Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Natives are Restless

Tensions are strained. The seemingly never-ending winter has caused some political upheaval around here. There has been a coup in the coop. Old One-Eyed Calico Jack, leader of the bantam flock, has been overthrown and ousted. His own son, JB (Jack's Boy), has taken over the roost.
The former leader spent the entire day outside the coop yesterday, hiding in a small three-sided shelter. This morning he was found cowering behind a broody hen inside the nest boxes. If today's peace negotiations fail, one of them will be forced into exile. Should it be Old One-Eyed Calico Jack, the blind-as-a-bat, lovable, bumbling, disbled veteran? Or JB the young, handsome, up-and-coming whippersnapper?

Monday, February 22, 2010

We Call Her Spaz Cat

"I shall will the can of tuna open with my mind, if I just concentrate hard enough."
(Cue the Mission Impossible music...)


Friday, February 19, 2010

Olympic Dreams

I actually managed to get out of the house today while the sun was shining for a little much-needed fiber therapy. Of course, the best place for that is Sheep Street. It's a long hike from my place, but it's always worth it. When I arrived, I couldn't help but stop and say hello to the ladies in the assisted-living pasture. They asked that I give their regards to Sophia and the other Golden Girls, then as I turned I heard them gossiping about who belonged to who and whether or not Blanche was married. I left them to it.

I didn't have time for chit chat. I had training to do. With Angie as my coach and Pirate, the cat, as the official judge I performed my first ever solo run at knitting.

I didn't win a gold medal, I didn't even make it close to the podium. But with Angie's expert tutelage, I mastered the cast on, knit, purl, garter stitch, stockinette stitch, ribbing and binding off technical aspects of the sport.

So ladies, those of you participating in Yarn Harlot's knitting olympics, look out. All I need is to work on my finesse. Four years from now, I may be a contender.

(Can you believe that Pirate lives in a yarn store and never bothers anything? I was home two minutes and Ethel was all over my ball of yarn. I may have to lock her in a room. Or me.)


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

She Loves Him, He Loves Her Not

Every morning Bandit dutifully runs out to visit Willa. She is hopelessly and desperately in love with him, only he doesn't love her. He's only there to make his master happy. If he has any luck at all she might have left a chew bone lying around somewhere as a bonus. He's just using her to secure his place and put food in his belly. She knows it, but loves him so much she's willing to put up with it. She patiently waits for him to finish the bone, hoping he'll show her some attention once he's finished. Poor thing, I feel for her.


Monday, February 15, 2010

My apology to the Universe

Dear Universe,

I want to express my deepest apology. If I have hurt you, offended you or otherwise done you wrong, I am sorry.

I am not perfect. I am a mere mortal. I can be insensitive.

And I am often selfish.

 And I am sure it seems I do not appreciate you. 

I am so sorry if I have taken you for granted. I promise to do better. Be better. And express my love for you better. Because together, we can do beautiful things. Things like sunshine and flowers. You remember that don't you? Those were good times. Please forgive me and let's try it one more time.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

What Lies Beneath

OMG! We are experiencing some volcanic eruptions in the North pasture. I'd better call the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. They'll want to send a team of, uh, volcanologists and seismologists. And news people, a volcano in Indiana is big news, they'll want to send lots of news people. And security, we'll need security, maybe the National Guard, I should call the President...

Or it might just be a mole. Maybe I should wait...


Friday, February 12, 2010

Today's Views From the Porch

I don't know about you, but I'm going to focus on that blue sky up there and pretend I'm on an island somewhere. I just need an umbrella thingy for my drink.


Thursday, February 11, 2010


The people at the animal shelter said he used to belong to an old man. After the gentleman passed away the daughter tried to keep him but he continually escaped and ran around town until animal control caught him and took him in. They think he was looking for the old guy. Eventually the daughter stopped picking him up from the shelter. Or that's the story they told me anyway.

I was volunteering at the shelter, taking pictures of the dogs and listing them on I saw his picture online; he was at a shelter in a nearby town. I had always wanted a Golden Retriever. They had him listed as a Golden Retriever mix. Something about his photo just spoke to me, haunted me, I can't really explain it. So the next day I called and asked if he was still there, then we all drove to see him. As soon as they brought him out to the lobby he flipped onto his back and exposed his belly for us to rub, sealing the deal in two seconds flat. I considered that a sign of intelligence.

He wasn't what I expected. The photo online was only a head shot. I didn't realize that his head was the only thing that resembled a Golden Retriever. In fact his body looks exactly like the Border Collie he is crossed with. The difference is so obvious he looks like a doctored-up photo somebody played with in Photoshop.

Once home, we started to realize what kind of life he had lived before. He was the polar opposite of our spoiled Beagle. He didn't understand what a dog bed was or that it was okay for him to lay on it. He didn't want to go inside the house. He was an outdoor dog and wanted to stay that way. He can be stubborn as an ox. We compromised and allowed him to stay in the attached garage. On one of the few occasions he actually was inside he quietly stole a muffin off the kitchen counter while everyone was in the room and nobody saw him do it. He's very sneaky. If you made a sudden move when trying to pet him he would drop and assume the fetal position. He was obviously mistreated at some point. His list of issues stretches on for a mile.

Over the past four years we've worked on some of them, but he's always going to be an odd bird. That's okay though, because even though he has a host of quirks, he's proven himself to be the best farm dog ever. Loyal to a fault. Would do just about anything for a belly rub. And most recently has become Willa's boy toy. Every morning when I head out to do chores he tags along and joins Willa in the barnyard. She has a crush on him like a school girl. I swear he goes at it like he knows he's her babysitter. They romp and play and carry on. Then eventually he wears out and I let him resume his position guarding the porch. She's in love, he's just doing his job. He's deep, complex, mysterious and such a good old boy.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Not much to do around here when you're snowbound except sit around and make babies. No, not me--the chickens! Precious has gone broody and is setting on a clutch of eggs.

Do you suppose they get bored just sitting there and wish they knew how to knit or crochet? I wonder what they think about the whole time? Decorating the nursery?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

About This Old Farm

I'm getting cabin fever with the seeming endless snow storms. I'm going to be doing a little rearranging around the old blog here. Try not to trip over the couch. In the mean time, here's a little history lesson about how this whole thing got started in case you're new here and are interested...

Over 100 years after it was built, this old house is still referred to as the "Kurtz Home". We are only the third family to live here. Luzena Kurtz, the original owner of this old homestead, liked to call this place Front Porch Indiana because of the beautiful view from the front porch. Rocking back and forth, smelling the sweet scent of heirloom lilacs, from here you can see Indiana at it's finest. Corn and beans gently swaying, flocks of wild turkey wandering along the wooded stream, a chicken scratching in the dirt.

Mr. and Mrs. Kurtz moved here from Kansas in 1898 bringing the lilac bushes in the front yard with them on a covered wagon. At that time there was an old brick house on the property. They tore part of it down and built this house around it between 1906 and 1908. It had all the latest amenities of the day including central heat, acetylene generated gas lights, and a water system fed from two cisterns that would pump water upstairs to a bathtub. Pretty remarkable for a house in the middle of nowhere.

Everyone asks about the "thing" in the back yard. That's the gas generator I was referring to. Actually to be correct it's the second generator. What happened to the first you ask? Well, now that's a story, pull up a seat.

After completing the house, it seems the first winter was harsh. One particularly cold morning the gas lights had stopped working. At that time the generator was located in a small building somewhat similar to the three hole privy it was located near. Mr. Kurtz inspected the generator and determined that the pipes must have frozen. He decided to use some hot coals to warm them up while he went to town to conduct some business. Upon returning home he found the lights to be in working order. Problem solved, or so he thought. Later that evening the lights started to flicker. Mr. Kurtz bundled himself up, grabbed his lantern and headed out. Notice I said LANTERN.

Yes, as you can imagine, once he opened the door to the generator building there was an explosion that was heard for what the newspapers report as far away as 20 miles. The newspapers also report how far away his, uh, parts and pieces were found in graphic detail. They didn't leave much out in those days. Fortunately, all family members inside the house were spared even though all the windows in the home had been shattered.

It is told that the widowed Mrs. Kurtz lived in the dark for quite a number of years before being convinced to finally install the second generator. It's also told that this house has a friendly spirit living here. I've not met the so-called spirit personally since we've lived here. But I will confess that I've felt an overwhelming sense of peace since the first moment I set foot in the door, long before I was aware of Mr. Kurtz' demise. I love it here and feel like I belong. I wouldn't mind having my own ashes spread amongst these few acres when my time comes, although I would prefer a more gentle distribution method.

After that times were hard, especially for a widow, and the house fell into disrepair. It passed from generation to generation in the Kurtz family and eventually was only used as an occasional summer retreat. The black walnuts and hawthorn trees tried to reclaim the land Mr. Kurtz labored to clear. Pastures were overtaken by scrub and wild berries. Rusted farm equipment was left abandoned under the bushes.

Another family purchased the home and seven acres in the 1980s. Over the 20 plus years they lived here they did some extensive restoration of the house bringing the old place back to life. In 2006 they decided it was time to pass the torch to a new family. We gladly accepted the challenge and day by day, little by little try to restore this place back into a working homestead. I like to think that is just the way Luzena would have wanted it.

This place was Luzena’s dream. A century later, I’m just trying to keep that dream alive. I can't help but feel a kinship and certain closeness to Luzena in everything I do here. So I write this blog to keep her updated as to what is going on, as if she and I are sitting out there on the porch, just snapping beans and shooting the breeze. Seemed appropriate to name it after her. Thanks for stopping by and joining us. We love having you.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Sky Has Fallen

We are snug as bugs in a rug around here. Everyone tucked into their respective housing.

Peeking out and enjoying the beauty Mother Nature created for us.

Well, everyone except the chickens. You see, their predictions finally came true. Their sky has fallen. The net above their run was pulled down by the wet, heavy snow that...

the chickens are convinced is radioactive fallout. They claim they won't be coming back outside of their bomb shelter again until the contamination is cleaned up. There is another storm coming through on Tuesday. They're going to be in there for awhile.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Just What I Always Wanted

"My own little bunny rabbit. I will name him George"

"and I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him.."

"and pat him and pet him..."

Bandit: "I ain't no bunny rabbit!"

"But, George..."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Workin' For a Livin'

Around here, everyone has a job to do. There's no lolly-gagging allowed on a farm. You have to earn your keep.

The cat, Ethel, is in charge of internal extermination and quality control. Part of her job description includes regular patrols inside the house for any suspicious mouse activity. (Yes, I'm admitting on the Internet for the whole world to see that we have mice. It's a 100 year old house on a farm. It comes with the territory.) She also inspects every quilt and other products manufactured here on the homestead. And often, she'll fill in as a paperweight and or foot-warmer in a pinch.

The beagle, Lucy, is in charge of the alarm system and pest control. If a squirrel, chipmunk or raccoon makes the mistake of stopping by for a visit she will chase it up a tree and bark at it until the sun sets. That might be two hours or twelve. Doesn't matter, she's dedicated to her job. You don't want to know what she does with rabbits, so I won't mention it.

Then there is Bandit, Head Farm Dog in Charge. He is the house and garden security expert. Unlike Lucy he never barks unless he really needs to. He is aloof and has stealth capabilities. He prefers to sneak up on intruders. We don't know all of his background but we think he was a former Army Ranger or Navy Seal. Most people who come here are afraid of him. He shows no emotion except that I-could-kill-you-if-I-really-wanted-to look sometimes.

The Willabeest rounds out the farmstead security team. She patrols the barnyard guarding her flocks. And trust me she is very, very effective in her position. I heard the coyotes drop by serenading us with their howls just last night. A few barks from the Willabeest and they were gone.

The Fat Bottom Girls are here to exterminate insects, lay eggs and manufacture fertilizer. Pretty much in that exact order. Blackbeard, Old One-Eyed Calico Jack and his son JB are all here to keep watch over their respective hens. They fluff the nests and announce the arrival of the eggs and the sun. Because we surely would miss the sunrise if they didn't remind us it was happening.

The Golden Girls, Sophia, Dorothy, Blanche and Rose are on the landscaping crew. They mow the grass, eradicate weeds and spread fertilizer. During the off season they run a cottage industry producing wool to be used for quilt batting, spinning and/or felting.

Our operation is continuing to expand this year. In order to reclaim some of the land that has been neglected for at least fifty years we need someone to come in and do some brush cutting and tree trimming. Nothing can clear an overgrown pasture faster than a goat. So we're adding three to the payroll. A mother and her two young sons.

Once the ground thaws and new fence posts are able to go up they will come live here and go to work. And work hard. The decision to hire them has nothing to do with the fact that they are adorable and fun to watch, I swear. Really.

I hear you laughing. You don't believe me do you?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I Don't Care What the Groundhog Saw

I'm ready for Spring. I'm ready for the bulbs to bloom and the grass to grow. I'm ready to dig in the dirt and prepare the garden. And I'm ready to fence off more pasture and build a shed--we're going to need one for the new residents.

Coming soon to a blog near you...

You might want to prepare yourselves for all the cuteness.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Beware of the Willabeest

Me and Willa, we see eye to eye. Like, um, literally.

She's growing into a giant brute of a dog. When she jumps on the gate she's pretty much as tall as I am. Some would argue that's not saying much given that I'm vertically challenged and all.

But seriously folks, she's a beast of a dog. Huge even. And intense. Very intense. I pity the poor fool that tries to mess with her lambs.

Just tell me she doesn't look like she's thinking "Go ahead, make my day."

Yes, dear coyotes, you had best beware of the Willabeest when wandering these parts.