Monday, October 29, 2007

Good fences make good neighbors

Or in my case, good fences make good goats and bad fences make very bad goats. As many people know I live on five acres of the steepest, rockiest, brush covered ground. With these conditions, what better animal would there be to have around than a goat? My dad and stepmom have generously given me a nice little herd of five Nubian goats.

Four weathers (fixed boys) and one doe (girl). They are all named; there is Acorn, leader of the pack; Spark, the loud annoying one; Henry, the lovey; Charlie, the baby; and Molly, my sweet little girl.
These lucky guys get their run of the best black berry bushes and poison oak around. They have done miraculous work, clearing out acres of brush and leaving our property better protected against wildfire. They are lovely little creatures, tame, friendly, sweet and often a pain in the ass. You see, they not only eat the things that I WANT them to eat. They also eat the beautiful ornamental trees that I don't want them to eat. I can't blame them, I mean really who doesn't want to chow down on prickly poky holly bushes?
We have a nice picnic area with a fire pit, swing and horse shoe pits. It used to have five nice ornamental trees planted around it. We now have two left. They stripped the bark, girdling the trees and killing them. Above the picnic area is a deck, jutting out from the bank.

Along side that is a long line of stairs that takes you down to the meadow.

It really is a beautiful place, or used to be, before it was covered in goat poop and all the nice trees were stripped away. Here is my poor flowering plum, on it's last leggs. Notice the black wrap, my sorry attempt at protection from the beasts. They tried eating that too.

In an effort to keep these pesky critters out of this place long enough to clean it up we needed a fence. Now the thought of putting in a normal woven wire livestock fence made us have heart palpitations.. did I mention all the rocks? There was no way we were going to get thirty or so metal posts driven into this ground. I came up with the novel idea that all we needed was an electric fence. I mean really, the rancher across the road keeps in a hundred head of cattle with one barley visible wire. How hard could it be to keep in five goats?
Bug and I spent one day putting in the small fiberglass posts and stringing the three strands of white wire.

It was time to hook up the charger but I thought I should probably bring in reinforcements. I asked hubby if he would help me and he agreed, just as soon as he had time. Weeks past, he was busy with his racing guy stuff, more time past...
I'm a patient gal, but the longer I waited, the more times those damn goats stepped through the NOT so hot electric fence. Thus tearing the crap out of it. I believe, as you will hear later, that this was the reasoning for the impending failure. Hubby found the time one day last week to hook up the charger. Bug, hubby and I hopefully called the goats over. Some may say it's sadistic to wish uncomfort on an animal, but if you saw my Holly bushes you would understand why I wanted to see them zapped!
Sparky the annoying approached first. He touched his nose to the fence... ZZZZAP! He jumped backwards. We all laughed at his misfortune. It didn't phase the rest of the heard in the least. Henry was next, despite the success of the first zap, he ran through the bottom and middle strand, letting out a kind of howl on his way through. Yes, he was now on the other side. Crap, now what do we do? We stared, cussing under our breath as three more tried it and the same stinkin thing happened. UGH.. so much for keeping them out. Now how the hell am I going to get them back through??
Amazingly enough the little buggers zapped their way back across the fence. Letting out yowls as they got shocked on the belly. I'm hoping in time they decide it just isn't worth it. In the mean time, pray for my lone flowering plum, it will need all the help it can get.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Pumpkin Patch

Last year I grew right around 18 beautiful pumpkins in my garden. They were nice shaped, of various sizes. Perfect for jack-o-lanterns and for decoration. I gave a few away to our nephews, carved a few and put the rest on a retaining wall next to our house as decoration.
This year I planned a similar garden. I even planted a few "giant" pumpkin seeds for fun. Hoping for a whopper or two. Unfortunately my whole garden season was a bust this year. I got off to a late start. I didn't really plant anything until June. I still had hope that I could salvage some of the season, maybe a late fall harvest. The wildlife had a different idea, between the raccoons, rabbits and deer. My lovely garden was desecrated! Who knew that deer liked to eat pumpkin leaves! Not to mention tomato's, carrots, zucchini and peppers. I was left with pumpkin vines... with no leaves or pumpkins. It was a pitiful site. Even though I am an animal lover, I did have a few evil thoughts that whatever animal ate the poisonous rhubarb leaves became violently ill because of it. So despite my high hopes in June, I was left with nothing to show for it in October. The only thing left to do was visit a pumpkin patch. We choose one an hour away that boasted hay rides and cow trains. What, you don't know what a cow train is? Oh here, I'll show you...

An antique tractor pulling a train of barrels, laid on their sides, riding on wheels and painted like a cow. Bug LOVED it, had so much fun going along their little route. He would waive his hands in the air over each bump.

He chose to sit in the first car, right behind the tractor. Too bad it was so foggy.
After the cow train, we stood in line for the hay ride out to the pumpkin patch. We opted to spend the extra three dollars for the horse drawn waggon versus the wagon pulled by a tractor, in order to get the full effect.

Horses are slower than tractors... so we waited... and waited.. and waited some more. For about a half an hour. Right along side other families with small whiny children. Luckily there were goats to look at and keep us occupied.

Finally the horses arrived and we loaded into the wagon. The horses were worth the wait.

It was a peaceful slow ride out to the pumpkin patch. We passed llamas, cows, ponies and donkeys along the way.

Everyone piled off the wagon in search of the perfect pumpkin. I choose a tiny little one. Hubby and Bug had other ideas. "Oh no momma that one is too small"

Hubby decided we needed BIG ones. I warned him, he didn't really want to spend through the nose for pumpkins. He wouldn't listen, he scoped out the biggest one he could find and safely carry back to the wagon. Here is Bug sitting on it.

We talked to the horses, apologized for the extra weight and piled back into the wagon for the trip back to the weigh station. Here we are with one of the three prized pumpkins.

We heaved our picks onto the scale. The grand total weight of our three jack-o-lanterns to be... 94 pounds!!! Hubby choked a little.. then asked.. how much a pound? Oh only .25 cents. But the experience was well worth it. We will carve them up this weekend while Grandma is here visiting.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Dirt Baby

Who knew there were so many interesting pre-school projects? In only the second month of pre-school and Bug has brought home so many awsome, fun little works of art. But the one he brought home this evening takes the cake. It's a dirt baby.. I have no words to describe this creature. So I will do the only thing I can. I will show you a picture. Here I present to the world, the newest member of our household. Dirt Baby!

He appears to be dirt inside a nylon stocking with grass for hair. Bug announced as we got in the car that "Dirt baby needs a hair cut mom, and some water."
So when we got home he put water in the cup and I got out his scissors.
Bug started off slowly, carefully cutting bits of the "mohawk".

As he got the hang of it, he went at it with a bit more confidence. See the fear in poor dirt babys' eyes!

In the end I think it turned out pretty good. Dirt baby seems happy with it, and that's all that matters.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Where to start...

I decided to create a little blog to share news and pictures with my family and friends. My long time friend Corey inspired me. She has been blogging for a while now and has a nice little following. I don't aspire to have a following outside of the people I already know. So it has taken me about a week to decide what pictures I will put on here first and I decided I should start out with my favorite shots taken right here at home. The first is from my front yard.. moon over the mountain.

The next is our view in the other direction...
Thanks for stopping by.. I'll try to post a few times a week.