"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I Don't Think So

After doing some research, I don't think the goats have chicken lice. They probably have goat lice. There is such a thing as chicken lice, but it doesn't infest goats. Nor vice versa.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

False Labor and Lousy Critters

Iris tricked me last night. She had me totally convinced she was in labor; so convinced, I called my sister (who wanted to see goats being born) and made her drive 25 miles. So convinced, in fact, that I gloved up and went in (more on that later).  But she wasn't.

I've seen three goats give birth now, and they all acted pretty much the same when they went into labor: they nickered and looked at their bellies; they got up and laid down repeatedly; they yawned and ground their teeth; they stretched and held their tails in a particular, distinctive fashion. Iris was doing all of those things. Her udder was full and her tail-root was raised. 

But after four hours, nothing had changed. That's a very long time in goat-labor. I called the vet, and he said I should do an internal exam to see if her cervix was closed (good) or open (bad). If closed, we could wait because true labor hadn't started yet. If open, we had an emergency, because it meant that the babies were all tangled up and unable to progress down the birth canal. 

Well, I wasn't too thrilled, but I did it. We got Iris on the stanchion and fed her some grain to keep her happy - well, distracted, anyway - while I slowly and with plenty of lubrication tried to find out what was going on. But I couldn't get my hand in. Her vagina was stretchy and accommodating (that ought to get me a few hits), but the bones of her pelvis were immobile and I couldn't get past them to the cervix.  I figured this had to mean that she wasn't really in labor yet and probably not even close. Long before labor starts, the ligaments and tendons in the whole area become extremely relaxed, and my hand should have slipped in like a carrot into a washtub. So I washed up and went inside to sleep. 

                                                  Me with my hand halfway up a goat

Well, no harm done. iris didn't really care one way or the other, and she's fine today. I kind of expected to go out this morning and find babies on the ground, but no. She probably won't have them for another week. Aaargh!

My friend and fellow goat-owner Ashley took the twins today to de-bud them. That means to apply a red hot iron to their tender little baby heads until the horn buds are totally cauterized. It's a procedure way beyond my comfort zone - unlike doing a vaginal exam on a goat, I guess. Anyway, she brought them back this afternoon looking totally ridiculous with their little shaved heads and silver-painted spots, but they are fine. They are jumping around as though nothing happened. However, she informed me that they have lice. Chicken lice, to be precise.

Ewww. There's nothing on earth grosser than lice, as far as I'm concerned. I carefully inspected them, and it's true. They do have lice. Not the kind that can hop on people, obviously, but lice nonetheless. I didn't check a chicken, so I don't know for sure if they are chicken lice or not. I'm not sure what kind of treatment they need, or how I might treat 30 chickens if they are in fact chicken lice. Got to google that. 

This picture of the pony is just for fun; she doesn't actually have lice, but it looks like she's itchy.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Playing Catchup

I just noticed that it's been several days since I last posted anything. I guess I've been too busy to get to the computer! Let's see....

Iris is still pregnant, although she looks like she's about to pop, the poor thing. She waddles everywhere and I swear she's wider than she is high. Triplets, I think. Flopsy, however.. I still can't say for certain if she's pregnant. If she's not pregnant, then she's damn fat. But there's no evidence of an udder yet, and she ought to be due only days after her mom. Wait and see. Either there will be babies or there won't. 

The grass which I sowed in the back pasture did in fact sprout, and I'm happy to say that I think that pasture will be greatly improved over last year. However, there's still a whole lot of the "bad plant" aka poison hemlock. This afternoon I was talking over the back fence with my neighbor who was out pulling hemlock from her pasture, and I felt compelled to apologize even though it was the previous owners who allowed the hemlock to flourish. I did tell her about my newest find: a cool tool for digging out long-rooted plants like hemlock and burdock. It's a bulb-planter; meant, obviously, for planting bulbs. But it works very well for removing long roots. It's like a shovel, but where the blade of a shovel would be, there's a sharpened tube instead, about three inches in diameter. You can just line it up over the center of a bad plant and step on the crossbar, driving the tube a foot into the ground, then lever the root out and toss it away.  There's far too many hemlock plants to remove them all this way (maybe a thousand?) but I can work on it little by little, and use the gas powered weedeater to prevent seedheads from forming on the ones I can't root out.

I tried to introduce Xana and her babies into the herd. They need to get integrated soon, because Iris is going to give birth any day now and she will need the private space of the mama barn. At first, it seemed to be going well. The other goats checked out the babies perfunctorily, then ignored them and they all grazed peacefully for a couple of hours. Great. I went inside. But when I came back out to check on everybody a couple of hours later, I found a gory scene. Xana had knocked off her scur, most likely in the defense of her babies, and was bleeding fairly profusely from the head. She is also still bleeding from the other end, from kid-birth, so she really presented a grisly picture. She looked like the goat that crawled up from hell. Poor thing. 

On the advice of my vet, who said yeah, it really is kind of an emergency, Rowan and I spent a half an hour attempting to get a pressure bandage on her head. Turns out, that goat is stronger than the two of us put together. After our best efforts, we were panting and liberally streaked with gore, and the goat was thoroughly freaked out, but no bandage had been applied. I did manage to dribble a little iodine on the wound, and I decided to call that good enough, figuring that a goat as feisty as Xana was unlikely to die overnight. And she didn't; she's fine. 

Yesterday was a new record high in eggs: seventeen. That's the benefit of having dispatched the egg-eating hen, I guess. I also collected a pint of milk from Xana. I figure I'll be making my first cheese in about a week. Hooray! 

I brought the baby goats in to Hope's school to show to  her class. I put them in a cardboard box, and as I passed the front desk, I tipped the box towards the secretary  and the various scholastic functionaries to show them the babies. A collective feminine sigh went up and suddenly I was like the pied piper. I was surrounded by a crowd of middle aged ladies as I progressed down the hall to Hope's classroom, where I was enveloped by an equally adoring crowd of kindergartners.

Farming has it's rewards. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Second Attempt Pronounced a Failure

It didn't work. Although definitely easier to chew than the last time, the meat was bland and tasteless, with a faint but noticeable flavor of barnyard. Even the dogs are unenthusiastic.

I am freezing the broth, because I am just too perverse to throw it all away and let myself be beaten (and once again, the broth is better than the meat by a country mile), but there is no longer any doubt that the mess and the work  involved in killing a chicken are not justified by the results. 

What the heck are we going to do with all our chickens as they get old and stop laying eggs? Does anyone out there have experience with cooking old hens and can you give me any tips?

Second Attempt at Chicken Cooking

Last summer, we killed and cooked four chickens, all at once. There was a reason for that, but I'm not going to recap. It's on the blog. What's important now is that those chickens were terrible. I mean really inedibly bad. They were so bad it made me wonder why on earth anyone ever decided chickens were good to eat, if this is what mature, free-range birds taste like. 

The main issue was the toughness. I boiled the living hell out of those chicken, literally for HOURS, trying to get them to soften up, but they never did. In fact, I'm pretty sure they started getting tougher after a couple of hours. The meat remained stringy and rubbery. And, when we managed to force some into our mouths, tasteless, too. 

The broth was good, though. I froze the broth and gave the carcasses to the dogs. 

Today, we dispatched the egg-eating hen (what a disgusting process). She just so happens to be the mother of the chickens we killed last summer, so she is even older and, I suspect,  even tougher. But this time, I have a tool I didn't have before: a pressure cooker. 

Basically, I'm just making stock. Mexican style chicken stock: one chicken, one onion, two or three cloves of garlic, three allspice berries, three cloves, a stick of cinnamon, a teaspoon of cumin, black peppercorns, and plenty of salt. But I'm pressurizing it on 15-20 pounds for an hour.

THEN we'll see if that chicken is still tough!

Spring Pictures

                                              Iris Feeling Frisky

                                                  Early Rhodies

                                                 Tutu, Up Close and Personal

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Practically Perfect in Every Way

For the last couple of hours, I've been sitting in a lawnchair with a cold couple of beers and a magazine, on a wide expanse of lawn that is mostly intensely butter-yellow with dandelions, watching my children play with baby goats, and supervising in a very relaxed sort of way as a small herd of goats and a pony amble about grazing. 

The sky is cerulean blue; the temperature is a comfortable 70 degrees; it's too early in the season for annoying bugs, but all the fruit trees are in blossom. Mount Baker is decorating the eastern horizon. My magazine is interesting but not demanding. I can hear laughter and contented noises coming from the direction of my kids. There is a chorus of frogs in the background. Earlier, I did a not-too-strenuous hour of work in the garden, which seems to be finally perking up and looks like it will actually produce food. 

Does life get any better than this? I mean really. I have healthy children, who are busy enjoying themselves on our own beautiful, sizable, clean piece of land.  I have healthy animals, doing the same. This is a time and a place of peace and prosperity, national recession notwithstanding. My marriage is strong. There is an abundance of love in my life. I am living the realization of a long held dream.  Every month I am acquiring new skills which are useful and contribute to the wellbeing of my family. Although I haven't written about it here, I am becoming more active in my community and doing work which has important results, results which I can see.

On a day like today I just have to express my profound gratitude to God for bringing me to this beautiful place and time; for giving me the scope and the latitude to develop to my fullest potential; for the possibilities that led me to this wonderful family; for the strength and the stubbornness that made me make the choices that led me to my wonderful husband and family; for the trials and yes, even the terrible pain that forged in me that strength and stubbornness. 

Forgive me, all you readers who are not accustomed to this sort of spiritual outburst from me. Today I am just so full of gratitude. Today I feel the full force of God's grace. I never did anything in my whole miserable life to deserve a day like this, or a life like this. It's almost hard for me to accept such fortune and bounty. May God grant that others, less fortunate, and perhaps more deserving, experience the joy and peacefulness that today has brought me.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Alas, a Chicken Must Die.

Actually, I'm not sad about it at all, since I don't have to do it. Homero is the designated chicken assassin around here. 

The big fat hen, a Light Brahma with feathers on her feet and the mother of the brood of famous escape artists of last summer, is an egg-eater. We caught her in the act. We were all in the barn admiring the baby goats (yup, still cute) when she hopped up into the nest boxes. A pergectly normal thing to do, I didn't even notice it, until I heard "pock, pock, pock, pock," the sound of four eggs being broken in rapid succession. She broke all of them before she even began to eat any of them, the greedy thing. 

We couldn't apply the recommended treatment (Hchckthsst - imagine a finger being drawn across a feathered throat here) instantly because we had guests there in the barn with us, and we didn't want to traumatize them. And Homero went to work at 5 am this morning, so it has to wait until wednesday, his next day off. 

I'd been wondering where the heck all my eggs were. This last week or so I've only gotten an average of five a day, which is crazy. Most likely, this hen isn't the only one eating eggs. Dammit. But she's the only one we've seen doing it.

I just realized, of the seven chickens that we got together last summer, there will be only two survivors after wednesday. That was an unruly bunch.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Eggbeaters Are Too Complicated For Me

If anyone wants to know what kind of person I am, I really can't do better than to say I'm the kind of person who gets an electric eggbeater stuck in her hair. 

While making a fancy cheesecake for Rowan's school's fundraiser ball tomorrow night, I somehow leaned over the bowl too far and before I knew it, my handheld electric eggbeater had grabbed some of my hair and whirled up my head and was yanking my hair right out of my scalp. 

I'm not the kind of person of whom it is said "she really keeps her cool in a crisis," and so it didn't, at first, occur to me to pull the plug. Instead I staggered about the kitchen bellowing like a bull and clutching wildly at my head trying to find the off button. Luckily the cord isn't very long and I yanked it out of the wall in my thrashing dance of agony. 

Rowan came running, yelling "what's wrong, mom?" only to stop dead at the sight of me with a small appliance stuck to my head, not to mention about a half a pound of cream cheese. With her help, I was able to pop the beaters out of the machine body, which was an improvement, but I was in a not inconsiderable amount of pain. The motor had run long enough to roll the beaters right up against my scalp and  pull my hair extremely hard. Between the pain and the sheer ridiculousness, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. So I did both.

To make a long story short, I only lost a hank of hair about the thickness of my pinky finger; cream cheese washes out fairly easily; and no, I didn't take a picture. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy Event

                                                 Bibi with Doeling number two

                                                           Doeling number one

Xana made good! This morning, before taking the kids to school, Homero and I decided to put Xana in the mama barn, on a hunch. Her udder was fuller and felt tight, and she had "lost her ligaments" which means that her tail root had risen up and there were pits on either side, and I could no longer feel the strong diagonal ligaments on either side. According to the books, that means 12 hours or so, but according to anecdotal evidence from goat people around here, it might still be a week. To be on the safe side, we put her in the barn with some fresh water and hay and closed the door. 

When I got home at about 2 this afternoon, she was in early labor. She kept laying down and getting up again, making small gentle baa-ing noises, and within a half hour, obviously contracting and grinding her teeth. I got my supplies (clean towels and some iodine, I travel light) and a blanket, and the kids and I sat down to wait.

It was not an easy birth, at least compared to Iris' first birth last year. Xana was quite clearly in a lot of pain, and by the time the bubble started to show, she was yelling a lot and kind of rolling around. That worried me a little, and I got more worried when I only saw one hoof sticking out; there should be two, with a nose right on top of them. While I was dithering, trying to decide if I needed to go to the house and call the vet, the second hoof appeared. But still no nose, for another interminable ten minutes. The poor beast was staggering about screaming, and Bibi was getting scared. I began chasing the goat and when I got her cornered and she lay down again, I could see that the nose was properly positioned, it had just taken a while to get there. After another ten minutes with no progress (and Bibi yelling "I want to get out!" - I finally let her out and said "wait right here!") I decided I needed to provide some traction, so I used a clean towel and wrapped it around the legs and when Xana contracted, I pulled with about five to ten pounds of pressure. This worked like a charm, and the first baby was out in three contractions. 

The second baby was out fifteen seconds later.

The labor must not have been very traumatic for the babies, because they sneezed out their mucus and started trying to stand up within a couple of minutes. Xana perked right up and began to eat the membranes off of them and chuckle to them and generally behave like she knew what she was doing. I let Bibi back in the barn and we all three watched the charming process of baby goats getting their feet and finding the udder. It's amazing how quickly they change from slimy little neonates to fluffy adorable babies.

Of course, there's no getting too attached to these babies. Had they been boys, they would have been destined for meat, but since they are girls, we have to decide what to do with them. I really like the little black and white one that looks like a cow. If I were permitting them names, I think we'd name her Holstein. But we can't keep all the baby goats. We can't even keep half of them. We have to sell them, or sell a different goat for every one decide to keep, anyway. 

Oh my oh my. This is going to be tough.

Yay Baby Goats!!!!!

Xana had twin doelings about fifteen minutes ago! They are standing up but she hasn't let them nurse yet. I'm on my way back out to the barn, pictures to follow!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cool Developments of the Last Few Days

The trade network is up and running, albeit at a trickle. I met a neighbor, a really fun old character I'll call Berryman. He gave me five quarts of frozen raspberries, loganberries and boysenberries from his garden in exchange for four dozen eggs. I'm not certain I've ever eaten a loganberry, but I'm about to.

My next door neighbor is also accepting my irregular delivery of eggs to her front porch in exchange for fruit from her mature trees in season. I'm very excited about this trade because she has Bing cherries. I miss my Bing tree in Seattle. She'd give me fruit in any case - she says it mostly  just falls and rots these days - but I feel better giving her eggs. Keeps me from being a fruit-mooch.

The garden is beginning to look like something. Not much, but something. I planted ten broccoli starts and some more mixed greens. The peas have actual tendrils on them and are beginning to spread out, searching for something to grab onto and climb. I can see that some beets are coming up. 

But here's the coolest thing. Last week I had a farrier out to attend to Rosie's hooves. He's a big man, one of those guys that you can just feel the testosterone rolling off in waves as you get near him. I don't mean a macho cowboy type; just the opposite, he's a very quiet man in his mid-fifties. But he just oozed competence and manliness. And he had that pony's hooves done in an hour, flat. She basically took on look at him and said "okay, for YOU I'll stand still." This is the same pony that kicked the crap out of the last person who tried to trim her hooves.

(I realize I'm rambling. No, the coolest thing is not that I've started an affair with a handsome older man. Hold your horses.) 

He showed me how to start working with Rosie to get her more accustomed to being touched and having her feet worked on. I need to get her used to having her udder touched in preparation for birth. So yesterday I was leaning over her back and rubbing her belly on both sides down low near her udder. And I felt the baby pony kicking! He (or she) was kicking up a storm for about ten minutes. It was captivating. I almost cried.

I'm so excited to have a baby pony coming into my life. I dreamed about that back when I was eleven and had Bonnie Pony, but it was not to be. Now twenty-six years later.... dreams do come true. 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spring has Sprung

Spring has Sprung,
The grass is riz, I wonder where the birdie is?
Some folks say he's on the wing, but I know that's absurd.
The wing is on the bird.

My birds are doing fine. The chickens have adapted to being penned up (we enclosed the alpaca catch pen to make a temporary chicken coop while the garden is getting started). I'm getting about ten eggs a day, which isn't great, considering there are 22 hens, but it could be worse. Black mama hen is happily raising her brood of counterfeit chicks in the mama barn. She - and the chicks - were well and truly duped, and are totally convinced that they are all a happy chicken family. Hooray for small triumphs. 

The garden is not doing so well, but it's early yet. The first bed, which I planted in radishes, spinach, and beets, looks as though nothing is going to happen except a whole lot of weeds. I think the seeds must have drowned in the weeks of heavy rain that followed planting. Oh well, bad luck. If nothing comes up in two more weeks, I'll rake it all smooth and plant something else. 

The second bed has carrots - which I don't expect up yet, they are slow germinators - and mesclun, which should be up, and maybe is, but I can't tell it from all the baby weeds. That's what happens when you broadcast a mix of ten different types of seed. I do it every year; you'd think I'd learn. 

The third bed has the transplanted peas, which seem to be doing fine, and I can't remember what I planted in the rest of the box, but I do know that Homero thought I hadn't planted anything and over-planted beans. A whole packet: green, wax, and purple. We'll see what happens.

I planted the fourth bed yesterday. I made four hills and planted two with cucumbers and two with zucchini. I would have planted pumpkins, but just like last year and the year before, I lost some of the seed packets I bought and pumpkins was one of them. 

Rowan has planted the beds near her room with herb starts: oregano, two kinds of thyme, lavender, spearmint, and.... basil? I told her it was too early for basil. No, rosemary, I think.

That's all the beds there are, until we make more. But I still have a whole lot of roto-tilled earth to plant. If it's not raining tomorrow I'll plant the potatoes. I've never planted potatoes before, and I didn't know that they are a very early crop, you can plant them well before the last frost. I hope it doesn't bother them to be planted later. Then that will be all until it's time to settle in the tomato and pepper starts, in early june. 

I do so hope that my garden thrives this year. I am such a horrible gardener, but for some reason a large part of my identity is wrapped up in growing vegetables. It's so disheartening, even demoralizing when my garden is sickly and non-productive. And it's so gratifying and thrilling when it does well and I can actually feed my family with the literal fruits of my labor. 

Fingers crossed. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What a Difference...

... A little bit of sunshine can make. Thank you, God!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Goats are Better

I think the vet was right yesterday. Xana is still panting, a little, but nowhere near like yesterday. And Flopsy is still kind of tired-looking, but she's clearly going to be okay. Phew.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Goats Have Colds

I had an eventful afternoon - panicking. My goats want me to have a heart attack, I think. When I let the goats out to pasture, I noticed Flopsy wasn't excited, and instead of grazing she just lay down. Well that's not normal. 

I checked her out, turning her eyelids back and opening her mouth, and her mucous membranes are quite pale. She hasn't been wormed in a while and that's one of the signs, so I got the worming paste (safe during pregnancy) and wormed everybody. But when I got back to Flopsy I saw that her eye was all goopy, just like Nutmeg's was the other day! And, and! Xana was acting bizarrely, panting with her mouth open and sides heaving. What is going on with my goats? I took their temperatures, and Flopsy had a fever of 106.5, which isn't as high as it would be in a person (a goat's normal temp is 102.5) but is still quite high. Xana's temp was 104.2. 

Maybe I wouldn't have been so concerned if I hadn't just lost a goat the day before yesterday. I called the after hours vet line and talked it over with a vet who knows me and my animals. She called the vet who saw Nutmeg and spoke with her, too. That vet remains convinced that Nutmeg did indeed have a urinary calculi, and it is just coincidence that a virus of some sort is sweeping my herd right now. It's most likely your basic cold, which goats get just like we do. Xana is probably hot and uncomfortable, since the weather took a dramatic turn for the warmer today, and she's about a week away from delivery. I'm just supposed to keep an eye on them and call again tomorrow.

My vet bill is getting rather large. Did I mention I had the vet out to look at the pony? I was hoping she'd be able to give me an approximate due date, but no such luck. I did learn, however, that almost all horses are born between midnight and 6 am, and that if her water breaks and the baby's not out a half hour, it's an emergency. That means if I think she's in labor I have to sit up with her all night. Rosie Pony needed a couple of vaccines before giving birth, and there's no way I was going to stick a needle in her, mean and nasty as she is right now. Even the vet didn't like doing it. 

Saturday, April 4, 2009

My Ass is Whipped

Digging is hard work. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Goodbye, Nutmeg.

Nutmeg was the very first baby born on the farm. Our first baby goat, by a minute or so, until his sister Flopsy was born. Our only boy, and a beautiful, beautiful boy. Often, after he grew up, we wished that we hadn't had him wetherized (castrated) because he had such pretty color and gorgeous conformation. 

Now we have another reason to regret it. Today, when I got home after picking the kids up from school, I let the goats out to graze. Nutmeg didn't run out with the rest of them, and when I looked at him, I knew something was very wrong. He was standing all hunched up with his head down and neck extended, and when I tired to make him move, he cried and fell over. He was shaking and stiff-legged. I called the vet and described the symptoms, and as I had feared, she said it sounded like urinary calculi.

That's kidney stones to you and me; not so serious in humans, but very often fatal in goats. Castrated males are particularly susceptible. They are not supposed to eat grain or foods high in calcium. We tried not to let Nutmeg have any grain, but he snatched some now and then, of course. I didn't realize that they were really not supposed to EVER have ANY grain, I thought that they just weren't supposed to have as much as the females. 

My sister, bless her heart, came up to help me transport him to the vet. I had only the small car at home and kids, too. We did what we could: the vet gave him valium to relax the urethra and lasix to make him pee, and when that didn't work, she preformed a very small operation. It sounds worse than it is: she removed the tip of his penis, which is the narrowest part of the urethra, and she said that if the stones were in that place, he would instantly be able to pass urine and be better.

But that didn't happen. The operation didn't help, and the only option left was a major operation to go after the stones much farther back near the bladder. That just didn't make sense. Much as I like him, Nutmeg is not a champion herd sire. He's a fifty-dollar goat. And the operation doesn't have an impressive success rate, anyway. And we're talking about money that I would hesitate before spending on a beloved dog, much less a (let's face it) useless farm animal.

So we put him down. He was suffering. 

I feel pretty bad. It's my fault that he ate as much grain as he did; I was lazy about holding him back until the does finished all of the grain. I let him eat some, as a treat. That's what we call killing with kindness. I won't be making that mistake again. In fact, I'm not sure we'll be keeping any wethers at all. Boys may just stay intact until they reach eating age at four months or so. But that's for another day. Right now, I'll just say a few words about Nutmeg.

Nutmeg was funny. He was cute and adorable, as all baby goats are. He made us laugh with his silly antics and he was everything a goat should be: a good jumper, a good climber, a head-butter and a leaper and a great eater-of-blackberries. I wish he had lived a long, healthy life. We'll miss you Nutmeg. Happy leaping and butting in the great green goat hills in the sky. 

Sad Spring

Well, I've put a fair amount of work into the garden already this year, and most of it seems to be wasted. Nothing that I've planted is up yet, except for a few lonely little radish sprouts, and they don't look very happy. The beets, the carrots, the mesclun, the spinach.... nuthin.' I did transplant the snow peas that we sprouted in the playroom, and they don't look very happy either.

Other gardeners out there, do you plant the little peat pots or do you pull the plants out of them? The package says to plant them, but they seem to pop back up out of the ground no matter how carefully I pat them down, and the little plants are all lying on their sides. Next time I'm going to take the plants out. I planted cucumber seeds over two weeks ago, and they still haven't germinated. Not sure they're going to. Maybe I should try again.

But the worst failure is the pasture grass. That stuff costs $40 a bag, and it takes two bags to cover the area I have. Then this constant, unrelenting rain ruins it all. I don't know how long to wait for it to sprout before giving up and starting over. Meanwhile, I'm sure all the nasty weeds will do just fine.

I don't really like gardening. I'm not good at it, and I'm tired of being muddy and cold and wet all the time. I'm starting to think herbs in indoor pots is a good idea, and trading eggs for veggies again like last year. The farmer's market should be starting up pretty soon, too. Maybe I should leave it to the professionals.