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Friday, January 30, 2015


            What a beautiful night! It’s still and dark, with a glow that lights up the surroundings.  A light snow is falling, and all is quiet and hushed.  Even my footsteps were muffled in the soft snow.  As I returned from the barn after feeding, I stood outside the door for a few long moments, drinking it in. Instead of taking off my coat and hat as I entered, I called to ZoĆ« and out we went again.  She was on an extendible lead; I could barely see her against the snowy driveway.  We walked about half way up the lane, pausing every now and then for her to sniff and explore and for me to drink in the stillness.  I imagined a white scratch board, just hints of outlines of trees and branches.  I haven’t done a scratchboard in years, haven’t thought of one for almost as long, but the scene cried for a deft hand.  Not mine, I think, but the image hung in the air. 

            Reluctantly I turned and we headed back to the farm; I can’t leave my mother alone too long, but the walk refreshed my soul.

A clean herd

I just received test results from WADDL (Washington Animal Diagnostic Lab).  All my herd are negative for  CL and Johnes, and those tested for CAE are also negative.. Beatrice and Leah have been CAE positive for years, but asymptomatic, so I didn't bother having them tested.

Since I run my herd together, l give everyone CAE nosodes--homeopathic immunization--which I buy from Ainsworth's, a homeopathic pharmacy in England, because they carry a higher potency than what is available in the U.S.  That makes for a more effective immunization program. 

Dr. Isaac Golden, an Australian homeopath, did his doctoral work on the efficacy of homeopathic immunization vs vaccination.  In all cases, homeopathy is just as effective as vaccination; in some cases, it's even more effective.  In the case of CAE, there are NO vaccines, but homeopathy can still protect my herd.  For those wanting more information, his website has a free course for parents.  Though Dr. Golden doesn't treat animals, the principles are the same as for humans.  I do love homeopathy!

I also use homeopathic nosodes to protect my dogs from kennel cough and other diseases, and have used nosodes to protect my horses from Rhinoneumonitis and West Nile Virus.  This is an alternative that I'm grateful for, that is proven, and that, unfortunately, conventional medicine has a field day bashing, because they don't understand how it works.  Frankly, I don't care how homeopathy works.  I'm just glad it does.

Monday, January 26, 2015

A View of the Sanctuary

A blizzard is slated to descend upon us tomorrow, but today dawned bright and clear.  The barn is old, built around 1780, and as it's built on a hill, a sizable area under the barn is a favorite loafing place for all the livestock that have ever lived here.  The area contains two outsize feeders that can be filled from the floor above, and emptied willy-nilly, much of it wasted (from my point of view), but always enjoyed.  There are also wonderfully large, flat stones that the goats love to climb and nap on

I suspect that they won't be venturing forth for a while, probably not until I break trail for them (horses were very good for that, but they're gone now), so it seemed like a good day to capture them in their sanctuary.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Too cold by far

It's been brutally cold this week, below zero several mornings and in the single digits during the day.  Even the warmer days have been below freezing, and the winds have been very cold.  The does have wanted to stay in, only peering out the door occasionally.

There are two large feeders under the barn, and the goats have been heading out that way most of the time, but this week they're content to hang out indoors, doing what goats do.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

More trees...

As I suspected, the goats love the new Christmas trees.  Ours went out to them on Saturday the 3rd in the morning, and another was delivered at dusk.  One more to go.  One of our neighbors still has a locally cut (at our farm, in fact) tree that they haven't taken down yet.  In the meantime, the goats are having a feast.
Hannah and Dolly munching on fir...

...while everyone else just watches.  They've already had a turn.

But you know, once one starts eating, they all get interested again.

It looks like the bark is of especial interest.

Goats are so fickle!  Now that there's a new tree, they just know it'll taste even better.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the goats...

And Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for the goats.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Goats' Christmas Tree

I tend to be a bit of a "bah humbug" person around this time of year.  I watch people spending money that they can't afford on gifts that may or may not be suitable or appreciated, and I decided a long time ago that it wasn't what I wanted to remember about the Christmas season.

My mother, though, loves many of the trappings of Christmas, and one of her favorites is a Christmas tree.  Since she's 93, it seemed a good idea to cater to her wishes and put up a tree.  They do fill the house with a glorious scent, and even I have to admit that a lit Christmas tree is a joy to behold.

However, I don't think we enjoy our trees nearly as much as the goats enjoyed theirs--albeit  in a very different fashion.  I know they'll like ours just as much.

Dolly and D'Arcy are the first to nibble

Beatrice and Leah have to assert themselves, of course.

Dolly wonders if she can get another bite.

The herd queen loves the tree!  And Dolly can only wait her turn.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The American Community Survey

Several weeks ago, my mother received an American Community Survey in the mail. I threw it away unopened.  I've seen them before, and the questions it asks are incredible--how many bathrooms, whether there's a flush toilet, a stove, a refrigerator, how many animals, how many people are in the household and their relationships to each other, what do you eat, sources of income, whether you have a business, how much you spend on various utilities, how many acres, education of residents, whether they need assistance walking or dressing (!), and the list goes on and on. Incredible, I said, but it should have been "incredibly invasive".

I got a phone call a few days ago from a government lackey to remind me to fill out the survey.  I refused, citing the Fourth Amendment and the lack of constitutional authority for the Census Bureau to even send out such a survey.  She said she'd note my answers and give them to her supervisor. 

Today I got a call from the supervisor, who proceeded to tell me how I was Required By Law, Title 13, to be exact, to answer the questions.  I explained that my mother is 92 and has dementia and would not be answering any questions.  She asked if I lived there, and I replied, "I stay here with her."   She then instructed me that I could answer the survey.  I declined, reiterating my previous replies, and she told me I HAD to answer the questions because "It's the Law".  Ah, yes. 

I patiently advised her that the Fourth Amendment had not been amended, that I had a right to be secure in my person and my effects, and that no law could abridge that right, and that includes secure from prying questions as well.

It's pretty sad that so many government "officials" have either never read the Constitution or have such a complete lack of understanding of what it says.  This woman tried to tell me that Congress had, yes, indeed, amended the Fourth Amendment, and it was all written down in Title 13.  I attempted again to explain to her that Congress cannot amend the Constitution with a law.  I advised her that I was quite familiar with the Constitution and that no amendment had been passed which abridged the Fourth Amendment. She wasn't having any of it, just became more belligerent. I was in the middle of making Tilsit cheese, so I finally said, "Ma'am, this conversation is over.  Goodbye,"  and got back to my cheesemaking.

It's troubling that so many people will blithely send in the ACS with all their private information, trusting the government, no doubt, to keep that information secure.  Tell that to the Japanese who were interred during World War II, or tell it to the Arab Americans who, even more recently have been targeted through the Census Bureau for use on terrorist lists for the airlines.

Sample surveys can be found here.  If you aren't offended by the nature of the questions, then you ought to be

Let me end with the Fourth Amendment: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." 

The Fourth Amendment has been under attack from many directions.  The ACS is one little talked about by the media, but is every bit as unconstitutional as any other.