Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It was a calm evening, all was quiet in the forest...

Then the power went out and the trees fell down. 

Go figure. 

We lost power about 11:30 last night while I was folding socks and watching a movie. Once we made sure it wasn't us, we called the power company who said we were the only ones without. We figured it was going to be a while, so we just called it a night and went to bed after reading for a little bit. 

It was so calm last night, and beautiful with a full moon lighting up the forest. We slept with the windows and doors open to let the warm air in. 

About 3:30 in the morning Max woke us up with a sharp bark, not his usual bark, but an alarm bark. A few minutes later lights from outside flashed down our hallway and we knew a truck was coming in. The power company came to our breaker by the house to check it, with their big pole line truck. Max almost had an aneurysm having strangers here in the middle of the night with a big noisy truck with lots of lights. He was not pleased. 

9 of the 17 hydro poles we put in to get electricity back here, are our responsibility alone, so if there is trouble with any of them, we pay for it. We were pretty sure it wasn't something that happened to any of those poles since earlier in the day we had driven the area looking for down trees, which we did not find. 

About 1/2 hour later, they left. 

We woke up this morning to a light rain, and a calm and quiet day. 

At 10:30 AM our power came back on. For two minutes, and then went back out. The power company said now there were 60 people without power and it would be back by noon... so something must have happened further down the line - no one else must have reported being out until early morning since they were probably sleeping, unlike us. 

When I got up to the barn this morning, I led Izzie and her friends over to their day yard and returned to the barn to let the other group out. As soon as I got to the door, I noticed there was something white in the goat yard that shouldn't be there.

It was the stump of a tree that broke off in the night. 

I made the animals wait in the barn while I went over to investigate the situation and check on my fence. I was surprised to see this tree down since it wasn't one we thought might fall. 

As soon as I got over there I could see that the tree had fallen and crushed the fence. 

Thankfully my electric fence didn't break, it popped off. But the wire fence got crushed. 

Max ran straight over to pee on the tree. He was really ticked off this tree fell and he couldn't get to it last night since I had closed the gate and kept the dogs, cow, and ducks in the barnyard, thankfully. 

After Max reminded the tree who the boss was, I called him back into the barnyard and I closed the gate to keep the critters in there and out of the goat yard. 

Meanwhile in the other day yard, no one cared about the fallen tree. 

Flavious wasn't even remotely concerned. 

I returned to the house to collect my helpers after chores to get the tree off the fence. These four followed me home. They were standing in the marsh across from the goat yard while I was inspecting the fence. 

While Kevin loaded the ATV up with chainsaws and tools, Douglas loaded himself into the ATV. 

We have two fawns that we know of, a doe fawn, and a buck fawn. This guy is too cute with his red head. 

What? Those are deer? Do they live here?

The little buck fawn is very curious, unlike everyone else who decided they should leave after they saw the looks of Douglas. 

But the little buck fawn wanted a better look.

 Hmmm... who are you?

Mommmmm, it's looking at me!

It was clouding up when we got back over to the goat yard. 

But Douglas was ready to go to work.  

I was really hoping some of the tree would be good still, but the stump was rotten and that's why it fell so at first we were not hopeful... 

Douglas decided he better leave dad to the work once he heard the chainsaw starting up...

So while dad cut the stump up, Douglas went around the goat yard, peeing on stuff... 

Until he saw Max watching him. Then he decided to back off. 

The good news is, part of the hickory tree that fell is still good - it will make great firewood. It's a nice big log and pretty easy to get to since it's in the goat yard and right next to the wood yard! I just wish it could have spared my fence on the way down. I would have appreciate that. 

The afternoon arrived and the tree was moved, the power was back on, and we could finally focus on other important things... like avoiding doing the dishes... 

So I worked on the fire... 

Then we dusted off my hat... looks good on you Douglas, even though it's a girls hat... 

Played with Prairie dogs... 

Hector was wondering if we could just take a nap... 

Please Lets nap... I'm exhausted. 

Uh oh... it's Doug. 

Watch it Douglas, he's got his eye on you... 

uh oh... now he's got his eye on me.... 

Then we tried on our new bandana... 

Apparently everyone is extra lazy around here today.... 

Me and Norman looked for new recipes to try... 

Norman says, I say we make it mom... if it's bad, I'll eat it anyway... 

 And now, I suppose... since the dishes won't wash themselves and the dogs can't cook, I best get back to work. 

Happy Halloween to everyone! Watch out for zombie goats and ghostly Pugs! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The storm approached and brought a ghost

I walk slowly, like one who comes from so far away he doesn't expect to arrive." - Jorge Luis Borges

Yesterday morning arrived in a rainy mist, which continued on throughout the day. We ran into the village to get a couple of supplies and some more fuel in case we needed to run the generator if we did loose power because of the approaching storm.

As evening approached, the wind began to come up. The wind brought a cold chill with it, which went straight through sweaters, wool coats, and scarves. Wood was brought in, the fire was started... bread was rising in the kitchen. 

I was bundling up to head to the barn for evening chores. I heard Kevin call my name, and he told me to come out to the porch. 

Every time he does that, my heart skips a beat this time of year. I am as I always am, waiting for a very good friend to return, and I know that I may be waiting forever. Many times I've thought he might show up, many times I've walked in the woods and stopped to look over my shoulder, imagining he might be behind me watching me. But he was never there. 

He is old, and another year has passed. He is disabled, and his chances of surviving in the wild without being killed by wolves or poachers around here, are small. He is a hundred years old in deer years. Whitetail deer just do not live to be 9 or 10 years old on a regular basis. 

But when I walked out onto the porch, holding my breath from habit, it was his eyes that looked up at me from the yard. I felt the cold air come into my lungs as I took a big breath, as the wind blew through me. It was like seeing a ghost looking back at you. 

He was here, somehow he was here. 

Not only is he missing an eye, his rear leg has been injured just above the joint. It's red, and it's sore, and he limps.

But he's as strong as ever. He was bitten in the hamstring likely by wolves, it looks like a typical bite, however there is a slight chance the wound is caused by something else. How this old one eyed buck managed to get away, is hard to say. It's amazing actually. Just as it's amazing that he returns each winter, having escaped a hunters scope, a coyote or wolves stomach, and fate. 

Hunting season starts in a week. I know in my heart it's unlikely he'll survive - while I know it's incredible he's survived all these years, I know in his state and with the ever growing amount of hunters in this area, his chances are very slim. I'm not saying I'm against hunting, as most of you who have read my other posts will know... although we lean to conservation on our land, and with the deer we have a different kind of relationship here.

His chances of survival through the winter also with his hamstring injured are pretty slim. It was incredible he has survived three years with only one eye, but it's difficult for him to walk now, and will be even more difficult if we get heavy snow or ice since it's difficult for him to run. However this deer survived having his eye gorged out, and his neck ripped open, and 9 hunting seasons, so who really knows.

This buck has been on this farm longer than I have. I can still remember the first time I laid eyes on him, he was the first time I saw a buck so close, and got to know one in nature in any personal way. The first time I really stopped and felt my heart skip a beat when his eyes met mine and he looked at me with the intensity that only a large, wild, untamed animal can look at you with. 

Late fall or early winter, year after year, he has returned to winter near the house. Many mornings I've crawled out of bed, and stopped at the window as I passed by rubbing my eyes, to see him there lying under a maple tree. He's not tame, but he knows he's safe here. He knows he's safe here unlike other places because somehow he's been smart enough to evade all the threats year after year. His rack grows every year and he is a large trophy buck. Many people would pay a lot of money to have a chance to shoot a Whitetail of his size, although he's coming out of his prime now... he's still magnificent.

But this deer is different, he changed a part of us in ways I'm not sure I can properly express in words. I respect nature in a way I never did before because of him, both Kevin and I do. It's not that either of us did not have an immense respect for nature before, but because of this deer, his behavior, his strength, the fact he has beat all of the odds year after year, it just makes you have an entirely different view of things. Nature is a wonderful thing, but also cruel, it's brutal actually.... the weak just do not survive. And this deer, he is old, he has one eye which completely impairs his ability to see predators as quickly as before, his leg is injured in a place that causes many animals to go down. But yet he is still strong, his will to survive is strong, and he carries on. 

I'm grateful he came to say hello. I'm grateful to have had this animal in my life for so many years now, to have his story inside me to always carry with me on my journey. The dreamer in me wants him to spend another winter here, but the realist knows that might not be possible. Then again, the fact that he even showed up at all and is still alive has already broken all the rules. How this deer has survived so many years, so many injuries that should have long ago made him loose the game of predator versus prey in the wild, is incredible. 

Someday, he'll be a legend. Sometimes I feel like he already is. 

We were bracing for trouble from Sandy since we were in the path to get some wind and lots of rain. The wind did not pick up to any real strength until about 1 AM and while it was howling by then, it wasn't nearly as strong as other storms we've had and it did very little damage. We got almost no rain, just a little drizzle. My heart goes out to all those who had to deal with flooding, no power, heavy winds, and in some cases, a whole bunch of snow. 

Today was beautiful, it was warm and although we did get some clouds and rain in the afternoon it was brief and it's remained warm into this evening. 

It's hard to say whether or not we'll see Torn Ear again this year. I know I won't stop turning my head to look behind me when I'm in the bush to see if he's there.... maybe he's been there watching me all this time. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Visit from a blogging friend!

It was a cold and rainy day today. The kind of day that saw the goats only spending a couple of hours outside before they screamed bloody murder because the rain came and they cannot stand to get wet. Do they have sheds to go into to get out of the rain? Yes. Will they use them? No. Would they prefer I just followed them around holding an umbrella over their head? Yes.... 

Yesterday was much nicer, thankfully, because we had company. A blogging friend, Natashya who writes, Living in the kitchen with puppies, came up with her husband from their home near Toronto to visit for the afternoon. It was very exciting.

You know when you just *know* you'll get along fine with people you've never met? I knew the important things like that Natashya had a Pug, loved dogs and animals, loved to cook... what else matters. Kevin asked me, what do they do? What do they drive? I dunno know... 

When they arrived at the farm, they pulled a huge sack of carrots and a couple of bottles of wine out of their car, and I knew we'd all get a long just fine! We had fun visiting with the critters, feeding them carrots, getting nice and smelly like billy goats, and cuddling with them. Then we enjoyed some wine, some fun conversation, hot Guinness beef stew, and a few laughs.

Even the usually unsociable Izzie came over for a visit. 

Everyone stuffed their faces, which is normal. 

Sammy enjoyed the extra cuddles. He adores any extra attention and wants to remind everyone to join the Sammy Saanen fan club... he loves getting fan mail, especially ones that are edible. 

Bulrush is kind of paranoid... especially when the supply of carrots start getting low.

After visiting with everyone and going through two of the big bags of carrots, we headed back inside to visit with the dogs, Prairie dogs, birds, and drink the wine they made, and brought. 

They had said they would stay a couple of hours, but that ended up turning into several since we were all having such a good time. I'm so glad her husband was taking some pictures because I completely forgot - I even remembered to bring my camera with me at one point, and then promptly forgot to actually use it. 

It was so much fun to meet new friends, and be able to share a little bit of the farm with them. 

Natashya was sweet enough to bring me a copy of The Homesick Texan cookbook. It's been on my list of cookbooks to get for a while now. 

I made two recipes out of it for dinner tonight, sopa de fideo and jalapeno, cheddar, and apple scones. It was delicious. 

Today was also Douglas third Birthday! I can't believe how much my baby is growing up. Time does fly. 

His preferred method of celebration today was extra cookies and extra long naps. It was a good day for both. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Prairie dog salad bar

We are really enjoying the warm weather we've been blessed with - while it lasts. We are expecting lots of wind and rain early in the week from the nasty storms that are at work right now. 

Since it's been so warm, we switched from our heavier cold weather fare back to a light salad lunch... 

hmmmm what is this?

ah, lettuce... well, I'll try a bite...

I guess it's not bad... 

hmmm... can I have a cookie instead?
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