Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Special delivery...

Great excitement! My Mother's day gift arrived today! Chris helped me open it. He is responsible for this fragrant, lovely gift. It's a Warre bee hive. Hand made out of lovely cedar wood, and designed to give the bees a more natural environment to thrive in. I am SO excited to set this up! Thank you, sweet husband, for the spectacular gift.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The dog pack...

While looking through the wonderful photos my friend Marti Stone took, I smiled at this one and thought to blog it. This is the motley crew I share my heart and home with. Dazzle, the standard poodle, will be 13 this year. She is the "blond" of the pack, a sweet,lovely, effervescent air head. She leaps and bounds with the grace and vigor of a pup, but has become a little senile of late. Poppy, in the back right, is the Pug I featured in my last blog post. A small, round angel, well into her geriatric years at 14. The other Pug is Smooch (the pooch!) He was foisted off on me by a customer, and it was a good move on her part because he suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder and has to take Prozac every day. He barks at nothing, endlessly, attacks his tail when he gets excited, and is prone to passionate kiss fests that leave us breathless. He is six now. His heart belongs to my daughter, and he is happiest when she is home. The wee toy poodle is Flirt. The "baby," she is 3 years old now. I had no desire to ever own a toy poodle until one day a friend mentioned she'd had a litter of three, and one was a cream colored female. I suddenly had to have that puppy, sight unseen. It was an odd but good decision, the little thing is my shadow and makes me grin every. single. day. Getting them to pose well all together was a neat trick.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Poppy pug will be 14 years old this summer. She came to us as a handful of a puppy, 5 weeks old or so. Her owner wanted to leave her at the busy animal shelter in Memphis, Tennessee. A friend of mine convinced the people who had her to keep her a few more days until she could find a place for her. A pup that young at the shelter would have had slim chance of survival. My friend then convinced me to provide foster care. I had a hard and fast rule to never foster dogs, because I became too attached to them. But a Pug? I would never become attached to such an odd looking little dog. I prefer dogs that are lovely. Poppy came loaded with fleas and a belly full of worms. She was the ugliest puppy I had ever seen. My plan was to nurse her to health and then find her a wonderful home with one of my grooming clients. About a week after she arrived I looked down at her funny little face and heard myself say, "You are SO beautiful." then I thought to myself, "Uh oh." I found her a good home alright. As I type this she is draped across my shoulder, snoring softly. Her eyes are something special. They are lovely and deeply soulful. Her personality is unique; she never meets a stranger, but is not pushy with affection. She is kind to upstart puppies, patient with assertive big dogs. She loves children and tolerates all the animals here at our small farm. Each morning she carefully considers her plan for the day. Some days she is comfy at home and stays right here, (by the fire or in a pool of window framed sun.) Most of the time, however, she insists on riding to work with me. There she picks a soft,comfy spot and snoozes, until lunch time when she goes from person to person, begging for treats. She is rarely refused. Her tail is too straight and her tongue is too long and her love is just too BIG. Pugs were bred to be little companions, affectionate lap dogs. She does her ancestors proud. Poppy is the sweetest little dog I have ever adored. (Marti Stone photography)

Friday, April 26, 2013

My first blogger video..!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66Pij3hozk8 I captured the baby goats playing with their favorite climbing toy and figured out how to put it on YouTube. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Today's email...

I took a little break at work and checked my email. I found this,"I cannot count how many times I have opened your blog hoping for new picture of new baby goats, to hear poignant tales of the joy of your labors to keep them alive. Yet I find nothing. For 17 long, silent days I find nothing. Blog already!" I have been neglecting my blog... the cold, dismal spring has not welcomed photo opportunities, and I have to admit the loss of Nova goat has made me feel sad and un-creative. But I am trying to focus on all the GOOD stuff, and 5 bouncing, nibbling, snuggling, cuddling, leaping, twisting, baby goats are certainly blog worthy. So, thank you, Lisa, for the nudge. The sun came out today, and I took my camera out to try to capture some kid shots for you. I hope you enjoy them! Here are Nova's triplets, on the picnic table. From left to right, Celeste, Novella, and Jelly Bean. I will be keeping the girls, Jelly Bean is looking for a nice pet home. He has managed to convince Luna goat (the other mama) that he is one of hers, and she lets him nurse. The girls are strictly bottle fed, and consider me to be mom. When I go out with a warm bottle of milk I call, "BABIES" and they call back, "Maaa! Maaa!" It makes me laugh every time, they know my name! They like to climb on me, crawl into my lap, be held, petted, scratched and snuggled. They nibble on my face and clothes and hair and are totally endearing. Luna's boys are sturdy and active, not quite as cuddly as the bottle babies, but charming just the same. They have whimsical little faces and the cutest little lips. Chanel, the horse, is so patient and careful with all the kids. They leap about in her hay, nibble on her mane and tail, and are always under-hoof. She practically shuffles her feet when she walks to avoid stepping on one of the little pests. When they try to crawl up her powerful hind legs, she never kicks, merely lifts her foot as she would to shoo a fly. I've been in awe of her patience, and then tonight I realized she is far more tolerant than I could have ever imagined. I've mentioned before that we have one rule here... everyone must get along. This photo captures that. The baby goats look turns leaping up on Chanel's broad back. She never flinched, and seemed to not even notice all those pesky babies using her for a jungle gym. I can't be sad for long when there is so much LIFE in my life.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


During this last difficult week while we struggled with Nova goat, I neglected to mention the story of Luna and her kids. Here is a quick recap... last spring my epically patient husband casually mentioned that we should get a dairy goat. About 20 seconds later I located one for sale on the local swap site and we brought her home the first week of April. She was underfed and pathetic, with a tiny week-old kid at her side. She and I fell in love with each other. I nursed her to health, she snuggled with me at every opportunity. Last Monday she began to bleat softly all day long. I was pretty sure she was in labor. Late afternoon found me sitting with her in the little calf hutch. It was very clear that she wanted me to be near, if I left (to get a warmer coat and some mittens, perhaps) she'd holler! It began to rain, the droplets pattering softly on the roof of the hutch. It wasn't long until she laid down near my lap and began to push. In seconds I saw two miniscule hooves appear, and moments later in a rush there was a big buckling gasping in the hay. I helped her clean him off, and she began to push again. Very soon a second buckling appeared. Chanel, the horse, kept sticking her big, nosy head into the hutch. And then the most amazing thing happened. She began to help Luna clean off her new babies. Luna didn't seem to mind. The air was cold, but between the old horse and the mama goat, the two brand new babies were soon clean and dry. Within moments they were up, wobbly and trying to figure out the milk bar. Luna's kids and the triplets are slowly getting to know each other. There is a lot of romping and bouncing as they learn to use their legs and be baby goats. It is a treat to watch them. During this difficult week I have lost track of the joy of all this new life. I am trying to refocus now, on all the blessings. Spring is slow to come to Maine this year, but it is creeping in... evidenced by the slightest blush to the trees, the hint of greening on the lawns and meadows. The weather is still cold, but spring is nigh. And I am surrounded by incredibly adorable baby goats. Life is good.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Where you have livestock...

Ever since I was a little kid I've wanted to be surrounded by animals. When I was 8 years old I begged my father for chickens, but never got them. When I finally did get birds a few years ago, I was heartsick when the first one died. My wise, livestock owning friend Marion said to me, "Where you have livestock, you eventually have dead stock." The regal Nova goat died today, 6 days after kidding. It has been a horrible week. I realized pretty shortly after she had her kids that something was very wrong. I sought advice from goat friends, my veterinarian, the internet and "the" goat bible. I won't go into details here, but I will say that we tried every single suggestion that we could try to help her heal. She got weaker every day, despite all of our efforts. I am left with her three incredibly beautiful babies. They are snuggled in a crate in the front room right how, and have taken to dining from a bottle with ease. I take them to work with me and they are a grand source of entertainment. I will miss her airplane ears, her slightly pushy attitude, and her wonderful milk. Chanel the mare will miss her, too. She has been calling for her all night. They were friends. If you think animals do not have friends, you are wrong. These two actively enjoyed each others company. It was plain to see, even our neighbors noticed and commented on it. I love the animals that surround me. I take the best care of them that I know how, and today I am deeply grieving the loss of a gentle spirit. I never knew I would grow to love a goat, but I did. Having livestock is a joy to me. Suffering the loss is more painful than I imagined. (**A special note of thanks to friends Marion and Scott, who came to our aid with shovels and kindness.)