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Friday, September 30, 2011

Gravel

The Spook, by Mary Herbert.
Gravel: I've got some.

I won't mention that when the gravel truck came to dump it, I panicked in the adjacent paddock and spent a good two minutes careening madly with the terror of my horse-brained ancestors.

No, that will be a little secret, held by me and the goats and FarmWife. Only we shall know.

Ears,
Fenway Bartholomule

Summary of birthdays


This week marks D's birthday (seven) and R's half-birthday (four and a half). M is almost 12. 

My mule is turning 17 next month. 

Clover and Paisley are almost two and almost ten. 

Missy will be nine and a half next week and her daughter B.G. is going to be three and a half tomorrow. Her granddaughter Briony is fourteen weeks old. 

The cats turned six and four this summer. 

The chickens can be summed up in two strokes: the australorps and Chanticleer are 10, give or take a year, and the Rhode Island reds and americaunas are two. 

The rabbits are both two and a half. 

Only the first three listed family members get parties and birthday cakes, though, which simplifies things a bit. The others get carrots, cheese, cheese, carrots, carrots, carrots, catnip, catnip, grains, grains, carrots, and carrots, respectively. 

Feliz CumpleaƱos, dear ones! 

M

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cruel unfairness

FarmWife and the goats conspired to make me the most jealous mule ever yesterday: first, FarmWife took wee Briony Bluebell into the yard for some gamboling about, some eating of delicious leaves, and some being photographed. She let Briony stand on the picnic table. She let Briony jump on the trampoline. She let Briony walk through the house to the milking porch, where she let Briony eat grain while she got her hoofies trimmed.

I don't get grain while I get my hoofies trimmed. I get tied to a post and told, "Stand!"

FarmWife then proceeded to trim Missy's hooves, which was the epitome of unfairness—Missy actually gets to sit IN FARMWIFE'S LAP while having her right hind feet* done. This is terrible. FarmWife says, "but she's so weak. Poor old girl." If being clumsy and feeble gives us a free pass for sitting on FarmWife, then I am going to look forward with eager anticipation to my retirement! When I act uncoordinated and heavy during a hoof trim, I get glared at and sometimes scolded. I have to stand there on three legs like a camera tripod while Missy gets to lounge about like a cat. Blech.

Otherwise, all is well. I've been eating the orchard, which is very special. The goats don't get to eat the orchard because they would kill the raspberry canes, but what I don't tell FarmWife is that I like to kill the raspberry canes, too. I just kill them with more subtlety.

Ears,
FenBar

* this is not a typo. Goats have two feet on the end of each leg. Super-duper weird, I know.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

One way of thinking

Watching "The Wilderness Family" got me to thinking about what I want with life—no, I don't want to wrestle pet bears in retro bellbottoms, but I do want a more self-sufficient life. I do want a handmade house. I do want to get out into the world. As movies go, it's silly. As a thought-provoker, though, it worked.

It got me thinking first about the big "how we live" question, and then I got to thinking about smaller, more material wants—a newer vehicle, a harness horse and carriage, a paint job and wraparound porch for this home.

And then my train of thought turned towards closer goals. Immediately attainable goals—goals that don't require any infusion of cash, any moves, any acquisitions. I thought about what is in reach—I want winter greens, and I have a nice greenhouse. I can plant my salad now. I want to be physically fit, and I have weights and trails and an old bike with a trailer for little R. I can lift weights and go cycling without joining a gym or buying a mountain bike. I want a clean house—I own a broom.

I wanted a writing career, and I didn't go back to school. I didn't buy a new reference library. I didn't join a club. I simply started writing, and now my dream is bearing fruit. I'm learning (but slowly!) that much of life is DOING—not instead of wanting, but because I want. I get there by doing it. Now.

My look-a-like movie star



I am a reincarnation of a famous actor mule—seen here in this scene from The Wilderness Family (1975). He looks so much like me that FarmHusband did a double-take, FarmWife swooned, and the children yelled, "Fenway!" when they saw him. He shines.

http://youtu.be/INbf2mJ_wBI?t=50s

It is not the world's best movie, but it does feature one of the world's best looking mules (plus a lot of tame wildlife). You should give it a look.

Ears,
Fenway

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bicycle it is

FarmWife wanted to get D a little donkey with a cart and harness for her birthday. FarmHusband wanted to get D a new bicycle for her birthday. FarmWife said, "and we can get ponies for the other girls." FarmHusband said, "and we don't have to feed it."

FarmHusband won, and little D is getting a new bike when she turns seven next week. (Shhh, don't tell!)  It all works out in the end, though. FarmWife is actually working towards adding a second full-sized equine to the family some day—someone who can wear my harness until I get my act together and learn to behave between the lines.  The donkey idea was merely a test, and the test revealed that the time is not yet right.

Husbands are smart, husbands are opinionated, and husbands require kindness and patience. They are like mules that way.

Ears,
FenBar

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The coolest necklace ever

FarmWife has THE COOLEST NECKLACE EVER. Period. And yes, I'm shouting. It's that cool. It's like the one at the link below, except it's ME! Could it get any better?

 http://www.etsy.com/listing/75483666/dressage-horse-glass-tile-pendant

I keep saying, "FarmWife, let me tell my friends about my necklace!" and she keeps saying, "Fenway, we need to wait until we have a really great picture of it." The problem? I, Fenway Bartholomule, cannot manage to take a photograph. I try and push the button with my sturdy oblong hoofie, and the camera crumbles! I try and push the button with my flexible, rubbery lip, and the camera sizzles and shorts out. There is no solution but for FarmWife to enlist another human to take a picture of her wearing her good necklace, or perhaps to take a picture of it herself.

This is a photo taken with her laptop's built-in camera. It is not a good photo, but it gives you a sense of thing. I apologize that I could not get the real camera to work (and boy, is FarmWife going to be mad when she sees these hoofprints on the MacBook Pro).



This was a gift from my dear fan Debby, who says I am her FAVORITE celebrity. She gave FarmWife this beautiful glass tile pendant, plus another which is equally wonderful and which now adorns the neck of my biggest human child. There are fridge magnets, too! There's one of me, and one of our neighborhood cow—FarmWife is terribly tickled about this business, while I for one don't see where the cow comes into this business.

Ears to you, fan Debby, and thank you. Friends, visit her Etsy shop or look for FoalinAround on Facebook. She could turn you into jewelry too if you'll only let her!

Ears,
Fen

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A bit of clarification

"Nice Ass" by Debbie Grayson Lincoln.

I did not mean to imply by yesterday's photo caption that I intend ever to pull a buggy for FarmWife. Goodness, no! No, I'll have none of that. All I meant to suggest was that if her Volvo were to fall out of service she might enjoy getting a horse-drawn vehicle and a lovely mare to pull it.

Since FarmWife enjoys the use of a motor vehicle but once or twice a week, she would surely be pleased to allow her lovely mare to pass the rest of her time in a paddock exchanging wither nibbles with me, Fenway Bartholomule.

There. Glad that's cleared up.

FenBar

Friday, September 23, 2011

FarmWife just spilled the beans on a public forum:

In answer to the question "how do you get a horse to trot behind you without a halter?" she answered:

"Hold food. 

Works every time on Mr. Bartholomule.

I actually only hold food about 10% of the time, but he's an eternal optimist."


WHAT?! She only holds food 10% of the time? I am DONE with that devoted follower routine, I tell you! Done! 

FenBar

Rakin' in the dough

FarmWife has hardly ridden me at all this week, and do you know why? She is busy making sick amounts of money! Money for things like gravel, hay, rain sheets, and maybe someday a replacement for the poor old Volvo hay mother.

FarmWife is very happily employed at her computer, and she promises we'll hit the hillside this weekend together. In the meantime, she tells me to rub my hooves together in gleeful anticipation of some new footing. She also tells me to be grateful she works where she does—after all, I can always catch her eye through the office window when her services are truly needed in the paddock.

Ears to you,
Fenway Bartholomule

A.P. file photo.

FarmWife says she needs a new vehicle soon.
I recommend something along these lines.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The chicken lady

You guys might remember my friend the chicken lady, who used to live on a sheep- and fowl-infested parcel here in Wickersham but who now lives in a delicious, if arid, wildflower meadow. Well, if you don't remember her you can just use the search bar here at Brays of Our Lives to learn more (or go to FarmWife's blog, www.puddlerun.com, and search for Tonasket to see where she's living now). Anyway, she's had a terrible run of luck—first she had to move way far away (for work or some such, though I don't see why she couldn't have had a job working for me. She could have rubbed my ears) and then she had to have her precious little dog euthanized. She is a wonderful friend and FarmWife does miss her so.

Anyway, she's blogging now and I hope that by sharing my readers with her, I can enrich her lonesome existence on the desolate high meadows of Tonasket. Will you guys pop on over to http://wishingtobelost.blogspot.com and give her a fond bray for me? Next summer, I will visit her myself. she will rub my ears. They will make her feel better.

Brayfully yours,
FenBar

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rub-a-dub-dub

I had the very first bath of my life today. Now, FarmWife had been promising all summer to trailer me over to our local posh eventing barn, where she's got an open invitation to use the wash rack, but now her trailer has gone and broken and she simply doesn't know when she'll get it repaired. I had, therefore, an old-fashioned bath via buckets—ten warm, soapy gallons and a lot of scrubbing followed by twenty clean gallons of nice fresh rinse water. I feel pretty!

FarmWife has me out grazing in the orchard, now, as it is the least terrible place on our property for a freshly-bathed mule to roll. It is clean, green, and, as demonstrated in the photo below, DELICIOUS.

Ears,
Fenway Bartholomule



round foods-report on last weeks baking

The donuts—eh, I dunno. I kind of like the sickly sweet, deep-fried variety one gets at the donut shop. This low-fat, wholesome alternative just isn't the same.

The bagels—awesome. I will make them again (and again and again and again). I will make them for the rest of my life, or until my good friend Shona convinces me to try a grain-free paleo diet.

Speaking of Shona, she's blogging now. She's far away and grieving the loss of her precious border terrier, Belle. Belle and her son Bug were on my Top Ten list of Best Dogs Ever. She will be missed.

I'm thinking of you, Chicken Lady!

M

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Oh, FarmWife!

That gravel you talked about buying me? Yeah. Um . . . there's no time like the present. Not to be grabby, but the rainy season around here tends to be . . . well, rainy.  Mud abatement is best done before there's a whole lot of mud, and after this dusty hot August we've had I'd say my paddock soil is going to be about as stable as a jello salad on an out-of-balance clothes dryer. The two thousand raindrops that fell today are about to be followed by 8,459,439,762,665,107,512 more. (Approximately). It will soon be too late for new footing deliveries.

Big truck—wet clay—precious mule—does that sound like a good combination? FarmWife, get your gravel order in soon or this isn't going to be pretty.

Ears,
Fen

P.S. does anyone else have this stuck in their head now?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Aborted bray

FarmWife's oldest human child is getting terribly tall. She's almost FarmWife-like in her appearance, so much so that I saw her coming tonight and screamed "FaaaaaaarmWi—oh. Nevermind." My aborted bray, transcribed in Mulish, went something like this: "Wheeeeeee . . . HUH. Phllbbt" when it should have gone "WheeeeHeeeeHeeeHeeeeHeeeaaahahahahahaaaaa!" A minor distinction, but it was enough to cause FarmWife's child to erupt in laughter and FarmWife, at a distance, to chuckle. Oh, and then to do what I had wanted all along—to come out, arms full, to give me her love and her dried grasses.

Ears,
FenBar

Friday, September 16, 2011

Clarifying a point

Just so there's no confusion, let me restate a point: I am FarmWife's Best and Only mule. I am her one true love (except for her husband, who is her other one true love, and maybe the chihuahua). I am adored.

Yes, she goes off and trounces about the arena on a tall, elegant warmblood mare once in a while. Yes, she trail rides on a scruffy little draft horse when the opportunity affords itself. Yes, she passes four days, sometimes five—sometimes seven!—between muleback rides, but this is not because she does not love me. No! It is because she loves me so. She doesn't ride me when it's too dark for the roadways to be safe, and she doesn't ride me when she lacks the time to properly groom me, warm me up, cool me down, and put me away clean and dry.

She dreams of a time when she can ride me every day, or five days a week, but that's not realistic right now. (I have a secret—if FarmWife ever gets to the point where she wants to ride every day, I am going to DEMAND that she get a second equine. I'm not into that marathon exercise routine.) Right now, she manages as best she can, and you know what? She rubs my ears every single day. Even on days when she also pops out and rides in someone else's ring on someone else's horse.

Ears, Fenway

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The underlying truth

FarmWife once fell under the sway of an evil rhododendron bush. I will tell you what happened: she took me close to the bush, and the bush hypnotized her and compelled her to do something evil. It compelled her to open my mouth and, using pliers, twist the tartar off of my own tender precious little toothies. It compelled her to do this for no good reason at all, except to get the tartar off my toothies for its own nefarious purposes. Probably as fertilizer for its roots. Anyway, it compelled her to do it and she did it and it was terrible.

A less intelligent mule than I might think, "FarmWife did a bad thing. I mustn't trust FarmWife." Not I! I am perceptive. I look beneath the surface at the underlying truth. I see causation where others see only outcome. No—I don't mistrust FarmWife. I mistrust the rhododendron. This is how I am smarter than your average mule.

Ears,
Fen

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

For Sale


For sale: two baby goats. Very cute. Very loud. Very rascally.

These baby goats managed to go through a fence that had been holding me, Fenway Bartholomule, for nigh on three years. A fence that has held in Jasper Jules (all 200 pounds of him) plus two mama goats plus a flock of hens and a chihuahua. It was a good fence, except that now it is not. Now it is a mangled pile of mush and I, the good mule of Bent Barrow Farm, am restricted to my winter quarters until it is mended. Unfair! After all, it was I that sounded the alarm during the baby goat escape. I stood in the driveway, between FarmWife's home and the neighbor's, and brayed a message of plaintive need.  When her attention had been drawn, I trotted down the lane and around the corner and through the brush to the place where the fence was broken. I hopped back into my pasture. I showed her what had been done.

Briony Bluebell is for sale for $285 . . . no, $250 . . . no, FarmWife says she's marking her down to a mere $150. What a deal! Bowdoin is offered FREE to a pet home, provided you're willing to sign a contract guaranteeing he will not be made into a vindaloo.

Please, someone—rescue me from these capricious caprines!

FenBar

P.S. Burzum, our best baby boy, has gone off to be a herd sire for a friendly neighborhood farmer. He'll have six does and ten acres to enjoy.

A happy day


I am joyful—not only do I have donuts and bagels rising in the kitchen downstairs, a beautiful child playing at my feet, a handsome mule standing outside my window, and a glossy canine sleeping in my lap, but I've got all this and a really, really fun job. A job I can do right here, right now (as soon as I'm done blogging). I love my line of work, which just gets better and better. What a good thing it is that I decided, a year or so ago, to really stick with being a writer and editor! To commit to this freelance and contract work, spotty though it has been, and to make it my priority. My career has momentum now, and it still feels like play to me.

I also love my latest library find: The Encyclopedia of Country Living. How did I not know of this book before?? The librarians will have to wrench it from my clutching grasp when it comes due. What other book tells you how to build a flail, shoe an ox, kill a goat, and make soap, linen, donuts, and bagels (see above)?

I love my Adobe software. InDesign is a magnificent tool—I use it every day, and I'm still discovering new and wonderful features. If you've ever tried to create a booklet, brochure, or newsletter in Word, let me tell you this: you need a new tool. It's this one.

I have a new contract employment opportunity coming up next month—one that doesn't require much in the way of desktop publishing expertise but which does call on many of my other skills. I can't wait (and I'll tell you all about it once it's a hatched chick, if you know what I mean).  I love the way it's shaping up, and I love the mission of the people I'll be working for.

Enjoy your day (I know I will)!

M

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Yellow hair story


Oh, yellow and white and black hair—and lots of it! FarmWife, whose mule trailer is broken, went away for a day. When she came back she had this—photographic evidence of her date with a muppet. "You couldn't have come," she says, "because it wouldn't have been safe to haul you." And then, "It's not a muppet, it's a mare! A fjord mare!" 

I don't believe her. No self-respecting fjord mare would wear her hair like that, and she could too have hauled me. I could have ridden in the back of the pickup truck. 

FarmWife looooooves this "fjord mare", who belongs to a family member, and was tickled to finally have a chance to ride her. "She's very sensible," FarmWife told me. "She would make a great driving prospect." Remember, friends, that I was once FarmWife's driving prospect. I was, until I learned that whirling and bolting is the best way to not have to go about with a tire dragging behind. 

This muppet's owner is thinking of having her started in harness, and FarmWife is excited about witnessing this process. It's almost like she has another favorite equine, along with me, Fenway Bartholomule. 

I can think of two positive outcomes: 1) FarmWife wins the lottery, buys this mare, and brings her here to Bent Barrow Farm so that I can have a companion and a laborer (to do FarmWife's difficult chores like dragging the tire) or 2) FarmWife's relative sends this mare away to the driving instructor and never, ever gets her back. That way FarmWife will have no reason to go away for the day like she did yesterday. FarmWife will stay here at Bent Barrow Farm forever, except when she is doing dressage on Princess Many Hairs. After all, how many ways must a mule share his woman?

FenBar

Monday, September 12, 2011

Jealous feelings

"Feed Store" by Tina Bohlman

Monday is the day when FarmWife goes to the big city. On a typical Monday, she works and she sometimes visits the feed store and Costco. This is what she comes back with:

Salmon kibble (for the dogs)
Chicken kibble (for the cats)
Layer pellets (for the chickens)
Rabbit chow (for the rabbits)
Sweet feed (for the goats)
Alfalfa pellets (also for the goats)
Oats (also for the goats)
Black oil sunflower seeds (also for the goats)
Fly spray (for me)

Can you believe it? This is an atrocity! Everyone gets delicious things (OK, so salmon and chicken kibbles are not very delicious, but still) and I get a nasty bottle of pesticides.

"You grow fat on air, Fenway Bartholomule," she tells me. "You have your herbs, you have your fresh water, you have your salt block, and you have your local hay from Friendly Farmer Russ. You will thrive," she tells me.

Then she goes out to the car and grabs yet another feed sack for—you guessed it—the goats. "Don't be jealous," she tells me. "After all, the goats do not get fly spray."

That is because the goats stink. Even to a fly they stink. I keep this to myself, thinking that if one can't say something nice then one oughtn't say anything at all.

Fenway Bartholomule

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Motherly boasting


One of these girls started 6th grade this week. Another lost her front tooth and learned to ride a bike without training wheels. Another learned to wash the dishes (and darned well, her mother would like to add). I personally think that none of those accomplishments nearly matches the significance of the fact that all three know how to ride me, Fenway Bartholomule, but today is FarmWife's day to boast. "Fenway, tell your thronging hoards of adoring fans that I have really nice girls." OK, FarmWife—consider them told.

FenBar

P.S. You will want to know why they're all dressed up. No reason, except that they wanted to be! Oh, and because floofy dresses look pretty cool on a big trampoline.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Thwat-at-at-at-at-at-at-at-at

What's that sound? That's the sound of FarmWife's belt clearing her belt loops. (Duck!)

I want to take a moment to talk about domestic violence. I want to tell you how my woman beats me, and how she tells me it's "my fault" and that "I asked for it."

Actually, when FarmWife beats me she uses a whip. Ouch!

Here's are the things that led up to this travesty:

I spooked at the corner of Meredith Lane and Wickersham Street every ride for two years. FarmWife expected me to spook there, and I spooked there, and we rode on and had a lovely time and so on and so forth until the next outing, when it all happened again. This was simply how it was, until I started stretching my spooking out a bit. It was so terribly interesting to spook at the corner—wouldn't it be fun to spook at the logging gate? At the boulder? At the fall foliage?

You may remember a story last month, about the place where FarmWife took me to die, wherein I was so terrified of everything that I had to be lunged rather than ridden. I was lunged until I was out of breath, which was really a terrible cruelty. Well, FarmWife decided thereafter that not only would I be lunged every time I acted like an idiot (her words) but that I would be ridden with a dressage whip—and thwacked soundly for every unfounded spook! Can you believe it?

This is how our first ride under the new regime went . . . saunter, saunter, saunter, saunter, googly-eyed balk, THWACK, saunter, saunter, saunter. Offended sigh. Saunter, saunter.

This is how our next ride under the new regime went . . . tra, la, la, doo-da-doo, ho, hum, saunter. No balk, no snort, no spook, no thwack.

The good news is that I no longer get beaten on the corner of Meredith Lane and Wickersham Street. It happened just the once, and that's behind me now. The bad news, in FarmWife's opinion, is that it took her two full years to cowboy up and actually RIDE me around that corner with some semblance of authority. The bad news, in my opinion, is that my dramatized terror at that quiet intersection was one of the best parts of every ride. I'll miss that sort of fun.

Ears,
FenBar


Friday, September 9, 2011

Smooshy squashy puppy

I haven't forgotten to tell you my third white hair story. It's just that I've been busy eating blackberries, and taking dust baths, and carrying FarmWife down the trail. Plus, I've honestly begun to question whether it's really a white hair story at all. I'm thinking it's closer to a creamy yellow. 

You remember how FarmWife's oldest human filly lives in two homes, right? She lives here on Bent Barrow Farm and she also lives in a condominium in a city called Saddle. It's famous for its space needle, but I think it should be famous for its name. Saddle. It would have to be called Mulesville to be any cooler!

Anyway, Bent Barrow Farm used to have the upper hand over Saddle for one particular reason—the pets. We keep a very pet-centric residence! FarmWife and I have four goats, two dogs, two cats, two rabbits, and seven chickens between us. FarmWife's oldest human filly loves pets, and she did tend to get a little lonesome for four-legged companionship in her Saddle home. 

Well, here's a news flash—this filly's Saddle dad recently got her THIS: 

If you're having any trouble seeing the picture, I'll tell you what it is: it's a big smooshy squashy puppy! Sure, it's no mule, but this is one seriously cool addition to the urban life. Filly is utterly and completely STOKED, as you can imagine. Filly's dad is pretty pleased, too, though he had hoped for a black puppy from the litter. Dad's new car features charcoal-colored upholstery, you see, and that is the only way in which this is a white hair story. I hope you found it to be a good story anyway. 
Ears, 
Fenway Bartholomule



Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dear Texan: have you lost your mule?

http://s1096.photobucket.com/albums/g328/JWBitler/?action=view&current=BurnedMule1.jpg


This poor critter was badly burned but will live—he is being treated at Elgin Veterinary Hospital for burns. Call 512-285-3395 if you know where he belongs! He's a young gelding mule, found the morning of September 7th in the vicinity of the Bastrop fires. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Coffee table—er, mule—of the week

I thought I was short and stout, and then I saw Molly. Molly is TRULY a mule of little leg. A dwarf, I think?

Do any of you humans want to have her in the living room with you, holding your popcorn, or is it just FarmWife?



http://www.dreamhorse.com/show_horse.php?form_horse_id=1718630


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

More about Paisley and his haircut

There was one additional benefit to Paisley's getting shorn—he got his collar back.

Do you remember his collar? It was a very fancy one, a gift from our friends at Paco Collars, and more beautiful than one can even imagine. The very nicest leather. The very finest hardware.

The problem for Paisley was that the collar took up a lot of room where his coat needed to be, and so he spent a lot of time scratching at it with his back legs. (This is a maneuver I sometimes attempt, but he is better at it than I.) He has such sensitive skin! While it would have suited a less finicky longhaired dog, the collar simply wasn't a good fit for Paisley under all that hair.

FarmWife gave the collar to B.G. the goat, which worked out well enough except that poor Paisley was no longer well-dressed. B.G. wore the collar for a couple of months, which actually served as some very good product testing. It went through blackberry brambles, got chewed on by kids, got worn in the elements, and lived in the barnyard 24/7 for all those many weeks. Yesterday, it came back looking showroom ready. A quick polishing with some murphy's oil soap and it's back on the dog! Paisley, with his new butch cut, wears it comfortably and proudly. It looks nice. He doesn't scratch. It even makes him look a little less embarrassed, I think.

Photo: The state of the collar after a few months on a goat.


Ears,
Fenway Bartholomule

Monday, September 5, 2011

White hair stories II

Here's the next biggest white hair story of my week—Paisley, Clouddog, has been revised. He is now Paisley, version 2.1—naked mole rat edition.

The story goes like this: Paisley was a dog of abundant hair. When he ran, his hair billowed around him in wispy clouds of ethereal beauty. When he reclined, his hair fell gently around him, cascading in gentle rivulets of opalescent decadence. When he shedded, his hair clustered in galloping hordes of massive dust bison and thronged into the corners of every room in the human habitation. There were no dust "bunnies" here. FarmWife could brush him 'til the cows came home, but still he shed massive amounts of undercoat everywhere he went.

Well, FarmWife went on a vacation for a week and when she came back home poor Paisley had developed a stress-related rash on his tummy and chin. She washed and dried him, but his skin was still moist and red. She resorted to scissors.

FarmWife's initial reason for robbing Paisley of his voluptuous fur robes was selfless—to dry out his rash, and allow for ventilation and medication of the affected area (it's healed now, thanks). Her motives have shifted, however, and now she dreams of a fur-free future. She plans to keep him clipped for as long as the outside temperatures will allow. Can you guess why? It is for reasons of housewifery.

News flash: There is no more fur in her house! The daily sweeping is as easy as pie! A scan of the corners of FarmWife's home now reveals trifles—a wood splinter here, a rubberband there, and a cat hair or two for added interest. The giant white and gray mounds of follicular detritus are absent, and noticeably so. It is a new world.

Now, FarmWife must set herself the task of finding some proper dog clippers. Paisley's new 'do was managed with scissors alone, and it's as choppy as can be. If I wasn't afraid of anthropomorphizing, I'd say the lad was embarrassed.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

White hair stories

The first of three white hair stories: FarmWife came home covered in them. It turns out she has been seeing another equine! This horse—a CCI** eventer with a fancy schmancy brand—actually likes to do things like trot in circles, leg yield hither and yon, walk in straight lines (on the bit!), and extend within the gaits along the diagonal from F to H. Better her than me! Princess Many Hairs is shedding, it seems, and FarmWife's various black and brown riding ensembles do little to hide the evidence. FarmWife is lucky that I am not a jealous mule.

FarmWife is going to go ride Princess Many Hairs again soon. Princess Many Hairs has years of dressage experience, lovely gaits, a great attitude, and a covered arena. I welcome her to share these assets with FarmWife over the dark, wet winter—after all, I am the one with the tremendous ears, the teddy-bear snuggles, and the stupendous bray that she always comes home to.


Ears,
Fen

Friday, September 2, 2011

My family is shrinking

Having been, lately, in a "few dollars, many mouths" situation, the humans have set themselves the task of selling some goats and giving away some chickens. We are down two hoofbeasts (Burzum went to live at a local farm as a future herd sire; Jasper Jules is living with a family in Blaine) and seven chickens (we gave our three year-old hens to an acquaintance with more acreage and fewer mouths to feed, keeping our two year-old hens as layers and our 10 year-old hens and rooster as retirees). We have two more baby goats to sell, and we have at least one promising lead on a home for the pair. Soon, FarmWife hopes, we will be a family of 23. In fact, we won't even be quite that. Since chickens are more like dinosaurs than people, I think you could say we are going to be a family of 14 people and some dinosaurs. That's a perfectly reasonable size—we'd be few enough to fit in an RV for the weekend!

It would have to be a big RV, and FarmWife says that would defeat the purpose of selling critters to save on cash.

It will have to be a tent. A really big tent.

Ears,

FenBar

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Back to school for baby humans

This is what happened this morning: 


I'm told it will happen five mornings out of every seven for the next nine months. 

A) the good news is that our biggest and middlest human children are off learning important things (how to deliver carrots with fingers held flat, perhaps? How to wield a dandy brush from front to back in the direction of hair growth?).

B) the bad news is that I am not allowed on the school bus because of my size.

C) the other good news is that, one year from today, the littlest human child will get on the school bus too (leaving me and FarmWife free to ride, in theory, so long as she has enough self-employment to keep her working at home).

D) and the other other good news is that, for now, FarmWife is still a stay-at-home mom with a child in the house and a good reason not to work outside the home (away from me, Fenway Bartholomule). The three of us will have so many adventures!