Monday, January 31, 2011

31 posts in thirty-one days: The end of the month

Ok, it wasn't THAT big of a deal. So I wrote a post every single day in January. Whoop-de-doo. Originally, it was meant to be a small, personal challenge to myself... to get myself back into the swing of blogging or get into the blog swinging thing...or, well, you know what I'm trying to say.

Since I was previously a - maybe - twice a week blogger, it's interesting for me now to look back at all the (mostly goofy but some serious) stuff I blogged about: packing away the holidays, goldfish in stock tanks, biting donkeys, egg laying, library books, freezing temperatures, surprise snowstorms, teasing my dog, freezing rain, suspicious pumpkins, extreme humidity, chicken death, fixing a sweet donkey's bad feet, new additions to the farm, fog, family, and animal abandonment, among other things.

Now that I'm on the eve of the end of my blogging challenge, I'm wondering where to go from here.

This was the amazing view I had from a restaurant table in the city of Astoria, on the Oregon coast, today:

This is the Astoria Megler bridge:

It connects Oregon and Washington at the mouth of the Columbia River where it meets with the Pacific Ocean. The bridge is 4.1 miles across and its main span is 1,232 feet in length, making it the longest “continuous truss” in the nation.

I have been fascinated by this bridge for years. It calls to me - I don't really know why. But whenever we find ourselves in Astoria, I make sure we drive over it. Even if we don't have any pressing need to be in Washington state.

The Astoria Chamber of Commerce website states that "The bridge is designed to withstand some of the toughest attacks of nature. Wind gusts of 150 miles per hour from the fierce Pacific storms that occasionally batter the coast still leave the bridge with a safety factor. The concrete piers are built with an eye toward the river flood speed of nine miles per hour when whole trees sometime are swept along by the raging water."

It was as I sat looking at this bridge today that I realized what I'd like my next personal challenge to be: I would really like to run across this bridge on October 2, 2011 in the Great Columbia Crossing. This race is the only time that this bridge opens up to foot traffic. And I really want to run across this bridge.

The race description states: "It is a 10K/6.2 mile interstate road walk/run over the 4.2 mile-long Astoria-Megler Bridge crossing the Columbia River near its mouth."

I haven't done any sort of running in almost five years. Do you think nine months is enough time for a farm gal to work up to a 6.2 mile run? Be honest, now.

Here's a seemingly random bit of trivia for you - I married the man of my dreams and keeper of my heart in this building in Vancouver, Canada eleven years ago today:

Guinness Book of World Records classifies it as the narrowest building in the world. It is only six feet wide. Funny, but on the day I was inside it, it felt incredibly spacious and it seemed like everyone was smiling at me.

But... to come full circle, this is why we were in Astoria today. We love the beach. And being together. Being together at the beach is just a combination that can't be beat, especially on our anniversary:

In just a titch of farm news, Skippy, one of my three new hens (the white one), has left the building, er, I mean coop:

She was last seen happily free-ranging, running madly about, in a way very similar to the kooky nature of Dottie, my White-Crested Black Polish hen, scooping up bugs and nibbling bits of grass:

The integration of the three new hens continues...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Things found in a donkey pasture

Today, I took a walk through the wooded donkey pasture. Among other things, I found...

A donkey named Chester:

A very dirty llama:

An interesting hole in a Douglas Fir tree:

Evidence of the big critters eating moss and bark underneath interesting hole in previously mentioned Douglas Fir tree:

Three curious animals wondering what could be so interesting that I'd be walking away from them:

A different version of the Push Me-Pull You from Dr. Doolittle:

The uncanny feeling of being followed:

A normally pushy donkey maintaining his distance because of llama body language. Smart donkey:

The donkey jolly ball that has been "lost" for about five months:

Signs of beavers?

No, just further evidence of Beau the donkey's worsening wood chewing habit:

A donkey tête à tête:

Supportive donkey assistance for the walk back up the hill:

I love the donkey pasture. There's always so much going on.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

When abandoned cats have friends

Apparently stupid-neighbor-who-abandons-animals left more than one cat behind when he moved away.

George, our new barn cat, has been bringing a friend by for meal times the last few days. This poor sweetie has seen some rough days. His face is misshapen - either from a fight or from a car, he weighs no more than about two pounds and when you touch his back, all you feel are the points along his backbone. Fur and bones, seriously, is what this cat is made up of. I'm not really sure what's keeping this kitty upright, he's that skinny. Fortunately, he's got an appetite and I'm feeding him morning and night:

People who don't care for their animals should go to jail. I feel pretty strongly about this.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A day of kids, critters and cookies

We had overnight guests last night. This morning, "Princess" Roxy decided to take full advantage of the extremely cozy bed on the floor. It suits her, don't you think?:

My three, new chickens, Skippy, Honey, and Thumper, were again banished to the roost in the far corner of the chicken run this morning, so I decided they deserved a feeder of their very own until my girls learn to share:

I think they were pleased as punch by my placement of it:

There was, however, some discussion over whether or not I had mixed enough scratch into their pellets:

Right, Skippy?

My niece and nephew are here for a visit. They had no school today, but my sister - their mom - who is in nursing school, had a full day of clinicals and needed help with childcare. We've been having a ball outside:

Julia loves the tire swing:

Do you think Roxy, my farm pup, will ever forgive me for the shave-cut the groomers gave her a couple days ago? I had forgotten her body was so tiny under all that hair she had:

My tree hugger:

It's still a little foggy here, but that didn't dissuade us from taking a good, long goat walk:

After all that, our hands were in need of a good scrubbing when we came inside:

...especially since we had some baking to do:

We lost Gabriel to the lure of the upstairs toys somewhere along the way...:

but Julia stuck with me to the very end:

Cookie decorating was a very serious business to her:

Can you guess which kind of cookies I decorated?:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Limited visibility

It was foggy this morning when I got up:

No, seriously. I'm not kidding:

It was really, really foggy:

Can you see Kai and the donkeys?:

How about now?:

There, that's better:

I almost couldn't see the barn at the top of the hill:

From the deck, all looked good down at the chicken

1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8 and Dottie standing in the door to the run makes 9... I can only see my nine chickens... and not the three new girls:

Down I run, as fast as I can, to see what evil things my girls may have done to the timid trio:

Just as I am about to open the coop door, Skippy comes flying out the small pop-hole door from the coop, tearing through the run like her tiny pants were on fire:

She flew immediately up to her safety spot, the roost at the end of the run:

Ok, now I've accounted for ten chickens...two to go.
Ah, *there* you two are...hiding under the nest box. Well, at least you're on the ground today. Carry on, girls:

I walked down the hill to say hi to the donkey/llama group and arrived just in time to see Chester and Kai having angry words (See the looks they're giving each other? Reminds me of Mrs. Potato Head with her "angry eyes"):

The moment passed quickly, but you can see that Chester tends to be a bit of a grudge holder:

As I walked up to the barn, I called out my greetings to Reggie. Sound carries differently in the fog and he seemed so far away:

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of fog. I don't really like not being able to see what lies ahead, literally and figuratively.

The animals, though? As long as breakfast is on time, they don't seem to care much either way.