Sunday, August 28, 2005

As what looks very much to be a killing storm bears down on the Big Easy, I send my prayers and good thoughts to all who lie in the storm's path.

I'm always reminded of an old folk song that actually deals with the murder of one sister by another, whenever a big blow comes this way. Bluegrass has it's roots in a bardic tradition and some of the best songs also tell real stories. I have this song in my collection and I can't find it right now. I think the Dead did a version of it.

If you can find this's really wonderful. Very special.

Wind and Rain

Two lovely sisters were a walking side by side;
Oh, the wind and rain.
One pushed the other in the waters so deep,
And she cried, oh the dreadful wind and rain.

She floated on down to the miller's mill pond;
Oh, the wind and rain.
She floated on down to the miller's mill pond,
And she cried, oh the dreadful wind and rain.

He hooked her up by the tail of her gown;
Oh, the wind and rain.
He hooked her up by the tail of her gown,
And she cried, oh the dreadful wind and rain.

He made fiddle strings of her long black hair;
Oh, the wind and rain.
He made fiddle strings of her long black hair;
And she cried, oh the dreadful wind and rain.

He made fiddle screws of her long finger bones;
Oh, the wind and rain.
He made fiddle screws of her long finger bones,
And she cried, oh the dreadful wind and rain.

The only tune that the fiddle would play was;
Oh, the wind and rain.
The only tune that the fiddle would play,
Was oh, the dreadful wind and rain.

I just pray that New Orleans...that shining jewel of the South, is not completely blown off the map. I hope this storm ends up being a small, harsh hit and quickly exhausted as some of these big storms do.

Oh, the dreadful wind and rain.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Howard Finster's words on one of his early folk art works kept playing in my brain today as I fumed to myself in the kitchen today.

I prepared a gallon of elderberry juice this morning then moved on to the daunting task of turning the peck of feral winesap apples into apple butter. I don't like to do things the easy way so I'm extracting the pulp with my hands and grinding up spices. This was an all day chore. I just finished up 13 pints of this glorious russet colored spicey apple jam. My house smells like Christmas from all of the allspice, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

Anyway, as I'm slaving away, I have the T.V. on CNN. The entire Pat Robertson story has been burning me up. Pat Robertson had repulsed me for decades now. He is and has been the personification of evil on Earth for years and it surprises me that certain segments of the right wing are only just getting around to seeing this.

So this man, who has publicly prayed for God to kill one of the sitting Supremes, has now called for the execution of Venezuela's president Chavez. And prayed publicly for that to happen. So today he apologizes...but offered "kidnapping" as an alternate suggestion.

I believe in a God. And because I believe in a God, I have to believe that there is some special corner of hell, more horrific than anything we could possibly conceive of, where the evil little toad men like Robertson and Falwell will be locked together in some insanely profane embrace for all of eternity.

There won't be any spicey apple butter there and there definitely won't be no cold cokes in hell.

Monday, August 08, 2005

It was 1999 and we were all piled in Tree's office with the big glass windows at CNN in Atlanta. The door had been shut as we five "girls" in our late 30's and early 40's were having an important secret meeting. We always looked both ways down the hall to make sure no one was coming before doing this.

Tree, ceremoniously, withdrew the glossy 8 X 10 from the envelope to display. We all gasped and held our breaths. There he was, in his tweed jacket and impeccably tailored trousers, lounging in the doorway of his book-lined office. His long lines, graceful, and his weathered face in a world weary half-smile. His little reporter's notebook just peeking out of a pocket. You could almost imagine the smell of tobacco and scotch that surely must have infused that amazing tweed jacket and scented his long-fingered hands. We all swooned.

For women working in broadcast news, Peter Jennings was a rock star. There was something about his particular mix of extraordinary competence, stellar journalistic abilities, sardonic wit and easy confidence that just made one go all gushy inside. It wasn't about looks, though Jennings was very easy on the eye. Anchors have to be goodlooking, but they don't have to be smart or particularly talented in journalism. It was about presence, power and ability.

Like a the bumbling teenage nerd, I once was...I just kept saying, "She's gonna freak, man! She's gonna freak!"

I was speaking of the inscription on the photo. Tree had pulled some strings and gotten the photo personally autographed, "To Joan and Katy, Many happy regards, Peter Jennings."

Joan was our friend over at Turner Entertainment who had a huge Peter Jennings crush. Katy was her miniature French Poodle. Joan's birthday was coming up and she really was the gal who had everything. At least everything she needed. Tree really had done something special by pulling this particular rabbit out of the hat. That she had gotten the French Poodle included on the inscription was nothing short of inspired.

All of us had to trail our fingers over his signature, trying to sense whatever essence he might have left behind.

Jodi said, "I bet he has stacks of these photos that he sends out to women."

"Yeah." We agreed.

Today, I'm sobbing into my kitchen sink as I'm loading the dishwasher. Large, tearful, heart-wrenching sobs of mourning. I'll always remember exactly what I was doing, the moment I heard that Peter Jennings had died.

Friday, August 05, 2005

It's day three of Bolly and Lufu's internment on the back porch "goat hospital". They are separated from but in visual contact with AlphaBetty goat who continues to hack like a three pack a day smoker. I'm breaking down and starting her on a course of pen-G today. Penicillin is always scary because you have to have that epinephrin right there for anaphylactic shock. You only have moments to administer it.

Bolly and Lufu were scouring down in the pasture three mornings ago. Scouring is the livestock term for diarrhea. It's never a good thing in goats. I actually had to drag Lufu up to the house, he was so sick. Bolly was better...not in that hang- eared, degected state that Lufu was in. This had happened overnight. On the plus side, no one was hollering and they were still interested in eating.

I did the no-brainer stuff first. Got them cleaned up (they get the poop all over themselves), comfortable and hydrated with electrolytes. Then administered a big dose of Pepto-Bismol.

I went out to visit everyone else to make sure that no one else was spewing green efluvia. They were fine, but I found something alarming in the water bucket. My pastured goats have access to a spring fed pond, but they prefer that I keep a hose fed bucket near the house. So I do. It gets filled and changed daily. There was a dead rat in it.

I freaked. Goats are incredibly fastidious about feed and water sources. They won't touch fouled water. But Bolly and Lufu are at the age where they aren't the brightest bulbs in the pack and the possibility was there that they ingested rat infused water. So I went back and wiped out any surviving good gut bacteria with an oral antibiotic. Treated them all day with that then started them on Probios and yoghurt innoculated goat milk to repopulate the gut.

Day change. They are no better and no worse. I started them on 35 cc's of C & D anti-toxin sub-Q, in case there was any entero. I continue to feed them goat milk. Lufu got bad enough to warrant a shot of banamine, a prescription pain reliever and muscle relaxant. But they are still eating like fools so this is good.

The scours are green and watery. They aren't really terribly smelly such as you would expect in Cocci. So the other condition that causes this is plant poisoning. I've been spending a huge amount of time examining goat poop over the past few days. Provided I can get to it before the dogs do. Dogs love goat poop, it being both perfume and snack in one go. Healthy goat poop looks like rabbit poop. Little pellets. Green, liquid poop is indicative of three things: a) coccidiosis; b) gorging on too much fresh pasture; or c) plant poisoning. The gorging would have resolved by now but cocci and plant poisoning are high on my list of possibilities. I'm hoping it's not cocci. It doesn't smell like cocci.

This morning I began treating them for cocci and worm infestation. They got Vit. B complex shots. I took them off of free choice hay, which they were consuming rather rapidly. They'll just have the innoculated milk and electrolytes until this resolves. I was really excited that Lufu had a poop that showed a bit of definition to it. I'm hoping that Bolly will follow suit soon. I'm really hoping that the nutty boys just ate too much poke weed.

I'm calling my goat mentor now that I've tried everything she would have told me to do. Finding qualified caprine vets is a tricky sort of we all find experienced goat people who help us out. Betsy has been my mentor since I started keeping goats. Her herd is where my Saanans come from.

Keeping goats is hard. Don't ever think it's not. They can't just eat any old thing. So...I'm chained to the house and goat nanny until this clears up. I'll post pics of them when they are feeling better...they asked not to be photographed looking all sick and pathetic.