Friday, August 31, 2007

four day weekend

I'll be away from the internet for a few days. Starting tomorrow I'll be on a small vacation. I'm planning on watching lots of deadwood and gilmore girls, writing, baking, and playing music that annoys the dogs. Maybe I'll smash Lookout Mountain but I'm not making any promises. You kids be good.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Some day, when I have a dozen Suffolks in the pasture I'll have a border collie. And that border collie will be a working dog that shares my home with the no-good rebellious sled dogs. I have already decided his name - Saven. Which is the 6,000 year old Scottish word for Halloween. He'll have yellow eyes, an all black coat, and putz around the farm with me. I can't have a third dog now. I can't have a third dog so much that I turned down a malamute/wolf hybrid puppy a few weeks ago because I know what I can handle. Yes, Jenna Woginrich turned down the chance to have a pet wolf. But I know what I can deal with - and a third big dog can't fit in a subaru, and I can't walk three dogs and stay in control. Jazz and Annie are everything two housedogs can be, and recently came back from their annual check up with rave reviews (minus Annie needed to drop 6 pounds and Jazz needing some dental work). But as far as overall health, they're gangbusters. More dogs means everything gets a little thinner, less attention and personal care. Adding a third dog to the family would make things too hard on me and the Siberians. Who wouldn't understand why Saven got to run outside off leash? And Saven wouldn't understand why Siberians are allowed to jump into a packed car with the sled tied to the top and be outside all day in the winter while he stayed in...

Oh, dogs. If you only knew the half of it this week.

But yes, Saven will be the border collie I hope to share my life with when my life is at a constance. Border collies seem to need more routine and solid ground then Jazz and Annie do. Or maybe I just have decided that a herding dog deserves a herd and I can't offer it to him yet. (I realize that boder collies as pets do not need sheep to be happy, I just want mine to have sheep) But I can offer trails and snow to the dogs in my life now. Maybe I can marry a hobby shepherd and wreck all his plans with dogsledding races and trips to Ireland. If you know this guy, tell him I make great pie.

Monday, August 27, 2007

mountain music for the masses

There are two things necessary for my mental stability - hiking and making music. I need to get outside and walk a few miles every now and again. And I need to be able to pick up an instrument and play it until my fingers hurt. It’s not so important how hard the hike was or how complicated the music gets. What’s important is the self-reliance of creating your own adventure and soundtrack when the mood strikes. If you’re into hiking too, and possibly interested in homemade music (but are convinced you can’t ever learn the guitar, banjo or fiddle) have I got an old friend I’d like to introduce you too…

The Strumstick. It’s basically the love child of the mountain dulcimer and banjo. And it’s made so that every chord you play is part of a chromatic scale. It weighs next to nothing, sounds like something right out of deliverance, and costs less then taking you and a friend out for a steak dinner. I recently got reacquainted with it and have been having a hoot taking it with me on the road or the trail. It’s perfect for back porches, campfires, and the beach and can hold it’s own in a bluegrass jam. You can pick one up from the original creator here, or find a multitude of knock-offs that sound just as good and even look a bit more interesting.

Keep pickin

watch the flock

(sorry about the wind...)

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Meet William. He’s a one-year-old Welsummer rooster, and the newest addition to the farm. While chickens aren’t the most complicated livestock to raise, it does take a little management. Introducing a hard charger like him meant reducing the amount of males in the flock. Two of my silkie roosters found new homes on other small farms. So even though I am adding a new animal, I am now down to fewer birds then when the fair started.

So, William… William was the first place rooster at the fair. His owner, a sweet woman named Judy had a sign on his cage saying he was up for adoption. That he was a little to rough. We talked and decided to trade males. My silkie roosters are good guys and extra calm and gentle. We swapped last night and ended up with guys that better complemented our natures. I figured I could handle and appreciate William just fine. After all, my idea of a great time is being pulled over by wolves with robes. Oley!

After the fair was through, I packed him into the backseat of the Subaru with the help of Judy. When we arrived back at the farm shortly after, I had to decided what to do with him. Generally with hens, I wait till dark to put them in the coop with the others. They are too focused on roosting and going to sleep to care about another chicken cooing next to them. Kinda like if you’re staying at a youth hostel and you’re too exhausted to care at 3 Am if some random kid from Amsterdam rolled out a sleeping bag next to you. Anyway, come morning the new girl learns the routine the others created, and walks out into the world with them. I decided this is what I’d do with Will. While the other girls were scratching about the yard I placed him in the empty coop at dusk. He hated this. He carried on and flapped around like a crazy person. He didn’t understand why he was inside and locked in a coop when it was still light out and all those ladies were walking around free. But I was worried he’d be too confused about the farm to settle in. What if he panicked and headed for the coyote fields? Or worse, ran for the highway?

I decided to just let things happen how they would. Roosters aren’t new to the world and he probably had a plan of action set since I turned into my driveway. I opened the coop door. William flew out like a swan and landed like a Czech gymnast. I was in a bit of awe. Within moments Mary Todd Lincoln was dashing for him. Like her long lost lover showed up out of nowhere. So how about that for a welcome wagon? Within three minutes of landing on green grass William was having sex, dancing and singing. Something few of us get to do within the first moments of moving into a new house. Needless to say, William was a happy guy. The girls were man-starved and followed him around like groupies. William ate, drank, got laid and when the sun came down trotted right up into the chicken hutch and went to bed. Hell of a day.