Friday, March 28, 2008

If That Ain't Country: Freeblogging

Ok. So sometimes I don't write because I feel like I have nothing "country" to write about. Or, I do write but I write about the same thing over and over again.

But the thing is - I have lots to say. My head is just full of random thoughts that I'd like to jot down. I mean let's face it - I've lived in North Carolina for nearly two years. How much more fish out of water are we truly expecting? So I am giving myself permission to make this blog about whatever I want and stop trying to limit myself to BBQ, tractor pulls, biker bars, and livestock.

First topic on the agenda? Saved By the Bell (Yes - when I wrote random, I meant random. I once wrote an essay for a high school English exam on what happened to the cast of Grease 2 - not including Michelle Pfeiffer who we we all know went on to do wonderful things and marry David E. Kelley. I was particularly interested in what happened to Maureen Teefy, the actress who played Sharon. As it turns out, according to IMDB, not much worth noting. But what is interesting is that Peter Frechette who played DiMucci and sang such a stirring rendition of Let's Do It For Our Country starred on Broadway, or perhaps off-Broadway, and played my best friend's father in a production of The Normal Heart. How's that for random).

Anyways, back to Saved By The Bell. I love this show. I truly do. Notice I wrote "love" and not "loved." This is an ongoing thing with me. I did watch it back in the day - back when it was more age appropriate. And I loved it then too. And I loved Mark Paul Gossalear. When I found out that my friend's uncle created the show and wrote most of the episodes, I flipped out. Anyways, I confess that some mornings I just don't have the mental capacity to digest the news. Or sometimes I do but after the first hour of the Today Show, unless there's something interesting going on, they slip more and more from news show to morning gabfest (don't even get me started on the 3rd or 4th hours of that show, the second string cast they trot out, and Al Roker's attempt to be a serious journalist) and so I don't feel guilty flipping over to SBTB which TBS graciously airs from 7am - 9am, Monday - Friday.

So I watched several episodes this week and let me tell you, for the first time I found it truly, truly painful. Do you think that these actors look back on what they were forced to wear (Kelly: bike shorts, midriff-baring cropped tops; Lisa: bike shorts under dresses, lots of big blazers, general multi-colored mayhem; Jessie: crocheted sweaters; ties, etc.), what they were forced to say (How effing fashionable Lisa is, Jessie's feminist rants, numerous comments about geeks, dweebs and nerds when talking about Screech and his crew); and how they were forced to act (Slater flexing his muscles, Screech's entire array of goofy facial expressions, Kelly's 50s surfer-girl dance moves)? It's worse then soap operas. In the "in-case-you-didn't-get-it-so-let-me-spell-it-out-for-you" school of acting, SBTB is the hands down winner. I never realized that before.

The ultimate moment in the SBTB school of bad acting has to go to Denise Richards. Now I admit, I do not like Denise. I think she is a terrible actress with a screechy, whiny voice and no presence whatsoever. She's got a slammin' bod - but that does not give her the right to pollute our TV and movie screens. She's a terrible actress to begin with but stick her in a SBTB episode - it's like bad acting Armageddon. So the ex-Mrs. Charlie Sheen had a bit part in the last episode of the 6-episode summer series (which featured a wonderfully snarky Leah Remini before she got all crazy Scientology and a hammy but still lovable Ernie Sabella) where she played Slater's secret admirer. All episode he gets these "mysterious notes" from a secret admirer saying how much she loves him from afar. LOVES HIM. People - my suspension of disbelief is as good as the next girl's but seriously, ok? Anyways, as Slater is the lifeguard, Denise pretends to drown so Slater will rush out and save her. Of course, he swims out and discovers she's fine. Then she confesses to the whole shenanigan and says how she was scared to tell him that she loved him because what if he doesn't like her? Ok - so fake drowning is the key to winning a man's heart and ensuring he likes you? I don't think so Denise. I don't think so. But maybe it is. Or maybe it's that Slater takes one look at Denise in that bikini (his ears must have been clogged with sea-water drowning out her painfully whiny voice) and figures - how bad can it be? Of course, with the summer over they have no time to explore this new found love. But wait. How convenient. Denise has just moved to town and will be attending Bayside next year. Thankfully - the producers never followed through on that threat because Denise never appears again. I wonder if that's the year they made the much more inspired casting choice of Tori Spelling as Screech's geeky love interest, Violet?

I know it ain't country, so kiss my...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Strange and Funny Ways of Animals

We are on Day 9 of Ann-Margaret and the boys being kept up in a stall. I honestly didn't think we'd make it through Day 1 so I feel happy to not only to have made it this far, but to see the end in sight.

What's been most interesting to me has been how the other animals have responded to the situation. Normally, Dixie sleeps in a stall in the barn and the goats sleep on or under the picnic table which is not in the barn but is covered by an overhang. It doesn't matter how cold or wet or rainy - they will not sleep in the barn and they certainly won't sleep in a stall. Well last Tuesday night, with Ann-Margaret and her boys up in one stall and Nugget and Surprise Steve up in another, I left Dixie out so Elvis would have some company. Guess where they slept? In the one empty stall which I had left open.

In the subsequent evenings, I have gone back to putting Dixie up for the night in her temporary stall and Elvis, Nugget & Surprise Steve have all continued to sleep in the barn. I think in a stall - but at the very least in the open area.

It hasn't even been that cold (with the exception of the last 2 nights) - I think is some sort of weird loyalty to Ann-Margaret or something.

Meanwhile, I've also noticed changes in their grazing patterns. Before all this happened, the whole herd (including my little Lucky) would spend most of the day grazing - from one end of the pasture to the other. This last week - which has been mostly sunny and warm - they have hung close to the barn, rarely venturing down the far end of the pasture.

I just think it's interesting. That's all.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

CLARIFICATION

Ok - so my earlier post has been misconstrued at least twice. Let me clarify - my life is not pitiful. My life is in fact wonderful and I am well aware day to day, moment to moment of just how blessed and fortunate I am. What I meant - and what I tried to convey in the subsequent sentence but obviously failed - was that it is pitiful that I have nothing else to write about these days besides the goats. I mean - I love them and all but even I get sick of them sometimes and I would imagine that whatever remaining readers I have left would like to hear about something non goat-related from time to time. That's all.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

One-Dimensional, 4 Legs

It's official. My life is pretty pitiful. There is not much for me to write about besides the goats. I lay in bed yesterday morning mulling on the subject and could come up with nothing. My life is about the house, my animals and my job - in no particular order.

And so, while I'd like to write about something else like a fabulous new county kitchen I discovered or anything having to do with small town life, I can't. Instead, I will let you know that both Peanut and I continue to make progress.

As far as I am concerned, I have managed to stay disciplined and clinical about Ann-Margaret and the boys being kept up in a stall for 2 weeks. We are on Day 6 of a 14 day treatment. Not even halfway there. Ann-Margaret of course hollers her head off most of the day. I've been letting her out for about an hour each afternoon to graze which sends the boys into hysterics and then they holler for most of the hour that she's gone. Still - Marty is inclined to let them out early because he hates the idea of them being locked up while I am sticking to my guns on this and following Dr. Mary's advice (OK - I met let them out on Day 12...after all, it is spring and gorgeous and they are young...).

Meanwhile, I don't think we will have to amputate Peanut's leg. The baby aspirin is working wonders. I've been giving it to him since Wednesday night and he's definitely using his back leg again - standing on it, running on it - all of which are good. Although Marty pointed out, if he's supposed to be using his leg to prevent atrophy, why is he being forced to be locked up? Good question and my answer was that he needs to use his leg, but he also needs to rest it and not walk too long, too far or be in the line of fire of one of Dixie's errant kicks. And this morning, although I still had to chase Peanut around the stall in order to grab him to give him his aspirin, he didn't holler. At all. I think that's progress.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

March MADness

Ok - so I don't quite have the time to live-blog the tourney like Yahoo's Dan Wetzel (I wish I did) but I will take a break from the goats (they are all fine and 120.5mg of baby aspirin over the last ~ 24 hours seems to have helped ease the pain in Peanut's leg so much so that he's putting weight on it) to address any comments about the Duke-Belmont game and whether or not Duke deserved the win.

Belmont played well. No doubt. It's their 3rd year in the tourney and they matched up the last 2 years against teams that made it to the Final 4 (UCLA, Georgetown) so they are not March Madness neophytes. They also had an answer for Duke's perimeter game which was to shoot the ball well from downtown themselves.

Meanwhile, Duke did not play their finest. Maybe they weren't scared of a 15-seed coming from a music school in Nashville. Maybe they were all feeling the effects of Coach K's fever. DeMarcus Nelson was cold. Greg Paulus was so-so. Thank God for Gerald Henderson.

But at the end of the day, Duke won because they are a better team. Belmont could not make the big, critical plays at the end. They had a critical turnover on their last in-bound pass. Their attempt at a buzzer-beater was weak at best. It was a sign of inexperience. Had Duke been playing a more experienced team, they probably would have lost.

That all said, they did not lose. They won. So for all you Carolina fans (or anti-Duke fans) sorry to disappoint. But did you really think Coach K, who I believe has the most NCAA Tournament victories of all time (or at least of active coaches) would lose opening round games in back-to-back years? Even with a fever.

GO BLUE DEVILS!!!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Brief Update

So - we're all much better today - mom included. Lucky seems to have bounced back from yesterday's trauma - in fact, she's bouncing on me now. Surprise Steve and Buster both seem to be ok post-procedure. Peanut is still gimpy - in fact, he looked like he was holding his leg up more than before. Becky suggested I try to give him some baby aspirin - which is what Dr. Mary originally suggested a week ago. It should help with the pain and if he's not in as much pain, maybe he'll put some weight on his leg. With him being holed up in the stall, it's easy enough to grab him and pop half a pill in his mouth which is exactly what I did this afternoon. I still hate that Ann-Margaret and Buster are cooped up just because of Peanut, but I keep reminding myself that they are goats and that I need to stop projecting.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

And Then There Were Two

I think I officially cemented my OFFICIAL FARMGIRL STATUS this morning. Dr. Mary arrived at 9:30am. By 10:00am Becky & I were holding Surprise Steve down on the picnic table while Dr. Mary took care of his manly bits and pieces. Ten minutes later, we did the same with Buster. And as painful as it was to hear the goats cry, Dr. Mary reminded me that they are babies and that babies do in fact cry and that in this case they were scared because they were being held down and being held down by strange people no less. And oh yeah, the alcohol she used to wipe them down was a bit cold.

And I'll tell you what. I did really, really well. I didn't panic. I didn't freak. I did keep my eyes closed, but I got through it.

We started hitting problems when it came time for Peanut. As you might recall, Peanut has had a busted leg for a week now. Dr. Mary felt and felt and felt but could not feel a break or a fracture. She said it could be a greenstick fracture which means there's no discernible displacement or it might be some soft tissue damage. She said the muscle was mildly atrophied but not terrible. Unfortunately, the only solution is to put Peanut up in a stall and let him rest his leg and hope that it heals. For 2 weeks. And because Peanut is only 6 weeks old and still nursing, that means Ann-Margaret needs to be up in a stall with him. For 2 weeks. And because Buster is only 6 weeks old and still nursing, that means he needs to be up in the stall with Ann-Margaret and Peanut. For 2 weeks. 3 goats. 1 stall. 2 weeks.

Once again, I did not panic. Well - not really. Maybe some mild anxiety set in, but I went about the business of making some quick decisions. Dixie's stall is by far the biggest and has the most light. It's her home - where she feeds, where I put her up every night. There's definite rhythm and routine there. The other stall - where we have historically put the goats up when we need to put them up, is sizable - but it's dark and in a corner and just not a solution for a 2 week stay. So Dixie has been displaced.

I mucked her stall and laid down fresh straw. Steve was there and he cut up some 2x4s to cover up some small holes along the outer wall where the babies could have possible got their heads stuck. Then he and Becky ran some leftover fencing along the inside because the spaces between the boards are big enough that once again, the babies could have possibly wriggled out. I know it's hard to imagine so just trust me when I say - a whirlwind of activity in the barn.

Meanwhile, Lucky did not do well with her shots - she hollered and hollered and hollered. And then with all the buzzing and whirring and sawing and hammering and general commotion she sort of freaked out a little.

Meanwhile, we finally got all of the adult goats wormed, got Ann-Margaret and her 2 boys in the Dixie Hotel where they will be residing for the next 2 weeks. We got Nugget up with Surprise Steve in the other stall where he will recuperate from his surgery until tomorrow afternoon.

Lucky is in the house in her cage, quite quiet and trying to shake off the shell-shock.

And it's sad to look out on this chilly, gray day and see only Elvis and Dixie wandering around the pasture because the last few days all 8 of them - including my little Lucky Doodle - have been out grazing and playing and bonding. It's been wonderful to watch the little ones folic and explore and to watch Lucky integrate and learn how to be a goat and just to see them all together. And now there are 2.

So, I am kind of sad because we were making such progress and now we've had this minor setback but I suppose the next 2 weeks will fly by and hopefully Peanut's leg will heal (if not - we can amputate it which actually doesn't freak me out because I've seen him this last week and he's done fine on 3 legs) and by then we'll be ready to wean them which will be a whole other undertaking. Oy.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

ps In case you were wondeing, we spared Peanut the trauma of castration in light of his leg.

pps On top of everything, Dixie has some aggression issues towards me which I can't figure out. I thought she was being playful but Dr. Mary said it was clear aggression. I need to get her ass in shape...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Lessons Learned

We continue to make progress with Lucky. She now spends the majority of the day out in the pasture with everyone else. She grazes and frolics and naps and in general seems quite happy.

We pop out periodically to give her a bottle, and occasionally she'll come back into the house to curl up with mom and dad, but for the most part, she seems to be adjusting to life on the outside.

She still sleeps in the house although last night we left her in the pasture until 10:30pm as we were out to dinner. Of course, as soon as we got out of the car and called her name, she came running like a little puppy. We love her so much, it's scary.

Monday will mark six weeks from when the first 3 babies were born – it’s hard to believe we made it this far. In some ways, I feel like this was redemption for Claudette. Had we known even a fraction then of what we know now, I feel as though we could have saved her. Her death in many ways was a result of our inexperience and stupidity, and while I won’t beat myself up over it, I am all too well aware of why things happened and our basic failures as pet parents. Truth be told – we took on the business of having goats in a very casual manner and were not at all prepared for what actually happened. The lessons we learned, we learned the hard way.

Of course – it’s not all peaches and cream over here. We noticed on Tuesday afternoon that Peanut was limping. He’s not bleeding, flowing (the vet’s word choice) or dangling askew but it’s clear he can’t put pressure on his back left leg. We put him up Tuesday night and gave him some baby aspirin for the pain (I could have given him the bamamine I have in the fridge for Dixie but I would have had to measure out a fraction of what’s already in the syringe, transfer it to another syringe, and inject it subcutaneously in his neck and I just wasn’t prepared to do all that). We let him out Wednesday and then tried to put him up again on Wednesday night so he could rest his leg but I’ll tell you what – the little bugger is fast – even on 3 legs. Could not catch him so we’ve let him be. He’s still limping – although he manages to get around quite well. The vet is coming on Tuesday to take a look as well as to “snip snip” all 3 little boys.

And if that ain’t country, I’ll kiss your…

Monday, March 10, 2008

I Don't Get NASCAR

Sorry. I know that's blasephemy in these here parts - but will someone explain NASCAR to me? You essentially have 30 or 40 cars, driving around in a circle for hours on end, and as far as I can tell, the main strategy would simply seem to be: Go Faster Than Everyone Else. And yet - this is a billion dollar industry and thousands upon thousands of people are die hard fans. I just don't get it. Help please.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Most Wanted

It's time for another round of Lincoln County's most wanted:

Possession with the intent to sell and deliver cocaine, resisting officers, and damage to personal property.

Driving while intoxicated

Possession of a firearm by a felon

Driving with a revoked license

Assault on a female

Assault on a female

Larceny and possession of stolen goods

Larceny

Possession of cocaine

Driving with a revoked license and malicious conduct by a prisoner

Compare that to some of the FBI's Top 10 Most Wanted:

...wanted for allegedly shooting to death three people in Elmore County, Idaho. The charred remains of a woman and her two young sons, aged two and four, were found inside a burned out vehicle on august 11, 2002. Each victim was shot in either the head or the chest. CONSIDERED ARMED AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.

...wanted for murder and armed robbery in Phoenix, Arizona. During November of 2004, he allegedly shot and killed an armored car guard outside a movie theater and then fled with the money. CONSIDERED ARMED AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.

...is being sought for his role in numerous murders committed from the early 1970s through the mid-1980s in connection with his leadership of an organized crime group that allegedly controlled extortion, drug deals, and other illegal activities in the Boston, Massachusetts, area. He has a violent temper and is known to carry a knife at all times. CONSIDERED ARMED AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.

...wanted for an attack on two Los Angeles County sheriff's department deputies on September 5, 2000, in Whittier, California, during a routine traffic stop. He fired twenty-one rounds from an assault rifle, striking one of the deputies in the head. CONSIDERED ARMED AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.

...wanted in connection with the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States embassies in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. These attacks killed over 200 people. In addition, he is a suspect in other terrorist attacks throughout the world. CONSIDERED ARMED AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.

I'll spare you the other 5 but you get the picture.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Daylight Savings Begins Tonight!

How excited am I? DST begins tonight! Not that it's as big a deal this year. I am no longer driving home from Charlotte every day but still - lighter out later is always a good thing.

In other news...hard to believe but it's been 4-1/2 weeks since Lucky, Peanut and Buster were born, and over 4 weeks since we brought Lucky into the house. Assuming we wait a full 8 weeks to wean her (which is what we're leaning towards), we're halfway there. She continues to do well in the house as well as out in the pasture with the other goats and Dixie. In fact, today we left her on her own with the other animals for over an hour - by far her longest stretch sans mama to date and she did awesome.

Also, I can't believe it, but Marty and I finally, finally, finally finished cleaning out the storage building today. I confess, I thought we'd never get it done. But we did. We celebrated with a late (3:45pm) lunch of homemade gumbo and a bottle of shiraz. Yum.

Curled up with my little Lucky, watching Innerspace on cable, munching on a Girl Scout cookie and in general loving life.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Sunday, March 02, 2008

What a Week!

It's been an epic week with our little menagerie. It started when we brought Lucky out to the pasture for her first "supervised visit" with the other goats and Dixie. I was afraid that after several weeks of living the cushy life in the house, she would have lost her edge but such was not the case. She was quite the little aggressor bucking up at all of her little siblings, sending them running back to their mamas, and even trying to take on Nugget!

Then on Monday I began the process of repairing my relationship with Dixie. I will take a step back to say (in case I didn't originally) that when we got Dixie back in December, we were told by everyone we know who has a miniature donkey (3 people believe it or not) that in order for the donkey to develop a good and loving personality, you must spend time with it every day. Also, you must work with it and train it in the early months so it is disciplined and you can control it. I remember thinking how glad I was that I was no longer driving to Charlotte every day because it meant I could spend time with her. And I did. For a few weeks. But then I got caught up studying for my Series 65. And the weather turned kind of cold and wet for a while. And I just stopped spending the quality and quantity of time necessary for me and Dixie to have a good relationship which most importantly means she respects me. To be blunt, I got lazy.

It was my goal on Feb. 4th to go back to working with Dixie and get back to where we needed to be. But then the triplets were born and it's been non-stop ever since. And of course, with 4 babies in 8 days, Dixie lost her "baby of the pasture" status and she knew it and she let me know that she knew it by generally acting out and getting quite ornery. I had clearly lost control.

So last Monday I had the breeder come out and we spent an hour working with Dixie and I got the training I needed and she got some of the training she needed and we seemed headed back in the right direction. Of course, when I went solo on both Tuesday and Wednesday, Dixie was non-cooperative and I got frustrated. I was out of town Thursday so we had a break and I decided when I got back on Friday that Dixie and I just needed to spend some quality time together not working, but just hanging. Which we did. Friday. Saturday. Today.

And then this afternoon, after she'd already been fed, and armed with little bites of apple and oat treats in my pocket (a tool my breeder/trainer neither uses or advocates), Dixie and I got to work. She wasn't perfect. I probably wasn't perfect either. But we made progress. A lot more than we made on Tuesday or Wednesday. And at the end of the session, I was able to clean Dixie's hooves all by myself - something I have been trying to do for several months now but have not been able to. I was thrilled.

Meanwhile, we've been bringing Lucky out to the pasture on a regular basis. She usually gets an hour or so a day out there with the other goats. They have, for the most part, been supervised. Neither Ann-Margaret or Nugget seem to like Lucky and they both go after her. Lucky for Lucky that she is speedy and can get away. Plus, as Marty pointed out, he doesn't think they are trying to really hurt her - they are simply letting her know her place in the pasture. Nugget is the same way with Buster and Peanut as Ann-Margaret is with Surprise Steve. Elvis is not aggressive towards her at all - although he is also not as protective as I would like. Dixie seems particularly fascinated with Lucky and chases her all around. I think she's jealous. Marty thinks she's playful. I am sure it's somewhere in between.

As for Lucky and her brothers - they play together and butt heads and rear up at each other and they are in general trying to establish their own patterns of dominance so she's definitely developing her goat socialization skills.

Lastly, we had a big break through this morning when I left Lucky alone grazing with the herd for about 20 minutes. It was a big step (for both of us) and I hope it means we're moving in the right direction as far as integration goes.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Saturday, March 01, 2008

If That Ain't Country in Pictures





Although Surprise Steve was born 8 days after the others, he's already the biggest.



Buster & Lucky play on the plank.






Lucky has way too much fun with a paper plate.



Lucky looks down on her brothers.



Lucky walks the plank.



Elvis walks the plank.



Lucky looking precious.



Lucky still looking precious.



My 2 boys looking precious.



My Dixie Chicken.



Lucky loves her daddy's music.



Me and my girl.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...