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On yoga night, this little orphan was left on our doorstep.


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Frog Dog Pose

Here he joined us for yoga, demonstrating what one of the evening’s yogis dubbed as “frog dog.” He is also quite accomplished at savasana. Though you can’t see it in the picture, he is solid black except for the tiniest splotch of white at the very tip of his tail. Last night he demonstrated another one of his amazing talents: yodeling.

Periodically through the night, we awoke to hear him serenading us with,

“Yep! Yep! Yep! Noooooooooooooooooooo! Nooooooooooooo! Nooooooooooo!”

Is there a kind soul out there willing to give a loving home to this sweet puppy? (Please? I’ve tried pawning him off on everybody and still no takers yet.

I’ve raised two puppies in the last year.  With Project Moo-Moo underway, I am all out of puppy time. This guy is really, really cute though! And he won’t cry sweetly serenade you in the evening if you share your bed with him.



In other news, a new family has moved in to the Angry Russian’s birdhouses.  The Angry Russian transformed into the Very Delighted Russian when I showed him.


Robin eggs in Angry Russian’s Birdhouse

…and speaking of eggs, Kiki has dethroned P. Recious Rainbow and installed herself on The Nest as Kiki Queen Mother. Either she is delusional or it is very close to hatching time, because she’s not budging.  Not even for food. Yesterday, after a tremendous amount of coaxing, begging, and singing on my part, she finally stood up enough for me to look at her eggs and see that no eggs had hatched just yet.

This was the song that finally got her up:

Kiki, Kiki you’re so pretty,

Let me see your eggs.

Kiki, Kiki you’re so pretty,

Stand up on your legs.

And! Here’s the melody for the first two lines…just in case you are ever faced with this situation and are in emergency need of a song:

Kiki Stand Up


And last, but not least, I’m still going flower crazy.

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bedraggled, but still beautiful

bedraggled, but still beautiful


Overlapping Seasons

It is spring again.  The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart. 

–Rainer Maria Rilke

It snowed this weekend…right atop the autumn leaves, budding roses, and daffodil blooms.


Fall leaves, winter snow, spring daffodils

Fall leaves, winter snow, spring daffodils

The Duck Report



We lost one of our ducks, Baby Gold, to a raccoon who found a breach in El Diablo’s Duck Defense System (DDS).  The perp was apprehended and sentenced to exile.

The seven remaining domestic ducks have been joined by three mallards (two males and a female) who have taken up residence in the pond. Not to be outdone by P. Recious Rainbow, Kiki Duck is now nesting with a *crazy* number of eggs beneath her feathers.

Project Moon Pie

We’ve introduced another label (ball) and another action word (touch) to Moo Moo’s repertoire.  The ever-determined Moo Moo has taken to watching videos of her performance trials to improve her skills.

Moo Moo the Genius

Moo Moo the Genius

…and speaking of improving performance, here is:

Good News for Crazy Cat Ladies

Thanks to researchers in Japan (of course) we now have scientific evidence that looking at cute kitten and puppy pictures/videos facilitates performance in dexterity and focus tasks.  I am not making this up…click that link and you can read about it for yourself.

 This is exactly why you should read my blog. I post cute baby animal pictures regularly. I can help you at work. I bet you’ll even snag a raise.  Subscribe today!

Goaty Goodness

Goaty Goodness

Dreams of Goaty Goodness

Spring is around the corner and Goaty Goodness is afoot. I can feel it. My kids are out there somewhere.

El Diablo has in his head that we’re getting a pygmy goat. It’s so cute how he comes up with these wild ideas. He thinks a pygmy will be “less trouble.” He came to this conclusion after listening to tales told one wintery eve by a fellow traveler who had bought goats during what she described as a mid-life crisis. In an attempt to dissuade me from following in her missteps, she told a succession of horror stories about her experiences with her goats. The moral of her story was: get sheep, not goats, because sheep are a lot less trouble.

While I would consider sheep in addition to goats, I can’t consider them a replacement.  A mid-life goat crisis is not something that can be lived vicariously.  I want to have my own.  There is no substitute for Goaty Goodness.

So, I’ve been reading up on goats lately trying to figure out which kind would be the best addition to the farm.  I keep coming back to Angora goats. I have an elaborate fantasy of sitting at the spindle and spinning their fur into mohair yarn to dye and knit.  Yeah, I know someone has been watching too much Once Upon a Time lately. You can call me Briar Rose. If you’re going to dream, dream big.

Operation Panda Rescue

In other news, Moon Pie is a freakin’ genius.  We have been playing a fun new game in which her favorite toy, Panda, is in peril and only she can rescue it. It took her five trials to figure out how to break Panda out of jail.  I’ve posted two videos (Trial 2 and Trial 5) of her training below. Trial 2 was an unsuccessful attempt to get Panda free, but it features her stealthy army crawl technique.



Trial 5 demonstrates her brilliance and bravery. Mission accomplished!


The Duck Report

The baby ducks are going through an awkward phase.  They are growing all long necked and legged, but they are still too short to scale the pool walls on their own.  So yesterday as I was changing their water I had this bright idea: Wouldn’t it be great fun to catch a baby duck and let it go for a swim?

“Fun” is not quite the right word to describe what happened next. Baby ducks run remarkably fast for having such little legs.  After chasing ducks all over the pen for a good five minutes, I finally managed to catch Mistletoes.  Mistletoes went from cute little peep-peep-peeps to frantic cries of “PEEP! PEEP! PEEP! PEEP!”

And that’s when P. Recious Rainbow Queen Mother stopped running away and went all “momma bear” on me.

She came barreling at me with lightning in her eyes and malice in her squawking.  I guess she called on her pterodactyl ancestry because she somehow transformed herself into a huge winged monster.  I stood deer-in-the-headlights frozen by the sight of her as she grabbed a hold of my boot with her ferocious bill and viciously yanked at it.  All the while she was flapping and hissing. I was screaming and flailing. Baby duck was PEEP! PEEP! PEEPing.

Moo-moo was out the outside of the pen, going crazy.  All of our Panda Rescue Missions had been leading up to this moment.  She went barking up a storm, lunging at the pen in an effort to save me from my attacker.

In trying times you learn who has your back…and who does not. While all this was going on, El Diablo was standing outside the pen laughing and fumbling for his iPhone in an effort to video the spectacle. (This is exactly the sort of behavior that earned him the name “The Devil.”) Lucky for me, he didn’t have his phone on him.

Mistletoes did not get to swim in the pool.  He was returned to Moma Duck and I got the hell out of there.  Getting your ass handed to you by a duck is a humbling experience.

Yes, it’s another post with duck pictures.  Hey, don’t you roll your eyes at me!   Yes, I know, I might seem a little overly preoccupied with ducks lately, but today I have good reason:

P-Recious Rainbow Queen Mother *smiled* at me.   She freakin’ smiled at me.

I’m not kidding.  See for yourself…

Clearly, that is a smiling duck.

Clearly, that is a smiling duck.

I mean come ON — look at that smile all coy and shy-like.

Of course, you would probably smile too if I talked to you like I do to her.   At the time I was going on and on (and on) about how wonderful she is, how pretty, how sweet, and how she is such a good momma.  And then she gave me that “Aw shucks” expression you see there.

And then there are her golden yellow babies with their shiney new bills that also keep me preoccupied.

Frank & Myrrh adorable baby ducks

Frank & Myrrh – adorable baby ducks

My week hasn’t been all about ducks though.  When I haven’t been in the barn providing Queen Mother positive affirmation, I have been contemplating why there is a dead crawdad in the bird bath.

This is a crawdad

This is a crawdad

And pondering the comment elicited by dead crawdad: “Pair that with some corn and mashed potaters and that’s good eatin’!”

In other news,  I have been taking private yoga lessons from Moo-Moo this week. As soon as I stepped off the mat, she got on to demonstrate a perfect Salamba Bhujangasana (aka Sphinx Pose).

yogi pup

yogi pup showing me how it’s done

Golden yellow baby ducks are breaking out of P. Recious Rainbow Queen Mother’s eggs!

Baby Ducks!

Baby Ducks!

I’ve been carrying on about it like a complete lunatic  – calling people, sending pictures, dragging people out in the rain and trudging them through the mud to the barn.  You would think I had laid the eggs myself.  I can’t help it — they’re just wonderful.  Everytime a baby pops its head up to see what’s going on, P. Recious tucks it back beneath her.  She is being such a good Momma keeping her babies safe and warm.

The other ducks seem as excited about the babies as I am.   Just look at them in the manger scene below…they’re like the three wise men.  Except one of them is a girl.  And they’re ducks, of course.

P. Recious Rainbow & the Three Wise Ducks

Left to Right: P. Recious, Kiki, P. King, & Hiram

So anyways, that’s what’s going down on the farm tonight.  Just hanging out with ducks.

Meet Frankincense

Meet Frankincense

Here's Myrrh

Here’s Myrrh

P. Recious Rainbow is out of control.

Don't let that demure look fool you.

Don’t let that demure look fool you.

She has dethroned P. King and positioned herself as Queen Mother of the duck kingdom….

There are 18 eggs in this nest

There are 18 eggs in this nest

She is uh…really fertile?

I knew she had eggs under her feathers, but no idea that there were THAT many until I offered her some cracked corn. This was an obvious violation of duck protocol. In fact, she found the gesture so offensive that she hissed at me. Twice.  Then she jumped up and went running around quacking ferociously about it, which disturbed all the other ducks.  Ordinarily, everyone follows P. King around and lets him bully them, but P. Recious Rainbow Queen Mother was in such state about the cracked corn incident that all the rest of them — including P. King — went chasing after her. It almost seemed like they were trying to console her with the wheezy whistling ruckus they created around her crazed quacking.

It was even more dramatic than the commotion P. King makes when he is feeling frisky and doing his “Sexy Time” dance with his wings splayed out running around on his tippy toes chasing after the girls.

So, I left, as I do when things get out of hand in the duck community. As I was leaving, I looked back.  P. Rainbow was standing outside her nest eyeing her eggs carefully.  She looked like she was counting them.

Topic: My Failed Attempt to Warm Leftovers

Me: Well! How am I supposed to know how to work this gadget?

The Devil: It’s not a gadget; it’s the oven.


Topic: Buying cheese for the Devil

Me: Please get the kind of cheese he likes.  He wants the mozerella that comes in a wet, soggy ball. Whatever you keep buying offends him.

Indentured Servant (laughing):  I’ve been offending him my whole life with my food choices…offending him, and then laughing about it.


Topic: The Rape of Kiki by P. King

Me: …P. King was getting it on with Kiki in the pool.  P. King had her by the neck!

Skattur: So? What’s wrong with that?

Me: What’s wrong with that?! …it’s…it’s….horrible! They’re different kinds of ducks!  They should be mating with their partners! What if they have mutant babies?! What about poor Hiram? and P. Queen?!

Skattur:  They’re ducks! It’s not like they’re different species! What difference does it make?

Indentured Servant: Yeah! Who died and made you the Duck Pimp?

Double Rainbow! Oh My God! Oh My God! 

–Yosemitebear Mountain Giant

Color is joy. One does not think joy. One is carried by it.

— Ernst Haas


Yesterday’s drive to Mason, Tennessee featured squirrely roads and plowed up corn fields.  We arrived at Castlerocks Backyard Market just as a warm, light rain began to fall.  The farm was gorgeous — ducks and geese everywhere, fruit trees, and berry bushes.

A light mist followed the rain and a rainbow appeared.

Under this iridescent skyscape  the mistress of the market generously shared her time and knowledge.   Then we received our new girl for the coop.  We christened her P. Recious Rainbow.

That’s P. Recious Rainbow on the Left.

And this morning our girl left a gift.  The first egg.

And today, a second rainbow peeked out of the rain clouds.  A double rainbow, faint in this picture just above the brighter bow…

What an abundance of joy to be found in the simplest of things.

Dear Readers, may you never miss a rainbow because you were looking down.

I leave you with the voice of Yosemite Mountain Giant, the man knocked to his knees by rainbow rays…

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