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Goats, gripes, and grasping for greatness
 
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in a preponderance of punctuation marks' LiveJournal:

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    Wednesday, January 1st, 2014
    11:20 am
    Sticky
    Friday, December 26th, 2014
    10:54 am
    Goats can get colds, too
    Diego-goat is a sick little boy, but not too bad. He has a huge runny nose and is sneezing quite a bit. When I took the boys' breakfast out this morning, I thought he was much worse off than he is, because he refused to join the morning melee for food. He walked over with the others, but then just stood there with his tail down. So after I finished feeding everyone, I went inside for all the sick-goat preparations. I came back out with April's Oatmeal, dewormer, and a vitamin B shot. I set up the left barn side with water and new hay and the oatmeal, and closed it off from everyone.

    I caught Diego easily and just carried him into the closed-off left barn side, where I checked him over. Despite the runny nose, his breathing didn't sound too bad, and his ears and nose weren't hot and dry, but warm and normal. Ruling out a need for a temperature-taking or antibiotics (for now), I just dosed him with very-necessary dewormer and the B. As soon as I closed the gate on him, he was eating the new and exciting hay like normal. I expect that I will find he has eaten his oatmeal and is doing fine-but-miserable when I go back out to check on him later.
    Wednesday, December 24th, 2014
    3:02 pm
    Today's random II: earworms and other songs, Hannukah games, Good Omens turns 25
    Have a fun, romantic earworm: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2cfxv8Pq-Q
    And, Amazonmink, have a fun "romantic" translation of a love song: http://youtu.be/xPNZ7CRIb24 and hail victory!

    If you ever played dreidel, here's the math behind both why it's such a long game, and why it's totally slanted towards whoever starts.

    The book Good Omens is 25 years old this year. And apparently, Gaiman and Pratchett really did co-write it, in a very co-mingling kind of way. They talk about it here.
    Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014
    9:40 am
    Kermit the Dad/Frog... reflections are still true
    I originally wrote this 11 years ago. I don't have Dad anymore, but I do have the memories and the lessons and the humor.

    And in case you need this: John Denver and the Muppets, A Christmas Together full video. If you just want "A Christmas Wish" (below), that's this cut. And happy 1979, haircuts and all.

    How Kermit represents Dad in my head at ChristmasCollapse )
    Thursday, December 11th, 2014
    2:59 pm
    Pssst - wanna win $250 in books?
    http://baen.com/contests-december2014.asp

    I wrote "The Night before Goat Show" but don't know if I'll be doing this one. I hope a few authors that I know contribute...
    Tuesday, December 9th, 2014
    6:38 am
    For a limited time only: Short People on Ice!
    I woke up this morning to that distinctive hiss of sleet against the window. The radio announcer was starting into the litany of accidents in the northwest of the broadcast area (just north of me).

    The side stairs were iffy, so I went through the front door to go to the barn. I did my goat chores very, very carefully. The ice crusting the water pump was about the thickness of an orange peel, which is plenty thick enough to provide a skating surface for a car. Fortunately, with the temperature just at freezing, the ice wasn't strong enough to stop me from busting through it for water. The back goats (and llama) will need more hay today, but at least everyone has had breakfast.

    Blessings on the technology age which allows me to telework. I can be safe and not feel guilty about it.

    ETA: The dog is not in favor of the ice, either. She lost traction and went down the front steps on her rear end. Even at 8:30 this morning, it's 31 degrees and raining. That's not a good combination.
    Thursday, December 4th, 2014
    9:09 pm
    Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
    9:15 pm
    Triangle loom triumph
    I finished weaving the latest triangle shawl tonight. The ends are in and it is cast off and headed for washing. It should be dry in time for Saturday's craft fair.

    The yarn is a *heavy three-ply heathered pink/grey mohair that has a lot of shine to it. It also has a lot of halo already, so washing should prove interesting. Even with the open work of the loom, it will drape quite definitively. It has no loft whatsoever, and almost no elasticity. It's also unfortunately likely to shed like a scared cat.

    *This yarn would only be good for a sweater substituting for concrete shoes. Straight off of the loom, the shawl weighs nearly a pound. A sweater with any kind of fabric properties (rather than open work/lace) would weigh many pounds. (For comparison, the hooded sweatshirt I'm wearing is exactly 1.5 lbs.)
    Thursday, November 27th, 2014
    11:05 am
    Thinking about goat babies
    As a way of lowering the house sitting requirements this week, I called an end to breeding season on Sunday. All the good boys and girls (ok, the bad ones too) are back in their regularly scheduled pastures.

    Cookie and Anna only had two weeks, but Anna is already looking rather round. So I have expectations (ha ha) that she will kid for 2015. Her earliest due date is March 12, and latest is March 24th.

    Ari was in with Ginger, Alys, and Dahlia for exactly a month. The earliest kidding date is 3/24, but I am expecting that they will take a little longer. Dahlia is looking a little round, and Alys is causing wishful thinking, but Ginger hasn't started to fill out at all yet. Given one particular performance, I think that Ginger is going to kid on or about April 7th.

    So, if I get any solid black girl kids, I'm considering naming them Hix or Whilp. Maybe a redhead would be Marisol. I'm in a rather McKinley mood, if you can't tell. (I've already had an Aerin, btw. She was Jessie's first kid. And a Maggy - daughter of Anna - so Margaret is out.)

    Thinking about boys - while Ari was named for Beka's brother in Price of the Stars, there is another Ari that I've read. In the Joust series, Ari is one of the heroes of the first book. Kashet (Ari's dragon) isn't a bad name for a red goat. Kiron (the protagonist) could work for a black one, too.
    Thursday, November 20th, 2014
    8:45 pm
    Someone turned the stars on
    Yes, the goats got sheared two weeks ago, and yes it's horribly, unseasonably, unconscionably cold out this week. This is when the term "exotherm" is applied to livestock. Goats ruminate, which causes heat to be released. So long as goats have shelter, hay, and water, they are usually fine.

    The neat thing about this week is that the crescent moon rises very late, so nighttime chores are under a blanket of stars (and one shining planet*). With the crisp, cold air, the sky is as deep as it ever gets. The faint, twinkly stars are flirting while the bright stars are boldly standing forward. In the morning, the moon hangs in the east and Orion hunts far to the south.

    Living in the country has moments of grace. It just takes remembering to look up from the mundanity.

    * There are three visible planets right now, but they almost don't overlap in timing. http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/visible-planets-tonight-mars-jupiter-venus-saturn-mercury
    Friday, October 31st, 2014
    8:12 pm
    Books: The Slow Regard of Silent Things, by Patrick Rothfuss
    The Slow Regard of Silent Things, by Patrick Rothfuss. Fantasy. Hardback, 159 pages. A side-step in the Kingkiller Chronicles. Keeping it.

    Rothfuss is an author of lyrical prose and juxtaposed concepts. He likes to describe things in threes, be they adjectives or verbs. He has a way of glancing sideways at emotions that can cause the meaning to circle back and smack the reader in the back of the head a few paragraphs later. And his characters are almost always more and different than they seem.

    This book is a love it or hate it kind of a story. It has things with names and days with attitudes. It has a main character who is broken and very self-aware, who lives in the broken place with broken things. And there are things that are not broken, but simply misplaced.

    I enjoyed this story for what it was: a window into a world only hinted in the main story. I didn't find the story all that deep or meaningful, but I found it comforting. Pages 144-145 rang like a bell. And the implications at the end were... savory on my mental tongue. And I really enjoyed the author's afterward.

    I recommend, if you choose to read this book at all, that you find a time and a space when you are slow and quiet and have the time to hear the words echo in your head. This is not a book to be rushed or sampled. Devote the entire book to one time, or vice versa.
    Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
    12:33 pm
    Books: Burn for Me, by Ilona Andrews
    Burn for Me, by Ilona Andrews. Urban Fantasy. Paperback, 382 pages. First in the Hidden Legacy series. giveawaybox.

    The Andrews team is back from Magic Breaks with their first book in a new series. Written with the same flair for characterization and dialog as the Kate Daniels series, this new series sets up hereditary magic clans as the financial (and possibly political) powers around the world, and the rest of the population as normal support staff. Our heroine is the oldest of the youngest generation running a family-based private investigation business which usually does cases like divorce or insurance fraud. This time, Nevada Baylor is hired to find a powerful rogue mage and return him alive to his family.

    Burn for Me is the opening book of a new series that is rightly filed under "paranormal romance." The kissing scenes are full of heat and passion and erotic confusion, just like they should. Unfortunately, it's the context of that passion that is... ok, no holding back: pissing me off. ranting timeCollapse )

    I published this review on Amazon at the same time as I wrote it here. It immediately got a "this was helpful" vote from a shopper. One vote to the positive is one person who understood me. Whether that person buys the book is irrelevant to me. What is relevant is that the person was educated in his/her choice. My voice was heard.
    Saturday, October 25th, 2014
    3:09 pm
    Let's do that goat baby thing again (breeding for 2015 kids)
    Cookie and Anna had two weeks in the shag shack, from Oct 13-25. I'm ok if she doesn't catch; I'm honestly more interested in Ari continuing to produce awesome kids. Ari is now in the pen with Dahlia, Alys, and Ginger. They will probably stay there until the middle of December, or when the weather gets bad enough that I don't want to deal with a fourth pasture. So kid watch starts for Anna about March 10th (March 12th is earliest due date), and for Dahlia on March 22 (March 24 is earliest due date). I say Dahlia first because she is currently in heat and thinks Ari is the hottest guy she's ever seen. The other two girls are just complaining.
    Friday, October 24th, 2014
    10:20 pm
    Jared's legacy
    Even after posting the link in my earlier comments to the July 15, 2004 birthday gift of yearling Jared, I still managed to put his birthdate in that same year, so I went back and corrected my RIP post to credit him with eleven and a half years, not ten. Jared was born March 3, 2003. (And in going through the paperwork, I discovered that I had given Jessie back a year. Her birthdate is March 23, 2002. Eek.)

    Jared had a long and successful career as a hobby-farm stud. Without checking every birth record, I can't say I got it all right, but here is a passable list of the kids that are his. He had 39 kids, only 17 of which were boys. Jared and Jessie's daughter Anna has had six kids (Bianca, Gyre, Gimble, Ari, Owen, Kezzi), and Ari has had two kids (Diego, Viola). So Jared and Jessie both can look down on their great-grandchildren and know that they have fulfilled their biological imperative.

    Jared's childrenCollapse )
    Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
    8:25 pm
    RIP Jared goat. Thanks for the memories and the kids.
    Jared was dead when I got home tonight. I knew better than to hope, so I'm not all that broken up now. I had three extra days to face the loss before it happened. And I guess I'm getting a little better about letting go.

    Jared was ten eleven and a half years old when he died. Born in Pennsylvania in spring of 2004 2003, he came to our farm as a yearling in July of 2005 2004. I chose him because of his bloodlines and his good looks. Despite having close horns (a big flaw), he did very well as a clean fighter and a good sire. Once he got over his teenage idiocy, Jared settled down to be a quiet, companionable guy who only really let his feelings show during shearing, when he bellowed like a cow until he was six. He knew how to rumble and how to sing his love songs to the girls. He was a polite guy at the hayrick, and reasonable about foodbowls, too.

    photo of Jared in fighting trimCollapse )

    Jared sired more than thirty kids here; I'll have to do the math for the full count. He passed on his recessive genetics in dramatic stripey form to Madison, Ria, and Orchid, and then to his grandson Diego. For those who have been to the farm in the past few years, you might like the reminder that Jared is father of Scout (Sashimi), Anna and Lerris (Jessie), and Madeline (Mona). His grandson Ari (Anna x Cookie) is now standing stud here, with two great-grandchildren on the ground. While I can't claim to know the fates of all of his kids, Justin (Crystal) stood stud in Maryland for a few years, as did Madison (Sashimi) in New York and Houston (Sashimi) over the hill south of me. His daughter Maggie (Jessie) is also a grandmother.

    Angora goats *can* live to be fourteen. Most web-based sources say 9-11 years is a normal lifespan range. So ten is respectably eleven is darned old for a stud. Because of all the fighting and loving that they do, bucks' bodies break down and betray them more quickly than even the doe goats who have kids every year. And in the past two years, Jared aged very quickly. Wethering him and retiring him probably saved him from dying of a heart attack, but also took away his fighting hormones, and he lost a lot of bulk last year.

    Once I do the math, I can feel both proud and worried about the older goats here. Jessie is a year older, Summer is the same age as Jared, and Loki is a year behind. Alys, Anna, and Dahlia are eight and a half. ... Sancho* was born in 2001. Yes, he is coming up on fifteen this next year. This group of older goats provides some argument that we have been reasonably good goat-parents, even with the five preventable deaths on my record. However, due to this aging group, I expect that there will be more losses, more frequently, over the next few years.

    *Collapse )
    Saturday, October 18th, 2014
    5:59 pm
    New York Sheep & Wool results
    Kid buck - Diego - 2nd place out of seven
    Yearling buck - Richie - 6th place out of six
    Adult buck - Ari - 3rd place out of four

    Yearling doe - Fiona - 3rd place; Taffy - 5th place out of six
    Adult doe - Madeline - 5th place out of eight

    commentaryCollapse )
    Saturday, October 11th, 2014
    6:22 pm
    Good-bye Zoe. Enjoy playing with Henry and Maurice.
    The sweet family that purchased Henry and Maurice last year on Independence Day met Zoe-goat at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival. They decided while I was in Hawaii that Zoe was the girl for them, so I made arrangements to drop her off when I got back.

    Henry and Maurice have grown up to be lovely wethers. They are obviously in a good place, with good people. Zoe did me proud today, too, by immediately getting social with the little girl of the family, eating her cookies, and generally being cool with the move.
    2:45 pm
    Bye-bye chickens. The foxes had a meal.
    For those of you playing along with the farm game, I regret to report that the three chickens have met their end. The various explosions of feathers in the front yard are my main evidence; the lack of any chicken coming home is the supporting evidence.

    I will likely not replace the chickens until the spring. They were a good experience, but I can easily admit that they were a pain to care for during snow and shocking cold temperatures.
    Thursday, October 9th, 2014
    8:10 pm
    Hawaii Day 9 - Ko Olina Resort and the north shore sunset
    We snagged our hostess's car and took off for the westward side of the island to see the postcard Hawaii. To me, postcard-Hawaii is the resort Hawaii with beautiful high-rise condos looking out over sculpted palms and pristine lagoons. And that is exactly what Ko Olina is in my view.

    (Our hostess for the day lives in a gorgous, three-bedroom second-floor condo in the resort residential section. While the condo isn't directly on the golf course, it does face west towards the ocean and the Disney Resort fireworks when they happen. If I ever come back and want glorious beach and fabulous residence, I will check for rentals here. It's only a 10-minute drive to the Target for less expensive food...)

    We walked from her condo through the golf course and across the main boulevard to the resorts for lunch at Longboards. I finally had a big fruit salad! And yes, the pineapple was awesome. I also had a very nice teriyaki chicken sandwich. We admired the view across the beach into the lagoon, and marveled at the resort lifestyle. Lunch for three (including two frozen Mai Tais at $12 each) was almost $70 before tip.

    Then we walked around the curves of the lagoons, admired the various Japanese weddings, cut through the Mariott to see the baby hammerhead sharks and the eagle rays, and trudged back to the condo. Did I mention it was hot? This is the dry and hot side of the island. We got there just after mid-day, and it was scorching hot. Then we walked and walked and walked. If there hadn't been a breeze and random shade, we would have melted before we even got to lunch. The walk afterwards... wouldn't have happened.

    It was late afternoon before we got back to the house. We took a brief break, grabbed an early dinner, and headed up to the north shore to catch the sunset. The waves were higher than they had been, which added to the lovely view of the sun falling off the edge of the world. I took way too many pictures. Then we went to Scoop of Paradise ice cream shop, which is run by a guy from Pennsylvania who wanted to get away from winter. Mmmm ice cream.

    I'm vaguely packed, and vaguely ready to go. It's kind of unreal that we leave tomorrow.
    Wednesday, October 8th, 2014
    7:31 pm
    Hawaii Day 8 - Hanauma Bay Snorkling
    This morning, we ran up to the Surf N Sea to ask about my snorkel. It turns out that my snorkel was just fine; it was the labeling that was incorrect. Both the little label and the enclosed instructions were for a different snorkel model. So at least it was an honest mistake. We also stopped by Walmart for an underwater camera.

    Hanauma Bay is a lovely eroded crater lagoon with many coral reefs and plenty of fish to observe. I was swimming a little less than two hours, and saw lots of fish but no turtles. It was tons of fun and a lot of swimming to keep steady in the strong wave-current. I tried to take pictures, but have no clue what the fish were or if I actually got any good pictures. I'm fine with any result. The big deal was that I was there and spent hours swimming with the fishes. Despite the warmth of the water, I got a massive cramp in my left calf, so agreed to head for shore when my swimming buddy's foot cramped.

    some things about going to Hanauma BayCollapse )

    Swimming buddy and her boyfriend hung out with me for a while while we drank water and dried out a bit. We stopped by the local greasy-burger joint, Teddy's, for an afternoon snack, then started the long trek through rush hour to get back. Boyfriend has a yellow Jeep, which made for fun riding if a bit awkward dismounts.

    My left leg is still mighty unhappy. And we sat through the epic rush hour traffic that blesses Honolulu every afternoon. But I had a great day. And I didn't get burned. I was warned and warned again about getting sunburned, and took those warnings to heart. Also, I got to prove to myself that my Lands End swim skirt and tankini top were enough cover for me to feel ok going into a restaurant. So I'll call it a win all over.
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