Saturday, August 22, 2009

basil, pigs and millet

tabitha and i processed most of the basil. picking each leaf from each plant got a little tedious. we decided that a bottle of wine was in order. we had great fun chatting and plucking basil leaves. tabitha's new food processor is great. we just fill it with leaves and pulse it on for a few minutes. the end result is a chopped puree. we filled a dozen half pints and another ten full pints. these will go into the freezer for later cooking exploits. tabitha makes the most wonderful meat balls with this stuff. it is also ready to be made into pesto after a little thaw.

it almost like having fresh basil all winter.

meet link and patty.

they are pretty cute and in the old pen for now. i have to get a few more pallets before get started on the new permanent pen.

i have some molasses to put on the water fountain nipple to get them to start using it. jocelyn is curious about it since sweet grain is coated with molasses. henry is monitoring all these activites.

the new pen will be adjacent to the garden on the barn end. there is a large old stump that i'd like them to root out. if they manage to clear that area we'll expand the garden that direction in some future. speaking of expanding the garden one of our huge oak trees got hit by lighting. it'll die for-sure. that tree shaded part of our garden but made a nice shady spot in the front yard. we'd never have cut it down since the benefits of the tree outweighed the shade that it cast on the garden. it is a bitter sweet thing.. we'll likely plant a paulina empress dragon tree in a similar spot. closer to the driveway so it shades that area but not to encroach on the garden too much. i really like a ginko tree there but they grow so slowly. the jury is still out since the tree isn't gone yet.

tabitha's father has a large field of millet that he has been nurturing all summer.

it looks beautiful. we might try to get some of that hay for jocelyn for the winter.

it is so healthy and looks tasty. we are going to research the feed quality since milk cows require tons of protein.
kassi found a flower.

there were plenty to choose from.

here mike and tabitha are negotiating millet futures.

doesn't it look wonderful?

the lighting strike, happened at the same instant that the electric garage door opener gave up the ghost and our water heater failed. coincidence? it was so scary when it struck. it was only thirty feet from the house. thankfully it wasn't our house tree. we have a huge tree that shades our house and when that one dies it will be a sad day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

we need another great pyrenees

we need another great pyrenees dog. henry needs back-up. i have come to so completely trust henry that i don't close up the chickens anymore. i know this is lazy and might come to bite me in the butt. life is just so much easier when you don't have to think about all the animals safety twenty four - seven.

i must admit that henry does bark alot--a whole lot. his bark is loud, deep and penetrating. at first it seemed excessive that he would bark at each passing butterfly or rustling leaf. anymore, it is comforting. i never thought id be able to become accustomed to such a racket. to that end tabitha is not a dog person and similarly feels comforted by his deep warning rumble.

henry takes his job very seriously. he is of a singular focus. having such dedication to his work makes him seem aloof. in fact he is nearly un-trainable. this is not a problem because he is extremely smart and has profound guarding instincts. i have taught him two things. his boundary and that he's not to eat food unless told it is ok by an omelay. the boundary issue was difficult. henry is not to enter the immediate yard even if coaxed by small playmate children. it was a long time in the making but he will not under any circumstances enter the yard open gate or no.

the food thing is important because in a pack the alpha eats first and everyone else waits. i don't want a power struggle with a dog that nearly outweighs me. i contribute these two small training successes to henry's intelligence, breeding and his young age when we got him. he mostly comes when you call him, not always. the best thing about henry is he's not needy. he likes a good pat on the head but could just as easily go without.

for a huge dog he doesn't eat much either and never finishes his bowl of food. when i refill it there are always a few nuggets of food left in his bowl. although he did kill an interloping possum and eat most of it the other day. he defecates at the boundary of his territory. kids playing in the field never step in it.

i will never own another type of dog and only get them at a very young age. we feel very lucky to have henry and might be pushing our luck trying to get another dog but i can't imagine not having the peace of mind that he offers on the farm.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

rome = fever

as tabitha succinctly put it. he has been fussy all night. tabitha and toly have been stirring, probably not getting much rest either.

i came home from work to tabitha curled on the playroom floor in pain. toly threw a heavy board/excommunicated-toy and hit tabitha in the ankle. arnica, ice, and tylenol were immediately applied. today is a bad day to be disabled. there is over two hundred pounds of tomatoes on all the horizontal surfaces in the kitchen. canning must ensue in earnest today. luckily today is my half day.

before we left for S.L. i tried to mow the yard and bent the blade into a fish hook. the yard was so overgrown it looked like no one lives here. i managed to pound/wrench/straighten the blade and mow the little front yard. two dozen bags of clippings later i was bushed. when ever i start the mower the cows come running. they know they are in for a treat, fresh partially chewed grass.

i used some of the lesser quality clippings to mulch around the bee hive. it is easier than weed-eating there--they don't like that. all of our buckwheat is in bloom. strangely, the bees aren't any where to be seen on it. i guess there are better more savory food sources around. i thought bees were supposed to love buckwheat?

i have so much catching up to do around here that i am overwhelmed. we likely get pigs thursday and i am nowhere near ready for them. the feeder must repaired. the new water fountain must be built. i'll hopefully post about those activities. i need to finish mowing, the mower already has trouble mowing a swath without bogging down. late fall garden must be prepared and planted. tomato rows must be taken down and burned. most importantly tabitha will need help canning.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

there is no place like home

we are home and home is good. we had a wonderful stay with tansy and co. our kids love their kids. in fact toly cried the last hour on the way home, he wanted to go back to tansy's. he wouldn't get out of the car for fifteen minutes demanding that this was the wrong place.

our trip went well. toly's test results have yet to reach my ears, most likely tuesday. he was diagnosed with epilepsy and has to go on anti seizure meds. scary warnings all over that stuff... the test went beautifully, better than imaginable. toly sat there while the technician attached all those electrodes to his head. then he fell right asleep as necessary for the test.

we did go to the zoo and it was great.

our first stop was to visit tansy at her farmers market before leaving her area.

toly might be a plumber someday.

kassi liked all the pretty flowers

we had excellent lemonade

finally we re-piled into the van and headed for the city.

very exciting business.

yes, this is tristan with his new haircut.

toly got so excited

a gentle learning moment.

rome was fascinated by it all.

the day before we left kassi got stung by a brown recluse spider. she got very sick and swelled up like a puffer fish. i was scared to death. we went to the emergency room with her. they couldn't do anything for her. luckily tansy came to the rescue with a poultice and she started on the mend immediately. she looks great here just a few days later.

here is the classic zoo photo. the day was very sunny and hot.

even the shade offered little reprieve.

the obligatory squint eyed camels in the back drop photo.

we were quite the troupe.

toly was nearly uncontainable, fences schmences i want a closer look.

the carousel was a big hit. i stood next to toly and made sure he didn't fall. a look of sweet bliss came over his face. he reached up and put his arm around my neck and said "I love you daddy." that is what makes it all worth while.

cute boy having the best time.

romneya marched around and had a blast.

it is hard to catch the while gang. this is the closest i came.

tristan enjoyed it too.

a much braver second round.

kassi frolicking while sitting.

look one hand.

another highlight was the cool-down fountain.

rome got into the act right away

loud screeches could be heard for miles.

romes little baby dance.

toly gradually warmed up to the idea.

all four of them

this straw came out of this cup daddy.

eaten by the wild hippo

caught in the giant spider web

the three of them running non-stop to the top of the slide

rome needed his shoes on those soft baby feet.

big strong six and 364/365ths year old boy.


monsanto's genetically engineered beetle. you'd better buy their pesticide or else.

too much fun was had by all. we stopped by meramac cave on the way home to cool off. the kids got down right chilly. the camera chip was in the laptop, sorry no photos.

monday will be the day of deep cleaning and dislodging any spiders from their habitat.
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