Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Many Phases of the Moon




Phase One:  Puppy


(Approximately 5 mos old wandered in off the mountain with a stick embedded in her hip which required surgery and a stay at the vet's...she was literally starving, surviving on various insects.  Here she is digging for beetles!)



Phase Two:  Puppy


Moon was about One Year in this photo.  She always tried to steal Copper's bed!  LOL...:)








Phase Three:  Puppy


Mountain Moon is Three Years old in this picture.  Her nearly black muzzle has lightened considerably and she is still just as playful as a pup!







Phase Four:  Puppy


Moon is Six Years old now still thinks she is a puppy!
She saw me with the camera and simply rolled over and said, "Don't miss this shot, Mommy!"






Conclusion:  Although there are many phases of the moon, my Moon apparently has one one phase...PUPPY!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Follow-Up to "It's Empty"

YEAH!!!!!  My vanilla "supplier" said I can get another refill...:)

Oh, and I am going to try to make some myself this year since I go through vanilla like crazy baking all those cookies I bring to the kids for Christmas.

So, to my "supplier", a BIG HUG, SMOOCH ON THE CHEEK!!!
To the rest of you...EAT YOUR HEART OUT!!!!  LOL!!  Only kidding...I'll let you know how I do making "the stuff".  

It's Empty


STATEMENT:
This, my blogger buddies, is a pretty green glass bottle with a cute little cork stopper which was a Christmas gift from a very dear friend and, as you can see by the label, it says "JP's Vanilla."

QUESTION:
Now, did I ever tell you I write poems?

ANSWER:
This one is appropriately called:

It's Empty

Baking season...it begins in the Fall.
Sometimes friends give the best gifts of all.
Do you think that if I drove down the hill
My friend would give me another refill???


P.S.  Oh, I can hardly wait to get the comments on this one!!!!...:)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Memory Lane Fridays: Halloween II


I had told you previously that Super Heros were really in way back in the day.  Clearly, I really had no other option other than to turn myself and my husband (first) into two very popular Super Heros.  I was pretty handy with a sewing machine, so I made our costumes that we would be wearing to a Halloween party at a friend's house.

I sewed and sewed.  It almost seemed endless.  I'd measure and re-measure after he'd get home from work as I wanted our costumes to be a hit!  I really had to improvise for mine though, since I had only medium length hair.  Yep, I needed to get my hands on a wig.  As luck would have it, one of my best friends, at the time, cut and styled hair out of her home.  Off I went to Joanie's for a typical visit as our kids played together. 


When I told her about my dilemma, she went into her bedroom and came out with the perfect wig.  We tried it on and we laughed...but it was "just what the doctor ordered" so to speak.  So here it was...the night of the party.  The babysitter was at the house and off we went.  But, before we got to Steve and Linda's, we needed to make a stop.  We needed to buy cigarettes.  I know...I know...but it's a thing of the past so don't worry.

My husband waited in the car and sent me into the convenience store.  I was wearing my long trench coat to hide my costume.  However, since I didn't have it buttoned, I had my hands in the side pockets and just sort of held it in place so as not to reveal my outfit...since it could have been a little awkward to say the least.


I waited in line, asked for the cigarettes and as I took my hands out of my pockets with the money in hand, the coat opened and revealed the entire front of my outfit.  Of course, I was uncomfortable enough wearing a wig let alone having to wear that gold headband thingy.  Suddenly, a man came through the door and saw my outfit.  He shouted, "Wonder Woman" melodically carrying the tune and in such a loud voice.  Rather than being totally humiliated, my reaction was quick.  I looked over at him, spun around dropping the coat to the floor!!  You know sometimes you just have to "role with it"!!! LOL! 

Of course, when I got out to the car, I told my husband what had happened and he laughed just as much as I did.  We got to the party and I will tell you that there is an important lesson here:  NEVER EVER make a man with hairy legs wear tights!  You see, Michael was dressed as Batman sporting black tights, silk shorts that I'd made, a black silk cape, a black hood and black rubber boots!!!!  He HATED every long agonizing minute because he was hot and itchy and wiggled and scratched  all night long!








This photo should go down in the annals of history!! LOL...:)
It was taken with a Polaroid and as you can see it terribly cracked...I mean it was taken back in 1802!!  I laughed so hard when I spotted it that I just had to share it with you for a good chuckle!

Hope you & your family have a safe Halloween!





 Don't forget to link up with Lisa for:   Memory Lane Fridays @ Two Bears Farm and Three Cubs

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wish You Were Here...:)

Today turned out to be a rather nice day, considering it's nearly the end of October.  A good portion of the day was overcast.  Then a sudden downpour would occur while the air itself remained warm and humid.  The rain then gave way to bright sunshine.  Before you knew it, the cycle would again repeat itself.  Gosh!  I never gave it much thought...maybe I should have been a weather announcer...:)LOL!!

I went out on the front porch to sit for a while.  It's sad to say, but I wish the front porch was used more frequently.  I love sitting out there!  Sometimes, I bring the dogs out there with me and make them down/stay while I sit and listen to the "sounds of my world" around me...birds chirping, the cry of a distant red-tail, a chipmunk rustling in the fallen leaves, a squirrel noisily making it's way along the slope of the mountain, the flowing water in the creek.  It's truly heavenly and can actually put you in a trance of sorts for those of you who haven't experienced it.





Today I snapped a few photos while it was raining.  As you can see, from where I was sitting, I could also picture you were there with me, sitting, perhaps, in one of the rocking chairs. 





So, consider this your official invitation...:) 






Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Men in My Life

Now I'll be the first to admit that I've had several men in my life. And fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it), you are not going to hear about them!  Ha! Ha!!  However, you are going to hear about these little guys.

These two fellas were a gift from my daughter's best friend.  I believe it was our first year in the Hollow down here in Virginia.

They are still alive and kickin' so to speak.  All you have to do is squeeze their toe and they start strummin' away the tune made famous by Don Reno and Arthur Smith back in 1955.  Their little paws move up and down on their banjos and out comes "Feudin' Banjos" which later became known as "Dueling Banjos"!!  

In fact, it was sort of coincidental that our kids referred to home here in the Hollow as "Deliverance"  and that Mac would appropriately give these guys to us as a gift on our first Christmas visit back home.  I remember she said to me, "You are either going to love them or hate them."  Needless to say, I LOVE these two men that came into my life!!! 

 
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hunting for?

This morning, I took Moon and Copper up behind the barn as usual.  They always like to investigate and get their "sniffers" working before we go for our walk.  Besides, now that it's getting light later, I don't like to head out for our walk until it's clear enough for a car to see us on the road.   I am anxiously awaiting the time change...:)

As the two kids began their sniffing and searching, Copper dropped his "kong" directly over a pile of old fence posts.  Then I watched him as he attempted to get his jaws around one of the posts!  I know I've told you that he's got pit in him and all I can say is, thank goodness he is my friend...because I wouldn't want those jaws around my limb!  I watched in earnest as he grabbed the end of the post in his jaws and then lifted his head to move the post up and over the adjacent one!!  Who in the world taught him that maneuver?  That's what told me to go back to the house and get my camera.

 Then their focus changed to the pipe lying on the ground near the fence posts.  It's just an old rusty pipe about 8' long and 5" or so in diameter.  Take a look at the two of them.  I'm hoping that what they were after was a chipmunk and not a snake.  Although it seems to be far too cool for snakes to be hanging around now, I did see two when I was weed eating last week.  At this time of year, once the sun has heated up the road and or the rocks, you might catch one hanging out just to warm up.

Here's Copper trying to bite the end of the pipe.  Then he'd stop, stick his nose right up inside and take a deep breath.  Meanwhile, Moon hovered around the middle section, listening attentively for movement.  What a team! 

Then, I decided it was time to head out for our walk.  I said, "Are we walking?  Let's go!!"  They were down near the far gate in a flash, leaving whatever they were hunting for behind...ready for their next adventure!  In my eyes, each new adventure gives me something to celebrate...:)

Maybe that adventure will be over at  West Virginia Treasures' Show & Tail!  After all, it's Tuesday...stop by and visit Angela!  Hope to see you there...:)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Affirmation

Dr Wayne Dyer

"Transcend Your Circumstances

By choosing to hang on to your corner of freedom in even the worst situations, you can process your world with the energy of appreciation and beauty, and create an opportunity to transcend your circumstances."
 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Don't Forget Your Passport

In addition to me hanging out near the pool, you'll probably see these guys too.  Iguanas.  They hide in all the rocks that edge a corner of the pool and they are really fun to watch!  Once in a while one gets into the pool and I always try to help him out.  They can swim very fast!

Although I don't know this for sure, people on the island have told me that they (iguanas) make delicious soup.

 
On the northeastern side of the island, where the terrain is rougher, there are cactus like these everywhere...oh and wild donkeys, too!  But don't try to pet them!!  Sorry for the lousy picture...:(

Remember to bring your passport and you just have to go snorkeling at a place called Baby Beach!!!  You can walk way out, feeling the warm water as you venture out further and further.  Then, when the water is about shoulder high, you begin to feel cold water and a much stronger current.  That's because of the way the current flows in.  That current is so strong that it can literally sweep you off your feet.  Since you are wearing flippers (and you have to!) because you DO NOT want to step on any urchins, I would simply recommend that you just go under and begin swimming.  Then as you swim towards the huge reef, you begin to feel like Jacques Cousteau himself, you see the MOST BEAUTIFUL AMAZING SEA CREATURES!!  You know those yellow and black stripped small fish you see in all the tropical fish books...they are everywhere!!  Oh, and if you can bring some type of snack for the fish...bring leftover bagels and then break them up.  The fish go crazy!!!  They are so colorful and breathtaking!  It's as if you're right in the middle of an aquarium swimming among them...:)  There are urchins, Parrot Fish, Barracuda (yep...watch out for those), all kinds of eels, and fish just about every color, size and shape you can imagine!!  I could go on and on...but I don't want to spoil it for you!

When you go, I hope you have fun and if you do, think of me...:) And come home with lots of memories!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Chapter 18 - My Life: "Jump", They Said


Did I ever tell you about the animals that my Aunt and Uncle had when I was going up?  Well, lets see...they had several chinchillas that were kept in cages in the house.  They were cute and furry like a squirrel and they gnawed away at everything that wasn't metal!  Of course, we had a dog (everyone back then had a dog) and a cat too.

They started with one horse, Comanche.  He was our first horse, a paint.  He was a quarter horse.  We had him for a while but then when our house caught on fire he escaped from the barn and ran and ran!  Unfortunately, when we found him, he had to be put down.  He was in his stall in the barn when the gasoline pump exploded.  The pump was right at the end of the barn.  He was burned pretty bad.  They said he was "loco".  I don't know what they call it or do now, but back then, it was the only alternative.  He was a hurting unit...poor fella.

My Uncle's pick-up was parked in the barn and the heat from the fire, melted the brakes and the truck careened down the driveway.  It rolled right into the side of the house.  We were all sound asleep.  It was  two or three o'clock in the morning.  The fire was raging pretty good and if it wasn't for a truck driver going by and taking the time to stop and wake us, who knows what would have happened. 

I remember my sister and I were told to jump from our second story bedroom window.  However, directly under our bedroom window was the set of  wooden doors that led to the cellar.  (For you young ones out there, they're the kind that Dorothy's Auntie Emm had in the Wizard of Oz.)   Anyway, I remember being afraid that when we jumped the door below would cave in.  And everyone down below really had to coax me into jumping.  They just kept saying, "jump" over and over again.  They were right and I was wrong.  The doors held up just fine and all of us emerged unscathed.  Thank God!  Thank God for that truck driver!!



Oh dear, I guess I'll have to tell you about the rest of our animals next time!  See...I told you I had an interesting life...:)









Friday, October 22, 2010

Memory Lane Fridays: A Spooky Story



If you lived here in the Hollow, where they are no street lights and you were home alone during a severe thunderstorm and you had lost power and you had to go outside to "pee", would you be afraid?  I was, but I HAD TO GO!

It seems like whenever we loose power here in the Hollow, it's almost always in the midst of darkness and my husband is not home.  So, here I am home alone and feeling the urge...badly.  I grab the flashlight and some toilet paper and my tin can.  (I don't like to litter!)  Then, I carefully negotiate my way to my "spot" heading up the mountain.  Ah!  Relief.  But then, I heard something.  It was a man's voice.  Now I got scared.  I was home alone, peeing on my mountainside and all I had to protect myself was a blooming flashlight and a roll of toilet paper!!!  Oh yeah..that'll really hurt 'um!

I was afraid to move, but I had to pull up my drawers.  Quietly I got my jammies up and stood up.  Looking back while telling you this story, I don't know I guess I thought that if I was taller, I could hear better...who knows??  It sure doesn't make any sense now...standing up.  Then I heard it again, it was more than one man.  They were talking.  Good gravy, are they in my woods?  We have twenty acres and about seventeen is woods...dense woods.  Now, bear in mind, when you live in a "hollow", sound bounces off the mountainside and the direction from where it came can really be difficult to locate.  I had no idea where they were.

Meanwhile I had shut off the light and I started my way down.  I just wanted to get to my garage door which WAS WIDE OPEN...waiting for me!  Now they were laughing.  I was really scared.  More talking and laughter, then a car door.  I was almost at the garage door when I looked and saw them.  There were two fellas sitting in their pick-up truck parked on the roadside right at the base of my driveway.  I got into the garage, turned on all the outside lights (which is so bright it can be blinding), then hit the button to close the door.

When I got into the house, I locked the door then went to peek out of the bedroom window.  I could see them chugging down their beer as they started their truck and drove on up the mountain's gravel road.  What a bunch of losers!!  I have since learned to shoot and rather well, I might add!    

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Are YOU Packed Yet?

Here's the smaller of the two pools at the resort we stay at when in ARUBA.  This is where I hang out...underneath this hut between 10am-2pm...usually doing my Sudoku puzzles, sipping on a nice cool beverage.  Then when I get warm, I simply hit the pool...:)  It's actually become a tradition for me to be in the pools wearing my snorkel gear...yep, searching for sharks!! LOL!  Oh, a few more bits of advice...pack light and very casual and don't forget the sunscreen!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New Adventure: Raptors

It was Saturday.  It was sunny.  It was windy.  It was a perfect day to go Hawk Watching at Harvey's Knob, an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway!!!  My spur of the moment decision was made.  As I gathered my water bottles,  cocoa covered almonds, an apple and two yogurts, along with my GPS (in case I got lost), a wind breaker and my binoculars, I then closed the door behind me telling my dogs I'd be back.  Little did I know that the door I was about to open was to a whole new world of adventure!

I was only about 3 miles from the house, when I decided to call one of the contacts given to me as a "Harvey's Knob stalwart" aka "Hawk-watcher".  Introducing myself on the phone, I simply asked basic directions.  Bill was very receptive, telling me who of the "hawk-watchers" would be there "counting the birds" and to look for him to fill me in and give me some help.

I found what is known as Harvey's Knob with no problem.  The elevation there is 2,571 feet and so the views are both breathtaking and awe inspiring.  Looking northwest, there is Purgatory Mountain, Eagle Rock and House Mountain to name a few.  Across the Parkway, facing the east, are more spectacular views which overlook Goose Creek Valley.  Then you spot them...you see "the birds" floating on thermals...soaring effortlessly as you look through your binoculars...appearing to be so close that you want to reach out and touch them.  But you can't.  You'll go over the edge!!  The Eastern side of the ridge was bright, sunny and had minimal wind.  I crossed back over to where I had parked.

Shortly after I had arrived, a car pulled in and I watched gentleman got out of his car, put his jacket on and place a pair of binoculars around his neck.  Then as he set up a huge tripod, I approached him, asking if his name was Baron.  During my call to Bill, he had told me that Baron would be up at the Knob as it was his watch.  He suggested that I move my car right near his so I was at the right angle to see the birds come in.  It was VERY windy on the western side.  So windy, in fact, that while I was following a bird, the wind would become more fierce and literally make me loose my footing.

Today I saw Bald Eagles (mature & immature), a Golden Eagle, a few Osprey, lots of Turkey Vultures and  Black Vultures, several Red Tail Hawks, a Red shoulder hawk, an American Kestrel (a Falcon) and several Sharp shinned hawks and one Cooper's hawk.  It was absolutely AWESOME...) and an experience I will never forget! 

I tried to absorb as much information as I could as other "hawk-watchers" arrived.  They all shared stories and gave me more hints on how to identify "the birds."   I know I'll return for more.  However, before I end this story, I do have share a few more bits of information with you.  On September 19, 2010, the "hawk-watchers" on Harvey's Knob counted 7,313 broad-winged hawks, two bald eagles, one peregrine falcon, four ospreys and other species.  They totaled an astounding 7,344 in one day!  The boys were telling me that at one time there were over 700 birds that lifted out of the trees along the slopes of the Ridge.  That, my friends is the fall migration for the broad-wings traveling south.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tiptoe Through The Pasture (cont.)

My cousins legs were a lot longer than mine and mine, quite honestly are pretty long at 5'7".  But, they just weren't quite long enough that day because my cousin out ran me and rather than heading for the gate, she headed for the barbed wire fencing which was closer.  She jumped and was over.

As I dodged and darted among the trees, I approached the fencing.  I saw her lifting up the top strand of barbed wire.  She wanted me to duck down and dive through it!  What a great idea I thought as I got closer and closer.  Billy was in hot pursuit and not far behind me.  I now know what it feels like for those people who participate in the running of the bulls in Spain! 

My cousin and the fencing was only a few short strides away.  I dove, launching myself forward up and off my feet.  My cousin, however, let go of the strand of fencing thinking that Billy was coming straight for both of us.  I made it through the fencing but not unscathed.  The barbed wire caught me right below my left eye.  I have a scar...it's ever so slight now...hardly noticeable.
 
There's a lesson to be learned here.  Remember always:
Tiptoe through the pasture, when the bull comes, you'll run faster!

P.S.  Today's Tuesday!!!!  Remember to link up at Angela's  WV Treasures
for her "Show & Tail"...I did...:)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chapter 17 - Tiptoe Through the Pasture





Just the other day, I told you about Billy, the 1500 lb bull that we had had when I was growing up.  Well,  today's story goes back to when he was a little guy...a calf.  This happened while I lived in Southbury.  When we got him, he was the cutest thing you'd ever want to see.  If you've ever lived on a farm, the work seems endless.  I was always down at the barn cleaning stalls, filling the bathtub near the gate with fresh water, brushing or feeding the animals.  Let's see... back then we had Billy, our seventeen Black Angus heifers, six horses and two Shetland ponies, and about three dozen Capons.  So as you can imagine, the barn and pastures were always on the top of the "chore" list.








Anyway, when Billy was a calf, my cousin and I thought it would be cute if we could get him to chase us.  So, we'd walk up to him, knock on his little forehead (as if we were knocking at a door) and then run and hide...usually behind a tree trunk.  It worked!  After a while, you'd walk up to him, tap him on the forehead and then run and hide.  When we'd peek out from behind the tree and there he was standing there all wide-eyed with the cutest look on his face.








Now as Billy grew in size, so did his horns.  I distinctly remember hearing my Aunt tell my Uncle that he should get "those things cut off."  It never happened.  Billy grew.  His horns grew.  And the thing was, he was just so darn playful.  He'd toss his head side to side as if to say "somebody come and play."








Then during the winter, besides giving the animals fresh water in the tub, my cousin and I would walk through the pasture, which had a lot of trees in it, down to the small brook.  When it got really cold for long periods of time like it sometimes does in New England, the brook would freeze.  So,  it was our job to go down to the brook with our axes and "chop the brook" until the water was free-flowing once again. 








Now, I'm sure you're perceptive enough to figure out the rest of this story!  Yep.  You got it right, we had "chopped the brook" and were "tiptoeing through the pasture" heading back towards the gate when we spotted Billy.  He was standing there, tossing his head back and forth, pawing at the ground, when my cousin said, "run." 








(to be continued)











Sunday, October 17, 2010

How Are YOU Feeling?

Are you tired, anxious, stressed?  Are you overworked?  Are you feeling poopy?  Do you find that you're walking around the house with a long, sad face?  Do you feel like you need a vacation?  When was the last time you "played"?    Then  head to Aruba, my friends!  It is known as "one happy island" and I'll tell you why.  It's like heaven there...peaceful, no pressure, sunny almost year round, with a constant breeze and the people ARE ALWAYS SMILING AND PLEASANT!!  Here's a few pics as well as a small history lesson get you over the hurdle of making that decision.



This is a Divi-divi tree.  They literally dot the island.  The constant breeze in Aruba has actually "sculpted" them.  When I first went there, I thought it was so odd that these trees all faced the same direction.  Then I found out why.  Now I love them.  It's so much fun learning new things!

On with our lesson...

  Although the island is only about 20 miles X 5 miles, there are about 100,000 happy faces there!  Everyone moves slowly in Aruba...no one rushes to do or go anywhere.  It is a very laid back atmosphere.  The island is one of three (known as the "ABC" Islands..Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao located in the Caribbean) and belongs to the Netherlands.  Primary languages spoken there are Dutch and Papiamentu (local dialect).

The northeast side of the island is known for it's extremely rugged coastline, while the southern side of the island is where all the hotels are located.  The beaches on the south side are spectacular!  I couldn't leave you with just that picture, now could I?  

I took this picture on one of my daily morning walks.  That's one of the "pirate" ships you see where you can go on-board and they take you to various snorkeling places around the island.

I had never snorkeled before in my life...but that's another story.  Just remember that reef.  I know I will!

Personally, I think I've talked myself into needing a beach fix just looking at these pictures!...:)

P.S.  Here's a link so you can check it out for yourself...just in case you don't believe me! 
                                                        


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chapter 16 ~ My Life: Asking For Help

While I worked with Carol, it was she who encouraged me to seek counseling.  We had had several heart to heart talks just about...well, you know...things...things that were on my mind  I remember the day she suggested it to me.  I had just burst into tears for no apparent reason.  I was married at the time to my second husband.  We were together a total of two years.  Not one of my fondest experiences.  However, I guess I owe him a bit of thanks as well because, I thought I needed "marriage counseling" since I seemed to be a little too independent for him.  He wanted me to be someone I wasn't...you know the "trophy wife".  YUCK! 


So, off I went to a counselor seeking help with my marriage.  Then, while being questioned/interviewed by the counselor, things came out.  It was then that everything from my childhood came pouring out as well as the recurring dreams I had had since I was in my twenties.  At the onset, I was told that I needed counseling for self-esteem.  "How could that be?  Look at what I've done at work.  Look how far I've come in my job.  I mean I really know my stuff," I professed.  My counselor, Marcy, responded, telling me that while I was in strong, self-confident and in control at work, it was my personal life, my inner self, that we needed to work on.  She made it sound so simple.  I needed to love myself and she was going to work with me to learn how. 
Oh, and my recurring dreams...it was interesting.  One Thursday night, I had one of my dreams but something from that particular dream that particular night caused a feeling of elation in me.  The ending was different.  It was Friday morning and time for me to go to meet Marcy.  When I arrived, I told her that I was very anxious to start "session".  She smiled and said, "I'm almost ready" as she gathered her notes and we headed in.  We got into session and as we talked, I told her about the dream once again.  However, I then explained the end and what I thought.  She responded to me so assuredly,  "it's over".  I've never had the dreams since and I never again saw Marcy.   I was no longer a victim.  I had become a survivor.

I met with my counselor each and every  Friday.  It was one of the best things I have ever done for myself!  I  wish, however, that I had gone much sooner.  I learned many things during counseling.  I learned the term "victim" because I had been one.  I learned the term "survivor" becasue I was one now.  I learned the term "thrivor" becasue that's where I needed to head!  

Friday, October 15, 2010

Memory Lane Fridays: Halloween I

 

Halloween was almost here.  I'd better get working on our costumes, I thought.  I ran to K-Mart and bought the black tights.  I had an awful lot left to do in order to finish the costumes for my husband and myself let alone finish making the kids theirs.

My daughter was going as a cowgirl and her's was nearly completed.   My son wanted to be Spiderman and we had found a "Spidey" suit for him.  There was just something about those darn super heros back then.  It was the biggest rage. Super heros were really "in."

I had finished the hat and was working on the cape.  This would be a big hit at daycare, I thought.  The next morning, I got my daughter off to school and got Spiderman ready.  Then I got dressed and when I came out, my son loved it!  He kept telling me that I looked real.  I was dressed as a witch and had even smeared green eye shadow on my face.  I got my orange pumpkin and filled with the candy and the black rubber spiders I'd bought.  My son thought that it would be great fun.  Here's a picture of my "Spidey" at the age of four and one of his best friends, Eric.

When the teachers at daycare asked me to plan something "special" for the kids,  they loved the idea of the wicked witch coming to visit.  So when my son, they had me simply wait in the backroom until it was time.  After the kids finished playing all their Halloween games, it was time.  They gathered in the playroom and in I walked, all hunched over, swirling that darn cape around me to and fro.  I heard a few of them gasp as I let out a mean "eh..eh..ehhh."  The teachers had told the kids that if they wanted a treat from my pumpkin bucket they had to come up the witch and sit on her lap, reach into her bucket and that they would either pull out a "trick" or a "treat."  Sounded easy enough.

Things were going pretty well, until little Adrian (one of my sons closest buddies) had to take his turn.  He got up to me, climbed on my lap and when he looked closely at my green face, he began to cry!  It just made my wicked witch heart melt in two.  Without even hesitating, and hugging him tightly, I said, "oh no, Adrian...it's me...Jason's Mommy."  

The jig was up...I had blown my own cover!

I apologize for the quality of the picture...but it is from the olden days...eh, eh, ehhhhh...after all, witches live forever!!! LOL!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Country Girl Dates City Boy (cont.)

There it was a face that all of us except Ray recognized.  It was Billy, our bull...our white-faced 1500 lb bull!
He had apparently gotten out of the enclosure...although we never figured out how!  So, now that we knew it was nothing to worry about, my Uncle went down to the barn to get some gain in a bucket.  Since it was so late, my Uncle did not want to check the fence-line so he decided that we would simply put Billy in one of the stalls for the night.

Leading the way was my Uncle with the bucket in hand.  Billy followed with my cousin on one side of  him and I on the other.  Ray was still lingering behind...quite a good distance.  We get down to the barn and opened the stall when my Uncle turned to Ray and said, "I'll lead him in to the stall and if he balks, just push."  "Push what?", Ray replied.  "His rear end," said my Uncle, followed by, "you may have to put your shoulder into it.  He doesn't like small spaces."

I saw the look on Ray's face, his eyes popped wide and then I saw him take a big gulp.  He had a grin on his face as he looked over at me as if to say, "is he kidding?"  Then, the next thing I knew Ray just came out and said that he was not going to go near "that thing" let alone behind it!

My cousin and I both got behind Billy's haunches and shoved with our shoulder.  Billy was in...snug as a bug.  My Uncle climbed up and over the side of the stall into the adjacent one and was now out in the open.  He approached Ray and said, "you really are a city boy, aren't ya?"  

Ray never asked me out again.  It was probably the priest thing, don't you think?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chapter 15 - Country Girl Dates City Boy





Back when I was in college and still living home (in Southbury), some of the "city" kids that I went to school with used to refer to me as "the hick from the sticks."  It used to make me feel a little awkward to say the least.  However, one semester one of those "city boys" asked me out on a date.  His name was Ray and he was such a nice guy...so polite.  I knew that I would be "safe" (if you know what I mean) with him because he was going to the seminary to become a priest.  I accepted the invitation.  He was taking me to the drive-in in his white convertible.








We went to the movie, had our popcorn and other junk food and then he brought me home.  Now remember, I lived out in the "sticks."  There were no street lights on my road and with all the wide-open spaces...fields, thick patches of forest, it was "pitch dark."








I remember him parking the car closer to the house and the only light that was on was the one over the garage doors...that one and then, of course, the light from the bright stars that lit the autumn sky on that cool crisp evening.  We got out of the car and as we leaned against the back of the car talking, we heard something in the bushes.








I simply dismissed it as, "it's probably a deer."  There were always deer wandering out of the woods especially along the creek.  Then, there it was again.  It was getting closer...that rustling noise of brush being trampled.  As the noise continued, I decided that I'd better go in and get my Uncle.  My curfew when I was in college was eleven  and both my Uncle and one of my cousins came out...both of them toting those big huge flashlights.








As all of us approached the brush cautiously where the noise was coming from.  I remember Ray being towards the back proceeding ever so slowly.  Suddenly, there it was!  The bright flashlights shining on it's face....(to be continued)









Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Long Lazy Afternoon Made Adenturous (Part II)

We had driven over an hour passing the Jefferson Forest.  We found the place easily enough...thanks to me spotting their mailbox number quickly.  Mike hit the brakes.  Now he had to back up.  That's when he told me that doesn't do that well either...not with the trailer attached!  LOL!  Anyway, he managed to get us into the driveway and as I looked around I saw a Palomino, a Paint, a black mare, a huge black donkey, turkeys, a cow all before I even spotted the last two.

The woman went into the paddock and as she tried to catch him, she told us that when she'd gotten him from the field earlier that morning, his halter must have been dry rotted and just broke.  So here he was all bright eyed and spunky with the halter hanging from his neck.  She then went on to say that he's not real friendly although he's never bitten or kicked anyone.  "But, he is a good boy," she said.
I looked at Mike and whispered in his ear, "are you sure about this?"  So, finally the woman was able to grab hold of his halter and attach the lead we'd brought.  Then she said, "he leads real nice...once you catch him...  see."

We bribed him up into the trailer with some feed and thank goodness no pushing was required!  We said our farewells and headed back home, climbing the curvy mountainous roads ever so carefully.  Once we got back to Mike's he told me he would lead him out of the trailer and that he wanted me to walk him around to get adjusted to his surroundings.  Sure, I thought, just what I've always wanted to do 
on my Long Lazy Afternoon Made Adventurous = Llama
 
P.S.  I personally think they should call him Ivan the Terrible, but that didn't go over well.  Actually, he's really quite sweet...once you catch him!

OOPS...I nearly forgot today is WV Treasures' Show & Tail Tuesday!  Don't forget to "link up"!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Long Lazy Afternoon Made Adventurous (Part I)

The other day, Mike (my hairdresser...the one with the ponies, Eli's son) called me.  He asked if I could give him a hand.  I said sure and headed over to their house.  His Mom was supposed to go with him, but since his Dad isn't doing too well right now, he figured he'd use me as a substitute.

When I got to his place, he had the horse-trailer pulled out from in back.  Phoebe and Echo greeted me as always.  Those are the goats that have the run of the yard.  They're like watchdogs.  After I rubbed Phoebe's head, she actually led me to the back staircase and let out a big "blaaaah".  I guess that meant, "company's here."

I went in to give Eli my usual hug and we chatted for a bit.  Then in came Mike and said, "you'd better eat a hamburger or something because we'll be gone a while and we're not stopping for food."  So, I chomped down the burger thet had given me, put my boots back on and headed out the door.  As I got to the trailer hitch, I told Phoebe and Echo to scoot down off the hitch.  I climbed into the cab of the truck.

Then Mike asked me if I could bring along my GPS "just in case."  I hopped out of the cab, grabbed it out of my car and off we went.  "Where are we going?", I asked.  "I printed out the directions on Mapquest.  They're right here on the seat."  I took the directions, typed in the address into the GPS and hit GO.  We were off.  He didn't tell me what we were going to do...just that he was nervous that we might get lost.  

We talked about the ponies, his Dad and Mom and he kept having me compare the printed directions to those from the GPS.  Although I've known him for about 7 years, I never knew that he's not good on driving directions.  He laughed when he told me that and said, "It might be Sunday by the time we make it back home!"  

"Mike," I said hesitatingly "where in heavens name were we heading?"  Just as I thought, "you'll see.  We're going to pick up a new critter.  I just want to tell you before we get there though, that if he's reluctant to get on the trailer, you're getting behind him and doing the pushing.  I forgot to ask how he rides in a trailer."  

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Razor & Blade

Last week, I had to the chance to help out a friend.  He was bringing his Mini Horses to a place called Sinkland Farms, located in Rhiner.  Since his mom wasn't able to give him a hand, I tagged along.  It was a lot of fun and a most memorable day.

By the time I arrived, he and his nephew had already unloaded the horses and the carts they pull to give kids rides.  Rocky, Mike's nephew, is only 12 but has learned how to drive the cart pretty well so Mike lets him take folks on his own.


 Let me set the stage for you:

Sinkland's was hosting their annual Fall Festival, which runs every weekend in October and ends with their Chili cook-off the first weekend in November.


 Here's Razor all decked out...including bright pink hair extensions in his mane and tail.  Boy, the girls just loved that!!!  As soon as they saw them, they were anxious to get a ride in his cart.  Mike, you see, is a hair dresser and likes to make the ponies look "in".


 So, when they didn't need me for anything, I wandered around the farm.  Although I didn't want to go into the "corn maze".  It took Rocky 1 1/2 hours to make it out the first time!!!  I stuck to the wide open spaces.


  Then we ran into a bit (pardon the pun) of bad luck.  Blade decided that he didn't want to work anymore.  He'd just retuned from giving someone a ride...little Rocky was driving him.  The kids had gotten out....thank goodness!
And I guess, Blade spotted the bag of hay tied to the horse-trailer.  He decided that he was gong to be difficult.  He started rearing up, trying to buck, kicking the the hitch on the cart, neighing, tossing his head in the air!  Rocky was scared...you could tell.  He was able to jump off the cart and let go of the reins in his haste.  Thank goodness Mike was quick enough to grab up the reins and got him to settle down enough then grab a hold of his harness.  After a while, he took off the harness from him and just put on his halter.  He had decided not to take a chance and let the little guy have his way.  Blade spent the rest of the day eating, while Razor did all the work.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Split Personality?

I've decided that I have a split personality.  The reason I have come to this conclusion is quite simple really.  I have the privilege of owning two vehicles.  I bought my Mini Cooper three years ago because I thought it was cute.  Well, I mean I did a lot of research about it beforehand too and I liked what I read.  You see, I'm a Capricorn and am all about security and safety.   I like need to know that I am  safe and secure.  This is for the feminine side...the traveler, the shopper, the run errands, dolly domestic diva in me (right!! at the age of 62 LOL!!!).

So picture me driving this little blue devil here and there, just zipping around, getting 40mpg running around town...more on highway driving road trips!  It's a peppy little thing and easily maneuverable.  That's a good thing for me because I hate loathe parallel parking! I can fit just about anywhere and can even parallel park with it!!  It not only handles great on the windy, hilly roads here in the Virginia Blue Ridge, but can also bob and weave with the best of them with the greatest of ease in the city.  Once, I had to do a "u ie" (I believe the correct terminology for that is a U turn) in the middle of a two lane bridge...well I didn't HAVE TO...I just did it because it was a little risky and fun and besides, no one was looking!  It wasn't just me, though, that had those thoughts...I heard the engine say, "try it, you'll like it!  You can do it."    

Now comes the "other side" of me...the adventurer, the "tom-boy".  You know, the gal who sometimes puts on a baseball cap, rolls down the window and cranks up the music!  I have my Wrangler for that part of me.

Oh, the "discussions" I have had with my husband about my Jeep!  For instance...I wanted to leave my "rag top" year round.  It's not a bikini one; it's a full soft top, where the windows zip out.  I love the feeling of wind in my face...when I'm in "tom-boy mode"!! 

The result, my friends.  Do you see a "rag top" in this picture?  NO!  The softtop is folded up and stored well out of my reach!  "You're not 18" is what I have to hear!!  My answer is always the same, "No, but I'm not dead either!"  And, it's been an on going battle ever since.  

Que sera, sera!  C'est la vie!

My Wrangler loves to climb as much as I do.  You can just feel it when you're heading up a steep incline.  It truly is built to climb and drive in the snow, of course!   It has taken me through some pretty rough terrain and some pretty deep water...I know, I know...but the police told me it was safe to pass.  I love my  '98 Wrangler.  It has over 179,000 miles on it and each time I start the engine, it too talks to me.  It says, "let's head up the mountain and go exploring!"




So you tell me is this an indication of :

Split personality...NO!
Adventurous,fun-loving, yet sometimes feminine & demure...YES!

Chapter 14 ~ My Life: A Seamless Transition


While I was working in Operations, our bank merged with a larger organization based out of New Jersey.  One of the head trainers was coming up to Connecticut to observe me conduct a training class because they had offered me a position.  I wanted to make a good impression so that it would be a seamless transition into their world.  Oh, it went fine.  I always tried to dress impeccably and she and I immediately developed a mutual respect that lasted for years.  I had finished the class and my meeting with Peggy, so I decided to use the ladies room.  Then I would head downstairs where my son was picking me up (my car was in the shop) and taking me to get my weekly allergy shot. 





However, as I came out of the bathroom, I slipped on the recently waxed tile and landed flat on my butt!  I looked around. No one saw me (thank goodness!) so I stood up, brushed myself off and headed down the stairs.  I noticed that I had a bruise on my knee and that I had put a hole in my pantyhose where the bruise was...no big deal...not a show stopper...I'm only going to the allergist. 





I took off my jacket, got in the car and we headed to the allergist.  My son was going to go get gas while I was in the office, so as usual, I went into the waiting area.  I noticed that the place was pretty full, so I walked all the way to the back on the room.  However, as I walked, I felt all these eyes watching me.  I thought, "haven't they ever seen a hole in pantyhose before?"





Rita called my name.  I got up walked down towards her office and again felt like I was being watched.  When I walked in and went to sit down, Rita said, "JP, you might want to go to the ladies room before we start."  When I asked why, she said, "turn your skirt around when you get in there."  So, in I went to the ladies room and Holy Moosepoops!!  





When I turned my skirt so that the back zipper was now in the front, guess what?  Apparently, when I fell,the entire back seam split all the way up to the bottom of the zipper!  And to make matters worse, I wasn't wearing a slip because the skirt was lined!  Which meant that they were not looking at my knee...they were looking at my butt!!!  Talk about a big OOPS!





I left the skirt on backwards and when I walked out to leave, I placed my purse directly in front of the now revealing slit in the front of my skirt!  I got into the car and asked my son why he didn't tell me my skirt was split when I got out of the car.  He responded, "Mom, I don't make it a habit to look at your butt."  Well, I really wished, at that point, that someone had just come up to me and told me that my transition into my new job really was seamless!     





P.S.  No pictures go with this post...no way!













Friday, October 8, 2010

Lady Kiera Von Pooh, The Perfect Dog




If you've had the opportunity to read some of my other stories about Kiera, you should by now have a picture painted in your mind as to what kind of dog she was.  As my daughter so aptly puts it to this day, "she was perfect.  When my mother moved, Kiera would move.  When my mother would sit, Kiera would sit.  She's do anything my mom told her to do.  She was like a robot.  Mom, you have to tell them about her."

Well, not always...LOL!   Here's a little eye opener of a story, a reality check, if you will.  I know I told you that Kiera and I would walk each weekend with my best friend and her dog, Bunny.  Occasionally, Kiera and I would head over to Bette's house...you know...for "coffee and" (I love the "and" part at their house!!)

So, picture this.  I'm at the table with Bette "lip lappin'" (an expression I've learned since I moved here!) and the dogs...well...they're being dogs.  They pretty much always had run of the house.  In fact, I believe, at the time, they had only Dani, Bunny.  They were always fostering Short Hairs through GSP Rescue.  Then, of course, Kiera was there too.  The dogs are pacing around back and forth, just doing their "doggie" thing, between the kitchen/dining area and the living room, stopping to look out of the storm door into the front yard, then back to us again.

We'd give them a treat here and there and continued to chat.  Now, I will admit that it's taken me a long time to say this, but, I was not on my toes as I should have been.   I will admit that I was not anticipating my dog's next move.  I will admit that I did not have one eye on my dog as I had been taught.  I will admit that I did not

see Kiera, the wonder dog, assume the squat position and pee on Bette's oriental rug!  LOL to this day...:)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lady Kiera Von Pooh: Intermediate (Part 2)

I took a deep breath and gave the command "heel".  Kiera walked next to me as we ventured to the center of the room.  The room was the size of a small auditorium with a stage at one end.  That's where all the guests and judges sat, including Heidi and Rita, our instructors.  I remember it like it was yesterday.

We stopped and turned, facing the stage.  Kiera sat, just like clock work, without the command.  She knew, that when on a "heel" and her owner stopped, to automatically sit.  My daughter continues to this day to refer to her as the robotic dog!

As I once again gave the command to heel, we began to walk, turning to the left, then taking a sharp right.  We wanted to show the judges our stuff...not just a straight walk exercise.  Then while walking, I said, " As you may or may not know, a German Short Haired Pointer is a sporting breed.  They are bred for stamina and endurance.  They are born retrievers.  We ask that you participate in our demonstration tonight.  We ask that you imagine yourselves as trees...trees that surround a field...a field where a short hair can, in fact, have a field day!"

With that, all of our classmates and their dogs took their place around the edges of the room.  Kiera and weaved in amongst them.  We wanted to show the judges that distractions didn't distract a dog on "heel".
  Then we returned to the center of the room and came to a halt.  She sat automatically.  I was proud and no longer nervous...I knew we had it!

I had intentionally worn a big baggy sweatshirt over my jeans that night.  I had worn that baggy shirt for good reason.  You see, I had one of Kiera's favorite "retrieve" toys stuffed up under my shirt!

(It may not look like much to you, but to Kiera it was an integral part of her daily "work".  It is a rubber pigeon with a squeaker thing inside that was given to me by a woman who I will always cherish!)  Now back to the story...

So, Kiera's on a sit at my side.  Once again, I took a deep breath.  I thought, if we nail this part of the exercise, we are golden!  I slowly reached up under my sweatshirt and carefully removed the bird.  It accidentally squeaked!  Kiera immediately looked up with that gleam in her eye...the look of "let's play" was on her face.  Remember play=work. 

I gave both the hand signal and verbal command to "stay".  I threw the pigeon out a good distance from us and directly in front of the judges.  I released her with "Kiera OK" immediately followed by "find it".  She ran across the room, totally ignoring the other people and dogs (many of which had broken their "sit stay" because they too wanted the toy).  

When she got to the pigeon, I said, "bring it".  She ever so gently picked up the bird and as she turned to face me, I saw that it was perfectly positioned in her mouth...wings gently bobbing on either side of the jowls.  

As she headed toward me, I gave her the command to "front".  She arrived, sat directly in front of me holding the bird, looking up adoringly.  I leaned forward, said "release" and the bird was mine.  Then I gave her the command to "heel".

Oh, she "heeled" alright.  But inside of going around me then positioning herself at my side, Kiera took the shortcut and just cut diagonally in front of me to get there!  It didn't matter...I told her "good girl" as she wagged proudly.

Everyone not only clapped but they cheered!  I just laughed and said, "we're still working on that one!"  

We won the competition and a retractable leash to boot.  However, we donated it back to Heidi and Rita to give to Jobe, a stray that they were training to live in a facility designated for aids victims.  After all, we didn't need it as much as Jobe did...:)  We had plenty.  We had each other!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lady Kiera Von Pooh: Intermediate (Part 1)

Once Kiera had graduated from Kindergarten Puppy Training, it was time for Intermediate.  During this phase of training we were learning sit stay, heel, come along with a few other "personalized" commands.  You know things that you wanted your dog to do (going to the bathroom on command, when to dig...remember the "dig a grave story", going around an obstacle, retrieving, etc. by giving them a verbal command.

We once again attend classes and practice at home religiously.  Our "work" was always followed with playtime so she was more than willing to "work" knowing that the Frisbie was the wrap up to a good session.  Anyway, here we are in the next to the last class, when the instructors hit us with..."for our last class, each of your dogs must perform a trick in order to graduate.  There will be judges who will sit up on stage to select the winner who will receive a prize." 

"Holy Mooseppops" I thought...Kiera and I don't know any tricks!  So for a few days I really thought and thought and then it hit me...we'll incorporate all of our commands into one routine, showing them what we learned during class.

Now try to understand...at work I was busy doing a system conversion so I really was on overload if you know what I mean.  Feel sorry for me yet?  You should.  Anyway, Thursday night rolls around and off we go.
We take our place among the other students and their dogs, anxiously awaiting our turn.  We watched the other dogs "find Daddy" in the crowded room, sit and catch the ball and other cute things.  Then suddenly, I heard it...."JP and Kiera".

Good gravy...it was "dog school" I thought.  I was a wreck!  Looking back...what was I thinking?  I mean for crying out loud, I was at "VP" at work and here I was...nervous and apprehensive about DOG SCHOOL?!?!?

It was time to do our thing...remembering my motto, "the six P's" that brought me to that VP level at work, "Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance"

to be continued: come back tomorrow for Part II


(P.S.  In case you haven't noticed, I do a lot of posts about animals.   Thanks to my good friend, Lisa, I have found a new blog.  It's called West Virginia Treasures and if you love animals and enjoy reading about their adventures, you should participate in her "Show and Tail" (isn't that just too cute??) each Tuesday!
In fact, Angela is having a great giveaway...go and enter!...:)
  WV Treasures Tuesdays Show and Tail

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lady Kiera Von Pooh: Strong and Brave

Back in 1802 (I reference that year all the time and don't know why...it just means a long time ago) when I had my GSP (German Short Haired Pointer), Kiera, as I would leave for work, I would always tell her, "you be strong and brave" and then I would head out.  This saying became a daily ritual, if you will.  

So, off  to work I went one day and again said, "you be strong and brave."  Well, unbeknown to me, Kiera must have had some wax in her ears that day.  

You see, when I came home she came running to greet me as usual, tail wagging so it just looked like a blurr.  Then, as always, I said to her, "let's go change" as we headed down to the my bedroom.

She'd jump on the bed (something she was only allowed to do when I was there...my husband didn't tolerate such behavior) while I changed.  Then I say "c'mon, let's go work".  "Work" to her was her daily lessons...sit, stay, down, sometimes using verbal commands, sometimes using hand signals.  Then after "work", she knew it was time for PLAY so she was always anxious and well behaved during "work".  After all, she was well trained...always listened and obeyed very command.  I mean, I taught that dog things like "go around" (very useful when her leash became wrapped around a tree), "dig it up" (very helpful when I was gardening), "leave it" (ignore it, let's move on), etc.

  Just a note...German Short Haired Pointers by nature are very energetic and they do not like to be bored...not one little bit.  In fact, if they get bored, they can be destructive.  Anyway, so as I headed outside and down the deck stairs, I noticed a HUGE freshly dug hole!  I mean it was BIG!
 
Well apparently, that day, Kiera had misunderstood me when I left for work or it could have been that she had wax in her ears.  Personally, I think she thought I said, "you dig a grave"!!  And, being the obedient dog that she was, she did!  LOL!!!  I thought this whole incident was quite funny to tell you the truth...:)  However, my husband didn't.  He doesn't have a good sense of humor...not when it comes to something messing around with the grass!


I filled in the hole, trying to strategically place the grass divots here and there.  From then on, though I always made sure she not only understood my command, but also was sure she had no wax in her ears!  It had to be wax...because this dog was bionic...perfect...could never do any wrong.  Trust me, you'll be hearing more!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Autumnal Theme Hits Hollow




 
Autumnal.  I love that word.  It has such a warm, yet crisp, connotation.  It has a melodic sound to it, doesn't it?  It belongs here at the Hollow.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fall Means Harvest




Today was rather an overcast day...cool as well.  I got a little ambitious this afternoon so I decided to take a stroll around the yard.  I decided to "harvest."

As you can see, I collected a few seeds from my plants.  Depending on the plant, I'll plant some before we get a frost and the others will be planted in the Spring.

After all, fall does mean harvest, right?  And, there is nothing more gratifying than seeing those little ones grow up!

What a Handsome Devil # 3435 ...:)

One year, when I was up visiting my girl friend in Connecticut, she suggested that we go visit an honest to goodness Dairy Farm.  Since I had never been to visit a "dairy", I was excited about the idea.  At the time, she had an "in" with the owner as she was doing PR for him so I felt pretty special.

Off we went early one morning to become part of a tour that was open to the public.  I knew we'd have fun because we always do regardless of what we do or where we go.  She's a natural comedian!

We arrive, follow the other cars to the field for parking and walk on in.  Once she spotted the owner, she immediately introduced me.  He was a nice enough guy, but I got the feeling that he could also be a tough cookie.  I mean he ran a business so I guess he had to be that way.  (The farm and his name shall remain anonymous for the purpose of privacy.)
 
 Here's a good picture of "the girls".  They all lined up at their chow line when the tour began and we were in the barn, which really isn't a barn...not with four solid walls anyway.  It's more like a shelter from the weather...snow, sleet, rain and of course, sun when it's too hot.

They have this mechanism that actually sweeps their residue (pee and poops) down and then it is literally separated and reused to make fertilizer for the fields.




Here's a picture of the tractors working on the silage.  It was truly amazing that, on a farm of this magnitude, the owners were so conscientious about recycling, reusing and farmland preservation.  

 
 It really makes you stop and think what COULD HAPPEN IF WE ALL PITCHED IN and did our little part, doesn't it?

Oh, heck...I'm not telling you to recycle pee and poop...but a few bottles, cans and plastic grocery bags would sure help!

Did you also know that there is a "boss lady" in the herd?  Personally, I just thought that all "the girls" just sort of hung out together...you know like high school buddies or college roommates.  Wrong!

There is a "boss" among the herd and we got to see her exhibit her title while we were in the barn! 




This last picture is of me petting calf #3435.  He's only a few days old.  When born, they are taken away from their mom's as soon as possible and moved to a nursery (how cute is that?) where they are bottle fed colostrum (the mothers first milk).  After being weaned, they are moved to group pens.


But one bit of advice, don't let a new calf suck    your finger!  They can suck really hard!!!   I actually had a hard time pulling my arm back out of the fencing!  I thought he was taking me prisoner.  This little guy's mom was only about 22 months old when she gave birth and will now join the milking herd.  Meanwhile he will, after being weaned,  join a cult...NO NO...I mean group!
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