Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How to Say Dog in French.

A conversation between Isaac and his Bobo (grandmother):

Isaac (in all seriousness): Bobo, I know how to say dog in French. Do you want to hear it?

Bobo: Sure. How do you say dog in French?

Isaac: Poodle!

(Bobo then laughs so hard she could wet herself.)

Isaac: What!? That is how you say dog in French! I know it.

Bobo (through fits of laughter): Ok, ok ... Well, tell your Mom you know how to say dog in German now.

Isaac: But how do you say dog in German?

Bobo: Shepherd! (continuous fits of laughter followed by a phone call to me to recite the conversation).

Man, I love this age. Actually, I love EVERY age of childhood. Keep the laughter coming Isaac. You rock.

Jodi (Mama)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Learning to Milk my Goats ... via web videos.

* Milking a goat without any stands, stools or other equipment:

More likely the way we are going to do it:

Someone else learning too:

Any other suggestions from my fellow goat farmers?


Friday, April 23, 2010

April 14th.

21 years ago now. My first date with Halis was April 14th, 1989. We went on a double-date to an arcade. I went on a dare. I couldn't stand Halis. But that night, he kissed me goodnight ... and I felt something ... I felt connected. And here we are ... all these years later ... and I still feel that inexplicable connection. And my heart still skips a few beats sometimes when I look at him.

Incidently, April 14th is also the date that Halis left for Haiti ... 4 years ago now ... to retrieve our son and to bring him home for good. In a way ... April 14th is the day that our family was created ... both in 1989 and in 2006. I love that day :)

Thank you for that goodnight kiss in the backseat of your VW rabbit, Halis. It was the beginning of the rest of my life. I love you.



Sunday, April 18, 2010

You. The Goat.

You is such a little sweetie. Yes, her name is You. Aren't we ridiculous? Since we have a goat named "Me", it seemed all too right to name one "You" ... so I could call them into the barn by yelling, "Hey You, Me & Emily!"

Sadly, we did have another little sweetie named "Mini-Me" that we purchased at the same time ... but she passed away in my arms only 30 hours after I brought her home. After a midnight visit from our local farm vet, we discovered that she was suffering from Shipping Fever and the Scours. The vet did his best ... but she passed away just hours after he left. Isaac and I cuddled her before she passed ... and we tried to heal her with love ... but she left ... and Isaac took it very well. Better than I.

Anyway ... now little Miss You is a spoiled goat. Because she is missing a fellow kid to grow-up with (the older goats don't count, as they are not liking her quite yet) ... we have allowed her the occassional run of our house ... and some bed snuggles. She is fond of all of us ... and is just an all around sweetie. She wags her tail quite a bit and enjoys a good romp outside.

The farm we bought both kids from is going to replace the goat we lost sometime next week. So You will have a new friend soon. But until then, we are enjoying her company as she follows us around the house. Hopefully soon the older goats will take to her too.

As the old-time Maine famers say, "Ain't she cunning?"


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

PRESS RELEASE: 2010 Pet Portrait Contest to Benefit the Bangor Humane Society

Studio 36
128 Hammond Street
Bangor, ME 04401
Phone (207) 385-3940

Press Release
Contact: Jodi Renshaw
Phone: (207) 385-3940

April 13, 2010

2010 Pet Portrait contest to benefit the Bangor Humane Society.

Bangor, ME, April 14, 2010: Studio 36, a photography studio of downtown Bangor, is pleased to announce their first annual Pet Portrait Contest to benefit the Bangor Humane Society. All pets are welcome to participate – from cats to iguanas to horses.

To enter the contest, pet owners need to make an appointment to have their pet photographed by Studio 36. They will be asked to give a donation to the Bangor Humane Society of any amount greater than $5. The pet owner may then choose which picture from their pet portrait session that they would like to enter in to the contest. All portrait sessions must take place before Monday, May 17th. Please call 385-3940 to make an appointment.

The winners will be chosen by public voting. All pet photos will be on display throughout Studio 36 - at 128 Hammond Street - for public viewing beginning Monday, May 24th. The Studio will be open to voters each evening from 5-7pm beginning Monday May 24th through Friday May 28th. Winner will be announced on Sunday, May 30th. Each vote will cost the voter a .25 cent donation to the Bangor Humane Society. The pet photo with the most votes wins.

First prize will include a portrait package from Studio 36 (to be used for people or pets) valued at $150. The winning pet’s picture will also be featured in the Bangor Daily News.

Second prize is a $75 Gift Card to Pet Quarters, 744 Stillwater Avenue in Bangor. Third prize is an original art work portrait of your pet by D. Marie of Brewer, ME.

Pet owners are also able to purchase copies of their session photos from Studio 36, with a portion of the sales also going to the Bangor Humane Society. Thanks to all who choose to participate. / 207-385-3940

Picture attached:
Cat & Dog Photo: “Two area pet participants in the 2010 Pet Portrait Contest to benefit the Bangor Humane Society”.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Pet for Meg.

For those who do not know, our sweet Meaghan has moved in with us permanently. We are overjoyed by this, but sad at what Meaghan has had to go through to get to this point. With the exception of 1 day, she has now been with us for over a week ... and we are all adjusting to our new way of life.

As a young girl and teen, I always had a pet that I could turn to in times of need. A pet I could cuddle, cry on, go home to, take care of, etc. I - and other Moms I have spoke to - believe that this is such an important thing for teenage girls ... especially those who have experienced trauma. So, I have made it my mission to help Meg to find the perfect pet for her.

We have spent the last couple of afternoons checking out the Bangor Humane Society, local pet shops, and our Blue Seal ... as well as comb through the Uncle Henry's Guide. She was leaning toward a cat ... and then a Guinea Pig, but has now settled on a Holland Lop bunny.

Aren't they so darn cute !!?? And they actually STAY this cute. I think I am falling in love with this idea. Imagine the photo shoots I could get out of a sweet bunny :)

Halis told Meaghan that she has one month to prove to him that she can care for a bunny in her room ... by making sure that her room is clean and that she keeps up with all of her personal responsibilities. I am SO rooting for her ... as I would love to see her add a cuddly bunny to her life. I think it will be so good for her to have something ALL HERS that she can love and care for.

So --- come on Meg --- you can do it! I so want to see you and your new bunny snuggling together --- and to sneak my own cuddle time in now and again :)

Soon Meg and I may be as bunny crazed as these two:

I can even imagine seeing this sort of thing going on in our house:

Then Maybe Meg and I could make ridiculously stupid videos such as these:


I so look forward to this :)


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Poor Truck.

Poor Truck. Halis and Meaghan were at the Hampden Rifle Club ... installing some plumbing after shooting off a few rounds ... when all of a sudden, Meaghan spotted that the truck was aflame. They called the authorities ... but their was no rescuing the truck. Thank God they weren't in it when the fire started! All is well that ends well. No one was hurt. Halis will surely get a new truck ... so life will continue as before.

Just another example for Isaac (and for us) of how important the fire department is to our communities. They helped save the building ... and they cleaned up the gas and oil spoils so the local stream would not be contaminated.

Thank you Hampden Police and Firefighters.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Getting Serious About the Farm.

Moving to the "city" has been wonderful! I am only sorry that I didn't move to Bangor sooner. I love the parks, the pools, the restaurants, the museums, the people, the shopping, the fact that I am within a 10 mile radius of anything I need or want (including an amazing hospital - something we sorely lacked in the "country"). But perhaps the reason I enjoy the city so much is because - on our 16 acres - we are still able to enjoy a country life as well. We have 16 chickens, 2 Nubian does, 2 Australian Shepherds, a pond, lots of land ... and plenty of ambition.

We have lived here for 2 years this May ... we have thoroughly enjoyed the fruits of living in the city (including opening my own photography studio in downtown) ... and now we think it is about time to get serious about the farm. So, we are making plans, making lists, and dreaming of what can be. And here is a small sampling of our "to-do" list ...

* Create a kick-ass veggie garden.

We just had some rich loam delivered. Halis is currently digging up some good soil in the backyard for our vegetable garden. We have dabbled in gardening before, but never on the scale we are about to try.

We participated in a CSA last year (Community Supported Agriculture) and thus received a weekly share of yummy veggies throughout the summer. It cost us $400 for the season ... and we highly recommend it to all our local friends (see here). But because we have the resources to create our own garden ... and likely at the same price or less ... we are going to give it a shot. We also live on a very busy road and thus it would be quite easy for us to sell some extra produce to recoup our expenses (bonus!).
Our plans are for sowing the veggies that we love best: tomatoes, red peppers, squash, cucumbers, lettuces, and cantaloupe (a fruit). We are set on only sowing non-hybrid seeds so that we can re-sow the seeds from our produce year after year. For more info on why this is important, read this.

We have recently found moose tracks up and down our driveway ... so keeping the wildlife away may become a challenge ... but we at least plan to keep the chickens closed in for part of the summer (this is unusual for us) so that our garden has a chance to grow. Which leads me to the next plan ...

* Maximize our egg production

We currently have 16 hens and a one-eyed rooster. 8 of our girls were chicks last summer and thus are laying almost daily now. The other half of our girls are fairly old and are laying when they can. Unlike many others, I don't cull the hens when their production wanes ... so our feed vs. output ratio will not be economical ... but I am okay with that. I have found, after 5+ years of keeping chickens, that their life spans are shorter than I had previously expected (about 4-5 years), so keeping them that long is my way of saying "thanks" for jobs well done.

We are currently yielding about 3/4 dozen eggs a day. We consume about 1/2 dozen a week. So, we have plenty of leftovers. Because we live on the aforementioned busy road ... I know we can begin to sell these eggs as well. Yet, we don't have enough overage to sell to the public in any kind of meaningful way. The offerings would likely be too sporadic. So, in order to up the overage a bit, we are going to add a few more hens. We have placed an order through our local Blue Seal feed store for the following: Buff Orpingtons, Black-Sex Links, Red-Sex Links and Ameraucanas. We are adding 6 more to the flock ... so next year our yield will be about a dozen and a half a day. We may add even more.

I have found that the hens are laying eggs in places other than their nesting boxes ... and by the time I find them ... they are too old for consumption. Which leads to another project ... closing in their coop with a larger run so that they may have more comfortable outdoor accommodations without letting them destroy the garden or allowing them to lay their eggs where I can't find them. We have extra fencing, so we will use it to give them a bit of a "backyard" ... and then close them in till further notice. (Sorry girls!)

* Grow the Goat Herd

Well, two goats is not exactly a "herd"... but we are looking to change that. Our original intent in raising Nubian goats was to raise them for their milk. We got our two does last year and bottle fed them to adulthood. They are now more like pets than working livestock. But, as we believe everyone on this farm needs to earn their keep (all except for Isaac that is), it is time for these girls to give us some kids and some milk.

The problem is ... do we buy a buck and keep him? Bucks are known to be stinky, mean, and hard to handle unless they are wethered. So, deciding to keep a buck is not easy. Some alternatives to keeping a herd sire is to rent a buck to impregnate your does (can be expensive), purchase sperm to inject (no thanks), or drive your does to a stud buck (requiring a horse trailer - which I do not yet own). So, I am leaning toward keeping an ornery buck ... and studding him out myself in order to recoup my expenses. I have been shopping for bucks on Uncle Henry's and throughout the internet. I have an appointment to check some out this weekend and am so looking forward to it.

Now we need to expand yet another livestock building. And so, while we are at it, I am thinking of getting more bang for my buck (pun totally intended!) and may purchase some more does for Mr. Buck to impregnate. More does = more kids & more milk.

* Stock the Pond

We have a pond in the front yard that contains some fish. What kind of fish? No idea. But, I recently found out that we could apply for a permit to stock the pond with native Maine species. I am not sure whether we will get permission or not, but for a $10 application fee, I am willing to give it a shot. Why stock the pond? Well, so we can fish for our own food, silly! Fresh fish = yum.

* Pimp the Dog Out

Jack is a stud. Truly. I mean, look at those eyes. He is a lady's man. And it is time he earns his keep. He fathered a gorgeous litter two years ago ... and we kept one of his "sons" as a pet. And although Jack is wonderful pet (Isaac's fave), he is also a working dog ... a purebred Aussie capable of producing gorgeous offspring with the instincts to work livestock. And I am sure he wouldn't mind seeing a little action with a lovely lady.

Here is his personal ad. Interested?

* Add Some Sheep

Okay, so this is a big step. And I am not quite settled on it (nor have I seriously discussed it with Halis ... oops). But we have plenty of land for grazing and plenty of need for it to be grazed. And heck, good wool is in very high demand. However, I know NOTHING about sheep. I have been too busy studying goats over the past year. So, I am checking out sites such as this, this, and this.

Any advice?

* ETC.

Oh there are so many other wonderful things that we want to try. Halis is becoming very interested in creating an apple orchard on the acreage in Lagrange that he shares with his brother. He is trying to grow them on his own ... which may require that we build a greenhouse (hooray!).

I, as may be obvious at this point, want to build a small produce stand at the end of the driveway in order to sell our leftover wares ... as well as some of Isaac's pumpkins (a future post).

And I am sure that I could come up with loads of other projects for us to get into over our heads (just ask my husband :)

Meanwhile, our day jobs keep us busy ... and we are looking forward to our May vacation so that we can spend the bulk of it working on getting serious about the farm.




Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Easter!

Nikon D300: $1,500.00

Nikon 50mm Lens: $130.00

Box of Little Chicks: $2.99


Time Spent Photographing My "Peeps" Photographing One Another: PRICELESS.

We hope you enjoy your peeps too! Happy Easter. And Happy Spring.


Jodi, Halis & Isaac