Saturday, July 28, 2007

I usually put mostly shiny, happy things on my blog, but Rowan and I had some uncomfortable moments at Davis' Farmland, and we agreed I shouldn't leave those pretty pictures there without talking about how we felt.

I'll preface this by saying that Rowan and I are not zoo people. Putting animals in cages or 'habitats' just doesn't sit right with us.

The very first animals we saw were kittens. They were laying on bottles of frozen water, looking quite uncomfortable. The next animal we saw was a rabbit. It was in an open area, and there was a brush available so that people could interact with the rabbit. Unfortunately, there was no farm worker watching to make sure it wasn't being mistreated. There was a group of children chasing the rabbit around with their hands - not maliciously, just not knowing any better. She was cornered and looked terrified. The kids' parents were outside the area at a picnic table, having lunch and paying no attention. I asked the kids to please give the rabbit some space because it looked very scared, and then Rowan and I just had to leave.

In the first goat pen we went to Rowan had lots of fun feeding a mama and her baby. A few minutes later she was thrilled to see that baby nursing. Davis' has a room set up for nursing mothers: "For your added privacy we have a nursing room located at Udder Rock." God forbid anyone should see a boobie. (That keep-it-out-of-view-it's-dirty attitude certainly didn't help me listen to my own instincts when I had my babies.) Anyway, Rowan asked why it's ok for the goats to nurse in public but not the humans. Good question.

That goat nursing was pretty much the last natural thing we saw on the farm.

It was incredibly hot the day we went and very few of the pens had any more than a tiny bit of shade. Many of the pens had these small white plastic dog-crate-shaped things for the animals to go into, but they had no air flow and when I stuck my hand into a couple it was hotter in there than outside. The animals were trying to lay in the small bit of shadow these cast, which was not enough to shade them.

At one point we heard a pig crying (sounds odd - I never knew pigs could cry - but they most certainly can). Ends up a farm worker was putting sunscreen on her and the pig didn't like it. We talked to the farm worker about why she was doing it and asked why they didn't give the pig any mud. Then we wandered around looking at the sheep and goats, the alpaca and some deer.

We stopped to sit down under a canopy (they set up shade for the humans, but not the animals) that ended up being next to a big fake cow with big fake udders that squirted water. Taye was happy to hang out there, so Rowan and I went for a walk to get some freeze-pops and drinks and then we had a nice sit-down with Amy and the baby cousins.

Next thing we knew, they were putting a goat in the pen next to us up on a little platform and securing her head so they could let kids milk her. So kids lined up and grabbed hold of her in various uncomfortable-looking ways. The whole thing really bothered Rowan and she wanted to know, "What do they do with her milk?" I found someone to ask and was told that they used to bottle feed it to her babies, but now that the babies are grown they just throw it away. I could feel Rowan's discomfort with the place get a little deeper.

While sittting, we had seen some tiny baby goats across the way. We decided that would be our next stop. As we walked in we heard the most pitiful crying coming from just outside the pen. There was one very little goat, separated from the others by a fence, all by herself on some grass. We overheard a worker telling someone else that they separate the babies from their moms for two hours a day so they can get used to being around people without their moms. "Sounds like school," I said. When I went over and petted the baby she mostly stopped crying, so it was pretty hard for me to leave her knowing she was going to be alone for, we were told, another hour. Rowan's hurt was coming off her in waves. If we had known where the baby's mama was I would have scooped her up and put her back where she belonged.

That was pretty much it for both me and Rowan. It just didn't feel like a very happy place to be. We thought we'd check out the water park with Amy, Taye, and Darius, though, so we walked over. Rowan couldn't get in the spirit of it, so we ended up leaving, and on our walk back to the parking lot we passed a worker who was bringing the baby goat back to her mama, who was making such heartbroken noises I don't think I'll ever forget them.

Friday, July 27, 2007

We got to borrow Jessica for a couple of days this week. We had plans to go visit Jon's mom on the Cape, so off we went to the beach, only to find out that JESSICA HAS NEVER BEEN TO THE BEACH! This is pretty much unfathomable to me, and I have made it my mission to take this child to as many beaches as she can stand for the rest of the summer.

We lucked into one of the most perfect beach days ever. Perfect weather, perfect water, lots of fun. I remembered that this particular beach was a pretty good shell picking beach, but I had never seen anything like the deep line of shells stretching down the beach that day.

Rowan says it's the mermaids who put the shells on the beach. She should know. I hear she's got a bit of mermaid blood herself.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A post about Lucy, at Rowan's request.

Rowan's not a Barbie kind of girl. She's not a Bratz kind of girl either, although she'll be happy to play Bratz with certain friends who LOVE them. (emphasis from Rowan)

Rowan searched for a doll that didn't look like a teenager, or a rock star, or a fashionista, or a diva. A doll who looked like a kid - like her. Luckily, she found Lucy.

After spending a lot of time with Lucy, we've realized that she's not a doll at all. Rowan, who knew that all along, says, "Lucy is an individual and shall be treated as such."

Lucy likes to sit in the living room when we're downstairs. She tries to remember to go to bed at 10:00, but sometimes she's just having too much fun to think of it. She likes to go to the drive-in and she likes to play and go on the computer with Rowan.

Personally, I love Lucy's hair. She lets me comb it sometimes, but braids are not allowed. Lucy says they're too tight. Sounds like someone else I know who tells me her hair can't breathe when I braid it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Daddy in a wetsuit becomes Super Jon, courtesy of Rowan.

Music and Life - Alan Watts

Are you singing and dancing today?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

It has been brought to my attention that certain puppies have been woefully under-represented on my blog. My apologies to said puppies.

Meet Godiva. Godiva is 9 years old. He wants nothing more than to be scratched on the back and assured of your never-ending love. He is terribly afraid of thunder, balloons, Swiffer sweepers, and bubble wrap.

Currently, he's missing the little old lady who's been in charge of him for his whole life, and trying to figure out his place in this new situation.

And here's Petunia. Petunia's 7 years old. When she was a puppy Dagny carried her so much that Jon's step-mom was sure Petunia would not learn to walk properly. Petunia proved her wrong, learning not only how to walk, but how to open drawers, peanut butter jars, and prescription bottles. Behind this sweet face lurks the mind of a master criminal.

She seems recently to have given up her life of crime, and now spends her time searching for the perfect belly rub.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It's rainy and gloomy and dark. But the raindrops hitting the water in the pool are pretty. And we've brought lots of prettiness inside.

Anyone else have a maple tree on their counter?

Giggles courtesy of xkcd - A Webcomic of Romance, Sarcasm, Math, and Language.

There's a bonus if you go to the site and put your mouse over the comic.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It's not worth slogging through this horribly written article, but the first paragraph says a mouthful.

"Children look forward to the free time and warm days that summertime brings, but the outdoor season can also bring brain drain, with students losing up to 60 percent of what they've learned during the school year. "
Uncle Drew's the go-kart guy. He'll help you build it just the way you want it, and then he'll help you get it up the hill eleventy-bazillion times.

Our go-kart course is a carefully chosen hill-with-a-curve-to-the-left in the old cemetery near the Dorsey's house.

In our experience, go-kart night's over when either the go-kart or a cousin gets too hurt to continue. This year Declan and Rowan suffered wipe-outs when we decided to try out a new hill, and Rowan's cuts - "they're wounds, call them wounds!" - brought the evening to an end. We prefer a spectacular crash up of the kart rather than the kids. Bad luck.

Maybe it had something to do with this guy?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Chain link fence is way up there on the list of things I don't want to look at.

I can ignore most of the things I don't like about my house. But this, this is just plain ugly.

Jon and I both finally reached the point where we couldn't take it for one more minute. After a (relatively) quick trip to Lowe's we ended up with a driveway full of supplies and, apparently, an opportunity to use every single muscle in our bodies.

Dagny, who took these pictures to document what had better be an amazing before/after transformation, did, of course, manage to find some flowers nearby to photograph.