The Goings On


This is being a busy week on the farm. I have Robbie and Rodney, my two hired men, here a few hours every day getting things done. That is what summer is for on a farm–getting it all done, and I have a long list.

First, they worked on this new field for the goats. The reasoning for this field is two-fold. One, I don’t want to mow this useful expanse of fabulous grass that would be better off as food for livestock. We don’t ever use this part of the yard anyway. And it’s hard to mow–it’s very sloped coming up from the creek to the driveway, and there is plenty of other yard around the house and the studio. How much yard does a person need?
Second, the more space goats have to roam and graze, the healthier they are. And I like healthy goats.
I went to five farm stores yesterday trying to finish up buying the fence wire. Everybody is fencing right now, apparently, because the specific wire I wanted for the goats was hard to find. I want a tight field for them. As much as I enjoy having them up at the house and sitting in my rocking chairs, that gets a little old sometimes. I like them on the porch at my discretion, not theirs.

I did, eventually, get bored and distracted by the time I was at the fifth farm store and these new boots were calling my name and somehow ended up going home with me.
When Robbie and Rodney finished up yesterday, they said no way were those goats getting out.
You know that is a recipe for disaster if you make that kind of statement about goats.

I woke up this morning to find the goats back in the barn yard, in the barn, from where they then let themselves out and onto the porch. We’ll work on that this evening when Robbie and Rodney get back. (They come here after they finish work at their regular jobs.)

Meanwhile, I’m working on my Glory Bee and her boyfriend issue. Since the man with the Black Angus bull can’t get his bull loaded, I started scouring around again at the idea of AI. (Artificial insemination.) Some of you who have been around for awhile may remember that I have been looking into AI for years, all the way back to when I was still trying to get BP bred. It is very difficult and nigh upon impossible to find someone who will do AI here. Then I remembered Clara Mason, the mobile vet who came out to see Zip when she hurt her leg. (Zip is all better now, in case you’re wondering.) I gave her a call, and what do you know, she will AI cows! She told me I had to arrange for the semen, however. Which seemed quite confusing, but she talked me through it and then I got on the internet and went searching for Glory Bee’s artificial boyfriend. I got her some Black Angus semen, and we’re trying to get the deed coordinated for next week. I’ve never been involved in having an AI done, so this is interesting and exciting!

I will still be having my neighbor’s (mixed breed) bull from up the road come to the farm. He can’t send his bull till later in the summer, but I will have him here to get Dumplin bred, and as a backup to the AI with Glory Bee. I’ll know if the AI took by the timing of when the calf is born. If this AI takes with the Black Angus semen, she will calve in early April.

Next up, I’m having my hired men work on a new field for the cows. I’m very excited about working on starting a little beef herd here, and doing it all on my own. It’s a little scary, but I want to do this and I’m ready. Or I will be, when I get another field fenced. I need more pasture.

Between my meat goats and my cows, this is happening. This is a real farm.

P.S. Don’t judge me too harshly for the goats on my porch in rocking chairs.

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A Letter from A Cat


Today’s letter to Weston at Army basic training, from his Beloved.

To My Boy,

How are you doing? I am just here, pining for you. I’ve been shedding more lately. Pretty sure it’s because I miss my boy and the emotional duress is taking its toll on my beautiful coat. When I am bald, you will know how much I truly loved you.

I remember the first day you found me under the porch at the old farmhouse. Only you could get me to come out. You were so patient and kind and you gave me treats. You could have named me something embarrassing, like Whiskers, but you named me Killer. I appreciate that.

However, I thought I was going to get to go with you this time. You took The Rat to college all the time, but never me. When you got rid of The Rat, I thought it was going to be my turn and I would get to go to the Army with you. I even forgave you for not letting me eat The Rat. Though I still dream about it. But even more, I dream about the Army. Being your battle buddy. I have pawed birds from the trees. Pounced on mice in the grass. Captured butterflies with one eye closed. Scattered my hairballs through dark hallways like field mines. I am ready! I’ve heard you aren’t allowed to receive candy or cookies? Are you allowed to receive me? I’ve always liked boxes and I don’t mind being mailed. I would do anything for you, even give up naps. At least some of them.

PFC McMinn, Killer


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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....

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