Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cruisin' the mile. A lot.

I slept with the light on again last night. Been doing that a lot lately. I fall asleep with it on and it stays on until six or seven in the morning when I wrap myself back up in my blankie and try to catch another ten or twenty winks. I usually manage this. Spoiled bitch, I know.

It’s been a long couple of days. We have a new addition to our household and moving her in has been quite the adjustment. I’ve been blocked or at least too bound up to write, so I’ve spent a lot of time working at the farm. Today is the first sun we’ve seen in days. It’s been raining, not nasty, just raining. The colt has a puncture abscess on his foot that I’ve been treating. 119M sliced her foot open between her hoof and hock and we haven’t been able to get her in to treat since I squirted peroxide and blue coat on her on the fly. Gram’s television has been messed up since last week and still doesn’t work even after the Dish guy came yesterday. Add that to Dad having his head shoved up places heads aren’t usually suited for and the newlywed thing going on at home and various other points of vexation, I found myself macheting weeds around the fence last night until dark.

I’ve asked other women about this and they agree that at some point the relationship may not be bad, but something is so off that you quit even looking or desiring the opposite sex. Why? No one knows. But when you start to notice again, it comes in a flood that makes teen hormones seem like a really good Disney movie. It’s raised the question for me, what do you do when the person who finally interests you after this time isn’t your honey? And if you really care about the person you’re with, how do you deal with no longer being attracted to them? I’ll leave it up to you, dear reader, to decide if these questions rise from real life or writing, but I suppose at some point there’s always a certain amount of crossover there.

Let’s hear it for meaningful one-night stands.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Calving season began with a lull... I wish.

I’ve been a lazy blogger lately. With Dad gone, I have more to do than sit around and think up shit to write about. Not good as far as excuses go, but it's the truth. And I had my first calf of the season on Saturday. I started a blog that day, but never posted it. So here’s what I had to say about her:

80R calved this morning on her own. YEY! Beautiful little heifer calf. Of course, four hours after I found her, a coyote came sniffing around. Little prick. But the cow has the calf up by the barn now so hopefully everything will be fine. The calf is small, not much taller than Zip, maybe 65 pounds. Did I mention adorable?

She’s still the cutest thing ever. Jury is still out on a name.

Something killed a chicken Saturday night. So I buried that. Something is just wrong when you’re home on a Saturday night burying a dead chicken. Sunday the dogs killed a young woodchuck and I buried that too. I’d rather bury things like that than calves though. Especially after I saw a coyote through my binoculars after 80R calved. Luckily, it left, but good god. We’re being invaded.

Got a lot of canning done this week and farm work. Oiled my saddle on Sunday and have almost two bushel of tomatoes to put up when they ripen a little. Dad and Jenny should be home tonight so maybe she and I can start making salsa or can tomatoes whole or something. I’ve enjoyed the time on my own. Had a lot of time to think. Better get rockin’ though. I’ve got to help Gram later and be awake enough to deal with her. That woman is intense in the morning.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chicken catching and impending doom

Dad and I built a cock pen yesterday and we contained ten cocks in it. Roosters that is. And Dad had a cock catching stick.

Yeah, it all sounds pretty bad, but really its not. Dad had a stick to hook the roosters, which he proceeded to catch two by two, each by one leg, hang them upside down and hand them out to me to put in the new pen. Me, never having caught roosters like that, probably took the bundle of chicken wide-eyed and astonished at my father’s chicken catching abilities. But it all turned out to the good, the rooster who tried to attack Dad got a comeuppance and the hens are peaceably going about their pecking and laying. The roosters however still act stunned, looking over at the hens like “what the hell happened here?”

So the weekend is over, the horses got locked in the barn overnight but survived to graze another day, and Dad’s getting ready for his trip. It’ll actually be nice having the place to myself for a couple days. Of course, I move from second in command to head hancho with Maxine as my faithful sidekick.

Yup, we’re doomed.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Oh what the hell?

Blogs called this week on account of haying. I spent most of Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday on a tractor. Then Friday was blow-off-some-steam-farm-girl-been-in-the-field-all-week day. And Wednesday? That was write like a son of a bitch day. So yeah, canned yesterday around my hangover. At least I’m productive when I feel like shit. Lesson supposedly learned: three rums and I’m out. Unfortunately, at that point, after some beer, I have no memory of lessons past. Good thing my honey is understanding.

So Dad got hay in the barn today before the downpour we got. And he rolled up my cars windows. Such a sweetie. I’m glad he did the last of the stacking. It was getting beyond my poor skills. Of course, so is canning salsa apparently. What I did yesterday looks like water got in or something. Freaking icky regardless. Oh well. First kicks at the damn cat in the canning department.

Got a busy Sunday. Dad and I just stuffed ourselves with my yummy pancakes and homemade syrup. (Better than sex, I’m not even sorry.) He and I both have bills to pay, laundry, dish debris from yesterday’s canning frenzy, cleaning out a closet for Jenny when she comes, setting up the new dog pen/rooster coop, and anything else we get into. The roosters harass the hens so badly they’ve finally pissed Dad off. One hen was bleeding from the side of her head where a rooster bit her and the roosters keep the hens on the roost all day and so harassed they can’t eat, drink, or lay. So either heads are coming off or the roosters are going in the new pen until we can deal with them. The scariest part: we’ve got another sixty or so roosters up and coming. Ye gods the chaos when they grow a pair.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy birthday, Grampa

Thought I’d do a short blog today since it’s hard to top the events of the weekend. I’m a little sore and had a difficult time sleeping last night between the thunderstorms and the horse-incurred whiplash. But I got pages made and editing underway on Chaos, the second book I’m working on in a series. I need to go check fence and cows this afternoon and try to get some training time with Maxine. Dad and I have decided that since she’s a year old, it’s high time she learn some manners. Speaking of birthdays, today’s my grandpa’s, if my math's right and its been known to be off. He would have been 87. Hard to believe it’s been ten years since he passed. So I’ll be having a beer for him tonight. Anyone who wants to join me wherever they are is welcome to.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Chaos. Frigging chaos.

Dad’s mowing lawn and I’m nursing a sore shoulder after getting rolled off the white colt. It was just the goofiest thing; he braced, then leaned backwards like he was gonna buck, then landed on his hip. I had enough time to pull my foot up and kick out of the stirrup and launch off before he came all the way over, which he didn’t, he struggled to his feet and stood there. This all happened after about ten seconds after mounting. So yeah, driveway rash. Nothing broke or bleeding though, so of course I got right back on. He apparently did something similar with Jenny, although he didn’t fall over in the process. So Dad got on him before I did, rode him around a little, and he was fine. Apparently, he just needed to turn himself inside out before the ride.

The reason we were riding in the first place was we needed to find a calf out of a first calve heifer. I found her this morning/afternoon looking like she had placenta, though we couldn’t tell if it was dead calf looking stuff or afterbirth-cleaning type stuff. So a friend came over and armed her, thinking she ruptured her placenta and we’d have to have the vet out for a C-section. He got into up to his shoulder and couldn’t feel a calf. This cow’s udder was hard and she was about seven to eight months pregnant. He should have been able to feel a calf. So, working off the idea that her excretions were afterbirth, Dad and I rode out to look for the calf. We supposed it could have been anywhere, that she must’ve calved Thursday night after I moved them at dark. But we found the calf right away, very dead and eaten on, and only about 30 pounds, about the size of Maxine, who stood over the calf, very into such interesting smells. So it all ended up all right and was the rather anticlimactic ending to the night before.

I got a call from the neighbors at about quarter to dark that black cattle had been spotted back in the field behind our place. Sure enough, Joseph and I walked back there and found a swath of damaged crops and cow prints. Basically, the chase began and when the dust settled, the cows run to death by well-meaning neighbors on four-wheelers, the cows had settled in the woods, it was half past dark, and we left them until morning. I said we’d be very lucky if no one miscarried after all that running around, since some of them are probably seven to eight months along. So Dad rode out in the morning, the cows had wandered back toward their pasture, and he ran them across the road and into the barnyard. I came down later and noticed the heifer. And so it was.

Joseph and his Dad had a marvelous time, although Joseph now knows why we dumb farmers always wear pants after entangling himself in a briar patch. But his dad had the time of his life herding black cattle in the dark so at least someone had a good time. Joseph did too actually, which surprised me. So everyone’s happy today, or at least not broken or bleeding, and getting ready to lay low for the heat of the day, 100 degrees plus heat index and 100% humidity after the two inches of rain we had last night. Fun times.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Yada yada yada

Just got back from taking Gram to a doctor’s appointment. No big deal, just a little skin cancer on her nose that we needed to schedule for removal. The worst was the waiting. Gram actually fell asleep in the waiting room. Actually, the worst was the drive in on 496 at 8 o’clock in the morning. We only saw one major accident though and it looked more like hurt cars and bent metal than broken people. Gods, people drive stupid around accidents though. Pulling off the exit ramp before, cutting across lanes of traffic and medians to do so. That just makes more accidents people!

Dad and I dug potatoes yesterday. He’s finally off the roof looks like for awhile. He started cutting hay, got a flat tire, replaced that, cut a little, I went back to check on him and he had me drive the tractor and mower back up to the barn, but the wheel fell off on the way up. Fun shit.

We’ve been getting the cutest little pullet eggs out of the oldest hens and finally got to try them yesterday, a delightful omelet that I dubbed all-farm omelet, since it was all stuff we’d grown, save the milk and cheese. With only salt and pepper, it was great. I’ve never been a big fan of the strong taste eggs can get, but this was totally different, like a homegrown tomato versus a store-bought one, just no comparison. And the fresh veggies were wonderful, kohlrabi, onion, zucchini, and summer squash. All very tender and good. I’ve got more beets to can yet and beet greens that desperately need cleaned and frozen. I’m trying to get my shit together to start that while I write today. Multi-tasker that’s me.

I like to watch movies while I can, freeze, and write too. Lately I’ve been hooked on the tv adaptation of the Sword of Truth series. Let me stress the word adaptation. It keeps the characters, but the plot and many details are shot to hell. It’s good, just don’t go in expecting a faithful representation of the books. Also, I’ve been watching Tru Calling with Eliza Dushku. I’m comfortable enough in my femininity to admit she’s a gorgeous woman who’s interesting to watch. The premise of the show is cool and its shot better than Legend of the Seeker, in my opinion. Not sure when I started paying attention to how shows are shot, but it interests me in a cursory way. Besides, sometimes it works, for me, in ideas about how to “see” a scene I’m writing.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Happy happy birthday Maxine!!

Its Maxine’s first birthday today! My little girl is getting so big; it’s hard to imagine our family without her. I tell her often that I’m very glad she didn’t die when Kim ran her over with his truck. I’ll probably never deal with another broken leg again though. Too much can go wrong during recovery and Maxine still favors the leg some after six months. But she’s a special dog and a special case so I’m beyond glad that she’s still with us.

Busy farm day today. I missed the ferrier last week and Dad missed him last month, so he managed to fit us in today. I puttered around the farm this morning waiting, fixed nest boxes for the chickens (the older hens are now laying, five eggs so far, so cool!), got peas, tomatoes, kohlrabi, and the first summer squash out of the garden, and stapled Gram’s screens for her. I got home around noon and started shelling peas and fixing beet relish to can. I’ve got three quart jars of beet relish now and three quarts of pickled beets. They’ll be tasty in February, I keep telling myself that. By five I managed to get a workout in, then down to the farm to feed the chicks feed and veggie scraps, walk fence, check Gram, then home to do peas and now I’m sitting down with a beer and chilling at a quarter to eight.

I haven’t made any pages today or yesterday really, but I’ve been doing character sketches for the second Taylor book and it’s really yielded some interesting stuff. Like I had no idea one of the characters was over 1,000 years old and his mother was fay and kicked out of faerie. He’s a man who honor means everything to, but who has been forced to live without it, doing things that are far from honorable. I’m interested to find out how that works out for him, now that he has free will again. Almost all my characters are damaged in some way, but being around Taylor, my heroine, gives them a chance to heal. Which is surprising since she tends to destroy things around her. I like seeing how the characters interact on the page and exploring the group dynamics and how different characters react differently to the circumstances.

Anyway, busy day today, busy day tomorrow. Life on the farm goes on. Just gotta figure out what to make Dad for dinner. Knowing him, he’ll do just fine with a kohlrabi sandwich.