Fraternaling the twins: Which one are you?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sometimes I'm just a regular Nellie Normal...
Although I do have an annoying tendency to think I'm peanut butter according to my husband (let's see how thin I can spread myself this week *rolls eyes*). He's right though. Do you do it too? My poor neglected marvelously patient friend had to wait months for me to finish this frame for the name I had crocheted for her; it was a gift for her parents and thankfully she wasn't in too much of a rush. I'd been making them for years, but never attempted to mat and frame one before, so I wanted to give it a shot (and why, oh why did I feel the need to try?) It was worth it, though, in the end. Then there was Meghann of Little Studio (another long suffering wonderful friend) who has also had to wait forty forevers for a little something extra I wanted to make for her as a wedding present...actually, I'm not sure hers has even arrived in her mailbox just yet. I seem to be stuck moving at the speed of sloth and I'm getting all over my own nerves while I'm at it (grrr). On top of that, I often sit down at my desk to do one thing, and wind up doing something else altogether (having completely forgotten why I sat down in the first place *sigh*).
I am, however, always happy when I open the mailbox to find something that is neither bill nor junk. After all, it seems to be so doggone rare these days doesn't it? It was Christmas in July this month compliments of Stacey over at Behind the Bit. She sent me some fun goodies not once, but twice (and how awesome is that I ask you?) The first was for a correct answer on a blog post; and the second, for  regular voting in Purina's  Blog-O-Spondent contest. The grass mileage pun was terrible [I loved it!] so of course I immediately put it in a place of honor on the Epic Farms' filing cabinet. I have to admit the sticky notes came in awfully handy; I'd run completely out and there's only so much room on my forehead. Not to mention that it's a total pain to have to write everything backwards. Ba-dum-bump.
...but other times I'm sooooo her strange sister Abby:

My latest (greatest? flakiest?) undertaking would have to be The Piddlin' Puddle Project (the stranger the idea the sillier the name I assign to it; what can I say?). Okay, I'll admit to having some pretty weird notions regarding the horses; we have conversations - the horses and I - about these things on a daily basis (and no, that's not the strange part). This one has to do with housekeeping issues (so please pardon the picture below). Purportedly, stallions are your basic neat freaks when it comes to (ahem) bodily functions; geldings fall in the messy middle; and mares are, essentially, serious slobs. Initially, the girls were all (pardon my French) tinkling in their stalls at mealtimes which, while not a huge deal, was kind of gross; not to mention a bit stinky when the weather started warming up. Since I knew it was possible to potty train other species, I started to wonder if there could be such a thing as being horsebroken (and wow, that was bad :o) It wasn't long before I decided to give it a try; you never know, right?
It is important to note that our horses are not KEPT in their stalls; they are only in them at mealtimes, voluntarily for shade and to get out of the rain (this is definitely not a reasonable option for full-time stabled horses). Would you believe it worked? The short answer is that horses are creatures of habit which, coupled with [my] daily consistency was largely responsible for our success. It took us about 3 months for the four girls to completely relocate their tinkletime habit from inside to outside the stalls. Considering that Taya actually stopped in mid-stream the second week (I spoke her name sharply and stomped my foot on the ground), I was pretty sure it was a realizable goal. Without yelling (or hitting), here's what I did: made an obnoxious noise (clapped/stomped my foot or the buzzer/wrong answer sound), stated No and their name quite firmly, then immediately "covered up" the puddle with dirt. Whoever had done it would be the last one to eat for that meal. Their stall door was closed afterward, and remained closed between meals for the next 2 or 3 days (allowing the odor, barely discernible to people but easily detected by the horse, to dissipate). This meant they had to wait outside their stall while everyone else got to wait "inside", and increased the chances of them piddling where I wanted them to. If they did, I made it a point to dash out and unlock the stall and let them in as a reward. While there was some initial confusion among the girls about the exact issue (the location of the bodily function, not the function itself), consistency got us through it fairly quickly. What was interesting to me, was that I never had to lock more than two doors at one time. Food is a very strong motivator, so it didn't take too long before they had all figured it out and we were having lots more hits than misses. Lady picked up on it very quickly, and now will even walk back out of her room to "go" before a meal. The funniest [stubbornest] one was Bella, our resident brainiac. She tried so hard to find a way to get away with it: discreetly using the corner of her stall one time thinking she wouldn't get caught; then, when that didn't work, she tried putting her feed bucket on top of her puddle (it had already soaked into the ground) in an attempt to hide it; and when that didn't work, she tried piddling next door in Sara's stall, thinking to have the added benny of getting Sara (the only one who has never gone in her stall) into trouble. I gotta admit, she was pretty doggone creative with her defiance :o)
The last incident was about a week ago; and it was Bella's way of expressing her opinion. I had opted to brush Rina first after breakfast, and what was I thinking going out of order like that? (It's normally Bella, but she had not finished eating). At the very next meal, Bella marched into her stall, whinnied loudly to get my attention, then showed her irritation with me by making a very large puddle smack in the middle of her stall; glaring at me the whole time. Sorry chickie, although I love you to pieces and value your opinion most of the time, this one's definitely a no go. Annoyed or not you're still eating last. Find all this hard to believe? Maybe so, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  
Oh, and I'm sure you've noticed the blog's new look; do you like it? It's still a work in progress; and I really couldn't say WHAT possessed me to do it as I have driven myself completely 'round the bend
this week tweaking and squeaking [okay, snarling] at my screen over Blogger's new design changes and subsequent hiccups *snarl*. Last, but certainly not least, we were invited to Duke's 3rd birthday party over at Ann's Snap Edit Scrap. Since we weren't sure we'd make it I didn't tell Duke we were coming, but I think it's safe to tell him now.The girls made the doggie card pretty easily (though spelling is obviously not their forte), but then there was the problem of what to wear...What about a party hat?

Well, that's it for this week (more than enough, probably). So how about you? Are you a Nellie or an Abby? Maybe something in between? I'm pretty sure we could always use some company here on the Funny Farm. Yep, I'm talkin' to you, Abby...   ;o)

Fritterin' and critterin' the summer days away

Friday, July 23, 2010

The early bird gets the...garlic bread?
I don't know about you, but as Mom I tend to miss out on a lot. I thought (and silly me) that after #1 son moved out on his own it would get better, but it hasn't. It seems hubby and DD were more than happy to split the role of resident food vacuum so I am still coming up empty all too often. You know what I mean - you're hungry from working outside all morning, come in and get out all the fixings to make a nice big sandwich for lunch only to find that someone else has eaten all the bread and left the empty bag in the breadbox in such a way that it looks like there is bread in it; then there's the cookieless tin, the crackerless box, I could go on all day. Does this happen to you too or is it just me? Well I finally won one yesterday morning (Ha!). Opening the refrigerator to get the milk for my cereal, I spotted a leftover piece of the delicious cheesey garlic bread from supper the night before. Trying to be as quiet as possible, I quickly looked over my shoulder to make sure I was really alone and I was - WooHoo! It's MINE, ALLLLL MINE, MINE-MINE-MINE (I never said I was mature :o) Of course if you're going to eat garlic bread, you may as well have the spaghetti to go with it even if it is 5:15a.m. Yum. How about you? Do you follow "the food rules" or do you live dangerously?
Remember the honeybees post? Well look what we got from our new beekeeping buddy (mmm) Did you know that the regular store bought honey is cooked? I didn't. Apparently the cooking process pretty much ruins the the beneficial properties in honey. Here are a few other interesting things he told me:
1. Honey will, essentially, keep "forever";
2. The hotter, the better for storage and never ever keep it in the fridge;
3. If your honey starts crystallizing, put it in the microwave and heat it up a little;
4. To be effective against allergies, honey must be obtained from bees within a five mile radius of where you live. Pretty interesting, huh?
I went on some picture taking benders over the past week and found a fair number of critters for my camera...thought I'd share some with you here. I love watching the butterflies, don't you?
I found four of them playing a game of tag amongst the flowers (I could only catch two in the frame, but they were so pretty to watch! :o)
The black swallowtail was camera shy and very quick to hide - this was the best photo I could get. RATS!
I couldn't resist playing with the edges of this photo a bit in PrintShop. Would you believe this is a color photo? I didn't edit the color, it came out this way because I was shooting into the sun. Now if you want to see some really terrific altered photos, visit Ann's Snap Edit Scrap  (she's really good at that Photoshop stuff :o)
Did you know that fish can swim in the sky? Me neither (and without a parachute, too).

We have a pair of wild rabbits living with us (for now). I've dubbed them Harvey and Elwood after the old Jimmy Stewart movie *grin*. The only reason I know there are two, is because I saw them sitting side by side. Unfortunately, I was not quite quick enough with the cell phone to catch them together :oP
And just in case you haven't had your breakfast (lunch? dinner?) yet, wait 'til you see what I found to entertain your taste buds (well, I thought it was pretty punny, anyway ;o)

Heh Heh Heh, okay that was bad (sorry). It sure has been a busy week though. You can see why I didn't have time for the laundry, can't you? Do you want to know the best part? You'll never guess who I found puttering and fluttering about in my Plumbago yesterday....
Have a wonderful weekend everyone! 

Grrrrumbles, Bumbles and Mumbles

Monday, July 12, 2010

I really like my car, I do. It's a 
2001 Honda CRV (although DD called it a VCR for a couple of years :o) Anyhoo, I had a number of errands to run the other day and we made it all the way to the very last one before disaster struck. I had to pick up some items at Office Depot and DD ducked into Taco Bell to grab some lunch; it was one o'clock. I don't like Taco Bell, so I figured I'd just wait and grab something when we got home, since we'd be there shortly (wrong). We met back at the car, I turned the key Uh, oh. Starting to sweat in the 100+ heat, I turned it again Now I don't know about you, but I unintentionally follow Murphy's Laws to the letter and that day was no exception. I was in a hurry (it's chronic :o) and dashed out the door without my cell phone. Lovely. I dropped my head on the steering wheel and counted to twenty (ten wasn't quite far enough). Did you know nobody has pay phones anymore? I didn't. Thankfully one of the girls that worked at Taco Bell was nice enough to loan me her phone. DH rode to the rescue (I needed a new battery), but not quick enough to deliver me from the temptation situated directly in my line of vision...Baskin Robbins *sigh*. Eat well today chickie, for tomorrow you will diet. Although I hate to break down, I guess I really can't complain since it was the original battery - I think nine years is a pretty good life span for a battery, don't you?
 Adding insult to injury, our air conditioning went out. Although our house is well insulated, we have no trees immediately next to it so when the sun comes up it gets HOT in here (thankfully, the repairman made it out the next day, but that was one terribly toasty night - Ugh). They're going to send us a bill for the repairs. Um, okay, but now I'm scared...
I took this picture, because I thought it was funny. I have no idea why these bees seem to be attracted to the sulfur blocks, but they are. Maybe it's the pretty yellow color that draws them; who knows? :o) Do you remember my previous post about Sarabear getting into some bees? Well, I do believe we have found the culprits (and it's not the one on the block).
Now I don't know about you, but I have never actually seen a "swarm" of bees before outside of television. It may look like a cluster of pine cones, but the photo below is actually a swarm of bees. This is not a nest however, these bees are actually protecting their queen by covering her completely. Talk about being overprotective and smothering - wow. I didn't want to kill them, because I know that honeybees are in short supply and there are an awful lot of farmers around here. At

the same time, they certainly did not need to stay in their current location. They were in a low hanging branch on a tree directly over the path that the girls use to go to the water trough (that definitely was not happening). Thankfully, DH knew a guy from work that was a bee keeper, and he came out to get them. Of course you know I got permission to be out there following him around with the camera (and I was unfailingly polite in keeping my number of questions well under the gazillion mark :o)
Would you believe that the man just took a step ladder, climbed up there, grabbed himself a handful of bees, and put them in his bee box?? Yikes! I'm working on a lens for Squidoo, because this was some pretty [scary] interesting stuff. In the meantime, though, here are a few more pictures for you to see...I had to get up close and personal, as the subjects were tiny and my zoom is not that good:
All in all it was a fascinating thing to watch, and he was a super nice guy (for a crazy man :o) Very patient, happily explaining it all step by step as he went. I hope you enjoyed these photos, too, because my crazy only extends to equines (and I was really nervous getting close enough to take these pictures). Obviously, not quite uncomfortable enough to prevent me from taking them though, right? *Grin*

Some of you might remember the Sarabear Chronicles. It was a three part series of posts that I did awhile back about Sara's arrival at the farm. I had fun doing it, and hated to see it disappear into oblivion in the blogger basement (so to speak). I decided to combine all three posts and turn it into a lens on Squidoo. In the interest of multi-tasking, I also entered it into the Summer Sunshine Charity Contest as we are one of Squidoo's partner charities. Would you believe we won? Hot Dog!! I was so excited. Squidoo donates $99 to the charity and gives $99 to the lensmaster. Of course I'm donating my part straight to the farm too - $198 Woo! If you missed the posts (it was a *cough* dramatic series of events, let me tell you) you can now read the whole silly story here: Meet Sara.
After considerable research, we have "hired" two teams of maintenance workers to help control the amount of ick in our water troughs. I would like to introduce you to Maintenance Team #1 for The Girls (ladies first, after all):

And for the Moo Crew we have Team #2:
Of course I turned that little adventure into a lens too (and entered it in the contest :o) If you're interested in reading the rest, it's here: An Epic Farms Fishtail.  
I hope you enjoyed this post - and is it my imagination or are they getting longer?? Well I guess it's not much on short and sweet (that was over a couple of paragraphs ago) but I thank you for reading my rambles... really!
P.S. For those of you who think I showed tremendous willpower in getting only a small cup of ice cream, you should probably know that it was all I had enough money for :o)

Ribbets, Reflections and Rainbows

Friday, July 2, 2010

I thought this week's post would be shorter than last weeks, but it may not be (apparently I'm quite the chatterbox these days :o) We've been hard at work on the demonstration area, which is [FINALLY] finished. DH bought some concrete to put in the holes for the posts in the patio/seating area a couple of days ago; now he just needs to find the time to actually pour it. We chatted about this as we wandered over to look at the posts which are directly in front of the demonstration area. I looked down as Rickey gestured towards a post while he was talking about the concrete, and look at who I
spotted down the rabbit hole by the bottom of the post. Hint: It's definitely not Alice.
As you can see by the second photo of DD up to her shoulder, that hole is DEEP. Now I know that those itty bitty green guys can climb most any surface and frogs (toads?) can hop fairly far, but I'm not entirely sure about the climbing skills of these regular ribbeters (anybody know?) We pulled him out just in case, and then...
Seriously? Another one? What is this, some kind of multiple mental moment??  So it was a ribbet rescue rerun (but thankfully Big Bertha over there was the only other one - Sheesh).
Now I don't know about you, but my summer is flying by. I keep fantasizing 

about having 36 hour days, except I'm all but face first at the end of my 17 hour ones. I am pretty much a forward thinking person, I don't spend too much time immersed in what was, but sometimes looking back offers some encouragement when you just don't feel like you're getting anywhere. When I think back to a year or two ago I can be thankful that I am still actually standing at the end of my day (considering that for awhile there I could barely walk and needed two hands to lift a gallon of milk compliments of Dermatomyositis).
That Before photo is what it looked like at the top of the pasture when we bought it; more like a junkyard than anything (wow, right?) Then there were the weeds; like something straight out of a Stephen King novel sans alien life forms. Well, unless you count the girls that is...

The horses could (and did) disappear periodically, the weeds were so high. I took the after shot with my camera phone as Shadow and I ambled up the hill the other day. It's not perfect, but I think you can tell we have made some progress. The white dot you see in the distance between the trees is a barrel (and we put that out there on purpose :o). It's in the same area that all that junk was spread over. Now we just have to fix the grass; the guy that owned the land originally planted centipede grass for his horses; which absolutely boggles the mind (if you're wondering, centipede is a very low-growing yard grass that is definitely not suitable for grazing). Big duh there, right? We're still battling weeds, but at least now we can see where everybody is out there. Of course there's always Mickey Mouse roll call in a pinch - I whistle, they whinny (it works for us ;o)
We've finally started getting some rain again, thankfully. It was getting pretty dry around here. We had some pretty heavy rain on Sunday afternoon, and when the rain stopped there was a beautiful double rainbow in our sky. I thought I'd share it with you here and hopefully brighten up your day a bit...
If you would, please pop over to Purina's site and vote for Sheri (the link is in the top right corner of this blog or you can click here). You can vote every day if you like (I have been!) She's completing in a blog-o-spondent contest, and the competition is fierce. Thanks so much for reading and voting and have a wonderful weekend everyone!

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