Grand Mobileness!

Well, this will be my first ever blog post from the road. We have been on the road non stop since this morning with a few brief breaks at home and for fun along the way. And I have the biggest most exciting news! Seriously, and not in my traditional snark-castic  sense of the phrase, I can hardly contain myself.

This morning, we made an appointment to ride about 45 minutes to our sheep farmer friend’s place to pick up another round bale for our hoofed eating machines. Of course, an excuse to visit and see all the beautiful new spring babies was bonus material. Ry got to discover brand new (Like, last night or today brand new) goat triplets napping under a feeder in the barn, and see all of Radar’s (the lamb) half brothers and sisters romping around. It was a big hit, even if there were no new orphans for us to pick up.

A stop on the way home at a park and river along the way to break up the ride, did a little fish activity recon, (and a stop at our favorite pizza place for a late lunch that we’re rarely ever near anymore) and we dropped our pitiful workhorse of a flatbed trailer off at home.


Why, yes, I AM aware of what a sorry excuse for a trailer that is. It’s become a game of sorts to count the stares on our trips, and we bet now on whether or not it will bear the next load. Yes, there is a legal tag on that thing. Welcome to Delaware.  



In our travels, we stopped to look at a tractor on the roadside for sale. We called the number and spoke to the nice fella.  It was way beyond our budget. Oh, well. Besides, we just had our old Ferguson heap hauled home this week as the gentleman we took it to nearly a year ago to be fixed has been unsuccessful. Or possibly overwhelmed by her loveliness. Or possibly just completely unwilling to tackle the old broad in all her rusty glory, because….well, he could probably earn a master’s degree or circumnavigate the globe in the time it would take to make her act like a tractor again. We have now planned to take it to a tinkering tractor savvy neighbor who’s quite sure he can have her running before spring. Frankly, I don’t have much hope. Here’s the Old Ferg, below,  (brace yourself, now,  for beholding the sight of this lovely lady) who has been the recipient of much impolitely phrased venomously unholy wrath  (and possibly an occasional kick ) from me.  Seeing as how she’s only seen fit to run for a total of less than an hour in the last six years and all, I have minimal guilt about that.


The Ferg-Beast. It’s the politest name I have for her, but not the only one. 


I know, she’s a real beaut, right?

Well, then T let the news slip. He’s taken the day off tomorrow so we can road trip again to possibly pick up the Ferg beast’s replacement!!!! Like, one that runs! For really and truly! You turn the key and the toggles and switches and whatchamawhoseits and it starts. You move levers and pedals and shifters and… It does tractor-y things! It moves without the aid of three winches and several draft horses and a couple of teenagers. Things it was actually built for and meant to do – pushing and pulling and tilling and grading and mowing and whacking and posthole digging…Sweet. Baby. Jesus.

My SIX SOLID YEARS of relentless (In no particular order) gentle loving hinting, requesting, begging, pleading, wheedling, whining, cajoling, bribery, blackmail, nagging and witching with a capital B have finally paid off?  Was it that last exorcism style temper fit where I nearly stomped a hole in the floor and growled in a foreign tongue and my head spun around and I scared myself, not to mention any witnesses? (Nope, not really, but I thought about it. A lot. A really, really lot. ) Can this be real? Holy guacamole, I need to go buy a lottery ticket. Or wake up. Something. Please let this not be a joke.

Seriously, love of my life…is this is your twisted notion of a joke, you may not want to go to sleep again. Evvvveeerrrr….don’t do that to me. You may wake up with one eyebrow. Or none. Or worse. I’ve watched Orange is the New Black. I may put things in a sock and beat you.

Please tell me I am not on an episode of Punked.

I’m literally so excited I could scream, maybe I did. I might have even peed a little had I not just taken care of that hovering in the god-awful park port-a-john. Ryan’s doing the happy dance in the back seat.  So, I’m probably not sleeping tonight. I’ll likely be up, showered, coffeed and dressed long before my customary 5 am. Like, now. Now is good. Can we leave now? Be there when they open? Can my perfect attendance since pre-K except for one day 8 year old skip school? Someone may get there before we do. I simply cannot have that.

So, if you’re a praying sort, please keep me in yours, if not, well, then, good vibes, positive thoughts, sage, crystals, whatever your bag is…I’m very un-judge-y. I’ll gladly accept any and all positivity and hopefully tomorrow will see us bring home a functional (new to us) new mechanical ACTUAL honest to goodness farm implement with whatever attached trappings we can negotiate (wheedle) out of the dealer. I have a spare kidney. I really need a bush hog. This could get real.   (Then I can borrow a chainsaw and lumberjack our 2 ton disc out of the two acre wood that has grown around out in the last six years!!)

Ohmygosh, my mind has reeled all day, like a browser with 2,973 tabs open. I confess to you now, in six years, we have literally and callously murdered 5 riding mowers,  a sickle bar mower, 8 push mowers,  a dozen weed whackers and assorted other mechanical cutting , threshing, and tilling machines, including three Roto tillers, all trying to do the work of one tractor. You cannot possibly understand the level of joy and relief this could mean. A Craftsman yard machine is not a bush hog, nor is it designed to willingly navigate muddy hoof churned, equine land mined terrain. They just simply quit. Give up and die. I don’t really blame them. We are merciless and horrible, and ask things of a machine that will drive it off the cliff of mechanical suicide. Goodbye cruel world! I so wish I was kidding.

So we made our final stop, to drop off my only grandson’s birthday gifts, he turned two yesterday…


He has 5 co grandbabies and two siblings, but they are every single one girls. 🙂 Poor little dude, he’s swimming in the estrogen ocean. His uncle Ryan there is the sole manchild in his circle.

Had to make a fast emergency tenant stop and are just now finally on our way home, where I will try in vain to sleep till tomorrow. Cross your fingers for me! Have a wonderful night all!


Friday Funnies – of Men and Maggots

I’ve been thinking of things I wanted to do with our blog here, and I’ve decided that on some Fridays I’m going to dedicate a post to some of our absolutely most hysterical moments over the last few years. It’s not always been an easy ride, we’ve had plenty of highs and lows to be sure. We’ve done our share of the toil and tears, but what keeps us going is the times when things just take such a completely absurd detour that someone begins to laugh, and it’s contagious, and the next thing you know everyone is in total stitches. It’s a learning process, and sometimes not just for us. We have also made a LOT of mistakes…which usually end up in comedic fashion.

So we buy bottle calves. The bull calves that are culled by the dairy farms, sometimes within hours of birth and sent off to auction. This can be a dicey proposition. You really have to dig in and fight them, some simply do not want to live. If we’re lucky enough to see them through the initial rough patch, it can be a really rewarding feeling. We band them, raise them to feeder weight, and usually sell them to a farmstead or family that wants to raise a beef steer. 227723_219693134724225_4411804_n.jpg

We’ve bought anywhere from one to as many as a dozen at a time. If you’re feeding one bawling beefy beast a bottle 4 times a day, it’s just as easy to feed multiple ones. However, they usually come with what’s called “scours”. I don’t know how they came up with that name, other than it’s what you feel you have to do to your clothing and any exposed skin after handling a calf with scours. Scours, if you don’t know…well, do yourself a favor and don’t google it, ok?  230397_219692698057602_4699897_n.jpg

I’ll put it this way. Scours causes everything in every single one of a calf’s four stomachs to be ejected violently, at high speed, and in any one of a dozen colors from a calf’s rear end. As fast as you put in the other end. Messy, smelly and inconvenient in the cold weather months. In the summer, you have the added nightmare of insects.

It’s a simple concept, really. Poop stinks. Calves do not use Charmin. Flies are attracted to stinky things. Like poopy calf rumps. Mother flies apparently are prone to thinking this is a spectacular place for an insect obstetrics unit, and Shazam! Next thing you know…well…you’re in a position like we were a couple of summers ago.

To understand why we might find this amusing, you must first understand that my other half’s Dad is a very particular man. Everything about him is usually immaculate. His sleek burgundy luxury sedan pulls up in the driveway, and out climbs a very well put together gentleman wearing lovely slacks, dress shirts, and beautiful shiny loafers. He is usually singularly focused, moving at a surprisingly good clip in search of his son to discuss whatever’s brought him to the driveway. He’s very gentlemanly and polite to a fault.

This day was no exception…like a senior citizen shaped missile he fast tracked to the barn and made a beeline for us. It’s June. It’s 100 degrees in the shade, we’re standing by the barn door with 50 foot of hose and a brush. Clad in sweaty muck boots and elbow length playtex gloves, with an arsenal of potions and sprays and a wet, reeking, supremely pissed off  holstein bull calf bawling loudly on a lead line.

Since the business end of the operation was pointing out the back barn door, I really don’t think he had any warning what exactly he was walking into. He knows from experience to walk carefully in the barn, I think he was paying such close attention to his travel path maybe he didn’t add it all up. Or focused solely on his objective. He stopped about 5 feet from us.

“Helllloooo! How’s everybody doing today? T, I was thinking about something and I figured I would stop and run it by you.”

“Ok, Dad…well, we’re a little tied up here just at the moment…Can you give me a few minutes?”

So, at this point, we’re dripping sweat by the bucketful, this is like the third calf in an hour, bath time is NOT a hit with our baby bulls at all. They don’t want to be wet, they want milk. You’re at the wrong end. It’s a wrestling match of epic proportions and you’re trying to avoid being coated in liquefied calf crap. And maggots.

As he watched, his nose began to wrinkle a little. He took a step back.

“So, uhhh…what are you doing there, Lisa? Washing them up?”

Eyes down. Boy, this is awkward. I’ve never had someone watch me de-maggotize a calf with severe swamp ass before. Does he not see the river of churning fly babies floating out the door? Tony and I were looking at each other and trying to decide whether to be stupidly uncomfortable, and trying so very hard not to burst into tears or laughter or a ridiculous combination of the two. This is just not a good time. We’re struggling and wrestling and washing and chasing calf rump.

“Yessir…they have been a little sick, needed a bath.”

And then it happened. Politeness took over and he did it. The well dressed gentleman standing a few feet away from the most grotesque scene ever and apparently still oblivious to the reality of the task at hand said “Do you all need some help? Anything I can do?”

It was at this point time stopped. We stopped. Everything stopped. The calf stopped fighting. Even he seemed flabbergasted. And he stopped with the overpopulated tail end toward our would-be helper.

His eyes widened. His nostrils flared a little. His face began to turn a peculiar shade and you could tell the horrific reality of what he’s just volunteered for has now struck him. I looked at Tony. I looked at his Dad’s cream colored slacks and shiny loafers and tried hard to stop the laughter bubbling up.

“Uh, no, Dad…I think we’re good here. I don’t think this is something you want to get into today.”

“Oh, my. Uh…yes, you’re probably right. You know, you all look a little busy. Maybe I’ll stop back later, or call, or something….”

His voice trailed off and he turned around to flee the scene. He called a goodbye over his shoulder and made a hasty retreat. T and I are looking at each other and realizing just how incredibly, horrifically ridiculous we looked, we’re a total hot mess.

I couldn’t help myself. “I love your Dad, but I gotta say, for just a minute, I wanted to hand him a pair of gloves.” I giggled…I couldn’t help it anymore. Tony’s face completely cracked and we both just lost it. We’re filthy and we smell and we look totally absurd and there are rivers of crap and maggots everywhere. And we’re laughing so hard we’re literally crying.

His Dad’s a lot more careful about volunteering now.







Off to Auction!


So we are off to the livestock auction, after last week’s poor planning and not realizing it was a new “winter schedule” off week. And it occurred to me, that some folks may have never had the joyous experience of attending one of these lovely functions. I mean, who wouldn’t want to go where they amass huge quantities of various species of manure producing farm animal, pen them up and as if they’re not wigged out enough already, herd them through a ring one at a time or in small groups and auction them to the highest bidding strange human? Good times!



Seriously, though, I am an auction fan. It’s a very different experience if you’ve never been to one. I take great joy in hauling along out of town friends and family members. They only get a couple pieces of advice. Wear boots and don’t wave. You will step in things that are suspect, and if you wave, you’ve bid, and could end up the proud new owner of a 350 pound hog with an unsavory disposition.

So I thought I will take a few pictures, and use tomorrow’s post to chronicle our local auction experience for those who haven’t yet had the experience of being able to attend one, along with some tips we’ve learned along the way.

Stop back by tomorrow and remember….wear boots. And don’t wave!

I hate a shoe

depositphotos_12436209-Ladies-Shoes-Collage.jpgI have a love-hate relationship with shoes. I mostly hate them. This might be an odd sentiment for someone who spends a great deal of her time wading through excrement of one species or another. And who does it in a place where she must circumnavigate all sorts of abandoned rusty metal things and sharp things, and dodge the heavy hooves of various critters. However, if the weather is warm, you can most often find me barefoot or as close to it as I can possibly be. Barefoot or flip-flops. At least six months out of the year. More, weather permitting.

On my “I’ve been reading too much decluttering propaganda” purge of late, I discovered I own 27 pairs of shoes. TWENTY flipping SEVEN. That’s 54 shoes. I feel like this is ridiculous and excessive. I  resolve to pare down my shoe hoard. To be fair, 5 of those pairs are flip flops or sandals, 2 are muck boots, 2 are work boots, 3 of them are tennis shoes, (1 set of steel toe) and two are Crocs. (Yes, I know that crocs are ugly, but they require no bending or tying, will slog through wet grass and not complain and have once defended my tootsies from a rat snake with a ‘tude whose tail I foolishly trod on, so they stay.)  There are 5 pairs of other assorted boots.  The remaining 8 pair are girly, frou-frou, mostly heeled (ranging from sensible church height to whattheblazeswereyouthinking 5 inchers).

Who the heck needs 27 pairs of shoes? Especially a person who is chastised on such a regular basis by her entire family for “improper footwear”?  Well, the person who should have a podiatry specialist on call 24/7/365. Yep, that’s me. If I ever willingly went to a doctor type critter, anyway.   Understand the chastising usually comes into play during, after or occasionally before the latest foot tragedy.

Over the past ten years, of the most notable “foot tragedies”, some have been fairly serious. I have had a foot run over by a VW Thing and broken. I have flipped a paving stone with such force that it came down perfectly on my heel and laid my heel open like a spatchcocked turkey. I have flipped a soaking wet kazillion pound pressboard table I was rolling to a dumpster over at just the perfect trajectory that it relieved me entirely of the nail on my big toe. Violently and immediately. Not in the smash it, nail turns black and eventually falls off at its leisure sort of removal, the instant and extraordinarily painful variety.  I have twice burned all the skin off the top of a foot. (Once was waitressing related coffee pot drama, the other was pan frying while in nowhere near a sober enough condition to be within a mile of boiling oil.)

Couple of years ago, we came home from night fishing and while unloading the truck, I tripped over a piece of heavy gauge wire (like drycleaner coat-hanger gauge) some idiot (I’m likely the idiot) had dropped in the driveway. At least I thought I tripped. Somehow, I managed to trip / step / lurch onto it at the perfect angle that the wire went through the bottom of my flip flop, completely through my big toe, (neatly missing the bone) from the bottom and came poking out the top. This was followed my much drama and screeching. (none of which was mine, I was oddly calm at the time) My sweetie and his daughter were both beside themselves plotting ER visits and possible ambulances, all while I was repeating…

“Tony, just”

“Oh My God, Ok, let me get the wire cutters, pliers, flashlight, holy crap, OhmyGod, Do you see now, this is why I told you stop wearing these ridiculous things! Improper footwear!! Take the shoe off!”

“Babe, STOP. I can’t take the shoe off. It’s pinned to my foot. Not the time for a lecture. Use the hands you have right there, grab the thing and just Yep, right there, no, not slowly…Yank the stupid wire.”

“I can’t do this. This is crazy. You need a doctor, a surgeon, something.”

This is a man who can gut a deer blindfolded and eats organ meat for breakfast, for crying out loud. There is not even any blood yet. But it’s starting to smart more than a little now.

“Listen. TO. ME! Just grab the wire. At the bottom where it went in. Deep breaths all around. Now pullitoutPullitOUTPULLITOUT!”

This is the one I’m reminded of most frequently. There was peroxide pouring and bandaging, and hobbling about for a while, but no doctor visit. Thank the Lord for up to date Tetanus shots.

I put all the shoes but one pair of ridiculous “hooker height” heels I haven’t worn since 1999 back in the closet. Feet are kind of important. Maybe I should actually wear the real shoes more often.










That’s not a good morning smell.

That’s what my son said to me as I tried to pry him out of bed this morning for school. “I just can’t Mom, that is not a good morning smell.”

There are pros and cons to living across the road from a large commercial poultry producing operation. However, the chickens were here first. I knew full well what I was getting into and I therefore gave up the right to hate them.

When the bank of chicken houses closest to our home is in the throes of broiler/biddy turnover, and the wind is just right, it’s just not a “pro” sort of day. It doesn’t happen often. Today, I’m just thankful that it got down to 33 degrees last night and it’s just the smell we’re dealing with and not the inevitable warm weather invasion of approximately 6 billion flies who have suddenly been rendered without a home or food source.12508823_1229792417047620_4351505374505933852_n.jpg

Today is one of those rare days, a few times a year, where we have an odd wind, and the odors of the manure from 100,000 chickens amasses in one giant olfactory assault weapon and its built in homing system guides it all directly through every crack, crevice, open door and errant draft into our home. My ex in laws had both layer and broiler houses, and yet somehow I managed to blissfully escape ever having to set foot into either. So I wonder on these days how in the blazes the tenant staff over there can work in those houses all day and not have their respiratory systems just revolt and stop working.

On this particular farm, there are four or five banks of houses, which are cleaned out and turned over roughly every 6 weeks or so, but it’s really only this set of five directly across the road that has this potential for noxious fume warfare.


1.   It’s an agriculturally zoned area. There are no neighbors or snotty HOA’s to complain about your pigs er….making more pigs in full view of the street.

2.  Your  goats aren’t likely to consume 2, 406 dollars worth of professional landscaping and exotic flora when they escape. Which they will, and frequently.

3. In fact, when the goats do escape and go visit the neighbor’s children, there are no panicked phone calls to animal control or 911…the neighbors have enough sense to bait the goats with animal crackers into a pickup bed and simply bring them home with a grin.

4. When your horses liberate themselves, they go no further than the field of grass fronting the chicken houses, which for some reason, tastes infinitely better than the blades in their own pastures. The same applies to the 600 pound beef steer that your significant other treats as a pet and who walks through double charged electric fences like a marathon runner through tape at the finish line. 12079322_1170785049615024_996478384113661996_n.jpg

5. There is always someone at home over there, as poultry farms can never, ever, be left unattended. As an added bonus, they are usually staffed by some of the nosiest, I mean most attentive folks in the world. This means when you are away from your own place, you will be apprised immediately of any visitors, escapees, or strange sights, sounds or smells emitting from your own property. They’re literally better than a battalion of security cameras with a live feed.

6. There are no eyelashes batted at any redneck engineered contraption constructed in your front yard housing gigantic rabbits, poultry or ducks for sale. In fact, the neighbors will even advertise for you. 10441301_869547193072146_1320980317044204451_n.jpg


1. See title. The smell…and the winged rats of the insect world it brings with it. In summer, our bug zapper quite simply, never, ever, stops. It’s a relentless symphony of insect electrocution. Fly strips become a part of your decorating scheme. Not just in the barn, either. Oh, no, my friends, in every. room. in. the. house. These strips also double as  a “Haircut facilitation device” every time you inadvertently back into one and an exercise plan as you hone your ninja skills trying to avoid them.

2. Unlike Houdini goats or horseflesh, errant poultry can and will be dispatched without a second though and with extreme prejudice. With the looming possibility that 100,000 chickens can and will be destroyed upon infiltration of one solitary microbe, biosecurity is serious business. Why did the chicken NOT cross the road? Because it wanted to LIVE.

3. The alarms. “Whoowhooowhoowhooowhooowhooowhooo” Every time a temperature drops or rises, a feed or water delivery system is empty or obstructed, or a chicken says “Watch this, boys! It’s time for train a human.” and hits some hidden toggle switch. “Whooowhooowhooo.” 3 am seems to be a favorite time for these games.

4. While we’re at 3 am on the clock, the slot between midnight and three seems to be the default schedule for all incoming or outgoing chickens, and the eighteen wheeled taxis that transport them . It seems most ingress and egress of large vehicles occurs at these hours. In the event that no tenant is there to meet them, there will be blowing of airhorns until a response is observed.

5. Add two slightly unbalanced “I will bark politely at the wind, my reflection, large leaves, the trash guys, my own family’s vehicles and the air I breathe, but am firmly convinced that semi trucks are the dragons on which the dog apocalypse arrives, so I will bark, snarl and hurl myself against the windows like a rabid badger at the sound of air brakes regardless of the hour” chihuahua shaped excuses for dogs to number 4. Good times.

For me, and my family, I prefer our heritage breed chickens, who are fed a non top secret diet of bugs and grain and kitchen scraps, but to each their own. This being Delmarva, poultry houses are a fact of life, and a permanent part of the landscape. They are the wheels, cogs, and the primary fuel for the economy of the entire Delmarva Peninsula.  In fact, my kids learned at an early age when we went elsewhere that there is a “smell” to home. Marsh, tidal waters, and chicken manure. When we reached this side of the Bay Bridge someone would infallibly say, “There’s that smell. What’s that smell, kids?” The refrain?  “That’s the smell of money.”  All kidding aside, I love our area poultry producers (even though it’s not the life for me, or the food for me) because they feed the entire rest of the country and are often a much maligned species.

There’s a disturbing trend that is occurring all over our area, and the country, in that city folks in unprecedented numbers now want to move to the country. That’s all well and good, we are a welcoming sort mostly. The problem arises when Jane and Joe Urbanite purchase their dream home in the country which just so happens to be located next to a poultry farm, or a pig farm, or any kind of farm, really.

Oftentimes, this purchase is followed by the charm of the dream home location being dulled by the smells and sights that are usually part of any small or large scale farming operation. There’s poop. Lots of poop. Poop smells.  It stinks, and that’s that. There’s noise, and large machinery, and odd hours being kept. There’s the potential for stray livestock blocking the road, and munching on your pansies.

Then the voluntarily displaced suburbanites tend to get these notions. They adopt an adversarial position and begin making phone calls to towns and counties wanting to know what their rights are as far as controlling the smells and sounds of the very environment they’ve volunteered to be part of. Thankfully, we’re in an area where the answers they receive are frequently pro-farm and anti complainer. In fact, the best one I have heard to date was a council meeting where similar concerns were addressed and a shiny new homeowner in an agricultural area raised that particular question. “So what exactly, are MY rights as far as the enjoyment of the property I just paid a substantial amount of money for?”  The answer?  “Well, Sir…you have the right to purchase a property elsewhere that doesn’t have a farm next door that has been in operation since before 1908, by four generations of the same family and was located right there when you purchased yours.”

That, my friends, sums up why I love this area. And what makes it home.






Child Labor, Tom Sawyer style


It’s a beautiful day. It’s still early and cold enough to freeze eggs in the un-henned nest box, but it’s a beautiful day. And I am assembling an arsenal of  boycritter bait. An opportunist Mama, I am. See this right here?20160227_082701.jpgThis, my friends, is boycritter bait, a la Mark Twain.  Ryan also has a friend over for the weekend. Add in some healthy competition, mini mob mentality, and the fact that I am smart enough to fuel the work force with junk food and the promise of homemade brownies and I should have scored myself a whirling dervish workforce times TWO. And Ryan’s poultry pleasure palace should have a pristine coat of Barn Red.

It took approximately 14.6 seconds after I began assembling the tools for Mom’s outdoor sweatshop for THIS to happen:

“Ooooooh…is that paint? Are you painting today”

“Erm…maybe. Why do you ask, boys?”

“Can we help? Pleeeassse?”

It’s at this point the prudent person looking for cheap labor should resist. Just the tiniest bit. This makes the potential drudgery seem an even more attractive way to spend a Saturday.

“Well, I don’t know. It’s kind of a big job over there. And you guys would get paint on yourselves, it’s pretty cold too. Do you think you can do it and follow directions, so it gets done the right way? It’s pretty important for me to get this done today and I just don’t know if ya’ll can do it.”

“Oh, we can, we promise…C’mon Ma, puh-leeeeeze? Pretty please? We’ll be really good and we’ll listen and do a great job. Honest!”

Reverse psychology is now your friend.

“Well, I guess it would give me some spare time to do other stuff. Like maybe make brownies.”

They’re jumping and whooping now. And hunting for paint clothes. Well played, Mom. Well played.



The Chicken Brothel


Yep, so my kid’s chicken coop name officially sounds a bit like an Old West brothel. A poultry house of ill repute. I tried valiantly to talk him out of it and into something a bit less…well…Brothel-y. I’ve lost. Guess I’m gonna have to name one of hens Miss Kitty now. No, kid. No red lights. I’ll have the swat team and the vice squad here. Good thing you can’t see it from the road.