Sunday, December 30, 2012

Lazy by the woodstove...all snowed in!

Hope that everyone had a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or other holiday of your choice! I spent so much time writing out Christmas cards, that I gave up blogging for the holidays...

We had about 4 inches of snow for Christmas day, just enough to make it pretty. And then we got socked with what is now about 2 feet, but it's hard to measure because the wind is so strong that there are drifts of 5 feet or more. As soon as the blessed Mr. Kelley snowblows the driveway, or as soon as the frigid farm folks blaze a path to the chicken coop, the wind pushes the snow right back in place.

I did a short weekend in NJ just before Christmas, and managed quite a few visits with friends and family. The Husband is on his way back today from an even shorter weekend down there. He left yesterday just as the second snow this week was starting, making for a slow trip. I hope his return trip goes a bit more smoothly—at least the sun is shining today.

The goats seem to enjoy the snow, or at least ignore it, unlike the pigs. Since I was on farm duty today while the Hub was away, I got to spend some quality time with all of the kids. The poor chickens are not happy "all cooped up", but their feathers do a good job of keeping them warm. Poor piggies on the other hand have virtually no hair, so they spend most of their time happily cooped up in the shed. They do like visits however—the second piggie pic is Steve and Eydie singing "Baby It's Cold Outside". Frank wasn't in the mood for singing today.

The goats are no different than any other day: Lucille, in heat, whining, Jack and Helen looking for more food to dump on the floor...

But the dogs are quite happy to sleep the day away right next to the woodstove, which pretty much describes my feelings as well.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The obedient Wood Man

The Wood Man came to us in August just months after graduating from "Obedience Class" in NJ. In the top photo he is looking very obedient, letting me take a nap with his butt as the pillow. The next photo, however, shows the true spirit of the hound boy—tail wagging a mile a minute, proud of the mess he just made of my "kindling" by the wood pile while I was talking on the phone.

The days of Woody running free have ended for now. A week ago he ignored The Husband's calls and ran across Rt. 28 to visit the horses again! The Hub got him out of there and back across the street, only to have him turn around and run right up the middle of the road while cars were doing their best to avoid him. Four kind people had to stop to help corral the bad boy and send him back home.

Then he ran off again the next night (while I was in work) and the following night when I came home from work at 7 pm and could not get him in until after 9. And only then after hunting him down, in the dark, and leashing him. At least both of these times he stayed away from the road...we think... As far as I can tell he spends his night romps chasing the night critters in the woods. Maybe he's trying to live up to his name, Wood Man.

I was sorely tempted to borrow a shock collar from Don on the Hill, one that beeps before it shocks, and starts with a shock I could barely feel, but after doing some research online, I ended up on, a site promoting positive reinforcement training. Most if not all positive trainers hate shock collars, so I was pretty easily convinced that was not the solution. Turns out the humans are the ones who need the training, the dogs learn pretty quickly once they are given clear direction.

Pam Dennison, who runs the website, called me the same night after I e-mailed her to ask a few questions. We don't really know each other, but both graduated from Rowan as art students in 1978. Rather than signing up for her online classes (and because I need more immediate help!) I am starting with her book—The Complete Idiot's Guide to Positive Dog Training—which I've had for years but never read all the way through.

Believe it or not, Woody has already made some progress, but it will take many more weeks of training before I can trust him off-leash again. In the meantime he is taking out his frustrations on the wood pile, Sophie, The Hub and me! I told Pam I would take some photos and videos of the Bad Wood, so we could have something to compare to the fully trained obedient Wood Man photos. Hopefully they won't be too far off in the future.

Take a few minutes and check out this video from Positive Dogs. This will be our goal, Wood Man. To get your perfectly trained self back off-leash again, some time soon!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Superstorm Sandy sails on through

The lights here went out for about 30 seconds total and somehow the modem got fried, but we were otherwise unaffected by Superstorm Sandy. Family in South Jersey made it through without any damage, cousins in North Jersey lost power, friends who live on Long Beach Island were not so lucky. Last I heard they were still not allowed back on the island to assess the damage, but online photos pretty much tell the story (see above). If the flooding didn't cause enough damage, the sand washing over the island created a true disaster area.

The new job at the Freeman's Journal/Hometown Oneonta weekly newspaper(s) is going well, even though it is only about 20 hours a week. My job is simply to create ads. I don't do all of them, and most of them use existing templates, but I am starting to see a difference—all the vast improvements I have made (hehe). The real benefit is that I am learning InDesign and how to work on a PC. Being a Quark girl who has only dabbled in ID, and only ever worked on a Mac, I felt like I had moved to a foreign country and had to learn a new language, or 2. Almost 3 months in, I am feeling a bit more comfortable.

Goats and pigs and chickens are all thriving, although the hens are either taking a winter vacation from laying eggs or are back to hiding them or eating them. The Husband and I have searched everywhere, and have yet to find the buried treasure chest. We were collecting 7 to 9 eggs a day in the summer; now it's 2, maybe 4 on a good day. My one little araucana who lays blue eggs hasn't given one up in a month.

The Wood Man is settling in. As long as he gets a good run, or 5, he is a happy well behaved dog (mostly) but there are those days where he is just not satisfied with the world. When I was on the phone with Verizon for an hour trying to get the new modem connected, he barked/howled almost the entire time. When I let him outside to try to get some peace, he jumped the back fence and ran like a kook through the back 40—and that was after he had already been out there for a good run just a few minutes before the phone call.

I am currently reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski. I am hoping to learn some of Edgar's dog whispering techniques by the time I finish. Problem is, it's hard to whisper and be heard over a howling hound! Here he is, the Wood Man himself, in a more peaceful moment. Quite the handsome boy when he settles down...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hold onto your Phillies hat! (credit to Little Sis for this title)

Here comes Hurricane Sandy! I am more worried about NJ with the renters in our old house and Little Sis down there too, but even central NY is supposed to get high winds and a lot of rain. The house here at Lester's Flat is on a high and dry spot, so the wind is more of a concern than the flooding, but we have more critters and more buildings up here to worry about. We are hoping the 3 sheds and our little satellite coop by the garage will protect all the little ones...

Speaking of critters to worry about, the Wood Man made his way across the highway again to go and visit with the horses. I really need to work on keeping him on the back 40, where he can't get into any trouble. In fact, we did start our walk down by the creek, and he stayed with me the whole time down there, but when he got back, he put the ear-lock on. He stared me right in the eyes when I called, and then he ran across the busy road.

He is actually more interested in the kittens inside the barn than the horses. Tiny as they are, they stand up to him, inches away from his big barking mean-boy face. I think that's why they are so interesting—he doesn't know what to make of them. I truly hope that one of them scratches him so that he finally learns that cats are not toys…or dinner. I wish he could learn that lesson in here, but our cats are still hiding on the second floor.

Trouble is his middle name, or maybe we need to call him Hurricane Woody. I thought he might have settled down a bit by now, but every time I think we are making progress, he gets wacky all over again.

This little video will give you a good idea of how much Sophie appreciates her new wack-a-doodle family member! At least this old girl can still give him what-for, just like the kittens.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A typical wild night at Lester's Flat

These were taken a few days ago, but will give you an idea of how wild and crazy we regularly are here at Lester's Flat. I'm not sure who wins the "Strike a Pose for the Camera Contest", but let's just say that no one put a lot of effort into it...

Sophie probably put in the least effort, but at least she managed to include the Super Timothy feed bag/seat cover, The Hometown Oneonta newspaper (my new place of employment) and a copy of Dwell Magazine. Apparently reading makes her sleepy.

After a dry summer, the beginning of fall has been wet and grey. I tried to finish painting the goat shed before the weather got nasty, but was barely able to finish the front of it. Prime time for staining is at least 48 hours after rain, AND when rain is not expected for 24-48 hours after the stain is applied, AND it has to be above 50° long enough for the stain to dry completely...I think another 24 hours...

Unless an Indian summer kicks in soon, the shed won't get finished until April or May!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Frank Sinatra comes to Lester's Flat!

Old Blue Eyes (his eyes really are lighter than the others!) joined Steve and Eydie in the pig pen today. After a conversation with Cousin Greg, who said he and Cousin Chris want in on the pig project, we decided to get a third piggie, same age as the others, about 9 weeks old.

The people who sold us Frank said he had the biggest personality of the 13 that survived in the litter of 17. He grunted the whole way home in the car telling us the very interesting story of his short life thus far.

Pigs are the least amount of work, and probably need less feed than the goats because they love the table scraps and garden leftovers. You can see they are quite happy chowing down on tomatoes and corn, although with the freezing temperatures expected tonight, those garden leftovers won't be edible for too much longer.

You might also notice that Eydie isn't camera shy. That's her with a big chunka tomato hanging out of her mouth.

Got the woodstove fired up in here today for the first time this season. Poor little Frank has a less hairy coat than the others, he might be a bit chilly out there tonight! Let's pray they welcome him into the pig pile to keep him warm!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Have you seen the little piggies?

Piggies, round 2: Eydie, the gilt (female), and her smaller brother, Steve, the barrow (castrated male). It will be interesting to see if Steve outweighs Eydie after a few months of good eats. He was one of the runts of the litter.

The second pic is the beauty shot of Eydie. We picked them up on Sunday from the same guy who gave us Rick and Michelle. They were good healthy pigs the last time around, and we expect the same this time.

I will get better photos when they are finally allowed out of the new goat shed and into the sunlight. Until I get the goat shed painted, at least in the front that faces the pen, and until we finish putting up the rest of the fence, the goats have to stay in the old pig shed, and the little piggies get the whole huge goat shed to themselves. As they are still in shock from being taken from their Mama and siblings, they don't know what they are missing and are quite happy where they are.

Check it out large (click on the photos) they both have long red eyelashes/eyebrows! Very cute, although hard to see with all the hay in the way!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

One little tornado, too many tomatoes and just enough chickens

September weather has been just perfect. Except for a little tornado that swept through our little town, just skirting the far side of our property and taking down several trees, we've been having the warm sun and cool temperatures that make Fall so pretty up here. The leaves are just beginning to change color, which usually doesn't start until October.

The Husband's garden has been enjoying the perfect weather as well. Even though he has been battling the groundhogs for control, the garden still produced about 4 times as many tomatoes as the ones shown here, a large crop of sweet corn, plenty of pumpkins, squash, peppers... Thankfully the freezer full of pork is no longer full, so we have been making and freezing tomato sauce, tomato/corn salsa, gazpacho, and sometimes just peeled tomatoes when I get too lazy to do the rest of the work.

There are only 3 eggs left under the broody hen. She started with 5 or 6, then the other hens started laying eggs on top of hers, then they (or she) broke some of them... I had to close her up in a crate by herself to keep track of what is going on in there. I have no idea if the 3 remaining eggs are going to hatch, or if they are just rotten by now. If they do hatch, it should happen soon.

Either way, we still have 13 hens and the original Rotten Roo. You can see him proudly protecting his little women in the photo. Not sure what will happen when winter comes and they can no longer easily make their way from the coop back to the house. Lately all they do is sleep in the coop, but that is probably why there have not been any more Jack Russell attacks. Smart chickens are hiding as far away from the road as possible!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The view from above

On Sunday afternoon, The Husband and I took the WoodMan and Sophie to visit our nearest neighbor, Don on the Hill. His dog Bandit is the long-lost, long-haired twin of Woody. Being way up on the hill, we can let the dogs run free with no danger of them finding their way back to the busy road, or to the chickens down below. In the last photo, that's Don mowing a path to the creek (behind his house, the same creek that runs behind us). Bandit is leading the way back to see his visitors.

The Husband found himself settling in for a beer with the boys watching football, while I had a beer and all 3 pooches outside on a perfect Sunday afternoon with the best view of everything: Canadarago Lake, Panther Mountain, and the pretty little blue-grey house down below. If you click on the second photo to make it larger, you can just barely see our house, right in the middle, Charlie's barn to the left.

Don is a great neighbor, and we time our visits to the Post Office so that we can chat with Sherry the Postmistress as often as possible, but I must say it is a nice change to have my closest neighbors this far away. At the house in NJ, everyone was tucked in so close that you couldn't avoid the neighbors if you wanted to. For the 20 years that we lived there, all my neighbors were good ones, but times have changed. The latest addition to my quiet little street is really stirring things up, including venturing onto my property with his pruning shears and ruining my not-so-perfect landscaping. Even if we didn't still own the house, I would be horrified. I couldn't even bring myself to drive down that quiet little street when I was back there last week. I might have had to cry...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Jersey and the new job

This past weekend, I made a little trip back to the old homestead in NJ—truly the old homestead—the house where I grew up. I took the Wood Man with me to meet Little Sis, and OR Sis and her husband; and to visit with his foster mom, Dawn, and Lorraine from BCAA, the organization that rescued him from a shelter in VA.

Dawn had told me that he was a terrible passenger in the car, and she wasn't lying. He howls and barks, and jumps from one seat to another, including trying to sit in my lap while I am driving. With that in mind, and because there is also a new law in NJ that says dogs have to be restrained in the car, I loaded his crate into the back of the CR-V, and I am glad I did. He whined only for the first 2 minutes, and then settled down and slept for almost the entire 4.5-hour drive, up and back! Good boy, Wood Man!

He was also better behaved with Jersey Girl than he was with Sophie in the beginning. I think because Jersey doesn't give him as much sass as the Sopher, and also because they are the same age. The large photo is Jersey and Woody relaxing while Little Sis was at church on Sunday morning. (You can almost see her blue chow tongue in her smiley face!) The other is a close-up of Woody, with his favorite pose for the camera. Although the cats were happy that Woody was on vacation for the weekend, Sophie seemed happy to have him back.

The other big story on Action News is that I started working part-time for The Freeman's Journal, the weekly newspaper in Cooperstown. I've been there about 3 weeks, and I am still figuring out the mysteries of working on a PC after being a Mac girl for so many since the beginning of (computer) time. For all those people who told me PCs are faster than Macs, better than Macs, easier to use...I say you are all wrong.

I miss my Mac!!! but it's nice to have some cash flowing back into the old bank account. I'll suffer through the PC nightmare for the cash.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Eggs to hatch and the Schuyler Lake Truck Pull

One of our Silver-Laced Wyandotte hens decided that she wanted to hatch some eggs. She is not very good at the egg-sitting part—sometimes she moves to the other nest box and sits on the eggs in there—but for the most part she is sitting pretty and hoping for some young ones to come along. I have been taking out the extra eggs that are laid there when she leaves the box, and leaving the original 5 for her to hatch. With any luck we will have chicks in another week or so, although we're not sure that  they are being properly maintained by the new momma.

Today The Husband and I witnessed a bit of Schuyler Lake excitement—the annual Truck Pull to benefit the Schuyler Lake Fire Department. The Fireman's Field is our next-door neighbor, so we have actually witnessed this before, but from a distance. This year, Alan, our favorite mechanic, got us free pit passes figuring that we deserved them for putting up with the noise, dirt, and general commotion. We would not have gone otherwise, but it was definitely interesting, and we met several of our neighbors, all Seamons...

Alan's assistant, Tom, is apparently the star of the truck pulls. That is Tom's purple Jeep truck (who even knew there were Jeep trucks, much less purple ones?) in the photo. The Fire Department is responsible for wetting down the track with water from our shared creek, but even so, the dust was flying. And the beer was flowing...still is at 10:30 in the evening...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The family has left the building, and the Wild Wood

We had a great week of family visits with my mother-in-law Rita staying the weekend, and then 14YO Claire and 11YO Ella staying the rest of the week. That is Ella above, a self-portrait. The girls cooked for us, and entertained the crazy new dog and Sophie during their stay. Sophie and Dave the Cat slept with them on the night of the ugly thunderstorms. Everyone left us on Friday last week and none of us wanted them to go.

Wildwood is a crazy place to be on the beach ("at the shore") in the summer in NJ. The wild Woody dog is not quite as crazy as all that, but close to it. He is perfectly calm, willing to stay in his crate while I am gone (new job!) for 9 hours during the day, but then he gets this crazy look in his eyes and, with no warning, he jumps on the sofa, throws off all the pillows and cushions, and turns into the real WildWood. (pictures to follow)

And then he has these wonderfully quiet moments with Sophie, where you would think they had been buddies forever.

Surprisingly he is a perfectly well behaved boy off-leash. He always comes back when you call him, and he loves to run off excess energy at full speed, blasting through the creek and our wildly overgrown property. His belly is all scratched up from his wild romps through the weeds. On the leash however, he quickly learned to free himself no matter how tight I made his collar. That's why he's wearing the blue harness in these photos. I hope to lose that eventually...

Note to Dawn and Larry (Woody's foster parents): He is staying here forever—you are not getting him back. We love him too much! (even Sophie does)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wild Woody calms down, and Ell's Kitchen

The Wood Man has been doing a good job of fitting in at Lester's Flat (yes, I am always going to call it Lester's Flat). He survived a party on Saturday with about a dozen people including the 2 nieces and a 4-year-old little lady named Lauren. He is getting along better with Sophie, as you can see in this blurry photo, and he even had some face time with Dave the Cat yesterday. Out on the screen porch, Brave Dave put up with the Wood Man's antics for about 2 hours while we were practicing our new commands: Be Nice!, Gentle!, Come Here!, and Leave it!

Claire and Ella have been entertaining Woody and Sophie, and also cooking for Aunt Kathy and Uncle Timmy. Ella made us some shrimp and swiss chard (in the photo) and then last night Claire made us some garlic and lemon panko-breaded chicken with broccoli and mashed potatoes. Right this very minute Ella is serving up some vanilla mousse that she made last night, but it didn't freeze in time for dessert. We are saving some for Uncle Timmy who is at work.

Ella also got a good start on her new blog—Ell's Kitchen. At age 11, she is going to be reviewing all of the meals that she eats in restaurants. A big fan of shows like Chopped, and with a father who is a chef, she is quite the little connoisseur of fine dining. Uncle Timmy gets kudos for helping her come up with the name. Once she gets it up and running, I will give you all a link to the blog.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Piggies and visitors

 Today we saw the most adorable creatures alive. We saw one-day-old piglets. In all, there were nine of them, all cute in their own precious way. Two of the nine were little runts, that barely squeezed into feeding time. We chose Carrot Top (lying down in the front with the red head and a black eye?) and the blackest one (far right) but we haven't chosen a name just yet for either of them.

Through all the chaos of the feeding, the pigs flipped and flew. If you ever doubted the phrase when pigs fly you'd think twice about using it the following time you get asked a ridiculous question. The mother feeding them was over 600 pounds! The three of us even held the littlest spotted one. It was great being able to see such a small creature up close, because I have only seen a small piglet as such in Charlotte's Web.

(written by Ella, the Visitor)      

This other photo is the Wood Man, who made himself at home on Rita's bed yesterday—from 10 am to 3 pm. Rita the Visitor sat and read the New Yorker to him. She even threatened to take him home, but at age 91, and looking like she weighs less than he does, we talked her out of it.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Welcoming the Wood Man and work

No chance we are returning this guy on Sunday...much too handsome to return. Plus, just kooky enough that he reminds me of the young Lester, a true knucklehead.

Sophie is not exactly sure she wants him to stay, but she is being stoic, persevering. I tried to warn her that Woody might have a not-so-positive effect on her nice, quiet, sleepy lifestyle; but I think she's trying to sleep even more so that maybe she'll wake up and find him gone. They'll both settle in soon enough.

Some NJ family are coming up today, so I have lots of cleaning to do to prepare. I just wanted to get this post up there before the mayhem ensues. The Toddlers & Tiaras girls from last year are staying with us for the week. Not sure that we'll have as many pageants as last year, perhaps they've outgrown the pageant life. (We can only hope!)

I had a job interview today for doing some graphic design for a local paper. I have the weekend to think about it. It's less money than what I am used to, but then I am older and slower than I used to be—NOT! We'll see...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Waiting for Woody

Here's the new boy that we are thinking about adopting—very handsome, don't you think? He is staying with a foster family in NJ, and his name is Woody. I think I like that name enough that we might keep it, but I haven't talked to The Husband about that yet. I am just happy that he agreed to getting another dog, because he wasn't quite ready. (I say look at the Lester smiling down on Woody from the top of this page. He gives his approval.)

I found out that the same day we lost Lester, one of my Flickr friends lost her rescue dog, Rocco. He was also just under 15YO. So now Rocco and Lester have no more aches and pains, and they have each other to romp around with in pooch heaven. I'll bet they are swimming in the lake together as we speak...

I am one of those people who thinks that you have to choose a dog based on their personality, and that you can sense that when you first meet them. Problem is, we have not met the Wood Man yet, and we have no idea if Sophie will think that he is as interesting as we do. I am picking him up in Amsterdam, NY next Wednesday. I can send him back to NJ on Sunday if he doesn't work out, but I am really praying that does not happen.

And he will have quite the first weekend settling in here at Lester's Flat—we have family also coming up from NJ, and are having a big party on Saturday. So that gives you 3 days to get with the program, Wood Man! Don't make me have to send you back!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The missing eggs and the goat romp

For weeks we have noticed that egg production has slowed down, dramatically. Of course summer is the time when we can sell the most eggs, and lately we've barely been able to collect 3 dozen a week. I thought maybe the groundhog invaders were responsible, and I even accused one of the hens who looked like she wanted to nosh on a few eggs in the box the other day. Then today I found the answer: the girls made a new favorite nesting place in the stacks of hay bales we loaded up for the goats—37 eggs all neatly stacked on top of each other. Considering there were multiple hens climbing on top of them every day, it is surprising that more of them weren't damaged. Of the 37 we pulled out, a few had pieces of shell and egg smeared on them from other eggs, but only one was cracked. Amazing!

After the sadness of losing the Lester, and the entertaining but drenching Wilco concert in the rain last night, what we really needed today was a nice goat romp in the field. About a week after we got the goats, there was one masterful escape that ended with the 3 of them being captured in the middle of Route 28, so we decided to get them used to being free. This way maybe they will learn to stay in the field where they are allowed to run.

Mama Lucille is hiding in the weeds, content to dine on the goldenrod and burdock. Kids on the other hand...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Coop raiders and maybe a new dog

Next groundhog who breaks my chicken feeders and steals all the feed, this is what's going to be waiting for you! Probably was those nasty groundhogs who have been stealing the girls' eggs too. We were getting about 7 eggs a day from the 9 big girls, and now we are only seeing 4 or 5, and sometimes less than that. I am putting Don on the Hill on the lookout—watch out, critters!

We are all still very much missing the big Lester here at Lester's Flat. Sophie has been a bit less mopey, but there is still a big void. that I used to be (that's how we found Sophie in 2001) well let's just say I was looking again, and happened upon 2 perfect candidates. One found me through the Burlington County Animal Alliance (thanks, Lorraine!) and the chocolate lab was picked up on the same day I was interviewing with a rescue up here in NY.

Some say it's too soon for another dog (including The Husband) but I say the time is right. I convinced him to let Woodie the blue-tick coonhound come up for a visit on August 8. (Look how pretty he's sitting for his new photo!) Woodie's BCAA foster mom has friends near here and is coming up for the weekend. If Woodie approves of us, and Sophie accepts the Wood Man into her home, we may have a new pooch just in time for the family coming up to visit on the 10th.

The beautiful chocolate lab girl might be pregnant, so we might have a little time (while her pups are getting born and adopted) to steal her away if the Wood Man decides he doesn't love us as much as we would like to love him.

As always, I'll keep you posted...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Missing the big guy

We all miss him, probably Sophie more than anyone because no one told her why her best buddy isn't coming back. She was here in the living room when he was having seizures, and she saw some guy come here and carry him away (the vet tech came to the house to help me get him in the car). Now, every time I come through the front door she looks up to see if I am bringing him back. She has always been the one to have a sad look on her face, but now that look breaks my heart because I know she really is sad.

I am starting to look for another dog. The hole in this house is just too big...but it will take a special dog to fill the Lester's shoes (paws? paw prints?). We can take our time searching. I suspect that in the same way that Will, our cat, found us after we lost Maggie the cat; that Lester will send a new guy or gal our way when he thinks we are ready.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lester's Flat won't be the same without the Lester

We got Lester as an 8-week-old pup from a shelter near Atlantic City, NJ, just a few months after we were married. The Husband named him Lester, for Lester Flatt, the bluegrass musician who played the Beverly Hillbillies theme song along with Earl Scruggs. The name certainly suited his unique personality. I named our place up here Lester's Flat, because I think Lester loved it up here almost more than we do, if that's possible.

Lester Pester was a stubborn child from the get-go, and up until the bitter end. If it were not for the fact that they did not think he would get any better, only worse, I don't think we could have let him go yesterday. Even after being sedated for most of the day, and having a total of 11 or 12 seizures, he still did not want to give up. He perked up when The Husband came in to see him at the vet's last night, making it just that much harder to do what we did.

I always joked that he would die standing up—if his back end would have cooperated, I think he would have been standing up yesterday. He certainly tried.

Sophie is mourning with the rest of us, and even the cats are aware that he is gone. He will be missed by all of us, animal and human.

Thanks to everyone who has left comments about my big boy. After all my crying yesterday, I was doing much better today until I read all the kind things you have said...but it was a slightly happier cry today. He's in a better place.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lost my Lester today

I lost my big Lester today. He had 7 seizures this morning, and only got worse after going to the vet. It was not easy, and yet it needed to happen. He would have been 15YO around Halloween.

Rest in peace, Lester.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lazy hazy crazy days of summer!

I apologize for being a very lazy blogger lately. Even here in the North Country it has been hot and dry, which is making me hot and lazy. My real job is real slow, as in no work for the past month or so. So I have been filling my time selling stuff out of the Magic Barn. I finally completed my task, and turned over the keys to the new owner yesterday. I sold about $1200 worth of stuff, and I get to keep half of my earnings in addition to the piles of things that we are keeping as our own little treasures. Most bloggable of these is the portrait of the mystery woman. No one seems to know who she is, so we are just going to hang her on the wall because she looks so pleasant and loverly.

In an earlier post I mentioned the inflatable Mickey Mouse and the huge razor: Mickey sold for $61, and the razor went for $80. Both wound up going to California (separately). All of the magic stuff (second photo) went to 3 or 4 of Charlie's buddies who were happy to pick through the treasures in the Museum of Famous Unknown Magicians and Clowns.

Because I was so inspired by my success on eBay and Craig's List, I started posting some things of my own. I got a nibble on my grandmother's punch bowl, another huge and heavy item. Problem is, the nibble lives in Florida and is not sure she wants to pay to ship all 27 lbs. of pressed glass down there.

Today was inspirational as well: I found out that some TYCO Toy samples that I have had for 15 years (stored in 2 different attics) are maybe (fingers crossed) worth some big bucks. I am testing the waters on eBay as we speak, and hope to catch the big fish:

We'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

We have kids!

Well the buck kid must have read my post about being well behaved, and he cleaned up his act. On Sunday, June 16, we came home in the CR-V with 3 registered Saanen dairy goats: the black momma, Lucille; her doe kid, Helen; and a buck kid from a different momma, Jack. Saanens are usually all white, the ones with color are called Sable Saanens. Full black Lucille is unusual for her breed, but it's not so unusual that she would have a white kid. Helen is wearing the collar so we can distinguish her from Jack, but as they are growing, Jack is built more like a boy, and Helen is developing some black markings, including a black stripe down her back.

Lucille was named by The Husband, and I chose Helen and Jack because they are family names related to a different Lucille, my Grandmother Helen's cousin. Of course I had to get permission from my Uncle Jack to use his name for a goat, but we might still change his name to Bucky Pizzarelli (the goat, not the uncle). That's another story for another day.

The weather has been kind of strange. Too hot, then too cold, then almost perfect like today, which is just a bit too breezy.

The little hen that lays the little blue eggs is still the only one of the 4 babies who is laying, and she is doing a great job of giving up those little treasures almost every day. It is the crazy summer season here by the lake, and Anna is selling my eggs in her shop faster than the girls can lay them. Watch, the babies will kick in just as the season winds down, and then we'll have to be more creative about using up all those good fresh eggs.

I wonder if goats eat eggs?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Such a proud momma I am!

I didn't think I would get eggs from the chickie babes for at least another month—but look what was in the nest box today! My first little blue egg! (Maybe this explains all the squawking and singing I heard from the girls this morning...) It is from the Araucana mix, the honey and grey colored one in the photos. Not only is she a pretty girl with interesting feathers, but she lays interesting eggs as well.

Red Meanie, who was attacked over a month ago by the dog across the street, is still recuperating with the little girls in their satellite coop, next to the garage. Maybe it's because 3 of the 4 babies are Rhode Island Reds, like herself, that she likes to hang with them. Or maybe it's because she wants to be as far away as possible from Ben (the dog). The babies are all now free ranging like the other big girls and Roo, but unlike the big kids, they don't travel far. Meanie spends most of the day with them back here by the house, only occasionally going out to the real coop by the road. Their favorite place to hang, all 5 of them, is under the car in the driveway (third photo).

I am nearing the end of my treasure hunt in Chazoo's barn. I did one more pick-through yesterday and found a few cool things, but I have been through almost everything already. There are some folks who are coming to buy a few more things next week (I hope) and then I am going to call it quits. When I finish I will post on here the fun stuff that I succeeded in selling on eBay and Craig's List, and let you know my total earnings. I am close to $300 so far, but I only keep half of that. Still, it is nice to be paid for having fun.