Andrew's Blog

A City Boy Making His Way in the Country
October 2011

The farm is real.

Within the past 24 hours we have lost two chickens. It’s farm reality, but sad none-the-less. It appears a bacterial infection has seeped its way into the flock. And right now I’m like Hulk Hogan, ready to suplex it to the mat. All should be well now. With the amount of rain we’ve had, and those darn dirty ducks, it was inevitable.

On the farm, death comes with life. So tonight we mourn the loss of both Kate (the red) and The Princess Royal (the gray). The farm will move on, but they won’t be forgotten. And you were my wake up call. A farm doesn’t just Charlotte’s Web itself through eternity, but it’s a finely oiled machine that needs constant attention!

I leave you with my favorite Ronald Reagan line – from the Challenger disaster. It sounds ridiculous, but Kate and The Princess would have loved it. We will never forget them…as they…’slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’

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Ahh, the news.

I’ve been busy today. Doing things. What things I can’t really remember. I made breakfast for our guests. I went food shopping. Ate lunch. Fed the animals. Hid from the rain. Oh, and I made some jam. (More on this special point within the next few days.) And so, I haven’t had time to check the news. Until now.

One of the many headlines that greeted me on-line today, from a reputable news agency website, reads as follows: Iris: Badly Dressed Fat People Make Me Want To Throw Up.

At first blush, I guess I would suggest Iris not look at large people. But upon deeper consideration, I began to wonder – is this news worthy? Didn’t some dictator just get killed in Africa? Isn’t there a jobs crisis going on? Didn’t Tim Tebow kiss another man after a touchdown last night? It was a news making (and news makers) extravaganza today. And apparently, Iris, and her opinions, are right there in the mix.

I have a news headline – Andrew: What Will He Do with His Blind Chicken? Take that Iris! That’s reality. Chickens with debilitating diseases makes me want to throw up, but if I did, who would feed them? Sometimes, we just need to suck it up and carry on. Even when our fashion sense demands otherwise.










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Pig Roast.

I went to a pig roast last night. I didn’t see the pig. I think I may have eaten some of it though. It was in an aluminum tray, on a granite countertop, in a gorgeous kitchen. At one point in the night’s conversation, at this pig roast, we chatted about a 5’x7′ rug in the living room. Of Asian decent, this rug’s white was really white. Like someone was on their hands and knees with a Tide Pen, zapping out the date and opium stains that accrued over the years. It was bought in Paris…or somewhere in France (I wasn’t really listening)…and that’s chic I guess. I was then told it cost 1100 Euros.

“Well, that’s a lot of money!” I stated confident in my assessment. Give or take a melt down in Greece, isn’t that still something around $2000? (Please consult your local Thomas Cooke for the most UTD exchange rate.) The reply to my comment, well, annoyed me. The woman telling the story, mind you, not the owner of said “antique,” turned to me, looking like a prize fighter ready for battle, and said “No it isn’t.”

Well, times have changed I guess! With my grandchildren gathered around the fire, I’ll tell of the times when gas cost $.80. Possibly, of a time when we used gas! And when people didn’t care what they spent on rugs in France! I replied, in a kind manner, “Girl, you should go to an auction, I can get you one for $50.” And the conversation was closed. Over. Fin! We moved on to some other nonsense about how fabulous goat meat is or something. Ugh. Is this what pig roasts have come to?

So I returned to my home, looked at the sunset, and sought my goosfraba. In retrospect, in the past, I would have said that rug was a steal! But now I think of it as the cost of a 500 square foot pasture for llama. How priorities have changed.

Ehhh…Opps…if you’ll excuse me, a guest just informed me a hoard of ladybugs have emerged from a vent in the stairwell. An invasive species from the Orient, they must know I think the rug was a fake. And they’re seeking their revenge!

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Like sands through the hourglass…

So are the corn-like candles of Orchard House. It seems like autumn just snuck up on us this year. The leaves are their wonderful colors, like an Amish clothes-line on wash day. The underbrush is dying. And the pumpkins are becoming cheaper and cheaper by the day. I swear this season just snuck up on us. Sure it’s hot during the day – hot comfortable – but it gets something cold at night. And the fog. Oye, the fog! I wake up every morning looking for Sigourney Weaver in my mists.

My carved pumpkins have shriveled. I need to carve new ones. But it’s a small price to pay for the changing of the seasons. (Although, shouldn’t it be getting colder?) The llamas and alpaca are loving the new weather. They’re spunkier. And eating a lot more.

And so the seasons are a changin’! And we welcome it with open arms. Cooler weather, Halloween, Thanksgiving, MY BIRTHDAY (10/20 playas), and one step closer to Christmas and it’s lovable presents and snow. Oh, and it’s one step closer to lambing season. And I love me some baby animals!


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The peacocks are loose…all hail the peacocks!

In the manner of all great country houses, including The Breakers and Biltmore, Orchard House now has free-range peacocks roaming the grounds at their leisure. While there was an attempt by the groundskeeper to purchase a breeding pair, it appears we have two males living together, either indulging in a care-free alternative lifestyle or co-habitating as a stud gang dreaming of ale houses and risqué saloons.

They managed to stay in the barn during their first full night of freedom. And then they moved. Today I (I mean the groundskeeper) found them in the Christmas Tree Forest, enjoying the carpet of bugs mixed throughout the fallen needles. I hope they make this area their home. It’s cozy. And covered. And seems like a liar for peacocks. They can easily strut from the underbrush into a wide-open field, wowing us mere mortals with their intricate displays.

There’s just one problem. Peacocks don’t get their full tail feathers until the age of three, and don’t get a complete, gorgeous set until they’re five years old. That’s a lot of waiting. And feeding. I guess we could’ve purchased a full-grown boy, but then how do you transport it? A question for the ages indeed! So we’ll wait. Because waiting is a virtue. Or maybe because we’ve never raised peacocks before and we don’t want to start with the Porsche, but rather the Kia.

Next time you visit Orchard House, or if you’re coming for the first time, we can offer the new activity of peacock watching. But you have to find them first. And that’s the real fun!

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