Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Good Morning

I woke up early, but stayed in bed and read for a little while before I got up.

The fire started up again when I opened the drafts on the woodstove, so I didn't have to mess around with newspaper and kindling and billows of smoke.

It was cold enough that the mud had mostly frozen and solidified.

The sheep didn't notice me when I first got up to the pasture to let the dogs out, so it was blessedly quiet and peaceful. For about thirty seconds, anyway.

The dogs raced around and played nicely together without fighting.

I got my coffee just right (I don't ever measure anything, so it can be kind of hit or miss).

Happy Saturday morning, duckies.

Friday, December 4, 2009

How Happy Is Your State?

Well, according to the Yahoo! article I saw just now (we just love these Yahoo! articles--they make us feel so GOOD about ourselves), my state isn't in the top ten. In fact, based on the research results used, I suspect New York would be somewhere in the bottom ten.

This research was collected from Gallup information. And how's this for ridiculous? The information was analyzed by (among others) a dude from the University of Cambridge. In England. Why an English scientist was studying American happiness is beyond me, but whatever floats your boat, you crazy Brit.


The sweeping conclusion is that the happiest states are those that are wealthy and tolerant. Which explains why New York is nowhere in the top ten. Wealthy? This state never emerged from the Great Depression. Tolerant? Um. Not so much. And so, New Yorkers (upstate New Yorkers anyway--New York City residents are a whole 'nother animal) are miserable! How neat and convenient!

Also how stupid. I mean, I wouldn't argue that upstate New Yorkers are not the jolliest bunch of people you'll encounter. In fact, I have remarked more than once that a certain dour and pessimistic attitude seems to be prevalent around here (in direct contrast to my own sunny nature--OF COURSE). But I think these people rejoice in their dourness! They enjoy being miserable! I don't think the study took that into account.

What do you think poppets? Do you live in a happy state?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rodney Dangerfield and I

We get no respect.

Yesterday morning Otty and Rita decided to go on a little walkabout. They got through the fence and wandered over to our neighbor's, who called to tell me she had seen them. So I went to the top of the pasture and called them, knowing they had to still be within hearing range. No response.

I called them intermittently for the next twenty minutes with no success. I, who feeds them, loves them, showers them with affection, and tends them when they're sick. Then A., who does none of those things, came home. He called them and they were at the pasture gate within 45 seconds.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Sheep Talkers

I have mentioned before that we have some particularly loud sheep. Cotswold sheep don't do gentle baaing. They do strident, obnoxious maaing. Frequently and at length. The frequency increases in the winter when they start getting supplemental feedings of grain. If they see a person, or even just hear a person, they start vocalizing their desire for more food. So the noise level goes up in the winter. Know what else makes the sheep louder? When people talk to them.

Oh yes.

Do not ask me what it is about sheep that makes people so inclined to maa at them, but it's like a compulsion. Seriously. I have heard men, women, children, neighbors, workmen, perfect strangers maaing back and forth with the sheep. At length. Once, I heard one of our neighbors' guests who didn't seem to be able to make the appropriate sheep sound, so she just yelled, "Hey, sheep!" Over and over and over. And of course, they maaed back at her.

Of course, these people don't know I'm there and can hear them. Which is why they do it. Because frankly, it's pretty stupid. But it's like they can't help themselves. Like when you're in an echo-y canyon and you just can't help but yell "Echo!" even though you know it's dumb and cliched. Apparently, the sheep echo is just as irresistible.

Incidentally, I do not have this compulsion. My immediate reaction to the sheep maaing is to mutter angrily and swear at them for making so much damn noise ALL THE TIME. They have lost their novelty for me, obviously.

But if you ever come visit, feel free to have a conversation with the sheep. As long as I'm not here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Being Civilized Is Exhausting

I don't know how you people do it.

We were anticipating a visit from a Somewhat Important Person yesterday, a person we had never met and who was therefore unaware of our true woodchuck lifestyle. Because this Somewhat Important Person was visiting in a professional capacity, we felt it behooved us to not frighten him off with a shotgun in the parlor and four lunging dogs. So, we had to pick up the house a little. And shut the dogs away.

Our house is pretty impressive when it's all cleaned up. Thank God for inherited antique splendor. So we did the whirlwind clean-up that always occurs when you hear someone is coming in ten minutes (don't pretend you don't do this--I know you do). But in our case, our whirlwind clean-up required the removal of a couple of tackle boxes and fishing poles from the front porch; the remains of a vole on the patio; the aforementioned shotgun from the parlor (what? it's hunting season!); about three dozen books from a table in the dining room (literacy is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is awfully cluttery); and a bright orange jacket (hunting season again). THEN, just when I was about to get a cup of coffee and escape upstairs, I spied the cat vomit on the rug in the dining room.

Nice, cats. Thanks so much for your assistance.

I did manage to get that cleaned up before Mr. Somewhat Important Person arrived. He exclaimed appropriately about our elegant home. I suspect the elegant impression would have been somewhat compromised had he stepped in cat vomit.

I won't tell if you won't.

P.S. Well. I appear to be featured on a tiny, obscure little site called I Am Bossy today. This is roughly equivalent to a band with a YouTube video being featured on MTV. And OF COURSE today's post involves cat vomit. Welcome to my life, Bossy readers! Bossy posted a photo that went along with this post back in March. Interestingly enough, I have been wearing that exact same sweater for the past three days. Perhaps I could use some new clothes . . .

Monday, November 30, 2009

Signs of the Season

Know how I know Christmas is almost here? I mean, besides the relentless barrage of decorations in stores and seasonal songs on the radio, not to mention the endless commercials on television? (Thank you, American media, for killing the Christmas spirit before it even starts!) I know because we have oranges and grapefruit in the kitchen.

I know this doesn't seem remarkable for most people. However. I don't ever buy those fruits, despite loving citrus with a great and abiding passion. Citrus fruits are my most favoritest. Unfortunate, since I live in a place where no variety of citrus will grow outside. But apples do. In great abundance. And pears, and peaches, and apricots . . . these are the fruits that I grow and buy, since we're surrounded by orchards that grow these things. But no citrus.

This is especially sad because I have very fond memories of swinging in the hammock at my parents' old house in Tucson, Arizona, picking tangerines from the tree next to the hammock, eating them and spitting seeds at the dog. Good times. And those tangerines were always ready right around Christmas.

Now, of course, we have to buy citrus fruit. And the only time we do is at Christmas, when the MiL's brother sells big boxes of oranges and grapefruits as a fundraiser for the Lions Club. Or something like that. I'm not sure of the organization that sells them, but I do know I have two big boxes of oranges and grapefruits in the kitchen. Christmas time is here again.

What are your signs of the season, duckies?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm Learning

Yesterday when A. and I were driving to a party, we passed a farm with some reddish-brown cows in a field. I knew they weren't Holsteins, so in my continuing quest to not sound like an ignorant jackass about All Things Rural, I asked A., "What kind of cows are those? Herefords?" And he said yes, those were Herefords.

I can't tell you how unreasonably proud I was that I guessed right. It's the little things.