Monday, October 31, 2011

A Hallow's Eve Tale

I'm not much of a writer... Compared to people I know, I'm pretty bad at it. But on Saturday night, while inching my way to the barn on a eerily dark night, this story was birthed in my mind, and on a whim I decided to write it down.

Phantom Wolf

Wolf

The night was dark... Very dark. The inky twilight engulfed all that it touched. Enshrouding the valley in a cloak of seemingly impenetrable blackness.... A lone girl shuddered as she stepped into the night's depths. How she disliked having to go out where things could see her, but her human eyes could not see them. During the day, the girl explored all that the countryside had to offer, but at night... At night, things came alive...

 A northern wind blew tonight, causing the girl to pull her coat closer to herself. She knew this wind well... A northern wind in the day is one thing, but everyone knows that a northern wind at night is haunted... It sings a mournful dirge as it sweeps through the land. You can hear it in its echo. Its cry. It wails and weeps for what could have been, yet was lost... It changes its melody as it passes. Hushed and mysterious; powerful and intimidating; swirling, grasping, coveting, enveloping... Silent it comes, and silent it leaves... Leaving in its wake a silent, dusky world.

The girl stood a moment. Having just endured the northern wind that brought a tale of woe in its wake, she waited, and listened... With the wind gone, the crickets resumed their orchestra. Their rhythmic song was comforting to the girl as she continued on. Her destination on this eerie night was only the barn, yet it seemed that though she moved her feet, she could not get any closer to it. The night was so black, she could not see where she was placing her feet; she could only hope that after so many years of going in that direction, her body would unconsciously remember the way.

She seemed to be halfway there, when yet another dirge caller began crying... The wolves were beginning their nightly chant. This was no friendly gathering either. You could hear it in the notes. This was a hunting song... Blood lust was upon the pack tonight as they rallied their numbers, and prepared for a kill. The girl's senses were in overdrive now, as she tried to use her hearing to pinpoint the pack's whereabouts. It took only a minute before she realized where they were. They were close. At the moment, they were atop a hill, and she was in their direct view....

The wolves stopped their wails abruptly, and the night went silent. Utterly silent. The quiet was deafening, and seemed to strangle the girl. Then she heard it. A very soft noise. The tiny crack of a twig... The dead, summer grasses seemed to take a life of their own as she heard them whisper sordid secrets that she could not comprehend... The girl frantically searched her pockets for a flashlight, but realized too late that it had been left within the safety of the house. The moon timidly peeked its round face around a cloud, and cast a blue glow onto the earth. The girl looked to her left, in the direction that she last heard the wild dogs singing, and one hundred yards from where she stood, she spied two, green, glowing orbs...

 She could not stop the gasp that fell from her lips, as the orbs blinked, and moved. The moon's weak rays unveiled more orbs, all staring at her. One wraith-like form moved closer, into the path of the moonlight, and the girl beheld the grotesque form of a grizzled, partly deformed, male wolf. His fur coat was plastered to his body, and seemed stretched over his gaunt frame. His front, left leg was corkscrewed at the knee, and one ear was missing; a testimony to his history. He stared, unblinkingly at the girl. A dispassionate, cold, composed look, through eyes that seemed to have seen many lifetimes. Eyes that had beheld the very gates of death. The moon quailed, and moved back behind the murky coverings of a cloud. It wanted to see no more...

Left once again in the black night, the girl could hear their steps, as they slowly walked closer. She was halfway between the barn, and the house. Which direction should she run? She heard the clicking of their claws, as they crossed the asphalt road that lay between her and them. They were getting closer. Closer...
The girl began to back up slowly, trying desperately to formulate a plan, but her wits failed her. The northern wind predicted this, and mourned for the girl as it passed her. Passed as it went on to spread more tales of woe. The girl's eyes had adjusted enough by now to see the pack, as they closed in on her. In their ghostly faces she read many tales... Tales of bloodshed, death and sadness. But she also read something else. She read in their eyes a continuation of life. Death may be the end of one, but it is life for another. She saw in their eyes, the deaths of creatures, but it was so that they might live. Such is life in this world. She had heard ancient stories from Native Americans, saying that there is no death; you just pass your life onto another to carry the torch for a time...

The wolves were now close enough for her to define each one by sight. They held their heads low, protecting their jugular vein from harm. Their years of experience had taught them this trick, which domestic canines did not know. They could kill the dog with ease; knowing that he carried his head too high. They could kill livestock, knowing that man kept them fenced in small areas. They could kill a bear, knowing that their numbers could beat his strength. They could even kill humans, but they rarely did so; fearing the weapons they carried. The wolf's main predator, was that of themselves... In a hierarchy that depended on a unity of strength, if one showed weakness, he would be violently displaced by those stronger than he.

The lone girl was no longer frightened now. She was looking death in the face, and submitted. There was nothing she could do against such overwhelming odds, so she waited... And hoped that death would come quickly.

The wolves closed in on her. Intent on drawing blood that night. The deformed male led the way, and was close enough for the young girl to feel his breath. He coiled his body to spring... His sinews taught and ready. His fangs seemed to glow in the night; a pale ivory hue, stained with blood. Like tombstones in a graveyard, so resembled his teeth, all aligned in symmetry. The male wolf was just beginning his dance of death, when through the valley, rang a hideous noise. The girl felt as though she was hearing the voice of a banshee. Her blood seemed to curdle, and her breath was stolen away as she listened to the haunted cry.

It was the voice of yet another wolf... But this howl was different from any that the girl had ever heard. A long, low call that seemed to come from Hades itself. It's eerie notes spiraled into oblivion before once again rising to an unbearable key. It was the voice of a warrior. A giant. A monster.

The wolves around the girl drew back, unsure as to what to do. They seemed to know the voice that rang through the night, but they were so close to their victory, they wanted blood. The howl descended upon them again. Its voice was terse with a warning, and died off with a snarl. The pack understood. Slowly, painfully slowly, they turned from the girl and left... As quickly as they had appeared, they disappeared. Their ghoulish forms slunk into the abyss of the dusk, and left in their wake only the dead, summer grasses; still whispering their sordid secrets...

The girl gasped in disbelief. Trying to regain her wits and her breath, she clutched her coat closer to her. She needed to feel something. To know that she truly was still alive. To fathom what had just happened. She lifted her eyes to where the wolves had come from and standing before her, on the opposite side of the old country road, stood a ghostly shape, of the wolf who had called the others off. His fur was a seemingly transparent white, tinged with soot gray. He stood taller than the tallest Timber wolf. And his eyes... Oh his eyes... You could see right through them, and see the landscape behind him, but you could also see time immemorial within his liquid pools of wisdom. One moment they seemed shades of indigo, cerulean, and azure. The next, as ivory, white, and pearl. They saw all. They knew all. Nothing escaped their unbreakable gaze. The wolf stared at the girl, and she could do nothing but stare back. She looked upon him in wonderment. What did he want of her? Though the phantom wolf spoke no words, she understood his message after a few moments. There is a time for death. For passing on the torch of life. But this was not her time. Not yet...

Then, the northern wind came once again, still blowing its ill fate, and as its clammy mistral passed over the pair, the wolf faded into the wind's current and vanished. Leaving the girl once more, alone in the darkness...

Busy Days A' Comin'!

See this?


Do you know what it is?


It's lard. Straight from the hog.

And I have 60 lbs. of it, all in jars, sitting quietly on a shelf.


Alas, 'tis not for me! A family just recently had their two hogs harvested, and they found themselves with 160 lbs. of pig fat that they didn't know what to do with. So they rendered it down to lard, and brought me a 60 lb. batch to make soap with!! I am going to be busy this week! 

Just looking at all those jars of lard makes me want to raise my own hogs someday... My mouth fairly waters when I think about using lard in the kitchen... If you haven't tried anything made with lard yet, you are missing out on a treat. Lard pie crusts, homemade doughnuts fried in lard, green beans sauteed in lard and then seasoned with garlic salt, apple dumplings made with lard... Okay, I need to stop now; I'm getting hungry. ;) So yes, someday this farm girl will have her own hogs so she can have all the lard she desires! LOL.


But back to the soap... This will be a goat milk soap blend, with honey in it as well, so if it wasn't for the lye, you could probably eat this stuff in a pinch! Lard, goat milk, and honey! Yum! I'm hoping to get about 80 bars of soap from this batch, and if the family likes how it turned out, then I'll get the last 100 lbs. to make some more with. Methinks that is going to be the cleanest family in these here parts! ;) 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

48 Hours

Okay, so the UPS guy never came today.... You know what that means? That, my dear readers, means that I have a 48 hour wait ahead of me before Monday rolls around!! Argh!! :-/ Where is that package!?!? It normally takes 3-4 days for something to get from the east coast to the west coast; and that is what should be happening here! But methinks it is not.... Oh discombobulation! ;)

No, I am not a very patient person... How did you guess that?

Musical Variety

Yeah, I'm still waiting for the UPS guy to get here... Grr.

Whenever I sit down at my spinning wheel, I always put my MP3 in. The music helps me find a rhythm to my work, and helps the time pass. So today's choice in music was 'Libera'. Oh dearie me... I have to say I really enjoy listening to Libera. The first time I heard it, I thought to myself, "My, those are some talented ladies, singing!" And then surprise, surprise! I found out that Libera is a group of young boys! Now, I have to admit that I love listening to young boys sing. Ages 11 and 12... It almost doesn't seem fair! They have voices that any soprano would envy, as is my case! But to swing to the other side of the pendulum, I also love listening to guys singing. The really, really deep voices that almost make things vibrate. Like the guys who sing for the movie, 'Winged Migration'. Be still my beating heart... Just thinking about those voices is thrilling. LOL. Those Romanian men go so low, I can't even fathom it! Oh, and then there's also Josh Groban... He's really good too. And when he sings 'Drummer Boy'... Oooh, I can't wait to pull his Christmas CD out this winter!!

But I digress; this post is supposed to be about Libera. I was delighted to find that they've done a song to my beloved 'Canon in D'. These boys ain't called "Angel Voices" for nothin'. My goodness they put my squawking to shame... Here's a sample for you, if you have yet to hear them sing...



Friday, October 28, 2011

Its.... NOT Here!!

Old Fashioned Mail Delivery

Sigh... I kept a sharp eye out, all the live long day, for the UPS man to come... But he didn't... Another sigh.. He's bringin' me a package consisting of an item that I am impatiently waiting for!! He had better be at my doorstep tomorrow or I'll... I'll... I'll wear a FedEx sweater when he comes to the door! That's what I'll do! ;)

Farm-to-Fork Dinner Fiasco

Not even ten minutes ago, an e-mail from the FTCLDF (Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund), that relayed a story that really got my goat for the morning... A CSA farm in Nevada was hosting a "Farm-to-Fork" meal for friends, and town locals, but right before the guests sat down to eat, who should arrive but a FDA inspector. The inspector took one look at the food they were serving (organically grown, local veggies, grass-fed meats from neighbors, etc.) and told the farm owners that they could not serve that food, that it needed to be thrown away immediately and have bleach poured over them. They weren't even allowed the option of feeding the food to their pigs, instead of throwing it away. You can read the entire story HERE. And I attached a video of some footage as well...



Thursday, October 27, 2011

CSA Deadline, Coming Soon!!

I've extended my yarn CSA deadline until the 31st, so if you would like to be a part of this fun project, you still have time to sign up!!


For more information about my yarn CSA, click HERE.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Horses and Deeds of Arms


"My friend", said Gandalf, "You had horses, and deeds of arms, and the free fields; but she, born in the body of a maid, had a spirit and courage at least the match of yours. Yet she was doomed to her fate..."
~Excerpt from LOTR 

And I shall leave it at that. I shan't explain my thoughts and feelings tonight. I'll let you draw your own conclusions...

Pretty Bird






In The Mail

Hehe, I'm expecting something in the mail this week...

It should be here on Friday or Saturday...

It was part of a barter I did with someone...

And I am so excited to be getting it!

What? You want to know what it is? Sorry, I'm going to be my usual, mean self [wink], and keep y'all in suspense. ;) You'll find out what *it* is at the end of the week...

*Walks away attempting an evil laugh*

Command The Attention of The World...


"When you can do the common things of life
in an uncommon way
You will command the attention of the world."

~George Washington

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mottoes

CHARGE!!
I am a person of mottoes and sayings. Proverbs, prose, and poetry. I love words. I love how they sound, how they feel rolling off my tongue, listening to foreign languages, dissecting writing styles... It's all good. :) But this particular post is about my personal mottoes that I've packed with me through the years...

As I think back, the one that has stuck with me the longest would have to be, "Where there's a will, there's a way!" I will admit here that I am a stubborn person. When I grab hold of an idea, opinion, or dream, I hold fast to it. Like a Pit Bull, once I have a hold, I don't let go. I suppose that can be considered a fault, but that motto has helped me stubbornly stick to a task that others thought impossible. It's helped me think outside the box of normal thinking, and I've learned to work smarter, not harder. It's helped me remember that, if I put my mind to something, I can accomplish it; even when the majority of those around me say I will fail. Where there's a will, there's a way.

While the above may be the motto that I've kept the longest, it doesn't hold the honor of being my favorite. Oh no... That title goes to the following:
"I am only one,
But I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But I can do something.
What I can do,
I ought to do.
And what I ought to do,
By the grace of God, I will do!"

That one, is my favorite. So often I get bogged down with the thought of, "I can't do anything. I'm just one, insignificant person. I'm a nobody..." And then I remember that saying. I am only one, but I am one.
 Sure, I can't save the world, but I can save what is close to me. Who in my community needs help? What are my talents that can benefit others? I cannot do everything, but I can do something. There's no need to rush around, madly trying to save this, help that, raise funds for them, send letters to those folks over there, and otherwise turn into a whirling dervish. I can do something. I just baked some bread, why not share it with some needy folks? My rabbits just had litters of bunnies, who in the area would benefit from having some stock of their own? I have yarn, why not make some baby booties, or a hat for someone who is expecting or just had a baby? 
What I can do, I ought to do. If I can do it, then DO IT!! Simple mathematics there, that I'm always forgetting! ;)

"Go for the gold, and never say die." Again, I'm a stubborn soul. I'll give the credit for that to my German/Irish ancestry. LOL. When things get tough, I just grit my teeth and remind myself to "never say die". I may not be able to run a marathon, or lift a huge amount of weight, but I know the key to endurance, and I'm a pretty steady worker. Once I get a pace and rhythm set, I'm good to go. I also dream big. Really big. I ask myself what is something I would love to do in life, but seems impossible? Once that's figured out, I set my goals, and work towards accomplishing the seemingly impossible. Which is why I now have goals such as going to Polyface Farms, becoming a licensed veterinary technician, having a herd of Nationally recognized goats, and becoming a licensed ADGA (American Dairy Goat Assoc.) judge. Yeah, I'm gonna' be busy! ;)

And lastly, I remember when I was younger, a cousin-like friend would always tell me that there was only one thing to do when things got hard and you wanted to give in: "CHAAAAAARGE!!!"
LOL. I still keep that bit of wisdom. :)

What are some of your mottoes? 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Book Review: Folks, This Ain't Normal

Okay, so I finished the book three days ago. I'm sorry! I know y'all have been waiting on a book review! My excuse is that I needed a bit of time to mull everything over, and digest the new info. ;) Oh, that's not a good enough excuse? Bummer... I can't think of a better one right now. I'll think on that.

But while I'm thinking up a better excuse, here's my "professional" opinion on Joel Salatin's latest book....

Folks, This Ain't Normal
A farmer's advice for happier hens, healthier people, and a better world.


By Joel Salatin


Rating: 10+
Readability: 10
Impact: 10
Recommend It? Yes!
Read it again? Oh yes indeedy... Methinks I'm going to have to buy this. :)

What To Expect: In this book, Joel explains just how far removed today's culture has become from what is "normal" in life. With Joel's sense of humor, mixed with both historical and scientific facts, and well seasoned with passion and verve, this book grabs you at the very start and doesn't let go until the very end. Folks, this ain't normal. It's time to get back to what is.

My Thoughts On It: Wow. I think I said that about his last book that I did a review on, but I'll say it again here, where it's due. Wow. I've read all of Joel's books so far, and I have to say that this one is my top favorite. Hands down. Just looking through the Contents in the beginning is enough to provoke a smile, and pique the curiosity. Chapter Two: "A Cat Is a Cow Is a Chicken Is my Aunt". Chapter Six: "Dino-the-Dinosaur-Shaped Chicken Nuggets Don't Grow On Chickens". That man ought to get a medal for creative titles... ;) I learned a lot from this book, but I think it will take a second read-through before I can fully grasp everything.

 There was one paragraph in particular that stuck out to me, while reading it. In chapter three, titled, "Hog Killin's and Laying In The Larder". Pages 50 through 52, describe an old fashioned hog killing. Joel paints such a beautiful picture about this (you would just have to read it). You can almost smell the smoke from the fire and hear the laughter and joking from the folks gathered to harvest their hogs. Families have come together. Potluck dishes have been prepared. Boys stand at the edges, wanting to be like men, yet unsure of themselves still. Women are in the kitchen, preparing to make sausages, cure hams, cut bacon strips and clarify lard. It's a picture of unity, and community. Then Joel swings you over to today's pork and how it was raised/harvested. The comparison was stark, and while I always knew it was, those pages really hit home, and caused me to pause in my voracious reading.

Joel goes over things like how we raise our kids today, compared with how they were raised in the past; How our government works, how our crops are raised, how we get our water supply... I think he covers just about every topic that could be covered!

Another blurb that caught my attention was something Joel mentioned about their female interns (seeing as it involved me!). Polyface used to never allow female interns, for obvious reasons. They didn't have separate living quarters set up, and they weren't sure how things would work out seeing as they were already allowing 6 guys to come. So they kept the internship open to guys only. Apparently there were some howls of discontent amongst a lot of people (I didn't know that until I read it in the book!), so four years ago they made the decision to let gals come as well. Now, before they made that decision, they were getting 10 female applications for every 1 guy. That's a lot of applications. Oy. But once they said, "Okay, you gals can come too!", the applications stopped coming. Now, they get about two female applicants each year (score!). Joel writes:

"In four years, we have not turned away one single woman intern applicant who made it through the initial questionnaire process. That may change this year (2011), but so far we've taken every one who came to our mandatory two-day checkout."

That cheered me up considerably; seeing as I may have a higher chance of getting the internship, than I had previously hoped! :)

All in all, I was very pleased with the book. And Joel got fancy with this one, and made it a hardback; very nice. ;)

 Any questions? 

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Familiar Sight

History repeats itself. I go upstairs to work at my spinning wheel, and find an interesting panorama before me. The spinning wheel's drive band has been knocked off, and is wound tightly around the flyer. The yarn on the bobbin is broken, and fuzzed up. there is fiber on the floor. The scotch brake is broken. The oil bottle is lying on the floor. Beads are scattered across the carpet, and sink into its depths as if in quicksand. In short, I find a wreckage.

 And I'm not surprised.

 Telltale clues are also scattered amongst my work. Lego figures that have no heads (I find the heads beneath my chair) lie quietly on the battlefield.. Little, plastic Lego helmets rest on the spinning wheel's Mother-of-all. Small fingerprints are smudged on the wheel's once clean wood. The "gruesome twosome" have been here...

Or, in plain English, the 2 and 4 year old brothers. Thing #1 and Thing #2. You can tell them as many times as you want that the spinning wheel is off limits, and not to be touched; but they'll forget in 10 minutes. To them, the spinning wheel is the greatest toy ever invented. It moves, it's big, there's lots of things for Lego figures to do on it while in battle (hence the helmets and beheaded fellows), and there are lots and lots of glorious, tiny beads that can be thrown around!! How cool is that!?!?

So I lost a lot of beads to the carpet today... You know those itty, bitty seed beads that are smaller than a pinhead? Yeah, those ones. And my drive band now has a lovely black streak on it, from the oil on the flyer. The yarn didn't get too much damage this time, thankfully!! I'm in the midst of finishing up some skeins for the yarn CSA, so I wouldn't have been happy if it had been ruined!

After surveying the mess, I went and found the two miscreants. I asked them if they were the ones who played with my wheel, and after a few moments of thought on their part, they smiled big and said, "Yep!". We've gone through that little confrontation about the wheel so many times, that today I merely smiled and asked, "Did you at least have fun?" Another "Yep!" followed.

Oy. Maybe it's time to turn the barn hayloft into a spinning studio...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In The Shop Today

I like lavender...

I'd have to say it's my #1 top favorite plant.

So I naturally had to offer THESE up for sale in the shop today... :) 


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oktober

No, that is not a spelling error. I put the 'K' in there on purpose. Oktober is simply the German version of our 'October', and while it refers to a month of the year, it also translates to the word, "harvest". 

At this time of year, the pastures are a veritable sea of sienna, scarlet, rust, goldenrod, orange, and emerald. A grand harvest of colors...


The air outside smells of wood smoke, tinged with newly sawed pine. Looking across the hills, I can spy curlicues of smoke, rising upward in cursive shapes. I hear the geese calling, as they fly past. Their songs are faint this year; their flight is higher than I can see. We shall have a long, cold winter this year... 


Pumpkins are being harvested and brought in. Jack o lanterns guard our home with perpetually smiling countenances and unblinking eyes. When lit at night, they look like glowing orbs from a different planet. Except for the smiling. Maybe if they weren't always smiling they might be a little more intimidating... 


The goats are all getting their shaggy winter coats in, and the chickens have just finished their moult. Arrayed once more in their glorious iridescent feathering. The black bears are moving northwards from our property now; away from the plentiful blackberry bushes, and closer to their dens. The coyotes sing every night now. I recognize each one by their distinctive wail. At the moment, there are only eight of them. The other six have parted for a time... The leader has a low, long howl that ends in a soprano hook. Unmistakable. Identifiable. Methodical is his song. The hair on my neck stands on end as I listen to him gather his pack, and then they all join together in what sounds like a dirge. I shiver as I listen to their last notes die off, and hurry inside. When they finish singing, they begin their march... They must eat. Blood must be spilt. The country in the daylight is a delightful, friendly place. But at night, it is a creature to contend with... Here there be monsters...


Oktober. A time of harvest. Whether it is for the bears, as they try to pack on the winter calories before nestling down for a long winter's nap, the coyotes as they hurry to get the latest boom of rabbits, or we humans, as we scurry to pick, can and freeze the bounty that still comes even in this changeable weather... We are all harvesting.
It will not last long. Enjoy Oktober while you can...

A Girl and Her Goat



I enjoy working with shadows...

The Girls

The girls (as in goats) were so excited to be moved to fresh pasture today! :) The autumn colors are only just beginning to turn, but are still absolutely lovely...

Here are the girls today...

Poppet...




Shilling...


Pepper...


Kiwi...



Capri... (I know, she still looks painfully thin; but to me, this is good compared to what she was!)


 Ivy... (On the left)

Heidi...



Sporadic

Let it be known to all readers! I. Am. A. Sporadic. Blogger. Oops. :-/

 Such is life, I guess. Things have sped up lately, what with our apple trees finally being ready to be picked, and that leads to making applesauce and canning. Along with that, I've been tweaking workshop plans, spinning yarn, trying to finish Joel's latest book before the week is out (as I have to return it on Sunday!), working in the barn, digging a ditch alongside the barn to try and quell the yearly, winter flooding, studying for my drivers permit (NO, I still don't have one!!!), training Heidi, trying to decide if I should breed my goats this year or not, doing my regular, daily chores, and then trying to fit in some room to "just live"! Oy.

Oh, we did have one occurrence come up, that I thought would never happen.

Our dog has finally found a new home! Hurrah!

We've had a male, Golden Retriever for about five years now (I cannot believe we managed to keep him that long...), named 'Copper', and we've been wanting to re-home him for the last 2-3 years.

We got Copper when he was about 8 weeks old, and personally, I think there was a reason why he was the very last pup to get picked, out of a litter of eight.

Copper was not the brightest bulb in the box. 


I had always wanted a dog, before we got Copper. You know, a dog that would come with you when you went on walks, or went traipsing about on the neighbor's 98 acres. One that was always ready to go when you were, and wanted to be with you. I wanted a DOG. The whole, "Man's best friend" sort of deal.

Not so with Copper. Not only was he lacking in cerebral talents, he was rather cowardly. Kittens terrified him. Day old chicks would send him running under the bed. Don't even think about taking him on a walk; that was more of a, "Put the leash over your shoulder and start hauling" sort of thing while he tried to run back home. He barked at us when we came home, and ran silently under the bed if it was a stranger walking up to the house. Good thing we weren't wanting a guard dog...


After a couple years with our "cowardly lion", I was soured on the canine race. I saw other people who had dogs like what I always dreamed about. I watched herding demos, done with unbelievably intelligent Border Collies. Yet, all I had was a bird dog who was deathly afraid of birds. That seems like a cruel irony to me.


I will admit that Copper wasn't all bad, considering everything. He never once in his life bit anyone. And with little toddlers around the place who wanted to tug on his whiskers, or accidentally stepped on his tail, that's saying something. He was obedient for the most part, was good natured with people, and would even chase his tail on command.


When Copper was about 2 or 3 years old, we found out that he needed to be on a special diet due to some skin conditions he had. That was the last straw. I told my family members I would never have a dog again. If this is what dogs were like, I wanted nothing to do with them! Cringing, fearful creatures that pulled their fur out, hid under the bed 90% of the day, and needed expensive food!? Good grief Charlie Brown! 

I've often speculated as to why he was such a fearful dog. We worked hard to socialize him properly when he was a pup, and he had a good home here. Maybe something happened back at the breeder's?? Or it could just be his nature. I guess we'll never know. 


So we started the process of finding a new home for him. But we were extremely picky about who he went to, and thus the 2+ year wait to find that family. But it was worth it in the end. He is now living with some dear friends of ours who live ten minutes away. They're on 10+ acres, have a Boxer named Max, two daughters who are wild about Copper, and plenty of room inside for him. Yesterday, they told us how Copper would sleep on their couch with their cats, and he was ecstatic to have a playmate like Max. I'm sure he's in hog heaven now. Just the fact that they're letting that huge galoot of a retriever onto the furniture amazes me. That was always a no-no in our house, so I'm sure Copper is loving it. ;) 


I suppose this is where I'm supposed to say, "And they lived happily ever after"...


Because, I'm sure they did...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Off Topic

I realize this is pretty off topic, from what I normally post about, but this has been my day. This song has been stuck in my head since morning, and I've been singing it throughout the entire day. I first heard this song in the movie "Guardians of Ga'Hoole" (or something like that...), and while I didn't really cotton to the movie, my sisters and I liked this song by 'Owl City'. One sister tried valiantly to make this my cell phone ring (yeah, shocking, I have a cell phone. Don't know where it is half the time, and don't really know how to use it; but I have one!), alas, the computer was boggling her too much. So I still have the original ring on that little piece of technology.

And yes, for my conservative readers, this is considered "contemporary" music. Judge me if you want, but I kind of like this one. We won't mention all the Josh Groban songs I have on my MP3, either... I think he's considered contemporary as well... Ah well, take me for what I am. ;)



Oh, and I meant to post about the goat today; complete with pictures, buuuuut I got a little sidetracked. [sigh] It was still a productive day though!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Got Milk?


If you do, I envy you. I don't "got milk". :( I've gone four solid months now, without a single drop of milk, and I am having a craving for some right now... Not just any milk either. I want some raw, goat milk! How I miss milking my girls, and then having a supply of that wonderful stuff in my fridge!! My breakfasts are now toast and tea. And after a couple months of having that for brekkers, you start wishing for that white liquid... [sigh]

 I may break down and get some raw cow milk from a friend (that's how desperate I am; I'm actually considering cow milk!!), seeing as my goats aren't even bred yet, and it's a five month gestation period before they kid, and I have milk again. Oy.

 So here's to milk... Y'all can raise your full glasses to the toast, while I hold my empty one. Wishing there was something in it... Phooey.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Zzzzzz....

Eh? What was 'zat? Sorry, I must have -- fallen -- asleep -- again.... Zzzzz... ;)

 Okay, so I'm not quite THAT tuckered out; but I'm pretty close. The class went really well, and there was a headcount average of somewhere around 20 people. Not too shabby if I say so myself. :) I learned today, that I need to buy another copy of myself. Goodness gracious, those girls were all needing help for something different, at the same time! Now I know how my old art teacher felt... I probably looked like a bumble bee; bumbling, ducking, stooping, and turning; trying to help 13 girls use a drop spindle! LOL! It was interesting to see which girls really latched onto the spinning process, and those who seemed a little indifferent. It was a fun group though. They were all really sweet girls, they were attentive, and they learned surprisingly quickly! By the end of the lesson, each girl knew how to choose, wash and card a raw fleece, and how to spin their own yarn.

Oh, and here's a winner. I've waited who knows how many years to hear this. I got called, "Miss Caity", today! ;) I never thought I'd live to see the day when I was old enough that young girls would look up to me and call me "Miss"! LOL! So there, one of my life's goals completed...

Also sold a good bit of goat milk soap at the class, which was really nice. :) Gotta' start saving for a plane ticket to VA!

OH! And I am so, super stoked. The class hostesses (this spinning class was part of a home ec thing; and I was asked to teach) let me borrow their brand-spankin'-new copy of Joel Salatin's latest book, "Folks, This Ain't Normal". I started reading it on the way home, and am already loving it!

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off To Work I Go!


Toodle pip and cheerio, my dearies! I'll be leaving in a few hours to go teach a spinning workshop! :) I've been looking forward to doing this for a few weeks, and I think it's going to be a lot of fun. My mission is to give thirteen young girls a crash course in spinning, and we have to cram what would normally be 6-8 lessons, into a 2+ hour session. Fun, fun, fun! ;) I've got 14 spindles packed in my bag, as well as three fleeces, some roving, balls of singles for plying, books, and numerous other odds 'n' ends. Oh, and some goat milk soap for the hostesses. :)

 I also have 5 more workshops in the making, and will post info on those soon! So far, I have workshops covering, goats, rabbits, spinning, urban homesteading, and backyard chickens. Methinks my life is going to get busy, quickly!

Okey, dokey... I must needs go now... 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Why I'm Called "Goat Song"

Because my goats and I like to sing, of course!

Here's proof!

 Heidi, singing her favorite song...


Mauled By Goats

I love my goats... But they can sure make things hard when you want a video of them!! 



Technologically Challenged

See this?


This is supposed to be a blog button (well, it's an enlarged version on one...)

You know, one of those cool things that really clever blog people manage to create, and when you click on it, it takes you to their site? Yeah, one of those.

But, I have come to realize that I am hopelessly technologically challenged.
Big sigh... 

I am however, quite stubborn (I'll blame it on my Irish genes), so somehow I will turn the above picture into one of those fascinating buttons!! My mantra for the week is now, "Be smarter than the computer. Be smarter than the computer." I'll do it. I may have to stoop to begging for help from some ingenious person, but I will do it!!!

I know. I'm losing it. I've been trying to get that button up for over an hour now. My brain is fizzled. 

Chocolate chips might remedy the brain problem though... Maybe I'll go try that real quick...

[stomps off to pantry]

A Rooster's Life

Caspian...

33 Pieces Of Cheese

 I rarely win contests. Sure, I enter them whenever I can (providing I like what the prize is!), but I've only one a contest once before, and I was 10 when that happened. However, I did actually win something a few weeks ago! And it came in the mail today!!


A fellow blogger, and cheese fan, over at Madame Fromage, put four of these little, tiny books up for a drawing, and one person would get both the book and a lovely cutting board made by the author of the book.

 Guess who won both! ME!! 

This is where the majority of you just smile and nod. ;) I don't expect many others to share my interest in artisan cheeses. But I was tickled to get that little book today...

So there. I actually won something. How shocking... 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Goat Song Farm

Someday... I will have my own land. And it will be known as 'Goat Song Farm'...

There will be a sign up front with the name on it...

And there will be goats in a nearby pasture, of course...


*Ahem*, One more video...

 I promise I'll get back into my writing kick soon but this sneak peak video caught my attention and I wanted to share it. Very few people understand why on earth I would choose farming as my occupation, and I think this video explains some of the reasons. I want to provide food for people. I want a honest job in which I know that I am not harming anyone in any way through my actions. I want to know that I am being a steward to the land that the good Lord put here for us, and that my actions are not destroying what He created. My hands were born with an instinct to wield things like a hoe, or leather trace lines, or a milk pail. Farming is what I'm good at, and it's my desire and dream to pursue this passion and someday achieve the above mentioned goals. I am a farmer.


GH_Peek in Progress from The Greenhorns on Vimeo.

You can find out more about the Greenhorns movement HERE.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sooooo... Who's Joel Salatin??

Yeah, I hear ya'. ;) I'll come out of my agrarian bubble now and do some explainin'... Actually, on second thought, I won't. Because I'm terrible at explaining things and could never do Joel justice. So here's what Polyface Farms is all about...



Now, go read some of his books!

The Unveiling...



The day was August 12th, 2011 when I made that impulsive move...

 While perusing the Polyface website, I noticed that they were taking applications for their 2012 summer internship. The deadline to enter was in three days, and on an impulse, I sent in my own application.

I have to hand it to Joel... He is quite creative when thinking up applications! I was expecting the usual, "What do you hope to learn here, how long have you been farming, what experience do you have, etc." sort of questions. Instead, it was questions like, "How do you feel about conservative, right wing Christian creationists? How do you feel about Liberal, left wing, tree-hugging, humanist evolutionists? What is the hardest job you've ever done, and why? How do you feel about killing animals?" I had to laugh as I answered them all. :)

I was told that they would go through all the applications and choose their picks by August 22nd. So I waited... August 22nd came, but no word from the Salatins. September came, and still no word.
Finally, when we were two weeks into Sept. I sheepishly e-mailed and asked if they had decided anything. Sheri (Joel's daughter-in-law) replied saying that they hadn't yet, since Joel had been out of town. But hopefully by the end of September.

So I waited some more! September came and went... No word.

October came... Still no word.

I gave up. I obviously hadn't been picked, seeing as I hadn't heard from them, so I put the whole idea at the back of my mind and tried to forget it.

Then, yesterday morning, I received an e-mail from Polyface, with the subject line merely saying, "Polyface Response". I felt all the blood drain from my face (that's a really weird feeling, by the way), as I clicked to open it...

The room started spinning as I read an e-mail that began, "Congratulations!  You've passed the first big hurdle in your quest to becoming a 2012 Polyface intern.  More to go, but please take the time to smile and enjoy being one of the 33 percent who received an invitation to our two-day on-farm checkout."

The e-mail went on to explain that 93 other people sent in applications, and they had managed to whittle the list down to 30. I was one of the thirty. 

Now, they wanted their thirty picks to come out to the farm in January so they could personally meet each one, and see if we were cut out for the job. Joel's exact words were, " We will surely have some gut-wrenching tough work to do to see what you're made of, as we assemble our team for 2012." They had to eventually whittle their list of thirty prospects down to eight. And only two of those eight would be girls. The stakes are high...

But then it sunk in. I MADE IT THIS FAR!!! Out of 93 other people, I was one of the chosen people to continue the quest!! I might be going to Polyface farms!!! 

That's when I thought I was going to be sick. The adrenaline rush was huge. So I sat down and tried to collect myself, but it took awhile. 

I was beaming from ear to ear for the rest of the day, after that. I danced throughout the house, and sang at the top of my lungs outside. This was really happening!! I wasn't dreaming!!

The family has commenced to prayer about the matter now. Virginia is a long way away, and I would be gone for 3 months. While I certainly hope that I will get to follow this dream, and opportunity of a life time, we'll see what the future holds... 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Another "Coming Soon"


I am just about bursting to tell y'all about a huge piece of news!

When I first heard it, I almost fainted (really.), then I almost threw up. And then I sat in a chair, shaking, for about 30 minutes. 

I've been high on adrenaline all day long due to this piece of news, and when I'm not dancing through the house in excitement, I have a strong desire to go outside and hoot 'n holler. 

It's big. It's happening. I'll tell you soon...

Signing out!

Who Is Pat Parelli?

Good question... I'm afraid I'm pretty bad at explaining things, and especially when it comes to someone like Pat, so I guess you can read this informative link,  and watch the promo YouTube!


Coming In Spring 2012...

Oh corks this has been a staggering day...

I'll share the bigger bit of news later, but right now I would like to introduce Greenfire Farm to y'all... 

If you haven't seen their website yet, you should check it out! Greenfire Farms is a family run operation, focused on raising extremely rare poultry. So rare, in fact, that some were considered extinct before Greenfire found some specimens.  

And what does Greenfire have to do with me?

We are doing a barter! I will be advertising their farm here on the blog sidebar, as well as on my website (www.goatsong.weebly.com). In return, Greenfire Farms will be sending me some of their fantastic chicks in the spring!! Whoohoo!! :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Who Are Your Heroes?

It's only been in the last year or two that I've come to realize that I have a lot of heroes. People who I look up to in life, admire for one reason or another, or have learned a lot from.

So, question for the day: Who are your heroes in life, and why?

I'll share if you share! ;)

Looking back in life, I'd say the first person who I ever stood in awe of was Pat Parelli...


I must have been 10 when I first heard about him, and I don't even remember who told me about him! I just remember thinking, "Wow, I want to do that someday", as I learned more about his training techniques. I admire his calm, confident attitude that he always seems to have, especially when he's working with difficult horses. If I can someday achieve a fraction of his patience, I will be a happy person. 



Next up is Joel Salatin, of course!


I was 14 when I picked up a rickety, shabby copy of his book titled, "Pastured Poultry Profits" at my local library. It all went downhill from there. I really admire Joel's tenacity, creativity, courage to go against modern day farming techniques that are harmful,  his sense of humor, and his common sense. 
What a guy. ;)

Had it not been for Joel's books, I would probably still be raising Holland Lop rabbits to sell as pets, and that would be all. Joel taught me a lot about farming. Even more important though, he taught me that anyone can farm. No matter what race or gender, no matter where you live, or what your income is. Anyone can farm. That was a revelation to a conservatively brought up girl like me who always thought she had to have 100 acres, and a herd of cows before she could be called a farmer! 



Tasha Tudor is a more recent hero of mine...


If it wasn't for the fact that Tasha was still alive when I first read one of her books (Tasha Tudor's Garden), I might have thought there was something to the reincarnation theory after all. ;) Tasha lived an off-grid lifestyle, on 240 acres in Vermont, living with her herd of Nubian goats, corgi dogs, numerous birds, and her art that she drew. What I admire most about Tasha, is her grit. She didn't care that she was different from almost everyone else in society. She had a dream, and she followed it. I'm always finding myself saying, "If Tasha could do it, you can do it too!", when I've hit a bump in the road of life. 


Next hero on the list may surprise a few...

It's Beatrix Potter, the famous author and illustrator.


Oh dearie me... How I look up to Beatrix... :) I'm almost finished with reading a biography about her, and I have LOVED it! More than just an author of classic books (and we won't mention the fact that I have every single one of them!), Beatrix was a naturalist, farmer, shepherd to the endangered Herdwick sheep, and donated thousands of acres to the National Land Trust of England. She wasn't afraid to go against what was considered "proper" in her era, and follow her dream. Like Tasha Tudor, I admire Beatrix's determination to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. 

And then there's Jenna Woginrich... Wow do I admire Jenna.
Just the fact that she's written books, given talks at the Mother Earth News Festival, is learning to herd sheep with her Border Collie, Gibson, is working towards being as self-sufficient as possible, is training her pony to do draft work, and is single, is enough to command my respect. She's living the life that I want to live someday... I can't wait until that day comes...

I certainly have other heroes, but methinks this list is starting to get rather lengthy, so I'll leave off here...

It's your turn now: Who are your heroes, and why?