04 April 2015

From Season to Season

One of the things I love about living up Nawth is that we get to experience all four seasons (Five, if you count "mud season")

Sadly, we seem to be having a bit of trouble here moving on to spring this year.  Here're some pics from March 31.

Here's "Lake Caprine" in our goat pen.  This "lake" froze the night after these pics were taken and Annika, our VERY pregnant Nigerian Dwarf goat went belly up on the ice.  She looked like an odd, white, furry turtle waving her useless legs in the air.  Fortunately, she was not injured!


The little porch you see there is about 1/2 a flight of stairs high.  The snow pile is from all the snow that came down off our steep metal roof.




Oh Look!  There's actually a bud on the lilac tree...Of course, one of the goats ate it right after I took this photo.





Today is April 4.  It is Cookie's 8th birthday.  Happy Birthday, Cookie!  Oh look - we are celebrating by having more snow today!  Don't you feel special?



*twitch*twitch*

In other news, Ditza is 145 days of pregnant today.  According my very trustworthy sources, most LaManchas tend to kid around day 145.  I think Ditz is holding out for the middle of Easter dinner tomorrow, instead.



Annika dropped her last set of kids on Day 143.  She'll be at that mile marker on Monday.  



Electra got her "birthing clip" today.  She has quite long hair for a dairy goat, so there was a great deal of clipping to do.  She is skinny as a rail, ornery as....a goat, and has the weirdest looking little lopsided udder I've ever seen.  I can't feel any babies, but she does have the udder (sort of) and her personality has changed tremendously.  We should know within another week or so if she is actually pregnant or if she is playing an elaborate hoax on all of us.  

If she's NOT pregnant, then I'll be voting for her to move on to another home as a pet!  Here's a pic of her clip job and her sad, strange little udder.



I'm lacking a bit of sleep from repeated trips to the sliding glass doors on the porch in the middle of the night listening, listening for suspicious sounds of someone in labor in the goat shed.

These clowns are really keeping me on my toes!

Ok, I've been sitting here too long.  The sun is starting to come out from behind the clouds - HUZZAH! - and I need to go see if anyone is in labor!

15 February 2015

A Blizzard of Groovy Thoughts

I have written SO MANY blog posts in my head in the past 2 months.  Unfortunately, none of them made it through my fingers onto the keyboard.  Here's a shortened account of the blizzards of 2014-2015.

December was WAY crazy and stressful and wonderful.

I knew Scout was coming, so we were prepared for that.  But then GrammaJ felt like the Lord told her she needed to pay for plane tickets for Funsocksgirl, the J-Man, and Master Andrew to come visit us from NY.  She wanted to keep it as a surprise from the whole family, but she had to clue me in because she needed help.  There was an exciting but stressful flurry of making a money transfer, confirming tickets, borrowing a carseat, highchair, and pack-n-play AND a van to pick them all up at the airport -all without arousing any suspicions. I even had to pretend I was going to mail them their gifts, etc.  Then we had to design a ruse for going to the airport to pick them up which is an hour-and-a-half away.  'Twas very stressful and exhausting - but oh so worth it!  Not one person caught on!  It was so awesome to see each person's face when they finally saw the kids!

Master Andrew kept us all laughing.  He turned 3 while he was here and we had so much fun with him!  His great grands hadn't seen him since he was a wee baby, so the visit was extra special for them.

And I got have ALL FOUR of my kids together for a holiday - a very rare treat!

We packed SO much celebrating into the visit:  Andy's birthday, Grammy's birthday, Christmas, sledding, brother/sister dates, board games, card games, dominoes, oodles of food, visiting the grandfolks and daily visits to Scouts beautiful children in a distant town.

The J-Man, Funsocksgirl and Master Andrew arriving at the airport!


Scout and his girlies, Fireball and Cookie


Scout and his son, Ji-Ji


Scout


My four Kiddos:  Scout, Funsocksgirl, Girly-Girl, and Silly-Head


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Once everyone left, we got about a week and a half of respite before the January blizzard arrived:  Grammy had a stroke.  Long story short, she is currently in her final stages of rehab and should be home in a couple more weeks.  God has mercifully allowed her to recover and the lasting effects of her stroke are limited to fatigue and a blood pressure that tends to drop.  We are very grateful that she is doing so well!  However, it has been a month and a half of hospital visits and worries over Grampy (Grammy is his caregiver) and phone calls and family pow-wows.  We were extremely thankful that the BHE's brother was able to fly out from California and stay here for most of January to help us all through the worst of the storm.

On a much different front, GrammaJ decided -after 8 years of no vehicle -to buy a car.  She bought it the day after Grammy had the stroke.  And, in her desperation to be free and independent, she bought too quickly and got shafted.  The car has been nothing but a nightmare.  I may share details later, but if I do now, my blood my boil over on the keyboard.  Instead, I'll just say that she needs a financial miracle because - oh mercy -the repairs that are needed!

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In other news, all my whining about the goaties was totally unecessary.  God has, indeed, chosen to enlarge our herd; We are now CONFIDENT that all 3 does are pregnant!   HUZZAH!!!!!!!

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I'm so thankful for a quiet day today.  Church was cancelled due to a projected blizzard.  (Note: said "blizzard" turned out to be a dud, which is good because we don't need any more snow!!!!)  So the BHE and the girls and I sang worship songs together and studied the Word and prayed together.  I knocked out a couple of sewing projects and did some crosswords.  It's been really nice.  And it's so quiet.

What a blessing after all the storms...



04 December 2014

Flexibility

Ah, flexibility.  The word of the month.

I've been s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d quite a bit the past 2-3 weeks - both literally and figuratively!

On the figurative side we've had plans changed and resorted to plans B and C on more occasions than I can now recall.  Car broken down.  Weather cancellations.  Schedule conflicts.  Weird electrical smells from the dishwasher. Toilet replacement (More on that in my next post!) and MORE.

Smile.  Keep your chin up.  Roll with the punches.

Semper Gumbi!

I've had 2 relatives get quite angry with me and they both "let me have it".  Some of what was said, I deserved.  Much of the rest were just painful, unnecessary reminders of how I failed in the past.  I even got lambasted for not being snuggly as a baby.

Yes, I'm serious.

The Lord has brought peace and forgiveness now, but WOW.

Semper Gumbi!

On the literal side, the girlies are in a play in April/May.  Girly-Girl will be dancing in said play and is supposed to be able to do the splits.  She currently cannot do them.  At all.  So Silly-Head and I agreed to work and exercise and stretch with her so we can ALL do the splits by the end of April.

Yes, I'm serious.

GroovyOLDlady is working on doing the splits.

I actually don't think it will that hard.  I am already MUCH more flexible than either of my teen daughters.  Of course, I did fall right on my head doing a stunt.   But we won't mention that here...

I'll keep you posted on my progress.

The last piece of flexibility comes from dealing with the goats.  It looks like Ditza's breeding took.  Huzzah!  Annika seems to have settled as well.  (Though I won't be surprised at all if she proves me wrong; She's good at that!)

It's Electra who's making me crazy.  She went to the buck BEFORE she was in heat and stayed with him constantly for several days.  She started flagging her tail and let him perform his bucky administrations a few days after she'd been there.  The breeder called and said she was bred but they were going to leave her and Mr. Man together longer because she was still flagging ("Flagging" is one of the classic ways a doe says she's ready to breed).  So she stayed there a few more days and we picked her up.

She was still flagging.

She's still flagging almost 3 weeks later.

Gaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

Is she pregnant or is she in heat or is she just a nutcase?

Whichever it is, she's keeping me flexible.

Semper Gumbi!


11 November 2014

Love is in the Air

It is Fall on our Groovy little farm.  Late Fall.

The leaves have all come down except for a few stalwart holdouts on the Maple out in the front yard.  The grass is still green, but it's fading and we haven't needed to mow since September.

We've cleaned up the garden and planted the garlic.  We've mulched the strawberry bed and brought the garden hoses in so they don't freeze and crack at night.

We've filled in the low places in the goat pen so they won't swamp up on us next Spring when the snow melts.

And Love is in the air - Goaty love!  After 2 barren years, we have pulled out all the stops to make sure that each of our goaties finds true love and gives us children.  And milk.  Don't forget the MILK!

We don't own any bucks.  However charming they may be the rest of the year, bucks are stinky during the "love" season (aka "the rut").  Bucks pee on themselves (and on their owners if caution is not taken.)  Bucks make gross noises and act really, REALLY weird.  Bucks are hard on fences and hay racks and feed troughs.  Owning bucks would require us to build another pen and another shelter.  Owning bucks on our current piece of property would probably necessitate giving away alot of delicious goat milk cheese and goat milk fudge to stay in the good graces of our neighbors!

So, needless to say, there will no bucks on the Groovy farm anytime in the foreseeable future.

Thus, when our does appear to be "hankerin' for a man", we take them on brief dates to farms that DO have bucks.  So far, only one of those dates has ever resulted in kids.  I may have caught the girls too early or late in their cycle.  Or I may have called the breeder at the right time, but they wouldn't be home until the next day.  And then, when their next cycle (the goats' cycles, not the breeeders' cycles) came, I didn't recognize it and missed the chance to rebreed them.

This year we are taking no chances.  I charted their cycles.  I kinda thought Annika, our Nigerian Dwarf, might be in heat and I rushed her over to a local breeder who was  - oh thank the Lord - actually home and available.  Annie was, indeed ready for love.  But to clinch the deal she stayed with her handsome beau, Two-Faced, ALL day!  That was 2 weeks ago - and I think it may have worked.  I should know for sure within the week...

Here's Annika and I:

Our 2 LaManchas, Ditza and Electra, have to go much further away to a breeder; 45 minutes one way.  I thought Electra was in heat, drove her out there and...Fail.  The buck was VERY interested, but she was not.  NOT groovy!

So I formulated a plan to save us gas and save me stress.  I dropped Ditza off at their farm last week a few days before she was supposed to be in heat.  "Call me when she's bred." said I.  And then I just focused on other things.  I got the call (Huzzah!!!) and went this morning to pick her up and simultaneously drop Electra off.  I'm figuring that the small amount we pay for boarding is absolutely worth the decrease in my stress level!

Here's Girly-Girl and Ditza:


I didn't think Electra's heat was until this next weekend, but she's hard to read.  She was showing some possible signs when I did chores this morning before we left and I got an email this evening that she may be ready to party with one very handsome (if you look past the his pee drenched face) Mr. Man tomorrow!

Here's Silly-Head and Electra:

We have prayed earnestly for the Lord to increase out herd.  So please join us in praying for a healthy outpouring of baby does in the Spring!

I will keep you updated - probably ad nauseum - as I ruminate about my ruminants, but I'll add in cute photos so you won't get too bored.  ;-)

09 November 2014

Writing is Groovy!

Greetings to All My Internutty friends (ie.  all 3 of you that will read this post)!

'Tis I,  Groovy, back from the world of wordlessness.

As you may (or may not) know, our family took a loooooong trip from the East coast to the West coast and back again over the course of 4 weeks.  During that trip each of us faithfully kept a daily journal.  I was forced for day after day to write whole sentences, nay, paragraphs of prose for future generations to read.  And I had to make it interesting so they'd actually, you know, want to read it.

It got easier and easier as the month went on and, truth be told, I missed writing my daily missives once the trip was over.  I found myself thinking much differently than I did before the trip when my brain was still in FaceBook mode.  I now find my muse formulating BLOG posts and play scripts and story ideas instead of pithy one-liners.

Even so, it has taken another 5 weeks to actually get around to writing on my blog again.  First I had to go back and reminisce over old blog posts.  And I had to tear up and "Oooooo" and "Awwwww" over adorable photos of Girly-Girl and Silly-Head as wee little girls.  And I had to change up my blog design a bit.

But now I'm ready to write.  And write some more.  And write more often.

So keep your eyes open for new posts.  Oh, and invite your friends to stop by as well.

I'll be writing about daily life at the Groovy Farm with the Groovy family and, of course, the Groovy goats.  I'm sure you'll also get the rare privilege of reading some of the crazy (albeit groovy) topics I think about.

On the docket for future posts:

*  When I dust and vacuum my house, am I sweeping up the remains of some ancient civilization?

*  Why can't I keep pregnant goats in the kitchen?

*  It's just wrong for one woman to have menstrual cycles for over 40 years.  (Can I get an Amen?)

*  I am using my Jedi mind powers to convince the Best Hubby Ever that we need to add chickens to our farm.  (Wish me luck, my Jedi powers ain't what they used to be!)

*  What's the deal with those stupid fuzzy slipper socks that leave lint all over the floor and the bed and in shoes and on the couch and in the tub (wet lint, in that case) and on the carpet and in the basement and....oh heck, I think I even found some out in the goat pen.

*  Why, Why, Oh WHY is there no simple urine pregnancy test for goats?

*  Life with GrammaJ and the Folks...  (so many posts, so little time!)

And more!

So stay tuned, Groovy will be back soon with something groovy to say!


12 August 2014

It Was a Nightmare!

GrammaJ, bless her heart, is a bit given to hyperbole and exaggeration.  Back in the days when she lived several states away, she was known to call us frequently.  She'd dutifully wait for the answering machine because I screened my calls.  Then she'd say, "Groovy Lynn (She always uses my middle name)!  Can you pick up the phone, PLEASE!  It's an EMERGENCY!"

Naturally, if I was there to hear her plea, I'd rush to the phone.  Once in a very great while there was a matter of true import, but much more often her "emergencies" were more of the "What temperature should I bake this cake at if I use a square pan?" or "How do I clean a spot off of leather?" or "I'm trying to write out a wonderful recipe I made up: How do you spell zucchini?"

Needless to say, after a while I was a bit slower to respond to her "emergencies".  I would always call her back, but I didn't always rush to do it!

She is also noted for her strong opinions.  A person is not a mediocre hairstylist.  She is, instead, the "absolute worst hairstylist EVER".  That store manager is not just nice; "He's such a wonderful young man!  We've bonded!  I've adopted him as your brother!  He should be promoted to CEO of the company!"

And let's not get started about food...

She's a picky eater at the best of times.  Give her a cookie that is less than perfect to her tastebuds and you are instantly a "lousy cook".  A meal is not just so-so; It's either "wonderful!" or The "most horrible meal" she's ever had.  There's simply no in-between for GrammaJ.

And now there are the "Nightmares".  Any time GrammaJ has a tough time with something it's a "Nightmare".  If she was on hold to talk to the phone company, it was a nightmare.  If she spilled a glass of wine, then cleaning it up was a nightmare.  If a company sends her an incorrect bill, then the whole affair is a nightmare.

Are these things good?  Are they fun?  Are they right?  Nope.  But they're not nightmares.

Just yesterday, GrammaJ was in a really bad mood - very negative. So the girlies and I set about to cheer her up.  I'm happy to report that between yesterday and today she cheered up marvelously.  But before the change in mood came she got the opportunity to tell the people at the store just what she thought of my Honda Element.  "This car is a NIGHTMARE!  My daughter is so sorry she ever got it! The suicide doors are so awful they make you want to COMMIT suicide!  And it only seats 4 people!  And the seat is too high for me to climb into!  And they have have BRAKE PROBLEMS!  It's a NIGHTMARE!"

Now, we own 2 Honda Elements.  They are not my favorite cars.  We have had some brake problems and the suicide doors are a huge nuisance.  The cars only seat four with seat belts.  But both the cars run really well and they are quite roomy inside.  There's no carpet in them so they're great for transporting plants and goats.  They are, as the BHE likes to call them "practical vehicles".  They are not my preference for a family vehicle, but they both get the job done and they are, most decidedly, not nightmares.

The girlies and I got to talking about this last night and, as usual, talking turned to giggling as we considered what it would take for our car situation to actually be a nightmare.  First of all, my car would have to be parked between a motorhome and a big, ugly truck full of raccoons.


I would need to try to get my gigantic economy pack of 50 rolls of toilet paper into the backseat of the car even though I can only open the doors 4" because the truck and the motorhome (Which has a vicious barking dog inside) are parked so closely.  And the raccoons steal my hat.  And there's a tornado approaching rapidly.  And the static electricity in the car keeps shocking me.  AND I have to pee really badly and the only place to go is on the toilet in the back of the truck with all those raccoons that just turned into maniacal chattering monkeys that are sealing all the groceries in my cart.  And I have a parking ticket.  And some hoodlum runs off with my 50 pound box of chocolate while I'm pinned between the cars. And I'm standing there in my underwear.

Now THAT's a nightmare.

And the next time GrammaJ misuses the term, I may just fill her in.  ;-)

08 August 2014

And So The Truth Comes Out...

Alright, I admit it.  I am not thrilled with the idea of another cross-country camping trip.  We did it 2 years ago.  It was incredibly fun.  We made it through the whole month together with nary a fight, no sickness, no mishaps, and oodles of terrific experiences.  However, the trip was sooooooooooo looooong.  And, as much as I like the idea of adventures, I prefer to be HOME.  In fact, Girly-Girl and I both started sobbing when we finally saw the sign for the bridge into Maine.  We were SO GLAD to be almost done with the trip!

But the BHE truly needs this trip and he is so right that this is probably the best year for it.  Soon the girls will have jobs and cars and "lives" and will be next to impossible for us all to get away together. Not to mention our parents' deteriorating health and goats in milk and homeschool science classes at our house, etc.

Unless the Lord throws up a BIG roadblock, this is the time.  But I haven't been on board with the plan at all - except for the fact that it would be good for my hubby.  In fact, I was praying that the whole idea would just "go away".  At least, I was until yesterday when I actually posted about our potential plans.  It is like writing it down made it real somehow.  And desirable.  And maybe even FUN.

Last night I started making lists of what we needed to pack and food ideas and secret plans for Girly-Girl's 15th birthday.  I woke up this morning with sudden ideas for how to make things run smoothly for our folks while we're gone.  In other words, yesterday's blog post tripped a switch in me.  I'm ready to plan and load up and GO!

Right after we finish all these 4-H Goat Shows!

More details to follow, so stay tuned...


07 August 2014

The Good, the Bad, and the Unsettling

Hiho and Happy Summer to all of you.

Here in Groovyville, things have been extremely busy.  We've got it all going on - the good, the bad, and the unsettling.

Let's start with the GOOD:
     -God has blessed us all with good health.
     -Both the girls placed super well in their 4-H Dairy Goat shows!  Silly-Head got 2 firsts as a "Junior" and Girly-Girl got 2 seconds against some steep competition.  They both worked very hard, jumped in whenever anyone else needed help and had wonderful attitudes.  I am a VERY proud Groovy 4-H mom!
     -There are still 2 exciting fairs for us to show dairy goats at!  We are all looking forward to the shows!
     -The weather has been lovely thus far with very few "Too hot" days.   We've had rain interspersed at perfect intervals, so there has been no need to water the garden at all.  I must say that our part of Podunk, Maine is lush and beautiful right now!
     -Speaking of my garden; it's doing quite well except for the returning tomato blight.  We've harvested garlic and carrots and the onions are almost ready.  I'm drying parsley and basil now.  And a friend gave us many strawberry plants to plant.  FUN!
     -All the goaties are healthy and full of vinegar.  They keep us very entertained with all their antics.  *sigh*  I love my goaties!  We are praying earnestly for success in getting them all pregnant this fall...with multiple doe kids...It's our turn!  Please!!!
     -I actually wrote and submitted an article to an online goat related website!
     -I've got another fun idea for a short story that I need to crank out.
     -My long, thin, straight and stringy hair has started to curl more and more as I've aged.  Totally GROOVY!
     -Both the girls were able to attend a 2-day horse camp in June.  It was extremely affordable and they had a blast!
     -I feel like our homeschool time has gone really well this year.  I am very laid back - in fact, we almost "unschool" - but the girls have flourished and learned and grown by leaps and bounds.

Now the BAD:
     -Um, OK....so I can only think of 2 things.  And I can't really elaborate on either one since they involve personal family details.  Suffice it to say that caring for aging parents can be difficult at times.  And that being the parent of an adult child can also have its unpleasant challenges.

Then there's the UNSETTLING:
      -Girly-Girl starts highschool this year!!!!!!!  That means A. she's growing up! and B. I gotta start keeping more serious and permanent school records!
 
      -The Best Hubby Ever has his sights set on taking another month long, cross-country camping trip in September.  Wait...September?????  That's less than 4 weeks away!!!!!!!!!!  This is exciting (At least, that's what I keep telling myself...)  And I'm sure it will be fun once we actually get on the road.  However, the planning process stresses me considerably and the thought of being away from all our needy elderly parents concerns me.  But the BHE is right that this seems like the best year to load up and go.  The needy elderly folks are only going to get needier and elderlier.  (Elderlier IS a word, right?) The next two years (possibly three) I plan to be teaching high school sciences, so I'll need to be here in September to start classes .  We also have no goats in milk right now, so their care should be minimal.  Next year I'm hoping and praying for THREE does to kid and be milked.

At any rate, the scramble is on to find someone who can sit with Grampy so Grammy can get out of the house and someone to take GrammaJ out shopping once a week and maybe help her with housework AND someone to back-up Grammy if goat care gets overwhelming for her.

And that's about all for now.  I have a bit of a stomach bug and my energy is flagging fast.  But before I go, let me point you to these hilarious and sweet goat comedy videos.  VERY creative!  In fact, they've inspired us to write out some plot lines for OUR goats!  So please enjoy The Goat.  We sure did!

12 July 2014

Thinking in Complete Sentences

Well, I cut loose from Facebook addiction five days ago.  I do, indeed, miss it.  It's such an easy way to keep up with friends!  However, I am now seeing what all that quick interaction has done to my brain.  I can recall the days when I used to think in paragraphs and essays.  I used to construct blog posts in my head and almost ache until I wrote them down.  Now I am limited to mere blurbs.

I find my brain composing Facebook entries - only a sentence or two long:

"Lots of silliness going on in the Groovy household today!"

"Take THAT tomato blight!"

"I just squashed the world's ugliest moth.  Shudder!"

"Audacity is a wonderful, simple to use, FREE audio recording program.  LOVE it!!!"

"Heard recently in the Groovy household:  'I'd rather eat a bugger than earwax ANY day!'"
           
"There are so many insects this year, that I firmly resolved to kill the all.  (exceptions will be          made for bees and butterflies and ladybugs.  Everyone else is DEAD MEAT!"

You get the picture...

At any rate, my poor brain needs to be retrained again to flow with complete thoughts.  To build the story around the pithy little quote.  To communicate with clear prose again.

I need to, once again, become a story teller.

I can feel the stories there.  They're aching to come out.  I just need to finish going through these withdrawal symptoms.

CURSE YOU, FACEBOOK!   ;-)

08 July 2014

Back to WRITING

Hi Folks,

Groovy here.  Facebook is now a thing of the past.  Do you know what that means?

Hmmmm?

Do you?

IT MEANS I WON'T BE NOTIFIED FOR 427 DIFFERENT PEOPLES' BIRTHDAYS!~

It means no more stupid game requests.

It means no more gratuitous pics of adorable children, cats, goats, hamsters, or horses.

It means no more political Hoo-Haw.

It means no more "If you believe this is true then repost it or else."

It means my hubby's mind will be at ease - he's NEVER been comfortable with Facebook.

It means I won't be so distracted (at least, not from Facebook!)

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It also means I can spend more time writing.

So there.

I'll be back this weekend.

With WORDS.

See ya then!