Friday, October 28, 2016

She Did It Again

Nature obviously has it out for weathermen, too.  I realize that forecasting weather is not an exact science, but my weather guy was so confident that the rain would hold off until afternoon yesterday that I believed him and made plans accordingly.  Went out in a light jacket and no hat to let the chickens out and trundle a bag of goat chow down to the barn.  Silly me.  With her exquisite timing, Nature started spitting on me on the way and by the time I was ready to bring the girls to the milking room she opened up and poured.  Rain thundered on the roof the whole time I was in the barn.  Rain throws our well-rehearsed routine into chaos.  Esther and Tessie refuse to step outside and so stay in their room until I let them in one at a time through the connecting door for breakfast and then I push them out.  They put their heads down and make a dash for the covered play yard.  Poor Cindy is the omega in the herd and she sometimes has to go around to the other little shed alone because the others are mean to her.  I was soaked by the time I got back to the house.

It rained all day long, through the night, and it's still raining.  Evidently the old girl wasn't satisfied with how wet I got yesterday and is going to take another shot today.  This hasn't been a cold storm, but if Nature doesn't give us a break I may have to light a fire in the wood stove just to take the dampness out of the air.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Outside In

 Celeste was totally fixated on the curtain (somewhat in disarray because it's Ralph's favorite hide-and-go-seek curtain) yesterday morning.  She crept closer and closer, finally darting forward to pounce.  Whatever was playing It in this game was pretty good.  Celeste looked behind the curtain and in the corner, batting here and there.  Ralph got interested and came to help his sister.  What in the world could It be?  Obviously another uninvited guest.  After a quick tussle, Celeste ran by with something small, dark, and limp in her mouth, headed for the dining room.  Not sure I really wanted to know, I followed.  It was a very small lizard who had come to the wrong house.  Celeste guarded her trophy from me and took it back to the living room.  She played with the carcass, as did Ralph, and even Bessie joined in.  They finally tired of this new toy and all went to take a nap.  Imagine my surprise when, after lying belly up and still for the longest time, Lizard moved, trying to turn over!  Oh, good grief!  Hoping it hadn't been mangled, I picked it up and headed out to the deck.
Opening the door, I glanced down and thought my mind was playing tricks.  One small lizard in my hand, yes, but there in the corner was its twin.  It was a home invasion!  I put Lizard #1 outside and went back for Lizard #2 (in the photo).

Having raised three boys in the hills of Chino, I learned early on to check pockets before putting their pants in the washer, and to exclaim with pride when they showed me their latest catch(es).  As I remember, they even had a place they called Lizard Valley where the hunting was best.  You don't want to know what else they'd bring home.  A mother of sons knows never to show fear.
The day ended as it had begun, with Celeste hoping for a rerun of the morning's adventure and staring at the curtain.

Yes, the pig is still dressed in a Santa suit and that is a bag of unclaimed Christmas presents on the floor.  Late for one year, early for the next.  Like Celeste, I never give up hope.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


I was singing along with Judy Garland on the way back from Cameron Park yesterday afternoon when I crested a hill and saw a perfectly defined rainbow that spanned the Sierra range.  "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" seemed so appropriate.  That moment in "The Wizard Of Oz" when black-and-white suddenly switches to technicolor was repeated when I hit the stretch of Highway 50 through Placerville.  One side of the road there is lined with Pistache trees and at this time of year those trees simply blaze in red and gold and make the rest of the world seem lackluster.  The speed limit through town is 40 mph and it gives one more time to enjoy that burst of color and beauty.  Rainbows are normally such ephemeral things, but that one yesterday lasted all the way from CP until I stopped to take care of an errand on the far side of P'ville.  It was a gift.

I've a bone to pick with manufacturers of women's jeans.  Why, I wonder, do they put such dinky pockets in those pants?  Compared to the capacious pockets in bibbies, the pockets in my go-to-town britches aren't worth spit.  Where am I supposed to put my important, don't-leave-home-without-'em stuff like my pocket knife?  I suppose I could put it in my purse, but my purse is like most women's and it would take a major excavation to find the knife in an emergency.  Manufacturers, please take note - bigger pockets, please.

Back from yet another visit to the doctor, I got curious.  So far in the last seven months I've logged almost 1,500 miles to various doctors, etc., this for a woman who hasn't put close to 3,000 miles a year on the truck for years.  A far cry from the 40-60,000 driving miles when I was a consultant.  Yup, I'm now a stay-at-home stick in the mud and I prefer it that way.

Calling on Judy again, "There's no place like home."

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Screeching Halt

Ever have one of those days when you think, "If I didn't have bad luck, I'd have no luck at all?"  Yesterday started out so well.  I was moving pretty well and got a lot done in the barn that I'd had to ignore the day before.  One thing about "bad" days, they sure make you appreciate a good one and I had high hopes.

Back in the house and after my sit-down, stripping the bed, I threw the linens in the washer and headed for the kitchen.  My milk customer was due and I needed to wash and carton his order of eggs.  The little girls have upped production so he's getting eggs that may be only three days old and less, but I never wash off their natural protective coating until the last minute.  That done, my intent was to clean up the kitchen and that's when everything came to a screeching halt.  There was a moment of disbelief when I turned on the faucet and water.  I looked around.  Yes, we had electricity.  Even if the power had gone out there would still be water in the pressure tank.  If there were a break in the water lines, there would have been symptoms prior to no water at all.  Running back to the laundry room to check, sure enough there was a half-full tub with nothing going in and I hurriedly turned the machine off.  In a panic, I ran scenarios through my mind, none of them good.  Had the well pump gone dead?  Had the pressure tank failed?  Even with the recent rain, had the well gone dry?  Taking a moment for several deep, calming breaths, I put in a call to Jim Hammonds, my go-to water guy who has saved my metaphoric bacon more than once.  "I'll be there," said my man on the white charger (okay, it's a pickup truck, but it's white).

The day had been damp and overcast and I desperately needed to be outside, events in the house were too depressing.  Deciding to take a chance, I fired up John Dear and we took off for the backyard and side slope.  We both needed exercise and I needed the practice.  John is going to take some getting used to as he is an automatic and speed is controlled by the gas pedal just like a car.  Fu Manchu had a lever to set speed and we could tootle around without thinking.  Mowing the slope was good training and I quickly learned not to brace both feet on the downslope because John responded by racing faster down the hillside.  Yikes!  Alrighty then.  We had finished the backyard and a good portion of the hillside when Jim and Debbie drove up.  She and I left Jim to play detective.  It seemed (to me) it took forever before he found the problem and put a temporary fix on what turned out to be a broken electric line to the pressure pump.  Go figure.  Since I once again have water, finishing the job in a couple of days is fine with me.  I turned the washer back on and went to bed on clean, dry sheets.

After a long, hot, dry summer, a sundown sky filled with the promise of rain is every bit as beautiful as one of those red-gold sunsets.

All's well that ends well.

PS:  Omigosh!  One of the last things I do every morning is check the statistics and today the number of "hits" (how many have read my blog) reached over 100,000, 100,032 to be exact, in the six years I've been writing.  Wow!  Thanks to everyone who has and/or is following the adventures and misadventures of Farview Farm.  We are honored.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Some Plans...

There are those days when the best laid plans go astray.  I got slammed early on with what, for lack of a better term, I call my "bad days" when leg pain is severe and barn painting was out of the question.  I had to call Cam and beg off, but told her I'd be near the phone and to please follow Plan B to keep in touch when she was using the ladder.  Back up from the barn, I waited to hear.  And waited.  Worried, I called her, hoping she wasn't face down among her chickens.  Turned out that her plans had also gone awry and painting was not going to happen yesterday.  Some days are like that.

On the bright side, my grandson Jake completed his training as an Airborne Mission Systems Operator at Lackland AFB, Texas.  Not only that, Jake took top honors in his class.  It is so nice to see someone's plans fulfilled.  I am very, very proud.

The rain began last night and once again brought out the rain beetles.  Attracted to the lights, their tapping at windows and screens freaked out the cats and, I'll admit, startled me until I realized the source of those sounds out there in the dark.

I have no plans for today.  Just as well.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

For A Change

Just for something different, this was sunrise yesterday morning instead of my usual sundown photo.  Can't say the sky doesn't put on a spectacular show up here.

A good soaking rain followed by a couple of days of sunshine makes a terrific change in the scenery on the ground.  This photo was taken up in the corner by the water trough in the smaller goat pen.  It gives a pretty good idea of my daily hike down to (and up from) the barn.  It sure didn't take long for green to appear in the brown landscape.  I'm glad John Dear and I are at least on speaking terms because I have a feeling we're going to be spending a lot of time together come spring.

Camille called in the afternoon to tell me she was going to tackle finishing painting one side of her barn.  I was in the middle of something and couldn't go down there just then.  In a different version of Neighborhood Watch, we agreed that she would call me every half-hour and that if I didn't hear from her, I'd jump in the truck and go over, just in case she'd fallen off the ladder and needed help.  It's what we do.  Happily, she finished the last three panels without incident.  I'll be helping her today after barn chores because rain is predicted in the next week and it's a job that needs to get done.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Lost In My Own World

I so look forward to Fridays, not because the weekend is coming (there is no such thing as a weekend when you have milkers), but because I DVR a couple of favorite, wildly divergent programs on Thursday night.  I give myself an hour of R&R after barn chores and on Fridays I watch "Father Brown," an Agatha Christie-type of English mystery on PBS.  It lacks blood and gore with civilized murders and is full of nice people.  "Father Brown" could not be farther from "The Blacklist," in which there are few to no nice people and mayhem abounds, but I like it too.  They're my Friday treat.

I made a mistake yesterday when, instead of getting up to tackle the To-Do list after my respite, I picked up "End Of Watch," the last in a Stephen King trilogy I'd been enjoying.  I'd been so good about doling out chapters instead of starting and finishing a book in a day as I've been known to do so I was only halfway through.  With good intentions, yesterday I thought, "Well, I'll just read until noon," and then, "Okay, maybe until 1."  And, "I'm already late getting started, so I'll stop at 2."  When King hits the mark, he writes a page-turner for sure and he sucked me in on this one.  I turned the last page at 2:30 and let out the breath I'd been holding in a long sigh.  Bessie Anne had been patiently waiting for me to take her outside on a beautiful day, so I came out of the world of imagination and we went out together to enjoy the real world.

Funny thing, all those chores on the To-Do list are still there waiting.  I sort of hoped the book fairies would help me out there, but no.