Tuesday, September 30, 2008
We had chickens and I had opened their pen that day so they could run around the yard eating bugs.
That night I was getting our dog ready for a dog show and Furry Husband was at work. Booker, our Gordon Setter, had a brief life in the conformation ring (kinda like Westminster Kennel Club dog show)... I was up late grooming him and I forgot to close the chicken pen.
I went to bed around 11pm and as I'm laying there (or is it lying - I forget which is grammatically correct?)
I hear the neighbor dogs barking which makes me think, "oh no! The chickens!" I hadn't closed the chicken pen! I'm not really sure why the neighbor dogs barking would make me think this cuz they always bark. ? Who knows how the human brain works.
I jump up, put my slippers on and go out in my red plaid mens flannel pajamas to close the pen.
There is a chicken laying (or is it lying??) on her back in the middle of the yard.
Oh. That can't be right.
I go further and there is a big ol' pile of rooster feathers.
Oh. This is mos' definately not right.
I close the pen and notice that one rooster is gone, the hen laying (or lying) in the yard is a goner but everyone else seems to be there... oh, wait! Larry is missing!
Larry is our black silkie rooster. He is a very ugly rooster but he is very sweet. I bought him for $1 on eggbay.com.
I stand up, I'm sorta surveying the land and I see this little dark lump on the other side of the fence in the pasture.
It is dark. It is quiet. I am convinced something is watching me.
I tiptoe out into the pasture in my slippers, tripping over dried horse turds cuz it's freaking DARK out. I get to the dark lump and it is Larry.
He is on his back. Isn't this how horror movies begin??
I can hear my own breathing because it is so quiet out. The hairs on my neck are standing out cuz I'm just convinced any minute now something is gonna come rushing outta nowhere and savage me....
remember the movie Lost Boys? And the vampires come out of the sky to savage the people at the bonfire party? Remember how the one skinhead guy has a vampire bite into his head like a melon? These are the thoughts racing through my mind....
I bend down to look at poor Larry...
I can see his little beady eye.... omg... I think he just blinked!
I reach down to pick him up and all of a sudden he JUMPS up making this awful HHUUURRRRR!!, HHUURRRRRR!!, HRRRRRR!! squawking and takes off like a track star down into the pasture.
Jumpin' Jesus on a pogo stick! I flew backward and fell on my ass. I think I just had a friggin' heart attack.
Little tufts of dirt fly as he runs. It's like watching an ostrich on the Discovery channel but in minature...
Well now I'm screwed. I can't leave him out there to be eaten by whatever is lying (or is it laying) in wait... and so I go after him... into the dark pasture full of thigh high grass and tripping over horse poo... in my flannel pajamas and slippers.
I am completely freaked out and he's making so much noise I wonder if one of the country neighbors is gonna come out of their house with a shotgun... or if whatever is wanting to attack is pinpointing our position based on the noise...
Now I'm not only afraid of whatever is out there waiting to attack, and I could swear I saw glowing red eyes in the grass watching me ... but I'm afraid of being shot to death.
I did catch Larry after what felt like forever. I put him in the pen all safe and secure with the others.....and I beat it indoors... breathless and wild eyed with crazy big hair thinking I just cheated death.
I called Furry Husband up at work....
Me: "honey.... something is out there!"
Me: "SOMETHING is out there!"
FH: "I can't hear you. Why are you whispering?"
Me: "Something got in with the chickens!!"
FH: "Well let the dogs out to chase it away..."
Me: "No! What if it's still out there!"
FH: "Honey. I have to go I'm working..."
Me: "But what do I do if it comes back?!"
FH: "Let the dogs out. I'll be home soon, you'll be fine"
HA! Easy for HIM to say. He's in a restaurant full of people and lights and sounds and PEOPLE!
I am alone in the dark and quiet.
I stayed up sitting on the kitchen counter, eyes wide with fear, watching the yard.
A small red fox came trotting thru looking for the hen it'd left in the yard...
THAT isn't so scary.
And after all, I'M the one that left the chicken pen open... little foxy was just mindin' his own bid'ness when he noticed that someone left the doors open to his very own version of Kentucky Fried Chicken free buffett....
Friday, September 26, 2008
I went to update my website and found out the company I was using changed site editors. They want me to pay more to "update" my site and when I tried that, basically they want me to recreate the whole damn thing from scratch using the new editor.
Do you know how long it took me to create those pages?!
I am not a techie, I don't know html and I spent a very painful, entire 3 day weekend creating it. Worse than being in labor cuz people are in labor for like, what? 2 days max? and THEY can have epidurals.
Anyway, I'd have to upload all my pix and graphics again and you just have no idea how painful and time consuming that all was the first go 'round. So to do it all again??? Thanks but... no.
I think I'm gonna scrap it and open a store/site on etsy.com when I finally get my labels going. Websites are so necessary for people to SEE your product and feel like there really is a virtual space devoted to you. Makes you seem more like a "real" business I think in the minds of consumers.
I'm frustrated by this website debacle. I am also really not impressed with their customer service. Tho' once I finally CREATED all my pages...I simply could NOT scrap it to start with another provider and go thru the agony again.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Before we moved to our little Green Acres life out in Waverly CO, we lived in Denver. Furry Husband tended bar at the Wynkoop Brewing Co. and the Denver Chop House downtown and I worked downtown in and around all the skyscrapers. I took the bus to work and wore my bid'ness attire with my socks and tennis shoes to walk to my building on 17th and something where I worked on the 21st floor.
We lived in a little 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo near Cherry Creek and had to take our dogs on walks several times a day to let them pee and we always had baggies in the pockets of our coats/jackets/pants/shorts/sweatpants etc. to pick up any poo. We didn't know any of our neighbors... we sorta met the other people that had dogs cuz they were out and about the same times we were. And one night the woman across from our condo in the next building was screaming at her boyfriend over the phone, "I WENT TO THE DOCTOR AND YOU GAVE ME A DISEASE!!"
Yikes. Now ALL your neighbors in ALL the neighboring buildings know that you have a disease in your coochie dear.
Then we moved to the country. Everything changed.
We bought this little fixer-upper that was just a hair bigger than our condo, only 1 bathroom but on five, glorious acres. We got it by the skin of our teeth and knew we were taking a big financial risk. We both commuted 1.5 - 2 hrs (depending on traffic flow and/or any accidents on I-25) to Denver for a couple yrs after we bought our place while we looked for jobs closer to home. Furry Husband worked nights and weekends and I worked days during the week. We never saw each other.
I was by myself most nights and it was DARK out in the country. And quiet. There were no police helicopters with search lights flying overhead to monitor all the parks and bike paths or on training missions. There was no traffic. There were no sirens. There were certainly no neighbors screaming about their hoo-ha's. And no one called asking if I could meet them at a bar 10 minutes away for a beer.
I think I cried for two weeks straight wondering, "what in the hell did we just do?!"
I'd make Furry Husband call me before he left work at 2am so I'd know when to expect him. After all, a 1.5 hr drive at 2am ... he could fall asleep, another driver could fall asleep and there could be drunk drivers out and about...
We found out that any time our phone rang, it rang at the neighbor's house behind us. I thought it was wierd when I'd answer the phone and sometimes a little kid was also answering the phone? We didn't really make the connection for a while ... and each night Dave would ring me up at 2am to let me know he was on his way home. I bet the neighbors LOVED that and thought we were involved in some shady dealings.
After all, when we moved in, we heard all about the people who rented the house prior to us and how they bought all kinds of new things, took out big loans, had new cars, new horse trailers, new boats....and then they just disappeared in the middle of the night one night, ran away, stole it all.
Our new neighbors would tell us this while looking us up and down. As if they were evaluating just what kind of people we were anyway...
And since Furry Husband was home all day, they thought he didn't work. One neighbor ask if I supported him...
Another came over and asked if we stayed up late and made a lot of noise because there WAS a sheriff that lived down the road you know....
Before our house became a rental, a woman named Opal lived in it. I think her husband built it for her. They lived there together until he died and she remained until she died. She was a "cat lady". Neighbors say she had a colony of feral cats living there and she fed them all.
I like to think she is happy fellow cat lovers moved in even if we only have five compared to her colony! Everyone still refers to our house at the old Opal place. If we talk to someone from the area, tell them where we live and they look confused - we say, "It was Opal's house" then they know exactly where we live.
Now I wouldn't go back to city living for the world. I love the gazillion birds we have in our trees and shrubs. I love all the stars I can see at night because it IS so dark where we are. I love hearing a neighbor's donkey a road over braying in the morning to be fed. (Dang those things are loud!) I love being able to have all three horses at my house and feeding them each day. I love the fact that I have dairy goats and I make cheeses, lotions and soaps along with drinking the milk they give me.
I love it that our dogs can run on 5 acres and play in irrigation water two days a month in the summer and I have almost forgotten the baggie days of city life. I love the beauty of the foothills to the West and the incredible sunrises and sunsets we see each day. I love being so much more connected to nature and light and growing seasons...
And all those nosey neighbors?
Now we know all the people on our road. We wave to them, stop to chat with them if we see them out getting mail, we yell over the fence to say 'howdy!', everyone looks out for each other and people call if something doesn't look right or if they need help with something.
Everyone knows everyone else's business and if you don't, you know exactly who to call to find out.
It's so weird. In the city, living on top of one another in a condo complex, you barely know each other... in the country, where we are all so spread out , everyone knows each other by name.
It is REALLY different than living in the city and I'm lovin' every minute of it...
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Furry Husband and I have our NINE year wedding anniversary tomorrow. Wow - 9 years. I can hardly believe it. We are still having great fun together and we are looking forward to many more odd, hiliarious, bizzare adventures together....
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Our first day we were like kids in a candy store. We walked all over Healdsburg tasting in wine fronts all along the streets.
At the time this picture was taken, we were all feeling quite happy. This picture is hilarious because our friend Sally has NEVER seen a man shorter than she is! Lookee Sally, so cute in her pink top and the wee, little man standing at the bar to your right.
That's right, he's not sitting, he's standing folks!
We had a lot of barrel room tours... And some vineyard tours.
This is a basket o' bungs. Yeah, there really are bung holes in wine barrels. It's not something Beavis and Butthead made up! heh, heh - I said bung hole - heh heh hehSo much nicer than corn dontcha think? Rows and rows of vines. Far as the eye can see.... full of grapes ripening to make Merlot, Pinot, Chardonnay, Cabernet, Sirah, Sauvignon and many others....Moose, the BR Cohn winery dog. There are books at every winery "Winery Dogs of Napa" or "Winery Dogs of Sonoma" filled with winery dogs, their pictures and biographies. And there were the tasting rooms.....After tasting room....After tasting roomAfter tasting room...
from 10:30 in the morning to about 3 pm we drank wine.
I don't understand why I can't bring wine to work? I'd be MUCH happier if I had a good buzz at 10:30am every day. One of the wineries we toured, we walked past a cubicle area - office papers, staplers, laptop docking stations..... glasses full of wine sitting on the desk... much like your morning cup o' joe.
The guy tasting us on wines in the picture above was hilarious - very intense - he told us to sit down and he was gonna do something to us that'd make our heads spin around until they popped off! Hmm - never been told that before - in any situation really.
We didn't get a picture of the woman that tasted us on wines at the place below - but she was SUMTHIN'! Picture a severe Type A personality who just drank 3 pots of straight espresso and trains pit bulls to fight. Now you are getting an idea of our friend at this winery ... a lot of aggressive direct stares and the use of your first name hard and excessively. For example, "I know that SHANNON is married to the powerhouse and that is why SHANNON is here. " yeah, she really did call Furry Husband "the powerhouse".
I knew if I laughed or joked I would be totally bitch slapped. That woman took her wines seriously! She'd walk across the room to pull more wine bottles and when she'd leave our table, we'd all look at each other with wide eyes mouthing, " oh. my. god."
At one point, Furry Husband asked a question JUST as this woman took a sip of wine.
She continued to sip the wine, then swished it all around - like a person in a Scope mouthwash ad - swishing and swirling and practically gargling the wine. Then she brought oxygen into her mouth - you hold the wine in your mouth but suck in air - sorta like slurping soup. Doing this with wine in your mouth makes a very similar noise...
We all sat there in total silence watching this woman for what felt like forever. I thought I was going to DIE LAUGHING. Only it's as if you are in church and you aren't supposed to laugh. None of us could make eye contact with each other cuz we were all on the verge of hysterics. I was digging my fingernails into my thigh and biting the insides of my cheeks to keep myself contained.
When we left, we all just rolled around in the car crying with laughter and I think also with giddy relief that we had escaped our "grapes of wrath" experience.
One night we made dinner at one of the guest houses. We went to Oxbow Market and picked up some steaks, corn on the cob and portabella mushrooms. Sally is an EXCELLENT chef and even tho' our meal was simple, it was heavenly! Our table set for dinner is below - we grilled everything and watched the sun set over the vineyard.
This guest house at Cuvaison was nestled right into the 400 acre vinyard so we could go walking in the mornings and evenings in the beautiful countryside. Since the vineyards are working farms, (yes, I got my geek on with the Agricultural side o' things) producing a crop and harvesting, they have deterrants for the birds.
There are shiny streamers in many of the vinyards and as you drive around in wine country, it looks like the hillsides are sparkling. These are supposed to act like scarecrow type deterrants. There are also noise makers which sound like shotguns. They are timed to sound off sporadically and are located throughout the vineyards.
At the Cuvaison guest house a noise maker went off nearby in the middle of the night. I sat up in bed with the thought that Harry had come into the hallway and made one, loud clap to see if we were awake! I asked Furry Husband, "Did you hear that?!" He mumbles yes and I say, "Is someone CLAPPING?!"
One night we went for a walk and Furry Husband had an accident. There was a deck area off our bedroom with no step down. It was really dark that night with no city lights at all, a tiny sliver of a moon and you could barely see your hand in front of your face. Darker than the inside of a black cow at night kinda dark.
I evaluated the distance and jumped... why we couldn't just walk thru the house and out onto the deck that HAD steps, I'll never know. Copious amounts of wine makes you do funny things and impairs judgement. Children, please, do not try this at home.
Furry Husband followed me. Only he misjudged the distance, landed wrong, fell, completed a full body roll in the lawn (drum roll please) WITHOUT spilling his full glass of wine!
I am looking at him laying there and he says, "here take this." giving me his wine. He lays there for a minute and then gets up. We still went on our walk but the next day Furry Husband's knee was hugely swollen and he couldn't put weight on it.
We set him up with lots of ice and ibuprofen and stopped at Rite Aid for a knee brace. The swelling went down and he was able to get around - limping and slower.
We all experienced a little sticker shock by the food cost there. One of our breakfasts was $80 with tip. That is for coffee, eggs, toast and we ordered their specialty house donuts to split between the four of us. If you ever buy the six pack of those tiny Dolly Madison donuts from a gas station, you have an idea of the size of the donuts served - four of them - one for each of us. Harry and Sally ordered a "breakfast pizza" - flat bread, eggs, carmelized onions and bacon.
Furry Husband and I ordered eggs and bacon. I got my egg cooked into a hole in the toast! When I lifted my toast, the egg hung low - it looked funny to me and reminded me of a Robin Williams thing, "The moon, like a testicle, hangs low in the sky" only - insert egg and plate into the aforementioned quote.Oh, if every morning could be like this. I seriously need to win the damn lottery.
Furry Husband gettin' some love from Nobel, the Mondovi family wine dog.
A note in the Mondovi guest house about Nobel...
We were all determined not to feed Nobel.
We brought pizza back to the guest house one night and Nobel stood outside the patio door, next to the dinner table, barking imperatively and constantly - as if Timmy fell down the well - while we ate.
I understand why people at the guest house feed Nobel.
They relent under the constant badgering and incessant noise. That dog has his hostage technique DOWN!
We had so much fun together and tho' we were happy to get home and sleep in our own beds...I am still dreaming a little dream of vineyards....
Thursday, September 11, 2008
And then one day I noticed it was shiny - like REALLY shiny - and black. I thought - hmmm - I wonder if it's a black widow?
Well the yesterday morning it was hanging there devouring a moth and I could see it's underbelly - the famous red hourglass was there! So yeah - black widow in my milk room. Complete with about 4-5 egg sacs. I was gonna kill it that night but when I told this guy at work, he said I should call Ft. Collins Discovery Center.
I called and the receptionist was like "oh. Well.... ever since we had this incident with a black widow almost escaping, the director won't let us take them anymore but I'll give you the number of our entomologist and I bet she'll just want it for herself at home"
So I call this lady and she is TOTALLY geeked out about having a black widow spider live and in person along with it's egg sacs.
Well I go home with my clean Skippy peanut butter specimen jar complete with holes drilled in the lid... I am putting the egg sacs in the jar (not with my fingers but with a long stick) and I notice...there is ANOTHER black widow spider!! I catch that one and the other one scurries into a spot where I can't get to it.
But... here's the thing. Evidently black widow webs are very abstract and all over the place - they don't have the nice round webs like our little friend Charlotte who loves Wilbur the pig. And black widows are very nocturnal.
Each morning for the past month or two I've been going into my milk room to milk the goats and there is all this webbing all over the entryway when I open the door... and I've sometimes walked into it... most mornings I brushed it all away with a broom. BOTH black widows were near this door - so each morning I'm stumbling into black widow territory, tearing thru their webs unbeknownst to me ..... until now...
One of those things coulda been in the middle of constructing the web and here I stumble in where it coulda dropped on my head or down my shirt. I was having serious heebie jeebies.
While I was in the shower later that night, Furry Husband brought the 2nd black widow in an empty salsa jar and set it on the bathroom sink for me to watch while I showered (glass shower door). I was convinced Mojo would jump up on the sink and knock the GLASS jar over on the tile below and I'd have this big ol' fat, pregnant black widow loose in the house laying egg sacs all over the place.
It didn't happen - and after my shower I moved her into a box with the other specimen jar and put them outside in case the eggs hatched and baby spiders leaked thru the air holes. ( can you feel your scalp itching just thinkin' 'bout it?? )
This morning I noticed this other HUGE spider - think 50 cent piece - and figure I'd take that to the spider lady too. She told me it was a cat faced spider when she came to get them. Here is what the cat faced spider I caught looks like. Can you see the cat face in her abdomen shape?
I guess they are harmless enough venom-wise but I'd have a serious heart attack or conniption fit or seizure if I was suprised by one of these on my pillow or crawling up my leg.
She said 570 children in Ft. Collins will see MY spiders through her teaching program. She travels to different schools and brings a collection of spiders and other insects. They will be well fed and she's excited about the egg sacs cuz she's been wanting a male black widow for her display... and I found out the reason she was SO big was cuz she was full o' eggs. "It's amazing how much they shrink once they lay thier eggs..." says the entomologist.
And I say, "good luck to you ma'am!" in a very Stephen Colbert voice.
Glad to be rid of my poisonous spiders and now that I've contributed to science, I'm gonna spray the milk room to kill any babies that may have hatched or other poisonous creepy crawlies that might still be lurking.