Sunday, July 31, 2011

Olbrich Gardens: Butterfly Days

I've been meaning to get to Olbrich for the last few weekends to see the butterflies and know how it goes.... So today, since I think it ends in a week or so,  I finally went over there.

I took my buddy Hannah Banana from next door with me.
We saw waterfalls...
 Koi fish (Hannah calls the white one with black spots the 'cow fish').
 Beautiful flowers (Doesn't this orchid look like it's in the depths of a dark cool glen? In actuality the conservatory was eleventy-billion degrees and humid!  Butterfly weather!)
We saw a lot of butterflies but only Monarchs and Yellow Swallow Tails.  I think maybe the others have lived out their two week lifespan and we missed them.
 Double click on this one to biggify.  It's worth it.
 The beautiful colors of the butterflies and the vividly hues of the flowers was breathtaking.

My Swallow Tail photos didn't come out because they were in constant motion so it's all Monarchs I guess. We even got to see one that had just come out of it's cocoon and was still wet. Pretty awesome.

We went to Culvers for lunch afterward and stopped quick into Pet World to see all of the animals. I got to hold a Fat-Tailed Gecko and now want one....of course. He was much cuter than the one in the Geico commercials! I didn't hear him talk though. I was kinda relieved about that.

After we go home, there was a knock at my door and there was Hannah with a wonderful thank you card and a beautiful bouquet of flowers to thank me for taking her to Olbrich.  I should have thanked her, she was wonderful company!

Next time: I finished a couple if knitting projects to report on!!!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Zentangler Pattern Sampler

They are starting a bingo like game over on my Zentagle group on Yahoo. The 'entry fee' is to make a sampler of 9 patterns out of the 30 specified on a list. My sampler is posted on my Doodle site.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dane County Fair 2011

Hit the Fairgrounds early on Saturday to beat the heat. Joey and Steve and I made the rounds in the barns. The animals were so hot. I love this photo of three different sized/patterned cows.

 Then we perused the arts exhibits. This stained glass cabinet caught my eye.
 As did this fabulous quilt of all of the counties in Wisconsin.
 Couldn't get it all in one shot.
 There was a hybrid car show. This old Gremlin brought back high school memories...
 I don't know what this was but it was Molly Bee sized....
 There was even room for Mr. Bentley if he wouldn't wiggle so much. I think it gets such great mileage because you have to pedal it to make it go. Maybe the solution is to make Ol' Ben pull it?
 There was a sign on the midway that outlined how tall you have to be to ride on the rides.  Steve makes the grade. He's 'this big'.

This girl wasn't tall enough but got in line anyway. She suffered the consequences.

 (Actually, this was a great photo in the inside exhibits.  LOVE IT.)

I was going to go to the Olbrich Butterfly exhibit after the fair but I had CCOB (Cotton Candy On Board).  Friend Scott loves cotton candy (cleverly renamed by Steve... 'Scotton Candy') and so I got some to drop off to him on the way home. It was so hot that I took it inside with me when we went to lunch at Red Robin.  No one even looks twice at you if you take your scotton candy out for lunch apparently, but I couldn't picture taking it into Olbrich and being swarmed, killed, and eaten by a battalion of butterflies trying to get the sugary treat.  Oh they look beautiful; all fluttery and harmless, one or two at a time, but they are decidedly vicious and deadly in numbers (in my mind).  Thought I'd go today but then got all caught up in stuff around here and didn't go. Next weekend for sure.  I don't think they'll be there much longer.

Anyway, it was a great weekend at Chez Bee. How was yours?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sad Day Down on the Farm

Got a call today that the old rooster at the farm was discovered dead in the pasture last night. Roberto was a nice rooster. He didn't peck me and he liked to be picked up and snuggled. He always kept a close eye on everyone and supervised the chores. He was old and it was really hot out and I'm thinking it was a combination that cooked his to speak. The farm owner said that she didn't see any signs that he was attacked by any of the usual suspects out in the yard but you know how that goes. The other inmates always claim they never saw a thing. She's thinking of having an autopsy done.  I don't think that's necessary really; sounds like natural causes to me, but it's not my call.  Although if a certain tom turkey should happen to turn up, uh... ' life-challenged'... possibly with his head on backwards and his sharp, pointy, evil, beak pointing over his tail,  just bury his feathery a$$ and don't ask any questions OK? Just sayin'.  I'd hate to be sent up the river to the big house for turkey murder when there are so many more worthy charges.

Roberto, you will be missed.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Farmer's Tan On My Shins...

I've been wearing clam digger pants a lot this summer. Pardon me, 'capris' is the proper term I guess. It's been so blasted hot. I can't wear shorts to the farm because of barn fowl who will remain nameless so capris seems like a pretty good compromise. Cooler than jeans and less bare leg to protect from sharp beaks and talons. I didn't realize how much I was wearing them until I happened to glance in the mirror after a shower the other day and realized I have a farmer's tan from below the knee down. Sheesh!  Time to get some self tanner and try to even it out. Chances are it will still be farmer's tan on the bottom and orange skin on top. Does this crap happen to anyone else?

I've been working on a knitting project that I can't talk about and some art work that I can't talk about and relationship issues that I can't talk about. Hmm. Makes it difficult to blog.  All will be revealed soon enough I guess.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Diva's Challenge #31: Fairy Land

Busy Busy Bee

Between work, the farm and socially things, I've been running around like a headless, barnyard fowl again. I know ONE barnyard fowl I wish was headless-or at least beak-less.  Eddie, the attack turkey, has formally decided that I am public enemy # 1 in his 'hood and has become relentless. He tries to mate with the other volunteer and tries to kill me. Story of my life. It's hard to do my chores when I'm defending myself with a leaf rake.  I'm not always successful even with that!
But it hasn't been all work and no play.  The Naughty Girls came over to my house Friday night for Knit Night.   It was uber hot so we decided to set the AC on 'arctic' and chill (literally and figuratively) at Chez Bee this time. I made a taco salad and an apple pie that I wasn't ashamed of for a change.

Dale brought cheese and ice cream for the pie. Elizabeth brought cookies and caramel sauce and Jen made a fabulous kohlrabi/beet/peanut sauce salad and a fresh, peach, upside down cake.  We had a lovely supper and then rolled ourselves into the living room to get some knitting done. They didn't leave until after midnight and not of us turned into a pumpkin. I love my knitting sistahs!

Saturday morning I awoke to find this lovely in my sink. (Primal Scream!!!!!!) I grabbed a tissue....then another....then another...but I couldn't bring myself to squish him fearing I'd only wound him and he'd turn on me. So I went and got something more substantial ( a shoe- just like in the phone commercial)  for the job.  Problem solved. I needed the three tissues to clean up the monumental schmoosh spot in my sink.

I recruited Joey and Steve to come over for coffee on Saturday morning to dispatch the remains of the apple pie. I had a small piece on Friday night and was determined not to finish it off over the weekend. They are obedient lads and scurried right over.  They brought me a lovely bouquet of Farmer's Market flowers.  Joey said that if I'd baked them an entire pie, I would have gotten the vase too.  I have the best friends ever!

Saturday afternoon found me in Mt. Horeb at the Art Festival.  It was uber hot. I can't imagine wearing a wool tam and a Santa Claus beard in that humidity, but this gentleman did it, and made beautiful music to boot!

There was a new troll in town. I'm assuming he's the mayor with all the medals and the key and all....
I was pretty much a grumpy troll by the time I made it up and down main street.  Hot! Hot! Hot!
But I did buy myself a spoon ring which is really different and I got to stop in the air-conditioned comfort of Witchery Stitchery and say howdy to Delma and Mary Ellen which is always a treat.

Sunday morning I was back at the farm and despite drinking tons of water, I was heat sick by the time my shift was done. Came home with a headache, nausea and leg cramps. Spent the afternoon on the couch but revived somewhat by evening. My next shift is tomorrow which is supposed to be 99° with a heat index of 110°. I'll take double the water with me and hope for the best. If it has to be that hot, I hope it's at least hot enough to roast a ^&*#$  turkey!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

All Creatures Great and Small

I've had requests for pics so I finally took my camera to the farm today to get mug shots of some of the perpetrators...

These are the kids.  The second from the left is Frosty. He lost some of his ears to frost bite. The one on the far right almost ate my bangs off today when we were snuggling on the goat jungle gym in the background. He was all nuzzley and then *chomp*. Thanks goodness he let go; I woulda had a hard time explaining that to Stylist-Scott!

This is Gracie. She has given me new appreciation for geese. I'd only encountered nasty ones in the past, but Gracie is like a big, old, goofy, dog. She likes to see what everyone's doing and supervises most activities. When Beatrice and Henrietta, the pigs, broke loose of their outside pen on Friday night, she was at the head of the pig parade,  honking and running full tilt ahead of them the whole length of the barn when they thundered down to their inside stall. Always part of the action.
 This is the turkey herd.  Tom has gotten over pushing his boundaries with me and ignores me pretty much now. I am in love with the turkey on the outside of the fence. Why is she on the outside of the fence you ask? Because every time I put her over the fence and into the pen, she flies out, comes back in the barn, finds me and starts a distressed 'I don't know where my friends are' call.  Then she turns around backwards and gets in position so I  can pick her up and lug her back outside and put her back over the fence. Lather, rinse repeat at least a dozen times today alone.  Why? Because she's discovered that she likes to be picked up and given 'rides' by her human slaves. She is such a sweetie! A real snuggle turkey.
 We have three ducklings. I swear to G*d we do.  Here are two.  Do you know how difficult it is to get two ducks in the same frame, let alone three?  These guys have grown a lot in just the last week!
 You can't tell by this picture, but this rooster is the size of a pigeon. He more than makes up for it in personality. He is in the pen with the three ducks and spends his days monitoring the swimming pool whenever one or more of the ducklings is in there. He only lets them stay so long and then he badgers them out of the water but flapping at them. He is the lifeguard on duty. I call him Hoff...short for Hasselhoff of course! He also loves to be held and petted.
This is Thor. We have another llama, Nick.  The only thing worse than trying to get the three ducks in one frame is getting the two llamas to pose together. Nick was in the pucker brush so I couldn't even get a clear single shot. On my first day, they wouldn't come to anyone and wouldn't stand to be touched. Every time I've been in, I go in their pen and just stand in there and talk to them. I don't approach them or try to touch.  Today, I went out in the pasture and called Nick and he came bolting clear across the field to me. Kinda freaked me out!  I thought, "Oh this will be a great blog entry, 'Molly Bee Viciously Attacked And Eaten By Mad Llama'. But he stopped just short of me and put his nose on mine.  And Thor let me pat his neck!  It's the small victories!

Working at the farm is hard physically. It's a sweaty, filthy job, especially in the heat and humidity we've been having. And I can't think of one thing I'd rather be doing. Being with the animals restores my soul in so many ways. Also, even though it's within minutes of my house, it's in 'the country' and reminds me so much of home. I've been needing that for a long time. I'm not a city girl.
Flowers and Barn Boards
This million dollar view is worth the price of admission!

This is actually my favorite view, but I stupidly got my poo-covered wheelbarrow in the shot. Oh well, that gives you an example of one of the things I do when I'm there right? Mucking stalls and sweeping the barn comes with the territory!

May each and every one of you find something that fills your heart with this much peace and joy!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Pretzel Parades and Tylenol Tacos

So I spent the 4th over at my new volunteer job at a farm animal sanctuary near my house.   I have a four day internship on animal care before they set me loose on the poor critters. I had idyllic 'All Creatures Great And Small' pictures in my head of how things would be; me gently cradling baby lambs as the wind whispered softly through the meadow...that kind of thing.  It couldn't have been less like that.  As I put on my Facebook status when I got home, "I'm exhaused, sweaty, smelly and covered in goat poop, pig slop, llama spit and duck feathers. I haven't been this happy in a very. long. time."

The main tasks in the morning are to feed and water all of the animals and take the ones outside that are allowed in the pasture.  This seemed along the lines of what I expected, until I was told to take a Tylenol taco to the black pig in the sty out back. Uh, you want me to take a what? Where? To Whom?  The lead volunteer took a lettuce leaf, loaded it up with copious amounts of peanut butter and 3 Tylenol, rolled it up like a taco and had me take it out to Betty-the-black-pig who has arthritis in her legs. Betty snarked'er right down so it wasn't a problem, but none of my previous dreams about farm life had anything to do with Tylenol Tacos.

I lugged water and feed and hay and animals too and fro until the leader summoned me to the goat pen. My next task was to take a plastic bucket filled with pretzels and walk the length of the barn and out into the fenced in yard with it. Because I don't know nuthin' 'bout no farmin' I did as I was told. When I looked behind me I had a parade of 4 goats and two sheep hot on my heels. Yes the ovines and caprines (look it up, I had to) are pretzel junkies apparently. Getting them into the pen was uber easy. We closed the gate and spent a few pleasant moments rewarding their addiction with the salty snacks. Then I realized that to get out of the pen, I'd have to climb out over the 6 foot gate because if we opened it again (particularly since I was still holding the pretzel bucket) the hungry hoard would come right out with us. I was built for comfort, not scaling tall buildings, but it wasn't bad. Good thing since I was up and over the thing twelve more times before I came home.

My favorite task was socializing the new ducklings.  These ducks are bigger than the Easter babies you commonly see. It's say they are 1/2-2/3 the way full grown.  The farm emphasises animal therapy so the ducklings have to get used to being picked up and held. Score after 45 minutes of work? Molly 1: Ducks 2. The little one was OK with it, the middle one settled down for a bit before he totally flipped out and then large one nearly beat me to death. I'll be back ducklings!

I think I did pretty well for the first day. There were no injuries to myself or any of the animals. I also feel especially skilled that I could do all that was asked of me on one leg since the other one was stretched out to the side most of the time keeping a particularly amorous Tom Turkey at bay. He only nailed me once in the hip when I wasn't looking. It didn't hurt so I wasn't quite sure of his intentions-if it was an attack, it was halfhearted at best. If it wasn't an attack...well I'm not interested in bein' one of his 'womens'...especially since he has two 'womens' already!

Overall, I LOVE my new job and am eagerly awaiting my next shift. Something tells me, with this cast of characters, there will be plenty of stories to tell!

Cooper and The Garden Guest

I discovered earlier this summer that finches aren't the only thing that like my thistle seeds. Even though there is a plethora of seeds...