Thursday, March 25, 2010

Unexpected Linkages

The apricot tree and one of the peach trees are blooming today. I am nervous that we will have a hard frost which will destroy the fruit. I guess there's nothing to do but wait and see.

Because I have a project or two in the works, I wanted to finish up the books I've been reading so that I can go on to the next. Yes, I read two books simultaneously -- 'not sure why -- but they seemed totally unrelated when I started them. By the time I was finished this week, however, I found that their subject matters converged in a most unexpected way.

The Poisonwood Bible
is by Barbara Kingsolver, one of my favorite authors, and is a fictional account of a family which went to the Congo to "man" a mission outpost with the father, who was a Minister.

The Family is a history of the Fundamentalist Organization which has managed to infiltrate the US government.

So, I was thinking I was reading one book on politics and one novel, not realizing that both books cover religion and politics. The role of the US in undermining democratically elected leaders around the world and replacing them with dictators willing to exploit their countries is central to both books. Both contained historical information, as Kingsolver did massive amounts of research on the Congo and lived there briefly as a child.

Both books taught me what I hadn't known before and both books presented challenging ideas regarding religious belief and its effect on politics.

I've read The Shock Doctrine, so I'm aware of the pattern of US involvement in regime change, but the reign of Mobutu didn't get much press here. I do remember the name Patrice Lumumba from my younger days, but didn't quite understand what happened in the 1960s in the Congo.

Coincidentally, today I listened to a podcast which related the story of an American girl who corresponded with Manuel Noriega, of Panama, before he was jailed and deposed through an American invasion in the late 1980s.

Now, if you can figure out the linkage of the first sentence of this post to the rest, you will have given your brain a workout which will serve you well.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Has Definitely Sprung

On Friday, the daffodils were in full bloom on the farm and in the town.  Forsythia is blooming and there are small pools of crocus in color.  A small variety of magnolia tree is in flower.  I see narcissus buds ready to burst open.

The goat herd now goes to the pastures in full force.  I took some video to post when I get a chance.  I think they are most impressive.  There are three little black calves racing around joyously celebrating Spring.

On Friday morning, I looked out the barn window to see a white creature up on the hilltop.  It wasn't moving and I anticipated a dead goat.  I hiked up, my contingent of bottle baby goats in tow, nipping at my heels.  It turned out that one of the adult does had been climbing cedar trees to get some of the green growth.  Her foot, to the first joint, was firmly clamped in the cleft of the tree.  She was laying on the ground with her foot up in the tree, evidently expecting to die.  I lifted her up enough to get her hoof out and massaged the leg.  Goats need to rest with their legs folded underneath in order for their rumens to work.  They don't last long if lying on one side.  When she seemed recovered enough from the trauma, I managed to pull her up onto her feet, where she stayed for a long time, waitng for the blood circulation to come back.

The leg wasn't broken, just swollen, and she eventually was able to move down the hill to the barn.  In the video, you'll see her at the end of the group limping back up that same hill with the rest of the herd.  She had probably spend the night in her predicament and it was good to have been able to intervene in time to save her.  Goats are always doing goofy things like that.  My back still hurts from lifting her, though.

My seed order arrived yesterday while I was out yesterday.  Today, I'll try to beat the coming rain and get some more in the ground.

Large piles of brush are building up around the yard.  I'm pruning and gathering up old vines and sticks as the clean-up continues.  Life chugs along.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Geese are Laying

The geese are laying.  It must be Spring.

Things are winding down to a steady routine in the goat barns.  I managed to get out to do a number of errands yesterday. 

We are back to light rains and warmer temperatures.  I imagine that any greens alive in the garden will benefit.  I planted some peas and hauled a little compost to the garden beds.  Three of the chicken coops are cleaned out.  Big piles of pruned material are on the lawns and most of the asparagus/berry beds have been cleaned out and raked.

Most of the ag records are "spreadsheeted" and I'm ready to plug them into the tax software.

I've made half-hearted attempts to begin cleaning up the greenhouse to start seedlings.  I guess I think that direct seeding works best outdoors for most crops.  Still, I'll start some peppers and tomatoes and see what I might plant out in the plastic garden.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Life Goes On

The mud has dried up and the driveway's been evened out.  I am (potentially) free to drive away in to the wild blue yonder.

All the baby goats, except for the last set of triplets and mother, are out enjoying the sunshine.  A big cedar bough that broke off during one of the ice storms was dragged out to the pasture and a large group is enjoying it.  I'll go up into the cedars later with my lopers and hack off limbs from trees that are too crowded.  Won't they be pleased to find some limbs down where they can get to them!  All the cedars and pines on the hill have been neatly trimmed by goats into lollipop shapes because they eat everything they can reach standing up on their tippy toes.  Only the topmost greenery survives.  Actually, they are providing a good service where the pines are concerned, because they will grow straight and tall if the under branches are kept trimmed -- and they are!

There are two new black calves born in the last couple of days.  The cows are lounging in the sunshine.

Roosters are acting amorous -- if you want to call it that -- eggs are getting more plentiful.  I've shoveled out a couple of coops and am mobilized to dump pine shavings in the cleaned coops and nest boxes.

There are turnips and some chard and kale growing in the garden.  The snow cover must have helped.  Seeds are ordered.  The pruning has begun.  We're getting a preview of Spring, and life goes on.