Jun 05 2007

I survived tick season ’07.

Published by at 10:25 pm under Computing,Friends,Photos,The Fam,The Man,Travel

Oh man, I should write some huge entry about our time up north. Unfortunately, I did not take notes, so you’ll just get a half-assed recap in crazy girl fashion. Also, pictures? Maybe. Most of my pictures are of farm animals, because let’s face it, between trees and animals, animals are slightly more interesting. Plus, there were some new additions to photograph in excruciating detail, and PHOTOGRAPH THEM I DID.

Before we get to that, I want to let you all know that it took me less than a day to break and succumb to buying a new computer. I really didn’t want to, because I suspected my old computer was just fine except for a fried component somewhere, but the geeks at Best Buy apparently have no ability to diagnose on-site. They wanted to take my computer and send it away, and perform various Dr. Frankenstein operations on it. I may have let them, but I was very worried that they would format the hard drive, and I wouldn’t be able to adequately vent my rage at people who I can’t see face-to-face. So, I got a laptop instead. It’s a big-ass laptop, I don’t mind telling you. So big that I don’t need a separate monitor. I slaved my old hard drive to The Man’s computer, and as suspected, it was not corrupted at all (hallelujah!). I spent all day today getting my files off of it, onto a travel drive, and onto my laptop. I shit you not, it took ALL THE DING-DONG DAY. But it’s done now, and I am computing again. Huzzah! The only problem I have is that neither the new laptop or the docking station has a PS/2 port for my keyboard, so I have to go buy a USB one. I hate typing on a laptop keyboard, but I survive, for now.

OK, so Up North. We spent most of the day Saturday traveling, as usual. Not much to say about that, other than The Man and I had ourselves a little spat, and Chris spent that time in the back seat trying to be invisible. We were tasked to find a bakery on our way up and bring some nice Italian or sourdough bread for dinner, so we kept our eyes open. We stopped in Mackinac City and St. Ignace – we found one bakery that sold bagels. All the other ones were closed, or for sale, or closed and for sale. There are, of course, any number of small stores on US2 selling pasties, smoked fish, and fudge, but apparently NO ONE in the U.P. eats bread. We finally gave up and stopped at a large grocery store in Escanaba and got loaves. Every other time we went out during our vacation we looked for a bakery, just to prove that there are none. And you know what? There aren’t. Not a single damn bakery did we see. Not in Iron Mountain, not in Crystal Falls, not in any other place. Nowhere. Northern Michigan is a bread dead zone.

When we got to the house, we only made it about halfway down the driveway before we were confronted with a blown down tree blocking our path. The Man had to march to the house (causing much confusion – Dr. Mom told me she saw him coming and was like, “It’s The Man! On foot? What the -”) and get a chainsaw and four-wheeler so that we could bring a cord of wood back with us.

We had the bad luck to plan our summer trip during the height of tick season. If you’ve never been to a place where ticks are plentiful, let me tell you, it’s no fun to always be wondering if there is a blood-sucking parasite attached to your body. The Man was especially freaked-out about the ticks, and every time he found one crawling on him, he let out a bellow that would seem to indicate he was being eaten alive by zombies. I’m pretty sure we managed to not bring any home with us – I checked our clothes thoroughly before I packed them, and I haven’t seen one since we got back, so cross your fingers that we left all the ticks where they belong.

We were all pretty bummed out about the weather initially, because Galleta and I had packed only warm-weather clothes for our little family units, expecting that it would be at least in the mid-seventies, since it was in the high-eighties at home. Oh, no. . . for the first couple of days it was in the 60s, and the forecast wasn’t too promising. However, after that the weather people were all “Whoops, our bad. Seventies and eighties for the rest of the week!”, and then it was all good.

We did a lot of reading. I busted through the rest of the Ender books, and started on the Shanarra series (so far, I can only give it an “Eh.”) The Man wrote a whole lot of stories for his friends, which he hardly ever does except when we’re on vacation. We also watched some movies – Apocalypto (it was okay, not terrible, not fantastic) and Pan’s Labyrinth (HOLY SHIT, it was awesome).

Galleta and I helped Dr. Mom with the animals, as much as we could. Basically, when it was time to milk the goats we did a lot of moving goats around to get them out of the way, or where they were supposed to be. I never woke up early enough to help with the morning milking, but the evenings were all pretty much the same – get Craiglet (the boy) out of the enclosure and tie him up so he doesn’t eat the grain for the girls. Get Poppy out and tie her to the milk stand, give her grain, watch Dr. Mom milk, take Poppy back, get Lillium, etc. Much time was spent trying to get Craiglet to stop eating our pants, shirts, hair, jewelry, or shoes. Poppy and Lillium had each had a baby not too long ago, and while we were there, Dr. Mom picked up two more kids that were several weeks old. Lucky and Galleta took Lil’s baby home in their car, because D– and C– wanted it, but the other three are staying and will hopefully do their part in adding to the herd.

I am Craiglet, and I will eat you if you stand still long enough. Chomp, chomp, chomp.

This is Odin, Poppy’s boy baby. He’s going to breed the next generation of goats.

Loki and Freya – the other new additions. Cute, huh?

I already put some pictures of the cows up, including the only new calf, so I won’t repeat myself. We did have to move the cows from the house to their summer pasture, which could have been terrible, but went so smoothly that I was suspicious. It would have been a funny/terrifying sight for anyone who happened upon us though. Picture it: Moll driving a pickup truck with Chris in the back, filling grain buckets. Dr. Mom walking behind, showing grain to Brown Cow (all the other cows follow Brown Cow. Brown Cow is brown, in case you were wondering). A line of eight cows – some long horned, some not – following behind. After the cows comes Lucky driving the “herd car” and me and The Man on a four wheeler, steering along any stragglers that evaded the car. Galleta got the truly unenviable job of standing in their pasture shaking a grain bucket and calling the cows when they got close enough. If you’ve never been in front of a cow stampede, you don’t know how crazy she is for doing that.

There was other Fun With Cattle – Galleta and I helped Dr. Mom give Maxwell his yearly bath and hair cut. Maxie is a Highland, which means he is long long haired and long horned. He is kind of defective, though, because he doesn’t shed his winter coat properly. So, if he doesn’t get a hair cut, he develops rain rot (The Man thought I said Maxie had BRAIN ROT – um, no) and his skin falls off. Woo hoo, right? Luckily, Maxwell is a tame cow, so he didn’t mind three women with scissors shearing his coat. He only nudged Galleta over once, because he didn’t want her trimming his stomach. I guess he didn’t trust that she’d layer it properly. We didn’t quite get to him quick enough though, so there was some major grossness involved in trimming him up. Dr. Mom basically hosed him down with iodine after we were done to get rid of any remaining yuck. I have to say, the other cows probably made fun of Maxie after we turned him loose. He had, and I say this with all modesty, the world’s ugliest hair cut. He looked like a fourth-grader whose mom had just read “Home Haircuts For Dummies” and who had skipped the chapter on blending. He was shingled, yo. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the hair cut, so you’ll just have to picture it’s awesomeness in your mind.

One day The Man, Chris, and I decided to go for a drive while almost everyone else was off at the store. We went for about 10 miles and ran into a freaking hail storm. So, we turned around, went the other way, and explored. While we were heading home, I saw the sign for the Brule River public access, which I see every time we go to Dr. Mom and Moll’s. This time, I wanted to see the Brule River, since we were exploring and all. We followed the signs and ended up on this one-lane road:

The Man: Oh no, I’ve seen this movie. Pretty soon the cannibals are going to spring their trap on us.
Chris: If the car breaks down, we either ALL stay, or ALL go for help.
Jas: *hums Dueling Banjos*

We got to the end of the road, and sure enough, there was a river, and there was a fairly normal-looking fellow there, fishing (The Man said “There’s always one normal looking one. He’s going to radio back to the compound so his freaky relatives know we’re here”), but there wasn’t much else to look at, except trees and river, so we left pretty quickly.

Okay, I’m running out of steam here, so I apologize for the abrupt ending, but let me sum up: vacation was good. It was very relaxing. We didn’t do much, which is just the way I like it. We had some awesome food, spent some time with the family, soaked up the sun, slept hard, and woke up early. It was another great U.P. visit. I may do a photo essay a little later with some landscape shots, but I need to figure out my new graphics program first.

This turtle wandered up to the deck one evening.
“Little help here? I’ve got this asshole snail on my back. Anyone? Give a brother a hand?”



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