Adventures of LadyButt

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Most of you who follow my Facebook page are familiar with the story of Ladybutt. She’s a feral cat who was adopted from the Humane Society Barn Cat program by a local farm. When that farm closed we took her in. Her name was LadyBug at that time but over the last few years she’s earned her new name. LadyButt is still semi-feral, and some days she is sweet and purrs for attention, some days she attacks without provocation. Her mood depends on the way the wind is blowing, the day of the week and the flip of a coin from what we’ve been able to determine.

Lately, we’ve been having a little problem with LadyButt getting locked in the hay barn. The first time it happened I found her during morning chores and I really gave Hubs some grief about leaving the cat locked in the barn all night. Then he found her in there again that evening and gave me grief for leaving her there after my morning chores. In the marriage game point scale we were tied in a dead heat 1-1 and the pressure was on. The next day we were both super careful  about making sure she was out of the way and no where near the hay area before we closed up the barn, but we still found her inside again. Obviously, the only answer was that she had found a way to magically teleport herself into the barn but couldn’t get back out. Barns are tricky like that. Hubs decided he needed to put in a cat door so that after she did her Houdini trick disappearing into the barn she could just walk out the kitty door in style. Easy peasy, right? Except he hasn’t gotten around to it yet.

Today was the topper. Hubs wasn’t home to do evening chores so I did them when I got home. I was trying to get the horses fed and stuff the hay bags for tomorrow and I heard LadyButt yelling. I yelled back, “the barn door is open, come on out.” but she didn’t. After listening to her yowl in obvious distress I started getting worried that she had fallen in between the bales of hay and gotten wedged in place. I stopped what I was doing and went digging around the hay but couldn’t find her. She was pretty much constantly meowing for help at this time and I was more than concerned. I shut off the farm truck so that I would be able to hear what direction she yelling from. At first it sounded like she was in the woods down below the chicken yard and I started walking that way. As I crossed the driveway I heard her again, but behind me. I turned and looked up and low and behold…..she was on the roof of the barn! She had really outdone herself this time.

Grumbling to myself the whole time about how these things only happen when Hubs isn’t around, I went looking for a ladder. We have a ridiculous number of ladders on the farm but somehow I couldn’t find any of them, save for a rickety old ladder that was in the dump pile. Still grumbling, I climbed the ladder to go rescue the Houdini cat. By the time I got to the second rung from the very top of the ladder it was listing a little bit, causing me to feel like I was trying to balance on a teeter totter. I called out to her and she ran over to see me. She seemed pretty excited to be getting rescued but she was apparently a bit irritated too. As I was trying to figure out how I was going to scoop up and carry a half-wild and more than slightly annoyed cat all the while balancing on a swaying ladder and of course, not fall off, she lost all pretense of patience and took a few swipes at me for keeping her waiting. I jerked back trying to avoid getting scratched and that’s when the ladder gave up even pretending to do the job and started drunkenly swaying side to side, worse than when I try to country line dance. I figure I needed to act quickly (before I could chicken out) so I made a mad grab for the cat and scurried down the ladder before she could freak out and start dismembering me with her razor blade claws. With self preservation high on my priorities, I’m pretty sure we broke the sound barrier in our rush down the ladder. Once on the ground I set her loose…..only to have her to run back into the hay barn and burrow into the hay. So now you know a bit more about LadyButt and can probably understand how she earned her name.  *sigh* Hubs had better get that cat door in ASAP.

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Winter’s hatchet weather

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We’ve had a unusual late fall here in the Pacific NorthWET. We’ve got snow! I’m guessing that someone has been praying just a bit too hard for a white Christmas and overshot their target date. Don’t blame me because 1) my prayers don’t usually have such an immediate and  direct response like this and 2) I hate driving in the slushy, white stuff. We’re not even two weeks into the month of December and we’ve had snow twice already.

The first snow was beautiful…..until it turned to ice. Oddly enough most of the west side of the state didn’t seem to have much snow accumulation or the resulting ice and people thought I was exaggerating until I showed them pictures from our area. While the snow fell for a few hours that day the bone chilling cold lasted for days (*disclaimer: We (meaning, “I”), are total weather wimps out this way and “bone chilling cold” is usually anything in the mid to low 20’s. Yes, I am fully aware this is almost bikini weather for some of our more frozen states……but not for this gal!)

tank-in-snow-120916-editAnyway, I digress, so while I appreciated the beauty of the white stuff, I have to admit I was slightly less than thrilled when it started snowing again late last night. Seriously?! We live in the land of rain and gray skies, this snow stuff doesn’t happen very often and rarely in the fall. More often than not our cold spells result in what I call broomstick weather. I call it that because I can take a broom out to do chores and brush off any frost and then flip over the broom and use the handle to bust up any ice in the water troughs. The last few days we have slipped into hatchet weather. Yup, you guessed it, the ice is so thick in the waterers that it laughs in the face, er….. handle of the broom. No, hardcore weather calls for hardcore tools….time to break out the hatchet! That’s right folks, it’s hatchet weather at the farm. As brutal as that sounds it really just means that I use the hatchet to break up the ice, but it sounds way cooler if I don’t explain it.

Snowy days on the farm can be difficult. It means that chores take a bit longer  to ensure everyone has enough food, that ice is broken up from the troughs and having to run out and check on the animals more frequently. However, it also means roaring fires, baked goods and comfort foods, soap making and maybe even trying my hand at knitting. Stay warm my friends.

The Vacationing Farmer

horse head shot EDITGoing on vacation is always a challenge. There’s juggling schedules with time off work, kids out of school, arranging flights, piecing together people to pick up the mail, water the plants, etc. When you have a farm, vacation takes this already intensive planning process and magnifies it by a million or two. To be fair, I’ve never felt deprived that we don’t get to travel to far away destinations. We’ve worked hard to build a life that doesn’t make us feel we need a break. We enjoy every minute on our farm and leaving it isn’t usually something that I want to do. However, my son’s 21st birthday was coming up and the family wanted to celebrate it BIG.horse rolling 1 EDIT

As a farm owner, I was a little worried about the process of planning a vacation, but it all seemed to fall into place with little effort on my part. The family all got time off work, we found an amazing package deal to Iceland, and then one of my best friends offered to stay out at the farm, taking care of all the animals and watching over the place……in her words, “it’s going to be an adventure.” Let’s face it, finding someone willing to watch your dog is a Godsend; finding someone willing to watch your entire farm……it’s a miracle only rivaled by the second coming of Christ (no disrespect intended). We had our friend go through 3 practice runs to make sure she was comfortable with our routine and then off we went.

I have to give a serious shout out to my farm sitting friend. She’s a newbie to farm life and was basically looking for a chance to test drive the lifestyle. It takes a serious adventure addict + a thrill seeking personality to step into someone else’s farm with no experience and give it a whirl. Hats off Lisa!riding landscape shot EDIT

When we returned to the farm, I found a lovely note from her that summed up her time on the farm.

Here are her words:

1) I will forever have the smell of chicken poop ingrained into my nostrils;

2) The big pig sneezed things on me. Later, I stopped by the store and had a super hot guy checking me out. Since this NEVER happens, I figured I either had pig snot hanging off me somewhere or pig snot is an aphrodisiac;

3) I think you guys should take more vacations. I am more than happy to farm sit.

I feel like a proud parent. More importantly, I accomplished some rather lofty goals, including:

a) creating a new farm addict;

b) assaulting and traumatizing her olfactory senses in true farm style; and

c) totally and completely corrupting her fashion style by getting her to accessorize with pig snot. (*It’s not a look everyone can pull off).

I’d also like to point out that I did all this when I wasn’t even in the country!! Sometimes my multi-tasking skills amaze even me. Oh, in case you were wondering, the trip to Iceland was amazing.Me and horse EDIT

Ramblings from the Pasture

The weather is slowly starting to warm up and dry out, meaning that spring might actually be just around the corner. Soon the days will be long and warm and we’ll all be outside working like fiends trying to get all of our projects done before winter comes to visit once again.

Knowing that these work days are coming I figure now would be a perfect time to share some tips for working in the pasture, because we all know that I like to share some educational posts. Mostly these are prime examples of what NOT to do, but whatever.

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1) First and foremost, it is imperative that you keep in mind that the pasture is basically your animals bathroom. This means that there will be poop……all over the place and especially where you least expect it.

2) Working in a pasture, it’s really important that you watch where you step. Manure is usually wet and  slick (as well as, being smelly and generally disgusting). So and in addition to the lasting damage to your ego, it can also cause damage to your body if you slip and fall.  Also, for goodness sakes, look around before you sit down out there.  Nothing worse than spending the rest of the day wearing skid marks on your britches.

3) Remember that poop comes in all shapes, forms and sizes. Some of it may even be difficult to see, practically invisible. But don’t let it fool ya. For instance, don’t think that just because you don’t see any poop you can grab that log and toss it over your shoulder to carry out of there. More than likely you’ll find people (and animals) giving you wide berth and odd looks and eventually you’ll probably figure out it’s because when you toss that log onto your shoulder you splattered poop onto the side of your head and then proceeded to smear it in your hair. If you’re a fan of  the movie “There’s Something About Mary,” I’ll just get to the point and tell you, manure does not make a good hair gel either, just in case you were curious.

4) Last, but certainly not least, while working in the pasture, do not lick your lips……..EVER. Just trust me on this one.

October – Ramblings from the farm

dom headshotI rarely nap. I figure I have too much living to do during my short time on this hunk of dirt and I’m not spending any more than necessary with my eyes closed. Literally closed that is.  I have no problems going through life with proverbial blinders on. In fact, it can make many parts of life much more tolerable. But, I digress….

If you do happen to catch me napping you can bet on three things. The first would be that I’m sick and the second would be that I’m sacked out on the couch. I can’t abide staying in bed all day, even when I’m sick. In fact, I can recall times when I crawled from the bed to the couch just to make sure I didn’t languish in the bed all day. Yes, crawled. I dislike staying in bed that much. Granted, I had vertigo and pretty much crawled everywhere because standing was just way too difficult, but I’m pretty sure I would have crawled anyway if it was the only way to escape being stuck in the bed.

The third thing you can count on is that my dogs will be splayed out all over me. I truly think they know when their loved ones aren’t feeling well and do their best to comfort us with their presence. At least, that’s what I like to think. The alternative is that with their keen animals intuition they can sense my weakened state and trying to increase their status in the pack by taking out the alpha (me) through squashing. Hey, if you had met my dogs you would know it is a viable theory.

The good news is that I have survived all squashing attempts and am still around to tell you that we have finally finished the second annual farm calendar. It took a while to make photo selections and get our proof back but it’s FINALLY HERE!

If case you didn’t see our calendar sale last year let me tell you about it. I share tons of pictures (and stories) on our Facebook page (Find us here: Fablefarms) and we chose our favorite from the year to share in the calendar. All proceeds of the calendar sales go to helping us get this small farm up and running. If you’d like to check out our 2016 calendar click here.

Thanks to our friends on Facebook for sticking with us and also to those that help support our farm dream.

What’s in a Name

weaners 081015 EDITMany times over the years people have asked me how I decided on the name of our farm. I usually just give a short version of the truth or a flippant answer because I don’t know how to answer without sounding totally ‘woo-woo’. But it’s a fair questions so here’s the raw truth. *Feel free to tell me if I’ve crossed over into the world of ‘woo-woo’. During the course of my life I’ve searched for something. I’m not sure what to call it. Some people call it enlightenment, or purpose or wisdom. Personally, I call it the peace that comes with finding your true self. Whatever you call it, I’ve been looking for it. Over the years I’ve found bits and pieces of it, more in some places than others. It’s been a slow journey but a constant one.

 Places where I’ve been most successful at finding myself include, grueling work- when I am physically exhausted my mind is free from the noise of stress and worry and I find quiet. It’s during this quiet that I learn what inner peace and satisfaction feel like; when I’m doing what I love, like farming, there is a sense of gratification and contentment that fills me; and when I am around my animals and nature, I find myself learning from them, bringing me the wisdom that I’m searching for.

People farm for a variety of reasons, maybe it’s to become self-sufficient, provide themselves with food or to give their family a different lifestyle. I farm because it helps me grow as a person. It allows me to have the lifestyle I love and at the same time that it feeds me physically, it feeds my soul as well.

fa·ble

/ˈfābəl/

noun

noun: fable; plural noun: fables

  1. a short story, typically with animals as characters, conveying a moral.

synonyms: moral tale, tale, parable, allegory

 As a kid I loved fables. They were short stories with animals as characters that taught a value or moral. They were my favorite types of stories. So what does all this have to do with our farm name? The name of my farm describes my journey and our animals’ place in this search. We care for our animals to the best of our abilities and in return we get to learn from them. To be clear, we are a farm, not an animal sanctuary or refuge. But those hard decisions teach us too, along with the joys and fun there is heart wrenching loss and tons of exhausting work . When we moved to a farm I was able to start living my very own fable, one where the animals teach me about life and myself every day. It’s a pretty good life.