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Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Olde Town Hall

When Will and I moved to the UP nigh onto fifteen years ago, we first lived in a little ranch House in Lakefield Township next to the old town hall. It wasn't functioning as the town hall then however, since the new and improved town hall was built just a mile up the road some time back. The old town hall was purchased by a marvelously eclectic couple and turned into a junk shop.

They were good neighbors;the gangly six foot six drywall hanger and his artistically inclined wife who is fifteen years his senior and was in the habit of sipping iced vodka from a large plastic insulated convenience store mug at varying hours of the day. They were good neighbors who would do anything for you and they were fun to talk with. We spent hours perusing the junk shop and Lila and Sam have fond memories of getting a hug and a sweetie going out the door. We enjoyed hearing the bats with their babies squeaking in the walls and watching them pour out of the building at night swooping and diving and consuming Mosquitos. When Duncan came along, we decided we needed a bigger house and found our current abode in Curtis. We went back to visit though.

The town hall was built around 1905 and is two stories tall. The wooden stage/platform that was used for dancing is still upstairs and we have heard many lovely stories over the years about fantastic dances held there. It is a wooden frame structure covered in pressed tin on the outside to look like brick and pressed tin on the inside that is intricate and decorated. Will helped the owner take down some of the tin on the inside and we brought home some of the old long boards and they are on our barn.

The owners have moved to places Deep South and the town hall continues to deteriorate; in fact this spring the snow load was wet and heavy enough that the roof has collapsed partially and the upper walls are bowing out. It is only a matter of time now before this majestic old girl finally hits the dirt, bats and all.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

La Lune

Last evenings full moon rise was magnificent!

I'm going to try and mimic a dye color way from this....


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Vernal Equinox.....

....or first day of spring.


It has snowed another ten inches in the past couple of days.

In this photo, if you look beyond the snow, you can see the lovely lambing sheds that Will made for me.

(Yes, that is our hummingbird feeder still hanging there from last summer)

The GOOD news is, the Hay Guy is bringing us 300 bales of hay this weekend and we aren't getting scalped! The bad news is.....we have to have the barn plowed out so he can back his trailer up to the barn and maneuver in the drive way....I wonder where to put all that snow?

We'll also be tapping maple trees this weekend....woot woot!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A gift from Louisiana

Yesterday's mail brought a cheerful gift from Uncle Dan and Aunt Dee Dee! Two boxes of baubles and bling from Mardi Gras....and lining the bottom of one box more citrus from their tree!

Lousy photo quality...taken by the iPad in dim light.

This necklace had pink elephants strung on it....we were all kinda freaked out by that
so Will wore it around for us.

" Mr. D"

(Like Mr. T but with a D)


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hay Anxiety and other farm Angst

Or, "How to Maintain a Relationship With your Hay Provider".

When we purchased hay this summer, in the midst of a drought and higher than average hay prices, we chose a new "hay guy". Young, motivated and enthusiastic.....but almost impossible to reach. We bought plenty of hay for the sheep, the two goats and the llamas. Then we added six alpacas. We probably could have squeaked by. However, the addition of the fourteen Suri's put a crimp in our hay lifestyle, so I've been nagging the Hay Guy (HG).

I first called HG when we had about a two month supply left. I left the prerequisite messages on his voice mail with phone numbers...ten days and no call. I left two more messages. Finally, an hour after the last one HG called me back. "Yup, your a good customer don't want you to go elsewhere let me check with my guy in M------. I'll call you back after the weekend". Another week rolls by......I track him down again. "Sorry, lost your number! Hay looks good but it is loose so I have to rebale it. How much hay do you have left?" Here is where I should have lied. I told him we had about a months supply left. "Okay that gives me time to bale it and get back with you. I sure have a lot of good customers that are short on hay!" I felt a twinge at that and wondered how far down the lineup we were. I'm back in the nagging and leaving messages stage and we are down to a two week supply (I think). Keep your fingers crossed! Next year we can buy extra hay and store it in his barn and he will deliver it when we need it. And we don't have room to get twenty more animals so no new demand surprises either!

Will is busy building two 4x8 lambing sheds for the five Shetlands who will be moved to the front field after they are done, hopefully by this weekend. They need to be separated so I can be sure they are getting adequate nutrition and extra oats. It will also make handling them and their lambs much easier and keep them out from under foot of camelids and the bossy goats. Nala looks like she may be expecting twins which would be nice! It looks like everyone was successfully bred by B.o.B and I can't wait to see what they produce! Lambs should start arriving the first part of May.

One of this years Crias, Mattie, has been suffering some health issues. She was removed from her dam too early and is a bit on the small side. I hadn't realized that she was getting thin because her fiber covered her body so well and I hadn't had my hands on her....until I found her collapsed. I picked her head up and she stood up and looked at me like she had no clue how she got down there. That's when I realized how thin she was. So, she has been in a straw filled cushy stall and had a blanket put on her to keep her warm and conserve energy. She has been wormed and is getting extra rations and supplements and is coming along just fine, but she had us worried for a week or so. I've since had my hands on every other animal to determine their body condition and while a few could use a couple more pounds, none was anything like Mattie. I went back and looked at all the health records the breeder kept and while there were meticulous records for meningeal worm treatments there were none for stomach worms. This means everyone likely needs to be treated, or at least those on the thinner side. We'll have a conversation with our vet about it very soon. As soon as the weather warms up, miss Mattie can rejoin the rest of the herd, but for now she is out of harms way.

The hens are back to producing at least a dozen eggs a day now that the days are getting longer and the weather a tiny bit warmer so they are earning their keep again and we aren't egg rationing. This makes Sam happy because he loves a "dippy egg" and toast for breakfast!

And sadly, one of my foundation English angora does, Mocha, died. She was five years old, which is getting up there in years for a rabbit with all their reproductive parts but not ancient. The other foundation doe, Buffy, has a large tumor so her days are limited too. Both girls have been getting pampered with extra treats and hugs. Our old cat is also on her last's been kinda sad nursing everyone along lately. We could use some warmth and sunshine and new life around here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Instant Darkness

Some video games require darkness and you just have to get creative!




Thursday, March 7, 2013

Got Mustache?

The "Got Milk?" campaign provided literature about the health benefits of milk to the school....and tattoos.