Monday, September 30, 2013

Poor Puffy Piggies

Laura is rocking the center midfield, and Katie (long black ponytail) is playing left mid in the top photograph.
The bottom is Laura's sprained right ankle, and first soccer injury.

The team we played were boys. They talked about punching the girls in the face. Some of them said they were going to "wipe out" the two littlest girls on our team.
(I was worried that our delicate angels would be intimidated and traumatized by such smack-talk, but alas, I overheard the little ones cracking up laughing after the game, saying (to each other, not to the big boys!) "Thanks for saying that and making me want to beat you up even more than I already did.")
I think they'll recover emotionally.

In many years and many games of soccer, this was the first time we've encountered a team that seemed to want to hurt their opponents. And maybe I'm old-fashioned, but the fact that they were boys who were plotting to hurt girls disturbed me even more.

Playing them makes me grateful for all of the truly sportsmanlike behavior of the other kids in the area!

After the game we went to eat at our local pizza place where we're all more like family than patrons. The manager rigged up an ice bag for Laura's ankle, and we had her put her foot up while we ate.

Today's forced downtime while we've got an elevated ankle is a nice break from hectic running. (But I hope it's better by practice on Thursday.)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Maples and More Maples

Becky and I bought an "October Glory" red maple while we were at Lowe's.
I wanted it to replace the maple that had died.
I couldn't get the old tree out of the ground by myself, so Katie helped me use a chain and pull the stump out with the tractor.
I hope this poor little twig has better luck than its predecessor.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Today is the quintessential fall day in Virginia.
The air is brisk, a gentle breeze is wafting, and the smell of fresh hay is lingering.
I particularly liked the clouds today. Some look bulky and ominous, but there's sunshine and bright blue sky as well.
Here they are.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fall Pics by Katie

Some pics from Katie's and my walk in glorious weather.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Romper Room

Danny commented this morning, "The teenagers are hanging out at our clothesline."
We put the two little Dexters in the yard last night to keep the fuzzy-wuzzy baby company. This morning, the teenaged Jerseys were curious about the new kid and spent considerable time chatting over the fence.

The Dexter bull worried me by pushing the baby around lightly, but Dan soon set me straight on that issue: baby bull had been shoving the Dexter for all he was worth in the driveway earlier!

I will give a tutorial on the identity of our young cattle: in the second picture down, Clara and Jersey Bull are in the back. After this gorgeous young bull breeds all the ladies, we'll put him in the freezer.
The Dexters are closer. Heifer is next, followed by Dexter Bull ( I admit we weren't ambitious with naming this year.)

And in the foreground is the new addition, Mr. Fuzzy Wuzzy Ewok, we call him for short.

When it Rains, it Pours

I saw a likely prospect for a trailer on Craigslist Friday night and asked Big Dan if he wanted to go check it out. It looked pretty, and it was the price I decided must be paid for a trailer that works. (Not considerably more than a model with bad tires or no floor.)

Before we left Saturday morning, I providentially checked craigslist again. There in front of my eyes stood the fuzziest, most adorable little Highland calf who I needed to have.

We drove with the truck to the trailer place, made fast friends with the excellent young couple selling the trailer, wrote a check , hitched up, and headed to the farm with the fuzzy calf.

I'm overwhelmed with good and happy farm excitement. Piglets, a long awaited trailer, and a sweet bottle baby for a new pet.

"She Calls us Babe"

Opal continues to be an excellent momma to her seven healthy little ones.
The piglets add very much joy to the farm, and Opal's amazing instincts and cleverness are interesting to observe.
Have piglets. You won't regret it!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Friday, September 13, 2013

Opal's Piglets are Born!

Opal spent the day yesterday building a bower of mint weed to be a soft place for her piglets' birth.
Then as darkness creeped over us, she started pushing.

Her first son was a big boy, breech, and presenting his mother one back leg. I gently pushed his leg back in, grabbed the other leg and straightened them together, and out he plopped! He's calico in color. We dried him, placed him near his momma's belly, and he proceeded to find the best teat and spend from that moment till now, with very few breaks, latched on.

She had three more babies in quick succession, another boy and two girls.

After her fourth piglet, we saw a lot of bright red blood, so we thought the births were over. Not so. She had three more healthy, breech, piglets. Two more boys and one more girl.

Fortunately, Snowflake got it into her head that she's a professional livestock guardian dog, and she took up a post next to Opal's bed to watch over the vulnerable momma and her babies all night.
Three times, Snowflake sounded the alarm for the other dogs to chase a predator while she stayed near the little pig family.
Although we have plenty of coyotes, bobcats, and stray dogs who could gobble up the piglets, these were more likely possums or weasels who wanted a grab-n-go placenta.

This morning Opal wouldn't take time to get up and get herself food and water, so we brought it right to her.
She's an excellent mom, who contrary to what I've heard about pigs, is careful not to roll on or step on her children.
She's totally focused on her babies, but not any different toward us.
I think she's grateful for her dog-friend staying with her.

More Piglet Pictures

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Royal Piglet Watch

Opal, like Kate Middleton, is the center of expectant anticipation concerning the birth of her babies. She had to put up with paparazzi harassment while she grabbed a bite to eat in the yard last night.
Poor Opal.
She's working hard this morning to build a new house in which to shelter her brood. She's picking stalks of weeds, carrying them to her building site, and stacking them into a cozy fortress.
It's fascinating and fun to watch her plan and build.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Laura, Chili Maker

Laura threw together a pot of excellent chili and a big pan of cornbread tonight.

Do not let anyone tell you that teenagers aren't the best type of people!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Homemade Tortillas

Becky fried up peppers, onions, and chicken in a skillet while Laura squished tortillas flat in a press.
Before soccer, I ate three burritos.
Best. Food. Ever!