Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thought For Thursday - Smith

"Sometimes the path you're on is not as important as the direction you're heading" 
- Kevin Smith

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thought For Thursday - Blake

To see a world in a grain of sand

And a heaven in a wildflower:

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

And eternity in an hour.

- William Blake

Monday, March 18, 2013

No More Surprises, Uh?

Lists are a great tool to use when there are so many things to remember, or to do. Marking an item off a list can be therapeutic as well, giving us a sense of control in our everyday lives. Take for instance my recent blog post of March 10th. I stated that I needed to add a lower line of electric fencing to the horse pasture so I could turn the boy goats out with Glory and allow the girls the run of the goat pasture. Now... I would say it was a good start to include that in my list of things to do; separate the boys from the girls, and life goes on. With no surprises. That's what I say.

Lesson number one: life is full of surprises. Lesson number two: girl goats allowed to run with boy goats will get pregnant no matter how fat they are. Lesson number three: check every day for multiplying species. Do you see where I'm going with this? Good.

Meet Patty. Born on March 17, 2013 and weighing in at 4.25 pounds.

Obviously, Pepper didn't need my help like Sadie did. Which is a good thing.

When I feed the animals in the morning I like to make a mental note of where everyone is in their pens. This particular morning I didn't see Pepper and figured she was in the goat hut. If I didn't see her by a certain time, I would investigate.

I was showing the caboose to a guest of Nestle Inn, and then we walked over to see Sadie and Sarah. From our vantage point at the fence I could see the goat hut. Imagine my surprise when I saw a newly born kid standing in the entrance with Pepper behind her. I kinda felt left out. What was she doing having a kid without me?

So, now I really have to tackle that list of mine. First, by adding wire to Glory's fence so I'll have no more surprises...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

What Weather?

  I awoke Saturday morning to at least 3" of snow on the ground. My first thought was "where'd that come from?". Well I know where it came from. What I meant is I didn't know it was supposed to snow.  I had been outside on Thursday thoroughly enjoying the sunshine and cleaning out the front part of the chicken house. The day was beautiful! And then Friday it had warmed up to the high thirties. In essence it seemed like spring had finally sprung, although, I haven't smelled spring yet. And when I mentioned to Mom that I didn't know it was supposed to snow she replied matter-of-factly, "You don't listen to the weather report".

Let me interject a bit of background here as to why you may be asking why I didn't know the weather forecast for Saturday. It's not that I don't have at my fingertips all the modern technology to find out the weather. I do. There is television, radio, and the internet. And all are working splendidly. Therefore, my lack of knowing what the next day may hold as to weather is my own fault. I don't watch the news and weather on tv. I rarely turn the radio on in the house or the car for that matter, unless I don't want to listen to my own thoughts. And I don't look at the weather on the internet unless there is a storm coming through and I want to know how large it is or how long it will last. In that case I look at the national map on NOAA.

After talking with Mom earlier in the morning I began to wonder how people determined the weather way back before technology ran our lives.  I found a bit of interesting information on the Wikipedia site which I have pasted below:

For millennia people have tried to forecast the weather. In 650 BC, the Babylonians predicted the weather from cloud patterns as well as astrology. In about 340 BC, Aristotle described weather patterns in Meteorologica. Later, Theophrastus compiled a book on weather forecasting, called the Book of Signs. Chinese weather prediction lore extends at least as far back as 300 BC, which was also around the same time ancient Indian astronomers developed weather-prediction methods. In 904 AD, Ibn Wahshiyya's Nabatean Agriculture discussed the weather forecasting of atmospheric changes and signs from the planetary astral alterations; signs of rain based on observation of the lunar phases; and weather forecasts based on the movement of winds.

Ancient weather forecasting methods usually relied on observed patterns of events, also termed pattern recognition. For example, it might be observed that if the sunset was particularly red, the following day often brought fair weather. This experience accumulated over the generations to produce weather lore. However, not all of these predictions prove reliable, and many of them have since been found not to stand up to rigorous statistical testing.

It was not until the invention of the electric telegraph in 1835 that the modern age of weather forecasting began. Before this time, it was not widely practicable to transport information about the current state of the weather any faster than a steam train (and the train also was a very new technology at that time). By the late 1840s, the telegraph allowed reports of weather conditions from a wide area to be received almost instantaneously, allowing forecasts to be made from knowledge of weather conditions further upwind.

Ezekiel Stone Wiggins, known as the "Ottawa Prophet", wrote the "Architecture of the Heavens"; and Wiggins' storm herald, with almanac, 1883 which were based on his astronomical calculations and theories that storms, unusual tides, earthquakes and cyclones were all caused by planetary attraction, and that both visible and invisible planets could shift the Earth’s centre of Gravity. He lost credibility after a great Hurricane and Tidal Wave on March 9, 1883 was not as terrible as Dr. Wiggins had predicted. Mark Twain's humorous essays about Wiggins' prophecies appeared in American and Canadian newspapers.

The two men most credited with the birth of forecasting as a science were Francis Beaufort (remembered chiefly for the Beaufort scale) and his protégé Robert Fitzroy (developer of the Fitzroy barometer). Both were influential men in British naval and governmental circles, and though ridiculed in the press at the time, their work gained scientific credence, was accepted by the Royal Navy, and formed the basis for all of today's weather forecasting knowledge. To convey information accurately, it became necessary to have a standard vocabulary describing clouds; this was achieved by means of a series of classifications and, in the 1890s, by pictorial cloud atlases.

Great progress was made in the science of meteorology during the 20th century. The possibility of numerical weather prediction was proposed by Lewis Fry Richardson in 1922, though computers did not exist to complete the vast number of calculations required to produce a forecast before the event had occurred. The first computerised weather forecast was performed by a team led by the mathematician John von Neumann; von Neumann publishing the paper Numerical Integration of the Barotropic Vorticity Equation in 1950. Practical use of numerical weather prediction began in 1955, spurred by the development of programmable electronic computers.

It seems that wanting to know what the weather has in store for us has been going on for centuries. So, why do I remain clueless weather-wise? I had to really think about this question. But, I've determined several things. Not knowing what the weather has in store adds a bit of mystery to life (as if life doesn't hold enough mystery), talking about the weather is truly interesting now, and not listening to the weather report forces me to look for other clues to what the weather will hold. For example, hearing the first spring songs of birds looking for nesting spots and a mate. Or noticing how the cats are getting restless. Or how Glory's coat sheds when I pet her.

Modern technology has its merits, but give me nature and all that entails, and I'm one happy camper.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thought For Thursday - Feather

"If you can't say no, you can't expect to live within your income"

- William Feather

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Country Bliss?

It's that time of year between winter and spring when standing water, mud and yuck abound. It's the time of year when I begin to make lists of everything I want to accomplish through the drier months.

One of the things on my list is noting where I need to fill in with topsoil and plant grass seed due to a new addition to the place. Another to-do is expanding the goat pasture so I have less grass to mow even though it's one of my favorite hobbies right up there with trimming trees. Seriously.

Every May (or spring), whichever comes first, I get a strong urge to build something. Give me some lumber, a hand saw, hammer and nails and I can keep myself occupied for hours. And if the job lasts longer than a couple hours then all the better.

I need to build more houses for the Blue birds and Swallows. When I mow the grass the Swallows are out there catching whatever bugs I stir up. And I can spot a Bluebird several hundred feet away just by the way it drops to the ground to pick up a bug, and then, quickly flies back up to a tree branch.

As the rain begins to lightly fall I make a mental note to fix the roofs this year on the butcher shed and green house. I'll use metal to replace the old rolled roofing, which I will use as a floor covering inside one of the other sheds.

I should have started the seedlings for the garden by now. And when the ground dries a bit I'll get out there and till the garden.

I'll need to add another bottom row of electric fence to Glory's pasture so I can turn the male goats in with her. And then I can let Sadie, Sarah and Pepper in the goat pasture. Don't need any more kids until next spring.

Can't forget the rabbits. A couple litters of bunnies will help to fill the freezer for next winter.

Let's see. I think that begins my list rather nicely. I just wish there were more than one of me. I could use the help. In the meantime, I'm gonna go take a nap...

Friday, March 1, 2013

How Far Can it Get Ya?

I am a firm believer in the power of doing, get it done, no better time than the present, and get your butt moving. But, on a rare occasion, it's difficult to get a task done when I lack the drive to make the first move.  I do find, however, that when I get enthused about a project time flies and the job gets done.

What does it take to get enthused? Find something good about whatever you need to do. Maybe it's a word or a color, you are doing it for someone else, or the fact it won't get done unless you do it. And then the next step is just that: step, move, get going. Your reward will be accomplishment, and that can take you far.
Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson