Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saturday encore ~ Wynonna and I wear the same size

The post below, published originally on January 3, 2010, turns out to be a very popular one according to my blog statistics. And you're not going to believe why. Apparently, there are a lot of folks googling the question "What size is Wynonna?" And this is one on the places Google sends them. Imagine their surprise when they find a pig in a purple parka instead.

A blast of arctic air moved into the southwest over the weekend. The overnight temperatures have been in the single digits, and the days haven't seemed much warmer because of the blasted wind. Taking care of the animals has been my only priority.

Hank and the burros have their shaggy coats and an endless supply of hay to help keep them warm. The chickens have their feathers and a draft-free coop bedded with lots of fresh straw. And Wynonna? Her pigloo is stuffed with straw, I've been serving her hot oatmeal for breakfast, and every night before I go to bed, I go out to the barn and tuck her in under my ski parka.

The porcine princess emerges in the morning with the parka regally draped across her shoulders. 

Lavender becomes her, don't you think? All that's missing is the ermine trim.

The sleeves are a bit too long, but she doesn't seem to mind,

although I did hear her grumbling that the parka wasn't long enough to cover her prodigious butt,

Hockey Steve and me | Telluride, Colorado | January 1993

 which, to be honest, was the same problem I had when I wore the darned thing.

Friday, December 30, 2011

A post without a picture

So there I was braggin' on my new camera yesterday. That will teach me. The darned thing stopped working. I'd barely taken a hundred pictures when I started getting scary error messages. Turns out I need to update the firmware, which requires a working card reader, which I don't happen to have. Bummer.

I hope to get this resolved quickly, but in the meantime, I will use it as an excuse to take a few days off. See you next year.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Out with the old, in with the new

Anybody remember this picture of Smooch? I posted it way back in early July 2008.

It has always held a special significance for me because it was the first picture I took with my Nikon D80. 

Now take a good look at this next picture so when I ask you
a couple of years from now if you remember it, you'll know why.
It is the first picture I took with my new camera 
(a Nikon D7000 for anyone who cares about such things)

The D80 started getting cantankerous a few weeks ago. I think I might have worn it out. If cameras had odometers, this one may have rolled over to 200,000 miles. Anyway, rather than stop taking pictures breathing for a month while the camera went in for a major tune-up, I broke down and bought a new one. Once the old one is out of the shop, I'll have it as a back-up. I can even be one of those real camera geeks and wear both around my neck for important events play dates and snake sightings, when rapid access to different lenses is critical.

It's going to take me awhile to figure out all the new controls and features.
Good thing Smooch doesn't charge me for modeling services.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


My corral has been covered in snow for 27 days. 
The manic manure manager in me is about to have a mental meltdown.

I diligently scoop poop from the stalls and the few bare spots where the snow has melted,

but underneath the snow and frozen to the surface are miles and miles of piles.

By late afternoon on a sunny day, some of the poopsicles have thawed enough to scoop up and cart away,

but semi-frozen poop clogs up the poop spreader. So instead of spreading the poop, 
I haul the spreader out to the poop track and tip it over.

I'll run the harrow over the poop hills once the weather warms up and they thaw out.

Obviously I've been thinking way too much about equine poop lately. 
I'm also reading about it:

Just when I thought I knew everything I ever needed to know about the subject, along comes this book, with instructions on how to make paper from horse poop:
1. Soak dried manure overnight.
2. Place manure in an old pillowcase and hose it down.
3. Cook the manure in soda ash for two hours.
4. Rinse well and pulverize in a kitchen blender.
The end product can now be used in a paper mold just like any other paper pulp.

I don't need another hobby, but I must say I'm intrigued. I wonder if the same technique would work to make paper out of pig poop...or porcupine poop? I could start a whole line of stationery.

This, by the way, is porcupine poop. I found the pile at the base of Mr. P's tree yesterday.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Christmas that almost wasn't

Christmas Eve morning, I hopped in my truck, determined to make it to the post office to pick up an important package. I got about a mile down the road and had to turn back. The snow drifts made the road impassable. I was crestfallen. My friends from Morning Bray Farm were supposed to come over for Christmas and there was no way for them to get through. I would have to call them and cancel the Christmas festivities. Boy, was I bummed.

But when I got home, I talked to my neighbor, who mentioned he was on his way out to try and clear the road with his tractor because he had to go to work on Monday. He would let me know later that afternoon how far he got. Around 5:00, I reported to Justina and Don that they should be able to make it...but they might want to throw a shovel, some chains, and various assorted emergency gear in their truck just in case.

So Santa Claus wasn't the only one who was busy Christmas Eve. I stayed up all night plotting strategies for digging Justina's and Don's truck out of a snow bank. But I needn't have worried. They arrived safely Christmas morning, which was the best present of all. The sun was out, the wind wasn't blowing, and we were able to carry on and do what we always do when we get together...hang out with the herd, eat, drink, and be merry.

Lucy got what she wanted for Christmas – ear rubs from Justina.
Notice George and Alan patiently waiting to receive their butt rubs gifts.

George and Alan mistakenly believed Santa had brought them each a chair.

George gave Justina a hug for Christmas.

And Hank gave her a kiss.

Hank and Don both wore their finest Christmas bonnets.
Don had antler envy... Hank agreed to trade for awhile.

Before we sat down to dinner, we went stalking the wild porcupine. 
We found plenty of tracks, but no porcupine.

Finally, it was time for dinner. Thanks for taking this photo, Justina.
The mint jelly got its own seat because I thought it was tacky have a jar on the table.

The food was plentiful and delicious, if I do say so myself, but it was not the highlight of the day.

After dinner, we went back outside to burn off some calories before dessert.
And who should we find?

Mr. P decided to join us for Christmas.
Photo by Justina.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Saturday encore ~ On the Twelfth Day of Christmas

Thanks for sticking with us all year. We'd be inviting you all over to go carolling tonight if you lived a little closer 
and had a snowplow on the front of your vehicle. Anyway, all of us here at the 7MSN send you our very best Christmas wishes.
LC, Smooch, Hank, George, Alan, Lucy, Wynonna, Rosebud, Daffodil, Snapper,
Clara, Peach, Eugenia, Minnie, Mr. Porcupine and the Sock Monkey.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas caroling with a Sock Monkey

We have my sister to thank blame for this one. She sent me a Sock Monkey. That sings Jingle Bells. Sort of. Squeeze his left hand and he breaks into song and wiggles around and makes me laugh so hard I can hardly stand it. Of course I had to introduce him to the whole herd. Here's what happened.

Thank you, sister, and Merry Christmas to you all.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

George smells trouble

George: *sniff sniff sniff*

George: I don't like the smell of this.

George: Somebody's been trespassing in our pasture.

Me: Maybe you should worry a little less about trespassers and a little more about your dental hygiene.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More fun in the fog

I love fog. I love taking pictures in the fog. I can't help myself. 
It must be some affliction borne of taking too many pictures with bright blue skies in the background.

Anyway, after our photo shoot near the barn Sunday morning, 
the herd headed out to see if the pasture tasted any differently with fog sauce.

Alan the Intrepid took aim for the back 40.

George and Lucy picked their way to the path and followed him.

Hank: Where in the hell did everybody go this time?!

Hank: I hate it when they take off without me.

Hank: Somebody say something so I can find you!

Alan: See anything over that way? 
George: Nope. See anything over that way?
Alan: Nope.
George: How much longer do you think we should stand here?
Alan: Until the fog lifts, I guess.
George: What if it doesn't?
Alan: Stop with the worrying. The sun will come out.
George: How can you be sure?

Lucy: Please make them shut up. They're spoiling the mood.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Playing peek-a-boo with a porcupine

It was Sunday morning around 8:30 and Smooch and I were headed out on a walk. As we approached the gate at the end of our driveway, who should I see waddling under our fence but Mr. Porcupine. It was the first time I had seen him in the daylight, and darn it all if he wasn't the cutest little bugger. Smooch and I stood there as he slowly waddled under a tree. I politely asked him to stick around until we got back, as I wanted to take his picture.

About an hour later, Smooch and I returned, and who should we see again but Mr. Porcupine, waddling from Tree A to Tree B,
where I had seen him once before and suspected he lived. I took Smooch into the house, retrieved my camera, and went back outside
searching for Mr. Porcupine.

Hello, Mr. Porcupine. Remember me? 
The nice lady who didn't shoot you about a month ago?

I don't mind you living in this tree as long as you promise 
to keep your distance from Smooch and everybody else who lives here.

Mr. Porcupine: Were you really going to shoot me?

Me: It was an option...but then I did my homework and learned what a docile creature you can be 
as long as you're not threatened. And then I saw this video.
You just darned well better behave yourself so that all those folks out there
who are ready to say "I told you so" don't get the opportunity. Deal?

Mr. Porcupine: Deal.