Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Midwinter Treat

Today, digging fork in hand, I stepped into the garden and removed several flakes of straw.

Underneath the straw, I found unfrozen ground and bits of green.

So I dug and unearthed worms and dirt and parsnips.

I'll roast them and eat them and pat myself on the back for not getting all of my gardening tasks done in late fall.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

No thumbs? No problem.

When I saw Dewey Kitty lounging on my laptop keyboard, I darted across the room. I intended to grab him and toss his orange furry butt into the laundry room.

But he was quicker than me.

He hopped from the keyboard and left my computer screen looking like this.

I studied the keyboard. What did he hit to make the screen go sideways? (For the record, this is the same cat who hit the return key during an online Scrabble game causing me to "play" an 8-point word.)

I hit keys. The screen remained sideways.

Being the tech genius that I am, I turned off the laptop and turned it back on. Surely that would take care of the problem.

Nope. Still sideways.

I resorted to searching through the control panel. To do that, I had to place the laptop like this.

It made typing difficult.

But I finally found the way to turn the view from portrait to landscape. I was back in business.

And, when Dewey Kitty got top billing as Worst Pet Ever (poor Niki thought she had a chance after dog obedience class last night), I relayed the story to a co-worker, who said:


That's the shortcut key for switching from landscape to portrait view.

We studied her keyboard.

He could do it with three paws, maybe two.

I did not call him Genius.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

January Respite

When the sun shines and temperatures reach into the 40s in January, it's time to celebrate--even if that celebration involves moving manure and hay.

Several days ago, freezing rain created slicks spots and rough going throughout the farm.

The horse paddock turned into an ice rink, and the horses picked their way carefully around the slick spots.

Because of the ice patches in the pastures, the sheep stayed close to the barn.

And, because we were at the in-between stage of not-enough snow and too much ice, I had some rough treks on foot with the dogs.

Mother Nature must have known we needed to erase the ice and snow and start over with winter. So,, she gave us warm temps and sun. It gave us a chance to restock the livestock barn with hay -- and move the manure that had been piling up. I raked up the loose hay and dumped it in piles in the pasture for the horses.

And laughed at the dogs as they played in the sunshine.

And by day's end, we didn't have a completely fresh palette. Some ice remained, but the buckets were clean and free from ice, the stalls were neat and tidy, and a month's supply of hay was stacked in the barn.

And now I anxiously await a fresh coat of snow.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Not all that falls is snow...

The sub-freezing weather hit this week, and I'm breaking ice from buckets and feeding hay, lots of hay.

Most mornings and evenings, I'm pulling another bale from the stack.

While reaching for the far bale in the corner, I'm counting bales. Is there enough hay to get through the week or do I need to move some from the hay storage barn?

Eggs fall on my shoulders.

For more than a week now, while I've been in the warm indoors, a hen has flown over the stall gate and laid eggs on the hay bale.

Lucky for me, it is 3 degrees and the eggs froze long ago.

Is the hen really planning to hatch chicks in January? Or, is she like the cats, the dogs, the humans and horses -- bored and looking for a little excitement in the cold, dark month of January?

She is not around, so I cannot ask her.

Instead, I gather the frozen eggs.

I will defrost them one at a time, and the dogs shall have a January treat.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Hawk, the Dog and the Rabbit

The dogs didn't notice that it was 10 degrees and the wind was gusting at 20 mph.

The Border collies just knew it was late afternoon and time for their walk.

I strapped on my skis and skied toward the field bordered by fence rows and woods. Raven and Niki, the young dogs, tussled and rolled, wrestled and chased; Tag trotted obediently behind me while Caeli dashed for the fence rows, hoping to pop up rabbits hunkered down in the snow.

Caeli spotted the rabbit at the same time as the red-tailed hawk. She darted toward the rabbit and the hawk dropped from his perch in the trees.

About three feet from the rabbit, Caeli saw the descending hawk and stopped. The hawk, seeing Caeli, flapped his wings frantically and moved from a descent to an ascent.

The rabbit hopped to safety and is telling the tale of outsmarting a Border collie and hawk on a cold winter's day.