Sunday, November 26, 2006

They're thankful...

It takes so little to make an old goat happy -- a few cups of cracked corn in a pan each morning, the occasional scratch along the jawline, clover hay...

Francesca, on the left, is 10 years old and still frisky and playful. Katrinka, right, isn't as sprightly, though she'll perk up and run through the gate fast enough to swipe a nibble from the rose bushes. Little Girl, middle, is Katrinka's last kid. She's a sweet, flighty thing, much the opposite of her attention demanding herdmates. She jumps fences at will but is too shy of people and dogs to make a pest of herself in the yard or garden. Her rambles mainly consist of excursions into the sheep pen to see if they're getting better snacks. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Today's prize?

Every few days Bebe brings a new treasure to the yard. This one, at least, doesn't reek, and whatever rotting occurred was finished years ago. I think it's a tailbone from one of the weathered cow skeletons in the woods. I could be wrong.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Hammock time?

When I took this photo a few weeks ago, I felt a little sad because it seemed the end of the season for my beloved hammock. We've had a couple of frosts and one quite cold night since. There's no green left in the trees. Yet all this week the air was warm, the breezes mild. And so when it was time for a break from the sweaty work of cleaning out barns or putting the gardens to bed, I retreated to the hammock to enjoy the view of the clouds.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Almost finished

It really looks like a greenhouse now that the plastic covering is on. We used a special 6 mil greenhouse plastic that's UV treated to resist sun damage. It's supposed to last 4-6 years.

It's not a fun task to maneuver a sheet of plastic this size (32' x 60'-plus) over 10 ft. tall arches without snagging and ripping it -- and then attach it firmly, evenly, stretched tight -- and hopefully all before the wind kicks up. The top portion is one solid sheet. It attaches to a 2x6 board that's bolted to the arches. Another 2 x 6 is clamped to the metal framing at ground level, and the plastic to enclose the sides is stretched between these two boards. Eventually we plan to add ventilation panels along the sides which can be opened and closed as needed. For now, I'm just happy to have it enclosed. We still need to cover some small sections of the ends, located beside and below the windows. After that...soil prep, laying out the beds and paths, planting, etc.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Tracking mud...

I grew up reading tales of pioneers, trappers, and Indians (we weren't into the whole politically correct terminology thing back then). I loved tales of woodsmen who could track game -- and people -- by the evidence left on the trail. Broken twigs, a few turned leaves, and of course, footprints. I studied animal footprints I found in the woods and compared them to drawings in the books I checked out from the library. But of course, those were dry tales, just facts without the adventure and all the other interesting details that made those stories about wild places and those who dared travel there so fascinating to me.

So I never learned to track, and I've forgotten a lot of what I memorized from those books. Yet an awareness lingers. Now and then I see a set of tracks and wonder what passed there and what adventures are occuring.

These muddy prints appeared on the newly painted foundation by the chimney after a rainy night. There's a small, brick shelf there where the cats like to nap in the sunshine. The rosebush casting the shadow in the morning light had a broken stem and a few bruised leaves. A struggle? A stray cat, fleeing the farmcollies? Or just a misgauged leap by one of the housecats who's put on an extra pound or two?