Friday, March 16, 2018

Resuming Life

Thank you so very much for all of the well-wishes bestowed upon Hubbs.
I am happy to report he is doing quite well following surgery.
Although his activity level has been severely curtailed during this healing phase,
he is quite comfortable and healing nicely.

As for me...
it was wonderful to get back out to the barn yesterday morning.

A day without my animals is unusual and strange.
I definitely like my normal routine.

Yesterday morning in the pasture was beautiful.

The morning sun cast a golden glow to everything and everyone.

I couldn't help just plopping myself down upon the cold, crunchy earth
to watch the equines eat their breakfast.

Once again, bluebird song was coming from the area of the garden...
sweet songs that tell of Spring's approach.

I am missing my farmhand (Hubbs) during chore time,
but honestly... I love the peace and calm of these hours with the animals...
and never mind doing the work alone.

In time, he'll be back to help...
and then the time spent doing chores will be cut in half.

Yesterday morning was definitely the stellar part of the day...
as the clouds moved in, and with them - several snow squalls.

At one point during the day, Sammie started barking...
the kind of bark he uses when a stranger is here.
The strange thing about his barking, though, was the fact that he never left the bedroom.
Usually if someone is outside, he greets them at the front door.
I went into the bedroom to see what had him so upset...
and found him looking out my bedroom window...
at this...

Look how sly old Mr. Fox's eyes are.

He was staring in the direction of Bobby cat, who was hiding behind a tree.

With the opening of the front door, Sam and Annie and Chester were off...
giving chase to Mr. Fox.
They chased him right off the property.
Panting and tired, they all returned home within minutes.
Sam was last... and had taken a little extra time to roll in something absolutely disgusting.
Hubbs was lucky to be excused from the next duty...
showering with Sammie.

At least it wasn't skunk spray!

(Diane... to clear up the confusion...
We have 4 grown children between us (the youngest two are twins)....
and 3 grandchildren... Tyler, Mackenzie and Easton)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Family Matters

Today's blog is a little different than most.
There are several things about my family that I wanted to share with you.

There is nothing sweeter for parents than watching their young adult children
make good lives for themselves.
We are in that sweet spot right now... and enjoying our kids' adventures...
and thankful to be a part of their lives.

If you have followed this blog for a while,
then you have met Amanda.
Her wedding was on the farm 3 summers ago and prior to that
she was living here and was a regular on the blog.

Her twin, Ryan, has a very busy life in North Carolina dividing his time between
his job with BankAmerica and his course work in his pursuit of 
a Masters degree in Christian Leadership.

Andy and Ashley's time revolves around their "littles"...
Mackenzie and Easton who are growing way too fast.
Andy is a mechanical engineer and started his own company last year and Ashley is an ER nurse.

Jenn, Tyler's Mom, is busy planning a wedding...
a farm wedding, here in September!

We'll have lots to share as this exciting event unfolds.

As for Hubbs and I...
we will be packing up all of my photography equipment and
traveling later this year to Zambia, Africa for a photo-safari trip.
We will be staying in three separate safari camps...
and will have many photos to share with you.

Until that time, we will continue to bring you daily stories from the farm.
Yesterday morning...

Yesterday afternoon...

As you can see, March weather is quite changeable here in Pennsylvania.

I will be taking a day or two off from blogging.
Hubbs is having back surgery today and I will be wearing my nurse's cap for a few days.
We'll be back with an update just as soon as is possible.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Afternoon Chores

As I sit here collecting my thoughts,
 the world outside looks like this...


Goodness, we are just one week away from the first day of Spring.
I am so very ready for Spring...
and so very over snow.

But then, weather is one of those things in life that we don't get to choose...
so I will grin and bear it.
I will appreciate the soft, white, quietude that morning will bring
as I go about my chores.

Luckily, I took the time to do a little extra outdoors work yesterday.
First, I transported this happy group of horses back to the barn...

for their chow -  after a lovely morning of grazing.
This required three separate trips.
First... Moonbeam to his stall.

Second... Ponies to the dry lot.
Third... Littles to their stall.

By the time I reached the barn with the Littles, 
Moonbeam had finished his chow, picked the lock to his stall door,
 and let himself out into the dry lot.

Not one for locked doors of any sort,
he then attempted to unlock the Littles' stall.

I would love to believe that he tried this in an effort to free the Littles,
but my better sense tells me that he did it in an attempt to eat their chow.
I can only hope that the ponies had eaten most of theirs before Moonbeam escaped his stall!

Next, the dogs (Sam, Annie and Chester) and I cleaned all of the pastures.
Sam rode shotgun, of course.

An hour later, we dumped the manure on the manure pile,
and headed over to gather eggs and feed the goats.
By this time, snow had begun to fall.

I had gone to the feed store earlier in the morning and bought goat feed...
so everyone was quite excited to get their fresh meal.
I think it must taste best when it is fresh out of the bag.

Next on the list was to take hay to the sheep.

Chester reminded me that the pigs needed treats.
(Of course, so did Chester)

And... apparently the sheep, as well.

Don't even ask me how many Ritz crackers we go through in a week....
all I can say, is ... I am sure we are their best consumer.
Seriously, Nabisco... how about using us for a commercial!!

(sorry for the sound of the gator engine)

"Ok, dogs... let's go home."
"Chester... come on... let's go home."

Chester was sure that the sheep had dropped some crumbs on the ground,
and he was determined to get every last one of them!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Of Coons And Bones

Every Saturday morning Hubbs and I have the ability to sleep in and skip
morning chores, thanks to our neighbor Anna.
She arrives at sun-up and tends to all of the animal needs.

And while Hubbs and I never actually sleep in, 
it is nice to have a somewhat lazy morning once a week.

While Anna was out with the animals,
I hopped in the shower and got ready for the day.
With that, the house phone rang and it was Anna.
She had seen a raccoon in the front pasture acting peculiar.
Raccoons are nocturnal, so seeing them in the daytime is always a warning sign.

This one, Anna explained, was chasing the horses across the pasture
(of course the horses were much faster, and not in any danger.)
Seeing what was happening sent the donkeys into attack mode and they bellowed
and then charged the raccoon.

The raccoon took off towards the pig house with the donkeys chasing.
It entered the front of the pig house.
Worried about the pigs' safety, Anna called them out for crackers.

By this time, Hubbs and I had reached the pig house and Hubbs checked inside.
No raccoon.
Apparently seeing the pigs in the house sent him scurrying right through and out the front door.
If there had been any interaction with the pigs,
the pigs would have been squealing...
but they were not upset in the least.
We guess that the raccoon just cut through the house and high-tailed it back out again.
The pigs are used to the cats cutting through their house,
the sheep invading their house,
and the horses hanging their heads over the fence into their house.
I would imagine a raccoon passing through was no big deal to them.

For obvious reasons, I have no photos of this morning mayhem.

Just to make sure that no raccoon was hiding in the pig house,
Anna and I stripped the pig house of all the bedding and replaced it with clean hay.
Meanwhile, Hubbs went in search of said raccoon...
assuming that it was rabid.

All of our animals are always up to date on their rabies vaccine,
and since no one actually came in contact with the animal,
there was no need for boosters.

It was just a little excitement on what would have been a very quiet morning.
The rest of the weekend was indeed quiet.
We tended chores and took walks...
and added to our collection of the macabre.

Hubbs found this skull in the woods near our pond...
it looks to be something canine... perhaps a coyote?

And I found this one in our flower bed at the side of our house.

We walked with the dogs through the hundred acre woods and retrieved the
game camera cards.

Chester had his usual turkey feather hanging out of his mouth.

Sam's big treasure was a skeletal deer leg.

Coincidentally, the only interesting thing we saw on the cards was this...
(ignore the date on the photos...we placed new batteries in the camera and forgot to set the date)

sitting on the picnic bench next to our tent in the woods...
waiting for his...


They spent quite a bit of time trying their best to get into the tent.
Luckily it is zipped up tight... raccoon-proof!

I had the opportunity to finish a knitting project...

Edgar has a sister... Eunice Trunkhill!

I also wanted to share this recipe with you...
These are the very best chocolate cupcakes I have ever made!!

I have to say... Daylight Savings Time has us all a little off schedule.
In order to get the morning work done by the usual time,
I'm having to go out in the dark.
I'll take my daylight hours in the morning, if you please!!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Our Super-Mutts

If you have followed along on this journey with us for a while,
then you know that our four current pups are from rescues.
And because you never really know what you have with a rescue pup,
we have always done a DNA test on our dogs to determine their "pedigree."

Most times we have a family contest to guess the breed with a $5 entry fee for each guess...
the winner receiving all of the entry fees.
In the case of no one guessing correctly, the money goes to our local shelter.
And so far... the money has always gone to the shelter.

A few months back I told you about Chester's DNA results.

For Chester's DNA testing we used
Their testing is done at Cornell.
We were happy with Chester's results as they included not only his breed contributions,
but also his risk for genetic disease.

Skeptical about the results that we had previously received for Annie
(from a different company),
we decided to re-test her.
Her first test results were an even combination of
 Chow Chow, Chinese Sharpei, and English Bulldog.

Annie as a puppy.
We were skeptical, however... we just couldn't see it.
We even called to see if a mistake could have been possible.
I would have sworn that she had Boston Terrier in the list... but no.

Yesterday the new results came to us.
We are even more stymied than we previously were.
It seems our Annie is one super SuperMutt!!
Meaning that both of her parents were most likely mutts, themselves.

Her genetic breakdown is baffling.
Enjoy the good laugh...

20.8% Newfoundland
19.9% Labrador Retriever
19.4% Chow Chow
13.2% Chinese Shar-Pei
8.4% Boxer
4.8% Bulldog
13.5% Supermutt (traces of Shetland sheepdog, collie, and Rottweiler). 

In essence, this girl is a Newfie mix.

If any dog is the anti-Newfie, it would be Annie!
Newfoundlands are huge, and slow, and drooly, and friendly to all....
big, oversized, love-rugs.

Small, fast, energetic, muscular, wary of strangers...

Go figure.
Genetics is an amazing field.
What is even more amazing is how the cross breeding of dog breeds turns out after generations.
I suppose if we allowed all of our dogs to just cross breed as they want,
we would eventually end up with a world full of dogs that look just like Annie...
a world full of Super Mutts!

On a side note,
Oakley gave us another scare yesterday.
He awoke in the morning and was unable to walk.
We've had him on steroids for months trying to keep him comfortable and going for as 
long as possible.
But, this old man is worn out, and has lymphoma.
We've increased his steroids and he seems a little better now.
We are keeping our fingers crossed.
He's had a good run, but his shoes are worn out!
For now we are just taking each day as it comes and giving him as much lovin'
as is possible.


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