Bad news is everywhere. Natural disasters, random acts of violence and a continual string of horrible injustices perpetrated on unsuspecting people. And, that doesn’t even include politics. It’s disheartening. It’s depressing. And, there’s not a thing I can do about any of it.
Oh, I know you can write letters to your representatives and you can get out and vote your conscience. Speak out when bad things happen to you and others. Donate to charity. You can lend an ear to listen and a shoulder to lean on and hugs are always welcome. But, in the long run, I honestly wonder if it all matters. Because, the bad news just keeps coming.
So, I’m wracking my brain here for something upbeat and different. Something that will make someone smile and distract my own mind from the dark and dreary corners to which it seems inexorably drawn.
...and all I’ve got is Gus...
For those of you who may not know, Gus is our Great Pyrenees. Defender of the farm, guardian of the sheep,...and goof-ball extraordinaire.
Borrowing a line from the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”, Gus is one of the “characters around here givin’ the place at-mosphere”. He’s been featured in the farm blog in the past... (you might want to read these) https://homesteadhillfarm.blogspot.com/2013/10/like-big-dog.html https://homesteadhillfarm.blogspot.com/2014/05/thursday-thankful-gus-edition.html https://homesteadhillfarm.blogspot.com/2014/10/a-friday-funny-new-project-for-gus.html Fortunately for all involved, he outgrew his propensity for chewing up the odd and random (plant flats, trailer parts, the dryer vent) and for all appearances seems to be doing his job.
He has finally assimilated into his role as sole guardian of the farm after Ellie’s death earlier this year. Although visitations from the tiny humans still seem to perplex him. (that may be understandable)
|MrB thought it was great fun to be captured|
by the giant chicken-catching net
|"I heard something..."|
Yes, he IS standing on his hind legs and opening the gate!
|"Here I come to save the day!"|
|"He needed me, Mama...he really did!"|
|hmm, this isn't supposed to be opened...|
Gus...where are you?
|this time the spent cornstalks needed "protection"|
However, even Superman had his Kryptonite.
For Gus, it’s the doggie nail clippers (and loud noises, but that’s the subject of another post).
If you need to make a 125-pound dog disappear, you simply pull the tiny clippers off the hook in the utility room. He does not have to see them, he can apparently hear the sound as they slip into my pocket. And, it causes his personality to change and he suddenly goes AWOL.
Now, I could go the rest of my life without doing doggie pedicures. Really. But, the Pyrenees have these giant dewclaws on their back feet that need some regular maintenance. The claws were apparently necessary at one point in their evolution so they could balance as they stood on their back feet and fought predators, mainly bears. Bears? (yeah, really) Now, if we ever find ourselves in a situation where it is necessary for Gus to stand upright on his back feet and fight bears, I am certain that we will BOTH be looking for a new line of work...and perhaps a new location. But, I digress.
These giant claws have a propensity for growth and curl around and around and eventually dig into the tender skin of the foot pads and cause great discomfort along with the potential for infection of the broken skin. Veterinarians do not suggest removing these claws as that can cause another set of problems. So, put another thing on the “to-do list”.
|it curls around in a complete circle|
Sensing the clippers in my pocket, Gus is no longer the friendly sidekick who wants his ears rubbed while we wait for the stocktank to fill. He is simply nowhere to be seen. Seriously, he disappears.
Now, that feat in and of itself is astounding. You try hiding a huge, white, hairy dog in plain sight.
|maybe I can sneak up on him...|
Once located, he kept his distance. He knew I had those clippers and I can only surmise that he felt some real affection for his toenails, because he was not letting me near them. He would let me hold his paw, only to jump away in abject terror as I reached for my back pocket.
Even doggie treats had lost their appeal as the dance seemed to continue without end. One step toward him...he was off to race around the orchard, then he would touch his nose to my hand, only to dart away again. This was getting old. I sat down in one last attempt to capture him, hoping that he would follow his usual behavior and come to see what I was doing. I only had to make the two teeny, tiny clips and be done with the job.
“Oh, my gosh...are you all right? WHAT are you doing?”
The Boss’ voice shocked me out of my reverie about my next move in this dance of ridiculous-ness.
He knew nothing of my attempts at a doggie pedicure, so when he found me sitting on the ground next to the fence his concern was understandable.
Of course, Gus had to see what was up since both his humans were in the same spot at the same time. That gave the Boss time to grab him.
Snip. Snip. The job was done.
Honestly. That was it. All that hoopla for two little...well, actually...two enormous toenails.
Gus spent the next 10 minutes looking for his lost body parts. And, you thought perhaps I overstated his goof-ball status.
|"I know they're here somewhere..."|
But, fortunately that job is done for a while!
That’s the kind of stuff that goes on around here all the time. We don’t have to make any effort for “mindfulness” or attempt to live an “authentic” life. This is it. Forget the news of the day…the minutiae of daily life is more than enough to occupy our minds…and try our patience.
So, I guess we should be truly grateful for Gus and his goofy antics.
And, there are other farm-related things to occupy our minds should we choose to change our focus.
As the calendar moves ever forward, it’s time to be thinking ahead to next year’s crops. The garlic seedstock arrived and the Boss made the first pass at readying the planting beds.
|cleaning up the garden|
getting ready for 2018 garlic planting
The fall brassica harvest is finally beginning.
|isn't this broccoli beautiful?|
The hens are continuing to clean up the middle garden space.
|except for this girl...|
she's gone broody and wants to sit on all the eggs
It looks like all is quiet (and complete) on the sheep breeding front.
|late day sheep siesta|
And, while I realize we should make every attempt to curtail the thistle growth, at least the goldfinches are enjoying this year’s bumper crop.
|I love the goldfinches!|
After weeks of drought, where each falling leaf seemed to be a whispered prayer for rain, we saw some sort of precipitation every single day. That is a good news, bad news kind of thing.
The good news is obvious. It’s relatively wet. (at least the vegetation) The bad news insidious and may be overlooked. Again, the vegetation is relatively wet...(and I’ll leave that one right there).
|a slug enjoying a dewy broccoli leaf|
Surprisingly, we seem to be the only part of the county that is experiencing the dark, damp conditions. That must have to do with elevation. We sit right about 2,000 feet above sea-level here on the hill. That’s nearly 600 feet higher than Staunton and many of the other surrounding towns. So, our weather is often quite different than it is anywhere else.
|dark and damp|
|garden after rain|
Every morning for the past week, we’ve felt like we were trapped inside the clouds, dewdrops clinging to every surface. This doesn’t change until at least mid-afternoon, when the sun bursts forth, bringing with it a brilliant October day. Although the temperatures have felt more August-like…it was 82* several days. The moisture is actually too little, too late and won’t bring any amazing late season production.
|late day Mbrk|
Saturday’s Market began with the same cool, dark conditions. It seemed that many customers must have taken advantage of the opportunity to sleep in…it took a long time to begin a steady flow of sales. We’ve reached that point of the season where customer traffic has gotten somewhat sparse. A lot of folks give up the Market once summer veggies like corn and tomatoes are gone. Although there are others who are stocking up for winter and trying to buy in bulk, so it all evens out in the end.
|ready for sales|
I don’t think I’m alone when I say I’m just hanging on for the last five Markets of 2017. This year we will just be thankful we got through the season and work on planning for next year…
…and that’s all folks!
Thanks for reading.
Hope you’re having a Happy Sunday!
Come back and “visit” us again real soon.