Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rifles and hunters and deer, oh my!

"The frost is on the pumpkin


the goose is getting fat.


Please put a penny in an old man's hat.

Don't you just love fall? It ushers in a jumble of family holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Deer Season...

In this part of the Frozen North, Deer Season is a serious enough holiday that it rates a day off from school. That's because nothing spells family time like hunkering down together in the early morning cold and damp, clutching your high powered deer assault weapon and waiting for the first sign of Bambi's mom. Ahhhh, the smell of gunpowder...


Last year I actually purchased a deer license. Of course, nothing ever came of it because I don't have a rifle or a clue what to do with Bambi's mom after she lays lifeless at my feet. I just wanted to experience the thrill of looking through the Hunting and Trapping Digest with my fellow citizens.


If you are proficient in all sorts of weaponry you could probably hunt for something year round. People in the Frozen North take their right to bear arms seriously. That, and glow in the dark orange vests. (they're not just for construction workers anymore!)

Since we have fields around Iron Acres, I am well acquainted with hunters. A neighbor down the road once told me she caught one leaning against the backside of her house getting reading to pull the trigger on the deer that come to her backyard feeder. I take a certain delight in imagining her chasing off Rambo with her kitchen broom!


I understand the problem with deer overpopulation in Pennsylvania--they make messy speed bumps. I also understand the desire to take care of your family by putting some meat in the freezer.

What I don't like is being awakened in the wee hours of a fall morning by the sound of rapid gunfire close by, wondering if some overzealous newbie wielding a shiny, new, high-powered rifle whose potential trajectory can cover several miles has mistaken my geese, dog, or house for a deer!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Farm Memories: Drunk and Giving Birth

The leaves are falling, the sun is setting sooner, the cold is settling in blankets of morning fog here in the Frozen North. The long winter nights give rise to memories of days gone by...

waiting for daylight

It was almost midnight and I was in the barn alone with my first goat about to give birth. Uh, let me make that perfectly clear. The goat was giving birth, not me.

I was well acquainted with the process firsthand from a human standpoint, having borne three children of my own "naturally". One would think that after the first time I would have insisted on heavy duty drugs and lots of them, but no-o-o-o, this was the seventies, gosh darn it, and the natural way was better for my babies. Thank you for where was I? Oh yes, the goat, not me, was about to give birth.

It was both thrilling and humbling that this particular goat, the herd queen, seemed to desire my presence. She was still hours from the event, but experiencing some discomfort and that wisdom of what is to come that animals are gifted with, when I heard a loud rustling sound out in the pasture.

Was it a pack of coyotes waiting to devour the helpless animal babies about to be born? I scanned the stall for something to use as a weapon to defend both doe and kid, but the ever present manure shovel was nowhere to be found. As my eyes stared into the blackness I began to see a human form. A male human form. My concern for the goat's safety shifted to concern for my own. (Where WAS that manure shovel?)

About twenty feet away from the maternity stall, a confused individual appeared from the middle of the fenced pasture, weaving toward the fenceline. He saw me in the light of the barn and asked, "Is this thing on?" (refering to the electric fence which at that moment just happened to be turned off.) I found myself wishing I could say, "Yes it is, and if you touch it both you and your unborn children and grandchildren will feel it." But all I managed was a startled "No", and watched him struggle through the wires and stumble on his way toward the road.

I drew a deep breath and turned my attention back to the mom to be. Marie bore twin kids that night without complication, and I became a genuine goat midwife.


But 17 years later, the question still remains. Where did our inebriated visitor come from? And where was he going? Behind the pasture was acres of woods, beyond the fence was a lonely country road.

I suppose that is just one of the "perks" of living in the country. One never knows who is going to stop by.

Another is horses running wild on the road, but that's a story for another day.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Road to Winter

The road to winter is paved with ripening cornfields...


foggy mornings...


beautiful sunrises...


chameleon leaves shedding summer's green.

Autumn leaves

The road to winter is paved with brilliant trees...


brooding skies...


red rose hips...

rosa rugosa hips

and leaf strewn streams.


The road to winter leads to home, cozy winter fires, warm family gatherings and time to dream...


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Goodnight Moon

The day began with a pale moon skirted by pink clouds...


... and a shy sunrise.


Down the road, a neighbor's ripening soybean field was changing colors along with the leaves.


The sun and blue sky was a welcome change from the typical gray of fall.


Yes, it was a beautiful day in the neighborhood. And the day's beauty continued with the lengthening shadows across the corn field.


And the setting sun...


...made way for the harvest moon.


Goodnight sky, goodnight leaves, goodnight soybeans, goodnight field, goodnight corn, goodnight farm, goodnight moon.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday Sillies: Locust Theatre Presents -- The Princess Bride

Thank you Rob Reiner and William Goldman for one of my favorite movies. Please forgive me for the liberties I am about to take with it...

Locust Theatre Presents "The Princess Bride"

"Has it got any sports in it?"

"Farm boy, get me that pitcher!"
"As you wish"

“Do you want me to send you back to where you were... unemployed... in GREENLAND?!”

“You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never to get involved in a land war in Asia. And only slightly less well known is this: never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!”

“Mawwage is what bwings us togwether today....”

"My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die!!"

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There have been five great kisses since 1642 B.C. ... (before then couples hooked thumbs.) And the precise rating of kisses is a terribly difficult thing, often leading to great controversy...Well, this one left them all behind.