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Moonrise at Dove’s Crossing

SONY DSC SONY DSCMoonrise on two consecutive nights this week.  Lovely.

Pitiful

SONY DSCYesterday, Gryffon had surgery to remove a mass from his elbow.  The vet’s office stitched it up and wrapped it.  They instructed us that Gryffon was not to chew or bite it, and the bandage should stay on for ten days.

In one evening, we re-wrapped his elbow four times.  We did it four more times this morning.

Stephan called the vet and told them the problem.  They said to come in and they’d rewrap it and put a cone on the dog.

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When that was done, the clerk told Stephan it would be $9, which no one had told him over the phone.  “Why wasn’t that included in the original surgery charge?” he asked.  According to the office, “Not all dogs chew at the bandages.”

Really?  I’d like to meet those dogs.  Are they comatose?

Anyway, now Gryffon has no peripheral vision, and has a hard time getting around.  The bandage still comes off sometimes because he still scratches at it with his hind leg.

And he looks so pitiful.

SONY DSCPoor guy.  Nine more days to go.

Catching rabbits

Today is a beautiful day, so I thought I’d mow the grass.

Only the blades on The Beast didn’t seem to be turning.  Perhaps there is a belt loose.  But the mower is so heavy I can’t hold it up to do anything underneath, and my husband isn’t here right now.

So, since I couldn’t mow, I decided to get the trimmers and trim a few trees that were getting unruly.  I opened the door to the barn…

and saw all the rabbits out of their colony.

My darling husband fed them last night, and must not have gotten the door latched tightly.  And out they came.

I got three of the does back in.  I chased the fourth one around for a while, then went and trimmed the trees, then came back and tried again.

She is very skittish.  And very fast.

That may be another task that waits until Stephan gets home.

But at least the trees are trimmed.

Adjustments

Finally, the well is working.  It took longer than expected, but the water is working and has been bleached, so I think it’s safe to assume the e coli is dead and gone.

However, I’m having a hard time getting used to the taste of well water.  I’ve been drinking city water for about 25 years now, and well water just tastes weird to me.  I am happy using it for my tea, and the hubs mixed it in some frozen juice concentrate last week which was fine.  But just to drink a glass of it is something that is going to take me a while.

Not for Stephan, though.  He thinks it tastes fine.  In fact, he’s so happy about not having to pay for water and sewer out here that he says the well water “tastes like freedom.”  The other day, he asked me to get him another glass of freedom.  I probably rolled my eyes.

I’m also having to get used to the rabbits being in a place that isn’t attached to the house and where I do not enter every day as a matter of course.  When the rabbits were in the garage, and I was in the garage twice a day almost every day, it was hard to forget about them.  But because they are out of sight, they really are out of mind for me.  Thankfully, Stephan usually remembers them and is doing a good job of watching out for them.

Living five miles from our previous place might not seem like a big deal, but we feel like we are so much farther away from everything now.  Once I get home from work, I don’t want to go out again.  I used to be able to drive to the Dollar General in about two minutes to pick up something we needed right away, but that is no longer the case.  “Going into town” feels like a much bigger trip than it ever did.  Maybe, however, it isn’t because of our location but because of our surroundings.  We love it so much out here — the open sky, the perpetual breeze — that leaving is not desirable.

I went running with a friend this morning, and we could smell autumn in the air.  It will be interesting to see what our place looks like as the leaves turn and fall.  I hope the woods behind us is as beautiful as I imagine it will be, with reds and oranges and yellows filling my vision.  And when those leaves fall, I hope to see beautiful sunsets beyond the trees. 

It is a pleasure living here.  It is a lot of work and a lot of adjustment, but it is still a pleasure.

Pests

My parents came to visit a couple of weeks ago, and my dad pointed out a big hornets’ nest on the northeast corner of our house.  He said he’d leave it alone until the weather got colder and the hornets were not as active.

Earlier this week, when my father-in-law saw it, he had different advice.  “That’s a job for the professionals,” he said.

We remembered that a guy had come by the house several weeks back, saying he was in pest control, and offering his services three times a year in return for the hay on our front two acres.  I didn’t think much of it, because I’ve never used pest control services before and didn’t intend to.  But after pondering that big hornets’ nest, we reconsidered.

SONY DSCOkay, make that a huge hornets’ nest.  (You know it’s huge when the pest control expert sees it and says, “Holy cow!”)

This was not the only reason we thought maybe we’d call him, though.  Monday night, we got a big downpour of rain, and that rain flushed out a ground nest of yellow jackets right by our back door (the door we use for entering and exiting).  We thought maybe we’d just take care of that ourselves, and then Stephan had an interesting experience, and I wish I could show you the video he put on Facebook.  Basically, some underground animal (a mole, perhaps) dug around near the yellow jackets’ nest.  This, of course agitated the little stingers.  About ten minutes later, the mole must have really gotten close and the yellow jackets were swarming and buzzing like crazy.  Stephan could see the ground moving and mounding up, and the yellow jackets were exceedingly angry.  Later, the ground had stopped moving and Stephan speculated that the bees stung the mole to death. 

Yikes.

Life in the country!

Anyway, the pest control guy is here now, and I saw him spraying the hornets’ nest with something.  I suspect he has taken care of the yellow jackets, too.  And my hope is that all we have to give him is our next cutting of hay.  (I love the barter system.)

Life on the Farm

July sunriseI guess technically, it’s not a farm yet.  We have no garden, and our only livestock is our rabbits.  (We may have chickens by spring.  We are at odds concerning goats.  One of us wants them.  One of us decidedly does not.  The one who does not is planning to keep it a secret from the other that there is a raffle for a goat at Rural King right now.  Who ever heard of a raffle for a goat, anyway?  That is totally something that would happen only at Rural King.)  Still, there’s a lot of work to do, and we’ve been pretty darn busy.  And now that school is back in session, it’s hard for me to get much done.  Even so, there is much happening, so I’ll tell you about it.

SONY DSCThe first thing you should know is that this little kitty thinks she needs a huge dog bed to nap in.  The dogs sniff her, give her a puzzled look, and then go lie on the bare floor somewhere.

Gryffon, Gracie, and Nova get along famously, by the way.  They play together all the time.  The dogs lick her until she is almost dripping; she meows at them, but doesn’t seem to mind it.  Other times, she jumps at them, attacking their legs, and then she runs away.  Sometimes this results in a cat and dog chase all through the house.  Once in a while, Gracie and Nova actually share the dog bed and almost cuddle together… except that Nova has most of the bed and Gracie is half on, half off the comfy spot. 

As I mentioned in a previous post, the rabbits now live in a colony instead of in separate cages.

SONY DSCHere’s one angle.  You can see three of the four does.  There is a nest box because we’re hoping one of them is pregnant, but she doesn’t seem to be pulling fur or anything, so I’m doubtful.  There is also a five-gallon bucket just in case one rabbit wants a cozy space.  (I’ve never seen any rabbit use it.)

SONY DSCIn this photo, you can see the poultry feeder that we use to feed the does.  You can see the fourth doe, as well as the cage we keep the buck in.  I wish the buck didn’t have to be in a cage, but if we left him with the does, they might fight with him.  And if they didn’t, we’d probably end up with a lot more baby bunnies than we wanted.  So far, this new method seems to be going okay.  The rabbits are inside our small barn.  The colony’s boundaries are made up of hardware cloth and scrap lumber on two sides, and the walls of the barn on the other two sides.  There is a concrete floor covered in long grass clippings from our yard.  (My amazing husband made the enclosure entirely with supplies we already had.  We spent no money on it at all!)  We keep the rabbits watered with water bottles attached to the hardware cloth, but also a one-gallon poultry waterer.

In July, Stephan and a friend put a new roof on the pole barn, in preparation for it becoming the new place of business.  Here you can see the old and new roof, plus a pretty sweet view of the front two acres of our place.

barn roof

Weekdays are now filled with school for me, but Saturdays are becoming busy with work on the property.  Today I did two loads of laundry (and hung them on the clothesline), cleaned the bathroom (I cleaned the rest of the house last night — in one easy evening after school!  That’s one great thing about a small house!), did some shopping (trips to Rural King are becoming a part of life), mowed the grass, worked on some Christmas gifts (made with things found right here on our property, but about which I cannot tell you because it is only August and the presents are still a secret), and made a very farm-like dinner of smoked pork chops, German potato salad, sauteed squash & onions, and bruschetta.  It was a feast, and we needed it because we worked hard today and we were hungry!

The Husband spent today at the old house removing peeling paint and touching up.  He came home and rescued me after I got the mower stuck in a ditch.  Later in the evening, he got the mower stuck in a different ditch.

This is a huge mower, by the way.  It doesn’t get stuck easily, but when it does, it’s very difficult to get out.

Here’s a photo of me in July, with The Beast.

mowingStill, despite our misadventures of getting it stuck, I’m thankful for it.  It was out of commission for about a week (it was leaking hydraulic fluid and would run but would not move forward) so our grass was getting really long.  At least it’s working again.  I mean, working except for being stuck in a ditch.

Country life.  I’m enjoying it.

Letting Go

Posted on

SONY DSCThis is a bag full of baby stuff. Crib sheets and blankets, a crib mattress pad, a changing pad.

In our old house, in the basement that I am cleaning out little by little, there is a crib frame.

Today, it is all going away. I’m letting go of it. Saying goodbye.

We had use for these things once, back when we had foster children. I had hopes of using it again someday, back when we were looking into various types of adoption. But now I realize that none of this stuff is doing anyone any good sitting in storage. Least of all me.

My niece is due to have her first child in about a month. She has a crib, but my sister-in-law will be taking care of the baby while the little one’s parents are at work or school, so she’ll need a place for baby to nap.

Why should I keep things Just In Case, when I know that I have little chance of using them? Especially when someone I love would benefit from having them?

I thought I would feel more when I made this decision. A clean break, a sense of closure, or a sadness. I don’t, though. It is instead a vaguely empty feeling. Not empty as in lacking something I want, but empty as in devoid of emotion. I feel next to nothing.

Today, I will load up my car with the crib frame, the sheets and blankets, two toy boxes, and a baby gate. I will drop it off at my relatives’ homes and I will wave goodbye as I drive away from the last of the physical evidence of our attempted journey to parenthood.

I will return to my home, my husband and my animals.

And when baby arrives, we will love her and rock her and put her down to sleep in bedding meant for someone else.

But she will smile sweetly, and the origin of her crib will be irrelevant.

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