Pet Passages

Most pets, since their life-span is much smaller than ours, are beings that pass through our lives. They come, they stay and enrich our lives for awhile, then they go — die, sold, given away, etc. We have had 2 such passages in the last few weeks.

The first, a sad passage, was our website-famous, dog-chasing cat, Murgatroyd, who so recently delighted our reader’s in Ted’s hilarious rendition of him chasing Ginny. Murgatroyd is often waiting on the drive (near a door) when someone comes home, in hopes of slipping in for another few bites of food, or just schmoozing around in the kitchen, usually in the rag barrel. He was always quick to hop out of the way of any vehicle, and go to wait by the door. This night, however, as Ted came back late from his parents’ house, for some reason, Murgle failed to move. Ted paused in his jeep, then proceeded to park, assuming Murgatroyd had gotten out of the way. He hadn’t. The small bump that Ted felt was him running over Murgatroyd and crushing him. Needless to say, Ted felt crushed, himself. I haven’t seen him that upset in awhile. Death produces stronger reactions in all of us now, I think, because we’ve experienced Andrew’s tragic death. It just resonates in a deeper way. Anyway, if I can figure out what setting to change so my pictures aren’t tiny, I’ll put in my favorite picture of Murgatroyd.Mergle

The second passage was actually a very positive one. Lydia decided she needed to sell her horse, Nino (That’s actually spelled n-i-enye-o, a spanish spelling pronounced neenyo), since she was leaving in June for SPEAC school and then college. The couple who bought him already have at least one Paso Fino horse. They are really horse people — I mean, the lady’s horse lies down and puts its head in her lap if she sits down to read outside! Nino had to pass the “kiss test” (submitting to having his head held and being kissed on the nose), and the “stand still test” (not walking off when she laid down and lounged around on top of his back). He will receive some much-needed training, get lots of attention, and best of all from his perspective, I think, have some horse buddies to stay with. (Nino ran around and whinnied plaintively for several days after Starbuck died.) Lydia spent a little time grooming Nino and having me take pictures of them before the new owners came to pick him up. They anticipated having a problem getting him to go into a horse trailer, so they brought another horse to help him feel comfortable. When he was led up to the trailer, he took one look and said to himself, “Horse? Food? All right!” Zoom, he went into the trailer!

O.K., down 2 pets, but stay tuned for another addition. On Thursday, Sarah is bringing a mixed lab puppy to Serena to be a companion for Ginny. We’ll have a report on that in an upcoming post.

Spring has sprung!

Spring has finally arrived here on Chenoweth Farm (even though it’s supposed to get down below freezing again toward the end of the week). Ted’s grandmother’s daffodils are putting on their annual show, and already getting into the late season blooms. The all-yellow, traditional daffodils are early in the season. As the daffodil season progresses, the white ones begin to bloom, along with those with white petals and contrasting color perianths — orange, salmon, and pink. Our very latest, which haven’t bloomed yet, are tiny white ones, with 3 – 4 blooms coming off each stem, and a fragrance that will almost knock your socks off! I have been told that Bommy had 250 varieties of daffodils in her garden in its heyday, all labeled! It was opened to the local garden clubs, and folks would come out and place orders for their favorites. Bommy did field trials for one, or some of the Dutch bulb growers, to record the performance of their varieties in this location. When we moved here in 1988, you could still see the ones planted in rows that she was testing, as well as her bulb shed where she dried bulbs at the end of the year. The shed has since fallen down, but the flowers still bloom in their rows. Those from her garden have naturalized. On a good year, there are thousands of blooms around the property! I will miss the show when we move to our own house. I suppose I could dig a selection to take with me, but it will be so much easier to order a naturalizing variety from a catalog and plant the bulbs. I’ll probably only pick a few varieties from here that are my favorite.

Another earmark of spring around here is our lawn, carpeted with spring beauties and violets. To a city dweller, I’m sure it must look wild and unkempt, but I am always loath to have the lawn mowed for the first time. The “white” lawn is such a great foil for the many redbud trees in prime bud around our yard. I’m attaching some pictures.

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Unusual perks of homeschooling in an historic house

Here’s something that didn’t make it into the newsletter, but should have. Last fall, for her history unit study, Serena studied ancient Greece. Being someone partial to cooking, she chose as her end-of-unit project a Greek feast, along with a written report on food and feasting in Ancient Greece. The food was very interesting: Pork cooked with celery, in egg and lemon sauce; fish with feta cheese, summer salad, baked apples and leeks, farmer’s bread, and baklava made from an ancient recipe that included a sweetener made from grape syrup and wood ashes!

But we haven’t yet gotten to the subject line of this post (look at it again). I have always seemed to be able to find, whatever subject we were studying, something lying around in this “museum” to enhance our study, act as a prop, or decorate for a dramatization. When we studied birds, it was Bommy’s copy of an Audubon book of color plates. For the Medieval feast, it was an awesome set of brass candelabras for our table. When we studied the times of Mohammed and the Muslim conquest, there was an English translation of Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat, which we were to read selections from to illustrate Arabic poetry. For early American history, we found arrowheads, Indian stone implements, and a musket. This list could go on and on! However, I was speaking about a certain Greek feast. Where else could you find ionic columns on the front porch, Grecian-style bronzes in the attic to decorate your table, and small ceramic bowls shaped like the Greek krater that we used for drinking bowls?

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Starbuck’s Passing

Yesterday a long-time occupant of Chenoweth Farm passed away. Several of us noticed that Starbuck seemed agitated that morning… by mid-afternoon, he had laid down and died. According to Mike Roberts, a long-time employee and partner, he had first been used to herd cattle here in the early 70’s, and was 36 years old when he died.

Starbuck is gone

May he rest in peace…

The Swiss invade Liechtenstein

No– seriously! Questions:

  1. Is this about one cheese attacking another?
  2. I know where Switzerland is (somewhere in Europe- the Alps have something to do with it), but Liechtenstein is- a beer? a disease? a punk band from Texas??
  3. What happened next?

The best part about this story is that everybody in Liechtenstein didn’t even know they had been invaded!  In today’s news landscape, with all the bickering over wars we all have an opinion on, this one has a refreshing “whatever” twist to it.

Blogging from Chenoweth Farm

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