Friday, January 29, 2010

Morning barn time: a short video

Care to see a few peaceful moments from our time in the barn this morning?:

Pete and Reggie, the goats, Kai, Dolly, Toni, the llamas, and Chester and Beau (in the distance), the donkeys, and I all wish you a VERY HAPPY FRIDAY!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This is a donkey hand

Precisely what properties make up a donkey hand, you may be wondering. Notice the extremely grubby nature of the entire hand? This comes from the repeated rubbing, patting and petting of my beloved long ears.

Do you see the higher percentage of ground in dirt at the finger tips?:

This is a result of the oft-requested and highly appreciated act of donkey-bum scratching:

I've yet to meet a donkey that didn't LOVE this:

Depending on the situation, sometimes this scratching can go on for a very long time:

So, there you have it. A donkey hand:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A new friend for Chester

Allow me, please, to introduce Beau:

He's a bit wet and muddy here, but he's drying off quickly and acclimating very well to his new home here on Critter Farm:

He's looking forward to going out and playing with the new kids:

Chester, meanwhile, is super excited that he is going to have a buddy that doesn't spit at him:

Not that he hasn't tried really hard to be their pal:

But this llama club is apparently quite selective over membership:

I've a feeling these haughty little ladies are going to be pretty surprised:

When they see the new club that's forming:

Monday, January 25, 2010

An evening with Herb Alpert

First of all, the comments that were left for me on my previous post, "Reliving a childhood crush", practically made me swoon. I never expected to have so many kindred spirits. WOW.

A few of you asked for an update on how the Herb Alpert/Lani Hall concert was, so here goes: It was AMAZING.

See this poor-quality picture? This is the back alley behind the Aladdin Theatre where Herb was playing. Can you just barely make out those two chairs in the road? They're holding a place for Herb's car. This made me laugh and feel kind of close to him at the same time:

Here's the stage, pre-show. The backdrop is an original piece by Herb himself. He's been painting for forty-some years, he said:


Lani Hall, whom I was not familiar with before this concert, has a gorgeous voice and is an incredible performer. Such a stage presence she has. She and Herb have been married for thirty-six (!!) years - and what chemistry they have together!

After the show, I walked down to the stage to get close to the trumpet. Herb's trumpet. So simple looking, but what a powerful instrument:

The trumpet on the right in the picture below is Herb's self-designed trumpet. See how it has two bells? One has a mute in it, the other does not. There's a small lever on the side that allows him to toggle back and forth, playing, when he desires, a few notes muted and then maybe a few sounds like there are TWO amazing trumpet players in the room!:

I came away that night realizing that Portland (it's not just me!) loves Herb Alpert. There was so much energy in the audience, it was palpable. I really believe that our enthusiasm fed him just a bit, because his version of "Besame Mucho" that evening was even more powerful than any other version I've heard (or seen on YouTube).

Here's just a short snippet from "Besame Mucho" played on Saturday night...I'm sorry the visual quality is so poor. This is his version of the song that is up for a Grammy this coming Sunday, 1/31. (and yes, that's totally my husband, hooting like a wild man, at the very end...)

Of course my guy bought me a concert t-shirt. But lest you think he's just all sweetness and light, he totally stole it from me and wore it to work today.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Reliving a childhood crush

Does anybody out there remember this album?

I grew up seeing this album in my parents' music collection. I was completely fascinated by the lady covered in whipped cream (shaving cream, actually, as I later came to find out, due to whipped cream's tendency to melt underneath studio lights). What I really loved, though, was the music that came from this album. Who knew I would be touched at such an early a trumpet.

At age five, I would sit for hours by the fire and the Christmas tree, pretending to play various musical instruments, while Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass played their festive, happy-making Christmas tunes:

My own children have grown up with Herb in the house...every December 1st, this cd is the first to be played in honor of the upcoming holiday season. My boys appreciate the genius of Herb (almost) as much as I do, which makes me love them even more.

Some will find this style of music dated and corny. Many may feel a trumpet can't exclusively carry a song, but Herb's trumpet stirred something in my little girl soul that I carried with me into adulthood. To this day, it makes me happy, makes me smile, and reminds me of the little girl who used to sit, completely mesmerized, on her parents' living room floor, drumming on every object around her, while Herb passionately trumpeted away.

Want to travel back in time with me, just for a few minutes? You won't regret it. This is a great song - and an amazing video (especially considering it was 1966):

Do you want to know why I wrote this post today?

I'm going to see Herb Alpert tonight - for the first time. He's playing live, in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, jazz singer, Lani Hall. He won't be with his earlier backup band, the Tijuana Brass, but I will be within a few feet of the man I have loved to listen to since I was five.

Picture me smiling.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


When you live on property, you find yourself doing things you normally wouldn't do if you lived in the city. Case in point, this year, we carried our former-Christmas tree outside and threw it over the fence.

When I look out our living room window at any given time now, I regularly see this:

Or this:

Christmas tree recycling...just another service the helpful animals of Critter Farm provide.

And look! Synchronized...for my entertainment:





Monday, January 18, 2010

When one friendship ends, a new one begins

Perhaps you've seen these boots on my feet before. They've been around for a long time:

When I came in from the rain the other day, I noticed my feet -inside my boots- were wet:

I've had these friends for many years. But this just won't do:

Wet feet on a farm girl just aren't acceptable:

I don't need anything fancy, pretty, furry, or trendy, they just need to not leak. Sigh...

Fortunately, my husband loves me a lot.
He came home with these for me the other night. Look how shinyyyyyy they are:

I immediately needed to give them a trial run.
Here is a new boot next to a llama foot:

Here's that same new boot with a donkey foot. So far so good:

Here is my left new boot with Kai the llama's two front feet:

And here's one of the new boots being stepped on by a goat foot for the first time:

Now with two goat feet. These boots are clearly durable:

They even look good with chicken feet:

And next to Roxy, the farm pup's feet, they look exceptionally beautiful, don't you think?:

Welcome, my rubbery, new friends. I promise to take good care of you. I hope you like it here:

Friday, January 15, 2010

And they just stopped eating it

Do you have experience with goats?

Can anyone tell me whether goats are "seasonal" eaters?

By this, I mean, do they prefer different foods at different times of the year?

The reason I ask is, I've been buying hay from the same farm for almost two years now. The only hay that Pete and Reggie have ever known has come from that farm. Yet, over the last month, they have almost completely stopped eating any hay at all. Instead, they are STARVING for...straw:

Every day, when I go up to let them out for the day, their feeder stands much as it did the night before - still full of hay:

When I recently mulched my garden beds with a layer of straw, Pete and Reggie thought they'd died and gone to heaven...they didn't know where to chow down first:

It wasn't a gradual thing or a new bale type of issue. It was mid-hay bale when they stopped, virtually cold turkey. As if a switch was flipped. I've even changed bales of hay - with no effect. They want straw:

Which has virtually zero nutritional value, right?

Their energy remains high, their ability to get into trouble enormous, they beg for their carrots, and are doing everything else like normal...just. not. eating. their. hay.

Does anybody have any ideas as to what's going on? Do I need to be worried?