Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Life is good. No, really.

So what's up?

Not one, not two, but three projects at work involve yours truly as the bottleneck. For our three biggest clients. All three projects are late. And the other guy in the office who shares duties with me is heading to India for a month, starting tomorrow.

E5 has gone into one of his "monster" phases. Coming up on his fourth birthday, he's already become a grand master at stubbornness, arguing, boundary testing, and finding loopholes in the rules. With the sun going down late and coming up early, he's not getting enough sleep, which makes him cranky. I hope we can move on from this phase again soon.

Amelia is on antibiotic #3 for a really nasty ear infection. She's feeling better at the moment. Hopefully it doesn't come back again.

The car's check engine light came on. Luckily it doesn't look to be serious, but we'll see. It does need some work though.

We overdrew our checking account. I'm still not sure how, even though all of our transactions are right there in front of me. For some reason it's like trying to find a leak in an inflatable mattress. You know the problem is there somewhere, but it's just not standing out.

The donkey still won't play nice with the goats. We tried him again with the boys, who are big enough to defend themselves now. Unfortunately, Jinx cornered them on the roof of their shelter every time they came out to graze.

We're out of hay, and there's none to be had anywhere this time of year. Our pastures are over-grazed, but our non-pasture areas are overgrown. I tried to set up a temporary electric fence to allow some additional grazing space, but it doesn't work. For the life of me, I can't figure out why.

The goats' milk tastes terrible. We can't figure that one out either.

Our pole barn still isn't done. It was slated for completion in early March. We have almost fully grown chickens pooping all over our garage, our driveway, and our front walk.

As expected, the tractor won't start after a winter of sitting idle. I did my best troubleshooting, but couldn't find the problem. So I called my neighbor down the road who's helped me out with it from time to time. He walked through some possibilities with me and found that I've got a couple bad spark plug wires.

His teenage daughter had a leg amputated earlier this year due to cancer, so I asked how she was doing. I won't soon forget the look in his eyes, as he told me that they buried her on Easter Sunday. The long pause he gave earlier, when I called and asked, "Did I catch you at a good time?" suddenly made sense.

She was an honors student, a leader in the marching band, and on the volleyball team. He showed us the tattoo he got in her honor, and a recent photo of her, when her hair was starting to grow back in after cancer treatments.

It's amazing how silly all our little problems suddenly seemed.



At 5/03/2007 8:37 AM, Blogger Mia said...

We can all use a good bite in the rear from Perspective now and then. I needed one too. Thank you. My thoughts will be with you and yours and with your neighbor and his family too.

At 5/03/2007 4:21 PM, Blogger barefoot gardener said...

Wow, wake up call for me, too. Thanks for sharing....

At 5/03/2007 7:46 PM, Blogger the Contrary Goddess said...

I would offer this about your donkey, although it is with trepidation.

Leave them together over time. Days at least. I have the impression from your posts that he chases them and you separate them, which may not be true, but it takes a LOT longer to integrate a herd. The only complication is the possible over grazed state of the pasture, but if there is enough for them to eat, they'll be fine.

You should have seen our lone goat and the lone draft horse when we got him. He scared her to death, just from his size, and he wanted a herd! Or how Betty Sue, a visiting draft, was chased away from the hay last spring. It is how they are, and donkeys more so. It is how they are supposed to be.

At 5/03/2007 8:24 PM, Blogger e4 said...

Mia & BG - Yeah, I try to realize how good our lives are, even when things aren't going well. The way we're living - learning everything as we go - we're bound to make mistakes, do stupid things, lose or break things - it comes with the territory. Every once in a while, I forget what's actually important.

CG - I appreciate the input.

We've tried a variety of approaches to this problem over the last year or so.

We've had the donkey in side-by-side shelters with the goats, with side-by-side feed and water, only cattle panels separating them. We flip-flop their pastures so they get used to each other's smells and such. They are always close to each other. We've had this arrangement for, well, as long as we've had the donkey, which is almost a year. He always wants to be near the goats.

There is one pasture segment that is not over-grazed. It's the farthest one from the house. That's the one we tried to integrate them in.

It's only when they are in the same pasture that he gets aggressive. And he is very aggressive with them. It doesn't seem like dominance behavior. It seems like an attack. I can't get inside his head to figure out why. And it's happened every time we've tried to put them together, regardless of other circumstances.

And the trouble is that because of the arrangement we have, the goats trust him. At first they come right up to him. Then he starts grabbing the back of their necks or kicking at their heads.

He's already injured one goat (broken foot) so I'm pretty leery of leaving them together for long periods.

Before we had him, he did great with horses and cattle. I know donkeys often have an instictual fear of canines. That's why we got him - to chase off coyotes. Maybe he sees the goats as dogs or something. I don't know.

At 5/04/2007 10:29 PM, Blogger the Contrary Goddess said...

All I can tell you is, they do that. I don't know how long you've left them, but I'd just leave them. Don't watch if it is too painful. They are aggressive. It is a pecking order, herd, thing. He can pick them up by the neck, carry them down the field and not hurt them, and they were made with horns so their heads can take a licking. (Even with dehorning, their skulls are still constructed the same)

Of course, he could be psychotic too and I'm not there to tell. My input is only from what I know of people anthropomorphizing animals, and animals that do get along, in their own way in their own time.

At 5/06/2007 3:46 AM, Blogger Madcap said...

Oh that sinking feeling, I know the one. It's amazing how a few words can shift the way we perceive the whole world in seconds.

Best of luck, all the same, with your many and varied.

At 5/06/2007 8:11 PM, Blogger e4 said...

CG - Ok, I will try to learn from your experience. Thanks.

Madcap - Yeah, you hit the nail on the head.


Post a Comment

<< Home