Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It feels like Heaven

After a day of running errands my suburban pulled down the long gravel drive. Feeling the gravel under my tires was like a breath of fresh air... a sigh of relief... I couldn't wait to be home.

I drove straight down to the barn. As I turned the corner and passed the freshly plowed ground where our garden will soon be flowing beautiful green plants with fresh vegetables, I was excited that summer is just around the bend as well.

I unloaded the straw and pine shaving from the back hatch then proceeded to let Jasmine out of the barn. I scattered the straw on the newly seeded ground and then decided to spring clean the hen house. After shoveling out old bedding and replacing it with the new, I washed all of the feeders and washed the window. I then shoveled out the old bedding from Jasmine's stall after staking a poplar tree I accidentally ran over not to long ago.

After the work was finished I laid down in the emerald green grass with the warm sun beating down on my face. I closed my eyes and listened to the faint sounds of chickens clucking birds singing and Cat Stevens playing on the radio in the back ground. I open my eyes to soak up the scenery to see down the hill directly in front of me the children playing in the left over mud hole, to my left Milo laying in the grass pawing at a twig and to my right my new best buddy Jazz snuggling close to my leg. I took a deep breath of satisfaction... and then once again peacefully I shut my eyes. The day felt like heaven.

No wonder the gravel beneath my tires feel's so sweet... There really is no other place on earth like home...

Monday, March 29, 2010


This is what a sleeping Angel looks like.....

Saturday, March 27, 2010

One of these days...

This past fall my husband and I started plotting our summer get away. "This year we will do it, no matter what", we said. I now understand why farmers never get to take a vacation. Another year will have to pass before we get our week long retreat. What brought me to this realization, you might be asking? There is not enough hours in the day.

Friday I had my head buried in bucket emptying every last bit of contents with in my stomach all the while cursing anything that I could have came in contact that could have possibly transferred such a vile germ. Now less than 42 hours later I am unwinding from a busy day of meeting soccer obligations, parental obligations, tending to animals, staining buildings and mowing. How does anyone even have the time to get sick much less take a vacation!?

Even simple tasks like driving to Nashville for a day of museums seems to be an inconvenience to leaving the homestead. As leaving the house for a day would have to be scheduled far in advanced. The animals would have to have their water buckets and living quarters cleaned the night before. We would have to make sure that we leave after the morning feedings are completed and arrive back home before the animals are ready to be tucked in for the night. The animals are just the small obstacle. We have gardens to turn, seeds to be planted, equipment maintenance that needs to be tended too, windows to be washed, a back porch to be painted... trust me, this list goes on and on.

My husband and I are both workers. We enjoy hard work. We can not stand to not have some sort of project going. That's just our nature.

One of these days we will figure out how to put down the hammer and nails to do something that is worth making a little extra time for, Whether it be a visit to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center or watching a Predators hockey game, spending the day at the museum or just having a day to carelessly hang our heads in a bucket....

One of these days... One of theses days we will make the time...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Where are You?

This morning I went searching for any signs of springs arrival. I was a little pissed that I had to put on my long johns and wool socks before starting this mission. I am so ready for springs arrival!

I found a few traces of her...
This wouldn't be a spring post if I didn't have a photo of the daffodils in bloom.

The deer have been erasing the signs of spring in the orchard by continuing to prune back any signs of growth. I decided to go down to the mini orchard to see if our vile concoction of deer repellent is working... Apparently the deer have a great disgust for moth balls garlic and human hair. There hasn't been a branch broken since the first application! Along with sliced up Irish Spring soap thrown about the perimeter, this mixture worked fairly well on the garden last year.

A freshly plowed garden is a sign spring is right around the corner... Plowing the garden is our way of calling out to spring, telling her that we are prepared for her arrival. This past weekend we had the garden plowed. I was relieved to finally have this task completed but now it is a looming reminder of the tomatoes I have yet to start in the house.

Jasmine also helped me search for spring...

"No Jasmine, Spring is not hiding in the chicken house"
Suddenly, I am very thankful that we didn't put that doggie door in.

Our spring "Barred Rockingtons" chicks have feathered out nicely...
(Barred Rockington is our pet name for our mongrel chickens)

Until Springs full arrival, I will settle for the sun peeking through the clouds...


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Got to Love Suzanne Mcminn

Chickens in the Road, is one of the very first blogs I started reading. I have read it for over a year now and I love her stories. Maybe I am a big fan of Suzanne Mcminn because us West Virginia girls got to stick together (she lives in my home town) or maybe its because she is just a good writer. Either way... I think you all should check her out.

I have to say that a recent post of hers had me rolling. Maybe it is my sick sense of humor or just her cleverness but it was by far one of the funniest things I have ever read....or seen for that matter. But fair warning there were a few times I felt the need to hold my hands over my eyes and just peak through the gaps in my fingers... for my virgin eyes could not handle such graffic details. Refering to Blog Post; Thats Dominatrix to You, Buddy

Check her out at

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In the Dark there is a Light... Somewhere

Some of us were handed a flaming candle at birth, to light the way and others are born into darkness. But have no doubt we were all born with a precious heart that bleeds just the same. Some fall from the darkness that surrounds them for there is no light to lead the way. Those born into the darkness make it through from the shinning light of others.....

There was a bank robbery today. We were actually running errands in the area this morning. We missed the action with in a matter of an hour.

The bank robbers were chased down by the police. Shots were exchanged. One man was shot and killed, the other in a moment of desperation turned his gun on himself. In the end two misguided souls paid the ultimate price for a bad decision.

This is very disheartening. This is primarily a rural area. There is this small town mentality here. The names have yet to be released. So it is safe to say everyone is waiting.

These men were not just bank robbers, they were frustrated misguided people probably at their wits end. They were someones friend a grandson and a son. No doubt, they were somebody to someone...

My heart not only aches for these lost men, not just for their families but for the ones that were backed into a corner, the ones that had to make that final call.

Maybe I would feel differently if my loved ones were caught in the midst of the cross fire. Maybe I am wrong to have sympathy, but in this day in age when times are hard, I feel that labels no longer matter. They shouldn't have mattered before but definitely not now. There is no longer a good and a bad but only the lost and the ones that found their way. The only difference between us and them is the candle in our hands. This isn't about religion, this is about goodness... and sharing it.

Today I am reminded not to hog my light but pass it around as we all are walking along the the same


"A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
- Albert Einstein

"A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."
- Martin Luther King Junior

Monday, March 15, 2010

Deer Tracks

Some of my earliest memories as a little girl was sitting on the stool next to my dad's work bench and watching him do wood crafts. I remember the smells of singed wood, the sound of the saw and the pounding of a mallet. I would sit in awe as he would take a solid block of wood and mold it into something beautiful.

I remember my dad teaching me the different types of wood carving tools and different techniques he used. Around age seven or eight, I was allowed to use a wood burner and the chisels. As I recall there were a few nights that my mom would sit up with me holding an ice pack to my hand as I would fight back the tears but those accidents were just apart of the learning process. I never wanted to complain because I love being out there working right beside my dad.

As years went by school friends and boys allowed very little time in the shop. Soon I started to forget most of what my dad had taught me. It wasn't until I was much older, that I regretted my time away.

One evening, my dad had been in the shop working on a cabinet end piece for my aunts new kitchen. I watched him of the course of several nights take a slab of oak and yet again mold it into something beautiful. I was reminded of my roots and yearned to go back to the days of being the little girl, working beside my dad. I asked him to teach me once again. And so he did....


I worked on an impression set of deer tracks first, using a Dremel, carving knives and files. The end result I was pretty pleased with. After mastering my first lesson, my dad gave me another challenge. He handed me a box of checkering tools. After a week of cussing... I decided I wasn't into checkering.

I then decided that we should just skip on to my third lesson, bas relief. I again used the deer tracks because they are extremely simple. On a practice piece of walnut I first used the Dremel to get my lay out. Then I used the chisel and mallet to chip away the outer edge. I wasn't as pleased with this piece. I could have cleaned it up a little better, looking over it I see several things I need to go back and do. As my dad always says, "Carving is easy, take a picture and then remove everything that doesn't fit. You can always take away but you can never put it back." I think tomorrow I will finish it...


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Trimming Goat Hooves 101

Lesson in Trimming Goat Hooves 101

Trimming goat hooves can be a fairly easy project. The easiest way to do this successfully is to follow one step... the rest is pretty simple.

1. Do not stab yourself in the hand with a pair of freshly sharpened hoof trimmers.

- You will bleed...a lot.

Lesson in Trimming Goat Hooves 102;
Stabbing Yourself in the Hand While Trimming Goat Hooves

1.If you decide to go against better judgement and stab yourself such as discussed in Lesson in Trimming Goat Hooves 101 but stab yourself with an old rusty dull pair of trimmers, please make sure you have had your tetanus shot first...

2. Keep a first aid kit handy.

- If you are like me, its best to have someone around who knows you better than you know yourself. Like for instance my Dad. He knows me fairly well. He put a first aid kit in my barn last week. You know, "just in case" I needed it..... Thanks Dad! ;)

If you can remember these important steps while trimming goat hooves you should be golden, the rest is pretty self explanatory.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Typical Weekend

This morning we went to my brothers house in Mt Juliet, Tennessee. He had several field stones that he needed removed and it just so happened that we were needing a few for our new pal Jazz.

The turkeys in the neighbors field were putting on quite a show. These two gobblers were in the midst of a tussle. Unfortunately they were just too far away. By the time my zoom caught up to them, the tiff subsided.

The deer were showing their butts and wouldn't pose for a picture.

Milo laid around all day snoozing on the butchering stump. Once the ghost of headless chickens past comes to visit him maybe he will get up and actually do something.
He doesnt look like he will be moving anytime soon.

Jasmine tried to help me put down pine shavings in the chicken coop but she was really in the way.

The babes had fun digging worms out of the compost pile.
I'm happy they are outside kids verses inside video game kids. It makes me feel like at least I am doing something right.

Jasmine is so cute but I really dont think the pictures I have taken show her true colors.
Goats are worse than kids... Be still Jasmine!!!

Awe... I love you too kid...

Sorry folks, thats as good as it gets... Its just another day in the backwoods of Tennessee.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Beer and Pizza After the Game? Didnt Think so...

I always knew my big mouth would get me in trouble. What can I say? It was a given. It was only a matter of time. {sigh}

I am one of those mothers that is a little too enthusiastic while watching my daughter play soccer. Enthusiastic may not be the most accurate word for it but I think that I'm just going to go with it. Anyways, apparently my enthusiasm was misinterpreted last season. They asked if I would coach this year. I have to say I was shocked. I just always assumed that if Parks and Recreation called it would be more less for a notice of a civic restraining order or something along those lines.

Maybe I should go a head and clarify. I wouldn't really say I am competitive because I'm really not. Really. I swear! I never played a lot of sports in school and despised watching them (Except Hockey. Who doesn't like a good fist fight right?) until my daughter started playing soccer. Before, I just didn't get entertainment or excitement from it. Now, I completely understand! I completely understand why my dad and brother would be standing up yelling to the top of their lungs when WVU would mess up crystal clear pass or when they would be curled up in the fetal position after they lost what should have been an easy win. Although I cant explain it, I get it now. But for some reason, unfortunately that same enthusiasm isn't necessarily welcome in the juvenile sports world (especially soccer).

What were these people thinking, asking me? They must be desperate. But no matter the desperation, didn't any of the board members noticed that none of the other parents would even sit next to me last season? I'm a screamer. I can help it. I have tried to tone it down a bit. As I recall there was one game last season that I weakly attempted to keep my mouth shut the entire game. By the way, I don't think that idea came to me all on its own, I am pretty sure it was suggested. That game was hell on me. Hell!

Instead of rooting for my baby girls team and coaching from the side lines (yeah, by the way her coach love me too) my pent up yelling energy was redirected to constant pacing... which was just as annoying for me as my yelling was for everyone else. You see I had to make a choice... start hollering or spontaneously combust right there in front of all those poor little kids. It was for their own little innocent eyes that I chose to open my mouth again.

With all that said, you are probably wondering why on earth did I say "ok". Well, I love watching these kids play and with out a coach some kids could have missed out this year. Plus its just a lot of fun for everyone. Its going to be one heck of a season and Lord help us all!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A difference a day makes

Winning the trust and affections of an animal must be up there on the list of greatest victories!

Just a few short days ago I felt my faith dimming. The prospects that Jasmine may ever come around seemed like a cruel joke that my optimistic nature was playing. It felt as though I was in way over my head, drowning in the ideals that lead me a stray. The lovely voice of my optimism was waning. I felt defeated.

Today the spring breeze blew magic into our Tennessee air. You could feel it dancing in the meadow, circling our every move. I just knew something great was going to happen. And something amazing did happen!

This morning I took Jasmine out of her goat stall for some fun in the sun time. Instead of keeping her on a short lead I clipped her to an extremely long lead. This allowed her to roam but also allowed me to catch her if necessary. Each step she took I followed. I stayed as far enough away as not to spook her but just enough room for her to browse freely without being free from an urgent grip.

Although watching Jasmine eat is tons of fun, I am very easily distracted. So after a while I decided I would leave her in the fence while I walk down to the orchard to check out our deer damage. Just as I stepped out of view I heard her crying. I glanced over the top of the hill to see that she was still standing there unharmed but bawling in my direction. Satisfied that she was safe (and without reading too much into her cries) I continued my inspection and then returned to her. I walked through the gate, then open the barn door. She followed in nicely, happy to be in the comforts and safety of stall.

This evening PJ and Sissy wanted some R and R with Jazz. So we went down to the barn and hooked her on the long lead. We each took turns of walking away from Jasmine and then approaching her slowly. After a few moments of this, she became comfortable enough not to back away from our advances. Then something amazing happened. I walked away from her and she followed me. I walked towards the left. She followed. I walked toward the right. She followed. I ran away from her and she ran behind me. When I came to a screeching halt, she also stopped.

This is big news here people! This affection this companionship this bond, whatever you want to call it, is coming from the same goat that literally would ricochet off a wall trying to escape me just days ago.

It was truly a beautiful moment. The kind of moment when the fairies sprinkle magic friendship dust over your head. You can feel the magic blanket itself around you, entangling the friendship dust in your hair. Your soul is being tugged at, as your spirit is being filled. You cant fight the smile for you know a bond has been made. Like I said, "It was Awesome!"

When the day light started counting down, we had to say our goodbyes. Leaving Jasmine in her stall was a different kind of bitter sweet moment. Sweet because I have tasted the sweet things to come for our friendship but bitter as her cries for me to return echoed in the twilight.

Tonight I rest, for I know now that Jasmine is my friend and I am hers...

*Song; Van Morrison- Have a little faith in me

Monday, March 8, 2010

Photogenic Livestock

Sweet Sunny the pony.

Just a wild Canadian Goose that also likes to be photographed.

The worlds most annoying bird... the guinea... Apparently in some areas of the world they are also known as speed bumps.

Olivia, posing for her picture.

Uncle Joe's Oreo, making his "bedroom" eyes. "Oreo, you just arent my type."

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hay in My Pockets

I am still feeling slightly defeated, although Jasmine is exceeding my expectations. She is catch-able. Of course I have to chase her... I suppose that means that I'm actually exceeding my own expectations. I run faster than I thought.

This morning went much like yesterday and the day before and the day before that! I first tried to bribe her to come to me with treats but instead she looks around the stall planning her escape. Surprise.... no exit. I then toss the treats and grab her. As she thrashes around, I manage to get the lead clipped on her collar. Mildly annoyed I quietly speak to her while I stand there and wait for her to finish with her tantrum. Then I open the stall door and attempt to take my goat for a walk.

"Jasmine, Lets go for a walk", I very pleasantly say.
"Naaaah", she says as she plants herself on the ground.
Jasmine, would you like a treat?"
"Naaaaaaaaaah", she screeches.
"Jasmine would you like me to leave you the hell alone!?"
She cocks her head to the left and says nothing. (imagine that!?)
"Yes, lets go for a walk Jasmine."

Ok, quite honestly my patience was wearing fairly thin by this point. So instead of forcing her (which I am capable of- shes just a baby) I (sort of- not really) patiently lean on the stall door and resorted to internal swearing.

Finally she stands to walk and out to the field we go. The entire time we walked the field I calmly and quietly talked to her... she annoyingly replied to each and every one of my questions with a "naaah". Finally after our (un) pleasantries. Jazz happily returns to her stall.

I have tried to bribe her with treats, with grain, with hay and most importantly kindness. But what can I say? She is a doe of unwavering convictions. Though I admire her for her dedication.... I am starting wonder if she is simply a stubborn goat or a hard headed jack ass.

I wish my patience could be as dedicated as her loathing for me. On that note I think this goat is going to end up teaching me a thing or two!

The left over hay in my pockets is the reminder of yet another day of rejection. I emptied my jacket pockets pondering perhaps another angle to buy her affections. There must be another way!

Then it hits me. The real problem here...

Could it be that I have a clairvoyant goat? Does Jazz know I am internally cussing her stubbornness? Before tomorrows training I better meditate.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010



In the distance I can hear his solemn weeping. The sounds swim around my soul pushing me towards his feverish cries. Finally when I reach him, he swiftly vanishes from with in my embrace. Frantically I search for him but he is never found.

As surely as I hear the crunching of his foot steps, I know he is real. I have seen the creases in his face, the stains in his eyes, the wearing of his spirit. Yet he is but a ghost to me. He is something that can be loved but only from a distance, an untouchable cloud, a fog that slips from my finger tips. Each step I take, the credibility of his flesh fades... Which leads me to wonder, "is this even a man or simply a mirage".

He sees me. I know, for as my sights begin gaze off to the distance, he always returns. With the aspirations never to be forgotten, he yearns to be seen.

The reunion is never painful. It is never sad. It is never resentful from the present lack of other senses, just thankful to have the gift of "sight". Its the aroma of relief.

Only momentarily do I see the soft gentle stare. As the lines across his brow become to furrow, the weeping begins to stir. As I run to him, the sobs shake the earth beneath my bare feet. I struggle, as I know my bones will soon scatter with in the dirt below.

Again, with in my embrace he retreats. Again alone, clutching the omnipresent air.

If the heavens above would allow the touch of clarity then he would really exist or is it only in reality that clarity can exist?

Until my shouts are heard above, I'm sentenced to clutch the air. I'm a hostage to his sobs with nothing to give but my most distant love.

Dedicated to.... The Phantom

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Voices in My Head; The Internal Conflict

Tomorrow, one of our Nubian dairy goats (Jasmine) will be arriving. I am very nervous about getting her. She is very skiddish, almost wild. I keep having these visions of her getting loose and never catching her again. The only reason I agreed to buy her is because of her pedigree. Mistake number one. I am aware of this. I think I may already be having buyers remorse but its still too soon to tell. I will know for sure when every time I look at her I puke.

I am praying that it is my pessimistic imagination running wild again. But.... but what if its not!? What if it is my intuition telling me "BAD IDEA"! My intuition tells me that all the time! You would think I would be familiar with the voice! Naw probably not. I never really listen to the part of my brain. Anyways, I typically dont recognize the screams of my intuition until after that fact.

I keep trying to shake the feeling that I am in over my head. I suppose I will do what I always do when my gut is telling me to step back... Shake it off and merrily skip along forward. I'm hard headed. What can I say!? You cant tell me anything!

Seriously though, I mean how hard could it be? Men have tamed wild grizzly bears before... Right? I mean its just a little goat. How hard could it be?
(Now, all the seasoned goat farmers chuckle)

I am really hoping that when I go to pick her up, she may be nervous but catchable and even maybe just maybe... friendly perhaps? See I recognize that voice. That's the optimistic idealist speaking. I always listen to that voice. Its calm and soothing, all so very serene. Who wouldn't be drawn to that voice? Not like the loud obnoxious screaming voice of my pessimistic intuition! Yes, I just resorted to name calling a part of my subconscious mind. That's right! I called my intuition pessimistic!

"Intuition, Don't you know when you scream no one listens. Why cant you be calm and soothing like the Idealist? Optimistic Idealist never screams. Optimistic Idealist prances merrily along road sides watching the butterflies and smelling the flowers."

"Yeah until a bus runs her over"!

"Intuition, now that just wasn't nice"!

O lord its worse than I thought.... I am actually talking back to the voices!

On a positive note, (that's the optimism speaking again, of course). When my optimistic idealist wins the internal struggle and I (often) find that I am left with a mess on my hands, my optimism is forever present. Its there waiting and truly capable of cleaning up any mess.

Okay, so that soft alluring voice may encourage me to walk into a massive brier patch.{{{Shrug}}} But its also that same bright sunny voice that I can hear over the chain saw as we cut our way through.

The conclusion: I will never learn.

We will get through this together... Just me and you Kid.


Home Grown Deer

I can just imagine what this could possibly look like to the non-outdoorsy hunter gatherer type....


I keep tryin' ta tell daddy that deer don't reproduce this way....

"It ain't gunna work Daddy!!! It just ain't!!!"