Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bone-crunching Zombie Action

Must get this book. My two favorite things: Austen and Zombies!

"Pride and Prejudice and Zombies -- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies features the original text of Jane Austen's beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Complete with 20 illustrations in the style of C. E. Brock (the original illustrator of Pride and Prejudice), this insanely funny expanded edition will introduce Jane Austen's classic novel to new legions of fans."

Pride And Prejudice And Zombies

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sold some Hens

I just sold my first two pullets today!!! They went to a nice couple from Louisville who wanted pet chickens. I let them take my favorite girl. I really wanted her to go to a home where she'd be a pet. Listen to me...How am I ever going to kill the roosters? My farrier said he could show me how to do it. They used to have broilers.

50 more chicks arrived this week from Ideal, so I'm back to having a closet full of chicks. It was nice not having to clean brooders and wash a million waterers and bring in bucketloads of feed from the barn...but these are sexed pullets, so hopefully that will mean more money and less roosters to kill. Poor guys.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I just finished reading Atonement (Ian McEwan) and wow, what an amazing book. His writing is vivid and thorough. I can't imagine the kind of mind that is able to carefully plan so many details and tie them together flawlessly so that each one shares a role in the story. You never feel like he is just using gratuitous adjectives to fill space and yet the picture he paints is clear as day. I don't even remember reading words, I just have these rich images of settings and distinct characterizations. The way he gets into each characters mind and really exposes their human nature and psychology. One of the main characters is an adolescent girl and the way he gets into her thought process is astonishing considering he's an older man. As someone who was a 13 year old girl once, I believed that Briony's thoughts were truly that of a young girl and not the invention of some man. As an author, to really make your characters believable and not just write how you would react in that situation is really a feat. I'm so envious. You really have to be able to separate from yourself and let the characters stand on their own. I wish it was so simple.

I also watched the movie and I must say that it is the best adaptation from a book that I've ever seen. The book does not rely heavily on dialogue. You get a very introspective viewpoint of each character, so in bringing that to the screen, they had to have not only great actors able to express emotions without speaking, but stunning locations and brilliant cinematography. There is one scene with probably a five minute steady cam shot; no cuts. There's no dialogue, but it is one of the most stirring scenes in the movie. Overall, the movie captured the feel of the story and even though time didn't allow for them to get as in depth into all the characters, They were able to piece the plot together in a way that still conveyed the strong motivations behind each character. They could have completely butchered this book in order to make it a hollywood blockbuster, but I feel like they respectfully gave the story life without over doing it.

In short, it's my new obsession. I have to see if there's a soundtrack...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Childhood Dream Come True

No. I didn't end up in The Neverending Story galloping on a white horse along with Atreyu and Artax in Fantasia, but it comes in a close second. My pond froze enough for me to ice skate on!!

I used to daydream as a kid that I had a pond to skate on. I remember I had this book where the dad made a skating rink in the backyard by pouring water on the concrete patio and the little girl in the book got to skate on it. When we lived in New Jersey, where it gets cold enough to skate on ponds, I used to beg my mom to take me out to the big skating pond at night. I would put on my flowy skirt and my mom would shine the headlights on me while I skated all by my self. I was an olympic gold medalist in my mind. I don't remember ever being cold out there and eventually my mom would honk the horn and make me come in. I was never ready, though.

I never really liked going to skating rinks where there were lots of people. It suited me just fine to be all alone where I didn't have to be embarassed. I did eventually, in my teen years, take up skating lessons and spent hours and hours at the skating rink. It was never the same as those nights on the pond with the spotlight on me, though.

So, with these frigid temperatures, I realized that the pond might freeze and had my dad dig out my ice skates and bring them with him when he came to visit today. After we spent half the day trying to thaw out the kitchen pipes (they didn't burst, thank god), I bid my dad goodbye, put the dogs in their kennels, and broke out the old skates. I became an ice princess for a couple hours, just like when I was a kid. I was giddy with joy, I'm embarassed to say...and I took lots of pictures!

The pond in the back corner of the farm and is the future home of the Sebastopol Goslings I'm getting in the spring! Treely was really curious about how mom was gliding around in the trees. She watched the whole time I was out there. Maybe she was just waiting for me to finish being an ice princess so I could bring her dinner.

I still had a few spins in me. I guess skating is like riding a bike. It's been close to 10 years since the last time I skated!

I never quite broke in these skates and my feet were killing me (still are).

These spinning pictures turned out really cool. I started to feel sick after a while, though. Why doesn't that happen when we're kids?

I had so much fun, I'm going to try to go out again in the morning. Temperatures are supposed to get up to 38 in the afternoon, so I don't think my pond skating is going to last much longer. That's okay, though, because I don't know if my blisters will hold up anyways.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's cold

The electrician finished electrifying the barn just in time. According to the forecast (which I never quote as fact) it's supposed to get down to -4 tonight. The chickens all have their heated waterers plugged in. The goat has a heating pad, but I wish I had a blanky for her. Treely (the horse) has her blanket on and everybody's got lots of hay/feed to munch to keep their body heat up. I know animals up north have it way worse, but I feel like I'm not doing enough.

I wish I had more heat lamps for the adolescent chicks. I accidentally burned through the wire on my good one while I was cleaning the brooders. I didn't realize it was on and left the bulb sitting on the wire. I left to go clean the waterers and came back to smoldering rubber. Oops! Could have burned the shed down. So, now I'm afraid to use it, though it does still work. haha...somehow it doesn't seem worth the risk of burning down the barn and HAY (OMG NOO!!) not to mention the animals and all that fancy electric work. Any horse person would understand my worry of losing my hay mid winter. It's not like I can just go out and buy more...well, not unless I don't mind paying $10/bale to have it shipped in from California...For the record, I would mind that.

Here's a picture of Treely in her blanket from last year. Do you know how hard it is to find a size 84 ?! I did take a picture of her today in her blanket, but it looks kind of silly because it's so sunny. It looks like it is about 95 degrees outside instead of 15.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Edited for anonymity

What is good writing? Grammar? Sentence structure? Metaphors and analogies? When does writing go from monotonous language scripted on a page to thought provoking ideas that trip the imagination into spurts of joyful freedom? A mind that's been conditioned to count minutes and days, is allowed to forget that time exists. A person used to believing in absolute truths is given the chance to consider the unconventional ways of fiction.

In our lives, we are taught to grow out of our childish ways and improper thoughts. We are taught to censor ourselves and act scrupulously. We learn by example that it is best to leave some things unsaid. But I wish that I could have a child's mind again. I wish that I could innocently speak without stopping to regard how someone will react to my words.

My words. By the time they leave my mouth they are no longer mine. They have to pass through a series of tests and filters which thin down the emotion and sincerity, putting the inclinations of others ahead of my own desire to express my convictions. I find myself, in the midst of a sentence, losing the will to finish. Once the words pass through the sifter, take a beating, and begin to pour out of my mouth, they don't even sound like they're my words at all. I forget how I think. I forget who I am. I don't even know where my true voice lies.

To have a child's mind. To not know that you shouldn't call your grandmother fat. To not know that you shouldn't cry and throw fits in public. To eat your boogers at the table without a single moment of self consciousness. To be incapable of distinguishing between someone happy or mentally handicapped. Someone rich or poor. Someone gay or straight. And if you are able to make such distinctions, to not care either way. The child's mind before it is given restrictions and conditions and boundaries and manners and elocution of speech.

To have a child's mind, but with the experience of a person who has known embarrassment and rejection; disappointment and desertion, struggle and triumph, love and heartbreak. To be able to instill a childlike honesty in expressing emotions we all experience, but seldom admit to. To be able to write unabashed, crude and dysfunctional thoughts without toning them down for the sake of your reputation. To remove all inhibitions from your mind and simply write raw, unfiltered, unprocessed, irreparably flawed and recklessly unguarded words. Ones that provoke the reader to begin their own thought pattern until the words on the page lose their meaning and the reader becomes the writer.

This is not to say that I want to make tactless remarks that are hurtful. But we should all realize that hate can be spoken in more ways than one and whether the phrasing is outright or benign, it still incites pain. What I want is to be honest about my fears and insecurities. I want to relate to people who are as fragile and flawed as I am. I want to connect to others on more than a superficial plane. I have sheltered myself for so long from having meaningful relationships with people, because I know that they are the judges, who can heal or hurt, console or condemn, and can take mercilessly without conscience. My defense has been to become closed off and without depth. Somehow this style has infected my writing and become who I am.

I think most would agree, that the prospect of ridicule and rejection is enough to make us all either conformists or loners.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


After three weeks of checking the humidity and temperature and turning the eggs three times a day, they finally began to hatch.

This is a spoiled silkie chick.

in her sleeping bag.

The one up front is a rooster in the making.

Dove babies

My momma dove kept laying eggs, so I decided to let her and hubby set and hatch babies. Mom and dad both sit, taking shifts to give each other a chance to eat and drink. After 14 days of giving them they're privacy, I peaked in one morning and saw an empty eggshell in the cage. Dad was sitting on the babies, but he fluffed up when he saw me and out popped a little pink chick about the size of my pinky. They are the ugliest things when they're babies. Once they start to feather out, they look less alien.

This is the dad tending to his babies. Doves are great parents. Very attentive and caring. They also mate for life.
I love love love my chickens. I thought I'd get a few laying hens so I could have fresh eggs. I had no idea that I would become psychotically obsessed with them. All I can think about, now, is chickens. Breeding chickens. Buying eggs. Building coops and runs and planning what breeds I want. I had to go out and buy an incubator (okay, I bought two) and now I have over 50 chicks that I had to build a new coop for in the barn. There's another 50 on their way, too. I posted an ad on craigslist and within a few hours I had more responses than I had pullets. I already have claims on the chicks that haven't even arrived yet. (I ordered sexed pullets from a hatchery this time.) I guess I will be processing the roosters for dog food. (I am just not ready to eat my chickens, yet.) I love them too much. This could be the start of my eventual demise.

One of my handsome roosters. He's very sweet, not at all aggressive.

The barred rock bunch.

This is Shabutie, the stray chicken that started it all. One of the dogs brought her to me as a gift. Wasn't that sweet? Shaboots didn't think so.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I worked all spring to grow little sprouts into plants I could put in the garden. I even talked to them and called them my "babies". Yes, I am that crazy...but look at what they did.

The gate that my dad and I built and the morning glories on my DIY trellis.

The four o'clocks smelled sooo good. As soon as I walked out the back door I was hit by their perfume. I love the paint splash colors, too.

The garden didn't do well this year. I think it's going to take a few years to get the soil in good condition. The ground was solid clay when I dug it up and even after tilling with compost there were huge chunks of clay.

The brick was painstakingly laid and by the end of summer the ground got so dry that the whole thing caved in the middle, so I'm going to have to re-do it this year and I might have to use cement. Those bricks came off a pile of crap that's on the back of the property. They're the old fashioned kind that are each unique and worn smooth over time. Some had moss growing on them, too, which I love.

The herbs. I miss having fresh herbs. I can't wait for next summer. Just looking at this picture I start craving garlic chives and mashed potatoes.

These are the Peonies in the front of the house. Supposedly the ants are necessary for the flower to bloom.

I love that in the summer I wake up early enough for there to still be dew on the flowers. I miss summer and my garden.

Periodical Invasion

Ahh...Memorial day. Sunshine. Daisies. Hummingbirds. And Alien bug invasions.

First they emerge from their shell.

Then they hang themselves out to dry.

They leave their crunchy shells behind and head off to have weeks of earsplitting sex.

These things were everywhere. I couldn't walk outside without having a few fly into me.

Jumping spider having a yummy feast. The dogs feasted, too. Crunchy on the outside, gooey on the inside. What's not to love?

luckily there's more than one brood of periodical cicadas. So even if you missed this year's bunch, there will be another outbreak in five years or so. Yay.

In the spring after the snow melts and the rains come, an interesting thing happens...My mailbox ends up in the middle of the river. This wasn't such a bad thing since I was sitting high and dry in my cozy little house. It does bring new meaning to the saying, "Lord willin' and the crick don't rise." I've never actually been able to use that saying until I moved here.

Treely wishes her paddock was in the river all the time.

The water stayed up for a few hours and then began to recede. Within 20 minutes, it sucked back down to where it belonged.

First post

I might as well get this first post over with. Since moving to my farm last March, I've had lots of adventures and lots of photos to share, but no way to really share them. Since it's winter and there's not much to do but sit inside and try to avoid the mud, I thought I would try to recap the last 9 months.

I moved in on March 5, 2008. The plan was to get some painting done in preparation for moving day when we'd load up the truck and move my stuff to the farm. The night before the big move it began to flurry. I went to bed on the aero bed in my new house and woke up to this beautiful mess.

This is the river across the road

It was a memorable first morning on the farm.