Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mission Accomplished

With a twinkle in his eye and a smug look of accomplishment, Curious the goat returned to his farm today. His stink level declined quite a bit once our ladies were no longer in heat. I was thankful for that when it came time to heft him into the back of the pickup for the ride home. Henry also has a smug look of accomplishment, but I think it's for a different reason.

The snow has been deep for a few weeks now, settling down to about a foot. It was quite cold for a while -- down to -9 degrees, which I discovered is our threshold for freezing pipes. A little propane torch action on the bathtub drain solved that problem though. Some day I'll insulate our pipes, but most probably need to be replaced first.

Our neighbor Stan has taken it upon himself to plow our driveway (which we greatly appreciate), as his four-wheel drive tractor with a front end loader is much better than our old Ferguson in the snow. Upon learning that Henry was using the snow pile made by his tractor for a sledding-launch, he decided to make it even bigger and more worthy of a sled launch. Henry felt that Meowy the cat might also enjoy a sled ride.
I've thus far been pleasantly surprised that our rodent problems don't seem to be all that bad. I keep a few traps out, mostly in our basement and garage, just to be safe though. About once a month, I catch a few. They seem to come as a family, as I rarely catch just one.

Until last week, I hadn't considered the bounty of indoor hunting opportunities offered in Michigan. When Rachel heard some scratching in the laundy room, I came downstairs to investigate. My cheap Chinese pellet rifle, despite it's horrible accuracy, appears to be effective at indoor ranges.

Considering where our economy is headed, I feel that indoor hunting skills like this may come in handy in the future. They could really help to stretch that grocery budget, and food can't possibly get any more local.

You know how realtors like to describe a "fixer" house with a witty statement like "Bring your paint brush" when "Bring your bulldozer" would be a more accurate description? Since our rennovation money ran thin, we've decided that there's a lot of wisdom in those ads.

Since the "polish a turd" policy started in our living room seemed to work pretty well, we decided to continue the policy and paint the dining room as well. So long as you're in the next room and have poor eyesight, it looks pretty nice now.

As we were setting up the room for painting, we set out some light plastic drop-cloths to protect the floors. I'm not sure they're really worth protecting, but it seemed like a good idea. Anyway, the dropcloth wouldn't stay put. It kept billowing up like a parachute as the wood stove is sucking air through the myriad cracks and gaps in our floor. I've since attacked all the gaps from the basement with a can of spray-foam, and also added some fiberglass insulation. I haven't tested the new airflow rates with a dropcloth though. I'm not sure I really want to know what the results would be.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Some like it stinky

I'd heard that bucks were stinky, but when Curious first arrived, the stink wasn't really that bad. In fact, I'm not sure I really noticed any bad smells. I was pretty sure that everyone was just over-reacting.

Then, things changed. Apparently his stink machine takes a few days to warm up, and the presence of two fine ladies was just what he needed to get it going.

I'm not sure exactly where the stink comes from, but suspect that his "goatee" may be a source. Every time I'm in the goat's pen, he tries to rub his chin on my thigh. He's not particularly aggressive about it; just very persistent. Every time I turn around, he's there, with his chin moving into position.

There is at least one source of the stink which I'm quite certain of. Curious creates what he thinks is both a refreshing drink and a fine cologne, all rolled into one. I'll let you figure out what it is. I really make sure I keep my distance after he's been partaking of himself that way.

I finally ordered a cheap pair of hockey skates off of Ebay after some unsuccessful attempts at finding a pair at the Goodwill, so now we all have skates. We've been out skating on one of our ponds, which was really nice. A friend of ours invited us to skate out on Corey lake (the big lake about a mile north of us), which has frozen over. The ice on a lake of that size is laced with cracks from the expansion of the ice, although they don't seem to be a hazard at all. We could hear strange echoing noises while we were out on the lake, which is the sound of new cracks forming.

The snow started falling again a couple days ago, so skating is out for the time being. Hopefully there will be enough snow that we can break out the skis.

With the weather not particularly conducive to working outside, I've been cleaning out the barn. Up until now, I was just cleaning sections as it became necessary to use them. It's nice not to have to maneuver around the old junk, bat guano, broken glass, and ancient straw.