Saturday, October 29, 2011


This is a story about one of our cats, Orange Mamalady. She is one of the feral females that adopted us when she had kittens. She is a small cat and very feisty with the other cats and an excellent hunter. She is also our "guest cat." Everyone wants to take her home because she is so sweet and affectionate with people. Especially those who are allergic to cats. One morning, about a year ago before anyone else was awake, I got out of the shower, put on my robe and got a cup of coffee. I sat down on the sofa to watch the morning news. I am a guy who likes to relax, so I am sitting there with my cup in hand kind of sprawled across the sofa in nothing but my robe. Out of the corner of my eye I see the little orange cat walking toward me and I assume she is going to jump up on me make herself comfortable and purr herself to sleep as per usual.  What happened next was rather surprising. She apparently saw a one-eyed mouse and proceeded to take a quick swat at it. She was right on the money and I jumped up yelling something, grabbing a napkin and applying direct pressure to the offended appendage which was bleeding profusely. No serious damage was done, but to this day I always put on underwear beneath my robe.

 So, I have to go to the big city tomorrow for some surgery on Monday morning. I should be back on Tuesday, but will have a catheter for a while. I am concerned that there may be tempting things for curious cats to examine and this is why I told this story. I just have to think like a cat to prevent any disaster.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I was going to try and stay away from politics and religion (or lack thereof) in these rantings, but I heard a great turn of a phrase this morning that I had to share. James Carville was going on the way he does in his usual smiley-faced way and giving his slant on the Republican presidential candidate wannabees. When asked about Mitt Romney and his flip flop on so many things, he immediately referred to him as a "serial windsock." His timing and delivery were in top form and coffee came out of my nose I was laughing so hard. Granted, Good Morning America is not much of a news show anymore, but it comes on after the local news when I am out feeding horses so I forget to turn it off. Once in a while something truly wonderful happens in the news to make a memorable morning moment (nice alliteration, huh?). Carville did it today. 

Here is an official picture of Akureyri, Iceland, south of where my grandfather was born. It is about 40 miles south of the Arctic Circle and has been getting dusted with snow a few times in the past week or so. I have only been there once, but hope to go again in late spring. It is a wonderfully hidden gem in the middle of the North Atlantic.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Trail cam

The missus bought a trail camera a couple of weeks ago. Mostly we get various deer and the occasional fox. Nearly everywhere we have put it around the farm we get more or less the same results. No moose, coyote, bear, or wolf, but the occasional red squirrel will pose for a shot. The soon to be falling snow will give me a better idea of the more heavily used game trails and general critter hangouts. I definitely need to do some picture taking. Many of the good ones are in my wife's computer. How did that happen?

Just for fun I will post this picture of a beautiful witch in Norway. I know she was trying to lure me to me demise in the thundering waterfall beside her. If my brother hadn't held me back I don't know what would have happened!
I can almost hear her haunting call over the cascading water. Pretty scary stuff for a naive tourist!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


We have cats. That's the plural of cat. That means more than one. Two you might think. No, actually its twelve. We are not hoarders. No, really we are not. We started out with just a couple and then tried to tame down a feral cat hanging around the farm. After a few weeks of leaving food out for it, it finally allowed me to touch it with my finger tip on its nose. Our friendship bloomed and as it started staying closer to us it decided to show us her newborn litter of four. Their eyes were still closed, but she trusted us and so did they. We started bringing them in the house at night as winter was approaching with its usual fury. As soon as weaning time came we made the necessary veterinary appointments and got all of them vaccinated and eventually spayed and neutered. This whole scenario played itself out again two years later. Then we lost a couple to predation and one to a vehicle. Then we rescued a couple more. So now we are at twelve. They are entertaining and cuddly and goofy like most cats. Some are bold, some are afraid, and some just don't care one way or the other. There are four litter boxes that get cleaned daily and no shortage of fur. We just look at it as extra protein. I'll post some pictures one of these days. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Yesterday was a beautiful late autumn day. The leaves are totally down so when the ladies and I went out for a ride we could see far into the trees. I rode my trusty steed Draugen who carried my sorry carcass for nearly three hours. Since he has his winter coat he got a little sweaty at our 45F temperatures. It was a tough trail with lots of up and down and a lot of roots and rocks with some slippery leaves to keep things interesting. That may be my last ride for a while as I have to have some surgery next Monday. The basic recovery should only be a couple of weeks, but long term may take months. The hardest part is restricting my own activity and relinquishing responsibility to others. After all, no one can do my stuff as well as me, right? Anyway, here's a pic of Draugen and me in the winter.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A few years ago, nearly a year after my father's death, my brother and I took Otto's ashes to Iceland as per his request. I had been working full time and going to school, as well as taking care of the farm, and really didn't have time to learn about Iceland. I left travel details in my brother's capable hands. What I found when we got there was an amazing place. A land of fire and ice, snow-capped mountains, lush green valleys, and a thousand year old legacy of an independent and determined people. These are my ancestors on my father's side of the family. Every now and then I look through the genealogy and try to get familiar with some of the names. Not long ago I found a note in a folder of family papers written to me in my great grandmother's hand. It is not dated, but must have been written within a few years of my birth. Jakobina Jakobsdottir was born in 1868 near Akureyri in north Iceland. It is an area of farms and a few fishing villages anlong the Eyjafjordur. I was happy to be there. Sheep and horses and grassy fields between the mountains and the fjord made me feel comfortable and at home.
If all goes well, we are going back in the spring.

Friday, October 21, 2011


My wife and I have horses. We ride them and drive a couple of them occasionally. They are warm, gentle and brutally honest about their own lives and our presence in them. Understanding them is a life-long process. My wife rides a lot more than I do, but the daily care falls to me. I really like doing it and when I can't, like when I am out of town, I really miss it. Maybe the daily routine is something I need or just the presence of the animals gives me something. Then there is the mule, but he is a story unto himself. What a character he is! I'll save his adventures for another post.

It is interesting that I have absolutely no idea where I am going with this thing. Hopefully, it's about the journey and not the destination.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sooner or Later

I had to do this sometime. I keep reading others, but don't imagine I write as well or have something worthwhile to say. At least I can comment on most if I should so desire.

I found out this evening that a friend had died. We didn't see each other very often as we live on different sides of the border. He was diagnosed with cancer last year. He was fifteen years younger than me, much stronger, and ended every conversation with a smile no matter what direction the conversation had taken. He died over a week ago and I just found out. He fought long and hard and had good support from friends and family, but the damned stuff got him anyway. I really had thought he would make it. He took care of a lot of people and will be greatly missed by those whose lives he touched. Good bye my friend. You will be long remembered.