"People from a planet without flowers
would think we must be mad with joy the whole time
to have such things about us."
~Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat

Friday, August 13, 2010

Brownie Comes Through

As usual, Brownie deals with adversity in his own unique way. The photo above shows him with his arrant horn growing into his eye. The photo on the right is Brownie showing off his symmetric handsomeness for People Magazine.... well, not really... but I'm sure he wishes it was so.
I had a meeting yesterday morning so the Prospector and our neighbor "D" drove Brownie down to the Bradshaw Veterinary Clinic in Elk Grove and, without taking him out of the trailer and without any sedative, they removed half of his horn. What a goat!! He just stood there while the assistant held his head steady and the Vet use a small flexible saw that quickly removed the offending horn. No pain, no blood, no bandage and no "drama queen" theatrics. He was the perfect gentleman. The vet told the Prospector that older goats don't always bleed and that this part of the horn was like a fingernail. The deed was done before Brownie had time to think about it.
When he arrived at home he was given extra hay and he got a very interesting reaction from the other goats...
Bart's little temper tantrum, yesterday, turned into care and concern. They touched noses and I swear that Bart was saying, "Sorry, Brownie. I was just worried about you. I didn't know where you were going and I'm so glad you're back." There was a genuine display of affection from Murphy and Freckles too.  It was very interesting. I think goats are very intelligent creatures and their reputation for being somehow connected to the devil, with cloven hooves and Satan horns, is absurd.
I'm always putting words into their mouths, but it's only with my human way of thinking.  I do this knowing that  these animals have their own way of communicating with each other and how they view the world is a mystery to humans. I'm in awe of how they interact with each other and how they live in a world that will always lie beyond our understanding. We are only their caretakers.
"Yes Brownie. We will always take care of you, Bart, Murph' and Freckles. You are a proud goat and no matter how much trouble you cause, how many times you jump the fence and how often you try to pull rank on the other goats....We will always love you. Your symmetry is back to normal and your eye has been saved. Is that side long glance a thank you, Brownie? If it is....You're welcome."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My troubled goat

If it isn't one thing, it's something else with Brownie, our Nubian wether. As you know, Brownie is always trying to be the best, the strongest, the boldest and the most obnoxious goat at Three Dog Farm. He is the one that we spend the most money on at the vet. He's the one that gets into my vegetable garden....and he's the one goat who always has to have the last word.... He's the goat with an attitude.
Tomorrow we have to take him back to the vet AGAIN. His right horn is moving in the wrong direction and is growing into his eye. Yes, of all the directions this horn could have grown, it's heading right for his eye. These photos were taken a week ago and the horn is even closer today than the photos show.

This morning the prospector has gone over to the goat farm to borrow a trailer. Tomorrow we will drive down to Elk Grove to the large animal vet. They will sedate Brownie, cut the horn back and bandage it. We went through this procedure last year with his other horn. It went smoothly and Brownie thought he was on a great adventure. He was really good and pranced around like the "show pony" that he thinks he is.
He wasn't suppose to have horns. We had the horns of all four goats removed when they were babies. Without horns they don't hurt each other and they don't get caught in the fence. Brownie's horns kept growing back and by the third time we decided to let them grow. BIG MISTAKE. We have had nothing but trouble. I would guess because they were removed three times (and started growing over again) that they began growing in odd directions. That's the problem. They couldn't just grow back and look majestic like a proud mountain goat..... Oh no! They have to grow all cattiwompus and back into the side of his face. Good grief!
So tomorrow we will take him down to the vet and spend some more money on him because  regardless of the attitude we get from him, we love him and this is just what you do when you love your animals. You pull out the old credit card and bite the bullet.

This is what Bart thinks of Brownie's dilemma.  He said, and I quote,....." Brownie is always grandstanding. He wanted those horns so that he could act like he was king of the hill around here. Serves him right. I never have anything wrong with me and I'm stronger. I would like to go for a ride too sometime. Pspitt!! "

It's OK Bart. We love you too.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Concertina Eggcup Song and the Button Mouse

As some of my friends and family know, I have a wanderlust that is only restricted by my upbringing and common sense.... and  (if I'm honest) too many animals and "stuff". There are many times when I have wanted to move just for the sake of seeing life from a different point of view. I have moved eight times in the last 40 years and still think that there must be a thousand places that I have to see before I die. I don't like to vacation much because you don't really get the essence of a place if you don't stay for a while.... and I don't like to fly.
  Most of this desire is inside of me and under control as long as I'm living in a beautiful environment. I think that a lot of this gypsiness, this nomadic DNA, came from my father who loved to travel and, if not for my mother, would have lived in many different places. He always wanted to travel and I suspect that if he had stayed in the Navy after WW2, we would have gone to many places and seen many parts of the world. I would have love this. I would have made a great "Army brat". My mother and sister... not so much.
My point in telling you this is because I have found a blog that helps me weather the attacks of wanderlust that hit me frequently. The name of the blog is The Hermitage and the author is a young woman named Rima. She is an artist and she travels with her husband, around the English countryside, in an old bus that has been made into a home. Please take a look at this blog and, if you have any wanderlust in you at all, you'll love the stories of this couple's way of life and the people they meet.
I have sent for her prints and she always includes a small extra print and a card with a note thanking me for my purchase.
This is one that I had framed. Beware of having prints professionally framed. The framing was more expensive than the print. But I love the results.
Please notice the goat.... It's name must be Brownie because it is on top.

This was my last order. Two of Rima's mice. Her critters are different and a bit strange. So it is with her humans. There is a unique vision in the alteration of life in her work. I love looking at the details...like buttons for wheels and framing the drawing in what appears to be an old torn card. Something about her drawings bring the weight of life into focus. This "weight" never overpowers her drawings, but adds a quiet, fragile grace to her visions and produces a world of wit and creativity.
Please visit her website and enjoy the last story about "Outsider Art". It's an amazing post about some older woman artists who live their art. 
How many of us have a lifestyle that reflects our artist vision? How many of us live what we feel inside?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Grape Thoughts

Wisdom doesn't automatically come with old age. Nothing does - except wrinkles. It's true, some wines improve with age. But only if the grapes were good in the first place.

The grape vines are producing with vigor this year. I think we might have enough to make wine but this is not our goal. We have planted them for beauty and for eating. I wish I could send the fragrance and the taste of these grapes to you with this post. It's the wonderful taste of summer. These grapes are "good in the first place" and would make great wine.


Wisdom does not come automatically. As with growing grapes, it takes effort and time. I know that there is a certain amount of nurturing and care to achieve a final product. Before all of this, there has to be acceptance and love for what you do. It's an effort that produces insight. It's the reward.... after you water and care for the soul of things.
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