Andrew's Blog


A City Boy Making His Way in the Country
September 2011

35 degrees and rainy!

Did I hear the weather man right? Did he say it’s going to be 35 degrees Saturday night? Isn’t that the weather of winter, with fireplaces a-burnin’ and hot toddy’s a-bubblin’? Where the spider webs have been dusted off the heat lamps and Bacon has had a chance to put on his winter weight.

If could isn’t enough, it’s also raining here. The misty kind, that blows in the wind like someone just spit a mouth full of water in your face. It’s unpleasant for me. For Bob Evans, it’s heaven. He runs around, stands in the rain, and then comes inside and rolls around on the sofa. It’s a dirty cycle that continues throughout the day, and makes cleaning impossible. Why clean when it’ll just get dirty again? That’s the hoarder mantra. And in these trying times, it’s mine.

The llamas seem fine in this weather. I worry about the babies though. Poor Saffy and Rose haven’t seen such weather before. But they will survive. (I hope.) The sheep, while not having specifically dealt with cold before, have their winter coats on. And they seem so cozy! The goats do have a heat lamp, but Bacon keeps pulling the plug out – like he wants the goats to freeze or something. Poor Marvy and Lee!

Weatherization has begun at Orchard House. The temperature is dropping. And so are the leaves. We’re entering the best season of our lives. And the pumpkins are ripe for the carving. Get the coats out of the closet. We’re all going to be just fine!

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Lamb down!

Last night, the lamb ram was injured in an attack. A vicious stabbing. After a quick search, the perp was apprehended while eating cracked corn. His name, Bacon. He’ll get off easy this time, it being his first offense and all. But Waterloo – he has a two-inch gash under his right eye. It was a bloody scene!

Now he gets shots of Penicillin G. I’m completely unsure of what the “G” stands for, but he gets one shot a day for the next three days. We’re supposed to bandage the wound, but their ain’t no bandage that will stretch around his eyes and under his mouth and around his horns. So instead, he now has a blinder that he wears. And it’s very fetching!

Waterloo likes to ram things, hence his species and sex. (And perhaps the reason for his slashing.) His actions have become quite dangerous. So now he wears a blinder. But he can eat and see from the sides. That means there’s no head of steam to be had and my knees remain in location. It’s also doubling as a bandage at the moment.

And while his face may have been puffy this morning, his spirits remain high. A new lesson has been learned. Pigs, truly are, pigs. And they’ll cut you if you try to take their food.

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Llamas…beautiful llamas…

Over the past few days, we’ve added to the herd. Please welcome Patsy and Edina to the farm. They love their hay, frolic in the fields, and have a coat that Hermes would die for! Patsy is sleek, with the look of a Vogue model, circa 1991. Edina has a mess of a head. She looks like a collie or sheep dog. But mind you, a La Croix collie or sheep dog.

Two more llamas joined the herd today. No pictures yet. Because, quite possibly, one of them was around when Betty White was a teenager. She’s as aged as the woman from Titanic, dropping a little Peruvian jewel into Lake Titicaca. And she comes with her adopted baby. A 2-month old that has weaned herself. Her mother “ran away.” That is the myth surrounding her. I don’t believe it. My many books don’t believe it. Tomorrow, I’m sure, my vet won’t believe it. She was suckling at granny llama’s teat this afternoon. She’d be more productive asking Patsy for a glass of Stoli.

And at this time, there is, in fact, no more room at the Orchard House farm. We’re at capacity. I have room for one more peacock. But he’s always been in the master plan. We’re accepting applications on our waiting list however. After all, Cloris Leachman can’t live forever. Until then, come and visit the llama herd at Orchard House. And it is a herd – 9 in total. Their antics are still same, just on a larger scale. And two babies are always better than one!

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What a weekend!

Woof! I’m tired. It’s been a busy weekend here at Orchard House. Full house? Check. Wine and cheeses? Double check. Lunch with the fabulous editor of Country Living? Done and done. I even wore a jaunty hat for the occasion. Oh, and we met the Beekman Boys at a book signing. I say “met” as in talked with them for 20 seconds, and I don’t think our first impression was the best. Donnie opened the conversation with, “We’re the middle-class Ohio version of you guys” Oye!

We also went to a great barn concert featuring Jim Photoglo. (P.S. that can’t be his real last name! Seriously!) He’s a mix of Paul Simon and James Taylor, and it was a wonderful evening. Cool, with a lake reflecting the stars, and horses munching on grass in the pasture. Maybe we’ll have a concert in our new barn – do you think Adele is available? The llamas love her.

This week also promises to be a busy one. My parents are visiting. ‘Nough said. We’re picking up a few more llamas – possibly a 2 month old with a missing mother. Weaned they say. Not so sure is my reply. We also have The Ohio State Farm Science Review this week. Big tractors and lots of farmy information. The barn should be completed this week too! And may be the new pasture will be fenced in. And to top it all off, Denison parent’s weekend begins on Friday. We can’t wait to see some of our returning guests!

Phew, I’m tired just typing this all! But it’s a blessing to be busy. (I think I read that somewhere – in a Cracker Barrel or something.) We’ll also continue working on our jam recipes, a second is almost ready, and a third begins this week. And the mower must be fixed. The orchard is wild, and it needs to be tamed. The puppies are bushwhacking during their morning constitutional. That’s not right. We want to be Country Living, not just country living.

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mea culpa for the silence.

Sorry I’ve been absent for the past few days. I wish I could tell you I’ve been up nights painting or building or doing something incredibly productive. But it wouldn’t be the truth. I’ve been tired. And going to bed earlier. Oh, I guess I did drive a car in the Presidential motorcade this week – that ate up some time. I’ve also been working on a new chili recipe and some original jam plans.

Last we talked, it was hot here. And the flies were crazy kamikazes, like they knew their days were numbered. Today, it was 60 degrees. And windy. It’s gonna be 40 tonight! That’s insane! But the llamas and alpaca are loving it. And probably the sheep. Bacon may be cold. That could be why he’s constantly chasing the alpaca – he longs for a beautifully knit scarf to keep him comfy.

I’ve also been reacquainted with Absolutely Fabulous and The Waltons (the later years). The boxwood garden is almost complete. Barn construction was supposed to start today but I think the rain last night made them think twice. They did bring a work truck though. At least that shows intent. And tomorrow perhaps there will be beams and walls and rafters.

I’ll keep you updated on the progress. I promise not to be gone for so long again. It’s not good for either of us.

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