The smell of fire interrupted my kitchen-cleaning this afternoon. I thought maybe the CD player had had a short circuit because Ben Harper was skipping. It’s just a scratched CD and I think the smell was a fire somewhere in the hills because the normally periwinkle-blue sky was little hazy.

There was no one to ask, though, because I and my Italian carpenter coworker have been left on the retreat for ten days while the family/owners take a much-deserved break before holiday madness hits.

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The black birds are everywhere and look a bit onimous. And they steal the chicken’s food.

The change of routine (or maybe the start of one) has helped me take in and appreciate my surroundings. The walk down to the homestead, where I’m staying for the moment, gives me an amazing view of the hills and the sky above the lilypad pond.

For the past couple of days, the clouds have been amazing in the evening.

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Pink!

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Orange!

I have taken on the kids’ chores of feeding the animals morning and afternoon and collecting eggs. I am getting to know the goats’ and chickens’ personalities. I think Nelly might be pregnant (really moody, greedy, and maybe getting fatter round the middle?) and that one chicken is a rebel that never wants to go to the coop because it might be guilty of contributing to the other chicken’s limp. And those alpacas have got to start asserting themselves or the goats will just keep stealing their feed.

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Sassy but shy alpaca.

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Seriously, don’t mess with this guy.

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Baby goat Steps shares his food with a parrot.

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Cute guinea pig. I don’t know why, but this one reminds me of my beautiful friend Erica. Probably the mischief in its eye and auburn hair.

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The barn. Wheeee!

And now my new series of photographs: Animals next to the car.

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Goats next to the car.

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Rabbit next to the car.

And then once in a while, a wallaby will hop by and be cute.

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We’re not in Ontario anymore, Toto.

I am playing the farm girl, trying to imagine living like this permanently. I love the animals (except for the poop and pushiness at feeding times) and the quiet and the changing light on the hills. I’m enjoying this time to be quiet and research the next legs of my trip before the retreat fills up with guests for the Christmas holidays.

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