Monday, June 27, 2016

Hanging With The Boys

Dear Macy and Maggie,

We know it's been a while since we have written,
but we have been very busy growing big and strong.


We have grown so strong that we are finally allowed to roam the farm as we please.


Our first outing was yesterday.


The door was suddenly opened to the outside world
and we emerged without hesitation.


We've been so curious about everything outside our gate.


There are sights and smells and tastes to investigate,
and we spent the day doing just that.


We kept our house in sight as we wandered here and there.
We always stayed together thinking that there is safety in numbers.


We spent a great deal of time crowing...
just to let the world know we are here.
"Er-er-er-er-errrrrrrrr....Hello world!"


We spent about 5 hours eating bugs and grass 
while we investigated our world.


It's a pretty great world, 
and we thank you for bringing us there.


We are going to have many adventures in this place.

We know that life is not without danger,
for there are wild animals around.
But we will proceed with caution and the farmer will look out for us,
so don't worry.


We think about you every day...
knowing how much you love us.


Your friends forever,
Fish, Egg, Jelly and Petunia

*************************************

It's berry pickin' season on the farm.
Wild raspberries are abundant...


with vines at the edge of all the woods...
and boy do we have lots of woods!


Blueberries are ripening, with more and more each day.
Because summer is so busy, I have decided to freeze the berries for now...
and will make jams during the quiet, slower winter months.

Remember the eggs in the nest on top of the light in the duck hut?
We have fluffy baby birdies now!


PS: Grammie Camp continues this week.
What fun we are going to have!
We'll have much to share as the week goes on.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Farm Kind of Day

Grammie Camp continued yesterday with a day at the farm.
I awoke early to a fiery sky...


and although I was a little sleep deprived due to the nighttime shenanigans of
3 dogs, 1 cat and 1 six year old,
 I was glad to not miss this one!


That sky, a harbinger of what was to come...
 sunshine and storms, more sunshine, more rain...
warned that it was a good day for staying home.
Between showers we tended to chores...


calling the horses in from the pasture...


and they came willingly....


they knew what the ringing bell meant.


Breakfast!

We learned that one of the most important things to remember...
is to always lock the gates!


"You-know-who" is always ready to escape.


We also discovered something....

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Grammie Camp

Blog posts may be a little scant for the next week.
It's the time of year we call "Grammie Camp."
Tyler is spending 9 days with us.


He's been quite a help at chore time!
We are filling our days with swimming, playing and fun field trips.
Yesterday we went to a local attraction called Penn's Cave.


There we rode a boat deep into the cave.


Tyler had never seen a cave before and was enthralled.



After leaving the cave, we took an open air bus into a wildlife preserve

and saw elk...


timberwolves...


black bear, mountain lions, big horn sheep, bison, mustangs, and more.

It was a truly delightful day with this enthusiastic six year old.
I've got to say, by the end of the day we were exhausted,
but filled with wonderful memories made.

The next week is going to be filled with lots of adventure.
I'll check in each day...but posts may be short.
I'll be back in the swing of things next week!
Happy Summer!
Grammie Camp is the best!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Why I Wear A Watch

Oh, what fun I had with yesterday's mystery post!
Today we return to the ebb and flow of farm life...
the rhythm that everyone counts on.



Of all the animals on the farm,
I believe the equines feel most secure when they are on a schedule.
There are certain things that they look forward to each day at certain times.
And believe me, if we deviate from the routine, they let us know!

I've been letting them out in the front pasture in the very early morning.
It is more comfortable for them to be out when
 it is cooler,
and before the flies get busy.


When I arrive back at the barn later in the morning,
they are ready to come in for their breakfast.
It is at this time that they get a pelleted vitamin and mineral chow.
(all of my equines put on weight quite easily and so they do not get a high calorie grain)



Every morning it's the same deal.
Everyone comes in except Red.
He is always the last one to the barn,
and usually requires a little round-up by Annie.



She takes her job quite seriously.... and although she sounds a little vicious,
she is all bark...no bite!


Ollie, who is already in the Littles' stall, eating,


gets bumped from his dish by Red.


Obviously horses can't do a higher level of reasoning,
or Red would realize that by bumping Ollie to the other bowl,
he is actually giving Ollie another full bowl, leaving a half-eaten bowl for himself.


Like I said....no high level reasoning there!
I am convinced that horses are driven by instinct, with a little emotion added for good measure.
Common sense and reasoning?
Nope.

As soon as everyone has finished their chow,
fly masks are applied.
The horses seem to understand that fly masks are beneficial...
and they stand still and let me put them on.
However, by mid-afternoon, Ollie has usually removed his.
Like I said....no common sense.


Flies are problematic during the summer.
We make good use of our solar fly catchers all over the farm.
Fly masks and fly spray help as well.



For some strange reason, this summer Chloe has declared a moratorium on fly masks.


Each day I offer.
She declines.
I plead, cajole, bribe.
Still she declines.
I call in re-inforcements.
She declines vehemently.
I give up.

She spends the day shaking the flies off.


No common sense.

We have babies in the barn again this year.


A pair of barn swallows returns each year to this nest to raise their brood.


The hatchlings are growing quickly.


Judging from their size, they will soon be ready to begin their flying lessons.

Between food deliveries, Mama and Papa sit on the wire outside the barn...
guarding their family and warning anyone who comes to near.


They are especially wary of Moll cat and frequently dive-bomb her
 as she meanders around the barn.


The funny thing is...
Moll seems oblivious to them.
Or, perhaps she chooses to just ignore.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Are You Ready?

So much of life at the farm happens when we are not looking.
And the pond is no exception to this.
(This is the point where you must go back and read yesterday's post if you missed it!)
I know...it was cruel of me to make you wait a day for the mystery to be solved.
Hopefully it will be worth it.
(If you click on the photos, they will enlarge to give you a better view!)
****************

In a glen nestled between shale hills of oak and pine and walnut there is a small pond
teeming with life.
The pond is home to 4 domestic ducks, a few pairs of wild mallards,
and goodness knows how many wild critters.

The humans that tend this pond deliver feed daily for their beloved ducks.
They also throw fish food into the pond each day for the koi.

Although the ducks actually prefer the fish food, they do
supplement their diet with nibbles from the bowl from time to time...
but not enough to ever empty the bowl...and certainly not to drag it, empty, 
down to the water's edge.

Who is responsible for this mischief?
Let's see....


Pekin Pete:  " Have you noticed how quickly this bowl gets emptied lately?"


Cayuga Cal: "Yea, thank goodness we have the fish food to eat!"


Pekin Pete quacks up, laughing, "Yea, poor fish!"

One of several pairs of wild ducks stops by for some breakfast...
oblivious to the fact that he is not the only one with that idea.


Rodney Rat:  "Maybe if I hide, he won't notice me."

Rodney Rat:  "BOO!"


Harold Drake, eyes wide, crouches, bewildered.


Recovered, he waddles to the other side of the dish and calls his mate,
"Hey Mildred... come look who's been stealing the food."


Mildred Duck:  "Oh, Harold...he's adorable.  And he's all alone.  Let's invite him to stay."  



Mildred Duck:   "We can share the food with him...there's enough to go around!"

Little did Mildred and Harold know....



Rodney Rat:  "Hey fellas!  There's free food!"


And in a matter of seconds, Rowland and Ronald showed up...


Followed by Randy and Robert...



And before long, all six of the Rat family were feasting heartily!
(I'm pretty sure that Rhonda, Richard, Robin, Rose and Raymond were not far behind!)


 All day long and into the night they ate and ate and ate...


And then Ophelia Opossum showed up and sent them scattering.


Ophelia's visit didn't last long, however.
Rita Raccoon, a youngster, appeared...
and everyone knew that her momma wasn't too far behind!


Also, earlier in the day, Muskrat Sam stopped by for dinner.



Trying food from every side of the bowl,


he found it most efficient to sit atop the food.


Muskrat Sam:  "Hey Susie!"


"Look!"


"Free Food!"

Of course we all know what Muskrat Susie and Muskrat Sam did next....


They did the Jitterbug down in Muskrat Land, of course!!




Do you think we might have a little rodent problem??
Yikes!

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