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Accidental shepherdess

On the walk home from work today, I stopped to watch a local farmer round up his flock of sheep to move to another field. No dog, no ATV — he just drove forward and back across the grass in his 4×4, honking. Got them all right where he wanted them to go, including stragglers. It was masterful.

When he got them all bunched up and headed out the drive, I gave him a round of applause. He leaned out of the car and yelled, “stop them — they’re headed for the crop!”

Yes, dear readers, today I was an accidental shepherdess. He had three or four guys in the road directing traffic, but the sheep (being sheep) tried to bust out in just the wrong place. Or just the right place, since I was standing there gawping and waving my arms.

They do this several times a season in our area, move a big flock from one field to another for better grazing. Just the unwed ewes — I don’t think they’d dare try it with excitable lambs — rushing right down one of the busiest roads in the county. Step out, stop the traffic, chase hundreds of sheep down the highway.

If we’re out when they do it, we know they’ve done it. They close the gates at the end of our drive. That’s how Uncle B heard the commotion and came running with a camera. That’s me in the circle back there, having done my bit.

Good weekend, y’all!

April 17, 2015 — 7:35 pm
Comments: 13

The view out my back door

This year’s crop is coming along. Last week, they were tiny babies. Today, they looked positively adolescent, popping around the field. The picture is Uncle B’s and is a few days old.

Everything is weirdly accelerated this year. The mayflowers are out, the wild flowers are moving through their yearly succession at a brisker than usual pace.

We’ve had an unseasonably warm week. We took sammiches to one of our favorite picnic spots yesterday and couldn’t work out why we were so hot. Then we realized — there was no shade, because the leaves aren’t on the trees yet. Very mixed signals.

This probably means May will be shit ‘n’ chips.

April 16, 2015 — 10:25 pm
Comments: 9

Happy hump day

Hump day? Quasimodo? Ah, suit yourself.

I dug up this picture because I spent my work day moving heavy things from one storage area to another, and I feel at least quasimodo myself. Searching for this image, I discovered there might have been a real life hunchback who inspired Victor Hugo to write the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Huh.

My mother grew up rural, far from the nearest library, and tHoND was the first book she ever fell in love with. She found it on her parents’ bookshelf (I still have the very book), sat down on the living room floor to read it and stayed up all night until she finished.

While she was reading, she looked up to see a mouse skitter across the floor in front of her. It was brown with white blotches.

Pointless story, but it was going to die with me, so I thought I’d read it into the public record.

April 15, 2015 — 9:17 pm
Comments: 15

One for the Whovians

I’m indebted to Feynmangroupie for this one (bigger). I’m not a Doctor Who fan — I tuned in a few times back when the effects were crudest and thought, “nah” — but this is a deeelightful character.

Lady Cassandra O’Brien.Δ17 (that’s pronounced “delta 17″) is a human so old she’s been kept alive by 709 plastic surgeries. She’s nothing but a brain in a jar attached to a piece of skin with a sort of face. Though she’s reduced to a CGI mouth and two eyes, it’s easy enough to recognize actress Zoë Wanamaker in the role.

Do watch the introduction to this character — it’s funny enough to be worth your time.

April 14, 2015 — 10:12 pm
Comments: 24

So it begins…

Saddle up, here we go heading into the 2016 election (or as bloggers call it Easy Pickin’s Season).

If you missed this weekend’s bonus Photoshop, do feel free to spread it around should you find it worthy. I’ve seen it in the wild once already, which feels me with deelight. (Forgot to sign it, tho).

That was a Photoshopper’s dream: a strong, simple idea, lots of big hi-res photos to choose from, close correspondence between the thing and the thing you’re morphing it into. Mutilating poor old Chelsea was so easy; the hard part was eliminating the type in the original Elle cover. Thanks again to RD Brewer for sending me the idea.

Hillary! isn’t so easy, but if ever aristocrat needed mocking…

April 13, 2015 — 9:43 pm
Comments: 7

It’s what’s for dinner

Well, it’s safe to say our snooky-ookums has developed a taste for rodent. First, stealing them out of traps and now this. I came around the corner the other day just in time to see the last of a tail slithering down his gullet. So Jack, like Charlotte, quietly kills and eats rather than bringing us gifts. We never know how many mice she catch and we won’t know with him, either.

Pretty good on the old girl for managing to eat them, since she’s had all her teeth extracted. You don’t want me to describe how she does it.

Photo is Uncle B’s. He also got a cracking few minutes video of Jack making love to the corpse with dead, staring eyes (Jack’s, not the mouse).

Good weekend, y’all!

April 10, 2015 — 9:54 pm
Comments: 8

Just a little off the top

Welp, we had our drive pollarded today, six years almost to the day since the last time. Partly done — he’ll come back to do the one on the right and collect the wood too small to be useful.

Pollarding is where you lop the branches off a tree and make really tall stumps. Coppicing is where you lop the branches off and make really short stumps.

We had a tree guy tell us that, in the ordinary course of things, most trees will live a few hundred years at most and then die. But a regularly pollarded tree is, for all intents, immortal. Something about trimming back all its branches makes the tree a sort of perpetual adolescent, biologically. Also, no big heavy branches to weigh it down or split it open.

Usually, the cuts are closer to the trunk, but our professional tree guy was a no-show. This dude is a local handyman sort and he was up there with a hand-saw. I think he was having trouble trimming them any shorter with the equipment he had. Holy shit but he worked hard, though! And now our drive is full of willow fronds.

It’s Spring here. It really feels it now. Has it reached you yet?

April 9, 2015 — 10:11 pm
Comments: 16

…that is all…

I was going to ask how I missed this creepy bunny, but I chased it up and found I missed it because it’s three years old.

More creepy Easter bunnies. How do they allus get the Easter Bunny so wrong?

April 8, 2015 — 7:28 pm
Comments: 5

Animal adventures

First thing this morning:

ME: Why is the cabinet by the sink open? And why is the mousetrap way across the room over there on the floor?
HIM: Oh, I forgot to tell you. I caught a mouse in the trap last night.
ME: There’s no mouse in that trap.
BOTH: Ewwwwwww.

To be fair, there was a little bit of mouse in the trap. Yeah, Jack pinched Uncle B’s mouse. The least he could’ve done was catch the damn thing hisself. And Uncle B was saving it for breakfast and everything.

Then I was walking to work and something ran up the path at me. Rat? Thinks I. No, stoat! My very first live stoat in the wild! It turned and rippled across the road, and I saw the long, sinuous body and the chocolate tip on his tail!

And then later, pheasant. In our back yard. Those things don’t half make an ugly noise! Majestic beasties, but dull as a sack of wet mice.

So I found you this sculptcha to go with my story. A steal at $6,490! (Yeah, I’d pay it. I like it. Why am I not rich?).

April 7, 2015 — 9:35 pm
Comments: 9

it’s incredibly worrying when the bedbird tucks you in

Very funny. Two monks invent a bestiary. Well, I laughed.

Technically still holiday here. I slept past noon all four days of the long weekend. And you know what? I totally threw my back out doing it. Lying around in bed and sitting around in front of the computer too much.

How in the heck am I going to get up early and hoof it to work tomorrow?

April 6, 2015 — 8:05 pm
Comments: 3