Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bunny Ears

With impending Easter festivities looming in the not-so-distant future, we here at MisFit Farm have been working on our technique for consuming the forthcoming and inevitable carob bunnies.

On the first day, we leave the prized rabbit alone as we indulge in the consumption of delights more fungible.

Across the next couple of days, we allow bunny to remain intact and free to move about the trailer.

Unable to allow this untenable intact bunny situation to continue forever, a deep, instinctual impulse overcomes Azure.

Why is it always the ears?

Friday, February 22, 2008

There Were Rules II

As in a previous post, note the use of the past-tense. There were rules.

Before we made and broke the rule about “no more than two dogs,” and “no dogs sleeping in the bed,” we had a rule about the acquisition of “exotic” animals, or at least the acquisition of animals that had not been previously owned by members of our immediate family. The rule was that, before we could acquire said animals, we had to first get a book about the breed/species AND read it. Consistent with the rule’s intended purpose and contrary to popular belief, because of the rule, there are species of animals for which we own the book but not the creatures.

The rule was broken with the acquisition of Bill, the horse. To date, we have not been able to even locate a book that would begin to provide the range of information we need about owning and caring for a miniature horse.

Aside from the obvious reference value in having a book about the animal type on hand under the book rule, the reading process gives us opportunities to engage in a robust dialogue about arrangements, idiosyncracies and preferences in advance of the animal’s arrival here at MisFit Farm. Agreements are made about important things like: what types of behavior we wish to discourage; what methods will be used to discourage and/or reinforce behaviors; and, how we will respond and react to unusual situations. Through this process, we are often spurred on to seek out additional information and resources, giving us a good foundation for parsing out the good from the bad information obtained from other sources, such as the Internet.

That the book rule had been broken was made abundantly clear to me one balmy evening last week.

Bill the horse is a fun little fellow. We play with his jolly ball. We go for walks. We chase in the pasture. We were engaging in a combination of these types of play activities after I got home from work. As it was beginning to get dark, I turned my attentions to the chores at hand and headed out of the pasture and up to the barn. Crossing the pasture, unsuspectingly enjoying the fresh evening air, I distinctly felt a touch on my shoulder blades. I turned around just in time to observe Bill reared up in what looked to be the process of removing his hooves that had, moments earlier, ostensibly been placed lightly, yet insistently on my back.

The best way I could explain what had happened to K in retelling the story is that it looked like Bill wanted me to give him a piggyback ride. Thankfully, he wasn’t too insistent on it, and was not dejected when rebuffed. If I didn't know better, I would swear he was actually laughing at my indignation.

Having entertained various explanations for his behavior, the one thing I feel I can conclusively and unequivocally determine is that there is not a book in the world that will provide me with a satisfactory answer for just what in the world happened in the pasture that evening. Nor do I probably really want to know. I am not that type of girl.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

K's Baby

Here is a synopsis of the conversation that took place the day I brought Azure here to MisFit Farm (keep in mind that I had been dispatched to take care of the “Azure” problem):

K: So, how did it go? How are you doing?

A: Uh, well, uh. Not exactly as planned.

K: Oh?

Pregnant pause.

A: Well. She didn’t eat any of the others.

K: She – who? Eat – who?

More silence.

A: Azure. Mercy. Trinity. Coffee. Skeeter.

K: Azure is there?!?!? At the trailer?!?!?

A: Uh.

K: Azure is there?!?!? At the trailer?!?!?

A: Well.

K: Azure is there?!?!? At the trailer?!?!?

A: Uh.

K: Azure is there?!?!? At the trailer?!?!?

Silence again.

A: So, you’re almost home?

K: Oh. My. God. When I get home, will I find Azure there?

A: Uh, yes?

K: What happened?

A: Nothing. I took her and Trinity to Kevin’s to do introductions and everything was fine. So I brought her home.

K: You brought her home? To the trailer? Azure? To stay?

A: Well, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I guess. She’s doing fine. Everyone is fine. This will be fine. Everything will be fine.

So here she is at the trailer. Azure. Still. And everything is fine.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Snow Days & Dogs

It has been a long time since I have seen a winter produce so much white stuff. I shoveled the front porch and stairs to the trailer last night just after midnight and by 5 a.m., I had to force the front door open against the newly fallen snow. As the snow continues to fall and accumulation ranges from 6 – 12 inches (with drifting), schools are closed, appointments have been cancelled, and traffic has been brought to a trickle. A snow day has been officially declared for Northeast Kansas.

Work, productivity and house-building are negatively affected by the white stuff, but the dogs seem to derive a sick pleasure from it.
I was recently reminded of the song, Solsbury Hill, when it was casually mentioned in a book I just finished reading. Popular lore has it that the song is about Peter Gabriel’s choice to leave the band, Genesis, but I like to think the song is about the more mundane, day-to-day choices we make: enslave ourselves to the “machine” or find meaning in our work; embroil ourselves in the pursuit of more material possessions or be contented with the blessings of gifts bestowed; emphasize that which we are “not” or embrace the things we “are.”

In Mercy’s case, the choice is to go skipping, leaping, and bounding through life.

As for the other inhabitants of MisFit Farm, in accordance with the “new trick” command we have taught our old dogs since Mercy’s arrival, “Get out of the way!”

Monday, February 04, 2008


Lest we be accused of being uncivilized, it is worth noting that, in addition to our newly annointed "house beer," MisFit Farm also boasts a “house wine.”

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Country Is. . .

As much as friends and family are able to keep abreast of events at MisFit Farms through these blogs, we recognize the limitations inherent in the process. We are sometimes chastized, "We hear a lot about the dogs, but how are the goats doing?" It seems that the majority of posts reference the dogs, who provide us with more than ample fodder for entertainment. The goats and Bill, the horse, admittedly receive lower billing.

On the other hand, the goats do concentrate most of their energies on the consumption of food and the production of manure. How much can a person write about these two activities without one or the other becoming the kind of fetish that demands professional intervention?

In order to appease the goats so they do not invoke the "fairness doctrine," we put together a little footage of them doing what they do best: eating and producing manure. The choice to use a Tom T. Hall song to accompany the footage seemed like a no-brainer.

I spent a large amount of my childhood at my grandparents' dairy farm. Tom T. Hall is an inextricable character in the time spent with my grandparents, where their milking barn always smelled of a bleach-water, cigarette and ivory soap combination, and where 61 Country played on a small radio 24 hours a day. When my grandmother died, I was in high school. As she headed out to finalize the distribution of my granparents' possessions with her siblings, my mother asked if there was anything of my grandmother's that I particularly wanted. I could think of only one thing: her Tom T. Hall album.

When I told K of my intention to use a Tom T. Hall song for the blog, she giggled and asked, "Will you be using your favorite Tom T. Hall song?"

While I did not use this Tom T. Hall song for this blog, it is worth noting that I like beer. I like goats. While at the liquor store yesterday, I found a magical convergence of both:
. . . and the official "house beer" for MisFit Farm has been found.

Friday, February 01, 2008


I have worked a myriad of jobs in my life. Through the course of my sorted, sordid employment experiences, I have been introduced to numerous important lessons and linguistics. I have learned everything from how to skin a fish to how to administer shots. For example, the first time I recall having encountered the phrase “elopement risk,” was in a brief stint at a community adult day care program, where I also coincidentally learned to two-step and shoot pool.

I was re-acquainted with the phrase when I went to work for an organization that runs group homes for people with cognitive impairments, known here in Kansas as Intermediate Care Facilities for the Mentally Retarded. In both locations, as the addition of the term “risk” would seem to indicate, elopement was seen as a bad thing. Heretofore, I had always thought of “elopement” as an exciting, romantic term, one which conjured up images of a love that could not be denied, the exhilaration of the open road, and the freedom of unencumbered travel.

Perhaps it is my age. Perhaps it is an overweening and misdirected maternal instinct. Perhaps it is the lull of a careful, measured life. Whatever the reason, I have come to embrace the phrase “elopement risk” as exactly the type of situation that demands immediate attention and intervention.

In less anxious times, I would romanticize Trinity and Emmett’s elopement risk as another manifestation of their deep and multi-faceted love and mutual adoration. Really, how could I blame them? I have spent the better part of my life as an elopement risk when I was not busy self-fulfilling my prophecy of elopement reality.

Beyond the fear and anxiety experienced by the bi-pedaled non-elopers as we envision scenarios involving our two, sweet lovebirds in a close encounter with trains, automobiles or other undesirables, I have to confess to a low level of longing. I wish I could be there to see them dipping under barbed wire fences, splashing across creeks, zig-zagging from tree to tree with their noses to the ground, and chasing each other through open fields.

These days, the elopement risk amounts to another point of desperation in what we hope are the waning days of our life in a trailer. The house has been designed with a designated dog room overlooking a dog yard that will be measured in square acreage, not footage. As with everything else, far from the wild abandon of elopement, the dog yard has been carefully designed and thought through so they will have at least the illusion of freedom and a variety of topographies while they remain safely restrained.