Sunday, June 30, 2013

shifting goats

One effect of all the rainy days this season, is this:

when I wake up in the morning and it is not raining - at least, not yet raining - there is no time for slouching around.  I must get up and get out.

If the goats are going to have an opportunity to dig into fresh browse before the next rain sends them back to the shelters and hay, my priority task is shifting goats.  Some or all will be moved into smaller fenced areas that have been allowed to grow up into goat-appropriate vegetation.  There they will spend a few hours chowing down, before I shift them back to their usual digs.  If I hear thunder, the shifting back to shelters goes a lot quicker!

Betula and Acer work the fenceline bittersweet.  You go, boys! 
Moving my goats between pens is tricky.  They must have collars put on, and be walked, one at a time, on leads.  At each gate, all the other goats must be prevented from squeezing through.  The goats don't always make me work up a sweat getting them from Point A to Point B...

but most days they do.

Goats are strong, and goats are determined, and goats often do not want to be separated from their companions, even by a single fence, even for a moment.  So although we go through this goat-shifting routine all the time, there is often heel-dragging.

To add drama, the oldest doe bellows non-stop whenever any goat is moved.  And she carries on bellowing for several minutes after everyone else has forgotten what they were agitated about.

It is remarkable how much noise one goat can make.
Betula: "Why is my mother roaring like that?  I'd like to roar back in solidarity but it's hard to roar when your mouth is full!"

Lily: "Let's try a new system today.  I have packed my baby in a tub for easy transport.  I call this invention 'Kid In A Tub.'  I suggest you carry it on your head."

Thanks Lily.  I'll think about it.

Tsuga: "Or you could just deliver my food here.  I'll wait."

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

the clean headlight club

Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm just posted a tip about cleaning headlights with baking soda.

I tried it, and am here to share my experience.

Come along with me, won't you?

Come back in time to the happy day, several years ago, when I found my second-hand 2000 Hyundai wagon sitting outside a laundromat with a "For Sale" sign taped to the windshield.

My Little Green SportsWagon.

It came with headlights that looked like this*:

An hour ago, they still did.

Fifty-five minutes ago, my right headlight looked like this:

And here, to delight and inspire you if you happen to have clouded headlights, is a process shot of the left headlight, after just a few seconds of gentle rubbing with a damp rag and bicarb/water paste:

Clearifying both headlights took less than ten minutes.  Total.  That included finding a rag, loading my recharged camera battery, and coming back into the house for a jug of water to rinse each headlight.

How I love an easy fix!  Thanks, Sandra  :)

*Note the accumulation of pollen in the corner of the headlight in the first picture.  Now I understand why my eyes feel the way they do!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Can you see the haze in this picture?

That was yesterday at 8 AM.

It's been humid and in the high 80s and 90s for at least three days now (I am trying not to keep track) with intermittent and colossal thunderstorms to break up the monotony of sweating incessantly while sitting still.  Or trying to sleep.

I had a feeling that if Piper and I didn't get out immediately after morning chores, we would miss the chance to walk (me) and lope (Piper) without collapsing.

It was a good call.  And a nice time.

Piper, hunting and gathering

We visited the partially submerged tree where - if we approach very quietly - we sometimes find a row of sunning turtles.

No turtles this time, though:

But a different kind of treat!  
White pond lilies (Nymphaea odorata) were in gorgeous bloom!

In another area, a few yellow pond lilies (Nuphar lutea) were barely visible:

Piper had fun, but after just a short time she was happy to head home.

Within an hour she was flattened out on the bedroom floor, sound asleep.

She didn't even want to have her nap on the screenporch where I was cooling off with a snack before  tackling a small but necessary fence repair.

Can you see the haze in this picture?  Ahhhhh!
On the other side of the screen, a charming visitor was also taking some refreshment:

Hope it's pleasant weather in your neck of the woods.
And if it's a sizzler, I hope you have some fresh strawberries and a companionable hummingbird to sweeten your day!


Saturday, June 22, 2013


Farro.  So easy.  I measure a cup or two into a pot and wash it in cool water, rubbing the grains together, and replacing the water a couple of times.  Then add about twice the volume of water per volume of grain.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or less, to retain a bit of chewiness.

Warm or cold, plain or sauced, added to vegetables, tuna, meat.


This morning the chores were done and I was hard at work in the garden quite early, planting the marked-down organic vegetables I bought at the feed store yesterday.  They have been valiantly striving to grow in their little plastic pots, and I want to get them right into the ground as soon as possible.  Flourish, little plants!  I will try to help!

So by 9 AM, I had already been sweating and providing breakfast for countless mosquitoes for about three hours.  Time for my breakfast.  As I limped back to the house, I was thrilled to recall that I had cooked a pot of farro last night, and mixed one bowlful with a generous glug of sesame ginger salad dressing.


So refreshing.  And so pleasant to relax on the screen porch for a while with Piper, enjoying the hummingbirds at the feeder, and planning the rest of the day.

Now it's 10:30, and on to the next task.  A little bit of fencework, and loading up for the Saturday dump run.  Whee!

Hope your Saturday is lovely  :)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

pre-comp romp

The world was gloom-colored and dripping when Piper and I went for a little walk this morning.  With rain yesterday, rain this afternoon, and rain apparently hovering an inch above my head during the walk, I considered skipping it, but...

Piper is going to the dentist tomorrow.  So I especially wanted her to have a little romp today, in case the anesthesia leaves her feeling under the weather for a day or two.

Sort of like getting the compensation treat in advance.
Just in case it will be called for later.  Or would have been called for.  Or will have been.


Piper's teeth are fine, for the most part - she is a hound known for charming one and all with her rascally grinful of pearly-whites.  But her recent annual wellness exam revealed one molar where the gum looks a bit inflamed (enflamed? outraged? I forget the word the doc used) and while it is not currently painful, a full cleaning is in order to prevent future problems.


Fingers crossed nothing else turns up during the procedure.

Just realized: I am experiencing pre-dental-appointment anxiety on behalf of my dog.

Oh dear.  Maybe if it stops raining before dark, Piper would like to go for another little run.


Monday, June 17, 2013

the language of flowers

Perhaps I am projecting a bit, but tell me...

does this daisy seem a bit tired of rain?

Monday, June 10, 2013


Do you have a go-to dish?
One that you can throw together without even thinking?
One that can be varied using whatever you find in the fridge?

I sometimes have an abundance of eggs (thank you, hens!), so one of my favorite go-to dishes is quiche.

Never fails.

Never the same twice.

Never disappoints.


 Never say "never"?!!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

charming companions

This pattypan squash plant has two companions close by,
a marigold and a calendula, 
to help deter destructive insects.

This cauliflower plant has a similar team of associates.
I am going all out this year.
Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Just a quick ragbag sort of post, because time is getting away from me and even though a lot of my pictures look blurry lately (why is that? Time to read the manual, I suppose) I'd like to share a few.

We've had a lot of hot, muggy weather and rain lately.  Piper got really fed up with it.

This is Piper, expressing fed-up-edness:

It is always easier to express dissatisfaction if one is crammed into a chair just slightly smaller than one's body.
In a very welcome change in the weather, yesterday was just about as perfect as a day in early June can be, and this surprise was waiting in the garden:

If I could only see one flower, ever, I think it would be an iris.

And look! Just four days after planting, the first of my lazy beans has appeared.  I was so happy to see it. 

Even the bean looks happy, doesn't it?
Like it's singing to the sun.

This morning I was about to step out the back door with Piper when I noticed this beautifully-patterned garter snake, in the leaves by the doorstep.  The snake was suddenly between a rock and a hard place, with Piper and me on one side and two big hens on the other side, considering their snake-for-lunch options.  I don't know if the snake could have escaped multiple hens (hens have a gang mentality that can be quite a shock the first time you see a flock go after something), and I don't usually interfere in their hunting and gathering endeavors.  But since this good-sized snake was quite close to the house, my first thought was the many, many mice one healthy garter snake could prevent from getting into my foundation and walls.  Thank you, garter snake!  Shoo, hens!

Roughly two seconds after the hens moved away, the snake zipped away into the ferns.  She was gone in the blink of an eye, but to my surprise, I think this (blurry) picture is a just-barely full-length portrait:


When it isn't raining, the goats are hard at work on the vegetation modification plan.  This is Betula, enjoying a huge patch of asiatic bittersweet with a little native veg on the side:

He ate the attached sugar maple sprout, too.
Bet is an equal-opportunity vegetation control goat.

Hope all is well where ever you are.  I am having issues with Feedly (which was working so well for me! And now it is NOT!) and can no longer tell when there are new posts on the blogs I am following.  I have an uneasy feeling that there are a couple hundred blog posts out there that I want to read, which is a bit daunting!  But my curiosity about what is happening in your corner of the world will certainly win out, so I will be visiting soon.