Saturday, June 2, 2012

Memorial Day Week

Monday was the Memorial Day holiday.  We flew the flag.  We meditated on what it all means.  Well, although I was mindful of the reason, meditation meant that one of us slept in, and the other ended up taking a nap on the couch in the afternoon.  You guess who did what.  It was a lazy and relaxing day, with just the usual things that needed to be done.

We made up for things on Tuesday.  After Bex got up I said it was time to put the chicks outside, and suggested that we integrate the flock today.  As usual, Chilly was on Becca's shoulder and was going to go in last.  I put the first Rhodie in with the Americaunas, and Zeus immediately started making noise and chasing it around.  I had expected this and knew that the four new chicks "against" the two - or possibly even just Zeus - would work things out.  Becca Freaked Out.  She was so upset and uptight that I decided to wait and educate her further on what was going to happen, and how I expected it to play out.  I reminded her that she was upset when Lily and Salsa fought as kids, and she said, "Salsa is STILL mean to Lily!"  Yes, but they've worked it out.  This is going to take more time for Becca than I think it will for the chicks.  I may have to do this on my own when she's away with a friend, or when she's with her sisters for an upcoming concert.

Yes, you might say I am a pushover.  But I know how to pick my battles, and this was one that wasn't worth "winning," and wouldn't have taught anyone anything.  I think it's as important to the chicks that we be calm and confident as it is for Becca to have that same calm confidence.  Anxiety and fear is contagious.  That's the last thing animals need when adjusting to a new situation.

The next thing on the agenda was to shave Duncan.  Well, not exactly shave him, but take the clippers and trim his long Scottie locks.  He's recently started pulling his hair out again, and because his diet is stable I don't think it's allergies, but perhaps the heat.  We put him on the milk stand (just as a table, we didn't put his head in - his legs are too short!), and took the shears to him.  He is such a good boy about grooming, having obviously had regular experience before becoming a country dog who isn't pampered as much.  I'd share a picture of him, but the bald spots on his sides are too hideous to preserve for posterity.  Let's just say that I didn't butcher him badly, everything looked close enough to even, and he seems happier.

We then took a run to Sebastopol to help my brother out with some gas.  It's hard to deal with a holiday weekend when you've lost your job, the unemployment check is a day late, and you have a job interview but not enough gas to make it.  I'm not in much better shape, but had a little more wiggle room and could lend him a hand.  Isn't that what family is all about?  We take care of each other.  While we were in Sebastopol, I discovered that the Frizelle-Enos feed store had organic chicken feed for much less than I've been paying elsewhere, so we picked some up.  We also took a run by the grocery store and then headed back home for more ranch adventures.

No wildlife on the driveway this time, though we did see a turkey take flight and then glide across the driveway ahead of us as we left.

Becca bathed the dogs.  She did it outside.  They were not so thrilled with the cold shower, though I'm sure it made them feel better overall.  At least I hope it did!

Luna got her head caught in the fence again, so while Becca got her out I installed the new battery.  There's lots of oomph in that fence now, so I noticed all of the goats were staying well away.  Good goaties.  For those who don't know, that electric fence doesn't zap like a horse fence would (and those are scary), but it's more like a strong static SNAP.  Since goats explore first with their noses, it does tend to get them to stay away.

We took the 25 pound bag of chicken feed and put the contents into its container.  I asked Becca to throw the large brown paper bag away while I fed the chickens, and she decided to ... put it on her head like a hat and make the dwarf goats run around.  I love watching the goats run, especially Moonshine, who bounds like a deer.  At one point she asked if I had scissors handy, and I said I didn't.  Then I told her about the Unknown Comic, who used to wear a bag over his head with holes cut out for the eyes and mouth.  She said, "That's what I wanted to do!"  Ah, the simple pleasures of life.  The things those with a youthful spirit can do with a paper sack ... or box ... or anything that just requires a little imagination and joy.

We had too much scheduled on Wednesday (Becca got to visit with a friend for the afternoon) to integrate the chicks, though I wanted to - soon!  I want to be home for the entire first day so I can intervene if any of them get hurt.  We will probably do it this weekend.  Even though they are only in the house overnight (for their safety), that is still too much.

Thursday morning, bright and early, I started to move the chicks outside and discovered that they had dumped their water overnight, soaking the bottom of the cardboard box.  I needed to transfer them to another box before taking them outside.  At this point, I am REALLY looking forward to flock integration!

We had a big afternoon planned for Thursday - my niece's high school graduation at Analy High School in Sebastopol.  We left early and were able to get there in plenty of time to find a good parking spot.  It was close to the wire when my oldest daughter and her husband arrived, but they were able to find a spot near us.  And near the livestock.  I've mentioned Analy before, but I am always happy to visit there.  The solar panels over the student parking lot are a reminder of how forward-thinking this school and district is, and I love the livestock area where students keep sheep, pigs, chickens, goats, and even a calf.  The calf spent a lot of time "talking" loudly as we stood near the pen and watched the animals.

The ceremony was what you would expect.  I was surprised that there wasn't much new offered in the way of speeches.  I suppose the high school experience hasn't changed much, or maybe tradition dictates what people talk about at these events.  The band was good, and the choir amazing.  I was very impressed, and it made me want to be in a choir again!  The students tossed tortillas and pitas like Frisbees from their seats during the event, as well as beach balls and, yes, the inflatable doll.  Overall, it was a fun time and we were happy to see Kaila through this rite of passage.

We'd realized while we were at Analy that we'd forgotten to put the chicks inside before we left.  Their pen is not very secure and I don't feel comfortable leaving them outside after dark.  I would hate to come home to see feathers everywhere and the carnage that would be waiting within if that happened.  Chilly also has this bad habit of sticking her head through the fencing to peck outside the enclosure.  We had 1 1/2 hours to get home, take care of business, and then get over to Santa Rosa for dinner reservations at a Japanese steak house style restaurant.

We took the back roads from Sebastopol, through Forestville, to home.  There's a bridge built in 1902 on the way - one way traffic only - named Wohler Bridge that crosses the Russian Ruver.  It is a picturesque spot, and my own daughter and her then fiance (now hubby) took some of their engagement photos on it.  They walked out onto the bridge and moved over when vehicles needed to cross.  Now let me tell you what happened Thursday.

We pulled up to the bridge and paused to check for traffic before going across.  There was a truck on the bridge.  It was slowing.  A woman was walking from a nearby parked car, camera in hand, onto the bridge.  It's a classic pickup truck, totally restored, cherry red and white.  Out from the driver's side comes a man in a tux, salt and pepper hair and beard.  Out from the passenger side comes a woman in an ivory lace wedding dress. Probably a second wedding, congratulations.  Hurry and get your shot, and have a good life.  They strolled to the front of what is probably the groom's pride and joy.  The photographer took her sweet time, taking shots, walking over to them to show them the shots, then taking more.  They started walking and I thought, "Good.  They're done."  They walked past the truck doors and beyond the truck to mid-span of the bridge.  Now I'm getting annoyed.

A convertible blue Mustang pulls up behind me with two men in it.  Okay, now the pressure is on as traffic is building.  I can see another vehicle on the other side of the bridge wanting to cross.  The Mustang pulls up next to me and I explain they're taking wedding photos.  These guys had NO patience.

BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAST goes the Mustang's horn.  BEEP BEEP BEEEEEEEEEP!  "Come on!  If you want to stop traffic, get a Sheriff!"  BEEP BEEP BEEEEEEP!  The groom smiles and waves.

Then the couple starts walking again.  "Good.  They're done."  They walk to the OTHER side of the bridge and the groom sits on the railing.  We are 10 minutes into this at this point.  This makes the guys go ballistic.  Curse words start flying from the Mustang and threats to "f--- something up if I have to come out there."

Two more cars pull up behind us.

I am thinking it would be kinda funny if the groom fell off into the river, but then his truck would still be blocking the roadway.

He gets off the railing and promptly trips over his bride's train.  I giggle a little.  I can't help myself.

"Good.  They're done."

They walk to the front of the truck for more shots there.  OMG!  We are 15 minutes and counting.  My time to get to Santa Rosa is seriously dwindling.

They FINALLY get into the truck and pull most of the way off the bridge.  Groom leans out the window, smiles and says, "We just got married.  Thanks for waiting."  I grit my teeth as I think, "It's not like you gave us any choice," and have to squeeze my way by him to get onto the bridge.  The vehicle on the other side isn't waiting, and he doesn't enter the roadway until I'm mid-span, so we have to squeeze by each other on the one-way.  The Mustang is behind me, and they turn left onto Westside while I turn right - we both wave as we leave.

We had serious problems getting everything done in time to make it to dinner for our reservations, and we just couldn't move fast enough to make up the lost time.  While we're on the freeway, my mom calls Becca to find out what we want to order.  Thank goodness I'd checked out the menu beforehand, so I knew - and she was able to place our order for us.  We finally arrived at Kimuri, which is a Japanese steak house type of restaurant, where the focus is the food prep at the table.  The two men preparing the meals were entertaining and funny.  We had a great time celebrating Kaila and Shane's graduation, and Kaila and Timothy's 18th birthdays.  Everything worked out after all!

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