Showing posts from July, 2012

In which there is an unusual campfire song, and it needs more verses

We've been singing a lot lately.
It started as a safety measure after we saw the bear a couple weeks back.  Black bears are notoriously shy of human beans, and will leave if they hear folks coming.  We figure that, if they hear us singing, they'll leave extra-quick.
Singing on the trails is also a way to alert the mountain bikers who caroom down our trails. Singing clearly communicates:  "We are here, blocking the trails, ready to create a heckuva traffic jam if we get caroomed-unto."   Sometimes the mountain bikers slow down.  Every once-in-a-while when they hear us singing, they leave extra-quick.  Win-win.
Since we're all in good practice, Patty and the Usual Suspects have decreed that there will be Campfire Singing at the Bare Bones Endurance Ride this upcoming weekend.
Being a Pirate, I've been asked to bring some of my favorite chanteys to share.  And so I will!  One of the best for campfire-singing is a little ditty that goes to the tune of "So Long a…

In which I am finally able to collect hay while the sun shines

I daresay that a lot of y'all are going to be jealous.  

I've heard that the droughts in the midwest are driving up hay prices, and making feed just dang hard to find.

That's not our problem here in the Swampland.

The problem isn't growing.  Our hay crops have been growing like crazy.

The problem has been drying.  This field, located less than 3 miles from Haiku Farm has been cut and teddered 3 times to get it dry enough to bale.

These nice kids loaded my hay for me, and told me how much work they had put into the field.  Usually it takes a week to cut/winnow/bale.  This year it took almost a month, because every time they'd hitch up the equipment to the elderly International Harvester tractor, a little bit of rain would fall.


That's pretty much what happened at my end, too:  every time I would write "Get hay today" on the calendar, we'd have precipitation.  Today I avoided saying the "H" word all day until the hay was actually on the tru…

In which it's Lisa's turn for a Fabulous Wilderness Adventure

I am so jealous.

 Lisa packed up all her gear last night so she would be ready bright-and-early to depart on her Fabulous Wilderness Adventure.

She is following Will's example, by signing up with Northwest Youth Corps to spend five weeks in the wilderness, building trails and earning money.  Will spent the last two summers at NYC.  I was jealous of him, too.  



Seriously, I would love to do this.  Jim and I are planning to do this kind of work for the National Parks Service after we retire.  Until then, we can only spare the time to deliver a kid.  Sigh.

We always stop at the '59er Diner on the way to the rendezvous spot.  The food is good (milkshakes!!!)

and the decor is hilarious:

After lunch, we went out to the NYC headquarters, and listened to the family orientation. 

 I've already heard this twice before, so I wandered around and took photos.

 After orientation, Lisa gave each dog a kiss.

Then, her dad a…

In which the garden isn't pathetic this year (except tomatoes)

This is our fourth gardening year at Haiku Farm.  

The first garden in 2009 was pathetic.  We didn't have time that year to do any soil amending for that garden.  The neighbor tilled under a big chunk of lawn and we threw seeds into the resulting dirt.

You could tell.  

Zucchinis were just about the only thing that grew here in 2009.

In 2010, things were slightly better, although the weather didn't cooperate and a lot of things turned runny instead of yummy.  

Tomatoes are almost always a bad bet in our climate, but we almost always get optimistic in Spring and plant a few.  Last year we got nothin'.  This year looks about the same for tomatoes.  Ah, well.

The ego-boosting-est crop in the Swampland is zucchini. 

The blessings of zucchini are mixed, to understate things rather a lot.

Each winter, the chickens move into their Winter Palace: the henhouse inside the fenced garden.  We dump all of the stall cleanings into the garden, and top each wheelbarrow load with a handful of oats…

In which I am a failure and it probably didn't happen because there are no pix

You know how they say "Pix or it didn't happen."

Well, guess what didn't happen today while we were out riding?


Patty and I were riding on one of our usual routes, talking and chatting the way we always do.  When we got to a junction of two logging roads, we split up for a while to do a little solo work with the ponies...

...and not two minutes later, Fiddle and I heard a bunch of crashing around in the brush off to the side of our logging road.

I figured "deer."  We've seen bunches of deer lately, including a deer in our orchard at home, and several deer grazing in Fiddle's pasture a few mornings ago.

Moments later, a bear cub squirted up the trunk of a big ol' fir tree.

Wow!  Cool!  

And dang, my camera isn't working!

Undeterred, Fee and I trotted back to Patty. 

"Look at the BEAR!"

She admired the bear.

"Gimme your phone and I'll go back and take a picture!"

At this point, Team Sensible stepped in. 

Fiddle mi…

In which Madeline is leaving for an Adventure and goats are dumb

Madeline and Monkey Jack Paisley Baileyschild are leaving this week for a big adventure:  

teaching at a public high school in south Texas!
We are going to miss her like crazy.

Before she could leave the Swampland, she had to take one last-time-for-a-long-time ride on Ross.

Then they came over to Haiku Farm for dinner and presents.  MJPBc had to choose one toy to take to Texas.  It was a difficult decision

Just so you know, People of Texas, that weird new noise is the sound of Squeaky Frog.  No need to be alarmed.  

MJPBc has a vivid imagination.

She stalked the elusive-but-hapless warthog for many patient minutes...

the warthog remained clueless throughout the game.  

Some folks might say that Luna is dumb, but they wouldn't say that if they met Lupin Goat Gruff.  Here's his latest adventure:

He stuck his head through the field fence wire to nibble grass on the other side, and got his head stuck.  Please note that less than 6 feet from the goat is a gate into the pasture, and the gate …

In which we visit a storytelling festival in a garden

If you didn't know better, 

you'd think that it was an old-fashioned Baptist tent revival meeting.
There was plenty of talk about devilment

and scary stuff like that.

There was also talk of heaven

and redemption. 

It wasn't an old-fashioned Baptist tent revival meeting.  The message that passed around the folks in the garden:  Find a story, tell it, make it your own, share with other people.

Some stories were very serious and important.

other stories were silly and funny.

Some stories made us laugh out loud...and think.  

Led by the stories, we sang together.

We danced together.

We played together.

And we listened.