Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saturday Around the Farm

This is my third attempt at goat milk ice cream. This is chocolate. I don't' care for it. The honey-vanilla and the orange buttermilk were, by far, the best ...but I wanted to try making chocolate. This was done with a very good and expensive chocolate candy bar(3.5 oz) but I think that it needs to have the whole goat milk with more butterfat or added cream in it. I'm not including the recipe until I research this some more. It tasted like a fudge bar only it's very icy and tastes grainy. Even the Prospector, who loves chocolate ice cream is not eating much of it. I will work on it.

The veggie garden is doing great now that we are finally getting some sunshine and warm days. My uncle's zucchini and beans, that he sent me seeds for, are growing well and I think we will have a good crop soon. The 'matos , as my grandson calls them, are forming and the Basil is growing wonderful fat leaves for the Pesto that I will make with it.
That's Freckles in the distance. She's eyeing my fig tree. It's like candy to her. She leans as far as she can, over the fence, and prunes the branches for me so the figs will grow bigger. Oh yes! She has a "leaning" for vegetable gardening. We call her the gardener goat around here....always watching for stray branches and leaves that need harvesting.
"Frecks!! Don't even think about it. Go eat some grass."

And Carl is still trying to figure out what happen, above the chicken coop, the other night. He's such a thinker. Maybe he will figure it out and enlighten us. It's a mystery that boggles the mind.... as things in our lives can sometimes.
The wind is blowing very strong from the north today, but it is a warm wind and very drying. Now the fire worries start. It's the beginning of Summer. It's the time of dry grass and conserving water. The creeks will dry up and all the beautiful grasses and wildflowers will become tinder for a careless cigarette or camp fire.
I don't care for Summer anymore than my Chocolate goat milk ice cream but, as with every season, it will bring something good too. Fresh vegetables and sun ripened tomatoes that I don't have to buy in the store; rides to the river for a picnic and falling asleep on the river beach in the shade; sitting in the river on a rock panning for gold. Finding more than one egg in the chicken house (the hens seem to lay better in the summer), taking an early walk with Annibel and playing with the pupsters on the lawn. Watering the garden early in the morning and watching the bumblebees in the Dahlias. And then there will be the wild blackberries for pies later on.
It's good to have seasons. It's good to live in the moment and be thankful for the day... Sometimes it's hard to find the good things but there is always something.... if you look.
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Friday, June 11, 2010

A Mysterious Farm Story

Something horrible happened out here the night before last. Right where my little grandson was walking and playing last weekend.  These are the unexplained things that happen when you live in the country, surrounded by wilderness and wild critters.This is one of many incidents without the wherefore.
Wednesday night I let the dogs out front for the last time before bed. It was almost completely dark, except for the porch light. This is the enclosed area called the front garden,where there is a small lawn and it's completely fenced so the dogs are confined to only this small "playground" area when we let them outside, especially at night.
The minute they got out the door they started acting funny. Both ran out to the lawn, lifted their heads to some scent in the air, and became very quiet. Cutter sat down and Carl walked over to the big iron fence that looks out toward the driveway. There was absolute silence.
Now, when I sense that something is dangerously close to the Corgi pups I usually spring into action, picking up one and calling the other to "Come get a biscuit" and we returned to the house immediately. They are so conditioned that they usually do their "duty" and come right back in. Not Wednesday night.
Before I could walk over to Carl I heard something up near the chicken house. A rustling movement and then a horrible animal scream and growling. It was like nothing I had ever heard before... a piercing scream of something being attacked by another animal. We hear lots of night noises and recognize most of them. The foxes mating, the crunch of deer walking through the brush, the owls, the coyotes, crickets, frogs and birds, all making their night cadences that flow into the songs of darkness.
But this was a song of attack. The lyrics were clear and the style was death metal.
I grabbed Carl, who was, as I picked him up, growling low under his breath. I ran to the porch and called Cutter who, by the grace of dog saints, came up onto the porch with me. I opened the screen door and put Carl down inside, reached around and grabbed Cutter. We all went into the safety of the living room. I could still hear the horrible sounds. I yelled to the Prospector, who was getting ready for bed, told him what I had heard and ran out the back door to see what this was and if the goats were OK.
This is never done in complete foolishness. The area between the house and garage (and where the goat house is) has always been a safe zone. It's completely fenced and the only way we can see the area above the chicken house is to go out to a gate between the garage and the goat house and there we have a clear view of what might be happening. And, USUALLY, the Prospector is right behind me with the rifle.
When I reached the fence, I could hear the horrible screaming and an undercurrent of growling. I could see... nothing. The attack was happening up the trail above the chicken house far enough that I could not see into the darkness. I listened, knowing that Annibel was in the garage where we put her every night and that the goats were standing at the door of their house looking at me and being completely silent..
The noise moved up the hill.... became more distant and then it stopped. You could have heard a pine needle drop.
Nothing moved, nothing made a sound. I realized that I was holding my breath and I let the air out, taking another deep breath in. I was actually in a state of heightened awareness probably from the deep breathing. It was probably what the youngsters call an "adrenalin rush". The goats were still watching me silently. The Prospector was NOT behind me with the gun.
Later on, as I fell asleep, I listened to the night sounds outside the open window. We never heard the screaming again. Whatever happen, it was fast, efficient and primal. I never saw them. I have no idea what the conclusion was. They were gone without the usual leftovers, without signs, without explanation.

Even the next morning, Annibel was still in a state of high awareness and wouldn't walk with me to the orchard. She kept looking around and up the hill, sniffing the rocks, walking cautiously and had a fearful look on her face.

Even the chickens were acting spooky and looking up toward the field of battle....
I have no idea what happened. I doubt that this was a mountain lion because there would have been some signs of the attack.... fur, feathers, footprints, scratches, etc. There was nothing. Maybe I'm fooling myself. A friend, up above Pioneer said that a lion killed a neighbor's Llama recently.
My guess is that it was a fox. We have had two feral cats coming around here and have not been able to catch them. They have been hanging around for water and we have seen them in the yard at night. I think it might have been a fox attacking one of the cats. Or... two foxes fighting over some cat food that we forgot outside on a table. Or... a coyote attacking something. Or... as you can see, I really have no idea. Only my imagination and the memory of that awful screaming. Oh, that screaming. It's a reminder of where we live and how much we take it for granted.
I lost the romance a long time ago when we had the deer eat my roses to the ground before we had fences. I lost the "Bambi" attitude the first time I took a walk, at dark, and had a deer stomp its feet at me and make a huffing noise like a steam train from the bushes, as I walked by. I know how dangerous this place is where we live. Every once in a while we are reminded of this. I respect the creatures that were here first. I know that we are the intruders.
The Prospector said that he heard the noise, thought it was two foxes, and didn't follow me outside because he knew I wouldn't go past the fence. He said he was at the window the whole time until I came back in. I still think he should have been behind me with the gun. But, I always did love a good western adventure story... where the cowboy saves his woman and there's a happy ending.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Want to go on a picnic?

I haven't done a Vintage Thursday for quite a while so I thought I would do one on my "picnic baskets". I don't really use them for picnics but I could. They are big, charming and obviously well made because they are all old and most of them are in very good shape. I have three that are very similar(above). Two of them are very similar. Even the lids open the same way and are hinged in the back so the whole lid lifts up and out of the way. The one on the upper left has a different pattern on the woven sides and hinges about 1/3 of the way across the top. It also has a fancy silvery strip around the top.

This one was my Moms. I like the texture and pattern on this one. The pale creme color is not like most picnic baskets so it might be newer. It's also in very good shape. Mom would carry her wonderful pies in it and anything that she was taking to someone's house for dinner. They are so handy for so many things and you can stack them. They are the perfect clutter collectors and good looking besides.

This basket was a "find". I bought it many years ago at an estate auction and I haven't seen one since that was similar. I don't remember what I paid for it, but I have never paid more than $20. for any of the others.
This one has all the plastic dishes, cups and utensils inside it and the handles and frame are wood. I love the green woven pattern. I would have showed you the inside but it's very high above a closet and VERY dusty. Taking it down would require a major cleaning project with a big ladder and I'm waiting until I pass away so I don't have to deal with it.
If you like these picnic baskets check this sight out. I would love to collect all of them but they're very expensive and I would have to find a place to put them. But, maybe just one?
I use these baskets for everything. I store my craft supplies in them. The grand kids have their special toys in one. I keep one in my bedroom for miscellaneous clutter. The green one sits up there collecting dust but ,one of these fine warm days, we might decide to pack a picnic and drive our new '38 Chevy sedan down to the river , spread a blanket and eat our lunch by the side of the Mokelumne River. We could use another one to pack the puppies in.
I might even make a cherry pie....
Wanna come?

Check out Colorado Lady's blog for other Vintage Thingies Thursday posts.
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Wordless Wednesday: Shattered Window

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Happy B'day Luv

Happy Birthday, you ol' Prospector.
From all the critters....and me too.
I love you.
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Monday, June 7, 2010

Freak Accident

Will you look at this? Some days just have a mind of their own. This is the sliding door window after being hit by a rock. Thank goodness these are double panes windows because the window on the inside is still intact.

The Prospector was weed eating down the hill, a long way from this window, but somehow a small rock was thrown clear up to the house and it hit the window with the force of a torpedo. I was in the computer room and I heard the rock hit. It was like gun shot. As I ran into the living room to see what the heck was going on, Carl ran past me, in the other direction.

This is where I found him.
So today, not only do I have a stupid DENTIST APPOINTMENT, but we have to have a window replaced. Some days just seem to start on the wrong side of the bed, don't they?
I think I will join Carl....
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Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Prayer for my Aunt Reba.

My dear aunt, who lives in  Junction City, Oregon, near Eugene, sent me this beautiful postcard . She is going through Chemotherapy twice a month for 6 months. and I would like everyone out there to say a little prayer for her today. She is a wonderful person and doesn't complain about her circumstances, but those of us who have gone through Chemo know how it wears you down and makes you so very tired. Please think about her today and think good thoughts for her.

Dear Aunt Reba,
please remember to rest often, let others help you and always... ".. walk hand in hand with nature and draw upon it's energy, which is never-ending and as constant as the stars."

Click on the postcard to read the "Walk on the Beach.." by Peter Dueber
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