Saturday, January 30, 2016

Late night thoughts after too much news and too much wine

One of the greatest things about humans--perhaps one of the only things that sets apart from other animals--is that we take abstract ideas very seriously.  It's also one of the worst things.
Something like tribal warfare is known in chimpanzees, and there was a recent discovery of the remains of a possible tribal war between non-agrarian humans 10,000 years ago.  So we're not unique on that score: murder likely ran in the blood of our last common ancestor.

But at some point one of our ancestors believed that it was necessary to kill another human--not because of a threat to self or family, or for control of a desirable resource, but because of heterodox belief about a thing that did not exist in the real world.  Probably, sometime around then, some human reckoned that it was worthwhile to risk its life for an abstraction.  Before this time, these thoughts had never ever occurred.  There was a first time.

Possibly, about the same time as those humans were killing and being killed, some residents of Anatolia were carving and erecting monumental stones at what is now Gobekli Tepe--making a considerable sacrifice of time, energy, and wealth, to an abstraction long forgotten.  That's the only material evidence we have of this development, and it is highly enigmatic.

We'll never know the first belief that inspired murder, the first abstraction that instilled a willingness to die.  We can't ever know how many millions of humans have lost life to ideas, how much suffering stems from notions without substance--nation, sect, dogma, politics, racial purity--since then.  It's been about 10,000 years since this idea appeared.  Sometimes I let myself hope that we will grow out of it; that at some point, maybe less than 10,000 years from now, the last murder will be committed for an idea, the last sacrifice made for a belief.  It will, in all likelihood, be well after I die.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday fauna: Where Eagles Dare to Eat Lunch

(Warning, kinda graphic image of dead animal further down the page, skip this one if you're squeamish.)

One of the noticeable steps in the transition from city slicker to farmer involves one's regard of the local fauna.

A couple of years ago, I would occasionally see a pair of bald eagles flying overhead, commuting back and forth between their nest somewhere and the river to our northwest.  I'd stop whatever I was doing and gawk.  Eagles!  They are big, they are impressive, they are beautiful as adults, they are symbolic, and really, they are well worth stopping and admiring.  The pair became a trio, and the juvenile spent a couple of weeks along our creek before it moved away to find new territory.

We are less than a month away from lambing and kidding here--a lot of the surrounding farms have lambs on the ground already--and I am mentally getting into the mode of worrying more about my animals.  A bald eagle will happily eat anything that looks dead, and a golden will kill for its lunch.  So my attitude towards the eagles has changed.  When I see when flying overhead, especially if they're flying kind of low, my thoughts tend towards "Hey, @#$%, get the &^%$# out of here and don't even  $%#^ing look at my $%@*ing animals!!!  @#$%!!!"

Well, yesterday was a busy day here for the eagles, and they had me good and riled up.  Adult and juvenile, bald and golden, they were flying over us all day, screaming and fussing.  It didn't take too long to realize that they were not worked up about any of our beasts, but instead about something just across the creek from us.

Our neighbor J. runs cattle over there, and his cows have been calving recently.  One little calf didn't make it--I couldn't tell whether it was killed by a predator or one of the myriad things that can off a young ruminant.  Whatever the cause, a day's work by the eagles left it rather diminished:

I didn't have the long lens that I needed to capture what I saw through binoculars as I approached the carcass, and which really can push you away from the "majestic symbol of our country" view of eagles and towards a more farmer-ish view.   It was a juvenile (but full-sized) golden eagle that had hit the calf buffet a bit too hard.  It had tried flying, but was weighed down with excess giblets.  So it just sat on the hillside above the carcass, basking in the afternoon sun, visibly engorged.  Through the lens, it looked less the majestic eagle and more like a sumo wrestler regretting that last helping of pie.  @$#%* better stay away from my animals.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wednesday Wordage...utterly lost in translation

I think there are two requirements for the written instruction sheets that come with new plumbing or HVAC bits or farm implements.

1.  The instructions must be translated from another language.  If the product was made in an Anglophone country, it must either use unfamiliar idioms or be translated into a non-Indo-European language and then translated back.

2.  The instructions must specify at least one topological impossibility or make reference to a non-existent part that exists in a non-integral dimension.

3.  There must be a part included in the bag of bits that is not mentioned anywhere in the instruction sheet.  (An exception--you can see a reference to it in the Finnish instructions, but nowhere else.)

I seem to have run into all of these rules today.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tuesday Tool Raising the (other) Roof Edition

The big building project continues apace here at the farm.  We are finally constructing a pair of matching pole barns to house our boys--the rams, who don't care much about weather but are quite adamant about destroying things, and the bucks, who (enthusiastic sodomy aside) are gentle souls and run for cover at the first drop of rain.  The goal is safe, sturdy, weatherproof, easily-cleaned, easily maintained housing.   We're getting there.

We finished the roof on the east shelter today.  Here's a pic from last week, though, before it looked like a roof.

Those are pressure-treated 6x6 posts, anchored in three feet of cement.  The rafters--paired 2x12s, and insanely heavy--are positioned at their final angle, but at a convenient height.  Corbels hold them in place.  Supports for the purlins have been nailed in between each member of the rafter, every 16 inches.  Purlins--the 2x6s that will actually hold the roofing tin--are nailed in place.

On the west shelter, we did all of this up in the air--each half-rafter was raised individually, then tacked into place; all the purlin supports were toted up and attached; and each purlin was lifted ten to 20 feet in the air and attached into place.  On this, the east shelter, all this was done at ground height, so it was much easier and quicker.

Which brings us to our celebrated tool, the winch (which if you get to the classic simple tools, is a lever).  At the top of three of the posts, you'll see a winch, and Kenny there is attaching one to the top of the fourth.  Everything being assembled, it was a matter of winching the entire roof--probably somewhere far north of 500kg--into place.  It wasn't entirely easy:  the poles were sticky and needed soap and wedges for the rafters to slide.  Also, there were four winches and only three people.  However, it was easier than lifting every darn thing by hand.  So, here's to you, winch!  Huzzah!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

I'll just leave this here...

A quote from the Ammon Bundy, leader of the brave patriots who have bravely taken over the Malheur Bird Sanctuary, on their role as the rightful caretakers of a large area with numerous Paiute artifacts and archaelogical sites:

"Before the white man came, so to speak, there was nothing to keep cattle from tromping on those things."

I will bet you a nickel that he believes that the earth is about 4000 years old.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Ballad of Butch the Chook

The life of the farm chicken is mostly good: a steady supply of food, acceptable housing, room to roam and scratch, nice spots for laying eggs, the occasional juicy snail...and then a rather sudden end.  But not for Butch.

We got our first batch of chooks almost three years ago.  At that time, there wasn't much to the farm at all--very few animals and almost no infrastructure.  However, chickens don't need much, especially when they first arrive.  (We get ours from Murray McMurray, and they arrive by mail as one-day-old peeps; you get a call from the P.O. at 5:30 in the morning, asking you to come by and pick up your package, which is about the size of a large shoe box and is chirping like a box full of chicks.)  For a few weeks, they were fine in a big wooden box with a heat lamp.

The theme of our farm, for far too much of our term here, has been a race between animal acquisition and the construction of animal facilities, and animal facilities have consistently lagged.  So our first batch of chooks was getting far too big for their temporary quarters before I got their coop built...a situation I'm really ashamed of.

I am also ashamed of the coop that eventually got built.  There are a lot of paintings out there that have violins in them, and in many cases, you can tell that the artist has seen a violin before but when pressed, couldn't quite remember some features right.  Well, I had seen some nice larger coops, and had some ideas about what I wanted, but I was constrained by cheapness and didn't get some details right.  I was also hampered by my own inexperience:  I had seen some construction work, but I clearly didn't get the construction right.  The result was just bad.  The floor gave out, the doors didn't stay together, the roof was horrible, there were severe design flaws...just bad.

Once we got them into the coop, we had a mixed relationship with our chooks.  I never did get the coop painted, so it stayed ugly.  As always, facilities for animals lagged behind need, so I didn't get the perches installed for a while.  I never got a satisfactory waterer, so the birds got all their water from the animals' water buckets.  I was so busy with the other animals that I didn't really get to domesticate the birds, and only two of them ever got named.

Things even managed to get worse. I didn't get egg boxes made until after the birds had started laying, so I taught them some inexcusably bad habits.  Of the dozen or so birds, a couple laid eggs where they were supposed to; the rest would find secluded nooks and hidden niches to make nests.  I'd periodically find a clutch of a dozen or two dozen eggs of unknown age behind the fencing wire or in the burn pile or with the plumbing supplies or behind the paint cans or in some other private place. If I found a nest, I could sometimes clean the eggs out and the culprits would continue to lay there; more often than not, as soon as they realized they'd been found, the culprits would stop laying there and find a new hiding place.

There were a few birds who did lay in the boxes we provided.  However, there were also a couple of birds who developed a taste for eggs.  Worse, the oviphages knew that the egg boxes were an easy mark.  I never did see a smoking gun--or yolky beak--to know who did it, but I had some suspicions.

By last spring, we were feeding over a dozen birds, and getting eggs from maybe two.  The remainder had some utility, eating snails and such, but still, we were paying to feed them.  We decided to get a new batch of chooks.  The chirping box arrived in the mail in July, and they've been settling in nicely since.  I took longer than I'd like to admit, but I did finally get their coop built, and it's pretty good:  better design, and vastly better construction.  I took unreasonable delight in dismantling the old coop, obliterating that stain from our yard.

A neighbor of ours offered to take our old birds and give them a home in some canning jars, which was fine by us.  So one night, S. came by, reached into the coop and grabbed the snoozing chooks by their feet and stuffed them, complaining and groggy, into a box.  "Big day tomorrow," said S., "been hunting, so we're doing chickens and grouse and a turkey!"

Such was the end for our first batch of chooks--except Butch.  Butch was always a special bird.  We were very suspicious about Butch from an early age; though the bird never developed spurs, it did develop a bit more comb and wattles than a hen of the breed was supposed to.  Butch would try--and still tries--to crow sometimes in the morning, though it comes out like a teenage boy trying to do James Earl Jones.  But, Butch was one of the few birds that, at least for a while, went into nest boxes, and with my own eyes I saw Butch enter an empty nest box and leave an egg behind.  Thus the name (and the lack of a gendered pronoun), and Butch avoided an early trip to the cook pot.

Butch differed from the other birds in one essential way: instead of heading back to the crummy, shoddy coop to sleep, Butch would perch high in the rafters of the woodshed.  So when S. came by that fateful night, Butch escaped.

But Butch had to develop a new modus vivendi.  The new chickens have grown up in their new coop, and I have them fenced in with an eight-foot-high wall of chicken wire under a tree.  (They can fly around, but remain naive about the possibility of flying out of their enclosure, and they will learn that they should always lay eggs in the nest boxes.)  Butch was wandering around forlornly (and hungrily) so I put captured the bird and threw it in with the young 'uns.  They collectively decided that this newcomer should be at the bottom of the pecking order and went on the attack.  From nesting in rafters, Butch knew that vertical flight meant safety, and so escaped--back to hunger and solitude.

However, Butch has it figured out now.  Every morning I find Butch in the enclosure, under the coop, breakfasting on scratch that has fallen through the floor.  When I release the new birds from the coop, Butch quickly runs in as they fly out, and grabs a bit more chow before flying up to the roof and over the fencing.  Periodically, during the day, Butch will fly in for a nibble and fly out.  Every night finds Butch safely and smugly roosting, high up in the woodshed, resting up for another day.  And so Butch lives and will, unlike the rest of the first cohort, continue to live, happily ever after.

Provided I never find yolk on Butch's beak.

Butch, getting ready to fly the coop.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wednesday Wordage: the Farmer in of the adjective

I am developing more and more of an appreciation of the farmer's life--a way of life that used to be the norm.  There's still some things that are so associated with the farmer life that "farmer" becomes adjectival.  The "farmer tan" needs no introduction.  Bikers clear their noses with a "farmer blow." Surfers wear "farmer john" wetsuits.  But as I become more immersed in the lifestyle, other farmer things have been making themselves apparent to me:

Farmercize:  I marvel that people pay money to go to a gym to exercise.  Heck, they can come here to exercise and I'll pay them.  Mucking out the barn, trimming hooves on all the goats, stacking hay bales, fencing, arms are more muscle-y than they ever got from skiing or swimming or weights or anything.  

Farmer shuffle:  It's the way I walk at the end of pretty much every day, each step a separate process, as a result of all the farmercize.

Farmer sauna:  You don't need to go to Finland for the proper sauna experience: just load eight tons of hay into your barn as the sun is going down and the temperature is dropping into the  20's F.  You get the moist heat from sweating up a storm; the birch-twig effect from all the hay scratching at you; and the roll-in-the-snow effect from walking back to the house in the freezing air wearing a sweat-soaked t-shirt.

Farmer-built:  Sort of functional, awkward to use, and must include baling twine.

Farmer diet:  Guaranteed weight loss!  Eat as much as you want, of whatever you want (after all the work is done).

Farmer birth control:  I mean, really, who has the energy at the end of the day?

I'll probably come to learn more...

The year in review...

Well, that was a busy year.  It's good to look back on it--partly because it allows me to actually se that we have accomplished something in this our third year on the farm, and partly because it's nice to have such a year in the rear view mirror.
There it is: most of what I worry, work, fuss, and tire myself out on, a place that I don't leave most days.  I can walk less than a mile, and most of my world gets small enough that you can't really tell much about it.

Here's a few lines that clarify things--the green line is our property line, and the purple line is what we actually payed attention to in the last year--just over half of our acreage.

Here's the same bit of land, viewed from space; my world is again in purple.

As with the previous years, the big effort was to get our infrastructure built to meet the needs of the animals, those already here, those born on site, and those acquired--an effort comparable to building an airplane as it's flying and full of passengers.  We started the year with facilities that could accurately be described as "not immediately fatal."  We are beginning the new year with facilities that are, for some animals, adequate, and for others, promising to be much better than adequate.

Our barn has become quite functional.  Of course, it was designed to be functional, but between design and implementation there are always contingencies.  That said, it is now safely and effectively housing more than 35 Shetland ewes of all ages and more than 20 Nigerian Dwarf does and kids.   Banks of LED lights make the barn bright as day, using the power of a single 120 Watt bulb.  Building enclosed spaces under the eaves has doubled our housing area and allowed different age groups to be segregated.

Sheep expansion--November 2015 (Goats earlier in the year)
The construction of new feeders has made feeding quite easy.  I'll need to tweak their design in the coming year to further reduce waste and improve fleece quality, but the improvement over the last year is huge.
New center-aisle feeders: Feb 2015
The male animals are still in "not immediately fatal" housing, but that is changing; after two years of delay (getting engineering done on the works, negotiating with a federal granting agency, waiting for weather, waiting for the end of hunting season, etc) we are finally building housing for our bucks and rams.
Ram housing--started Dec 2015
It won't be done until early 2016, but at least it's under way--which means that our rams will have shelter that protects them from the elements and that they can't destroy.

As growers of sheep and goats, we are primarily growers of pasture, which we use animals to harvest.  This year saw big improvements in our pastures, improvements visible from space.  Thanks to the federal government (and you, the taxpayer!), we received financial assistance in building fencing in our pastures to facilitate rotational grazing and good grazing techniques. You can actually see this part of our labors in the satellite picture:
New pasture fencing: January 2015
The south (left) pasture is divided in two by permanent fence, then subdivided by electric mesh for rotational grazing.  The rams and bucks are in smaller pastures (top and lower right).  Internal fencing, combined with improved housing, has made management of the farm immeasurably easier.  2015 was a very difficult year for grazing--a severe drought made the fields dry up two months earlier than usual.  We could have done worse:  we've done some seeding, to try to improve our pasture, and some targeted grazing and manual weed control to eradicate some of the more troublesome weeds.  Also, we did a soil analysis, and started lime applications to help bring our soil's pH back to a more hospitable range.  We could do better:  this year will see additional seeding, lime, and perhaps fertilizing. So far, we are having a nice wet winter.

We still need to buy hay, and this year we did a better job.  In previous years, I'd become something of a fixture at the co-op, coming in every week to buy six bales of hay, because that was all that fit in the truck and all that we had space for; an expensive and inefficient way to do things.  This last year, we've started buying hay by the three-ton, then by the eight-ton load, and we've connected with an organic supplier--although not soon enough to get the really good stuff.  This coming year, we'll hopefully be able to buy (and store) a year's worth of the good, second-cut hay.

A lot of that food eventually becomes poop, and this year saw no improvement in our ability to deal with it.  We are still using deep bedding, a system of straw bedding that is changed quarterly.  It's effective, but creates problems with fleece quality and can damage the barn structure.  We don't have good compost management, either.  The coming year we will hopefully see the construction of a proper compost facility and installation of a raised flooring system in the barn.  I also hope to purchase a manure spreader, to recapture valuable nutrients that are otherwise lost.

Of course, it is necessary for the farm to not only manage resources, but also be financially sound.  Our products this year have been primarily quality breeding stock (both goat and sheep), dairy products, and meat (and a few eggs).

A breeding program is a decades-long endeavor, and we are at the very beginning.  This year, we bought a few more animals that will make good breeding stock: we took advantage of a herd dispersal, and got a couple of good sires by being persistent and in the right place at the right time.  We are just seeing the very first results of our first round of breedings, some of which are good.  A goat of our own breeding placed tenth in a huge class at the ADGA national show, and other animals of our breeding got good reviews from judges at other shows.
Boadicea, daughter of Lady and Cernunnos, at ADGA Nationals

While show ribbons are nice, stock is supposed to be sold.  We sold all of the goat kids that we didn't want for ourselves (we keep the ones that are better than their parents).  We didn't do as well with the sheep, having twice as many rams as ewes in our lamb crop.  Most of the boys went to the butcher, though one found a home as a sire in Colorado.  We are not able to command as high a price for our animals as more established farms, but we hope that will change over the coming years.

Dairy production was limited this last year, with only eight does in milk and most of them low-producing first-fresheners.  However, this allowed me to work on cheesemaking techniques.  Happily, I have learned to make a variety of fresh cheeses that people are willing to pay for.  We also improved our aging facilities, making hard cheese possible.  I am now sampling some of the cheeses that I made this summer, and they are genuinely pleasing.  This coming year, with more does in milk, I'll be making and hopefully selling much more cheese; indeed, the challenges will lie not in the reliability, but in time management (both in milking and cheesemaking) and marketing.

Wool production is still rather below what we'd like.  Our game is not yet up to producing a good, clean fleece.  The improvements in pasture management and housing over the last year are a start, but more work is required.   We have yet to find a shearer we are completely happy with, and our experience with a wool processor this year was nearly farcical.  We have got some wool that is being made into combed top and yarn, so hopefully we will have some product to sell, but we probably won't break even on wool this year or next.
Oak Apple Bing--currently siring lambs in Co.  

We had some turnover in our chickens this year. The original gang got forcibly retired, as most of them had stopped laying with any regularity, and all of them refused to use their egg boxes, choosing instead to lay in obscure hiding places.  We also retired the original chicken coop, which caused me shame whenever I looked at its construction.  The new chicks arrived in July, and have been kept separate from the original gang so they won't learn bad habits.  I built their egg boxes in late December, and the first egg showed up January 2nd.
New chooks: Jul 2015; New coop: Nov 2015

Wedge and Spot, the cats, are both now permanently outdoor cats, having had too many incidents indoors.  They do fine with it, and follow us around whenever we go for walks in the area, complaining the whole way.  Eleanor likes her goats, and will let you know when she thinks you're getting to close to them.  Sophie, having been subjected to a rigorous program of forced marches, is losing weight and resembles more a bullet and less a cannonball.

We didn't get to have a vegetable garden this year; the garden plot has been continuously used for animal housing (see "not immediately fatal" conditions), but we hope to plant something this spring after the rams are moved into their new manse.  However, this summer saw the Real Doctor's brother and his family totally reconstruct the gardens along our front path, so we now have a lovely herb garden that has been making life much tastier.  Now we just need to grow some tomatoes!

So there's the year on the farm.  When I look at what I do, day to day, I feel both exhausted and like I haven't accomplished anything.  However, taking the long view, I suppose a lot of progress has been made, and much of that progress will allow us to be both more relaxed and more productive next year.  But for right now, I am very tired.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tuesday Tool--Roof raised! edition

The tool is the 1 1/2" roofing screw--self threading so it can auger its way through the roofing tin, with a little rubber gasket under the head so water won't leak through.

About 480 of them.

I am tired.

Also, yesterday I didn't get any phone calls.  Today, while working on the roof of the ram's shelter, I got seven.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Tuesday Tool Raisin' the Roof Edition

The tool of the day is definitely the Bostitch Framing Nailer, aka the big nailgun.

We are finally--finally--building the shelters for our rams and bucks.  These are going to be essentially small pole barns, rugged enough to deal with cranky rams, equipped with waterers, hay storage, etc, and will eventually make my life much easier.  But for right now, they are a lot of work, and I'm learning the useful skil of how to build a pole barn.

We've got the poles in, and rooted in cement; we've been working on the roof for the last week.  The rafters are up, which was a job.  Each one weighed a couple of hundred pounds or more, and needed to be raised into place and quickly secured, which is tricky when you're twelve feet off the ground on a ladder, leaning against the same pole that the rafter's going to be on.

Right now we're working on the purlins, which go across the rafters, and are what the roofing metal actually attaches to.  Each of them needs to be braced onto the rafters--more work while perched on top of a ladder, often reaching over the beam to nail something to the other side.

These are situations where the big nailgun is fantastic.  I can reach out, fully extended, with one hand--my left hand, which is not as strong--press a button, and WHAM!  A 3" nail is driven home.  No swinging around, no repeated whacking, no holding a nail in one hand and a hammer in another, no bruised thumbs.  Fantastic.

Just wear your safety glasses and your ear protection.  And have at!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Monday Musical Offering: the demise of a good product edition

Ten years ago...

Me:  Hey, you know that album, the LP from Argentina that my parents bought back in the sixties, that I uploaded...could you play the b-side of that?

iTunes:  Sure.  Here ya go.

Five years ago...

Me:  Hey, I feel like some Beethoven, a piano sonata...I forget what I have.  Can you give me a list?

iTunes:  Sure.  Here ya go.

Me:  Swell.  Could you put the Arrau album on my iPod, and play the Barenboim Op. 10 No. 2 on the speakers?


(Me:  Turns off "visualizer")

(Later) Me:  Hey, could you play that Arrau album?

iPod:  Sure.  Here ya go!

Me:  Wait, what?  The rondo is the last movement, not the second!

iPod:  I just thought you might like to hear it shuffled around, y'know, mix it up, keep it loose...

Me:  Pretty sure Beethoven had some strong ideas about that.


Me: Hey, I'm just in the mood for some Chopin, but I don't know what.  Can you give me a list of what I have?

iTunes:  Uh, no.  Nope.

Me:  What?!?

iTunes.  Hey, easy piano-boy.  Here's pictures of all the albums.  No list, sorry.

Me:  But I don't remember what's on all these albums.  Now I have to click on each one to see.

iTunes:  A good opportunity to refresh your memory!

Me:  Feh.  Could you play the Rubinstein Mazurkas, and put that Davidovich LP that I got years ago on my iPod?

iTunes:  Rightyroonie!  Done and done!

Me (some time later, out in the middle of the field):  Hey iPod, let's have some music.  That Davidovich LP would be swell.

iPod:  What?  I don't have such a thing.  Could I interest you in the Apple Radio?

Me:  ?!?!?!  iTunes said you have it.

iPod:  There's a place for it, but it's not there...say, you couldn't happen to move to a place with better phone reception?

Me:  I put it on there!  I saw it!  Wait...what's all this other stuff here...U frickin' 2?!?!  I didn't put any of this on!

iPod:  Can I interest you in anything that you bought from the iTunes store?  Lots of good stuff from the iTunes store.  Yessir, that iTunes store stuff is goooood, even the stuff you didn't buy, the free downloads from no-name bands that we tease you with.

Me:  What do you have on here, for real, not just a place there any of that Chopin I loaded?

iPod:  Well, can't tell you if there's any Chopin here, no way to list by composer.  But, um,  Apple Radio is really good too!  And you can listen to our Classical station, which might play Chopin.  Apple Radio, good.

Me:  Gagh, I just want to play my LP of Bella Davidovich that I bought in 1982!

iPod:  Gee, did you mean "Bella and the Bulldogs," the teen TV series?  I can stream some videos, you know.  Just sign in...

Me: #@^%!!!

(Later, having forced iTunes to put my album on the iPod)  Me:  OK, it's there, and I know it and you know it.  Please, please play Bella Davidovich's recording of the Chopin Preludes.

iPod:  Please sign in using your Apple ID.

Me, grumbling:  OK, but for what, this is my damn album!

iPod:  OK, ok,  cool...hey, by the way, do you "like" this track?  Care to rate it?

Me:  Yes, I like it, which is why I asked you to play it.  However, I don't "like" it.  I don't like-in-quotes anything.  And what's it to you?

iPod:  Well, I have a lot of music I can sell you, and if you let me know what you like, I can sell you more?  I'm on commission here.  Let me just switch you over to the iTunes store here...

Me:  Just play the Chopin!  Chopin!  Want!  Not!  Buy!  Play! MY! Chopin!

iPod.  OK, just a sec...Oh, you've signed in, but you'll need to enter the code I've sent to another device.

Me (after calling the Real Doctor, who got a text):  943733

iPod:  And your credit card?

Me: (Primal scream)