Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gift of A Day

It's the kind of day I dream of during the sweltering dog days of July, when the sun is searing the back of my neck and the humidity makes me want to cut a hole through which to breathe.  Pulling those persistent weeds I would try to remember the softer schedule that would come in late fall and winter.    Today it is here.

It's cool, misty, drizzly... 

Heavy clouds have darkened the afternoon.  

And I am taking full advantage of this gift!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Taking a Haircut

How many of you cut your significant other's hair?  I'd be willing to bet there's a bunch of you.  Personally, I wouldn't let MM touch my tresses.  That's why, instead of that fashionable photo you see on this blog, my hair, now...foregoing the "salon" trips of more prosperous days...is long.  Very long.  And for those of you who would accuse me of being 65 going on 15...have a look at this New York Times article:  Long Hair on Middle-Aged Women

OTOH, MM doesn't seem to mind looking as if he'd had a fight with a weedeater...and lost.  I am not a great barber.  But I come cheap.  And I put off applying the Wahl Home Barbering clippers for as long as possible.  I just don't have the knack for visualizing spacial concepts.  I can't seem to "see" what it should look like.  About the time he's looking like Albert Einstein on sterioids, I cave in and try once more, to meet the mark.  At least when I finish it's a shorter Albert look.

I've been cutting MM's hair ever since we lived on our 52-foot sailboat in Ft. Lauderdale.  That was back in (OMG) 1968.  And how I stressed out!  Each HAIR was carefully trimmed, it seemed...I agonized about making a mis-cut or a neck nick.  Perspiration dripped from my nose!  MM complained. 

To show you how far a marriage can evolve, I now TRY to make a mess of it in hopes of losing the job!  Well.....that's a bit strong.  Let's put it this way:  I've always WISHED I could do a bad enough job so that out here JOTOLR, even the cows would run from him!  No such luck.  Once a (thrifty) Scotsman, always a (thrifty) Scotsman!  Pursed lips pronounce his preference for economy over style. 

Did you know the recession/economic downturn/depression has affected two businesses in particular:  one of them is having a haircut in the salon (fewer customers) and the other is the haircutting business in the home by the unskilled such as Elora (more customers)--in essence, home barbering (more customers for Wahl barber equipment--clippers, capes (Fittingly I use a trash bag for a cape!). 

In checking for stats regarding home barbering versus salon barbering, I came across the following from an economic blog by a man by the name of Mark Fightmaster, to whom I also owe thanks for the image.  I thought it addressed this subject "masterfully" (excuse the pun) and wanted to share it with you all.  Haircuts and the Underwear Indicator

Let me know whether you are in the shadowed barber business!  It's got to be a growing trend.  Like everything else, here on the farm, JOTOLR, we are real trendsetters!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Playing Hookie

I took the day off yesterday without apology and, worse, without warning!  The whole glorious day, I played with my toys in my toybox!  Until, that is, that INCREDIBLE Auburn/Alabama football game! Holy smoke!  What a barnburner! Did any of you see it? The score at the half was Auburn zero, Alabama 24!  And, Auburn won the game (28-27).

Other than milking Marigold twice yesterday, I have to say, I did nothing to earn my keep!  My lovely Country Spinner/Indian Spinner (which I learned was specifically designed by Richard Ashford of Ashford Spinning Wheels, for the Cowichan Indians on Vancouver Island, BC --where we lived--and at their request), is challenging my abilities and I am slowly regaining my command of this particular "language."  It's quite the "machine."  For the first time ever, I tried (somewhat marginally successfully) plying a four-ply yarn yesterday.  And yes, I had a few tangle-ups!  But, oh so much fun!

As Cam Newton said, "We're coming...we're coming."

So, it's Saturday morning and instead of waiting until Monday to redeem myself for my absence, I thought I would send you love in the form of sunsets. 

Hope you are still enjoying your Thanksgiving holiday!  And that you didn't spend everything you have on Black Friday. 

The gold coin of sun
Slips into twilight's dim hands
A day swiftly spent.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Our Cup Runneth Over...

Have a thoughtful Thanksgiving, filled 
with love..... 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Early on a Frosty Morning

Autumn continues.  Each morning we awake to a cloudless sky, bright sunshine, and crisp frosty leaves beneath our feet.  Each night we enjoy a spectacular sunset.  Thinking of my friends in the Pacific Northwest (my original home) the weather couldn't be more opposite!  Happy snow!

Generally speaking, things have settled down here in the "shots rang out" department...apparently the first wave has bagged their quarry--or missed and gave up. (Somebody this morning let fly with a volley of nine shots--I mean if it takes that many, I wonder what the thing looked like--or did it get away?  You know those dotted lines you see in the "How to Butcher a Deer" book....maybe the "hunter" decided to cut with his gun!) At any rate, things are relatively peaceful for the moment, but will doubtless crank up again beginning tomorrow.

We did in one of our turkeys.  A gobbler that weighed 14 pounds after cleaning.  No selection was needed.  We simply took the one that on the previous night had managed to fly off the garage roof and break both its legs. So, not being able to fly OR walk, OR eat, it seemed a prudent thing to dispatch the invalid for purposes of culinary delight on turkey day. MM is the dispatcher (thank goodness)(quicky done with a .22 shell at close range); I am the "everything else" part of getting the bird to the table--the plucker, cleaner-outer, the stuffer, the roaster, and ....finally, the eater! 

Now, for the rest of the dinner:  squash, potatoes, stuffing-- a mixture of homeground cornmeal and dried bread, saved over the past month, onions, celery; Brussels sprouts, pumpkin pie with Marigold's whipping cream or ice cream--all homegrown with the exception of the wheat in the pie crust and cranberries which are a necessary "store-bought' indulgence. 

To all my wonderful online friends, please forgive my tardiness;  I am very behind on comments, but will catch up in the next couple of days.  Thank you, too, for your sweet and loving support for my comments on my last post.  

Carla!  So LOVELY to hear from you, girl!  More to all of you later on!  It's that spinning wheel that is distracting me!  And I am prodding MM to get my Dye House finished! :-))  He hates plumbing! 

More during the next couple of days!  Love you all! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Sounds of War

I'll apologize ahead of time for taking the liberty on this blog this morning, of reminding us all that wars are going on.  I "shot" the lovely scenes below, last night as we finished milking the cow....such a tranquil and pastoral process--one we are allowed to live right here JOTOLR, every day.  The distant bark of a fox reverberated in the twilight under the full moon, and I was enveloped in beauty.  With Thanksgiving approaching, I did, indeed, give thanks for our fortunate circumstance.

This morning it's a different story.  In place of tranquility we have "war" out here, JOTOLR.  Hunters are doing battle with the wily deer. And, I'm not unhappy with that.  The sounds of rifles are going off all around us.  I hope the hunters are able to add to their larders.

OTOH, by extension, I cannot help but remember that the moon flies with the same light, over all nations; glorious sunsets occur in all areas of the world, war-torn or otherwise; war is such a diabolical convention!  How, in this day and age, can we continue to believe that shooting and killing others solves problems.

I cannot imagine what it must be like to live in a war-ravaged country, the sounds of artillery shattering any possible peace--where just to walk across the street could cost you your life;  to go shopping for vegetables in the town market, might be your final shopping trip.  What would be it be like to have soldiers from a foreign country occupying my hometown? What would it be like to be characterized as an "insurgent" when you're simply trying to defend your right to grow food for your family?

Sorry, folks....but when I hear shots ring out --and I know they are in MY woods and the hunter is trespassing,(despite the fact that if that hunter had come to us and had asked to hunt, we would have written a permit and given permission)(and, as usual, they probably cut another hole in our boundary fence to drag the carass through which we will once again have to repair).  I can't help but think about others in the world who are threatened and must live daily with the sounds and the physical consequences of war.  And it saddens me greatly.  

I hope I don't lose any of you on this post, but sometimes I can't help getting a bit more serious.  Seems we all need to put our heads together and find a better way of running this world.  Watching the program last night on Athens and Democracy, makes me realize once again that our barbarism has been going on for thousands and thousands of years.  When will we ever learn?

Friday, November 19, 2010


As I hope you all know, I am not someone who forwards lots of websites. Mostly I avoid doing so because there's so much to read and absorb and each of us has our individual preferences about what's important ...and what's not. Excessive forwarding is just as much an invasion of one's privacy as is spam.

But I believe this particular appeal reaches all across our mental borders...we're all curious, and as a result, in searching for answers, we often turn to a source that has become a standard go-to: Wikipedia. Who would have thought, years ago, that such a place would exist, where one could turn for information, carefully created by volunteers, thoughtfully researched...saving the searcher countless time, and making information available for us to use, as we choose, without paying royalties, and trusting --mostly--the accuracy of the information provided.  I know how much I use Wiki and how I treasure it. It's hard to imagine, worldwide, a better use of the Internet.

My blog post today is in support of Wikipedia. Every year at this time, they come to us, the seekers, for a little charity to keep the site up and running. The link below lets you read founder, Jimmy Wales's appeal, and there is a box to the right for as little as a $20 or less, donation. I can't think of a better gift than the gift of knowledge. If you can afford it, and you agree that Wikipedia is a valuable tool in your day to day, please consider at least a small gift to keep the lights on at Wikipedia.

Go to:


And once again, the calendar pages have swirled off into the mists of time!  What a wonderful week this has been!  You, too?  For us, out here JOTOLR, it's been busy and exciting.  The garden is almost "over"...today we'll put down sauerkraut, and six weeks from now it will be ready.  We have a turkey to dispatch (no, I won't show you!) for Thanksgiving.  I still have some peppers on the porch to clean and put in the freezer; MM wanted me to can a few pears, but they're still hard as rocks and need another week or so to mellow.  We still have Brussels sprouts in the garden which we enjoy nightly, and there are the TURNIPS!  It's hard to convey their hugeness, but trust me!  These turnips are crisp and delicious and measure six to seven inches in diameter.  What a feast they are!  It's a full meal deal!  Reminds me of that children's book about a Big Turnip that eventually involved the whole community in wresting it from the ground.

So, that's it for this week, my friends.  My missing parts for the spinning wheel have been shipped and might even arrive today.  I'll keep you posted on the assembly.  I've managed to catch up with many of you who have so generously taken time to comment.  Thank you, thank you!  Such lovely, thoughtful people!  How I wish you could all come sit on our porch out here JOTOLR!  We'd talk for hours and hours, I just know it!  Thank you for being a part of our lives!

Have a great weekend.  Football and homegrown popcorn on the horizon!  
See you Monday 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Deer Hunting Season 2010

This is nose-high.  That means whatever deer left this little tuft behind, jumped OVER it.  My height is 5 ft. 3 inches.  I just looked out the east window and saw eight of the critters (kind word,here....others unmentionable) just on the other side of our fence.  They consume an incredible amount of forage!  The meadows are laid flat by the end of winter with their feasting on what should be Marigold's food.

Out here JOTOLR, we "support" a herd of around fifty deer.  There is no way we can begin to eat that much venison.  The deer are ubiquitous.  And, of course, we have all the "goodies" they want inside the fence and close to the house...goodies so tempting that the deer are willing to risk getting scraped as they try to fly across barbed wire.

The WV Dept of Natural Resources believes this is a good thing.  Because, it's good for the hunters.  I have no objection whatsoever to hunting...In fact, this time of year we could use a few more.  I just wish someone in a place of authority in the WVDNR would take it upon themselves to stage a few "clean-out" hunts and thin the population.  We need mass irradication!  Driving at night is scary.  Talk about deer in the headlights!  Many a deer accident has put drivers and passengers in the hospital around here.   In our little town of Lewisburg, deer are eating the daylights out of people's shrubs and ornamental plantings right in the middle of town.

Deer hunting rifle season begins essentially on Thanksgiving weekend.  Shots will ring out for several days out here JOTOLR and it won't be safe to go in our own woods.  So, I hope this year some needy families will take advantage of hunting season to add to their meat locker!  For those of you who are tender-hearted, I understand.  But if you've ever worked hard to plant a fruit tree or a garden or landscape a lovely setting, only to have it ravaged or consumed by hungry hoards of deer, you'll probably feel better about leveling the odds that it will survive their nibbly mouths as we head into Deer Hunting Season 2010.    

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Right as Rain and No TV

Oooooh!  The sound of wind rattling the leaves on the roof, rain splattering against the window....a storm with a little bit of lightning thrown in for good measure.....as we sat in the upstairs den, reading.  What a delight!  I was burrowing into a whole pile of Spin-Off magazines; MM is reading a history of the settlement of the Prairie by o.e. rolvaag.  And though we had planned to watch the PBS program on Stonehenge, the opportunity to do so faded with the cloudy weather and the rain, which...given a choice, we certainly would choose over TV.

Remember all those promises about digital TV and how much it was going to enhance our lives?  Well, maybe.   You see....when it gets cloudy out here JOTOLR, we get no TV.  No signal, no signal, no signal.....and this happens with regularity, to the point where, if we've decided to sit in front of the boob tube as we eat dinner, I make certain to check to see whether we HAVE TV on that particularly night, before ascending the stairs will all the vittles-fixin's. 

So, last night....I barely rememberd to check...and guess what?  No signal, no signal, no signal. 

That's OK.  But it's a far cry from what we were promised...which was THREE "NEW" channels on PBS.  They forgot to tell us it would be on nice, good-weather days only! (with a nod to Vicki Lane Mysteries!) and two of the three channels would be identical.

It's funny.....I always thought the airwaves belonged to the American people.  But now, in order to get TV one has to pay for it.  What happened? If you have cable you are paying for being advertised TO. That's one of the reasons we have our (still-free, so far) antenna:  maybe the reception isn't as predictable as with cable, but that simply means we wean ourselves off of the need to see TV at all.  We watch it when it's available and sometimes--more like often--choose not to watch at all.  No need to get dependent on an intermittent signal that coughs and sputters in the rain!  So, last night was listen-to-the-rain-and-read-a-book night.  To heck with TV. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Aren't these odd?!  They're the fruit of the Osage Orange tree.  Every year we watch for them to appear on the ground at this singular location just outside the town of Union.  The size of baseballs, they litter the road and squirrels love them!  Usually, there are a few squirrels, too, that got a little too interested in eating and didn't pay attention to the oncoming vehicles. But, not this year.

Mother Earth News for October/November has a piece on "living fences."  The Osage Orange tree, according to MEN, together with its fellows, makes a fence that eventually is "horse-high, bull-strong and hog-tight."  Now that's a fence! 

It's been called by various names:  hedge apple, horse apple, bodark and is named for the Osage tribe of native Americans, and the smell of the ripe fruit which is not edible (it's not poisonous, just unappealing except to squirrels).  And it was widely planted across the Plains states to counter massive soil erosion during the Dust Bowl.  Literally thousands of miles of Osage Orange were planted to provide windbreaks and natural fences.  The tree is tolerant of a wide range of soils, drought resistant, can be started from seed, root cuttings or sprouts from the roots; it has thorns, which is why the "living fence" becomes impermeable.  Each "orange" has about 200 seeds.  Of course, only the female trees bear fruit.  Getting the seeds free of the  fruit is a challenge and takes the better part of a year, working with the hot and cold of nature.  Osage Orange wood is stout!  It makes wonderful fence posts and once harvested,  will grow back in between 10 and 16 years.  The posts are immune to termites and are THE most resistant species of any kind, to rot.  So, they're definitely the farmer's friend. 

For years, MM has wanted to try to sprout the OO.  So, this year, we finally made the effort to stop and gather a few from the roadside and save them from being mashed by the traffic.  He's going to follow the directions in Mother Earth News (thank you Debbi for the magazine which was serendipity!) and see if he can make a living OO fence.

Here's where you can find out more about the Osage Orange:


Monday, November 15, 2010


It has been so dry here of late, that we have been missing the ghostly presence of fog.  I'm a fog worshipper.  Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, fog was more common than navigators enjoyed.  I lived right next to a bay--we called it being "on the bay."  My bedroom was on the southwest corner of the little house my father built.  The rain and even sometimes the windblown spray from the saltwater, would lash that side of the house during storms.  I loved it!  I also grew to love the feeling of isolation which came over me when fog enveloped our home.  The sounds carried more than usual.  Voices could be heard more clearly.   Here, too,  in the Appalachians, we are often in the fog.  The sound of the train rumbles more roundly.  And again, I love the feeling that we are on an island, alone. The mist is beautiful as it shrouds the limbs, creating a totally different landscape.  It feels...snug.   

Friday, November 12, 2010

Doing a Wheely!

What's this???  Can you guess?  It arrived yesterday and I ran to the gate to hug my UPS man!  He drove it up to the door and unloaded the boxes, and it is everything I'd hoped to find.

It's what I am going to be doing this weekend, starting with a can of Johnson's Carnuba Paste Wax--otherwise known as elbow grease, plus an assortment of oddiments collectively known as hardware, and a few screwdrivers as well.  The individual pieces are silky smooth.

Nonetheless, to  every single piece, a generous protective coating of paste wax must be applied BEFORE assembly.  Along with a buffing 'til it shines! 

Let's just say I don't choose hobbies that make me completely sedentary!  The beeswax candle, beside the wax in the above photo, smells absolutely divine, the aroma is a permanent benefit regardless how old the candle! And once the screws are coated with it, they'll slip in like going through butter.

It's a labor of love being applied to this lovely piece of what is both a decorative piece of folk furniture, and an exquisite tool.  
And, perhaps, best of all....you know what???  IT'S NOT MADE IN CHINA!  It's an Ashford, made in New Zealand.  The Ashford Company is a husband and wife team that has been turning out quaint but oh-so-useful pieces for 75 years!  They've made over 600,000 of one design or another.  This one is made from New Zealand Silver Beech, from sustainably grown forests, and the grain and color is simply lovely!

So....what is it?  Of course!  I knew you'd guess!  It's another spinning wheel! (I already have two, so why in the world would I need another one???)  OK.  First let me show you how it will look at the end of the weekend:

MM insisted that I get it. It's called a Country Spinner and my reason for wanting it is that it will spin huge yarns.  I may have mentioned this in another post, but we used to own the house on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, that belonged to Margaret Moss, the lady who originally taught the Cowichan natives to spin wool in the grease (terrific water repellant!) and in patterns, which many recognize and which continue to this day.  The Cowichan Sweaters are still produced in the traditional way up there, and are now found all over the world.   I learned to spin on what was then called an "Indian Spinner."  For whatever reason, I sold that spinner long years ago and have always been sorry I did.  This Ashford spinner goes far beyond that other spinner, though, and it's a lot better.  The orifice through which the yarn passes on the Country Spinner is 7/8" in diameter.  The bobbin is huge, as well, and will hold up to 2.2 pounds of yarn.  The wheel has ball bearings, too, to make for easy-glide spinning.   It will also allow me to do novelty yarns as it allows the passage of beads and feathers!  What fun!  Plus, my dyehouse produce will brighten the interplay between subdued and raucous!  Yessireeeee!  I am LOVIN' IT!   And, BTW, the Ashford Company makes several models of spinning wheels as well as looms.

It's going to be a busy, fun weekend out here JOTOLR!  Between buffing and puffing, I'm gonna be in great shape by the time I get 'er up and running!!

Thank you everyone for stopping by this past week!  It's been a bit crazy here.  This nice weather has kept us both outside and doing tasks we hadn't been able to do when the garden was in full swing.

We've got the weekend of good weather and then the Weather Service is forecasting some showers.  Hope it's all fine in your neck of the woods! 
Happy Friday!
See you Monday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Winter on Hold....

I don't know about you, but it feels like winter is on hold.  Last week, we were in a frenzy, making sure we had enough firewood close by; taking in the "tender veggies" (as directed by the Weather Service folks who were predicting a hard FREEZE....!)

But, last night, and the night before, we had only residual heat from solar gain during the day and didn't bother to light a fire in either the living room or the kitchen stoves.  It's headed for 70 degrees here again, today, and very little promise of significant moisture, anytime soon.  But oh!  It's sooooo beautiful!  Please know, this is not a complaint.  Winter will arrive soon enough!  And as NCMountain Woman Mountain Musings put it on her blog yesterday:  "The Journey IS the Destination.  Check out her blog!  Her photos of the pumpkins the other day were PRICELESS!  You, too, could make waving pumpkins next year!

My camera today finds a sampling of late bloomers...leaves that are still shockingly beautiful...but the mauves of the leafless tree trunks, now foil the colors in stark relief.  The pears and dogwood rule the reds, the maples claim the golds, and the browns belong to the leftover shells of summer.  And the firewood pile is still largely intact.

For those of you who burn wood as winter fuel, did you ever consider that you are lighting off the sun?  Fire is simply a continuation of the solar gift, isn't it?  Images below plus the benevolent temperatures let us bask in the last of the summer sun!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Snug as a Bug in a Rug!

High above the forest floor, there's a whole world of living, out here JOTOLR!  This time of year it becomes more obvious.  Bald-faced Hornet nests we never saw before appear and finally pinpoint the source of our summer long annoyance with this double-edged sword of the insect world.  On the one hand hornets provide great pest control.  On the other, though, it's hard to ignore their annoying and threatening presence!

Vacated bird nests of one kind or another are tucked into the shrubbery and reveal how crowded are yard has been!  A new house in the distance can be seen amidst the tree tops, its elevation higher than ours, and which wasn't there back in the spring.  And that serves to solve the mystery of all that hammering and sawing this past summer.  

And that black blob you see in the photo?  It's a mass of tightly balled up leaves, crammed between the bare branches of an ash tree by a squirrel.  Every night at milking time--and yes, we are into darkness now as we milk Marigold, (lights in the milking shed help!) having to milk at roughly 12-hour intervals--this is the scene, right behind the milking stall.  The fretwork of the limbs against the sunset, highlight the sculpture of the leaf-ball.

Those of us who live in the Appalachian region, mainly take these nests for granted, but when the wind is blowing hard, as it does often throughout the winter I am amazed at how sturdy, safe,  and apparently warm they are.  Right now,  squirrels scurry up and down the trees, gathering all manner of "mast" (food, such as acorns, hickory nuts, walnuts) for the winter, burying it close by the nest site. And the mast has been good this year.  The forest floor is a vast carpet of acorns.

We have three varieties of squirrels here in West Virginia--actually four, if one includes the illusive Flying Squirrel.  The Fox Squirrel is the largest, followed by the Gray, and then there's the Red, which inhabits the pine woods of higher elevations in the northern part of West Virginia.  Here's a link to a great article on squirrel nests, written several years back by the Art Shomo, Writer for the West Virginia DNR.  Go to:  Squirrel Nests  This is an excellent collection of information that lets us all appreciate what we often don't notice!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Nuts and Bolts of Farming

What makes a farm run?  Animals?  Pastures?  The feed store?  Nope.  None of the above.  It's nuts and bolts.  Thousands of tools and supplies...not to mention experience to use them and address problems that arise.  MM is a jack of all trades, and he would be the first to admit that he's master of none...and that's good...because that leaves room for discovery!  Discovering the problem, interpreting the problem, and then applying the "nuts and bolts" saved over 40 years, to be able to make just the right repair at the right time.  I love this photo because I know it illustrates the very essence of self-sufficiency.

If the tractor breaks down, do we head for the tractor doctor?  Admittedly, sometimes we do.  But mostly, MM burrows into his brain and into his stash of stuff and comes up with a repair.  Not many people are truly able to do that.  They have to find someone to make a repair.  They need to have the problem diagnosed.  Thus, they are less self-sufficient.  MM has rarely failed to be able to fix something or to manufacture a part in the nick of time, to --for example--be able to get that last bit of hay off the field and into the barn before it rains.  There's often pressure involved.  And there are countless--COUNTLESS--repairs to be made of one kind or another on a farm!  So you don't just dial up Mr. Fixit.  Mr. Fixit LIVES here on the farm.

I believe MM's most significant repair ever, though, came about when we were traveling by van in the Yukon Territories.  We hadn't seen another vehicle in days.  We were utterly, completely alone.  The radiator on the truck sprang a leak. And it was waaay to big for StopLeak!  A rock had been thrown into the radiator, but had apparently stuck for quite awhile, but decided to give way out there in the wilderness.    MM cogitated a bit and with studied engineering, cut off a short piece of polypropylene rope that dangled from the canoe on top of the van; took out a cigarette lighter, melted the rope, drip by drip and stuffed the drips, one by one,  into the hole on the radiator.  The repair not only got us back into Alaska, but it survived until the old hulk was hauled off to the junkyard five years later!

Here's the inner sanctum of the repair world, out here JOTOLR.  MM has saved screws, nails, plumbing parts, electrical parts, all manner of scrap (which one would assume was trash) and from these collections has made a part, or fixed a part, or patched a hole....or whatever!  This farm runs on nuts and bolts!  And MM IS a master of all trades to keep us up and running!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thank you so much!

Dearest Readers, all,

Thank you so much for your sweet words! I've stored them in my "Blog Comments" file, like the treasures they are so I can take them out and re-remember them, one by one.  Barbara, Linda, Debbi, NCMW, Thomas, Chris, Ruta, Marlene, and all...wishing you the best!  And will do my best to keep the balls in the air for another 250 posts!

The weekend is here!  Again.  Thought I would mention that the EPOXI, NASA's spacecraft on the move, traveling at 8 miles per second has a fly-by tonight that will come within 435 miles of the Hartley comet.  There is a spectacular image on the Daily Telegraph's website today, as the Hartley is capturing photos as I write.  The Hartley comet was discovered a few years back by a British amateur astronomer, and is named for him.  Here's the link to the Hartley Comet Photo
The comet is actually visible to the naked eye, more so with binoculars...providing you have a clear sky, which, here in Southern West Virginia, is unlikely because of clouds and snow in the forecast.  Oh, and BTW...I cheated.  That's that fuzzy moon from a few days back.  But it kind of looks like a comet, don't you think?

And just look what I bought last week when it was 75 degrees! And you all laughed! Well, you should have been with me this morning at milking when the ice chips rattled down on the metal roof of the milking stall. I got in on the ground floor with this baby, called Green Lightning! I mean to tell you this is going to be the speediest downhiller I've ever owned. The yellow one we had last year finally gave up the ghost. This is way better! Come real snow, I will be that green streak of greezed lightning, tearing across the pastures, out here JOTOLR!
Well, everyone, that about does it for this week.  NCAA football tomorrow is LSU and Alabama...should be good.  MM is a reasonable (not crazy) football fan and enjoys the game and how it's played rather than who wins.  Which is very cool, I think.

Have a great weekend!  See you Monday!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sunrise, Sunset....

Today marks my 250th post.  Today also marks MM's and my 43rd anniversary.  Forty-three years of "wedding bliss..."  well....almost! :-))  It's hard for me to picture 43 years of marriage.  Where did it go?

I was certain when I was young that staying married to the same person for any credible length of time would result in suffocating boredom!  NOT!  How we do evolve! 

No big celebration for us.  No sappy Hallmark cards.  No orchid corsage decorating my sweatshirt.  No champagne.  Just a homegrown dinner from the garden, followed by a tall glass of cold milk, a little homemade ice cream, a kiss and an exchange of thank yous...for putting up with each other all this time!    And another day out here JOTOLR with the cows and the dogs and the chickens and a quiet reflection on the years of joy.  Where did it go?  The time has simply flown by and become a lifetime.  And what a lifetime we've had!  Who would ever guess that this is a sunrise...and not a sunset...?  Thank you, love, for a wonderful journey...so far!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Time to Log On

And that, dearest readers, is why I won't be logging on very long, today!  MM is already out in the woods.  I can hear his chainsaw roaring away.  I'm inside at the moment finishing up making a half-gallon of ice cream and shortly I'll be on my way out to LOG ON! 

MM fells the trees (he did that way last spring); he drags them in with the tractor; saws them into usable lengths and splits them.  All I have to do is carry and stack.  We're on our way to wood for the winter!  And this is how the heating system out here JOTOLR works!
Gotta go!  The ice cream maker just shut off, so it's time to put the produce in the freezer, grab my raincoat (yes, it just started to sprinkle) and leather gloves and head for the woods and the sound of the saw! See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fabulous Realities

Fabulous Realities....that's the name of Colleen Anderson's CD.  She's a West Virginia treasure!  And she's a fabulous reality all by herself.  If you haven't had the pleasure of hearing her songs, do yourself a favor and get her self-produced CD! You can find it at the following:

Meantime....some feel sorry for us out here JOTOLR that we have to milk a cow early and late...

But were it not for  milking, I would probably never see these incredible sunrises and sunsets!

Of course, I tweaked the above photo just a bit to reach for "fabulous realities."
But, I left the one below alone.  Both photos are from this morning.

The weather forecast is calling for snow showers on Friday!  And it's definitely chilly out now.  We spent the afternoon cutting, hauling and stacking firewood, so I'm a bit late posting, today, but we're ready!  Ready for soup, homemade biscuits  and chai!

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Housing Crisis

Prior to this past weekend, we've been in the midst of a canine housing crisis out here JOTOLR.  Bandit was all but wearing her doghouse.  It had belonged to Nell, our ten-year-old Border Collie who passed away two years ago.  The homebuilt house, though at first sturdy, had developed some weak spots and the original joints between boards had grown wider and become rather large cracks.  In short, drafty, dilapidated, disreputable-looking, and cold.

Cade's house had originally been purchased for the Great Pyrenees, but he declined housing all together and refused the comforts of that home resolutely. So, this apartment-sized dogbox was passed down to Cade, who could've used at least two other dogs to fill up the spare bed-room.

Enter two homewreckers:

Bandit's House

Cade's House

The BC's do want their own space and are not willing to share.  To this day, Jessie's nose and the scars Nell laid on it, attest to that!  The countless power struggles between the two half-sisters resulted in our building that house that Bandit has been occupying, with separate kennels for Nell and Jess, and now, Cade and Bandit, who are littermates. Oh, and BTW, Jess has her own condo on the porch--a place of honor for the queen of all.

So, we went shopping for doghouses this time instead of building them from scratch as we've done in the past.  They were right pricey!  Lowe's had some for $115 apiece.  Walmart's selection was minimal.  As an afterthought (should have been aforethought) I suggested we stop at Magic Mart and see what their inventory looked like.  Voila'!  Two identical houses, for $60 each.

The igloo will now become the home of a German Shepherd puppy (when we get him); and the two BC's got a new store-bought house each, and MM and Elora went to work! We hauled out the big-box, demolished the homebuilt wreck, filled triple-layered feed sacks with cedar chips and placed two, side-by-side in each doghouse, rearranged food water dishes...all this time being watched by suspicious eyes....

 I was so excited to have new homes for them.  I just couldn't wait to have each pup comfy and cozy in their new nests.....I knew better, though.  I really did....

Now, we humans take it for granted that a new doghouse would be welcomed, if not cheered....NOT.  To a dog, it "smells funny" and the new cedar chips are gross and overpowering.  The lumps in the new bed no longer conform to the body as did the old house and bedding (The Princess and the Pea...), regardless of how pulverzied and musty it was!   In a few words.....they HATED IT!   But I was determined.

It took awhile to get Cade to go in, but I finally succeeded.  (new command, here....instead of  "go to your house" (which is met with a "what house--there's no house anymore??" look)....I used "go in" as a better fit, for the moment.  Cade finally did "go in" and sit down.  "Hmmmmm.  Not half-bad,"  she said....and stayed

Bandit?  No way.  Especially since it was my idea and not hers.

"Go in." 

"Not on your life. I hate it." 

"Go in!" 


"GO INNNNN!"  (shove, shove, squirm, squirm ...treats (refused)

"All right.  Go ahead and freeze to death this winter.  See if I care!"

"I'm sleeping outside."

"Fine.  Enjoy.  In fact, I'll give your house to the cat."

(We don't have a cat.)  It's all bark and no bite on my part.  And Bandit knows it.

I really, really want the satisfaction of seeing all the dogs happily installed in their new quarters.  But, as I said,  dogs don't see things the same way humans do.  Believe me, I am a dog trainer and I know dogs.  I expected this from at least one of the BC's.  Funny thing was, though,  I expected it from Cade who is usually much more suspicious of things, generally.  Cade?  She LOVED her new house.  Bandit is still sitting outside unless absolutely forced to go in... So, we'll see as the mountain air nips at noses...whether she will submit to acceptance of her new quarters.  I rather doubt it.  Expect to see a For Sale ad for a nice, dry, warm doghouse in the not-too-distant future!

From an aesthetic standpoint, both their yards look a whole lot better!  Sleeping quarters are no longer targets for demolition. And at least one dog is happy with the new accommodations!  The other one is camped out on the spot where her old house used to be!