Thursday, April 29, 2010

That'll Do

Team Donkey played another round of dusty-dirt roly poly on Sunday; evidence, I believe, that the minis fit in quite nicely amongst the five overbearing originals. I've included pictures of this evidence here, not that you don't believe me that they rolled around like three disproportionate balls of fur, but because seeing the pictures for yourself will make your whole day - if not even two whole days. Just trust me.

But first it's rather important to witness the star of every show - Boo - taking a moment to reflect on life in general, right there in the middle of the road.

But I digress.

Pretty neat, right? You're welcome, by the way, for making your day(s).
Alternately, I thought it was time to completely disgust you. Make your day, then disgust you. It all evens out in the end.

Of course, I find this inexplicably precious, but that's just me. I mean, I know that it's just me who's charmed by this sort of behavior. Moving on...

In other farm related news: we have the beginnings of a pasture fence! This is earth shattering and major mostly because we have spent a total of maybe four days at the land over the course of a month and therefore any progress is pretty impressive. Jeremy + Bambi are an awe-inspiring team when they wanna be and, you guessed it, I have proof.

Finally - I have saved the best news as the last news. Unfortunately the word "best" is said with quotation marks in this case. Because by best I mean the "most incredibly annoying - so annoying that every time you think of the news you hear nails scratching down a chalk board and want to punch a kitten" (never, ever punch a kitten). To be concise: I have frustrating news. The builder who I have spoken with for a year, who we went through a drawn out process of interviewing, considering, and re-considering is absolutely and totally MIA. After our wintertime Dance with the Contractors, this guy emerged as the last guy standing. In short, he was the best of the worst. Not a very promising start when you're in that category. We have made significant progress with him and the entire project, much of which relies on his timeliness and communication (characteristics that he, like many in the profession, lack). I call, I write, I text, I call, I text, I call. Nothin'. Luckily, the movement towards building has to pause anyways due to a variety of factors that mostly come down to timing and money. And luckily, I'm busy enough during the day that I'm not able to obsess over the distinct possibility that I've been dumped by my contractor. And FYI - being dumped by your contractor at age 30 causes the same adolescent angst as being dumped by some boy who's last name you don't know who dumps you through a note stuffed in your locker in 7th grade. Clearly, I have very confused feelings about the current situation and also possibly about middle school breakups.

Which is why it is important to stop and give thanks for glasses of wine and long spring evenings. Both help me shrug my shoulders a little and remember a few important things. A year ago, there was no real discussion of a move to the land, no house plans, no soil tests, no contractor, no new pasture fence and no mini donkeys. All of that alone is, if not progress, something tangible that makes us feel closer to getting out there. And because of all the fall/winter rain we have unbelievable grass and flowers everywhere meaning that a year ago there was definitely none of this:

Buttercup pollen on Boo's nose.

It's not much, but it's something, and that'll do - that'll have to do for now.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Fine Balance

To all of our devoted readers (that's right, I'm talking about you and you) I just want to pop in and say that all is well in farm land. The donkeys continue to slightly repress a deeply rooted hatred for one another, the cows continue to chew their cud and moo causing me to stop and say "HOLY SH%T. I have cows," and the pond is fully covered in a spring-green algae (scum). Some changes on the home front have kept me from actively obsessing over the state of the animals, the (lack of) progress on the house, or the fact that my father is trapped in London due to an apocalyptic volcano cloud hovering over the earth's northern hemisphere. Maybe I should actually spend some time obsessing over that one.

Point is: we're still here, alive and kicking. Some updates include: I threw a hodge podge garden together last week and crossed my fingers that it's the last one in this joint. My chickens promptly broke through the fortress-like barrier and ate part of a tomato plant. Such is life, if you have chickens.

And: we added some catfish to the menagerie after spending an afternoon around what can only be described as a Fish Bus (don't question me). We kissed them goodbye before turning them loose into the pond, assuming they would likely perish shortly.

And: We cleared. We cleared some more. Then cleared a little more so that now there is a distinct path from one end of the property to another. We dug a hole with the auger for a fence post. Then another. Then we gave up and went home and haven't talked about it since.

Finally: I officially heard, from a neighboring pasture, the sounds of a chainsaw, a pause, and then..."TIIIMMMBBBEEEEEEERRRRRRR!" That's the type of noise pollution we get at ol' No Name Farm/Ranch. I'll take it.

I've just returned from another day at a new job that will change many aspects of my life (free time. stress level) and I have to pause and question such things as major life choices and getting what you want with the least amount of sacrifice. Something about having a cake. Eating it too. I imagine we'll get to the land sooner than later. And I imagine we'll be so busy funding the land and house that it'll be who-knows-when before we can actually enjoy it. A little depressing, no? But then I think about the blessing of just being out there, even if jobs keep us too busy to sit on front porches all day and watch the leaves grow. And I think - there's a time for that too. Just not now.

So there you have it. (New job + $ + less time at land = introspective reflection) / Glee watching. Things? They could be worse.

And now I give you, Donkey in the Mist:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Another one of those Donkey Stories.

Just when you thought we'd get through another pivotal land event without an overly detailed story........

In all honesty, there is little to report. I mean, unless you consider the evening we spent on a ranch in Fredricksburg where the donkeys used to reside (hill country in full bloom. along the banks of a magnificent river. sunset and wine. a palomino horse and a pasture of belted galloway cattle. just your average Sunday evening, the details of which I will not bore you with. sniff). And also, there was the whole loading of the animals ordeal which was less of an ordeal and more of a 15 minute variety show starring Jeremy, the donkey's owner, a bag of sunflower seeds and three tiny, obese donkeys in a small chute. Imagine the most stubborn creatures on earth faced with the reality of their diminutive stature and 5 large humans. They still managed to turn their backs to the trailer in a tiny shoot as if saying "No. No. Nope. no. Don't think so. I am magnificent and you are insulting me. No." Needless to say, they each eventually had to be lifted into the trailer as they refused to cooperate, and it was humiliating for them.

We released the minis into our round pen and each leapt gracefully (read: sarcasm) from the trailer. As soon as their hooves hit the ground they looked up to see Boo (Boo is punctual. For everything.) staring at them through the fence. In apparent shock, the leader of the mini pack (Fiona) let loose a banshee scream. This was not your average hee-haw. Actually, it was a heeeeee with no haw. And it was terrible. This set Boo off with his gasping, not-as-yet-defined hee haw, and the other girls (including Chula) all chimed in. Jeremy and I covered our ears and hoped for the best.

For one day they lived in our round pen in order to safely acclimate to their new home. This provided an opportunity for all 8 bottoms to be sniffed by all 8 noses, an awe-inspiring display that is definitely not worth discussing further. After a full 24 hours in the pen I released them onto the land expecting frightened and timid behavior but getting, er, the opposite. They were off like chubby race donkeys. They galloped past the hay ring, down the hill and through the main pasture, bellies flopping and tiny tails flying behind them.

Eventually, they bumped into our scrappy herd near the pond and Boo's excitement, impressively contained for a FULL 24 hours, overcame him. You must remember that Boo came to us as a wobbly 2 month old and his social encounters, beyond his mother, his People, and the cows - are few. Therefore - Boo was incapable of "handling" himself which means that in his overzealous attempts to make friends, he scared the crap out of the minis. His approach to friendmaking is to first stalk the potential friend, hurdle himself at top speed directly towards the potential friend and then skid to a sideways stop in their face. When the potential friend kicks him in the face, banshee screams, and runs - Boo takes the obvious next step towards successful friendmaking. He repeats the initial approach. So there it went for approximately one hour. Gallop, skid, stare, kick, scream. Repeat. I was lucky to catch a series of these attempts throughout the afternoon. Once again, the damn donkeys teach us a lesson: Don't come on too strong in any situation. Like, really. Don't. No one ever likes it.

Today I was more hopeful that this all might work out. I think the donkeys reached an agreement overnight and there seemed to be some understanding between all 5 of them. Boo no longer forced his friendship down their throats and they no longer tried to kick his face off every time he approached. Even Chula was brave enough to sniff a few bottoms before tucking tail and running away. And the minis are, just as I expected, feeling like they owned the place before they even arrived. Something akin to a donkey version of the Napoleon complex.

One final note: our good buddy Jeff, self-proclaimed arborist, geologist, and naturalist, finally paid a visit to the land. After literally scaling trees and handling untouchable objects, Jeff's given us a comprehensive list of what the heck's growing out there; what to help flourish and what could seriously maim us. For example: all that poison ivy we've been so scared of is just Virginia Creeper. And all those rattlesnakes we've been avoiding are nothing compared to, as we now know, the dreaded water moccasin which will, according to Jeff, literally grow legs and chase you, find where you sleep at night, and bite you with fangs that are infested with bacteria from all the "dead sh*t they eat." Jeff, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for coming out. We give you first dibs on the property which is, obviously, now on the market.

Monday, April 5, 2010