Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bees and Bikes (But No Babies)

Glenn's prized school house hive had a traumatic week.  The weather here has been perfect for checking the hive so Glenn did an inspection last weekend.  Oliver was the keeper's assistant, Grammy served as Pearl's guardian, and I was the photographer.  The hive looked great and was filled with brood.

Grammy, Pearl and I had to take cover because a couple of the girls decided we were too close and began to head butt us.  Oliver and Glenn were brave and finished their task while I took the opportunity to take photographs of Pearl.

Two nights ago Pumpkin began barking at something in the front of the property.  Pumpkin is the sweetest dog alive, but he looked as though he wanted to tear apart an intruder.  The next day Glenn found his hive knocked to the ground.  Pumpkin perhaps was trying to tell us we had a bear or some other large animal in the front pasture.  Glenn quickly put on his bee gear and ran outside to save his girls.  They seem to be doing okay considering the horrific night they endured.

We did our second bee presentation earlier this month.  This time it was for Oliver's preschool class.  The kids seemed quite interested in bees.  They couldn't believe Oliver likes to hang out with bees and doesn't get stung.  I made the mistake of pulling honey sticks out of my purse at the end of the presentation and nearly got swarmed  by twenty preschoolers.

Today was the annual Wildflower Century bike ride.  The past few years we have gone out to the street to cheer on the riders.  Grammy thought Oliver and his cousins would have a good time trying to make some money by having a lemonade stand this year.  The boys faced steep competition from the bike club; they were serving free lemonade at the fire station across the street.

Business was booming regardless.  Some of their customers left money without even sampling the delicious lemonade.  We also sold lip balm to benefit Oliver's Aunt Kelly's "Treasure You Chest" team.  Kelly and her friends do the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer every year in Texas.  We are getting a head start for the 2012 walk.  

Oliver's favorite customer was this nice officer.  After Oliver passed his sobriety test, the officer donated all the dollars and change he could find in his car.

They scored!

Serio is still pregnant!  She is getting huge and often has unmentionable things dripping from her unmentionables.  I think it will probably happen in the next week, but I don't seem to have a very good read on goat pregnancies yet.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Our Latest Lip Balm Giveaway: Guess Serio's Due Date!

As novice goat owners, we picked out Serio last year because we felt sorry for her.  Her mother abandoned her and she was adopted by another friendly goat.  She is a rather strange goat with an odd gait.  As she developed and we learned more about dairy goats, we discovered she has the dreaded "forked teat."  It is a serious birth defect and can make milking difficult.  One book I read says you should cull animals with this type of birth defect.  I thought about it and realized, on this farm, she fits right in.  We have got the perfect goat!

Serio's other farm friends include:

Berry, the stray cat with a case of chronic nasal herpes and constipation since birth.

Pumpkin, the abandoned dog who needed expensive eye surgery to correct a defect.

And Otter, the other stray cat currently on three medications for depression, anxiety and lifelong urinary problems.

If you don't have a birth defect around here, you're just not cool.

The Giveaway:

Serio is expecting her first baby any day.  We think she mated with Banjo in December, which means she should deliver shortly.  Please post your guess for her due date in the comments section (date and time).  The person with the closest birth time will win a four seasons gift pack.  I will throw in an extra if you can correctly guess the sex of the baby.  The contest will close on Easter or earlier if she delivers next week.  I will announce the winner as soon as the baby is born!  

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pearl's Charmed Life

I had to go to work early on Friday, so Glenn took both of the kids to the dairy to milk sheep (Glenn works at a dairy during the spring and summer).  I was thinking on my way to work what an interesting life Pearl leads (my fantasy life, actually).  I wanted to milk a farm animal for at least 25 years before I had the chance, and here was Pearl at seven months, milking 84 sheep.  What a lucky girl!  Then later, when I told my coworker what my children were up to, she looked at me like milking sheep was a gross thing to do.  Can you imagine?  I thought about it more on the way home.  Pearl might be living my perfect existence, but she is just living her regular, old, normal life.  All of these adventures are just a way of life for her and it will probably take years for her to really appreciate them.  Here are some of the adventures Pearl has had this week:

1  First Asparagus!
Glenn noticed the first asparagus peaking out from under the soil last week.  We watched it every day, waiting for that perfect moment to harvest it.  It survived chickens, dogs and gophers and it had one more day to grow.  Then the poor asparagus met Oliver.  Oliver came running in the house yelling, "I found the most awesomest asparagus for Pearl!  She will love it!"  In his dirty hands was our first green vegetable.  Pearl really did love it.  She is now a huge fan of asparagus.  

2.  Goat Riding
I think the photograph speaks for itself.  Hopefully this will convince Glenn we need a pony.

3.  Pasture Camping
We haven't had a chance to go camping since Pearl was born, so we thought it would be fun to put up the tent in the front pasture.  Here is Pearl watching the Discovery Channel on our flat screen TV.
Pearl and Oliver lounged and played in the tent for hours.  Oliver is spinning with Pearl in the picture below.

4.  Raising Chickens
The chicks have been a source of hours of entertainment.  We moved them into their newest home yesterday.
5.  Hiking with Oliver
Oliver wanted to show Pearl "Golden Pond" this morning, so we put on our hiking shoes and walked to the back of the property.  The wildflowers, frogs and lizards are out and the stream was flowing.  It made for a beautiful walk.

They finally made it to Golden Pond!
I'm sure one day riding on goats and hiking will get old for Pearl.  Her fantasy life may be in the big city or in some other country, who knows.  I just hope when Pearl becomes an adult she will feel the same way about her childhood as Glenn and I feel about our own: it was happy and filled with love.  I know that kind of life is possible in any setting.