30 May 2008

Young Hillary Clinton

I realize some thought the recent "Hillary's Downfall" post was too tasteless, or too profane. But this new video is simply hillarious:



Wish I knew who had the time to make these things, or how they possibly think them up.

H/T: Jay C.

29 May 2008

Turkey Disaster

As detailed in a recent post, we've been raising turkeys this year. What I haven't yet shared is that the birds have been a disaster.

Out of the 14 that arrived alive in the shipment, we're now down to three. Yes, three.

Turkeys famously spend their first days and weeks, "sitting around thinking of ways to die," and ours were no exception. I'd come out every morning, and there'd be a few more dead ones. Mostly, though, that was my fault: the first night they were here, I didn't have the heat lamp low enough. They shivered all night, and even those that survived were so weakened that they dropped dead within a few more days (despite my fixing the heat lamp the second morning). Soon, we were down to four survivors.

Those four were looking pretty good. Then, I came out this morning, someone had left the door to the brooder room open. And one of the four turkey poults was...gone. Nowhere to be found. The other three were huddled up, which was uncharacteristic. Not sure what happened; it's possible that the missing one flew out of the brooder (they're feathered now, and capable of it), or if a hungry barn cat jumped in looking for a meal. Either way, looks like I'm going to be putting a mesh cover over the top of the brooder tub tonight.

As these heritage turkeys are an important gift that I offer clients at the end of the year, I can't get by on just three. I've already ordered an additional 20, these from McMurray Hatchery, which is the best in the business. Not taking any chances this time, and not scrimping on price; the window of availability is closing, and I've simply got to have turkeys.

They arrive next week, and hopefully we'll have better success with that batch.


UPDATE: Later in the day, Homeschooled Farm Girl was playing in the barn and heard a chirping sound. She began looking around, and found Turkey #4! We put him back in with the others, and covered the brooder tub with chicken wire. No escapees since.

26 May 2008

Hillary's Downfall

There is a movie about Hitler with a scene that is now famous; he's in the bunker, the Allies are closing in, he knows the war is lost, and he begins ranting at the top of his lungs. The movie is in German, with English subtitles. That scene has been spoofed in a dizzying number of ways, by inserting different subtitles. Hitler rants in German, but the English words change.

I've seen several of these versions now, and all of them are funny. But the one below is by far the funniest. Warning: the subtitles contain a considerable amount of profanity. But, quite honestly, that makes it all the funnier. I nearly coughed up a lung the first time I saw this.



H/T: Joe D.

Happy Memorial Day

Best Memorial Day Music. Ever.

25 May 2008

Biscuits Lives

We've had two goat kids born this year. Both are males, and both will be butchered this fall. Just to make sure neither the children nor us gets too attached to these critters, we named one of them "Sausage" and the other one "Biscuits."

Both have been gaining weight healthily, and were doing well. But earlier this week, Biscuits started moving around lethargically. Then he didn't want to move at all. He'd throw himself into convulsions, foam at the mouth, throw himself on the ground, and wedge himself into odd places.

Our first concern was tetanus; we had a lamb contract it once, and Biscuits' symptoms were similar. But with some troubleshooting, we pretty much eliminated that. My larger concern was that he was neither eating nor drinking; no matter what he was sick with, if he didn't eat or drink he'd slowly die anyhow. I drenched him with a 50-50 mix of apple cider vinegar and water, and he seemed to perk up a bit after that. (Drenching involves filling a large needle-less syringe with the liquid, opening the animal's mouth, inserting the syringe all the way to the back of the mouth, and releasing the liquid.) But he still wasn't really improving, so on Friday morning Mrs. Yeoman Farmer found a large animal vet who wasn't too far away.

At times like this, I really miss our old place. Our old vet was awesome, and we could call him any time and he'd work us in. Plus, he lived just a mile from our house and could stop by on his way to work (or on his way home). Here, the closest such vet was over a half hour away. But there was a "regular" vet in the next town over who would look at Biscuits if we could bring him in. Mrs. Yeoman Farmer loaded him in the Ford Bronco, drove up, and got in line with all the puppies, kittens, etc that the vet usually sees. Definitely a case of "One of these things is not like the others." When the receptionist called her name, she asked MYF, "So, what breed of dog is Biscuits?" MYF laughed and replied, "Uhm, Toggenburg and Saanen. Goat."

The vet diagnosed pneumonia, which is a lot more treatable than tetanus. Injected him with penicillin and a B complex vitamin, and sent more of both home with MYF. Also instructed us to drench Biscuits with a baking soda/water solution, to re-start his rumen.

So, we've been doing that all weekend, and also going out several times a day to feed Biscuits some milk. We've had him out on the back lawn, in the shade of a tree, so we can monitor him. He's been getting up a lot better, and moving around more. So much, in fact, we were worried he might wander to the front yard and out onto the road. The vet said we'd know by Sunday night whether he'd live or not. It's now Sunday morning, and things are looking a whole lot better than they were Friday morning.

The vet bill was $48. When you add that to what Biscuits will eat the rest of this year, it's not certain the price was worth what we'll get from him in meat. But farming, for us, is much more than a cost-benefit analysis. Yes his name is Biscuits, and yes he's going to be butchered anyway. Caring for him these last few days has been quite time consuming; all things considered, the most economical option probably would've been to have put a bullet in his head Friday morning. He's not a prize breeder, and he's not a pet.

But he is also more than a machine. He's a living thing that we've been given temporary custody over, and over which we need to exercise responsible stewardship. I couldn't imagine not doing everything in our power to save his life, or to nurse him back to health. And there are few things more satisfying than watching a sick animal slowly emerge from the shadow of death's door, regain his strength, and rejoin the herd.

21 May 2008

Not Me

By a quirk of their computer system, the Barnes & Noble listing for my novel has links to "More By this Author." If you click it, you'll find four murder mysteries authored by, yes, Chris Blunt.

I always thought I had a pretty unusual name...but apparently it's not that unusual. Anyway, one of the people who read my novel sent a remarkable note. She said she'd liked Passport so much, she'd already clicked through and ordered another of my books. And she asked if I'd written any other books I hadn't told her about.

Once I figured out what had happened, I explained that some other Chris Blunt had written the books B&N was linking to mine. She was able to cancel her order before it shipped. I contacted B&N about the issue, and they said they are aware that these kinds of errors can happen, but it will take quite some time before they can fix all of those errors.

Must say...her ordering that "other" Chris Blunt's book was, I believe, one of the sincerest forms of flattery I've ever received. Never, ever, could have imagined that happening.

But it does make me want to get off my tail and start writing a second novel.

Update

Thanks to all who have written to let us know you've been praying for my mother-in-law. She had a good night last night, and the doctors have been able to identify the bug that'd put her in such a tailspin. Mrs Yeoman Farmer spent the bulk of the day at the hospital, and reports a marked improvement from yesterday. We're still not out of the woods (aka ICU) yet, but things are definitely looking up.

20 May 2008

Please Pray...

...for Mrs. Yeoman Farmer's mother. She's been chronically ill for many years, and in hospitals or nursing homes for nearly two straight years. She'd seemed to be making a recovery in recent months, and there was even talk of her moving home this summer. But in the last few days, she's taken a terrible turn and is now deteriorating rapidly. Prognosis is quite dim. She received Extreme Unction (yes, we still call it that in our family) this afternoon, and is spiritually very prepared to pass to the next life. Please join us in "accompanying" her with your prayers in these hours.

I must say, we've never been so glad we made the move to Michigan. Mrs. Yeoman Farmer has been able to see her mother many times over these last months, and has been able to spend many hours at the hospital these last few days. We're very thankful we're not right now frantically packing the minivan and wondering if we'll make it from Illinois to Michigan in time...and wondering who will take care of the farm while we're gone.

It's good to be home. And for this to be our home.

19 May 2008

Price Drop!

Apparently in response to the initial orders, Amazon has dropped the price on my novel to $12.11. Don't know how long they will continue to do so, but wanted to let you all know about the current discount.

18 May 2008

Who Needs a Weed Whacker?

Who needs a fancy string trimmer to clip the grass around your fence, when you've got this youthful Icelandic work crew that keeps getting loose?


Meanwhile, back at the barn, their parents were feasting on all the grass clippings I'd gotten using the lawn mower. These guys love the fresh green stuff so much, they don't even wait for the wheelbarrow to finish dumping into their feeder.

16 May 2008

First Reviews

Many thanks to those who have been posting customer reviews of my new novel on sites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble --- these kinds of comments are very helpful to those considering buying or reading it.

Those who missed yesterday's big announcement of the novel's launch can skip to that post here.
I am particularly grateful to those who have begun posting editorial reviews of the novel on their own blogs and review sites.

Earlier this week, Ellen Gable Hrkach, author of the excellent novel Emily's Hope, reviewed my book for Catholic Fire. In part:


Passport illustrates the growth of a man who strives to do the right thing, and shows that the struggle to live chastity does not end with marriage; it is simply lived out in a different way. Stan eventually comes to the realization that only in dying to ourselves can we truly love others and find meaningful happiness. It was a joy to read such an uplifting story in this day and age where self-centeredness is the norm.

I most strongly recommend Passport to Catholics in their twenties and thirties, although all people would find the story interesting. There are some romantic elements in the book but this is decidedly not a romance novel in any traditional sense. As a woman, I enjoyed reading a story from a man’s perspective, especially the inner workings of a man’s mind regarding chastity and natural family planning.

I would highly recommend Passport as it is easy to read, well-written and the characters are rich and well-developed. Blunt’s portrayal of family life is especially real, down to earth and believable.


And Jeff Culbreath ran an excellent review today at Stony Creek Digest. In part:

“Passport” is written by a man who quite obviously has traveled some distance himself on the el camino real, the road to sanctity, and because of this he is able to capture the silent workings of grace in the lives of his characters in a way that is beyond the reach of most writers. The main characters - both of them - are faced with agonizing and frankly humiliating choices. Even I, a supposedly seasoned Catholic, found myself longing for the characters to take the easy way out, the way of the world and respectability and happily-ever-after. Although there is plenty of romance (hence the attraction for lady readers), the Catholic life is not romanticized or sugar-coated. In fact the book vindicates one of the primary reasons for my own conversion, the realization that Catholicism is a religion thoroughly obsessed with reality, no matter how messy, no matter the cost, and often the
cost is high indeed.

The personalities of the book were meaningful to me. The central character is a man much like myself - in some respects a better man, and in others, perhaps less so. Stan Eigenbauer’s story was often uncomfortable reading due to its honesty and familiarity. The other characters had remarkable similarities to people I know, or have known in the past.

This is a story about an ordinary man who does an extraordinary thing: he takes up his cross and follows Christ. Despite his hopes of breaking free, he is nevertheless determined to go all the way if he must. In the process, he takes a few others with him - even those who don’t realize they are going - and discovers a new freedom that is beyond anything he has ever experienced.


Thanks again to all who have been reading it and sharing their reactions.

15 May 2008

Passport

This might be the biggest news ever broken on my blog:

I've just published a novel.

The title is Passport, and it explores what it sometimes costs --- and how much we can grow up --- when we learn to sacrifice ourselves for the good of those who need and depend on us. The quick overview is:



Passport is an engaging coming-of-age story about a young man's discovery of self-sacrificial love. It is told through the eyes of Stan Eigenbauer, who is living a generally upright --- but comfortable and self-satisfied --- bachelor's life with his dog and hobby cars. When a lapse in judgment brings consequences he hadn't anticipated, Stan must make a series of agonizing decisions about how to move forward. He struggles to rearrange his life, and finds himself increasingly attuned to the needs of others. As Stan grows more faithful to his commitments, and more committed to his faith, he discovers a depth of joy and happiness far beyond what he or we could have expected.

It took over five years of writing, revising, and working with the editor(s), but it is at last in print and available to the public. Some of my blog readers have been involved in reading and commenting on previous drafts, and to them I want to give a big THANK YOU.

The idea for the story came to me in early 2003, while spending a week on a workshop at a conference center. I had time to think about some of the more remarkable turns that life can take, and was reflecting on how sometimes a single key decision, that seems very small at the time, can alter the future in a very big way. In particular, I found myself thinking back to one particular day in 1993, when two options presented themselves. As it turns out, I chose correctly---and I can honestly say I have no regrets. But I could see now that had I chosen just a little differently, my ensuing life would have been entirely changed --- and not for the better. In the novel, Stan Eigenbauer is presented with the same options I faced...but he doesn't choose the same way. The rest of the story follows Stan as he struggles to address the unexpected impacts of that choice.

I should note that although the story is narrated in the first person, and Stan shares some of the same attitudes I had when I was single, the Stan character is very different from me. In other words, the story doesn't attempt to be an "alternative history" of my life the way that, say, the Confederate States of America documentary is an alternative history of the USA. There is a "yeoman farmer" character who is a closer approximation of the real me, but even there most of the details of that character's life are different from those of my own.

Once the story concept was firmly in mind, I stayed up very late that night mapping it all out. When I got home from the conference, I began typing furiously; I could "see" the whole story inside me, and I needed to get it out. Often, I'd wake up at 3am with an idea for solving a particular detail of the plot, and rush upstairs to my computer. I began devoting the bulk of my free time to putting the story together, and I had a complete draft in just three months.

Those who read the draft liked the concept, but the details needed a lot of work. I spent the next few years chipping away at these details, but the quality of the story didn't make a quantum leap until I hired a professional editor. She pointed out some very big problems with the characters and the plot, and made excellent suggestions for improving them. I spent the next couple of years making those changes and refining them further. (I'll say more about this process in future posts.)

The biggest challenge was finding a publisher (or even an agent) who would take it on. The story's central conflict is too "Catholic" for any secular or Protestant publishing house; they told me quite frankly that they wouldn't know how to sell it. The Catholic publishers were not much help, either; only one of them does much adult fiction at all, and as a result they get 600+ submissions per year. The solution, many experts in the field told me, was to start my own publishing company and invest all the resources that any other publishing company would invest: hiring the professional editor, hiring a professional cover designer, putting a website together, setting up the production and distribution channels, and so forth.

And so...Pelican Crossing Press was born. The site is still under construction, but all the essential elements are in place. At present, Passport is our only publication. But I'm very much enjoying the learning process, and envision publishing other works of Catholic-themed fiction in the future.

I should add that Passport is not simply a "Catholic" story. It's really a story about life, and the choices we make, and what we sometimes must do to remain faithful to a larger ideal. In this case, the details of those ideal happen to stem from the central character's Catholic faith. Catholics are obviously the target audience, but some of the story's biggest fans have been committed Protestants, who have enjoyed the novel on its own terms. The key, I discovered, is not to preach. Let Stan get himself tangled up, and let him find his way out...but don't try to tell the reader that there is some moral "message" that must be drawn from it.

So, where can you get yourself a copy? The Pelican Crossing Press site has links to various online ordering options. Amazon has it, of course. Barnes & Noble also does, and they've been selling it at a discount. (Both retailers have the same "free shipping when you spend $25" deal, by the way.) It's not yet on the shelves at bricks-and-mortar bookstores, but it can be special ordered through any of the big book retailers like Borders or Barnes & Noble. Simply give them my name and the title, or the ISBN number 978-0976659662.

Writing a novel is a highly personal experience, and not unlike bringing a child into the world. I'll share more about it in upcoming posts; in the meantime, I wanted you to know that it is out there --- and that I hope you all enjoy it very much.

Turkeys Again

The baby turkeys arrived this morning, from Cackle Hatchery in Missouri. We've been pleased with the value we've received from them in the past; they're not the slickest operation, and don't have the fanciest catalogs, but the prices are good and they deliver a quality product.

We ordered ten Bourbon Reds and five Blue Slates; we've never had Blue Slates before, and thought we'd experiment with something new. They sent sixteen poults, but unfortunately we had two deaths in transit. This is no surprise; it's unusual for every single bird to survive. But since we didn't get the full 15 alive on arrival, I need to call them and arrange for a partial refund. They're usually quite good about doing that.

In the past, when we've tried to raise huge numbers of birds, we had an enormous brooder set up. Over time, we learned to scale back and focus more on family food production --- and so our brooder needs simplified themselves as well. For the 15 poults, I'm using a big rubber stock tank; I think it holds 40 or 50 gallons, and is what we used to water the sheep out in the pasture. Hopefully they won't outgrow it before we can move them out to pasture pens. (Which reminds me...I need to build some pasture pens. All our old ones got left behind in Illinois.)
Note the 250 watt heat lamp suspended from the ceiling. The poults quickly ran away from it and huddled in the corner, which indicates the bulb is too low (making the brooder too hot). I raised it, and will check on them in a bit. If they're all huddled up directly under it, that means the lamp is too high and needs to be lowered. Sounds low-tech, but this is more effective than using a thermometer! I'll probably end up substituting a 125 watt bulb at a lower height, but wanted to start off with plenty of heat in case these guys were chilled from their long trip.

The Caboose

I'm way behind on lambing news. Our final ewe delivered two weeks ago (April 30th), but I was too busy to post on it. It was a male, and a single birth. It was the ewe's first lambing, and she's not the biggest sheep, so we weren't expecting more than a single lamb. We're just glad everything went smoothly, and the "caboose" lamb is now with us. He looks like he'll have a black topcoat, and a beautiful gray undercoat. Should provide a gorgeous fleece this fall.

That makes 16 live births from 8 ewes --- 200%. With one death by an over-excited dog, we're left with 15 survivors. That's a bumper crop by any standard, and we should eat well this winter.

14 May 2008

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent editorial today on the farm bill. As usual, the bill is an unbelievable hog trough for agribusiness; what particularly irks me this time, though, is the lip service to "reform." Bottom line: don't believe it. Big Ag is no different from any other K-Street supplicant. My only question is how high food prices will have to climb before we see voters revolt and pressure their congressional representatives to vote against this nonsense.


Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? May 14, 2008; Page A20

We can't wait to hear how Members of Congress explain their vote this week for the new $300 billion farm bill. At a time when Americans are squeezed at the grocery store, they will now see more of their taxes flow to the very farmers profiting from these high food prices.

This year farm income is expected to reach an all-time high of $92.3 billion, an increase of 56% in two years, making growers perhaps the most undeserving welfare recipients in American history. But that won't stop this bill from passing the House and Senate by wide margins. Speaker Nancy Pelosi was once a farm subsidy skeptic, but she now has some 30 freshman Democrats from battleground rural districts to protect. So more than $10 billion a year in giveaways to agribusiness is a necessary taxpayer sacrifice to keep her majority.

Ms. Pelosi calls the bill "real reform," which is like calling Lindsay Lohan born again. For example: The bill perpetuates the so-called Hurricane Katrina gambit that allows farmers to lock in price-support payments at the lowest possible market price, and then sell their crops later at the highest possible price, and then pocket the high price and a payment from the government for the difference between the two. They in effect get paid twice for the same bushel of wheat.

A bigger scam is the new income limit to qualify for subsidies. Mr. Bush sought a $200,000 annual income cap, but Congress can't bring itself to go below $750,000. Even that is a farce, because it doesn't include loan programs and disaster payments, and it allows spouses to qualify for payments too. The White House and liberal reformers calculate that farm owners with clever accountants can have incomes of up to $2.5 million and still get a taxpayer handout.

Several weeks ago, Senate Agriculture Chairman Tom Harkin was asked by the Des Moines Register how many farmers in Iowa would be excluded under the new income cap. His answer: "two or three." On tax policy Mr. Harkin and his fellow Democrats talk endlessly about soaking the rich, but on farm policy they favor soaking the middle class to pay the rich.


Nearly every crop – corn, wheat, sugar – has won increases in subsidy payments even as farm commodity prices explode. (See nearby chart.) Of the 17 most subsidized commodities, only rice and cotton will get a slight reduction in payments, while the bill extends the farm welfare net to lentils, chick peas, fruits and vegetables, and even organic foods. There are new programs for Kentucky horse breeders and Pacific Coast salmon fishermen, and your tax dollars will help finance the dairy industry's "Got Milk?" campaign. Oh, and you still don't even have to farm to cash in. Hundreds of millions of dollars will go to landowners based on their "historical planting average" even if they haven't planted a seed in years.

And once again the big sugar plantation owners in Florida walk away with the sweetest deal: Big Sugar bagged an increase in price supports and a guarantee of 85% of the domestic sugar market at these guaranteed prices. So taxpayers are on the hook for buying surplus domestically produced sugar at 23 cents a pound and selling it for ethanol for closer to three cents a pound.

If you wonder why urban Democrats would vote for this rural giveaway, the answer is they have been bought off with roughly $10 billion in extra funding for food stamps and nutrition welfare programs. Someone should tell them that their constituents might not need this cash if the farm bill didn't help keep food prices high. And let's not forget the Blue Dog Democrats who are supposed to be spending hawks. The farm bill busts the budget caps by at least $10 billion, but the Blue Dogs get $5.9 billion in handouts for their districts. So they will put their fiscal sermonizing on hold and vote "aye."

Mr. Bush is promising a veto, to his credit, but the White House expects even many Republicans to vote to override. The House GOP swears it has learned its spending lesson after 2006. Yet House Minority Leader John Boehner, who opposes the bill himself, isn't rallying GOP opposition. Perhaps there are too many Republicans who crave the handouts too.

Meanwhile, John McCain says "I would veto that bill" and will vote against it in the Senate. Strangely silent is Barack Obama. A major theme of his campaign is to battle corporate special interests in Washington on behalf of the "middle class." Here is one of his first tests, and it'll be fascinating to see if he sides with the well-funded commodity lobby over consumers and taxpayers.

In this election year, both parties are fighting to win the farm vote. But even in Chicago and New Jersey, it doesn't cost $300 billion to buy an election.

10 May 2008

The Great Decline

I've tried to avoid commenting much on the Democrats' primary fight; for those of us on the other side, the protracted squabbling has been a welcome gift. In a year when Republicans are facing a stiff headwind, we'll take any gifts we can get.

One of the more astonishing things for me has been the way those who were in the Clinton inner circle in the 1990s have abandonded her. Really makes you wonder about the way both Clintons treated those around them when they held power, and the degree to which subordinates' loyalty had been rooted in fear rather than respect. Interesting that once a viable alternative to Hillary's coronation emerged, even venerable Clintonites like Richardson and Reich began running for the door.

As I think about Hillary's collapse, I can't get that poem, Ozymandias, off my mind. Not sure it's ever been so fitting:

I met a traveler from an antique land,
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY
1792-1822

Corn Fed Venison

If you're going to raise a deer up to slaughter, best to do it like one of our neighbors in IL did: adopt an orphaned fawn. Do NOT try what this West Virginia blogger did.

Catching My Breath

For those who figured I dropped off the face of the earth: you're right. But I'm back. Posting has been slow the last week or two because everything else turned outrageously busy. Had a couple of projects to deliver for work, and needed to go to Washington DC on Wednesday-Thursday. Yesterday was spent tying up loose ends.

On top of it, some of you may remember a post from January in which I mentioned going "back to school." I was taking a graduate statistics course in data mining, offered online through a university in Connecticut. Although much of that course ended up being review of other statistics methods with which I was already familiar, the review in itself reminded me of some fundamentals that I'd let get rusty. Then, on Wednesday of this past week, we had our major final project due. I was immersed in that for quite some time, occasionally well into the night, as I tried improving upon my models. That's what I love most about data mining: the adventure of the hunt for the optimal model. In the end, I don't think I got a perfect solution --- but the key was that I learned a ton about the process, and also about the Clementine software.

In a sense, it was liberating not having to worry about a GPA. I still wanted to do as well as possible on the project, and I need to pass the course so I can take future courses in the sequence. But for once in my life, I didn't really care whether I got an ego-boosting "A" or a humiliating "D." I know that I stretched myself immensely, and learned what I needed to learn. I would like a good grade to show for it, but I'm discovering that grades have little meaning in themselves...particularly in this context. And after a lifetime of anxiety over grades and GPAs, I guess that's why the word "liberating" is what comes to mind.

But of course I had three other projects all come in right as this school project was due...and there was the forced deadline of catching a 3pm flight to DC on Wednesday afternoon. All the while dealing with sheep who were begging for freshly cut grass and weeds (those lawn mower breaks were actually very refreshing, and helped clear my head).

It's great to have the desk cleared off for a few days now, and it was wonderful spending yesterday evening just hanging out with the kids and watching their favorite movie with them. The weather is looking nice for today, so hopefully we'll get the tandem out of the barn and roll up some miles.

When we're not cutting some grass for the sheep.

03 May 2008

Bumper Crop

Most people would be horrified to gaze out on their lawn and see it looking like this:
Look at all those horrible dandelions! What will the neighbors think? Hurry, buy some chemicals and spray them all over the grass!

At our place, the thinking is entirely different. First, we don't really have any neighbors...and we certainly don't care about anyone else's opinion of our lawn. The bigger issue for us is that our pasture still isn't fenced, so we haven't been able to turn the sheep out to graze. And they've been BAHHHHHing badly, because they can see all that lush green stuff growing, and they can't get to it.

What's the solution? Take the pasture --- or lawn --- to the sheep. We have a bagging lawn mower, so I've been taking breaks from work during the day to go out and cut a bag or two for them. And the more variety (especially clover and dandelions) in the bag, the more the sheep love it. It's gotten to the point now where as soon as they hear the lawn mower running, they gather to watch me and BAHHHHHH through the gate to their enclosure. (Who says sheep are stupid?) When I bring each treasured bag to the barn, they mob me so badly I've almost been knocked flat on my back.

Who needs chemical warfare when you've got a flock of hungry Icelandic sheep?