Friday, August 26, 2011

7 links blog game

I don't often participate in these blog memes, but this one was a bit different, and an interesting way to review my blog over time.  Tayet Silverspoon over at "In a Goat's Shoes" nominated my blog for this little exercise - thank you Tayet!  Here's the objective:

Post the links to: 
  • My most beautiful post
  • My most popular post.
  • My most controversial post.
  • My most helpful post.
  • A post whose success surprised me.
  • A post I feel didn't get the attention it deserved.
  • The post I am most proud of.
Goodness me!  This was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be at first.  I learned something new doing this exercise - I learned about my blog "Stats" tab.  I didn't know about all that information hidden in there, but Tayet told me how to find it, and it was really quite interesting.  

My Most Beautiful Post
Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so they say.  How am I to decide which is my most beautiful post, when we all have different opinions on what constitutes beauty?  None the less, I'm going to say it is this post, because it was all about the beauty surrounding me in my new home, despite the chaos that also surrounded me.  It's important to see the beauty through the veil of chaos.  

My Most Popular Post
I have posted 295 blog posts.  Wow.  That seems like quite a lot, although many people have thousands of posts...but I still had a moment of surprise when I realized how many I'd done.  Of all those, the post that is the most popular, based on number of views, is "Book Binding and Wire Wrapping."  I found this kind of strange because it's really not a post that is representative of the blog's character.  So much of the blog is about Lucky Nickel the goat, or my other critters, or even about spinning and fleece and yarn.  That book binding post was one I did after taking a class in how to do long stitch book binding, and also a class in wire wrapping.  They were during a break from law school and were just one-time events.  I haven't done any more book binding although I have done some more wire-wrapped jewelry.  Anyway, that post has the most views, at 1,827 views.  Wow!

My Most Controversial Post
Controversial?  Me?  I'm never controversial!  Am I?  Well, not intentionally.  I think, after much consideration, that my most controversial post might be this one:  An Unwelcome Guest.  That post was about the difficulties I was having with an opossum killing my chickens.  I think opossums are cute.  Lots of people disagree.  I knew that the opossum was killing the birds, but some people felt that opossums are just scavengers, not killers.  However, I caught him, red handed (with blood) with a still-warm dead chicken, in the fresh snow, and there were no other footprints.  I know he did it.  After he was...dispatched...I had no more losses.  I dislike having to kill an animal, but I was losing far too many chickens to this one.  

My Most Helpful Post
This one was easy - it's my post on how to shear a llama.  Incidentally, this is also my second most popular post, with a total of 1,413 page views.  I'm surprised it wasn't number one!  Anyway, this post has helped quite a few people learn the method I use to shear llamas, and based on their feedback to me via email or on Facebook, I know it has worked for them too.  That makes me happy.  It's good to know that my blog has been helpful to others.  I also noticed that my blog posts on how to give a goat a bath, and how to use diapers on baby lambs and goat kids, were also very popular.  That suggests they've been helpful posts for others too!

A Post Whose Success Surprised Me
As I've already mentioned, the post about the book binding and wire wrapping class being my most popular post was very surprising to me.  My 4th most popular post also surprised me.  It's this one:  Duck 1, Duck 2, Duck 3...  I'm not sure why it's so popular, but it does have a lot of cute duckling pictures.  It's a post about rescuing some ducklings from the Animal Rescue League.  

A Post I Feel Didn't Get the Attention it Deserved
Hmmm.  Tricky.  This took the longest time to choose.  I looked back over a lot of posts, and I picked two.  One of them is probably a bit selfish.  I wrote a poem, once, about a storm.  It just kind of came out suddenly as I was sitting there, watching the storm and wondering what to write about.  It only had 2 comments.  Most people probably don't like reading poetry really, but I thought it was a decent effort.  So if you feel like it, you can read it here.  

The second post that probably didn't get the attention it deserved is that post about when Cookie the goat first stood up by herself after suffering through about two weeks of infection with deer meningeal worm.  Cookie was a sweet mini-Nubian who was suddenly limping one day, and then soon after could no longer stand up.  I had to feed her and bathe her constantly and keep her comfortable while we had some testing done, which indicated she had high eosinophil counts in her spinal fluid, leading to the meningeal worm diagnosis.  It's really rather rare for a goat to survive deer meningeal worm infection, but Cookie did it.  She was laying down for probably about 2 weeks, maybe a bit longer, because her back legs were paralyzed by the infection. She had a permanent limp afterwards, and unfortunately I think that may have led to her early death about a year or so later from unknown causes.  However, her experience was a great learning experience for me and could be helpful to other goat owners also.  When she first stood up after so long of being down, I was so excited I took a picture and posted about it, but it didn't get any comments.  She probably deserved a few!

The Post I Am Most Proud Of
This one was pretty easy for me.  This post is the one about the wild rabbit that was killed by the car in front of me, and which I wrapped in a blanket and brought home to bury on my farm, in order to honour its short life.  You can read it here, and bring tissues, it's a sad one.  I am proud of it because I think most people would have just kept driving, and maybe would not even notice the small rabbit who tried so hard to escape.  I noticed, and I wanted to capture the memories and feelings I had, and remind my readers about the fragility of life.

Now I'm supposed to nominate some other bloggers to do this!  Hmmm...

1.  Isobelle Golightly the Beautiful Goat (she has a lot of posts to choose from!)
2.  Flartus, over at Flartopia (she probably has even MORE posts to choose from!)
3.  Oh bother.  I have to go put the chickens and goats away.  Ummm...YOU!  Yes you!  Reader with a blog!  Consider yourself nominated!

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Studio - wait...I have a studio??

Studio.  The very word conjures up images of great works of art....Monet in his "studio," Da Vinci in his "studio," or perhaps Henry Moore in his "studio."  Clearly, I cannot possibly have a studio.  I am not worthy!  When I first called my space by that name, it seemed to sound pretentious.  I am not so much an artist....rather a dabbler in the arts....spinning, felting, beading, a bit of sewing and occasionally a bit of drawing.  I looked up the word and its etymology, and found it to have come from the Italian for "a room for study."

Studying is something I can certainly say I have done....for years.  Kindergarten through twelfth grade makes 13 years of studying, then add in nearly 14 years of university, for a grand total of about 27 years of study.  What is studying, then?  Is it just learning facts or theories and being able to repeat them or apply them in tests and exams?  Does studying go beyond that which we learn in school?  Surely it should apply to anything we learn in earnest, whether that subject is a traditional school subject, or whether it's something less traditional and more practical or artistic.

After having come to the conclusion that my space was certainly one for study, and that it was also one in which things happened that one might call art, I decided perhaps it was not too pretentious, and that I was indeed permitted to call my space a studio.  It is not, at present, a finished studio.  In fact, it's quite far from that.  That said, it's the place to which I retreat when I need "down time" from the chaos of working on the other parts of the house.  It's a little bit of solace in the run of a day.  And now, it needs colour.

I've been spending some time sitting on my chair, just staring at my space.  I am one of those people who feels strongly affected by colours in a room.  I am not fond of white or off-white walls.  They seem cold and uninspiring to me.  For others, they can be calming and pleasant, but for me, they are stifling.  I need to feel the energy and warmth that colours bring to my world.  With that in mind, I've been trying to sort out how to proceed with the decorating of this area I call my studio.

I have two primary spaces that make up this area.  One is the spinning and sewing area, and the other shall be the felting, weaving, and "other stuff" area.

 This is the spinning area.  I love the sloped ceiling and the old hickory beam in the centre of the ceiling.  The window has a gorgeous view of the land surrounding me and I face it when I spin.  It's a bit chaotic at the moment because we haven't got all our closet space available yet so some extra stuff is being stored here for the time being.  On either side of the window, there are "cubby holes" about 3 feet to either side that will hold storage totes or boxes.  They also have the sloping ceilings.
This next picture is the wall to the left in the above picture.  It has my old desk that my parents bought me from Ikea when I entered Junior High school (grade 7 in Canada), which is now my sewing machine table and table for other crafts such as beading.  I also have a good-sized shelving unit which is destined for painting!  More on that in a minute.
This is a better view of the wall on the right hand side of the first picture.  As you can see, I have fibre storage cubbies for spinning fibre, also destined for painting.  You may also note that I seem to need more storage!
To the left of the spinning area (i.e. behind the wall you see in the above picture) is the larger area for felting and weaving and such.  As you see below, there is a sink on the left hand wall, which is currently also our bathroom sink since the bathroom has no sink.  The end wall at the back has more storage area.  That is another hickory post you can see on the left side.
On the wall opposite the sink I have made (perhaps creative?!) use of a baby crib left behind by the previous owner.  I was ready to throw it out when it occurred to me that it would hold a lot of fibre and yarn!  
The looms I have are set up in this area, ready to be warped for weaving.  To the far right you'll see an old Ikea drawer unit that holds all my craft papers, scissors, tape, paper crafts tools, wrapping paper and gift bags, and other such items.  The two windows let in a good amount of light and have a nice view out over the barns.
As you can see, though, from all of these pictures, the walls are desperately in need of paint.  The wallboard is in place, and taping/mudding has been mostly completed.  The floors need to be refinished.  The window frames need to be primed because the wood has knots, and then painted.  I don't want to paint the hickory beams or post.  What I do want, is energy!  The colours in this space have to reflect creativity, energy, liveliness, and warmth.  I will be painting all the walls, the shelving, the baby crib, and the trim.  One colour just won't be enough.  So, I've got some ideas...
Those, my friends, are "Claire Colours!"  Deep teal greens on the right, chartreuse and lime on the upper left, and deep raspberry/cranberry tones.  I've been playing around with these, trying to figure out how I want to proceed with the colour scheme for the studio areas.

These colours really speak to me the most.  I love the vibrancy of the greens juxtaposed with the deep, velvety purples.  I think this is likely to end up being an overall theme.  Since the rooms have so many wall surfaces - little sections of sloping ceiling, small nooks and areas with strange angles, I'd like to combine multiple greens in this family and do different parts of the walls in different greens.  I'm thinking I might draw some large purple and green spirals on the walls in strategic places.  Spirals exist widely in nature, showing up in diverse places such as seashells and flowers.  Triple spirals are also used in Celtic art, sometimes representing the Irish sea deity Manannan, sometimes the Pagan triple goddesses,  and sometimes the three realms of sea, land and sky.  These images are attractive to me and I'd like to incorporate triple spirals into my studio space.
I also love the deep teals of the ocean, combined with rich blue-red tones.  The light pink tones in these colour cards don't work for me, but I'm attracted to the deep, rich, saturated tones.
I need more time to think about how I want this space to look, but it's a very important space for me.  I find solace and peacefulness there, and I am anxious to have it finished, but only when I know it will be "right" for me.

I know I have a lot of creative minds who read this blog, so maybe some of you will have ideas or thoughts on how to proceed.  I'm open to most ideas at this point!  Please don't suggest painting the walls black (or white) because I'm not doing that, but maybe some of you will have ideas I haven't thought about.  The main focus points are:  energy, vibrancy, life, creativity, imagination, and sheep!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This is MY apple tree!

With apologies for the photo quality (these were taken through the window), I present to you today's battle over the apple tree!  Miss Lucky Nickel is of course, annotating the photographs, with the occasional comment from Inigo, her newest nemesis.  Also note that the plastic bags in the pictures are bags of wood ash from the prior occupant, so kindly (??) left for us to clean up.  I've already redistributed the contents of about 25 of them, using them to fill uneven spots on the property!

Mmmmmmm...I do love my apple tree!  I especially like the apples, but the leaves are really good too.  Unfortunately, I have eaten most of the leaves that were easy to reach.  Wait a minute....who do you think you are...investigating my apple leaves?
YOU GET DOWN!  These are MY apples!
Now, where was I?  Oh yes, I was just trying to get this branch within.....HEY!!!
I told you to stay OFF!  These are MY apples!  Not YOUR apples.  Go maaa elsewhere.
Insufferable will just do some yoga stretches as I regain my position.
 And up we go....must pull the branch to the correct level....
Oooooh yes, look at all those lovely leaves!
Oh for maaaa-ing out loud!  Not you AGAIN!  And you're eating MY apple leaves!
 (after a few moments of scuffling...)

Hang on a did you....that's MY spot.  You don't stand up there!  I do!  Get down!
You're asking for it now!  You young goats just never listen.
OFF!  This is a goat pirate technique - walk the pile! I've had enough of you!
Meanie. Pbbbbtttt!
 (a short time later, Miss Nickel retired to the barn)

My turn now, the old hag's gone away!
I can see those leaves.  I just have to keep climbing!
Oh wait, how do I keep climbing here...? 
I can't quite reach.  Oh bother. 
Do the yoga inspire new plans for reaching apples.
HEY!  These are MY apples!
I can see we have some bad habits developing here!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The New Goat Dating Game!!!

And now, for a special blog feature, we have 3 very interesting goat bachelors for all our goat girl readers.  These three sexy singles are anxious to meet some goat girls because Lucky Nickel is definitely NOT interested in any of them!  That means their warm, woolly hearts are open to you!  Now, don't all come visit at once - please make appointments!  Let's go now and meet our bachelor boys, shall we?!

Oh, um....boys....can you all wake up now please?!  It's time for your blog debut!

We'll give our boys a few minutes to get ready...they have just recently arrived from the Canadian province of New Brunswick and have been brought to the farm in Nova Scotia where they are sharing a barn with Miss Lucky Nickel.  Miss Nickel does not appreciate this arrangement, but she will learn to deal with it.  They are all full angora goats, 2 white wethers and the black badgerface is intact and will probably be used as a breeding buck someday in the distant future.  I think they're ready for their interviews now...

Bachelor Goat #1, what is your name please?
"Hi Ladies, my name is Westley, and I'm an angora goat.  I'm 3 months old and I'm totally ready for the goat dating world."
Well Bachelor Goat #2, how about your name?
"Oh, charmed to meet you, girls!  My name is Inigo Goatoya, you sheared my father, prepare to.... errr...wait...that's not it.  Well anyway, I'm Inigo and I am an angora goat, I think I might be 4 months old, and I'm what they call a "badgerface" because of my beautiful markings and my stunning fybur coat."
And Bachelor #3, please introduce yourself!
"Oh!  Um....hi!  I''m Fezzik.  My new lady calls my Fuzzypeg too.  Ummm...I'm very little."

OK, thank you bachelor goats, and maybe bachelor #3, you could speak up a little bit?  Now we're going to get into some interesting questions so the lady goats can learn a little more about you.  First, tell us about your ideal date with a doe, and we'll start again with bachelor goat #1.
"I think a day of fun in the sun is a nice first date.  We'd start in the barnyard with a little snack, go for a nice walk to see some of my favourite grazing and browsing spots, and eat some fresh raspberry canes for lunch.  I would like to show my lady goat the best that fine goat dining has to offer here in Nova Scotia."

Bachelor #2, your dream date?
I'm a very active goat.  I like to get physical!  I'd take my date on a woodpile climbing adventure, and then we'd do some afternoon yoga.  Hey....are you lookin' at my spare brain?

MOVING right along....goat bachelor #3?

Goat bachelor #3???

"Oh!  Um, me!  Right.  How  I'm not sure, I haven't been on a date before.  I'm only little!  Whatever she'd like to do I guess.  Maybe the library?"

Bachelor #1, what is your best feature?
"Certainly I have a lovely curly-whirly coat that drives the goat girls wild!"
Not to mention I also have a really nice rear view!
Wow!  Beat that, bachelor #2!
"Oh baby, I'm all about the rear view!  You know what I mean?!"
I'm also an excellent problem-solver and I can help you with anything you need!
And bachelor #3, what's your best feature?
"My best....welllll....probably my blue eyes, I think."

Well bachelor goats, I'm sure the ladies will love reading all about you.  Anything else to say?

Bachelor #1:  Well, I'm all about hanging out with the ladies, so I know you'll have a great time on your dates with me.

 Bachelor #2:  It's all about the beautiful fybur, ladies.  I'm your man!

Bachelor #3:  "Kisses."