If it doesn’t work for the dog it doesn’t work.

Well there’s beautiful sun out there now that all of our outdoor gear is good and soggy, but earlier today the world was shining in a whole different way.

Cleaned the air just as brilliantly. Nothing left in it but nature. Nothing a body needs more.

Things can get a bit Hitchcockian when you fill feeders in this weather. The hungrier they are the less scary I am, evidently.

Everybody just wanted to get in, fill their bellies, and get back somewhere dry as fast as possible and gave not a damn what I was up to. 

It was coming down pretty hard. Scored buckets of beautiful rainwater for our indoor plants.


It had been supposed to be a town run day, but being able to choose not to travel when it’s not a good idea to travel is one of the freedoms that I have gladly traded so much to gain at such great profit. I don’t get days off, but there’s nothing to really need a day off from when you’re in total control of every day. At pretty much every other point in my adult life I would have been careening around on any kind of roads that this day would have offered, dedicating my time to hitting other peoples’ deadlines and meet other peoples’ expectations. Who knows when that might be my reality again, so disappointed as I was to have plans change it’s all so very good.

Also I really like being with my dog.

It’s safe to come out now.

Hey so good to see you guys. Somebody stopped by this morning to ask if he could kill you.

I said no, and I let him know in no uncertain terms that I sincerely appreciated his coming to the house to ask if he could hunt on the property.  Under the right circumstances I’d let an ethical hunter fill his freezer, but the circumstances for hunting on our property are not right in any way, shape or form at the moment.

And yeah, I admit I’d rather not lose one of these three under any circumstances. We look forward to seeing them, and they make us all so happy. They really are starting to feel like family.

Speaking of family, our roundest member has been down for the count with a twisted ankle. I was able to give him something that I think helped with inflammation and it’s much improved now. Also treats helped. Treats always help.

The biggest item on today’s to-do list might not look like much, but it should make a big improvement around here.

I finally figured out what to do with this cold, dead space by the de-commissioned door in our boot room earlier this year. I am fortunate that the elder of my co-habitants has a talent for spatial relationships. I am capable of basic carpentry, but my talents for spatial relationships are such that I have to accept going in that what I wind up with will not be exactly what I envisioned, and simple as this is I was pretty particular about what I wanted. This is exactly what I wanted, and I’m psyched.

It was built in the spring, flipped on it’s top with a drop cloth underneath it and a cat we were fostering immediately decided that was the perfect place to raise her kittens. By the time they were weaned it was growing season, and this is the first chance I’ve had since to get back to it. There is cat hair painted into it, and the markers my daughter played with during the summer’s tornado scare have left their indelible imprint. 

Nothing wrong with ingraining a little family history into the wood.

I’ll let it dry well before putting it into service, but it feels good when something that’s been half finished for so long gets completed.

Took surprisingly long, considering how much dedicated assistance I had.

Update: no smarter, but possibly getting luckier.

Warm backs and bellies.

We were off in our own little world with explorations and such when I noticed a small dot in the distance. Tiny little thing way out there.

But it quickly grew bigger.

We do enjoy our daily visits.

And velvet kisses.

We of course invited him to follow us back to the yard for grain and enjoyed the walk back with him.

I confess to being a bit infatuated with the guy. He’s always been such a happy presence, and he’s every bit as infatuated as I am. But of course, not with myself. He’s a whole different llama around her. Dials the chill to maximum and just observes with calm amusement as she giggles and squeals and wiggles and waves her arms around in her happiness to see him. I know without testing it that he would tolerate none of that from me.

And he’s damn good at his job. I know the local coyotes see a very different side to his personality than either of us do too.

Just when hands were getting too cold the sun came out and within minutes our resident hand warmer was up to temperature.

New holiday tradition proposal: Halloween trees.

I nominate Elbows.

Later that evening the household debate about who makes the best mashed potatoes was, I daresay it’s safe to conclude, settled.

Thank you, my girl.

Pictured: Loyalty

Ning and I enjoyed an all too uncommon opportunity for some one on one at this morning’s 5am zombie breakfast. I haven’t seen that belly exposed very often since the hurricane of kitten energy that is Diggity hit her home.

Today’s goals include capitalizing on the presence of a warm sun to sort out some winter storage, *personal grooming and fudge. We didn’t manage to get any made the other day, and one has an obligation to follow through on one’s intentions, after all.

*Just ten quick minutes with my head under a tap. That’s all I ask. Come on, universe. Let me have this.

Don’t wanna be taught to be no fool.

Crunch ye leaves while ye may, new snow is come a-flying. Milky bread for breakfast for our unimpressed little flock.

Good day to catch up on the classics. I do care about history, Joey, and my kid’s gonna learn it.

rock rock rock rock rock n roll high school

That was one of the great things about growing up with insomnia, and for all the suck there were a few – seeing the cult classics late at night.  I would love to know who was in charge of programming whichever the hell one of our local stations it was that played punk classics like Rock n Roll High School, Times Square, and Urgh a Music War just to remember the few I actually caught the names of. Between that, college radio and Brave New Waves on CBC I have to wonder what my world would look like if I had been able to sleep like a normal child.

Maybe I would paint chicken coloured chickens.

But the world already has those.

From the Weekend

Bloody earned it, too.

Gold Star Mother

Definitely my favorite sticker toynbee tile to date.

Days are getting short and shadows are getting long.

The kind of weather that makes everybody contemplative, and she’s been no exception. Instead of scattering their feed for them as usual she just dumped it out and stood there, regarding her little flock as they ate.

Thinking little chicken farmer thoughts, I assume. Everybody is happy to see her coming with her little bucket in this weather.

And yes, of course.

Fall clean up continues and is welcome activity. It’s really nice outside when you keep moving. Even after three hard freezes, though, we have yet life not ready to sleep. I don’t even know how this little sprig of matthiola wound up with my sage, but as I always grow it in remembrance of my grandmother – a woman who lived independently in her own home right up until her final, brief hospitalization at the age of 102 – it makes me grin to see it stubbornly continuing to thrive in the home it made for itself.

And calendula is going to become another tradition. A flower so prolific the ancient Romans named it for first day of every month – the calendae – because it seemed to bloom that often. Certainly doesn’t do too shabbily in modern day Canada, either.

Meanwhile there was much merriment of pugs and toddlers over the hours I was meant to be asleep last night, so I better keep this object in motion so that it stays in motion and doesn’t become an object at rest.

Guiding Forces and Swinging Sticks

Figured I might as well do this since I’ve lost the battle for her attention to a particularly persistent muse. The putting on our clothes and going outside to play option that was so exciting, like, a minute and a half ago is so, like, a minute and a half ago now.

She’s actually getting plenty of fresh air and sunshine right here in the studio. I enjoyed a wholly unpleasant psychedelic light show for about an hour after unthinkingly holding something up to the window to trace yesterday evening. In defense of my autopilot error there has always been a thick canopy of grape plant over that window at this time of year. Before this summer’s savage aphid attack.

Some years the grapes go into jelly, some years they go into deer, and what doesn’t go into either of those always goes into starlings. Their chattering wave has been washing across the property again this past week and I expect it to descend soon. At least this year there won’t be any purple poop on my window.

Speaking of. He of where poop originates doesn’t sound like a squeaky toy anymore and is back to being chased across the lawn by me and my rooster scaring stick – a nine foot long cardboard tube from a roll of house wrap that bent in the middle and swoops around in the most fantastically terrifyingly erratic manner when you swing it like a scythe.

Reason #1217 why it’s good farmers don’t have close neighbours.

whack a doodle

My daughter brought me these after thoughtfully decorating them. They belonged to my parents:

Those were the good cards, which is something people had for when company came over back when playing a game of cards was a common thing to do when company came over. No media streaming in, no media streaming out, just a deck of cards and each other. I’m glad to still have them.

They’re well used. They also used to serve as building material for the card houses I occupied the most child numbing days of winter constructing to span the entire carpeted main floor of our house.

Behold, the horsie sticker rat king is evidently complete now:

from the ready to wear body art collection

… so perhaps now might be a good opportunity to see if she’s reconsidered her position on wearing pants.


I’m like aw c’mon guys but you know what?

Probably wouldn’t have seen it alive if they hadn’t cleared out all the dead stuff. Totally forgot I stuck that extra seed in there.

Kinda like back in July when I went to bring the llama water and found this:

Screaming, dehydrated, hungry as hell and bizarrely alone in the middle of our bullpen, which very thankfully was not occupied by our bull at the time.

Best guess is Diggity was the three week old kitten of the cat that had disappeared from a neighbouring property six weeks previously. But who the hell knows. Weird things happen on the farm.

Kinda like when my cat Andy snuck outside for an adventure and this shot out of the grape plant when I called “here kitty kitty” last year around this time.

How or why she wound up here no idea, but once she got here the resident farm cat made eradicating her a top priority, so Ning decided she’d explore the option of late kitten-hood adoption and gave me her frantic elevator pitch.  She at least we know absolutely is the progeny of the aforementioned neighbouring cat, so it’s likely we’ve got a pair of sisters on our hands.

My life would be a lot easier if I were a less easy mark for fuzzy things with big eyes.


Baby Diggity


Baby Ning

Damn them.

Pictured: miscreants

Maybe she should write my blog, too.

Still have a bit of catching up to get caught up with, but that shouldn’t be a problem. I have learned the art of delegation.

That laundry basket is older than I am. Some of my earliest memories are of playing in that basket. Carrying cats around in it. Even using it for it’s actual given purpose eventually.

I was cleaning out my mother’s apartment after she passed. I filled the basket with clothes from the hall closet, took them to the bedroom to pack, and set the basket down on the bed. Right next to an identical basket. I stared in amazement. Somehow I had managed to live well into my thirties, and had even just spent a full week using both of them to sort through that small apartment,  without ever realizing that there were two of them.

One of my favorite mysteries of my mind. Not terribly compelling, just terrifically baffling.

Here is a picture of our kitten Diggity for reasons I consider to be self evident.

In we go.

These are our former chickens.

We told them not to roost in that tree.

These are the current chickens. I’m putting food out for them in front of my studio window so I can keep an eye on them.

Cold has settled in to stay, vegetable crops are harvested, and the studio is our main work space again. We have had the unexpected and very late arrival of a new calf, but thankfully it’s truly as robust a new critter as ever I’ve seen. The poor soul will know it’s first northern winter without benefit of a summer to fatten up first. We normally only calve in spring for that reason, but sometimes babies happen when they happen. It’s mother lost her calf to a bad delivery last year so we’re just glad they’re both happy and well. We’ve got lots of straw and grain to keep them cozy.

I predict that this house will be a very colourful place when we emerge in the spring.

Five Years Ago


I was a performer. With a very, very, very, very, very small p.

I worked at corporate events. I was the back and front end for a very small entertainment company. I was the production manager.

And the janitor.

And the onsite producer/performer at a lot of very interesting events that paid me well and took me many interesting places. The last place it took me was one of my favorite places that it often took me – to the Banff Springs Hotel. Above is the view from the ballroom where I performed. It was also the view from the private room the client provided for me. It was a great show with a great cast – every single one of them professionals that I sincerely enjoyed performing with.

This was the show I knew I had to go out on.

I knew it would take all of my eleven years experience playing performer roster tetris to fill all the casting requirements for all of the company’s upcoming commitments without me. We were diving headfirst into busy season and I stood there, overlooking this beautiful expanse, resolving that this had to be my last show.

Which was all very fine and well except that I had just bought a house and didn’t have another job yet.

But it was my last show. It was as anticipated a difficult extraction but honestly, this sprout was root bound and the hammer had to hit the pot. A new job was found, all accommodations were made to transition the company to my departure, and I was free.

And the five years since have been filled with new beginnings. New places, new experiences. New Friends. With a very, very, very, very, very capital F.

Don’t stay stuck just because it seems like the worst possible time to move.