Saturday, August 31, 2013

We Enjoyed August (But we're a little tired now....)

August was for entertaining visitors in our home and for traveling to places never before visited.  We began this month with a visit from one of my friends from elementary school days.  Debbie and I had lost contact some time after high school graduation, and had recently "found" each other through the phenomenon which is Facebook.  In June an awesome coinciding of events  brought us face to face again for the first time in more than thirty years, and we agreed to get together when they traveled to vacation in Williamsburg at the end of July.  So, as promised, Debbie and her husband Metro, braved making the hour drive from their hotel to our farmette in a torrential downpour.  We enjoyed a wonderful afternoon and evening catching up on the lives we've lived post high school.  The rain even let up long enough for us to be able to introduce them to the critters!
Judy with baby rabbit

Mama Rabbit watching ...

One week old baby

Debbie meets "pups"

Debbie meets goats

Old friends

New Friends

Our next visitors were Jenn, Eloise, and my nephew Andrew, who is spending this summer, after his high school graduation, working in Virginia, and living in one of the guest houses at Jenn and Ben's.  The Virginia climate is a little different from the San Diego climate Andrew is accustomed to.  Interestingly, when I asked him whether the humidity was hard to get used to, he said that the humidity didn't bother him but it was the BUGS he was having a hard time getting used to.  Still, he seems to be enjoying his time here, and we are certainly happy he was able to come out to the farm for a day.

Eloise was thrilled to see all of the animals, but, for reasons not completely clear to the adults, she was frightened by the rabbits.  The goats did not scare her, nor the chickens or the dogs...just the bunnies.. Thank goodness Andrew was there to protect her from those cwazy wabbits!! After all of that excitement, she just had to take a nap in Gami's bed.

White oreo bunny

Eloise petting black oreo baby

Eloise scared by baby rabbit

Eloise meeting baby goats

Sleeping sweetly
About mid-August, my boss informed me that I would need to accompany a team going to Australia at the end of the month.  Well, to be honest, I would LOVE to go visit Australia, but I had a hunch that sightseeing would not be on the agenda.  I had little time to prepare for the trip, and it followed directly after a week of "local travel" to the DC area.  Still, between working in DC and working in Australia, we were able to fit in another afternoon visit with a friend and her two lovely young daughters.  Michele and her girls, Hannah and Alyssa visited us for the afternoon and I think the girls had a good time.  Hannah, the five-year old, kept saying, "I want to see more animals!"  Hah!  I think we'll have to get some sheep and pigs or something before she visits again.  Both girls carried home with them baskets of fruit and vegetables they'd picked.
Feeding the chickens

Happy Alyssa

Feeding the goats
Fruit and Veggies to go
And then it was off to Australia for me.  It was an interested (LONG) trip over, especially since our plane from Los Angeles, CA to Sydney, Australia was canceled --- after we'd been sitting, awaiting take-off for three hours.  Interesting sidebar here -- I ALWAYS fall asleep before take-off.  The plane engines start up, the plane starts to taxi out and I'm off to sleep.  I awaken some time during the flight and we are usually already at cruising altitude.  So, on this particular flight, everything went as normal.  Plane engines started up, plane pulled out from the gate, plane started taxiing, I fell asleep.  Some time later I awoke.  Now, I am traveling business class, so, I'm in relative luxury, and, since it is a night flight, all of the windows shades are down.  I am sitting in my comfy seat, thinking to myself, "this is a VERY smooth turbulence at all!"  I pull out my Kindle and start reading my book, others are occupying themselves with similar activities.  I cannot get over what a smooth flight this is.  At some point, I decide to pull up the window shade to see if I can see anything.  Sure enough, I can see plenty....I see we are sitting on the tarmac with maintenance vehicles and bright lights gathered nearby... I think I slept through the first 30 minutes or so of our "take-off".... for the next two and a half hours, the "smooth flight" was not nearly as amazing as it was before I peeked out that window.
Clouds en route from DC to Los Angeles

First Class is nice

Business class is nicer - Los Angeles to Sydney

Or... LAX to LAX....

Our flight canceled and rescheduled for 25 hours later, we were put up for the night in a local hotel....we checked into our rooms at 4:30 AM PDT, 27 hours after I'd started my day.

The next night, the flight went off without a hitch.  A mere 18 hours and two flights later, we arrived at our destination, went directly to the hotel and washed up and then off we went to the office. 

Oh good... this IS Australia I see out the window this time..

Sydney coming into view

Canberra, Australia from the air
 Three days of work in Australia and then it was time to turn around and make the journey home.  The return trip also afforded me an extra day of travel due to  delayed flight, again out of LAX, this time to Dulles.  Arriving late in Dulles, meant that I missed my flight to Richmond.  So, another complimentary night's stay at a local hotel and I FINALLY made it home around noon on Saturday.  More than 75 hours of travel time to work less than 24 hours!  I was exhausted.

Spring is just beginning in Australia

I love their crosswalk signs

Mural painted on wall

Our hotel in Canberra

On the other hand, I didn't have to do all of the hard work of keeping the farm running during that week.  Joe did his share and mine, and I returned to find he'd even managed to make good headway on the ponds expansion.  He somehow fit that into a schedule of taking care of the more than 80 animals that require attention, at least twice per day. I'm not sure which of us is more tired after that crazy week.  August has brought more expansion for the farmette.  Joe built more rabbit hutches to accommodate the growing babies and built more pens to house chickens, goats and dogs.  We've also had the unpleasant experience (more than once this month) of discovering a chicken that has been injured by one of the dogs.  The chickens insist on flying into the dogs' pen and one of the dogs has managed to "play too rough" with them.  Joe can now add to his Jack-of-all-trades list, "emergency vet," as he has stitched up injured chickens.  So far, everyone that was injured and rescued, has lived....and they still fly into the dogs' pen.

We think we have determined that Blue is the culprit, and we have now separated the dogs, so that we can work on training them better.  Together, they are very hard to keep "on task."  They have afternoon "play time" together and evening "run time" together and, so far, the separate quarters seems to be working out for them AND the chickens.
Joe playing with dogs... chicken playing chicken

Evening run time and training session

Building new rabbit hutches

Installing new rabbit hutches

New inhabitants of new cages

Joe examining hurt bird

Three bunnies, taking a rest
Creating pad for new Pen

Back pond before expansion

Expanded back pond

Another view of back pond

Front pond expanded

Otherwise, not much has been happening here.... except picking fruits and veggies, making jams, jellies, and preserves, mowing, weeding, milking goats, etc., etc., etc.  It was a good August.

Melons, Peppers, Tomatoes, Kolrabi

Judy Milking Sally

Deer eating melons

Mr... strutting his stuff

Eggs... with one MONSTER egg

Grapes and blackberries

Osprey in tree

Enormous figs

Ruby with pine cone

Counting baby bunnies

Ruby watching chicken

Praying Mantis enjoying fig tree

Baby chicks are growing up

Wild turkeys love the grapes and blackberries

Baby deer love them too

Hail, Hail the gang's all here... turkey 'hood

Grapes and black-eyed susans

Half moon