It’s that magical time of the year!

Yes, despite the wind, the rain, and the flooded backyard, this is truly one of my favorite times of the year. Every day I look forward to Gene bringing in the mail, carrying stacks of glossy, full color catalogs – it’s time to order my seeds! I don’t even try to set, much less stick to, a seed budget, even though my dreams far outreach the amount of available soil in which to plant the seeds. This year Gene is really excited to try some natural grasses, like alfalfa and orchard grass, and is even pondering replacing the front lawn with a variety of grain-bearing goodness. I figure that’s a win-win situation, since we don’t mow that often anyway.

He recently finished the renovation to the alpaca cabana, having installed a raised floor. It looks great, and gets a lot of use. Ariel, Buttercup, and little Leia in particular love to IMG_6103snooze under the heat lamp. Even Christmas climbs up on the platform during the day when it’s raining. Our backyard has gone from merely flooded to resembling a swamp of Degobah proportion, in both appearance and odor. Although I’m guessing Yoda’s stomping grounds smell a little better, since I would assume Jedi Masters are required to have access to indoor plumbing. Our backyard, not so much. Over the rainy reason, the critters have pulled a bunch of hay out of their feeder, so much so that they now have a little mound rising up out of the muck. They spend their time high and dry, contentedly chewing their collective cud and occasionally getting up to pee and poo over the side of it, which compounds the muck problem. All they need is a dragon for the moat they’ve created, and they’re set.

Unfortunately the mess doesn’t confine itself to the backyard — Raphael has devised IMG_6175new ways to drive me nuts after Gene switched his water bowl to one that he can’t dump over. Now he has decided it’s great fun to unhook his litter box and drag it around the base of his cage, and use the third layer of his luxury condo to make his deposits instead. Now I have to drag his cage away from the wall, pull open the side of it, and clean off the platform like four times a day. I also need to break down and put a litter box in the back bedroom, which we’ve ferret-proofed for his out of cage time. I try to time his visits for right after he’s pottied, but since apparently ferrets feel the need to potty every fifteen minutes, I’m invariably scooping and cleaning the corner of the bedroom. Having five cats, I feel like we’ve met our litter box capacity already, so I hate to use another one – we might as well rip up the carpets and replace it with Johnny Cat granules. Between that and having to muck out the goat, chicken, rabbit, turkey, and duck bedrooms once a week, I swear when people ask what I do for a living I feel like replying, “Why, I shovel sh!t!”

adAt least Charlie’s latest game doesn’t involve stepping on Tootsie Rolls deposited in unexpected places. No, she’s discovered something infinitely more amusing – batting the eggs off the counter. Not at all what you want to step in barefoot as you’re stumbling out of bed to make the morning coffee. At least she only got me once – she’s gotten Gene twice. The second time he roared so loudly that now I immediately wash, dry and put the eggs away. She’ll just have to amuse herself by pulling the ornaments off the Christmas tree.

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