Tuesday, March 30, 2010

And the Winner Is...

completely undecided!

Oh my stinkin' heck, you can't possibly expect us to choose just one? Seriously. There's just no way. Far, far, far too many brilliant ideas were submitted for this contest.

I mean, the Mannings? Hoo hoo, ha, ha, oh that was a good one. We've laughed and laughed. Some of you have blown some of the cobwebs from our brains and reminded us of things long forgotten.

We can't even remotely decide. In an effort to narrow things down, we did manage to determine since we already have a TV character theme going on with Lucy & Ethel and The Golden Girls we would stick with that. Even then, there was still a long list of entries.

So then we created the poll you see over there in the left column. It allowed five entries. Finally, eeny meeny miny moe and there you have it.

We've gotten it whittled down this far, now you decide. Which one is your favorite? Voting will stay open until 5:00 p.m. on Friday.

May the best names win!


Sunday, March 28, 2010

First Day New-Hire Orientation

After getting used to new smells and listening to the Great White Willabeest bark at frogs all night long, the newbies were a little nervous on their first day of work. They were hesitant to leave the safety of their Goat Grotto.

Their new-hire orientation started with a thorough inspection of the facilities. I reassured them that a work order for a fresh coat of paint has been submitted to the maintenance department. They approved.

Next, a tour of the grounds. They liked the temporary location in the pasture but were delighted to see that their future home will have plenty of shrubs and trees to browse.

They were anxious to meet the existing staff.

They had lots of questions including "What are those little creatures making all the noise and is that giant, white beast over there going to eat us"? The Golden Girls explained what chickens were and assured them Willa was harmless.

They found that hard to believe by the looks of her.

But eventually, they found the courage to approach and introduce themselves.

Willa, having spent her youth with goats, was more than a little overjoyed to meet their aquaintance. So when they came near she lept to her feet, stood on her hind legs with her paws on the fence and shouted "Hi! Hello! How are you?! I'm so happy to meet you! We'll be bestest friends! I love you and I'm going to protect you!"

We found them about an acre away in the opposite corner of the pasture where they politely declined the need for her protection. "We're good", they said. "And, uh, we'll start working over here if you don't mind."

I might need to schedule some interpersonal skills training for Willa...

In the mean time don't forget to enter the Name the Newbies Contest. You can enter as often as you like.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Name the Newbies Contest

Porta-potties? Seriously? Y’all crack me up. No. Yesterday’s post was a photo of our new Goat Grotto, a temporary and portable goat shelter that can be moved from pasture to pasture. It can serve as a run-in shed while the door is open during the day. Or, closed at night, it can protect them from predators and the giant Willabeest. She means no harm; she just doesn’t understand how big she is and how small they are. Eventually the Golden Girls will move into the barn and the goats will take over the Sheep Shack, then we can turn the Goat Grotto into a Broiler Bungalow so we can raise a batch of broiler chickens. Oops. Did I just say that out loud? I didn’t want The Engineer to hear that yet... orgetfay ethay oilerbray ungalowcay.

They are Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats. A single mother and her two young sons. My first thought was that we should name them Diana, William and Harry, but The Engineer thinks that wouldn't be appropriate and the royal family might be find that to be an insult. I argued that was not true. I adored Diana. I was just a little girl at the time but I remember getting up in the middle of the night to watch the wedding and have admired her ever since. I think it would be a tribute of my admiration. And frankly, I don't think Prince William and Prince Harry give a rat's fanny what some crazy woman in the American Midwest calls her goats, but the Queen... The Queen is another issue all together; I would hate to offend her when she stops by for tea next week.

So I'm open to suggestions of other famous single mothers with two sons. My brother, being the dork that he is, has suggested Britney, Sean and Jayden. I dismissed that immediately, of course, realizing that naming them after Miss Spears would be an insult to the goats. Surely, somewhere in between pretentious and uh, yeah I'm not even going to go there, are some good goat names. I’m even open to other one female, two male combinations. So let me hear them. I’ll appoint a panel of judges, and on Tuesday evening we’ll pick a winner. The prize – a $25 Lowes gift certificate to help you plant a garden of healthy veggies, even if it’s just on your balcony.

Edited to add: Feel free to enter as many and as often as you'd like.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Grab a Tissue

As you know, my brother's cats have been visiting for the past two and a half weeks while he went on a once-in-a-lifetime tour of Europe including Italy, Greece, Amsterdam and some other places I'm probably forgetting. The cats are used to being here, as they visit often and at one time they were even short-term permanent residents here on the farm. In fact I'd go so far as saying they like it here, even though their cousin, Ethel, doesn't return the sentiment.

Geo and Loki are the closest thing to nephews I'll ever have on my side of the family. They are very much my brother's children. The only children he and his late wife ever had. The cats are so attached to my brother it's crazy, especially Geo. When it's almost time for my brother to come home from work, Geo starts hanging out by the door, meowing. He can't wait for his Daddy to come home.

He takes great care of them and spares no expense for their health and welfare. This, in fact, has amassed into a rather large sum of cash over the years. One of the reasons they stay with me while he travels is so that I can take care of their medical needs. Loki has some sort of eating disorder along with a host of other issues and if his diet is not handled just right he will commence with projectile vomiting. As you can imagine, this makes him a less than desirable house guest for most people.

Four years ago, Geo was diagnosed with a heart condition. Most likely he was born with it. And it may even be part of what makes his personality so laid back and just plain cool. Envision Bob Marley as a cat. If you didn't know better you'd swear he must have just smoked a joint. You might even think he was spaced out with a case of the munchies.

His favorite activities include licking paper and curling up into a tiny ball in whatever out-of-the-way container he could find, box, bowl, teacup - whatever. Never mind that he is 14-times the size of the teacup. He just wants a quiet spot. A goofball with a capital G.

Over the past year or so, Geo's health has been deteriorating. Fluid continues to build up around his heart and he has undergone several procedures to drain the fluid along with taking daily medicine. Anything he needed, my brother would get. Yet each time I saw Geo I could tell just by looking at him he was getting a little worse.

This visit was no different. Several days after he arrived I noticed he had all but given up grooming himself and he started relieving himself in inappropriate places. Sure signs that he wasn't well. I called the vet and they politely explained that there was really nothing else they could do. At this point, it was only a matter of time. So I gave him a little more attention, sat with him and petted him longer than usual and tried to enjoy him as much as I possibly could, worried that this very well may be his last visit to the farm.

He wasn't content, I could tell. He wanted his Daddy to come home. My brother came to pick them up last night. Geo passed away early this morning.

He brought him back and we buried Geo in the meadow by the creek under the giant sycamore tree. I think he would like it there. It's out of the way and quiet.

There are pets, and then there are GREAT pets. But Geo was the best of the best. The coolest cat to walk this earth. His paw prints will remain forever on our hearts.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

I am Not For Sale

Geo would like to announce that he is, in fact, not for sale and he really does not appreciate Ethel's sense of humor.

He would also like to note that he is the coolest cat to ever walk the planet and he just knows his Daddy is coming back to get him soon. His being left here temporarily was just some sort of misunderstanding. Surely he was intended to travel to Europe with his master.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Free to Good Homes

Must go! 

This one is named Geo. 

This one is Loki.

(door opens)

"Ethel, what are you doing at the computer?"

"Nothing, Mom." (click) 


Thursday, March 18, 2010

All's Well that Ends Well


Blanche would appreciate it if we all forget about the 'during' phase and not mention it again.

Meanwhile, Rose begs for mercy, "For the love of God, please help! Send a professional!"


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Makeover Madness

"Did you remember the conditioner?", said Dorothy. "I'll need some to tame my frizz."

"Um, sure, Dorothy. I wouldn't dream of giving you a makeover without it. You're going to look fabulous when we're done."

"Who wants to go first? Blanche, how about you?"

"You know what you're doing, right?", asked Blanche.

"Sure I do. Hop on up here and let's get started."

(one hour later)

"Run ladies, run! She doesn't know what she's doing", screamed Blanche as she escaped.

"I thought you said you knew what you were doing?"

"Well, I did watch a guy do it in a YouTube video."

"YouTube?! YouTube?! Are you kidding me? You're not going to leave me like this are you?"


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ethel's Identity Crisis

What are you doing, Ethel?
"I'm looking for paws under the door. Someone let some stray cats in the house. I hate cats."

Those aren't strays, Ethel. They are your cousins, Geo and Loki.

"No way. They can't be my cousins. They're CATS. I, obviously, am not a cat."

Um, actually, we've been meaning to sit you down and have a conversation. We think you're old enough to know.

"Know what?"
Um, Ethel sweetie, while it's true you were raised by dogs and humans, your birth parents are actually - cats.

"Lies! It must be all lies!"

"Although it would explain my superior intelligence and excellent personal hygiene."


Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Look what I made! It's a garment. I've graduated from making something you scrub your dirty dishes with to making something to wear on your head. 

Like, out in public even.
I made it for myself, but my lovely assistant was so impressed with it he couldn't wait to help model it for you. Okay, okay, so I might have bribed him with pizza. Now I'm on to making a matching scarf...


Sunday, March 7, 2010

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

I know what you're thinking.

You took one look at that picture and thought something went horribly wrong. I'll admit that it would be a safe assumption. But sometimes, things have to get worse before they can get better. 

Some of you will recall that a large tree fell on the barn a few years ago. It damaged the east-facing part of the roof. And a large chunk of the tree has remained up there ever since. There were about seven or eight more trees poised to fall on the roof. Some literally were growing within inches of the barn. The new goat fence needs to go right through there and before we spend one red cent repairing the roof, those trees had to go. Just to the right of the barn above is a steep ravine. You can't get fancy tree trimming equipment back there. So there was no choice but to just start whacking trees down by hand. Granted, this one leaned a little further to the left than was planned, but it wasn't the catastrophe one might expect. It's actually just caught on a branch and more or less leaning on the barn.

So it seemed reasonable to cut the offending branch and then it will roll down and off...

unless, of course, it hits another snag. This is when it smooshed the already smooshed roof a little more.

And it was at this point that I had 9-1-1 dialed with my finger on the send button.

But it worked, and we were back to square one with that old tree still up there. The old metal roof is about as thick as tinfoil at this stage. The tree will have to stay there and be strategicly removed during the roofing project.

We were then just left with a whole lot of firewood and one heck of a mess to clean up.

After two days of back-breaking work it looks like this. Still lots more to do, but it seems we haven't exercised enough over the winter and our bodies are protesting. But considering what it started out like, we're pleased with the progress.



The two large, overhanging branches in the top left corner will be taken down by the pros and their fancy equipment someday when the ground dries out enough for them to drive back there. With all the snow we've had, that won't be any time soon.