The weather has changed. It was cold, and then warm, and now it’s cold again. There was an earthquake in Canada and there’s a Frankenstorm attacking the East Coast. I don’t mind the cold. I can deal with it. It’s the wind. The bone-chilling wind that can cut through my comfortable cotton t’s and and loose-fitting designer knits that really bothers me. And apparently I’m not alone.
The animals have scattered for shelter. It’s a time to see the farm hierarchy first hand. Are you sitting at the barn door, outside? You’re probably pretty low on the totem pole. Are you in the back of the barn, near the hay? Wow, what a big shot! Personally, I like rainy days on the farm. Raking is pointless. and the time you spend outside is as minimized as possible. It’s time to enjoy delicious ginny drinks surrounded by clearance sale microfiber blankets.
Oh, and kittens. I find large cats to be too overwhelming when trying to relax. They also get in the way while cruising the Internet. A kitten is the perfect lap-size heating pad that won’t get in the way of your typing but still provides that extra bit of warmth. Today, while the wind and rain knocks at my window, I’m watching the Adams Family while there’s a bridal shower going on in the bed and breakfast.
Tonight, I’ll layer myself in more Target fleece, wrapped in a boiling hot toddy, and read a bit, or write a tad, or watch TV and cruise Pinterest. It’s raining and it’s cold. That’s what you’re allowed to do. I’m the one closest to the hay in my barn.
Two nights ago, for the first time in recent memory, I experienced 5 minutes of complete silence. It was a 2:30 in the morning, and the quite is probably what woke me up! No dog snoring. No Don snoring. No cars on the road. No birds, especially guineas, making insane and unnecessary noises. I hate complete silence. (And I’m sure there are numerous psychiatrists who could dissect that statement for hours.) But for five minutes, it was amazing.
I might be softening up in my old age. Looking for quite moments to reflect on my life. At 2:30 a.m. though, it’s an awkwardly placed time for contemplation. I usually like to fall asleep to The Golden Girls. I’ve seen every episode a million times, and you can check out while still watching. Like The Waltons or Absolutely Fabulous. This is something Don doesn’t understand. If you’ve seen it once, why watch it again? I’m not watching it silly, I’m falling asleep to it.
Last night, for the first night, we banished all the dogs to crates for the night. No more terrier dominance in the bed; sprawled out, they take up about 75% of available sleeping space, relegating us humans to the various corners of our king. They did surprisingly well. All but Bob Evans, who I’m told, made quite the scene. I wouldn’t know as a noise maker made an unexpected appearance last night, waking me up every hour or so with the sound of thunder clouds, lightening and heavy rain. Imagine waking up every hour thinking there’s a humongous rainstorm passing through, only to discover it’s fake. Technology makes no sense sometimes. Last night was not a night of complete silence.
I must apologize for my absence. Yesterday, I thought it was August and, today, the calendar confirmed it’s already October. Just today, I have two chickens in sick bay, a thumb that may have been forever damaged by our evil “Baby” ram, scratches consuming my legs as kittens don’t seem to care if you’re wearing shorts or pants, and such a back-order of jam that I need a few interns just to stir the pots. The donkeys just sit at the fence gate braying orders at me like I’m some kind of ranch hand. Everyone needs to calm down and have a cocktail or two.
Kittens are better than puppies. They know to pee in one place almost immediately. They don’t need to be patrolled all the time, and their little nails can dispatch an intruder in quick work; albeit they’ll be taking them down at the ankles. One peculiar habit, however, is they love playing in their litter box. I’ve been impressing upon them the wisdom of Moonstruck (i.e. “Don’t sh*t where you eat”) but they just look at me, meow, and role back into the box with an almost too comfortable ease.
Our little kitten Popsicle has learned to crawl from the ground, up your leg, up your shirt, and land on the shoulder, perched like a parrot. She will be my top minion, learning my every move, constantly at my side. Don had better watch out, she is learning ninja moves that will serve her well in the barn. If she ever makes it there. I have a problem sending kittens that individually weigh one pound each to live in a barn, outside in the big world like little Fievel or baby Simba. A pig could roll over top of them, a llama step on them. The chickens, much larger than our kittens, could use them as pawns in some intra-barnyard war against the ducks.
This Friday we’re picking up two peahens for our boys in the big coop. We’ll see what drama that brings. And then Orchard House will close down our pastures for the winter. No other animals are allowed on site until we have a new pasture. And hay is so expensive. If you can find me a llama that can spin straw into gold or manure into hay, we’ll make the room. And if you can find one that knows how to mix a killer martini, I’ll drive and pick him up myself!
We’ve been so busy this past week, I completely overlooked our two-year Ohio anniversary. It’s true. We’ve officially been residents of Granville since August 27, 2010. In a way, time has flown by. And in another, it’s chugging along at a snails pace. I was trolling Facebook recently, and was looking at all these friends with toddlers – babies that I knew before we moved. That, me thinks, is the largest indication of time. Our baby llama Rose is now as big her mother. Like sand through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.
Time, for me, seems to be moving very fast these days. Some days I look up at the clock and it’s already into the afternoon. I often don’t think about the date, and then become surprised when a week has flown by…and then a month. At least I’ve stuck my head out of the ground at the right time – it’s fall! My favorite season by far; the cool air, leaf colors, and the pumpkins make me giddy. A last hurrah before the horrors of frozen water troughs, heat lamps, and rabbits inside for the winter.
The close of this year promises to be jam-packed with events, parties, and family gatherings. And next year promises to be even more exciting than 2012. And before you know it, it’ll be our three-year Ohio anniversary. I guess that’s how time moves on. Here at the farm, more than anywhere I think, you learn to think of the year in terms of seasons. Not in Hallmark terms either, but in real environmental changes. For instance, today it’s freezing. That means summer’s coming to a close. Hey, don’t be jealous about my knowledge, I’m a scientist.
I set my year calendar by weird events…the Emmys in September, the Oscars in March – Wimbledon in high summer, the Country Living Fair another harbinger of September. Right now, watching the U.S. Open (tennis, ahem, not golf!), I’m reminded that a seasonal change is upon us. Soon, figure skating will start…a dream come true. And Christmas decorating. Before you know it, we’ll be thinking about Valentine’s Day promotions and wondering when this crazy winter will be over. It’s an ugly cycle, but one I wouldn’t give up for anything!
I know everyone thinks I lead a glamorous life. But I don’t. I’m eating macaroni and cheese (with tuna) at 9:00 at night after debating for a good 15 minutes whether I should lock up baby Snickers for the night, or let her be free in the pasture with her mother. That was, of course, after making 80 bottles of jam and ensuring our guests are comfortable.
Oh, and today, I dealt with some manure that would make a retirement home nurse blush. I also spread enough castor oil in the fields to send even the hardiest of voles heading for the hills. My dinner now over, I’m catching up with my good friends, Dorothy, Sophia, Blanche, and Rose, while planning my Tuesday. Wally has grown unafraid of his citronella collar, barking as carefree as a meadowlark. So, I’m thinking of looking into “alternatives” tomorrow. And that means a trip to Easton. And J.Crew:)
Tomorrow I’m also thinking about pulling up some tomato plants and seeding some lettuce. A cool weather crop could be fun, like wearing white shorts or brushing a donkey. I also have to scour the kitchen and cook a breakfast that makes-up for my lackluster performance this morning. I got flustered. The pancake batter didn’t look like it should and I became deflated. Who would’ve thought a batter could destroy your self confidence?!
Another life lesson learned. Now, I’m sleepy. Snickers, enjoy the pasture for the evening. I’m going to drink a glass of wine, pet my Bob Evans, and listen to the wit and wisdom of some elderly ladies who took Miami by storm.