Friday, July 13, 2018

The Last Bit of News

It's Friday (again...can you believe it?),
and here is your last bit of news from the farm for the week.

You might remember me mentioning my worry list yesterday.
Well, by the end of the day I had one more thing to add to it.

Red stopped eating yesterday afternoon and I suspected that he had a touch of colic.

Dr. Becky made a house call (oh, how we appreciate the fact that she is here on the farm!)
and felt that his bowel sounds were a bit spasmodic.

His temperature was normal.
So, she gave him a dose of Bantamine (a non-steroidal that works well for GI symptoms)
and put him on stall rest until he poops... just to make sure everything was working well.
If not, he would need a tube passed.

And so, much to his chagrin, we closed him in a stall for a couple hours.

Hopefully he will get through this little upset quickly.

The rest of the herd is doing just fine.
Donnie seems to be healed, however, we are keeping him separate through the weekend.
The rest of the horses have not been back out on pasture either.
I know that if the rest left and went to pasture, Donnie would spend the time upset,
running back and forth along the fence.
So... to keep him quiet, the rest have to stay quiet as well.

Jack and I drove to State College, PA yesterday for their annual ArtsFest...
where I found this perfect garden plaque.

Perfect, yes?

We also stopped at one of my favorite places... Tates Farm.

This is the most adorable farm stand that sells jams and jellies and fruit shrubs,
as well as plants and gift items.

They also have a few cats that provide photo opportunities.

The weather continues to be delightful, 
and by early evening as shade settles across most of the farm,
the pigs and sheep happily head back out to the front pasture.
This is one of the most idyllic scenes here on the farm... sheep happily grazing.

Remember last week when I discovered that we have a rooster amongst our young hens.

Well.... there are more... maybe two more.
This reddish chicken...

and this one, too...
(a Lakenvelder, I believe)

The one that I am sure about is a speckled Sussex, 
I believe (please correct me if I am wrong.)

The larger combs are highly suspicious.
And, we've heard the juvenile version of a "cock-a-doodle-doo" from more than one source.
Oh my....
Anyone in need of a rooster?  or three?

Have a wonderful weekend.
Hopefully my worry list will diminish by Monday.
Regardless, we'll be back to share the weekend's adventures with you.

Thursday, July 12, 2018


Happily, peace has returned to the farm.
We made it through another day without incident.

Jack is fine... barely even bruised.
Donnie is healing... his swelling is down and he is walking normally.

I will keep him on relative rest for a few days, however,
just to ensure that he can defend himself if Scarlet decides to "off" him again.

Our fabulous weather continues, but I would like to place an order for a little rain.
It's quite dry right now.
The grass has stopped growing and is getting brown.
I did, however, have to mow the weeds yesterday.

I have to say... I am loving these Profusion Zinnias.
The were recommended to me this spring and I am so glad I jumped right in.

They are a hybrid zinnia that is disease, drought, and heat resistant...
and they don't need any dead-heading.
Just plant, and water, and wait for the eventual explosion of color.

All of the coneflowers are blooming now.

Echinacea are one of my many favorites, and I search for new colors
whenever I happen to visit a greenhouse or nursery.

My favorite two, so far, are these fancy pink ones...

and these green ones...

The guineas continue to spend a good portion of the day within my garden walls.
They have been good guests...hunting bugs, but not disturbing the produce.

We have two active nests that are being sat upon.

I can hardly wait for the chicks to hatch (hoping.)

I do have one item on my "worry" list at present.
Sweet Ash... the remaining half of our Nigerian Dwarf Sister Act...
(we lost Star earlier this spring)
has been segregating herself from the rest of the goat herd.
She spends her time solitarily next to the pasture fence.

She is losing weight and I fear she is soon going to pass.
Dr. Becky has checked her and says she doesn't appear to be in any discomfort.
(goats are very stoic, though)
She's an old goat and she lived a great life... we'll find comfort in that.

So, we will allow her her peace and hope that her passing is equally peaceful.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Kicked In The Butt

Yesterday taught me a huge lesson.
When you think your life is idyllic... keep your mouth shut...
because it just might be an invitation for chaos to move right in!

Yesterday morning, early, we headed up to the upper pasture to bring in the horses.
They had been out for the night in their grazing muzzles,
and it was time to come back to the barn before the insects started to get annoying.

We walked up through the fields to get the horses...
since no one had yet made their way down to the gate.
As we clipped lead ropes to halters, I noticed that Donnie Brasco
was standing next to the fence with his head down by his feet.

"I think he's stuck on the fence!" I exclaimed to Jack.
Jack ran over to see... and found that Donnie was indeed stuck...
but not to the fence.
Somehow, during the night... presumably while trying to remove his halter....
he had gotten his foot stuck inside his halter...
essentially tying his face to his foot.
And there he stood for God knows how long.
I was distraught.

Jack got him untangled and began walking him back through the field.
Donnie was slow and stiff, but not in any great distress.

Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, Scarlet (Donnie's sister) came running over...
and turned her back towards Donnie and began violently kicking.
Unfortunately, Jack was between Donnie and Scarlet and took the full force of the kicks
on his butt and right hamstring muscle.
I was completely dumbfounded as all of this drama unfolded.
Luckily, Jack is all right.... a little sore and bruised, but, generally unhurt.

I took Donnie by the lead, while Jack calmed Scarlet down and got her on lead.
He stayed behind with her while I walked Donnie back to the barn.

Apparently it is instinctual herd behavior to try to destroy the weak.
An injured or sick horse can hold the herd back and make them easier prey,
so they try to get rid of the weak.
It's a survival instinct... and a very strong one.

Donnie is now living with the donkey girls while his swollen and sore fetlock has a chance to heal.
He is on dry-lot rest and anti-inflammatories and lots of doses of love.

Meanwhile, bitchy Scarlet stands guard by the fence.... shouting terroristic threats
through the boards at Donnie.

I can only imagine what she's saying to him... and I don't believe it is very nice.
It seems Miss Scarlet has appointed herself to be protector of the herd.

Jack's still waiting for an apology.

I gained a few more grey hairs through this ordeal...
and Jack is officially a horse man.
Yesterday was his initiation.
As for my little Heaven... yesterday made it seem a little more like Hell.

On a lighter note...

the ducks are officially out and about!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

This Might Be Heaven

There are often moments that I think...

"Maybe I actually died, and didn't know it...
because this sure feels like heaven!"

Yesterday was one of those days.

Perfect weather... abundant sunshine, cloudless sky, gentle breeze...

In every corner of the farm there was melodic birdsong...
carefree tunes filled with joy.

The sunflowers turned their happy faces toward me.

The breeze carried the faint perfume of blossoming Mimosa trees.

My heart felt light and carefree as I tended to afternoon chores...
just happy to be surrounded by my little piece of heaven.

After a busy morning...

(Bug Patrol)

grooming horses, 

farrier visit, 

 and laundry...
I took a little time to sit on the front porch and begin a knitting project 
with yarn that I purchased in a local yarn store this past weekend.

"Humble Stitch" in Newport, PA.

Humble Stitch's owner and her daughter and husband.
I am so excited.
A new fibre arts store just opened in our little local town.
It specializes in yarns, fabrics, and embroidery... all my favorites!

I mentioned yesterday that the runner ducks were going to be liberated yesterday.
First thing in the morning, we opened their door to the outside.

And we waited.
And waited.

Apparently, they were quite happy to just stay home...

and play in their pool for the day.

I did notice that a few of the guineas stopped by for a visit with the ducks,
but it didn't seem like the ducks were inclined to accompany the guineas
away from their yard.

It wasn't until Hubbs came home with another pool and placed it outside their yard,
that they finally decided to venture out.

As for the guineas...
remember that clutch of eggs (20+) that I showed you yesterday?
They were laid in one of my boxes that holds fern-leaved Tansy.
I have decided to allow the eggs to remain...
 because, it seems that they are being sat upon.

Curiously, the guineas take turns sitting on the nest...
sometimes even two guineas sit together.
I am hoping that we will have baby guineas when all is said and done.
The garden is a fairly safe area to raise a brood.

And goodness knows, we can always use more guineas!
Hopefully our neighbors won't mind if the guinea flock grows exponentially.
Time will tell... on all accounts!

Oh, and I found the beginnings of a second clutch of eggs in a box
of beans and squash.

These are our purple green beans.
I used them to make a 3 bean salad last week and blanched a bowlful.
The water immediately turned green and so did the beans.
The purple changes to green with the addition of heat.
Curious, huh?

I am sure that there are zinnias in heaven!


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