Andrew's Blog

A City Boy Making His Way in the Country
August 2011

My llama needs a chiropractor.

A few nights ago, Winston, our male alpaca escaped into the llama pasture. I think he got some help smashing the fence from the ram. Because it happened at night, it would have been almost impossible to catch him. So, he was left to his own devices that night. And apparently, with our mama llama.

In the morning, at first light, he was captured. But not before he had harassed Daisy enough that she has a crook in her neck. It’s bowed. Almost like she was whacking something with it so many times that she developed a cramp or something. It’s odd looking, but she continues to eat and act normally. Tomorrow we will call the vet.

I can tell you how the visit is going to go – “oh dear, I can prescribe some medicine to hopefully reduce the swelling and relieve any pain, but I think you’re going to have to see a specialist.” And that is when the word chiropractor will emerge. Or maybe acupuncturist. I’ll be sure to post some video of our llama getting an adjustment. And then you can say you’ve seen everything!


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My lamb cut me.

Please look at this beautiful picture of a Hollyhock while I tell you that my ram cut me. Like a desperate coke-addict with a box cutter, he sliced me up something terrible. Common sense would suggest one of his horns was the culprit. But the cut was small. And his horns are quickly becoming musical instrument sized. Actually, it may have been a piece of wire he pushed me into. But it’s still his fault! Even if it was indirect. And now I may have tetanus. And who’s he going to push around if I’m out of commission?

He’s actually become quite the boss. Llamas leap as he runs towards them. His horns down, he doesn’t have the direct strength our adult ram. Napoleon is the true “battering ram,” and so, Waterloo, puts his head down and turns left or right, in a hooking motion, to gouge you to death, instead of attempting to simply knock you out. Smart. And bloodier. He’s definitely more Scream than Silence of the Lambs.

From baby to adult in five months! I can sympathize with all the parents delivering their children to Denison University this weekend. Your babies are becoming adults. And while their process may have taken about 17 years longer than mine, the pain is no less. So let’s listen to some sad Natalie Merchant songs and remember, while we may be melancholy today, These are the Days!


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The Boxwood Garden

The boxwood garden began today. From a blank field to great beauty in just 3 hours! I can’t take all the credit, as much love must go to my farm mentor and neighbor – who has numerous years of landscaping experience. (And it really pays off as the rows of boxwood are actually straight!)

By the end of the day, 100 shrubs had been planted. I decided on the Green Mountain variety, as the leaves don’t look too glossy and they’ll only grow to be about three feet. Tomorrow, I believe, is mulching. And then, the garden is officially open for walking, enjoying, and sipping wines from around the world.

And just wait…the French doors are soon to follow! We’re creating quite the entertainment space here at Orchard House. All I ask is that you please avoid running your car off the road as you drive by and admire the boxwoods. Feel free to come and enjoy them. We’re a mini-Dawes arboretum. And we do have a pinetum. In the garden, I’m growing some sedum. And sometimes I weed ’em.

Goodnight, Granville! Don’t forget to tip your waitresses. I’ll be here all week.

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A perfect day.

The weather today was amazing. Cool breezes and cotton-candy clouds, with a Raisin Bran sun. And now, I’m watching a sunset with purple and pink skies. Even the animals in the field seem to be looking towards the sky.

Auggie was allowed to recline on a picnic table this afternoon. He loves basking. And baking. And when he gets thirsty? He just licks the rim of a wine glass. He’s come a long way from the shelter baby! He also barks non-stop at night when the other dogs are playing. It can drive you crazy. Maybe he just needs some more wine.

And in case you were wondering, Fantasia went to the vet today for her initial check-up. For those of you who don’t know, we found her walking on a sidewalk Saturday night in downtown Newark. And after a few martinis, she was coming home with us. (We had the martinis, not her.) Our new kitten is actually 2 years old. And she has a massive hernia. She may have been hit by a car. The vet was squeezing her small intestine back into her body cavity. It was gross.

But it was a perfect day. Skies were clear. Dogs reclined on tables. And cats hernias were diagnosed. We could only improve on the day if there were baby llamas running like wild beasts in the pastures. Oh wait, we have that too! It’s like a Jimmy Stewart movie over here!

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Old photos.

I love old photos. If you’ve visited Orchard House, you know we have an entire wall dedicated to old photos, framed and sharing their story with our guests. It semi-distrubs me that these pictures were taken, with people posing, in a time when we didn’t have the polaroid, and they end up in antique malls and garage sales. I would think, when they were taken, they was a pretty big deal for the subject. (That would account for all the serious faces!) And so, I’m assembling a collection of the best – and by best, I mean the odd, the eccentric, the ones who ask for a home.

The first picture here is of Margaurita. I’m reminded of The Ring or some other horror movie when I look at this picture. “I’ll give you a basket full of kisses for a basket full of hugs!” To be honest, this picture is currently turned over in the house, so no ghosts can come and kill me at night. The saddest, most desperate part of this picture? On the back, it says, “Margaurita – died 1913 – Age 10.” Gulp. That’s serious. This picture needs a home.

This next picture is wacky. I’m not sure what it’s deal is. A funny, quirky, a la Kim S. stance, or a serious, medical problem-type photograph. I have no clue, but again, this picture needs a home. It reminds me of Harry Potter.

I’d like to thank the Urban Farmhouse for these photos. So great. And there were many more. Many. All with a story to tell. Take a moment to look and appreciate them. With all the smart phone pictures we snap today, everything’s so digital, while these ‘graphs were taken at a period in our history when photos were new, and they should be appreciated. Respected.

And now, I’m going to step off my soap box and go to bed. All I ask is some recognition of the past – for all its quirkiness and fabulosity. We may all end at some point, but our pictures will continue on for generations to come.

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