Monday, September 28, 2009
After much hypothesizing and running the facts countless times it now is clear to me that domestic feline`s are in control of wormholes and time/space continuums. I assure you my Nubian mug full of rich creamy coffee is NOT spiked. *Takes a moment to sniff coffee* I`ll present my facts to you and let you draw your own conclusions about my data.
Not unlike Data (please recall how geeky I am) that android on Star Trek: The Next Generation my calculations are based on scientific quantities and a need to understand some of the unanswered questions that plague humanity, and cat owners. Although I`m not as pale as he is and I do use conjunctions our methodical approach to solving this scientific quandary is similar.
First off I would like to remind you that my first suspicion about cats and time/space continuums came to me last week when I brought home a new collar for our rascally kitten Lu-Lu. Oh it was just adorable!! A thin yellow collar with wee little black cat prints and a small gold bell to warn the moths of her stealthy approach! My daughter and I wrestled the collar onto the five month old cat with much hissing and spitting. (From us not Lu-Lu.) I was happier than a hog at a full trough to see how beautiful she looked in her first collar!
Our older Cat Susie, who we call Bean, seemed not to care or wish to help in anyway and merely whacked the kitten upside her head when Lu-Lu rolled too close in her bid to wrest the thing from her neck. After a few minutes of failing to get the accursed collar off Lu-Lu stalked down the hall with her long fluffy tail decidedly kinked and we went about our day without another thought, save for the one I had about how glad I was to not have to clean up moth wings everyday under the living room table lamps now that Lu-Lu had a moth warning device.
It was the following day when I was doing housework and my kitten curled up beside me to snooze in the morning light that hits the kitchen table and the laptop. (Curses! Mopped kitchen floor I meant.) I reached over to pet her and found her neck bare. I was perplexed but not too surprised and chastised her gently before leaving my ‘housework’ to go find her collar.
Okay, now this is where I began to hypothesize about cats and worm holes because the collar was nowhere to be found! I looked under the beds, the sofa, behind the entertainment center, under the dogs, under the stove, under the refrigerator and under the computer stand. I did find two Ironman action figures, three orange jingle balls, a plethora of aluminum foil balls that Trinity somehow missed, half a toy mouse that one of the dogs destroyed and about six Bic pens but no collar.
“Where the Sam Hill is that collar!?” I asked with my hands on my hips. The silence was deafening.
As I stood there with my brows knitted and my mind chugging like an old percolator odd and random things began to pop up, things that after a week to mull I have now used to form my final analysis. It makes perfect sense if one merely stops and thinks.
How do cats appear on the outside of the door when you KNOW they were rubbing your leg a mere second ago inside? Worm hole manipulation.
How does a cat appear suddenly in something that just a second ago was empty? Command of time and space.
How does a cute little yellow collar with a sweet musical bell just disappear off the face of the earth? Feline teleportation through space vacuums.
Now I know you all are convinced that this yodeling goatherder has slipped off into some caffeine-fueled nerdy plateau, and perhaps you may even be looking at your own coffee with suspicion, but I have proof!!! Yes indeed! Photographic evidence that will answer the above queries and one that has beset mankind since time began!! (Or Maytag was invented.) Behold the summation of my week of deep scientific and mind-numbing thinking-
That’s right! Cats know inside the dryer is the apex of time/space travel and each time they enter this toasty warm, slowly tumbling worm hole they take one sock with them!!!!
I`m awaiting my notification from the Nobel Prize committee with quiet and humble smugness.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Pull out a chair and have a cuppa and I`ll explain. Now I know most of you who have been reading along are sipping from your Nubian goat mug full of Maxwell House and wondering how a yodeling goatherder as cool and utterly Fonzie-like as I am could be geeky. (Did I just date myself with the Fonzie reference?) While true I am a pretty radical cool woman there is a side of me that I will now expose to you, prepare yourselves for the truth about Feral Female. I`m a comic geek.
There, the truth is out and I feel invigorated! Mayhap that`s the Maxwell House but why quibble invigoration sources? If anyone has peeked at my profile you`ll note I listed reading comics as one of the things I love to do. There is something about the fictional world of heroes and villains that has held me in its grip since the first time I ever laid eyes on Wolverine. Marvel comics are my hero-fix of choice and I do spend a goodly amount of time with my nose stuck in the latest releases of Ironman or Deadpool, two of my favorite comic men!
The only drawback of being a comic geek living in the hills of north central PA is that I have to have the nearest comic shop mail me my weekly pulls. Normally we make the hour long drive only once a year to the nearest comic shop for Free Comic Book Day. (That`s like the Super bowl for us comic fans! Free comics?! Saddle up the horse Pa we`re goin` to town!) But last Saturday was an exception to that rule since there was a new Marvel video game that we had preordered. While I`m confessing I may as well toss my video game love out into the light as well.
As I reflect for a moment I`m betting you all had a slim suspicion how nerdy I could be just by the names our farm animals have. Anakin, Auron, Wade, Weasel….all inspired by comics or video games or sci-fi flicks. Weird Al had my daughter and I in mind when he penned ‘White and Nerdy’ I am nearly certain! Mr. Yodeling doesn`t share our love of all things comic but he did go along with us on our ‘Geeky Saturday’ excursion. I have to wonder if he feared my face being in the latest issue of Invincible Ironman while driving may have nudged him some?
Our first stop was the mall where we ran, and I am not exaggerating, to the Game Stop to purchase our video game. A small scuffle ensued when both my daughter and I wanted to carry said game but I am the mother and have certain rights. After I won that round we did some shopping keeping an eye on the time so we could get to the comic shop as soon as possible. We did find some good swag while there though. My daughter got a spiffy New Moon t-shirt and I added a boffo new Wolverine VS. Deadpool shirt to my collection! I know it really is an addiction not unlike coffee, which reminds me I need a refill!
After we hit the shops we wanted, dragging my poor husband along while all he wanted was a sporting goods store, we piled into the car and made haste to the comic shop! The young fellow who owns the shop is about one of the nicest guys you`d ever want to meet. He always greets us with a smile and a sincere appreciation of the drive we make to visit his shop. I can spend hours there. That is not a lie. Kneeling on the floor, rifling through boxes and boxes of back issues as the smell of ink and clear plastic covers moves over me……
Sorry I drifted. Jared was more than happy to allow us to snap a few pictures of the inside of his shop which is a rather small one I`m sure compared to others but for my daughter and I it`s big enough to keep us happy! We`re easy to please farming comic fans.
Eventually my knees began to protest and my arms were beginning to buckle from the weight of Ironman, Captain America, Wolverine, The Avengers and of course Deadpool. Also I suspect Mr. Yodeling was beginning to worry if the trunk would hold all the Marvel paraphernalia we two ladies had accumulated on this spree. So giving Jared a hug and a promise that we goatherders would see him next May for Free Comic Book Day we set off for home.
The booty was considerable and my daughter and I have since spent far too much time playing the X-Box and reading comics. The goats can wait for just another minute or two can`t they? We have the world to save!!!
Monday, September 21, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
I can hear you all saying ‘Okay Yodeling Goatherder, how much of that spiked coffee have you HAD this morning?’ and I would have to reply ‘More than I should have apparently’ but it`s not the heady coffee bean jolt talking. On our hillside farm we have the privilege, nay honor, of having three princesses.
That`s right. Three. Who knew the mountains of Pennsylvania would be such a Mecca for aristocratic goats? Not us or our chamber of commerce I`m sure! Why it`s fairly like Monte Carlo here, well, aside from the casinos and topless beaches. (Do bare udders count?) Anyway it`s time to present to you our trio of high blooded beauties. You should all drop to one knee but be careful of the nanny berries.
First is her supreme Nubianess Princess Elizabeth. (Fanfare commences.)
Elizabeth, or Bitsy as she allows her closest servants (That would be us) to address her is one of my best conformed Nubian does. Since I`m in the process of breeding up some of my does aren`t spectacular with their ear sets but Anakin has really been adding some length to those so-so ears. Elizabeth and he gave us twin bucks this spring that were beautiful little boys with ears WAY past their noses!
Her supreme Nubianess knows she is quite lovely and does have a tendency to look down her roman nose at us, demanding in her aristocratic and deafening voice that the royal clock does indeed show it is time to milk her supreme Nubianess. And in true upper class fashion she expects her domestics (Us again) to snap to and not keep her waiting!
Moving onward down the line of those most regal I`m pleased to present her exaltedness Princess Bianca. (Another fanfare.)
Bianca is one of two of my daughter`s does that she shows at our county fair and uses for her 4-H goat project animals. (Forgive me, her exaltedness reminds me to state that she ALLOWS my daughter the joy of claiming her.*Sigh*)Bianca came to us as a doeling back in2006 after my daughter had saved her fair winnings, Christmas money and birthday cash to buy herself a Lamancha. I suppose she wanted her own breed, one that no-one would mistake for a pendulous eared Nubian and boy did she get one!
Her exaltedness Princess Bianca differs from her socialite friend Princess Elizabeth by her cunning use of deception. Yes, it`s true, for under her ivory furred grace and beauty lies a mind that is always working at ways to confound the domestics. (Yup, us once more.) If there is a gate, latch, snap or lid on a grain can opened that was NOT left that way by the staff( Uh-huh that be us) you can rest assured the lovely Lamancha princess is the culprit. But as she IS royalty she claims diplomatic immunity when faced with charges.
Third on the list of introductions is her gloriousness Princess Jennifer. (Yet another fanfare.)
I must make this announcement on the demand of The Most Sable One-Just because she is third on this Who’s-Who list of our farm caprine society does NOT mean she is any less blue blooded then her regal caprine counterparts. As you can see Princess Jennifer is merely a colored Saanan. Sorry. I retract that previous word and will replace it with GLORIOUS colored Saanan. (Ho brother.) Jennifer also grants my daughter the permission to claim her name on her A.D.G.A. papers with serene quiet dignity and protocol. We have learned that while Nubian`s are loud, vocal and prone to hissy fits if the domestics are tardy a Sable princess waits with reserve and control, patiently nibbling pasture flowers until her needs are met.
Princess Jennifer came to us from the same friend who was privileged enough to have Princess Bianca born on her farm. Since all three of the elite regal ones were born in the same year they have bonded as only those who move in the upper stratosphere of polite society can. This spring Princess Jennifer gave us twin bucks that were beautiful, robust princes! One was identical to his mother; the other was a handsome blue toned boy. Both were snapped up by Sable breeding girlfriends of mine faster than you could say ‘Is this a pea under my mattress!?’ We`re crossing our fingers, toes and eyes for a doeling or two next spring since one cannot have TOO many royal bloodlines to cater to it seems.
Oh sorry! You all can rise now.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
I`m not sure if Miss Manners has any advice on human/bovine introductions to impart or not, but I would hate to be remiss in my blog hostess duties. So…..
Everyone, this is Patty. Patty, this is everyone!
(He`s thrilled to meet you despite his lackadaisical appearance.)
Patty, (or Saint Patrick of Moo as we address his herefordness ) is quite the addition to our hillside farm. I thought I would relay how he came to be here amid the goats that may have him quite confused as to exactly what he is I fear.
It all began on St. Patrick`s day of this year when we received a call from one of our neighbors. Not that a call from your neighbor`s is unusual, for we rural folks are a pretty tightly-knitted lot and like to keep abreast of the current goings on in our small community. Oh okay, I`m just nosey and like to talk! There! The truth is out!!
This call though held no new gossip (Dern it!) but it did bring us the offer of a free calf, if we wanted him. Needless to say we leaped on the offer! Beef bull calves tend to be rather pricey as opposed to dairy bull calves which just don` t bulk up with the speed that any animal bred for meat does. Meat and dairy goats are very similar in their growth ratio also. (On a quick side, I`m hoping to bring you an entry dealing with meat goats friends of ours raise in the future so keep your fingers crossed!)
We made the quick ride up our bumpy dirt road, pulled up next to the large red barn that sits beside the Y in the lane and hurried to pick our calf. Since both red calves looked very similar in appearance it was pretty much a coin toss so we let our daughter have the final decision. Once her choice was made we left after some general male shooting of the breeze between hubby and Mister L. we`ll call him. (And they say women talk a lot. Hmphf!) Both men have been friends for close to thirty years and Mister L. lives down from us about a quarter of a mile . Like I said, we`re a close little group of Ridgerunner’s and everyone knows everyone else.
A few days passed while Patty stayed with his mother to enjoy that all necessary colostrum and be turned from a bull into a steer. (Ye-Ouch!) We hurried to convert our pig barn (Yup we`ve raised swine as well!) into a cool pad for a cow and soon-to-be goat buddies. The goat kids were coming and Patty would need companionship. No herd animal does well when left alone. There was quite a bit to do! Buy half gallon calf bottles and a bag of milk replacer, calf starter grain, build hay mangers and a grain box for the little fellow and the goat boys but after much headless chicken-type running about we were ready! Bring on the beefer!!
Upon returning that afternoon to our neighbor`s farm it fell to my husband and our older neighbors right-hand man Mister L. to catch Patrick. Not an easy feat since both calves were a couple days old and were VERY quick and agile! Add in one HIGHLY disgruntled and over-protective mother and I`m sure you can picture the floorshow that occurred! There were fancy foot moves that put Micheal Flatley to shame. Eventually the calf was caught and Mr. Yodeling carried the doe-eyed boy out of the enclosure, sweaty and filthy and puffing like a steam engine.
Now this young man of the bovine persuasion presented us with a problem. Usually when we purchase a goat kid we simply lay a towel over our thighs and hold the youngster on our lap for the ride home. This bruiser was most definitely NOT a lap rider so my clever hubby and Mister L. came up with a solution that worked amazingly well!
We slid Patty into a soft burlap feed sack, rump first allowing his head to remain out, then I drove home as Mr. Yodeling Goatherder rode in the back of the truck with Patty held tightly in his arms. Only in rural settings would you pass a man and a Hereford calf in a feed sack riding with the wind in their hair and not find it an unusual sight!
Thankfully for Mr. Yodeling the ride is a short one and within minutes we were placing the polled calf into his new digs. The only obstacle we encountered was in the switch from his mother to a rubber nipple. Patty would roll that red rubber imposter around with a sour face and then spit it out as if to say ‘Puh-lease, do I look THAT easily fooled?’ Time and an empty belly soon proved to be our ally for after a day or two that bull-headed bovine decided that even if it was a poor imitation it was better than nothing. Within no time he was up to a gallon a day of milk and growing like the proverbial weed!
Now fall is heading our way and that tiny baby is estimated to weigh well over four hundred pounds and is still packing it on! He`s been a joy to raise so far and has opened a new appreciation for us for how pleasant and entertaining a bovine can truly be!
Oops, looks like time for social amenities is over since I can hear the massive momma`s boy looking for his morning grain, as can the entire valley!
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Last Thursday to be exact! I recall now that my coffee jolt has reached my synapses. It was early morning yet and I was deeply into my housework (That`s a top secret cipher-type S.H.I.E.L.D. code word I use. When you sees the term ‘housework’ it really means I`m writing on either my blog entries or my fiction tales. Keep that close to your vests though) when my husband unexpectedly pulled up. There was the usual fanfare from the three dogs to see their master returning early, much exuberant barking and baying and wagging of tails occurs with this glorious event!
It seemed that the foundry Mr. Yodeling Goatherder works in had broken down for the day he explained as I got on my hands and knees to fetch his lunch pail from Trinity`s cache as he took of his steel-toes. We spent a bit of time chatting over coffee (Who would have guessed I know) trying to decide what to do with this boon.
“If we do one of the jobs on the chore list we`ll have more free time over Labor Day weekend,” he suggested slyly over the rim of his Labrador retriever coffee mug.
I could see the wisdom of this since our weekends are usually crazy insane busy for all the heavy laborious tasks have to wait for my husband’s strong back on Saturday`s and Sunday`s. Also I had a sneaking suspicion there would be a couple of cook-outs coming along so with a sigh I turned off my laptop and left the world of heroes, dark mages and blog stories behind for this day.
We had chosen the always glamorous jobs of cleaning out the ‘bachelor pad’ and the lounging area in front of the goat barn. Over we went to do the cow/goat barn first. Mr. Yodeling went to get the tractor and manure spreader and soon we were mucking our little hearts out. Suddenly quite the fracas broke out on the other side of the gate we have to keep the fellows out when we need to stay on our feet. I heard the break whistle around that time and moseyed over to the gate to see what the ruckus was.
It seemed that our buck Anakin was feeling his oats and was engaged in a pushing match with our cowboy Patrick. Never let it be said that a lonely and frustrated man cannot overcome a much larger opponent! Maybe Anakin was hoping the ladies were watching this David & Goliath contest and were duly impressed by his strength and bravery? I`m not sure but after a moment or two of shoving and loud masculine goat vocalizing Patty gave up while Anakin paraded about with his head high and his eye cast across the driveway, awaiting the shower of roses or trinkets from the fair maidens no doubt.
The foreman then announced break time was over so it was back to work. We finally got the barn cleaned and limed, then put a nice deep bedding of hay down. We also refer to this bedding as ‘Giving the boys/girls clean sheets’. I opened the gate and the waiting throng hustled in to check out the clean bed linens with snuffling noses. Mr. Yodeling was climbing onto the tractor to move the spreader down to the girl’s dorm when I witnessed something I just HAD to pass along to him.
“Ho-neeey! Patty just pooped on the clean sheets!” I shouted with a small titter of utter impishness. I won`t repeat his reply but it made me snicker to myself. Sometimes I can be such a stinker!
I think I may have heard that break whistle again and it sounded a great deal like a lunch toned one this time around. I don`t know why Mr. Yodeling Goatherder doesn`t hear the numerous whistles like I do. It may be because he`s on the tractor and the engine noise blocks it out? That`s my thought anyway. We took a short lunch break which was followed by another cup of coffee and then we made our way down to tidy up some for the girls.
Goats are funny critters. If they come to meet you at the gate then wish to graze in the front pasture that’s all fine and well. But if you scurry past them and MAKE them stay in that very same pasture they were lounging in while you work that makes them very cranky and prone to voicing their displeasure the entire time. Needless to say we had quite the gathering of white hats to tell us to work faster! Hubby mentioned that although he was home he felt like he was at work with so much supervision.
Fortunately for our backs and our ears (Recall how I described Nubian shouts in Anakin`s story? Times that by six and add a tinge of disgruntled female complaining) it didn`t take too long to get the ladies sunny morning resting spot cleaned up for them.
I watched with a thankful eye and an elbow resting on the handle of my manure fork as that last load of dirty sheets was taken to the fields to be spread for fertilizer then turned to find eight pairs of caprine gazes locked onto me with what could only be described as impatient expressions. There may have even been some hoof tapping to drive the point home.
“Okay! Okay!” I said wearily as I made my way across their pasture to lock the gate the tractor and spreader had just went through,” Enough with the stink eyes! I`m going already! Sheesh!”
Maybe our next day off won`t include manure forks or lethal looks from goats but I wouldn`t bet the farm on it!
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Me either, but I`m pretty sure there must be such a canine organization and our lab Trinity is working diligently towards getting her merit badge in helpfulness.
I keep searching her cache (which is located at the end of the kitchen table) for a beret or a sash or perhaps a Really Rural Doggie Scout handbook to verify my suspicions. So far this month I`ve only found shoes, socks, slippers, tennis balls, calf bottles, Lu-Lu the kitten`s aluminum foil balls, boxes of Splenda, hubby`s lunch pail, chore boots, gloves, my watering can, a soggy picture of Taylor Launter, retractable dog leashes, a brush used on fair goats and a variety of sticks from the woods on our acreage but no evidence of said covert scout troop.
I know! Maybe it`s a secret farm dog society and, as we speak, Tom Hanks is trying to decipher their canine code!?!? Okay, maybe that was just the caffeine talking but at this point I`m willing to try any scenario on for size to help explain her zest for servitude.
If she truly is applying herself to earning a merit badge I think she needs to peruse the Really Rural Doggie Scout manual a tad closer. For yes, it is indeed helpful to carry whatever may need carried for your people. And I for one am MOST grateful for her aid every Friday morning when I return from the grocery store and she assist`s in carrying in the groceries. (P.S.-If you find yourself with a dog striving for a helpfulness merit badge make sure you DO NOT leave the car door open on grocery day. Trust me on this one folks; your loaf of bread will never be the same.)
But keeping the things you carry in for your people and dropping them in your cache will not help in that quest for the elusive badge of helping. Least not as far as I can see when I have to drop down on hands and knees and fish the items out of the cache while being kissed boisterously on the face by an over-zealous doggie scout with plastic wrap breath.
So in closing if any of you come across something that would help me unearth this clandestine canine scout group and ensure Trinity receives her helpfulness merit badge I would be eternally grateful. My knees, and my wheat bread, thank you in advance.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Last Sunday was a GLORIOUS day in the mountains of North central Pennsylvania!!
The humidity had left the air, the wind was bouncing the leaves on the trees and it wasn`t raining! We`ve had a tremendous amount of rain this summer so a dry sunny day combined with a light work load meant fun time outside for all three goatherders, yodeling and non-yodeling!
I hurried to get my light housework done and hubby scurried to do some chores for his mother in the morning so we could be free and clear for the afternoon. During the past week Mr. Yodeling had mentioned that he had seen the black berries were getting ripe and he asked as we ate lunch if we ladies would like to go berrying. We sure did! What could be better than a few hours spent in the beautiful woods of the Keystone state?
We gathered our official berry gathering equipment, a five quart plastic ice cream tub and some Cool-Whip dishes and headed off for our neighbors woods, with their permission of course.
As you can see from the above picture most of the land in our neck of the woods is hilly, or ‘sidling’ as we Ridgerunner`s call it. (Example of Ridgerunner speak-‘That dog`ll have two legs shorter on one side living on this sidling hill.’)
The first sound to greet us as we began the climb was the distinctive snort of a white-tailed deer. He, or she, snorted at the three interlopers into their wood twice and although we never caught a glimpse of the buck or doe it was nice to know it was nearby and watching us.
It didn`t take long to find the first patch of berries along that old logging road and the race was on! It was girls vs. boys. Boy. But my daughter and I immediately noticed our weakness, one that would cost us the coveted berry pickin` crown. We ladies weren`t willing to wallow into the deepest thickets like some bruin the way my husband was. So we had to content ourselves with less berries but also less blood loss and considerably less expletives. We may lose but we`d win in the long run!
As we worked our way up we came upon a huge patch of blackberries that looked as if a giant had stepped into it, flattening a good ten by fifteen foot area down to the ground. It wasn`t a giant that had done the damage though, it was the tell-tale sign of a black bear having a grand old time of berry pickin` himself!
Who can blame the ebony bruin for wanting to feast on such succulent treats? My daughter and I moseyed into the thicket picking the choicest berries Mr. Bear had left behind, chatting and giggling at hubby`s steady litany of yips and yelps and disparaging remarks aimed at brambles. As we picked and admired our ever-increasing yields we were graced by a visit from a ruby-throated hummingbird. He eyed us for a moment, hovering in the bright sun resplendent in his iridescent finery then decided that we two blossoms weren`t quite the flowers he was searching for and off he went in a blur of whipping wings.
Soon my husband tugged himself free from the brambles to join us and of course compare buckets.*Sigh.* Yes, I`ll admit now that he may have won in sheer berry weight but we two girls maintain that it was we who were the winners since we didn`t look like we went round robin with a bobcat. I think that gives us the edge don`t you?
All totaled we ended up with close to three quarts of ripe blackberries, and some very purple fingers! Not too shabby for a couple hours work we all concurred deciding to call this excursion a success and head home.
As we were making our way down the hill to our truck still teasing Mr. Yodeling Goatherder about his scratched arms and belly we heard the thundering wings of one of our state birds, the ruffed grouse, as he exploded from the forest behind us.
Now I know in this day and age of instant messaging and Twitter that a few hours spent out in the wilds may not seem like much fun. Many would be lost without their cell phone and their text messaging. And I realize that as much as I do love the internet and the wonderful friends I`ve made on the world wide web there is something about having a few hours with your family without the modern necessities that is deeply fundamental. No technology can compete with your child’s laughter or the fresh smell of mountain air…..at least for this yodeling goatherder.
Now if I can just get some of those berries before my bear of a husband eats them all!