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Farm Fresh Blog
Wednesday, June 30 2010
Last week while we were in search of the Wagon Master, we missed our exit and stumbled across this:
My heart skipped! I have researched this place all over the internet - and here it was!
The builders take reclaimed materials and fashion the most adorable tiny homes. I mean TINY (in teeny tiny letters!)
Many folks buy the homes for studios, or offices, or rent rooms. Some folks buy them to live in. I was thinking in that direction. I'm trying to think forward to the time when we leave the shadow of the city and move WAAAAY out in the country. Living in one of these homes is like living in the horse trailer. We camp in the horse trailer all the time, so I didn't think it'd be too much of a stretch to convince Other Half to down-size into something like this. I'm still working on him. . .
The builders make great use of the space they have available.
They use lots of windows and mirrors so you don't feel you're living in a large closet.
The houses are tall and the bed is upstairs. THAT is the biggest hitch for us. Upstairs bed means 50+ year old knees have to crawl up that freakin' ladder. And the biggest hurdle, which Other Half was quick to point out - how will Border Collie sleep with us? (Hmmmm. . . THAT was a problem!)
They use drapes to separate individual rooms within the house.
and stained glass! I LOVE stained glass!
Other Half wanted to know where his big screen television would go.
Look! A Woman-Throne! Other Half was not impressed with the Woman-Throne. He was more concerned with his big-screen television and where his dogs would sleep.
Sooooo . . . although it doesn't look like we'll be able to scale down quite THIS much, it gave us some homebuilding ideas that did allow us to scale back some - while still making allowances for old age and dogs!
Monday, June 28 2010
Earlier last week I got the bright idea that I needed to string lights across the walkway between the house and the barn to light our path at night. I have a farm, thus, I am poor, so I can't afford fancy outdoor lighting. I must make do with Christmas lights! Now before you get the idea that Other Half and I are The Griswald's, let me hasten to explain that I purchased four boxes of icicle lights last December and didn't get them up until last week - June. The Clampetts we are, the Griswalds, we are not.
Why I decided to wait until the dog days of summer had arrived is beyond me. I have no other explanantion except to admit that I am the Queen of Procrastination. So Monday morning, with four boxes of lights in one hand and a ragged ladder in the other, I attempted to break every bone in my body at a time when no one was home to dial 911.
The goal was to loop the strings along the walkway so that the icicles hung down to add even more light. Having done this in the past, I've found that it gives a great deal of cheap light. The problem is that I waited until the grapevines were growing all over the walkway. (This is why this particular chore should be done in the WINTER!)
Here is how it's done in the summer:
Unroll the first string of lights. Lots of cussing. Attempt to stand on the ground and fling the string of lights on top of the walkway's wooden beam. Lots more cussing. Climb the rickety ladder to adjust the strings amid the grape vines.
This has Emergency Room trip written all over it. By now all the dogs have gathered to watch. Get bright idea to use wooden sheep crook to place string on beam.
This idea has merit, but the string keeps slipping off the wooden crook. Lots, lots more cussing. Look around yard for divine intervention. Notice that Briar has a growing pile of stolen items in the middle of the yard - 2 lead ropes, a ball, a flip flop, a dead bird, and a sock. Hmmmm ... a sock?
Ahhh haaa! A sock!
An idea is born!
This works wonderfully until the sock encounters the climbing rose. Lots more cussing. The cussing draws the attention of someone who might be able to help.
Have Evan Almighty moment. Remember the movie about the modern day Noah who cannot get people to help him build an ark so the animals help him instead. (YES!!! I was sober! Hey! It was hot! I was tired. I was a Bitchy Bear and nothing that day was going right. Allow me to indulge in a little fantasy induced by the summer heat!)
Faith plays with string of lights.
Wish very much for an Evan Almighty moment. It just looks so easy for her. Pick 'em up with her paw. Move 'em where she wants 'em. Walk down the beam. It was brilliant. Except for one little problem . . . .
Faith is a cat - a cat who quickly loses interest in games that don't involve bloodsport.
Cats can be that way.
If you want help. If you want a true Evan Almighty moment - get a dog.
Unfortunately The Enforcer was no more able to string lights than the cat - but ONLY because he didn't have thumbs! He certainly had the desire to HELP string the lights. I really believe that if you crossed a monkey with a good farm dog, then you'd have the best ranch hand in the world!
I miss The Enforcer. As I was typing this, I knocked my pen off the kitchen table. It clattered to the floor. There was silence. Four dogs were sprawled around the house and not one of them leaped up to grab the pen and bring it to me. The Enforcer would have done that. Silly woman that I am, I actually waited for a moment to have the pen delivered to my hand. Then I remembered. My Evan Almighty dog was gone. And silly woman that I am, I cried again.
Sunday, June 27 2010
Thank you so much! Since Kona's death, we have received countless notes of condolences from readers. You've sent cyberhugs, tears, and stories of your own loss. Thank you. Thank you so much. I wanted to just take a moment to let you know that even though you tell me this website enriches your lives, you, my dear readers, enrich my life too.
Saturday, June 26 2010
Twenty years from now, someone will dig up the garden outside the kitchen window and wonder
why there is a bag of kitchen trash buried with a dog. You may be wondering that yourself.
Yesterday when we buried Kona we struggled to find something to bury with him, some treasure
that he lived for, something to carry with him along his journey. But stuffed animals,
bones, and tennis balls were just not his thing. So Other Half came up with an idea that
despite the crappy day, had me laughing through the tears.
"Bury him with a bag of garbage!"
It was perfect! Kona, The Enforcer, was THE Quintessential Garbage Hound. From the time he
was a toddler, he was raiding garbage cans. We used to keep the garbage can under the sink.
He learned to open the cabinet. We put bungee cords on the cabinet doors. He tore the
cabinet molding off and chewed the bungee cords in half. (I KNOW! He was a BEAST!)
Soooo. . . I bought a fancy $70 brushed metal trash can with a step-pedal that lifted the
lid. He learned to step on the pedal and lift the lid.
So we started keeping the garbage in small plastic bags in the kitchen sink that had to be
carried outside the main gate and placed into the outside garbage can EVERY TIME YOU LEFT
THE HOUSE! If you failed, even once, to remove that bag from the sink, he would have it
shredded all over the kitchen floor when you returned. Just last week I had to call Other
Half and have him return home because we forgot to take the garbage sack with us. He had
made it exactly one-tenth of a mile down the street. By the time Other Half walked into the
kitchen, Kona already had the bag on the floor. (Evil Beast!)
Kona was my Cadaver Dog. He retired shortly after I moved to the Crime Scene Unit. This was
through no fault of his. Dead people on duty and off duty was a bit too much for me, so he
retired to be a full-time ranch dog. He handled retirement quite well. It didn't matter to
him if he was looking for a dead people or looking for rats in the hay barn, a job was a
I still vividly remember his last cadaver search. He was called to find skeletal remains
that had been scattered over a building site by a bulldozer. It was already summer in
Texas. It was hot. He worked like a trooper and soon found what turned out to be a key
piece of evidence - a large chunk of skull. It was the back of man's head. In the back of the skull
was a bullet hole. Our victim had been murdered.
That was the last time he worked for the medical examiner's office, but he worked the rest
of his life keeping rats out of the barn, carrying hammers and buckets for me, and generally
enforcing all the rules on the farm.
He and Blue Heeler hated each other. Since Blue Heeler was a puppy, Kona tormented him
without mercy. I promised him I won't let Blue Heeler piss on his grave.
He was my cadaver dog. He was my farm dog. He was my friend.
Godspeed, Little Buddy
Thursday, June 24 2010
Other Half and I took a short trip across Texas this week to search for a wagon. Our journey landed us in Gonzales, Texas, home of Texas Wagon Works and skilled craftsman Hugh Shelton. It was a hunt. This is a "turn right at the third cattle guard" kind of place. Even with directions, we still had to call Hugh for help. Fortunately we found it, and he didn't have to call out the bloodhounds.
You wouldn't believe this place. It was magical!
Follow the wagon wheels . . .
Nestled deep in the forest . . .
Behind this door . . .
The magic began . . .
We almost bought this buckboard. It was exactly what we came for.
But . . . he was still working on a farm cart. It was a good starter vehicle for folks just learning to drive. We decided to get the cart because it was more versatile and buy the buckboard next year when we're ready to graduate from a 2-wheel vehicle to a 4-wheel vehicle. I liked the farm cart . . . except it was blue. Other Half liked the blue. It matches his tractor. (MEN!) I wanted it in black. Or maybe red. Or maybe I'll just hand-paint that Bad Boy up like a Gypsy Wagon! We'll see.
The cart isn't finished yet, but it was fun sitting down with a wagon maker and having him custom-make the cart for us. That, Friends and Neighbors, was more fun than a barrel of monkeys!
Friday, June 18 2010
There's a reason why we call them the Porch Ponies.
My lawnmower died again. That happens when your mower is old and held together with duct tape and baling wire.
This week the belt broke. Can't fix that with duct tape. It must wait until Other Half returns home. But fear not! I have a whole barn full of lawn mowers!
This was the view from my kitchen window last night.
The view from my front door this morning
When the Porch Ponies get bored, they hang out on the porch and beg for carrots. Other people have dog smudges on the glass. We have pony smudges on the glass.
(I'm sure my neighbors with the Better Homes & Garden Yard hate me.)
Wednesday, June 16 2010
Other Half left on Monday to go to K9 training again. Cowdog saw the duffle bag sitting on the floor and figured it out.
First he tried to climb into the bag.
"Pleaaase take me!!!!"
Then he tried to stow away in the police car.
(Something tells me that in a sea of German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois, a single black and white Border Collie "might" stand out.)
Life is so tough. It's gonna be a long week for one little black and white dog.
Tuesday, June 08 2010
Even though she is a driving horse. I REALLY bought Ona because you can do THIS on her!
We're not quite sure if she is broke to ride. Leg aids appear to be a foreign language to her. But she is so easy-going that you can sit on her back and just veg out while she munches. Yesterday the kids came down for a visit.
The Supervisor hopped on Ona to survey her little kingdom.
The Kingdom met with her approval.
Ona wasn't bothered in the least bit by her tiny passenger.
And THAT measures the True Value of a horse.
Monday, June 07 2010
Sunday Afternoon Drive!
We hitched Ona and her old pairs partner, Magic, together again. They haven't worked as a team in almost 3 years. What a cute pair!
Magic on the left. Ona on the right.
For those of you who asked about George the chicken: The hen survived her ordeal with the Very Loving Slobbery White Dog. As far as we can see, she hasn't been in the back yard since.
Friday, June 04 2010
Yesterday Yours Truly bought a present for herself. (cuz my 4Runner has 232,737 miles on it!) It's used! (cuz I'm cheap and don't like to pay New Truck prices!) I'm so excited! I haven't had a new used truck in forever!
Ain't she purrty!
Look from this angle!
Makes a farmgirl's heart go pitty-pat!
Note: You have to buy the Border Collie and the hay separately.
Disclaimer: Border Collie is NEVER allowed to ride in the back of the truck anywhere but around the pasture. Despite the obvious fact that it's a safety issue, Border Collie likes her leather seats and air conditioning.
Tuesday, June 01 2010
I cannot begin to tell you how much fun it is to learn draft horse skills when you have an experienced horse. Ona never gets flustered when I fumble getting her harness on and off. Those suckers are HEAVY. Fortunately my horse is short. Gently hoisting that harness onto her back is tricky and I cannot imagine trying to harness one of the Percherons by myself.
Yesterday we had our first lesson in pulling a log. I worried that since Ona had been a carriage horse, this might not be something she was familiar with, but I shouldn't have had concerns. She was a champ and made me look like I knew what I was doing.
No, this is not us pulling the log. I wanted to get pictures but Other Half argued that we had around 200 pictures from the day before and we did NOT need pictures of Ona pulling the log. (Now I wish he had taken them!)
In reality, although I call it a log, it's actually a long pole with an eye hook in the end. The weight isn't necessary because she's out of shape, and I just need something for her to pull while I practice my driving. There are real cut trees out there that we'll work our way up to when she's in better shape and I feel more confident!
That shouldn't take too long, Ona is a patient mare and a wonderful teacher!