Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Giving Thanks

This is the one holiday that we think of as the food holiday. As with other holidays, I worry that we forget what this day symbolizes. For me, it is a time to think about every thing for which we are grateful. In my everyday life I work to stay aware and express gratitude. On Thanksgiving, we share our food and go around the dinner table and share those things for which we are grateful.

I am grateful for a wonderful husband who is my life partner and soul mate. I am grateful to live in our cozy home on our land in beautiful Sonoma County. I am grateful for my health (now I am beginning to sound like my folks!), but so TRUE!!! I am grateful to have a great relationship with my mother-in-law/friend. I am grateful for all of our animals, all 48, and the joy that they bring us. I am grateful for a family of diverse personalities and opinions. (How boring would it be if we were all the same!!!)I am grateful for dear friends. My mother once said you could live in hell if you had friends there. Not only do I have friends here, but around the world, thanks to the email age. I am grateful for my job that I do love. I am grateful to live in the United States, with all of the privelages and opportunities that it offers. I am grateful for the freedom of press, among other things covered in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

To sum it up, I am grateful today and every day! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Catching up on the Farm

I wouldn't have believed it possible in a million years, but it has just been 4 months since India grabbed Chloe by the leg, causing her permanent injury. Not only do Chloe and India lounge on the same couch, but she sleeps in bed with me every night just inches away from Tasso, the brave boy from Louisiana! Chloe is such a joy. She has a sweet temperament, is soft as a bunny and has a really wonderful personality. She is still in the discovery stages of living in a house. That is fun to watch!

As for the other kids, Tasso, India and Callebaut got into a lot of trouble tonight! They pulled clothes from the clean laundry basket, jumped on top of the coffee table knocking all kinds of things off, and Tasso found my stash of yarn. He pulled it out as far as he could...about 20 feet! All of this was done while I was in the shower! I made all of them go lay down. Big punishment to little kids that want to play!!!

Yesterday we had a fair amount of rain fall (1.6 inches). Tasso stayed dry by standing on the potting table on the deck which is under the eaves of the house, Callebaut hid in his big dog crate or slept on the mat by the back door, but India crawled under the house, through the mud, to stay dry. Well, she didn't really stay dry!!! Nor Clean! I ended up picking her up and giving her a bath in the laundry room sink! She was actually pretty well behaved and then SO PROUD to be clean! After that she thought as though she was entitled to all of the toys!

We are somewhat patiently awaiting the first of the Marans eggs. The girls are really putting us in a tight spot. Farmer Jeff has just added his famous Eastside Farms Deviled Eggs over the Endive salad with his own bacon to the evening menu...and the girls that are usually laying have stopped for the winter. The 8 Marans and 2 Brabanders are due, ANY DAY, to begin pumping out eggs. The Marans eggs are supposed to range in color anywhere from that of chocolate milk brown to dark chocolate brown. Right now we would be happy to get ANYTHING!!!

Bruce and Sheila and the rest of the girls on that side of the pen are all doing fine. Josephine has gotten broody (she believes it is time to hatch a clutch/group of eggs). Problem eggs upon which to sit. The other part of Josephine being broody, she is cranky anyway, but when she is broody...oh heavens...think...really cranky!!!

Tiger is doing really well. He is one of the two remaining feral porch kitties. When it is raining he just cries to come in the house, but then when you go outside to pet him or pick him up, he won't let you near him. He is such a sweetie. When I go out to feed him in the morning, he walks with me to the food bowl, and then back to the door, talking all the way. He likes to follow us out into the garden.

Farmer Jeff and I love our life here on the farm. Yes, there are things in our lives that we would change if we could. For now I will just express my gratitude and appreciation for what we have.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Reality Check

(This is a picture of our beloved Napoleon Dynamite)
Have you ever looked at something for so long that you don’t notice that it has changed or is different, that your eyes have compensated for the different of what is imagined versus what really exists? I believe “you see what you want to see” exists. This often has more to do with overlooking flaws or faults or felonies of new boyfriends. Women, you know what I am talking about.

We recently experienced this very thing. We bought two week-old female chicks about 4 months ago at the same time we bought our pretty little silver-laced Wyandottes. All of these little birds were pretty flighty, (no pun intended) and we didn’t really get a chance to know them. It is hard when they freak out upon approach to warm up to them.

When this batch of youngsters was big enough, we moved them in with Napoleon Dynamite and his 2 girls, Elba and Josephine, and the two Plymouth Barred Rocks, Laverne and Shirley. Napoleon’s girls are not the friendliest creatures on earth and subsequently we have heard lots of squawks from the new girls as they were being taught the pecking order.

Over the period of 4 months we did observe that one of our 2 black Austrolorps (black Australian Orpingtons) was different than her sister.

• She was getting significantly larger than her sister. I couldn’t understand why, but wasn’t worried because some of the Marans are larger than others. Then I noticed the bigger one was getting a little aggressive. I wonder why?

• We noticed she was growing some pretty tail feathers. Why would that be happening? She had a large comb and waddles, but then so do some of the red sex-links.

• One of the roosters had forgotten how to crow and sounded like a new teenager testing out his shouting abilities for the first time. How could Napoleon or Jericho forget how to crow?

One day last week, I realized that because I had been expecting to see a hen, I WAS seeing a hen. WRONG. It turns out that we have a very large and beautiful ROOSTER.

We lost a daughter and gained a son...all without benefit of surgery or marriage! Bruce and Sheila Austrolorp are happily adjusting to life. Bruce is testing his, um, equipment much to the consternation of the other girls in the enclosure.

I wish I could say the same about Napoleon Dynamite. He comes out of the coop in the morning for breakfast, but is now spending most of his time up on his perch. He is either mopping or saving his bacon by staying out of the way!

We have brainstormed for the best solution (move Napoleon and his brood into the larger quarters with everyone else, or move Bruce and Sheila) but have come to the conclusion that a slightly depressed Napoleon is better than a dead Jericho, with whom either Napoleon or Bruce would fight to the death. It is really better left alone. We’ll keep you posted.

(I will pass on words of condolences to Napoleon should you wish to write)