Sunday, February 26, 2006

My first post

This is the first post to my new blog. A few days ago, I didn't even know what a blog was. I reckon it's a place where you can create a personal diary that the rest of the world can see (and read!). I guess I'll use it to express thoughts (and ramblings) about my life, hopes, dreams, likes, and dislikes.

The Baalands is the name of my farm. I own 8.2 acres of land in Western Maryland. I keep a flock of sheep and goats, which are due to start having babies tomorrow. I'll probably post some pictures of them to this blog. In addition to the farm livestock, I have two dogs and two cats. One dog named McComb is a Great Pyrenees guardian dog. He lives with the sheep and goats. He serves as their protector. The other dog is named Zak. He's a year old and still all-puppy. He's a cross between a Border Collie and a Tibetan Mastif (oops!). In other words, he doesn't know whether to herd the sheep or protect them. Actually, he does neither. He's just my buddy.

"I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul." -- Jean Cocteau

I would definitely fit the definition of a "cat person." I absolutely love cats. I guess I'm attracted to their deviousness. I have two. Max is almost 3 years old. He's an orange tabby, with some Persian mixed in. My family calls him my $500 cat, because a couple of years ago he broke his leg and had to have a pin inserted into it. The surgery wasn't cheap! The pin was never removed, so he's got one leg that is longer than the other. I tell people he goosesteps like a Nazi! It's really funny to watch him, especially when he goes up and down steps and puts his back leg out to the side like a propeller. Actually, he gets around rather well. The other cat (also an orange tabby) lives in my barn. It showed up one day and I decided to let it stay. I thought it was a male cat (I used to not be able to catch it) since it never had kittens (or had any gentlemen suitors), but as it turned out it was a female. Too bad 'cause I had already named "him" Barney.

2005 wasn't a good year for my pets. It was down right sad. My dog, Sly, a Black Lab-German Shepherd mix was killed by a car in February. She was only 6. Zak was her "replacement." My cat Rex (another orange tabby) was put to sleep during cancer surgery in August. He was 14 years old. No replacement for him. I wouldn't mind getting another cat to live in the house. Cats make a home all warm and fuzzy (literally!).

All my life, I've loved animals. People, I could take or leave, but animals I've always loved. Everybody thought I'd grow up to be a veterinarian. I even worked at vet hospitals to pay my way through college. But, ultimately I chose a career working with farm livestock. I really love sheep, goats, cows, pigs, and rabbits. I like raising 'em, teaching people about 'em, and even eating 'em! I work for Maryland Cooperative Extension (University of Maryland). I've been with the university for almost 18 years, but it wasn't until a few years ago that I got my dream job -- to be a sheep and goat specialist.

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