, for a second there, I wanted another horse to join this fun drill team. Then I could come and ride at this farm once a week.
Here is a picture of my friend and her horse with my neighbor in the background shopping for a horse.

As we drove home lost in our thoughts my neighbor said, "Man, when they came into the arena with the flag I shed a tear.

She's deranged.