Five Feet High and Rising

I’m sorry for the suspense after the last post in which Hugo’s life literally hung in the balance.  The short update is that after two surgeries and lots of hand feeding, he is better.  He is ok.  The other version is as long as my vet bill, so I’ll spare you that drama.  With something called hydro-therapy, another few weeks of antibiotics, and lots of coddling, he will likely recover to his former cowboy status.  Lord help us all.

hugo socks

Other explanations will have to wait since I am, for all intents and purposes, exhausted.  An enormous amount is both happening and not happening, personally and professionally.  I don’t sleep much these days and when I do, it’s fitful sleep, the kind you wake from easily when a dog barks outside, when the cricket trapped in the living room starts singing.  When you lie in bed wondering how the cricket got inside and will it ever get out?  For that matter, why do crickets sing?

That kind of fitful sleep.

So far the barn building experience was a comedy of errors, as was the loan process for the land (it got worse before it got better and then it actually never got better), as was the loan process for the dairy.  There was a string of bad luck and bad news over the summer that we digested without our usual shock and awe response, retreating instead to shrugs and head nodding acceptance.  Hard won achievements with an aftertaste of utter defeat.

That kind of bad luck.

Then the dog got attacked, the car broke down, the drywall in the living room chipped and fell on the floor, the neighbor’s goat jumped the fence and (may have) bred my goats out of season.  It’s about time I learned to play guitar and start writing country songs (How high’s the water, mama?).  But then, we signed up for all that when we signed the papers for this place.  It’s my mantra – we signed up for this, we signed up for this – I mumble in monotone, rubbing mesquite beans and cactus thorns between my fingers like mala beads.

dairy dog

I apologize if the last several updates have been bleak or dark – nothing is bleak or dark about our situation.  Rather, we’re doggy paddling through exciting times steeped in a pool of uncertainty – about things related to the farm and things not related to the farm.  I’m grateful for Hugo’s tiny, spirited life, the way he shuts his eyes and lets the wind blow through his hair during his short trips outside, in the midst of convalescence.  It reminds me why I came here in the first place, the way the sun feels stronger in the middle of wide open spaces, how country air is a sensual sensation without a city’s distraction.  Really.


Each morning our head rooster, El Gallo, marches onto the porch and doodles out GOOD. MORNING!!!!  repeatedly, every 15 seconds, with a bevy of angry hen heads peering out from behind his fountain of tail feathers.  It is not a greeting, it is a demand.  So, despite any drama, any bad luck, any doggy paddling, any just-scraping-by-ing, we get up and fling the doors open wide and demand right back.


And it will be.

sunshine goats



Chickens, Cows, Dairy, Goats, Uncategorized


  • Shelley

    September 6, 20144:19 pm

    Thanks for the update. Dear Hugo. As for Vet bills: I live in the city but with all the dogs we’ve had and lost to old age or cancer, we’ve probably paid for about 20% of the new wing at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital.

    He looks pretty good for all his trials. I’m glad I found your blog.

  • Mary Ann

    September 4, 20149:51 am

    Things will get better, I promise. Love your pictures, and love your writing.