Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Some Happiness

The flower, I admit, is a ruse to lure you in, before I fill this post with pictures of Grace Hopper, our Chapulín! I might have some pictures of a cat, probably more garden pictures, but the rest will be goat, goat, goat! I am a goatherd, an idealized or romanticized rustic maiden in pastoral literature... I could not resist that definition when I looked up "shepherdess." It fits me to a tittle... I am a shepherdess, and not a lonely goatherd.
Seeing her in the ivy, I caught an earworm and sang under my breath, all day... Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey. A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?

Speaking of romanticized and pastoral, Janece noted that our backyard is a vision of spring. A mama bird built her sparrow nest over the door to the backyard, and the mama bunny that lives by the garden bed is as busy as ever, but she always stops to visit. The bluebirds are finely feathered, and flirting. The quail are calling, so are the owls. An ideal, true spring!

My Mommy sent me a gift this week. This patchwork quilt, which has been a dear favorite of mine for many years, and is in my mother's memory since her childhood, when they lived on East First Street, in Los Angeles. She's pretty sure the women of the church made it, using collected scraps. It makes me think of my Grandmother, Eunice, and of a lifetime of hearing my Mom's stories about East LA, Roosevelt High School, the LA River, and trains, the fountain on Olvera Street, Nena, her friend downstairs, walking to the library, the dishes Uncle Steve brought home from Korea. It makes me feel in touch with so much that is sentimental, and I get lost in the prints, imagining was this a dress, a man's shirt? Cairo sensed something good, too, and was immediately drawn to the soft spot. He's hardly left it since I opened it on my bed. It's a perfect light weight for spring, not that he's sharing.

Mother Nature is making it abundantly clear: If I ever want to be a commercial farmer, oregano should be my crop, and Rosemary. Rosemary and oregano thrive here, with very little effort on my part. The calendula came back, but it's not as widespread as it was last year. No rain is to blame for fewer nasturium, and spoon-tomatoes, as well. The borage is thriving, so I assume it's a little more drought tolerant, which is why I am glad I decided to add more native plants to our front yard. The sages, manzanita, and ceanothus are doing well.

If you are wondering, neither Ada, nor Tasha, have budged on their stubborn refusal to accept Grace. Old goats! They couldn't be more cliché! And I, I suppose, could not have been more naive. I didn't think they'd bond immediately, but, yeah... I vividly imagined romanticized and pastoral scenes with Tasha and Ada frolicking merrily with the little one, bringing Grace into the fold, nuzzling her affectionately, and the three of them curled up, beneath a starry night, sleeping soundly, like loving sisters. Well, at least I can enjoy the whimsy and the sweet temperment of our Grasshopper, our funny Chapulín! We weeded, and planted. We dead-headed flowers, watered. We hopped up steps, and leapt from rocks. We walked all around the garden, front to back, and back, again. We tidied spots, and did some rearranging. She's good company, I think.
Grandma Eunice's shepherdess, gazing at me from the sweetpeas, and our peach tree in bloom. I have a new found appreciation for this month of April. Has April always been a pretty month? I cannot say, but this time, this year... it's lovely, and I am glad to be taking notice, and enjoying it.
Baby goats, flowerbeds, and heirloom quilts are gifts, real treasures that I appreciate tremendously. I cannot always be in a romantic frame of mind though, and I want to say that the trial in Minneapolis of the murderous police officer, the murder of Daunte Wright, attacks on the Asian communities, the daily evidence that racism, gun violence, hate, cruelty, and indifference, are truly woven into the fabric of this country... these truths devestate me. I turn to my garden, to making and sharing, to celebrating any joy and beauty I can find, in hopes of spreading love, inspiring compassion, and keeping my own fears and grief in check. Good things are better shared, and this must include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, for all people.

Monday, April 12, 2021

In Answer to A Question

There's been a question that, over nine years, has increasingly troubled me. What would we do if one of our goats dies before the other, and the one left behind had no companion? It's a rather inevitable thing, sadly. One day, we will find ourselves with a single, lonely goat, and lately this question felt too urgent to ignore, so Geoff and I did some research, and I even consulted Teresa Kasner, blogging friend and former dairy goat farmer. The consensus... add young goats to the herd. And we could see that this would be an ideal year to do just that, since even in early February it was obvious the Stay Home Season would be going on for at least another six months. From the time we determined to get at least one bottle baby, small breed girl goat, I began making regular calls to the feed store... Hello, it's me again, have any bottle babies come in?
Finally, we heard a promising reply, We have a mini-Toggenburg. She's a bottle baby. William joined me for an early drive to the feedstore, to meet this baby. She is a Nigerian dwarf and Toggenburg mix, born February 20th. The hope is she will be a similiar height to Ada and Tasha, and that they will be the best of friends, a goat trio! And yes, I was probably overly, naively, optimistic about goat relations! And if you are thinking... won't they have a similar issue in a few years, when possibly two goats have passed on, and they still get stuck with one lonely goat? Answer: I will think about that tomorrow. Now, can we talk about how cute she is??
She is very cute, we all think so. Unfortunately, her intended roommates do not agree, and have literally no interest, nor mild curiosity, in this usurper! The looks, the body language, the expressions of almost revulsion, from both of our ladies has been tragic, and hilarious. I made a Reel, to announce our new kid on the farm, and the real story is the clear disappointment on Ada and Tasha's faces. In the meantime, and I mean for two days, and this morning, we have been loving this new baby. And doing our level best to give Tasha and Ada all the time and space they need to adjust themselves and come around!
She falls asleep in our arms! It's the sweetest thing! I laugh imagining the habits I am forming, and what this will mean when she weighs 70 pounds! Her crate is all set up in the goat pen. I wish she weren't alone, but the nights are not cold, and I like to think the time near the other animals will help with everyone getting comfortable around each other. She's very easy going about her time in there, even overnight. And she was very excited about her 6:30 am bottle the next day.
When I shared the pictures of Ada and Tasha, someone had a perfect caption, "Can you believe this... ?" Which is exactly the question Ada must be asking Tasha, as they following the new kid's every move. And the new kid? She seems mostly oblivious to the stir she is causing. Even the chickens are a bit flummoxed.
Seeing her alongside the hens gives us a better idea of her size, which obviously is small.
Introducing the new kid, Grace Hopper. Aka Grasshopper.
She's already had visitors... happily, it's not hard to host an outdoor, socially distant, goat visit! Paul was living with us when the first kids arrived, 9 years ago, and Janece and Amira only got to enjoy it over Skype. This is way more fun to share with everyone. I was looking through some old posts... so much has changed since we first brought home goats! One thing I do remember, it goes fast, and all of this baby goat fun is fleeting. I am going to enjoy this time for all it's worth!
The routine is bottle, nap, frolic, repeat. It's a good life, and last night, to my astonishment and relief, we had a tiny breakthrough... tiny, and promising. While Maria fed Grace, Tasha made her first approach and came closer than ever before, even looking kindly on the new kid.

Friday, April 09, 2021

This Week

This flowerbed makes me extremely happy. Everything has been growing well in there, and it's in a welcoming spot, where I can see them daily, and raised enough to bring them even more to my attention, and the colors, and the variety... so much about them has been exceptional. I don't know what else, but something. Something is happening here, that makes me extra appreciative and admiring. I am glad we designed this space and could have it built. I am glad we live near nurseries, where it's practically like spring year-round. I am glad my Mother, and hers', passed along their love of flowers, of growing them, and cherishing them.

I am not surprised that it is Friday. All day yesterday I was thinking it was Friday. I am surprised that I haven't posted since Saturday, though. It makes me wonder what I have been up to this week. The worst, no doubt, was enduring more chapters of A Drunk Drove Into Your Life, the nauseatingly long saga, with unreal plot twists, a cast of dubious characters, and too many villians, a victim desperate to be cut from the whole production, and tedious details that maddingly never seem to move the story forward.

Ok. Moving forward... as best I can. Flowers. Goat walks. Making plans. Making dinners. Making messes. Cleaning messes. Embroidery. Riding my bicycle. Sketching. Coutning chickens. Staring blankly into the middle distance. Geez, I think this is may be the same week I had last week! How about you?
Maria was standing beside me, and what I saw in her pocket made me think of Jeff Goldblum, and his Knot Store...

Max and I were the cooks on Easter. And later we built some fires and friends came over to visit in the driveway. You know, I was looking forward to writing this post, but I am keenly aware that I am loosing orbit here. Yesterday I got my second vaccination against COVID. As I have documented so much of this strange year, it's only fitting to share this happy chapter. Geoff is out getting his shot, now. Anyway, it's just possible that this relaxing activity of blogging might be something to tackle later. My arm is sore, for sure, but I am also starting to feel heavy, drowsy, like a nap could be even more relaxing than sitting comfortably at my desk tapping out deep thoughts and other musings. I am just going to put up a few more pictures, because that seems sensible, even though I am aware that I am almost tipsy with nap readiness, and it's doubtful I know what "sensible" is.

No. No, on second thought: Sleep is winning...