Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Meanwhile, Back on the Farm...

The day after Johnny left for New Zealand, the bucks started fighting and pushed a board off between their pens. I hammered it back into place. The next day they (Gin Rummy, mainly) did it again and broke the board this time. I took a sledge hammer and nailed it back. The third day the board split even more; they broke the latch that holds the gate to Bud's outdoor area open, and I knew I had to separate the bucks. We have had them in those pens for several years and this is the first time they've decided to dismantle them. They must have known Johnny, the fix-it person, was out of the country. I could not even call to ask him what to do since he had forgotten his cell phone, which probably would not have been reachable there anyway. Or it would have cost a fortune to call from the U.S.

Bud the buck

I propped a stout timber to hold the door open so Bud would not get locked indoors. Then I moved the belligerent, board-busting buck, Gin Rummy, into the pig pen and started cleaning pens... two buck pens and a dog pen.  Obviously, I was going to have to separate the bucks with the dog between them. The dog is loose nights but the bucks fight during the day and the dog would not let them fight if he was between them. The pig pen was adequate until it started to get cold and blow rain inside.

Here is Gin Rummy in the pig pen...

Lots of grass and open space so I did not feel sorry for him...

...until the rains came. I finally got all pens cleaned, bucks moved and dog moved between them. (Bucks were moved out of and into pens with the help of a hose. Blubbering bucks do not like to be sprayed, which makes moving them much easier.) Peace was restored.

About then there was a massive earthquake in New Zealand and I waited anxiously for news from Johnny and our kids. Steve skyped to let me know they were all fine. (Ah the wonders of modern technology.) They were on the North Island when the quake hit the South Island and they did not feel it or the aftershocks.

Much relieved, I carried on with endless garden harvesting, which I wrote about in another blog post. We still, as of this writing (last day of November) have corn ripening in the garden. But it has turned cold now so the end is in sight.

I did not work non-stop while Johnny was gone... I tell about some of the more fun times in

I also pruned the grapevines and spent days winding the vines into rounds for Christmas wreaths. I start cutting greens off our farm for the wreaths the week before Thanksgiving so they are not too dried out by the end of the Christmas season. Then it's day after day of wreath making. I forgot to take photos of the entire inside of my workshop (aka stock trailer) lined with finished wreaths. Now 7 have been mailed off and 7 more delivered locally. Several more are due to be delivered soon, with a couple left for us. I took quick photos today before leaving to deliver two more, but they did not come out well. Hopefully, the wreaths in reality look better than their photos.

In the midst of wreath making came Thanksgiving, one week after Johnny's return from New Zealand. Our surrogate grandkids and their friend Michael joined us for the traditional Thanksgiving day hike... although usually not in such damp conditions: it rained and flooded on Thanksgiving Day. But we have lots of rain gear here, so we trundled everyone up in raincoats and boots and off we went.

McCoy, the big white guardian dog, was thrilled to have attention. His dream is to be someone's sofa pet.  Here Kinnera gives him love...

Michael was attacked by a dog as a child and is terrified of them, but McCoy won him over, as he does everyone.

The bucks wanted attention, too, but they are a bit too "ripe" this time of year to be petted. Michael took photos.

Then it was out of the barn and down into the field to visit the horses. Nightingale is always up for attention.

Michael sent me this photo he took of very wet Nightingale and Johnny.

 The photos I took indoors of the Thanksgiving festivities did not come out. I must have been shaking from laughter because they are all blurry. We did have a lot of fun. Friend Barb joined us for the meal, supplying half of it with vegan dishes for Michael and David. I cooked ham for the meat eaters. Kinnera roasted delicata squash slices. Johnny made baked apples for dessert. Mark could not come but sent delicious salads with Barb. With miscellaneous side dishes, we had plenty to eat. And wonderful company to share it all with. Hazel and John, Kinnera and David's parents, had planned to come but were unable to because of John's spinal procedure the day before. We'll have to plan a do-over when he has recovered.

It's nice to have Johnny home (the buck pens are now properly repaired with new boards)... repairing things as they go wrong (the back door refused to open today), bringing in firewood, helping with the normal farm chores, joining me for birding adventures whenever the rain allows...

Ups and downs are both better when shared.

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