Monday, July 25, 2011

Goat with Barrel

I am a lucky goat. Do you know why? I have a big huge barrel in my new boudoir! My lady and her beau did a very nice job on making me a good place to stay here at the new farm. It is very comfortable. I have several exciting "features" in my new home.

First, I have excellent grazing and browsing areas.  Did you know that there is a difference between grazing and browsing?  Sheep are mostly grazers - they eat grass and other stuff at ground level.  Goats like to be browsers.  That means we eat shrubs and other taller things that sheep might not want to eat because they are too high up.  Here I am being a grazing goat.  There are lots of yummy weeds in my new yard!
 I also have a wonderful log pile that I can climb on.  This is very good for my exercise and keeping my girlish figure.
 I can also do stretches on the log pile so that I can reach the apples and apple leaves hanging off the tree.  That is browsing!  Here I am browsing and stretching.  Notice how I like to decorate my back with leaves.
 Yes, I am a very picturesque goat!
I also do my yoga and ballet moves on the log pile, to keep myself flexible and agile.  What an excellent log pile I have - it is making me very happy.  Sometimes, little apples fall off the tree and wedge between the logs.  I like to eat those.  It's a good yoga snack.
 Also, there is a pile of smaller cut pieces of wood, which I can jump on, or which I can stare at for my goat meditation sessions.  "Be the wood...ommmmmm...."  I can also do my own bum scrubbies by rubbing my bum on the logs.  I think this is a very well planned log pile.
Inside my special boudoir, I have a barrel!  Did you think that it was in case I get thirsty?

Of course not!  That is what my water bucket is for!
The barrel is for jumping on, of course!  Truly, it is my little stage, where I can do my tap dancing or my speeches or whatever I want to do.  I don't need that chair to get up here.  I just get up by jumping onto it.  I am a very skilled jumping goat.  It is a very large barrel.  My lady says she doesn't know what they used to use it for, but she has never seen such a big barrel in her life.
Also, my lady and her beau did some tree trimming and of course they gave me all the tree bits because I love to eat leaves.  Some of the bits are from the apple tree and there are apples hidden in the leaves and I have to find them.  Yummy!!!  You can see how much tree I have because it makes me look small, and I am a big goat now!
Also, there is a nice sign on the door that says WC.  My lady says that is so I will know that I am supposed to go outside to pee.  I think she is nuts.  Naturally, WC stands for "Warning! Coyotes!!"  This is to remind me that I don't want to go outside at night, but should keep the door closed so I will be safe from the nasty coyotes and bears and other creatures who like to eat goats for supper.
 Oh, I forgot to tell you about the chair.  Like I said, I don't need the chair to get up on the barrel, but sometimes I like to get down using the chair. 
 It gives me a good viewpoint to survey my tree bits.
Incidentally, in case you would ever forget, I am a Princess Goat, and also a Queen Goat, so it is only befitting that I should show you my proper publicity photograph of me with my crown and my laptop, ready to blog to you about my life.  Thanks to help from my fellow goat AngelBaby Shelby for assisting me with my publicity shoot.  Love and kisses to all my subjects and fans!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I'm HOME!!! Maaaaaaa! Maaaa! Maaaaaaaaaaaaa! Maaa!

Hello my dear fans and all my special friends all over the goat world!  I am so happy to be able to blog to you again and maaaaa to you about all my news!  It is sooooo wonderful to be back with my lady and have my rightful place on the farm.  I came to the new farm on Friday!  Here I am in the back of the truck just waiting to get out of my special traveling box!
I have to say, I was a little bit confused.  I didn't really know where I was and I hadn't seen my lady for a loooong time.  I saw her three times since April 13, and mostly for just a few minutes, so at first, I was all mixed up about who was who and where I was.  Then my lady maaaaa'd at me and I began to remember things.  Then I met Izzy the cat, and I remembered that I used to play with her before in the other place.
But the house was different and I was still confused.  I had to investigate.  I sniffed out familiar things.
My lady says I am looking very pudgy.  I think she forgets that I am actually Rubenesque.  I had to check out the computer connections to be sure that I could blog to you all.  See how long my horns are now?!
I checked out the new kitchen and pretty much nothing was familiar.  The table was different, the floor was different, in's pretty much a mess.  It's nothing like my lady's other kitchen which was very nice.  I was really confused by that, but she says it's going to be better soon.  There was a package of drill bits on the table.  I was hoping for chocolates but no luck...
My lady let me sniff the dog bowls and I had some of the dog's water because I was thirsty.  I don't like the dog's food at all.  It's yukky.
Anyway, I am glad to be with my lady, but I had a nice time where I was staying temporarily.  I was at a place called Hatfield Farm and I was visited by lots of nice people and children.  I had my feet trimmed and all sorts of hay and grass to eat and I made friends with other goats and donkeys.  The farmer there was kind of frustrated with me because he said he never knew a goat who could jump 6 foot fences before.  I am very good at that.  He had to build something he called "goat alcatraz" for me.  It took extra work and my lady was quite upset that I was trouble for him.  The thing is, I prefer to be with people and I liked to get away from the other goats and be with the people, so I just go over the fence.

After checking out the new house, I began to feel very tired with all the excitement.
 I just could not keep my eyes open!
So my lady let me rest for a while in the kitchen, because it was hot outside and I was tired and I needed to rest.  As you can see, I make an excellent kitchen goat.
Speaking of tired, I am kind of tired now too.  Blogging after so long is so exciting that now I have exhausted myself.  But, I have so much more to tell you, so stay tuned for my next posting.  I will be telling you about my outside explorations here at my new farm!
Love and goatie tail wags to everybody!!  xoxoxoxox

Monday, July 18, 2011

A bit of this and that

This #1
I have apple trees!
I went for a walk a few days ago when it was breezy and cool out (thus, fewer blackflies, deer flies and mosquitoes).  I wandered around on my farm a bit, trying to get to know what sorts of trees and plants I had present that I either liked, or didn't like.  For example, the Virginia creeper has got to go!  I was very pleased to locate at least 6 apple trees, all of which have a good crop of fruit coming.  You can enlarge the picture below to see lots of baby apples coming along!
I am guessing they are all quite old, and they have been neglected for quite some time, so a major pruning job will be necessary next year in the early spring before they break dormancy.  It will take a few years to get some of them into proper form, but I'm just glad to have them.  I hope they might be different varieties - hard to tell at this point, but for example, the one pictured below appears to be different from the first one based on the shape of the fruits.

That #2
The barn that had been earmarked for Lucky Nickel was subsequently found to be unsafe.  We determined that the boards were rotting so badly around the base that the entire thing was unstable.  Furthermore, one corner was being held up entirely by a large metal cabinet.  This led to Plan B, which was to work on another barn area for her.   A nice thing about this barn is that it is closer to the house than the one we had originally selected for her.

That work has been continuing and is approaching completion!  Here is Richard with his Dad last week - they worked hard on securing both the inside and the outside of the barn.
The plan is that Lucky Nickel will have her grand arrival on Friday evening!  I am sooooo excited to have her back!  I am sure she will want to do a blog post to tell everybody about her arrival!

This #3
I've been treated to some really lovely skies lately.  There have been a number of breathtaking sunsets, glorious views of the moon, and a really impressive rainbow at sunset.  I thought I'd share some of the images I've taken lately so that everybody could enjoy the skies I've seen.

Sunset over the big (collapsing) barn.
 Another sunset from the front view looking out towards the road.
 The beautiful moon over Lucky Nickel's originally earmarked barn, now earmarked for barn boards!
 Rainbow at sunset.

That #4
You may remember my trials and tribulations with my "new" kitchen from an earlier post.  We had been keeping an eye out for second hand cabinets that might work well for the space in an effort to re-do the kitchen at a low cost.  Richard noticed a truckload sale of cabinets at a building supply store that had been purchased for a building project that didn't go forward.  They were about 70% off their original cost, so we decided that given their value, we'd go ahead with new cabinets!  I am thrilled, to say the least.  But it gets better!  About a week later, Richard went back to the store to look for something else, and noticed that the price had dropped on the cabinets again!  We hadn't even picked up our order yet, so he took the receipt to the customer service desk and as a result, we saved another $586!  That money savings allowed us to also choose new flooring for the kitchen at the same time.  I am just so excited about having a kitchen that feels like it's "mine" rather than the existing cabinets, which are very shallow and difficult to use, not to mention the fact that they are damaged in places.  I'll also be able to get rid of some grungy metal shelving I was having to use for extra storage due to limited counter and cabinet space.  It's going to be great!  I'll wait for pictures until the project is underway!

This #5
I've been discovering new treasures as I continue working on the house and barns.  Recently, this has involved a lot of antique glass bottles, some of which are pretty colours, unusual shapes, or just lovely glass.  I've been cleaning them up and working on identifying some of them.  I'm hoping to have a display shelf at some point for some of my favourites.  Here are some of the interesting ones I've found so far.

This is a lovely dark green bottle known as a case gin bottle, probably from the late 1800s and maybe from Holland.
 An early "black glass" ale bottle from the late 1800s.
 Some old medicine bottles - one of "diastasic essense of pancreas" (ewwww!) and one from a local drugstore again from the late 1800s.

Stay tuned to hear from Lucky Nickel soon!  Maaaaaaaaaa!!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cute Chicks!

The feathered kind of course!!  What did you think I was going to talk about?

While waiting patiently for Lucky Nickel's barn to be fixed up, I determined that there would be plenty of room in that barn for a few chickens.  As most of you will know, unless you are new to the blog, I used to have a lot of chickens when I lived in Iowa, but I had to find new homes for them when I left.  Many of them went to live with Isobelle Golightly the Beautiful Goat and her friends in New York, after being driven there in the back of my Jetta on the way to Canada.  Well traveled chickens!  Some stayed in Iowa with other friends who graciously offered them homes, for which I was very thankful.  Unfortunately, none of them came over the border because poultry crossing is quite complicated.

I determined it was time for some new feathered friends, since the barn repairs were underway and they would soon have a place to live and nest.  Thus, I bought 7 chicks from a local breeder who offered a number of different breeds.  The chicks were various ages, so I think some are definitely hens, but there may be a rooster or two also.  It's hard to tell at this point!

In any event, meet the new starter flock!
The oldest bird by far is the light Brahma in the centre left.  She has been named "Queen Anne" in view of her lovely white plumage, which reminded me of the plant "Queen Anne's Lace."  She also seems to be a bit of a caretaker of the others, which reminded me of a dear friend in Iowa who took on some of my flock, and her name is Anne also, so the name is doubly apt.
Here again is Queen Anne in the centre, surrounded by two silver-laced Wyandottes.  I believe they are both hens but am not entirely sure!  Richard named the one on the left side of the picture "Kiwi," which seemed like a good name that could be retained in the case of a rooster also.  The one in the rear is darker overall and yet very similar.  In a nod to my botanical side, and my somewhat nerdy side, I named her "Actinidia."  She started out as Ozzy (Kiwi being a nod to New Zealand, and Ozzy being a nod to Australia) but I decided people might have the ghastly idea that the chicken was named after Ozzy Osbourne, which couldn't be further from the truth.  Thus, Actinidia, which is the Latin genus name for the kiwi plant.  So both chicks are named kiwi - one in common name terms, and one in Latin terms.
Moving on, to the right side of the above picture you see two brown hens - and I am quite sure those two are indeed hens, not roosters.  They are both the Rhode Island Red breed of chicken.  The further one who is trying to hide under Queen Anne is slightly lighter and is named Buttercup, while the one close to the feeder in the front of the picture is named Butternut.  Again, a botanical theme, one named after the pretty flower and the other named after the yummy winter squash.
Above are Butternut (L) and Buttercup (R) again, sharing their space with two very indignant looking gold-laced Polish chicks.  I have no clue what their gender is, and so far, those two are yet to be named.  They are the youngest of the bunch and have not immediately told me their chosen names, so I am giving them time to develop.
As you can see, they certainly have personality to spare!
So there you have it - the new flock, 5 named, 3 certain hens, 2 suspected hens, and 2 unknowns!  What fun and frolic.  They are in the range of 3 to 5 weeks old, so they have a lot of growing to do before any eggs can be expected, but at least I'm on the way!  Hopefully it won't be long before Lucky Nickel will be joining them and everybody will have their space in the barn.  Stay tuned for continued progress on their growth and for the names of the last two chicks!  Feel free to make suggestions if an interesting (and preferably botanically themed) name strikes you!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Speaking of Cleaning Up...

Unusual as it might seem, I feel compelled to blog about my shower.  This isn't because I need to ensure you that I'm a clean person, but rather because I know my readers seem to enjoy knowing some of the crazy things about this new adventure of mine, and sometimes these things are pretty amusing, even if they are kind of strange things to write about.  Today, I'm going to tell you about the old shower, and the new shower.

When we first viewed the farmhouse, there was so much to take in that we didn't really think too deeply about bathrooms.  We noted that there was a shower stall upstairs that needed work, but seemed like it would be ideal when finished.  This carried over to the second visit also.  We didn't see any shower or tub downstairs, but we didn't really register that because there was so much else to see (especially the clutter!) and think about.  After we'd visited twice, we thought about the former owner, who had quite bad arthritis and who avoided going upstairs.  We also thought about the fact that he appeared to have washed recently.  This led us to the conclusion that there must be another shower in the house on the ground level.  After inquiring, he assured us that there was indeed another shower on the ground level, and we laughed to ourselves in amazement that we had somehow missed it.

The shower we'd seen upstairs looked like this when we moved in.
It was dusty and grimy, but essentially new.  It had accumulated dust over the approximately 10 years since it was installed.  Yes, you read that correctly....10 years.  Do you notice that it still has the protective plastic wrap on it that new shower surrounds come with?  That's because since it was installed, it was never, ever used.  Despite that, the tub was lovely and large and deep, and had jets on the sides for bubbles, and we felt that it just needed a little work.

Also, when we moved in, we discovered the downstairs shower.  And we were quite distressed.  So distressed, in fact, that I did not take a picture of it until Richard had sawed off about 8 inches of drywall, leaving that clean white line on the drywall to the left of the photo.  Seriously, you had to be some kind of contortionist to get yourself into the shower in the first place.  (note that the shower curtain that you see in the bottom of the tub was actually at the correct height - this was after it was pulled down once the new shower was finished.
Even after you managed to get in there, let me tell you, it was not a pleasant experience.  Keep in mind that the former owner had been using this shower for nearly 10 years!  All the plumbing is exposed in the hallway downstairs.  This shower is not in a bathroom.  It is in the hallway to the front door!  It used to be a bathroom, but when the renovations began about 12 years ago, which included new stairs to the upper level, this tub and shower were left in place, but the rest of the bathroom was taken out to allow the stairs to be installed.  That would have been OK for a temporary solution's what happened over the years it was used....
Oh, and don't think that removing that length of drywall made it that much easier to get in.  No, you have to step over the old heating grate too, which rises over a foot off the round, as seen in the picture below....and yes the floor is really that grimy and I tell you honestly, that is AFTER cleaning it repeatedly.  I cannot stress how distressing this was!
When you were actually standing and showering, and facing the shower head, you had a lovely view to your right of deteriorating tile board with some random pencilled calculations in the upper right, along with a view of some plaster and lathe and some wiring.
Meanwhile, to your left you had a view of....the stairs!  
And anybody going up the stairs had a lovely view in the shower!
No wonder we're not ready for guests!!!  Oh, and try to ignore the rather dreadful stairs themselves.  Those will be the subject of a future blog post.

Needless to say, the completion of the upstairs shower became a very clear priority project.  So, back to the discussion of that plastic wrap that was still on the shower walls.  Usually, that sort of plastic is very easily peeled off, but not when it has sat untouched for years.  It took several hours of painstaking work to peel off the plastic in small pieces, and to remove all the layers of dust and grime from the tub.  In addition, we realized several things:
a)  the tub jets were not yet hooked up to any electricity,
b)  the shower leaked at the base of the tap,
c)  the water that leaked out travelled around the tub surround and poured onto the (wood) floor,
d)  the sloping ceiling presented a significant challenge to installing shower curtains or doors, and
e)  we needed a truckload of caulk to seal the entire thing because the gaps were immense.

So, the anticipated "afternoon project" of the new shower turned into a project of several days.  Many layers of caulk were installed and smoothed out to fill large gaps.  The leaks were identified and sealed.  The shower curtain problem was considered at length and a solution was developed.  The tub jets being hooked up to the electrical system are a project for another time.  

However, we are now very pleased to have a clean, relatively normal shower that can be accessed without requiring a degree in gymnastics.  
As you can see, the tub needs to be sealed off and the jets will be hooked up later.  However, the caulking is complete, the shower curtain is installed, and there is no risk of being viewed by guests using the stairs!  We still have a bit of a problem with water going onto the tub surround and then coming off the ends, but we plan to build up the edges with wood and do some tiling to keep the water contained, where it will naturally evaporate.  We think the tub was somewhat poorly planned, and will probably make further changes in future, but for now, having a clean, comfortable place to shower is truly a delight.
Of course, I chose a sort of botanical-themed shower curtain that has bamboo on it.  I had to cut the shower curtain short at the bottom because of course the matter of the sloping ceiling meant that the curved curtain rod had to be installed a little lower than normal.  However, this is a small price to pay for a "normal" shower. Now we are one step closer to being able to invite guests to the farm.  Have any cool or original ideas about how to further improve our shower set-up?  Please feel free to share - we're all ears!  (clean ears too!)