Saturday, March 31, 2007


I was sitting here this morning, minding my own business, checking out comments left on my blog, when a whirring of motion outside on the road caught my eye. What’s this? Uhg…Bowling Day!

Each year the local university holds a big bike race out here in the valley. Why, I don’t know. You’d think they could pick a nice, long, wide, straight road. But no, they find the hills and corners challenging. And they ought to, what with my bowling score.

I gave City Boy a call this morning while I was out for my walk. “Guess what I’m doing?” I asked him.


“Bowling! I’ve already got two strikes!”

“Leave the bicycles alone!”

City Boy is no fun sometimes.

I brought my camera along with me, thinking I may at least try for a few decent shots of the bowling pins as they rushed past me down the road. Wouldn’t you know I had a camera malfunction? My lens had a hard time focusing. I had to take some time to figure out what was wrong with it. Before long, I was distracted by all the other things that I found a great deal more interesting than silly boys in tight fitting spandex riding bowling pins down the road.

Where did this tree come from?

The neighbor just strung a new barbed wire fence.

Look at that fluffy cow scratching her butt with her horns!

Oh, wow! A slug!

Darling and I went ran into the city a little later. We passed by a group of pins on our way.

“You got your seat belt on, Darling?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Open your door, I think I can pick up a spare!”

Dodson's IGA

We live in between towns. And by towns, perhaps I ought to clarify. One is a city; it comes complete with a mall and I-5 running through it's center. The other is...well...a hick town. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing the matter with a hick town. In fact, Darling is ready to move there.

The hick town in question has all the amenities one could want. At least, according to Darling. There's a post office, a gas station, a casino. I've never seen a fire truck there, but we did see Hick Town police officers dining at the greasy spoon, so there must be a police department. I'm not sure why they'd need more than just a few officers because the town is only five blocks long. I think Barney Fife could handle the job most days.

Darling loves hick towns. Darling loves Dodson's IGA even more!

Aside from these amenities, there is the grocery store. Dodson's IGA. Dodson's has been doing business out there for something like 100 years. Or maybe that's just how old the founder is? They have everything you could want at Dodson's. Need to pick up the makings for a salad? They've got the goods. Got a late night craving for some ice cream? No problem, their freezer is stocked with dozens of varieties. Need to dig a trench? You'll find shovels at Dodson's.

Darling loves Dodson's; she insists on stopping there nearly every afternoon after school. They've got a terrific selection of soft drinks there, and not just the kind in a can, either. No, you can get the real fancy stuff that comes in a glass bottle!

A couple months ago Darling and I decided we wanted to make some cheese. Trouble was, we didn't have any cheese cloth. I had to decide...did I want to run into the city? Or drive out to Dodson's and risk them not carrying cheese cloth. Darling looked at me like I was insane. Of course Dodson's would have cheese cloth, she insisted. So out we drove. We looked all over the bloomin' store for the cheese cloth. I couldn't figure out where they'd put it; the store isn't organized like your usual grocery. Then again, your usual grocery doesn't carry shovels. We finally asked, and found the cheese cloth in the tool isle. If you ever stop there and need cheese cloth, you'll find it next to the paint brushes, just beneath the screw drivers. Should you be an electrician, Dodson's will carry tape for you. I think it's next to the produce. Duct tape? Across from the jam. Or somewhere in that area.

The other day Darling and I stopped to grab a bag of chips on our way through Hick Town. "I wonder where they keep the chips?" asked Darling. "Probably across from the pitch forks, " I said with a chuckle. Darling nodded, "Makes sense." I'm not sure how it made sense. I had no clue where the pitchforks were, but Darling headed down the isle, found the pitchforks and did an about face. Potato Chips! Darling smiled, and said, "Mom, can we get a pitchfork while we're here?"

And to be honest, I never thought I'd be buying a pitchfork at the grocery store...but hey, it's a Hick Town!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Oh, the Glamorous Life I Live!

I know you're all sitting out there wanting to live my life. It's so terribly glamorous, what with my Farm Girl Spa each morning, muddy pedicure and all. But I've only been telling you half of the story! The cute half. The diabetic overload, sweet half. But in reality...

Bessie is prone to sticking her head through the fence...and getting stuck. Not just once, but several times. Look at that big hole in her ear! That happened on her second day here. You'd think she'd learn, but no. I am unsticking her daily.

You want to come visit? I've got something for you to do. Aside from unsticking Bessie. Sheep poop. It piles up around the place like nobodies business. Well...I guess it's the sheep's business. You'll need to grab Blake (Darling's name for the pitchfork) and start shoveling up the old bedding and wheeling it out into the garden. Battling flies all the while, of course.

Make certain you get it spread evenly around the plants.

Then you can mend the fences. City Boy would be more than happy to hand that job over to you. Not that he minds terribly doing the work, he's just not happy about the camera aspect of it all. He's camera shy, my City Boy. You're not camera shy, are you? You wouldn't hide, making it nearly impossible for me to get photos for the blog?

Oops! The Tax Collectors have realized there's activity that they've missed. Better impose the Mend A Fence Tax.

While they're at it, they figure they'd better install a compost for the garden tax. Plus charge me for their contribution (poop, that is.) That'll be two cookies each. Make that two cookies and a cracker filled with peanut butter.

Another load of compost heads to the garden. Don't you just love my wagon? City Boy bought it for me. Can't say my man isn't a hopeless romantic...

It's deworming time now. We use a paste product that is applied with a syringe into their mouths. Nasty stuff. They do not like it.

Okay, so Carrot likes it. Alot. He won't let go of the syringe. Darling must offer a deworming tax. Quiet Storm is not so cooperative. And just so you know? The back end of a horse is way more businesslike than the back end of a sheep; you'll be expected to clean that up as well.

By now it's dinner time. Taffy stands patiently as the boys grab a quick bite.

Okay, okay...I just couldn't help a little cute!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

As promised, a surprise contest for today!

But first, check out the nominees for the 'coveted' Booger Blog Award! Either click, or scroll down to below the duckies and my whining about not getting breakfast. Clicking may be quicker.

Now...guess what happened out at Brigget's house last night? Lambs!

Brigget's ewe, Sunday, delivered healthy twins, a ewe and a ram. Both are black, and the ram lamb already has little horn buds! A bit too dark to get a good picture of them, but rest assured that by next week I'll have some good shots for you. You won't believe how quickly the horns on an icelandic ram can grow! The photo above is of Brigget and the little ewe lamb. Go ahead, everybody say "Aaaaahhhhh"! (Of course, they're not as cute as my lambs, right? But pretty darned close.)

Caption Contest!

Sunday is such a good mamma! This is her first time lambing, and twins were not expected as she was pretty tiny around the tummy, unlike the older, wiser girls pictured below.

Here are, from left to right, Fiola, Hulda, Cinnamon and Brekka. Can you believe how wide Brekka is? Last year she lost her twins and was so unhappy. Hopefully she'll have a successful delivery this year. Brigget is hoping all that weight is from the babies and not the taxes Brekka has been collecting.

Did you notice that Hulda has horns? Both ewes and rams can grow horns in the icelandic breed.

Meanwhile, back on the farm... The Baron and Orhen are a full week old today. Taffy has relaxed and they trot about without her becoming terribly anxious. Today they were practicing being rams. Head down, rock your weight back over your hindquarters and...


Boys will be boys, eh?

Now, you've got two things to do. Vote for your favorite Booger Blog, and give me a caption!

What City Boy Did

Remember when I told City Boy I wanted ducklings? And he gave me grief over it? But yesterday I get home and what do I hear in my rec room? Peeping! City Boy has brought home a box of quackers!

I think this one is brain damaged. It has a funny head. I'd say it was a bad feather day, but City Boy tells me it was a return. Someone returned their duckling! The only reason I can imagine they'd do that is if it were brain damaged. Why else would you return a duckling?

Now, I've got more fun stuff coming tomorrow. Brigget's'll have to come back and see! I'll be springing a surprise contest on you (which isn't so much a surprise if you know one's coming up...but you don't know what it is, right?)
AND...tomorrow I shall announce the Booger Blog nominees! Yes, I did find three blogs out there worthy of snorting a few boogers over. I'll be emailing the unfortunate bloggers tonight to inform them of the news, and a poll is ready for everyone to vote.
NOW.....go give that photo of Alice and Tait a name!


Name the Photo!

Folks, you just can't imagine how good I'm feeling...because I actually slept last night! Went to bed at 10 thinking...hey, I can post early in the morning. I mean, typically I'm awake at 5 am. But today? 7:30! And I'm rushing now to get chores done and get off to the doctor. I've got a cholesteral check today, so I've not eaten yet (they make you go without food for ten whole freaking hours!) I'm going to ditch you until later, that means, because I'm going to be getting grumpy pretty quick if I don't get some food in my tummy.

Which means...race around and do the chores...race into town so they can prick me with needles...then EAT. And then I'll come back and share a bit more with you. Because I do have something to share.
In the meantime, how about some captions for the photo?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

And the Nominees are...

As promised, I've spent the past few of weeks roaming about, reading a few blogs that have been submitted by you or stumbled upon by myself, trying to come up with a short list of three for this months Booger Blog Award.

Your job, as responsible readers, is to go check out the blogs in question, then come back and vote for the blog most likely to cause you to snort out some boogers.

Congratulations to Oh, The Joys on winning the Booger Blog Award!
Do you know a great candidate for the booger blog? That would be a blog funny enough to make you snort boogers while reading it... If so, just let me know!


Dolly wanna cracker

Back when we first got sheep, Darling had a little black lamb by the name of Freedom. We'd put a collar and leash on Freedom, toss her into the back of our SUV (sheep utility vehicle, aka Volvo station wagon) and bring her with us to the feed store and other places, such as the McDonald's drive thru, where people would fall in love with our little curly haired puppy. And we'd be forced to explain that this was not a puppy, but a lamb. They were, however, not convinced until the lamb let out a baaaa and a burp in their faces. At which point they didn't really care any longer if it was a puppy or a lamb because the fumes from the burp had knocked them out cold. Eventually we just began telling people she was a sheep dog, they'd pat her on the head and walk away, thus saving us the embarrassment of having people passed out at our feet.

Most people think sheep are not very smart, one of those being my nephew, Trouble. Trouble is not his real name, but it ought to be. He lives on a cul de sack with his brothers and sisters, his father and Little Hitler. He owns and shows a corgi, doing quite well in 4-H at both the local and state level. He looked at Darling as she led her lamb across their grandparents yard one day and asked what good that lamb was? Darling let Trouble know that she'd get that lambed trained and be competing against him in obedience classes before long. Trouble just laughed, telling her sheep weren't that smart.

Darling and Freedom's daughter, Honey

Training sheep is not an easy task. It takes time, patience, and a lot of peanut butter filled crackers. The first thing we taught our sheep to do was Baaaa. They caught on right quick, noticing the parallel between us carrying a box of crackers and getting a treat. Soon they were baaing each time they saw us with extreme exuberance! In fact, we could not get them to shut up. You could hear them all up and down the valley, and it was soon obvious that our sheep had trained us to carry treats each time we left the house or risk having some very annoyed neighbors.

The sheep also recognized that when a car pulled into the driveway, it often had treats inside of it. Hence, the driveway tax was imposed by my sheep. Should you ever come to visit, I highly advice having a box of peanut butter filled crackers with you. They're also fond of fruit loops. If nothing else, you should at least have a few old french fries. This is not on their list of approved snack foods, however it shuts them up long enough for you to get out of sight.
Do you have a cookie?

Our sheep don't allow for second chances. No, you get it right the first time or you find yourself face down in the mud with an entire flock doing Irish step dancing on your back. This is why our pockets are always full of cracker crumbs, which can be a bit embarrassing if you've actually gone out into public, reached into your pocket for your keys and pull them out covered in peanut butter. The best thing to do in this situation is to just lick it off casually as though it's a peanut butter key pop. People will look at you strangely, but it's easier than explaining the driveway tax to them.
Briget and her sheep
Feed us. Feed us NOW!

Our sheep have us well trained. They've taught us to duck as we walk past the window. If they see us through the window, we're required to pay the window tax. They stand and baaa until we go outside and feed them their crackers (or fruit loops), which isn't entirely a bad thing unless it's 6 am. The neighbors aren't terribly fond of the window tax our sheep have imposed on us. Oh, it's not so bad during the week, but they get rather cranky on weekends. Our sheep don't care about our neighborly relationships, however, so we walk around like a house full of hunchbacks.

Needless to say, the thoughts of having a prize obedience sheep has long since flown the coop. Instead, we're thinking perhaps there ought to be a class for well trained humans. How many times can your sheep get you to jump up onto that grooming stand with a cookie and coo like a baby at him? How many humans does it take to tip a sheep onto it's butt so it's feet can be trimmed...and how many of them can be layed flat in the mud in the process? Things like that.
Cuteness today, tax collector tomorrow

Yes, our sheep have done an excellent job with us. I'll bet Trouble isn't nearly so well trained! Dogs aren't nearly as smart as sheep.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

It's time to shed a few...

Taffy and Baron Von Milchschaf

Taffy is a great mother! As hard as it's been raining, the other sheep still venture outside during the day to graze a bit. Taffy would normally do the same. And while her shed has been open to allow her such a treat, she's kept her boys tucked safe and dry inside. I've had other ewes stupid enough to lamb outside in weather like this! Today the sun came out, and Taffy brought the boys out for their first adventure. She's a smart little ewe, that girl.

Go ahead! You just tell me this isn't the most adorable lamb you've seen on a blog today!


So anyway, here I sit. Pondering. It's all Savvycityfarmer's fault that I'm wondering if there will ever be a day I can snap the waist closed on those inspiration jeans. They've only been hanging there for what, six weeks? I ought to have shed a few pounds by now, but I haven't. I started out okay; bought a few carrots, went on a few long walks, and did some sit ups. But then I caught a cold, and who wants to do sit ups when they've got a cold? And everything was down hill from there.

Inspiration Jeans...are you as tired of seeing them on this hanger as I am?

But my jeans are still hanging where I see them every morning and every fact, every trip to the loo, as they hang over my tub (where I'm sure to notice them when I slip into my bubble bath...along with my not so slim waistline.) I'd hoped hanging them there would shame me into some progress, but it hasn't. Instead I've been stuffing my face with things such as Oreo cookies...although they weren't the double stuff, if that counts for anything.

Whilst skipping through blogland (I probably should have been skipping around the yard) I came across a site that was a Bloggie nominee; Fat Cyclist. It seemed like a blog I ought to at least peek at; perhaps it would be inspirational...more so than my jeans have proven to be. The guy's been cycling for a couple of years now and shed about 20 lbs. I think that's great! But I'd like to take those 20 off a bit quicker, so cycling probably won't be my weight loss method of choice. Plus, I've never been very good at balancing.

If I recall, my first bike was given to me when I was about six years old. It was red and shiny and pretty...and very dangerous. A person could get killed falling off one of those things! It had only two wheels, after all, and no strings to keep you upright. I was not getting on that. No way, no how.

But my father, the same man who later coaxed me into standing on treacherous, slippery rocks for a chance at a fish, also talked me into trying the bike. I'd get on, and he'd push, promising he wouldn't let go. He lied. I fell. They say I wouldn't have fallen if I hadn't looked over my shoulder to realize he'd let go, but I think they were lying about that, too.

My dad put in countless frustrating hours trying to get me upright on that bike. I'm not sure how long it took me to finally get the hang of it, but I never did enjoy it much. My parents would get their bikes out; there was one of those infant seats on the back of one of them for Little Hitler, and they'd stick me on my bike so we could do the family bike ride thing. It was like we were supposed to be Austrian, without Julie Andrews and the clothing made from curtains. It never sat well with me. It especially didn't sit well that Little Hitler got to ride in that little seat (oh, don't go giving me the 'she was only three' routine! I'm sure she had a trike.)

So as you can see, bicycling is probably not me weapon of choice against the poundage around my middle. Plus, then I'd be among those horrifying pedalists that people like me are always bowling for.

Cyclists pretending their pins in a bowling alley.

No, I'll need to come up with some other fashion of losing weight. Obviously, I'm not too good at sticking to exercise plans (the sit ups have failed so far), and I do love my sugar. The only thing I can think of that may work is personal humiliation. Yes...I think I'm going to go ahead and toss those numbers up on this blog for the whole danged world to see. But I am not going to post a picture of myself in a swimsuit, or even shorts, like those commercials on TV. Nope. Not going to happen. And wouldn't want to see it!

I'm not going to update every day like the fat bicyclist does, but I'll try to do a once a week update. And you all have to keep me in line. If you should find me stuffing my face with oreos again, yell at me! Should you see my truck automatically hanging a right at the Dairy it okay to have a blizzard now and then? NO! The answer is no! Don't let me do it! I'm assigning you the role of junk food police. Tomorrow I'll weigh myself and post it (ouch!) for everyone to see. And I'll also tell you my target weight. As soon as I actually get there, we'll celebrate, okay? Okay. Just keep me away from the oreo cookie isle.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

She's got spurs, they Jingle, Jangle, Jingle!

"I like the way they jingle when I walk", giggle giggle.

Darling discovered spurs today. I'd pulled out an old pair that's not been in service for years, thinking I'd stick them on the back of a boot and take a picture or two. That wasn't going to happen with my little Imelda around. The boots went onto her feet and the spurs onto the boots. And there they stayed throughout the day. She liked the way they jingled when she walked (giggle giggle.)

Darling and Rocket out in the rain...jingle jangle (giggle giggle.)

Did I mention it's been raining here a bit? You'd think we had a trout pond out in the driveway at the moment. Normally not a problem, this non-stop, round the clock winter of rain has the whole Pacific North WET under water. Thankfully, we're no where near as bad as other areas of the county. Still, a little reprieve would be nice.

Head of Homeland Security got a hair cut. He doesn't seem to mind being out in the rain without his coat. Just like a kid, eh? Darling also didn't mind being out in the rain today. Especially since she was jingling everywhere she went. One of our stops was at my trainer friend's, where I snapped this pic of the inside of that bull for you. If you missed that post, he drives the bull while his clients work their cutting horses. He can get this thing to whirling around pretty good, giving the horses a good workout (or easy one, if that's what they need.)

I slipped inside the tack room for a picture of the bridles hanging on the wall. I'm not totally thrilled with the photo, but it's late so I'm not going to fiddle with it right now. Each horse has his (or her) own bridle. If you take a close look, you'll see a whole slew of different bits (the mouth piece) in them. And way off to the left there is a hackamore, also called a bosal, that has no bit. Some horses work well with one kind of bit, others need something different. There's no one size fits all...kinda like shoes. We all need a different size or width, or feel comfortable with a different heel or sole.

Darling feels comfortable in spurs, evidently, attached to her boots. Here she is again, out playing in the rain with her new footwear. The spurs were still jingling, even when they got wet (giggle giggle.)

After driving down into the neighboring county, I didn't feel so bad about my driveway puddle. It could be worse. Look at this! A sure sign of spring is that yellow growing up in the swampy, roadside water. It's bright, yellow and visually attractive. That is, until you know what it is, or get close enough to smell it. The plant is known as skunk cabbage, and it smells like both!

You can actually see the white line of the road in this shot, and the water right up alongside it. There are several side roads underwater right now due to our heavy rains. I believe they've had some flooding up in Canada, eh, as well.

After leaving my friend's place, we headed to a shop where we picked up some pretty papers to make a scrap book. Yes, Darling jingled, jangled, jingled and giggle, giggled her way through the store. And despite her request, I managed to not bring the camera in and take pictures of the event. Although, I'm rather regretting that now...giggle, giggle!