Archive for February 15th, 2012

Visit with Coco


I got to visit with Coco today! By the way–just wanted to mention this–I’m afraid I may have inadvertently given the impression I’d taken Coco to a Beverly Hills dog spa by saying I took her to a vet in the city.

The vet in the city that I took her to is actually the frugal people’s vet that is inside a county animal shelter. She has been here before. She was spayed here. I used to take Dookie here sometimes because Dookie hailed from the city and this was his longtime vet. This vet office is actually less expensive than the local vet here, though the main problem with the local vet is that he isn’t in his office here every day as he splits his time with another office in another county (which is even farther away). It’s rough finding a vet around here, let me tell ya. You have to have backups.

Anyway. Back to Coco!

She is still gimping around on three legs, but she was quite perky. I got to love on her and scratch her and sneak her some treats. I also gave her a towel from home that she had been using on Sunday to nap on, so she has something that smells like home.

Then she had a whoopsie.

And she was so embarrassed.

Or not.

I don’t have any new news as far as when she will be able to come home. I’ll have to wait at least a week and see what the status is on her wound. The hardest part was leaving again because I could tell she thought she was coming with me (sob).

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An Old Place


One of the enjoyable things about a well-established property is making little discoveries along the way. People have lived, loved, laughed, and worked hard here for well over a hundred years. The barn dates back to the 1890s. The original farmhouse of that era is long gone, and this house was built in the 1930s on almost the exact same spot. Some of the foundation stones of the first farmhouse remain–although it may well not have been the actual first homestead on this property, either. It’s likely a log cabin may have stood here before it. My own ancestors to this area started out in log cabins along the Pocatalico before settling in and building larger homes.

Much of my scant three months since moving in here has been spent just trying to unpack, paint, and tackle one calamity after another. The brink of winter is a rough time to move into an old house. In other words, I’ve had little time to explore or even notice what is right under my nose.

Morgan pointed out these steps cut into the bank between the driveway and the creek. They hardly need Geraldo Rivera to unearth them from Al Capone’s vault, of course. I’ve noticed this cut-out in the driveway for some time. I was just too preoccupied to pay attention to it.

There are steps down the bank to the creek. They’re quite overgrown, but we pulled off some of the grass and weeds. It will need a little more effort to uncover them completely.

I think there are more, as there is another one poking out down here.

I’d like to get them cleaned up. They make a handy short-cut down the bank to where you can find a makeshift narrow bridge–

–across the creek.

And take some treats to the goats.

The goats are campaigning for a quick cleanup of the short-cut steps so they can get more treat attention.

At Stringtown Rising, the porch overlooked the goat yard, so tossing treats was easy. I didn’t have to go down to the gate if I was busy. Now, if I’m busy, I tend to just hand the treats out the back door to Casper. The goats have been missing out a little bit.

This time, it was the sheep who missed out.

Maybe tomorrow, sheepies.

They are happy enough if I just get moving and hand them their daily hay ration. In the hay loft, I still have more than half of my square bale store, but down in the rear barn yard, they have been cleaning up and they will be out of round bales by the end of February.

The square bales will go fast when I have to start sharing them with the cows. A cow can eat a square bale a day all by itself. With the mild winter we’ve had, I’m hoping for an early spring or I will be hauling hay again before you know it. I have fencing scheduled for the second half of March to run electric around the first upper pasture for the cows, and to get the Park field sectioned off.

I also want to get Blueberry Hill fenced in as an additional connected field to the barn yard. There is pasture-a-plenty here. Like the house, it just needs a little work this first year.

On Sunday, after the power came back on, the water didn’t. The water didn’t work for two days. I started to think something was wrong. (How could anything be WRONG with the water???) Turned out, the pipes were just frozen. It was 16 degrees overnight from Saturday to Sunday, and because of my “Coco-brain” for the past week and dearth of attention to the news, I hadn’t been prepared. However, because I have new pipes–which despite being re-routed and newly insulated will still freeze if it gets that cold–they expanded rather than breaking, and once they thawed, all was well. The whole episode didn’t really bother me that much because I was busy slobbering on Coco and I didn’t care if I had water. I had my dog. But I think it’s a sign that I have turned a corner here. Frozen pipes were a calamity before, but now they’re not. The new expandable pipes will hold me in good stead for many years, even when I forget to watch the news and run a trickle of water overnight.

And even with the remains of the last snow on the ground, I can feel Spring coming. I’m very grateful to be here, despite the work and the worries over the past few months, and I’m ready for green.

I can’t wait to see the grass growing. Food for the animals that comes right up out of the earth. There are a lot of little miracles in the world every day. You just have to stop and–


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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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