Wednesday, December 16, 2009

snow goats

Dear Georgia,

Once again, I am telling you the same news I told Aunt Phil in a letter this morning. It isn't that you aren't inspiring enough, because you are, but I am being lazy/unmotivated/busy/efficient (I am not sure which -- perhaps a mix of all) and just copying what I already wrote.

I love the blue of snowy mornings and evenings. We had our first real snow this morning. It wasn't our first snow fall, but the first that covered the ground. I am quite content with snow that only stays from mid December to New Years Day. I have lived here long enough now to know that isn't where we are headed. Now that it is here, I think we can be assured of its presence until early April. Sometimes I wish I could hibernate and miss all the slush and gray slop that will come about Februaryish. But then I would miss mornings like this one that ascend out of night darkness through shades of lightening blue to glorious blinding white.

Snow on the ground will mean problems for the goats. The goats are already a problem for me. I was ready to get rid of them this fall and give up on the whole farm experiment. They are too smart for their own good and have figured out how to get out of their stall and then out of the barn all on their own. That wouldn't be so much of a problem if they would stay back in the pasture or fields, but they wander toward the road. Last week I found them two doors down!

I was helping in Josie's kindergarten class later that morning and told the kids about my 40 minute adventure of trying to catch Snowbell and Pearl. One of the little girls in her class piped up "Hey! I saw some goats in my back yard this morning! I bet they were over here too!" Her house is about 3 miles away in the middle of the village. We all got a good chuckle out of that, but it got me thinking about stories and how it would be fun to have a story about what 2 goats see when they come into my village. So I started on a goats eye view of Seneca Falls. I think I will pick 12 "sights", one for each month of the year. I thought of painting the pictures, but after my first attempts I can see I will have to learn to take photographs. Speaking of which, this fresh snow will make a lovely back drop! I have to hustle out and take December's photos before the light is gone!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Of mice and moms

Dear Georgia,
I am cheating today. This letter was really to Aunt Phil, my grandma's baby sister. When I heard she wasn't feeling well I had another flood of missing Gigi. Aunt Phil has always held a tender spot in my heart. Especially since the summer that I lived with Gigi. She was somewhat of a fairy-godmother in my memory.
I thought that if I sent it off without making a copy I would forget about these few moments that I have recorded. They are common enough to forget. But since I have written them once, they can become a journal post of sorts.

Dear Aunt Phil,
Sam has renamed our cat. Instead of Puff he has taken to calling her Artemis, the goddess of the hunt. She has turned out to be a great mouser.

Maggie found her as a 4 week old kitten in the fields behind our church about a year ago. The kitten wasn't abandoned but Maggie's Sunday School class must have scared off the MamaCat when they caught the kittens. I think it must be the wild cat part of her that makes her such a great hunter. Every morning we have something new torn apart for us as an offering on the front porch. She seems to know that we are happiest when she brings us mice and other rodents because she rarely brings us birds. I guess that doesn't have to means she doesn't go after them, just that she doesn't bring them to us very often. She did find a baby robin that had fallen out of it's nest this past spring. The neighborhood kids were all taking turns "guarding" it, but as soon as they got bored and wandered off... well, how do you console a mama robin? It was a moment of reflection at any rate.

This morning she found her prey inside the house. A family of mice (and we do hope that it is a small family and not an extended colony) has taken up residence somewhere by my children's bedrooms. What does that tell you about the state of their rooms? ICK! We caught one of those wee mousies on Thanksgiving morning hiding behind the toilet that was getting scrubbed. He made quite an uproar as he leaped a whole flight of stairs in an attempt to escape, but we caught him in a canning jar and then took him out side all quaking and alert. We left him in a sheltered spot on the far side of the pond. We gave him a handful of wheat and a scoop of peanut butter for his Thanksgiving dinner.

His brother wasn't so lucky this morning. When we came onto the scene he had been played with enough to either have him beyond confusion or begging for his own death. Puff would toss him in the air, wrestle with him, then let him run away, ready to catch him and play with him again. The poor thing would run right back to her instead of trying to get away. When he finally stopped moving she ripped open his stomach and ate his innards.

My kids are pretty good about cleaning up after their pets, but I don't think I will be able to convince them to do this job.