Saturday, February 28, 2009

Spring has...sprung

I can tell because of a greenish hue covering the ground everywhere, which is a promising change from the dusty brownish blackish gray we've grown accustomed to. Since we've never seen the land in spring, the prospect of grass and green leaves is very exciting, so exciting in fact, that I even find the baby cactus rather charming.

More charming than this are our cows who have discovered the front 5 acres of the land. Although mostly forest, it borders the neighbor's yard where a lonely, full sized cow resides. Today we found them staring intently at each other through the barbed wire. I'm certain they were having two very different thoughts at this moment, although all parties seemed shocked by the other. While the regular cow was singing "All by my seeeeelffff, don't wanna live...," Seamus and Matilda marveled at the sheer size and wonder of what appeared to them as the world's Most Giant Cow.

I kept myself busy wandering through the woods collecting rocks suitable for our imaginery fireplace that Jeremy reassured me will someday go inside of a house. He suggested I begin this project, and since I'm kind of a sucker for these sorts of meaningless tasks I happily trotted into the woods in search of "perfect fireplace rocks" (Anyone know what those look like?). This job is right up my alley since I spent lots of time as a kid collecting rocks on the railroad tracks behind my house. But I don't want to give away too much about my exciting childhood, so we'll save that story for another time. By the end of the day, I made great progress, probably too great, seeing as I'll have a lovely fireplace ready about 5 years too soon.

Jeremy's goal has been to clear a path from the potential homesite for a view of the "pond," a term I use loosely as it currently is more of a dusty pit in the middle of scrub. Obviously, we're being optimistic. This work requires the chainsaw, the tractor, and miscellaneous tools that I ask too many questions about which leads to the suggestion that I "go build a fireplace." So he does the clearing alone, is the point I'm trying to make. And works hard enough, apparently, to require a midday nap right there in the dirt with the scorpions, fire ants, and his trusty sidekick.

So it was, all in all, just another Saturday at the land.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Your Weekly Boo

Have you ever seen a donkey pout? Of course you haven't. But I believe these pictures are proof that it does happen.

We gave the halter another try this weekend and it caused Boo to go into a deep and dark depression. He walked sadly down the little road and slowly sat down, but not before giving me a long, puny look over his shoulder. As if this display was not pathetic enough, he flopped over onto his side when I walked over to give him a pat. With a dramatic snort, he shut his eyes. Pouting.

And yes. I am definitely wearing a Tractor Supply hat, so I'll understand if it's over between us.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Just call me Uncle Nature...

...the less well known twin brother of Mother Nature (fraternal twins, obviously). I didn't realize that I had such a gift. I mean, all I did was plant a few seeds in some dirt and pour some water on top. I barely had to try, and the result was an abundance of little shoots. What can I say? Of course Jenna feels the need to remind me that about 6 million 1st graders across the country are just as successful with their bean plant experiments. But she and I both know mine grew faster and are way prettier.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Your Weekly Boo (or, Mr. Boo, to you)

Boo has to get gelded (snipped, castrated, etc). It's a sad fact of life. If left intact, Boo will eventually earn the nickname "Jackass," which is precisely the personality trait male donkeys are (in)famous for. Obviously, we will have none of that. The first step towards avoiding "Jackass" status is halter breaking. This will help Boo to, not only become a gentleman, but to be easily controlled when the vet arrives to, er, alter him. I was finally able to locate a halter that fits his teeny face (it's made for adult miniature horses, so now I really would like one of those). The first few attempts at halter breaking led to a very agitated Boo, and a very sad me. Today, I learned that the trick to halter breaking is the same trick for everything else to do with donkeys - - sweet feed. In the world of donkeys, sweet feed is a universal healer, peacemaker, and halter breaker, apparently. Keep a little of the stuff in one hand while quickly slipping the halter on with the other, and the little guy never knows the difference. I'm also open to considering that he's just not very smart. It was a landmark day, regardless, as he's well on his way to gentleman-hood. Introducing, Mr. Boo....

Go FYP Yourself

Don’t worry - that statement truly isn't offensive. FYP Farm is the name our friend gave the land this weekend, and I’m thinking that it just might stick. FYP = Five Year Plan and was a jab at our speedy deviation from the original (but not too solid) land purchase timeline. So this got me to thinking. What’s so great about five year plans anyway? I mean, how did this amount of time end up always being not too little, not too much – juuust right? Does this amount of time actually provide the perfect balance of long term planning with short(ish) term action? And have you ever FYP’d your own future goals? What’s the deal people?

Forgive me; I will try not to take out my frustrations on anyone. The deal for me is the MOVE. We’ve discussed a variety of options to get us out there in an amount of time that is affordable and makes sense. Unfortunately, the term “makes sense” is open for debate, and this is where craigslist steps in. I’m pretty sure I can create an argument that just about anything “makes sense” if it means getting us out there soon. My latest obsession involves this little gem discovered on Dallas craigslist (it’s a big state, why relegate oneself to the Austin area?!?). For rational people, I’m sure many questions arise when considering this option (Why is it free? How much does moving something 160 miles cost? Why is it free? Is there a kitchen? WHY is it FREE?). However, this option just “makes sense” to me, and I’ll bombard the post-er with emails until I get a firm response. Until that time, Jeremy’s agreed to start clearing some potential home sites in consideration of our FYP and also to satiate my need for progress. But with craigslist on my side, I hope we’ll be able to call it FMP Farm. Planning in month-long increments is more my style.

Potential front yard? Ignore the stumps and miscellaneous debris. Actually, just close your eyes and envision nice green grass.

And....backyard?? Work with me...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Your Weekly Boo

My how he's grown!!!

Ok, that's actually his grumpy mother, Chula, wishing that I were a carrot.
But truly, it's surprising how quickly he's gone from cuddly baby donkey to awkward teenage donkey.

However, he is still smaller than the tiny cows, which is saying something.

The Things I'd Do for You

It’s amazing how one’s standards change as their options change, or expand, or shrink. For example, I’m much more likely to think $65 for a haircut is reasonable if I have an actual salary and full time job. Seeing that I’m just a student, unsure of who may or may not employ me in the next few months, my mom’s free haircuts on a stool in the kitchen sure are fantastic. Of course, she doesn’t douse my scalp in peppermint oil and bring me a glass of wine, but that stuff’s overrated. Sniff.

My point is this, you can’t always get what you want, or at least the exact version of what you think is acceptable. Still don’t get my point? I do have one. I’m ready to move to the land. As in: willing-to-live-in-a-tent-wash-my-hair-in-the-animal’s-trough-hunt-and-gather, kind of ready. It is this sort of desperation that led me to a weekend spent ogling a dilapidated mobile home. Now, mind you, I have absolutely nothing against mobile homes. In fact, these suckers can be incredibly comfortable and luxurious and serve as great homes. This was not the sort I was ogling. My craigslist addiction led me to a ridiculous deal, just ridiculous enough to consider, and one that might have meant moving to the land soon while bypassing the tent route. Before visiting the home, Jeremy suggested that it might be “too good to be true,” a warning I shrugged off because at that point, I was happy to live in anything with a roof and indoor plumbing if it meant living on the land. We spent the morning examining the home in its entirety; the rotting wood floors, moldy tile, cabinet doors that hung precariously on rusted hinges. And the toilet. Oh my, the toilet had seen better days. Jeremy’s ominous silence during inspection made me fear the worst - that he would not agree it was a fantastic deal. I mean, I made it through 4 years of decaying college housing. I could make it through this. I babbled about the wonders of fresh paint and bleach and the ability to hold my nose until Jer essentially asked me to get a grip and take a good hard look around me. Needless to say, we came home empty handed, unsure of when we’ll move but certain that some of our standards remain intact:

-Floor must be relatively solid, i.e., probably you don’t want to see the ground below.
-Toilets must, er, flush.
-Most importantly, home should probably have complete walls devoid of huge, gaping, open holes to the outside.

After agreeing to these standards, Jer patted my head and offered his appreciation for the lengths I would go to get us out there. I, for one, am relieved we didn’t buy the severely damaged trailer. And I’m back to researching tents.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Your Weekly Boo

Boo turned three months old on Saturday which, in people years, is about 8 months old as donkeys can live well into their 40's. In honor of this hugely important day - he was given a pear.

I'm convinced that most of my love for animals comes from their ability to keep things incredibly simple. I can learn a lot from them. For example, I'm pretty sure that the pear made Boo's entire weekend. Forget the fact that he's only a little donkey and his baby fur is falling out in embarrassing patches. The weather was fantastic, the pear was delicious, and he's sprouting a new, fancy mane - life is good.

My Pseudo Winter Weekend

I'm talking about a Texas winter, ya'll, but even for Texas this has been all kinds of ridiculous. Although I'm sporting a sunburn from a weekend spent in a tank top, I now sit in front of a fire wearing slippers and a sweater. We've had very little in the way of winter around here. Aside from a few freezes and many brisk mornings, it's hard to tell that the seasons ever changed from early fall to deep winter. I spend so much time at the land that it's interesting to see how the plants and animals react to the seasonal change that never really, well, changed.

The trees are bare, despite the 80 degree weather. Take note of the bright green cedars which never lose their will to live. In fact they're happily making all of us sick and miserable at the moment.

This tree wonders if it's late summer? Early fall? The leaves turned a glorious red in October and just kept hanging on.

Brrrrrr!! No. I think this is when I actually sweated on the camera.

And poor Seamus grew a big fuzzy coat for nothing. All the temperature changes are confusing. Even for a brilliant,coyote chasing cow.